It has been often said that hardware specifications do not matter, yet nowadays people are still excited to see manufacturers going with the latest and greatest processors, lots of RAM, high-resolution displays and so on. When an impressive configuration is offered at a low price, such a handset is poised to get us talking. The Google Nexus 5 is a great example.
OnePlus is a new smartphone manufacturer that has followed this recipe to the letter. The One, that the company unveiled earlier today, is an Android handset that undercuts even the mighty Nexus 5, while bringing more to the table. OnePlus touts it as the "2014 flagship killer". Is that overselling it?
Following in the footsteps of most developers, in mid-October of last year Microsoft chose to release Remote Desktop apps on Android and iOS only, leaving its loyal Windows Phone users waiting. Considering the software giant is behind the tiled smartphone operating system, that was a strange call. After all, why would Microsoft not want Windows Phone to be a first-class citizen in the case of its own software?
Today that changes as Microsoft finally launches Remote Desktop in Windows Phone Store. The first publicly available build sees the app labeled as a "Preview", which means there is still work to be done until the client can be considered ready for prime time. Casting more doubt over Microsoft's Windows Phone strategy, Remote Desktop is solely compatible with Windows Phone 8.1, which was barely announced and has yet to officially make its way to compatible smartphones.
Windows Phone 8.1 signals that Microsoft is now finally committed to turning its smartphone operating system into a powerful rival, and viable alternative, to Android and iOS. Gone are the days when essential features were demanded yet completely ignored in the next major update. No more apologies are needed. Users are now finally getting what they have long asked for, and then some. Yes, finally.
Coming from Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1 feels like a huge improvement. When the software upgrade officially rolls out, I suspect many users will have a "wow" moment upon experiencing the new features, and the benefits they bring to the table, for the first time. I know I did. You can blame its unimpressive predecessor for that.
In late-2012, Google released Chrome Remote Desktop, allowing users of the popular browser to provide and receive remote assistance. The feature has been especially useful to those who rely on Chromebooks, which have a much more limited app selection compared to traditional PCs where many tools, like TeamViewer, are available for such tasks.
Now, Google brings Chrome Remote Desktop to Android. Unlike on PCs where the feature can be added to the browser, this tool is a standalone app, designed for both phones and tablets.
Microsoft has had a rather lax policy when it comes to providing Windows updates, allowing users to receive patches, for a long period of time, even without having the latest service pack applied. That changes with Windows 8.1, as the software giant has revealed installing Update becomes mandatory to apply future updates that will be rolled out starting this May's Patch Tuesday.
This move gives Microsoft more leverage than ever before, as the software giant now has a real chance of convincing Windows 8.1 users to more quickly apply Update. But, businesses, which have had trouble getting Update through WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), are getting a reprieve.
Even though technology has advanced tremendously in recent times, smartphone theft or loss continues to be an area which has received little attention from the big players in the industry. And, it is not difficult to see why, as they stand to profit from people's misfortune or mistakes.
While we can track smartphones and delete any personal data remotely, most handsets do not have a kill switch, which means the people who stole or found a handset may be able to use it freely. However, that is set to change, as CTIA has revealed top players in the mobile industry have, finally, decided to fight on behalf of consumers, by employing countermeasures.
The displays of mid-range and high-end laptops have reached a point when distinguishing pixels is no longer easy. We can thank high resolutions for that. Nowadays, even small laptops can tote 1080p, and some offer even more than that. Manufacturers can start focusing on other aspects, as any improvements in this area are purely incremental. And, there is only so much the human eye can see, after all. (But, we can all enjoy battery life improvements, for instance.)
Toshiba has not yet given up on competing in the specs race though, as it just unveiled a new laptop, called Satellite P55t, sporting a display resolution of 3840 by 2160, commonly referred to as 4K. The new offering has a price to match the prowess of its 15.6-inch screen, as it costs $1,499 when it goes on sale later this month, on April 22. That is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
Microsoft has trouble convincing Windows users to upgrade to newer versions of the operating system, even when the update is free of charge. Windows 8 still has a larger market share than Windows 8.1, according to the latest NetMarketShare data, even though the latter is better and can be installed without paying a dime.
So that Windows 8.1 Update does not follow the same path, Microsoft has announced it will no longer make security patches compatible with Windows 8.1 installations which do not have Update applied. It is the new Microsoft, everyone.
After almost a year and a half of waiting, Microsoft has unveiled a new major update for its smartphone operating system. Windows Phone 8.1 is finally here, with myriad new features in tow. Noteworthy additions include support for a wider range of hardware configurations, a much-awaited notifications center, improvements to the browser, calendar, camera and email apps, enterprise-friendly enhancements, and a new personal assistant, to name a few.
And, just like Windows Phone 8 Update 3 which came before it, Windows Phone 8.1 is available through the Preview for Developers program. It was introduced by Microsoft, last year, in order to give developers and early adopters the opportunity to experience the latest iteration of the OS ahead of the public roll-out. Here is how you can leverage it to install Windows Phone 8.1.
Starting today, Windows Phone 8 users who have enrolled their smartphones in the Preview for Developers program will be able to get their hands on a vendor-untainted Windows Phone 8.1 build. Microsoft's Joe Belfiore revealed its limited availability a week ago, but without providing any precise release date at the time.
As I am writing this article, the process is now well underway on my Nokia Lumia 920 and a Lumia 520, both of which were enrolled in the program last year. It seems to take quite a bit of time, as the operating system is preparing everything for the upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1. Prior to installing the much-awaited build, an update has to applied first.
At the Build conference earlier this month, Microsoft announced developers will finally be able to release "universal" Windows and Windows Phone apps. Alongside this welcome addition, the software giant also introduced a unified pricing scheme.
It removes any differences in price points between Windows Store and Windows Phone Store apps, the former of which can now cost as little as $0.99 or $1.29. Microsoft says "apps priced in this range represent 55 percent of Windows Phone paid transactions today", so it makes sense to make Windows Store offerings more attractive by lowering the cost barrier. The change went into effect this weekend, and, as the software giant says, "your app prices may have changed as a result".
Announced on February 24 at the Unpacked 5 event, the Galaxy S5 is Samsung's new Android flagship smartphone. It officially launches today in 125 countries across the globe, that includes major markets like US, Europe and Asia.
The Galaxy S5, much like its popular predecessors, comes packed with new features. Samsung did not refrain from throwing everything but the kitchen sink at its new flagship. The highlight is undoubtedly the fingerprint reader, that gives users the option to swipe their fingers on the lower front side of the device to unlock it. It remains to be seen whether consumers will find it useful, but the fingerprint reader is one of the features that, so far, sets the new flagship apart from the pack.
Cloud storage service Dropbox has officially announced the public availability of Dropbox for Business, a new product designed to boost the company's penetration in the enterprise cloud storage market. There, it will go against existing offerings from competing services like Box.
Dropbox for Business is designed to appeal to both enterprises and their employees, so it will give enrolled users the option to switch between work and personal content. Administrators will be able to have better control over company data, according to Dropbox, with the help of features like remote wipe, account transfer and audit log sharing, which allow them to keep track of data stored in Dropbox's cloud.
You will have heard by now that a major vulnerability in the OpenSSL library was just made public. Called Heartbleed, it affects the security of a huge number of cloud services and sites as well as various products, like operating systems and apps, which have employed it during the past two years. The impact can be devastating, as there is no way of telling if Heartbleed was exploited, or how much data may have been stolen so far.
A number of companies have already announced the patching of their OpenSSL-toting services and products. Google was among the first to do so, yesterday. Evernote, however, just revealed that its users are not affected. Microsoft has also decided to shed light on whether Heartbleed impacts its users, saying that Windows Azure, Microsoft account, and Windows are immune.
Unlike other mobile device manufacturers, Samsung gets advertising and it also has the money to afford it. Remember the campaigns that pitted flagship Galaxy smartphones against Apple's competing iPhones? Those serve as a prime example of how effective Samsung can be when it comes to comparing its own products against those of the competition.
Well, Samsung is at it once again. This time around the company is showing its Galaxy Pro series slates against Apple's popular iPads and Amazon's Kindle, in four video ads which, once again, focus on major differentiating features. And Samsung is doing a very convincing job here by tackling the right areas, where its slates have a clear advantage.