iPhone 5S Given For Free?

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | | 0 comments »

iPhone 5S
There are unconfirmed reports saying that the RadioShack store is offering free Apple iPhone 5S for those who are still using the 4S and are waiting for the sixth version to come out. You heard it right. RadioShack is offering a straight up one-on-one deal for those old 4S in exchange for a brand-new 5S for zero dollars.

There is a catch, of course, but the conditions were reportedly not that hard to meet.

The condition is available from AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Sprint Corp. New customers who sign up for a two-year contract can get the iPhone 5S for just US$ 99 without a trade-in or free with a trade-in for either an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5.

Apple has not given any word about this promotion, but the company is surely not equating its top-of-the-line iPhone with a clam-shell feature phone. RadioShack Corp. Will most probably pay Apple’s full price for an iPhone and latter will most probably prefer the deal because it an image thing for Apple.

There are several speculations about the release date, but majority of tech site suggests that the iPhone 6 will come out in September 2014.

What is the motive, if there is any, for RadioShack to do this? The company’s struggles are well-known; it posted a huge loss in the December 2013 quarter and analysts expect losses as far as the eye can see. Could it be that by clearing its inventory of iPhones, RadioShack is planning not to sell them anymore? Could it be that the only option left to save the company is to dump the Apple products?

Shedding the iPhone – and probably the iPad – is not likely to be a big loss for RadioShack, and it's almost certain to be no skin off Apple’s nose. Still, this is the first time that an iPhone 5S has been available for free and probably the first time the top-of-the-line Apple iPhone has ever been given away by any vendor.

One blogger posted this observation:
I spoke to someone who lives in one of those big, square states out west, and who owned an iPhone 4S. He drove 300 miles round-trip to get the free iPhone 5S, which is only available from corporate-owned stores, not the franchised store just around the corner. The store clerk told him he was just the second customer to take advantage of the offer and that he had to take the 5S in silver because that’s all the store had left. Being a practical sort, this was not a deal-breaker.

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Can Apple Maintain Domanance in Tablet Planet?

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, April 21, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Apple Tablet
For more than two years, nobody can deny that Apple's iPad absolutely dominated the tablet space. As of mid-2012, Apple still claimed nearly 70 percent of the tablet market, while Android tablet manufacturers were struggling to make any headway.

Furthermore, the iPad Mini's 2012 arrival was an open secret by then. As a result, tablet market analysts expected Apple to further solidify its dominance of the tablet market over time. Unfortunately, for the company, the trend appears to go the other way.

Not only has Apple's market share lead crumbled, but iPad sales growth has also come to a crashing halt. Tablet rivals such as Amazon.com and Samsung are gaining momentum by closing the quality gap, with Apple and offering lower price points. Unless Apple can deliver vastly improved iPads later this year, the iPad's growth days are over.

It's hard to imagine right now, but just two years ago, Apple was growing iPad revenue by more than 60 percent and iPad unit sales by 80 percent – even without an entry in the growing 7- and 8-inch tablet market!In 2013, despite the addition of the iPad Mini, unit sales growth slowed to 22 percent.

Furthermore, Apple introduced the iPad Mini at a lower price point to combat cheap tablets from Amazon.com and other vendors. This led to a sharp drop in the average iPad selling price. As a result, iPad revenue grew only 3 percent in FY 2013. While iPad production costs are falling, it's safe to say that with iPad unit sales growth outpacing revenue growth 22 percent to 3 percent, iPad margins dropped dramatically.

iPad revenue growth did tick up to 7 percent last fall on a 14 percent increase in unit sales. However, that may prove to be Apple's best quarter of the new fiscal year. Demand appears to have fallen off a cliff after the holiday season.

As of 28 December 2013 – the last day of Apple's fiscal Q1 – the iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina combined to account for 8.6 percent of all iPad usage, according to Fiksu. By the last day of Q2, usage for the new iPads had grown to 14.1 percent of the total, a 5.5 percentage point increase.

Considering that Apple benefited from "channel fill" in Q1 – selling the new iPads to build up inventory at third-party retailers – iPad unit sales could easily have fallen 40 percent sequentially this quarter. That would entail a significant step backward from Apple's 19.5 million iPad sales in Q2 last year, when Apple was meeting pent-up demand for the original iPad Mini.

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Galaxy S5 More Durable than iPhone 5S, But ...

Posted by Kirhat | Saturday, April 19, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Galaxy S5 iPhone 5S
A new study revealed that Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s still outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

According to SquareTrade, a provider of extended protection plans, the S5 scored well given its water resistance and a sturdy back panel made of plastic. The iPhone 5s won points for being just 4 inches diagonally, compared with about 5 inches for the Android phones, which makes the iPhone easier to grip and thus less likely to slip out of one's hands.

Nonetheless, all the smartphones tested had a medium risk of breakage, and differences between the various phones weren't major.

SquareTrade evaluated the phones based on such criteria as size, weight, grip and the quality of the front and back panels. The company measured how far the phones slide when pushed across a table on their backs and how well they withstand drops from 4 feet and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. Robots were used to ensure consistency.

SquareTrade provided several media outlets with the results ahead of their announcement last 14 April 2014.

The results showed the S5 scored a 6 on a 10-point durability scale, with 10 having the highest risk. The new HTC One phone scored a 6.5, while Google's Nexus 5 had a 7. The iPhone 5s was at 5.5.

None of those phones is as durable as last year's Moto X from Motorola. It had a 4.5 rating, thanks to a rounded back molded to the shape of a user's hand, making it easier to grip. Last year's HTC One model also had a 4.5.

Last year's Samsung Galaxy S4, meanwhile, had a score of 7.

The S5, the new HTC One, the Nexus and the iPhone all had strong front panels, despite being made of mostly glass. SquareTrade considered both the materials used and design factors such as button placement to gauge how likely a user would drop the phone while using it. The back panels on the One and the iPhone were moderate, while those on the S5 and the Nexus performed well.

The S5 and the One were the hardest to grip, while the One and the Nexus had poor marks for water resistance — the phones still worked, but had no sound. Both the S5 and the iPhone survived the dunk test, even though only the S5 is officially marketed as water resistant — for up to 30 minutes.

Only the Nexus 5 passed the slide test, but it was the only of the four to fail the drop test.

The Nexus slid 1.7 feet when pushed by a robot, compared with 2.5 feet or more for the others. The more a phone slides, the greater its chance of falling off the edge of a table. After getting dropped, the Nexus was shattered, while the others had only superficial damage.

SquareTrade said the S5's performance on the drop test was noteworthy, because the S4 had done poorly.

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Galaxy S5 Lacks the "WOW" Factor

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, April 18, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Samsung Galaxy S5
Much was expected from the latest version of Samsung's flagship Galaxy smartphone series when it went on sale worldwide. The Galaxy S5 has a lot riding on it to steer the South Korean firm's profit-making machine back on track as growth in smartphone sales slows, with mature markets like North America and Europe near saturation.

After the electronics giant announced that it was facing a second consecutive quarter of profit decline, Galaxy S5 was supposed to prop those numbers up and allow Samsung to float high and in equal footing with their competitor, Apple.

Initial reviews of the S5 were promising, hailing the unit as one of the best high-end smartphones on the market. The problem is that the high praises were accompanied a general consensus that it lacks the "wow" factor to differentiate it from its predecessors and competitors.

"It can swim, but it won't make any waves," was the verdict of the Wall Street Journal, referring to one innovation in the S5's waterproof covering.

Samsung's mobile unit has been the driving force behind the record profits of recent years, and it needs the S5 to perform well as a retort to the doom-mongers who say the company lacks a clear strategy to flourish in an increasingly competitive, saturated market.

Samsung made more than 30 percent of all smartphones sold in the world last year, nearly twice the share of its arch-rival Apple. Despite this accomplished record, the company estimated that its first quarter operating profit will only be US$ 7.96 billion, marking a second straight year-on-year decline.

Will Samsung be able to recover soon? It looks like they may be able to turn everything around if everything just falls into place. The first strategy was to attract existing Galaxy clients by offering the S5 at a much lower price than the previous S4 model.

Research firm IDC estimated the average selling price of smartphones will fall to US$ 265 globally by 2017 from US$ 337 in 2013 and US$ 387 in 2012.

Samsung is believed to have reduced its marketing spending on the S5 to allow more allocation for its legal bills as years-long patent battles against Apple continue.

The two have locked horns in patent suits in several nations involving design and technologies on their smartphones and tablet computers.

A fresh patent trial opened in the United States a few days ago, with Apple vowing to prove that Samsung flagrantly copied iPhone features and should pay more than US$ 2 billion in damages.

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"Heartbleed Bug" Exposes Password Vulnerability

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | | 0 comments »

Heartbleed Bug
By this time, almost everyone must have heard something about the Heartbleed Bug. It is a serious vulnerability in the encryption technology, OpenSSL cryptographic software library, to malicious attack and compromise passwords and personal data.

OpenSSL is an open-source software package that allows web users to protect the privacy of information they transmit over the internet. For instance, when you visit a secure website such as Gmail.com, you'll see a 'lock sign' next to the URL, indicating that your communications with the site are encrypted.

Once a weakness has been exposed, it allows easy stealing of the protected information by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. OpenSSL has had this flaw for about 2 years.

In short, the Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

Who are and will be affected?

There are no official figures released, but some conservative release stated that out of the 10,000 websites tested so far, 627 were found to vulnerable to the bug. Yahoo sites (including email and Tumblr) were vulnerable, as was the popular dating site OkCupid.

A more realistic estimate, though, pegged the number of vulnerable servers to around 600,000. Worse, the malicious “bot” software may have been attacking servers with the vulnerability for some time — in at least one case, traces of the attack have been found in audit logs dating back to last November 2013. Attacks based on the exploit could date back even further.

The researchers who discovered the flaw notified the OpenSSL team and other key stakeholders several days ago. That allowed OpenSSL to announce a fixed version of the software at the same time the vulnerability was announced to the public. To address the problem, websites need to change their encryption keys and ensure they're running the latest version of OpenSSL.

Who can exploit the Heartbleed Bug?

Software to exploit the vulnerability is widely available online, and while the software isn't as user-friendly as an iPad app, anyone with basic programming skills can figure out how to use it.

It is obvious that right now the bug is likely to be most valuable to intelligence agencies, which have the infrastructure and resources to intercept user traffic on a mass scale. The US National Security Agency (NSA), for instance, has secret agreements with American telecommunications providers to tap into the Internet backbone. Users might have thought that the SSL encryption on websites such as Gmail and Facebook protected them from this kind of snooping, but the Heartbleed bug could easily allow the NSA to obtain the private keys needed to unscramble these private communications.

Is there anything that you can do?

Unfortunately, there's nothing users can do to protect themselves if they visit a vulnerable website. The administrators of vulnerable websites will need to upgrade their software before users will be protected.

However, once an affected website has fixed the problem on their end, users can protect themselves by changing their passwords. It is not advisable to change passwords at this time because attackers still have the means to intercept new attempts.

What can be done for now is just to search the list of vulnerable sites online and see if your email provider is one of those mentioned. Keep in mind that many of the sites that were vulnerable yesterday have since fixed their security problem. Check your inbox — if a site you use has been made safe again, it may have emailed you to let you know.

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More Responsive than iPhone 5S?

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, April 14, 2014 | | 0 comments »

HTC One M8
What is one of the most common features of smartphones that consumers would like to see improved? Many will debate on this topic for days, but most will definitely agree that the device’s touch response should be on the top three list.

Historically, Apple’s iPhone line has had a big advantage over most Android phones in this area, and it's one of several main reasons iPhones often feel more responsive and fluid than many Android devices. However, if reports are indeed true, there could be a changing of the guard soon.

A French website, lesnumeriques.fr, said that the new rose among the thorns is HTC One (M8). The test performed by the site clocked the response time for the HTC One (M8)’s screen at a remarkable 46 milliseconds.

Barring any claims that the test is rigged and results falsified, this makes the M8 the fastest tested mass-market smartphone on the planet by a healthy margin. It also makes the touch response on HTC’s new flagship phone nearly 40 percent faster than the iPhone 5s, which was found to have an average touch response time of 75 milliseconds.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact were also found to have faster touch response times than Apple’s iPhone 5s in recent tests.

The new HTC One (M8) is one of the most sleek and powerful smartphones to date, and was hailed by many as the best Android phone the world has ever seen so far. Whether or not that will translate into a much-needed sales boost in sales, however, remains to be seen.

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