Mihaita Bamburic

Samsung rolls out Android 5.0 Lollipop update for Galaxy S5

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Samsung is not as fast as rival makers HTC or Motorola when it comes to rolling out software upgrades to the latest version of Android, but the company appears to be finally cleaning up its act. Not too long after Google released Android 5.0, Lollipop is now available for Galaxy S5.

The epicenter for the Android 5.0 Lollipop roll-out is Poland, a market Samsung has frequently used to commence roll-outs of new major software upgrades. The company is currently targeting users of the SM-G900F version of Galaxy S5, which, as some of you may know, is the model featuring a Qualcomm processor (Snapdragon 801).

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iPhone 6 is a huge hit

iPhone 6

Apple will have a record quarter for iPhone sales, if analyst estimates are to be believed. The company is expected to ship more than 70 million units in the last part of the year, nearly 20 million units more than the 51 million units it moved a year ago. It wouldn't surprise anyone if these estimates turn out to be accurate, considering the successful launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, coupled with the high consumer demand for the two devices across the globe.

Today, research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech adds more credence to the estimates. Its latest report, on the three months ending October 2014, reveals record market share for Apple's smartphones in Britain, strong performance in continental Europe, and marginal improvements in market share in US and China.

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Android 5.0.1 Lollipop now available, here's how you can install it

Lollipop Forest

Just like any other first iteration of a major operating system release, Android 5.0 Lollipop is not without its fair share of problems. The main issues that users are reporting are related to battery life, responsiveness and Wi-Fi. Like other 2013 Nexus 7 users, I also have problems every so often with video playback on YouTube, something which did not crop up back in the Android 4.4 KitKat days.

Naturally, most issues will go away with the first or second update. Google is actively working on squashing the reported bugs, proof being that the company just pushed Android 5.0.1 Lollipop to AOSP (Android Open Source Project) and released the accompanying factory images for a number of its devices.

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OnePlus One launches in India

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Chinese smartphone vendor OnePlus just launched its One flagship in India, where it is available to purchase exclusively through the local arm of retailer Amazon. Prospective buyers are only able to scoop up the top-of-the-line 64 GB version of the smartphone, as the lesser 16 GB model is nowhere to be seen at this stage.

OnePlus appears to be committed to the Indian market, as it says that it has already set up a service network of 25 walk-in centers for its prospective local customers. Speaking of customers, the number of local buyers who will be able to buy One is still controlled by OnePlus, as the company is continuing to enforce its invite-only system.

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Here are T-Mobile's iPhone deals for Cyber Monday

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Cyber Monday is in full swing, with lots of attractive deals waiting for you online. Since quite a few companies have long announced what they are offering today, you may have some things already on your shopping list. However, if you are looking to get your hands on a new iPhone, you should also take a look at what T-Mobile has to offer.

The US mobile operator just announced its iPhone deals for Cyber Monday, revealing that it will upgrade consumers who purchase a base-model iPhone 6, iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c to the next-best storage trim for free.

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Jolla on Indiegogo campaign: The more money you give, the more features Tablet gets

Jolla Tablet split-screen

Jolla's Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, initiated to help it bring its first tablet to market, is already a success with 12 more days to go until the deadline. The Finnish company has raised nearly $1.3 million so far, which is close to $1 million over the $385,000 goal. You may think that Jolla is resting on its laurels now, but you'd be wrong.

Jolla wants to keep the campaign's momentum going, as it just introduced three Stretch goals. The idea is simple -- the more money the company raises the more features Tablet gets. That is a nice incentive to back the campaign. Luckily for those who have already done so, at this point, hitting the first Stretch goal looks like a done deal.

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What you should know about the E-Label Act

Nexus 7 electronic label FCC ID

The FCC label on radio-equipped devices sold in US has been mandatory since 1973. By now, we have gotten used to seeing it, no doubt because there is usually nothing that we can do to hide it. But, as technology evolves, its physical presence is bound to cause some serious problems (not to mention that it spoils the look of some gorgeous devices).

However, in mid-July, a new bill, called the E-Label Act, was introduced to give companies that operate in US the option to feature an electronic FCC label on their radio-equipped products. And, after passing through Senate and Congress, President Obama just signed it. Here is what you should know about it.

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Motorola unveils Cyber Monday deals -- big discounts on 2014 Moto X and accessories

New Moto X

Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping events of the year for online buyers. You can get what you want, at great discounts, without ever leaving the sofa. What's not to like about that? And if a new smartphone is what you are after on December 1, then you should take a look at what Motorola has in store for you with its Cyber Monday deals.

The star of the show, as you might imagine, is the second-generation Moto X, which Motorola will offer at a significant discount, both on and off-contract. The company has also announced significant discounts on accessories. Here are the details.

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BlackBerry is desperate -- will give iPhone 6 users up to $550 to switch to Passport

Blackberry passport

If you have an iPhone, the chances of wanting to switch to a BlackBerry handset anytime soon are pretty slim. After all, there are few reasons why you might want to do it. And BlackBerry knows it. So, in an attempt to make the switch appealing, the Canadian maker has introduced a new trade-in offer, where it will give iPhone users up to $550 to move to Passport.

The trade-in offer applies to iPhone 4S and newer, including iPhone 6. The most that you are able to get for an iPhone 4S is $240, while for one of Apple's latest smartphones BlackBerry is giving you up to $550. Of the aforementioned trade-in values, in each case $150 is made up by the so-called "BlackBerry Top-Up" (BlackBerry's added incentive).

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Microsoft has an amazing deal on Lumia 635 -- just $39 off-contract

Nokia Lumia 635 AT&T

If you want to get a Windows Phone 8.1 device for cheap, chances are you are waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to start to pick one up. And who could blame you? Microsoft as well as various retailers will have some nice deals waiting for you -- and millions of other shoppers -- then.

But why not get one right now? Microsoft has an amazing deal on Lumia 635, selling the smartphone -- in black, AT&T trim -- for just $39, off-contract. That is amazing value for the money.

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Android 5.0 Lollipop encryption severely impacts performance

Too slow

Encrypting your device may make it more secure, but it also makes it slower due to the added overhead. This is not much of a problem on a fast PC or laptop, as its hardware is able to cope with the extra load. It, however, is a major reason for concern on Android 5.0 Lollipop devices, such as Google's new Nexus 6. Android 5.0 Lollipop is at fault here.

Anandtech has discovered that the difference in performance can be as high as 80.7 percent, and as low as 50.5 percent, between Nexus 6 with encryption turned on and with the feature disabled. Meanwhile, those who update to Android 5.0 Lollipop on Nexus 5 will also notice a notable difference in performance, albeit not as big, even with encryption disabled.

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New Gorilla Glass 4 better protects displays against shattering

Corning Gorilla Glass 4

Corning's Gorilla Glass is used to protect billions of mobile device displays. In fact, some of the most popular handsets -- like HTC One (M8), Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy S5 -- feature Gorilla Glass 3 or Gorilla Glass 2. Some companies, like ASUS, are also using it on touchscreen ultrabooks. That's because it fares well under normal usage, offering good protection against scratching.

However, things are different when it comes to drops -- as tough as Gorilla Glass may be, it can shatter quite easily when handsets are dropped, potentially leading to damaged displays. Its maker, Corning, says that this is the biggest issue that consumers are reporting. With Gorilla Glass 4, it finally addresses this shortcoming.

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Microsoft blames performance update for Azure outage

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Microsoft Azure was hit by an 11-hour outage on November 19, in United States, Europe and certain parts of Asia. The outage impacted multiple services offered through the cloud platform, including Azure Storage, Virtual Machines, Service Bus, and Visual Studio, just to name a few. The culprit? Microsoft links a performance update to the mishap.

The performance update, which is meant for Azure Storage, "had been [successfully] tested over several weeks", says Microsoft, on a small subset of targets, prior to being applied. However, during the general roll-out, Microsoft noticed an issue which resulted in an "inability for the [storage blob] front ends to take on further traffic, which in turn caused other services built on top to experience issues".

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Windows Phone gets official Duolingo, WolframAlpha apps

Duolingo Windows Phone 2

The app-gap is still not a thing of the past for Windows Phone Store, but, fortunately, things are getting better. There already are lots of third-party alternatives -- some of which are quite good -- to many prominent apps. And, thanks to the functionality enabled by Windows Phone 8.1, it is possible for more types of apps to launch, like Fitbit and Microsoft Remote Desktop.

The biggest progress, however, is made when well-known developers launch their apps on the platform. This week Windows Phone scores big, as both language-learning app Duolingo and computational engine WolframAlpha make their appearance in Store.

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Jolla crowdfunds its first tablet, hits goal within hours

Jolla Tablet

Crowdfunding a mobile device is a tricky thing to get right. Just ask Ubuntu maker Canonical. To make its Edge smartphone happen, it turned to Indiegogo to get $32 million, of which it only managed to raise (a record) $12.8 million. Its failure can be linked to the sky-high goal, a mistake from which Finnish mobile device vendor Jolla appears to have learned from.

Jolla is also turning to crowdfunding, for its first tablet called Tablet, but the goal it set, of just $380,000, is much, much, much more easier to reach. In fact, at the time of writing this article, Jolla has raised more than $490,000 (a figure that is quickly rising), with 21 days left until the crowdfunding campaign ends, on December 9.

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