Articles about Smartphones

Android SMS bot sets new infection record

malware mobile

Earlier this week we covered the debate on whether Android users need malware protection. If further fuel for the argument was needed it comes in the form of Russian security firm Dr.Web's monitoring of Android threats.

Until recently embedded advertising modules have topped Dr.Web's malicious program rankings, but statistics for recent months indicate that an Android SMS bot Trojan has been spreading at an alarming rate.

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Win! Win! Win! Get your hands on a 5-port USB charger

contest

Hitting the road means luggage, and luggage is a pain -- all that… stuff… to carry from place to place. Traveling light can help to make the journey less of a chore, but there are some things that simply have to be packed: no self-respecting technology fan would go on vacation without taking a raft of devices with them. But devices need power, and this means chargers are needed. iPhones, MP3 players, Android tablets, iPads, digital cameras, Chromebooks, and countless other devices all need power -- and that means a lot of chargers.

We just took a look at the Lumsing DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger which enables you to leave the chargers at home and charge up to five devices simultaneously from a single power point. And we have one to give away!

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Lumsing DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger [Review]

usb_hub

A few weeks ago I took a look at Lumsing's harmonica battery pack. Now from the same stables comes the lengthily titled DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger. This is a slightly different twist on the idea of providing power to travellers' devices -- this is a wall charger rather than a portable battery pack. If you're going on vacation, taking a trip, or even just hitting the office, there are your devices to consider. Your phone, tablet, MP3 player, and other bits and pieces all need power, all need their own charger.

Except they don’t. Leave all of your chargers at home, and just take a selection of USB cables -- this 5-port hub allows for up to five USB devices (obviously) to be charged from a single wall power point. The 31W/6.2A unit has two 5V 1A ports for phones, and three 5V 2A ports for tablets and devices with higher power demands. Oddly, the ports are labelled, left to right, iPad, iPad, Samsung Tab, iPhone, and Android. It would have made more sense to simply indicate which of the five were the high-powered ports, but this is a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things.

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I am Microsoft All-In

road cloud

Sixth in a series. On July 1, I officially started my "Microsoft All-In" summer sojourn. Surface Pro 3 is my PC and Nokia Lumia Icon my smartphone for the next couple of months. Google gets the boot -- at least for awhile. I now largely use Microsoft products and services and third-party apps available for the company's platforms. Many commenters wonder why, so let me explain.

I last used Windows as my primary platform in 2010 -- never for Windows Phone. Like other BetaNews reporters, I tend to write about products used regularly. Writing is more authoritative from experience, and often only long-time use reveals hidden problems or benefits. The reality, and it's something obviously seen in comments: Microsoft platform users largely make up BetaNews readership.

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Hyperjuice Plug+ is enough backup power for any traveler [Review]

plug-open

With the recent Hurricane Arthur moving up the east coast of the US, power becomes something to worry about and a mobile connection can prove a lifeline for many people in the path of such storms. Keeping a tablet or cell phone alive during a disaster is paramount, but portable power is also handy for mundane times like travel and camping.

Backup batteries are not scarce on the market, you can find any number of them if you look. The real question is, what do you need? Ideally, you want the maximum mAh you can afford, as it will provide the most charges -- remember that battery in your phone is rated, and is usually somewhere in the 2,000 to 3,000 range. Use that number to compare to what you are buying to get a rough estimate of the amount of times you will be able to recharge. If you live in a household with multiple members then that should also be taken into account.

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: June 29 -- July 5

July calendar

Something of a quieter week this week -- perhaps because of Independence Day and preparations there for. Still, there was plenty of news to keep us busy, including the NSA releasing a transparency report -- for what it's worth. Facebook found itself in the firing line after it transpired that the social network had been conducting psychological experiments by meddling with users' newsfeeds. Security is an on-going concern in technology, but it's something we have tendency to think about only in relation to computers and smartphones. One of the latest targets for malware and attacks is the power grid, and it's hard to tell what sort of havoc could be wreaked.

Microsoft tried to do its bit for security -- arguably in a misguided fashion -- by taking control of dynamic DNS service No-IP, and accidentally taking out a number of legitimate sites in addition to those malware-related ones -- the intended targets. In more positive Microsoft news, enhancements were made to Office 365's collaboration options. Windows Phone is still struggling in the smartphone market, but Microsoft will be hoping that this month's launch of Windows Phone 8.1 will help to improve things -- will the addition of folder support be enough? Looking further into the future, Joe pondered what Microsoft should do with Nokia. He also decided to give Windows another chance, helped along by his new Surface Pro 3.

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HTC One (M8) comes in Dual SIM flavor

HTC One M8 Front View

Consumers looking for a dual-SIM smartphone have many low-end and mid-range options to choose from, offered by dozens of manufacturers in a wide range of configurations. The high-end selection is, however, much more limited, as fewer players compete in this space where, arguably, the value benefit of dual SIMs does not go hand in hand with the premium pricing of such devices.

HTC is among the few top players in the business to launch dual-SIM versions of its Android flagships. The Taiwanese maker did so last year with One Dual SIM and, this year, it gives its critically acclaimed One (M8) the same treatment.

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Nokia Lumia 635 comes to T-Mobile

Nokia Lumia 635 T-Mobile

Now is a great time to be looking for a new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. The entry-level Nokia Lumia 630 is already available, while the Lumia 930 flagship will launch shortly, as will the more affordable Lumia 635. For those living in US, however, their options are far more limited.

The only Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone that is set to launch in US is Lumia 635. It will reach mobile operator T-Mobile, as well as its MetroPCS subsidiary, in just a couple of days. For Simple Choice customers, it goes for $7 per month for two years (the total cost is $168, when taking into account the $0 down payment).

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Here comes Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Samsung Galaxy S5 mini white

As we have come to expect from Samsung in the past couple of years, shortly after launching a new flagship Android smartphone, the South Korean maker will also introduce a smaller model sporting similar design traits and less powerful hardware (and, of course, a lower price tag).

This year is no exception as today Samsung takes the wraps off its new Galaxy S5 mini. The smartphone does not push the boundaries of what mini stands for, featuring a decently-sized 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display and physical dimensions on par with comparable handsets. It also does not skimp on Galaxy S5 features, coming with a fingerprint reader on the front and heart rate monitor on the back.

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10 things Microsoft should do with Nokia

Nokia Lumia Icon

In April, Microsoft concluded acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services division, announced in September 2013. With ownership comes responsibility, which starts with Microsoft preserving and reviving an iconic brand. Before the phone maker fumbled touchscreen smartphone market, the brand dominated the world -- commanding overwhelming cellular handset market share across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.

Some competitors strayed from the path Microsoft follows. For example, Google wrongly sold Motorola to Lenovo, which is reason for big smiles up Redmond, Wash. way. Hardware's research and development value to software and services cannot be overstated. Apple gets it, and I thought Big G did, too. Nokia is a vitally important asset to Microsoft that goes way beyond Windows Phone.

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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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LG G3: Impressive Android flagship [Review]

LG G3 lockscreen

In a matter of months, a rumbling schism has developed in the Android camp. On one side sits HTC, churning out gleaming handsets of jaw-dropping design ingenuity. On the other sits Samsung, which seems content to slather everything in plastic, too busy beefing up its smartphones' specs to turn its attentions to ground-breaking design.

LG occupies the hallowed middle ground between the two, having packed impressive specs into a well-crafted handset. The LG G3 is the flagship weapon gunning for the Android top spot against Samsung and HTC -- and we have to say it's putting up quite the fight.

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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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The majority of smartphone users have something to hide from their partners

woman texting secretly

Software company IObit commissioned a survey into the personal content stored on smartphones, and found a lot of users have something on their devices they would rather others -- and in particular their partners -- didn’t see.

The survey, which was conducted among 5,000 international smartphone users, revealed some fascinating details, including that 81 percent of people feel SMS messages on their smartphones should be private, and a third of respondents want to actually conceal part of their SMS logs -- especially from their significant others. Of course, it’s not just text messages that users want to hide.

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: June 22 -- 28

june-22-28

The battle for dominance between Microsoft and Google continued, with Microsoft offering a huge storage boost for Office 365 and OneDrive users. This was quickly trumped by Google later in the week at 1/0 2014, when the company announced unlimited storage for Google Drive for Work users. Microsoft is basking in the glory of being heralded as cooler than Apple by Joe -- and stunts like offering cashback deals to sway MacBook Air owners into switching into Surface Pro 3 certainly helps. Microsoft opened a new store on Long Island, while Google branched out into new territory with a trial run of a new domain registration service. Microsoft also ventured into new waters with its first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2.

In something of an interesting twist, Microsoft opted to use Opera Mobile as the default web browser. Opera is also returning to Linux after the surprise release of Opera 24 Developer. Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" KDE was also released. Linux also managed to hit the headlines for facilitating the hacking of Google's Nest thermstats. If this hasn’t put you off, Logitech added support to its Harmony remotes.

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