Latest Technology News

Upgrade your remote with the Logitech Harmony trade-in program


For those with a fair amount of entertainment gear in their home there's perhaps no better solution than a universal remote control. Several are on the market, but for "bang for the buck" most choose Harmony Logitech now owns the company and recently it has begun doing some upgrades of the product line. The handheld devices don't come cheap, so getting a deal is important to many users.

That deal is now out there waiting for buyers. Today Logitech announces a deal spanning the month of March that will allow customers to bring in old remotes and get a discount on an upgrade.

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Forget that cloak Harry Potter, AVG announces invisibility glasses


Let's be clear right off the bat, you won't be slipping these glasses on and disappearing from the people around you, though there are times you may want to. However the name of the new product from AVG lends itself to these comparisons, though the actual glasses are a bit different from what the imagination conjures up.

So what does this product from AVG Innovation Labs actually do? The security firm claims it can protect your identity in this new era of cameras everywhere. It's not as tin-foil hat as it sounds -- we've seen malware that can activate cameras on phones and computers, security cameras in public abound and we'd be hard-pressed to leap to any conclusion that says the NSA and others aren't also doing this.

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SanDisk announces 200GB Ultra Premium Edition microSDXC card at MWC 2015


Slowly but surely, microSD is replacing SD. While most consumer and professional cameras use the larger SD format, smartphones, tablets and other electronics are embracing the smaller. This makes sense, as a smaller card meanss a smaller reader, which in turns means less of a footprint when manufacturing an electronic device.

Today, SanDisk sets the world's collective hearts aflutter with the 200GB Ultra Premium Edition microSDXC card. If you are planning to pick up the new HTC One M9, this should probably work with it. Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge? Not so much.

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Microsoft says Windows Phone experiencing 'impressive growth' -- wait, what!?


Windows Phone is a failure. Of course, the term "failure" is subjective, so let me explain. Very few consumers are buying them compared to Android and iPhone, and very few developers are creating apps for it. Yes, some people are buying them, and some talented developers are developing, but "some" does not make a success.

Ultimately, on all platforms -- desktops, mobile devices, game consoles, etc. -- it is the apps and games that move the hardware. Right now, there are no killer apps on Windows Phone compared to Android or iOS. In other words, what is the benefit of using Windows Phone to the average consumer? There arguably is none. Today, Microsoft chooses to proclaim that the platform is seeing "impressive growth". Like "failure", the word "impressive" is subjective, but I think everyone can agree, nothing about Microsoft's mobile platform is currently impressive.

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Smartphones hit 7 inches as Huawei announces MediaPad X2

Smartphones hit 7 inches as Huawei announces MediaPad X2

The announcements are coming thick and fast from MWC 2015 in Barcelona. As well as the Huawei Watch, Huawei also announced the MediaPad X2. As you might guess from the name, this is a tablet, but dual SIM support means that it is essentially a gigantic smartphone with no less than 7 inches of screen to play with.

And it's more than just the dimensions that are supersized -- the 2.0 GHz Kirin930 64 bit octa-core packs quite a punch. Being a brand new device, it's little surprise that Android 5.0 Lollipop is found pre-installed, and this is supplemented by the third version of Huawei's own Emotion UI. But there is much more to this phone/tablet crossover -- perhaps the first device to genuinely justify the horrific portmanteau phablet.

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HP takes on Apple Macbook Air with new Spectre x360


Ever since Apple introduced it's ultra-thin and light laptop competitors have been popping up with efforts to trump the notebook. While this competition has been good for the market, and hence consumers, there's little doubt that Apple's offering continues to be the standard for many people. The latest to step up to the plate is HP, announcing its version of an ultrathin device.

The company is touting a wealth of statistics, though how it all works will be for the consumers to decide. However those interested don't have long to wait -- in fact it can be purchased direct from HP today and will hit Best Buy shelves on March 15th.

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There's something HTC should learn from the M9 launch

HTC One M9_Silver_Left

Some advice for HTC and other mobile device makers: You need to adapt your PR strategy to the modern web. Seeding devices to so-called professional reviewers is a lose-lose strategy. There you should take cues from Motorola, which marketing strategy, while by no means perfect, depends more on the many rather than the few.

Today, as expected, the HTC One M9 launched on Mobile World Congress Day 0. I am struck by two early reviews, which couldn't be more different in their assessment—and one surely is quite damaging to perceptions about the smartphone: "HTC One M9 hands-on: Improved craftsmanship, camera, and HTC Sense are compelling" by Matthew Miller for ZDNet and "HTC’s One M9 is the world’s most beautiful disappointment" by Vlad Savov for The Verge. Miller had the device for a day and Savov for a week. Neither narrative is ideal for HTC, although ZDNet's is closer to identifying benefits that matter, as opposed to The Verge highlighting features that aren't.

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Huawei Watch could be the first smartwatch you actually want to wear

Huawei Watch could be the first smartwatch you actually want to wear

At MWC 2015, Chinese manufacturer Huawei announced its first foray into Android Wear. The company unveiled the rather predictably-named Huawei Watch today, and it's already got tongues wagging around the world. The screen is a 1.4 inch, 400 x 400 pixel AMOLED affair which is, importantly, completely round.

Packing 286 pixels per inch, the Sapphire crystal screen has a higher resolution than the Watch Urbane launched by LG today. The stainless steel case gives the watch a quality look and feel, and the device boasts a bevy of on-board sensors for tracking different activities. What is likely to prove the Huawei Watch's key to success, however, is the fact that it so closely resembles the look of a regular watch.

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Samsung announces Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and Samsung Pay at MWC 2015


Mobile World Conference 2015 is here, and the news is coming fast and furious. The most anticipated announcement, however, has been Samsung's Galaxy S6. As expected, the smartphone is here, but so is its more beautiful sibling, the S6 Edge. Potentially more important though, is Samsung Pay -- a mobile payment system to rival Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Unfortunately for Samsung, pundits and analysts have been talking all doom and gloom for the company, something else Apple has had to face. Much like Apple, the analysts are dead-wrong to count out Samsung in the mobile market. Quite frankly, the Android market is the Samsung market -- no other brand of smartphone is more ubiquitous in public. So are these announcements enough? Are they enough to finally make the doom and gloom pundits zip their lips?

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HTC unveils One M9 Android smartphone, Grip wearable, and Vive virtual reality mask

HTC One M9_Gunmetal_3V

HTC is the company many Android-purists root for. Besides the Nexus line of device (which HTC has participated), going with HTC gets you a fairly stock experience with some useful additions. Its "One" line has been massively popular with both users and the media, thanks to its great performance and solid build quality. Just feeling the metal in your hands lets you know thought and care went into the design.

Today, HTC announces an all-new addition to its smartphone lineup; the One M9. This is an evolutionary upgrade from the M7 and M8, which finally drops the controversial dual-rear-camera design. While this smartphone was expected, some other new hardware was not -- HTC also announces a wearable called "Grip" and a VR-headset called "Vive".

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Lenovo announces new Android and Windows tablets at MWC 2015

TAB 2 A10_7

Lenovo is a manufacturer under a lot of scrutiny right now. While the Superfish debacle may be fresh on your mind, the company is much more than that onetime mistake. The company's hardware is legendary; well built and respected by both home users and the enterprise alike. The company has since apologized and vowed to stop loading bloatware on machines. In other words, while Superfish was bad, the fallout is benefiting consumers, as the new PC experience will be improved. Kudos to the company for learning from its mistakes and actually improving as a result.

Moving beyond mistakes, Lenovo is at Mobile World Conference 2015, where it is announcing new products. Today, the company announces three new tablets; one is running Windows 8.1, while the other two are running Android. Which OS do you prefer on a tablet?

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Thousands of online accounts fall victim to Chinese censorship

Thousands of online accounts fall victim to Chinese censorship

Censoring of the web in China is nothing new. Services like Gmail often find they are blocked, and there are constant battles on both sides of the Great Firewall of China to get information in and out of the country. The most recent battleground has been online usernames, and new regulations have come into force that dictate what is acceptable, and what is not.

China has long tried to force internet users to use their real names online and just before the new regulations took effect, more than 60,000 online accounts were deleted because they failed to comply. The Cyberspace Administration of China said that big names including Alibaba and Baidu had removed the accounts which infringed the guidelines for various reasons.

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IKEA announces furniture with integrated wireless charging for phones

IKEA announces furniture with integrated wireless charging for phones

Starting in April, IKEA will start to sell furniture with integrated Qi wireless charging points. The Scandinavian flat-pack furniture store, famous for the likes of the BILLY bookcase, plans to launch a range of home furnishing in North America and Europe, before extending the rollout worldwide.

You might expect that sofas would be a natural home for wireless charging -- just pop your smartphone on the arm so it can power up while you watch your favorite shows -- but in fact it is tables, desk and, surprisingly, lamps which will boast the feature. It's not just phones like the Galaxy Note 3 and Nexus 5 that can take advantage of wireless power, but also tablets like the Nexus 7.

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Windows 8.x still nowhere near as popular as Windows XP

New Windows shrug

It’s fair to say, Windows 8.x has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to usage share. While it’s never been a popular operating system (quite the opposite in fact), share has gone up and down, with gains one month being wiped out by losses the following month.

NetMarketShare’s monthly usage share figures provide a decent guide as to how Microsoft’s tiled OS is doing, and it’s usually pretty interesting, although February was a fairly unexciting month.

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Google, mobile and the next billion

Photo credit: ljh images / Shutterstock

The change in Google's narrative over the past few months has been very interesting to watch. The recent "Peak Google" proclamations remind me of Facebook's post-IPO narrative in 2012. Conventional wisdom back then was that Facebook's decline was imminent as mobile was not a meaningful part of their revenue. Of course, Facebook's app install ads and other mobile initiatives disproved that narrative in short order.

Some observers even make it seem as though Google's growth has seen a major slowdown in 2014. Interestingly, both Google's revenue and operating profit growth accelerated in 2014. This isn't to say that mobile does not pose a challenge to Google. It does, but it is important to understand exactly what those challenges are and the way forward. By looking at Google's financial reports, their biggest challenge is a decline in operating margins. This has been triggered by increase in search advertising on mobile, which delivers lower CPCs. While consumers used search on PCs for more involved research on products/services, the interaction window for mobile search is shorter. Lower ad engagement led to fewer bids on keywords and consequently, lower CPCs and margins.

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