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Top Stories  |   (Jul 31, 2014)

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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, Bose is suing 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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Opinion: What went wrong with the Motorola Moto X?

Despite boasting several innovative features the Moto X missed its mark

The Moto X was supposed to be the smartphone that turned around the fortunes of the loss-making (then Google-owned ) Motorola. It was once hyped as the mysterious 'X Phone,' and was even touted as a 'game changer.' Yet, instead it soon saw steep discounts to clear inventory. Then, just eight months after its release, Motorola's announced that it will shutter its ambitious Fort Worth-based Moto Maker customization factory originally staffed by 2,000 employees. At its peak, the plant produced 100,000 devices per week; so what went wrong?

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Friday Deals: Fourth of July specials, Disney app sale, Xbox One, more

Electronista and MacNN staff's deal picks for July 4, 2014

Welcome to this week's installment of Friday Deals -- oh, and also America's birthday! Every Friday we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best bargains on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, but any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy!

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Hands on: New entry-level 21.5-inch Apple iMac

New 21.5-inch Apple iMac makes for a great entry into the Mac world

New hardware from Apple is always greeted with interest, and Apple's new entry-level iMac is no exception. Previously, all of Apple's iMac range were powered by quad-core processors, but the new entry-level iMac is powered by a dual-core processor. But is not the type of dual-core processor that you might expect; it is in fact the same low voltage dual-core Intel Core i5 processor found in Apple's current MacBook Air range. In the MacBook Air the Intel chip delivers solid performance in its class; but how does it perform in an iMac?

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Samsung warns investors that Q2 'doesn't look too good'

Analysts fear a drop in profit of up to 16 percent year-over-year

On top of an early warning in April that profits would be down from the year-ago quarter in fiscal Q2, a rare public statement from Samsung's CFO has sent the Galaxy maker's stock tumbling on a warning that the balance sheet "doesn't look too good." The statement was later confirmed by Samsung, amounting to a full-throated warning on earnings that sent the company's stock tumbling nearly two percent, on top of a month-long 8.5 percent decline. Initial blame for the disappointment is centering on sales of the Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone.

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Supreme Court rules warrants required for cell phone searches

Physical aspects can be examined, but 'data on the phone can endanger no one'

In a ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) this morning, judges declared unanimously that warrants are necessary to search cell phones. Previously when police arrested individuals, officers were allowed to seize items on the person or nearby as evidence. With the ruling, law enforcement can inspect the phone's exterior, but none of the information within it without obtaining a warrant.

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Google details Android L design changes, new software features

Material Design aesthetic used in next iteration of Android

Google has previewed the upcoming major update to the Android mobile operating system, Android L, at Google I/O . The latest iteration is said to be built for multiple types of displays and devices, from smartphones and tablets to large-screened televisions. New design elements were tackled, including an overhaul in how the user interface operates, a new flatter appearance and other new additions.

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Aereo faces shutdown after Supreme Court ruling favors broadcasters

Cloud-based DVR service should pay licenses to broadcasters, rules Supreme Court

Aereo has lost its battle against broadcasters, after the US Supreme Court ruled against the start-up. In a 6-3 ruling, the court states the company violates copyright law by streaming recordings of TV shows to its subscribers, classifying the streams as "public performances" and so requires that Aereo pay content licenses to broadcasters for their programming.

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Survey: 35 percent of Android users might switch to larger iPhone

Investment bank study shows strong interest, even if bigger screen costs extra

A new survey of future smartphone buyers by RBC Capital Markets suggests that a new iPhone with a larger display could help Apple chip away at some of Samsung and other rivals' sales of Android-based big-screen smartphones and "phablets." Analyst Amit Daryanani, who recently raised his 12-month target price for AAPL stock to $100, told investors that the study showed that screen size was a significant factor in consumer resistance to buying an iPhone.

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Nokia X2 launches with updated software, improved rear camera

Entry-level Nokia X2 first Android smartphone launched under Microsoft ownership

Nokia's Devices and Services business has launched its second generation of Android smartphone, its first Android launch under the ownership of Microsoft . The Nokia X2 takes after the Nokia X launched in February, using a heavily customized Android implementation and a physical design reminiscent of the Lumia range, and though it is still a low-priced entry-level smartphone, it still offers a few improvements on the original.

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Samsung, attorneys to pay Apple, Nokia $2M for leaking private data

Lawyers for Samsung ordered to pay all legal costs spent investigating malfeasance

Apple has won another legal victory over its rival Samsung, this time against both the Galaxy phone maker and its legal team, Quinn Emanuel, led by John Quinn. A $2 million penalty has been levied against both QE and Samsung, related to the former's mishandling and leaking of confidential patent-licensing data between Apple and Nokia. Samsung executives later abused the leak to leverage knowledge of the Apple-Nokia licensing terms to strongarm Nokia in similar negotiations.

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