To drive consumers' interest in Windows 10 from the get-go, Microsoft announced earlier this year that its upcoming operating system will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. This surprising move is expected to have a major impact on the immediate consumer adoption, as well as convince developers to embrace Windows 10 early on.
What is interesting is that, while it is publicly touted as a free upgrade, formally Microsoft is calling it a "marketing and promotional activity". And it certainly seems to fit the bill.
Microsoft has released its Q3 FY2015 (corresponding to Q1 CY2015) financial report, revealing revenue of $21.72 billion, gross margin of $14.56 billion, operating income of $6.59 billion, and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.61. The software giant has beaten analyst expectations, which had placed revenue and the diluted EPS at $21.06 billion and $0.51, respectively. In after-hours trading, shares have risen from $43.34, at closing time, to $44.59.
A strong US dollar had influenced Microsoft's earnings, with the software giant estimating that "on a constant currency basis" it could have revealed stronger results across the board. For reference, in Q3 FY2014, Microsoft posted revenue, gross margin, operating income and diluted EPS of $20.40 billion, $14.42 billion, $6.97 billion and $0.68. As you can see, revenue and gross margin are higher, by 6 percent and 1 percent respectively, while operating income and diluted EPS are down by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Let's take a look at the highlights of the quarter.
It is no secret that Nokia is pondering the sale of its HERE division. The Finnish company wants to focus on the telecommunications market, and HERE, which offers location services, mapping and navigation software, seems to be nothing but extra weight to lug around. Seeing as a sale is inevitable, the question is, who is going to buy it?
A rumor that's floating around now suggests that Nokia has pitched the sale of HERE to Apple, among other companies. The Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation would certainly stand to benefit from acquiring the technology that powers HERE, as its own attempt at offering navigation software to iOS users has not gone particularly well. Such a purchase, while extremely interesting for Apple, would have deep implications for HERE's current clients, which will most certainly not be favored by it. Here's what it could entail.
At the 2015 RSA Conference, security researchers from Skycure showcased a new iOS 8 vulnerability which, if properly exploited, can send iPhones and iPads connected to a malicious hotspot into a reboot loop. The vulnerability affects both the operating system as well as apps which use SSL to communicate.
All that an attacker has to do to exploit the vulnerability is to set up a router in a "specific configuration", and allow anyone to connect (basically make it an open hotspot). The iOS 8 devices that connect will be affected, without the attacker having to have access to them.
YouTube has stopped supporting devices that make use of the second version of its Data API. In practice the move, which was announced more than a year ago, is forcing users to look into alternative ways of watching YouTube videos, and likely also taking many by surprise.
For those who are not familiar with it, YouTube's Data API allows developers to implement YouTube functionality into their apps. The second version is mostly used on older devices, with the list including TVs, smartphones, tablets, Blu-Ray disc players and more. Here's what you should do, if you're affected.
Smartphone speakers are rubbish when it comes to playing music. There are some exceptions, like HTC's One M flagships, but, generally speaking, the sound quality just isn't there. There is only so much you can ask for from a tiny little speaker, trapped inside a small shell. So, if you want more oomph, you will have to hook up your smartphone to an external speaker.
Of course, if you want something that you can carry with you, you should actually be looking at a portable speaker. An interesting such offering is Divoom's rugged Voombox-Outdoor, which can connect to your smartphone either through a cable or, better yet, via Bluetooth. Here is what you should know about it.
Believe it or not, a year has passed since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. And even though the 13 year-old operating system no longer receives security updates -- at least not officially -- it is still being used by roughly 17 percent of Windows users. For some companies it is reason enough to continue to support Windows XP today, even though its maker has long left it for dead. And Google is one of them.
Six months after Windows XP support ended, Google announced that its Chrome browser would continue to be supported on the OS with "regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015". That was done in order to give its users more time to finish migrating to a newer Windows release, one that would, hopefully, be officially supported by Microsoft for many more years to come. Obviously, that hasn't gone as expected. But instead of pulling the plug, Google is now giving Chrome users on Windows XP another reprieve.
Wearables company Jawbone now has a new flagship activity tracker. Called UP4, it is the company's first offering to come with NFC payments support. Also announced is a new mid-range activity tracker, called UP2, which is touted to be an "elegant replacement" for the aging UP24.
To enable NFC payments in UP4, Jawbone has teamed up with American Express. To pay, UP4 wearers will simply have to attach their Amex card to their Jawbone account. This can be done straight from the Android or iOS mobile app.
To compete in the low-end smartphone market, Windows Phone vendors have opted for the sensible approach of prioritizing cost over features. As a result, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from that can be had for much less than $100 off-contract. The downside is that the low-end Windows Phones that more demanding consumers might want to buy are few and far between.
Those smartphones may cost more -- much more compared to an entry-level Microsoft-branded offering like Lumia 435 -- but they are also much more enjoyable, and better equipped for long-term usage. And the new Lumia 540 Dual SIM that Microsoft just unveiled more than fits the bill.
Microsoft has announced the official availability of the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, only a month after releasing the first product as a technical preview. Rolling out now, Skype for Business is set to quickly replace Lync, with all customers expected to be upgraded by the end of May 2015.
The client is rolling out as part of the April monthly upgrade for Office 2013, while its Online counterpart just started to make its way to Office 365 customers across the globe. However, customers who need "a little more time" to migrate over to Skype for Business Online are given the option to switch between it and Lync.
So, you want to run Linux on a cutting-edge ultrabook. Chances are you want to get a laptop with Windows on it, format the entire drive, and then install your favorite distribution. But be ready to also waste lots of time trying to get everything working as it should. Even today, you have to be prepared for debugging, installing drivers, making configurations and other things before you pull the plug.
Or, if you want a great Linux-based ultrabook that just works out-of-the-box you should first take a look at Dell's new XPS 13 Developer Edition. It comes with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long-Term Support), and dedicated support from a team of Linux enthusiasts, so if anything goes awry you'll get someone who knows their stuff at the other end of the line. And it's available now.
Those of you who simply want to chat with your Facebook friends can now access Messenger through its own dedicated site. The interface is similar to that of the Android, iOS and Windows Phone mobile apps, and there is even support for desktop notifications, so you won't miss any of your friends' important messages.
However, because you have to access Messenger through a site, you have to keep a tab open in your favorite browser. But if you're using a Mac you can also try this new unofficial OS X app, which effectively turns the site into a dedicated client.
Apple today released the third round of major updates for iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. As expected, there are lots and lots of bug fixes in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, as well as new features, performance improvements and many other changes.
With regards to performance, iOS 8.3 claims to improve app launch times, responsiveness, messages, Wi-Fi, Control Center, tabs in Safari, and keyboards -- both built-in and third-party. OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite, on the other hand, touts improved Wi-Fi performance. As seen in beta builds, iOS 8.3 also features a refreshed Emoji keyboard with more than 300 new characters, and OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite adds the much-awaited Photos app.
HTC today revealed a new interpretation of its One M9 flagship. Dubbed One M9+, it is slightly bigger, powered by a different processor, offered with a proper fingerprint sensor on the front and fitted with a Duo Camera setup on the back. Oh, and it's also hideous.
There's no sensible way to describe how One M9+ looks. HTC has taken One M9, enlarged it so it fits a marginally bigger display and that fingerprint sensor, and called it a day. The ugly HTC bar above the BoomSound speakers is still there, and so are all the soft navigation buttons. Clearly, the company's designers haven't put much thought into One M9+.
Announcing a new top-of-the-line smartphone around the same time rival manufacturers are also showing off their latest flagships is not an inspired move, which is why LG has decided to unveil its upcoming G4 after MWC 2015, leaving HTC, Samsung and the like fighting for the public's attention.
So, the new G4 will debut later this month, at a dedicated event that LG is holding on April 28. The flagship will arrive 11 months after its predecessor, G3, and, unlike its rivals, the South Korean maker has already revealed some details about the camera and software.