Latest Technology News

LG and Sony partner with Microsoft to save their Android devices

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There is something happening in the Android world -- consumers just aren't caring about the latest and greatest flagships like they used to. Even Samsung, once thought to be unstoppable, is facing declining sales. It almost seems as if consumers are fatigued to the upgrade cycle. While a new iPhone is a magical annual affair, the market is flooded with so many Android phones, it is hard to differentiate one from another. The major manufacturers are even starting to feel pressure from smaller companies such as OnePlus.

What are manufacturers such as Sony and LG supposed to do to make their smartphones stand out? Turn to Microsoft, apparently. Yes, both of those aforementioned manufacturers, plus a bunch of others, are turning to the Windows-maker in an effort to get Skype, Office and more pre-loaded on their devices. In other words, maybe Microsoft can save their device's from Google's perception-stranglehold and overall monotonous Android sales environment.

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Logitech begins adding older remotes to roster of home control devices

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There is perhaps no better purveyor of the universal remote than Logitech, which owns the Harmony brand. It's not necromancy, just solid engineering and hardware and software that just works. Perhaps that is why it has remained popular and Logitech has continued to improve things since taking over.

Now the company is stepping back a bit, but doing so in a good way, as it brings more home control to some of the older models via the Harmony Hub.

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My sister abandons Windows Phone

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Mobile apps do matter, otherwise my tech-savvy sister wouldn't be giving up one of the best smartphones on the market: Nokia Lumia Icon (which is the 930 internationally). She bought the handset from me last summer and from Day 1 praised the utility and usability of the user interface, attractive but sturdy design, and amazing hardware capabilities, which include the quality of images produced by the camera.

Nanette rang Thursday afternoon, explaining that she had reached the inflection point of frustration finding apps she wanted or absolutely needed. She wanted my advice about a replacement. Should she return to iPhone (Nan used the 4 before Icon) or get an Android? Her user story illuminates what can happen when someone entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem raises his or her head above ground and sniffs the Android and Apple air.

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Pets are destroying tech

Pets are destroying tech

"The dog ate it" is a classic excuse for failing to deliver homework, but a new study shows that it also explains a good deal of damage to various items of technology. You may well have dropped a phone in the toilet, smashed a tablet on the floor or accidentally obliterated a laptop screen, but it seems our furry friends are just as much to blame as us bipeds.

Figures released by insurance company SquareTrade show that in the last five years, pets in Europe have been responsible for the destruction of £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) worth of tech. British households have been hit with the highest pet vs tech bills, with cats, dogs and other domestic creature clocking up £358 million in damage.

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Fedora 22 is here -- Linux fans, get excited!

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The large number of active Linux distributions nowadays is problematic. While some will say more choice is a good thing, I must disagree in this regard. This can potentially overwhelm people that are Linux-curious, causing them to abandon their open source journey before it begins.

Quite frankly, beginners should only target two distros -- Ubuntu and Fedora. The former is the easier and more accessible of the two, but the latter is arguably better from a learning experience. Today, after a long wait, Fedora reaches version 22.

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Roku Search, Feed and new Roku 2 now available in the UK

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Roku, the small set-top box, has become wildly popular in recent times. It is also constantly adding new content via "channels" and trying to improve the hardware offerings as well. Now folks in the UK will get the latest improvements.

Roku Search is, perhaps, the biggest part of the announcement, as it allows customers to more easily locate the content they wish to watch. For the moment it only covers a few key channels -- Netflix, Snagfilms and Popcornflix -- but Roku plans to add many more channels in the future.

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Google starts to show tweets in search results

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Twitter has become more than just a soundboard for those looking to voice an opinion -- although obviously it is still that. It has morphed into a valuable resource for delivering information in real time. This is particularly useful when it comes to keeping up to date with breaking news.

Starting today Google will tap into this wealth of information for its search results. The feature is starting life in Google apps on iOS and Android mobile devices, but will spread its way around the world and to the desktop soon.

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1&1 Cloud Server offers scalable computing for smaller companies

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One of the problems for smaller businesses when specifying servers is that it's easy to be caught out by a sudden surge in traffic or need for extra capacity.

It can take time to ramp up capacity to cope during which you could be losing business. Hosting company 1&1 Internet has launched its new Cloud Server solution aimed at smaller businesses which offers flexibility and control along with a transparent pricing model.

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Everything you need to know about Microsoft's Cortana on iPhone and Android

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The newly announced Windows 10 Phone Companion App will let you link your Android or iOS devices to Windows 10, but that’s not all. It will also give users of those rival mobile operating systems access to Cortana. I’ve used both Siri and Cortana, and I much prefer Microsoft’s virtual assistant over Apple’s. Having access to both (or Cortana and Google Now, in the case of Android), is great news for consumers.

To make use of Cortana you’ll need to have Windows 10 installed on a PC, and the Cortana app for iOS or Android. These isn’t available yet, but Windows Insiders will be able to try out the Phone Companion app in a future Windows 10 Insider Preview Build which is set to arrive in the coming weeks.

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Elon Musk is afraid Larry Page might end up destroying the world

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When SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk recently said that with artificial intelligence we’re "summoning the demon", he wasn’t joking.

He was genuinely concerned about artificial intelligence turning against humanity, and according to a new book by Ashlee Vance, he still is.

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Windows 10 Phone Companion app is a game changer -- but will it kill Windows Phone?

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Windows 10 will run on a range of compatible devices, including PCs, hybrids, tablets, phones, Xbox One, HoloLens, and IoT hardware. Microsoft might be striving for ubiquity, but it knows when it comes to mobile, that the vast majority of people will continue to use Android or iOS phones and tablets.

Announced today, Microsoft’s Phone Companion for Windows 10 App, will let those users access content from whatever device they choose, and also give them access to Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

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Sony announces Xperia Z3+: Just another flagship

Waterproof credentials of Sony Xperia Z3+ shown in Copper Gold

While the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung all have new flagship smartphones for 2015, Sony is still trying to sway consumers with last year's Xperia Z3. While it is not exactly dated, it is showing its age in a time when the competition is rocking newer and more impressive hardware, as well as more attractive designs.

So how is Sony answering? The Japanese maker has decided that the flagship it needs to compete against rivals like G4 and Galaxy S6 is actually a rebranded version of the Japan-only Z4 that it unveiled in mid-April. Sony is either crazy or dropping out of the race.

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Berkeley robot BRETT uses 'deep learning' to complete tasks on its own

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Humans understand feedback and they seek improvement over numerous trials and errors. Robots, on the other hand, don’t. Robots only understand what’s hardcoded in their algorithms, essentially making them useless without getting direct input from humans. But recent advances are offering a major shift to that.

Meet BRETT, or Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks, which is capable of figuring many of the things out on its own without any assistance from a human. The robot is able to learn motor tasks through trial and error using a process which is quite similar to how we humans learn.

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Daimler and Qualcomm to introduce wireless charging in cars

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Car maker Daimler has announced that it’s partnering up with mobile tech company Qualcomm to bring wireless charging to mobile phones in cars, as well wireless charging to the vehicles themselves.

The move comes in time of increased pressure towards carmakers to downsize their engines due to tightening emission rules, Reuters writes in a report.

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Convert archives between formats with ArcConvert

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If you’re an experienced computer user then you probably don’t spend much time thinking about archive formats. You’ve just installed something like 7-Zip and are ready to extract whatever you find.

Not everyone is as well equipped, though, so if you’re sharing something like a .gz with others then it might be wise to convert it to a more basic .zip, first.

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