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Stock Exchange Daily Official List (SEDOL)

A series of unique characters to each London Stock Exchange-based security that is used to identify publicly-traded stocks securely

Written by

CFI Team

Published November 12, 2023

Updated June 28, 2023

What is the Stock Exchange Daily Official List (SEDOL)?

The stock exchange daily official list (SEDOL) is a seven-digit code used to identify all securities listed and trading on the United Kingdom securities market. Companies and issuers use SEDOL to identify assets, such as investment trusts, insurance-based securities, and other common stock forms.

SEDOL is not to be confused with the CUSIP number, which is also a unique identification number assigned to all the U.S. traded stocks and registered bonds but offered by the Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures. The code also serves as a global security identifier, enhances the Systematic Transfer Plan (STP) efficiencies, and reduces cross-border trade failure costs.

Summary

The stock exchange daily official list (SEDOL) is a series of unique characters to each London Stock Exchange-based security that is used to identify publicly traded stocks securely.

The U.K. and U.S.-issued securities rely on the efficiency and uniqueness of SEDOL codes to enhance seamless and correct trading.

SEDOL codes are essential in the modern global marketplace as a secure and identifiable approach to track a stock.

The Context of Assigning SEDOL Codes

Several reasons underlie the issuance of new SEDOL codes. They include reclassifications, change of a company’s name, corporate merger, assignment of new International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) numbers, and corporate headquarter changes. After the changes made on January 26, 2004, new SEDOLS codes are issued sequentially.

Structure of the Stock Exchange Daily Official List

At each character position, vowels are not used, and SEDOL codes begin with numbers followed by letters. The alphanumeric code is represented by the first six characters, while the last character is referred to as the trailing check digit. Notably, SEDOL codes are only allowed to include letters from B to Z and numerals, starting from 0 to 9 within the alphanumeric part.

Until January 26, 2004, issued SEDOL codes contained numeric characters alone. However, the codes that came after the said date are issued sequentially, beginning with B000009 for both numbers and letters. While vowels are never used to represent a character position, numbers are always ordered such that they precede letters. It means that all SEDOL codes issued after the mentioned date start with a letter. Ranges with 9 as the starting character are reserved for user allocation.

A common method to ascertain the SEDOL code is to determine if the weighted sum of all the characters is a multiple of 10. The code includes a check digit that verifies its correctness. For the verification process, different numbers are assigned to letters. Each letter is equivalent to the number that matches its position in the alphabet, plus nine. For example, K would be equivalent to 20 (9+11).

Impacts of SEDOL

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) recognizes SEDOL as an important market-level security identifier and a global security tool. As a result, it minimizes the costs sustained during the cross-border trade failure and enhances trade efficiency and security transactions. Through SEDOL codes, the United Kingdom’s exchanges offer high service levels by curbing such failures and streamlining the transaction processing cycles.

Particular to such regard are the features of SEDOL codes. First, they are unique, and the identification of stocks becomes seamless through the assigned country-level numbers. Each country is usually assigned one number. In the same vein, SEDOL codes are prompt, abridging the issuance processing time frames.

Another feature of SEDOL codes that enhances the trade process is commonality. SEDOL codes are extended to every asset class, and every listed or unlisted security in a certain country is allocated codes, reducing the need for multiple identifiers.

Examples of SEDOL Codes

Traders can determine whether the assigned SEDOL code is correct by simply multiplying each digit by its assigned weight and summing them up. In such a case, (0) + (5×3) + (4×1) + (0) + (5×3) + (2×9) +(1×8) = 60. The SEDOL code is correct because 60 is a multiple of 10.

Special Considerations

In today’s global marketplace, trading assets need a secure and identifiable method to keep track. It makes SEDOL codes relevant for stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and hedge funds. The U.K. and U.S.-based securities contain SEDOL codes based on their efficiency and uniqueness in trailing assets, not to mention their ability to reduce confusion among investors and ensure they purchase the right stocks.

The SEDOL Masterfile service is an example of a service company that provides traders with information regarding securities and financial instruments. Various organizations use comprehensive and global reference data to identify business processes such as price feeds processing, portfolio valuation, and trade execution.

Additional Resources

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17 Best Free Stock Videos Download Websites (2023 List)

Following is a handpicked list of Top Free Video sites, with their popular features and website links. The list contains both open source (free) and paid software.

Top Pick

Adobe Stock

Adobe stock provides royalty-free videos in HD and 4K resolution. It provides motion graphics templates and video loops. You can use videos as many times as you like times after downloading them.

Visit Adobe Stock

Best Stock Video Sites for Download Copyright Free Videos

Name Features Supported Platforms Free Trial Link

Adobe Stock

• Video Loops Windows and Mac 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Videvo

• Sound Effects Windows Life Time Free Basic Plan Learn more

iStock

• Abstract Video Windows 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Motionelements

• Motion Graphics Windows 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Bigstockphoto • Offers multiple file formats like MOV, AVI, and MP4 Windows 15-Days Free Trial Learn more

Adobe stock provides royalty-free videos in HD and 4K resolution. It provides motion graphics templates and video loops. You can use videos as many times as you like times after downloading them.

#1 Top Pick

Adobe Stock

5.0

4K Videos: Yes

No watermark videos: No

Supported Platforms: Windows and Mac

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

Visit Adobe Stock

Feature:

It adds videos on a daily basis.

This app can be used across multiple devices.

You can easily find videos with aesthetic search filters.

One plan can be used by unlimited users.

Adobe Stock enables you to access media files anytime, anywhere.

It has simplified the billing process.

Adobe Stock was Founded in 1982

Provides 2451518 videos

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Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Motion Graphics Templates, Video Loops, Curators’ picks, Autumn palette, and Landscape videos

It provides customer support via Chat and Phone

Supported platforms: Windows and Mac

Price: Plans start at $4.99 a month. 40% Discount on Yearly Payment.

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

30-Days Free Trial

Videvo is a website where you can find thousands of free stock videos, motion graphics, music tracks, and sound effects.

Features:

Most videos are licensed under as Royalty-Free and have given Attribution License by videvo.

You can upload free HD and 4K stock videos and motion graphics to the Videvo archive

Videvo was Founded in 2024

Provides 954211 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Animals, Business, Industry, Medical, Musical, Nature, People, and Sport

Offers multiple file formats like MOV and AVI

Provides No watermark videos, 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Motion Graphics, Flexible Subscription Options, Simple Licensing, and No Advertisement

It provides customer support via Chat, Contact Form, and Email

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

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iStock provides an online platform to explore exclusive royalty-free stock videos. It helps you to discover 4K, HD (High Definition), and SD (Standard Definition) video.

#3

iStock

4.8

4K Videos: Yes

No watermark videos: Yes

Supported Platforms: Windows

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

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Feature:

You can use these videos virtually for any project as many times as you want.

Istock enables you to sort videos by best match, newest, and most popular.

You can search for videos by upload date and duration.

iStock was Founded in 2000

Provides 49902 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Nature & landscapes, Jobs & careers, Pets & animals, Business & finance, Science & technology, Education, Family, and Healthcare & medicine

Offers multiple file formats like MOV and MP4

Provides No watermark videos, 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Legal protection, regardless of size and resolution, Authentic local, and regional imagery

It provides customer support via Phone and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $20.54 a month.

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

30-Days Free Trial

MotionElements is an online stock footage site to download free video clips. You can use multiple projects across any media worldwide.

Features:

Wide varieties of royalty-free video clips to meet your business needs

Compatible with various video editing software like Sony Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro X.

You can download 5 free elements every week

Motionelements was Founded in 2010

Provides 4000+ videos

Offers HD and 3D stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Animals, Animated Backgrounds, Beauty, and Wellness

Offers multiple file formats like GIF, AVI, and MOV

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Animals, Beauty, Buildings, Business, Characters, and Education

It provides customer support via Chat and Email

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $16.50 a month. 8% Discount on Yearly Payment.

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial 

30-Days Free Trial

Bigstockphoto is a website that contains a wide variety of videos for commercial use. It allows you to choose license types according to the model released for editorial or non-editorial use.

Feature:

You can search the most popular, relevant, or new videos.

The result can be filtered by resolution and keyword.

Bigstockphoto was Founded in 2004

Provides 48731 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Backgrounds, People, Food, Travel, Business & Technology, and Abstract

Offers multiple file formats like MOV, AVI, and MP4

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers High quality images and illustrations

It provides customer support via Chat, Email, and Phone

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $35 a month.

Free Trial: 15-Days Free Trial

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123RF is a stock content agency. It has a collection of videos that are checked for legal and model issues. The website of this company supports English, Dutch, French, and more languages.

Feature:

You can get clips related to beauty, education, animals, abstract, lifestyle, etc.

You can customize a plan for your team or business.

123RF was Founded in 2005

Provides 404944 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Business, Education, Food, Animals, Celebration, Family, Healthcare, and Babies

Offers multiple file formats like MOV, WMV, MP4, AVI, and M2TS

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Fast And Hassle Free

It provides customer support via Chat, Email, Phone and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $0.59 a month.

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

Life Time Free Basic Plan

Pond5 is a New York-based website for downloading royalty-free videos. It is one of the best stock footage subscription platform that has a large collection of stock footage. You can share downloaded files with others.

Feature:

Thousands of videos are added daily.

You can upload your own video to see similar footage.

Uploaded videos can be filtered by composition or color.

Pond5 helps you to find videos, TV series, and more.

It provides integration for all major video editing software.

This organization provides footages for celebration, lifestyle, Animal, business, and more.

Pond5 was Founded in 2006

Provides 4039093 videos

Offers 5K+, HD (1080), HD (720), 2k, SD, 3D, and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Animals, Sports & Fitness, Medical & Health, Agriculture, Nature, Business & Tech, Aerials, and People & Lifestyle

Offers multiple file formats like MOV, MP4, and M2TS

Provides No watermark videos, 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Account-Based Marketing, Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Customer Data Platform, and more

It provides customer support via Chat, Email, Phone and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $25 a month. 10% Discount on Yearly Payment.

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

30-Days Free Trial

8) Depositphotos

Features:

Depositphotos enables you to search your desire video with no hassle.

It provides support through live chat.

This website is available in numerous languages, including English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and more.

Stock video footage site has easy signup process.

Depositphotos was Founded in 2009

Provides 27101 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Month, Flag, Car, Earth, Wolf, and Puppy

Offers multiple file formats like JPEG

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Digital Asset Management, Digital Experience Platforms, Enterprise Content Management, Headless CMS, and more

It provides customer support via Chat, Email, Phone and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows, iOS, and Android

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

9) Pexels

Pexels offers high quality and free stock videos. It allows you to put your photos and videos in front of millions of visitors and promote your website, blog, or social media profile.

Features:

Help millions of people to find videos for their website, blog, product, or book cover.

Offers high-quality free stock videos

Easily create and manage your portfolio

It helps millions of people for creating to develop beautiful products and designs.

Pexels was Founded in 2014

Provides 98900 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Peacock, Building, Forest, Technology, Moon, Nature, Flowers, and House

Offers multiple file formats like MOV

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Leaderboard and Free Stock Video Clips

It provides customer support via Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows, iOS, and Android

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

10) Pixabay

Pixabay offers a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright-free i video clips. It is one of the best free video download sites that allows you to download royalty-free videos and also allows you to share your videos as a public domain with people all over the world.

Features:

Provide a fast search and a user-friendly interface.

Swipe through search results.

It allows you to download and share videos of all sizes directly.

Pixabay was Founded in 2010

Provides 891+ videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like nature, wallpaper, rain, money, anime, sea, car, and animals

Offers multiple file formats like MPEG, MP4, MPG, MOV/QT, and AVI

Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers photos, illustrations, vectors, sound effects, music, and GIFs

It provides customer support via Email and Phone

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

11) Videezy

Videezy is a free stock video site that provides a growing collection of high-quality footage that makes filmmaking easy and affordable.

Features:

It allows you to browse by newest video.

Provide support to filter videos by category

It offers a wide range of animation and After Effects templates

You can interact with other creative filmmakers

Videezy was Founded in 1984

Provides 4209+ videos

Offers SD, Ultra HD, HD, and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Nature and Water

Offers multiple file formats like MOV and MP4

Provides No watermark videos, 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Time and Cost saving

It provides customer support via Phone and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows and Mac

Price: Plans start at $19 a month.

Free Trial: 7-Days Free Trial

12) Motionarray

Motionarray site allows you to download thousands of templates, royalty-free stock videos, music, etc.

Features:

Realtime, frame-accurate feedback from your clients.

Enhance videos with unique transitions and effects

Create a stunning video portfolio website

Motionarray was Founded in 2013

Provides 212785 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Overlay, Background, Technology, People, Business, Nature, and Health

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It provides customer support via Chat, Email, and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $20.83 a month. 10% Discount on Yearly Payment.

Free Trial: 30-Days Free Trial

Features:

This website provides various categories to download videos.

It allows you to find videos according to camera types.

You can sort out videos by name, oldest, newest, activity, etc.

Provides 93171 videos

Offers HD, 3D, and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like music, art, game, canon, timelapse, camera, and movie

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Offers Unlimited Storage, Ad-Free Browsing, Ability to upload unlimited non-public content, Advanced Stats, and Partner Discounts

It provides customer support via Email and Contact Form

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

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14) ISO Republic

ISO Republic is an independent website that offers great collections of the best high-resolution videos and photos.

Features:

The site offers to offer highly curated collections of stock images and videos

Offer high-quality free stock videos under a generous CC0 license

Allows you to download, use it for personal and commercial projects.

ISO Republic was Founded in 2014

Provides 100+ videos

Offers HD stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like People, Nature, Food, Technology, Business, and Travel

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It provides customer support via Email and Contact Form

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Price: Request a Quote from Sales

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15) Mixkit

Mixkit website provides an extensive collection of stock videos from many different categories. All the clips are free and of high quality.

Features:

You can sign up for a newsletter for the need clips uploaded every week.

High-quality videos to download and use for your projects.

Allows you to combine your content with high-quality free video

Clip previews on hover

Ready to use videos in a personal and commercial project

Continually growing our community of contributors.

Mixkit was Founded in 2023

Provides 38000 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Nature, Lifestyle, Animals, Food, Transport, and Business

Offers multiple file formats like MP4

Provides No watermark videos, 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Text editor, in-built auto-resize tool, customizable layouts, visual assets, and branded preset

It provides customer support via Email

Supported platforms: Windows and Mac

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Free Trial: 7-Days Free Trial

16) Mazwai

Features:

Continuously expanding their library of free content,

If you would like to contribute, you need to be sure that all of our content is safe to use.

Footages are handpicked to ensure the highest level of quality

Mazwai was Founded in 2009

Provides 14646375 videos

Offers HD and 4K stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Timelapse, Beach, Nature, Sky, Sunset, People, Stars, and Ocean

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Provides 4K Videos, Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers Free stock video clips, Hand-picked by experts, and Simple & safe licensing

It provides customer support via Email

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Plans start at $9.99 a month.

Free Trial: Life Time Free Basic Plan

17) Coverr

Coverr offers a wide range of free clips for a website homepage or Facebook. You can search its library of clips or wait for the new ones uploaded every Monday.

Features:

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Upload the video to your website.

Add the following snippets.

Coverr was Founded in 2024

Provides 100+ videos

Offers HD stock videos

Provides multiple category videos like Nature, People, Love & Relationships, Business & Work, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness, Pets & Animals, and Food & Drink

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Provides Drone Footage, and Royalty Free videos

Offers customer support via Email

Supported platforms: Windows

Price: Request a Quote from Sales

Free Trial: 14-Days Free Trial

Stock videos are small clips or shots that can be reused in larger video production. These video clips are shot for a general purpose so that they seamlessly fit in most videos and can be used in a variety of concepts and video projects. These stock videos are used in video projects and films for storytelling purposes.

Below are some of the best stock video sites:

Adobe Stock

Videvo

iStock

MotionElements

Bigstockphoto

Here is how you can download stock videos without watermarks:

Step 1) Open any browser and visit any of the above-listed stock video sites you like

Step 2) Now, type the search query for a video you want to download using the search bar given and hit Enter

Step 3) It will show the results that match your search query

Step 4) Now, scroll through the results and find a free video that you need by watching the preview of the video

Step 6) Your video will be downloaded to your system without a watermark

Best Free Stock Video Download Websites

Name Features Supported Platforms Free Trial Link

Adobe Stock

• Video Loops Windows and Mac 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Videvo

• Sound Effects Windows Life Time Free Basic Plan Learn more

iStock

• Abstract Video Windows 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Motionelements

• Motion Graphics Windows 30-Days Free Trial Learn more

Bigstockphoto • Offers multiple file formats like MOV, AVI, and MP4 Windows 15-Days Free Trial Learn more

Robinhood Defends Stock Block

Robinhood defends stock block – Updates on GameStop, AMC & other trades reopening

Robinhood has defended its decision to block users from buying GameStock, AMC, BlackBerry and other stock today, a controversial move that the trading platform said it plans to ease from Friday. The limit, applied earlier on Thursday, meant that Robinhood users were unable to buy more of the highly-volatile shares – which included $AMC, $KOSS, $NOK, #GME, and others – but could still sell them from their portfolio.

It followed a rollercoaster ride for a handful of otherwise uninspiring stock over the past few days. Fueled by Reddit – and the r/WallStreetBets forum specifically – investors drove the price of GameStock and other shares up exponentially. In the process, they pushed a hedge fund with a short position in the retailer nearly into bankruptcy.

Similar moves were made around Bed Bath & Beyond, American Airlines, BlackBerry, Castor Maritime, and others, with the shortlist selected primarily because they were stock hedge funds short sellers had identified. On Wednesday, most of the popular trading platforms and apps, including TD-Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, E-Trade, and Fidelty, suffered some form of downtime or system instability, with traders unable to access their accounts or complete trades.

Today, though, the situation escalated. Citing “significant market volatility,” Robinhood decided to restrict transactions for some of the targeted stock. That list included $AAL, $AMC, $BB, $BBBY, $CTRM, $EXPR, $GME, $KOSS, $NAKD, $NOK, $SNDL, $TR, and $TRVG. Individual traders found themselves unable to buy, only sell, though the bigger players in the finance industry saw no such limitations.

It was enough to catch the attention of lawmakers, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among others calling for Robinhood to be investigated by the US government’s Financial Services Committee. Now, Robinhood has defended its decision.

“Amid this week’s extraordinary circumstances in the market, we made a tough decision today to temporarily limit buying for certain securities,” the company wrote in a blog post. “As a brokerage firm, we have many financial requirements, including SEC net capital obligations and clearinghouse deposits. Some of these requirements fluctuate based on volatility in the markets and can be substantial in the current environment. These requirements exist to protect investors and the markets and we take our responsibilities to comply with them seriously, including through the measures we have taken today.”

For investors hoping to continue using their Robinhood accounts to trade those particular stocks, they’ll have to wait until the market opens on Friday. “Starting tomorrow, we plan to allow limited buys of these securities,” Robinhood confirmed. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation and may make adjustments as needed.”

As for accusations that Robinhood was working on behalf of the big hedge funds, or other conspiracy theories that have unsurprisingly popped up in the aftermath of the “meme trading” phenomenon, the company denies that. “To be clear, this was a risk-management decision, and was not made on the direction of the market makers we route to,” Robinhood insists. “We’re beginning to open up trading for some of these securities in a responsible manner.”

What Exactly Is Stock Android?

Stock Android, also called “vanilla” Android, is the most basic version of the Android operating system available. Stock Android devices run the core kernel of Android as designed and developed by Google. It’s typically distinguished by the lack of carrier-installed programs. For example, a stock Android phone on Verizon’s network will not include Verizon-installed apps. For many users removing this bloatware is a huge incentive, allowing them to regain control over their devices.

Stock Android is also typically not reskinned or redesigned by the phone’s manufacturer (OEM). For example, Sony runs a close-to-stock version of Android on most of their phones but reskins the OS to meet their design specifications. For an example of a heavily-reskinned OS, check out Samsung’s modified version of Android, called TouchWiz, or HTC’s own customized version of Android. It’s a huge departure from stock Android’s design language which may or may not be a turnoff.

Because Android is open source, OEMs and carriers can take huge liberties with core functionalities of the operating system. This is both a strength and a weakness. Android’s customization is a huge appeal for many users. Cheaply-licensed versions of the OS allow for cheap, powerful handsets. But it also means that carriers and manufacturers can make decisions that consumers don’t like and have no power to change. Stock Android frees you from all of that. You can experience Android the way it was “meant to be” without carrier or OEM interference.

Benefits of Stock Android

Running a stock or close-to-stock version of Android can accrue a number of benefits to the user.

Reclaimed storage space: stock Android removes carrier-installed apps from your device. As a result, you’ll reclaim some storage space for your own use.

Greater control over your device: removing bloatware provides greater control over what is on your device and what your device does.

Improved performance (maybe): carriers don’t always do a great job writing their apps. Poorly-written software slows your phone down and drains your battery.

Faster OS updates: most stock Android phones will get access to Android updates more quickly than their carrier counterparts. Mobile carriers have developed a well-deserved reputation for slow-rolling Android phone owners on OS updates. This often means long delays between official release of a new Android version and availability on carrier devices. Stock Android users don’t need to wait for carriers to modify and reskin Android for their phones. As a result the update can often be installed as soon as its available. This is especially true of Google’s Nexus devices and Google Play edition handsets, which are sold around the premise of immediate updates to their stock Android OS.

Consistent design: designers build stock Android to be visually consistent. When carriers reskin or modify a comportment of the operating system, it often breaks that consistent design language. This can lead to a cluttered, messy feel.

Greater customization: it’s often easier for users running stock Android to root and customize their devices. Without carrier-imposed hurdles to leap, developers and modders have a little more freedom. One of Android’s biggest appeals is deep capability for customization, especially when compared to iOS’ locked-down ecosystem. Stock Android devices allow for more of that, and ROMs and launchers can be more powerful and easier to install.

Conclusion

If you want more control over your device’s functionality and update cycle, stock Android is amazing. You might forgo some unique carrier features or designs, but on balance you’ll be getting a phone with more storage space and faster operation.

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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Daily Authority: Xiaomi’S Marketing 📉

To keep costs down, Xiaomi skimped on the IP rating, went for a cheaper plastic build, left out wireless charging, and started the base model with 8GB/128GB at €649 (~$650, before tax).

Depending on your region, it does battle with the likes of the vanilla OnePlus 9 ($649), Motorola Edge ($699), iPhone 13 ($699) and the Galaxy S21 FE, whenever Samsung finally launches that in the next few weeks or so.

Reviews are out already and they’re only ok. 

The 11T Pro looks like a powerful set of components that don’t quite stack together thanks to a middling camera and cheap build feel.

Verdict: “Xiaomi aimed high with the 11T Pro, but didn’t quite reach its target. The phone has plenty going for it, such as a gorgeous display, top performance, and blazing fast charging, but the cameras are middling and there are several missing features that hurt its overall appeal.” 

The non-phone weirdness:

The proximity of the launch to Apple’s event by a day made Xiaomi’s already clumsy marketing feel wildly off-piste.

Xiaomi is odd in that it is really really good at solid, value-packed smartphones, and flagships that tick plenty of boxes.

But marketing is not at all its strength. Its best marketing efforts are its prices, not its launches. 

Xiaomi confusingly showed more than half a dozen short films. 

It said the word “Cinemagic” (Cinema Magic) more than a dozen times as its tagline for the 11T series.

Xiaomi showed off a collaboration with French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld.

Supermodel Coco Rocha posed with the Mi 11 Lite NE in a one-minute long video.

None of it really felt like it belonged or worked cohesively.

I spent a lot of time wondering why this was Xiaomi’s approach. Obviously, Xiaomi is going for the marketing effect of brand aspiration; it’s not focusing exclusively on Hollywood moviemakers and fashionistas and so on to buy its phone.

A basic marketing tenet is to associate with glamor, to make people start to believe your phone is better and more valuable. 

It’s social psychology, celebrity effect, and so on.

So, Xiaomi thought to associate its brand with Hollywood and fashion; not so much the nerds and geeks wondering if a phone has an IP rating.

Apple manages this without feeling like it’s trying. 

Xiaomi felt like it was much wider off the mark.

Also: Xiaomi’s new Pad 5 tablet has gone global, will launch in Europe for €349.

Roundup

💵 Apple’s premium smartphone success in the $800+ and $400+ market is leaving Samsung behind (Android Authority).

🍟 Specs of Tensor chip in Google Pixel 6 sound like they’re here, but if so they’re confusing due to a mix of new and old CPU cores. Speaking of chips, Google sold potato chips in Japan for a moment (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple’s iPhone 13 event that barely mentioned 5G: 90 seconds in 80 minutes, despite last year’s major highlight of 5G. It proves how rocky it’s been (CNET).

📉 Hints that Oppo is struggling: Oppo has merged operations with OnePlus as we know, but it has downsized by 20% and cut key divisions (Bloomberg).

🛵 Electric scooter startup Gogoro, which has that swappable battery infrastructure, is going public via SPAC (The Verge).

🎸 Marshall unveils its first true wireless earbuds with ANC: $129 Minor III (Engadget).

💸 App Annie fined $10M in a case that shows how data was promised to be secret but ended up being “non-aggregated and non-anonymized data,” which in turn, allegedly allowed App Annie to make much better estimates by simply … knowing the answers despite saying it definitely wouldn’t do that (Gizmodo).

🤑 Also in insider trading scandals: A guy working at the biggest NFT marketplace bought NFTs he knew would feature prominently (The Block).

🥅 Google is getting caught in the global antitrust net (Wired).

🎮 Ex-Ubisoft devs open new studio, immediately diss Ubisoft (Kotaku).

🚀 SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has flown four more people — all private citizens — into space (Ars Technica).

👃 Wikipedia states: “The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosimin [the compound that we associate with the smell of rain], and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 400 parts per trillion.” How does that compare to other scents? (r/askscience)

I mean, we’re still in that era, sorry.

But things are getting better! 

News that Microsoft accounts can now go fully passwordless means we might finally be seeing a catalyst driver towards moving on.

Microsoft has been working toward a passwordless login and we’re finally here.

“Today is a major milestone for Microsoft’s passwordless ambitions, after the company enabled security keys in 2023 and made Windows 10 passwordless in 2023,” writes The Verge. 

“We have been rolling this out at Microsoft and nearly 100 percent of Microsoft is now passwordless,” says Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft security, compliance & identity. More than 200 million people are already using passwordless options.”

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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Windows 8: The Official Review

Reviewing an operating system is an odd endeavor, because people don’t really use operating systems; they use applications. The OS should be as transparent as possible, acting as a platform for applications. In today’s cloud-driven world, however, the notion that your application will run in a single OS is tenuous at best. Toss in the increasing use of smart devices, whether phones or tablets, and the idea of a single-platform operating system is less relevant now than it was just a few years ago. These days we have “ecosystems”—Microsoft, Apple, or Google, take your pick.

That said, PC users still expect their Windows applications to run as before, and they want to have the same control over their laptop and desktop computers as they’ve always had. New software features should enable users to do more. And as the reaction to the late, unlamented Windows Vista illustrated, all the shiny new bells and whistles should not harm performance or require new hardware.

Can Windows 8 meet its goal of being one aspect of a new Microsoft ecosystem while maintaining its roots in the PC? Can existing computers run Windows 8 without the need for expensive new touch displays? Will the revamped Windows 8 user interface turn off existing Windows users or pull them into the ecosystem? I’ll try to answer those questions and others as I dive deeply into Windows 8.

This review is based on the Windows 8 final release—what Microsoft calls the “release to manufacturing,” or RTM, version. The final release is available to Microsoft TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Desktop PCs, laptops, and tablets ship with Windows 8 preinstalled on the official launch day, October 26.

We ran Windows 8 on a moderately high-end desktop system along with a standard (nontouch) monitor, mouse, and keyboard. We also used a Samsung Series 9 laptop with an Elan touchpad supporting full multitouch gestures.

The Windows 8 user interface

Windows 8 tries to get you to tie your Windows login to your Microsoft account; it’s optional, but if you do link the two, the Windows login and password serve as your Microsoft account login and password. Enabling this link allows tighter integration with the remote and cloud-based features of the new OS.

As mentioned previously, Windows 8 is designed to be part of an ecosystem, alongside Windows Phone and Windows RT. Microsoft believes in this idea so strongly that it has made the Windows 8 user interface (formerly called Metro) the primary interface for Windows users. PCs with the new OS installed will boot into the Windows 8 interface; the OS offers no built-in way to set it to boot to the traditional Windows desktop.

All applications show up as tiles on the Windows 8 Start screen.

It’s important to realize that the Start screen is no more Windows 8 than the Start menu was Windows 7 or Windows XP. The screen exists as a launchpad for applications, not as a desktop replacement. That concept is easy to forget, since the Start screen occupies the entire display. Even so, Windows 8 apps consume the entire screen, whereas desktop applications can still run in a window on the desktop.

Live tiles are among the key features of the Windows 8 Start screen. While normal (non-live) tiles measure 150 by 150 pixels, most live tiles are double-wide (310 by 150 pixels) and display dynamic information. The People tile, for instance, shows you tweets and Facebook posts from your feeds, assuming that you’ve set them up. As you install apps from the Microsoft Store, more dynamic tiles may appear. Live tiles first appeared in a broad fashion in Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 updates, but will exist across all Microsoft platforms going forward.

Navigating the Start screen is easy. If you’re using a mouse with a wheel, moving the wheel scrolls left and right. If you’re using a touchpad, swiping left and right (with one finger) scrolls the tile list. You can drag individual tiles to any location.

Navigating the desktop

Microsoft now partitions applications into “Windows 8” apps (formerly known as “Metro” apps) and desktop applications. The latter are those programs we all know and love from previous versions of Windows, including Microsoft Office.

You cannot boot directly into the desktop, since Microsoft wants the Start screen to be users’ initial experience with Windows 8. For most people, this restriction may not be an issue, but certain vertical applications (specialized programs, such as those for point-of-sale PCs) need to boot directly into a desktop environment. Until Windows 8 versions of such programs become available, users requiring vertical applications should stick with earlier versions of Windows.

The desktop offers familiar shortcuts and pinned icons.

Connecting to networks is easier than ever, once you have installed the right drivers. Windows 8 enumerates and displays all of your networked devices—including DLNA devices, network folders you’ve set up, and other computers residing on the network—in any file manager window.

Ultimately, navigating the new desktop is similar to getting around the old version, but the absence of a full Start menu may throw you off at first. Using hotkeys, and customizing the desktop and Start screen, might help you become more comfortable in the short run. Once you get used to navigating the system, it’s as transparent as the old one—just different.

The touch experience

On the other hand, your next PC may very well have full ten-point multitouch support, even if it’s a stock desktop PC. Manufacturers are starting to ship desktop displays with touch capability; the first touch-enabled displays have built-in capacitive touch sensors, which work via a USB connection to the PC. Future touch displays might communicate through some flavor of wireless, including Bluetooth.

More likely candidates for built-in touch are mobile PCs, including traditional clamshell laptops and convertible units that you can transform into tablets, either by concealing the keyboard or by detaching the display, which can act independently as a tablet.

Windows 8 is a different experience with a touch-enabled display, even if you’re using such a display with a stock desktop system. At first, you don’t think you’ll use the touch capabilities. But then your kids come up and start touching the screen—after all, these days young users are growing up expecting displays to be touch-enabled. I’ve been running Windows 8 on a desktop PC equipped with an Acer T232HL touchscreen display, and although I use the mouse some of the time, I find myself reaching out to use gestures on the screen at other times.

As for other desktop-PC options, look to the emerging generation of all-in-one PCs, such as Sony’s 20-inch Tap 20 and the updated version of Lenovo’s A720, which are shipping with Windows 8. The Tap 20 is unusual in that it has a built-in battery, which allows you to move it around the home easily and use it as an oversize tablet.

SonySony Tap 20 All-in-One

Despite Windows 8’s new features, performance tweaks, and improvements over Windows 7, its touch support will likely be the defining factor. And despite some imperfections, the touch interface works smoothly. After you use it for a few days, the old way of using Windows will start to seem slightly cumbersome.

Windows 8 on tablets

One of the big reasons for the creation of Windows 8’s new Start screen is the emergence of tablets. Microsoft has tried and failed on several occasions to create a market for tablet PCs, but the models released during those attempts have always been clunky and difficult to use. The gargantuan success of Apple’s iPad—with its streamlined interface and its relentless focus on encouraging content consumption instead of serving as a general-purpose tool—seems to have clarified Microsoft’s goals.

Microsoft’s Surface comes in Pro and RT models.

Even so, Microsoft is planning to support two types of tablets. The first type, which resembles the company’s original Tablet PC concept, consists of convertible laptops running Windows 8. Even Microsoft’s Surface Pro is just a thinly disguised laptop that emphasizes touch interaction over keyboard input.

The second type will carry a slightly different flavor of Windows 8, dubbed Windows RT. This version runs only on tablets using ARM processors, rather than Intel or AMD processors. ARM doesn’t make its own hardware, but licenses its processor technology to other companies such as Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. These companies design system-on-chip (SoC) products, which typically consume very little power relative to their performance. (The iPad, for example, uses an ARM-based SoC that Apple designs and builds.)

Windows RT tablets will have a restricted version of Windows 8. Although such tablets will include the traditional desktop, you will have access to the desktop only on a limited basis, to run preinstalled applications such as Office. You will not be able to install desktop programs; instead, RT tablets will focus on the Windows 8 apps you buy through Microsoft’s Store.

In contrast, tablets with Intel-compatible processors can run the full PC version of Windows 8, and offer complete access to the desktop. They’ll probably cost more than RT tablets, too, as they’ll need broader expansion options, bigger batteries, and more memory. Intel-based tablets will almost certainly be heavier and bulkier, as well: For example, Surface Pro, which has an Intel Core i5 CPU, weighs about a half-pound more than Surface RT does.

The existence of two types of tablets on the market may end up confusing consumers, though the differences in price will likely drive shoppers in one direction or the other.

The Microsoft Store

Late to the game, Microsoft is adding a store to Windows, much like the marketplaces for Mac OS X, iOS, and Android. If you want to buy apps from the Microsoft Store, you need to create a Microsoft account.

In addition to playing tunes, the Xbox Music app sells songs.

Even more confusing, the app store is called just the “Store” while the music and video stores are named Xbox Music and Xbox Video. (Of course, both the Music app and the Video app are media playback tools as well, though they are less robust compared with Windows Media Player or the likes of iTunes. The new operating system’s lack of a unified Windows 8–style media player is a pretty significant hole.)

Navigating the Microsoft Store is similar to navigating the Start screen. Featured apps come in individual tiles, and are sorted by groups; each group also has a ‘Top Free’ tile and a ‘New releases’ tile. As of this writing, however, the Store listed only about 1000 apps, so Microsoft has a little catching up to do. The number of apps available at the official Windows 8 launch on October 26 will be more telling.

Personalizing Windows

If you don’t like Windows 8 out of the box, you can customize it, with some exceptions. Perhaps the most controversial exception (as mentioned earlier) is the fact that you can’t set Windows to boot directly to the desktop, though third-party utilities promise to enable this.

Since the Start screen consists of groups of tiles, moving your favorite or most commonly used tiles to the left side of the screen is pretty easy. You can also specify the tile size (normal or double-wide) and turn off live-tile updates if you find them distracting. In addition, you can group tiles by program type, such as business applications, games, and so on.

One configuration option that Microsoft has buried in the past is the startup configuration. In older versions of Windows, customizing which applications launched on startup required entering the Msconfig system-configuration utility. In Windows 8, you can select which applications launch at boot-up with the new Startup tab in Task Manager, which you can easily launch in the simplified Start menu.

The tile-based app store offers both free and paid items.

Desktop customization is also available, except for the obvious lack of Start-menu tweaks. The taskbar is present, as it was in Windows 7, and you can pin applications to it as before.

Graphics improvements

Nearly all of the desktop and Start-screen functionality now relies on acceleration from your machine’s graphics processing unit. Many of Windows 8’s windows subsystems use the DirectX API. HTML5 and SVG (scalable vector graphics) also depend on GPU acceleration, in the form of enhanced 2D geometry rendering. Applications tell Direct2D what to draw in the form of 2D objects, such as circles and rectangles, plus additional features such as color and style. The API converts the instructions into a format suitable for Direct3D, which passes the instructions to the GPU. As a result, normal desktop windows will likely see substantial performance increases.

Why, then, did Microsoft return to “flat” windows, eliminating the transparency and other 3D effects it used in previous editions of the OS? Direct2D and Direct3D will also work with Windows RT and Windows Phone 8, and removing the eye candy will help Windows perform equally well across diverse platforms.

Storage and file system

Windows 8 includes a new file system called ReFS (Resilient File System). It’s compatible with most NTFS file features, and, as the name suggests, it adds features to improve data integrity. Features left out include BitLocker, compression, and 8.3-format short filenames. What ReFS brings to the table is improved data verification and auto-correction: ReFS continually scans the file system, including rarely used older files, to ensure they haven’t become corrupted, repairing bad disk clusters and moving data as necessary. Note, however, that ReFS works only on secondary drives, not boot drives. Your boot drive will still be NTFS.

If you’re worried about encountering a problem that may force you to reinstall Windows, you’ll be pleased to learn that reinstalling Windows is now much easier; in fact, Windows 8 provides multiple levels of system repair.

The Reset option nukes the hard drive and reinstalls Windows from scratch. You can use this option to get the machine back to a factory-fresh Windows install, without the need for a new Windows key or the Windows setup disk.

If you prefer something less drastic, the Refresh option resets important Windows settings but maintains your personal files and installed Windows 8 apps. Note, though, that it doesn’t keep desktop applications, so you might wish to first uninstall or deregister software that will need reinstallation and activation.

Finally, you can customize the refresh process by using the “recimg” command-line tool. Using recimg makes an image of your current version of Windows—including installed desktop applications—and makes that the default image when you refresh your PC. Then, when you run Refresh, you’ll still reinstall Windows from scratch, but you’ll also retain your desktop applications. You will need to run recimg occasionally if you have desktop programs that you don’t want to reinstall all over again.

Windows 8 and SkyDrive

The new operating system ships with a Windows 8 app for the SkyDrive cloud-storage service. If you have a Microsoft account, you begin with 5GB of SkyDrive space.

Out of the box, SkyDrive shows up as a Windows 8 app, but it does not appear in the file manager on the desktop; to make that happen, you need to download and install the SkyDrive desktop application. Once you download the application, install it, and link it to your Microsoft account, both the Start screen and desktop become coupled to your SkyDrive.

Assuming that you’re logged in to your Microsoft account, SkyDrive is available as the default storage for many applications, but you can change that on a per-application basis. Of course, that default setting could cause you to consume your 5GB allotment of free storage pretty quickly. An additional 20GB costs $10 per year, while 100GB costs $50 per year.

SkyDrive can serve as the default storage for many apps.

SkyDrive has several important drawbacks that for many users may make it less viable than local hard-drive storage or competing cloud services. First, it imposes a 2GB limit on individual files, so the high-definition video you took of, say, your child’s soccer match might not copy to your SkyDrive if it’s bigger than 2GB. Second, Microsoft restricts the types of files you may upload: Illegally copied commercial content is prohibited, and so are files that contain nudity or excessive violence.

Microsoft has been vague when asked for the specifics of how it defines and detects prohibited content. Although it’s understandable that the company would ban the uploading of illegal content, Microsoft’s decision to serve as a moral authority on prohibited private material seems excessive.

Microsoft Office integration

Microsoft Office 2013, still in beta at this writing, is more tightly tied to Windows 8 than any previous version of Office was to any older OS. Like Windows 8, Office 2013 is closely coupled with SkyDrive: If you sign in with Office to your Microsoft account, you can specify SkyDrive as Office’s default storage location. This arrangement is handy if you’re constantly moving between a home system, a laptop, and a work computer.

Office 2013 is closely tied with both Windows 8 and SkyDrive.

Bottom line

Windows 8 is almost here, and system makers are readying new models. Some will be touch enabled or otherwise optimized for Windows 8, while others will be similar to existing PCs. For some time, PC sales have been down, partly because everyone has been waiting to see what Windows 8 will be like on new systems. Although we’ve delved into the RTM version, and we like what we see, the success of Windows 8 will depend on how rapidly customers adopt the new user interface and the hardware to support it.

Under the hood, Windows 8 offers performance improvements, a new file system, easier recovery from system problems, better cloud integration, and numerous minor enhancements. However, the Start screen seems to overshadow all the cool new stuff. Although admittedly the original Start menu created some controversy when it launched years ago, Windows 8’s Start screen seems much more polarizing. Toss in Microsoft’s overly aggressive stance in trying to sell apps and content, and some users will likely rebel. Of course, you can avoid much of that hard sell simply by using a local account rather than tying your Windows account to a Microsoft account. But in doing that, you’d miss a lot of what’s intriguing about Windows 8.

In some ways, Windows 8 also highlights Microsoft’s tribal nature; for example, “Xbox Music” stands alone as its own thing, rather than as part of the Microsoft Store. Internal company differences shouldn’t confuse users, as some of these moves probably will.

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is ushering in a new era of cloud-connected Microsoft services, a unified user interface, and more-robust social media interaction. Younger users may find Windows 8 more attractive than some old-school computer users will. It’s a risk that Microsoft needed to take to try to remain relevant in today’s connected, mobile world. Only time will tell whether it’s the right risk at the right time.

Windows 8 isn’t for everyone. If you’re mostly a desktop PC user comfortable with Windows 7, upgrading to Windows 8 is probably not worthwhile. If you’re a mobile user who needs easy access to the complete Microsoft ecosystem, including SkyDrive, Windows 8 is definitely a good fit. If your needs lie somewhere between those two extremes, give Windows 8 a close look; the cost is low, but you’ll need to learn your way around the new Start screen and make sure that your existing software runs well in the new OS.

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