Mihaita Bamburic

Microsoft discounts Surface Pro 3 by up to $150

Surface Pro 3 with red Type Cover keyboard

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may be a year old at this stage, but it remains one of the best Windows 8.1 devices on the market. Touted as "the tablet that can replace your laptop", it works well in the office and on the go, thanks to a large touchscreen, powerful processors and long battery life.

And if you are interested in getting a Surface Pro 3 -- perhaps in time for Father's Day, as it would make an awesome gift -- then you should know that, for a limited time, Microsoft has discounts of up to $150 on the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 models.

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Box now integrates with Office Online, following Dropbox's lead

Box for Office Online

Dropbox is no longer the only non-Microsoft cloud storage service that integrates with Office Online, as enterprise-focused rival Box now also makes this feature available to its customers, taking advantage of Office 365 -- Cloud Storage Partner Program. Box already integrates with Office mobile, allowing smartphone and tablet users to easily create and edit Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents that are stored on its servers.

It is a win-win for both companies. Box gets to give its customers easy access to one of the best online office suites around and become more attractive to potential customers, while Microsoft gains more Office Online, and potentially more Office 365, users in the process. Let's see what this integration brings to the table.

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Motorola Moto X now available for $299.99 off-contract

New Moto X

Even though it is over nine months old at this point, the second-generation Motorola Moto X is still among the most interesting Android smartphones that you can get your hands on today. Part of its appeal are its more affordable price, lovely design, close-to-stock Android distribution and timely updates, things which few competitors can boast.

If you are considering buying a 2014 Moto X, now is the time to pull the trigger. For a limited time, Motorola is running a very attractive deal, selling the smartphone for as little as $299.99 off-contract.

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HTC 'will not consider' a sale to ASUS, but it should

Mergers and acquisitions message displayed on a tablet, with a coffee cup and pen nearby

A couple of days ago, ASUS formally revealed that it has considered snapping up fellow Taiwanese maker HTC. An acquisition would make sense for both players, and the timing is right seeing as HTC's shares have beenĀ falling like rocks in the past couple of months, losing more than half their value in such a short period of time.

However, HTC, while not in a position of strength at the moment, claims that "it will not [even] consider" a sale to ASUS, likely because it does not want to admit it is in deep trouble and has no idea how to get out of this situation.

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Microsoft rolling out software update to end random reboots on Lumia Windows Phones

Lumia-830_group1

If you have experienced random reboots with your Lumia Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone, you should know that Microsoft is now rolling out a software update specifically to fix this annoying problem.

The software update, so far, seems to target only Lumia 730, Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 smartphones. Even though Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 has long been available, the software update for the aforementioned handsets does not include the latest official version of the tiled smartphone operating system.

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HTC details global One M9 update: Camera and battery life improvements

HTC_One_M9+_Poster_Silver

HTC is globally rolling out a new software update for its One M9 Android flagship. The device launched in late-March, with a still weak yet higher megapixel main camera compared to its predecessor and faster internals, but a mostly unchanged exterior design. It is one of the few handsets on the market powered by Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 810 processor, which is known for running a bit too hot.

The software update addresses camera quality, battery life and charging temperature, with improvements touted in all aforementioned areas. It has already rolled out in select Asian markets, and is now hitting Europe.

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Windows Phone security is top notch, says Kaspersky

Head Shot of Eugene Kaspersky

There is lots of talk surrounding the level of protection offered by leading mobile operating systems Android and iOS. Whether it is about a new vulnerability, or new security features, it does not take you long to find an authoritative comment assessing their security capabilities.

That is, however, not the case with Windows Phone, which is hardly -- if ever -- given similar levels of attention. It can be argued that this is due to the low popularity of the tiled smartphone operating system, which borders on 3 percent market share, making it a significantly less-attractive target. Nonetheless, there is now an assessment of Windows Phone's security that we can rely on, coming from Eugene Kaspersky.

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Apple's arguments for 16GB iPhones are disingenous

AppleMoney

If you cannot expand the storage capacity on a high-end smartphone, 16 GB of available space just isn't enough. Install all your favorite apps and games, maybe try a couple of new ones, add some music, use the device for a while, and you end up with an alarmingly-low available capacity. As someone who is using a 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus daily, I have to work around this restriction.

And I shouldn't have to, which is why I find Phil Schiller's arguments on why the company he represents as SVP still makes 16 GB iPhones to be disingenuous. Phil, at least be honest: it is all about the money.

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Facebook Messenger joins select '1 billion downloads' Google Play club

Facebook Messenger Windows Phone Logo

Being linked to the most-popular social network makes Messenger a very convenient messaging option, giving it a huge advantage in the long run. If you are already friends with someone on Facebook, you can quickly start a conversation with them, share photos, initiate a video chat and more. The way it is designed, you simply cannot ignore its existence, like you would any other messaging service.

Messenger is growing in popularity as new folks sign up for a Facebook account and more and more users have access to smartphones, from which, you guessed it, they want to check what their friends are doing. As a result, Messenger just joined a very exclusive club on Google Play.

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Major Microsoft products lose Facebook integration

Facebook rides roughshod over privacy laws

Social integration is a key aspect of Microsoft's vision for its most prominent consumer-facing products. For instance, on Outlook.com you can have a Skype conversation, on Skype you can chat with Facebook friends, and on Windows Phone you can see your contacts' social updates, like tweets, in People hub. This is one of my favorite things about the software giant's products. It is also a standout feature that its rivals are not yet offering.

A core component is Facebook integration, which is present in Windows and Windows Phone, as well as Office 365, OneDrive and Outlook.com. But, thanks to an update to Facebook's Graph API, integration with the most-popular social network is going away in all currently-supported products.

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Samsung announces Galaxy S6 active, coming soon to AT&T

AT&T version Samsung Galaxy S6 active

In making Galaxy S6 more visually appealing and compact, Samsung has decided not to keep the water and dust-resistance capabilities of its predecessor, Galaxy S5. And that is a shame, because it would have made this flagship an even more attractive proposition, especially for those who are likely to, for instance, find themselves using the device in pools or dusty areas. It would have also given Galaxy S6 a clear advantage over the competition.

Thankfully, for those looking for a (more) durable Galaxy S6, Samsung has introduced Galaxy S6 active. As its name suggests, it is designed for folks who need or want a water-resistant smartphone that can withstand drops, but without sacrificing any of the highlight features of a flagship product.

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Apple previews OS X 10.11 El Capitan -- yes, that's its real name

OS X

While Microsoft has been busy cramming lots of new features into Windows 10, Apple is taking a different, iterative approach with OS X 10.11, called El Capitan. Yes, like the headline says, that is the actual name. The focus is on refinement, with the biggest changes to the latest Mac operating system being a more polished and beefed-up user interface, improvements to the built-in software and better performance.

Visually, OS X 10.11 El Capitan introduces new gestures, like swipe to delete emails in Mail, an improved Safari user interface, which now gives users the option to pin tabs by swiping and the ability to quickly mute audio in individual tabs. The most-obvious and interesting change in this area, however, is related to multitasking.

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Xiaomi's $80 Android smartphone goes on sale -- here's what you get

Xiaomi Redmi 2A color options

There are lots of options available for those in the market for a low-end smartphone, but few are truly exciting and worth considering. Poor camera performance is to be expected in this segment, but a decent screen and adequate performance are must-haves, in my book.

Chinese maker Xiaomi has a very appealing low-end smartphone in the form of Redmi 2A. It just went on sale, as an affordable alternative to Redmi 2, costing as little as $80 off-contract. For that kind of money, it sure comes with all the right features a prospective buyer might be looking for.

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Google improves Chrome's power consumption

Happy Business woman office PC

Google Chrome may be one of the most powerful and reliable browsers around, but it is also one of the biggest offenders when it comes to energy consumption. It does not matter if you are using a PC or Mac, or even iPhone or iPad, its impact on battery life is considerable.

Google is well aware of Chrome's shortcomings, now announcing that it is rolling out a number of changes in the coming months that are meant to improve the browser's power consumption. The first improvement targets Adobe Flash.

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Microsoft: SSH support coming to Windows

Victory Winner Free

Windows users who want to access another device via SSH (Secure Shell) have to rely on third-party tools to get the job done, as there is no built-in support for it in the popular operating system. Azure CTO Mark Russinovich has revealed that he uses PuTTY for such tasks, which is also the SSH tool of choice for plenty of other folks, myself included.

As such, the fact that SSH support is one of the most popular feature requests that the PowerShell team has received should not surprise any Windows power users. And since Microsoft is actively trying to cater to its users' needs, it just announced that it is currently working on making the much-requested feature a reality.

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