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Chromebook sales only tally 1% of total PC sales, Acer in the lead

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Laptops | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Chromebook devices are seeing strong growth, with sales increasing 67 percent quarter over quarter, but still have a long way to go, according to ABI Research. Acer leads the current Chromebook market, ahead of Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Dell - but each company hopes to see the low-cost laptops continue to see increased interest from consumers and vertical industries in 2015.

 

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"Consumers are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provides the versatility and functionality of a laptop," said Stephanie Van Vactor, ABI Research Analyst, in a statement. "The growth of the Chromebook market demonstrates a niche that is gaining traction among consumers."

 

The price of mobile hardware is dropping in price, and Chromebooks are often significantly cheaper than other laptops, so it will take time for the market to develop. Total Chromebook-powered device shipments are expected to tally 4.1 million in 2014, a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 300 million shipments of traditional PCs.

Microsoft officially drops Nokia branding on smartphones

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Less than one year after purchasing Nokia's mobile business, Microsoft has decided to drop Nokia branding from upcoming smartphones. Nokia France confirmed it will switch to "Microsoft Lumia," and the rebranding change will continue in other countries, Microsoft has confirmed. Microsoft paid $7.2 billion for Nokia in April, and wants to move forward with its own advertising and marketing efforts without references to Nokia.

 

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As recent as the Nokia Lumia 730 and 830 product announcements made in September, the Finnish brand name was highlighted - but as Microsoft continues an effort to make branding easier - it only makes sense that future products will be referred to as Microsoft Nokia.

 

Microsoft is desperate for success in the mobile markets, and "Windows Phone" devices are now simply being referred to as "Windows."

GTA: San Andreas re-release for Microsoft Xbox 360 expected soon

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Rockstar is reportedly preparing to re-release Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for the Microsoft Xbox 360 soon, according to Xbox Achievements. The Xbox 360 version is no longer available to download, while the Sony PlayStation 3 version is still available.

 

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October 26 is the 10-year anniversary of when GTA: San Andreas was released, so now would be a fitting time for a game re-launch. The game was originally released in October 2004 for the Sony PlayStation 2, and was later released for the Microsoft Xbox, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows phones.

 

Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto V will be released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next month, with a PC version set for a January 2015 release.

Report: Chicago, Illinois leads country in wireless speed, reliability

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

The city of Chicago is the top market for wireless service in the United States, leading the way in overall performance, with top three positions in speed, reliability and population, according to RootMetrics. Verizon Wireless was the best service in Chicago, followed by Sprint, AT&T, and then T-Mobile, the group also noted.

 

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"Chicago fared better than most other large markets," said Julie Dey, RootMetrics VP of marketing, in a statement. "It came in No. 1 in overall and in data performance, but single digits in the other categories with the exception of texts. I think what that means for Chicago folks is positive. There are many great options for mobile carriers, and all of them are pretty good. It's a good thing for consumers."

 

In overall comparison, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Lansing, Michigan, Rockford, Illinois, and Spokane, Washington round out the top five.

Rapoo launches the KX Mechanical Keyboard with vibration feedback

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Peripherals | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Peripheral and audio maker Rapoo has launched the wireless KX Mechanical Keyboard, providing vibration feedback so users have a better typing experience. The keyboard uses a 5GHz connection and has a range up to 32 feet, with a standby time of 40 hours. Rapoo also included a Dual-Mode so a micro-USB cable can be plugged into the keyboard - making it possible to recharge the keyboard while it's still in use.

 

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The KX includes three different lighting levels, allowing an enhanced computing typing experience depending on time of day and ambient light. The Rapoo KX Mechanical Keyboard is available now in black and white for $79.99 MSRP, with red, yellow and blue versions of the keyboard available in 2015.

 

Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular among PC gamers, but have migrated to traditional keyboards for regular PC users.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft hitting Android, iPhone in early 2015

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Since launching in March, Blizzard's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has more than 20 million players, and will hit Apple iPhones and Google Android smartphones in early 2015. The company is currently revamping the game's interface to ensure it operates well on smartphones, and Blizzard developers are still working out the kinks.

 

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"While we have a build up and running internally, it needs a bit more work, and we don't feel like we'll be ready to share it with you until early next year," according to a blog post published on Battle.net. "It's very important to us that the phone experience for Hearthstone is just as accessible as the tablet and PC versions."

Apple warns iCloud users of insecure certificate warning attacks

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago

Apple has issued a warning to iCloud users about organized cyberattacks, after previously noting that its servers were not breached. The Chinese government is being blamed for the attacks, but Apple was careful not to finger any attacks based in China.

 

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"We're aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously," Apple recently noted. "If users get an invalid certificate warning in their browser while visiting http://www.icloud.com, they should pay attention to the warning and not proceed."

 

This is another wave of bad news for Apple, occurring shortly after multiple celebrities had personal images stolen from their iCloud accounts.

US government investigating medical device security, as threats rise

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 2 days ago

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now concerned of cybersecurity flaws discovered in medical devices, with two dozen reported incidents, according to officials. A Hospira infusion pump and St. Jude Medical Inc and Medtronic implantable heart devices are now being reviewed by the DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). There is no evidence that these products have been successfully compromised by hackers, but the DHS wants to try to prevent it from happening in the future.

 

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"The conventional wisdom in the past was that products only had to be protected from unintentional threats," said William Maisel, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health chief scientist noted. "Now they also have to be protected from intentional threats too."

 

As medical technology advances, the "smart" devices are susceptible to hacker interference, cybersecurity experts warn, though it appears compromising these medical products would still be rather difficult.

T-Mobile and Sprint battling for subscribers with low-price plans

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 2 days ago

The US wireless carrier industry has evolved into a competitive market, giving wireless subscribers more options to choose from. Both T-Mobile and Sprint are currently engaged in a price battle that has seen prices drop like a rock, but that hasn't stopped either company from offering the latest Google Android and Apple iPhones - paired with unlimited voice, text and large data limits - to woo users.

 

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T-Mobile currently has three individual smartphone plans available for $50 per month or less, and offers subscribers on a budget wider variety. Meanwhile, Sprint currently has two plans that cost $50 per month, and unlimited talk, text and data plans for the Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus start at just $50 per month.

 

If you're two-year contract is up, and you want to turn the screws on your carrier, then now might be the time to see if they are offering customers any incentives.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs controversial anti-Tesla bill

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: 1 week, 2 days ago

As expected, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a controversial bill that will ban the sale of Tesla vehicles in the state. Michigan isn't a major target for Tesla at the moment, but the company has ambitious nationwide growth plans through 2020, providing less potential future customers.

 

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"This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan - because this is already prohibited under Michigan law," Snyder said to lawmakers.

 

Not surprisingly, GM was in favor of the anti-Tesla bill, as Michigan joins Texas and North Carolina, shutting Tesla out in the cold. Due to the state's current laws, along with major influence from Michigan automakers, it seems unlikely that the bill would be overturned anytime soon.

Continue reading 'Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs controversial anti-Tesla bill' (full post)

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