Mihăiță Bamburic

How will ARM support impact Windows 10?

Question

Microsoft can be surprising at times. After ditching Windows RT, the software giant has announced that it is working with Qualcomm to bring ARM support to Windows 10. In practice, that means that we will see Snapdragon-powered machines running Microsoft's latest operating system which, and this is key, can run proper x86 software.

Windows RT did not have that, as it was limited to apps available from Windows Store. And we all know how that worked out. However, x86 software on Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 devices can be seen as a game-changer as, in theory, it could pave the way to running resource-intensive programs, like Adobe Photoshop, on smartphones. And I am talking about the true Photoshop, not some dumbed-down mobile version. That could be huge, no doubt.

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Google makes Android app updates even smaller

android_app_updates

When you update apps over a cellular network you go through your data plan more quickly -- and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, Google has found a way to make sure that Android users reach their data limit later rather than sooner.

Using the File-By-File patching technique, Google says that it is able to reduce the size of update files by an average of 65 percent. And, in some cases, the reduction can even exceed 90 percent. But how much data can you actually expect to save?

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Pebble shutting down following Fitbit acquisition

Pebble Time on wrist

Fitbit has acquired fellow wearables maker Pebble. The transaction includes "specific assets" like key employees and software-related intellectual property, but not Pebble's hardware. Why? Because Fitbit is not interested in keeping the lights on for long.

Pebble will soon close down shop, as it has announced, "due to various factors" that prevent it from operating on its own. This means that its smartwatch manufacturing has come to an end as well. The company is not taking any new orders and it will refund Kickstarter backers who have shelled out for three of its latest products.

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IDC says Apple Watch sales are nosediving -- Tim Cook touts 'off the charts' growth

Why Confused Question Mark Woman Wall Puzzled

Here's the deal. Apple doesn't want to publish smartwatch sales data in its quarterly financial reports. So, to tell us where Apple Watch stands in relation to the competition in the wearables market, analysts come up with estimates, which may or may not be close to the truth. IDC did the same thing this week, claiming that Apple Watch sales nosedived in Q3 2016.

Apple typically does not comment on such claims, as it prefers to keep quiet and not add any fuel to the fire. It's a strategy that works, because, first of all, the Apple Watch was never in any real kind of trouble to begin with. So far, it's been considered the market leader in its segment. But now that IDC announces a major decline, Tim Cook decides it is time to tell us that Apple Watch is actually "doing great".

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Google has a moral obligation to hide offensive autocomplete search suggestions

Google covers girls eyes

If a query becomes popular enough on Google, it will show up as an autocomplete suggestion after you type the first words. For instance, if you write "what's my" one of the things that Google will propose is "what's my IP". That's to help you find what you are looking for more quickly. But there's a dark side to it: if left alone, it can expose you to some pretty offensive searches.

Case in point is "are Jews evil", which my colleague Mark Wilson wrote about earlier. Yes, a high enough number of users searched for those exact terms that it showed up as an autocomplete suggestion -- until Google decided to do something about it. Mark strongly believes that's wrong, but his arguments are childish. Why? Well, because if Google does nothing, your young children can also see "how to rape a woman" or "how to murder your mother" as autocomplete suggestions after writing "how to" in Google, just because some people wanted to make those queries popular. Think about it, and I mean really think about it, and let me know if that's something you would like to see happen. Could you live with it if, for instance, your easily influenced six year old stabs someone, as a result? Scary thought, isn't it?

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Google's Trusted Contacts app lets you share your location with friends and family

Mobile location pin

Google is making it easy to share your location with your friends and family, introducing a new Android app, called Trusted Contacts, that lets select contacts know exactly where you are at any given time.

Google has designed Trusted Contacts so that if you do not manually accept a request within five minutes it will automatically share your location with that contact. This should come in handy when you are unable to pick up your smartphone or cannot hear it ring.

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99 percent of fake Apple chargers are unsafe

iPhone Lightning cable charging Apple

When the time comes to buy a charger for your Apple device, you better make sure that what you are getting is the real deal. Why? A new report from UK's Chartered Trading Standards Institute says that the vast majority of counterfeit chargers for Apple products are not safe to use.

CTSI purchased 400 fake chargers from suppliers across the globe and discovered that 397 of them -- or 99.25 percent -- fail to meet what it considers a "basic safety test". In other words, if you use one to top the battery on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, MacBook or other Apple product you risk damaging the device -- or worse.

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Parallels Toolbox 1.3 packs dozens of tools for macOS power users

Parallels Toolbox 1.3

Parallels today releases a new version of its Toolbox app for macOS, adding five new tools that give users more control over their privacy and make it easier to use their Mac devices, bringing the total number of available utilities to 25.

The main addition in Parallels 1.3 is the ability to block all apps at once from accessing the camera. Parallels introduced this feature for folks who like to put tape over their Mac's webcam to protect their privacy. It is a more convenient solution to a problem some people seem to have, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

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PC market shows signs of recovery

Recovery road

PC shipments will continue to decline in 2016, according to a new IDC forecast, but the drop will be slightly lower than previously expected. What's more, things will improve even more in 2017.

IDC expects PC vendors to ship a total of 258.2 million units this year, a figure which would be 6.4 percent lower than last year. The previous estimate was a 7.2 percent fall, which IDC announced in August. Growth will still be negative in 2017, but shipments are expected to decrease by just 2.6 percent compared to this year.

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Netflix now lets you watch your favorite movies and TV shows offline

NetFlix

Many people stream their favorite movies and TV shows today through Netflix. The service, which boasts around 86 million subscribers, is available on all the major platforms, making it easy for users to enjoy it pretty much everywhere and on every PC, smartphone and tablet. That is, as long as there is a working Internet connection.

That changes today, as Netflix announces that it is also making its content available offline. Users are now able to download movies and TV shows and watch them while, for instance, traveling on an airplane or in a remote area. Here is what you need to know.

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Apple will not approve updates and new apps during winter holidays

Tree winter holidays schedule calendar

The winter holidays are fast approaching and, just like other workers, many folks in the tech industry are looking forward to their vacation days. But, before employees can celebrate and unwind, companies have to adjust their schedule accordingly and prepare their customers for the limited (or lack of) office hours.

Apple announces its schedule today, advising developers to submit their updates and new apps for approval in time, to avoid any delays and inconveniences.

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OnePlus 3T first-impressions review

OnePlus 3T homescreen front

The OnePlus 3T is shaping up to be one of the best smartphones that you can buy today. Replacing the OnePlus 3, it is a slightly beefier version of the former "flagship killer" that, at first glance, also feels more refined. Visually, it looks nearly the same, but the updated internals and improved software could make a big difference in day to day use.

This is a first look at OnePlus' new flagship, which I feel is well needed as the OnePlus 3T today makes its European debut. Many of you will be considering it as your next smartphone, and for good reasons. Obviously, a full review is coming, but until then here are my first impressions.

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Vufine+ wearable display review

Vufine+

Having a small display strapped to a pair of glasses may seem like a bad idea in a post-Google Glass wearables market, but Vufine is not afraid to take chances. The company successfully launched the original Vufine on Kickstarter in 2015, and now it is at it again with an updated model. And this one is proving to be a hit as well.

It is called Vufine+ and what it does is give you a viewfinder or external display for an action camera, laptop or smartphone. There are no fancy smart features here. Instead, you can mirror what's on your device's screen or watch what you are recording with your camera. It sounds simple, and that is because it is. So, what's it like to use?

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Noontec ZORO II wireless headphones review

Noontec ZORO II wireless headphones

Wireless headphones are the future. Apple knows it, and pretty soon you will too. Let's face it, the good old 3.5mm jack is on its way out. Smartphone evolution will see to it. And when it will no longer be an option, many of us will come to realize that we have been living in the past for far too long After the first couple of minutes of using the Noontec ZORO II, this much was clear.

Noontec has designed the ZORO II for the discerning headphone buyer who is looking to get rid of wires but, at the same time, still enjoy a quality sound. This is the first pair of wireless cans that I have used and, I have to admit, I am really impressed by it. Needless to say, I am a convert now.

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NHTSA reveals voluntary guidelines for smartphone makers to minimize distracted driving

Driver driving smartphone distraction

Traffic fatalities are up for the first time in 25 years, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, and one of the leading causes is distraction. One in ten people die on US roads as a result, and smartphones play a key part in it, so regulators want to do something about it. But, what exactly?

The NHTSA will come up with a set of voluntary guidelines for smartphone manufacturers to limit the level of interaction their users can have while driving a vehicle. "As millions of Americans take to the roads for Thanksgiving gatherings, far too many are put at risk by drivers who are distracted by their cellphones", says US Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx. "These commonsense guidelines, grounded in the best research available, will help designers of mobile devices build products that cut down on distraction on the road".

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