Tomlia Services > 2019 > June

Salesforce adds customer data platform to CRM

At its annual Salesforce Connections conference, Salesforce unveiled its new Customer Data Platform (CDP) alongside the next generation of Customer 360.The new platform services will allow companies to unify disparate customer data throughout their entire organization and then personalize every engagement based on a single view of the customer.Customer 360 will also go beyond traditional CDP capabilities and extend the power of CRM with consumer-scale data management and activation.
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President and chief product officer at Salesforce, Bret Taylor explained how companies can boost loyalty by creating a single view of the customer, saying:”Customers today will not settle for fragmented experiences, and companies recognize that creating a single view of the customer is imperative to earning their loyalty. With Customer 360, we continue to extend our platform in new ways, empowering brands to unify data and personalize customer engagement at scale.”
Customer 360
Salesforce introduced Customer 360 at last year’s Dreamforce conference to help companies connect Salesforce apps and create a unified customer ID to build a single view of the customer. Now the company is expanding the service with new advancements that will make it easier to bridge fragmented customer data cross the entire organization.The next generation of Customer 365 will also include new data unification and consent management features that will enable brands to unify all of their customer data to create rich customer profiles. Additionally, with Salesforce’s consent management framework companies will have the ability to easily gain customer consent wherever they engage users from email marketing to digital advertising.New segmentation capabilities will allow companies to identify specific groups of people to engage with in real-time based on demographics, engagement history and all other customer data available. Brands will also be able to activate customer data across marketing, commerce, service and beyond to deliver personalized engagement everywhere.Finally, Customer 365 will allow brands to leverage Einstein’s AI capabilities to analyze and understand how and when to engage with customers to drive customer loyalty and improve business performance.
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Here’s what experts say mobile gaming will look like in 2020

Even though mobile gaming has a ways to go before it’s just like playing on a desktop or console, it’s inching closer every year – and it might grow in leaps and bounds in 2020. Why? AAA publishers are getting good at translating their AAA franchises to mobile, but the onset of 5G and cloud gaming could elevate mobile gaming across the board.At E3 2019, we talked to publishers, game developers and phonemakers about their products and projects to get a hint at what’s coming for mobile gaming in 2020. The top-level observations aren’t too surprising: the dependable recipe for success is to make new titles from old but well-known IPs or craft mobile versions of already-popular desktop/console franchises. With so many games out there, new titles have to be platform-savvy and a bit tailored to their audience’s regional tastes.Overall, mobile gaming in the next year will slowly iterate on lessons learned – but the industry is also looking ahead to a sea change from 5G and cloud streaming, both technologies that could change how, and what, we play. Read on for the five trends we see coming in the next year.

 Trend 1: big franchises, small screens 
By far the biggest new title for mobile gaming shown off at E3 2019 was Call of Duty: Mobile, a version of the hit franchise shrunken down to be playable on smartphones. We found the game to be a remarkably similar experience to its fully-fledged siblings, featuring levels ripped straight from the older games, including a bunch stitched together to form the game’s huge battle royale map (which should give seasoned Call of Duty fans an advantage).Otherwise, the game plays a lot like other more serious mobile shooters: move with your thumb on the left side of the screen, perform actions like shooting, crouching or switching loadouts by hitting the appropriate button on the right side of the screen. It works…once you’ve gotten the hang of it.But attempting to replicate a console experience on smartphones makes for a cluttered interface, something that plagues every game that uses on-screen controls rather than a dedicated external gamepad (which aren’t common). To its credit, Call of Duty: Mobile introduces a few control innovations – like auto-shooting once a player hovers their crosshair over an opponent – but these are intended for newer players to get the hang of the game until they transition to the precision of manually moving/aiming/shooting.  In essence, mobile titles inheriting IP from consoles and desktop gaming have good reason to try to import that experience as wholly as possible, but – at least right now – compromise is essential. But there can be elegance in that adjustment. 

The other big example on the show floor was The Elder Scrolls: Blades, a game that’s been out in the US in early access for some months before a general release (everywhere but China) in time for E3 2019. The control scheme is a simplified version of traditional Elder Scrolls combat: once engaged with an enemy, players swipe the screen to attack. It’s missing the free movement that’s defined fighting in the main games, but it enables one-handed play.Or two-handed, if players prefer: the game’s big innovation is supporting both portrait and landscape modes, with seamless transitions between either, even in the middle of a fight. 
The result is “a classic dungeon crawler designed for the modern day,” Lafferty said. Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer
“It took a lot of dev time” to pull off, Veronique (Vero) Bruneau, Producer at Bethesda Game Studios for TES: Blades told TechRadar in an interview at E3. That was surely an understatement: he and Craig Lafferty, Senior Producer and Project Lead at Bethesda Game Studios explained they had to program that swapping mechanism for many phone types and tablets.The result is “a classic dungeon crawler designed for the modern day,” Lafferty said. Of course, the game has a lot of accoutrements from the Elder Scrolls franchise, though Blades is deliberately set in a different time period than the other ongoing TES game, Elder Scrolls Online, to avoid content overlap. The wild success of the 2016 game Fallout Shelter convinced Bethesda that its IP could be suitable for mobile titles, provided they found satisfying gameplay mechanics appropriate for the franchise.Which, in its own way, explains Commander Keen.

 Trend 2: novelty stands apart in a crowded market 
During Bethesda’s E3 2019 showcase, Kira Schlitt, Creative Director at ZeniMax Online Studios, came on stage to introduce a new mobile title she’s helming: Commander Keen. Based on the beloved PC platformer pioneer that was first released in 1990, the game looks to revive the classic side-scrolling gameplay on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.The announcement was a surprise: while Commander Keen certainly has cultural cachet with older gamers, and a place in the history books as the title that enabled the foundation of id Software, it’s not a franchise players have clamored to revive. But the Bethesda keynote didn’t fully explain the game. Commander Keen will be a platformer with a similar goofy, light-hearted cartoony style as the original…and a card game, too. Each of the title character’s signature gadgets (like pogo sticks and sci-fi traps) is activated via a card, which is shuffled back into their mini-deck once used. The resulting game sounds like a novel combination of tried-and-true genres: a real-time platformer that requires less twitchy reactivity and more thoughtfulness to proceed. Players can bring eight cards with them into a level, which they can cleverly combine: create a hazard with your vortex gun and then bounce enemies into it with a trampoline. Voila!It’s hard to imagine how a real-time card-platformer will work out – Bethesda rescinded their offer of a hands-on demo just before E3 2019 – but it sounds different, and more delightful than the usual AAA mobile game (outside of Nintendo’s chipper games, anyway). The Commander Keen team began developing it in early 2018 and were inspired by Hearthstone, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and Clash Royale, but unlike those, the game ended up being more physics-based (and real-time), Schlitt told TechRadar. Whether the game is a hit, the bigger lesson is that it will (unsurprisingly) be free-to-play with in-game purchases. Schlitt assured that those won’t be pay-to-win – they’ll just be cosmetics and time-savers, which should preserve the balance of the 1v1 PVP battle mode coming alongside the single-player story mode. New gadgets will only be unlocked via randomized packs awarded from playing battle mode, which hopefully won’t lock out unlucky players from drawing a complete arsenal.If established franchises (or ‘intellectual properties’ as the lingo goes) draw more interest than new ones, Commander Keen is a sort of test balloon for dormant franchise palatability: as a F2P title on mobile, there’s conceivably less risk with reviving an old and unlooked-for series than re-introducing a full AAA title on console and desktop. And companies could certainly do worse than Commander Keen’s whimsical pop sci-fi action. 
Image credit: Netmarble
Trend 3: Established franchises could be the key to popularizing new genres 
South Korea’s biggest mobile game company, Netmarble, didn’t debut new titles to the public at E3 2019, aside from one showed off behind closed doors that’s set to launch in the US before year’s end. But the company’s biggest titles have been ongoing for awhile: Marvel Future Fight, and until last December, Star Wars Heroes and Disney Magical Dice. The company even has an officially-licensed game about the globally popular K-pop boy band BTS.In other words, Netmarble has plenty of experience securing globally popular IP – but to stand out in a saturated game landscape, the company can’t just dash out a quick title to cash in on very recognizable names. Instead, Netmarble’s current strategy is to build themes and gameplay mechanics that match the IP, Netmarble US CEO Simon Sim explained to TechRadar.He came to E3 2019 with Netmarble to promote a mobile game coming to the US later in 2019: King of Fighters All-Stars. Just like previous games in the main King of Fighters series, the free-to-play title will feature characters from many SNK games – but the mobile game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up instead of a traditional fighting game.
Image credit: King of Fighters
The genre switch seems like a shrewd move to preserve the fun of hand-to-hand combat without forcing players to use clumsy mobile game controls for fighting games, which require precise inputs to compete. Indeed, KoF: All Stars abbreviates those inputs with a small cluster of buttons on the right side: a big one for basic strikes surrounded by three for signature moves, while buttons at the top of the screen switch out teammates.The game proved popular in Japan, where Netmarble first released KoF: All Stars back in 2017, and has been a success in South Korea after launching there in May 2019. When asked whether KoF: All Stars will catch on in the US – a market where side-scrolling beat-em-up mobile games aren’t super popular – Sim explained that the genre didn’t need to be a top-seller for Netmarble’s title to be successful. 
That’s what we believe: if you change the game you will change the trend,” Sim said. Simon Sim, Netmarble US CEO
The company has experience pioneering mobile game genres, Sim continued. Netmarble beta launched Lineage 2 Revolution in South Korea in late 2016 at a time when mobile MMORPGs weren’t popular. Back in January, the game crossed $1.5 billion in player spend, according to Sensor Tower. It’s possible that KoF: All Stars could kick off its own trend in the US. “That’s what we believe: if you change the game you will change the trend,” Sim said. That doesn’t mean every game will work everywhere – the company tweaks its games slightly for each market for legal compliance and for playerbase taste. Asian markets don’t mind the randomness of true ‘gacha’ systems, while Western and US players prefer a more expected reward system that grants, say, a guaranteed five-star character or one from a certain game. As a result, KoF: All Stars has three distinct versions for Japan, South Korea, and the upcoming US/Western release.  But Netmarble isn’t just trying to hit big with already-popular IPs – the company aims to release a popular game featuring its own intellectual property, for obvious financial reasons (licensing fees, etc). Sim used Stone Age as an example (Stone Age Begins first came out in 2016), but when asked if they had new games to announce from its IPs, he only had one thing to say: stay tuned.
Image credit: TechRadar
 Trend 4: Phonemakers are still committed to local gaming, not streaming
In the last few years, phonemakers have released handsets aimed at gamers that pack high specs and special modes that optimize phone gaming. One of these, the Chinese OEM Black Shark, just released its second phone (the Black Shark 2) in April – but it’s already looking toward the future. The company didn’t show off its anticipated Black Shark 5G, which some reports say could come out before 2020, but Black Shark VP of Yang Sun, VP Marketing of Black Shark Global, had serious thoughts about how the next year of gaming might change – specifically, with hardware. Currently, the best phones for gaming are high-specced flagships, but specialized handsets that pack in more features specifically for playing games. The Black Shark 2 is one of these, and its additions range from the obvious (a liquid cooling system to lower internal temperatures during intense gaming sessions) to the subtle (large antennas so players can won’t impede signal wrapping their fingers around the phone). Others, like the Red Magic 3, have ‘shoulder’ touch buttons. If you’re playing locally, these handsets provide the best gaming experience.But 5G and cloud gaming could alter how we think of mobile gaming devices. 5G will have obvious benefits, like faster internet speeds and lower latency, which will likely help across the board. It could take awhile for these changes to affect consumers, with all the network and server infrastructure that still needs to be built. And 5G-compatible devices will probably be expensive for the next three years until the tech trickles down to more affordable handsets. Even the Black Shark 3 coming in 2020, which will pack Qualcomm’s next 5G-capable chipset, will almost surely be as pricey as the last.
Image credit: TechRadar
Instead of relying on your local hardware, cloud gaming shifts the processing to massive server farms; upcoming services like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud promise to deliver console/PC-level performance to any device that can stream media. We simply won’t need local hardware anymore – not to the extreme degree it’s at right now, anyway. Mobile devices would need failproof connectivity, of course, but the other major priority to reach parity with PC and console gaming lies in improving displays. Smartphones and tablets lag behind in screen clarity and quality; eventually, cloud gaming would reduce the choice between mobile, tablet and PC to which size screen you’d like to game on.There are other obstacles limiting mobile gaming, like inferior screen controls vs. gamepads – and even hardware limitations. There are tricks Black Shark is ready to build into its phones that they claim will bring mobile gaming closer to parity with PC and console, like interpolating game framerates of 30 frames per second to imitate 60fps – but it’s the hardware that restricts them. If Qualcomm opened up their chip tech to Black Shark, the company claims it could improve the mobile gaming experience.Which would help the chicken-and-egg situation that has kept mobile gaming stagnant for years: why build a better experience if there aren’t games that need it? And why would developers raise the production level of their games if they’re only playable on less-accessible higher-spec phones? Something needs to come along to break this quagmire.Perhaps it is 5G, or cloud gaming, or even next year’s Black Shark 3, which the representative told me is “just completely other stuff.” Sea changes are most likely coming…but slowly.
Image credit: TechRadar
 Trend 5: 5G is coming – and how will it change mobile gaming? 
Tucked between IndieCade, Sega/Atlus and Nintendo’s massive floorspace at E3 2019, Verizon had a simple presence: one screen on each side of a square booth, each showing off a different mobile game developed during a game jam the carrier held in December 2018. All were made to show off the potential of 5G. Like many games made during a jam, these had easily-grasped concepts: Knights on a Rocket, for instance, featured two knights battering each other while trying to steer themselves through an asteroid field. The point, one of the game’s developers Kevin Harper told TechRadar, was to showcase 5G technology. If you could stream in far more data – at the game jam, Harper and his team saw 1Gbps download from Verizon’s temporary 5G setup – then you could make a game that relied on assets downloaded very very quickly. You could see the result as asteroids came hurtling quickly but seamlessly at his game’s knights, without any visible network slowdown.
“Techwise [5G is] there, but the infrastructure needed is huge.”Kevin Harper, game developer
Another game in the Verizon booth featured a simple dagger shooting up the side of a pillar and veering from side to side dodging obstacles – simple enough gameplay, but the mesmerizing, shimmering lighting effects were console-level quality. Current mobile games can’t pull this off, even those adapted from console/desktop titles. Fortnite, for example, is “very much a mobile build,” Harper said. 5G could enable much more dynamic gameplay…eventually. “Techwise it’s there, but the infrastructure needed is huge,” Harper said. By his estimation, we won’t see that 5G-enabled next-generation of mobile gaming arrive in 2020. Next year will be about validating the technology first, then seeing if and where it can be useful to consumers. When it arrives, Harper sees a mobile gaming future much like Black Shark’s representative: devices will require much less hardware, essentially narrowing their development priorities down to handsets that process video streamed in over the air and send inputs back to servers. That’s a potentially scary proposition for OEMs that have justified ever-higher flagship phone prices by including higher and higher-specced hardware. “But there’s definitely an opportunity for someone to take advantage of,” Harper noted.Even with less complex devices that just stream video, one roadblock to 5G mobile gaming looms large: carrier data caps, which seem prohibitively limiting compared to the massive data speeds 5G is capable of. These, Harper noted, are ‘artificially imposed’ and hopefully ripe for change before a single night of gaming wipes out your data allocation for the month – but we’ll have to wait and see how carriers meet customer needs when the next-gen networks expand beyond the handful of coverage pockets that exist today.
 E3 2019 is the biggest gaming event of the year. TechRadar is reporting live from LA, telling you all about the biggest announcements of the week, from epic game trailers to shocking release date reveals. Follow our expert analysis of the keynotes and what we see on the E3 show floor. 

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GandCrab ransomware shuts down after netting authors billions

The operators behind the GandCrab ransomware have announced that they are closing up shop after almost a year and a half in which they claimed to have earned $2bn from ransom payments.GandCrab rose in popularity among cybercriminals after the operators began to market their services on underground criminal sites in January of 2018. Since then, its creators have become some of the most dominant actors in the ransomware space.News that GandCrab is shutting down came from security researchers Damian and David Montenegro who have closely followed the exploits of the ransomware on the underground hacking and malware forum Exploit.in. It was there that they discovered a post from the GandCrab operators in which they said they are shutting down their operation.
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In the post, the operators said that the ransomware has earned over $2bn with average weekly payments of $2.5m while they personally earned over 150m. The GandCrab operators went on to explain their future plans, saying:“We are leaving for a well-deserved retirement. We have proven that by doing evil deeds, retribution does not come. We proved in a year you can earn money for a lifetime. We have proved that it is possible to become number one not in our own words, but in recognition of other people.”
GandCrab
In the announcement, the operators also said that they have stopped promoting the ransomware while requesting that affiliates stop distributing it within 20 days. Additionally, their forum post is scheduled to be deleted at the end of the month.The operators even encouraged victims to pay for decryption now as their keys will be deleted at the end of the month. Hopefully though, they release the keys once they shut down as other large ransomware operations have done in the past.GandCrab’s operators have always operated a bit differently than their counterparts though, using taunts, jokes and references to organizations and researchers in their code. Another such example is the fact that the operators decided to use domain names for their Command & Control servers which were based on organizations and websites known for ransomware research.While it is good news that GandCrab is finally shutting down, cybercriminals are likely working right now to fill the gap it will leave in the ransomware space.
We’ve also highlighted the best antivirus
Via Bleeping Computer

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Fraudulent domains are remaining active for longer

Domain fraud is a growing risk for businesses and consumers as cybercriminals register millions of domains to impersonate brands and major global events each year.As registering a domain requires little more than an internet connection, domain fraud is fairly simple to execute and researchers have even discovered fraudulent domain services available for purchase on the dark web. These services make it simple for cybercriminals with no web design skills to quickly replicate a brand’s website on their domains, buy security certificates and even fake company documentation.In its 2019 Domain Fraud Report, Proofpoint sheds light on the latest trends shaping the domain landscape and the tactics used by cybercriminals to trick users into visiting their fraudulent domains.
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One of these tactics is hiding in plain sight as fraudulent domains often use many of the same top-level domains (TLDs), registrars and web servers used by legitimate domains. For example, 52 percent of all new domain registrations last year used the .com TLD while nearly 40 percent of new fraudulent domain registrations also used .com.
Threat to businesses
Proofpoint’s research also showed that domain fraud is a widespread threat to businesses. Proofpoint Digital Risk Protection customers from a wide variety of industries all faced threats from fraudulent domains with 76 percent finding “lookalike” domains posing as their brand, 96 percent found exact matches of their domains with a different TLD and 85 percent of retail brands found domains selling counterfeit goods.The company’s researchers also observed email activity for fraudulent domains to discover that 94 percent of it customers found that at least one of their fraudulent domain detections was sending email. However, for the most part Proofpoint observed low volumes of email from these accounts which points to highly targeted and socially engineered attacks such as business email compromise (BEC).Finally the company’s researchers observed how market factors such as pricing and availability appear to influence the behavior of domain fraudsters. Proofpoint highlighted how the launch of the .dev TLD in February was immediately followed by 30 percent of its customers finding potentially fraudulent domains using the new TLD with their brand name just two weeks after its launch.Domain fraud can be just as damaging as a cyberattack and businesses and individuals need to carefully check the sites they visit to ensure they’re not falling victim to any potential scams.
Also check out the best web hosting

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Best TV 2019: here are the big-screen TVs worth buying this year

Best TV 2019: These are the must-see, must-own TV sets of 2019.Shopping for a new TV can be tough, especially if it’s been a few years since you last bought a big screen. TVs can have complicated names, complicated feature sets and price tags that seem to shoot up without reason. It’s so easy to give up searching that most folks just plunk down money on whatever’s cheapest – even if that means getting the worst TV on the shelf.We don’t want that happen. In fact, we’re going to do everything in our power to help you find the best TV in your price range. That’s what this list is all about.
Editor’s note: While every TV on our list offers both a 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, we also have a list specifically tailored to those features in the form of our best 4K TV 2019 list. 
The TVs listed below are based on scores assigned by our sterling team of reviewers and compiled by TechRadar editors based on price and performance. At the top of our list you’ll find the brand-new Samsung Q90, available now, which is an early contender for TV of the year. Behind it is LG’s new 2019 C9 OLED and a stellar Vizio screen that can reach up to 3,000 nits of peak brightness.We’ve got models from Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL and Vizio below, so if you’ve got a particular brand affiliation – or an ecosystem you want to stay within – there’s something for you. After you’ve found a TV on page one, the second page will teach you more about what makes a TV tick and why those specs matter so much. 
“Should I buy a TV now or wait it out?”
This is a question we get a lot. Like most technology (cough, iPhones) TVs are getting incrementally better all the time – which means, yes, if you wait a year – or even a few months – there will probably be a bigger, flashier TV out there for less money. But while doing so will certainly net you a larger screen at a better price, some of the best panels are already being manufactured today. While tomorrow’s screens might be a bit larger, a bit brighter and a bit cheaper, today’s screens are just as competent in their own right. We can say that with confidence knowing that most manufacturers have finally embraced the three most important standards in TVs: Ultra HD, Wide Color Gamut and HDR (HDR10 and Dolby Vision). If a TV you’re looking at doesn’t support at least one of these, you should probably look somewhere else.Not sure where to start? Here are the best TVs we tested this year.
Image credit: Samsung
Last year, the Samsung Q9FN was the TV to beat. It won plaudits galore for its features and image quality, not to mention its excellent, improved smart platform that came with Bixby support and Samsung SmartThings.  However it wasn’t perfect and there were legitimate complaints about viewing angles and an over-aggressive local dimming system that crushed detail just above black. Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms to heart, and directly addressed them in the Q90. The new model has a visibly superior viewing angle that holds its own against an OLED TV, and the local dimming delivers deep blacks without losing shadow detail. To that end, the new Ultra Black Elite filter is nothing short of a revelation, rejecting ambient light in a way that just staggers belief.  The Q90 is able to deliver images that can directly compete with an OLED, with natural colors, bright highlights, deep blacks, and well defined shadows. It can also surpass any OLED when it comes to HDR, with images that are often breathtaking in their detail and dynamic range.In fact our only real criticism would be that, unlike some of the competition, the Q90 doesn’t support Dolby Vision. However in all other respects the Samsung Q90 is an absolutely stellar TV that takes QLED to another level.Read the full review: Samsung Q90R QLED TV

LG C9 OLED Series (2019)
The LG C9 is a truly exceptional 4K OLED TV that takes what was so impressive about last year’s C8 OLED and builds on it. The major difference is the inclusion of the 2nd generation Alpha9 processor, which uses AI enhancements to deliver stellar SDR and HDR images, and helps make the upscaling and processing second-to-none with incredible levels of detail and image fidelity.As is the case with all OLEDs the panel brightness pales when compared to an LCD TV, but brightness isn’t everything. The absolute blacks and pixel level of precision afforded by the self-emissive technology ensures that HDR looks stunning. There’s support for Dolby Vision as well, and only the absence of HDR10+ disappoints.There are other OLEDs worth considering this year (see: LG’s own E9 Series) but we think the OLED C9 offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any TV under the sun in the year 2019.Read the full review: LG C9 OLED (OLED55C9, OLED65C9, OLED77C9)

The Vizio P-Series Quantum X is a home run for Vizio. Sure, the SmartCast interface isn’t all the great, and the speakers are worth bypassing, but the TV is packed with awesome features and backed up by an excellent image quality. We’re looking forward to AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support, but even without those features the TV is still one of the best options in its price range. If you truly have deep pockets and want the best image quality out there, then it’s still worth going for LG’s OLED or Samsung’s QLED TVs – but in the absence of a six-figure salary, the $2,199 Vizio P-Series Quantum X PX-65G1 is clearly an excellent option for those that want quantum dot tech in a smart TV at Vizio-level prices. Read the full review: Vizio P-Series Quantum (PQ65-F1)

Samsung Q9FN QLED (2018)
After an underwhelming debut, Samsung’s QLED technology really needed to bounce back in style in 2018. It didn’t surprise us in the least, then, to discover Samsung threw the kitchen sink in with its new Q9FN QLED Series of TVs. As well as being even brighter and more colorful than last year’s equivalent model, Samsung’s 2018 flagship screens use a completely different lighting system to combat its predecessor’s contrast problems: Full Array Local Dimming rather than edge-lit LED lighting. The FALD panel works in tandem with Samsung QLED Quantum Dots to produce a picture that’s brighter and more colorful than near any we’ve seen come from the South Korean manufacturer. Do those features alone make Samsung Q9FN the best TV on the market? No, but throw in technology like HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax – what Samsung bills as its maximum High Dynamic Range experience that’s exclusive to the Q9FN – and there’s very little doubt in our mind that this was Samsung’s best TV ever until the Q90 came along. Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV (65Q9FN)

Samsung Q900R QLED TV
With most people – *cough* content providers – only just getting to grips with 4K resolution, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Samsung had gone nuts by introducing the world’s first true 8K TV. And yet, while it’s easy to be critical about the Samsung Q900R, it truly does usher in a new era of TV picture quality. Its native 8K pictures are incredible, looking just like the real world – only better. But even more crucially given the dearth of true 8K content for the foreseeable future, the 85Q900R makes all today’s lower resolution sources look better than they do anywhere else, too.  Whether 8K delivers the same impact on smaller screens remains to be seen, but if you have a big enough room and budget, the 85Q900R is a vision of the future that’s actually spectacularly worth buying today. 

Sony Bravia A9F OLED (2018)
Sony’s second-generation OLED flagship, the A9F, is coming at a good time – just as Samsung and LG have stepped up their games with the Samsung Q9FN QLEDand LG E8 OLED, Sony has fired back with a phenomenal OLED of its own.Even better than the A1E before it, the A9F is unquestionably Sony’s best OLED offering to date, and arguably a strong contender for high-end screen of the year. While we experienced some minor issues (notably Black level crushing on Dolby Vision, and that Netflix Calibrated mode), niggles are to be expected on a set as ambitious as this. If you can live with the slightly idiosyncratic design, and afford the asking price, it’s a glorious UHD display.  

LG E9 OLED Series (2019)
Overall, the LG E9 OLED offers a dazzling picture, with crisp detail and truly cinematic visuals. LG’s organic LED displays lack the brightness of competing models, but those after a proper movie night in won’t be disappointed.The E9 differs mostly from other LG OLEDs in its shape and its size options – both the more premium W9 and cheaper C9 offer a larger 77-inch model – but we’d be surprised if the E9’s all-glass panel design didn’t impress you. With a unique look, and the multi-channel audio to elevate it above other OLED sets in the range, the E9 is a fantastic addition to any living room if you can afford one.

Samsung Q70R QLED TV (2019)
Samsung’s flagship Q90R QLED TV blew us away recently with its wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, and superior HDR images – sadly, however, not everyone can afford the flagship model. So what can Samsung offer for those wanting to experience QLED picture quality on a budget? Despite sitting lower down in the QLED line-up, the Q70R includes the same comprehensive smart platform, extensive connections, and cutting-edge features found further up the range. This isn’t the flashiest-looking TV that Samsung has ever made, but if your funds are limited the Q70 is a cracking QLED all-rounder that’s worth checking out. Read the full review: Samsung Q70R QLED TV

Sony Bravia X900F Series (2018)
OK, so you don’t want (or can’t afford) Sony’s new A9F OLED or the fantastic-but-pricey Z9F. So what should you buy? Check out the X900F series. With superb 4K image clarity, powerful SDR-to-HDR remastering, and a smooth direct LED backlight, Sony is offering something very different with the X900F. We loved the consistency of its images, the eye-popping vibrancy of its wide color gamut panel and its easy-to-watch HDR – you get spectral highlights without accompanying eye fatigue. Given this set’s high-but-fair price point, any niggles we have are negligible. The X900F is highly recommended and deserved our Recommended award. Read the full review: Sony Bravia X900F (XBR-65X900F) review

TCL 6-Series (R615, R617) (2018)
If you had deep pockets and checkbook filled with blank checks, we’d tell you to reach deep and shell out for only the best TVs on the market – LG’s crazy-thin OLED W8 or Samsung’s ultra-bright Q9FN QLED (both featured on this list). But that’s not realistic. For the vast, vast majority of us, our budget to spend on a TV is limited to somewhere under $1,000 – and often less than that. To that end, it’s absolutely fair to say that the TCL 6-Series is the best TV you can possibly get in this price range. Its performance per dollar is unmatched and its picture quality – despite a few minor flaws – will truly impress you.Read the full review: TCL 6-Series (R615, R617)
Continue on to page two to read about what to look for when buying a TV! 
Want better audio? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available.Once you’ve decided on a panel, make sure you read our guide on how to set up your TV to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Are you looking for the best universal remote for your new home theater setup? Need something to watch on your new TV? check out our list of best TV streaming services.
What TV technology is best? Which is the best LCD TV? Which screen size is best for your living room? What’s the difference between LCD and LED TVs?The answers aren’t always obvious. In fact, buying a new TV can be stressful even for the tech-savvy – there are so many brands, so many features, so many screen sizes, colors, technologies and flavors to choose from.So which one is right for you, your family and your living space? In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a new TV.
What types of TV are there out there?
There are a lot of different screen types out there, all working in different ways to produce the same results. Each technology has its own unique strengths and weaknesses so here are some basics to consider:LCD TV: CCFL
A few years back, all LCD TVs were backlit by always-on, CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent) lamps. This ageing technology has been superseded by the superior LED method on more expensive sets, but is still standard on some cheaper models.LED TV: Direct LED
These displays are backlit by an array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) directly behind the screen. This enables localised dimming – meaning immediately adjacent areas of brightness and darkness can be displayed more effectively – and greatly improves contrast. LED TVs are also more power efficient and capable of a wider colour gamut than CCFL sets. Because of the extreme cost of mounting these arrays of LEDs, cheaper TVs usually use Edge-Lit LED screens over Direct or Full-Array LED screens.LED TV: Edge LED
With these TVs, LEDs of the backlight are mounted along the edges of the panel. This arrangement enables radically slender displays and offers superior contrast levels to CCFL, but can’t achieve the same picture quality as directly lit LED sets. However, they do come in far cheaper which is why most LED TVs out there now use this technology.OLED TV
The backlighting on OLED (organic light emitting diode) sets is achieved by passing an electric current through an emissive, electroluminescent film. This technique produces far better colours and higher contrast and also enables screens to be extremely thin and flexible. This is the holy grail display technology and LG, Sony, Philips and Panasonic have all adopted it in their flagship sets.

Quantum Dot
Quantum Dot is Samsung’s big play in the LED TV space. With it, the brand claims that it’s able to produce more colorful pictures than LG and Sony while offering even brighter panels. LG’s Super UHD TVs all use a variation of Quantum Dot called Nano Cell, and Hisense makes a number of Quantum Dot TVs for the US and China.Plasma TV
Plasma has almost entirely been phased out at this point, but PDP (plasma display panel) TVs use glass panels containing millions of tiny cells filled with a mixture of inert gases. Electricity excites the gases, causing them to illuminate the pixels across the screen. Plasma, while arguably superior to LCD in terms of contrast and colour accuracy, is only viable on large (42in+) screens and has been dropped by all but a handful of manufacturers. You’ll be lucky to find one on the shelves these days.Curved TV
Some manufacturers are now making TVs that have slightly curved screens. But unlike old CRT TVs, the curve is inwards rather than outwards. The idea is that this makes every pixel equidistant from your eyes, delivering a more satisfying picture. However, there are drawbacks for this type of screen – the main one being that if you sit far enough to one side – more than 40 degrees or so – the curve clearly starts to affect the image’s geometry, foreshortening content near to you and compressing the image’s centre.
What resolution tech should I go for?
HD
HD TVs come in two resolutions. Sets with the HD ready are required to be able to display a minimum 720p picture, and generally has a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Meanwhile, Full HD TVs have a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It’s highly advisable that you don’t go for anything less than full HD in this day and age, and really you should be looking almost exclusively at 4K sets.Ultra HD and 4K
The resolution of Ultra HD is exactly four times higher than full HD – 3840 x 2160. It means a far more detailed picture, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4K TVs tend to be good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD but there are currently a few options for watching native 4K content, but terrestrial broadcasters in the US have yet to adopt it as the new standard. Read more about 4K.HDR
The next big thing in TVs, HDR produces astounding levels of visual fidelity and can be found in some of the latest Ultra HD TVs. HDR is a technology and a standard. Content needs to be mastered in HDR and you need an HDR TV to see it. What HDR offers however, is worth the extra steps to get it – you’ll see increased contrast and more realistic colors, enhancing the image to a more cinematic level.
What’s the best smart TV platform around today?
What else should I consider?
Buying a flatscreen television is a major investment and one that you can’t afford to take lightly. Just popping into the closest store and grabbing the first plasma or LCD you see won’t get you the best deal, the screen that suits your needs, or the gear you require to make the most of your new purchase.Size mattersPeople tend to pick the size of their flat TV based on the amount of space they have for it, this isn’t necessarily wise. Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so your new TV may end up a foot or two further away from your viewing position, making the picture appear smaller.Also, with hi-def, you can have a bigger screen and the same viewing distance without worrying about seeing blemishes inherent to the source. A 4K TV’s lack of noise means that the ideal distance to sit from the screen is three to four times the height of the TV.

How to calculate the right size HD TV:
The trick here is to ensure that your TV is big enough to fill your line of vision, but small enough to be sharp and clear. Remember, if you intend to only watch standard-definition sources, the bigger the screen gets, the worse the image will look.The ideal screen size can be calculated by multiplying the distance that you intend to sit away from it by 0.535 and then rounding this up to the nearest size.So, if you sit 80in away from your TV, the ideal size is 42-inch (80 x 0.535= 42.8).
What features should I look out for?
Features are too numerous to go into here, but here are some things you should consider.Photo viewing: If you have a digital camera, a TV that has a slot for memory cards or a USB socket for a card reader will let you view your photos onscreen.Here are some of the things we look for when we review a screen, so you should, too…Contrast: Bright whites shouldn’t have any signs of green, pink or blue in them, while blacks should look solid and not washed out, grey, green or blue.Colours: Look at how bright and solid they are; how noiseless their edges are; how ‘dotty’ richly saturated areas are and how natural skin looks, especially in dim scenes.Fine detail: How much texture does the screen give? Does a tree look like a green lump, or can you see the individual leavesEdges: Check for ghosting, bright halos and jaggedness, especially around curves.Motion: Check moving objects and quick camera pans for smearing or blurring, trailing, jerkiness and fizzing dotty noise.Image artefacts: Look for blockiness, colour bands, grain, smearing, dot crawl: anything that looks like it’s added by the TV picture processing or a weak TV tuner. Tinker with a TV’s picture settings before making a final decision. Factory settings are rarely good for everyday viewing.

What about sound?
To provide the best audio to complement the pictures, your TV should be hooked up to a surround sound system, but this isn’t always an option. So, here’s what we listen for when testing a TV’s speakers:Bass: Deep, rounded rumbles that don’t cause the set to rattle or speakers to distort, cramp or overwhelm the rest of the sound; but that expand when needed.Vocals: Voices should sound open, rich and clear, not boxed in, nasal or thin.Trebles: Treble effects should sound clean, rounded and smooth in loud scenes and shouldn’t dominate the soundstage.Soundstage width/depth: A good TV should throw the sound away from the TV, to the sides, forward and back, to give an extra dimension to what’s on screen, without losing any coherence.
How many HDMI sockets do I need?
For a living room TV you should be looking for a minimum of 3 HDMI inputs. If you want to attach a set-top box as well as games consoles etc, those HDMI ports will fill up fast.
Do I want to hang my TV on the wall?
First off, you’ll need to consult a construction expert to check that the wall in question is strong enough to support a flatscreen. Then find out if the set you want is designed to be wall-mounted and, if so, ask if the relevant bracket is included in the basic package or as an optional extra.
Will I be connecting it to a home cinema?
If the answer is no, you might want to think more carefully about your set’s audio performance. Look for a screen that can go as loud as you’ll need without distortion or cabinet rattle. Consider how dialogue sounds and how much low-end rumble the bass is capable of.Conversely, it’s pointless paying out more cash for exceptional built-in speakers if you already have a decent home cinema system.Happy shopping!

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Heads up, Mac gamers: big-time PC game port studio to drop support for 32-bit

With Apple macOS Catalina’s discontinuation of all support for 32-bit coded apps, one game publisher is pulling a lot of titles from its Mac game store, reports Apple Insider.The publisher in question is Aspyr – a studio that redistributes, or ‘ports’, popular games on PC and consoles for macOS – which has posted a list of 24 games that it has removed from sale. The list includes some classic Call of Duty titles, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Civilization IV, several older Star Wars games and more.The recent history of gaming on Mac has not been a pretty story. Mac computers aren’t given as much love from game developers, and it shows in the lack of modern, popular titles among the best Mac games. Some hits managed to land on Mac, but now their days of wide availability are numbered.
See macOS 10.14’s problems and how to fix themThese are some handy macOS 10.14 tips and tricksHere are the best and worst parts of macOS 10.14
Currently, macOS 10.14 Mojave still supports these 32-bit games. While Aspyr is pulling the games from the store, owners will still be able to play them as long as they don’t upgrade to Catalina when it launches later this year. They’ll also be able to play them on a different machine running Steam using the SteamPlay feature, which Aspyr notes all of its Mac ports support.
And that’s just one game store
Just 24 titles from one game store might not seem like much, but Aspyr is just being proactive about it. The company knows that any 32-bit games it sells to gamers now won’t be playable if they upgrade to macOS Catalina later. Aspyr has some 32-bit games that will receive 64-bit support by September, and it will continue to sell those, but there are other game sellers and programs that won’t be making the cut.Steam has plenty of other games available for macOS, and Aspyr is certainly not the exclusive seller of 32-bit titles. And, it’s not just games at stake. Anyone running some legacy software, perhaps old versions of the Adobe programs, will lose support for them if they upgrade their operating system to Catalina.Apple has been giving warnings to users for some time about 32-bit apps, letting users know that they wouldn’t be supported forever, and now we see just when that support is ending. It makes sense to see Apple shifting the focus to more modern 64-bit programs, but leaving behind legacy software entirely is sure to displease some users.This is also an interesting difference between macOS 10.15 and Windows 10, as the latter continues to support 32-bit programs, and the OS even has a 32-bit version available.
These are the best Macs on which to play these games

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These Huawei P30 Pro deals are now incredibly cheap (we wonder why)

It’s safe to say that Huawei phone deals aren’t the shimmering beacon of the world’s best phones they were just a month ago. Making headlines after Google had to cut ties with the company, there is no doubt Huawei is slightly stigmatised right now. But in an odd turn of events, that now makes the best camera phone on the market a suddenly affordable option. A host of deals from Mobiles.co.uk mean you can now get a Huawei P30 Pro at a discount of up to £120. While there is a risk of Huawei losing its access to Android updates and other important features of the phone, there are also other possible outcomes. With a number of American companies rallying against the ban and a proposed trade deal that could drop it all together, Huawei could go back to normal before we even know it.Or, if the ban stays in place, Huawei has proposed its own operating system that it plans to launch instead of Android. Either way, you’ll have the world’s second best smartphone at a majorly reduced price.We’ve listed all of the best Huawei P30 Pro deals from this Mobiles.co.uk price drop below. With prices as low as this, depending on how you see it, there has never been a better (or, possibly, worse) time to get this device.
The ban still a worry to you? Check out our guide to the best mobile phone deals
These cheap Huawei P30 Pro deals in full:
How good is the Huawei P30 Pro?
Before the ban took place, the Huawei P30 Pro was receiving praise as one of the most innovative devices out there, with a lot of that praise aimed at its camera. Sporting an incredible 50x zoom camera, smart AI camera features and an overall impeccable quality, nothing can quite match it.Backing up the camera is a high quality inifinity display screen, tonnes of power and a massive battery. In other words the Huawei P30 Pro is here battling for the spot of the world’s best phone – just with more than a few reservations.Read TechRadar’s Huawei P30 Pro review here

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Australia vs Jamaica live stream: how to watch today’s Women’s World Cup 2019 match from anywhere

After a stunning comeback win over Brazil, Australia can today book their place in the next round of the Women’s World Cup 2019 with a win over Jamaica today. While the Reggae Girlz are trying to pick up their very first points of the campaign. You can watch the crucial group game with our Australia vs Jamaica live stream guide.
Australia showed plenty of fight to come back from being two goals down to beat Brazil 3-2. Having lost their opening match against Italy, Friday’s result saved the Matildas from likely elimination from the World Cup and another win today will see them through to the next round.Group C is delicately poised ahead of the final round of matches, with Italy sitting top with six points, Brazil and Australia both on three and Jamaica cut adrift following two defeats. Only a big win today will do for the Reggae Girlz, but having conceded eight goals and not having scored themselves, things don’t bode well for their clash against Sam Kerr & Co. Don’t miss any of the action by following the instructions below and grabbing a live stream of Australia vs Jamaica wherever you are in the world.
See how to live stream every single Women’s World Cup game

Watch a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 live stream from outside your country
If you’re in UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we’ve got your viewing options listed below. If you’re out of the country for today’s match, you may find that geo-blocking will prevent you from watching your regular domestic coverage from abroad. You don’t have to risk watching the match on a dodgy stream, however.With the option of using a VPN service, you can tune into the match no matter where you are in the world, and its super easy to set up.

How to watch the Matildas: live stream in Australia

How to stream Australia vs Jamaica live in the UK 

Live stream Jamaica vs Australia in the US
FuboTV $44.99 for the first monthHulu with Live TV $44.99 per monthPlaystation Vue starting at $44.99 per monthDirecTV Now $50 per monthSling TV starting at $15 per monthYouTube TV $49.99 per month
– Discover our pick of all the US’s best sports streaming sites
As well as opening up your viewing options for the Women’s World Cup, using a VPN allows you to watch all your domestic sports coverage from abroad.

How to watch a Canada live stream in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 

How to watch a live stream in New Zealand

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Facebook WordPress plug-ins found to have zero-day flaw

Zero-day flaws which impact two of Facebook’s official WordPress plugins have been disclosed by a US-based cybersecurity firm including proof-of-concept (PoC) code that could be used by hackers to exploit the flaws and launch attacks against WordPress sites.The affected plugins include Messenger Customer Chat which shows a custom Messenger chat window on WordPress sites and Facebook for WooCommerce that allows WordPress site owners to upload their WooCommerce-based stores on their Facebook pages.The Messenger Customer Chat plugin is installed on over 20,000 sites while the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin has 200,000 users after the WordPress team began shipping the plugin as part of the official WooCommerce online store plugin back in April.
Critical flaw in WordPress live chat discoveredWordPress revamped with new security featuresSecurity researcher exposes zero-day WordPress vulnerabilities
Since that time, the plugin has received a rating of 1.5 stars with reviewers complaining about errors and a lack of updates.
Plugin Vulnerabilities vs WordPress
The flaws in these two plugins became much more dangerous when the cybersecurity firm Plugin Vulnerabilities decided to publicly expose them on the WordPress.org forums. The firm and WordPress have been feuding for years after a policy change banned users from disclosing security flaws through its forums and instead required security researchers to email the WordPress team who would then contact the owners of any affected plugins.However, Plugin Vulnerabilities has continued to disclose security flaws on the WordPress forums despite the new rule which resulted in it having its forum accounts banned. The firm took things a step further this spring when it also began to publish blog posts on its site with in-depth details and PoC code about the vulnerabilities it had discovered.The two zero-day flaws Plugin Vulnerabilities discovered in Facebook’s WordPress plugins aren’t as dangerous as those it has revealed in the past as they require social engineering to get a user to click on a malicious link. Although the flaws are harder to exploit, they could allow attackers to take over WordPress sites.Security researchers are generally doing a company a favor when they discover vulnerabilities but by not going through the proper channels to report the vulnerabilities it discovered, the US cybersecurity firm put everyone who has those plugins installed at risk.
We’ve also highlighted the best website builder
Via ZDNet

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Expensive spectrum puts European 5G at risk

The UK’s infamous auction of 3G spectrum in 2000 had lasting ramifications for the mobile industry. Intense competition between BT Cellnet, One2One, Orange, Three, and Vodafone resulted in an astonishing £22 billion spent on licences for airwaves that would power new mobile services.But as difficult as it is to believe in 2019, the mobile phone was not entrenched in everyday life as it is today. An absence of “killer” applications exacerbated limited consumer demand and the huge amounts of money spent on the licences meant operators were constrained in their ability to invest in infrastructure.By the time smartphones arrived in their modern guise with the iPhone in 2007, it became apparent that 3G networks lacked the capacity and speeds required for emerging use cases.
What is 5G? Everything you need to know5G: How will businesses benefit?Huawei agrees 40 5G contracts
Learning lessons
It was a lesson that regulator Ofcom recognised when it (finally) auctioned 4G airwaves back in 2013. Some observers lamented the sale only generated £2.31 billion rather than the £4 billion windfall anticipated by the treasury, but the regulator was keen to stress that its role is to maximise the efficiency of the spectrum and its value to society.This role was reprised at the first 5G auction when £1.4 billion was raised at the first 5G spectrum auction in early 2018. Ofcom will be pleased that all four mobile operators will launch next generation services this year rather than next.Although Ofcom will sell more bandwidth in the years to come, the amount raised pales in comparison to the recent German 5G auction, raising fears that the cost of spectrum in some countries could hinder network rollout.
German 5G auction
The marathon process finally concluded last week after 497 rounds of bidding for 41 blocks of 2GHz and 2.GHz spectrum, raising €6.5 billion – beating estimates of between €3 billion and €5 billion. Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2 all won licences, as did Mobile Virtual Network Operator 1&1 Drillisch.However, all were critical of the process, claiming the high cost of the spectrum would hinder their ability to invest. Although far less than the gargantuan €50 billion raised in the 3G sale, the proceeds from the sale exceeded the €5.1 billion raised for 4G licences in 2015.“The network rollout in Germany has suffered a significant setback,” declared Dirk Wössner, a member of Deutsche Telekom’s management board. “The price could have been much lower. Once again, the spectrum in Germany is much more expensive than in other countries. Network operators now lack the money to expand their networks. With the auction proceeds one could have built approximately 50,000 new mobile sites and close many white spots.”“We believe it is important to have a balance between the price paid for spectrum and our strong desire to create an inclusive society through investment in mobile network coverage,” added Nick Read, Vodafone Group CEO.
(Image credit: EE)
Rising costs
At least in Germany, operators will indirectly benefit from the proceeds as the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) will use the money to upgrade Germany’s fixed line network – boosting backhaul services.But the fear within the industry is that regulators and governments will see spectrum auctions as a way to line their pockets and will overlook the wider economic benefit of 5G that could be forefeited if spectrum costs are too high. Late last year, the Italian 5G auction raised €6.5 billion, for example.“Every Euro spent acquiring spectrum is one less that is available to deploy the networks,” Kester Mann, an analyst with CCS Insight told TechRadar Pro. “While squeezing every last cent is good news for government coffers, it puts operators on the back-foot as they begin the roll-out of expensive infrastructure vital to supporting Germany’s huge manufacturing sector.“The terms of the auction have already been contentious and the high amounts pledged so far will only serve to further strain the fragile relationship between the network operators and the government.“Europe is already on the back-foot in 5G network roll-out compared to other regions and expensive spectrum auctions will do nothing to narrow the gap. Europe’s fragmented market structure and belligerent regulation compared to the US and developed Asian markets mean that it will be playing catch-up once again.”It’s not all doom and gloom. Although the US and South Korea have beaten Europe to the punch when it comes to 5G, Switzerland and the UK already have next generation network services in place. And the continent continues to have the best 4G networks in the world.With the truly revolutionary features of 5G, such as ultra-low latency, and new entertainment and business applications not expected until the mid-2020s, Europe can still play a vital role in 5G. But Europe is a fragmented marketplace with so many operators in each country.Regulators needed to decide whether the direct or indirect economic advantages of 5G are more important.
The best SIM deals for business in 2019 

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