Today, there is a messaging service for just about anything and anyone. The core features are pretty much the same across the board, however. Where they differ is mostly in the way those features are implemented. For instance, you can chat with others using any messaging app, but not all offer encrypted conversations or delete your messages after they're received. The devil is in the details, as always.
Despite all the different options available today, there is still room for new messaging services to make their mark. Wiper is among the new up and coming players, with its main highlights being the option to delete conversations everywhere, on-demand, and provide secure HD video chats.
Since taking control of Nokia's Devices & Services business in April, Microsoft has introduced a couple of important new Windows Phones. We have the replacement of the popular entry-level Lumia 520, called Lumia 530, and the much-awaited successor of two year-old mid-ranger Lumia 820, dubbed Lumia 830, as well as two in-between offerings, Lumia 730 and Lumia 735.
Under Microsoft's leadership, there appears to be something fresh for everyone looking to be part of the Windows Phone world, except up-to-date versions of Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 phablets. And, next week, we will see the software giant unveiling yet another Lumia Windows Phone, this time, perhaps, even featuring its own branding, instead of Nokia's.
In spite of some incidents here and there, both iOS and OS X are mostly safe from malware. Obviously, that assumption only holds true assuming that users do not go out of their way to get into trouble by jailbreaking their devices and messing with cracked apps or software grabbed from shady places. It is common sense, really -- the security measures that Apple enforces can only go so far to protect users in uncontrolled environments. (The same thing can also be said in regards to Android and Windows, but that is a different story.) And if you need any more proof of just how important it is to stick to trusted sources, this is it.
In the past six months, hundreds of thousands of iOS and OS X users have been affected by the WireLurker malware family, according to security research firm Palo Alto Networks, after using Chinese third-party app store Maiyadi App Store to download OS X software. Go figure!
When you buy a Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy Note Edge you don't just get a great phablet. On top of all the powerful features that Samsung packs in its stylus-toting flagships, it also throws in a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of freebies, most of which you may not even be aware of.
And by freebies I mean freebies that you may want to take advantage of, not free stuff that is nice to have but hardly useful. This is something that Samsung has been doing for quite some time, as it applies to other flagships in its portfolio like Galaxy S5, but is only now detailing the freebies for its Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge customers. The best known perk is probably the 50 GB of free Dropbox storage, which is good for two years.
Jawbone is expanding its collection of activity trackers with the newly-announced UP Move and UP3. The two new devices target different ends of the market, with the former being designed as a clip-on for basic activity tracking, while the latter is a fitness band meant for demanding users, who wish to have access to a comprehensive feature set.
UP Move is, as you might expect, the cheapest of the two, being priced at just $49.99. Its low cost makes it an attractive first choice for folks on a budget who wish to get into activity trackers. In fact, undoubtedly because of the low asking price, Jawbone markets Up Move as a "great option for anyone at the beginning of a fitness or weight loss journey".
Even though more than two months have passed since Galaxy Note Edge was unveiled, Samsung has yet to finally bring its phablet to Western markets. Sure, many can get Galaxy Note 4 instead, which has similar specs, but it does not offer that intriguing curved display on the side, nor the appeal of owning a more exclusive device.
However, if you are an AT&T or T-Mobile customer looking to get Galaxy Note Edge, then you're in luck as Samsung will soon introduce its much-awaited device in US. Both mobile operators have announced that they will carry the phablet this month.
Samsung's Find My Mobile device-tracking service was revealed last month to be vulnerable to a denial of service attack, which would allow hackers to lock and wipe enrolled handsets. The media quickly jumped on this, with some pundits suggesting that users should stop using Find My Mobile as soon as possible, due to the apparent risks involved.
Samsung today finally decided to chime in, telling its customers that they actually have nothing to worry about. The vulnerability in question, Samsung says, was fixed more than a week before it went public, resulting in no user data being compromised. Well, it sure took Samsung a long time to come forward with this information, seeing as news about it started to surface a week ago.
NFC payments are all the rage nowadays, in no small part thanks to the support that Apple Pay is receiving from financial institutions and iPhone users, and raving reviews from the media. Naturally, this may tempt you to give NFC payments a go, to see what all the fuss is about. But what if you have a Windows Phone? Apple Pay is obviously out of the question. What can you do then?
As you may know, Windows Phone supports NFC payments out-of-the-box, thanks to a feature known as Tap to Pay. Like Apple Pay it leverages the built-in NFC chip in your device. The only thing standing between you and paying through it is its lack of support. However, there is another way you can make NFC payments with your Windows Phone, and that is by using the Softcard app, which just arrived on the platform. Here is what you need to know about it.
It will not be long before AT&T and T-Mobile customers will also be able to get their hands on HTC One (M8) for Windows, as both US mobile operators are now listing the Windows Phone as "coming soon" to their stores.
One (M8) for Windows launched in August as a Verizon-exclusive version of One (M8) running Android. The smartphone, which costs $99.99 on a two-year contract with big red, is the first to ship with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 out-of-the-box.
After a long wait, Microsoft announced today that the next version of Office for Mac will finally see the light of day in 2015. Mac users will be able to get their hands on a public beta in the first half of next year, with the final version to arrive before the end of 2015. The latest official version of Office for Mac, Office for Mac 2011, launched more than four years ago.
Microsoft does not reveal what the upcoming Office for Mac will be called, but, seeing as it launches in 2015, it is possible that the software giant will stick to the current naming scheme and call it Office for Mac 2015. What we do know is that it will include Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word, which will make it less feature-rich than Office 2013, which has been available on Windows for nearly two years.
Samsung is slowly moving away from its oft-maligned, all-plastic smartphone designs of the past, in an attempt to convince consumers that it too can make premium-looking and feeling devices. The first smartphone to reveal what the future holds was Galaxy Alpha, announced just a few months ago. Then Galaxy Note 4 came along, stepping things up even further in the high-end segment.
And now we see how Samsung's vision will impact its less expensive Galaxy devices, as the company just took the wraps off Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 today, two mid-range to low-end smartphones featuring "refined full metal unibody designs" that happen to be very, very thin (for whatever reason): 6.7 and 6.9 mm, respectively.
For a manufacturer that has only been selling smartphones for a couple of years now, Xiaomi is doing better than expected. The Chinese company, founded in 2012, became the third-largest smartphone vendor in Q3 2013, surpassing the likes of Lenovo, LG and Huawei. Xiaomi is also closing in fast on Apple, which has enjoyed a comfortable lead, in volumes, over its immediate competition.
Xiaomi's shipments have increased by 211.3 percent year-over-year, to 17.3 million units in the past quarter from just 5.6 million units in Q3 2013. That is more than eight times higher than the market average, of 25.2 percent. Meanwhile, Apple's shipments only grew by a mere 16.1 percent, which is well below the market average, to 39.3 million units from 33.8 million units.
Microsoft is getting into the wearables business, but not with a smartwatch as the rumors have suggested for more than a week. The software giant is actually approaching this market with a smart activity tracker called Band, and a dedicated platform called Health.
Like the rumored smartwatch, which could have competed with Android Wear devices and Apple Watch, Band works on all three major mobile platforms, Android, iOS and Windows Phone. It is designed for both fitness junkies as well as average folks who wish to keep track of their daily activity.
Europeans are a conservative bunch when it comes to the form factor of their beloved iPhones, as most of those who purchase one of Apple's new handsets opt for the smaller model. In fact, iPhone 6 is so popular among consumers on the old continent that it outsells the iPhone 6 Plus phablet by a whopping five to one.
The difference in sales is to be expected, given that phablets are still somewhat part of a niche today, and the majority of those who buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus -- that would be existing iPhone users -- are more accustomed to less intimidating dimensions, like those of iPhone 6. However, Apple is right to jump on the phablet bandwagon, considering how big of a role such devices are expected to play in smartphone sales just a few years down the road, and the hit iPhone's market share is taking from Android handsets.
No one can deny that making handsets thinner and thinner is a persistent trend in the mobile device market. Rarely do we see a new, prominent smartphone or tablet being thicker than its predecessor. Manufacturers love to be able to tout during announcements and in ads just how insanely slim their new products are, like this is a feature that us, consumers, are dying to get. (Sadly, sometimes that may be the only thing that such handsets have got going for them.)
Still, if you are one of those who prefer insanely-thin smartphones, Oppo has just the thing for you. The Chinese manufacturer just unveiled "the slimmest phone in the world", called R5, measuring just 4.85 mm thick. To give you an idea of just how thin it is, it shames Apple's new iPhone 6, which comes in at 6.9 mm thick.