Bill Gates is more readily associated with philanthropy than technology these days, but that’s not to say he doesn’t still have more than a passing interest in the world of tech. In their annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates look 15 years into the future, envisioning a world in which the life in poor countries has improved dramatically.
Technological advancements are key to this vision, and the Gates refer to the importance of mobile banking, cheaper tablets and smartphones, as well as improvements to crops and vaccines. It's 15 years since the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was created, and the couple are making a bet that "the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history".
Microsoft revealed earlier this week that Windows 10 will ship with a new browser, known as Spartan. The venerable Internet Explorer will still be around for enterprise duty and certain sites, but the new kid on the block is the one Microsoft wants you to embrace. However, when it is Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox that you have to leave behind, convincing you to jump ship is not going to be easy.
Spartan is clearly no Internet Explorer. It is designed from the ground up as a modern browser, that works well across multiple form factors. It will be found on all PCs, smartphones and tablets that ship with or are upgraded to Windows 10, which means that it, at least, will be readily available to test. But does it have what it takes to pass the test, and become your new favorite browser?
Windows 10 is shaping up to be the best Windows yet. I am still wrapping my head around it, but after going through most of the changes I think there are a ton of things to like about it, which is an astonishing achievement. Microsoft really managed to surprise me, and I didn't expect that, to be perfectly honest.
However, what seals the deal for me is how all the changes tie together. I can now say that there are clear benefits to using the latest Windows across all devices that support it. It makes total sense, for the first time. In fact, without even trying the new Preview release, I am sold on Windows 10. Count me in as one of the first to make the switch on all of my devices!
After releasing Android 5.0.2 Lollipop factory images for the 2013 and 2012 Wi-Fi Nexus 7, Google is now rolling out the latest version of Android for the two 7-inch tablets via an over-the-air (OTA) update.
Google has yet to provide an official changelog for Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, but from the AOSP commits we can tell that there are only a couple of noteworthy changes made since Android 5.0.1 Lollipop. The biggest one is related to TRIM functionality, which should lead to noticeable improvements in performance.
To compensate for that bigger, higher-resolution screen, faster processor and other power-hungry components, manufacturers put larger batteries inside our smartphones and tablets. Batteries have evolved very little over the past couple of years, so increasing their size feels like a logical thing to do. After all, who wants a big and fast device that lasts only a couple of hours with light usage? It would be terrible.
However, having a bigger battery also means longer charging times, excruciatingly long if you charge your device using a PC. So what can you do about it? Well, you can get SONICable, a new charging cable which promises to charge your iPhone, iPad or Android device twice as fast.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is far from perfect, arriving with nasty bugs that have affected battery life, performance, Wi-Fi and more. The first update that Google launched, version 5.0.1, managed to fix some of the problems users have reported, but some major ones persist even to this day. Personally, I am seeing my 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7 running excruciatingly slow at times, even with the first update in tow.
Fortunately, Google also launched a second update not long after the first, which fixes even more bugs, however it only launched it for the first-generation Nexus 7. Now, the search giant is making Android 5.0.2 Lollipop available for the 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 as well, in the form of new factory images.
Last year, I was visiting Jacksonville, FL -- an up-and-coming city -- and needed lunch. Rather than being littered with fast food restaurants, food trucks were all the rage there. Now, these are not "roach coaches", as we call them in New York, but high-end gourmet offerings that just happen to be served from a truck. When it came time to pay, I panicked; I did not have cash! Luckily, the owner told me they take credit cards. I swiped my card on an iPad, signed on-screen with my finger, and had the receipt sent to me by SMS text message. Very cool.
While an iPad may meet the needs of a food truck, many businesses will have greater needs. You see, a computer like the Surface Pro 3 has a true desktop operating system -- the venerable Windows -- and can run the best-in-class full version of Microsoft Office. A business-owner would be smart to trust their company to a Windows machine. Well today, Microsoft and PayPal announce a partnership to bring PayPal Here to both the Surface and Lumia devices using software and a credit card reader. Yes, even Microsoft's laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 3, will be a super-cool point-of-sale terminal!
Panasonic is known for its rugged notebook computers and, more recently, tablets. The devices have become essential for folks in certain fields of work. While folks in the construction industry can benefit from this technology, what about those who have a need to process payments while on the go? Panasonic now has that covered as well, unveiling the Toughpad FZ-R1 mobile point-of-sale tablet.
This is a seven inch tablet that runs Windows 8.1 and is powered by an Intel Celeron processor. It also comes with a PIN pad to make accepting payments simpler.
Mobile devices equipped with a kill switch are starting to become fairly common, in no small part thanks to Apple and Google, which have added this nifty security feature to their respective operating systems, iOS and Android. Now, US chip maker Qualcomm is also joining the party, albeit using a different approach, which, on paper at least, appears to be superior.
That's because Qualcomm has decided to go for a hardware kill-switch, which will first ship in its flagship mobile processor, Snapdragon 810. The main selling points? Users will be able to take advantage of it no matter which operating system runs on their Snapdragon 810-powered device, or whether the operating system offers such a feature or not.
Audi has become the first automotive firm to launch its own brand in-car tablet computer, as revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
The German company will offer the device alongside its new Q7 car, in the hope that it will provide a more fulfilling rear seat entertainment service.
Microsoft has offered its Office suite to other mobile platforms for sometime now, but Android tablet support is fairly recent. It was in Preview form and there were hoops to be jumped through in order to get access. No matter, the response was still overwhelming, or at least the company claims that is the case.
Now things are opening up as the Redmond-based company announces the expansion of this program to all users. This update to the "testing" allows all users to get access -- no more requests, or begging, through the Google Plus account.
Jump on the iDevice bandwagon and one of the first decisions you'll need to make is choosing capacity. This may be determined largely by budget, but what if you run out of space further down the line? Not many people are in a position to just invest in the same device with more space, but Leef iBRIDGE is a neat plug-in solution.
Just as you can expand the storage space of your computer or laptop with a USB drive, Leef iBRIDGE works in much the same way for your Apple device. Available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, the little plug-in modules give you a little breathing room for more music and photos.
The tablet market experienced something of a slump in 2014 and things don't look like being much better this year according to a new report by research specialists Gartner.
It estimates that tablet sales will reach 233 million units in 2015, an increase of only eight percent over last year's figure. Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) for 2015 are estimated to reach 2.5 billion units, an increase of 3.9 percent over 2014.
Google Chrome and I had a really great thing going. It is available for most operating systems (not Windows Phone, sadly) and allows me to easily sync my activity across systems. Whenever I install Windows or a new Linux distribution, the first thing I would do is install Chrome. True, Chrome is not entirely open source, and using it is a major faux pas for many Linux users, but I didn't care -- open source be damned, I wanted the ease of use. Not to mention, Google Chrome is technically the only way to get a modern version of Adobe flash working on Linux, thanks to its pepper flash implementation (damn you Adobe, for ending Linux development).
Unfortunately, Google's browser has been putting on some weight lately; hey, I'm a fat guy, I didn't mind too much at first, but things have gotten out of hand. Chrome eats through RAM like a termite at a lumber factory. Sure, RAM is relatively cheap, but not everyone wants to upgrade so a web browser can perform better. Hell, Chrome OS even runs like ass with less than 4GB of memory, and that is unacceptable. System resources are not the only way it is bloated, though. Instead, I am going back to my old girlfriend, Firefox. Mozilla's browser isn't perfect, but it better meets my needs right now.
Oh the irony! I got up yesterday morning planning to write a version of the post you read now, choosing instead to look back at readers' life-changing tech. The trigger: Motorola starting the New Year with a 64GB Moto X model and my previous day's personal tech devices wrap-up, which got me to thinking abut smartphone differentiation. Processing power, graphics chips, and the like are passé. Who really cares but a minority of gadget geeks? But storage matters to everyone, and Apple gets it—as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus capacities demonstrate.
My feeds are full of reports this morning about a lawsuit filed against Apple alleging that iOS 8 consumes too much storage and, as such, the company misrepresents the amount available. I would have looked so smart writing yesterday about how much Apple gives that competitors don't. That's okay, now my analysis has a news hook. The point, for people reading no more than two paragraphs of any story: iPhone 6 capacities outclass competitors, and the problem of operating systems consuming much of available storage isn't new or exclusive to the fruit-logo company. Just look to Google and Microsoft, for example.