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Samsung Galaxy smartphones can be crashed with a single SMS

angry-cellphone-user

Security researchers from Context IS have uncovered serious vulnerabilities in a number of premium Samsung Galaxy phones which allow attackers to crash devices using a single SMS message and initiate ransomware attacks.

The report is part of a series which aims to show "how, even in 2017, SMS-based attacks on Android phones are still viable". As longtime readers might recall, iOS too was vulnerable to such attacks -- but that was nearly two years ago. While the report focuses on Samsung's Android handsets, the researchers suggest that the vulnerabilities could be found in other vendors' smartphones as well.

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Apple introduces Night Shift in macOS Sierra 10.12.4 to help Mac users sleep better

Sleep

The latest official macOS Sierra update that Apple recently introduced did not bring any new features to the table, as it focused on improving performance and fixing bugs, but that is about to change as Night Shift will finally arrive in the upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.4.

Night Shift should sound familiar to iPhone users, as Apple debuted this feature nearly a year ago in iOS 9.3. What is it? Night Shift is a mode that, when activated, reduces blue light to help you sleep better.

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Chuwi LapBook 14.1: A surprisingly good budget laptop [Review]

Chuwi LapBook 14.1 Front

I am a strong believer in the saying "you get what you pay for." It's been my experience that price is a reflection of quality (design, performance, build quality, customer support, you name it), so when I look at an affordable device I tend to lower my expectations. Case in point, before taking the Chuwi LapBook 14.1 out of the box, I thought it wouldn't be much better than the other Chinese laptop I reviewed, the Jumper Ezbook 2.

Why? Because it promises a lot of things for the money: a 14.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080, 1.1GHz quad-core Intel "Apollo Lake" Celeron N3450 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, microSD card slot, microHDMI port, two USB ports, a webcam, a 9,000mAh battery, and Windows 10 Home for a retail price of $299.99. And, boy, was I proven wrong. The LapBook 14.1 punches far above its price tag would suggest.

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Wearable adoption is low in US and Europe

wearable watch

Consumers in US and Europe haven't quite warmed up to wearables, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Smartwatch adoption in both markets remains below the five percent mark, despite multiple models being available for a few years now.

This isn't exactly a surprising finding, because smartwatch sales are pretty bad. Depending on who you choose to believe, they were between 2.7 and 6.1 million units in the third quarter of last year (we're still waiting on the numbers for 2016 from the likes of IDC and Canalys). Apple Watch rules this space, but it is hardly a major market as you can see.

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OnePlus 3T shipping right away, Open Beta releases paused temporarily

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus has been busy lately, rolling out the Android Nougat update for its 3T flagship killer just hours before passing into 2017 and working hard to make the smartphone more readily available to ship to potential buyers in major markets.

The OnePlus 3T is available to consumers without an invite, but not everyone has been able to get their hands on the smartphone. OnePlus did not always have it in stock, but that is about to change from now on.

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Apple releases iOS 10.2.1, macOS Sierra 10.12.3, tvOS 10.1.1 and watchOS 3.1.3 -- here's what's new

macOS Sierra

Apple today releases updates for all its major operating systems, introducing iOS 10.2.1, macOS Sierra 10.12.3, tvOS 10.1.1 and watchOS 3.1.3. The latest builds do not add any new features, as the focus is on improving the existing functionality and squashing bugs.

Mac users are treated with the lengthiest changelog, and users of the latest MacBook Pros (October 2016 models) should be particularly interested in it. That's because Apple improved graphics switching on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and fixed graphics issues that occurred while using Adobe Premiere Pro to encode projects on both 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros.

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Android malware HummingBad is back on Google Play

Android smartphone malware

A common recommendation that Android users get for avoiding malware is to stick with Google Play and not download any apps from other sources. Trouble is, as HummingBad proved early last year by penetrating the search giant's defenses, that advice is not exactly bullet-proof.

The malware generated $300,000 in revenue every month and infected over 85 million devices, which, at the time, ran popular versions of Android, like KitKat and Jelly Bean. It was also one of the most dangerous pieces of malware in 2016, representing 72 percent of attacks on mobile and ranking fourth in Check Point's list of "the most prevalent malware globally" in the first half of the year. But that is not the end of the saga, as a new variant, called HummingWhale, has been found on Google Play.

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Apple sues Qualcomm for $1 billion over excessive royalties

apple_store_front

Apple is not happy with its longtime partner Qualcomm, as it has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the chip maker for allegedly being charged "royalties for technologies [that Qualcomm has] nothing to do with."

This is the second major lawsuit filed against Qualcomm this week, with the US Federal Trading Commission announcing on Tuesday that it is taking the chip maker to court for "monopolizing key semiconductor device used in cell phones." The two lawsuits are related.

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Facebook rolls out Messenger interface for web inbox

Facebook Messenger gets a brand new dedicated website

Facebook has started to roll out the Messenger.com interface as a replacement for the longstanding message inbox on the web. The latest design should feel much more familiar to folks who use the chat service on their smartphones, as it closely resembles the Android and iOS apps.

There is no official announcement yet, but you should start seeing the new interface soon on your account. It debuted nearly two years ago as a standalone website and alternative to the message inbox for folks who do not want to visit Facebook (or wish to create an account with the social network, for that matter).

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YouTube gets in-app messaging and direct video sharing

YouTube

Google is adding a new social component to YouTube, rolling out in-app messaging and direct video sharing on Android and iOS. The new features are available only in Canada at the time of writing this article, but Google says that they will be (eventually) released worldwide.

Why is Google introducing those features? Simple. In today's landscape, it is no longer enough to let users watch videos and reply back and forth in the comments section. If you look at Facebook, it is also super easy for users to connect after having a conversation, which then lets them privately share content, among other things. The result? They spend more time using the service.

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Android Nougat on Samsung Galaxy S7: A big step in the right direction

Android Nougat Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung started the Android Nougat roll-out for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge last week, but only members of the Galaxy Beta Program could get it right away. That changes today, as Samsung is finally making the much-awaited update available to more users, starting in China and UK.

After installing the hefty Android Nougat update on my Galaxy S7 edge, it became immediately clear that Samsung has put in a lot of effort to deliver a much more user-friendly experience. Its skin is much improved over what we had before on Android Marshmallow, packing lots of nice changes, both visual and under the hood. It is not perfect, but there is lots more to like now.

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Spotify is the top-grossing iOS app, Line takes first spot on Google Play

Streaming video service Hang w/ shares its profits with users -- others take note!

There are lots of really successful paid apps, but which one generates the most net revenue? According to a Sensor Tower report, Spotify comes out on top overall in 2016. The music streaming service only led the pack on the App Store, but that was enough to push it all the way to the top. On Google Play, it was messaging service Line which took top honors in this category.

Line actually came second overall, and in third place on the App Store. It is interesting that Spotify managed to come out ahead despite the fact that it is nowhere to be found in the top ten grossing apps on Google Play. This suggests that iOS users spent far more than Google Play users did on Spotify subscriptions.

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Apple sued over iOS app distribution 'monopoly'

apple_store_front

It is no secret that iOS is a tightly controlled ecosystem. There is not a whole lot that users can do to customize their iPhones, and there are not that many options for developers wanting to sell their apps outside of the App Store. In fact, if you do not want to reach a very small audience, who likes to jailbreak their devices, your one and only bet is the App Store.

A number of customers believe that that is a problem so serious that they sued Apple over its perceived iOS app distribution monopoly. A complaint was filed all the way back in 2011, but only now did a court allow the lawsuit to go forward.

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Samsung rolling out Android Nougat for Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge

Android Nougat Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung announced in late-December that it would release Android Nougat for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in January. And it has lived up to its promise, as the much-awaited software update is now rolling out for the two flagships.

At the time of writing this article, the official Android Nougat update is only available for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge users who joined the Galaxy Beta Program, but it is expected to be rolled out to more customers in the following days.

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HTC's U Ultra flagship is an epic fail

HTC U Ultra

HTC has a serious problem: it cannot deliver a flagship worth getting excited about. A while back, the company at least tried to do things differently, to get consumers talking, but lately it seems happy just to have a new high-end smartphone on the market -- even if everyone knows it's way behind the competition.

Last year's flagship, called HTC 10, was better than its most-recent predecessors, but it failed to stand out against devices like Apple's iPhone 6s and Samsung's Galaxy S7. So no one cared about it. This year's HTC U Ultra is no different -- it's probably the most uninspiring device in its segment. How disappointing.

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