Mihăiță Bamburic

Microsoft launches Teams -- and Slack is worried

Microsoft Teams

It is no secret that Microsoft has been working on a Slack rival, but it is not until today that we get to take a proper look at the new collaboration tool. Called Microsoft Teams, it will officially launch in the first quarter of 2017, though the software giant is making it available as a public preview starting today. Should you give it a try?

The benefit to Microsoft Teams, as the software giant explains it, is the integration with some of its most important products and services, like Office 365 and Skype, to help users collaborate more easily on different projects. You also get support for services like GitHub and Twitter and different security features, but those are also available in other collaboration tools -- like Slack, for instance.

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AWS more popular than Microsoft, Google and IBM's clouds combined

Amazon AWS

Amazon Web Services is the undisputed leader in the public cloud market, with a market share larger than the next three competitors -- Microsoft, Google and IBM -- combined, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group.

In Q3 2016, AWS had a share of around 45 percent in the public IaaS (infrastructure as a service) market, while Microsoft's Azure, Google's Cloud and IBM's cloud did not even get past the 20 percent mark.

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Microsoft expands Surface Book lineup with new 512GB model

Surface-Book-Image-9

Available in a multitude of configurations, the Surface Book can meet the needs of many buyers in the premium segment. But, just in case you are looking for even more flexibility, Microsoft has introduced a new model in the range, which offers a higher storage capacity at a price that does not break the bank.

The Surface Book range is now comprised of seven models, four of which feature dedicated graphics. The other three -- the latest one included -- come with Intel's HD graphics, which is less powerful but not as costly an option. So, what does the new Surface Book model offer?

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Apple is out of touch

Apple special event October 2016 new MacBook Pro

I am not an Apple fanboy, but I have defended the company's decisions and philosophy more times than I can remember. And for good reason. But, looking at the new MacBook Pro line, I am finding it hard to see where that "touch of genius" is. What exactly makes its latest laptops anything more than glorified MacBooks?

Apple has never been afraid to take risks and innovate. But with the new MacBook Pros it has failed to improve upon their "Pro" status. It wrongfully applied the same approach it has used over and over again in the consumer space without considering that prosumers, the folks who MacBook Pros used to be designed for, have a different set of needs than the average Joe who buys a MacBook Air to go on Facebook at Starbucks. As a result, the new MacBook Pros, while different than before, are not evolved enough for this day and age. The so-called "touch of genius" tagline is proof that Apple has lost touch with the real world.

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Smartphone shipments rise despite Samsung Galaxy Note7 recall

Smartphone closeup

Smartphone shipments have increased in the third quarter of the year, even when Samsung's recalled Galaxy Note7 flagship is taken out of the equation. How much they rose depends on which analyst company you choose to believe. IDC is the most conservative, announcing a growth of one percent bump year-over-year, while Canalys is more optimistic, claiming a six percent bump.

Both Canalys and IDC exclude the Galaxy Note7 because Samsung stopped sales of its latest flagship and wants every unit it shipped to be returned by its customers. The smartphone performed well in the short time it was available, which is why the two companies specifically mention it in their reports -- though it did not dramatically affect Samsung's status as a market leader.

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Surface Dial accessory is all about productivity and control

Microsoft Surface Studio with Surface Dial

Alongside an updated Surface Book and the all-new Surface Studio, at its event today Microsoft also presented an interesting accessory for its Surface line that is designed to help users be more productive while using their device -- and make it easier to control.

It's called Surface Dial and what it does is enable Surface Studio, Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 adopters to handle content, access various and functions, and use various features on their device. But how does it work exactly?

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Microsoft's new Surface Studio is an impressive but pricey all-in-one PC

Microsoft Surface Studio

At its Surface event, Microsoft today introduced not only an updated Surface Book but also an all-new all in one PC called Surface Studio. With a 28-inch screen, impressive specs and clever design, it is probably the closest and most appealing rival to Apple's mighty 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

The Surface Studio is aimed at prosumers, featuring a hinged stand that enables users to adjust the angle of the display -- which can be used upright, tilted back or almost flat on the desk. That is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive things about it. And, of course, it is a touchscreen. The name of the hinge is pretty cool, as Microsoft refers to it as the Zero Gravity Hinge.

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Xiaomi's new Mi Max is a huge smartphone with near bezel-less design

Xiaomi Mi Max front back

Xiaomi today unveiled a new high-end smartphone, featuring a massive, "edgeless" display and cutting-edge internals. It is called the Mi Max and although it is labeled as a concept, likely due to its futuristic design, it will be available on the market, with prices starting at around $515 (CNY3,499).

With a Xiaomi smartphone, especially a high-end one, the focus is always on specs, more specifically ticking all the right boxes while keeping the price in check. The Mi Max is a bit different in the sense that Xiaomi has gone a bit further, offering some things that we do not normally see from other manufacturers.

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Samsung reveals Galaxy Note series will live on -- new flagship will launch in 2017

womansurpriseexcitedlaptop

After the whole Galaxy Note7 fiasco, some folks believed that Samsung would put an end to the Galaxy Note series. The electronics giant has lost a lot of money thanks to a single faulty device, not to mention that the damage this has caused to its reputation will be very hard -- if not impossible -- to repair, so such a decision would make some sense.

However, as it turns out, Samsung is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The Galaxy Note series will live on, because the company just announced the introduction of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note8 in 2017. What's more, Galaxy Note7 customers will be able to take advantage of a special offer to upgrade to one of its upcoming flagships.

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Not every iPhone 7 is created equal

iPhone 7 Plus

Depending on which iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus version you buy, you may experience slower storage and cellular speeds compared to other models in the lineup -- and, at least when it comes to the wireless performance, there may be nothing that you can do about it.

A report on the storage performance of the base iPhone 7 Plus, which features 32GB of storage, reveals that it is a couple of times slower at the same task than a 128GB iPhone 7, in both synthetic and real-life benchmarks.

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Microsoft Q1 FY2017 by the numbers: $22.34 billion revenue, $5.98 billion profit

Microsoft

Microsoft has posted its earnings for Q1 FY2017 (Q3 CY2016), revealing revenue of $22.34 billion, operating income of $7.1 billion, net income of $5.98 billion, and earnings per share of $0.76 cents. The software giant beat analyst expectations of $21.71 billion in revenue and EPS of $0.68. The stock is up around 5.5 percent over yesterday, with shares trading at over $60 -- a record value for the company.

How do the latest numbers compare to Q1 FY2016? A year ago Microsoft reported revenue of $21.66 billion, operating income of $7.07 billion, net income of $5.66 billion and EPS of $0.70. So the revenue, operating income, net income, and EPS are up.

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Samsung's 8GB RAM module will let you run virtual machines on mobile devices

Samsung 8GB LPDDR4 mobile memory RAM module

Pretty soon it will be common for high-end smartphones to have as much -- if not more -- RAM than your PC, as Samsung just unveiled a new 8GB LPDDR4 module for mobile devices featuring large, UHD displays.

Samsung believes that mobile devices equipped with 8GB of RAM will be able to handle 4K video playback with ease but also virtual machines. The latter scenario is not a common on smartphones and tablets, but Samsung wants to bring mobile devices on a similar level to desktops and laptops, at least in consumers' minds.

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LeEco enters US smartphone market with $399 Le Pro3 flagship

LeEco Le Pro3

Chinese tech giant LeEco is making its entrance in the US smartphone market. The first device to be officially available is its high-end Le Pro3, which features cutting edge hardware at an appealing price. It costs $399, but on launch day the Le Pro3 will actually be offered for just $299, after a $100 rebate is applied.

LeEco's approach is no different to that of other Chinese vendors, like Xiaomi, as it also delivers flagship-grade hardware at a price that undercuts its premium rivals by hundreds of dollars. But, unlike many of its home rivals, LeEco will soon have an official presence in US, which will make a big difference when it comes to consumer trust and sales in the country.

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Elephone EleCam Explorer Elite action camera review

Elephone EleCam Explorer Elite

In trying to compete with more premium brands, some action camera makers are pushing the envelope in terms of quality at lower price points. Some of the best devices in the affordable category, while not on the same level as the latest GoPros, come reasonably close to the leading players, but at a fraction of the cost.

One of those devices that is touted to offer great value for money is the Elephone EleCam Explorer Elite. It comes in below the $70 mark, so it certainly delivers on the cost front. And, being powered by a proven and competitive chipset in the entry-level market, it seems to have what it takes to deliver quality videos. But, how does it perform in real life?

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Google can now help you find the cheapest flights

Google Flights cheapest tickets

You can save big on plane tickets. The trick, as you know, is to buy them at the right time. And since it may not be easy to foresee, Google Flights has received an update to let you know when is the best time to take out your credit card.

With the holiday season just around the corner, Google says that 69 percent of the US leisure travelers worry about finding the cheapest flights or making the right decision when buying their tickets, so Travel will now inform users when it expects prices to change.

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