Mihaita Bamburic

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 finally comes to Verizon Nokia Lumia Icon [Update]

Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone 8.1 Denim

Nokia Lumia Icon is among the last Windows Phones to receive a software update to Windows Phone 8.1, despite its flagship credentials. But this shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, Lumia Icon features Verizon's logo. And we all know that big red is not exactly quick with updates.

In fact, despite being a Verizon exclusive, Lumia Icon is long gone from the carrier's portfolio. Talk about support there! The only Windows Phones Verizon sells now are HTC One (M8) for Windows and Samsung ATIV SE. Still, Lumia Icon will at least get Lumia Denim, which is based on Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, quite possibly before any other high-end Windows Phone in US.

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2015 Motorola Moto E offers Android 5.0 Lollipop and 4G at just $99

2015 Moto E Best Buy Motorola

Consumers looking to purchase their first smartphone have so many options to choose from that the only way manufacturers can differentiate is by giving their devices more upscale, standout features. In a time when 4G LTE is on the rise, faster data speeds would certainly qualify. And with the 2015 Moto E, Motorola is finally giving its future customers just that.

Yes, folks, the 2015 Moto E will arrive packing 4G LTE cellular connectivity, at a price that is similar to its predecessor's. And it will run Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box.

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Celebrating Clean Out Your Computer Day with a BetaNews giveaway [Closed]

clean out your computer day

Most people may be inclined to think that today is just another Monday, but tech enthusiasts all around the globe know better. That's because the second Monday of February is when we celebrate Clean Out Your Computer Day. It's time for our PCs and laptops to get some well-deserved TLC, folks!

Of course, Clean Out Your Computer Day shouldn't be only about plain-old computers. Our mobile devices are just as important, so feel free to include them too! Here are some of the things you can do on Clean Out Your Computer Day.

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Windows 10 may offer limited features on existing low-end devices

Windows 10 Phone

There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft really wants to make Windows 10 available for as many Windows Phone 8.1 devices as possible. The software giant envisions a future when "the idea of asking 'What version are you on?' will cease to make sense" -- that can only be achieved by getting existing users on board through software updates.

However, it would seem that hardware limitations are getting in the way. The vast majority of smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 are low-spec devices, packing just 512 MB of RAM. Their meager hardware may not be able to handle all of Windows 10's features, according to Microsoft's Joe Belfiore.

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Lepow Poki 5000 and U-Stone 12000 external battery chargers [Review]

Lepow Poki 5000 battery indicator

Working from home has its perks. I don't waste any time commuting. I get to eat home-made food at lunch. And, among other things, I never have to worry about battery life. If the battery of my smartphone is nearly done, I can always find a charger to top it up again. Life is easy in this regard, until I walk out the door.

I don't usually plan my trips so that I go out with a fully-charged smartphone. This is the least of my concerns, to be honest. There's always a charger in the car. And, for the times when that is not an option, I carry either a Lepow Poki 5000 or U-Stone 12000 external battery charger. I'll be reviewing both in this piece.

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The Acme Made Charge case for iPhone 6 [Review]

Acme Made Charge iPhone 6 case

I have never used a case with any of my smartphones. When the back is all plastic and there is no metal in sight, the added width and thickness that a case adds is not something that I can justify just to cover some superficial scratches that are not off-color. But then I got an iPhone 6.

With nothing but metal surrounding the 4.7-inch display, I soon had a feeling I would be getting a case after all. On iPhone 6, scratches would look terrible, especially on my Space Gray model. I haven't found it to be as slippery as my colleague Joe Wilcox has, but this has also been of concern, more so than with any of my previous smartphones. Enter Acme Made Charge for iPhone 6.

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New iOS malware can steal personal information from non-jailbroken devices

virus malware infection mobile

Yesterday, I told you that Android users may be affected by malware even if they only use Google Play to get apps. Three popular, adware-riddled, titles made it past Google's security checks, remaining undetected for months -- in fact, they may still be affecting users as we speak. And if you believe that iOS is safe, you might want to reconsider. New malware has been found, affecting iOS users even if they haven't jailbroken their device. Is there nothing that's safe anymore?

Security firm Trend Micro has uncovered the malware as part of an investigation into Operation Pawn Storm, a cyber-espionage operation with economic and political targets. It is designed to steal personal information, like contact lists, geo-location data, photos, text messages and more. The malware affects both iOS 7 and iOS 8, which are found on 97 percent of Apple's mobile devices.

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Google fails to spot adware-riddled Android apps in Play store

BlackBerry works with Boeing on secure, self-destructing smartphone

If you want to steer clear of malware on Android, just stick to Google Play. I am sure you have heard this line before. And it makes sense, if you think about it, as Google subjects apps to security checks prior to approving them. So, it makes sense to hand out that piece of advice whenever new Android malware is discovered in the wild. But what if the malicious bits are found in Google Play itself? A change of tune is in order.

Security firm Avast details how three popular, seemingly harmless Android apps -- but, riddled with adware -- have been tricking users into visiting unwanted sites, installing other apps, to fix different non-existent issues, like fake malware infections, porn-filled storage (though, I have to say, it is far from an unlikely scenario, in some cases) and so on.

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Android 5.1 Lollipop is already here, but you can't get it yet


Android 5.0 Lollipop was the only new Android release that came out in 2014. And that was unusual. Prior to its arrival Google had announced twice as many each year (even more, if we look far enough behind), with less than six months between them. In 2015, Google is shaking things up one more time.

In recent years, the first new Android release of the year usually came in June or July, but in 2015 it arrives much sooner. In fact, Android 5.1 Lollipop is already here, as it is shipping on a new batch of Android One devices slated for Indonesia.

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Motorola claims more mindshare than market share

Bye bye, Moto: Lenovo takes Motorola Mobility from Google's hands

Motorola is getting lots of attention from the media. With smartphones as good as Moto G and Moto X, it's easy to understand why. Because of this, you might think that Motorola is selling lots of devices. After all, if it's so popular then that's a given, right? Well, that's not the case, at least not yet.

In reality, Motorola claims more mindshare than market share. According to parent company Lenovo, the long-lasting smartphone vendor only shipped a tad over 10 million units in the last quarter of 2014. That puts it on the same level as Microsoft, which, Strategy Analytics says, is only at three percent market share. Motorola is far, far away from leading players in this regard.

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Google proves once again it is terrible at selling smartphones


Getting the latest Nexus smartphone from Google in the first few months of availability can prove to be a real adventure. You know how it goes, as the same thing has happened before with its predecessor. You have to be either extremely lucky to get one early on or extremely committed to the brand to put up with the perennially insufficient stock by waiting your turn at finally getting one. It's insane.

Because of these issues, I have long given up on the thought of buying the latest Nexus smartphone while it's hot -- including the Nexus 6 phablet, as much as I would love to grab one. The fault lies consistently with Google. The search giant is terrible at selling smartphones. Even worse, it comes up with a crappy excuse to justify it.

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Smartphones: Apple ties with Samsung, Android still growing, Windows Phone still failing


Samsung is no longer the leading smartphone vendor. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Apple caught up with the South Korean maker in Q4 2014, thanks to a record number of iPhone shipments totaling 74.5 million units. The two players now share the top spot on the podium.

How did it come to this? Well, it's simple. Apple's shipments increased from 51 million units by 46.07 percent year-over-year, while Samsung's shipments decreased from 86 million units by 13.37 percent, each converging to 19.6 percent market share. Thanks to the strong performance shown by iPhones, iOS' market share rose also, to 19.6 percent from 17.6 percent a year prior, while Android's market share dipped slightly to 76.7 percent from 78.3 percent.

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Xiaomi brings its Mi 4 flagship smartphone to India

Xiaomi Mi 4

Half a year after it unveiled Mi 4, Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi is bringing its "fastest & most gorgeous Mi Phone ever" to India. Starting February 10, local consumers will be able to get their hands on the flagship device through retailer Flipkart.

Mi 4 is one of the most interesting smartphones unveiled in 2014, in no small part thanks to its $320 starting price. Handsets from rival makers such as Samsung have price-tags twice as high, so it is easy to understand what makes it such an appealing option in the flagship segment. Fortunately for those wanting to get their hands on Mi 4 in India, its price-tag is still as attractive as ever.

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Flash is DEAD! YouTube goes all-in with HTML5

youtube big

YouTube introduced the HTML5 player back in early-2010. I remember it quite well. At the time, it was made available through the Try something new! page, only as an experimental feature. I was excited to get rid of Flash, so I flicked the switch. I had high hopes. I thought I would be able to play all videos using the HTML5 player, but, as it turned out, that was years away from happening -- YouTube's HTML5 player was not yet ready for prime time, and Flash would get a few more years to reign supreme.

Fast forward to early-2015 and YouTube finally announces that HTML5 is the default player. Flash might as well be considered officially dead on YouTube. It's a huge step forward for those of us waiting for the day when sites we visit are no longer asking or forcing us to install Flash.

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Microsoft Q2 FY2015: The highlights

Does a deleted Microsoft blog post show it's about to buy mobile email firm Acompli?

Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.

Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.

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