Samsung loses smartphone crown to Apple

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Apple scored the highest percentage of smartphone sales in the fourth quarter, courtesy of its new iPhones, according to a Gartner report released Tuesday.

For the final quarter of 2014, Apple took home a 20.4 percent share of worldwide smartphone sales, up from 17.8 percent during the same quarter in 2013. Over the same period, Samsung’s share of the smartphone market, on sales of 73 million units, plummeted to 19.9 percent from 29.5. percent.

Last quarter, Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones to achieve its best quarter ever, Gartner said. Apple’s phone lineup, now led by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, enjoyed heavy demand in the US and China, where sales surged 88 percent and 56 percent, respectively, according to Gartner. The new iPhones spurred many existing owners to upgrade but also convinced buyers looking for big-screened phones to consider Apple as an alternative to Android.

In January, researcher Strategy Analytics had described the fourth-quarter standings as a tie between Samsung and Apple, with both at 20 percent of the global smartphone market. But the momentum was the same — Apple trending upward and Samsung on the downswing.

Apple’s record quarter was a definitive sign that the move to bump up the display size of its smartphone paid off. The company had been losing market share and sales to Samsung, which offered larger-screened phones such as the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note. But the iPhone 6 wasn’t the only factor that helped Apple score the top spot. Samsung has also been hit on the low end by budget-friendly smartphones from Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi.

“Chinese vendors, such as Huawei and Xiaomi, are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market,” Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in a press release. “Chinese vendors are no longer followers. They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market.”


Windows Server 2003 Deadline Will Cause Serious Friction

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

With support for Microsoft’s server operating system Windows Server 2003 ending on July 14th a UK firm has claimed it leaves them nearly 24 million servers vulnerable to massive disruption incuding friction between IT and user departments.

Insight UK said it has indentified five key problems that end users could face after Microsoft ends support to the server OS in July.

One of the problems could be include short-term administrations, which includes focusing on short-term fixes due to lack of time to migrate, as few server upgrade projects could go up to 18 months.

Unprepared companies might compromise on planning and assessment and as a result, the extent of the server environment and criticality of applications are likely to be under estimated which will cause instability and disruption.

Compromised Coalitions is also expected to happen which lead to problems related to short term could fix to protect the servers.

The end support could lead to unforeseen circumstances due to lack of understanding of its impact on both users and organisation.

The firm anticipates that it could lead friction between departments and staff as resources need to be allocated for the migration for which no provisions have been made.

The migration to new servers could result in conflict between old and new servers and the interoperability between directories users, and security settings, which may lead to disruption over the network. IT could also be subjected to attack and suffer heavy setbacks due to lack of data protection means.

Due to time constrains, companies will also be unable to properly back up the data before migrating which could lead to data loss.

Following the migration to new servers, companies might also have to deal with failing administration.

Insight UK MD Emma de Sousa said: “Many organisations will already be executing on their Windows 2003 migration plans, but for those that haven’t there is still help available.”


The data on your new Lollipop device may not be encrypted

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Some smartphone manufacturers are not configuring devices running the latest version of Android to automatically encrypt personal data, which Google had said would scramble data by default.


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Google has apparently left it up to manufacturers to turn encryption on or off, a surprising change that came after the company pledged last September to strengthen defenses around personal data.

It’s unclear why Google did not publicize the change, although it is possible some hardware devices will not perform as well with encryption turned on. Analyst Canalys tweeted it was a wise move for Google, as many devices do not have the right hardware to accommodate it.

Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. government has strongly opposed moves by technology companies to strengthen security around data using encryption, arguing it could jeopardize time-sensitive investigations.

Previous versions of Android have had a full-disk encryption feature, but it wasn’t turned on by default. Ensuring encryption is on by default helps protect less sophisticated users who may not know such an option exists.

Ars Technica found that Motorola’s Moto E and Samsung’s S6, which is on display this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, do not have encryption on by default. The publication noted that Google’s Nexus 6 and 9 devices do have it on by default.

A technical document released by Google on Jan. 11 shows how Google softened its requirements. It describes technical specifications that smartphones must meet in order for Lollipop to perform smoothly.

Manufacturers “should” enable full-disk encryption, it said, adding the caveat that Google may change its stance and make it mandatory for future versions of Android. The document does not explain why manufacturers have the option to leave it off for now.

Apple automatically encrypts data in iOS 8 if the user has a passcode enabled. As with Android, the encryption keys are held on the device, which means that law enforcement would have to serve a user with a court order to turn over their password that unlocks the encryption key.

Many technology companies are moving to systems that make it impossible to comply with a legal order to turn over a user’s data. That is accomplished by not storing a copy of the private key necessary to decrypt data.

A person served with a court order could claim the password has been forgotten, leaving law enforcement to try to either figure it out through other means or employ special forensic tools to recover data.


GIGABYTE X99-UD4 (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

GIGABYTE is a well-known manufacturer of computer hardware, and today I will give you a look at their X99-UD4. The X99-UD4 falls into GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable category for motherboards. It isn’t specifically aimed at overclockers or gamers, but rather anyone looking for a versatile board with quality components.

The X99-UD4 doesn’t carry specialized features, instead it provides all the Intel chipset features with some upgrades in the audio section. While it might not be labeled a gaming or overclocking motherboard, it still should hold its own when it comes to both.

The X99-UD4 supports a number of the latest X99 chipset features such as 8 DIMMs with 64GB of memory support, M.2, 10x SATA 6G ports, and SATA Express.


Schools have testing problems for second day

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

For the second straight day, multiple school districts are being forced to delay or suspend testing, due to technical issues with Florida’s new standardized tests.

Currently, Pasco and Polk County schools have said they had to suspend testing on Tuesday morning. Hillsborough says that some schools were able to log in, and will continue testing, but schools that could not get access have suspended the tests for the day.

The Pinellas County School District says high schools were able to log in — albeit with lagging issues — and are taking the tests. Pinellas middle schools have not yet begun testing.

As of 10 a.m., schools in Manatee County have been able to access the tests.

HP Rolls Out Spectre x360 Hybrid Notebook

March 4th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

It’s called the Spectre x360, and it’s HP’s new 13.3-inch notebook that the company said is its “most premium” convertible PC. Built with an aluminium chassis, the Spectre x360 is 15.9mm tall and weighs 3.3 pounds. It can switch between classic PC, tent, and tablet modes.
The new model comes out as more and more PC makers add hybrids to their hardware lineups in an effort to compete with tablets.

New hinges that contain a set of three spiral gears for precise movement help to ensure that the display will glide smoothly and stay where a user wants it, according to HP. This allows the machine to maintain the same profile in tablet mode that it has when it’s closed.

“Customers are looking for beautiful devices that deliver quality, versatility and portability,” said Mike Nash, vice president, portfolio strategy and customer experience, Personal Systems, HP. “The HP Spectre x360 is transformational as it has the productivity of a high end notebook, tablet mode for on the go, tent mode for play and stand mode for watching entertainment in a stunning ultra-thin device.”

12.5 Hours of Battery

One of the Spectre x360’s selling points is a 56-watt-hour battery. To reach that level of battery life, HP reconsidered the biggest driver of battery drain, the high-resolution touch display. The touch panel on the HP Spectre x360 is optically bonded to the display, which the company said increases brightness and pulls each pixel up to the surface of the display.

On models with the Quad HD display, the HP Spectre x360 takes advantage of Panel Self Refresh technology which holds images on the screen to allow portions of the PC to power down when nothing on-screen is moving. The result is up to 12.5 hours of battery life.

The Spectre x360 has both a full-size HDMI and DisplayPort 1.2 compatible ports so customers can access content across multiple screens, plus built-in Intel wireless display technology that owners can use to stream content to their TVs.

Improved Wireless Driver

To accommodate multiple devices and accessories, the HP Spectre x360 has three USB 3.0 ports. And with the HP USB Sleep and Charge, customers can use the HP Spectre x360 to charge their devices on the go even when they’re in sleep mode.

The computer’s wireless driver is tuned to improve performance on noisy networks and across a wide range of wireless access points. The new antenna slot design featured at the top of the display allows for effective 2.4GHz and 5GHz tuning, in every mode.

The convertible PC is available with Intel Core i5 processor, HD touchscreen display, 4GB LPDDR3 system memory, and a 128 GB SSD for $899.99; with Intel Core i7, HD touchscreen, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD for $1149.99; and with Intel Core i7, Quad HD touchscreen, 8 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD for $1399.99.

Accessories for the HP Spectre x360 are sold separately, including a HP Premium Leather Sleeve and HP Active Pen for writing, drawing, and navigation.


Alcatel adds a 5.5-inch model to its OneTouch Pixi 3 lineup

March 2nd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Given that there were already 24 versions of Alcatel’s OneTouch Pixi 3 announced at CES, it was almost a relief to find that the company only has one more new model to show off this time, a 5.5-inch model that’s the largest of this entry-level series.
Keeping much to the same design, the phone has the same rounded edges and plastic design. Mind you, the unit shown to us was a mock-up, but it greatly resembles the the other handsets in the lineup.

Like the other Pixi 3′s, the 5.5-inch model is no different. Depending on the carrier, it can be customised with different hardware configurations. However, it will only run Android 5.0 Lollipop. There will be two main models for the phone, one with 3G and another with 4G.

The phone’s 4G will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks in the US, while it will also have support for some networks in the UK, such as Three and EE. It is also compatible with LTE networks in Asia.

As mentioned, the Pixi 3 sports a 5.5-inch display, and depending on the model, with have different resolutions. For the 3G model, it has a lower-resolution qHD (960×540 pixels), while the 4G model comes packing a higher-resolution display of 1,280×720 pixels. It will have 1GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage and external storage support via its microSD card slot for up to 128GB.

Other specs include an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front shooter. Depending on the configuration, it can also come with a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. The 3G version will have a 2,910mAh battery, while the 4G model packs a slightly smaller 2,800mAh charge.

The 3G version of the phone will be powered by MediaTek, specifically, the MT6580, which has not yet been officially announced at the time of writing. From what we could determine, this is an entry-level 1.3GHz quad-core processor that’s meant to be launched in the second quarter this year.

For the 4G model, Alcatel has chosen to go with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 210 quad-core processor clocked at 1.1GHz.

While it’s not really a flagship phone like the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, the 5.5-inch Pixi 3 offers a large-screen experience without the usual associated price tag. Expect to see this phone arrive in European markets first in July for the 3G version and some time in the third quarter for 4G variant. There’s no word on US availability or pricing for the handsets at the moment.


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