Mihăiță Bamburic

Your devices will be able to spot bad USB Type-C cables and chargers


USB Type-C products that are non standard compliant can be so dangerous that the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has introduced an Authentication protocol, to enable smartphones, laptops and other types of devices to detect out of spec USB Type-C cables and chargers.

The "authenticity" of the cable or charger will be determined "right at the moment a wired connection is made -- before inappropriate power or data can be transferred", so, for instance, there will be no risk of damaging your phone when you plug in a bad cable to charge it.

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Meet HTC 10

Perfume HTC 10

Despite giving us some of the nicest high-end smartphones, HTC's sales have dropped sharply in the past couple of years. Today, the once-successful company is nothing but a shadow of its former self, posting revenue so low that it makes you wonder how much longer it can keep the lights on. Meanwhile, long time rivals like Apple and Samsung are watching their flagships fly off the shelves.

HTC has clearly made some mistakes, but its latest flagship is proof that things are taking a turn for the better. HTC 10 offers pretty much everything that you could want in a premium smartphone: high-quality build, top level hardware, cutting-edge features, the latest software and a competitive price.

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Outlook gains Evernote, Facebook and Wunderlist integration on Android and iOS


Outlook is without a doubt one of the most powerful email apps available on Android and iOS. It supports all the major email providers, works with popular cloud storage services, gives you access to contacts, and integrates your calendars. On top of all this, Outlook is also optimized for use in the enterprise, so it can be a great app for work too.

Microsoft is now making Outlook even better as it launches Calendar Apps. This is a new feature that is designed to give you access to more calendar sources, with Evernote, Facebook and Wunderlist being the first available services.

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Reddit launches official Android and iOS apps

Reddit for Android

Reddit has evolved into one of the most popular websites in the world but, despite its success, the self-titled "front page of the Internet" never released an official app. So, over the years, users have turned to third-party clients, one of which -- Alien Blue -- Reddit actually bought two years ago. Now though users are finally getting the real deal.

Reddit has finally launched official apps for Android and iOS. They come with support for inline images and themes, and promise "simpler navigation", and more. Here is what else you can expect.

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Android gaining ground mainly at Windows Phone's expense

fight fighters boxing kick

Windows Phone sales took a dive in 2015, and it looks like the trend continues in 2016 as well. The platform is losing ground in major markets across the globe, according to a new report by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. And Android is taking advantage of it.

In the three months ending February 2016, Windows Phone saw its market share drop considerably in five major European markets (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain), and US and Australia, with Android adding the percentage points it lost under its belt. Things are looking better in China and Japan, however.

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Huawei's new P9 flagship features dual-lens Leica camera

Huawei P9 Plus

One of the things that separate flagships from the rest of the smartphone crowd is their camera performance. Consumers expect to take great photos and videos with a top of the line handset, so manufacturers tend to use premium sensors and lenses for their best offerings. And, sometimes, they team up with a household name in the field when they really want to woo potential buyers.

For its latest flagship smartphones, called P9 and P9 Plus, Huawei has partnered with famous camera maker Leica. That is not the only thing that's different about its camera, however, as the main highlight is actually its dual-lens setup, which, among other things, enables the device to capture depth information for that lovely bokeh effect.

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Would you pay $3.99 a month for an Outlook.com Premium subscription?


Outlook.com offers all the right features that most consumers expect in an email service these days. But, if you are power users, Microsoft believes you may be looking for more, which is why the software giant is now trialling a Premium subscription.

Costing $3.99 a month, this is not the first and only Outlook.com subscription. There already is an Ad-free plan for users who want to get rid of advertisements, that goes for $19.95 a year, however the Premium tier is meant to unlock more extra, pro-level features.

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Android can't make BlackBerry phones attractive again


Realizing that it stands no chance of attracting consumers with BlackBerry 10 OS devices, BlackBerry last year released a smartphone that runs Android. Called Priv, it offers an interesting mix of business and consumer-oriented features that make it a powerful contender in the high-end segment. Many folks seem to like it, but just how much of a success is it?

Priv has what it takes to be a big seller. It has all the right features that consumers say they want in a BlackBerry smartphone: premium build, physical keyboard, large screen, enterprise-friendly apps and, last but not least, Android. You would think that by giving people what they've asked for the company would be struggling to keep up with demand. And yet, in its last fiscal quarter, BlackBerry only sold a very small number of Priv units.

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FCC cannot investigate Netflix for throttling its own customers

sad sorry puppy dog

Netflix last week revealed that it has throttled the video streams of customers who have been accessing its service from AT&T's and Verizon's networks, after the two carriers were believed to be at fault. The company says that this has been done to keep those users from exceeding their monthly data plans, but some believe the video streaming service has taken things too far, right into the net neutrality danger zone.

Despite offering what looks to be a good reason for the throttling, Netflix is still in the wrong. Customers were not informed of the company's decision before it went into effect more than five years ago. There is no way of turning the "feature" off, at least not until a data saver option is introduced in May. And the focus of the throttling has been rather limited, with this move not extending to other carriers in US, like Sprint and T-Mobile. So, obviously, affected customers have very good reasons to complain.

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Smartphone sales to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016

Businessman Growth Increase Bars Bar

Now that Gartner has released its smartphone sales forecast for 2016, it is easy to understand why Microsoft is not pushing the Windows Phone agenda at Build 2016. With sales expected to reach 1.5 billion units this year, the software giant and its fellow Windows Phone vendors would have to ship hundreds of millions of handsets for the platform to be taken seriously by developers. And that, as you may be well aware of, is unlikely to happen, when just last year the tiled operating system's market share barely passed the one percent mark.

Gartner says that smartphone sales growth will be in the single digits for the first time this year, with an expected increase of just seven percent over 2015. The phone market as a whole could reach 1.9 billion units at the end of the year.

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iOS 9.3 is more stable than Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Every major iOS release seems to come with some annoying bugs these days. In the case of iOS 9.3, users have reported crippling activation errors and crashes and hangs in some of the built-in apps, leading Apple to release updated builds. However, despite these problems, iOS 9.3 seems to be very reliable.

According to a new report by Apteligent, iOS 9.3 is actually the most stable iOS release since iOS 8. Its crash rate stands at 2.2 percent, besting iOS 9.2, iOS 9.1, iOS 9 and iOS 8 over an eight-day period. Not only that, but iOS 9.3 is also claimed to be more stable than Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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Windows 10 now powers over 270 million devices


Since releasing Windows 10 last year, in late-July, Microsoft has provided a couple of updates on the adoption rate of its latest operating system. In early January, for instance, we were told that over 200 million active devices were running Windows 10 across the globe -- at the time, NetMarketShare placed it at 10 percent usage share.

Nearly three months later, we can expect Microsoft to boast even higher adoption figures. And, with Build 2016 underway, the software giant reveals that, indeed, there are many more devices now running Windows 10, over 270 million in fact.

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Amazon bans non-standard-compliant USB Type-C cables and adapters


There are many USB Type-C cables on the market, but, as it has been pointed out numerous times, not all are standard compliant. Even the cable that ships with OnePlus 2, one of the few smartphones that support USB Type-C, is out of spec, and may not work flawlessly with other handsets. And this is a serious problem.

Cables that do not comply with the USB Type-C standard can cause permanent damage, as Google's Benson Leung has explained in his reviews of various options available on the market. Amazon has taken notice, banning such products that do not comply with the official standard.

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Xiaomi launches Redmi 3 Pro with fingerprint reader at less than $140


Xiaomi is one of the first brands that spring to mind when we talk about affordable smartphones today. That's because the Chinese maker has come up with some highly attractive devices which feature very impressive specs at more than reasonable price points. A good example is its new Redmi 3 Pro.

At less than $140 (RMB 899), the new Redmi 3 Pro features a premium build, large, high-resolution display, fast processor, lots of RAM and storage, bit battery, competitive cameras, but also a fingerprint sensor, which is a feature that is typically seen on much more expensive smartphones.

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Microsoft: First Windows 10 'China edition' is ready


It is not easy for Western tech companies to do business in China. The local government imposes all sorts of restrictions and makes various demands to allow outside players to operate in the country or use their products. Some companies give up altogether, by either exiting the market or not even attempting to enter it, while others try to accommodate China's requests.

When it comes to selling Windows 10 to China's government, Microsoft has taken the second route by agreeing to deliver a customized version of its latest operating system to the country's agencies. The deal was made public last year, in December, and the software giant just announced that a first -- China edition, if you will -- release is now ready.

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