Tuesday, May 12, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 5/13/2015


Slow and slower: Netflix rates Australian ISP speeds
Slow and slower: Netflix rates Australian ISP speeds
Each month, Netflix ranks the average prime-time speeds achieved by internet service providers in each of its regions, and then ranks the overall result against the rest of the world.
Now, Australian and New Zealand Netflix has been included in the service’s monthly ISP speed index for the first time, and the results are surprising to say the least.
Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company, ranked dead last with an average prime-time speed of 2.23 Mbps, while TPG and Optus took the top two spots, with average speeds of 3.36 Mbps and 3.27 Mbps.
The full Australian ISP speed index can be seen below:
Netflix Speed Index

Speed, gimme what I need

It is believed that TPG and Optus performed well due to the ISPs involvement in the Netflix Open Connect Initiative, which allows the companies to cache up to their 90% Netflix traffic, in order to transport bandwidth to customers faster.
New Zealand’s internet ranked 14th out of the 29 countries in which Netflix offers its service, while Australia ranked 18th, putting it in the bottom half of the world’s Netflix speeds.
On its US & Canada blog, Netflix claimed that “performance for Australian ISPs was impacted by consumer demand exceeding the forecasts Netflix provided.”
Netflix continued by stating that it is “working closely with these ISPs and expect performance to improve in the coming months.”

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Updated: Best Android phone - which should you buy?
Updated: Best Android phone - which should you buy?

Best Android phone: 10 - 6

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.
Samsung makes loads of them. Sony's releasing three every second. HTC is producing award-winning handsets, and LG is bringing up the super-cheap superphone brigade.
On top of that, there's a glut of other names in the mix, with the likes of Acer, ZTE, Huawei and OnePlus all offering cheap smartphones - and Google's gone high end with the Nexus range.
FutTv : X07b7PVMTE6VW
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
HTC One M8

10. HTC One M8

The One M8 has been superseded by the M9 and as such it's tumbled down our list, but it's still a hugely impressive phone. We love the speed of the camera, the Duo Camera is sharp as a tack and the design... well, you have to hold it. The HTC One M8 is an excellent package
Gaming, movies, photography, browsing all work really well and HTC is committed to its baby too, as it was one of the first phones to get Android Lollipop.
The only way to know how good the HTC One M8 is, is to go into a store, pick it up and hold it for a few minutes. Take in the design, listen to the BoomSound speakers and glide around the Sense UI. The M9 of course offers better versions of the same things, but you'll pay a lot more for it.
HTC One Mini 2

9. HTC One Mini 2

The HTC One Mini 2 inherits a lot from the M8, with a similarly stylish metal build and the same BoomSound speakers, but in a smaller, more affordable package.
The innards have changed, with a lesser but still quad-core processor and there's a 13MP camera on the back in place of the HTC One M8's UltraPixel snapper, but the key thing is that the HTC One Mini 2 is designed for those who'd prefer a more pocketable 4.5-inch display without sacrificing a premium design. On that front it passes with flying colours.
The HTC One Mini 2 looks great. In fact until the inevitable One Mini 3 arrives it's the most stylish small-screen Android phone around. It doesn't have flagship specs but then nor does it have a flagship price tag.
Google Nexus 6

8. Google Nexus 6

The Google Nexus 6 is a super-sized version of the 2014 Moto X. The phone that everyone expected to be a super-cheap device is now firmly in the 'Hmmm... I wonder how much can I get for my kidney?' category - but that's thanks to the high-end chipset, the crisply sharp QHD screen and a massive battery.
At six inches, this is very, very much a phablet - but then again, it offers so much that you'll really start to warm to it quickly. Plus the edge-to-edge design means it's nowhere near as large as it should be - if you can get over the price, it's a must have.
There's a lot to like about Nexus 6. Android Lollipop looks great on this bright, 6-inch AMOLED display and the 13-megapixel camera is more true-to-life than 2013's Nexus 5 and Motorola's other smartphones combined, even if it doesn't quite measure up to what Samsung's doing.
This is the best Nexus Google has ever crafted. And, when you think about it, you're not going to need to hold onto your money, as you'll require both hands to grab onto this two-handed monster.
Sony Xperia Z3

7. Sony Xperia Z3

The Sony Xperia Z3 manages to improve on the already excellent Xperia Z2 in some key areas. The screen is a large 5.2-inches with a full 1080p resolution and the technology behind the screen gives a boost to the overall brightness of the display, which makes it look fantastic.
The Xperia Z3 also packs some impressive specs with a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. These improved specs are all housed in a slimmer and more stylishly designed chassis, giving the Xperia Z3 a truly premium feel. It's also water and dust resistant.
It does a lot of things right, with some excellent hardware specs and a stylish design. If you own a PlayStation 4 then the Remote Play feature that lets you stream PS4 games to the handset could be of real interest - and if it's not, it should be.
It's a great phone, but the experience isn't quite flawless enough to get it any higher in our charts, with a disappointing camera and buggy software being chief among its problems.
Galaxy Note 4

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Four years after the original Galaxy Note kick started the phablet craze, the Galaxy Note 4 arrives to show that Samsung still has what it takes to make excellent super-sized smartphones.
It has a fantastic 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED screen along with a 2.7GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. With these specs it easily outperforms its closest rivals such as the iPhone 6 Plus,
The Galaxy Note 4 certainly isn't cheap, but a fantastic screen, brilliant specs and a great camera all help justify the hefty asking price. If you're in the market for a large smartphone then you'll definitely want to seriously consider the Note 4.

Best Android phone: 5-1

Xperia Z3 Compact

5. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony has done such a good job of shrinking down the Xperia Z3 into a smaller handset with only a few minor cuts to the specifications that it has, perhaps by accident, created a more desirable phone.
It has the same 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor as the Z3, along with an Adreno 330 GPU and very good 20.7MP camera. The smaller 4.6-inch screen gives the Z3 Compact a better battery life than the full size Z3, as well as being more comfortable to hold. The price has also been cut, making the Z3 Compact a more compelling purchase.
Easily the best compact Android phone on the market today. Sony has worked hard to fit some excellent features into this handset despite its smaller stature and it has paid off. This is great work from Sony, and doubly brilliant if you own a PS4 too thanks to the Remote Play feature.

4. LG G3

The big selling point for the LG G3 was its display, with a QHD resolution making it pin sharp, but it's no longer the only phone packing such a screen.
Away from the screen and things are still good for the G3 with a punchy 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU ensuring the interface, widgets, apps and games all speed along at a rate of knots. It's also now got Android 5.0 Lollipop in most places.
The LG G3 has a great screen and high end specs, but the whole package isn't quite there. It's a strong handset that's more phablet than phone, but it's slightly let down by a lacklustre faux-metal design.
S6 Edge

3. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

If money is no object then the Galaxy S6 Edge arguably has the standard S6 beat, as it offers the same compelling specs with the addition of an eye-catching curved display. But for most people money is an object and the S6 Edge is both more expensive and not much better in use, as the curves are more about form than function.
Still, its 5.1-inch QHD screen is glorious, its 16MP camera impresses and it's got a powerful octa-core processor and all the nifty features of the S6, like a fingerprint scanner and fast charging.
The curved screen feels like a missed opportunity but it's undeniably stylish and if you can stomach the price tag this is a powerful, futuristic phone which is sure to inspire admiration and jealousy in everyone who sees it.
HTC One M9

2. HTC One M9

For all the work Samsung's done on improving the design of its flagship HTC still has it beat. The One M9 is easily the best looking Android phone around and arguably the best looking handset running any OS.
Not only does it look incredible but it's got lots of power and a decent 20.7MP camera on the back, with its UltraPixel snapper relegated to selfie duties. Plus its slick Sense interface and impressive BoomSound audio make it a joy to use.
The HTC One M9 isn't a big upgrade over the One M8, but that phone was our favourite for a long time so any improvements guaranteed this a place near the top of our chart. Compared to the Galaxy S6 this feels lacking in specs and features, but it's as close to a work of art as a phone has come.
Galaxy S6

1. Samsung Galaxy S6

After the disappointing Galaxy S5 Samsung has turned it all around with the Galaxy S6. That's obvious as soon as you set eyes on it, with its luxurious metal and glass build and brilliantly impressive 5.1-inch QHD screen.
It's got an incredible camera too and even the TouchWiz overlay, something which is traditionally bloated and clunky, has been polished into something far slicker.
Packed full of extras like fast charging and a fingerprint scanner, the Samsung Galaxy S6 really is the complete package and its octa-core Exynos processor leaves rivals in the dust. All that power is hard on the battery, but otherwise this is a near perfect phone.
Power, performance, a premium design and heaps of extras, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has it all. It's not cheap and the average battery and lack of a microSD card slot might put you off, but in most other ways this is the best Android phone we've ever used.

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Stop what you're doing and watch these guys fly jetpacks over Dubai
Stop what you're doing and watch these guys fly jetpacks over Dubai
We're not living in the world of the Jetsons yet, but flight by jetpack is very real ... if you're Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet.
The two Jetmen are featured in the video below, soaring over desert sands and flirting dangerously close to the spire-like structures of Dubai, not to mention coming hair-raisingly close to one another.
"I am not playing with death," Rossy muses. "I am playing with life."
Their flights are filmed in stunning 4K, almost unreal in its clarity and beauty. Take 11 minutes out of your day to watch the Jetmen defy gravity. You won't regret it.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czy0pXRRZcs#t=199

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iPad Pro release may not be till 2016, could include Force Touch
iPad Pro release may not be till 2016, could include Force Touch
The iPad Pro is quickly becoming Apple's most talked about (unconfirmed) and, like many rumored products before it, the tablet has apparently been pushed to a later release date.
Formerly framed for release in late 2015, the tablet's shelf date possibly shifted to 2016.
Sources from ETNews reported Apple has recently been in talks with many major screen makers including LG Display, Japan Display and Samsung Display. The reason? Acquiring silver nano wire-wound (AgNW) touch panels to replace the ITO-based panels of yesteryear.
Sources also stated the iPad Pro will release "next year," a release time frame that could be the consequence of acquiring enough AgNW display coating.

Sapphire, meet Force Touch

Silver Nanowire coating is far more flexible and would be perfect for adding Force Touch, which debuted on the Apple Watch and the New Macbook, at a more affordable price for mass production. By eliminating ITO-based touch screens, Apple could save big on the indium required to make the displays and bring Force Touch to its new larger iPad.
Force Touch is rumored to join the next fleet of iPhones in addition to the iPad Pro.
The iPad Pro may also feature sapphire glass panels, which could raise the price of the devices and offset the money saved by using AgNW. Initially rumored for the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, the ultra-hard panels ultimately made their way to the Apple Watch, along with Force Touch.

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Review: MSI GT80 Titan
Review: MSI GT80 Titan

Introduction and design

This has been an incredible year for gaming laptops, with Nvidia's latest Maxwell graphics cards and two new gaming laptop-desktop hybrids – the MSI GS30 Shadow and Alienware 17. But perhaps the craziest addition of this year has been the MSI GT80 Titan, a larger than life, 18.4-inch gaming rig with its own built-in mechanical keyboard.
That's not a giant typo, either. This gaming laptop comes packing a full-size mechanical keyboard that clicks and clacks with each keystroke.
The GT80 goes above and beyond to give gamers a desktop experience in a notebook, with an Intel Core i7 processor and two Nvidia GTX 980M graphics cards in SLI. However, weighing in at nearly 10 pounds and measuring roughly two-inches thick, this laptop is seriously pushing the limits of what you can call portable.
MSI GT80 Titan review


This is definitely one laptop that stands out from the crowd. For starters, MSI's Titan is a beast of a gaming laptop that eclipses even the massive Asus ROG G751JY. If the GT80's large footprint wasn't enough to attract attention, the design of this laptop just screams gamer from end to end.
Whether it's the various dragon insignias on the back of the screen lid and laptop interior, or the red backlighting that consumes the keyboard, the Titan looks unmistakably like a gaming machine. In this case, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. With a machine like this, you want everyone in the room – or on the convention floor – to know you mean business with a portable rig that can even outperform some miniature gaming PCs.
The Titan also sports a few useful, gamer-oriented flourishes, namely dedicated buttons to turn up the fans to max and switching between GPU modes. The latter of which requires a full restart to swap between discrete and integrated graphics.
MSI GT80 Titan review
Though the MSI GT80 is massive, it's not without its charms. It has a unique design unlike any other laptop before that does away with the palm rest and in its place is a keyboard that sits much closer to the edge. All the machine's components, meanwhile, have been pushed up and tucked beneath an aluminum upgrade panel adorned with the subtle shadow of a dragon.
The laptop frame is also completely solid, despite a primarily plastic construction. That said, MSI made a few smart additions of brushed aluminum to elevate the GT80's aesthetics and make parts of the laptop more robust. The screen lid for instance is backed with one entire sheet of brushed aluminum adorned with an illuminating MSI gaming logo and two red lines to add a distinctive highlight.
MSI GT80 Titan review

Hitting the keys

The Titan's strange arrangement afforded MSI the necessary room to fit a full-size mechanical keyboard. It's not just for looks, either.
The width, height and even resistance of the keys feels just as responsive as a dedicated gaming keyboard outfitted with the same mechanical switches. The only thing I miss is the ability to raise the keyboard to a more elevated angle.
A real palm rest is sorely missed here, and even with the included foam pad, it's a bit exhausting to keep your fingers sprawled over the laptop's front edge at all times. You can also forget about typing with this laptop on your placed on your lap, as you'll have to assume a Monty Burns-like posture, pecking down at the keys with your fingertips.
MSI GT80 Titan review
The GT80 has another little novelty in the form of a trackpad that doubles as a virtual number pad. Tapping on the virtual number lock button turns this unusually tall trackpad into a red, backlit number pad.
While it's a neat feature that makes the laptop look even cooler, you'll have to deliberately look down at the number pad whenever you're using it to make sure you're hitting the right digits. The virtual number pad also fails to recognize my finger pressing on it half the time, and at other times I'm adding unintentional zeroes as I type.
As a regular trackpad, it's more than serviceable despite the unusually tall shape, and it even has two clicky, physical mouse buttons. Still, hardcore gamers will probably want to use a mouse for any serious clicking.

Specifications and value

The MSI GT80 Titan is, without a doubt, one of the heaviest laptops I've ever reviewed, weighing in at a impressive 9.9 pounds (4.49 kg). Add in its enormous 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93-inch (455 x 330 x 49 mm) dimensions, and you'll be glad it comes with an included bag specifically made to carry this 18.4-inch gaming beast.
Comparatively, the Alienware 17 weighs in at a considerable 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg). However, as a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, you'll still probably need to pick up a new bag that can handle the laptop's substantial 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35-inch (430 x 291 x 34 mm) dimensions. The same goes for the 16.85 x 12 x 0.9-inch Aorus X7 Pro, which thankfully is the lightest laptop in this grouping at just 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg).
MSI GT80 Titan review
Here is the MSI GT80 Titan configuration given to TechRadar for this review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
  • Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display
  • Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
  • Optical drive: Blu-Ray Burner
  • Ports: 5 x USB 3.0, HDMI, 2 x mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, headphone jack, microphone jack, SPDIF
  • Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1
  • Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p)
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds (4.49 kg)
  • Size: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches (W x D x H) (455 x 33 x 4.9 cm)
Considering its massive frame, it's not surprising to see the MSI GT80 Titan comes packing a ton of hardware, even with the base configuration as seen above. That said, this setup comes with a fat sticker price of $3,299 or £2,573 (about AU$4,165). Gaming laptops are almost universally expensive, but MSI is asking for a few more hundred bucks compared to most other options, including the Alienware 17 and Aorus X7 Pro.
Just in case you want a beefier option, you can customize the Titan with an even faster, 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4980HQ processor, 24GB of memory for $3,699 or £3,500. Readers living in Australia, meanwhile, only have the option of picking an even more decked out configuration, with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage for AU$6,299.
MSI GT80 Titan review
For roughly the same $3,399 (£3,096, AU$4,547), you can instead build a sweet Alienware 17 sporting the higher-end Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor paired with a single Nvidia GTX 980M. Going with this option also includes the accompanying Graphics Amplifier and a desktop-grade Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card to give the system an even bigger gaming performance boost.
The Aorus X7 Pro stands in as the cheapest option in this trio, and it only comes in one configuration for $2,599 or £2,099 (about AU$3,320). Despite having the lowest price, buyers shouldn't feel swindled, as this machine comes packing a speedy 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ CPU plus dual Nvidia GTX 970M graphics chips. The Aorus rig also comes standard with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and yet another 1TB hard drive for even more storage.
MSI GT80 Titan review

Upgrading to the max

The MSI GT80 Titan is a uniquely simple-to-upgrade laptop, thanks to an easily accessible upgrade panel that sits just above the keyboard. By undoing two screws on the machine's underside, users can really dig into their system, adding more RAM and SSD storage or remove the optical drive, if they so wish.
On top of this, you can also send the Titan back to MSI to be retrofitted with Nvidia's next graphics card. It's an upgrade path that's simply not available to the Aorus X7 Pro, since both machines come with GPUs permanently soldered to the logic board. The same goes for the Alienware 17, though, you could arguably keep the machine up to date by continually inserting new graphics cards inside the Amplifier.

Performance and features

Unsurprisingly, the MSI GT80 Titan is one of the best performing machines I've ever tested. With a pair of Nvidia GTX 980M firing on all cylinders, this machine easily churned through every punishing game I threw at it, including Dragon Age Inquisition with all the graphical settings pumped up to their highest.
GTA 5, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes and pretty much anything I threw the Titan's way ran smoothly. The only speed bump I ran into was the recently-released Project Cars. Practice races went without a hitch at an amazing 90 to 110 frames per second (fps), despite turning on every minute detail like "heat haze" and "screen dirt." In the campaign though, it seems the addition of AI drivers adds a significant amount of stress to performance, causing the frame rate in Project Cars to drop precipitously down all the way to 11.
Despite this small hiccup, the MSI GT80 Titan is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful gaming laptops ever made.
MSI GT80 Titan review
Here's how the MSI GT80 Titan fared in our benchmark tests:


  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 22,854; Sky Diver: 27,220; Fire Strike: 11,770
  • Cinebench CPU: 653 points; Graphics: 104 fps
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 4,034 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 1 hours and 55 minutes
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 109 fps; (1080p, Low): 135 fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 57 fps; (1080p, Low): 119 fps
Benchmarking the Titan proves just how impressive this mobile gaming rig is, with a Fire Strike score of 11,770 points. By comparison, the Aorus X7 Pro scored a still impressive 10,451 points, with its dual Nvidia GTX 970M graphics cards. Meanwhile, the Alienware 17 scraped by with 9,591 points, thanks to its desktop graphics card. Without the added boost from the Nvidia GTX 980, The Alienware 17 finished the grueling graphics benchmark with a much more pedestrian 8,008 points.
Metro: Last Light's in-game benchmarks is what truly separates the wheat from the chaff, and the MSI GT80 stands above all the computers I've ever tested, with an astounding 57 fps on Ultra. No other machine come close running the game at a steady 60 fps. The Aorus X7 Pro topped out at 43 fps and the Alienware 17 came short as well with just 45 fps.
MSI GT80 Titan review

Cinema experience

Thankfully, the MSI GT80 does not fall prey the usual terrible screen trap that has ruined the experience of so many gaming laptops. You won't find any washed out colors or terribly grey contrast here.
The Titan instead is fitted with one of the richest and most expansive matte displays I've ever seen. While some would argue 1080p isn't high-resolution enough for the large 18.4-inch screen, the panel is still plenty sharp, and the pixels are still small enough that they look invisible to the human eye from a normal distance.
The Dynaudio's audio integration, on the other hand, sound significantly less impressive despite the laptop's pair of powerful speakers and bottom-mounted subwoofer. Music in particular reveals the tininess of the Titan's onboard tweeters, and turning up the volume up to 20 in Windows 8.1 begins revealing some ear-pinching distortion. Thankfully though, the speakers are much better suited to the booming sounds of fiery spells and gunfire in games.
More than likely, you'll want to use a gaming headset with such a serious setup as the Titan. This machine is certainly not lacking in the number of ways you can hook up an audio setup, either, with individual input and output jacks, as well as an optical audio port.
MSI GT80 Titan review

Is there even a battery in here?

Battery life is virtually non-existent on the MSI GT80, lasting a scant 1 hour and 55 minutes, according to the PCMark 8 battery test. Even with a low-impact anecdotal test consisting of word processing in Microsoft Word 2013, some light web browsing in Firefox and streaming Google music with the OutColdPlayer, the Titan only lasted a slightly longer 2 hours and 8 minutes. Given the sheer size of the laptop, I was expecting MSI to fit this machine with a larger battery.
It's unlikely you'll be using this machine away from a power outlet – or on your lap, for that matter – for long. But if you're in a pinch and need to squeeze just a few more minutes of juice, MSI's power management utility include additional power saving modes, plus there's the physical button to switch the machine to integrated graphics.
Aorus X7 Pro ran for an equally short 2 hours and 5 minutes, no doubt thanks to its power hungry dual-GPU setup and integrated Iris graphics. Users looking for a gaming laptop with more outlet independence should look to the Alienware 17, which kept chugging along for 3 hours and 52 minutes.
MSI GT80 Titan review

Bundled software

For a gaming machine, and such an expensive one at that, MSI has included a surprising amount of bloatware. Just a few bits of unwanted, pre-installed software you should get rid of from the moment you get past start up include W Games, Fresh Paint, and Norton Internet Security. That said, the Titan is not just loaded with junk. Here are a few applications you will want to keep on your desktop:
  • Battery calibration – As the name suggests, this tool will condition your battery to keep it healthy.
  • MSI Sizing Option – Like Windows' built-in scaling setting, this application will affect how small or large everything looks on the screen.
  • MSI Dragon Gaming Center – Monitor your system and manage a few system preferences, such as performance modes.


If buying a gaming laptop is a lifestyle choice, then getting a MSI GT80 Titan is like getting the house to go with it. It's one of the few gaming laptops that completely replicates the desktop experience. You'll have an incredible level of performance at your disposal, plus an authentic mechanical keyboard that's all topped off with an excellent screen to round out this larger than life package.
At the same time though, it's a serious investment at $3,299 or £2,573 (about AU$4,165). This large machine has also sacrificed quite a bit to recreate the desktop experience. With its low-set keyboard, lackluster battery life and massive size, the Titan isn't a machine you can comfortably use as a portable computer.

We liked

After you double down on a truly expensive piece of tech, there's no better feeling than knowing it can easily take on everything you throw at it. The Titan will absolutely plow through almost any graphically intense game you try to run.
MSI also set out to build the world's first gaming laptop with a mechanical keyboard, and it's a resounding success with the GT80. As soon as I laid my hands on the keys, I felt right at home, as if I was using my mechanical keyboard back at home. Add in the excellent screen and this is a great setup PC gamers can feel comfortable using wherever they are.

We disliked

The biggest downfall of the MSI GT80 Titan is you simply can't use it as a laptop. It's far too big, heavy and the ergonomics of the keyboard and trackpad make it impossible to use on anything but a large desk.
With battery life maxing out around two hours, this is a mobile gaming rig you'll barely take out. It's for these reasons the Titan feels more like a movable desktop, a transformable gaming all-in-one or, as I like to call it, a foldable typewriter.

Final verdict

The Alienware 17 is an amazing machine through and through, being more powerful and thinner than its previous iterations. What's more, with the optional Graphics Amplifier this machine can truly sing. However, when it comes to gaming, the MSI GT80 has the advantage, thanks to being a completely self-contained machine that's just as, if not more, powerful than the Alienware 17. And that's even with the added boost from a top of the line desktop graphics card.
The Aorus X7 Pro falls into role of the MSI GT80's little brother from another mother, thanks to its smaller 17.3-inch screen and lower-end dual Nvidia GTX 970M setup. Although the X7 Pro can be seen as a step down, it's not too far off in terms of performance in benchmarks and will play most games on ultra settings without breaking a sweat. That said, the Aorus rig has a few knocks against it, including heat issues and a far inferior screen compared to the Titan's excellent 18.4-inch display.
The MSI GT80 Titan is a touch too big for my personal tastes, but if you're looking for a mobile machine that delivers the same gaming experience of using a desktop PC down to the keyboard, this is the one to get. Just make sure you're ready to carry the burden on your back.

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Chatting with Xbox One frenemies is now easier than ever
Chatting with Xbox One frenemies is now easier than ever
Sending voice messages over Xbox Live is probably second nature by now - even if the process is a bit more convoluted than it should be.
You're used to finding friends in the dedicated section of the interface, scouring the list for the appropriate buddy and sending the message. Thanks to the upcoming May update, however, the arduous process of sending a message will be a lot more manageable.
The update, detailed on brand ambassador Major Nelson's blog, reveals that in the future sending a voice message will be as simple as double-tapping the jewel button in the center of the controller and selecting voice message.
Voice messages will work from Xbox One to Xbox One, as well as Xbox One to Xbox 360.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=19&v=UH0KwvU9c6E
The other piece of exciting news for Microsoft socialites is that the company will start analyzing the network structure of every member in your party and, if it finds a hitch between the connections, will set your fire team up with its own private voice server.
The software should start rolling out to some members today, and will expand to everyone on Xbox Live in the coming weeks.
Want the top streaming video and games apps? These are the best Xbox One apps!

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Every Google self-driving car accident was caused by human error
Every Google self-driving car accident was caused by human error
California's Department of Motor Vehicles released statistics recorded over a period of eight months revealing that of the 48 licensed, self-driving cars on public roads, only 4 have wound up in "minor fender benders." Surprised, or not?
The cars in question belong to Google and Delphi, who have a combined amount of 25 (23 belong to Google, two to Delphi) self-driving cars on the road. But don't be so quick to play the blame game. Each company staunchly denies that the fault should be placed on its super-smart autonomous driving technology, but rather, on silly human error.
Official details of the individual accidents are scant for the most part, as California law prohibits disclosing information related to traffic accidents. However, an anonymous source tipped off the AP, stating that two of the wrecked autonomous cars were in "self-driving mode" and that the accidents occurred with each vehicle traveling at "speeds of less than 10 mph."
A source familiar with the incidents also told the Associated Press that "in the other two [accidents], the person who still must be behind the wheel was driving." Delphi confirmed as much when a spokesperson shared that its 2014 Audi SQ5 was being operated by a human when it was broadsided while crossing an intersection. Google, on the other hand, hasn't come clean regarding the details on its autonomous vehicle accidents. But it's not required to.
Google did state to AP, however, that "while safety is paramount some accidents can be expected" as its autonomous cars have accrued "the equivalent of over 15 years of typical human driving" since this past Fall.
Earlier today, Chris Urmson, the director of Google's self-driving program posted an in-depth look at how its autonomous vehicles operate in typical conditions. He offered no insight into the three reported accidents over the last eight months, but was stern on the stance that Google's self-driving cars have never been faulted in an incident.
Despite the murky details surrounding these accidents, these findings reveal that aside from a few human error-related hiccups, the self-driving movement is going rather smoothly so far.
Source: AP

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Windows tablets gain momentum in enterprise
Windows tablets gain momentum in enterprise
Although the overall tablet market has been in decline recently, Windows slates are finding an ally in the enterprise. According to the Mobility Index Report published by Good Technology, Windows tablet adoption increased 400%, from 1% in the last quarter of 2014 to 4% in the first quarter this year.
Despite gains, Windows slates still trail iOS and Android tablet activations in enterprise. Even though Apple's iPad maintained a healthy lead of 81% market share, iOS activations decreased 4% compared to the fourth quarter of last year and are down from 92% a year ago. Android tablets made a gain of 1% from the prior quarter with 15% market share by activations.

The Windows market

Windows is making inroads in a few verticals.
"Windows tablets made up 5% of all activations in retail, while Windows Phone devices made up 7% of all activations in entertainment and media," according to the report. "This is the first time that any Microsoft operating system has exceeded 5% in any vertical in the report."
Not accounting for specific verticals, by operating system, Windows Phone only accounted for 1% of total device activations, trailing the 72% activation for iOS and 26% activation for Android. Windows also registered 1% of total activations, with Good noting that "most of these devices were tablets running Windows Pro."
An earlier IDC report revealed that even though the overall tablet market may be shrinking, the market for more productive tablets, like hybrids and convertibles that offer a keyboard experience, is growing. Although a few of the hybrids ship with Android, many of these convertibles - like the Surface 3 and Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 - come with Windows and offer access to legacy Win32 desktop apps.
The growth of Windows on mobile devices in the enterprise is unsurprising given the need for business apps. According to Good, the top five app categories demanded by businesses include secure browser, secure IM, document access, document editing and custom apps.
With Windows slates running Windows 8.1 Pro, users have access to all of those features, Microsoft Office and legacy Win32 apps that may not have a mobile equivalent.

Windows 10

Windows 10 may fuel additional growth in the Windows tablet market this summer. Microsoft will add new features that make tablet computing better with Windows 10.
The new Continuum mode in Windows 10 allows users to seamless switch between desktop and tablet interfaces seamlessly, providing a great experience in laptop or slate computing modes. Universal Windows apps mean that a user can buy an app once and run it on a phone, tablet, laptop, desktop and even Xbox One.
Microsoft is expected to ship the operating system in July.

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In Depth: Nintendo NX: A closer look at the mystery console
In Depth: Nintendo NX: A closer look at the mystery console

The path to the NeXt Nintendo system

UPDATE: During a recent Q&A with investors, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata cleared up some of the confusion about the Nintendo NX. "Because we are calling it a 'new concept', we are not thinking of this as a 'simple replacement' for the 3DS or the Wii U," Iwata said.
Well, that didn't take long. Less than two-and-a-half years after Nintendo launched the Wii U, the console stalwart has revealed plans for a new console, codenamed Nintendo NX.
There's good reason for the expediency: while Sony (and to a lesser extent, Microsoft) can potentially match their earlier successes with their latest batch of consoles, the Wii U will almost definitely go down in history as Nintendo's worst-selling console.
Just how dire is Nintendo's need to jump ship on the Wii U? It's currently sitting at around 10 million units sold, and even a new Legend of Zelda game won't likely double system sales to the point where it can match the GameCube's near 22-million sales mark.
While the big N has been tight-lipped about what the NX will bring to the market, even going so far as to say more won't be revealed until next year, examining the successes and failures of the Wii U and exploring Nintendo's 30 years of console-publishing history can shed light on what we're to expect from the NX.

The path to the NeXt Nintendo system

Nintendo NX
Nintendo's greatest successes were due to the company taking its biggest risks. Its top-selling portable was the Nintendo DS, a portable console with a second, touch-enabled screen that many scoffed at before it revolutionized handheld gaming.
Likewise, the original Wii far outpaced every previous TV-tethered system, and it did so by treading its own path, eschewing the standard controls with a revolutionary motion-controlled setup that some competitors are still attempting to mimic.
If Nintendo wants to see the NX succeed it'll need to etch these lessons into memory. Should it follow in the footsteps of the 3DS or Wii U, however, all hope may be lost.
The Nintendo 3DS originally stumbled, and Wii U has outright failed is truly differentiating themselves from their direct predecessors. Both assumed that the previous generation's record-breaking install base wanted more of the same, so they both came with extensive backwards compatibility and names that recalled the previous generation.
The 3DS only broke out of its funk after drastically dropping its price while also debuting a new Zelda and 3D Mario game. The same might be in-store for the Wii U, though the reveal of the NX means its clock is ticking.
Nintendo NX

How will the NX be different?

For the NX, a new control method is in the works after the Wii U's controller/touch-screen hybrid failed to inspire widespread developer support.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata even said as much when first announcing the console, saying it will incorporate a "brand-new concept." When you take into account the other major change Nintendo revealed during that same event (a commitment to develop smartphone games), Nintendo's 25-year-old dual-pronged strategy of leaning on both a portable and home console could come to a close this decade. Even though the 3DS is currently Nintendo's saving grace, developing a games-only portable device is becoming more and more of a risk in this day and age.
Ever since the release of the GameCube Nintendo has consistently had the least-powerful system on the market. Given how much stock Sony and Microsoft put into creating cutting-edge tech, that's not likely to change. They've done touchscreens, they've done motion-controls ... heck, Nintendo was doing VR two decades ago, so what's the next possible realm to tackle?
With the NX, it's possible Nintendo could create a console-portable hybrid. The Wii U dipped its toe in letting users take their games on the go by letting them play on a Gamepad as long as they were in proximity to a Wii U console. But if Nintendo creates an Xbox One/PS4-level system that you can take on the go, then you're playing with power.

What does the NX need to succeed?

Nintendo NX
If I had to pick one thing? Better launch games.
The Nintendo DS was the rare exception to the rule that successful Nintendo consoles debut with an all-new Mario or Zelda game (remakes and 2D Mario retreads don't count). Nintendo was smart to hedge its bets and shift development of Twilight Princess to both its old and new hardware, and it could do the same with the NX to maximize exposure of the next Zelda game.
Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy were amongst the highest-profile releases for their respective Nintendo consoles, and there's no surer bet to launch a Nintendo console alongside than an all-new Mario game. If a game with a name "Super Mario Universe" debuted the same day as a new Nintendo console, the hordes of lapsed Nintendo fans could likely return to the fold.
Nintendo NX
However, Wii Sports and Wii Fit proved that Nintendo doesn't need to (and perhaps shouldn't) lean on a new IP to become a smash hit if new tech is impressive enough. If Nintendo creates a console-portable hybrid and can come up with a simple concept that encourages players to both take the tech on the go and tether it to a TV, a good pack-in game can offer proof to the casual crowd, while the launch day Mario or Zelda game will capture the hardcore.

Nintendo NX price will be a major factor

In addition to their unclear identities and unexciting launch slates, high initial price tags were the biggest roadblock for Nintendo's most recent portable and home consoles.
For the NX to succeed at launch, it needs to be the cheapest video game hardware on the market, and by a large margin. Whether it's due to creating the next control innovation or breaking tradition by selling hardware at a loss, you can rest assured Nintendo won't bungle launch pricing for a third consecutive console.
Nintendo's previous generation of consoles, the DS and Wii, gained traction by launching at $150 and $250 (£99.99 and £179.99) respectively, so whether it's focused on dominating your living room or your public transportation commute, Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays for pricing its consoles.

When will we see it?

Given Nintendo's history of teasing, revealing and releasing consoles, a holiday 2016 release for the Nintendo NX is likely. Just look at Nintendo's track record.
The Wii U was first teased ahead of E3 2011 and debuted in 2012. The 3DS was first announced in early 2010, a year before it came out. The DS was teased in 2003 and revealed in 2004. The Wii is the rare exception because it was teased at E3 2004, shown for the first time a year later, and released over a year after that.
Nintendo NX
With Nintendo saying they won't speak any further on the NX this year (though that could just be a red herring for a major E3 2015 reveal), one might think this could be another console that takes its time to come to market.
But desperate times call for desperate measures.
The continually-shrinking portable landscape has led to Nintendo's first major third-party game development, and the Wii U's poor sales performance has likely sped up the NX's timeline.
The Wii U's lifespan can't extend another two years with the severe lack of third-party support, so it's not unreasonable to expect this system's lifespan to be cut off at four years. If anything, a 2016 release may finally move Nintendo out of the way of the PlayStation 5 and Next Xbox releases, truly differentiating Nintendo from the masses. And if we've learned anything, Nintendo does best when it separates from the pack.

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UPDATED: HBO Now: Everything you need to know about HBO's standalone service
UPDATED: HBO Now: Everything you need to know about HBO's standalone service


UPDATE: Scroll down to the "new content" section to see what's new on HBO Now in May.
Film critic Roger Ebert once said, "We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds, not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person sees it."
HBO Now, a new standalone service from Home Box Office, will offer its users just that: a window into the world that many have not seen before today.
Starting today the service, which costs $14.99 (about £10, AU$20) per month and has a free one-month trial, rolls out to Apple iTunes users with an Apple TV or devices running iOS like the iPhone 6 and iPad. HBO Now will eventually come to other services, we assume, as HBO Go, a streaming service offered by HBO that requires an active cable subscription, is available on Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox One, PS4, Roku and myriad other set-top devices.
Aside from seasons of Game of Thrones and Girls like you might expect, HBO Now offers dozens of movies, a plethora of its best series going back to The Sopranos and several … ahem ... "after dark" skin flicks.
We've highlighted the best of the best content below, as well as some pertinent info for what could be the biggest and brightest innovation the network has ever released.

HBO Now price

HBO Now's pricing is pretty straightforward. The service is available to US customers for $14.99 per month paid via the iTunes Store. New subscribers are given an option for a one-month free trial vis-a-vis your iTunes account.
Taking HBO up on the offer isn't without a catch: You're automatically enrolled into the program, which means you'll need to physically unsubscribe at the end of the free month-long trial to stop your card from getting charged.
Despite that one shortcoming, there's a lot to like here. Unlike its sister service HBO Go, there's no cable subscription required, nor are you locked into a contract.
At launch, HBO Now is limited to the US, unfortunately, but we've reached out to HBO to see if it has any plans to release the service in the UK in the near future.

How do I get it?

Subscribing to the service is cake … if you own an Apple device or live in the big Apple. iOS users can just head to the App Store and download the HBO Now app. From there you'll be prompted to create a new account and start your one month free trial. Apple TV users can mirror these steps on their devices.
However! If you're a resident of New York City and subscribe to Cablevision, there's actually a third way to get HBO Now by adding it to your basic cable package.
If you don't fit into one of those categories, you're out of luck. At least for the next three months. Apple and Cablevision signed a three-month exclusivity deal with HBO, but when that ends we assume it will be open season for every set-top box and game console under the sun.

New content (updated May 2015)

X-Men: Days of Future Past
The great wheels of the Marvel universe, like Thanos's schemes for universal domination, never stop turning. If you've already seen the new Avengers movie and you're still itching for a tights and spandex fix, Days of Future Past - starring the venerable Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan among others - will help feed your superhuman superhero addiction.
Everyone knows Godzilla's origin story by now: a nuclear power plant and lizards don't mix. The 2014 incarnation of the seminal monster movie features Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) taking down the mean, green, killing machine before it destroys the San Francisco Bay Area.
YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIhKAQX5izw
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Season 2
If you have HBO Now, you need to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The team at Last Week Tonight does an incredible job researching pertinent political issues while making it understandable - and humorous - for the layman.

Best shows on HBO Now

Great original programming is HBO's bread and butter. While nearly every show deserves a call out, I feel the following are the best shows on the service.
Game of Thrones - Like Winter, you probably knew this one was coming. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice saga has enraptured us season after season with its brutal telling of lords and ladies fighting, conniving and … uh, kissing, to win a horribly uncomfortable looking chair. There are currently four seasons on HBO Now, with a fifth season available starting April 12.
The Wire - Shows about cops and robbers were a dime a dozen in the late '90s and early 2000s. It seems like every week there was a new crime drama that either took place in the courthouse or out on the streets where gritty, foul-mouthed badges upheld the law with a sidearm and implacable morals. The Wire is a lot like the old shows, sure, but it improves upon them by giving you truly deep characters on both sides of the law that you wanted to succeed, and some you just can't wait to see bite a bullet. There are five seasons currently available on HBO Now.
Silicon Valley - I know what you're thinking, "Nick, how can you recommend Silicon Valley when the show goes out of its way to mention TechCrunch and Engadget, and purposefully leaves out good ol' TechRadar?" Well, that's a good question. But we all make mistakes, and one day the awesome show about the people who run this crazy region will recognize true technology journalism when it sees it. You may as well start watching this excellent show right now, however, as that day could take awhile. There is currently one season on HBO Now with a new season set to debut April 12.

Best movies on HBO Now

In addition to TV shows, HBO Now offers a bevy of full-length films to choose from. These are some of the best.
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Weird, quirky and quintessential Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel is easily one of the best films of last year. Following the adventures of a dutiful bell clerk on his rise to the top, TGBH will make you laugh one minute and cry your eyes out the next as Anderson weaves a beautiful yarn in exotic and too-often-dangerous lands.
12 Years a Slave - "They're not going to show that," you think to yourself. "There's no way they can show someone getting beaten within an inch of their lives." Guess what? They can and they do. 12 Years a Slave is the brutal, true story of one man who was born free but is taken into the slave trade to endure some of the worst cruelty humanity has ever known. It won three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe and it's available on HBO Now.

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Google shuts down Map Maker to plunge its spam problem
Google shuts down Map Maker to plunge its spam problem
After publicly apologizing for the image of the Android mascot peeing on an Apple Logo that appeared on Google maps, the search company plans to turn off custom map editing until it can deal with pranksters.
Apparently since the initial incident, which also included a separate image defaming Google's review policy, spammers have escalated the number of attacks and added obscene edits. Now in an attempt to poo poo on the prankster party, Google has announced it will temporarily taken its Map Maker crowd-sourced map editing tool offline starting May 12.
"We have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months," Pavithra Kanakarajan, Google Product Manager, wrote in a release. "As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe, [un]till we figured out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents."
Following the discovery of prank images and spam edits, Google promised to improve its spam detection system for the Map Maker, now it appears that isn't enough.
According to Kanakarajan, Google plans to temporarily disable editing across all countries until it has brought its moderation system back online. Though there isn't any hard date on when map editing will come back, Kanakarajan stresses this will be a temporary solution and one they hope to resolve as soon as possible.

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Another auto executive meets with Apple, but won't say why
Another auto executive meets with Apple, but won't say why
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne, raising further speculation into Apple's future role in the auto industry.
Reuters reports that Marchionne met with Cook on his recent trip to California, also meeting with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. This stands unique with Tesla's lack of collaboration with other manufacturers in the past.
Marchionne also took a ride in Google's self-driving car while he was in the neighborhood, but his meeting with Apple's head honcho drew the most attention.

Cook wants to conquer the car

It has been widely speculated for years that Apple is working out a route to enter the auto industry, with an electric car reportedly set for production in 2020, and rumors of a self-driving car in the works. Apple's electric car project, codenamed 'Titan', would thrust Apple into the world of motor vehicles and set itself up to rival electric car pioneer Tesla.
According to Marchionne, however, the meeting was focused on expanding Apple's integration in vehicles, something that the Cupertino firm has been striving toward for some time. The company has released a system called CarPlay for integrating iOS into vehicles for extensive hands-free iPhone use.
Some auto outfits have begun courting Apple and Google in anticipation of their competition in the fields of electric and self-driving cars. Whether this meeting between Cook and Marchionne is in relation to Apple's interest in its very own car, or simply about bringing CarPlay to your next Dodge Dart (or Ferrari 458,) Apple is clearly, deeply interested in automobiles.

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In Depth: What would happen if Microsoft bought Salesforce?
In Depth: What would happen if Microsoft bought Salesforce?
The rumor-mill is in overdrive as speculation continues about Microsoft’s supposed intention to acquire Salesforce. To recap, last week Bloomberg reported that Salesforce, the most popular, fastest growing and perhaps most powerful CRM tool on the planet, has been approached with an acquisition offer that was serious enough to motivate the company to work with financial advisors to consider the option.
You probably have heard that Microsoft, the world's largest software company, may make a bid to acquire the CRM giant.
Assuming a Microsoft bid for Salesforce.com is on the table - Microsoft has firmly denied that one is - it would make a ton of sense as the software company’s CEO Satya Nadella would solidify Microsoft’s position in cloud and mobile computing, where he is already focusing much of the company’s attention and seeking to lessen the company’s focus on the declining personal computer industry. A year ago, Microsoft and Salesforce worked out a deal that allows customers to access Salesforce.com and run operations from Windows-based systems and devices.
The marriage between the two companies would easily create the biggest acquisition in enterprise software history. It's like getting the best of both worlds.

The cloud

The cloud is clearly where Microsoft is investing for the future of its business, so a union would grow its offerings and help plug a lot of holes by acquiring an army of cloud coders and give a clear advantage in the cloud battle. The battle in cloud is not as much about who can provide the cloud infrastructure - the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - but who can build out their cloud offerings to more than just the virtual machines delivered through the Microsoft Azure platform. And this is where Salesforce comes into play.
It's this thinking that has made Salesforce the more than $5 billion, cloud-based CRM company that it is. The Salesforce platform is one of the fastest growing enterprise IT platforms by all measures - number of transactions, number of customers, number of developers, and number of apps. Microsoft is good at building developer tools, and if the company marries those with Salesforce’s cloud platform it could be a way for Microsoft to transition the millions of .NET developers into the cloud world. A purchase of Salesforce would secure the future of this initiative almost entirely and allow Microsoft to focus their efforts on building Azure's reputation in the cloud market.
What’s more, integrating Salesforce natively with Microsoft’s productivity tools, Outlook and Office, and its own CRM tool, Dynamics CRM, would provide Microsoft with a highly personalized CRM integrated with your emails and calendars. This intersection of tools would solidify Exchange’s position in the email world and guard against Gmail’s advancements while also improving Microsoft’s CRM positioning. With Apple giving away Mac OS and the productivity apps and Google selling Google Apps for next to nothing, the market is in a race to the bottom.
Take Microsoft’s core strategy, Office 365 and Windows, and think about integrating it with Salesforce’s core strategy, CRM apps, and making a combined offering that offers more value to all users. Outlook is already an amazing platform for e-mail and correspondence, plus the power of Salesforce integration will mean keeping track of your tasks seamlessly. Imagine getting custom data, graphs, pivots, etc. in Excel sheets and then having that data funneling automatically back and forth between your CRM system. A Salesforce cloud integration with OneDrive can bring CRM in a snap of our fingers on all devices across all tools with one unified technology. Unifying the product offering by creating integration into various other Microsoft products, and offering bulk licensing discounts in conjunction with Azure, Windows Enterprise, and various other software-as-a-service products could give Microsoft added leverage to gain a significant market position in various software verticals.
It would also play to Microsoft’s traditional strength as an enterprise technology provider, further distancing the company from rivals such as Apple and Google. They're both commodity providers of software, and only Microsoft and a few other companies are really proficient at direct software monetization. Microsoft needs to build out this moat even further by reducing the number of competitors with which it has to compete.

Next phase of the mobile revolution

Additionally, Salesforce has become the leading force in enterprise technology in the wearables and machine-to-machine space. There is plenty of room for exploration by Microsoft and opportunities for development as wearables in the enterprise are a large, untapped market segment in military, law enforcement, EMS, healthcare, maintenance, assembly, design, and transportation.
The potential buyout will open up new opportunities for wearable app development, as the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack is already a frontrunner in open source starter apps, including reference applications, tools, and codes for developing wearable business processes that can connect to the cloud-based Salesforce1 Platform. For example, ShiftExpert by ClickSoftware, is a native Salesforce1 Mobile ready app that works with Android smartphones to allow employees to automatically clock in and out of work, and then the app incorporates that data into a digital timesheet.
A union with Microsoft could give the two companies the leading device and reporting mechanism by integrating Microsoft Band and Hololens with Salesforce's data and analytics tools. Imagine how much easier training and collaboration could be if you are able to project a holographic image into your workspace through an augmented reality (AR) interface. Among the technology's potential applications is the ability for offsite trainers to show employees how to work through complex tasks by projecting instructions over the real life projects from their glasses.
If Microsoft hammers out a deal, the company stands to gain an army of cloud experts, a major foothold in the San Francisco tech recruiting market, and some of the most popular tools businesses use to manage customer relationships in the cloud.
Microsoft, valued at $385 billion, has already notched two major tech deals in recent years. In September 2013, Microsoft announced it would acquire Nokia's handset business for $7 billion. Last September, Microsoft scooped up the video game franchise Minecraft for $2.5 billion. With Salesforce's market value estimated at $50 billion, a potential acquisition would likely make history.

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Nintendo's next console, the NX, is more than a 'simple replacement' for the Wii U
Nintendo's next console, the NX, is more than a 'simple replacement' for the Wii U
Little is known about the Nintendo NX, the company's mysterious new console. However, during a recent investors Q&A, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata dropped a couple more hints that should frustrate and intrigue in equal measure.
As he'd previously stated, Iwata reiterated that the company won't talk more about the NX until 2016. He also said Nintendo "cannot talk about the time period when it [the NX] will go on sale or what it's like".
The next bit is slightly more interesting: "Because we are calling it a 'new concept', we are not thinking of this as a 'simple replacement' for the 3DS or the Wii U."

Say what?

It's frustratingly foggy, and don't expect to hear any more hints at E3 2015. Nintendo also won't be discussing its mobile games or quality of life platform there.
So no NX, no QoL and no Zelda - what WILL we get? At this point it just has to be a new Metroid, right?
Right guys?

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Review: Monster SuperStar BackFloat
Review: Monster SuperStar BackFloat
Water-resistance in Bluetooth speakers has been a saving grace for beach bums and shower singers alike. But even so, it's still rare that a Bluetooth speaker ever gets the chance to take a full-on dip with you in the water. Monster is the latest to answer that call with the SuperStar BackFloat.
For $169 (£119, about AU$214), the SuperStar BackFloat floats on its back in water, pumps out a loud sound and offers support for calls, to boot. But even with an adequate feature set, the novelty of a floating Bluetooth speaker doesn't outweigh the high asking price and a few performance-related issues.


Being the waterproof floatation device that it is, you'd think that the Monster SuperStar BackFloat would be shaped like a lifesaver or a neon pool toy. Thankfully, that's not the case. The speaker is small, easy enough to grip with one hand and is simple, yet confident in its design.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
The SuperStar BackFloat owes its aquatic ability to its lightweight build, coming in at a half a pound. Also deserving of thanks is the silicone that wraps around the unit as a life jacket of sorts. This slip protects from drops and dings and yields a slick, unibody appearance.
On top of the SuperStar BackFloat, there is a panel of buttons that perform a fairly standard set of functions. From left to right, there is a Bluetooth connect button, which also picks up calls with a single press, volume increase and decrease buttons to its right and finally, a power button. Each button responds with a tactile click, and bright LEDs hugging the panel provide status indicators that are helpful. To the left of the lineup of buttons is a microphone for taking calls on your Android or iOS device.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
On its side, a flap in the silicone layer covers two inputs: a micro USB port to charge the speaker and a 3.5mm input for plugging in your wired devices. Monster instructs that it's crucial to make sure that the flap is closed if you're taking it for a dip.
Covering the front of the speaker is a black grille that allows you to peek through at its two tweeters. In the middle of the unit, there's some branding that surrounds the forward-firing passive radiator. The radiator helps the SuperStar BackFloat push out a loud sound that, at times, defies its small form factor.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
Monster includes a breathable mesh tote to carry the SuperStar BackFloat in when it's not being used. There's a micro USB cable for charging in the box as well.


It's tough to sort out what the biggest selling point of Monster's SuperStar BackFloat is, and that's mostly because it does most of what it sets out to do quite well. The speaker has an appealing design, it floats in water like a champ – but it can do more than that.
Sound performance is also a strength of the BackFloat. As you'd hope from a Monster audio product, the dual tweeters and passive radiator team up to push out a sound that is powerful. Most of the time, this Bluetooth speaker has no issue reproducing songs faithfully.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
However, the speaker places its focus on gutsy mids. Highs and lows are still present, but they each represent a fragile limitation of the BackFloat. If a song is pushing the low-end or coming through heavy on highs, the sound gets a bit too distorted for my liking.
When you're listening to the SuperStar BackFloat in a non-aquatic environment, it sits at a slight tilt. Monster says that this listening angle offers the best sound performance. This claim presents a predicament if you're using this speaker primarily in the water. When floating along, the speaker aims straight up, so you won't be hearing your music at the optimal angle. If you're willing to forgive a hit in performance for the ability to float, you'll find that the sound is still quite serviceable.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
In a large bathtub, the BackFloat does a good job riding the waves and not becoming easily submerged, which is something you definitely don't want to do too much of. So long as you aren't cannonballing, keeping it afloat shouldn't be a problem. It's alright to get some water on the BackFloat, but too much splash on the sound drivers and passive radiator really muddles up the sound. Thankfully, it's an easy issue to remedy. Just remove it from water, strip away its silicone cover and let everything dry out.
Monster's floating speaker connects via Bluetooth easily, and the wireless tether is strong. My phone was close to 30 feet away (the length of my studio apartment) without any loss in signal. The built-in microphone is sensitive enough to pick up my voice from a few feet away, no matter where I'm standing around the speaker.
The one key area where the SuperStar BackFloat falls short is with battery life. If you're taking this speaker out to use in the water, you'll probably be away from an electrical source for a while.
Monster SuperStar BackFloat review
With that, the seven hours of advertised battery life isn't enough for the price, especially when compared to some cheaper competition in its size class, like the UE Mini Boom. I was able to stretch the BackFloat's battery close to eight hours at a consistent volume, but the UE Mini Boom offers ten hours of battery life and is a whole lot more affordable at $99 (£79, AU$99).

Final verdict

What the Monster SuperStar BackFloat does best is in the name. It floats in water on its back and plays your tunes. Other than that admittedly cool ability, this Bluetooth speaker doesn't offer up much in the way of game-changing features.
This speaker's high asking price, average battery performance and limited range in sound cast a shadow that its cool ability to float can't quite escape. However, if you do look past its price and many flaws, you'll enjoy this semi-amphibious speaker.

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Lenovo's new LaVie Z suffers convertible problems
Lenovo's new LaVie Z suffers convertible problems
Lenovo has been forced to admit to a major flaw on its LaVie Z 360 convertible that means it only offers half the fun it was supposed to come packaged with.
First reported by Consumer Reports, Lenovo cited "a couple of missteps" in a letter to the site that explains two of the four different modes are not functioning correctly and it has resulted in a 5% price cut.
One of the missteps means that when the device is used in "tent" mode the screen doesn't auto-rotate and simply displays an upside down image. The letter went on to explain that you can use Windows commands to fix it but that "this is not a great user experience."

Wait, there's more

That isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Lenovo went on to explain that in "stand" mode the keyboard doesn't automatically deactivate like it's supposed to.
"A user may be okay in Stand Mode with LaVie Z lying flat on a table, but if it were on your lap for example, the keys may depress and once again cause an unsatisfactory user experience," the letter went on to say.
It sounds as though Lenovo may have been a little quick off the mark in bringing the product out, the company admitting the problems occurred because of its "haste" in trying to get the product to market as quickly as possible.

The 'world's lightest'

Lenovo isn't planning to delay shipments. The computers will be shipping on time, but with a 5% discount. Lenovo has already moved to change the sales page for the LaVie Z 360 so that it now advertises just tablet and laptop modes.
The LaVie Z is, by Lenovo's own admission, the "world's lightest" ultrabook and is made from a magnesium-lithium alloy chassis and back cover that is 50% lighter than aluminium. Despite that, it packs an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD as standard and even comes with an LED display that can hit WQHD levels.

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Breaking Bad TV show and GTA 5 game inspire malware author
Breaking Bad TV show and GTA 5 game inspire malware author
A new piece of crypto ransomware with a twist has emerged in Australia, one whose author seems to have been inspired by the popular TV show Breaking Bad.
Trojan.Cryptolocker.S was identified by security firm Symantec and shares quite a few things in common with the award winning series. For starters, the author(s) used the Los Pollos Hermanos branding image (and logo) that is featured extensively in the show.
Part of the extortion email used for "support-related inquiries" uses a quote – 'theonewhoknocks' – from the show's protagonist, Walter White.
The malware encrypts files on the target computer using a random Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) key, and the private key can only be obtained by paying the attackers.
Opening the payment page causes a YouTube video to launch in the background playing a song used in a fictional radio station in the game Grand Theft Auto V.
Victims are then ordered to pay up to AU$1,000 (about £520, $800) in order to get their files unlocked (although there's absolutely no certainty that the criminals will keep their word).

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Updated: Google's new Nexus might come with a smaller sibling
Updated: Google's new Nexus might come with a smaller sibling
Update: Rumours of a second Nexus phone have also leaked out suggesting a smaller 5.2-inch handset made by LG will be revealed at a similar time to the larger handset.
The news comes from Android Police's Artem Russakovskii, who has a good history of getting this kind of thing right, but he does note things change along the way.
Original story: Google's Nexus phone launches have never really followed the schedule of other companies, so while we've seen a lot of high-profile handsets make their bow in the first half of 2015, this year's Nexus has yet to appear.
When it does show up, we're expecting Huawei to be the company behind the phone, and a well-informed Chinese analyst has just joined up a few more dots in regards to what's in store.
He says the new Nexus will feature a 5.7-inch display with a QHD (1440 x 2560 pixel) resolution. It's also going to come with the Snapdragon 810 installed, according to people with the inside track on Google's plans.

5, 6 or 7?

Exactly where this fits into the Nexus line-up isn't very clear. Some rumours suggest the Huawei phone will be a replacement for the Nexus 5 while others say it's the successor to the Nexus 6. We've also heard whispers of a second top-end Nexus coming this year made by LG.
With a 5.7-inch screen the Huawei Nexus would fit right between the 4.95-inch display of the Nexus 5 and the 5.96-inch display found on the Nexus 6. It looks like fans of small displays are going to be out of luck.
Of course the Nexus 7 name is already taken so Google's going to have to do some imaginative thinking to come up with a new numbering system - or perhaps it will just keep the 5, 6 and 7 names in place and release new versions every year or two.
Via PocketNow

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