US scientists develop smart paper

RFID-enabled banknotesRFID-enabled banknotes could help fight against counterfeits

US scientists have developed a way to embed radio frequency identification chips on to paper that they say is quicker, cheaper and offers wider applications than current methods.

The technique could be used to prevent fraud as well as provide a new meaning to the term ‘paper trail’.

The process uses lasers to transfer and assemble the chips on paper.

Such smart paper could be used for banknotes, legal documents, tickets and smart labels, the team said.

The findings are due to be presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conference on RFID in Orlando, Florida.

Cheaper and faster

Some RFID-enabled paper is already on the market but the chips are much thicker, resulting in either bulky paper or a bump on the surface that would mean such paper could not be printed.

The process developed by the team at North Dakota State University is known as Laser Enabled Advanced Packaging (Leap).

Firstly the chips are thinned down using a plasma etcher.

The patent-pending technology uses a laser beam’s energy to precisely transfer the ultra-thin chips. Antennas are also embedded using the same method.

Head of the project Prof Val Marinov said that the process is twice as fast as current methods of manufacturing and is cheaper because there is less material used and the equipment is less expensive.

He sees huge potential for the technology.

“About ten years ago the Bank of Japan and the European bank signalled their intention to develop such technology but they aren’t there yet,” he told the BBC

“I believe our scheme is the first to demonstrate a functional RFID tag embedded in paper.”

As well as being used on banknotes and other documents to prove authenticity, the process could also be used in other areas, such as reading train or concert tickets.

It could also be used to improve the tracking of paper documents.

The team is currently looking for commercial partners.

“The technology needs to leave the lab and find a place in industry,” said Prof Marinov.

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Spyware ‘hiding’ under Firefox brand

Firefox logoMozilla accuses Gamma International of using Firefox as a cover for its surveillance software

The Mozilla Foundation has accused UK software group Gamma International of falsely associating one of its products with the Firefox name.

Finfisher is a legitimate surveillance software thought to be used by governments to covertly obtain data.

It is installed unknowingly by its target computer user, often by disguising itself as an update to a well known programme such as Firefox.

Gamma International has not responded to emailed requests for comment.

University of Toronto research group The Citizen Lab claims it has found possible evidence of Finfisher in the servers of 36 different countries, reports the Associated Press.

In 2011 the BBC found documents in the state security building in Egypt, looted during the uprising, which suggested that the Hampshire-based firm had offered to supply Finfisher to the Egyptian government to monitor activists.

Gamma International denied supplying it but the files seen by the BBC described a five month trial which included successful access to email accounts and the recording of encrypted Skype calls.

The Mozilla Foundation has now sent a cease and desist letter, warning Gamma International not to use the name of Firefox, its open source browser, as camouflage for the programme.

“Our brand and trademarks are used by the spyware as a method to avoid detection and deletion,” said Mozilla chief privacy officer Alex Fowler in a statement.

“As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this abuse is vital to our brand, mission and continued success.”

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Facebook U-turn over beheading clips

Facebook graphicCharities warn that watching the video clips could cause long-lasting psychological damage

Facebook has said it will delete videos of people being decapitated which had been spread on its site.

“We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content,” it said.

The news came less than two hours after the BBC revealed a member of Facebook’s own safety advisory board had criticised its stance.

The social network had previously refused to ban the clips.

It had said people had a right to depict the “world in which we live”.

But the US’s Family Online Safety Institute (Fosi) said the violent nature of the material had “crossed a line”.

“Personally and professionally I feel that Facebook has got this call wrong,” said Stephen Balkam, the organisation’s chief executive, ahead of the U-turn.

Charities in the UK had also called on the social network to reconsider its stance saying the material could cause long-term psychological damage.

Graphic violence

The warnings came after a one-minute long video was uploaded to the site last week showing a woman being beheaded by a masked man.

A voice heard on the footage suggests that it was filmed in Mexico.

A second video clip showing the execution of two men has also been shared on the network after being posted last Wednesday. The victims say they are drug smugglers for a Mexican cartel before being attacked with a chainsaw and knife.

Ryan L, a student at Belfast University, contacted the BBC after one of the clips spread around his friends’ news feeds.

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This is just wrong at every level”

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John Carr
UK Council for Child Internet Safety

He said he had flagged the material with Facebook as being inappropriate, but was sent the following reply.

“Thanks for your report. We reviewed the video you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on graphic violence, which includes depicting harm to someone or something, threats to the public’s safety, or theft and vandalism.”

Facebook initially confirmed it had opted to leave such material online.

In reference to the video showing the woman’s murder, it issued the following statement:

“People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. Just as TV news programmes often show upsetting images of atrocities, people can share upsetting videos on Facebook to raise awareness of actions or causes.

“While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people’s rights to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live.”

Safety advisers

For the past three years Facebook has consulted Fosi and four other organisations in North America and Europe to discuss its online safety policies.

Stephen BalkamMr Balkam said that Facebook had “got this call wrong”

Although the group was not scheduled to meet until September, Fosi’s head said he planned to raise the issue during an “extraordinary” phone conference.

“Where it gets grey is: what is in the public interest? Is it in the public interest to know what is going on with the drug lords in Mexico?” asked Mr Balkam.

“But given that not only are teenagers accessing this, but consumer reports estimate that seven and a half million under-13s in the US are on Facebook, you’ve just got to consider: would this go out on daytime television news?

“I don’t think it would, even with a warning saying this is something you may want to avoid. It crosses a line.”

He added that one of the videos had been shared among his daughter’s schoolmates via Facebook earlier this week.

Psychological damage

UK child safety campaigners had also condemned Facebook’s policy.

“Facebook must have taken leave of their senses,” said John Carr, who sits on the executive board of the UK government’s Council on Child Internet Safety.

“I hate to think how an unsuspecting youngster might react if they saw it through their news feed or in any other way.”

Decapitation videos can be accessed through sites found via search engines and other popular video clip sites.

However, Dr Arthur Cassidy – a former psychologist who runs a branch of the suicide prevention charity Yellow Ribbon – said Facebook’s social nature made it particularly problematic.

He added that he had seen the videos in question and warned they could cause long-lasting psychological damage.

“We know from evidence that [watching] such material can influence self-esteem in a very negative way,” he said.

“It can also cause flashbacks, nightmares and sleep disturbance. If that is prolonged it can transfer into many other negative effects in a child and adults as well such as anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks.

Mark ZuckerbergFacebook says it has more than one billion members

“The other problem is some people, in their innocence, might share this with friends to say how abhorrent it is, and we are concerned about the profound and uncontrollable impact this can have on an entire community.”

Possible compromise

An online petition calling for Facebook to remove decapitation videos had attracted 289 “likes” at time of writing.

One person who supported the campaign wrote: “The video appeared twice on my news feed. I cannot imagine the impact it will have on a younger person. Facebook needs to create some kind of filter to block these images from appearing in the news feed.”

Facebook confirmed that its current privacy tools allowed users to block posts by particular people, but not specific types of content.

Mr Balkam said that finding a way to block the spread of such clips to those who had not opted into receiving them was one idea that could be explored.

“If they are going to host this kind of graphic violence how then can we best prevent those videos getting into the hands of folks who really don’t want to see these, including children?” he asked.

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Cern to re-create first web page

WWW GFXLost to the world: The first website. At the time, few imagined how ubiquitous the technology would become

A team at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) has launched a project to re-create the first web page.

The aim is to preserve the original hardware and software associated with the birth of the web.

The world wide web was developed by Prof Sir Tim Berners-Lee while working at Cern.

The initiative coincides with the 20th anniversary of the research centre giving the web to the world.

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I want my children to be able to understand the significance of this point in time: the web is already so ubiquitous – so, well, normal – that one risks failing to see how fundamentally it has changed”

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Dan Noyes
Cern web manager

According to Dan Noyes, the web manager for Cern’s communication group, re-creation of the world’s first website will enable future generations to explore, examine and think about how the web is changing modern life.

“I want my children to be able to understand the significance of this point in time: the web is already so ubiquitous – so, well, normal – that one risks failing to see how fundamentally it has changed,” he told BBC News

“We are in a unique moment where we can still switch on the first web server and experience it. We want to document and preserve that”.

The hope is that the restoration of the first web page and web site will serve as a reminder and inspiration of the web’s fundamental values.

At the heart of the original web is technology to decentralise control and make access to information freely available to all. It is this architecture that seems to imbue those that work with the web with a culture of free expression, a belief in universal access and a tendency toward decentralising information.


It is the early technology’s innate ability to subvert that makes re-creation of the first website especially interesting.

While I was at Cern it was clear in speaking to those involved with the project that it means much more than refurbishing old computers and installing them with early software: it is about enshrining a powerful idea that they believe is gradually changing the world.

Tim Berners-LeeTwenty years ago Prof Sir Tim Berners-Lee asked Cern to give the web to the world free

I went to Sir Tim’s old office where he worked at Cern’s IT department trying to find new ways to handle the vast amount of data the particle accelerators were producing.

I was not allowed in because apparently the present incumbent is fed up with people wanting to go into the office.

But waiting outside was someone who worked at Cern as a young researcher at the same time as Sir Tim. James Gillies has since risen to be Cern’s head of communications. He is occasionally referred to as the organisation’s half-spin doctor, a reference to one of the properties of some sub-atomic particles.

Amazing dream

Mr Gillies is among those involved in the project. I asked him why he wanted to restore the first website.

“One of my dreams is to enable people to see what that early web experience was like,” was the reply.

“You might have thought that the first browser would be very primitive but it was not. It had graphical capabilities. You could edit into it straightaway. It was an amazing thing. It was a very sophisticated thing.”

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One of my dreams is to enable people to see what that early web experience was like… It was an amazing thing”

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James Gillies
Co-author, How the Web Was Born

Those not heavily into web technology may be sceptical of the idea that using a 20-year-old machine and software to view text on a web page might be a thrilling experience.

But Mr Gillies and Mr Noyes believe that the first web page and web site is worth resurrecting because embedded within the original systems developed by Sir Tim are the principles of universality and universal access that many enthusiasts at the time hoped would eventually make the world a fairer and more equal place.

The first browser, for example, allowed users to edit and write directly into the content they were viewing, a feature not available on present-day browsers.

Ideals eroded

And early on in the world wide web’s development, Nicola Pellow, who worked with Sir Tim at Cern on the www project, produced a simple browser to view content that did not require an expensive powerful computer and so made the technology available to anyone with a simple computer.

According to Mr Noyes, many of the values that went into that original vision have now been eroded. His aim, he says, is to “go back in time and somehow preserve that experience”.

NeXT MachineSoon to be refurbished: The NeXT computer that was home to the world’s first website

“This universal access of information and flexibility of delivery is something that we are struggling to re-create and deal with now.

“Present-day browsers offer gorgeous experiences but when we go back and look at the early browsers I think we have lost some of the features that Tim Berners-Lee had in mind.”

Mr Noyes is reaching out to ask those who were involved in the NeXT computers used by Sir Tim for advice on how to restore the original machines.


The machines were the most advanced of their time. Sir Tim used two of them to construct the web. One of them is on show in an out-of-the-way cabinet outside Mr Noyes’s office.

I told him that as I approached the sleek black machine I felt drawn towards it and compelled to pause, reflect and admire in awe.

“So just imagine the reaction of passers-by if it was possible to bring the machine back to life,” he responded, with a twinkle in his eye.

The initiative coincides with the 20th anniversary of Cern giving the web away to the world free.

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Keeping the web free and freely available is almost a human right”

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Prof Nigel Shadbolt
Southampton University

There was a serious discussion by Cern’s management in 1993 about whether the organisation should remain the home of the web or whether it should focus on its core mission of basic research in physics.

Sir Tim and his colleagues on the project argued that Cern should not claim ownership of the web.

Great giveaway

Management agreed and signed a legal document that made the web publicly available in such a way that no one could claim ownership of it and that would ensure it was a free and open standard for everyone to use.

Mr Gillies believes that the document is “the single most valuable document in the history of the world wide web”.

He says: “Without it you would have had web-like things but they would have belonged to Microsoft or Apple or Vodafone or whoever else. You would not have a single open standard for everyone.”

The web has not brought about the degree of social change some had envisaged 20 years ago. Most web sites, including this one, still tend towards one-way communication. The web space is still dominated by a handful of powerful online companies.

First browserA screen shot from the first browser: Those who saw it say it was “amazing and sophisticated”. It allowed people to write directly into content, a feature that modern-day browsers no longer have

But those who study the world wide web, such as Prof Nigel Shadbolt, of Southampton University, believe the principles on which it was built are worth preserving and there is no better monument to them than the first website.

“We have to defend the principle of universality and universal access,” he told BBC News.

“That it does not fall into a special set of standards that certain organisations and corporations control. So keeping the web free and freely available is almost a human right.”

Follow Pallab Ghosh on Twitter @bbcpallab

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New adverts ‘could track your eyes’

Sideways being demoedSideways can track up to 14 people at once

An advertising system which is able to track your eye movements while you shop has been created by researchers based at Lancaster University.

The Sideways project uses software to locate faces and eye movements of shoppers captured on camera.

It could allow for video screens which change adverts depending on what you look at in a shop.

The team told the BBC they hoped the technology would be in use in shops within five years.

The technology can also be used to allow people to use their eyes to control content on screens, such as scrolling through items on a list.

“The system uses a single ordinary camera that is placed close to the screen,” explained senior researcher Andreas Bulling. “So we don’t need any additional equipment.

“The system detects the faces of people walking by and calculates where the eyes are relative to the eye corners.”

Stumbling block

Mr Bulling has worked on the project with fellow researchers Hans Gellersen and Yanxia Zhang from Lancaster’s School of Computing and Communications.

Existing eye-tracking technologies tend to require a lengthy set-up process, and can only be used by one person at a time.

The Sideways system, Mr Bulling says, can track up to 14 people simultaneously.

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Eye-tracking is definitely something that is currently a hot topic”

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Andreas Bulling

“With normal systems you always have to calibrate the tracker to the specific user,” he explained to the BBC.

“Calibration is a major stumbling block for interactive gaze-based applications at the moment because people always have to go through this calibration procedure – it’s time-consuming and annoying.”

In a video demonstrating the system, one example for potential use is a shopper scrolling through album covers in a music shop.

Hot topic

Eye-tracking is starting to become more commonplace within popular technology products.

One company, Tobii, has been backed by the likes of IBM and has shown off prototypes of a gaze-controlled television.

Last month, Samsung launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. It monitors whether the user is looking at the device by tracking eye movement.

“Eye-tracking is definitely something that is currently a hot topic,” said Mr Bulling.

“It is really gaining momentum. I fully expect this technology to become available widely in the near future.”

However, as with many new technologies designed to learn more about how we act, concerns over privacy are likely to arise as the systems are rolled out.

“I guess it always depends how this information is used,” Mr Bulling said.

“If the system is only there to improve the shopping experience, customers will probably be fine with such a system.

“If it’s a more passive monitoring system of gaze-information, so the user is not aware of it, this could really have considerable privacy challenges.”

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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News companies warned by Twitter

Logo of Syrian Electronic ArmyThe Syrian Electronic Army regularly links to material supporting the Syrian president

News organisations including the BBC have been warned by Twitter to tighten security in the wake of several high-profile hacks.

The Guardian became the latest publication to be hit by a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army.

A previous attack on the Associated Press caused stocks to dip.

Security experts have said Twitter itself needs to take more action to ensure its users are protected.

An email sent by Twitter to news organisations on Monday urged them to take a close look at their internal measures for dealing with social media.

Advice included making sure passwords were more than 20 characters long and made up of random strings of letters and numbers.

The social network also advised having just “one computer to use for Twitter”.

“This helps keep your Twitter password from being spread around,” the site added.

“Don’t use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection.”

Security researcher Rik Ferguson, from TrendMicro, told the BBC this particular piece of advice was somewhat unworkable.

“The point of Twitter is that it’s instant, and you can react instantly.

“If you have to run back to the office to get to a particular computer to use Twitter, that’s obviously going to impact upon its use.”

Souped-up security

Twitter also encouraged organisations to have a closer relationship with the site to ensure account details are kept up to date.

“Help us protect you,” the company said. “We’re working to make sure we have the most updated information on our partners’ accounts.

 Associated Press news agency's Twitter account is hacked

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

Dr Herb Lin, a cybersecurity expert, says media agencies are likely to make security changes to their Twitter accounts

“Please send us a complete list of all accounts affiliated with your organisation, so that we can help keep them protected.”

Beyond advice to external organisations, there is increasing pressure on Twitter to bolster its own security.

Specifically, there have been calls from security professionals for two-factor authentication.

This would require two steps, the entry of a password as well as another action.

On Facebook, for example, two-factor authentication is triggered when users try to log in in an unexpected way, such as from a computer in a different country.

A report in technology magazine Wired last week suggested Twitter had begun trialling two-factor technology – but this is yet to be confirmed by the company.

Mr Ferguson noted that as Twitter remained a free service supported by advertising, two-factor authentication could prove costly.

He suggested one way to raise funds for enhanced security would be to charge major users to become “verified” – a status currently given to accounts which Twitter has checked are genuine.

“One thing Twitter should be looking at now is for any account which is verified to have a two factor log-in process,” he told the BBC.

“If you make a nominal fee for verifying accounts – they can make sure that the accounts are protected from not only malware-based attacks, but also that staff are more protected from phishing.”

White House blast

The Syrian Electronic Army’s typical tactics to date have included sending “phishing” emails to glean log-in information from unsuspecting victims.

Once access to an account had been gained, the SEA would then begin to post tweets – in some cases mimicking the style of the victim.

BBC Weather account with hacked messagesThe BBC’s Weather account was among those successfully hacked

This technique was most damaging in the case of the Associated Press. When the news agency’s main account – @AP – was breached, the SEA posted that US president Barack Obama had been injured in a blast at the White House.

It was of course false, and swiftly corrected by other organisations – and later by AP itself – but not before $136bn (£88bn) was temporarily wiped off the New York Stock Exchange.

US financial authorities are to investigate the incident to “make sure that nothing nefarious in markets took place”, according to the New York Post.

Meanwhile, the SEA – which appears to support the Assad regime – has vowed to continue its attacks on media organisations.

An anonymous user believed to be working for the group told Vice magazine: “They already started suspending us from the internet by closing our accounts, our pages and suspending our domain names, but they failed and they will keep failing.

“We will not stop or despair. If they close a Twitter account, we will open a new one; if they close a Facebook page, we will create another one; if they suspend our domain names, we will buy new ones.”

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

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Chat app messages ‘overtake texts’

Nokia Asha 210 phoneNokia has launched a phone with a button dedicated to WhatsApp

Instant messaging on chat apps, such as WhatsApp, has overtaken the traditional SMS text message for the first time, according to research firm Informa.

Informa said almost 19 billion messages were sent per day on chat apps in 2012, compared with 17.6 billion SMS texts.

The shift is likely to have a big impact on mobile operators, for whom texts have been a key revenue source.

Pamela Clark-Dickson of Informa said some operators were already “seeing a decline in their messaging revenues”.

According to separate estimates by research firm Ovum, more than $23bn (£15bn) of SMS revenue was lost in 2012 due to popularity of chat apps.

‘Lot of life’

Informa said that it expected the messaging on chat apps to grow even further in the coming years.

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There are a few things that, I think, will keep the SMS alive for a few years yet”

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Pamela Clark-Dickson

It has projected that nearly 50 billion messages will be sent per day using these apps by 2014, compared with just over 21 billion traditional SMSs.

However, it said that despite the growing gap between the two, SMS will continue to remain a key player in the sector.

“There is a lot of life still in SMS,” said Ms Clark-Dickson of Informa.

She explained that most of the chat apps were used by consumers who own smartphones. However, she said, there are a large number of consumers, especially in emerging and lesser developed economies, who use normal mobile phones and rely on SMS as the preferred messaging tool.

“They don’t have mobile data plans, so there is an awfully big base of mobile phone users who are going to still find that SMS is the best messaging experience for them for a while,” she added.

At the same time, she said that businesses were starting to look at SMS more seriously, as it can be used on all mobile phones and they do not need smartphones to use it.

“There are a few things that, I think, will keep the SMS alive for a few years yet.”

Informa expects SMS revenue to grow to $127bn by 2016, from $115bn last year.

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Hack suspect ‘had mobile attack van’

Spanish Interior Ministry picture of 'SK'The suspect was arrested near the Spanish city of Barcelona

A Dutchman accused of mounting one of the biggest attacks on the internet used a “mobile computing office” in the back of a van.

The 35-year-old, identified by police as “SK”, was arrested last week.

He has been blamed for being behind “unprecedentedly serious attacks” on non-profit anti-spam watchdog Spamhaus.

Dutch, German, British and US police forces took part in the investigation leading to the arrest, Spanish authorities said.

The Spanish interior minister said SK was able to carry out network attacks from the back of a van that had been “equipped with various antennas to scan frequencies”.

He was apprehended in the city of Granollers, 20 miles (35km) north of Barcelona. It is expected that he will be extradited from Spain to be tried in the Netherlands.

‘Robust web hosting’

Police said that upon his arrest SK told them he belonged to the “Telecommunications and Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Republic of Cyberbunker”.

Cyberbunker is a company that says it offers highly secure and robust web hosting for any material except child pornography or terrorism-related activity.

Spamhaus is an organisation based in London and Geneva that aims to help email providers filter out spam and other unwanted content.

To do this, the group maintains a number of blocklists, a database of servers known to be being used for malicious purposes.

Police alleged that SK co-ordinated an attack on Spamhaus in protest over its decision to add servers maintained by Cyberbunker to a spam blacklist.

Overwhelm server

Spanish police were alerted in March to large distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks originating in Spain but affecting servers in the UK, Netherlands and US.

DDoS attacks attempt to overwhelm a web server by sending it many more requests for data than it can handle.

A typical DDoS attack employs about 50 gigabits of data per second (Gbps). At its peak the attack on Spamhaus hit 300Gbps.

In a statement in March, Cyberbunker “spokesman” Sven Kamphuis took exception to Spamhaus’s action, saying in messages sent to the press that it had no right to decide “what goes and does not go on the internet”.

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First curved OLED TVs to go on sale

LG EA9800 TVLG says its curved OLED television offers images that are “more vibrant and natural” than before

LG Electronics says it will begin deliveries of curved OLED television sets next month, making it the first to offer such a product to the public.

The use of organic light-emitting diodes allows screens to be made thinner and more flexible than before.

The 55in (140cm) model will cost 15m won ($13,550; £8,725) and is initially limited to sales in South Korea.

One analyst said that being first to market gave LG “bragging rights”, but suggested demand would be limited.

LG Electronics and its rival Samsung Electronics both showed off curved OLED TV prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, but did not announce release dates at the time.

The two businesses are part of larger conglomerates that have separate divisions manufacturing their own television display panels. Many of their competitors buy in the components from third parties, making it harder for them to claim such an exclusive.

‘Imax experience’

OLED tech is based on carbon-based materials that convert electricity into light.

While LCD screens need a backlight to illuminate their crystals, OLED does not need a separate light source.

This allows the newer type of TVs to be made thinner, lighter and more energy-efficient than before, as well as offering the advantage of deeper blacks.

In addition, the OLEDs can be fabricated onto a flexible plastic substrate rather than a rigid glass layer, making it easier to manufacture them into a curved screen.

This has allowed LG to market the new EA9800 model as being only 4.3mm (0.17in) thick, weighing 17kg (37.5lb) and offering an “Imax-cinema-like” viewing experience.

“With more than five years research behind developing the optimum curvature, the entire screen surface is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes, eliminating the problem of screen-edge visual distortion and loss of detail,” the company said in a press release.

Marketing tool

IHS Screen Digest, a market research firm used by television manufacturers, said it expected Samsung to follow with a similar product soon, although it noted that teething troubles with making large OLED TVs was likely to keep their prices high and output low in the near future.

Samsung curved OLED TVSamsung showed off its curved OLED prototype at the Consumer Electrics Show in January

The firm’s senior analyst Ed Border added that, in the short term, curved TVs were likely to be more valuable as a promotional tool rather than a profit-making product to their makers.

“There’s certain content which is great to see in different ways, but for a lot of what’s on TV seeing it curved is not necessarily going to improve the experience that much,” he said.

“But I think being curved is a good way of pushing the OLED technology to consumers and acting as a marketing tool.

“Looking forward, I think there will still be room for flatscreen TVs, especially if you are thinking of hanging an OLED screen on the wall or just want to buy a cheaper LCD set.”

LG said it was now accepting orders for the curved TV set in South Korea, and would announce the timing and pricing of versions for markets elsewhere “in the months ahead”.

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Delays dog UK launch of Samsung S4

Samsung Galaxy S4The S4 lets owners control scrolling with a glance

Many Britons keen to get their hands on Samsung’s S4 phone look likely to be disappointed.

Samsung has said that “unprecedented” demand for the handset has meant stocks were running low in the UK.

UK operators have been sending messages to many people who pre-ordered the S4, warning that the handset would reach them after the official launch date.

Some messages say people may have to wait up to a week to get hold of the new phone.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S4 in mid-March and planned the worldwide launch for 27 April. Interest in the phone is high because of some of the novel technologies, such as the ability to control it with a glance, that are built in.

However, many people who pre-ordered the phone so it would arrive on launch day may now get their handset later.

“There’s been unprecedented demand for the Galaxy S4 in the UK,” Samsung told BBC Radio 4′s You and Yours. Many people contacted the programme to report that they had received messages from operators and others retailers warning about the shortage of S4s in the UK. Some were given a delivery date of 3 May, almost a week later than originally planned.

‘Stock constraints’

In its statement, the electronics company said it was “working hard to ensure that pre-orders and sales across all channels are fulfilled as soon as possible”.

UK operator 3 told the BBC that Samsung was “experiencing stock constraints” and said it regretted the frustration this would cause customers. The UK’s other major operators also said they were having stock problems but were looking to prioritise customers who pre-ordered over those that walk into shops to buy the gadget.

Similar delays were being reported in the US with operator Sprint delaying the opening of its online S4 store by a week to cope with demand.

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