Mihaita Bamburic

Android's factory reset leaves private information behind on 630 million devices

Insecure Android smartphone

Sensitive data, such as user credentials, can be easily recovered from an Android handset after performing a factory reset, according to a University of Cambridge report. The feature, which is claimed to "erase all data" from the device and is especially recommended come resale time, will not work as advertised on up to 630 million Android handsets.

A factory reset will not properly wipe the data partition, where "credentials and other sensitive data are stored", on up to 500 million handsets, while on a further 130 million devices it will not properly clean the user-accessible storage. Even worse, relying on encryption to secure sensitive data does not help.

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Android 5.1.1 now available for Nexus 4, 5, cellular 7 and 9 -- here's how you can install it

Android 5.1 Lollipop announcement image

You might think that Google will quickly update its supported Nexus devices to the latest version of Android, after releasing it. After all, the search giant controls the development of the mobile operating system and Nexus software updates. But that is not exactly the case.

Some Nexus devices -- like the second-generation Nexus 7 -- got Android 5.1.1 Lollipop last month, while other handsets -- like the 4G LTE version of Nexus 9 -- are only now receiving the software upgrade. Not a level playing field it would seem.

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Mid-range Microsoft Surface 3 available in Europe

Surface 3

When Microsoft announced Surface 3, the software giant revealed that its latest Windows 8.1 slate would be offered with two main hardware configurations: 64 GB of internal storage with 2 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of internal storage with 4 GB of RAM. Either can be had with or without 4G LTE cellular connectivity.

However, what most people do not know is that Surface 3 is actually available in a third hardware configuration, which slots between the two aforementioned models. It gives users 64 GB of internal storage and 4 GB of RAM to play with. And now, this model is surfacing in Europe.

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Dropbox for Windows, Windows Phone becomes universal app, gains new features in the process

Dropbox for Windows Phone logo

Cloud storage service Dropbox has turned its Windows and Windows Phone apps into a single universal app, giving users a consistent experience across smartphones, PCs and tablets that are running Microsoft's tiled operating systems.

The latest version of Dropbox bridges the gap between the Windows and Windows Phone versions of the app, sharing most of the code, also gaining a number of new features in the transition to universal app status. The most important changes are aimed at the Windows Phone-toting crowd. Some are long-overdue, being mentioned in my initial coverage of the Windows Phone client in mid-January.

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Microsoft releases May 2015 firmware upgrades for Surface Pro 3, Pro 2

Surface Pro 3 with red Type Cover keyboard

After a brief hiatus, Microsoft has released new firmware upgrades for its Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 Windows 8.1 tablets. The May 2015 releases feature updated drivers and UEFI, which, as expected, are meant to refine the user experience.

There are no new firmware upgrades available for the original Surface Pro, however, nor for Surface RT, Surface 2 and Surface 3, the last of which Microsoft unveiled in late-March. Now, let us take a close look at what the latest Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 firmware updates bring to the table.

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Apple refreshes 15-inch MacBook Pro, introduces cheaper 5K iMac

May 2015 base 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

Apple has refreshed the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, beefing up its top-of-the-line laptop with a Force Touch trackpad, faster internal storage and dedicated graphics, and, of course, better battery life. Also new is a 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display configuration which kicks off at $1,999, $300 cheaper than the original model.

But these are not the only changes that Apple has announced. The original 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display now starts off at $200 less than before -- prior to this price-cut, it had been available from $2,499. Let us take a detailed look at what the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display brings to the table.

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LG expands G4 lineup -- announces G4 Stylus and G4c

LG G4 Stylus and G4c together

LG's G4 lineup is growing, as the South Korean maker just announced G4 Stylus and G4c. The two new smartphones look similar to their flagship sibling, G4, but sport much more modest hardware.

G4 Stylus is the proper phablet in the lineup, while G4c is the compact offering -- if it can be called that, given that its display is as big as some of G4's rivals. Both smartphones can be considered mid-range offerings.

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The best Microsoft Surface Pro 3 version gets a $150 discount

Surface Pro 3 with red Type Cover keyboard

If you are in the market for a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 then you should definitely get the 256 GB version with 8 GB of RAM. It is the best of the bunch, offering the right balance between price and performance. It is also the model that I would leave my 13-inch Apple MacBook Air for.

Luckily, if you are considering the aforementioned Surface Pro 3 version, Microsoft is now sweetening the deal with a $150 discount, which brings the price down to a more affordable $1,149. Normally, the slate costs $1,299.

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Snapchat plans to release a Windows Phone app, but don't get your hopes up

SnapChat

While Windows Phone Store is home to lots of third-party apps, you will not see a Snapchat client in there. And it is not due to a lack of effort. The company simply does not want any such offerings to be available, actively working towards eliminating each and every one.

Rudy Huyn, a well-known Windows Phone developer, has gone as far as asking Snapchat to review the code of his 6snap client to keep the app alive in Store, but the company would not budge. Also, when Snapchat CEO Evan Spegel was told that Windows Phone users want an official app, he simply replied: "didn't think anyone used those". However, Snapchat's could-not-care-less-about-Windows-Phone stance seems to have changed, as it just announced that a Windows Phone app is on the cards.

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LG G4 rolls out this week

LG G4 Available Colors Back Covers

South Korean maker LG has announced that its latest flagship smartphone will roll out globally starting this week. Unveiled in late-April during a special event, G4 is positioned as a rival to the likes of HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

LG says that G4 will be available through around 180 carriers and retailers across the globe, and will continue its roll-out throughout June. It will not be immediately available in key markets across Europe and North America.

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Google's self-driving cars will hit public roads

Google's weird-looking self-driving vehicle prototypes

Google has announced that, this summer, some of its self-driving vehicle prototypes will be unleashed on the streets of Mountain View. The weird-looking cars will be equipped with the typical controls and go out on the public roads of the search giant's home town with a safety driver on board.

As you may already know, Google's prototypes do not currently feature the usual controls that are on the average vehicle. But, at least in this following testing phase, a removable steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals will be installed in each car. There will be a "neighborhood-friendly" 25 mph speed limit in place.

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How to make 4K videos run smoothly in Google Chrome

4k-tv

Even though my Internet connection is fast and my computer is up to the task, whenever I play 4K videos in Google Chrome -- usually on YouTube -- playback stutters heavily, forcing me to opt for a lesser quality for a seamless experience. Switching to another browser, like Safari, will solve the problem, but this is hardly a fix that I can live with.

Fortunately, Google is working on a solution, introducing an experimental option in Chrome that will make 4K videos finally run as they should -- smoothly, that is. Here is what you need to know.

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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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