Thin, Light and Powerful: The 10 Best Ultrabooks of 2017

If you’re a power user who cares more about how long your battery lasts than how many frames per second you can play games at, you’ve come to the right place: the home of the best Ultrabooks around. Modest in size, but exceptional in style and performance, these machines are virtually unparalleled and powered by Windows.

And if you think some, like the HP Spectre x360 [seen here] or the Acer Aspire S 13, look a bit like the MacBook Air that used to be our friend, you aren’t mistaken. When Intel came up with the Ultrabook brand, it was to give Apple a host of competitors in the ‘ultraportable’ laptop space that, at the time, Tim Cook and the gang were dominating.

So, of course, in our rankings leading up to the best Ultrabook you can buy right now, every single one of them uses an Intel processor — none of those AMD shenanigans. They also exclusively use SSDs, meaning Windows 10 boots quite a bit faster than it would on a regular ol’ phat laptop. With that, here are the thinnest, lightest and most effective Ultrabooks around.

Dell XPS 13

In terms of looks, specs and pricing, the Dell XPS 13 is nothing short of a miracle. Once again, Dell has done the universe a favor by squeezing a 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display into a measly 11-inch figure, and weighing in at only 2.9 pounds (1.29kg), the XPS 13 is blessed with extravagance. The Dell XPS 13 not only bears a lengthy battery life, but it’s even sold in a variety of different flavors, all the way up to an i7-7700U model.

Razer Blade Stealth

Potential and temporary issues aside, the Razer Blade Stealth is an Ultrabook that — hence the branding — slants towards gaming. In favor of a dedicated graphics card,…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Applying for a Credit Card? Please Take a Selfie

The selfie is everywhere — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — and soon your bank could be asking for one in order to approve your purchase or credit card application.

Payment processing giant Visa Inc. is launching a platform to allow banks to integrate various types of biometrics — your fingerprint, face, voice, etc. — into approving credit card applications and payments.

Consumers could experience Visa’s new platform in a couple different ways. If a person were to apply for a credit card application on their smartphone, the bank app could ask the applicant to take a selfie and then take a picture of a driver’s license or passport. The technology will then compare the photos for facial similarities as well as check the validity of the driver’s license, all happening within seconds.

The selfie could also play a role in an online purchase. With the wider acceptance of chip cards in the last couple of years, in-person fraud at retailers is on the decline. But online fraud is still a concern, with as many as one of six transactions being declined due to suspicious activity, according to Mark Nelsen, senior vice president for risk and authentication products at Visa.

Instead of a bank call center autodialing a customer when they have a concern about a transaction, this new technology could allow the customer to use Apple’s Touch ID or other fingerprint recognition technology, or take a selfie or record their voice, to verify they made the transaction. With voice recording, a customer may have to speak a certain phrase.

“Customers will be able choose their own preference for biometric authentication: voice, face, finger print. Any manner that they want,” said Tom Grissen, CEO of Daon, one of the companies that Visa is partnering with to launch the platform.

The announcement comes at a time when a huge…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Kids, Screens and Parental Guilt: Time To Loosen Up?

Parents of small children have long been hearing about the perils of “screen time.” And with more screens, and new technologies such as Amazon’s Echo speaker, the message is getting louder.

And while plenty of parents are feeling guilty about it, some experts say it might be time to relax a little.

Go ahead and hand your kid a gadget now and then to cook dinner or get some work done. Not all kids can entertain themselves quietly, especially when they are young. Try that, and see how long it takes your toddler to start fishing a banana peel out of the overflowing trash can.

“I know I should limit my kid’s screen time a lot, but there is reality,” said Dorothy Jean Chang, who works for a tech company in New York and has a 2-year-old son. When she needs to work or finds her son awake too early, “it’s the best, easiest way to keep him occupied and quiet.”

Screen time, she says, “definitely happens more often than I like to admit.”

She’s not alone. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on kids’ use of media and technology, said in a report Thursday that kids aged 8 and under average about 2 hours and 19 minutes with screens every day at home. That’s about the same as in 2011, though it’s up from an hour and a half in 2013 — the last time the survey was conducted — when smartphones were not yet ubiquitous but TV watching was on the decline.

While the overall numbers have held steady in recent years, kids are shifting to mobile devices and other new technologies, just as their parents are. The survey found that kids spend an average of 48 minutes a day on mobile devices, up from 15 minutes in 2013. Kids are also getting…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

FCC Docs Reveal Samsung Galaxy S8 Active with Band 71 for T-Mobile

Documents seen on the FCC web site suggest the Galaxy S8 Active will be Samsung’s first Band 71-compatible smartphone for T-Mobile. The government agency recently approved a new version of the SM-G892U, already sold as the Galaxy S8 Active by AT&T, this time with Band 66 and Band 71 aboard. These bands are only used by T-Mobile in the U.S. Band 71, in particular, is the new 600 MHz spectrum that T-Mobile is slowly deploying this year. T-Mobile had promised to release Band 71 devices from LG and Samsung before the end of the year. The V30 from LG was the first to arrive and it appears the Galaxy S8 Active from Samsung is the second. Neither Samsung nor T-Mobile has publicly announced this device and there’s no indication of when it might go on sale.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Bug bounty on offer as Google goes for a big clean-up

It’s pretty simple logic when you think about it. If there’s apps and manufacturers out there developing ways to disinfect and clean up your Android phone, then there’s obviously some apps out there that are misbehaving.

Just this week, Google started pushing to get this fixed, with a $1,000 bounty for bugs that are spotted in apps withing the Google Play store. Sure, Google already have automatic systems which will check through apps in the store, but the human element has now been introduced too.

Working with HackerOne, flaws and problems within apps can be detected, reported and those highlighting the problem can be rewarded.

It’s not just malware and virus-infected apps that are on the hit-list either, because there’s still a large amount of frankly bad apps out there. They’re designed badly and they perform terribly. For the app developers, this is where they need to act. Performance, quality and usability are critical and a key part of making a popular app. According to a recent research report, over 65% of U.S. respondents agreed that their expectations of mobile app performance are increasing over time. As a business, if you’re relying on that app to lift you make you successful, it could well drag your brand through the mud instead.

Here’s a look at just five simple ways of fixing that.

Bug bounty on offer as Google goes for a big clean up

Monitor and Measure Performance

Adding the full functionality, throwing in the kitchen sink, can mean that you’re adding in performance and availability issues without even thinking about it. It’s important to stay ahead of possible problems by testing and constantly monitoring how your mobile app is performing. You can then use this data to compare changes with your key performance metrics.

Having an effective Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool helps you get important insights that you’ll need to improve your app performance: read much more here about how APM solutions can help you monitor mobile app performance.

Simplify and Streamline Your Mobile App

Yeah, maybe the entire kitchen sink isn’t actually needed. Simplicity is what you should go for when developing a business app. Admit that cutting down your feature list and focusing only on the core business application features. Even the biggest apps do this – as an example, the PayPal app doesn’t have all the functionality of the website, but that’s sometimes because the website and a laptop is the better way to perform certain tasks.

Again, having that application performance monitoring means that you can easily point out features that are used by just a small percentage of users, and you can cut them out to help simplify the app and improve overall performance. 

 Bug bounty on offer as Google goes for a big clean up

Understand User Expectations

If your customer is unhappy and their expectations haven’t been met, they’re going to simply stop using your app. Once they stop, sooner or later, they’ll uninstall, and you’ll never see them again. So ask yourself. Do you know what your users want? Are new features strictly necessary?

There is no doubt that improving user experience comes with lots of great benefits for your customer and then for your business too. Be sure to check and analyze the data you’ve collected about user experiences, get feedback and fine out if you’re delivering quality and the right features that are actually needed.

Bug bounty on offer as Google goes for a big clean up

Improve App Responsiveness

Speed. It’s all about speed. Although most smartphones are super powerful now, we shouldn’t just lean on all those processors for the sake of it. A hungry, resource heavy app which constantly sits in the background is not doing to be the app people want. An app that opens and loads different features fast will obviously improve user satisfaction and will mean that people come back to use it.

When launching new features, doing upgrades or rolling out changes in your mobile application, make sure that you test how each of these new changes affect the functionality, performance and speed of your app. Test the deployment, get feedback if you can. Get some user acceptance testing.

Get the Right Tools

Developing an app using an online app-maker can sometimes work for smaller companies. But for the majority, it’s important to check that you’re using the right kit out of the box. Getting a single APM solution that can handle your mobile app performance monitoring needs, as well as other performance needs of your business, is a great helper. You have to select the right tools if you want effective APM for your mobile apps.

The post Bug bounty on offer as Google goes for a big clean-up is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.


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    Source: News

  • U.S.: Laptops in Checked Bags Pose Fire, Explosion Risk

    The U.S. government is urging the world airline community to ban large, personal electronic devices like laptops from checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.

    The Federal Aviation Administration said in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when a laptop’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery overheats in close proximity to an aerosol spray can, it can cause an explosion capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The fire could then rage unchecked, leading to “the loss of the aircraft,” the paper said.

    The U.N. agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, sets global aviation safety standards, although member countries must still ratify them. The proposed ban is on the agenda of a meeting of ICAO’s panel on dangerous goods being held this week and next week in Montreal.

    The FAA has conducted 10 tests involving a fully-charged laptop packed in a suitcase. A heater was placed against the laptop’s battery to force it into “thermal runaway,” a condition in which the battery’s temperature continually rises.

    In one test, an 8-ounce aerosol can of dry shampoo — which is permitted in checked baggage — was strapped to the laptop. There was a fire almost immediately and it grew rapidly. The aerosol can exploded within 40 seconds.

    The test showed that because of the rapid progression of the fire, Halon gas fire suppressant systems used in airline cargo compartments would be unable to put out the fire before there was an explosion, the FAA said. The explosion might not be strong enough to structurally damage the plane, but it could damage the cargo compartment and allow the Halon to escape, the agency said. Then there would be nothing to prevent the fire from spreading.

    Other tests of laptop batteries packed with potentially dangerous consumer goods that are permitted in checked…
    Source: Mobile Tech Today

    Android Hackers: Google Offers $1,000 Bug Bounty for Apps

    Google is offering security researchers a $1,000 bounty if they can successfully hack apps on its Play Store and help fix them.

    Bug bounty programs are a popular way for companies to reward hackers who find vulnerabilities in their software and disclose them to developers so they can be fixed rather than exploited.

    The focus on app security comes as Google launches its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, which run on Android.

    Google has been criticized for what has been seen as the poor security moderation of its Play Store.

    Research by security company Check Point suggested that Google’s automated system failed to detect 50 malware apps which were downloaded up to 4.2 million times before being removed.

    Malware does not only affect the Play Store, but due to how open the Android operating system is compared to Apple’s iOS – which is tightly controlled by its makers in Cupertino, California — it has been detected more often by researchers.

    According to Symantec, Apple’s tight vetting of apps on its store, as well as Android’s much larger market share, may be to blame.

    Malware apps won’t be uncovered by the Play Store bug bounty program however, which will focus on keeping the most popular apps which opt into it secure.

    Based in Mountain View, California, Google has partnered with the popular bug bounty platform HackerOne to reward those who find, disclose, and help fix the most serious security flaws.

    Only eight developers have opted into the program so far, including Tinder, Snapchat, and Dropbox.

    Google also runs reward programs for hackers who find vulnerabilities in its Chrome web browser, which currently offers security researchers $100,000 as its top reward.
    Source: Mobile Tech Today

    Facebook Messenger Adds PayPal as Funding Source for Peer-to-Peer Payments

    Facebook Messenger and PayPal today made it possible for people to use their PayPal account as a source of funds when paying friends and family. Facebook Messenger has supported P2P payments for some time now, but previously required people to rely on their debit card for funds. Moving forward, Messenger users can take advantage of PayPal if they wish. A blue plus icon appears in the Messenger app that takes them to the payments tool. Once added to the app, PayPal will appear as an option when paying friends or family. PayPal integration with Facebook Messenger is rolling out to U.S. users starting today. PayPal also announced a new customer service bot for Messenger. PayPal customers can access and interact with the bot via Messenger to help with customer service, such as resetting passwords or handing account inquiries. The PayPal bot can easily be found via the Messenger search field.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

    Review: Fabriq Chorus Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa

    The Fabriq Chorus is a mid-sized, portable Bluetooth speaker that taps into the Amazon Alexa voice assistant. If you want a purpose-built music machine that also happens to have support for voice-activated commands, the Chorus tackles both.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

    ZTE Blade X Is the Latest Low-Cost Option from Cricket Wireless

    ZTE and Cricket Wireless today announced the Blade X, an affordable Android smartphone with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. The Blade X sports a 5.5-inch 720 HD screen with 2.5D Dragontail glass. The phone is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It supports high-capacity microSD memory cards. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor with LED flash and features such as manual, panorama, and time-lapse. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with digital zoom. ZTE gave the Blade X a large 3,000mAh battery with support for Quick Charge 1.0 for quicker powerups. Other features include mobile hotspot, HD Voice, Dolby Audio, FM Radio, USB-C, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Blade X runs Android 7.1 Nougat. It is available online and in stores today for $120.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News