Mihaita Bamburic

Most consumers don't even know VR devices exist

Oculus-Rift

It's easy to believe that consumers are paying attention to VR technology when the media loves to write so much about it. We read quite frequently about new headsets, new cool things they make possible, new players that join this space and the potential VR has to change the way we do certain things. It's virtually impossible to not stumble upon one of these stories these days.

Yet, according to a Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report, if you were to ask consumers on the street what they think about VR headsets most will tell you they don't even know such devices exist.

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Google finally gets around to revamping Contacts, but not without complicating things in the process

Google Contacts preivew 4.5

Compared to other Google products, Contacts feels like an afterthought. Since its introduction, it has received little attention, as the search giant focused on its more prominent and more promising services. Do you remember the last time an update was announced? I sure don't. It's still as ugly, awkward to use and slow as you've always remembered it to be.

But not for long. Google has announced that Contacts will finally get its much-needed revamp, showcasing the improvements via a preview that's available now. The new Contacts features some pretty big changes, starting with a look that feels modern enough for a Google product unveiled in 2015.

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Save big with this Motorola Moto X deal

2014 Moto X deal Tracks Air by Sol Republic x

The second generation Moto X is among the best Android smartphones on the market today. It is also one of the more affordable flagships, costing $499.99 off-contract. However, it can be had for less by taking advantage of this deal that Motorola has running in its online store.

Here's the gist: if you want to buy an off-contract second-generation Moto X also throw in an expensive pair of Tracks Air by Sol Republic x headphones in the cart, priced just shy of $200. The total cost? Well, it's merely $449.94.

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BlackBerry will keep making smartphones -- unveils Leap mid-ranger, new slider

BlackBerry The Slider

BlackBerry shipped an insignificant number of smartphones last year, but the Canadian maker is not giving up the fight yet. Today, at MWC 2015, it announced a new mid-range handset, called Leap, and revealed an upcoming slider phone, which CEO John Chen referred to as "The Slider".

Leap is clearly not designed for the typical BlackBerry aficionado, as the smartphone is an all-touchscreen affair, with no physical QWERTY keyboard in sight. Such designs have not helped BlackBerry woo consumers nor business clients so far. The Slider though is the more conservative of the two, looking at it from the perspective of BlackBerry fans.

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Sony unveils Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet 1

Two flagship smartphones a year is one too many. Consumers who buy those top-of-the-line handsets do not like seeing their new purchase being outclassed in the same year it launches. Thankfully, Sony has learned its lesson, as there is no Xperia Z4 at MWC 2015. However, it's a bit strange that we're seeing Xperia Z4 Tablet. It's like the tablet division didn't get the memo, naming it after a device that's not here yet.

For those of you not keeping track of Sony's flagship tablets, Xperia Z4 Tablet is the successor to Xperia Z2 Tablet, announced at last year's MWC. The more-recent Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact that made its debut at IFA 2014 features a much smaller display, targeting iPad mini -- instead of full-blown iPad -- buyers. Let's take a look at Xperia Z4 Tablet.

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Xiaomi goes after GoPro with Mi Pro Action Camera

Xiaomi Mi Pro Action Camera

Xiaomi may be best known for its smartphones, but the company is exploring other markets as well. On top of its Android phones, its lineup also includes a tablet, activity tracker, TV, router, external batteries, headphones and much more. One might say that Xiaomi is looking to sell a lifestyle, not just gadgets.

Today, Xiaomi is entering another market with the announcement of Mi Pro Action Camera. The company's first action camera offers exactly what you might expect out of a Xiaomi device: decent hardware and great value. It's not up there with the best that GoPro has to offer, but it's also not as expensive.

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LG announces 4G LTE-enabled Watch Urbane smartwatch

LG Watch Urbane LTE

The average smartwatch relies on a smartphone to show relevant information. Those notifications, emails, messages, directions and the like are not pulled from thin air, after all. Making such devices pretty much useless when, for instance, the smartphone runs out of juice or is not within pairing distance. This is where having a cellular radio inside can make a huge difference.

LG is among the few vendors that sees just how useful cellular radios can be for smartwatches, as today it announces a 4G LTE version of its recently-unveiled Watch Urbane Android Wear smartwatch. Unlike the original, the new Watch Urbane LTE -- which rivals Samsung's Gear S -- runs LG's own Wearable Platform. The South Korean company is touting it as "the world’s first LTE-enabled smartwatch".

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Pebble Time can make it without Kickstarter, but why bother?

Pebble Time

Pebble launched its first smartwatch through Kickstarter, raising more than $10 million from nearly 70,000 backers. It's one of the most successful campaigns to ever be hosted on the crowdsourcing site. Some might say that it's time for Pebble to move on to the next level.

However, earlier this week Pebble used Kickstarter once again to launch its latest smartwatch, called Pebble Time. The company's second crowdsourcing campaign is a huge hit, days after its start, surpassing its initial goal of just $500,000 by nearly $8 million at the time of writing this article, with 30 more days to go before the grand finale.

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More affordable Windows Phone 8.1 devices are coming from Kazam, TrekStor and Xolo

Win-Q1000-Product-Page-Banner

The vast majority of consumers who embrace Windows Phone buy low-end smartphones, so it should not come as a surprise to see manufacturers launching even more inexpensive devices running the tiled operating system. After all, as I said a few months back, Windows Phone is synonymous with the low-end.

The latest such offerings come from Kazam, TrekStor and Xolo, vendors which may not have established brands across the globe, but which are better known in their home markets, UK, Germany and India respectively, for their affordable solutions.

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Here's our best look yet at Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 teaser

Samsung has not yet officially announced the successor to Galaxy S5, but we all know that the wait is almost over. The unveiling is scheduled for March 1, during the first Unpacked event of 2015. What we do not yet know is what the new device looks like.

So far, teasers have only given us vague details about its appearance, as Samsung has tried to keep as much as possible for the main event. However, T-Mobile has decided to expose more of Galaxy S6, releasing a teaser which shows the side of the upcoming smartphone quite clearly. And it looks awesome.

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Apple's new €1.7 billion European data centers will power cloud services

servers cloud

Colder regions make great places for building data centers. Operators can leverage the colder air outside to cool those hot servers, without relying much on costly tools like air conditioners and the like. When we're talking about thousands of servers all running in the same place, the savings are substantial. And so is the positive impact on the environment, thanks to a healthy decrease in energy requirements and emissions.

It should come as no surprise that Apple has announced Denmark and Ireland as the locations of choice for its two new European data centers. The two countries are also favored by other players in the tech industry, like Google and Microsoft. Apple's new data centers will power online services for European customers.

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Order food and find the right hotel using Bing

Bing OrderOnlineButton

Microsoft has been very busy lately. Just in the last month, the software giant has adopted an international standard for cloud privacy, released Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, introduced an Outlook app for mobile devices, updated mobile Office to support its rivals' cloud storage services, and removed all restrictions from its OneNote app. However, Microsoft isn't done, as it just introduced two useful new features in Bing.

Bing is making it easier for users to order food and find the right hotel right from the search results. For restaurants that make deliveries, the search engine will show an Order online button; click it and you'll be taken to an ordering service to receive your favorite dishes at the door.

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How to get 100GB of free OneDrive storage worldwide

Bing Rewards OneDrive worldwide

You can easily increase the amount of storage that's available with your OneDrive for free. Bonus space can be unlocked by referring the service to your friends and enabling the auto camera upload feature in the mobile apps. The most that you can get though is 20 GB. Those of us who have been using the service from the early days also get a loyalty bonus of 10 GB. But maybe that's still not enough.

As you may know, Microsoft has recently started to give Bing Rewards users the option to unlock a further 100 GB of free OneDrive storage. The catch? Only folks using the service in US have been welcome. However, now you can get the same treatment worldwide. Here's how.

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Android 5.1 Lollipop could be widely available in March

fearlolli

Google had become rather predictable at introducing new major Android releases, announcing two a year, when we most expected them -- around late-June and October. But this changed in 2014. Lollipop stood alone. What's more, the first major update that followed -- version 5.1, which came earlier this year -- arrived completely unannounced. There wasn't even a blog post about it, as we confirmed its existence based on reports from folks who discovered it on their Android One smartphones, and a mention in passing on the Android One site.

Weeks after Android 5.1 was revealed to exist we are still waiting for Google to tell us more -- well, something -- about it, including when we should expect to see it available in the Android Open Source Project. Luckily, we may now know this important detail thanks to an HTC VP.

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Microsoft kills yet another standout Windows Phone feature

Microsoft's decision to ditch Surface is a long-overdue mercy killing for Windows RT

Some of the features that have made Windows Phone special, differentiating it from its rivals, are slowly being stripped away. The latest victim is Rooms, which Microsoft has announced it will no longer be supporting starting next month. What a shame.

The software giant says that, as a result, users of Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 will be unable to chat with their Room contacts, create new rooms, add or remove members, or change permissions. And, if they upgrade to Windows 10 Technical Preview, their beloved rooms will be gone forever.

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