Wayne Williams

US consumers losing interest in smartphones, but Microsoft 'delights'

Bored

Despite the introduction of some impressive smartphones in the past year it appears that the market is showing signs of contracting in the US.

According to a new report from Argus Insights, following a strong holiday season, US smartphone demand in Q2 (ending June 30 2015) dropped steadily and is down 8 percent compared to June 2014. While Samsung and Apple remain the top smartphone brands, Samsung appears to have failed to woo consumers with its two new flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

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Microsoft no longer providing any form of security for XP

Windows XP

Bad news, yet again, for those Windows users stubbornly refusing to leave XP. Microsoft might have ended support for the ancient OS back in April 2014, but it was still providing the Malicious Software Removal Tool and updates to Microsoft Security Essentials, offering a modicum of security.

However, as of this week, XP users will no longer receive those updates, leaving them exposed to more threats.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10240 has a special purpose

Secret Tell Surprise Shock

Earlier today The Verge stated that Windows 10 has been finalized, and Build 10240 was the version of the new OS that Microsoft has selected as the final Release To Manufacturing (RTM) copy. While Microsoft has just released that very build -- after briefly suspending updates -- it has neither confirmed nor denied its RTM status. The company has made it clear however, that Insiders can expect still more builds before the full version is released to the world at large on July 29.

However, what’s interesting is that Build 10240 isn’t an ordinary release. It has the bug fixes you’d expect from a new build, and the desktop watermark has been removed, but that’s not what’s most significant about it. RTM or not, Build 10240 serves a vital purpose.

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Think the iPod is dead? Apple disagrees, revamps range with new colors, and 'best iPod touch yet'

ipod family

There has been talk over the past few days that Apple was planning to release updated iPods, and today the rumors are proved correct. As well as a new lineup of colors for all iPod models, including space gray, silver, gold, pink and blue, Apple has unveiled what it’s calling "the best iPod touch yet".

The new iPod touch features the same A8 chip as in the iPhone 6, delivering 10x faster graphics performance, an 8 megapixel iSight rear camera, and improved FaceTime HD front camera for selfie lovers. Fitness tracking is improved too thanks to the inclusion of the M8 motion coprocessor.

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'Hey, Siri, play the sound of farts'

laughing laugh mock mocking finger point pointing

Apple Music can be used for more than just streaming songs to your iPhone or iPad. It can also be used to play sound effects. Who hasn’t wanted to have their endeavors greeted by a round of applause, or their jokes met with howls of hysterical laughter?

Sure, you have to summon Siri to use the trick, which reduces the spontaneity somewhat, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had.

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HSBC prematurely announcing Apple Pay in the UK causes Apple stock to rocket

Shock surprise

It’s not exactly insider trading, but if you want to make money on the stock market, monitoring social media in real time could help give you the edge.

On Sunday 12 July, HSBC tweeted a reply to a follower confirming that Apple Pay was due to launch in the UK on Tuesday 14th, beating Apple to the announcement. As a result, investors rushed to buy Apple Stock, causing a sizable spike in interest.

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Apple Pay arrives in the UK -- Here's how to use it

Apple pay

While Apple Pay has been available in the US for a while now, the tap-and-pay service finally launches in the UK today. It works in the same way as contactless cards -- you just tap your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or Apple Watch on a payment terminal to make a payment.

It’s very easy to use, secure, and has a maximum purchase limit of £20 per transaction (rising to £30 in September). This is what you need to do to use it.

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Microsoft to make Surface range more widely available, but delays Surface Hub

Surface 3 + Surface Pro 3

It’s not been exactly difficult to get your hands on a Surface slate, but Microsoft is set to dramatically expand the number of partners selling its touch-screen devices in the coming months.

Timed, naturally, to coincide with the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft says it will go from "having a few hundred partners selling and servicing Surface to a few thousand globally".

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Microsoft reveals its Windows 10 launch celebration plans

party dog

While there’s no guarantee you’ll get Windows 10 on July 29, that’s the official launch date for the new OS. To celebrate the rollout, Microsoft is planning "global fan celebrations, joint efforts with thousands of retailers, including Microsoft store locations, a new global advertising campaign, and a new year-long initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world". What no cake?

"Windows 10 was built to empower people to do great things. We are thrilled to celebrate the launch of Windows 10 with our fans," says Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing at Microsoft. "We’ll mark the launch of Windows 10 by celebrating the people and organizations that upgrade the world every day -- and by helping them do more in their communities".

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Over a quarter of IT workers believe Terminator's Skynet will happen one day

terminator

According to a recent YouGov poll, 13 percent of IT decision makers believe technology could destroy the Earth, with the leading causes of our demise including the prevention of evolution (74 percent), military and warfare (66 percent), artificial intelligence (44 percent), and environmental issues (38 percent).

And 27 percent of those polled believe the Terminator plot and Skynet (which deploys the army of Terminators against us) could become a reality in the future.

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IoT Tech Expo arrives in London this December

Internet of things

The Internet of Things is definitely a technology that’s going to have a huge impact on our lives in years to come. According to IDC, the IoT market is set to be worth a staggering $1.7 trillion by 2020.

This December will see the launch of a new Internet of Things event designed to capitalize on this growing sector. The IoT Tech Expo Europe 2015 will be taking place at Olympia Central, London, on 2nd -- 3rd December, and is set to showcase the most cutting edge technologies from more than 100 exhibitors and 200 speakers.

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Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 10166 arrives on the Fast ring

Lumia icon

Yesterday, Microsoft released a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build for PCs. That version was Build 10166. Today, the software giant releases a new Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview, with the same build number. Try not to get the two confused.

The new mobile build is rolling out to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring now, and like its PC number-sake, it offers lots of small changes and feature tweaks, although the focus is mostly now on improving stability and squashing bugs. The Mobile release won’t be happening any time soon, but Microsoft is clearly keen to get all of the major issues dealt with quickly.

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Microsoft Lumia 735 now available to buy in Verizon Wireless stores

VZWLUMIA_900

The Lumia 735 was added to Verizon Wireless’s line up last month, but was only available to purchase online. Today, that changes and you can now pick up the smartphone from any of Big Red’s brick and mortar stores.

If you’ve had your eye on the phone for a while, there are some incentives being offered to help push you into making the move.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10166 now available on the Fast ring

win10

Last week, Windows Insiders on the Fast ring were treated to three new builds of Windows 10. As you’d expect, with the launch date getting ever nearer, things are seriously accelerating. New ISOs of the latest build, 10162, were pushed out soon after, followed by the same build becoming available to Insiders on the Slow ring.

Today, after a short wait, the new releases continue, with Windows 10 Build 10166 arriving on the Fast ring. As you’d expect, there are no major changes. It is, as Microsoft describes it, all about "bug fixing and fit-and-finish" from here on. One big change is that the Xbox Music app has been rebranded, and now appears as Groove Music.

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Download a full movie or TV show on your mobile device in minutes using Digiboo Zones

AIrport mobile movie

If you do a lot of traveling -- especially when covering long distances -- taking some form of entertainment with you to help while away the hours is a must. You can load a laptop, tablet or smartphone with movies and TV episodes, but if you want to download or stream additional media while away from home, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of whatever connections are available to you.

Location-based retail entertainment download service Digiboo is aiming to make it much easier -- and faster -- to download movies and TV shows when on the go. Announced today, Digiboo Zones, is a speedy download service that will allow travelers to download content to mobile devices in around a minute.

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