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Apple announces education-themed spring event -- what new products will we see?

Apple Store in New York, USA

It's been a while since Apple introduced a new product and it looks like the wait will soon be over, as today it announced its first major event of the year. It'll take place later this month and it focuses on education, one of the company's core markets.

The location for the spring event is a bit unusual, given that Apple has a perfectly good venue in its spaceship campus in Cupertino. It'll be held in Chicago, at the Chicago High School, Lane Tech, on March 27. Given the theme, we're likely to see new hardware aimed at educators and students.

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Coinbase receives e-money license in EU, will offer faster payments to UK customers

Handing over Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency market is going through a tough period right now. The cap is down significantly from the record high reached in January, Google is following Facebook in banning crypto ads and regulators are investigating ICOs, just to name a few of the problems that it's facing. However, there is some good news to report as well.

Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, today announces that it's received an e-money license in the UK, which allows it to provide payment services to its local users and, by extension, other EU customers as well.

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Android 8.1 Oreo coming to OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5


It's become quite clear that the idea of having major updates available in a timely fashion remains a distant dream for many Android users. Lots of smartphones remain a version or two behind the latest big release of the popular operating system, even though the hardware is more than capable of handling it.

Trouble is it's not (just) obscure companies that are failing users, but major players too. Take Samsung and the Galaxy S8 for instance. The Oreo roll-out only just started, but it's based on Android 8.0 -- not 8.1, as you would expect. Fortunately, there are some exceptions, most notably OnePlus and its two most-recent flagships.

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Please, smartphone makers, don't copy the iPhone X

Face palm table coffee Apple MacBook

The iPhone X is the best iPhone that you can get right now, but it's most certainly not the best looking. You can probably tell where I'm going with this: the notch. It may set it apart from other smartphones, but it's a pain to look at on a $1,000 device.

Apple probably had its reasons when it decided to go with that design and, I believe, this will be improved upon in future iterations. Trouble is, other manufacturers think it's something worth copying, not avoiding like the plague. The New ZenFone 5 comes with a notch and it is not the only one. By the looks of it, the upcoming Huawei P20 will follow suit.

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Microsoft Surface Pro with LTE Advanced now available to consumers

Laptops and detachable tablets have come a long way in recent years, becoming smaller, lighter and more energy-efficient with each new generation. But, even though they're more portable, they're not necessarily easy to use on the road as well.

What I mean by that is that connectivity remains limited to Wi-Fi for the vast majority of devices that hit the market these days. If you don't have coverage, you have to set up a hotspot on your phone. And that's a shame. However, there are some notable exceptions, with the Surface Pro with LTE Advanced being one of the most interesting of the bunch.

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Light Phone 2 is for smartphone users wanting to disconnect

Although I do not consider myself a smartphone addict, I have become so used to filling up my down time with YouTube videos, learning new stuff and staying in touch with friends that I might as well call myself one. Thing is, unlike other people who say they want to disconnect, I don't. It's fair to say I don't reminisce about the days when all I could do was phone or text someone.

But I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the Light Phone 2. It's a new phone that is designed to offer as little as possible in terms of functionality, with the goal being to help users "spend quality time doing the things [they] love the most, free of distraction." It's a fresh concept, and the thing that I find the most interesting is its unique design.

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Google Assistant will (probably) speak your language this year

It's easy to get excited about new technologies when you're privileged to live in one of the handful of markets and speak one of the few languages that tech companies support. Case in point: voice assistants. You can read about Cortana, Alexa or Google Assistant, but, chances are, for many people that's where the fun ends.

The problems are dead obvious, but, at least when it comes to Google Assistant, things will drastically improve this year, as Google today announces that it's expanding the availability of the service to include over 30 languages -- a huge increase over the eight it supports now.

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Android Oreo update for Samsung Galaxy S8 is back on track

Android 8.1 Oreo

Samsung kicked off the Android Oreo roll-out for the Galaxy S8 early this month, making the much-awaited update available to folks who've been part of the beta program first, with a wider rollout expected to take place shortly after.

However, due to a problem that caused unexpected reboots, Samsung pulled it a week ago. The good news is that the roll-out is back on track, with a new version now set to reach Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users.

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The first PCs with Intel's new 5G modem will arrive in 2019

There is a lot of talk surrounding the potential of 5G networks. The big players in the industry have already announced their plans to support the new technology, and some have also revealed their first products to support it.

Intel is part of that crowd, announcing today that its XMM 8060 modem will enable 5G connectivity in a slew of PCs from the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft. It does not take long to realize that, among other devices, the Surface line will offer 5G support. When?

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Google Reply lets you use smart replies with popular Android messaging apps

Chat Bubble Smartphone

There are times when you don't need an elaborate reply to a message a friend just sent. Maybe all you need to say is "I'll be there," "No, thanks" or "Cool." However, many messaging apps do not give you the option to send these kind of smart answers, which, in this day and age, sounds like something that should be standard, given all the talk about AI and clever bots in this space.

Google has decided to do something about it, as it's working on an app, called Reply, that lets you offer smart replies to messages in many messaging apps, including Google Hangouts, Android Messages, WhatsApp, Twitter and more.

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Parallels Toolbox 1.5 for Windows adds presentation mode and disk cleanup tool

Parallels may be best known for its virtualization software for Mac, but the company is also active in the Windows scene. One of its most interesting programs is Toolbox, which, as its name suggests, offers a suite of tools to help power users make the most of their PC.

And, today, it gets an update, as Parallels releases Toolbox 1.5 for Windows. The new version adds a presentation mode, a disk cleanup tool and an option to quickly change your display's resolution.

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Say goodbye to Swype


Android and iOS users who are not happy with the stock keyboard on their device have lots of third-party options to choose from. Among the established alternatives is Swype, which has been available for nearly five years on Android and over three on iOS. It's actually one of the first third-party keyboards I tried on both platforms.

Swype, however, hasn't really caught on in quite the same way that, say, SwiftKey has, which is likely the reason why the company behind the app, Nuance, has announced that it's reached "end of development." In other words, Swype users, your favorite keyboard is now discontinued.

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Windows 10 on ARM: Here's what you'll be missing


Windows 10 on ARM is a very interesting proposition for road warriors. You get the benefits of a full-featured operating system in a package that rivals the battery life and connectivity options of a mobile device. What's not to like?

While on paper it may sound like it offers the best of both worlds, Windows 10 on ARM is not perfect -- at least not yet -- as Microsoft's own documentation raises some serious questions surrounding its usability and compatibility.

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Bitcoin targeting $10,000 again, major cryptos post solid gains

Bitcoin Ethereum Litecoin BTC XBT ETH LTC

The cryptocurrency market seems to have recovered after a massive correction took it below $280 billion earlier this month. That valuation brought the scene back to mid-November levels, with all the majors posting significant losses as a result. However, things have changed rather quickly, as, today, the market is getting closer to breaking $480 billion.

Bitcoin looks to be spearheading the push, as it's testing the $10,000 level, having the third-largest daily increase of the top 10 players at 8.9 percent. Litecoin is the best performer, by far, with gains of 19.5 percent, followed by IOTA with 9.1 percent. In the days following the crash, Litecoin consistently posted solid gains.

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Don't buy Huawei devices, say US spy heads


Huawei has been trying to break into the US market for quite some time and it looks like things will not get easier from here on out either. The top intelligence officials in US have warned consumers to avoid the company's products, due to security concerns.

Huawei is joined by ZTE on the "no buy" list, which is backed by the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, among others, according to a CNBC report. The officials are said to have "commended" US carriers for resisting to the Chinese companies' push.

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