Mihaita Bamburic

Samsung teases Android 5.0 Lollipop for Galaxy Note 4, but don't get your hopes up

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop

With Android 5.0 Lollipop yet to be released, some manufacturers have already revealed their upgrade plans for the latest version of the mobile operating system, effectively setting a high bar for the rest of the pack. You can thank HTC, Motorola and Sony for doing so last week. In fact, HTC and Motorola consistently rank among the first in this regard, and when it comes to rolling out those software updates to their customers' devices as well.

Not to be outdone by its far-distant competition, top maker Samsung wants us to know that it too has some upgrade plans for Android 5.0 Lollipop. But, instead of actually showing them, it has posted a rather lame teaser on Twitter, regarding Galaxy Note 4. Pundits have fallen for it, writing that the much-awaited software update is fast-approaching. Really?

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Nokia's HERE beta availability extends beyond Samsung Galaxy smartphones

HERE Android Hand

HERE's upcoming availability for Samsung Galaxy smartphones was announced in late-August, and, at first, it appeared to be an exclusive launch. But, shortly after, Nokia's arm revealed that the app would actually be made available for every compatible Android smartphone "later this year".

HERE launched in beta for Samsung Galaxy smartphones only two weeks ago. For a first public release, the amount of features available is rather impressive, even for someone like me who is used to the fully-featured HERE suite on Windows Phone. And, now, everyone with an Android smartphone running any of the three Jelly Bean iterations or newer can also test what HERE has to offer (as long as the device has 1 GB of RAM or more), as the app's availability is extending beyond Galaxy smartphones.

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How to switch from iOS to Android, according to Google

Samsung Android Galaxy S5 iPhone 5s Apple iOS

With Android 5.0 Lollipop, Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 on the horizon, as well as some great Android devices already on the market, some of you may be thinking about ditching iOS for Android. It is unquestionably a big decision, so you may want to ensure that the switch from an iPhone or iPad will be as painless as possible.

To help with the switch, Google has prepared a nifty guide that explains how you can migrate your data from iOS to Android, tackling key areas such as multimedia content, contacts, email, messaging and, of course, apps. You may recall that Apple posted a similar guide last month, detailing to would-be customers the steps they need to take to move from Android handsets to iPhones. Google now looks to simply be returning the favor.

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Flagship Samsung Galaxy devices fit for classified US government use

Saluting Flag USA Soldier Man

Samsung today announces that flagship Galaxy smartphones and tablets are now approved by the US government for complete classified use within its agencies. The handsets have received the stamp of approval in no small part due to the security features made available by the built-in KNOX suite.

The announcement comes less than six months after Samsung revealed that a smaller number of its other KNOX-toting Galaxy devices have received the green light from the US Department of Defense, to be used on unclassified defense networks.

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Gmail for Android may support more email providers

cloud email

On Android, setting up email services other than Gmail involves using the built-in Email app or heading over to Google Play to install dedicated clients. But it looks like users may soon get another option, as Google will likely offer support for more email providers, like Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail, in its upcoming Gmail 5.0 app.

This appears to be Google's way of ensuring that Android users will finally be able to enjoy a consistent email experience no matter what device they may use or what customizations and apps the operating system features. It is a welcome change, and one that is long overdue.

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Apple launches iPhone 6, 6 Plus in China, Samsung brings Galaxy Note 4 to US, UK

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 N910 Black

Today is a big day for both Apple and Samsung, as the two are launching their latest flagships in three of the largest smartphone markets: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus officially hit China, and Galaxy Note 4 arrives in US and UK. It's a "finally" moment in both cases, as the handsets were announced more than a month ago.

For Apple, having its new iPhones officially available for sale in China, the largest smartphone market, is a huge opportunity to boost sales in what could very well be its best quarter of the year. The pair had to launch later in China this year, due to regulatory hurdles. Among other things, the local government has forced Apple to beef up the security of iOS 8 to give the new iPhones its nod of approval.

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How to create a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite USB drive

Apple OS X 10.10 Yosemite

There are times when you may want to avoid using App Store or the built-in recovery mode to install OS X 10.10 Yosemite. So, Apple continues to give you the option of creating a bootable USB drive. You can use it anytime and anywhere to get the operating system running, quickly, on any compatible Mac. An Internet connection is not even required as everything you need is already on it.

Creating a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite USB drive is very easy. All you need is a Mac, as the tools provided for the process are only available in OS X, and a USB drive with a capacity of 8 GB (or more, depending on what you have lying around), as the setup file is rather large. I will also explain how to use a dedicated third-party tool, in case you decide that this option suits you better.

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Why tablet sales are slowing

businessman on tablet

Remember those predictions about tablets taking over the world and putting good-old PCs out to pasture? Well, scratch that, as it is not happening, at least not in the foreseeable future. Sales are slowing this year, dramatically. The slate market is estimated to only grow by 11 percent, year-over-year, in 2014, falling short of the 55 percent increase that was registered in 2013. So why is this happening?

Well, if you ask Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, it is because "tablets are not smartphones". Giving the US market as example, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech highlights the fundamental differences between the two categories, pointing to long replacement cycles, impersonal nature, resilience and low perceived value of tablets as the main reasons for the sales slowdown.

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Thieves beware: Android 5.0 Lollipop packs kill switch

lock key smartphone iPhone

We have known for quite some time that the next incarnation of Android will pack a kill switch. This feature has long been requested, as it would prevent unauthorized reuse and, therefore, make a serious dent in smartphone and tablet theft. It is even imposed under Californian law, going into effect next year. But even though Google has not mentioned it yet, the kill switch is indeed baked into Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The kill switch in Android 5.0 Lollipop is officially known as "Factory reset protection", and is offered as an opt-in feature which only works in conjunction with a passcode. After it is enabled, the user's credentials (Google account and password) are required in order to reset the device, to allow a person other than the original user to use the device as intended.

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Google takes the wraps off Nexus 6, Nexus 9 [Update]

Google Nexus 6

It is estimated that one in three smartphones shipped in 2018 will be a phablet, which is more than double their projected share for 2014. For Google -- with Android still likely to run on the majority of phablets -- helping developers to properly optimize their apps for larger screens has become a top priority. Ensuring that Android phablets provide a great user experience is paramount; otherwise, users may jump ship to Apple's iPhones or Microsoft's Windows Phones.

So, today, Google takes the wraps off its first phablet, Nexus 6. It is the embodiment of all the great features we have come to expect out of a phablet from late-2014: super high-resolution screen, super fast processor, solid cameras, very thin bezels and a huge battery. As expected, Google also announced a new tablet, the first one to come since July 2013, called Nexus 9. It does not disappoint either. Of course, both run the new Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is shipping in the next few weeks.

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Samsung's 5G is now 25 times faster than 4G

speed road fast

Samsung has made good progress on its 5G cellular technology, increasing transfer speeds to a whopping 7.5 Gbps from a tad over 1 Gbps in April 2013. To put things into perspective, the next-generation cellular networks are now more than 25 times faster than the fastest 4G (LTE Advanced) networks in use today.

The 7.5 Gbps transfer speed represents a new record for 5G cellular networks; it was achieved during the first successful outdoor test. Samsung says that stable transfer speeds of 1.2 Gbps were registered while traveling at 100 kph (62 mph), which is a more accurate representation of how fast the current 5G technology is in actual practice.

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Mozilla will make Firefox 34 immune to POODLE, releases fix for older versions

Security Lock

Google yesterday disclosed a major security vulnerability it has found in the SSL 3.0 encryption protocol, that is still employed by many sites across the web, despite long being superseded. Dubbed POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption), it allows attackers to steal private data, like cookies, and, possibly, use it to access user accounts on vulnerable sites. The search giant says its Chrome browser should be safe, but warns that others may be vulnerable.

Firefox is one of the vulnerable ones. To address this issue, Mozilla reveals that the upcoming version -- Firefox 34, to be exact -- will feature code which makes it immune to the POODLE attack. For those who use lesser versions of the open-source browser -- most users, basically -- the organization provides an optional fix.

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Vertu unveils new smartphone for Bentley owners and enthusiasts

Vertu for Bentley lifestyle

Most people who own expensive smartphones have the latest Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Note device, which, at launch, costs at least $650 off-contract. Even though they are unattainable to the average buyer, tens of millions of consumers can still afford to get them. And that creates a problem for the elitist one percenters of the world, who are faced with an unusual dilemma: own a smartphone that even their chauffeurs may afford or turn to a proper luxury device.

For those who can pay €12,500 for a smartphone and just so happen to be Bentley owners or enthusiasts, renowned luxury smartphone manufacturer Vertu has unveiled Vertu for Bentley. It is the first device to come out of the new five-year partnership with the high-end British car maker. Luckily, for that much money, it certainly is special.

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Samsung's new Wi-Fi technology enables 4.6Gbps transfer speeds

speed fast highway

It is only natural for Wi-Fi transfer speeds to increase as we are getting closer to the Internet of Things (IoT). The new technology era will see virtually every single thing we can imagine being designed, from the start, to go online. That requires technologies which can cope with the extra load. But since what we have now is seemingly not good enough, Samsung, being heavily invested in IoT, has decided to take matters into its own hands.

As it works towards bringing its Smart Home concept to fruition, which is an integral part of its IoT plans, Samsung announces today that the new Wi-Fi technology it has developed, formally known as 802.11ad, will enable transfer speeds of up to 4.6 Gbs (575 MBps). In plain English it means that a 1 GB file will be downloaded in less than two seconds.

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Microsoft app lets you adjust Pen pressure sensitivity on Surface Pro 3

Surface Pro 3 Photoshop

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is one of the greatest tablets for content creators. It can run full-blown software like AutoCAD, Lightroom, Office and Photoshop because Windows 8.1 runs the show, it rivals ultrabooks in the speed department, can double as a laptop with a Type Cover attached, offers good battery life thanks to efficient processors and, on top of all this, ships with a neat stylus as well, out-of-the-box, which Microsoft calls Surface Pen.

Surface Pen is a precise input tool, which comes in handy when users want to draw, sketch or take notes, for instance. Still, for those who would like to make the stylus even more precise in operation can turn to Microsoft's new app, Surface Hub, to adjust pressure sensitivity, among other things.

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