News

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

Microsoft's Windows Phone dilemma: Sell cheap phones or great cameras?

A short time ago, I worried aloud that I had lost one of the Windows Phones PCWorld keeps on hand for testing. A colleague snickered. "Why would anyone steal a Windows Phone?" she asked.

BUSINESS ISSUES

Two Apple acquisitions aim to help improve book, radio recommendations

Apple's been on a bit of an acquisition kick over the last couple years, and it seems to be continuing apace. This week, the company has confirmed the acquisition of two separate firms, both of which may help improve the company's algorithms for recommending content.

MOBILE

Batten down the hatches: Airbnb steps up to help cities prep for disasters

Airbnb just wants your love. Well, not you, exactly. The home-sharing startup is trying to appeal to your city officials, who have been giving the company a hard time since its launch in 2007. So on Tuesday, Airbnb continued its feel-good tour of 2014 by announcing disaster-preparedness partnerships with San Francisco and Portland.

MOBILE | NETWORKING

Official Fitbit app comes to Windows Phone 8.1 with continuous Bluetooth synching

Windows Phone and Fitbit users rejoice! The official app with Bluetooth synching is here at last. But, don't get too excited: although the free app is in the Windows Store, it's only for devices running Windows Phone 8.1.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS | PERIPHERALS

The 15 weirdest computer mice in the world

You can't get much more mundane that a computer mouse, right? Wrong - as these 15 weird and wonderful input devices prove.

MOBILE | NETWORKING

Yelp adds tiny videos to its reviews

It's no longer enough to snap an Instagram-filtered photo of your latest culinary adventures. Yelp now wants reviewers to take short videos as well.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS | MOBILE | SOFTWARE

Swap files between Windows and Android in 2 clicks with Pushbullet

There are many ways to get files from your PC to a mobile Android device. One of our favorite methods around here is the super useful AirDroid for Android. But a recent feature from the free app Pushbullet for Android and iOS recently caught our attention.

INTERNET | MOBILE

PayPal and Braintree launch new start-up programme in London

PayPal and Braintree are expanding their start-up programme to London to get some of the UK's fastest growing companies on board as customers.

SOFTWARE

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Asana brings its teamwork features to iPhones and iPads

Asana, one of the older and most full-featured web-based teamwork tools, is launching an iOS app that promises almost all the functionality of the full-blown desktop browser service.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS

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Meet Microsoft's Sharks Cove: A Raspberry Pi-style mini-PC running Windows 8.1

Microsoft has never been ashamed to copy smaller companies if a trend proves popular enough, and its latest homage is dedicated to pint-sized PCs like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards.

Expert Opinion

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Our favorite iOS Apps, July edition

As we do every month, Macworld staffers got together to chat about the best apps they've been using recently. Here are some that have recently captured our imaginations (and perhaps a spot on our homescreens), whether they're tiny apps from budding developers or the top-grossing apps that everyone is using. Our hope is that, while you might recognize some of these apps, others you might never have encountered. All of them, we think, are worth a look.

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Microsoft's productivity drive could kill software as we know it

On Thursday, Satya Nadella charted a new course for Microsoft, focused on interconnectivity and productivity--one where, conceivably, the company's standard-setting Office applications and other products and services could slowly blur into different modes of working with the same data.

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All about DDR4, the next-gen memory coming soon for PCs and mobile devices

New CPU and GPU architectures roil the market pretty much every year--sometimes more than once a year. Yet in spite of the impact that system memory can have on a PC's performance, the industry has relied on the same basic memory architecture for what seems like an eternity--in tech time, at least.

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Apple's HomeKit hub may already be in your house

At Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced--among a great many other things--HomeKit, a suite of tools for controlling such devices in your home as thermostats, furnaces and air conditioners, smart appliances, lights, cameras, garage-door openers, and security systems. Apple will provide a platform that these devices will be asked to conform to. Do so, and you can control them all from your iOS device.

Editors Pick

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Apple doesn't need its own gadgets to dominate the smart home

If you believe the weekend rumors, Apple will announce a connected-home platform next week at WWDC. But before you get too excited about an iThermostat and an iFridge and an iCamera watching you sleep, consider this: If Apple does get into the home-automation market, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll make smart-home gadgets of its own.

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10 things we want to see in Microsoft's Surface Mini

If Microsoft indeed intends to release a shrunk-down Surface Mini this month, as an invite for a "small" Surface event suggests, merely downsizing the tablet's design to fit an 8-inch frame ain't going to cut it. Sure, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are beautiful pieces of kit, but they're made for big-screen productivity--the Surface Pro is essentially an Ultrabook without a keyboard. That experience won't translate well to a smaller form factor, better suited for content consumption than content creation.

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With this phone, I thee wed: How the Nokia-Microsoft union changes everything

There's no getting cold feet now. On Friday, Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device business will be official, after months of delays and regulatory hurdles. The remnants of Nokia will get a whopping $7.2 billion. In return, Microsoft will get 32,000 new employees, a legion of Lumias, and oh yeah, those funky Android-based Nokia X phones.

Latest Product Reviews

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MediaBeam: This ultra-cheap streaming stick isn't worth the money

Just what the world needs: another HDMI dongle to compete with Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick. Like those popular devices, Ematic's MediaBeam plugs directly into one of your HDTV's HDMI ports in order to stream content.

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Samsung Gear Live: It's the world's best smartwatch, but probably not for long

The Gear Live is the best smartwatch I've ever used--but that's not a remarkable achievement considering all the crappy-to-middling efforts we've seen from Samsung, Sony and Qualcomm. If I were being generous, I'd say Samsung finally landed on a simple, wrist-friendly interface that does away with messy nested menus and convoluted features like voice calling.

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OnePlus One: You're in control with this ultra-affordable phone

There's a utopian idea behind the OnePlus One: Offer a phone powered by the latest hardware and featuring a wealth of carrier options without any carrier restrictions. If that doesn't grab you, the price tag might--it's $300 for an off-contract 16GB model, about half of what you'd pay for phones boasting similar specs. But does the phone deliver a premium experience?

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App Factory 1.2: Turn your script into a stand-alone app

Editor's note: The following review is part of Macworld's GemFest 2014. Every day (except weekends) from July until September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free, low-cost, or great-value program. You can view a list of this year's apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest chart, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.