Mihaita Bamburic

Sony reveals prices for Xperia Z5 family, and they're a bit insane

secrets shock surprise man woman

Sony has captured the attention of smartphone fans worldwide with its new Xperia Z5 Premium flagship, the first smartphone with a 4K display. Since the company is not doing exactly well in terms of sales, offering this very intriguing device at a price that undercuts its main rivals looks like a great opportunity to attract more new customers and gain some market share. It would be the logical thing to do.

Sony, however, went with a different strategy, which is to sell Xperia Z5 Premium and its less-premium sibling, Xperia Z5, at some pretty insane prices. The only device that is more reasonably priced is Xperia Z5 Compact, but even so it still seems to cost too much. And it is likely not to be as relevant to consumers given the smaller screen it packs -- a larger screen is an important feature to those who shop in the high-end segment, after all.

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ASUS VivoStick is a $129 miniature Windows 10 PC rivaling Intel's Compute Stick

Black ASUS VivoStick

ASUS is following in Intel's footsteps by unveiling a miniature Windows 10 PC, that is not much larger than a USB flash drive. Unveiled at IFA 2015, VivoStick is designed to be connected to an HDMI-enabled monitor, quickly turning it into a fully-fledged PC.

VivoStick is not all that different to Compute Stick in this regard, but the former is a better option in terms of hardware specifications and price, being advertised to cost just $129 when it goes on sale.

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Motorola unveils the new Moto 360

Moto 360 new Motorola combinations

Motorola's Moto 360 remains one of the most interesting Android Wear devices, despite being introduced a year ago. Its elegant design has been unmatched so far by most competitors and the user experience continues to be solid. However, when compared to some newer rivals, like Apple Watch, the device is showing its age, being designed with a different market in mind. A successor is much-awaited.

Today, Motorola takes the wraps off its new Moto 360, revealing a smartwatch that will appeal to a wider range of consumers, including iPhone users. The new device features a similar design to its predecessor, but improves upon the original formula by adding more powerful internals, more customization options, and a wider range of models, similar to what Apple has done with its offering.

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If the iPhone empire is collapsing, Apple should be pleased

Future Man Looking

Even when Apple is doing great, some people believe the company is in trouble. Just a few days ago, my colleague Joe Wilcox wrote Collapse of the iPhone empire, in which he explains how the brand that has made Apple so successful could just as easily fall from grace with consumers. Right now, however, this could not be further from the truth.

More than a quarter of smartphone buyers across Europe have dumped Android smartphones for iPhones in the three months ending July 2015, leading to a boost in market share to 17 percent, up from 14.5 percent over the same period a year prior. And Apple has not even launched its new iPhones yet, which could spell even more trouble for premium Android vendors.

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Your new smartphone could ship with malware

Aggressive Android app ads annoy and interfere

Receiving a new smartphone with malware pre-installed is unlikely, but this is exactly what has happened with handsets from well-known brands sold by some third-party sellers in Asia and Europe. Consumers expect them to run factory software, so it is unlikely that they will check to see whether it has been modified prior to using their account credentials and storing sensitive information, making these kind of infections extremely dangerous.

Security firm G Data has discovered malware on more than 20 smartphone models which were advertised as new. And we are not talking about no-name brands. Among other companies, Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi, top-tier vendors, have had their devices infected prior to the sale.

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Android Wear now supports iPhones -- is Apple Watch's dominance threatened?

Android Wear for iOS

With just 11.3 percent market share, Android Wear is not exactly a strong competitor for Apple Watch, which dominates the smartwatch space with 75.5 percent of all shipments. One of the reasons why Android Wear adoption is not as strong has been the lack of support for iPhones. This, however, should not be a problem any more.

Google today announces that Android Wear devices are now finally, and officially, compatible with iPhones, releasing the much-awaited iOS companion app on Apple's App Store. Here is what you need to know about it.

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T-Mobile going after unlimited data 'violators'

pointing_nun

T-Mobile just announced that a small number of its customers has been abusing its unlimited data plan, circumventing limitations imposed on tethering to steal data. The "violators", as they are referred to by T-Mobile, have allegedly used various methods to use as much as 2 TB of 4G LTE data in a month, without paying for the extra traffic.

Customers who opt for the unlimited data plan have the option to use the Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature, which includes 7 GB of 4G LTE data that they can use for tethering, free of charge. Those who exceed this limit have to pay to continue to take advantage of tethering at 4G LTE speeds for the excess data, otherwise transfers "slow down".

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Will your Samsung Galaxy devices receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow?

marshmallow

Google will officially introduce Android 6.0 Marshmallow in a few months, if history is of any indication. And, like with every release of a new version of the operating system, one of the common questions that users will ask is whether an upgrade will be offered for their devices.

It is not uncommon for Android manufacturers to reveal such information following the new operating system's introduction, but, this time around, Samsung has decided to announce which Galaxy devices are set to receive an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow first. Is yours on the list?

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10 smartphone apps to try in your car [Infographic]

Driving Navigation Car Driver

There is a large selection of smartphone apps that can be useful to car drivers. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are familiar with only a few of them -- Google Maps and Waze are the most-likely suspects -- and wish to try out new ones.

The app store on your smartphone gives you a sea of options, but finding interesting things to try can prove to be a daunting challenge, especially if you are not particularly patient or if time is short. Luckily, we have an infographic detailing the 10 apps to try first.

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IDC guesstimate: Windows tablets will have most market share gains through 2019

windows_10_tablet_logo

The tablet market is expected to witness yet another decline in shipments, with IDC estimating an eight percent drop in 2015 compared to last year. However, by the end of 2019, the market is said to recover, thanks in most part to a boost from Windows tablets which will help increase shipments by nearly 13 percent over this year's estimate.

Windows tablets do not currently contribute by a significant amount to overall shipments, as they are estimated to have a market share of just 8.4 percent in 2015 from 17.7 million units. That being said, they are the only slates that will display dramatic growth, expected at 59.5 percent by the end of the year compared to 2014. By the end of 2019, their market share is expected to reach 17.5 percent, thanks to shipments of 41.7 million units.

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First Windows 10 Mobile device from Archos targets entry-level shoppers, disillusioned Android users

Archos Windows 10 Mobile 50 Cesium Android 5.1 Lollipop 50e Helium

Windows 10 Mobile is not even ready for prime time, as Microsoft is still working on it, but some vendors have already announced smartphones that will debut with the upcoming operating system on board. The latest is 50 Cesium, an entry-level device from French electronics company Archos, which is also its first Windows 10 Mobile device.

50 Cesium is the Windows 10 Mobile counterpart to the newly-announced 50e Helium (shown on the left), which is "almost identical" in terms of hardware design. The only noteworthy difference is that the latter runs Android 5.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box. According to the company, this was done in order to "allow the customer to focus on what they like on the inside: the user interface". This is not a new idea, having previously seen HTC, for instance, announce a variant of its Android flagship from last year, One (M8), running Windows Phone instead of Android.

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Windows 10 Mobile will not support 4GB smartphones -- are you affected?

Coffee Beans Sad Face

Microsoft has updated a landing page for Windows 10 Mobile to reveal that Windows Phone 8.x devices with less than 8 GB of internal storage will not be upgraded to the upcoming operating system. This will come as bad news to some folks who have invested in the platform.

Windows 10 Mobile can very well run on devices that were designed with Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1 in mind, as long as there is enough storage space to accommodate the new OS. It, for instance, runs well on both my Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 520. Manufacturers which have cut corners are, obviously, to blame for this.

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LG announces G Pad II 10.1 tablet

LG G Pad II 10.1

LG is slowly refreshing its Android tablet line, announcing today the successor to last year's G Pad 10.1. The new G Pad II 10.1, as it is called, is generally better across the board, featuring a higher-quality screen, faster internals and a price tag that is just as attractive.

There are a couple of standout features on G Pad II 10.1. It comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box, which is the latest version of the operating system available at this time. LG has teamed up with Microsoft, pre-loading the latter's Office suite on the tablet. Also part of the partnership is 100 GB of OneDrive storage offered for free to users of G Pad II 10.1 for two years. And, for those who want to use a G Pad II 10.1 hooked up to a mobile network, there is a 4G LTE model.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ goes on sale today

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+

We usually have to wait until the IFA trade show for Samsung to announce the next Galaxy Note flagship phablet, but this year the company moved up the second Unpacked event to mid-August. And not only has it unveiled Galaxy Note 5, but also Galaxy S6 edge+, the latter of which goes on sale today.

For those who are not familiar with it, Galaxy S6 edge+ is basically a Galaxy Note 5 with a curved display that forgoes the traditional S Pen. Or, put differently, it is the successor to last year's Galaxy Note Edge, but, again, without the stylus in tow. International availability also differs between the two models.

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Microsoft improves Surface Pro 3 and Pro 2 performance in Windows 10

Surface Windows 10

Microsoft frequently releases new firmware updates for its Surface tablets, improving performance and stability, fixing bugs, and adding new features in the process. And, in August 2015, the devices to get the software giant's attention are Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2.

Given that Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 at the end of the last month, the firmware updates that it has now released, including last month's batch, feature enhancements for the new operating system, which is offered as a free upgrade to those who are using Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2.

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