Latest Technology News

Microsoft's Q3 FY2015: The highlights

Nope, Microsoft isn't getting into Android with a Cyanogen investment

Microsoft has released its Q3 FY2015 (corresponding to Q1 CY2015) financial report, revealing revenue of $21.72 billion, gross margin of $14.56 billion, operating income of $6.59 billion, and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.61. The software giant has beaten analyst expectations, which had placed revenue and the diluted EPS at $21.06 billion and $0.51, respectively. In after-hours trading, shares have risen from $43.34, at closing time, to $44.59.

A strong US dollar had influenced Microsoft's earnings, with the software giant estimating that "on a constant currency basis" it could have revealed stronger results across the board. For reference, in Q3 FY2014, Microsoft posted revenue, gross margin, operating income and diluted EPS of $20.40 billion, $14.42 billion, $6.97 billion and $0.68. As you can see, revenue and gross margin are higher, by 6 percent and 1 percent respectively, while operating income and diluted EPS are down by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Let's take a look at the highlights of the quarter.

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Microsoft makes improvements to IE11 for enterprises

Microsoft helps enterprise customers move to Internet Explorer 11 and Windows 10

Microsoft is continuing its crusade to wean customers off earlier versions of Internet Explorer before the Support Lifecycle changes kick in in January 2016.

The company has announced changes in its April update to Enterprise Mode and Enterprise Site Discovery in IE11 to provide enhanced backwards compatibility for sites designed to run in earlier versions of the browser.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 could be leaking your fingerprints

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I’m usually not the paranoid one in a relationship, but the fingerprint scanner on smartphones always used to freak me out.

And now, a pair of researchers from security firm FireEye breathes new life into my paranoia, as they claim hackers can steal your fingerprint data before it gets encrypted in the device. One of the potentially dangerous devices, ‘leaking’ fingerprints is the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Create quality HTML prototypes with Pingendo

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Pingendo is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG application for prototyping web pages. It uses Twitter’s Bootstrap as a base, and responsive web design support ensures your sites will adapt to fit phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

Getting started is as easy as dragging and dropping. Organize your layout; add lists, tables or forms; add some text, maybe a few images (single pictures, thumbnails, a carousel), and insert media objects including YouTube videos and Google Maps.

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Solitaire set to return in Windows 10

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Ah, Solitaire. It’s the card game that has killed many hours of productivity in offices across the world -- and caused many employees to be very quick on the minimize button -- and it’s coming back with Windows 10.

As you’re doubtless aware if you upgraded to Windows 8, with its latest desktop OS, Microsoft decided to ditch a lot of things, including all those dinky little games which came pre-installed in the Start menu -- Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts. (The latter was always our favorite -- despite the fact that the computer players clearly, and we mean blatantly, cheated and played using knowledge of the cards you held rather than any true AI skill as such).

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Send directions from your desktop to Google Maps on your Android phone

Send direction from your desktop computer to Google Maps on your Android phone

Dedicated satnav units are less popular than they used to be, and this can be attributed in part to the rise of direction-providing smartphone apps like Google Maps and Waze. If you are invested in Google Maps, you may well check out directions on your desktop computer and then have to get them set up on your phone as well.

Today that changes. Google has unveiled a feature that makes it possible to push directions from your desktop computer or laptop to your phone. This eliminates a step and makes the whole process of getting from A to B much easier.

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Acer unveils new products -- Windows, Chromebooks, Android devices, and Predator gaming

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Acer held a massive press conference today in Manhattan to unveil its new product lineup. BetaNews was there, live, at 4 World Trade Center. The views from the 60-something-th floor were magnificent, but even more awe-inspiring to a tech nerd like me, were the Acer products.

Acer is one of my favorite manufacturers because it focuses on value. Not only are the company's computers beautiful and powerful, but affordable too. While the company kept its focus on the affordable segment with Windows, Chromebooks and Android products, it also introduced its new Predator gaming computers. The star of the show? A small gaming-tablet running Google's mobile OS.

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Celebrate YouTube's 10th anniversary by going back to where it all began -- the zoo

Me at the zoo

Google’s video service celebrates a very special milestone today -- it’s ten years to the day since the first video was uploaded to the site. "Me at the Zoo", in all its 240p glory, has racked up close to 20 million views, which isn’t bad (especially as it wasn’t made public initially), although it pales into insignificance when compared with the likes of "Charlie Bit My Finger -- Again", with its 817 million views.

A lot has happened to YouTube in that time. It officially launched in May 2005 (so expect another birthday post next month) and was acquired by Google in 2006. It has spread across a wide range of platforms, batted off numerous legal challenges, and become a massive part of our lives.

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How mobile is changing the way we communicate at work

business mobile

The rise of mobile device use and of BYOD policies in the workplace is bringing about a major shift in the way people communicate at work.

Email solutions provider Newsweaver has produced an infographic looking at the rise of mobile devices for business use. It also looks at how bring your own app (BYOA) and enterprise app use have different effects.

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Samsung announces Gear VR Innovator Edition for Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

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The virtual reality hype is real. In years past, promised virtual reality systems were expensive and did not meet expectations. Ultimately, it never really took off in the mainstream. Low-cost electronics have birthed a renewed interest, however, as seen from Facebook's Ocluus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR.

Samsung's solution is rather genius, as it utilizes a users exiting smartphone to cut costs and reduce redundancy. Unfortunately, creating a one-size-fits-all mask for smartphones can be problematic, as the sizes and dimensions can change with every upgrade cycle. If you are the owner of a Galaxy S6 or S6 edge, however, you are in luck; Samsung today announces a refreshed Gear VR for you, with the "Innovator Edition" moniker.

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DevOps salaries rise as the skill set becomes more recognized

Data graph report

A new study by website security specialist Incapsula and community site DevOps.com shows that DevOps is rapidly becoming one of the hottest technology career paths.

DevOps -- a hybrid of development and operations -- is a recent field, recognizing that software development, quality assurance, and IT operations all depend on each other. It aims to help organizations rapidly produce software products and services and to improve operational performance.

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How to customize Windows 10 Build 10061's new Start menu

Start menu customization

The new Start menu included in the latest build of Windows 10 -- available to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring -- is a marked improvement over previous versions. It’s resizable, and customizable. It’s also, like the build itself, rather buggy. It’s a bit like a fair-weather friend -- sometimes it’s there for me, other times it’s nowhere to be seen. Hopefully the issues with the menu will be sorted shortly.

If you’re running the new build, or planning to, then it’s worth customizing the Start menu to suit your tastes. There’s quite a lot you can do.

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New platform gives one-person developers the tools for faster app creation

developer laptop

Businesses and development teams are under ever more pressure to produce new apps to meet tight deadlines, this can lead to the creation of apps that fail to meet user requirements.

Platform as a service company WaveMaker is looking to streamline the development process for enterprise developers and non-programming users with the announcement of WaveMaker Desktop, a free, open source, browser-based, single-developer version of its recent WaveMaker Studio 7 release.

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Outlook for Android comes out of preview

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Microsoft has dropped the "preview" tag from its free Outlook for Android app, following a host of recent updates and improvements.

The interface has received a colorful revamp, and been redesigned to better follow Android design principles. The app now supports IMAP accounts, as well as Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.

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Xiaomi launches Mi 4i, its latest affordable smartphone with LTE support at Rs 12,999 ($200)

Xiaomi Mi 4i launches

Regardless of where on the planet you reside, you must have heard of Xiaomi. The Chinese electronics giant may not be selling its products in your region (yet), but the company’s flagship stature devices priced at dirt-cheap cost have gleaned attention from everywhere. At its first global event today in New Delhi, the company launches a new smartphone called Mi 4i. If the name didn’t give it away, the Mi 4i is a stripped down, and a cheaper -- Rs 12,999 ($200) -- variant of last year's Mi 4 smartphone.

As with Xiaomi’s other smartphones, the Mi 4i shamelessly resembles Apple’s iPhone. Wrapped around a unibody polycarbonate body, the phone certainly looks nice. On the specifications front, the Mi 4i carries a 5-inch fully laminated OGS display. Hugo Barra, the VP of Internationals at Xiaomi says that it is a special solution customised by Corning. With a 7.8mm waistline, it is quite thin, and weighing just 130 grams, the phone is reasonably light too. (For comparison, the Nexus 5 also weighs 130 grams, and the iPhone 6 is ever so lighter at 129 grams.)

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