Mihaita Bamburic

Verizon's latest Windows Phone is the uninspiring LG Lancet

Verizon LG Lancet

There is an obvious trend in the Windows Phone market of offering more and more affordable smartphones. That is because most users of the tiled operating system gravitate towards low-end devices come purchase time. So, naturally, when Verizon decided to finally include a new Windows Phone in its portfolio, big red did not stray from this path.

Verizon's first Windows Phone since the launch of HTC One (M8) for Windows, nearly nine months ago, is the LG-branded Lancet, which can be had for as little as $19.99 on a two-year contract. And it is not just cheap in this trim, but off-contract too.

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Samsung introduces new UE590 and UE850 UHD monitors

Samsung UE850 UHD

Today, Samsung is expanding its UHD monitor portfolio with the addition of two new lineups, called UE590 and UE850. The former is designed for consumers, while the latter is aimed at professionals. The newly-unveiled monitors can be had in 23.5-inch, 28-inch and 31.5-inch trims, the last of which is reserved for the UE850 lineup.

The consumer-oriented UE590 targets "entertainment seekers and avid gamers", promising a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and response times as low as 1 ms (gray-to-gray). Viewing angles differ among the two offerings, with the 23.5-inch U24E590D touting horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 178 degrees and the 28-inch U28E590D only featuring horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 170 and 160 degrees, respectively. The latter is also the one with the lowest response time; the former's response time is a higher 4 ms.

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iPhones and iPads rule the enterprise market, Windows is slowly gaining ground

Apple pushes iOS 8.1.1 update to speed up older iPhones and iPads

While Android is the clear leader in the mobile market, in the enterprise space arch-rival iOS is the platform that actually comes out on top. Apple's iPhones and iPads make up 72 percent of all mobile device activations, while handsets running the green droid operating system have to make do with just 26 percent.

Unsurprisingly, it is iPhone 6 which sustains Apple's enterprise dominance, coming out as the most-popular handset in the enterprise thanks to it making up 26 percent of all activations between January and March. Apple's flagship is followed by Samsung's Galaxy S5. Together, the two leading vendors offer 28 out of the 30 most-popular devices in the enterprise.

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Microsoft opens up Surface 3 mass deployments

Surface 3

You don't have to be a fan of the Surface lineup to like what Microsoft has done with Surface 3. It runs the full-fledged version of Windows, packs a free Office 365 subscription, gets decent battery life, is light, has a large display for a tablet, offers lots of internal storage, has a full-size USB port, and can take a Type Cover keyboard. As far as its laptop-replacement credentials go, Surface 3 most definitely bests any iPad that is on the market today. And, to top it all off, Microsoft's latest slate can be had for as little as $499.

Given the core feature set it packs, Surface 3 is well positioned to take on the iPad in the enterprise market. But, to become a truly attractive option, it needs to be easily deployable. And now Microsoft has addressed this too.

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The smartphone craze is over in China, as shipments decrease

Falling sales graph

China's smartphone market has declined year-over-year for the first time in six years, according to a new report from IDC. In the first quarter of the year, shipments decreased by 4.3 percent compared to the same period from 2014, with the likes of Samsung and Lenovo posting huge drops.

Apple leads the pack in China, shipping 14.5 million iPhones in Q1 2015, 62.1 percent more than a year ago. Meanwhile, rival Samsung, which comes in fourth place, saw shipments of just 9.6 million units, a whopping 53 percent lower compared to Q1 2014.

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Apple Watch and web browsing don't match (yet)

Apple announces its first wearable -- the Apple Watch

After getting an Apple Watch, some folks may wonder what it would be like to browse the web using the new device. It should be pretty interesting, right? After all, Apple Watch is, at least theoretically, capable of displaying a web page and equipped with the right features to allow the user to navigate it.

Renowned iOS jailbreaker Comex has decided to put it to the test, after managing to get a browser up and running on the device. Considering that Apple does not offer Safari on its smartwatch, the results should not surprise anyone.

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Microsoft: Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows

secrets shock surprise man woman

As someone who is always excited to try out a new version of Windows, learning that Windows 10 will be the last time I get to experience a new release of the popular operating system, with everything it entails, is disconcerting. Is this an alternate reality that we are living in?

The news comes from Microsoft developer evangelist Jerry Nixon, who, at the software giant's Ignite conference earlier this week, said the following: "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10". And, yes, it is the end of Windows as we all know it.

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Even young drivers want parental controls in self-driving cars

Man in a self-driving car, no hands on the steering wheel

Self-driving cars open up a world of possibilities, and people want parental controls to be one of them. And it is not just parents who are for it, even though they make up the demographic that this feature is meant for, as young people are also favoring it -- where have all the rebels gone?

The ability to control the speed limit, curfew time and the number of passengers was chosen as the leading parental control by 84 percent of consumers. Limiting the geographic range came in second, with only 61 percent choosing it, while communicating with the driver using a displayed text came in third, chosen by 60 percent of consumers.

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Europeans leaving Android smartphones for iPhones

apple-iphone-6-plus-900x506_contentfullwidth

Apple's latest iPhones continue to be in high-demand in Europe half a year after their launch, leading up to a market share boost on the old continent according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. And it is happening at the expense of Android, which, while still the most-popular smartphone operating system in Europe, is seeing part of its local users fleeing to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In Q1 2015, iPhones claimed 20.3 percent of the European smartphone market, a 1.8 percentage points increase over Q1 2014. During the first quarter of the year, 32.4 percent of new customers were Android defectors.

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Android Lollipop close to 10 percent market share, KitKat still reigns supreme

Sony will only update Xperia Z series Android phones to Lollipop

It has been a while since I last talked about Android distribution numbers. At the time, the first Jelly Bean iteration claimed the top spot, while Gingerbread was still on the podium. Lots of things have since changed, so it is now time to take another look at the state of Android releases.

As always, we start with the latest Android distribution and work our way back to the oldest. As you know, Android 5.1 Lollipop is the newest release available, officially announced two months ago, in early-March. However, it was made available starting a month earlier, since reaching 0.7 percent usage share, based on data collected by Google during a week-long period that ended on May 4. No popular handsets ship with it, and few software upgrades to the second Lollipop incarnation are available today.

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Microsoft now sells the inexpensive Lumia 435 Windows Phone -- should you buy it?

Lumia 435 T-Mobile Microsoft

Low-end Windows Phones make great first smartphones for those on a budget. They deliver a solid user experience, offer expandable storage, are dependable and feel fast, generally at sub $100 prices. The low cost also makes them good backup smartphones.

There are a couple of very-affordable, interesting Windows Phone 8.1 devices around, like Lumia 530 and Lumia 635, but Microsoft just added the newer Lumia 435 to its online store lineup. Should you get it?

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Mozilla strong-arming websites to drop HTTP

boss bully mafia cigar

Mozilla plans to phase out HTTP support in Firefox, in a push to make browsing more secure. The organization wants websites to go all-in with HTTPS, revealing that it will leverage access to some of its browser's features and make proposals to The World Wide Web Consortium to get the ball rolling.

Mozilla's move may be seen as a way to strong-arm lots of website administrators into supporting HTTPS, as, after all, Firefox is the third most-popular browser today, with a desktop usage share of 11.7 percent. The protocol requires the purchase of a certificate, increasing website running costs, which can become a problem for smaller businesses.

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Windows 10 is undeniably impressive, but can it win you over?

Victory Winner Free

I was sold on Windows 10 before I could even try the first Technical Preview. Now, after seeing the latest slew of changes unveiled at Build 2015, it is clearer than ever that Microsoft is on the right path and that Windows 10 will be the most impressive release yet. There is no doubt in my mind about it.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Microsoft expects Windows 10 to attract one billion users within the first two to three years of its release. The timer starts this summer. It may sound like an empty claim, but when you look at everything that has been done so far to make Windows 10 so exciting, and consider the huge unlocked potential, it certainly sounds plausible. While I am no fortune-teller, I can’t see Microsoft getting anything important wrong. And that’s something I haven’t felt in ages in regards to the software giant.

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Samsung leads the smartphone market again, leaves Apple behind

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge unboxing and hands-on videos

Something interesting happened in the last quarter of 2014: Apple tied with Samsung on smartphone shipments. Both players moved 74.5 million units, reaching this figure from two opposite directions. The Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor saw its iPhone shipments increase by a whopping 46.07 percent year-over-year, while its South Korean rival dealt with a 13.37 percent decline.

But, luckily for Samsung, things changed in the first quarter of 2015. According to Strategy Analytics, its smartphone shipments reached 83.2 million units, while Apple's iPhones shipped in just 61.2 million units. And just like that, Samsung is, once again, back at the top. However, it is not yet in tip-top form.

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ASUS introduces the 15-inch ZenBook Pro UX501 high-end ultrabook

ASUS UX501

If you want a high-end 15-inch Windows laptop that is light and visually attractive you will most certainly not be spoilt for choice. PC makers are focusing on the smaller segments, which usually means a display size of around 13-inches. Sure, you can always grab a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and slap Windows on it, but that is not the same thing.

Fortunately, ASUS continues to include a 15-inch high-end option in its ZenBook lineup, as it just introduced ZenBook Pro UX501. It packs all the right features a buyer in this segment is looking for: ultra-high resolution screen, fast processor, lots of RAM, insanely fast SSD, dedicated graphics and a big battery, all in a package that is not much bigger and heavier than Apple's offering. What is not to like?

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