Mihăiță Bamburic

Premium ultrabooks and hybrid devices will keep PC market relevant

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Combined shipments of PCs, tablets and phones reached 2.39 billion units in 2015, according to a new report from Gartner, with an increase to 2.54 billion units expected for 2018. As you might expect, phone shipments account for the vast majority of units, 1.91 billion of them to be exact.

The report says that PC vendors shipped a combined 246 million desktops and non-premium laptops in 2015. Things aren't looking good in the long term, as shipments are expected to drop to 219 million units in 2018 for these two categories. However, the PC market as a whole, which includes desktops, non-premium laptops as well as premium ultramobiles will see a rise in shipments until the end of 2018 to 312 million units from 290 million units in 2015.

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Samsung: Inserting the S Pen backwards will not break new Galaxy Note 5 units

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As you may already know, Galaxy Note 5 has launched with a rather serious flaw: if the S Pen is inserted backwards it will get stuck and break the device's stylus detection mechanism, which, in turn, will render some of its software functionality useless. Samsung has responded quickly, advising users to "follow the instructions". As logical and simple as that may sound, it may be hard for some users to heed the advice, especially if they are, as my colleague Mark Wilson put it, "a little tired, drunk, young, or stupid".

In the meantime, Samsung has developed a new mechanism that will no longer create these kind of issues when users attempt to insert the S Pen the wrong way. And it is included in new Galaxy Note 5 units, according to the company.

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Is your iPhone 6s' battery percentage off? Apple explains why and how to fix it

iPhone 6s front

Apple has finally acknowledged that the battery percentage shown on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus may not always be accurately displayed by iOS 9. Users have reported issues since the two flagships were introduced last year, in September.

According to user reports, the battery percentage on the two devices will stop updating after a certain level is reached, leading to an empty battery much sooner than indicated. Users say that a restart will force iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to display an accurate readout again, at least temporarily. But what causes it?

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Microsoft offers free Office 365 subscription to Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL users

Office on Microsoft Lumia 950

If you are looking for another reason to purchase one of Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile flagships, the software giant has just announced that it is now offering a free, one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal to Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL users.

The offer cannot only be redeemed by new customers, but also by existing users. There is one caveat though: it only applies to users in a select number of markets. Here is what you need to know.

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Majority of Windows 10 users are happy with the OS

windows 10 thumbs up

When we look at how many PCs across the globe run Windows 10, we see Microsoft's latest operating system having a relatively modest usage share of around 10 percent. That is even though it is offered as a free upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, both of which have remained more popular so far.

However, things are quite different in US, where a new IDC survey claims that nearly 30 percent of PC users have embraced Windows 10. That figure may not accurately represent the entire PC user base in the country, due to the nature of the survey, but it certainly can be seen as a vote of confidence for both Windows 10 and Microsoft.

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Google Now launcher enables auto rotate, forces single icon size

Google Now launcher app drawer lanscape

If you use Google Now launcher, you may have noticed that there is no option that can enable auto rotation. While this is not a problem when you are holding the device in portrait mode, it obviously makes landscape mode quite inconvenient at times.

The problem is that the launcher does not follow the Android-wide setting for auto rotation, and instead sticks to displaying everything in portrait mode. However, with a new update, that can now be changed.

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Microsoft Remote Desktop for Windows 10 Mobile will gain Continuum support

Switch apps Continuum Remote Desktop Windows 10 Mobile app

Continuum is one of the novel features that Microsoft has baked into Windows 10 Mobile. This enables users to essentially turn their smartphone into a more basic PC, using a Display Dock to connect the usual pieces of hardware -- a mouse, keyboard and monitor.

I say "more basic" because the device is severely limited in the number of apps it can display at the same time, as well as the type of apps that it can run: proper Windows software is out of the question with current hardware, only apps designed for Windows 10 Mobile are supported. But, now that Microsoft has introduced Continuum support in the Remote Desktop client preview, this feature is much more useful, and offers a more compelling argument for giving Windows 10 Mobile a chance.

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Microsoft will let you unlock your Windows 10 PC with an app

Microsoft Authenticator Windows 10 (Mobile)

Microsoft plans to give Windows 10 users another option to speed up the process of unlocking their PCs. The software giant has introduced an app that enables remote authentication using a Windows 10 Mobile device.

Called Microsoft Authenticator, the app is currently undergoing internal testing and it seems to be designed with enterprise users in mind. Microsoft likely wants to make it easier to deal with complex passwords, which are recommended for meeting certain security guidelines.

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Samsung makes Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor

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In a press release that announces the start of mass production of chips that are made using its second-generation 14 nm FinFET technology, Samsung has revealed itself as the manufacturer for Qualcomm's upcoming flagship mobile processor.

Qualcomm's next top of the line mobile processor is called Snapdragon 820, and is expected to be available in new mobile devices in the first half of 2016. What's more, it is rumored that Samsung has selected Snapdragon 820 for the upcoming Galaxy S7 flagship, which will likely make its debut at MWC 2016, which takes place next month.

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Xiaomi's new Redmi Note 3 with Qualcomm Snapdragon processor will launch in India

Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 front

Xiaomi announced Redmi Note 3 last year, in late-November, alongside the Mi Pad 2 slate. The affordable phablet, which sports a metal body and fingerprint sensor, arrived with a MediaTek Helio X10 processor, but the company is now adding a Qualcomm Snapdragon version into the mix.

The new Redmi Note 3 version is powered by a mid-range, 64-bit, 1.8 GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor, which offers Adreno 510 graphics, support for UltraHD video and VoLTE, and an integrated X8 modem which enables higher transfer speeds over cellular networks. This model is likely introduced for international markets.

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Google Nexus 5X gets $30 price cut

Nexus 5X Front

Last year, for the first time, Google introduced two new Nexus smartphones, giving its fans the option to choose between a smaller LG-built Nexus 5X, which is the much-awaited follow up to Nexus 5, and a premium Huawei-made Nexus 6P phablet, which replaces Nexus 6 in its lineup.

The former is definitely the more appealing of the two for price-conscious shoppers. The base Nexus 5X arrived with a $379 price tag, while the more expensive Nexus 6P launched at $499. Now Google has made Nexus 5X even more attractive, thanks to a permanent $30 price cut.

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PC market sees biggest-ever drop in shipments, but don't blame Windows 10

PC decline graph

Things are not looking good for the PC market. The fourth quarter of 2015 registered the biggest-ever year-over-year drop in shipments, as IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker revealed a 10.6 percent fall compared to the same period in 2014. For the whole of 2015, shipments are said to have dropped by 10.4 percent compared to the year prior.

Lenovo was the vendor with most PCs shipped in 2015, followed by HP and Dell. However, with the exception of Apple, all other vendors in IDC's top five have seen their shipments dropping last year. Mac shipments rose by 6.2 percent, according to the report.

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Apple Watch has 52 percent share of smartwatch market

Apple Watch

If you need any more proof that Apple Watch is the smartwatch to beat, Juniper Research has just released a report on smartwatch shipments in 2015 which puts Apple's device at the top of the list with a whopping 52 percent share.

Apple Watch only went on sale in April, so its 52 percent market share was reached in just over eight months. Meanwhile, Android Wear shipments came in at "less than 10 percent" in 2015. Other rivals did not fare well either.

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Is Apple really building an iOS to Android migration tool?

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Apple is rumored to be working on a tool that will make it easier for iOS users to migrate to Android, following pressure from major European mobile operators. The carriers apparently believe that it is too difficult for their iPhone-toting customers to switch to a device running the more popular operating system, which severely limits their options come upgrade time.

Apple actually has a similar tool, but it is there to help Android users migrate to iOS, and not the other way around. Developing a tool that would basically enable it to (more quickly) lose customers to major rivals, like Samsung, sounds like Apple agreeing to shooting itself in the foot. But is the iPhone maker actually building it?

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Xiaomi announces Redmi 3 smartphone with huge battery

Xiaomi Redmi 3

Xiaomi is well known for delivering attractive devices at very affordable prices. Its new Redmi 3 is no exception. The company's latest Android smartphone is a mid-range handset with a huge battery, but with a price tag that puts it closer to entry-level offerings.

Redmi 3 is positioned as one of the more affordable Android devices in Xiaomi's lineup, being introduced at the RMB699 (roughly $107) price point. For the money, there is really nothing that potential buyers might miss.

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