Mihăiță Bamburic

Mozilla moves Firefox to variable release schedule

Mozilla offers up to $10,000 to security bug hunters

In mid-July 2011, Mozilla announced that it would speed up the release schedule for Firefox, bringing it down to just six weeks between major versions. Firefox 5 and subsequent releases have been impacted by this decision, bringing new features and changes to users at a faster pace. Fast forward to today, and the organization decides to relax things a bit.

After studying the fixed -- so-called "Train Model" -- release schedule process "carefully" and learning "a lot" from it in the past years, Mozilla has announced that Firefox is now moving to a variable release schedule.

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WhatsApp Web now works in Microsoft Edge

whatsapp

WhatsApp introduced a web interface for its messaging service a year ago, initially supporting only a single browser -- Google Chrome -- and a single mobile platform -- Android. Since then, the number of browsers that work with WhatsApp Web has increased, and iPhones were added into the mix.

Depending on which web analytics resource you believe, Google Chrome is either the most-popular desktop browser (according to StatCounter and W3Schools) or the second (per NetMarketShare's numbers), so WhatsApp's decision to support it first is understandable. But the latest browser to work with WhatsApp Web is an unexpected choice.

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GoPro will only sell Hero4 action cameras from April, discontinuing older models

GoPro Hero4 Session

GoPro has announced that it will discontinue older action cameras, following weak financial results in the last quarter of 2015. The company has posted revenue of just $436.6 million in Q4, which represents a 31.1 percent loss year-over-year. In year prior, GoPro's revenue was $633.91 million.

GoPro has had trouble attracting consumers with its Hero4 line, being forced to slash the price of its Session action camera twice. The product, which originally launched for $399.99, can now be had for just $199.99.

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LG will reveal G5 flagship on February 21

LG G5 invite

Samsung is not the only major Android vendor that will showcase a new flagship smartphone on February 21. Rival LG has just announced that it will take the wraps off the G4's successor on the same day.

Unlike Samsung, which has not officially said exactly what products it will unveil (although it is quite clear that Galaxy S7 is one of them), LG is taking a direct approach, flat out announcing that it will reveal G5.

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Microsoft buys SwiftKey

swiftkey-microsoft

Since November 2014, Microsoft has purchased a number of major apps and games to bolster its mobile portfolio on Android, iOS and, of course, Windows and Windows Phone. It has added Minecraft, Acompli, Sunrise and Wunderlist under its belt, titles which have been very popular and highly regarded by smartphone and tablet users. These acquisitions have turned the software giant into one of the strongest developers on the aforementioned platforms.

But Microsoft is not stopping there, as it just announced the purchase of SwiftKey, one of the most popular third-party keyboards available for Android and iOS. And, just like that, four of my favorite apps are now owned by the software giant.

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Gmail and WhatsApp boast over one billion monthly active users each

Shock surprise

There are many products that have hundreds of millions of active users in a single month, but there are few that have passed the billion mark. However, the select group, which includes the likes of YouTube and Facebook, has just gotten bigger.

And it is Google and Facebook which once again add new members to that list, with Gmail and WhatsApp, respectively, joining the pack. Both services passed that milestone in January, with one taking longer than the other to reach it.

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Windows 10 is extremely popular among gamers

windows 10 thumbs up

Windows 10 appears to be making good progress as, in January, it overtook Windows 8.1 in terms of usage share. Its lead varies, but no matter which web analytics resource you choose to go by, the new operating system is still very close to its predecessor at this time. Meanwhile, the gap between it and Windows 7, while no doubt getting smaller, is shrinking at a very slow pace.

The difference in usage share, when looking at NetMarketShare's and StatCounter's numbers, comes from the fact that both analytics companies sort through web traffic. But, if we look at how all the major Windows releases fare on the popular gaming platform Steam, things are very different -- Windows 10 comes quite close to Windows 7, which may surprise many.

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Samsung will unveil Galaxy S7 on February 21

Samsung Galaxy S7 Unpacked 2016 MWC

The unveiling of a new Galaxy S smartphone is nearly as predictable as the introduction of new iPhones. Weeks before MWC, Samsung starts to tease the first Unpacked event of the year and, when the curtain finally lifts, it takes the wraps off its next flagship smartphone. A year ago, it was Galaxy S6 being presented, joined for the first time by an edge version.

Things appear to be no different this year. Samsung has just released a teaser for its first Unpacked event of 2016. It will be held in Barcelona, one day before this year's MWC conference kicks off. What will be unveiled? "The Next Galaxy", of course.

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Sorry 'pundits', but Windows Phone was never alive

Deadly blizzard of falling snow pouring down on a dead female zombie crying tears of pain

After Microsoft revealed that Windows phone revenue fell 49 percent and Lumia sales dropped to 4.5 million units last quarter, disingenuous headlines like "Windows Phone is dead" started to show up. Believe it or not, some pundits actually believe that Q4 was the quarter when the platform met its end, like it did not "die" a long, long time ago.

Objectively speaking, Windows Phone was never relevant enough in the modern smartphone market to be truly alive. Lumia sales, which have typically accounted for the vast majority of Windows Phone sales each quarter, were never strong enough to pose a threat to the iPhone line or let alone the Android crop. Windows Phone was a feeble player from the start, which lost any real chance of mattering years ago, outside of the Microsoft crowd that is.

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Smartphone shipments reach 1.43 billion units, setting new record

graph chart up arrow growth

IDC has released its report on smartphone shipments in 2015, revealing record numbers for both Q4 and the whole year. In the last three months of 2015, vendors moved just shy of 400 million units, out of a total of 1.43 billion units. Samsung and Apple lead the pack, but rivals like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi are coming strong from behind.

"Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei's strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand", says IDC senior research manager Melissa Chau. "While there is a lot of uncertainty around the economic slowdown in China, Huawei is one of the few brands from China that has successfully diversified worldwide, with almost half of its shipments going outside of China. Huawei is poised to be in a good position to hold onto a strong number three over the next year".

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Google Nexus 5X gets a substantial price cut in time for Valentine's Day

Price cut

There is no denying that Nexus 5X is the more attractive option in Google's smartphone lineup for price-conscious buyers. Unless shoppers really, really want the bigger screen and slightly beefier hardware that Nexus 6P has to offer, getting the entry-level Nexus is a no-brainer considering that it will more than meet their needs.

That $30 price cut that it received just two weeks ago has only made it even more appealing. But it looks like it was not big enough, as Google just lowered the asking price for the second time this month.

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Joe Belfiore is using an iPhone, and that's not OK

Shock surprise

Joe Belfiore is now on a break from his job at Microsoft, taking an "educational trip" across the globe with his family. Given that Belfiore "runs the team building Phone/Tablet/PC versions of Windows" you might expect him to use a Windows phone to share updates with his followers as, after all, most are Windows enthusiasts.

However, Belfiore is publicly using an iPhone, and he expects his fans to be OK with it. You do not see Jony Ive, for instance, rocking an Android smartphone or a Windows 10 Mobile device, because that would not make the iPhone look like the best smartphone there is. So why would it be fine for Belfiore to use a rival's device?

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Samsung globally rolls out Gear S2 Classic New Edition in Rose Gold and Platinum

Samsung Gear-S2-classic_Rosegold ivory

Samsung announced a premium version of its Gear S2 smartwatch at CES 2016. Called Gear S2 Classic New Edition, the wearable uses high-end materials like gold and leather, making it a more attractive competitor to Apple Watch than its older brother. If you have been waiting for its arrival, Samsung has just announced the start of its global rollout.

Samsung says that Gear S2 Classic New Edition is available first in China, with the rollout to continue in markets across the globe "early this year". Here is what you should know about it.

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Developer: Windows Store is a disaster

Why Confused Question Mark Woman Wall Puzzled

One of the features that an app store must absolutely get right is search. Users have to be able to find what they are looking for and discover titles that meet their needs. At the same time, developers who spend time creating apps need to have their titles easily available to potential customers. If one, or both, of these requirements is not met, that creates a serious problem.

Windows Store is in this exact situation, according to multiple developer reports. Microsoft has been unable, or, worse, unwilling, to make the search functionality as useful as users and developers might like, at a time when Windows Store is already being penalized by its pitiful selection of top-tier and quality apps.

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Google Play gets more downloads, but Apple's App Store leads in revenue

Samsung Android Galaxy S5 iPhone 5s Apple iOS

Apple's App Store generated 75 percent more revenue than Google Play in 2015, but the latter is now responsible for 100 percent more downloads, according to a new report on the state of the app ecosystem in 2015 by App Annie. Both numbers are higher compared to the previous year.

App Store has increased its revenue lead to 75 percent from 70 percent in 2014, while Google Play saw its downloads lead rise from 60 percent in the same year. The most important markets were, in Apple's case, China, US and Japan, while for Google the drivers were Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico.

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