posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
How large is the demand for Android phones made by Nokia? Well, if China is any indication, it's pretty big: Nokia announced today that it has had 1 million pre-orders in China alone. The more of these things sell, the larger a pickle it'll put Microsoft in. So yeah, I hope Nokia sells lots of them.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
In late 2012, when I started up the Firefox for Metro team (I know that's not what Microsoft calls it anymore, but it remains how we talk about it in Mozilla), it looked like the next battleground for the Web. Windows is a massive ecosystem and Microsoft pushes its new platforms hard. At first, it looked like we would be locked out completely. We eventually broke open Metro (though never the RT line of ARM-based products) and we got to work. In the months since, as the team built and tested and refined the product, we've been watching Metro's adoption. From what we can see, it's pretty flat. On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment. Makes sense.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A large reason for the halt of sales, says the memo, is Microsoft has a "new policy" of not supporting dual-OS products. Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told us in January that "Microsoft does not want [dual-OS devices] to happen," and now tells The Wall Street Journal that "Google wants all-Android devices" as well. While I doubt many consumers are waiting for dual-boot devices, I personally would love to have a tablet that boots both Android and Windows 8. It's a shame that's not going to happen. I do wonder why the policy is proclaimed to be "new". Microsoft has always fought dual-booting products tooth and nail.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
First it was a huge backdoor, then it turned out not to be a big deal. Whatever is the case with this issue with Samsung phones - it only serves to highlight what I wrote about several months ago: It's kind of a sobering thought that mobile communications, the cornerstone of the modern world in both developed and developing regions, pivots around software that is of dubious quality, poorly understood, entirely proprietary, and wholly insecure by design. Whether or not this is actually a huge security issue, I don't care - it just further highlights the dire need for a properly and truly open baseband firmware.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
QNX 6.6 has been released. There are quite a lot of changes, but - sady - I doubt many of us work with QNX itself. It's quite popular in the embedded world, and, of course forms the foundation for BB10 - which has not exactly been a stellar success. Anywho, there's a pretty big change in 6.6: The new Screen Graphics Subsystem replaces the Photon microGUI, including PhAB, Phindows, and QNX Neutrino Advanced Graphics. Usually referred to simply as "Screen", the Screen Graphics Subsystem allows off-screen rendering and can composite graphics from different rendering technologies, including HTML5, Elektrobit GUIDE, Crank Storyboard, Qt, and native (e.g., OpenGL ES) code. Photon has been such a core part of QNX' identity for me that it's kind of weird to see it go.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
In my Mac Pro review I lamented the state of 4K display support under OS X 10.9.0. In my conclusion I wrote: "4K display compatibility under OS X is still a bit like the wild west at this point". Compatibility was pretty much only guaranteed with the ASUS/Sharp 4K displays if you cared about having a refresh rate higher than 30Hz. Even if you had the right monitor, the only really usable resolution was 3840 x 2160 - which ends up making text and UI elements a bit too small for some users. Absent were the wonderful scaling resolutions that Apple introduced with its MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Well it looks like that won't be the case for long, last night I got reports (thanks Mike!) that the latest developer build of OS X 10.9.3 includes expanded support for 4K displays, 4K/60Hz support for rMBPs and scaled resolutions below 4K. So, OS X is essentially the only desktop operating system with proper HiDPI support, right?

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
But the hardest thing of all, he says, was something else entirely. He hands me his iPhone so that I can scroll through some messages he's saved. One is from a woman chastising him for "distracting the children of the world." Another laments that "13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it's addicting like crack." Nguyen tells me of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids. "At first I thought they were just joking," he says, "but I realize they really hurt themselves." Nguyen - who says he botched tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike - genuinely took them to heart. Fascinating interview with the Flappy Bird creator. I like this guy - he seems to have his priorities straight.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
One thing that iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have proven is that content makers can fight piracy by providing a better, easier service to paying customers. But what happens when piracy fights back with something just as convenient? A new app called Popcorn Time raises that very question. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Popcorn Time lets you stream the latest movies - including American Hustle, Gravity and Frozen - with just a couple clicks. The software uses BitTorrent to find and download movies, but eliminates the usual hassle of wading through sketchy torrent sites and waiting for the file to finish downloading. Basically, it's the version of Netflix that you've always wanted - and maybe have been willing to pay extra for - but that Hollywood may never allow. It's also a flagrant enabler of copyright violation, at least in the United States. It's the perfect product for movie lovers. It has a super-simple interface, completely abstracts Torrents away, works on the three major desktop platforms, and with one click and just a few minutes of waiting, you're watching a high-quality movie streamed through BitTorrent. The entertainment industry could have built this years ago. Except, they were too busy suing the shit out of the very people they should have been serving to realise all the technology they needed already existed. Had the entertainment industry not been the only industry in the world that is protected by a huge, special legal framework, they would have been forced to innovate much sooner - and they most likely would have built this a decade ago.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Two loosely related news items. During presentations and hands-on demos at Crytek's GDC booth, attendees can see for the first time ever full native Linux support in the new CRYENGINE. The CRYENGINE all-in-one game engine is also updated with the innovative features used to recreate the stunning Roman Empire seen in Ryse - including the brand new Physically Based Shading render pipeline, which uses real-world physics simulation to create amazingly realistic lighting and materials in CRYENGINE games. Second, Valve has released ToGL as open source, a Direct3D-to-OpenGL translation layer, which the company itself uses for Dota 2.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
iOS 7 is unlikely to run better on the iPhone 4 than it does in iOS 7.1. That's not to say that the experience is great - even stepping up to an iPhone 4S would get you noticeable gains in performance and overall smoothness - but it's better than it was, and it's as good as it's going to get. If you're sticking with the iPhone 4 for another year, iOS 7.1 makes performance tolerable enough that using the phone isn't unbearable. Good news for iPhone 4 owners - and good on Apple for taking care of this demographic.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
iOS 7.1 is packed with interface refinements, bug fixes, improvements, and new features. Apple CarPlay introduces a better way to use iPhone while driving. And you can now control exactly how long Siri listens and more. Getting the update is easy. Go to Settings. Select General. And tap Software Update. Getting the update is easy indeed. There's a certain other mobile operating system that could learn a few things from that one.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Not too many people will recall the short-lived era of the "MSX" initiative which was slated to pretty much take over the non-existent middle world where consumer electronics met personal computers. It was always believed, back then, that this is where the sweet spot of profits would emerge. What emerged was instead laughable MSX. It was one of Microsoft's greatest flops. The MSX was one of the first computers I ever used. I did basic BASIC stuff on it when I was a kid.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Out of the millions of things Samsung throws at a wall each year to see what sticks, they seem to have picked the fake leather on devices. The most recent victim? A Windows 8 laptop - the ATIV Book 9 'Style'. This thing joins the phones, tablets, and ChromeBooks Samsung has already tacked the fake leather onto. Genuine question: is there anyone in the audience here who likes this look? If so, why?

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim. The original source is DigiTimes, so some salt may be required, but sources confirmed it to Cnet. There's no detail on exactly which steps Google has actually taken, but it's clear this reeks quite strongly of the same illegal and despicable acts Microsoft committed 15 years ago to pressure OEMs into not shipping BeOS.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Jolla has been keeping their OS in beta testing program since November last year when they have finally released their device ahead of schedule. Since then we have seen 4 updates hitting our devices each month naturally and it's something we have not seen from any other manufacturer other than Jolla. And now here we are with the Sailfish 1.0 which will be released in about a week after this video was published. Nice detailed video about all the new stuff in the first non-beta release, Sailfish 1.0. It'll be released next week.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Microsoft is trying to convince politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives. It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting. This from the company behind "Scroogled". On a more general note, hypocrite company behaviour like this should be illegal. A company should not be able to say "leave company Abc behind because they do xyz, and come join us!", only to then turn around and do xyz as well. This is lying, and should be punishable in some way.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Microsoft finalized its upcoming Windows 8.1 Update recently, but the company appears to be sharing it a little early today. While the software maker is expected to release the update officially in April, Microsoft has only detailed a few of the features in the update and has not yet provided an official release date. Links to download a final version of the Windows 8.1 Update, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Update service, have been discovered. A series of patches are required to obtain the full update, but once installed the new desktop-friendly features are enabled.The update can be downloaded via a registry change, or through direct links, but we recommend waiting for Microsoft to officially release it through the normal Windows Update channels in April. Don't try this on a production machine.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The Mozilla Foundation has begun an investigation after tech juggernaut Dell appeared to be asking customers to pay GBP 16.25 ($27) to install its free web browser Firefox on newly purchased Dell kit. What.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Nadella, who succeeded Ballmer one month ago, took a step this week by unraveling part of a restructuring his predecessor put in place in one of his last acts as chief executive officer. Nadella appointed onetime Democratic political operative Mark Penn to the just-invented post of strategy chief and shuffled other executives to resolve an unwieldy setup Ballmer had established in the marketing department. Interesting look at the goings-on surround Ballmer's end.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
What's missing on all non-Microsoft platforms, as it turns out, is a formalized way to view at least two mobile apps side-by-side on screen. This is a feature that Microsoft added to Windows 8 and then improved dramatically in Windows 8.1, and while many desktop users scoff at its simplicity, it remains a key differentiator. Windows, as I've noted before, is unparalleled when it comes to productivity, even in the mobile world. Pretty sure Google will introduce windowing support soon in Android, possibly within the next 18-24 months (Android 5.0, perhaps?). It seems inevitable. iOS, on the other hand - we'll see.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay. Yes, Apple CarPlay runs on QNX. Makes sense - I'm guessing (?) in-car software needs a lot of certification and testing, which QNX' in-car platforms all already have.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
CDE 2.2.1 has been released on March 1. The release includes various bugfixes, a NetBSD port and improvement for UTF-8 locales with a new Greek UTF-8 translation.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The inevitable happened. Google apps got installed on the freshly announced Nokia X after a crafty member of XDA Developers rooted the Android handset. The root was achieved via the Framaroot app. The bootloader of the device is unsurprisingly locked, so instead of flashing a single zip file, users need to copy the apk files for Google apps via a root explorer application. After the root, Nokia X also runs Google Now Launcher without breaking a sweat. And with that Frankenlauncher out of the way, the Nokia X suddenly became worth buying.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Homegrown mobile phone-maker Karbonn Mobiles is all set to launch dual-OS (operating system) devices, which will support both Android and Windows, by June. The company has just signed the licence agreement with Microsoft to make Windows-based phones and will put this along with its existing Android system to bring out the dual-OS phones in about six months, the company's chairman Sudhir Hasija said. I wonder what will happen if Google were to resort to the same illegal tactics that Microsoft used to force OEMs into not dual-booting BeOS back in the day. In the end, I'm just filing this one under 'poetic justice'. Shoe's on the other foot now, Redmond.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A new tipping point in the world of tablets: today the analysts at Gartner have released their tablet sales numbers for 2013, and Android has topped the list for the most popular platform for the first time, outselling Apple’s range of iPad tablets nearly twofold. Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013, Android took nearly 62% of sales on 121 million tablets, while Apple sold 70 million iPad tablets for a 36% share. In comparison, last year, Apple led the tablet category with nearly 53% of sales on 61 million units, compared to Android at nearly 46% with 53 million tablets sold. This was always inevitable. Apple won't mind though - they're still raking in the profits.

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