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Top Stories  |   (Aug 20, 2014)

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HTC One (M8) for Windows launches as Verizon exclusive

Windows Phone version of HTC One M8 uses same specifications as Android original

HTC has launched the Windows Phone version of its One M8 flagship at an event in New York. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is a metal-clad smartphone with the same specifications as the Android original , including an identical five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage.

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Dolby Atmos audio technology migrating from theater to home

New technology backwards compatible with Blu-Ray, other content delivery

At an event earlier this week, Dolby announced a technology moving from the cinema to home theaters that challenges the channel-based stereo paradigm. Dubbed Dolby Atmos , the new protocol -- which is fully backwards compatible with older Blu-Ray players and other content delivery mechanisms -- uses up to 34 speakers to more accurately play back a moving sound, and enhance the home theater experience.

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Opinion: The best $300 I've spent on a gadget in a while

Buying a headphone amp is money well spent if you love music

Like many people, I love music and have an extensive iTunes collection. I also record my own music and even released a single with Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens on lead guitar. All of which means that, like many people, I take the quality of my listening experience seriously and am always looking for a great listening experience at home, in the car, and when on the go. I have managed to get a great sound at home, and in my car, but struggled to get an ideal listening experience on the go. Like some I've bought far too many headphones as part of this quest, when what I really should have done is buy a portable headphone amp as I recently discovered.

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T-Mobile announces plan to throttle those abusing 'unlimited' data

P2P file-sharing, unofficial tethering both violations of the terms of plans

On the heels of Verizon's announcement that it will periodically throttle the LTE speeds of its most prodigious users during times of network congestion, a leak from T-Mobile has revealed a similar program -- but with a different approach. Rather than targeting a certain percentage of the heaviest users without discrimination, the carrier plans to first educate and then restrict the speeds of only those users who are in violation of the terms and conditions of the "unlimited' data plans through torrenting or tethering abuse.

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha launches with metal frame, octa-core processor

Metal Samsung Galaxy Alpha uses 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED display

Samsung has unexpectedly launched the Galaxy Alpha smartphone, weeks before an Unpacked launch event. The rumored smartphone has been revealed as using a metal frame with a soft back cover, a change from the heavily use of plastic in earlier Galaxy devices, with the Alpha's 7mm (0.28-inch) thickness making it one of the slimmest Galaxy smartphones the company has ever produced.

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Opinion: Hachette and Amazon fight, who loses?

Ongoing struggle between Amazon and content publishers highlight changes

In advance of a coalition of authors' letter being published in The New York Times tomorrow supporting publisher Hachette , Amazon has lashed out in an open letter to consumers , asking readers themselves to take Amazon's side in the "fight" for e-book pricing. The problem is that the matter is not as simple as either Hachette or Amazon are portraying it, and the real victims in this dispute are the customers, caught in the middle.

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Opinion: Why the Apple iWatch will succeed (Part 2)

The iWatch will deliver unmatched levels of sophistication and integration

This is part two of an earlier article assessing why the Apple iWatch will succeed where others have failed. The first part of the article set out the backdrop against which the iWatch will be launched and argues that given the current competition, the iWatch stands an excellent chance of being successful. The current crop of smartwatches haven't managed to get the right mix of functionality, usability and desireability. Even Google's new Android Wear smartwatch platform makes a far from convincing case as to the benefits of owning a smartwatch. Only Apple has the ambition and product execution to make a compelling smartwatch and the signs are there that this is what we will get when it eventually launches before the end of the year.

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Opinion: Why the Apple iWatch will succeed (Part 1)

Only Apple is capable of delivering the first compelling smartwatch

Apple has been long been rumored to be working on a smartwatch widely referred to as the iWatch thanks to some Apple trademark applications surfacing. However, even though the product hasn't yet been revealed some naysayers like the notorious Apple sceptic John C. Dvorak have already started to write off the device before it has even been released. Similar conclusions were also drawn about Apple's iPhone and iPad by Dvorak and others before each was released; but both as we know have been phenomenally successful. While it seems less likely that an iWatch will have the same widespread appeal as either the iPhone or iPad, there are several signs that suggest that Apple will once again succeed in a market where others have thus far failed to inspire.

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Samsung, Apple agree to end all non-US legal disputes

Cases dropped without settlement in more than eight countries

In a joint email sent to the press, Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all patent lawsuits against each other in all countries except the US, without any settlement, cross-license agreement or any other consideration. The US court system will be the sole arbiter of the numerous patent disputes the two companies have brought against each other, and comes on the heels of a series of moves to de-escalate the standoffs between them. Samsung and Apple agreed to drop appeals of an ITC case in June.

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Pentax Q-S1 revealed with 12.4MP sensor, multiple body color options

Bokeh control, gyro sensor used in retro-styled Pentax Q-S1

Ricoh has launched another camera in its Q-range of Pentax compact snappers, which it claims is one of the world's smallest and lightest with interchangeable lenses. The Q-S1 has a 12.4-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor, housed inside a retro-styled body which customers are able to heavily personalize, thanks to its wide selection of color combinations.

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Tor compromised earlier in year, relay attack to 'deanonymize' users

The Tor Project announced on its blog today that the service suffered two different types of attacks in an attempt to uncover information that could remove the anonymity of sources accessing hidden services. Tor states that the attackers are so far unknown, but it says that anyone that accessed any hidden services from the beginning of February through July 4 should assume they've been affected by the attack.

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Opinion: iPad Air + Logitech Folio + Office for iPad = Productivity?

iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect

The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.

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Ford Motors to replace BlackBerry with iPhones for over 9,300 workers

'Global' switchover will cost nothing extra over normal replacement cycle

Automaker Ford has announced that it will transition at least 9,300 corporate employees from BlackBerry models and flip phones to iPhones over the next two years. The change, which will cost the company nothing above the normal cost of a replacement cycle, is a blow to BlackBerry, but the Canadian smartphone maker can take solace in the fact that Ford chose BlackBerry's QNX for its next-generation Sync infotainment system, replacing a previous Microsoft-based one.

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Apple updates MacBook Pro line with faster processors, more RAM

Apple's portable line external design unchanged, internals boosted

As predicted , Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display product line. Both sizes of the model have an unchanged external design, but now boast faster processors, with some models seeing a doubling of RAM as standard. Surviving the upgrade is the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also remains unchanged apart from a price cut.

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Apple drops cross-appeal against Samsung, gives up injunction

Bid for sales ban against 23 copying Samsung products had been denied twice

Two years after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial, the big winner in that case -- Apple -- has dropped a motion to cross-appeal a portion of Judge Lucy Koh's final verdict. The action means that the company has officially given up hope of seeing any product bans on the 23 Samsung products found guilty of copying Apple technology, though the matter is largely moot as none of the products are still offered for sale anyway. Despite the clear victory in the jury trial, Judge Koh twice refused to issue sales injunctions on the infringing Samsung products.

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Closer look: Android L preview

Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features

Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.

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Bose suing Beats over infringement of active noise reduction patents

Apple now on the hook in another patent infringement case

In a court filing discovered today , audio equipment maker Bose is suing headphone rival Beats over noise cancellation headphone technology. Bose claims that Beats has knowingly infringed on "50 years of signficant investment in the research, development, engineering, and design" on the technology, with the Beats lineup for sale now using "36 US patents and applications" that Bose now owns or has filed for.

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Amazon Fire Phone now available to purchase in United States

First Amazon smartphone goes on sale with Dynamic Perspective display system

Amazon has put its first smartphone on sale in the United States. Available through Amazon directly or via AT&T , the Fire Phone marks a departure from the retailer's usual Kindle Fire tablet range, by being a smaller mobile device and by using five front-facing cameras for the company's "Dynamic Perspective" 3D-effect user interface.

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Microsoft reveals Nokia Lumia 530 as its first Lumia release

Nokia Lumia 530 has four-inch display, $115 price tag

Microsoft has unveiled its first Lumia smartphone since it acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division. Still labeled under the Nokia branding, the Lumia 530 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone with a four-inch, 854x480-resolution display and a low price point to help it compete against other competing low-specification devices running on Android.

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Microsoft hits $23.4 billion revenue in Q4, earnings share decreasing

Expected profits fall shy of expectations, Nokia deal responsible for $0.08 EPS hit

Microsoft released its quarterly revenue figures for the end of the 2014 fiscal year, revealing that the company pulled in $23.38 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter. While the revenue numbers beat the expectations of $23 billion, earnings per share (EPS) missed the mark at $0.55 per share. Experts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the software company to hit $0.60 EPS based on the $23 billion in revenues.

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Nvidia launches Shield Tablet with 8-inch display, separate controller

Nvidia Shield Tablet retains game-streaming functionality of original device

Nvidia has finally launched a new gaming tablet in the Shield product line, following a number of leaks . The successor to the Shield controller and the Tegra Note 7 , the Shield Tablet effectively separates the display and controller elements of the original Shield, with an accompanying wireless controller allowing it to be used in a similar manner as a portable console.

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Microsoft confirms layoffs; 18,000 to lose jobs, majority from Nokia

Most of the Microsoft layoffs to come from Nokia devices and services

Microsoft has made official previous rumors of massive job cuts. The company is planning on cutting 18,000 jobs in the next year, with the largest cuts coming from the Nokia devices and services division. Microsoft claims that the first 13,000 of the laid-off employees will be notified in the next six months.

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Closer look: iOS 8 preview

Apple iOS 8 sets up iPhone and iPad for the future

Last year Apple delivered iOS 7, which was a massive upgrade . Not only did it bring an all-new look as well as add several new dimensions to the user interface, it also brought full compatibility with Apple's industry-leading 64-bit chip technology. This year, Apple used its WWDC 2014 to unveil iOS 8, its next-gen mobile OS. A lot of foundational work was laid in iOS 7 and iOS 8 looks to build on this adding several new and powerful features to the front end and back end. Apple is calling iOS 8 its biggest release to date, which is some statement when set against the backdrop of what it achieved with iOS 7. But when you factor in over 4,000 additional APIs and an all-new in-house developed programming language in Swift, plus some potentially revolutionary new frameworks in HealthKit and HomeKit, iOS 8 could well be the most significant iteration of iOS yet.

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Report: iPhone 5s single best-selling smartphone worldwide

Samsung takes second, third and fourth place, while iPhone 5c and 4S round out top six

Though it will not come as surprising news to industry watchers, a new report compiling sales channel data from 35 countries puts Apple, Samsung and China-based Xiaomi as the only three companies really selling smartphones. What may be surprising to some, however, is just how well the iPhone line is doing overall; in addition to the iPhone 5s being the clear winner as the top-selling model, the much-maligned iPhone 5c took fifth place, followed by the two-and-a-half-year-old iPhone 4S in sixth place.

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Apple, IBM announce collaboration on big data, analytics apps [U]

New AppleCare tailored for enterprise, IBM to sell iOS devices with custom apps

[Updated with text from Tim Cook's memo to employees] In a surprise move, Apple and IBM have announced a new partnership that will see the enterprise giant working with the iPhone maker to bring more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions to the iOS platform as native apps for iPhone and iPad, as well as see IBM selling and leasing iOS devices pre-loaded with industry-specific solutions to its business clients. The exclusive deal also includes new AppleCare service and support plans tailored for enterprise, and IBM enterprise cloud services optimized for iOS.

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Eyes-on: Google Cardboard virtual reality experience

Google Cardboard offers an incredibly good VR experience

One of the highlights of the Google I/O developer event for 2014 was the debut of the experimental Google Cardboard project. With the dawn of mass market virtual reality finally upon us thanks to the arrival of the Oculus Rift (at least in early beta hardware form), Google Cardboard seems decidedly low-tech by comparison. Seemingly a little odd at first, the Cardboard premise is a simple one: bring a virtual reality experience to an even wide audience, on the cheap, to anyone who owns a relatively recent Android smartphone. Made from its namesake cardboard, could it possibly be any good?

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Hands-on: LG G Watch and Google Android Wear

LG G Watch and Android Wear don't deliver a revolutionary wearable experience

There is a term in product development called "Minimum Viable Product," used to refer to products that are designed only to be sufficient for getting feedback or market testing a concept. Enter the LG G Watch . It is like a blank canvas that represents the minimum requirements to showcase Google's nascent Android Wear mobile platform. However, at $199, it represents a relatively affordable entry point into the world of wearable devices for early adopters who want to see whether Android Wear could be the next big thing.

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FTC files in-app purchase lawsuit against Amazon, seeks refunds

Suit files complaints about wanton, and unauthorized, in-app purchases

According to a US Federal Trade Commission report filed today, Amazon has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children. The FTC's lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds for consumers for the unauthorized charges, and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges that have been made without their consent.

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Adobe issues 'critical' patch for Flash for AIR, OS X, Windows, Linux

Flaw allows attackers to steal authenticating cookies, hasn't been seen in wild yet

Adobe has issued an emergency patch of its Flash Player technology to correct a security flaw that could allow hackers false access to thousands of popular websites -- notably Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and eBay among many others. The patch, which will update Flash to version 14.0.0.145 , is considered "critical" for users of OS X, Windows and Linux operating systems. Even if users have Flash Player disabled in their browser, they may still need to update if they are using any products that require Adobe AIR.

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Dell, Samsung-backed 'Internet of Things' standards group emerges

Open Interconnect Consortium fourth major IoT protocol to pop up

Possibly complicating the nascent "Internet of Things" market, chipmakers Intel, Broadcom, and Atmel along with Samsung and Dell have partnered on the Open Interconnect Consortium -- an organization intended to generate yet another standard for home automation gadgetry. The initiative joins efforts from Apple , Google and Qualcomm to try and consolidate the market under one banner.

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