Mihaita Bamburic

Samsung Galaxy S5 sales are quite good

Samsung Galaxy S5 Blue

Samsung Galaxy S5 may face stiff competition from the likes of HTC One (M8), LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2, but it is doing quite well sales-wise in major markets, according to a report released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple's older iPhone 5s, however, still edges ahead.

"In the USA the Samsung Galaxy S5 was the second highest selling smartphone in May just behind the iPhone 5s", says Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo. "Apple loyalty is high in the US, with former iPhone owners making up just 8 percent of Galaxy S5 sales. The majority of those switching to Samsung were LG and HTC users".

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Windows Phone 8.1 to get folder functionality

Nokia Lumia Black firmware update

In the absence of proper folder support, a number of Windows Phone developers -- including Nokia -- have decided to take matters into their own hands, by releasing apps that give users the option to group live tiles on the Windows Phone 8 homescreen. The results are not folders, however.

The live tiles that are created are just shortcuts which open the app enabling the feature. The grouped items are displayed within that app. Welcome to Windows Phone-style faux-folders. The reason why the feature is missing out-of-the-box, even in Windows Phone 8.1, is because Microsoft has decided not to implement it, likely because the tiled operating system is meant to be experienced without folders.

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Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out in July

Coming Soon Light Dark

As you may already know, Windows Phone 8.1 was showcased by Microsoft in early-April. The presentation was shortly followed by the introduction of three smartphones running the new tiled operating system, namely Nokia Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930, of which only the first has launched.

Because Windows Phone 8.1 is a huge upgrade over its dated predecessor, Windows Phone 8 users, naturally, want to know when the upgrade will officially roll out. The latest iteration is already offered to members of the Preview for Developers program, but, believe it or not, not to the Windows Phone 8-toting public, who makes up for the large majority of Windows Phone customers.

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How to install Android L preview on your Nexus 5, 7

Android L

At the I/O 2014 conference, Google showcased the latest version of Android, known only as L until its official launch later this year. Compared to its predecessor, KitKat, it comes with 64-bit support, design changes, the ART runtime running the show, tightened security, battery life and performance improvements, notifications tweaks, new APIs and more.

Android L may not yet be ready for prime time, but a preview version is now available for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013 Wi-Fi model), giving users the option to get comfortable with the slew of changes it introduces. Here is how you can download and install it.

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HTC vows to quickly offer Android L on all One (M7), (M8) models

HTC_Android-Response_Advantage

Taiwanese maker HTC is now, undoubtedly, at the pinnacle of timely Android upgrades. It was among the first to announce and deliver KitKat, and now it is stepping up to the plate once again by revealing its Android "L" plans.

HTC says all of its One (M7) and One (M8) smartphones will receive Android L within 90 days of getting the final bits of code from Google. That means both unlocked and mobile operator-branded versions of its two most-recent flagships; One (M7) -- as the original One is referred to by HTC now -- arrived more than a year ago, while One (M8) was launched in late-March, 2014.

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Google I/O 2014 Day 1: What you need to know

Android Google IO 2014

Google I/O 2014 started yesterday and, thanks to a lengthy first-day keynote, the search giant has already made plenty of headlines one after another. And for good reason, as it unveiled new software, new hardware (albeit none of it was Nexus-branded) and a number of sweeping changes to its portfolio. Say what you will, but Google sure had plenty of interesting things to show without even announcing a new Nexus tablet (as we were used to in the past two years).

The amount of information from the conference is overwhelming, so here is the tl;dr version.

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Windows Phones are easier to make, so new vendors jump on board

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Microsoft has realized that the only way to get more vendors to embrace Windows Phone is to make it easier for them to release Windows Phones. And that decision is paying off if its most-recent partnerships are of any indication.

Allview and Hisense, two vendors that target specific markets using low-cost devices, are now supporting the platform. The former, a Romanian company, has unveiled two new Windows Phones while the latter, which is based in China, has teased its newfound affinity for the tiled smartphone operating system on microblogging site Sina Weibo.

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Google announces better Glass, new Glassware

Google Glass Viewfinder

Following feedback received from early adopters (known as Explorers), Google has announced a significantly revised Glass wearable. But, unlike prior iterations, it looks like this one will not be available as a free-of-charge upgrade for current users, who will now have to pay full price to get the latest and greatest.

The improved Google Glass is touted to offer better performance courtesy of a RAM capacity increase to 2 GB, which is 1 GB more than before (prior versions only allowed 682 MB of RAM to be effectively used, making the difference quite substantial). There are also more Google Now cards available, which will display extra information like shipping delivery estimates and car location.

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Microsoft really, really, really wants MacBook Air users to buy Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs 2014 Apple MacBook Air

It is no secret Microsoft is marketing its new Surface Pro 3 Windows 8.1 hybrid as a direct rival to Apple's venerable MacBook Air ultrabook. As someone who owns the latter of the two I can see why. Both are premium devices that are similarly priced (Surface Pro 3 is more expensive, however, when purchased with Type Cover) and offered in near-identical configurations, power-wise, which yield comparable battery life (MacBook Air is better in this regard, even if only by mere hours). However, as I wrote in a past article, Surface Pro 3 offers extra features, like a touchscreen and tablet credentials, which can, arguably, make it more appealing.

As I said before, Microsoft's best chance of persuading MacBook Air users to switch to Surface Pro 3 is come upgrade time, as, right now at least, this upgrade, as appealing as it may be for those willing to dump OS X for Windows, is not worth the cost penalty. Microsoft appears to be aware of this, as it launched a new trade-in offer for MacBook Air owners. And, unexpectedly I might add, the Surface Pro 3 maker offers quite a bit in return.

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Too many servers still vulnerable to Heartbleed exploit

espionage hacker thief black hat

Since it was brought to our attention three months ago, Heartbleed made countless headlines due to the severe dangers it poses. The vulnerability, which affects systems using the OpenSSL library, allows hackers to penetrate affected servers without leaving any trace of their actions behind. Its severity would lead us to assume the people responsible to prevent it from making any (more) damage have already taken all the necessary precautions in this direction.

And, indeed, popular service providers have been quick to address the problem, with the likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft publicly stating whether the vulnerability could affect their products and users, and issuing patches where needed. This has given us a false sense of security, knowing that the worst has passed. Yet, even today, Heartbleed can still do quite a bit of damage.

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Opera decides to support Linux (again)

Happy man

Even though it has gone to the effort of switching to another rendering engine to reach more users, Norwegian software company Opera, in mid-2013, ceased to further update the Linux version of its browser, leaving users without new features, bug fixes and security patches. In the meantime, Opera's main competitors, like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, continued to give them the level of support that they deserve.

Now, after close to a one-year hiatus, the company behind the well-known browser announces the availability of Opera Developer 24 for Linux (and, of course, OS X and Windows). It is an unexpected release, and also great news for those hoping to witness the browser's triumphant return in the land of the open-source kernel.

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Android 4.4.4 KitKat available now, here's how you can install it

android kitkat

Less than a month after the last Android update launched, Google is now treating Nexus users to another iteration of KitKat. It made its way to the factory images repository first, but is also slowly rolling out over-the-air to compatible smartphones and tablets.

Android 4.4.4 KitKat, build version KTU84P, is available, through a corresponding factory image, for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, 2012 Wi-Fi Nexus 7, 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. The Nexus 7 slates with cellular connectivity (3G and 4G, launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively) have yet to receive the same treatment.

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Yo: This app can't do anything else!

Yo

While there are many fairly specialized mobile apps out there, Yo, which was just launched by Life Before Us, takes the cake for being the narrowest-focused messaging service available on Android and iOS now.

Why? Because Yo can only be used to say "Yo" to your contacts. As you can imagine, it does not even trigger a keyboard when you want to hit a friend with a message, as a touch of a button will do the trick (Life Before Us touts this as a feature, in case you are wondering why the heck I am mentioning it).

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Wireless charging in your pants? Yes, coming soon

Wireless-charging-trousers-inpost1

Microsoft has figured out a way of making wireless charging readily available wherever you go. While that may sound futuristic, it actually is far from it in fact. All you need is the right pair of pants.

Microsoft has teamed up with British designer A. Sauvage to bring the convenience of wireless charging in the "Modern Man" trousers, which are part of "London Collections". The technology bit is achieved by making (clever) use of the Nokia DC-50 wireless charging plate, which is based on the popular Qi standard.

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Why you may want to buy a BlackBerry again

BlackBerry 10 hub

Canadian mobile maker BlackBerry may have just cracked its biggest problem -- the weak BlackBerry 10 OS ecosystem -- as it just signed a licensing agreement with Amazon, which will bring the Android Appstore to its ailing smartphone operating system.

When the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 OS launches this fall, more than 200,000 new apps will be available on the platform, on top of what BlackBerry World already offers. The latter is likely to feature more apps that leverage BlackBerry 10 features, while the former will take on the role of filling the biggest gaps, caused by missing popular titles like Candy Crush Saga, Netflix and Minecraft, among others.

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