Wednesday, September 30, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 01/10/2015


SBS injecting food into your eyeballs 24 hours a day with new digital channel
SBS injecting food into your eyeballs 24 hours a day with new digital channel
Australians love themselves some cooking shows. From Masterchef to My Kitchen Rules to Huey's cooking adventures, the art of turning raw ingredients into delectable dishes has a tendency to get Aussie mouths watering.
So it's not really all that surprising that Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has announced its plans to launch a 24 hour a day digital TV channel dedicated entirely to food.
In order to meet its cultural diversity charter, the channel will combine original SBS programming with some of the best cooking shows from around the world in order to celebrate diversity through food.

Now they're cooking with gas

SBS head honcho Michael Ebeid claimed in the announcement that the new food channel – which as yet down't have an official name – won't be a portal for reality TV shows like Master Chef though.
Destination Flavour, Rachel Khoo's Cooking Notebook, and the Luke Nguyen series will all feature prominently on the channel, but SBS is keen to emphasise the content will be very different to the commercial networks.
It's also not clear yet whether the content will make its way to SBS On Demand.
The SBS food channel is expected to begin broadcasting in November. It also won't require any changes to the current SBS channels, either in funding or programming.

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How technology is enabling Pixar's The Good Dinosaur
How technology is enabling Pixar's The Good Dinosaur

The future of Pixar

Highly regarded and fiercely imaginative, the films of Pixar Animation Studio are known for their ability to strike an emotional chord with audiences and critics alike, while pushing the technology of animation in bold new directions.
While the company has gone on record saying that it places characters above technology when developing its stories, there's no denying that the tech behind its latest film, The Good Dinosaur, has allowed the film to embrace a dino-sized scope unlike any other film it's made before.
Though the studio elected not to release a film last year (making it the first year since 2005 to not yield new entry in the Pixar canon), the extra time has allowed it to regain its mojo and return with a vengeance in 2015, having already released the hugely successful masterpiece, Inside Out, and gearing up to release its next film, The Good Dinosaur, at the end of the year.
This makes 2015 the first year that Pixar has ever released two feature films, and the studio's not slowing down there – in 2016 we'll be getting Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, followed by Toy Story 4 and the brand new property, Coco, in 2017.
techradar was given the opportunity to attend a presentation highlighting the tech behind The Good Dinosaur headed by Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios – as an added treat, Morris also divulged some inside info on the company's upcoming slate of films.

The Good Dinosaur

Arlo and Spot in The Good Dinosaur
The road to releasing The Good Dinosaur was not what you'd call a smooth one – originally set to release last year, Pixar's head honchos decided to push the film back for 18 months while it went back to the drawing board.
Though original director Bob Peterson (Up) came up with the idea for The Good Dinosaur, he was eventually replaced by first-time feature director and long-time Pixar team member Peter Sohn (director of the Pixar short, Partly Cloudy).
While we may never know what The Good Dinosaur might've looked like back in its original form, the version we'll eventually get looks like another Pixar winner, with a twist on the familiar 'boy and his dog' tale that sees a talking Apatosaurus named Arlo in the role of the boy, and a grunting feral boy named Spot in the role of the dog.
Pixar showed several clips during the presentation, all of which displayed the film's remarkable environmental effects work – Morris opened the presentation with a clip of a tree branch with rainwater running off its leaves that looked completely real in motion. Needless to say, computer generated foliage has come a long way since A Bug's Life.
Leaves and branches
The next clip was one in which Arlo is separated from his family and thrown into a raging river – the water effects on display were extraordinarily realistic, with Arlo tumbling through the rapids and swept under the surface, trying desperately to keep his head above water.
Arlo in the water
The film's settings are unlike anything seen in a Pixar movie until this point, with a focus on large and extremely accurate open areas – Morris explained that the film's environments were created using terrain mapping technology to capture the actual geometry of several areas found in the American wilderness. As the camera pulls back further and further, our heroes become tiny specs on an enormous canvas.
The terrain of The Good Dinosaur
Pixar has also updated the technology used to create clouds in the film, ditching the 'sky matte' paintings that are traditionally used in animated films in favour of realistic digital clouds made of millions of particles – this volume of 'thinking particles' is particularly useful for a scene in which Arlo tosses Spot up through the clouds while running along the ridge of a mountain.
But with all the whiz-bang computer-generated imagery on display, the way these characters emotionally resonate with us is what will truly make or break The Good Dinosaur, and all signs point to another heart-wrenching film from the studio – one scene, in which Arlo and Spot use sticks to communicate to each other about what happened to their families brought tears to our eyes, and it was just a small, out-of-context scene. Better keep a handkerchief handy for this one.
Still, a scene featuring a family of peer-pressuring T-Rexs (voiced by Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin and A.J. Buckley) provided some laughs, so it won't all be sad – we'll know more when the film releases in Australia on Boxing Day (November 25 in the U.S. and November 27 in the U.K.)

The rest of Pixar's upcoming lineup

While we didn't get any technological insight into the rest of Pixar's roadmap, we were given a look at what we can expect from the company between now and 2018.

Finding Dory

Finding Dory
Next on Pixar's slate of films is Finding Dory, the sequel to the colossally successful film, Finding Nemo. Though the film's title may suggest that it follows Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (now voiced by Hayden Rolence) as they search for a missing Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the film's premise actually has the father-son team helping the notoriously forgetful fish to find herself – i.e. the place she originally came from.
Finding Dory is packed with new characters, including Dory's parents, who are played by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, an octopus (or septopus, as he's missing one of his tentacles) named Hank (Ed O'Neill), a beluga whale named Bailey (Ty Burrell), Kaitlin Olson as Destiny, Dory's adopted sister who believes she's a whale but is actually a whale shark, and a few more surprises, including a great reunion of cast members from The Wire in the addition of Idris Elba and Dominic West.
Morris revealed that most of the film takes place in a facility in Monterey on Central California's Pacific coast. One very funny scene (shown above) saw Hank the fruitlessly attempt to trade Dory for her flipper tag so that he can avoid going back to the sea – a feat that's almost impossible as Dory continually forgets what they're negotiating for.

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4
Though Morris and the rest of the Pixar crew felt that had a fantastic trilogy in the first three Toy Story films, promising each other that they wouldn't come back to the franchise unless they had a fantastic story that was "worth it", the team feels they've found that in the premise of the fourth film.
Toy Story 4 is essentially a love story, revolving around Woody (Tom Hanks) and his relationship with Bo Peep, which we briefly saw in flashback during Toy Story 3.
With the help of his right-hand man, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Woody sets out to find his long lost love, who was either lost a sold a long time ago – expect plenty of wacky adventures and new characters along the way.
In an effort to keep the series fresh, a new screenwriting team was brought on in Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, while John Lasseter is back in the director's chair.


Finally, Jim Morris rounded out his presentation by offering a sneak peek at Coco, Pixar's upcoming Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) themed film. This Mexican holiday sees the living honour their dead loved ones by building shrines and leaving the deceased's favourite meals on them. It's also common for people to dress in skeleton garb, so that the dead might confuse our world with the Underworld and stay behind.
Coco is about a young Mexican boy named Miguel who sets off on an adventure in this Underworld, which may or may not lead to him meeting with his deceased relatives.
Though the Pixar president did not have any footage to show from the actual film, he did show us a 'diorama' test video, which was made to capture its target vibe and act as a visual guide to artists and animators.
The footage shown was sensational, beginning in a graveyard before heading into the Underworld to show festive skeletons (decked out in traditional Día de Muertos style) dancing (while swapping skulls and torsos), singing and playing Mariachi music in the streets.
The diorama video was extremely vibrant and energetic, so we expect that the finished film will be a feast for the senses – even if it does deal with themes similar to Guillermo del Toro's 2014 animated film, The Book of Life.

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Versus: New Chromecast vs old Chromecast: what's changed
Versus: New Chromecast vs old Chromecast: what's changed

New Chromecast vs old Chromecast

New Chromecast vs old Chromecast
The latest pint-sized streaming stick might not look wildly different from its predecessor, but there are a surprising amount of changes in store for the new Chromecast in 2015.
From an all-new Chromecast app that promises to deliver universal search functionality to the upgraded 2.4/5Ghz Wi-Fi antenna that supports 802.11ac, the differences are small in number but have the potential to completely reshape the streaming landscape (just like the first Chromecast did before it).
Here's an early look at all the differences between Google's latest living room gadget and its now two-year-old predecessor.
Read: The new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio are all about the hi-res streaming

The new name

New Chromecast vs old Chromecast
Let's start with the most confusing aspect of the latest iteration of Chromecast: its name. It's called the new Chromecast. Not Chromecast 2. Not Chromecast 2015. New Chromecast.
Confusing, I know, but hey, at least Google didn't take a page from Microsoft's book and call it the Chromecast One, confusing every person to ever talk about the device.

The new design

New Chromecast vs old Chromecast
A new name? Of course it has one. A new processor and better antenna? Even a novice techie could see those coming from a mile away. The switch from a streaming stick to a circular piece of plastic attached to an HDMI adapter? Now that's outta left field.
No matter how strange it may seem at first, Google's decision to drop the rigid stick form factor for something more flexible is a practical one and should allow for people who before couldn't fit the streamer in back of their TVs to finally join in.
Here's the other exciting part: the new Chromecast will come in three colors - Black, Coral and Lemonade - instead of just one.

The new internals

new chromecast vs old chromecast
If there's any reason to be disappointed in the new Chromecast, the internal components are it. The biggest change going on inside the disc is a new dual-channel 2.4/5Ghz WiFi antenna that supports 802.11ac wireless. It's not much, honestly, but Google has claimed it will make all the difference in the world to owners of the old Chromecast.
At its event, Google claimed to see two to four times the performance of the new antenna over the old one, resulting in faster streaming and less time buffering.
Thankfully, the antenna is just one part of the solution to slow-loading video. Google, a software company by trade, has one more trick up its sleeve.

The new app

new chromecast vs old chromecast
The other half of the solution to slow-loading video is the all-new Chromecast app. Where the last generation app only had two purposes - setting up the Chromecast and finding new apps - the new app should be useful throughout the life of the product.
For example, using a feature called "fast play,"a prediction algorithm that determines what you might watch next based on your previous choices and starts to pre-buffer the video before you start it, videos start the instant you click on them.
And because Google built universal search - a way to search multiple sources for content simultaneously - you won't have to waste time individually scouring every streaming service for the show or movie you want to watch.

The new ... wait, old price

New Chromecast vs old Chromecast
Google saved the best surprise for last: the price. Instead of marking up the price of the Chromecast to meet the competition - the Amazon Fire TV Stick, for example, will set you back $50 - Google is charging a mere $35/£28 for its latest living room ware.
If you do the math (er, Google Search) that's the same price as the current generation model. But, considering the holidays are right around the corner, it's not a bad move on Google's part to come in well under the cost of its closest rivals. Plus, it makes it that much easier to justify picking one up.
The new Chromecast launched today on the Google Store in the US, UK and Japan, and is expected to launch in a handful of other countries before the holiday season.

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Google Maps finally finds its way onto Apple Watch
Google Maps finally finds its way onto Apple Watch
It's been a big day for Google with the announcements of its new phones, the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X but there's been an update to Apple's wearable that we've been waiting for from Google: Maps is now on the Apple Watch.
Google Maps wasn't part of the big watchOS 2 update for the Apple Watch but it's finally available to download through the iTunes store.
It's not the fully fledged Maps you'd get on your phone, but it's better than nothing if you're still not thrilled about using Apple Maps.
With Google Maps on the Watch, you'll get a simple interface that shows an arrow displaying the distance traveled before another direction is given. Right now, only "Home" and "Work" show up on the main screen. However, once you input directions on your phone, they should show up on your wrist.
It's unclear if Google has voice directions through the Watch like Apple Maps but we'll be giving it a test soon to find out.

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Versus: Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: which new Google phone is better?
Versus: Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: which new Google phone is better?
This year Google has unveiled not one but two new Nexus phones, with a successor to both last year's Nexus 6 and 2013's Nexus 5.
The Nexus 5X is an affordable 5.2-inch handset while the Nexus 6P is a pricier 5.7-inch phablet, so the phones are aimed at different users, but there's a whole lot more to them than that. So how do these two new phones compare? And which one is better?


Of these two handsets, the Nexus 6P is undoubtedly the most eye-catching, with its full metal body and bulging lip.
Nexus 6P
That bulge isn't likely to win it many fans, but its premium construction still leaves it looking far higher end than the plastic-clad Nexus 5X. At 7.3mm thick the Nexus 6P is also a little slimmer than the 7.9mm Nexus 5X, though there are many similar elements, such as the fingerprint scanner and 'nexus' logos that both phones have.
They're launching in a slightly different selection of colours, with both phones arriving in black or white, but the Nexus 5X also having a greenish-blue option, while the Nexus 6P will come in a silver variety.
Nexus 5X


There's just as much difference between the two phones here, as while the Nexus 5X has a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen the Nexus 6P has a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 one, making it both far larger and far sharper, at around 515 pixels per inch, to the Nexus 5X's 424ppi one.
Nexus 6P
The sheer size of the Nexus 6P means it might even benefit from all those extra pixels, though the Nexus 5X should hardly feel like it's lacking in sharpness.
Nexus 5X

Power and performance

The Nexus 5X has a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM, so it should have quite a lot of power, but it's beaten by the octa-core Snapdragon 810 packing Nexus 6P, which also has an extra gigabyte of RAM at 3GB.
Nexus 6P
That puts the Nexus 6P comfortably in flagship territory, with the likes of the Sony Xperia Z5 for company, while the Nexus 5X is still high-end but not quite top tier.
The Nexus 6P also has more potential storage, with a choice of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB, while the Nexus 5X comes in just 16GB and 32GB sizes. That's still a reasonable amount, but as neither phone has a microSD card slot you'll probably want as much as you can get.
Nexus 5X


One area where you won't find much difference is the camera, as both the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have 12.3MP snappers on the back designed to excel in low-light.
Nexus 5X camera
There's a slight difference with the front-facing cameras though, as while the Nexus 6P has a generous 8MP one, the Nexus 5X has a slightly lesser 5MP shooter.


There's nothing at all to choose when it comes to the OS, as both phones run a stock version of Android Marshmallow and both will likely be supported with regular OS updates for quite a while.


Both new Nexus phones have sizable batteries, with the Nexus 5X using a 2,700mAh one and the Nexus 6P powered by a mammoth 3,450mAh one. Both handsets should hopefully be able to withstand over a day of use then, but of the two the Nexus 6P is likely to be the more impressive performer.
Nexus 6P USB Type-C
The Nexus 6P and 5X also both support USB Type-C connectors, allowing you to plug the cable in either way round.

Price and availability

The Nexus 5X starts at $379/£339 (about AU$449), while the Nexus 6P will be available from $499/£449 (about AU$599), so the 6P is quite a lot more expensive, but still a bargain compared to a lot of flagships.
Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P
It justifies the extra cost as well, given that it has a larger, higher-resolution screen, a more premium design and more power. You can't actually get your hands on either phone yet, but they'll both be available in October (pre-orders started today in the US).


There's a whole lot of differences between the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P beyond just their screen sizes. The 6P has a more premium metal build, a higher-resolution display, more power and a bigger battery. That said, it's also more expensive and less pocket-friendly.
There's little difference in the two phone's cameras, no difference in the OS and they have many of the same features, such as a fingerprint scanner and USB-C.
If money is no object and you see a massive screen as a good thing, than the Nexus 6P looks to be the better phone. It's certainly the more premium of the two. But if you're after something more affordable and more understated, the Nexus 5X could be the phone for you.

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Twitter may axe its 140-character limit
Twitter may axe its 140-character limit
If you frequently find yourself needing to say more than what Twitter's 140-character limit allows, here's some good new - Twitter is reportedly working on a way to let users go beyond the current character limit.
'People familiar' with Twitter's plans say that the new product would allow people to post "long-form content to the service," according to Recode.
Of course, it isn't clear on what it will look like, or even if it will be a completely new service or a tweak to Twitter itself, but the hope is to bolster growth of the social media.

'140 Plus'

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that interim CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey is pushing a project that is internally called "140 Plus."
The project is basically looking at the different ways Twitter could extend the 140 character limit, but again, there still isn't a clear indication yet if it will be a new product or a simply updating Twitter with a larger character limit.
And if it does extend the limit, the question would then be by how much? According to sources speaking to Recode, there has also been discussions about how the 140-character limit is measured, and possibly removing links and user handles from the count.
Extending the limit could potentially increase user growth, or at least garner more interest in the service - or it could end up annoying current users who love the limited character space.
We'll be getting in contact with Twitter for comment, but we doubt we'll get a confirmation.

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AMD shows thin and light business notebooks can still be powerful
AMD shows thin and light business notebooks can still be powerful
AMD unveiled its first enterprise-centric mobile processor in Mexico City, Mexico alongside HP's launch of the HP EliteBook 705 G3, the first commercial notebook to debut with AMD silicon.
The most significant thing about the EliteBook 705 G3 is its slim design. HP claims that the notebook is the world's slimmest and lightest commercial Ultrabook, edging out the even more premium priced HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1, a notebook that ships with Intel's first generation Core M processor. Unlike the Core M, the AMD A12 Pro on the highest configuration of the EliteBook 705 G3 still uses a fan, and you still see air vents on the plastic undercarriage of the notebook.
The 25W processor is more powerful than Intel's 15W architecture on Core M, and it delivers more performance at a more affordable price. The AMD A12 GPU is a quad-core CPU with 8 integrated graphic cores, making it a 12-core design.

AMD A12 Pro architecture

The AMD A12 Pro APU has the fastest clock speed of any notebook processor, coming in at 3.4GHz. AMD claims that performance benchmarks reveal that the APU outclasses existing Core i5 mobile processors from Intel, so it should readily beat the more power conservative Intel Core M CPU. We'll have to wait to benchmark the A12 Pro against Intel's Skylake-based second generation Core M.
With eight GPU cores, AMD claims that the graphic performance is equivalent to or above a 2000 series FirePro graphics. This means that you're getting discrete-class graphics in an integrated design, according to Vladimir Rozanovich, Corporate Vice President of AMD.
Despite packing in so much power, the A12 Pro still delivers all-day battery life, which means over eight hours on a single charge, said Rozanovich. AMD claims that early testing of the A12 Pro on the EliteBook 705 G3 reveals that the processor can deliver over nine hours of battery life.
In terms of raw performance benchmarks, the A12 Pro delivers 31% faster graphics, 19% greater CPU performance and 18% greater multi-threaded performance. Additionally, there is also an AMD Secure Processor, which is based on ARM TrustZone, for hardware-based root of trust applications.

An HP exclusive

Despite announcing Lenovo as a launch partner for the A12 Pro, AMD says that its latest processor will be an HP exclusive.
The exclusive period isn't stipulated in a contract, Rozanovich revealed, but we can expect to see HP as the only A12 Pro vendor for at least six months, given HP's robust portfolio. AMD reveals that HP's historic commitment to AMD, its large mobile portfolio and a dedication to the commercial space makes it a natural partner.
For enterprise users, AMD guarantees a 24-month longevity period for its Pro-class processors as well as 18-month longevity.

From integrated graphics to workstation

When I asked AMD about positioning the A12 Pro as a mobile workstation product given its powerful Radeon R7 graphics, Rozanovich said that this would be the natural progression, and that HP could certainly re-purpose existing products and re-classify them as mobile workstations.
Simply put, it seems like a matter of branding, and if HP chooses to go that route, AMD would get its processors ISV certified. ISV certification would enable IT administrators to confidently choose a product knowing that it has been rigorously tested to deliver consistent performance with popular titles, like Adobe Creative Suite.
Rozanovich revealed that the company isn't afraid that more powerful A-series chips, like the A12 Pro, would cannibalize the discrete FirePro business at AMD. It would only add to the interest for discrete graphics, he said.
One application that could drive corporate users to graphics is virtual reality. Virtual reality glasses like Oculus or HoloLens could drive the need for even more powerful graphics.

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Versus: Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
Versus: Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6

Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 was a departure for Google's Nexus range, moving to a phablet screen size and a flagship price. But it still impressed, thanks to top tier specs and features, plus stock Android on board.
Now, alongside the Nexus 5X, Google has unveiled the Nexus 6P as the successor to the Nexus 6. Lots has changed, including the manufacturer, with Huawei taking the helm instead of Motorola this time. So, how does the new Nexus stack up to the old one?


Past Nexus phones have employed fairly conservative designs, but it's all change with the Nexus 6P and its all-metal body.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
The Nexus 6P, which will be available in silver (Aluminum), black (Graphite) and white (Frost), is the most premium looking Nexus handset yet, thanks to that metal shell. Plus, it's slim at just 7.3mm thick.
The protruding bar at the top helps it stand out, though not necessarily in a good way, as it breaks up the otherwise sleek design of the phone.
Still, it's certainly a more premium prospect than the Nexus 6, which is a chunky 10.1mm thick and has a hard plastic case. It does at least have a metal frame though, which goes some way to hint at the high-end innards.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6


At 5.7 inches, the Nexus 6P actually has a smaller screen than the 5.96-inch Nexus 6, but both are undoubtedly in phablet territory.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
They're both packing 1,440 x 2,560 (QHD) AMOLED screens, making them nice and sharp. The Nexus 6P comes in at around 515 pixels per inch (ppi) and the Nexus 6 achieving 493 ppi.
In theory, there's not a huge amount to choose between the screens, it just depends how substantial of a phablet you want.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6

Power and performance

The Nexus 6 was a powerful phone when it came out, and it still stands up fairly well now, thanks to a 2.7GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM.
But the Nexus 6P has it beat with an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, though it too has 3GB of RAM. Those specs put it on par with many of this year's flagships, like the Sony Xperia Z5 or HTC One M9, while the Nexus 6 is more comparable to last year's phones, as you'd expect.
One other area where you can expect more from the Nexus 6P is storage. While the Nexus 6 comes in 32GB or 64GB sizes, the Nexus 6P is launching in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB varieties. This is especially handy, as there's no microSD card slot in either phone.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6


The 12.3-megapixel (MP) Nexus 6P camera actually has nearly one less megapixel than the 13MP Nexus 6 one. But, as we all know, megapixels aren't everything.
Because, while the Nexus 6 has a solid snapper, it rarely excels and especially struggles in low-light. Google promises the Nexus 6P will handle far better with its 1.4-micron pixels within the sensor. These super-sized pixels are designed to capture more light, hence stronger low-light and indoor photography.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
You can also look forward to improvements from the front-facing camera, as this one has had a megapixel boost, up to an impressive 8MP from just 2MP on the Nexus 6.

Operating system

The Nexus 6P is heading out the gates with Android Marshmallow on board, making it among the first phones to run the latest version of Google's mobile operating system (OS).
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 is one version behind on Android Lollipop, but it's due an update shortly – a week from now, as of this writing. And both phones run stock Android, which both keeps the slick, intuitive design of the OS intact and ensures speedy updates to new versions.
It's worth noting, though, that the Nexus 6P will likely be supported with updates for around a year longer than the Nexus 6, given that it's a year newer.


A fingerprint scanner almost seems like a requirement for a flagship phone at this point, so it's not surprising that the Nexus 6P has one, especially as Google is rolling out Android Pay.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6
The scanner, known as the Nexus Imprint, is in a different position to most, though, as it's sat on the back of the handset, while the typical placement is on the front below the screen, as seen on the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6.
The original Nexus 6 misses out on a fingerprint scanner, so that's one big feature you won't get if you stick with last year's model.


The Nexus 6 has reasonable battery life, with the phone's 3,220mAh juice pack typically lasting between a day and a day and a half with moderate mixed use. But there's always room for improvement.
Nexus 6
There's a good chance we'll see that improvement from the Nexus 6P. Despite having a smaller screen, it's got a larger 3,450mAh battery, so hopefully this will be a long-lasting smartphone.
Both handsets benefit from speedy QuickCharge 2.0 when it comes time to plug them in, but the Nexus 6P has an extra bonus in the form of the new, reversible USB-C port. That makes actually plugging it in less of a hassle.

Price and availability

The Nexus 6P has a starting price of $499 (around £449 / AU$714). While far from cheap, this does mean it undercuts most flagship rivals. It's also a fair bit more affordable than the Nexus 6 was when it first launched, though that's now available from as little as around £300 / $350 / AU$550 in some stores. (Though, the Google Store is still selling the thing for full price, as of this writing.)
The Nexus 6 also has the advantage of being available now, while you can't get hold of a Nexus 6P until later this October through pre-order. Google's yet to announce an official release date.
Nexus 6P vs Nexus 6


With a completely new and very high-end design, a likely better camera, a bigger battery, more power and the addition of a fingerprint scanner, the Nexus 6P looks to be a marked improvement over the Nexus 6.
But it's also more expensive and has a smaller screen, so the Nexus 6 still has its selling points. If you're on a budget or want a truly mammoth device, the Nexus 6 is still a strong buy.
Regardless, the Nexus 6P could well be one of the best phablets of 2015 and the best Nexus device ever, though we won't know for sure until we've put it through our full review.

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HP debuts affordable Z240 workstations complete with Z Turbo Drive G2
HP debuts affordable Z240 workstations complete with Z Turbo Drive G2
Affordable enterprise workstations may never be the same again after HP unveiled its next-generation Z Series lineup.
The Z240 Tower and Z240 SFF come complete with the next generation Z Turbo Drive G2 plus the very latest Intel chips. Both are the newest additions to the entry-level workstation line-up currently headed by the Z230. The machines are aimed at customers in the video editing, MCAD/AEC, education, public sector and image viewing industries.
Both can be configured with a choice of future Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5 family chips including various Intel Core or Intel Pentium options. On the storage front there is space for two ultra-fast HP Z Turbo Drive G2s that can allow users to experience much higher productivity speeds.

What else?

There are various other handy features that HP has added including optional dust filters for up to a 47% reduction in dust, the legacy PCI slot has been removed, and the motherboard size is down 10% on the Z240 Tower. The tower also gets front and rear handle ledges to make the machines far easier to maneuver in the office.
The Z240 Tower can be packed with up to 64GB DDR4 ECC in the RAM department and features various GPU options to keep even the most demanding of image editors happy with what they see on screen.

Smaller = slightly less

HP's teeny Z240 SFF is a 57% smaller workstation that is designed to maintain workstation performance despite the lower space available. As a result it can't offer as high a graphical performance as its larger brother or anywhere near as many ports or empty drive bays.
Speaking of ports, the Z240 Tower packs as many as four USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports, the latter of which includes a fast charging front port designed specifically to add juice to tired devices. In addition it also has two DisplayPort 1.2 slots, a DVI-I single link, two PS/2, an RJ-45, an audio line-in, and an audio line-out
Graphics choices on the Z240 Tower range from integrated Intel HD Graphics 430 all the way up to a high-end 3D AMD FirePro W7100 or NVIDIA Quadro M4000. The Z240 SFF, meanwhile, can only offer a mid-range NVIDIA Quadro K1200 as its top option.
Both workstations can be used with a variety of different monitors, are expected in stores in November and will be priced from $879 (around £580, or AU$1,258) depending on the configuration chosen.

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Review: Updated: Sling TV
Review: Updated: Sling TV

Features and FAQ

Update #1: Sling TV is finally coming to Chromecast, Google announced today at an event in San Francisco. The service will update its app with the functionality sometime in the coming weeks, just in time for the new Chromecast to hit retail shelves.
Update #2: Sling TV is now available on current versions of the Amazon Fire HD and Amazon Fire HDX tablets. We'll update the review with our impressions once we test it for ourselves.
Original review below...
Imagine everything you liked about cable. You probably enjoyed surfing the channels, watching the shows people were talking about when they aired instead of months after. And, if you were lucky enough to own boxes of a certain caliber, pausing and rewinding said TV shows in real time.
Now, imagine everything you hated: the costly bill at the end of the month, the bulky, expensive equipment that marred the side of your house and entertainment center. Not to mention the service contract that never seemed to end.
But what if you could get everything you loved about TV without any of those gripes?
That, in a nutshell, is Sling TV.
It's live TV streaming whenever and wherever. No contracts, no equipment and no costly statement.

Sling TV? Is it the same thing as a Slingbox?

While there are some concepts borrowed from Slingbox, Sling TV is in a different league when it comes to cutting the cord.
Sling TV is a US-only service offered from DISH that allows you to watch the channels you'd typically find on basic cable for $20 a month without a contract, subscription to DISH or any pesky cable equipment on your roof or in your living room.

What devices can I use to watch it?

Create an account on DISH's website and use that info to login to the app on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google's Nexus Player, Xbox One and Roku TV. The service will also work on select LG and Samsung smart TVs, and on Macs and PCs via a website portal. The service is expected to come to Google Chromecast later this year.
Sling TV review
The system is more eloquent than apps like TWC TV or Xfinity, and while the latter is almost universally available, trying to remember whose name and email you use to login can ruin a session before it even starts.

What channels are included?

So far, channels on the basic, $20-per-month plan include ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, AMC, IFC and, most recently, A&E, History, H2, Lifetime, Bloomberg and most recently, Polaris+.
The biggest change to this roster is HBO. Starting April 12 for the premiere of the new season of Game of Thrones, Sling TV will offer live HBO for $15 a month to current "Best of Live TV" subscribers. Also new is the addition of DishWorld multi-lingual content to Sling TV.
In addition to the base subscription, seven add-on packages are available for $5 apiece each month:
  • Kids Extra, with Disney Jr, Disney XD, Boomerang, Duck TV, and Baby TV.
  • Sports Extra, which includes the SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.
  • Lifestyle extra, with Cooking Channel, DIY, truTV, WE tv, FYI, and LMN.
  • Hollywood Extra, which includes live and video-on-demand content from EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, Sundance TV and Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
  • World News Extra, with HLN, News 18 India, Euronews, NDTV 24x7, France24 and RT.
  • Deportes Extra includes Azteca, beIN Español, beIN HD (English), Univison, Univision Deportes and UniMás.
  • Películas & Novelas Extra includes Azteca Corazon, Cinelatino, De Película, De Película Clasico, Pasiones, Univision tlnovelas, Univision and UniMás.


Now, remember when you asked about Slingbox? Well, it's true, Sling TV and Slingbox share a few similarities beyond the first syllable.
Sling TV allows you to pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV on some channels (note the word "some" there), and the ability to watch shows a few days after they've aired.
Sling TV
Also similar to Slingbox, Sling TV lets you watch its service on most mobile devices anywhere in the world. That is, as long as you can establish and maintain a bitrate of about 1.5 Mbps for high-quality streams, 0.8Mbps for medium resolution, and 0.5 Mbps for low-quality.

Sling TV on Roku

TechRadar was given two platforms to test Sling TV. One was Roku (specifically on a Roku 3) and the other was iOS, which we'll get to in a minute.
By and large, the experience on Roku was everything I've come to love about a cable box: simple functionality, clean layout and crisp picture. Installing the app was as easy as going to Roku channel store, finding the Sling TV app and pushing it to my Roku 3.
Coming from the home screen, Sling TV's interface loads up In a matter of seconds. The time it takes to get from home screen to live TV is astonishing - it's leagues faster than the time it takes my DirecTV cable box to boot up.
Once loaded, the stream was crisp and clear. (This obviously is a YMMV situation, as my home setup isn't identical - or even necessarily in the same ballpark - as everyone else.) A quick test of my network showed I was pulling around 26Mbps over Wi-Fi, which worked fairly well at high-quality 1080p 99% of the time.
Sling TV
The only stark contrast to traditional cable, at this point at least, is the amount of content available on Sling TV.
Comparatively, the 40-or-so channels offered on Sling TV are just a drop in the bucket compared to the over-800 I have available on DirecTV. And because you aren't able to record a show like you can on TiVo, you're limited to watching whatever's on or whatever's been on in the past few days.

Sling TV on iOS

Sling TV on iOS is a vastly different experience. Not only are you trading down to a smaller screen size, but you're also losing connection stability and clean interface of the set-top app.
Using an iPhone 5S for testing, I took Sling TV with me for a gauntlet of daily errands. As you might expect, over LTE the stream was nearly flawless. Dropping down to 3G, however, presented real problems as seconds slipped away to buffering screens.
Sling TV review
Problematically, when you return home, continuing what you were watching on your phone isn't as simple as starting up your Roku. You'll need to go into the menu, find the show you were watching and rewind it manually.
Trying to use both a phone and a Roku at the same time won't work either. DISH is clearly (and rightfully) afraid of the account-sharing trap that has befallen HBO Go and Netflix, and doesn't allow two devices using the same account to run the service simultaneously.
Overall, I found the iOS experience less enjoyable than the set-top app, but still impressive. Being able to take TV figuratively anywhere is an appealing, practical proposition for morning commuters or long-distance travelers.

Sling TV on Amazon Fire TV

Sling TV made a splash this week by offering a a free Fire TV Stick to new subscribers. To activate your subscription on your new device, check out Sling TV on the "featured app" section of the storefront, start the download, enter in your account info and soon you'll have live TV on your favorite Amazon device.
The interface on Amazon Fire TV looks almost identical to the service on Roku, which is to say clean and convenient. Pressing the "list" button on Fire TV remotes brings up a channel listing while the three media control buttons do their things on playback-enabled channels.
The service looks a little clearer than it did on Roku - Sling probably set the highest visual quality as a default on Amazon devices - but it does seem to hit a few more snags. The system was stuck in buffering for such a long time at one point that it completely shutoff. Whether this was a one-time fluke or a persistent problem remains to be seen...
Sling TV on Xbox One

Sling TV on Xbox One

When I heard Sling was shooting for five platforms in five months, I had my doubts it could keep up with the development pace. Yet here we are just two months later talking about the fourth version of the system, Xbox One.
If you've used the service on any of the set-top boxes so far, you'll probably know what to expect here.
The channel interface is brought up with a flick of the stick in any direction, while the menu button (formerly known as start) opens up a menu for video-on-demand movies. Last but not least is the share button (again, formerly known as back) that brings up a menu that filters channels by category.
One major change worth noting is that Sling - unlike some apps on Xbox One - actually utilizes the Kinect to take in voice commands and allows you to pin both video-on-demand and specific channels to your home screen.
During testing I noticed a fair bit of latency (38ms compared to 30 on my tablet), which caused the service to stop and stutter multiple times. This occurred with a 4.24Mbps download speed and could be a worrying sign for potential Xbox One users.
Overall the service looks great and is functionally stable on Xbox One, but its performance - as users have noted in the comments - will definitely vary depending on your connection speed.
[Editor's Note: We haven't tried the service on a web browser and Android TV, however we will update the review with that section when it becomes available.]


Sling TV is a great solution for users of a certain lifestyle, like restaurant owners who only use ESPN and CNN, or cord-cutters who know exactly the channels that they like.
If you don't fall into those groups, you're not out of luck. The service is just starting, and with more content packs en route, your favorite set of channels may be just a few months out.
Curmudgeons, however, could easily quote Shakespeare's famous line in Romeo and Juliet: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

We liked

At its core, there's a lot right with Sling TV. It presents the clearest alternative to cable we've ever seen. Plus, when combined with a movie streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon and an HD antenna, provides a nearly complete solution.
There's no setup, no fees, and no contract. It's simple, just the way we like it.
Sling TV is also awesomely and incredibly convenient. Whether you're trying to quickly catch up on a show on the go with the iOS app or bunkering down for a marathon on your PC, accessing the service isn't a problem.

We disliked

But no matter how much I liked the service and its convenience, there are still some glaring issues Sling TV needs to fix to score my full recommendation.
DISH still hasn't found the right balance between cost, content offered and features, like letting an additional viewer watch simultaneously or enabling every channel to offer pause, rewind and restart options.
Seriously, the lack of pause and rewind on every station, or a way to record live TV to watch later, is a bummer. And while traditional cable may have cost upwards of $70 per month, there are easily over 100 channels of content available in those services. It can be argued that a typical user only watches seven or eight in a given week but, even so, the options are always there. Sling TV users aren't so lucky.


Yes, DISH is offering a $20 a month, contract-free plan that can be streamed to any mobile device and most set-top boxes. But that $20 could easily turn into $30 by the time you tack on the additional two packages. Add on a few more and you'll quickly find yourself paying the same amount you gave to the cable company before cutting the cord.
And $20 a month for 20 channels doesn't present the same content-to-dollar ratio that a service like Netflix or Amazon Instant provides, especially when you consider that you can only have one device active at a time.
Pending a change in pricing or device limitations, though, Sling TV could finally be the straw that breaks corporate cable's back. It's quick, convenient and fits into your life whenever and wherever you are. One thing I won't miss? The customer service.

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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden joins Twitter
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden joins Twitter
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has re-entered the (online) public eye today by joining Twitter.
While he hasn't posted anything groundbreaking just yet, his first post - which asks "Can you hear me now?" - gives us a good indication that he will likely be using the social media platform as a way to voice his views and reach the public much more widely.
His profile reads, "I used to work for the government. Now I work for the public. Director at @FreedomofPress."
So far, he's mostly chatted it up with Neil deGrasse Tyson, which comes after having appeared on Tyson's StarTalk podcast just last week.
During the second part of the podcast that was posted later in the week, Tyson did suggest to Snowden that he get a Twitter account, at which point Snowden had said that he'd have to make it happen.
On Twitter, Tyson asked what Snowden thinks of the labels he has been given by the public, which includes traitor and hero.
"Hero, traitor -- I'm just a citizen with a voice," Snowden replied back.
Currently, while Snowden already has thousands of followers, he himself is only following one Twitter account - @NSAGov.
We expect to see some interesting exchanges in the future.

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Versus: Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5
Versus: Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5

It's been almost two years since the first Nexus 5 and the phone has even been discontinued, so the Nexus 5X is long overdue.
With a great price and what was, for the time, an impressive screen and specs, we were big fans of the Nexus 5. While its successor, the Nexus 6, improved on it in a number of ways, it was also more expensive and too much of a phablet for some.
The Nexus 5X is a return to a smaller screen size, but has it got the rest right? And is it a big enough improvement on the Nexus 5?
Nexus 5X


The Nexus 5X retains a lot of the Nexus 5's design language. Both phones have a matte plastic finish for one, with a fairly plain back in all one color and broken up with the 'nexus' logo running across it.
They also both have a protruding camera lens, but the bump on the Nexus 5X is more rounded and the camera itself is central, while it's towards the side of the Nexus 5.
The buttons have shifted around slightly too and the Nexus 5X is slightly longer and slimmer at 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm to the Nexus 5's 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6mm. But they're ultimately very similar looking phones, with the most immediately noticeable difference being the presence of a fingerprint scanner on the back of the Nexus 5X and two speakers on the front.
With a slimmer, more symmetrical design the Nexus 5X is arguably a refined version of what LG did with the Nexus 5, but there's not a vast amount to choose.
Nexus 5X


Front and center, there's a 5.2-inch screen on the Nexus 5X, which is a bit of a boost on the 4.95-inch one found on the Nexus 5. It's still relatively compact for a flagship phone though and certainly a lot smaller than the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P.
Nexus 5
That's all that's changed on paper though, as the Nexus 5X, like the Nexus 5, has a 1080 x 1920 display. Given the size difference that does lead to a slightly different pixel density of around 424 pixels per inch on the Nexus 5X, versus 445 pixels per inch on the Nexus 5, but that's a negligible difference.

Power and performance

There was never any doubt that the Nexus 5X would get a power boost over its 24 month old predecessor. And while its hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor may not quite make it a rival for the very most powerful phones around, it's certainly a big improvement on the 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 toting Nexus 5. There's no difference in RAM though, the Nexus 5X is sticking with just 2GB like its older sibling.
The Nexus 5 specs are distinctly mid-range now, but on paper the Nexus 5X should be a high, though not quite top-end handset, so expect strong performance from it. The Nexus 5 still feels pretty speedy though, likely in part because it's running a bare-bones version of Android.


The Nexus 5X has had a sizeable jump in megapixels, up to 12MP from just 8MP in the Nexus 5. But that's not all that's changed, as a lot of focus has been put on low-light photography, to ensure your photos look great even in sub-optimal conditions.
That's good because if there's one thing we really found lacking with the Nexus 5's camera it was the low-light performance.
Nexus 5 camera
That aside the Nexus 5's camera isn't too bad and is helped in part by the addition of optical image stabilization, which minimizes the effects of camera shake. But that's present on the Nexus 5X too, along with a laser autofocus and a dual-LED flash, so we're hopeful that the Nexus 5X will have a snapper worthy of a flagship.
There's a change on the front camera too, with the Nexus 5X packing a 5MP sensor, while the Nexus 5 has just a 1.3MP one, so if you're a fan of selfies the 5X is a better buy.


Both the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 5 run stock Android. It's one of their big selling points, as they're ideal for anyone who'd rather avoid the often bloated manufacturer UI's you get and they're first in line for new updates.
As such, they have a very similar OS, but the Nexus 5X comes with Android Marshmallow, while the Nexus 5 runs the older Android Lollipop. An update to Marshmallow is likely soon, but the bigger issue is that Google and LG will probably stop supporting the Nexus 5 before too long, while the Nexus 5X should get Android updates for years to come.


The big new feature of the Nexus 5X is its fingerprint scanner, which takes the form of a circular sensor on the back of the phone.
Not only does this give you a slick new way to secure your handset, but with Android Pay starting its rollout, you'll also be able to use it to authorize purchases. If either of those things appeal, then that gives the Nexus 5X a big selling point over the original Nexus 5 and, if nothing else, it makes it a little more future-proofed.
Nexus 5X


Sadly, the Nexus 5's 2,300mAh juice pack gave it pretty average battery life, with the phone just about surviving a day of moderate use and requiring a power injection before bed time if used heavily.
The Nexus 5X should improve things here, as it has a larger 2,700mAh battery, though it also has a larger screen to power so don't expect miracles.
One nice bonus with the Nexus 5X though is the presence of USB-C, which means when you plug the phone in to charge, you won't have to make sure the cable is the right way up, as it works either way round. The Nexus 5X also supports QuickCharge 2.0 for speedier charging.

Price and availability

With the Nexus 6, Google pushed the price of its phones up to flagship territory, which was a sham,e as Nexus had previously made a name for itself as an excellent value option.
Nexus 5
Thankfully, that value has returned this year, with the Nexus 5X starting at $379 (around £314/AU$449). That's only a little more than the Nexus 5 launched at, though it's now available from roughly £250 / $299 / AU$400 if you shop around. But you will definitely have to shop around, as Google has discontinued it from its store.


A lot has changed in the two years since the Nexus 5 hit the scene and that's evident in the improvements found in the Nexus 5X. From a more powerful processor, to a larger screen, an improved camera, a bigger battery, a refined design, and even new features like a fingerprint scanner and USB-C, almost everything has changed, or at least improved.
But it still retains most of what we loved about the Nexus 5, from stock Android to high-end specs at a bargain-a-licious price tag.
Despite getting on in years, the original Nexus 5 is still a valid prospect, with its low price making it more of a mid-range option. On the other hand, the new Nexus 5X slots in at the high, but not quite top end of the market offering.

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HP unveils commercial PC strategy ahead of split
HP unveils commercial PC strategy ahead of split
In Mexico City, Mexico, HP announced its strategy for the commercial PC business. Hewlett Packard is splitting itself into two entities in an effort to gain agility to better target opportunities. After this split, HP Inc. will be the company responsible for the PC and printer business, while HP Enterprise will provide services to enterprises.
"HP Inc. is a new company with a new strategy and tremendous innovation," said Ron Coughlin, Senior Vice President at HP Inc. As a result of the split, Coughlin said that HP will have the heart of an entrepreneur and the brand recognition of a Fortune 100 business. It's a similar message and strategy that Michael Dell espoused just a few years ago when he took Dell private. HP Inc., on the other hand, will continue to be a publicly traded company.
Because of HP's position as a public company, Coughlin and his team were keen to mention that the opportunities that HP takes must deliver value to both end users and shareholders as it targets a $340 billion personal systems market.

HP's PC strategy

HP has three strategies for its personal systems business. The first is core, or delivering the best price-to-feature. The second is growth, which includes delivering innovative form factors and designs, such as two-in-one convertibles. And the last is the future and to bring disruptive technologies to market, like HP Sprout.
These strategies, according to Coughlin, are an evolution of HP's existing strategy, which allowed the company to be the number one vendor in commercial categories that include desktops, notebooks, thin clients and servers. HP is second in the consumer, and that's because it chooses not to compete.
Coughlin says that the consumer space is a low-margin business, but even though HP chooses not to devote all of its resources into this market, it is still driving innovation.


HP says that innovations in commercial PCs are trickling into consumer PCs, and we're also seeing consumer innovations enter the enterprise space.
HP EliteBook 705 G3
One example is HP's recent partnership with audio house Bang & Olufsen. The technology initially appeared on consumer PCs to drive better quality audio and bring high quality speakers and tuning to consumer laptops and desktops. In the commercial space, especially with the debut of the mid-range EliteBook 705 G3, HP is bringing its B&O partnership to enterprise users, but in a different manner.
For enterprise, B&O tuning will be devoted to microphones for better voice and video conferencing experiences.
"The average user spends roughly 700 hours each year collaborating online," said Alex Cho, Vice President of HP's Commercial PC business. HP saw that as an opportunity to deliver more value to its business users by providing software to reduce background noise, add HP Clear Sound Amp to bring better speaker clarity and deliver microphones tuned for speech.

Evolving nature of work

One of the central themes of HP's presentation in Mexico is bringing sexiness to work. Cho highlights that IT administrators want devices that are easy to deploy and manage, cost effective and come with robust security. On the other hand, end users want a good user experience, a cool device and the ability to be productive anywhere and everywhere.
Moving forward, IT managers must satisfy the needs of end users, Cho said, because these millennialshave grown up with technology and want cool devices. Simply put, if enterprises don't satisfy their technology needs, they won't be able to retain talent or human capital.
Work is also changing, and the technology that supports work must also evolve. HP found that 70% of businesses have open floor plans and 60% of employees work in more than one location. This means unified docking for laptops, slim and thin solutions and long battery life.
This means that devices should be highly mobile for collaboration and remote working, but as these needs evolve, we're also seeing vulnerability to malware and data threats. In fact, over 300,000 samples of malware are found every day in the previous year.
To help end users stay productive, HP's design work is geared towards delivering the best typing experience, all day battery life and sleek, durable form factors.


In terms of security, HP announced a number of security measures designed to make your data and passwords safer.
The first is that HP SureStart is headed to new enterprise desktops, workstations and all-in-ones (AIO). After having made its debut on notebooks and being introduced on printers, HP SureStart technology will ensure that a genuinely signed BIOS operates across its commercial systems.
SureStart divides the BIOS into two parts. The secure portion of the BIOS contains a golden copy of the BIOS. If the system senses the BIOS you're running has been attacked, the BIOS in the secure portion is copied over to ensure your system stays safe.
"This ensures that security is found in the deepest part of your computing stack, Cho said. In addition to SureStart, BIOSphere allows for over-the-cloud updates of BIOS.

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Hands-on review: Nexus 5X
Hands-on review: Nexus 5X
Google's Nexus 5X literally gave me a hand, in that it's a smaller one-hand-friendly Android phone, freeing up me from last year's two-handed clunker, the Nexus 6.
Its size is smaller, but the Nexus 5X specs are beefed up, for the most part. It carries a faster processor, USB-C port and far superior camera that Nexus phones have sorely lacked.
It delivers Android Marshmallow, the new update to Google's mobile operating system. It's the best way to get features like Google Now on Tap and the battery-saving Doze mode right away.
Nexus 5X review
The Nexus 5X price is is $379/£339 (about AU$542) for the 16GB version and $429/£449 (about AU$614) for the 32GB model. At that price, spoiler alert, it's not the most powerful Nexus device. That distinction belongs to the Huawei's Google-commissioned Nexus 6P.
But for people without meaty paws who want a normal-sized phone at a smaller price, here's what I experienced during my brief time with the Nexus 5X.


Nexus 5X review
I was able to swipe across the entire screen without strain, thanks to dimensions of 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm. The phone weighs a light 136g. It's good to be back at 5.2 inches.
The reason the phone is so light is because it's backed by plastic, unlike the all-metal Nexus 6P. It comes in matte finish colors of white, black and greenish blue. Google refers to these shades as Quartz White, Charcoal Black and Ice Blue.
Standing out almost as much as the minty blue color is the fingerprint sensor on the back. This is Google's Nexus Imprint sensor, and it's used for unlocking the phone, activating Android Pay and rivaling everything that Apple's Touch ID and Apple Pay can do.
Unlike the iPhone's biometric sensor that also acts as a home button, the Nexus 5X fingerprint sensor doesn't get pressed down. I just curled my fingers around the phone as normal. Of course, it wasn't set up for my fingerprint, so I was locked out. That works.
The Google representative running the demo, however, was able to speedily unlock the Nexus 5X without a hitch, telling me that it bypasses the lockscreen in 600 milliseconds and learns for better accuracy over time.
Nexus 5X review
On the bottom of the Nexus 5X is another standout design feature: the USB-C port. This makes the connection reversible, but it also renders all of your microUSB cables useless.
The trade-off to USB-C might be worth it. Google says the Nexus 5X battery charges in half the time it takes an iPhone to re-juice and says just 10 minutes of charging restores four hours of battery life.


The Nexus 5X spec sheet is solid, despite the fact that it's the weaker phone when compared to the more powerful Nexus 6P. Right now, the differences can't be seen without benchmarking tests.
However, the specs begin to tell us everything we need to look for. LG – the handset maker that Google commissioned for this phone – took cues from its own LG G4, with the same Snapdragon 808 processor with a 64-bit 1.8GHz hexa-core CPU.
Nexus 5X review
There's a matching Adreno 418 GPU integrated into this chip, but just 2GB of RAM instead of the 3GB offered by the larger LG G4. One thing this LG phone doesn't have is Google's Android Sensor Hub for activity monitoring that's akin to the powers of Apple's iPhone motion co-processor.
The Nexus 5X doesn't offer a microSD slot. Instead, it relies on internal storage of either 16GB and 32GB, depending on how much you're willing to pay. All versions of the phone run Google's new Android Marshmallow operating system, so there's no need to update.


Google proclaimed that the Nexus 5X (as well as the Nexus 6P) has the best camera it has ever put into a Nexus device. That's not saying much, considering the average results of the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6.
However, loading up the default Google camera app, I found that the Nexus 5X camera may live up to the hype, thanks to its 1.55-micron pixels. These are larger than normal pixels, and therefore can capture more light for stronger indoor photography.
Nexus 5X review
Although the camera sensor is 12.3MP, a lower number than its top-performing Android rivals, the Nexus 5X is able to to capture extra light for superior low-light images. A whopping 80% of photos are taken in low light, according to Google, so this is going to be meaningful for all sorts of indoors situations.
The rear camera is not unlike the ultrapixels found in the HTC One M8. It combines these powers with a f/2.0 aperture, IR laser-assisted autofocus.
This camera records video in 4K at 30 frames per second, while the front-facing camera is 5MP with the normal 1.4 microns and the same f/2.0 aperture.
Nexus 5X review

Early verdict

There's more to come from this ongoing Nexus 5X review, since this is just day one of testing it out. The camera, a hallmark feature, is going to require more indoor and outdoor photo testing.
Right now, the benefits of the size, fingerprint sensor and Android Marshmallow can't be denied. It won't take an awful minute and a half to boot up, like last year's device.
I was able to adjust to the Nexus 6 and appreciate its larger AMOLED display, but I do find relief switching back to a smaller, lighter and cheaper phone. My pocket already appreciates this phone in more ways than one.

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Hands-on review: Nexus 6P
Hands-on review: Nexus 6P

Introduction, design and display

The new Nexus handsets have arrived, and along with the Nexus 5X we've also been treated to the Nexus 6P – the second generation phablet from Google.
While the Nexus 6 was built by Motorola, Google has switched manufacturers for the 6P with Huawei being drafted in for its first Nexus device.
The Chinese manufacturer has been slowly growing its presence in Western markets and will hope its Nexus project can help boosts its brand outside of Asia.
As for Google, it looks set to really drive forward it's now two-pronged attack on the mobile market. The Nexus 6 was a decent phone, but it had a few flaws. Is the Nexus 6P an improvement? I've grabbed it with both hands to try and find out.
Nexus 6P review


The Nexus 6 was a big phone. It was also heavy. And that made it a bit of a beast to handle. Thankfully, Google and Huawei appear to have noticed this, and the Nexus 6P is a little more manageable.
Screen size has dropped from 5.96 inches to 5.7 inches, which in turn sees the handset's dimensions reduce in both width and thickness. This allows the Nexus 6P to sit more comfortably in the hand, although you'll still notice its heft.
The rounded edges on the rear allow it to snuggle into your palm a little more easily, yet I found it tricky to reach all areas of the screen with just one hand.
Nexus 6P review
For peace of mind, I found a two handed approach much more reassuring, especially as the all metal frame offers little in the way of grip. It slides around in the hand in a similar fashion to the iPhone 6S Plus.
That said, the metal unibody does provide a level of premium appeal to handset, and it certainly sets it apart from the plastic-clad Nexus 5X. The 'P' in the name standards for premium, by the way - not Plus, Power or Penis.
This is the first time we've had an all-metal Nexus device, and the premium tag goes some way to explaining the handset's $499 (£449, about AU$714) price tag for the 32GB model. If you want 64GB or 128GB of space inside, you're looking at $549 (£499, about AU$785) and $649 (£579, about AU$928) respectively.
On the front, you get dual, front-facing speakers above and below the display, while on the rear a circular fingerprint scanner sits centrally. Google calls it Nexus Imprint.
Nexus 6P review
Google has built in fingerprint scanning smarts to Android Marshmallow, and it's made sure its two new handsets take full advantage of the integration.
Then there's possibly the most contentious design aspect of the Nexus 6P. The bulge.
Protruding smartphone cameras are nothing new, but the bulge on the 6P is bigger than most – and that's not necessarily a good thing. It actually only protrudes a little from the body of the phone, but it's the commanding width that makes it look a little odd.
The large black strip at the top of the handset houses the 12MP camera and flash, but it feels excessive and I, for one, am not sold on this particular aesthetic.
Nexus 6P review
It's reminiscent of the questionable stylings of the ZTE Grand S – a handset I witnessed at CES 2013. Almost three years on and it's being rehashed by another Chinese firm. Hmm.
Moving focus to the base of the Nexus 6P, you'll find a USB-C port, rather than the standard microUSB connector. This is the latest connection type for mobile devices, and it's already debuted on the OnePlus 2.
This allows you to plug in your charging cable either way round, making that fumble in dark after you get into bed a little easier. It's something Apple's Lightning cable has offered for a while now, but it's good to see the Android fleet finally jumping onboard.
Nexus 6P review


The 5.7-inch display looks shiny and colorful, and is extremely responsive under touch. The QHD resolution means everything is exceptionally sharp on screen, while the AMOLED technology makes colors bright and vibrant.
It's not quite as impressive as Samsung's Super AMOLED displays, but the 2,560 x 1,440, 525ppi screen on the Nexus 6P is one of the best around.
It's protected by Gorilla Glass 4, which should hopefully see it survive a number of knocks, which in turn is coated in fingerprint and smudge resistant, oleophobic – or oil-repellant – coating.
The Nexus 6P certainly isn't immune to marks though, and even during my swift hands on time with the handset I had to wipe the screen a few times.

Camera, interface, battery and early verdict


Google has made a bit of a song and a dance about the Sony-made 12.3MP camera it's bolted onto the rear of the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.
The new lens and sensor have bigged up the Nexus phones' indoor and low light potential, while Google maintains they'll still do a decent job outdoors as well.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First up, the 1.55-micron sensor means the pixels inside the Nexus 6P camera are larger than those in the snappers of the old Nexus 6 and iPhone 6S Plus.
Nexus 6P review
They aren't the largest though, with the iPhone 5S actually having bigger pixels in its 8MP camera, while the ultrapixel technology from HTC outdoes all of them.
Larger pixels means the camera can pull in more light, allowing it to "see" more in darker conditions. That, combined with its laser autofocus means less camera shake, fewer blurred shots and better low light performance.
From my quick play with the camera on the demo booth, the Nexus 6P was certainly quick at snapping pics, but you'll have to wait for our full review to see how it fares in a variety of conditions.
Round the front the Nexus 6P provides you with an 8MP with HDR+, for some top notch selfie action.
Nexus 6P review


The Nexus 6P comes running the very latest version of Google's mobile platform, Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
It brings with it improved Google Now functionality, fingerprint scanning smarts, better battery life and 'Now on Tap', a sort of mini Google Now for within apps which can be accessed by holding the home key.
I found Marshmallow ran smoothly on the Nexus 6P, thanks to the punchy Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, ensuring the handset has more than enough power.
Apps loaded quickly, navigation was slick and the Android experience was also highly familiar, with little in the way of design changes between Marshmallow and Lollipop.
Nexus 6P review

Early verdict

The Nexus 6P is a powerful, feature-packed smartphone with a premium design and fresh new operating system.
There are still a few questions over the design in regards to the wide camera bulge on the rear, and it will be interesting to see how the camera holds up during our full review – but this is a phone I very much like.
It'll likely be too big for some, but for those looking for a smartphone with a lot of screen real estate, a wide range of features, premium finish and a price tag which undercuts some of the competition, the Nexus 6P is an exciting prospect.

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HP brings consumer chic to slim EliteBook 705 G3
HP brings consumer chic to slim EliteBook 705 G3
If you're an executive eyeing an HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1, you may want to hold out. HP's new EliteBook 705 G3 is a mid-range commercial-class notebook that's slim, sleek and light. The 700 series delivers many of the key features that are found on the 1000 series, but comes packed with added features that may make it a better value to business users.
HP is marketing the EliteBook 705 G3 is the thinnest and lightest commercial notebook. The notebook meassures just 0.74 inches (18.9mm) thick and weighs just 2.78 pounds (1.26kg). The 705 G3 will be available in three sizes: 12-, 14-, and 15-inch screen options.
Unlike the EliteBook Folio 1020 G1, which is equipped with Intel's more power conservative first-generation Core M processor, the new EliteBook 705 G3 comes with a more powerful AMD A12 APU integrated with R7 Radeon graphics.

Made for work

Like the premium EliteBook 1020 G1, the 705 G3 is made rugged tough for work. The 705 uses a magnesium and aluminum alloy for the lid and keyboard deck. To keep costs low, the undercarriage is still constructed from plastic.
HP's Premium Keyboard, taken from the 1020, is brought to the 705, said Alex Cho, Vice President and General Manager of HP's Commercial PC business. This means you get the same keys and the same key travel. The keyboard is also backlit for work in dim or dark environments. The keyboard is spill-resistant, and HP said that drop testing has been performed on the 705.
Business users will also appreciate the dual-cursor control system. In addition to the glass trackpad and dedicated click buttons, there is also a trackpoint.
Unlike consumer PCs where HP's partnership with audio powerhouse Bang & Olufsen is used to drive more powerful speakers, the B&O partnership is used for microphone support, perfect for conference calls.
One of the highlights about the 705 is that the screen can tilt up to 150 degrees, compared to 130 degrees for other notebooks. The 12- and 15-inch notebooks come with 1080p screens, and HP is adding a QHD option to the 14-inch configuration.


HP includes a number of full-size ports on its EliteBook 705 G3. The notebook is the first in HP's business portfolio with support for the new USB-C standard.
Additionally, there is a slim docking port, Ethernet port, DisplayPort and VGA port. For security, there is an optional fingerprint reader and TPM support.
The EliteBook 705 G3 will become availabile in Spetember starting at $749 (£464, AU$1,007).

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Updated: Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P price: here's how much the new Google phones cost
Updated: Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P price: here's how much the new Google phones cost
Wondering about the Nexus 5X price and Nexus 6P price? Never fear: techradar has you covered.
The LG-built Nexus 5X price starts at $379/£339 for the 16GB version and goes up to $429/£449 for the 32GB model.
The plastic-clad phone will be available in the and in colors choices of black, white and greenish blue. It and the Nexus 6P ship in October and are available from the Google Play Store in the US. You can even pre-order your new phones today.
Nexus 5X
This is a good deal for the Nexus 5X specs bump. It's an unlocked Android 6.0 Marshmallow handset with a 5.2-inch 1080p display and Snapdragon 808 processor. Its cameras are the real kicker: now there's a 5MP snapper on the front and a 12.3MP shooter on the back.
Looking back at older devices, the Nexus 5 2013 cost $349 (about £299, AU$399), and the Nexus 4 before that cost $299, while the very pricey Nexus 6 2014 was at $650 (about £499, AU$870). Google's hit on a smart price with the Nexus 5X, one that should appeal to those considering an upgrade.

Nexus 6P price

The Nexus 6P price matched its rumored pricing, go figure.
The premium 6P starts at $499/£449 for a 32GB model, bumps up to $549/£499 for 64GB and tops out at $649/£579 for 128GB. Nab yours in either silver, black or white.
Nexus 6P USB Type-C
At that price, the Huawei-built phone's starting bracket is $120 more expensive than the smaller and, in contrast, weaker Nexus 5X. Google is catering to two different audiences with its Android Marshmallow flagships.
The Nexus 6P specs call for a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, with a Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM.
Like the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P rear camera is now 12.3MP, while the front is now bumped to 8MP. The phone also has USB Type-C and a fingerprint sensor on the back.

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An all-new HTC One smartphone is coming next month
An all-new HTC One smartphone is coming next month
HTC is gearing up to launch its newest HTC One phone with the handset maker sending out invites to an online event scheduled for October 20.
Though the company hasn't announced which handset we will be seeing, other than it being a HTC One phone, all rumors are pointing to the HTC Aero, which is also being called the HTC One A9 in the rumor mill.
What can we expect from the new HTC One? The invite doesn't reveal much except that we will be meeting the 'new Marshmallow from HTC'.
HTC also says: "This is not your traditional smartphone so we aren't hosting a traditional launch event."
Instead, HTC says that it will be unveiling the new smartphone via a "virtual event" on its website, which includes the equally mysterious hashtag #BeBrilliant.
You'll be able to check out the launch for yourself here on October 20, starting 12pm ET, 5pm BST and at midnight in Taipei.

The rumored Aero

While an event was expected to be held today, other rumors surrounding the new HTC One A9 handset include a leak that shows the HTC handset looking like an iPhone 6S imitation.
Rumors also suggest that the HTC Aero could end up being the world's most powerful smartphone by packing a ten core processor.
Still, other leaks claim it will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 620 chipset, a 1080p 5-inch display and 3GB of RAM, as well as 32GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing snapper.
Until event day, we expect to hear a lot more from the rumor mill, but we suggest taking all these rumors with a grain of salt until October 20.

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The desktop may not be dead after all
The desktop may not be dead after all
Desktop users shouldn't be embarrassed about their PC of choice. Eighty-four percent of small businesses would consider buying desktops for their organizations, according to IDC.
Survey respondents cited longer average lifetime value and lower cost of ownership for reasons why they'd be more likely to buy a desktop than a laptop or a mini PC.
Only 43% of respondents said they would consider a small form factor device, like a laptop, for their organizations, and 35% said they would be willing to purchase a mini PC – the computers typically used to operate digital signage or Internet kiosks.

What to do with desktops

Companies told IDC that the enhanced computing power of desktop PCs over laptops was another important factor as to why they would rather buy the traditional tower computers.
However, mobility has become a factor that businesses must consider, especially with new operating systems providing greater consistency from device to device. An interesting tidbit from the IDC survey revealed that 40% of organizations that hadn't migrated to Windows 10 plan to make the switch within the next 12 months.
What this means is that organizations want workers to have a desktop in the office, but they also want their employees to be able to take work out of the office on tablets and smartphones without having to sacrifice productivity.

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