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HARDWARE SYSTEMS

Analyst: Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 ranked among the best tablet displays

PCWorld raved about Microsoft Surface Pro 3's display. Now, professional display analyst Raymond Soneira has done so as well, proclaiming Microsoft's tablet among the best in display quality.

SECURITY

Defunct Koler ransom Trojan attacked 200,000 Android users in matter of weeks

The crude Koler.a ‘police ransom' Trojan that started attacking Android smartphone users in April has finally been knocked out of action by researchers but only after revealing the disturbing if brief scale of its global success.

SECURITY

Police warnings to appear on websites suspected of copyright abuse

UK visitors to websites suspected of pirating content will from this week be served banners warning them of the site's suspect status, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has announced.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

It's Cortana vs Siri in Microsoft's latest Windows Phone advert

It's Cortana vs Siri as Microsoft is the latest to Apple-bash in a smartphone commercial.

SOFTWARE | SECURITY

British hacker Gary McKinnon launches SEO start-up

Hacker Gary McKinnon has reinvented himself as an online search expert, after winning a 10-year fight against extradition to the US for breaking into military computers to look for evidence of UFOs.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

Top five budget smartphones money can buy (Part I, 2014)

Budget smartphones keep getting better as software matures and components become cheaper. Some companies just this year have produced inexpensive smartphones that could replace your big-brand flagship. Others haven't had the same success.

INTERNET

Twitter fights off fear of failure with solid second quarter numbers

If earnings reports could beam, Twitter's second quarter results were positively glowing. The social network, which has been slow to find its way to profitability, announced Tuesday it added 16 million users in the quarter ending June 30 and eked out a tiny profit. In short: Skeptical analysts and haters to the left.

SOFTWARE

In a flash, Instagram launches Bolt in select countries

Well, the cat is out of the bag: Last week, leaked shots of a new Snapchat competitor called Bolt appeared in promo banners on Instagram, and on Tuesday Instagram officially launched Bolt in New Zealand, Singapore, and South Africa. This is Instagram's first spinoff app, joining the crowded space of visual messengers with notes that disappear. Bolt's international debut is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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.

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.