MWC 2017: 5G - who wants it, who’ll pay?

Media captionWatch: Why 5G could be ready to deploy by 2020

The hot topic at Mobile World Congress this year is not a new phone - apart from the Nokia 3310, they all look the same.

Nor is it a new technology like virtual reality - compared with last year, there seem to be fewer VR headsets around.

No, the biggest thing in Barcelona is something invisible that doesn't yet exist, 5G.

The hype about the potential of the next generation of mobile networks has reached new heights, with every major company exhibiting here eager to explain how it will be at the cutting edge of the coming 5G revolution.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mobile World Congress offers industry insiders a chance to see new technology and strike deals

Governments too have decided it is now technologically correct (can I coin the term TC?) to rave about the importance to the economy of being 5G-ready.

Read full article MWC 2017: 5G - who wants it, who’ll pay?

Tech Tent: Making tech work for everyone

Rory Cellan-Jones

This week we devote the whole of Tech Tent to a special programme on assistive technology - that's tech to help disabled people take advantage of all the advances we've seen in recent years.

We look at a new gadget which helps blind and visually impaired people read text and recognise faces, we talk to a tech giant about its progress in making software more accessible, and we ask what role AI could play in opening up technology for everyone.

Image caption The BBC's Johny Cassidy began to lose his eyesight when he was in his teens

Orcam - a new way of seeing?

Read full article Tech Tent: Making tech work for everyone

Google’s plan to make talk less toxic

An angry man shouting Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Online comments can be aggressive

"Never read below the line" - that has become sensible advice for anyone tempted to look at online comments.

The depressingly toxic nature of internet conversations is of increasing concern to many publishers. But now Google thinks it may have an answer - using computers to moderate comments.

Read full article Google’s plan to make talk less toxic

Driverless cars - no halfway house?

Ford car Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ford is developing autonomous vehicles

The progress in driverless car technology over recent years has been astounding. A future when you can hop in and have a sleep while an autonomous vehicle takes you to your destination appears to be closer than anyone thought just five years ago.

Getting there, however, will involve quite a few stages, with cars getting more and more autonomous but human drivers still having some role. Or will it?

Read full article Driverless cars - no halfway house?

Tech Tent: Indian rockets, password confusion and the parenting app

Rory Cellan-Jones

On my technology podcast this week, we find out what a record-breaking satellite launch says about India's technology ambitions.

We also discuss whether there's a better, simpler way to use passwords online, and we talk to the entrepreneur using dating app techniques to connect mums.

Read full article Tech Tent: Indian rockets, password confusion and the parenting app

Should you take your phone to the United States?

A smartphone in a case showing the US flag Image copyright Getty Images

"The next time you plan to cross a border, leave your phone at home."

That is the rather startling advice in a blogpost that is being widely shared right now.

Read full article Should you take your phone to the United States?

Whitehall’s identity crisis: HMRC and Verify

gov.uk Verify Image copyright gov.uk

Verify is the flagship of the Government Digital Service (GDS). It's an online identity system designed to let citizens securely access all sorts of public services with ease. But now it has competition from another branch of government, HMRC.

This week, HMRC revealed that it was working on its own "identity solution" for individuals and businesses, while mentioning in an offhand way that "other departments will use gov.uk Verify for all individual citizen services".

Read full article Whitehall’s identity crisis: HMRC and Verify

Tech Tent: Robots, radio and Indian phones


This week we roam far and wide in our search for the top trends in tech, from the history of robots, to a huge battle for dominance in the Indian mobile phone market, and an innovative way of interacting with your radio.

Image copyright Carl Court
Image caption The exhibition shows off both old and new robots

Robots and jobs

This week a major exhibition on the history of robots opened at London's Science Museum. It tracks our relationship with humanoid devices from the 16th century right up to the present day, where robots embedded with artificial intelligence are encroaching on all sorts of jobs.

Read full article Tech Tent: Robots, radio and Indian phones

Streetlife users in Nextdoor privacy row

Nextdoor app Image copyright Nextdoor

It was meant to be a neighbourly get-together - but the takeover of the UK's Streetlife website by America's Nextdoor has left many British users deeply unhappy with the new arrangements.

It has also revealed a transatlantic cultural chasm in attitudes to privacy.

Read full article Streetlife users in Nextdoor privacy row

Shopping robots on the march in Ocado

Media captionThe Ocado warehouse run by robots

There is growing concern about the impact of automation on employment - or in crude terms - the threat that robots will eat our jobs.

But if you want to see how important robotics and artificial intelligence can be to a business Ocado is a good place to start.

Read full article Shopping robots on the march in Ocado