Microsoft will release the next Windows 10 build for phones on Friday

 

Microsoft’s head of the Windows Insider program, Gabe Aul, has announced today on Windows Weekly that they will release a new build of Windows 10 for phones on Friday at 10 AM PT.

A few weeks back, the company announced a new list of supported devices for the next release but for the version that will be released on Friday, the Lumia Icon and Lumia 930 will not be supported. Gabe said during the announcement that it came down to the new UI being too small on these devices and as such, will not be included in this release.

For those of you with supported devices, Friday will prove to be an exciting day and expect to hear more from Microsoft about what new features will arrive in the upcoming release soon.

via Microsoft will release the next Windows 10 build for phones on Friday.

UK’s 5G tech could facilitate movie downloads in 1 second

David Cameron has announced that the UK plans to partner with Germany to develop the next generation 5G mobile broadband.

The Prime Minister made the announcement at the CeBIT technology show in Hannover where he said that the UK cannot afford to miss out on the development of 5G. It is part of Cameron’s plans to make the UK the most digital nation in the G8. See also: EE set to roll out faster LTE-A ‘4.5G’ mobile broadband in London.

“With 4G, an 800 megabyte movie takes around 40 seconds to download; with 5G that would be cut to one second,” said Cameron.

“This is a prize that researchers all over the world are going for and so I am delighted to announce a new collaboration, between the University of Dresden, King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey.” he added.

See also: 4G vs 3G network hands-on speed test.

The prime minister also said he wants the ‘Internet of Things’ to move “from a slogan to a fact,” with a £73 million fund of public money going to research moving things in this direction. Read: Ofcom announces 5G plans for beyond 4G.

“These are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the internet – using low-cost, low-power chips,” Cameron said.

“This has enormous potential to change our lives. Electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate. Water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure. And yes, even a fridge that can order you milk when it notices you are getting low.”

As part of the new Spectrum Strategy which will see unused ‘white space’ opened up for wider commercial use, Cameron said the aim is to double the economic benefits of spectrum to UK companies and consumers from roughly £50bn today, to £100bn in 2025.

via UK’s 5G tech could facilitate movie downloads in 1 second | PCWorld.

Webroot brings app reputation service to its mobile security suite

line between mobile security and mobile device management. One element that stands out from the rest, though, is Webroot’s new service to help IT admins understand the risk posed by installed apps.

The new version of Webroot SecureAnywhere Business—Mobile Protection provides IT admins with device and group-level policies for both Android and iOS devices. Alerts are sent to the management console when a mobile device does not comply with the policy, giving IT admins an opportunity to address the situation. In this version, Webroot has extended the SecureWeb browsing protection for Android to apply to both the stock Android Web browser and Google Chrome.

Perhaps the biggest news about the new release, though, is the Mobile App Reputation Service. Webroot has scanned more than 4.8 million Android and iOS apps and counting. While some apps are inherently malicious and can be identified as malware, there are many more apps out there that are not malware per se, yet still do suspicious or insidious things. Webroot analyzes the permissions requested by apps and the actual behavior of the apps to assign a score that helps IT admins determine the level of risk posed.

Another key improvement in the new version is the use of cloud scanning. This gives Webroot protection a smaller footprint on the mobile device endpoints, and it consumes fewer processor or memory resources. The biggest benefit, perhaps—especially for a mobile device—is that it uses less power on the device so battery life is extended.

Mobile device management and security are rapidly growing priorities for most companies. A recent survey commissioned by Webroot found that three out of four companies have embraced BYOD on some level. More than 80 percent believe that mobile devices introduce high security risk, and nearly two-thirds report a significant increase in demand for help desk support to manage security issues for smartphones and tablets.

That’s where something like Webroot SecureAnywhere Business—Mobile Protection comes in. Merging mobile security and mobile device management into one simple tool makes it easier for IT to manage and protect mobile devices, and mobile devices that are better managed and protected are less likely to require support.Increased demand for support has a cascade effect that impacts other areas of the company. According to the survey, as much as 36 percent of a help desk technician’s time is spent resolving issues for mobile devices, and six out of 10 respondents were forced to hire additional IT resources to manage mobile security. Mobile device management and security has direct costs as well as collateral costs in terms of the resources available to address other areas of IT.

The current version of SecureAnywhere Business—Mobile Protection, which supports both iOS and Android, is available online from Webroot. Pricing varies by volume and duration, but a one-year license starts around $25. The new edition will be released in November, and existing customers will receive this new product version for free.

via Webroot brings app reputation service to its mobile security suite | PCWorld.

Qualcomm asserts eight-core mobile processors are 'dumb'

Qualcomm has joined the likes of Nokia and Intel in raining on the proverbial multi-core processor parade. During a recent chat with Taiwan media, Qualcomm senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said eight-core processors like the new chips recently announced are flat out “dumb.”
The executive suggested that adding more cores was like trying to take eight lawnmower engines, putting them together and claiming you have an eight cylinder Ferrari engine. It just doesn’t make sense, he quipped.
Instead, Chandrasekher said his company focuses on giving consumers a good experience which requires a good modem, long battery life and an affordable price point (in that order). Adding more cores into the equation is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks, he concluded.
The remarks come just days after – and in response to – an announcement from rival MediaTek that they have developed a true octa-core ARM processor. You may recall that Samsung also has an octa-core processor known as the Exynos 5 Octa. That chip, however, isn’t a true eight-core setup as it uses ARM’s big.LITTLE configuration in which only four cores are ever active at any given time.
MediaTek insists their octa-core processor, scheduled to arrive during the fourth quarter of this year, enables enhanced multi-tasking capabilities that will greatly improve the experience of users’ applications. The company also says the configuration will help reduce the chip’s overall power consumption which could go a long way in proving battery life.
via Qualcomm asserts eight-core mobile processors are ‘dumb’ – TechSpot.

Apple has posted its iOS 7 overview video, highlights all the features


Since its release alongside the original iPhone in 2007, users have complained that the company’s mobile OS is ‘stale’. Given the advent of Windows Phone 8 and Android 4.2 ‘Jelly Bean’, Apple’s proprietary 5×4 grid of app icons has, for many users, become unfit for purpose. 
At its WWDC conference, Apple today announced iOS 7, the next major iteration of its mobile OS. The update brings with it a major redesign, offering a flatter, cleaner design and 3D layers. Stock apps have been significantly updated to mirror the new design, with lots of white space and thinline fonts.

Design

As rumoured, iOS 7 brings with it a far cleaner and flatter design with heavily updated colours, icons and new features. The new lock screen offers thin fonts, an animated wallpaper and the ability to quickly swipe down to access Notification Center.

Control Center & Multitasking

It’s long been the signature feature of jailbreaking your iOS device, but now Apple have created their own solution for quickly accessing your device’s settings. Swiping up from the bottom of your device’s display on iOS 7 prompts Control Center to appear, offering controls to toggle Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Orientation Lock.
By simply double-tapping in iOS 7, a new multitasking environment appears, offering live previews of currently running applications, accessible from anywhere in the OS.

Safari

Apple’s default web browser has been updated to reflect iOS 7’s new design, as well as offering new features to make the browsing the web faster and more intuitive. A new ‘tabs’ feature breaks free of iOS’ 8-tab limit to offer unlimited tabs as well as a new 3D browsing environment. Under the hood, Safari has been updated further to support the newest and emerging web standards.

Camera & Photos

Whilst the iPhone 5’s camera hardware has been met with lots of positive acclaim, organising your photos has always taken a back seat in Apple’s mobile OS. Now with iOS 7, the company offers you multiple ways to experience all of your snaps. Photos can be categorised by location, date and the people within them. Scrolling back through months worth of photos has always been a drag, but now with iOS 7 you can simply pinch out to view your entire library and scrub between them.
The camera app in iOS 7 also offers an improved UI and new live filters. From within the camera app, gesture-based pop-up previews can be enabled to easily view photos you’ve just taken.

Siri & iOS in the Car

Siri in iOS 7 offers a flatter and cleaner interface, as with many of the other stock software features. The service has been graced with a host of new, more realistic voices with a variety of language options. Your phone’s virtual personality can now control brightness or other device settings, as well as offering quick updates from Twitter, Bing and Wikipedia.

Music & iTunes Radio

The stock Music app in iOS 7 has been significantly updated with a new design, new control options and of course, iTunes Radio functionality.
iTunes Radio lets you choose tracks to listen to-ondemand, and allows you to create custom radio stations based upon recommendations and your favourite artists. Clearly designed to compete with Pandora, an established radio platform for iOS, iTunes Radio works on all iOS devices as well as within the desktop iTunes environment. iTunes Radio will be offered to users free with ads, and existing iTunes Match subscribers can enjoy the service ad-free.
iOS 7 also includes FaceTime audio calls over Wi-Fi, improved search functionality in Mail, the ability to block phone calls, FaceTime calls and messages, as well as notification sync across all your iOS and OS X devices. Notifications themselves also take a more prominent position, allowing users to reply to messages straight from the pop-up, a feature mirrored across to OS X “Mavericks”, the company’s new desktop OS.
via: Neowin

LG won't be making the Nexus 5

According to a recent interview with LG Mobile’s European VP, Kim Wong, LG won’t be making the next Nexus phone, claiming that while the device was a “great success” for the company, they don’t need to repeat that success again. LG is also weary of releasing a new phone without their own custom skin, with Won saying there is “no added value for us” in going with vanilla Android.
When a senior LG official clarified this statement to The Verge, it seems that the partnership with Google has not abruptly ended: LG hasn’t got a Nexus 5 in production, but they would still work with the company in the future if given the opportunity.
Only Samsung has made consecutive Nexus devices, producing the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, with LG taking the reigns for the last model (the Nexus 4) and HTC producing the original Nexus One. While the Nexus 4 was widely praised for including an up-to-date chipset and being very cheap to purchase outright, the camera was heavily criticized, while availability problems plagued many users wanting to buy the device.
LG also has a new Android tablet in the works, according to Wong, although the tablet market is “fairly segmented” at the moment. The last Google-powered tablet the Korean company produced was the Optimus Pad LTE, an 8.9-inch Android 3.2 tablet released in early 2012, with Windows tablets also largely ignored outside Korea.
Finally, Wong stated that LG is looking to producing smartphones using an OS other than Android, as the “current duopoly of Google and Apple is not healthy for the market.” If you thought this might mean LG will return to making Windows Phones, think again, as Wong said that Microsoft’s mobile OS is a “low priority” at this stage; this means we’ll likely see a Firefox OS device or an entirely different OS on an LG phone sometime in the future.
via LG won’t be making the Nexus 5 – Neowin.

Samsung Galaxy S 4: The empire strikes back with a faster, sleeker handset

The Samsung Galaxy line is one of the biggest success stories in Android handset history. It’s such a hit, even Google is reportedly at odds with Samsung’s success in its mobile business. The name “Galaxy” could conceivably become synonymous with the word “Android.” In some cases, it already has.
It’s been a crazy 12 months for Samsung. It was part a heady back-and-forth lawsuit with Apple about patent trademarks, and the Galaxy S III has become one of the best-selling Android handsets of the last year. Now the company is launching the Galaxy S 4 with the tagline of “life companion.” This slogan is indicative of the way Samsung sees itself. The company has infiltrated the consumer technology world with easy-to-use gadgets that it hopes will integrate perfectly into your life. The Galaxy S 4 is no different.
We spent time with the S 4 to test out how the phone looks, feels, and works. There are some newer exciting features that come with Samsung’s latest handset, including interface tweaks and applications with TouchWiz. It’s important to note that the handset Ars reviewed is the Sprint version, and the Galaxy S III handset we’re comparing it to is on Verizon Wireless. Keep that in mind as you consider the S 4 for yourself.
The phone
Body and build
Specs at a glance: Samsung Galaxy S 4
Screen 1920×1080 4.99″ (441 ppi) Super AMOLED
OS Android 4.2.2 with TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0
CPU Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
RAM 2GB
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 320
Storage 16, 32, or 64GB NAND flash, expandable via microSD
Networking 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA
Ports Micro-USB, headphones
Camera 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
Size 5.38″ × 2.75″ × 0.31″ (136.6 × 69.8 × 7.9 mm)
Weight 4.06 oz. (130 g)
Battery 2600 mAh
Starting price $199.99 at AT&T with two-year contract; $149 at Sprint; $149.99 at T-Mobile; TBD at Verizon Wireless and US Cellular
Sensor Ambient light sensor, GPS, thermometer, barometer, proximity sensor, gesture sensor, RGB light sensor
Other perks Extra accessories for purchase
The Galaxy S 4 looks and feels like an upgraded version of its older sibling. Its brushed aluminum framing is stylish, and it matches the aesthetic of other recent handsets. Although it boasts a bigger screen, Samsung kept a similar size and weight to the Galaxy S III; at 5.38 × 2.75 × 0.31 inches, the S 4 is only a few millimeters thinner and about three grams lighter. Samsung stuck with the same button placement—the power button is on the right side of the chassis, a volume rocker is on the left side, a home button is on the front, and the light-up hardware buttons are still in the same place. Samsung seems to have stuck with a signature chassis model now that it’s a well-known handset maker, making it easily recognizable out in the wild as a “Samsung phone.” At first glance, the Galaxy S 4 is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor.
The handset comes in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flavors, with the ability to add up to 64GB of additional storage with a microSD card. The Galaxy S 4 also features a replaceable 2,600 mAh battery pack, Qi-standardized wireless charging, NFC capabilities, and LTE. Annoyingly, the audio speaker still resides on the back of the device, so you’ll have to place it face-down if you’re planning on streaming music through it at a listenable volume. We tried the phone out with Samsung’s flip covers so that the unit would stay protected throughout the review process, but it was a little annoying trying to hold the phone to take pictures, for instance, because the flap had to be held open.

Full Story: Samsung Galaxy S 4: The empire strikes back with a faster, sleeker handset | Ars Technica.

Optimus G Pro will have 1080p 5.5” display, hit US in spring

Following rumors and speculation, LG has released the details of its Optimus G Pro smartphone. The successor to the Optimus G features a 5.5-inch, Full HD IPS 1080p display at 440 pixels per inch (ppi), as well as a relatively massive 3140 mAh battery pack. It’s fueled by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, which clocks in at 1.7Ghz, as well as a 13MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing camera with Full HD capabilities, which LG mentions in its press release are of “the same quality found on high definition TVs.”
The phone will also feature two new camera modes, dubbed Dual Recording and Virtual Reality (VR) Panorama. Dual Recording will enable users to simultaneously capture video with both the front and rear cameras for a picture-in-picture result, while VR Panorama will enable both horizontal and vertical 360-degree panoramas. It will still include some of the Optimus G’s most notable features, including Quick Memo.
According to Engadget, the phone will launch on Korean carriers SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus, and it won’t make its way to North America or Japan until sometime next quarter. LG will debut the phone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month.
via Optimus G Pro will have 1080p 5.5” display, hit US in spring | Ars Technica.

BlackBerry Z10 Review

The BlackBerry Z10 is everything to BlackBerry – and I don’t just mean for the platform or the rechristened company that has adopted the brand for which it is most known. The Z10, the first smartphone to run the BlackBerry 10 OS, is a sink or swim device that will likely determine if the company will manage to hold on to its dwindling market share and right the ship that sent it from first to worst in smartphone relevance.
The days of a BlackBerry being the definitive smartphone are gone. The BlackBerry Z10 debuts at a time when smartphones are as much about play as they are productivity, and this phone can thrive in this era only if it can strike a balance between entertainment and enterprise. Can the BlackBerry Z10 be the savior that BlackBerry – the company and operating system – so desperately needs?

Hardware & Design
The BlackBerry Z10 has what many might consider a generic appearance. There are no eye-popping colors like we’ve seen with Windows Phone 8 devices, nor any bold curves to elicit the cliché labeling of a phone being “sexy.” It’s an all-business box, rectangular and overwhelmingly black except for the silver-colored buttons that appear in limited areas. That’s not to say that being all business is boring; the Z10 just so happens to have a design that favors minimalism. The 130mm x 65.6mm x 9mm (5.11in x 2.58in x 0.35in) frame is basically the “Little Black Dress” of smartphones.

A large bezel and lines along the edges make the BlackBerry Z10 subtly catch the eye, but a user’s senses will quickly gravitate to touch. Hard plastic is used for the front and sides of the phone, but a lusciously soft rubber-like material is used for the back of the phone. It has dozens of tiny dimples similar to the Google Nexus 7, and it’s definitely one of the most comfortable smartphone materials to rest gently in your palm.

The body is otherwise sparse, as BlackBerry has shed the weight of a physical keyboard and trackball that has been so common for the handset maker. The Z10’s only distractions from its otherwise understated build are micro USB and microHDMI ports on the left; a power button and 3.5mm headphone jack on the top; and volume buttons, separated by a button that can pause music playback or be held down to prompt voice commands, on the right. The bottom of the phone houses a speaker that plays music at a decent volume, and there’s also a red notification light in the top right corner.
Full Story: BlackBerry Z10 Review – TechSpot.

A tale of two gaming laptops: The x17 vs. the Blade Mk2

Razer’s Blade gaming laptop is nothing if not unique. The first version of the attractive-but-expensive laptop launched at a whopping $2,800 and wasn’t the fastest laptop on the block. It tried to make up for it with a stylish design and unique touchscreen-turned-trackpad with configurable buttons.
The revised Blade doesn’t change this equation much, but it is a nice refinement of what came before. More power-efficient chips from Intel and Nvidia (as well as a redesigned ventilation system) help with heat issues while boosting performance. A slight price drop (to $2,500) helps with the pricing issue.
To help see where the Blade falls in context, we’ll be comparing its looks, its build quality, and its performance to a more conventional gaming laptop—Digital Storm was kind enough to send us one of their x17 gaming laptops for comparison. The x17, which is really just a branded version of Clevo’s P170EM, is a gaming laptop in the traditional sense: big, bulky, and only relatively “portable.”
If you’re looking to hang up a big brick like the x17 in favor of something a bit more svelte, does the Blade have the performance to replace one of these monsters?
Full Story: A tale of two gaming laptops: The x17 vs. the Blade Mk2 | Ars Technica.