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Google has announced Android 5.1 Lollipop, the latest update to its mobile OS, which comes with some improvements and new features. We have the usual stability improvements and performance-enhancing code supplements, but the new features might have you happy.
Android 5.1 now includes multi-SIM support, and cross-platform HD Voice support - depending on the network, of course. Google has also provided Device Protection, where Android will keep your smartphone safe from intruders, even if they perform a factory reset on your smartphone after they've stolen it. This new feature binds your Android 5.1-powered device to your Google account, unless you choose otherwise.
The latest version of Lollipop has an updated Quick Settings menu, giving you more granular control over things like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network switching. The latest Android 5.1 update should be rolling out to Nexus 6 owners soon enough.
Apple's media event has now finished, where we were introduced to a new 12-inch MacBook Air that is thinner and faster than ever, as well as a much more detailed and price run-down of Apple's first wearable, Watch.
With the newly released iOS 8.2, Apple has forced an Apple Watch application to your homescreen. The app itself doesn't do anything, as Watch doesn't launch until April 24, but this isn't just a forced app. This is an advertisement, forced onto all iPhone users, for Apple's largest launch since the iPhone.
You can't delete it, you can't remote it, it's an app that will stay on your homescreen for the foreseeable future.
It looks like Microsoft will soon announce officialy support for USB 3.1 Type-C for Windows 10, with both the standard and USB Dual Role to be supported. The company will be hosting its WinHec conference next month, with the official website teasing the new USB connectivity scenarios in Windows 10 to be discussed.
The page says: "Windows 10 introduces support for USB Dual Role and Type-C, which will enable new wired connectivity scenarios such a phone interacting with USB peripherals, or laptops connecting to an external display using the USB Type-C connector. This session will go into detail on how Windows supports these technologies and what you need to do to enable them. Topics include: Overview of the new use cases introduced with USB Dual Role and Type-C, What scenarios are and aren't supported for Dual Role devices, Using Alternate Modes (e.g. DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, or MHL) over Type-C, Support for Power Delivery, enabling devices to provide/consume up to 100W over USB, Hardware and software architecture changes for Dual Role and Type-C, and Building a Windows system with Dual Role and/or Type-C support. Intended Audience: OEMs, ODMs, IDHs, IHVs, Peripheral Manufacturers, Driver Developers".
USB 3.1 will be delivering a huge increase in transfer speeds, right up to 10Gbps, up from the current ceiling of 5Gbps that USB 3.0 provides. Thunderbolt is still faster, but the adoption of USB 3.1 should hopefully be much higher.
Apple may be the largest company in the world, but when it comes to the global smartphone OS market share, Google completely owns it with Android according to the latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
With Google pushing out over 1.1 billion smartphones in 2014, a number that is up 32% from the 802.2 million Android devices shipped in 2013, Google is simply not stopping. Its mobile OS dominance was already there in 2013 with 78.7% of the global smartphone OS market share, but Google is out for more in 2014 with a huge 81.5%.
IDC has noted that Samsung is the top OEM of Android-powered devices, shipping more units than the five vendors under it. The report says: "At the same time, Samsung's total volumes for the year remained essentially flat while Asian vendors including Huawei, Lenovo (including Motorola), LG Electronics, Xiaomi, and ZTE fueled the most growth for Google's platform".
Google Android and Apple iOS accounted for 96.3 percent of all smartphone shipments in 2014, as both platforms work their way towards total domination. Android leads with 81.5 percent, greatly ahead of iOS (14.8 percent), Microsoft Windows Phone (2.7 percent), and BlackBerry (0.4 percent) - with Android continuing to dominate.
"Many of the same drivers were in play for Android and iOS to tighten their grip on the market," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of the Mobile Phone team at IDC. "A combination of strong end-user demand, refreshed product portfolios, and the availability of low-cost devices - particularly for Android - drove volumes higher."
Android topped the one billion unit mark in 2014, with Samsung still dominating the market - but faces pressure from Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi, and LG Electronics.
When people think of a vulnerable operating system, the first thing that comes to mind is, well, Windows. But, according to a new report from GFI, that's not the case. The most vulnerable operating system in the world is actually Apple's MacOS X, followed by Apple's iOS.
GFI's report sees Apple taking the top two spots when it comes to OS vulnerabilities, with OS X having 147 vulnerabilities, and iOS with 127. Third position goes to Linux Kernel with 119 vulnerabilities, and Windows Server 2008 in fourth position with 38. Windows 7 funnily enough, comes in at fifth place with just 38 vulnerabilities, and comparing this to the huge 147 holes found in MacOS X, this should wake people up.
Over the course of 2014, there were 7038 new security vulnerabilities, up from the 4794 found in 2013. Out of those 7038 vulnerabilities, just 24% of them were deemed 'high risk'. GDI's Christian Florian explains: "2014 was a tough year for Linux users from a security point of view, coupled with the fact that some of the most important security issues of the year were reported for applications that usually run on Linux systems. Heartbleed, for example, is a critical security vulnerability detected in OpenSSL while Shellshock is a vulnerability that affects GNU Bash".
Microsoft has had its Windows 10 Technical Preview out for the PC now for a while, but it looks like it's time for the smartphone world to see the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
Select Lumia-branded handsets can have the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed, with the Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730 and 830 smartphones be the only ones capable of having it installed. The flagship Windows Phone-based handsets in the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 930 are not capable of having the Technical Preview installed, which is a shame. This latter two smartphones reportedly can't handle Windows 10 because of the very tight OS partitions.
So if you've got one of the aforementioned Lumia handsets, you can download the Windows 10 Technical Preview from the Windows Insider Program page after signing up for an account.
Google Android smartphone shipments dropped quarter-on-quarter for the first time during Q4 2014, as Apple iOS shipments increased a whopping 90 percent. iPhone shipments rose from 39.3 million up to 74.5 million, while Android sales slid from 217 million down to 206 million, according to ABI Research.
"Google's Android is being attacked by Apple's iOS at the high-end and forked Android and AOSP at the low-end in high growth emerging markets," said Nick Spencer, Senior Practice Director of Mobile Devices at ABI Research. "The Android One initiative has slowed forked Android and ASOP growth outside China, but Apple's success has taken the high-end of the market away from certified Android's premium tier vendors."
Android-powered devices still topped 1 billion throughout 2014 - but a strong sales quarter from Apple shows that it still has plenty of fight left while promoting new iPhones.
Microsoft should reach the Release To Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 10 by June, according to sources of Neowin. We've already seen a number of technical previews, as well as intricate details of the operating system so far.
Most thought that an August release for the RTM would happen, but it looks like Microsoft is ahead of schedule with its latest operating system. The line of thinking here is that Microsoft most likely want to get Windows 10 with as many manufacturers as possible, with June being a big month for the tech world. Computex kicks off in June, so if we see a bunch of Windows 10-powered devices at the show, we won't be surprised.
Something more interesting has happened too, with Microsoft filing a patent application for the trademark "Windows 365". Microsoft filed for the trademark on January 29, which means we could expect a subscription-based version of Windows in the near future.
When Google launched Android 5.0 Lollipop last year, most thought that it would be jumping onto millions of devices, but it hasn't been the case unfortunately. Just 1.6% of polled Android users are using the deliciously named OS as of February 2.
The numbers are coming from Android Developers, which pulls data collected from a 7-day period that ended on February 2. Android 4.1-4.3 Jelly Bean is still the force to be reckoned with, securing 44.5% of Android devices. Android 4.4 KitKat comes in second with a total of 39.7%. There's not much of a push for Lollipop right now, but there are new devices that are coming soon, which should help bolster these Android 5.0 adoption rates.