Mihaita Bamburic

Giveaway: Free WinToFlash Professional Edition license to easily create a bootable Windows USB drive


Lots of PC users prefer to install Windows from a bootable USB drive, instead of a DVD. A USB drive is a better tool for the job because it is easy to carry around, the installation takes much less time, and a new version of the OS can easily be loaded on it. After its job is done, the USB drive can be quickly repurposed.

The easiest way to create a bootable USB drive is by using dedicated software, like Novicorp's WinToFlash. You can also get the same job done using a command prompt, but this is more appealing to power users and control freaks (guilty as charged). The version of WinToFlash that you really want is not free, but luckily for you, BetaNews readers, we have a Professional Edition license to share.

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NSA releases network security tool -- will IT admins use it?


The NSA has released a network security tool that it claims is designed to help organizations "fortify their networks against cyber attacks". But, after being revealed to be spying on just about anyone it wants to, from US citizens to leaders of allied governments, while undermining major tech firms in the process, IT administrators will likely be very skeptical of adopting it.

Seemingly to put security concerns to rest, the security tool is made available through GitHub, making it easy for security researchers to analyze the code and find weaknesses -- of any kind -- that could put networks at risk.

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First look at iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan public betas

iOS 9 Public Beta

Apple has released the first public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan, allowing anyone with a compatible device -- iPhone and/or Mac -- to become a tester. Having signed up for the beta program last month, I immediately wanted to experience what is new in the upcoming versions of the two operating systems.

There is huge demand for the first public betas, proof being that Apple's servers were quickly overloaded during the first hours of availability. You can thank the media frenzy for this. Nonetheless, I have managed to install the iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan public betas on my iPhone 6 Plus and 13-inch MacBook Air, respectively. And here are my first impressions.

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Fleksy keyboard goes free for Android, iOS

Fleksy free

There are many third-party keyboards available for Android and iOS, but few of them stand out. Fleksy is certainly among the best that you can get today, alongside the likes of SwiftKey and Swype, and, to make it even more appealing, the company behind it has decided to make it available for free.

Fleksy is actually following in SwiftKey's footsteps, which took the freemium route more than a year ago on Android and stuck to this strategy for its iOS launch. Fleksy used to sell for $0.99; it is not much for a quality app by any means, but it is a barrier of entry nonetheless. Users could have picked something else, that is just as good for their needs, without spending a dime. And this is a problem for a startup, which prioritizes growth.

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Windows 10 will get free upgrades only in the first 2 to 4 years


Microsoft has not been exactly clear on how long Windows 10 users will receive free upgrades, saying only that its upcoming operating system will be kept "current for the supported lifetime of the device -- at no additional charge". However, since the "supported lifetime of the device" has not been defined, consumers are still left wondering what it could mean with just a couple of weeks to go before Windows 10's official debut.

You can see many threads (like this one) on Microsoft's Answers forums asking for clarification on what the supported lifetime of the device actually means, but not even MVPs seem to have a definitive answer yet, offering their own estimates in response. However, a PowerPoint presentation buried on Microsoft's site finally sheds some light on the matter.

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LG announces G4 Beat Android mid-ranger

LG G4 Beat color options

LG has been busy expanding the G4 smartphone lineup, catering to a much wider range of consumers. After unveiling the G4 Android flagship, the South Korean maker has announced G4 Stylus and G4c. And, today, the lineup gets its fourth member, called G4 Beat.

G4 Beat is positioned as a mid-range Android smartphone, sitting above G4 Stylus and G4c in LG's portfolio. It features better specs than the aforementioned two devices, making it a more appealing option for more demanding consumers. As expected, it retains the design characteristics from its upmarket sibling, G4, but not its higher price-tag nor high-end hardware.

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Everything we know about OnePlus 2 so far


Even though it is nowhere near as popular as Apple, LG, HTC or Samsung, up and coming Chinese maker OnePlus has managed to capture the public's attention with the One flagship, and is likely to do so again with its successor. Known as OnePlus 2, it will be officially unveiled towards the end of the month.

In the meantime, OnePlus has revealed some interesting things about its upcoming Android flagship smartphone, including a pricing estimate. Here is everything we know about OnePlus 2 so far.

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How to save $200 off your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 purchase

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 N910 Black

Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 is among the best Android phablets around, if not the best. It has a great screen, fast internals, offers great battery life, packs a stylus and, on top of that, comes with the type of software that meets power users' needs. If there is one problem with it, that is its age -- a successor is likely to be announced in a couple of months.

However, if you are considering getting a Galaxy Note 4, Samsung is making your decision easier by slashing $200 off the price of the phablet. Here is how you can take advantage of this promotion.

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Skype for Business debuts on Windows Phone

Skype for Business arrives on Windows Phone

Skype for Business is Microsoft's new enterprise communication tool, serving as a replacement for Lync in the software giant's business-oriented lineup. It was officially released in April, with new features and improvements coming from its predecessor, but is only now available on Windows Phone.

Windows Phone is actually the first major mobile platform which offers a Skype for Business app, with Android and iOS still having the old Lync 2013 client in their respective app stores. The transition from Lync 2013 to Skype for Business, on Windows Phone, is accompanied by new features.

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Bing Maps gets major redesign, available now in preview

Bing Maps Major Redesign User Interface

Whenever I use Bing Maps I get the sense that Microsoft has long conceded that its service will never be as popular as Google Maps. Otherwise it would look more visually appealing -- not as if it is a low-priority product -- and frequently gain new, powerful features. With Windows 10 on the horizon -- and Bing a key part of the experience -- not having Bing Maps ready for an influx of new users feels like a missed opportunity.

However, Microsoft is actively working on a major redesign for Bing Maps, which might put it back on consumers' radar. "Users want a map experience that is fast and easy to use, and makes the most of the visually rich data that maps can bring to life", says the team behind the service. And with lots of changes, it certainly looks promising.

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Google launches Android One in Pakistan

QMobile A1 Android One Pakistan

The Android One program targets consumers in emerging markets who are looking for smartphones with an untainted Android experience, devoid of the typical bloatware and customizations that they can expect from major vendors like Samsung. At the same time, Android One is also about offering that vanilla Android experience in an affordable package, so that more consumers can afford to make the switch to smartphones.

Android One launched in India in September of 2014, and has since expanded to include other Asian countries. The latest market to join the program is Pakistan, where QMobile's A1 is now available.

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Windows 10 build 10163 screenshots leak online

Windows 10 build 10163 Start menu leaked screenshots

With Windows 10 set to debut at the end of the month, Microsoft is busy making the final tweaks to its new operating system before it gets into consumers' hands. Just last week Insiders received three new builds, seemingly close to the finished product. Behind closed doors, Microsoft is actively working on fine-tuning the experience further.

We got word of Windows 10 build 10163 late last week, when its release notes leaked online. There are lots of bug fixes and known issues listed, as one might expect from a non-final release, and no new major features. And now we have some leaked screenshots to go along with the release notes.

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Buy a Windows Phone from Microsoft, get Nokia headphones for free

T-Mobile Microsoft Lumia 640 with free Nokia headphones (Coloud Boom in yellow)

If you are in the market for a new Windows Phone now is the time to pull the trigger. Microsoft is running an attractive promotion, giving customers a free pair of Nokia headphones with the purchase of any Windows Phone from its online store.

And I mean any Windows Phone. This promotion applies to all Acer, BLU, Microsoft and Nokia-branded Windows Phone devices that Microsoft sells, so you are not limited to a certain brand or, most importantly, a certain price bracket.

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Official Eyefi Mobi app available on Windows Phone

Eyefi Mobi logo

As more official apps are available in Store, more consumers will start paying attention to Windows Phone and, perhaps, be willing to switch from their Android smartphones and iPhones. The selection is improving, even if at a slow pace, and it is nice to see new known developers embracing the platform.

So, having Eyefi Mobi finally available on the platform is a major win. While not known by the majority of users, in the sense that Facebook is at least, it is a very important app for photography enthusiasts. here is what you need to know about it.

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Motorola Moto 360 can now be had for just $149.99

Moto 360 Docked

While the competition is trying to catch up, Motorola's Moto 360 remains one of the best-looking Android Wear devices on the market despite being around for over nine months. It is also among the most refined, making it an attractive purchase for the smartwatch enthusiast.

The one thing that you may not like about Moto 360 is its price, which, considering that a successor is likely to be announced in the coming months, is a bit too high. Motorola has fortunately addressed this with a $100 price cut.

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