Mihaita Bamburic

LG announces G3 Beat

LG G3 Beat s

Top Android manufacturers have made a habit of releasing smaller versions of their flagship smartphones. Samsung is doing it. HTC is doing it as well. And LG is no exception. But, unlike its fellow vendors, it is not calling it a "mini". Meet G3 Beat.

Also unlike Samsung and HTC, which give their mini-flagships small displays, LG opts for a 5-inch panel; it is as large as what One (M8) offers and not that much smaller than what Galaxy S5 comes with. Let us take a look at what G3 Beat has to offer.

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Deutsche Telekom to preload Dropbox on its Android devices

new dropbox logo

Cloud storage service Dropbox has detailed a new partnership with mobile operator Deutsche Telekom, that will result in its Android app being preloaded on the majority of devices sold in certain parts of Europe by the German company and its subsidiaries.

This partnership also impacts Deutsche Telekom's current customer base, who will be helped to "discover" Dropbox. The Android devices that will come preloaded with the app will be available, starting in October, in Central and Eastern European markets.

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Nokia Lumia 635 coming to AT&T

Nokia Lumia 635 AT&T

Lumia 635 is one of the three Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8.1 devices announced so far. It is designed to compete in the low-end smartphone market, where it goes up against similarly-priced handsets from rival Android manufacturers. It is also the only device in its lineup to officially reach US shores, with T-Mobile being the first local mobile operator to announce its availability.

But Lumia 635 will also be available at another US mobile operator. Starting July 25, AT&T will offer the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone through its GoPhone prepaid service and, starting August 8, the device will also be available through the mobile operator's online and brick and mortar stores.

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Nokia Lumia Cyan firmware upgrade finally rolls out

Lumia-Cyan-update-Start-screen

Today, Microsoft announces that the highly-anticipated Nokia Lumia Cyan firmware upgrade, that comes with Windows Phone 8.1 in tow, is now finally rolling out across the globe for the existing Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 lineup.

Windows Phone 8.1 will officially arrive on all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices "in the coming weeks", according to Microsoft. Previously, Lumia users had to join the Preview for Developers program -- which offers early access to new Windows Phone releases, including betas -- in order to get the latest version of the tiled operating system on their Windows Phone 8 devices. Here is what Nokia Lumia Cyan offers.

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How to unlock the bootloader on your Sony Xperia

Sony Bootloader Unlock Xperia

Unlocking the bootloader is not a task most Android users may want or need to undertake, as it comes with its fair share of risks, but it is paramount for those who want to install a different distribution, load a faster kernel, use a third-party recovery and so on. I personally prefer to turn off all the nannies on every Android device I own, as it makes way for quick modifications.

While not all manufacturers allow users to unlock the bootloader on their devices, there are a couple of vendors which believe this should be possible, and straightforward. Among them is Sony, known for its modder-friendly attitude, which has just improved its dedicated online tool for Xperia smartphones and tablets. And here is how easy it is to use.

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gPlus: A Google+ client for Windows Phone you can enjoy using

gPlus for Windows Phone Google+ logo

Windows Phone developers should be commended for the great job they are doing with third-party apps, which are, sometimes, even superior to the real deal. But, while they cover quite a few popular services, like Dropbox, Gmail or YouTube, I have yet to come across a competent client for Google+. For some reason, all Windows Phone apps I have tried either did not work as advertised or were acting as a wrapper for the mobile site.

As a result I have stopped trying to use Google+ altogether on Windows Phone, switching over to my laptop or tablet whenever I want to reach followers on the social network. But, thanks to G.T.F.O. Productions and its gPlus app, that might change.

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Microsoft sells unlocked Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020 Color Range

One year after it went on sale, Nokia Lumia 1020 is still the smartphone to beat when it comes to delivering the best Windows Phone imaging experience. That can be attributed to its mighty 41 MP camera, which continues to be in a league of its own, unmatched in resolution by any of its modern rivals.

In the US, Lumia 1020 has been an AT&T-exclusive since its launch, in July 2013, much like other Windows Phone flagships which have been released in the second-largest smartphone market. But, now, you can buy it unlocked, right from Microsoft Store, without any AT&T branding in tow.

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Nokia Lumia 520 activations exceed 12 million, Windows Phone ecosystem grows

Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520 is the handset that has helped Windows Phone become a serious competitor in the low-end smartphone market. It is also the first Windows Phone I would wholeheartedly recommend to folks looking for an affordable, yet capable smartphone. (I like it so much that I have actually bought one for my other half, to replace an aging iPhone.)

Consumers have taken notice of Lumia 520, proof being that the best low-end Windows Phone has topped 12 million activations, according to Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner. That may not rival iPhone's figures anytime soon, but it still makes it a huge hit among Windows Phone users.

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Android apps on Windows Phone: It's too complicated

Maze Man

No matter how you slice it, Windows Phone Store is a ghost town. Too many popular titles just aren't there right now. As developers take their sweet time to release the desired offerings or overlook the platform altogether, could Android apps be the answer to Windows Phone's long-lasting shortcoming?

It wouldn't be unusual for Microsoft to get in bed with Android, as the software giant already sells Android-based devices, which make up its Nokia X series (admittedly, Nokia launched it). If it works there, it could work just as well for Windows Phone. It's not like the platform has anything to lose, considering the measly market share it claims since inception. Right? Well, it's not that simple.

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Bing also wins at World Cup 2014

Victory Winner Free

Last night, Germany won against Argentina in the World Cup 2014 final. It was a good game, with, dare I say, an expected outcome for those who watched both teams closely during the competition. But, for tech enthusiasts, there is a second winner, and that is Microsoft's Bing.

Through the Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant, Cortana, Bing predicted the winners in 15 out of the 16 World Cup 2014 games in the knockout stage. It only failed to foresee that The Netherlands would win against Brazil in the fight for third place. This remarkable achievement shows to prove that, contrary to what some might believe, Bing really has what it takes to shine when the pressure is on.

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Galaxy Apps: Samsung's latest attempt at a popular Android app store

Galaxy Apps

Let's face it: there are only two major app stores in the mobile space. One is Apple App Store and the other is Google Play. That is due to their huge app selection, which was long passed the one billion apps mark in each case, and the quality of the available offerings, which often tops that of other app stores.

On the iOS side of things, there is virtually no competition due to the platform's closed nature. On Android, however, Google Play's success stems from the popularity of Google-vetted devices, which tops that of handsets running forked versions of the operating system (that are not approved by Google). Still, one vendor had the potential to give Google Play a run for its money -- Samsung.

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Here's where you can buy Nokia Lumia 930 in US

Nokia Lumia 930

After months of waiting, Nokia Lumia 930 is finally available. That is, of course, unless you are living in US, where Microsoft will not make the Windows Phone 8.1 flagship officially available. Sure, you can buy Lumia Icon instead, as it offers pretty much the same specs, but what if you are not, or not do want to be, a Verizon customer?

The first option is to import Lumia 930 from Europe, where it is sold by major retailers, some of which offer international shipping. Clove, which is based in UK, carries the smartphones, in black, orange and white, at a price of £362.5 (which is about $621) without any local taxes. Or, you can head over to Expansys US, which sells Lumia 930 for not much more.

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BlackBerry details BBM for Windows Phone

bbm-wp-1

After being announced in late-February, BBM finally landed in Windows Phone Store earlier this week. The messaging app is not yet generally available though, as it was published as a private beta. But BlackBerry is giving impatient BBM fans and prospective users the opportunity to join an "external" testing program.

Ahead of the public release, BlackBerry also showcases what the first BBM iteration can do on Windows Phone. First off, the Canadian maker has designed the app so it feels and looks, per BlackBerry's own words, like a native Windows Phone offering. That is a significantly different approach to what it has done with BBM for Android and iOS, both of which look much like the BlackBerry OS counterpart.

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Microsoft releases video editor for Windows Phone 8.1

Video-Tuner-colour-filters (1)

Microsoft's Mobile division just released Video Tuner, a new Windows Phone 8.1 app that gives users the ability to quickly edit videos right on their smartphones. The free offering is a Nokia Lumia-exclusive, at least for now, meaning that some platform users will be unable to install it.

Microsoft says Video Tuner offers "basic, yet powerful" tools, which include mundane ones like crop, flip, mirror, rotate, speed change and trim, as well as more advanced features like the option to add a soundtrack and tweak the sound level.

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Where is Windows Phone most popular?

puzzle missing piece

Following the launch of Windows Phone 8 in late-2012, Microsoft's smartphone platform has significantly increased its market share, reaching more consumers in more regions across the globe. Its rise can be attributed, for the most part, to sales of low-end handsets, like the affordable Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 625, which are prevalent in emerging markets.

So, it should come as no surprise that emerging markets make up roughly half the list of the 20 largest Windows Phone markets, according to a new report from Windows 8 and Windows Phone advertising network AdDuplex. The leader of the pack, however, is US, with 11 percent of the user base.

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