Mihăiță Bamburic

Apple sues Qualcomm for $1 billion over excessive royalties


Apple is not happy with its longtime partner Qualcomm, as it has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the chip maker for allegedly being charged "royalties for technologies [that Qualcomm has] nothing to do with."

This is the second major lawsuit filed against Qualcomm this week, with the US Federal Trading Commission announcing on Tuesday that it is taking the chip maker to court for "monopolizing key semiconductor device used in cell phones." The two lawsuits are related.

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Facebook rolls out Messenger interface for web inbox

Facebook Messenger gets a brand new dedicated website

Facebook has started to roll out the Messenger.com interface as a replacement for the longstanding message inbox on the web. The latest design should feel much more familiar to folks who use the chat service on their smartphones, as it closely resembles the Android and iOS apps.

There is no official announcement yet, but you should start seeing the new interface soon on your account. It debuted nearly two years ago as a standalone website and alternative to the message inbox for folks who do not want to visit Facebook (or wish to create an account with the social network, for that matter).

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YouTube gets in-app messaging and direct video sharing


Google is adding a new social component to YouTube, rolling out in-app messaging and direct video sharing on Android and iOS. The new features are available only in Canada at the time of writing this article, but Google says that they will be (eventually) released worldwide.

Why is Google introducing those features? Simple. In today's landscape, it is no longer enough to let users watch videos and reply back and forth in the comments section. If you look at Facebook, it is also super easy for users to connect after having a conversation, which then lets them privately share content, among other things. The result? They spend more time using the service.

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Android Nougat on Samsung Galaxy S7: A big step in the right direction

Android Nougat Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung started the Android Nougat roll-out for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge last week, but only members of the Galaxy Beta Program could get it right away. That changes today, as Samsung is finally making the much-awaited update available to more users, starting in China and UK.

After installing the hefty Android Nougat update on my Galaxy S7 edge, it became immediately clear that Samsung has put in a lot of effort to deliver a much more user-friendly experience. Its skin is much improved over what we had before on Android Marshmallow, packing lots of nice changes, both visual and under the hood. It is not perfect, but there is lots more to like now.

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Spotify is the top-grossing iOS app, Line takes first spot on Google Play

Streaming video service Hang w/ shares its profits with users -- others take note!

There are lots of really successful paid apps, but which one generates the most net revenue? According to a Sensor Tower report, Spotify comes out on top overall in 2016. The music streaming service only led the pack on the App Store, but that was enough to push it all the way to the top. On Google Play, it was messaging service Line which took top honors in this category.

Line actually came second overall, and in third place on the App Store. It is interesting that Spotify managed to come out ahead despite the fact that it is nowhere to be found in the top ten grossing apps on Google Play. This suggests that iOS users spent far more than Google Play users did on Spotify subscriptions.

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Apple sued over iOS app distribution 'monopoly'


It is no secret that iOS is a tightly controlled ecosystem. There is not a whole lot that users can do to customize their iPhones, and there are not that many options for developers wanting to sell their apps outside of the App Store. In fact, if you do not want to reach a very small audience, who likes to jailbreak their devices, your one and only bet is the App Store.

A number of customers believe that that is a problem so serious that they sued Apple over its perceived iOS app distribution monopoly. A complaint was filed all the way back in 2011, but only now did a court allow the lawsuit to go forward.

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Samsung rolling out Android Nougat for Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge

Android Nougat Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung announced in late-December that it would release Android Nougat for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in January. And it has lived up to its promise, as the much-awaited software update is now rolling out for the two flagships.

At the time of writing this article, the official Android Nougat update is only available for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge users who joined the Galaxy Beta Program, but it is expected to be rolled out to more customers in the following days.

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HTC's U Ultra flagship is an epic fail

HTC U Ultra

HTC has a serious problem: it cannot deliver a flagship worth getting excited about. A while back, the company at least tried to do things differently, to get consumers talking, but lately it seems happy just to have a new high-end smartphone on the market -- even if everyone knows it's way behind the competition.

Last year's flagship, called HTC 10, was better than its most-recent predecessors, but it failed to stand out against devices like Apple's iPhone 6s and Samsung's Galaxy S7. So no one cared about it. This year's HTC U Ultra is no different -- it's probably the most uninspiring device in its segment. How disappointing.

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iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus are the best-selling smartphones in US (again)

iPhone 7 Plus

Apple traditionally enjoys very strong iPhone sales after it launches new smartphones. And this is certainly true of the three months ending November 2016, when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus topped the sales charts in US and helped iOS close in on Android in Great Britain.

In US, it is actually an all-iPhone podium, with the iPhone 6s joining the newer models in the top three, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report. Apple saw its share rise to 43.5 percent, while Google's Android dropped to 55.3 percent of the market.

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Apple is more environmentally-friendly than Facebook, Google and Microsoft

Bitten apple

Greenpeace has crowned Apple the most environmentally-friendly tech company for the third year in a row. The Cupertino, Calif.-based giant is well ahead of most of the big players in the field, being one of just three companies to get an "A" grade from the NGO, alongside Facebook and Google.

With a score of 83 percent, Apple has the highest clear energy index, using little natural gas, coal and nuclear energy. Facebook comes second with 67 percent while Google takes the last place on the podium with a score of 56 percent. Both companies rely more on natural gas, coal and nuclear energy than Apple.

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OxygenOS 4.0.1 rolling out for OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 3


OnePlus kept its word and launched the Android 7.0 Nougat-based OxygenOS 4.0 update for its OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3 flagships by the end of 2016. But, as is usual with a first major release such as this, a small update is bound to arrive shortly thereafter to resolve some of the initial issues.

So now OnePlus is rolling out OxygenOS 4.0.1, for both the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3. The update comes with a couple of changes, as expected, but OnePlus also lists some known problems that users might experience and ways to deal with them.

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Chuwi Hi13 hybrid takes on Microsoft Surface Book

Chuwi Hi13 - 1

If you can't afford a Microsoft Surface device, chances are there is a pretty interesting alternative out there that does not break the bank. For instance, Chuwi's Hi12 falls in the same category as the Surface Pro 4, but can be had at a fraction of the cost.

Same goes for the new Hi13, which the company is pitching as a rival to the mighty Surface Book. Microsoft's hybrid device is very impressive, featuring high-performance internals, a premium build, and a price to match, so what does the Hi13 bring to the table?

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Apple paid $20 billion to developers in 2016

iPhone smartphone mobile apps

Apple users tend to spend a lot of money on apps. That much is obvious by looking at how much App Store developers earned last year. Apple puts the figure at a massive $20 billion, which, after taking into account the fact that it takes a 30 percent cut, would mean that the App Store generated -- at least -- $28.5 billion in revenue in 2016.

The actual revenue is likely to be higher -- though not by much -- because Apple also makes money in other ways, like through ads shown in the App Store's search results or Developer Program subscriptions. It just goes to show why so many major developers like it.

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A closer look at Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 flagship mobile processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 penny

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 835 last year, but at the time it did not reveal much about what's new in its latest flagship mobile processor. Today, right before CES 2017 officially kicks off, the US chip maker is giving us more information about improvements it introduces.

We know the basics: the Snapdragon 835 is Qualcomm's first mobile processor built using the 10nm FinFET manufacturing processor, comes with Quick Charge 4, real-time thermal management, and is, as you might expect, faster and more energy-efficient than the previous range-leader, the Snapdragon 821. Now, let's take a closer look at the changes in the new flagship.

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Samsung's new QLED TVs promise great image quality

Samsung QLED TV

One of the things that you can expect to see at CES is new TVs. Among the most interesting are Samsung's new Q9, Q8 and Q7, part of its new QLED TV series that promises to offer its "best picture quality -- ever" and a more advanced and user-friendly design.

The main appeal of the QLED TV series comes from the claimed advancements in image quality. Samsung says that the range can accurately display the DCI-P3 color space, no matter the level of brightness, using new metal Quantum Dots.

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