Mihăiță Bamburic

Huawei's new P9 flagship features dual-lens Leica camera

Huawei P9 Plus

One of the things that separate flagships from the rest of the smartphone crowd is their camera performance. Consumers expect to take great photos and videos with a top of the line handset, so manufacturers tend to use premium sensors and lenses for their best offerings. And, sometimes, they team up with a household name in the field when they really want to woo potential buyers.

For its latest flagship smartphones, called P9 and P9 Plus, Huawei has partnered with famous camera maker Leica. That is not the only thing that's different about its camera, however, as the main highlight is actually its dual-lens setup, which, among other things, enables the device to capture depth information for that lovely bokeh effect.

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Would you pay $3.99 a month for an Outlook.com Premium subscription?

outlook.com

Outlook.com offers all the right features that most consumers expect in an email service these days. But, if you are power users, Microsoft believes you may be looking for more, which is why the software giant is now trialling a Premium subscription.

Costing $3.99 a month, this is not the first and only Outlook.com subscription. There already is an Ad-free plan for users who want to get rid of advertisements, that goes for $19.95 a year, however the Premium tier is meant to unlock more extra, pro-level features.

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Android can't make BlackBerry phones attractive again

Sad

Realizing that it stands no chance of attracting consumers with BlackBerry 10 OS devices, BlackBerry last year released a smartphone that runs Android. Called Priv, it offers an interesting mix of business and consumer-oriented features that make it a powerful contender in the high-end segment. Many folks seem to like it, but just how much of a success is it?

Priv has what it takes to be a big seller. It has all the right features that consumers say they want in a BlackBerry smartphone: premium build, physical keyboard, large screen, enterprise-friendly apps and, last but not least, Android. You would think that by giving people what they've asked for the company would be struggling to keep up with demand. And yet, in its last fiscal quarter, BlackBerry only sold a very small number of Priv units.

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FCC cannot investigate Netflix for throttling its own customers

sad sorry puppy dog

Netflix last week revealed that it has throttled the video streams of customers who have been accessing its service from AT&T's and Verizon's networks, after the two carriers were believed to be at fault. The company says that this has been done to keep those users from exceeding their monthly data plans, but some believe the video streaming service has taken things too far, right into the net neutrality danger zone.

Despite offering what looks to be a good reason for the throttling, Netflix is still in the wrong. Customers were not informed of the company's decision before it went into effect more than five years ago. There is no way of turning the "feature" off, at least not until a data saver option is introduced in May. And the focus of the throttling has been rather limited, with this move not extending to other carriers in US, like Sprint and T-Mobile. So, obviously, affected customers have very good reasons to complain.

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Smartphone sales to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016

Businessman Growth Increase Bars Bar

Now that Gartner has released its smartphone sales forecast for 2016, it is easy to understand why Microsoft is not pushing the Windows Phone agenda at Build 2016. With sales expected to reach 1.5 billion units this year, the software giant and its fellow Windows Phone vendors would have to ship hundreds of millions of handsets for the platform to be taken seriously by developers. And that, as you may be well aware of, is unlikely to happen, when just last year the tiled operating system's market share barely passed the one percent mark.

Gartner says that smartphone sales growth will be in the single digits for the first time this year, with an expected increase of just seven percent over 2015. The phone market as a whole could reach 1.9 billion units at the end of the year.

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iOS 9.3 is more stable than Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Every major iOS release seems to come with some annoying bugs these days. In the case of iOS 9.3, users have reported crippling activation errors and crashes and hangs in some of the built-in apps, leading Apple to release updated builds. However, despite these problems, iOS 9.3 seems to be very reliable.

According to a new report by Apteligent, iOS 9.3 is actually the most stable iOS release since iOS 8. Its crash rate stands at 2.2 percent, besting iOS 9.2, iOS 9.1, iOS 9 and iOS 8 over an eight-day period. Not only that, but iOS 9.3 is also claimed to be more stable than Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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Windows 10 now powers over 270 million devices

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Since releasing Windows 10 last year, in late-July, Microsoft has provided a couple of updates on the adoption rate of its latest operating system. In early January, for instance, we were told that over 200 million active devices were running Windows 10 across the globe -- at the time, NetMarketShare placed it at 10 percent usage share.

Nearly three months later, we can expect Microsoft to boast even higher adoption figures. And, with Build 2016 underway, the software giant reveals that, indeed, there are many more devices now running Windows 10, over 270 million in fact.

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Amazon bans non-standard-compliant USB Type-C cables and adapters

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There are many USB Type-C cables on the market, but, as it has been pointed out numerous times, not all are standard compliant. Even the cable that ships with OnePlus 2, one of the few smartphones that support USB Type-C, is out of spec, and may not work flawlessly with other handsets. And this is a serious problem.

Cables that do not comply with the USB Type-C standard can cause permanent damage, as Google's Benson Leung has explained in his reviews of various options available on the market. Amazon has taken notice, banning such products that do not comply with the official standard.

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Xiaomi launches Redmi 3 Pro with fingerprint reader at less than $140

redmi-3-pro-xiaomi

Xiaomi is one of the first brands that spring to mind when we talk about affordable smartphones today. That's because the Chinese maker has come up with some highly attractive devices which feature very impressive specs at more than reasonable price points. A good example is its new Redmi 3 Pro.

At less than $140 (RMB 899), the new Redmi 3 Pro features a premium build, large, high-resolution display, fast processor, lots of RAM and storage, bit battery, competitive cameras, but also a fingerprint sensor, which is a feature that is typically seen on much more expensive smartphones.

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Microsoft: First Windows 10 'China edition' is ready

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It is not easy for Western tech companies to do business in China. The local government imposes all sorts of restrictions and makes various demands to allow outside players to operate in the country or use their products. Some companies give up altogether, by either exiting the market or not even attempting to enter it, while others try to accommodate China's requests.

When it comes to selling Windows 10 to China's government, Microsoft has taken the second route by agreeing to deliver a customized version of its latest operating system to the country's agencies. The deal was made public last year, in December, and the software giant just announced that a first -- China edition, if you will -- release is now ready.

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You might want to hold off on upgrading to iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan [Update]

hands up no way stop

Apple earlier this week released new versions of its mobile and Mac operating systems, namely iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan. They come with a significant number of changes, like Night Shift mode, extended Wi-Fi calling support and lots of security fixes, but also introduce bugs which are causing major issues for some early adopters.

It is not unheard of a new iOS or OS X release to break things, as Apple seems to be dealing with these kind of things quite frequently nowadays. Not everyone may be affected, but if you have an iPad 2 or use Apple's messaging services often on your Mac you might want to hold off on performing the upgrade.

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It's no joke -- LG G5 coming April 1

lg_g5

With top of the line specs, a metal build, and a modular design, LG's G5 is no doubt one of the hottest smartphones announced so far this year. Many consumers are looking to buy one, but, as you may know, the new flagship has yet to be released, despite being unveiled a month ago.

LG took the wraps off G5 right before Samsung announced its latest flagships, but, so far, only Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge have hit store shelves. That is about to soon change, however.

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How much does an Apple iPhone SE cost in Europe, Australia and India? (Hint: A lot)

Apple iPhone SE Rose Gold

One of the main selling points of the new iPhone SE is its affordable price. Starting at just $399, Apple's latest smartphone costs $250 less than a comparable iPhone 6s or $150 less than a similar iPhone 6. For iPhone fans or would-be customers on a budget, it is a very attractive proposition. That is the story in US anyway.

In other markets, Apple has decided to sell the new iPhone SE at a premium, making it a less attractive proposition in the process. In Europe, for instance, prices are considerably higher even when removing VAT from the equation.

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Apple releases iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan, tvOS 9.2 and watchOS 2.2 -- here's what's new

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Apple just released iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan, tvOS 9.2 and watchOS 2.2, following its Let us loop you in event, which, among other things, saw the unveiling of iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and new Apple Watch bands earlier today.

The latest batch of updates packs lots of changes, including security improvements and new user-friendly features but also bug fixes and better hardware support. Here is everything that you need to know.

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Microsoft changes its mind -- older Lumias will not get Windows 10 Mobile

Fail

The Windows 10 Mobile rollout is a major screwup. Microsoft had promised to kick it off by the end of last year, but existing smartphones only started to receive a software update last week. Microsoft had also promised to support all Lumias that arrived since Windows Phone 8's debut, but, when the rollout finally started, only a limited number of smartphones were targeted.

What's more, Microsoft now says that it has no plans to support the remaining Lumia handsets in "a second wave", leaving many of its fans and customers, who have been eagerly waiting for Windows 10 Mobile to finally arrive, officially stuck on Windows Phone 8.1.

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