Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review

Huawei took to the stage at MWC 2017 in Barcelona to announce not only the sporty Huawei Watch 2, but also its colourful 2017 flagship, the Huawei P10. Boasting a colourful look and improved internals, how does the Huawei P10 compare to the 2016 flagship, the Huawei P9? Here we compare the design, features, cameras and software of the Huawei P9 and P10 to help you decide which is the best option for you. Read next: Best smartphones of 2017

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review: UK price and availability

So, let’s talk pricing and availability of both smartphones. The Huawei P9 is readily available to buy in the UK after being launched back in April 2016, and although it costed £449 at launch, the Huawei P9 can now be picked up for £390 outside of contract from the likes of Amazon.

How does that compare to the Huawei P10? Announced at MWC 2017, Huawei is yet to unveil UK pricing for the Huawei P10, leading us to believe it’ll cost a similar amount to the P9 at launch, although we’ll upgrade this section once we know more.

Read next: Huawei P10 review

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review: Design and build

Looking at the Huawei P9 and P10, it’s easy to see that the two are from the same family of smartphones. Featuring a similar minimalistic design, both the Huawei P9 and P10 look sleek and feature a high-end build quality as is standard with Huawei-manufactured smartphones, although there are notable differences between the two. Let’s start with the basics, dimensions and weight: the Huawei P9 measured in at 145 x 70.9 x 7mm and 144g compared to the P10’s 145.3 x 69.3 x 7mm and 145g, meaning the P10 is ever so slightly heavier, but shorter than the P9.

Now that’s not necessarily obvious enough when glancing at the two smartphones, what is more noticeable is the slight change in display: the P9 features a 5.2in display while the P10 drops 0.1in, measuring in at 5.1in. While the P10 features a slightly smaller display than its predecessor, it doesn’t seem to have made up for this in any way: they’re almost identical in terms of both dimensions and weight, so where has the extra 0.1in gone?

One could argue that it’s due to the decision to bring the fingerprint scanner to the front of the P10 below the display, while it sits comfortably on the rear of the P9. While when situated on the rear of the P9 the fingerprint scanner could also be used to access the notification shade, activate the camera shutter or swipe between photos, the functionality has been removed with the P10.

Instead, the P10 fingerprint scanner works as the Home, back and multi-task Android buttons in one by using a series of different gestures. While it works well, we still prefer the rear placement of the fingerprint scanner as it made accessing the notification shade and taking snaps a much easier process.

That’s not all that’s new. The Huawei P9 was available in a variety of colours and finishes, including Ceramic White, Haze Gold, Rose Hold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold, followed later in 2016 by Red and Blue variants, although the P10 offers something a little more ‘out there’. Apart from the late additions to the P9 range, it was fairly muted – something that Huawei wanted to change with the P10.

The P10 comes in Graphite Black, Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Rose Gold, Greenery, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold, although like with the P9, not all variants will be available in the UK. Huawei worked alongside Pantone to produce the vibrant and eye-catching dazzling blue and greenery colour options, with the colourful shimmer noticeable even in low light. That’s not all either, as Huawei also introduced a hyper-diamond cut available on the blue and gold variants of the P10. The company claims that it not only reduces the number of visible fingerprints on the metal unibody, but should also provide a bit of extra grip too.

Read next: Best Android smartphone of 2017

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review: Features and spec

So, how do Huawei’s 2016 and 2017 flagships compare in terms of display technology? Of course, the Huawei P9 has a slightly larger display measuring in at 5.2in compared to the 5.1in P10, but what about the technology inside? Both feature IPS displays and the same Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, although the P10 has a slightly higher pixel density at 432ppi compared to 423ppi.

The P10 also features superior protection as it boasts Gorilla Glass 5 protection, compared to the third-generation Gorilla Glass featured on the Huawei P9. Gorilla Glass 5 should be more effective in protecting your display from scratches and cracks, but it isn’t shatter- or scratchproof – we’re also yet to test this for ourselves.

Inside, the Huawei P9 packs an octa-core Kirin 955 CPU and Mali-T880 GPU with either 3 or 4GB of RAM depending on the variant you opted for. It performed well in our benchmarks, although it couldn’t quite compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 7. The Huawei P10 features Huawei’s latest technology, including an upgraded octa-core Kirin 960 CPU and Mali-G71 GPU with 4GB of RAM as standard. While we haven’t benchmarked the P10 just yet, the late-2016 Huawei Mate 9 features the same internals and the performance really impressed us during benchmarking, offering significant gains compared to the P9.

The Huawei P10 also offers 64GB of storage as standard, while the P9 offers a choice of 32- or 64GB of storage, although arguably it doesn’t matter too much as both feature a microSD card slot that’ll increase storage by up to 256GB if required.

Of course, the main draw of both the Huawei P9 and P10 is the rear-facing dual-camera setup. First featured on the Huawei P9 in 2016, the Leica co-engineered cameras offer something a little different to other dual-lens setups. Why? The setup is comprised of one colour sensor and one monochrome sensor, with the monochrome sensor collecting more light and detail than its coloured variant, then splicing them together for a high-quality colour image. In terms of the Huawei P9, this was a combination of a 12Mp colour sensor and a 12Mp monochrome sensor, coupled with phase detection, laser autofocus and a dual-LED flash.

That offering has been upgraded for the P10: it features the same 12Mp colour sensor, but an upgraded 20Mp monochrome sensor to collect more light than its predecessor. Despite the larger monochrome sensor, the aperture stays the same as the P9 at f/2.2 – those looking for better should opt for the P10 Plus, which features improved lenses capable of capturing more light, and should perform better in low-light conditions. Along with the improved sensors, the Huawei P10 finally boasts optical image stabilisation and 4K video playback, two huge omissions from the Huawei P9.

That’s not all for the P10 either, as there’s a bunch of software additions too. The Huawei P10 is the second Huawei smartphone to feature the company’s lossless zoom technology, a Huawei-developed algorithm that provides a 2x digital zoom without any noticeable loss of quality. It’s impressive, as we noted in our Huawei Mate 9 review, but isn’t perfect. There’s also a new Portrait mode that analyses your face and tweaks the lighting and other elements to provide high quality ‘portrait shots’, or ‘selfies’ to you and us.

The front-facing camera has also had an upgrade when compared to the 2016 flagship. It has been upgraded from a standard 8Mp camera on the Huawei P9 to a Leica co-engineered 8Mp camera on the P10, although we’ll have to reserve our comments about quality until we’ve put the P10 through more tests.

Read next: Huawei P10 vs Huawei P10 Plus comparison review

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review: Software

Let’s talk software. The Huawei P9 features Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Huawei’s own EMUI 4.1 overlay, which has gone under fire many times in the past for not only being too complex but also for featuring quite a bit of bloatware. While there isn’t a huge amount of bloatware on the Huawei P9, there is an abundance of Huawei-branded apps and game demos when you first power on the device, many of which aren’t needed for general day-to-day tasks.

The Huawei P10, on the other hand, features Android 7.0 Nougat alongside EMUI 5.1, a total revamp of Huawei’s Emotion UI that offers a much-improved user experience when compared to EMUI 4.1. The update offered a simplified UI with access to a large percentage of phone functions within only two or three taps, and a much cleaner look.

It’s not all aesthetic though, as EMUI 5 introduced machine learning to Huawei’s smartphones and EMUI 5.1 is a natural progression of this. Huawei claims that the smartphone can learn from your habits to better allocate processing power to different apps at different times of day, providing a snappier experience. In fact, Huawei claims that the new machine learning capabilities will provide a faster smartphone after a year of use than when fresh out of the box.

This is coupled with the most recent addition to its roster of machine learning algorithms, with the Huawei P10 able to predict where on the display you’ll tap before you’ve tapped, allowing it to pre-load whatever you were going to tap on and thus, providing a more responsive smartphone experience. Of course, it’s hard to test these kinds of claims independently and as EMUI 5 hasn’t been out for a year, we can’t test its effectiveness compared to a non-EMUI 5 enabled smartphone just yet.

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Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video comparison review

Video streaming is now part of our modern daily lives, which means no more TV schedules and much more choice. If you’re trying to decide between Netflix and Amazon for your streaming needs, we’re on hand to help. Our Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video comparison review looks at price, devices, content, offline viewing and more to help you make up your mind. Plus, we also take a look at Netflix and Amazon’s lesser-known rivals including non-subscription options. Also see: How to avoid the latest Netflix scam.

Jump to: Price | Features | Devices | Content | Rivals

Note: Amazon Prime Video was once called LoveFilm Instant. For information about when LoveFilm ended and Amazon Prime Video took over, visit our What is Amazon Prime Video article.

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Price

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both offer a 30-day trial, so we’d strongly suggest starting with these as a way of seeing which one you prefer. You can go ahead and kick off your free trials by following the links below:

Amazon Prime Video free trial
Netflix free trial

Netflix’s pricing starts at £5.99 per month, and that’s for the basic subscription that only lets you watch on one screen at a time (you can’t share this with friends or family) and doesn’t offer HD content. The standard subscription model costs £7.49 per month, offering HD streaming on two devices at once. For Netflix Premium, you’re looking at £8.99 per month for 4K Ultra HD quality and the use of four devices at once.

Amazon Prime Video is a bit cheaper than Netflix, at £5.99 per month. Or, you can sign up to Amazon Prime for £79 per year, which also includes extras such as free next day delivery, Amazon Prime Music and more. This works out at £6.58 per month and is better value than Netflix if you order from Amazon fairly regularly and are happy with the video library on offer. Like Netflix, with Amazon Prime Video, you can stream to two devices at once.

Check out our Sky Q review for Sky’s latest set-top box and TV platform.

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Features

You probably already know the basics, but we’ll sum them up here just in case. Both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are subscription-based media streaming services that you pay for monthly in return for unlimited streaming of TV shows and films. They’re accessible via the internet on Smart TVs, games consoles, set-top boxes, desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices, and are regularly updated with new things to watch.

They also now both offer offline streaming, but both have limitations. Not all content is available to download to view offline, but the catalogue of downloadable content is continuously growing for both. You can find out more about how to download content by following the links below:

How to watch Amazon Prime offline
How to watch Netflix offline

Taking a closer look at the differences now, and you’ll find that Netflix offers better account features for anyone sharing their subscription. You can set up multiple accounts for different users to keep your recommendations and watch lists separate, and there’s also a dedicated kids section for child-friendly content.

Netflix user accounts

Netflix user accounts

One key difference that can be tricky to get your head around to start with is that, while everything you see on Netflix is available to stream, only Prime Video content with a ‘Prime’ banner can be watched as part of the subscription. Other videos are available to watch but come at an additional cost to buy or rent.

It’s also worth noting that the basic Netflix subscription at £7.49 doesn’t include 4K content, while the Amazon Prime Video service does at no extra cost.

You’re probably thinking that it’s an easy decision now, right? After all, we’ve said that Amazon gives you more for your money, but the issue is that it all comes down to compatible devices and available content, and that’s where things get tricky and will be different for different people. Read on to find out more.

See also: How to watch US Netflix in the UK.

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Devices

Amazon Prime Video devices

Amazon Prime Video devices

To access Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, you’re going to need a compatible device. That could be a phone, tablet, laptop, games console or set-top box. See also: Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick.

We’ve put a table together below to show you the compatibility of each service (support may be limited to certain models, especially for TVs and Blu-ray players). Aside from the device listed below, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video can be used via a web browser on a PC or laptop, whether or not they are connected to an external display like a monitor or TV.

 

Netflix

Amazon Prime Video

Smart TV

Sony, Samsung, Sharp, LG, Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba

Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic

Games Console

Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U

Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U

Tablet

Android, iPad

iPad, Android, Amazon Fire

Smartphone

Android, iPhone, Windows Phone

Android, iPhone

Blu-ray player

Sony, Samsung, LG, Philips, Panasonic, Toshiba

Samsung, Sony

Home cinema system

LG, Sony

LG, Samsung, Sony

Set-top box

Sony, YouView, Virgin Media, TalkTalk

Samsung

Media streamer

Apple TV, Philips, Roku, Western Digital, Virgin Media, Google Chromecast

Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Apple TV (via AirPlay from iPad or iPhone)

Netflix used to be the obvious choice because of the breadth of devices, but it’s now too close to call. You’re likely to have a number of devices which can access either service.

For full list of devices and models check Netflix and Amazon (and here).

Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video: Movies and TV shows content

Price, features and device compatibility is all well and good, but they mean nothing if there’s nothing you want to watch. Films and TV shows are on offer with both services, plus original content you won’t be able to find on rival services. Which is better in this respect will depend on your personal taste.

Examples of original series on Netflix include Better Call Saul, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, Bloodline, Daredevil and popular documentary series Making a Murderer. See our list of the best TV shows on Netflix and our round-up of the best Netflix movies here.

Over on Amazon you’ll find originals including The Man in the High Tower, Ripper Street, Black Sails, Bosch, Constantine and Extant.

It’s a bit easier to browse Amazon’s current library without having a subscription, so you can get a better idea of the content without even having to sign up for the free trial. Just search in Amazon’s website in a browser. You’ll find that it too is high quality, and offers a broad range.

They each have around the same amount of content, with close to 4,000 films and TV shows each, too.

As mentioned before, we think it’s well worth signing up to both trials in order to get a better idea of which has the offering that’s best suited to you.

Amazon Prime Video free trial
Netflix free trial

Amazon included with Prime TV and movies

Amazon included with Prime TV and movies

Netflix and Amazon Prime Video rivals

Of course, streaming is not just limited to Netflix and Amazon. There are plenty of other places you can go to watch on-demand movies and TV shows if you’d prefer.

A key rival to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video specifically for films is Sky Movies which provides titles via Now TV for £8.99 per month if you’re not a Sky customer. There are fewer movies on offer (over 1,000) but they are much newer. Now TV is available on a wide range of devices including TV, mobile and media streaming boxes.

There are various non-subscription options available if you want more of a pay as you go service. This way you can rent or buy to keep only the titles you really want to watch. Prices vary so you often need to shop around to find the best price and they are available on a range of devices, too.

Key players in the non-subscription streaming market (apart from Amazon) include Wuaki TV, TalkTalk TV (formerly Blinkbox), Sainsbury’s Entertainment, Google Play and iTunes.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands (PC) impressions: A beautiful, buggy world with no load screens

Far as I can tell, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a 30-50 hour game. PCWorld received a review code late on Friday (during GDC, no less) and I’ve only managed to play maybe 10 hours. So yeah, as you might expect we’re not reviewing Wildlands today.

Even so, I’m here to offer up my impressions from those first ten hours—mostly PC performance, but also an abbreviated section about the game itself.

Performance

If nothing else, Wildlands is a technical feat. I’m not going to say this is the largest map I’ve seen in a modern game, but it certainly feels that way at times. It’s enormous, with the game often asking you to travel upwards of six kilometers from one end of a province to another—and there are 20-odd provinces in the game, with no load screens as you travel.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Ghost Recon: Wildlands

It’s stunning—and taxing. Even with a GeForce GTX 980 Ti I’ve had to dip certain settings to hit a steady 60 frames per second, and that’s at 1080p. At 1440p or 4K? Good luck. This game is brutal.

And I don’t think it’s Ubisoft’s fault. There will doubtless be some performance gains over the next few months, a bit more optimization both from both Ubisoft and the big graphics card companies. For the size of the game though, and the amount going on, Ghost Recon: Wildlands doesn’t seem poorly-optimized at launch. Just punishing.

For what it’s worth, I only saw major gains from changing two settings: Level of Detail and Vegetation Quality. Everything else netted me a frame or two extra performance, but dipping those two was enough to jump me 5-10 extra frames on average. Start there if you’re having issues, and make sure to take advantage of the in-game benchmarking tool. It’s accessible from the Options menu, and I found it a pretty reliable indicator of performance.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Performance aside, the game is buggy as hell—some of which I first noticed months ago and which haven’t been rectified. Particularly in co-op, Wildlands seems to have all sorts of issues. I played about two hours this weekend alongside my colleague Adam Patrick Murray and in that time saw an error involving him repeatedly falling out of and respawning into a helicopter I was flying; an issue where he couldn’t revive me because my corpse had fallen under a pillar; a weird disconnect where I could see what he was doing but on his end my character had been replaced with an AI that was doing something totally different; and the list goes on and on.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Zoom in, and you can see Adam standing outside this helicopter as I fly it.

One last note: I don’t have an AMD graphics card at home, and haven’t tested on one yet. There was a note with our review code though saying that AMD’s drivers would update on Monday. If we notice any widespread AMD issues we’ll be sure to let you know.

The best laptops of 2017: Ultrabooks, budget PCs, 2-in-1s, and more

laptopsCredit: Rob Schultz
Table of Contents

With a new year comes fresh laptop updates—companies like Dell, HP, Acer, and Asus have already begun to launch revamped versions of popular notebooks and spin-offs of existing lines.

These new additions to the scene (like Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1) just keep adding to the wide and varied options already out there. Expect to keep seeing even more convertibles, 2-in-1s, and traditional clamshells as the months roll by, and also keep an eye peeled for more laptops with discrete graphics. In January, Nvidia expanded its game-changing Pascal GPU lineup to include a mobile version of its budget-minded GTX 1050, and it’s already rolling out as an option in larger thin-and-light systems.

Given what a great year 2016 was, we anticipate 2017 being an equally fantastic year to buy a new system, no matter what you’re hunting for. To help you with your decision, we’re hard at work evaluating more laptops—our latest reviews include the Razer Blade Pro and HP’s 2017 Spectre x360 15, and we even took a look at the Linux version of Dell’s XPS 13. For the moment, our current category winners hang onto their crowns, but we anticipate that some will soon lose their thrones.

Best ultrabook laptop

Dell might be sticking to the adage of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the XPS 13, but that strategy keeps producing the best ultrabook of the bunch. The Kaby Lake XPS 13 shares the same design as its predecessors: a quality aluminium exterior and carbon-fiber top, and that wonderfully compact, bezel-free 13-inch screen.

Dell actually released two updates to the XPS 13 in 2016: The one at the start of the year swapped in a Skylake CPU, added a USB Type-C port that served as an alternative charging port, and offered upgraded storage options. The most recent refresh—and our new pick for Best Ultrabook—keeps the same chassis changes as the Skylake XPS 13, features a jump to Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor, and sports a slightly larger battery. You get improved performance across the board, with a nice bump of an extra half-hour of battery life during video playback.

Kaby Lake Dell XPS 13Gordon Mah Ung

The Kaby Lake version of the Dell XPS 13 maintains that balance between portability, compact size, and performance that we like so much.

Our only lingering complaint is the small keyboard, but overall, you can’t lose with the newest XPS 13. It’s a truly compact ultrabook that punches out of its class.

[$800–$2,039 MSRP; $1149 MSRP as reviewed]

Runner-up

If looks are more your thing, the HP Spectre 13.3 certainly has a distinct profile: It’s one of the thinnest ultrabooks around. For anyone coveting the streamlined experience of Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, this 13-inch notebook will bring you close while providing superior performance.

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'Dawn Of War III' Arrives April 27

For Dawn of War fans, the wait is nearly over.

The wait is nearly over for Dawn of War fans. Relic Entertainment just announced that Dawn of War III is scheduled to release on April 27.

The release date marks nearly a year since the game was announced in May 2016. In addition to the release date, the company, along with its publisher Sega, revealed three editions of the game. A pre-order on any of the three variants will give you access to the “Masters of War” skin pack.

Aside from the Standard Edition, which just includes the game, there’s also a $65 Limited Edition, which includes a disc book, the game’s soundtrack, and a lenticular art card that showcases all three factions. There’s also the $130 Collector’s Edition for die-hard fans. It features everything from the Limited Edition as well as three cloth banners, each with their own symbol and slogan, to represent the factions, and a 25″ x 15.2″ (HxW) replica of the Godsplitter Daemon Hammer, the weapon used by the Space Marines hero Gabriel Angelos.

If you want more Dawn of War III content to keep you excited for the next month, we’ve got you covered. You can check out our previews of the game from last June and during PAX West.

Name Dawn of War III
Type Real time strategy
Developer Relic Entertainment
Publisher Sega
Platforms PC
Release Date April 27
Where To Buy

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Sunny Usenet

Usenet services can vary in many ways – some are easier to operate and get the job done quickly, while others are more complicated and suited for users who have some measure of technical expertise. 

Sunny Usenet is a European provider that sits at the lower end of the market. The company aims to make Usenet affordable for everyone, with prices starting at €1.43 (around £1.25, $1.50, or AU$2) a month. Although it may not be the most powerful platform on the market, it’s vying for the attention of people who haven’t used a Usenet provider in the past.

This may be a European Usenet service, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive to people living in Europe. In fact, the company accepts users from all around the world. It’s not necessary to have a European IP address in order to sign up.

Performance

Competing European Usenet provider Eweka, on the other hand, expects users to be using a European broadband service – and that’s an unfortunate limitation. The latter does have the upper hand over Sunny Usenet in one respect, though. It boasts over 3,000 days of binary retention, while Sunny only offers 900. 

That’s a clear difference. However, Sunny still works across 120,000+ newsgroups, and the completion rate is respectable. You’ll still be able to access thousands of articles and messages, and of course post your own.

Speed is another important factor when you’re considering signing up to a Usenet platform. With such a large amount of newsgroups available, you’ll want to access them with ease. Depending on the plan you go for, speeds range from 5Mbps to 90Mbps. There’s also an unlimited plan available, so there’s a decent selection of options here.

The amount of connections available also varies. They start at 5 and go up to 20, which is pretty reasonable. Just to compare, Eweka only offers a maximum of 8 connections, although there are still providers out there that offer around 50 connections. Realistically, you only need a certain amount depending on the data allowance you have from your ISP. And if you’re only planning to be a light user, then you needn’t worry anyway.

Data options

As mentioned, there is a wide variety of plans here, and none of them break the bank. The cheapest costs €1.43 per month (around £1.25, $1.50, or AU$2), and for that, you get 5Mbps of data and 5 connections. If you want to choose something in the middle, you can go for Sunny 30, which offers 30Mbps of data and 10 connections. That’d set you back €3.83 a month (around £3.30, $4.05, AU$5.35). Sunny Unlimited is the most expensive plan at €6.23 per month (around £5.40, $6.60, AU$8.70), and it gives you unlimited speed and 20 connections

Like many other Usenet providers, Sunny takes security and privacy seriously. As is the norm for modern Usenet services, you can connect to the platform using 256-bit SSL for free. To make the most of the encryption and ensure your data is always safe, it’s best that you use port 563. If you want to avoid encryption, you have the option to connect to the platform via port 119. Sunny’s servers are all based in Europe.

Final verdict

Sunny is on the lower end of the Usenet provider spectrum, offering budget prices. There are certainly more powerful options out there, but that’s not to say Sunny isn’t capable. It sports a variety of handy features, and it’s still speedy.

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Quantum Computers From IBM, Google To Leap From Lab To Market In A Few Years

IBM quantum computerIBM quantum computerIBM and Google announced roughly at the same time that they plan to start to commercialize quantum computing technologies over the next few years, which would signal the exit of universal quantum computers from lab exclusivity and their entrance on the market. The two companies also predicted that in the next few years “quantum supremacy” will be achieved, which means that quantum computers will be able to solve at least some problems that can’t be solved by today’s fastest supercomputers.

A Race To Build The First Practical Quantum Computer

As nature itself seems to operate based on quantum mechanics, it makes sense that a quantum computer will eventually be better suited to simulate chemical reactions with better accuracy. This will result in better materials, better medicine, and better technologies, in general.

As we’ve recently seen from a Google paper, the company was able to accurately simulate a hydrogen H2 molecule. This was possible with only a 9-qubit quantum computer, so we should be able to see much more impressive simulations as the number of qubits in quantum computers grows. Both Google and IBM are expected to ship 50-qubit quantum computers in a few years.

Of course, we’ve also seen D-Wave reach as many as 2,000 qubits, but D-Wave is not a universal quantum computer; it’s more of a specialized type of quantum machine, called a quantum annealing computer. D-Wave could still turn out to be useful for certain optimization tasks, but because we’re in the early days, more experimentation will be needed to prove that usefulness.

Microsoft has also recently entered this market, with plans to build a topological quantum computer. The idea is that the qubits are more stable in a topological quantum computer, so it could bring a practical quantum more quickly to market.

Meanwhile, both Google and IBM use superconducting quantum computing technology, and other companies have invested in trapped-ion quantum computers that also promise to have better stability (but inferior performance) than superconducting quantum computers. It remains to be seen which technology will win, but so far IBM’s and Google’s projects seem to be the most promising.

IBM To Commercialize A 50-Qubit Quantum Computer Soon

Although IBM has been working on universal quantum computers for about two decades, D-Wave has started to steal some of its thunder by being the first to market with its quantum annealing computer. Even as IBM was the first to give everyone access to its 5-qubit universal quantum computer, we learned that Google already had a 9-qubit universal quantum computer, and that it planned to soon upgrade to a 50-qubit quantum computer.

IBM doesn’t seem to want to be left behind and forgotten in the quantum computing market, before it even materializes as a real market. For now, the company has released an easier to use Application Programming Interface (API) so that more developers can take advantage of its quantum computer over the internet without quantum physics knowledge. It has also built a 20-qubit simulator, so that the developers can already start building applications that use 20 qubits. IBM also plans to commercialize a 50-qubit quantum computer over the next few years.

It seems that both Google and IBM believe that 50 qubits are necessary to achieve “quantum supremacy.” That’s the point when a quantum computer will be able to solve problems that even the fastest supercomputer can’t.

For instance, IBM said that although the Watson AI, powered by classical computers, can find patterns by looking at vast amounts of data, quantum computers would be able to see patterns. Classical computers are great at processing vast amounts of data–as long as it has all the data–whereas quantum computers can infer and fill in the gaps. Classical computers would need to compute an enormous number of possibilities to get to the same results that quantum computers could achieve much more easily.

Google To Sell Access To Its Quantum Computers

The engineers at Google’s Quantum AI Laboratory published a report in Nature in which they also see a path forward to commercialization of quantum technologies within the next five years. The company was initially expected to release a 50-qubit quantum computer by 2018, but it’s not clear whether it still intends to do so or whether it wants to wait a few more years.

Either way, the company said that although it could take another decade before full error correction can be brought to quantum computers, the early quantum computers could still be of use to at least to the financial and healthcare industries. The financial industry could use quantum-assisted optimization for more accurate stock price prediction, while the healthcare industry could better simulate chemical reactions to create more effective medicine.

Google’s engineers said that for quantum computers to evolve, both better hardware and better algorithms will be needed. The company said that this is why academia and industry will need to work together over the next decade to bring more useful quantum computers to market. Google believes that in less than five years, it should be able to commercialize access to its quantum computer, as well.

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