Tech Trends: Stressing The Need For Strong Passwords

PasswordTech Trends emphasises the importance of using secure passwords to protect devices and sensitive accounts.

While a vast majority of internet users still use weak passwords, research shows that the reasons users get hacked or have their accounts compromised is weak passwords.

According to reports, the password ‘123456’ was yet to fall off the list as the world’s most used password.

One of the few tips recommended by technology experts to be considered while choosing a password is to use a good password manager.

They also advised that a user should consider a minimum of 12 characters and ensure the use of alphanumeric combinations among others.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 To Come On Verizon For $600 From Thursday

Korean electronics giant, Samsung, will stop at nothing to enlarge its coast in terms of wide reach for its never-ending release of devices as it has allowed its LTE version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 be available at Verizon Wireless starting from Thursday the 7th of March this week.

The tablet which will be available online and in several Verizon stores has been allotted a price tag of $599.99 for 16GB of internal flash storage, compared to the retail price for WiFi-only versions of $499.99 for 16GB or $549.99 for 32GB.

Despite Samsung not being able to topple the Apple yet with its android-based platform, the several lines of tablets released by the South Korean Company has earned the company so much boost in the world when it comes to the smartphone industry, as one of the executives of the company actually confessed at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress that their products will double this year in terms of sales.

That can be considered a very large leap looking at progress as Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab initially failed to make a dent in the market and only helped further illustrate the dominance of Apple and its iPad then.

Samsung has been expanding its Note line of devices, which include an S Pen stylus for writing on the device, as well as multiscreen viewing and advanced security features. Along with the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the smaller phablet — the Galaxy Note 2 — Samsung last week unveiled its 8-inch tablet, the Galaxy Note 8.

Google ‘X Phone’ A Wireless Charging Phone?

Google will be unveiling a new smartphone as early as spring of 2013, in conjunction with the Motorola, the mobile phone manufacturer Google acquired in May 2012.

Though its executives didn’t mention it in today’s earnings call, but the device called Google “X Phone,” may come as early as spring 2013.

At this point its existence and capabilities are pure speculation—rumoured features range from a bendable screen and a ceramic case to advanced gesture recognition technology—but whatever it is, it will be the first true “Google phone,” where everything from its hardware to its software will be under Google’s complete control. (Past efforts at creating Google-branded devices, as in Google’s Nexus line of phones and tablets, have always been partnerships with a variety of manufacturers outside Google.)

Twice during today’s earnings call, Google executives emphasized that when the company bought Motorola, Motorola already had a 12 to 18 month “product pipeline” in the works, which Google is still “working through.” Google could have shut down Motorola’s work on existing handsets, but that would have involved bigger short- and long-term losses than the company was apparently willing to take. It also means that all of the devices that Motorola has released since it was acquired were already in the works, and the same is likely to be true until at least spring of this year. (A good example is the Motorola Motogo! phone, which looks like a dated BlackBerry and doesn’t even run Android.)

Rumours have already circulated that Google will reveal a Motorola-built “X Phone” and “X Tablet” at its next developer’s conference, which is scheduled for May 15-17, 2013.

In today’s call, Google CEO Larry Page said that “In today’s multi-screen world, the opportunities are endless… battery life is a huge issue… when you drop your phone it shouldn’t go splat. There’s a real potential to invent new and better experiences.” Page also mentioned phone recharging as a pain point for people. This is speculation, but the obvious interpretation of these comments is that Google is working on—or at least thinking about—phones with extra-long battery life, some kind of novel (perhaps wireless) recharging capability, and a case that won’t break when the phone is dropped. (Which is possibly a reference to earlier rumours about Google’s X Phone using an extra-hard case that incorporates ceramics.)

Review: Five favourite tablets of 2012 – itproportal

Microsoft founder Bill Gates was the man of the moment, when in 2001 he unveiled a prototype tablet computer.

Bill Gates however made history after he showed knowledge of events on the evolution of tablets before it started to happen, because now the tablet market has exploded, with mobile computing due to eclipse traditional PCs in the near future.

Though Apple can take credit for taking tablets mainstream with the introduction of the first iPad in 2010, the Cupertino-based company is certainly not the only player in that market nowadays. And so with the holiday season on the horizon, a list of five favourite tablets of 2012 has been compiled to guide you this Christmas.


Apple iPad mini

Apple’s miniature tablet is likely to top many Christmas wish lists this season, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise – the iPad mini packs a slew of impressive features in its slim, 7.9in frame. It offers a richer experience than some of the other tablets in the 7in category by being slightly bigger, but its major selling point is that it is considerably more portable than the full-size 9.7in iPad. At just 308g and thumb typing-friendly, it’s a great option for anyone looking for a lightweight tablet. Plus, it has an IPS LCD display with a 1,024 x 768 pixel resolution, as well as both rear and front-facing cameras.

The device promises up to 10 hours of battery life, so it’s particularly useful for commuters or those who spend a lot of time travelling. Another feature in the iPad mini’s favour is Apple’s App Store, with an unbelievable library of titles available, 275,000 of which were designed specifically for the iPad. The iPad mini is available in two colour schemes – black and slate or white and silver – and ships in Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi + cellular models, with three storage options – 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB, depending on what your usage is like. Pricewise, the iPad mini starts at £269 and runs to £529 for the 4G enabled 64GB model.


Apple iPad with Retina display

Apple’s fourth-generation iPad sits at the higher-end of the tablet spectrum, its Retina display boasting a dazzling 9.7in screen with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. But though the incredibly sharp display is its primary calling card, the latest iPad is chock-full of other attractive features. The new Apple A6X processor, for instance, means that graphic-heavy applications and CPU-intensive tasks are considerably faster and more fluid; according to Apple, it’s twice as fast and twice as powerful as its predecessor, making it ideal for media consumption.

Apple’s iOS is one of the factors setting the fourth-gen iPad apart from offerings from competitors – the mobile operating system is tighter, more streamlined and altogether smoother than Android. The new iPad in particular counts Siri among its premier features; Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant promises improved voice recognition and can look up movie times, manage your calendar, and post Facebook statuses for you. There’s also Apple’s unmatchable App Store, which is home to hundreds of thousands of apps, running the gamut from games to fitness management to music production. Ultimately, if you’re prepared to swallow the price – it starts at £399 for a 16GB, Wi-Fi-only device and ranges to £659 for a Wi-Fi + cellular model with 64GB of storage – it’s the best large-format tablet on the market.


Google Nexus 7

Google’s Asus-produced Nexus 7 proved to be incredibly popular when it was released this summer, and its recent refresh alongside the larger Nexus line-up will likely continue to be just as coveted throughout the holiday season. Here we have a budget-friendly 7in tablet that’s fantastic for everyday use and is virtually unrivalled in the value-for-money department – so much so that some competing manufacturers and retailers were forced to cut their own prices in response.

On the operating system front, it runs the latest version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean, which adds features like Gesture Typing and more integrated Google Play media, including books, music, and films. As for hardware, the Nexus 7 features an IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1,200 x 800 pixels that, despite not being ground-breaking, certainly does the trick. It’s powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, which is impressive for such a small, affordable device.

The Nexus 7 is available in 16GB and 32GB storage iterations, but lacks a microSD card slot, which could prove to be a deal breaker for some customers. However, its attractive pricing is difficult to resist; it may not be the best tablet out there but, maxing out at £239 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi and 3G, it certainly won’t break the bank.

Google blew the display on Apple’s fourth-generation iPad out of the water when it unveiled its Nexus 10 earlier this autumn. The Samsung-made device boasts a 10in display with a 2,560 x 1,600 pixel display, giving it the title of the highest-resolution tablet in the world. And, coupled with Google Play’s improved media offerings, the Nexus 10 is an optimal tablet for watching videos, editing photos, and browsing the web.

But an astounding screen isn’t all this high-end tablet has to offer – it also runs the latest version of Android, so it benefits from the slight tweaks introduced via Jelly Bean 4.2, including the new Photo Sphere app and live turn-by-turn GPS navigation. All of that is powered by a dual-core ARM processor with 2GB of RAM, so it will prove to be a thoroughly capable tablet with less battery drain than its quad-core rivals. Surprisingly, the Nexus 10 is Wi-Fi-only and ships in either 16GB or 32GB variations with no microSD slot. If you want to avoid going down the Apple route, the Nexus 10 is almost certainly your best alternative – and priced at £319 or £389, it’s also a fair bit cheaper.


Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

The launch of Surface marked Microsoft’s first foray into tablet production – a sturdy, impressive hybrid tablet billed as a happy medium between a conventional tablet and a productivity-friendly notebook. Surface sets itself apart from the other devices on this list by shipping with a smartcover that offers a full touch keyboard – a spill-resistant one, at that. At 10.6in and with a solid build, it veers close to notebook territory, but the 1,366 x 768, 16:9 widescreen display offers a rich experience that feels very much like a hybrid and not simply a tablet with a keyboard attached.

The device runs Windows RT, Microsoft’s touch-optimised operating system for ARM-based hardware (in this case, the SoC in question is an Nvidia Tegra 3). Accordingly, Surface fits in well with the company’s broader ecosystem, which also encompasses Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. While that means it will initially suffer from the scarcity of apps in the Windows Store, it will benefit from a much welcome boost in the form of Microsoft Office and tight integration with other Microsoft products like SkyDrive and Skype. In terms of capacity, it comes in 32GB and 64GB models, with a microSD card slot for an additional 64GB of space. In the end, Surface is a surprise contender, so if price is no object – it ranges from £399 to £559 – this could be the device for you.

Bang & Olufsen unveils Beolab 12-1 speakers

A pair of rear Beolab 12-1 speakers designed to complete existing surround sound setups has been unveiled by Bang & Olufsen.

Having them mounted on a stand if you don’t fancy drilling any holes in your living room shows its Wall-hugging discreetness, its power and compactness.

Available in silver or white and featuring the same separate ICE-power amplifiers found in its existing 12-3 and 12-2 predecessors, the last piece in your fully kitted out B&O setup can now be complete.

Though no price tag has been place on these pieces yet nor the release date announced but it something the world over should expect as the next generation of sound which cost well over what such device should cost averagely.

Samsung ships a whooping 157million smartphones ahead of Apple in Q3

Samsung increased its lead in terms of smartphone shipments as estimate shows that the total number of smartphone shipments exceeded 157 million in Q3 2012. The Korean company shipped a record 56.3 million which was almost double the number of iPhones shipped by Apple (26.9 million). The Galaxy S III played a key role for Samsung with estimated sales of 18 million in the third quarter. Things are getting so dire for RIM and Nokia that ZTE has got ahead of them. LG did well amongst the Tier 2 players compared to rivals like Huawei, Motorola and HTC.

Nokia’s insistence on failing to ship an Android based handset and stick to its Windows Phone (W7 Mango) devices meant sales fell a whacking 63 per cent compared to Q3 2011.

The Finnish company shipped just 6.3 million smart devices in the third quarter. Though there’s hope for Nokia as the Xmas season always see strong sales growth for everyone.

In its report, ‘Smartphone Evolution Strategies: Premium, Standard & Economy Markets 2011-2016′, Juniper says, “Samsung has been highly effective in leveraging its global brand strength and the popularity of the Android OS to drive sales of smartphones in all price tiers.”

With Windows Phone 8 devices due to become commercially available shortly plus the fact that in the UK, for example, its offers handsets to run on EE’s 4G LTE network.

No such luck for RIM which unbelievably won’t actually ship a BlackBerry 10 smartphone until Q1 2013 – just when everybody has bought a new phone.

At least the Canadian firm managed 7.7 million quarterly smartphone shipments, so it piped Nokia.

Given RIM’s emphasis on the business sector missing Xmas may not harm its Q4 sales as much as expected.

Even LG sold more smartphones than Nokia as it posted a 24 per cent quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) growth to a record 7 million smartphone shipments.

ZTE shipped almost 20 million smartphones over the first three quarters with third quarter sales exceeding both Nokia and RIM.

The phenomenal success for Samsung has been the Galaxy S III which is, of course, an Android based device.

Drop in Desktop PC sales linked to increase in Tablet users

It has been reported that there’s been a 10 per cent year-on-year slump in desktop PC sales to business users during the first two months of Q3.

A Market Watcher, Context tracked sales of desktop PCs through distribution across Western Europe and blamed the decline on the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets.

Sales of the devices were down by more than 20 per cent in Switzerland and Finland, while the UK, Germany and France suffered single digit declines.

UK PC sales, in particular, were down 3.4 per cent on the same period last year, but were reportedly buoyed by a series of large-scale enterprise purchases towards the end of Q3.

A PC market analyst said desktop PCs are falling out of favour with business users that want to take advantage of mobile working.

According to research, Notebooks now have the same power as most desktop [PCs] while other portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, continue to offer enterprise users more personalised features via app eco-systems.

Despite the lacklustre performance of the desktop PC market, it was predicted by a market analyst that all-in-one devices will become more popular with business users as time goes on.

iPhone 5 and iOS 6 maps app will get better – Apple

Apple responded to the criticism of the recent map service on the newly launched iPhone 5, which was released in stores around the world on Wednesday.

Below is the statement released by Apple: “Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Apple Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

And to follow up that promise of serving it’s huge customer base,a number of postings to the Apple’s job site reveals the company is looking to bolster its newly-released Maps app, which has been almost universally panned since iOS 6 launched on Wednesday. Over the course of the past week, Apple has posted multiple listings for software engineers who will handle development, real-time rendering and overall upgrades to the fledgling mapping service, among others.

According to one job description, Apple’s iOS Maps team is “responsible for MapKit, the iOS framework that displays maps which is used by countless applications on the App Store.” Apple is seeking to fill positions for developing 3D flyover models, including “mesh generation of terrain” and “road rendering” in a C++ environment. Another engineer is being sought to work on both the client and server to develop “advanced dynamic label layout of road labels, points of interest and other labels on the map.”

Three Map Display team listings points to work on real-time rendering techniques, creating “new and innovative” features and general systems maintenance. Another Map Display team engineer is needed to find and fix what Apple calls “performance bottlenecks” by creating specialized testing tools. Apple’s Maps app is the company’s first foray into the mapping service business, having previously implemented Google’s finely tuned Google Maps in its iDevices since the first iPhone was launched in 2007.

In reviewing the new iPhone 5, critics naturally turned to comparing the two services, and while iOS Maps did garner some acclaim, most found the lack of features and usual Apple polish troubling. The company responded to complaints on Thursday, saying, “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it.” Apple noted that Maps is a cloud-based service and said, “the more people use it, the better it will get.”

Samsung sets UK release date for Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet will be going on sale in the United Kingdom from the 16th of August, the Electronics’ giant has revealed.

The Suwon hardware maker also revealed the necessity of releasing the device as it will serve as a follow-up to the Galaxy Note phone-tablet hybrid.

Also a full-blown tablet in terms of workability, the second Note device comes with a 10.1-inch touchscreen rather than the 5.3-inch display seen on its predecessor.

Through social media network Twitter Samsung announced officially that UK buyers can pick up the Galaxy Note 10.1 at its store in the Westfield Centre in East London come Thursday the 16th of August.

Upon release, the tablet will connect via Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus HSPA+, though a LTE-capable model is slated to appear in the future.

Samsung has not given any hint of pricing yet, but the info around is that the 16GB version at about £480 for delivery on 24 August.

Also Online seller Mobicity is offering the same model at about £650 including VAT, but its stock is not built for the UK, according to a sales agent. By way of comparison, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sells for £300 on Samsung’s online store.

The tablet, which resembles its Galaxy Tab 10.1 stablemates, comes with a stylus so users can make notes or drawings more easily. It is expected to run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, rather than the Jelly Bean 4.1 version of the OS already rolled out to some Samsung Nexus devices.

First unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core chip, 2GB of RAM and two cameras, front and back. Buyers have a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB of storage built in.

Windows 8-powered Surface better replacement for desktop – Bill Gates

Former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates has spoken on the recently introduced Windows 8-powered Surface tablet which by mind games showed why Microsoft sucker-punched its partners in the gut as it decided to go solo and the idea behind it is to knock the conventional PC out of the market.

The former Microsoft CEO gave a pat on the back to Microsoft thereby lending his full support to the company concerning the move of going solo saying Microsoft has done the right thing by going solo, and that Windows 8 is going to kill the traditional PC.

Bill Gates talked about the recent invention and the reason behind Microsoft’s decision to make its own tablet.

“You can get everything you like about a tablet, everything you like about a PC, all in one device. That should change the way people look at things,” he said.

As previously reported, Surface will arrive in two flavours: x86-based featuring Windows 8 Pro, and ARM-based using Windows RT. It will feature a unique cover that also serves as a super-thin keyboard, and go head to head with other Windows 8 tablets manufactured by HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo and others.

To Microsoft’s defense, Google is taking the same route with its Nexus 7 tablet and the other “Google Experience” tablets planned in the near future. These will be “signature” devices offering the best of what Google has to offer while manufactured by one of its top-tier manufacturers. However these devices will be competing not only with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad, but all the other Android tablets on the market.

As for Bill Gates’ vision of the future, he openly admitted that Windows 8 tablets will replace the traditional PCs.

All-In-One PCs seem to do well in the general consumer market. They’re not as thin as tablets, but they’re more compact than the traditional desktop and typically sport touchscreens. Maybe it will be this specific sector that tablets while annihilate first.