Articles about Smartphones

Sony Xperia M2 Aqua: A masterclass in waterproofing [Review]

waterproof

As you may have guessed from the name, the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua is a brand new water resistant phone courtesy of the Japanese giant that seems to have made repelling H2O something of a personal vendetta.

Seriously, forget the Xperia Z3, the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua has the highest water resistance-rating for a mass-market smartphone. If you regularly make business calls in the shower, there is no other phone we'd recommend more highly.

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On Sept. 9th, Apple's Tim Cook era begins

Tim Cook

I must disagree with colleague Mark Wilson, who last week asserted: "There is no reason for anyone to care about the iPhone 6", which as I write has 124 comments. I'm a big fan of provocative posts, because they engage the readership. But my feelings differ about commentaries that bluster without substance. Mark is absolutely wrong. There is every reason for everyone to care about the next iPhone.

Mark asserts that iPhone "used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives...The iPhone is run-of-the-mill. It is predictable. It's just plain boring".  In many ways, I agree, but his boring assessment is every reason to "care about the iPhone 6".

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Windows Phone 8.1 available now for AT&T Nokia Lumia 920, 820

Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8.1

Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 are the oldest Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 devices, being announced two years ago. The former was the Finnish company's flagship, until Lumia 925 came along, while the latter was introduced as a mid-ranger, succeeded only now by Lumia 830. The good news is that, despite their age, they continue to receive software updates, a reassuring sign, no doubt, for platform enthusiasts.

Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 have already started to receive a software update to Windows Phone 8.1 in many markets across the globe, but the much-awaited version of the tiled operating system is only now making its way to the AT&T-branded models.

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Meet Motorola's new Moto X, G, 360

motorola-gives-you-the-power-to-choose

Motorola managed to really impress with last year's Moto X and Moto G. The two smartphones have shown time and time again that they do not need heavily-customized software, large screens or the fastest hardware around to stand out from the rest of the pack. They successfully targeted different parts of the market -- the former has gone after flagship buyers while the latter has sought to attract consumers on a budget -- in a different, impactful way, relying on the appeal of the overall package to tell their story. But, no matter how good they might have been, Moto X and Moto G are clearly showing their age.

Today, Motorola is relieving the pair of their leading roles, as it unveils the new Moto X and Moto G (the 2014 editions, if you will). The names might be the same, but the latest offerings are new inside out.

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Google to cough up $19 million in kids' in-app purchases case

Google to cough up $19 million in kids' in-app purchases case

Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.

The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.

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Forget PCs and tablets -- phablets are the next big thing

Phablet

Phablets are emerging as the next big thing in the smart device market. According to research firm IDC, big-screen smartphones will out-ship portable PCs (laptops) before the end of 2014, and tablets sometime in 2015. What's more, also this year, phablet shipments are expected to far outnumber desktop PCs. Want to bet on a winning large form factor? Pick phablets.

In 2014, IDC expects shipments of phablets, tablets, portable PCs and desktop PCs to reach 174.9 million, 233.1 million, 170 million and 133.5 million, respectively. Fast forward to the end of 2015, and shipments of phablets and tablets reach 318 million and 233 million units, respectively. And with Apple expected to unveil an iPhone phablet, big smartphones are only going to make things worse for PC and tablet shipments.

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Is your partner spying on you?

Snooper

Google knows a lot about you, and the government may be snooping on your activities, but it's your significant other who may well be the one spying on you the most, according to a new survey by security firm Avast.

The company surveyed 13,132 adults in the United States and found that one in four women and one in five men regularly checked their partner's smartphone. Most of the women were doing so purely to be nosy, but a quarter of married women admitted to looking for evidence of infidelity.

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Advertise you can't afford to own iPhone 5s or Galaxy S5 with Lumia 830

Lumia-830_group1

Microsoft today introduces Lumia 830, a new Windows Phone 8.1 device that is advertised by the software giant as "the first affordable flagship" smartphone. The device is touted to give rival devices from Apple and Samsung a run for their money, so let's take a look at what it has to offer.

The highlight of Lumia 830 is its PureView-branded main camera, which is paired with some very interesting software features, which allow users to, for instance, change the intensity of the flash in the captured still, after the fact. It is aided by optical image stabilization. To showcase just how capable the 10 MP unit is, Microsoft inexplicably compared Lumia 830 with an outdated flagship, Apple's iPhone 5 which is verging on two years of market time. Thankfully, Microsoft has not gone crazy (well, maybe it did).

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HTC Desire 820: Not your average mid-range Android smartphone

Desire_820_Blog

Premium devices got most of the attention at IFA 2014, thanks to their cutting edge software and hardware. But there are some other interesting new products announced at the trade show which warrant a look. One of them is HTC's mid-range Android smartphone, Desire 820.

Desire 820 may not be as exciting as, for instance, Galaxy Note Edge is with its curved edge display, but it gives us a sense of what the future of Android hardware looks like. I'll give you a hint -- it's not 32-bit. Desire 820 is among the first smartphones of 2014 to be unveiled with a 64-bit processor, Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 615.

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Isis Wallet to become Softcard to avoid ISIS extremism association

isis_wallet

When you see the letters ISIS, what is it that you first think of? Is it the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and love? The Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality? Or is it the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the jihadist group that has been in the news for some time now? It's quite common for there to be unfortunate sharings of names and acronyms, and it's something that Isis Wallet, the NFC payment service, has fallen foul of. To avoid being associated with the Middle East group, the service is being renamed to Softcard.

The rebranding has not come completely out of the blue. Back in July, company CEO Michael Abbott explained: "Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria -- often referenced by the acronym ISIS. We have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering".

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Hey, do you know that Sony also has new Android flagships?

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

With all eyes on Samsung, which just unveiled Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR, I am genuinely surprised that Sony has decided to showcase its new flagship Xperia devices on the same day as its South Korean rival. Why? Because Samsung commands more attention from the tech media, due to its Android pack leader position. And that can only leave Sony fighting for scraps.

Nonetheless, mere hours after Samsung's Unpacked 2014 Episode 2, Sony took the wraps off its new Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Oh, there's an Xperia E3 too, which is designed to compete in the low-end market, like Nokia Lumia 530. But, let's talk about the premium Xperias now, which are far more intriguing.

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Logitech introduces cross-platform keyboard for phones, tablets and computers

logitech-k480

Many people these days have multiple devices -- a computer, smartphone and tablet is not unusual in any home. Desktops require a separate keyboard, while the other two rely on an on-screen model, which can be annoying at times. Now Logitech wants to solve that issue with one solution for all platforms.

The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 can work with up to three different devices. A switch allows for movement between each, with a holder for your smartphone or tablet. It's a full-size desktop keyboard though, so users shouldn't feel cramped, as they did with previous tablet and handset keyboards.

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Mystery fake cellphone towers discovered across America

Disguised cellphone tower

Fake mobile phone 'towers' dotted across the US could be listening in on unsuspecting smartphone users according to recent reports. And -- tin foil hats on, everyone -- nobody knows who's behind them.

Security company ESD America discovered 17 of the fakes called 'interceptors' whilst testing its secure Android phone. The towers can attack devices via the baseband chips that allow them to communicate with their networks and can, says ESD, eavesdrop or even install spyware.

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Meet Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 N910 Black

Samsung is single-handedly responsible for creating the phablet category three years ago with the original Galaxy Note. Back then, big smartphones were believed to be nothing more than a niche, with no chance of ever enjoying mainstream approval. At first, I was actually one of the non-believers. But, as every Galaxy Note iteration has proved time and time again, consumers are actually quite fond of the idea of touching a big screen day in and day out.

But, the phablet market has changed dramatically since the original Galaxy Note was released, with more and more Android vendors competing for a slice of the pie. Heck, even Nokia got in on the action, representing Windows Phone, late last year with Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. Despite the increased competition, Samsung continues to be viewed as the pack leader, thanks in no small part to the dedicated features its flagship phablets pack. So, what does this year's Galaxy Note has in store?

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Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.

Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?

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