Week in Tech: YouTube Red, Hudl dead and, er, Right Said Fred

HTC's Apple-alike and Siri's menace on wheels

WiT

Fed up with adverts when all you want to do is watch Right Said Fred videos? Then this is the week for you: YouTube has unveiled YouTube Red, an ad-free service with lots of goodies for a relatively low monthly sub. And that's not all. This week we saw a new HTC flagship, spotted a really big Samsung tablet, discovered the death of the Hudl, and were the only people in the world to realise that this week included Back to the Future day. It's a faintly sarcastic time-travelling week in tech!

YouTube goes ad-free – for a price

What costs money and sounds a bit like a naughty website? Yep, YouTube Red, the new, ad-free version of YouTube that costs $9.99 per month. Cameron Faulkner has the deets: "paying for access to the world's largest collection of user-submitted videos also grants you access to one of the world's largest music collections: Google Play Music. This makes YouTube Red one of the better deals around if you're a fan of both music and video. (In case you're curious, current Google Play Music subscribers will automatically have access to YouTube Red.)" The US launch is next week; global launch dates and prices haven't been announced just yet.

HTC's A9 is no iPhoney

What looks like an iPhone but isn't? No, not pretty much every smartphone out there: we're talking about the brand new HTC One A9, which really really really really looks like an iPhone. It's one of the first handsets to launch with Android 6, aka Android Marshmallow, and its design distracts from what's a really impressive device. As phone supremo Gareth Beavis says, "To compare this too much to an iPhone would be unfair to the genuinely impressive power under the hood – but it's curious that HTC has decided on this design path." Want one? Here's how to get your own HTC One A9.

Samsung's big ideas

Have you ever looked at your tablet and thought "hmm, wouldn't it be great if it was much, much bigger and heavier and more expensive"? Then have we got Views for you: the Samsung Galaxy View has a massive 18.4-inch display, although with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 that means everything's going to look like it's been made in Minecraft. Details are still sketchy, but as the leaked images are promo pics an official launch can't be far off.

Samsung's also working on the successor to the Galaxy S6, the cunningly named Galaxy S7. Rumours are already flying, and one of the most interesting ones suggests that the S7 could be specced for some of the best audio around thanks to a high quality, 32-bit mobile DAC. Sounds good to us.

Why the Swiss are cheesed off about Apple

Is the Apple watch harming sales of pricey Swiss watches? It certainly appears to be: as Hugh Langley reports: "The numbers are in and it's not great news for the Swiss watch industry. The Q3 figures, published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, reveal an 9.9% drop in watch exports for September, leading to an 8.5% slide for the quarter overall… watches residing in the low to mid segment, the domain where the Apple Watch Sport currently competes, were hit the hardest."

Hudl owners need a cudl

Bad news for Hudl fans: despite making one of the best budget tablets around, Tesco has decided to end the line: when it sells its current stock of Hudl 2 tablets, it won't be making any more. As James Rogerson put it: the Hudl 3 is not to be. Don't worry, though: there are plenty of other slate bargains to be had, and we've put together a list of the very best budget tablets.

Pro 4, ma!

Has Microsoft perfected the lablet/tabtop/whatever we're supposed to call tablety laptopy things? Joe Osborne says it might just have. He's been running his fingers across the Surface Pro 4, and he likes the way it feels: "Almost every change about the Surface Pro 4 seems to subtly improve upon the existing blueprint. It's iterative design executed flawlessly," he says. Our review unit was a pre-production model with a few rough edges, but the Pro 4 is "Microsoft's most refined piece of hardware yet."

You're old, you're old, you're old

Did you see Back to the Future 2 when it came out in the cinema? Then you're ancient: this week is the week Marty McFly travelled to in the film's vision of a high-tech future. Some of the tech has become real – Nike has made the film's self-lacing trainers – but in many ways today's tech is even more exciting than the movie's best ideas. And BttF wasn't the only film to make predictions about life in 2015: apparently we were supposed to have human pets by now.

Siri isn't safe behind the wheel

Do you talk to Siri in the car? Then you could be a dangerous driver: researchers tested Siri, Cortana and Google Now in cars and discover that at 25mph, drivers were distracted for 27 seconds after talking to their intelligent digital assistants. According to study author David Strayer: "Just because these systems are in the car doesn't mean it's a good idea to use them while you are driving. They are very distracting, very error prone and very frustrating to use. Far too many people are dying because of distraction on the roadway, and putting another source of distraction at the fingertips of drivers is not a good idea. It's better not to use them when you are driving." Be careful out there.

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