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What makes us monitor actions and behavior of our relatives, significant ones, and children? Most people track someone’s location to protect this person and not to worry about him or her. However, there are cases when we just can’t trust a person for some reasons and need a way to learn the concealed truth. There are many situations that induce people to spy on someone, and the majority of parents and spouses monitor their children or significant ones without any remorse. To track phone location is a habitual thing today, as we have a great number of different applications and programs for mobiles and laptops allowing to monitor whereabouts of a gadget’s owner.

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In the epoch when “Big Brother is watching you,” we turned into followers and spies. Sometimes we can infringe someone’s rights and invade privacy without even noticing it. In this case, some problems with the law will be inevitable. Speaking about this danger, we would like to explain when monitoring a person is normal and when we may turn into criminals without even knowing it.

How to Track Phone Location Legally

As for the legitimacy of monitoring actions, we can say that it is generally illegal. However, if you have access to a phone or laptop or possess one of them, tracking won’t break any rules. During investigations, the police may hack your devices if it is necessary, but they usually have an official permission of the court or a warrant to do this. So, if you don’t own a cell phone that you want to track and do not work in the police, you may have problems with the law. Installation of a special spy app or tracking services on a gadget may lead to serious problems, so make sure you do everything right.

Let’s imagine that you have access to a targeted mobile. Then, you may use three ways to monitor every movement of its owner. They are as follows:

  • Major phone carriers
  • Specific options on the targeted phone
  • Tracking software

So, if you have a gadget that you want to monitor, you should consider these methods more closely. Learn how to spy on your relatives and friends legally and choose the way you like the most to do this.

    Tracking with Phone Carriers

Many US carriers can provide you with necessary information about the whereabouts of your children, spouses, and friends. If their phones and numbers are connected to one account, it is great. Thus, you have full rights to monitor the location of these devices. When using special applications provided by phone carriers, you may easily find out where your child plays at the moment, or where your wife is. For example, Verizon Family Locator enables you to be aware of your relatives’ location. Besides, this app is automatically upgraded and has the function of “hotspots”, which sends notifications in case a person visits or leaves a certain place.

Cell Phone Special Functions

Android and iPhone operating systems have some specific options to monitor the location of a targeted device from another gadget like a smartphone, tablet, and so on.

  1. Android has an option to locate a device remotely. When you turn it on and log in to the Google Account, you will see the location of this mobile on the map.
  2. Select the option iCloud and make sure your Find My iPhone setting is on. After entering the Apple ID, you will track a targeted phone immediately.

Monitoring Software

It is the most effective method to track someone’s location, as there is a great number of spy apps both at the App Store and Google Play Store. All you need to do is to choose a reliable and good one to start spying on your kids or employees. You can buy one of such programs at https://www.mspy.com/current-gps-location.html and find out how useful and easy these applications may be. However, don’t forget about access permission to a targeted phone if you don’t want to break the law.

Some Extra Features of Tracking Apps

We can say that applying any spy software is much more useful than it may seem at first sight, as you can find more than just the location of a phone. In fact, using tracking apps is one of the most widespread and popular methods allowing to set up an efficient parental control over children and teenagers who went out of control. Such apps may provide access to chats and call history of your kids, for instance.

Some concerned parents can even restore deleted messages to know the truth or prevent troubles. Besides, we can learn what sites our relatives and kids visited lately and what interest they have. Moreover, there is also a very useful function of recording conversations. A little bit creepy, isn’t it? However, people rarely use these features every day, as they are designed for some extraordinary or very serious cases when no other legal means of learning the truth can be applied. If you are simply curious, try speaking to a person first before invading his or her privacy.  

Nokia has announced its first Android smartphone is to be released exclusively in China.

The Nokia 6 will be marketed in partnership with the local internet retail giant JD.com.

The announcement coincided with the final day of the CES tech show in Las Vegas, where other new mobile phones and gadgets have been launched.

Nokia no longer manufactures phones that carry its name but has instead licensed its brand to another Finnish company, HMD Global.

Until now, the only phones that had been released under the deal had been more basic “feature phone” models.

The Nokia 6 had been highly anticipated and marked the company’s return to the smartphone market after a series of Windows Phone models. Microsoft briefly used the brand for about a year after buying Nokia’s mobile devices unit in 2014.

Nokia once dominated the mobile phone market but struggled after the launch of the iPhone a decade ago, and the subsequent release of Google’s Android operating system.

HMD Global had previously indicated it would release several Nokia-branded Android phones in 2017.

It is expected to provide details of at least some of the other launches at another trade show – Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress – in February.

Nokia said in a statement: “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world.

“With over 552 million smartphone users in China in 2016, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 593 million users by 2017, it is a strategically important market where premium design and quality is highly valued by consumers.”

The Nokia 6 phone runs Android 7.0 – the latest version, also known as Nougat – and has a 5.5in 1080p “full high definition” screen, a 16 megapixel rear camera, 4GB of RAM memory and 64GB of storage, two amplifiers supported by Dolby Atmos audio processing, which HMD says creates audio that “seems to flow all around users”.

The specifications are mid-range, and so is the price: 1,699 yuan ($245).

That makes Nokia 6 slightly more expensive than Huawei’s Honor 6X but cheaper than Xiaomi’s Mi 5s.

Samsung Electronics has decided to recall its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone saying that battery problems were behind phones catching fire.

According to US and South Korea reports, the phone “exploded” during or after charging.

Samsung said customers who already bought Galaxy Note 7 will be able to swap it for a new one.

The recall comes just one week ahead of Apple’s expected presentation of a new iPhone model.

Photo Samsung

Photo Samsung

Samsung’s mobile business president Koh Dong-jin told reporters: “We have received several reports of battery explosion on the Note 7 that and it has been confirmed that it was a battery cell problem.”

The South Korean company said it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy Note 7 has been launched in 10 countries so far but with different companies supplying the batteries.

Over the past days, several users had reported their phones caught fire or exploded while charging, and Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases.

The Galaxy Note 7 was only launched on August 19 and has since them been generally well-received by critics and consumers.

The model is the latest of Samsungs’ series of so called phablets – smartphones with very large screens and, in the case of Samsung, featuring a stylus.

Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.

Smartphones make traveling by plane easier than it ever has been before. With myriad apps to help you get flight information, navigate unfamiliar airports, and find ground transportation once you’ve landed, your smartphone is almost as essential to traveling as your boarding pass—which you now can store on your phone as well.

Nowadays, 76 percent of people are using airline apps to streamline their traveling experiences. Your T-Mobile iPhone 6 Plus is the perfect resource for downloading travel apps and storing your flight data. But what about on the plane itself? Phone usage on the ground isn’t sufficient anymore. Airplane mode makes smartphones safe for onboard usage, and in-flight Wi-Fi connects you to your favorite websites and some great in-flight entertainment. You can even take advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi for sending emails and checking the status of your next flight.

Imagine if you could order food and drinks from the flight attendant with your smartphone, or make and receive calls while in the air. More and more passengers desire features like these for their smartphones while flying. Once upon a time it may have seemed out of the realm of possibility, but the FCC is currently creating rules that allow people to use data and voice features while above 10,000 feet. On top of that, interesting new technology like picocells (which are tiny mobile stations attached to the plane) enable passengers to make calls while in the air. Read on to see more about how smartphones are changing the way we travel.

Flying Smart IG

Samsung has unveiled two new smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5.

Both smartphones have 5.7in screens and are going on sale earlier in the year than their previous generations.

The new launches follow five successive falls in Samsung Electronics’ quarterly profits.

Analysts say the popularity of mid-range phones from Chinese rivals, and Apple’s shift to bigger iPhones, have dented demand for Samsung’s devices.

However, Samsung remains the world leader in terms of overall smartphone shipments.

The announcements were made at a press conference in New York.

Samsung also revealed that its smart wallet service, Samsung Pay – which allows the phones to trigger payment card transactions.

The service would go live in South Korea on August 20.

Samsung Pay will be extended to the US on September 28 and then to the UK and Spain at an unspecified date.

Like previous versions of the Note, Galaxy Note 5 comes with a stylus – which Samsung says makes it suitable for productivity tasks. But the phone now has metal edges and a glass back to give it a more “premium” feel.

Photo Samsung

Photo Samsung

In a change of strategy, Samsung has no plans at present to release the Note 5 in Europe – a decision it says is purely for marketing reasons.

Unlike last year, there is no “edge” edition of the Note.

Instead, the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is targeted at those who want a “phablet”-sized handset with curved sides.

The “plus” in its name refers to the fact that its screen is both 0.6in larger than the earlier edition and more scratch-resistant.

Photo Samsung

Photo Samsung

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ now has an extra gigabyte of memory, taking it up to 4GB of RAM to aid multi-tasking, but uses the same in-house Exynos processor as before.

This marks a change from the S5 Plus, which was the same size but contained a faster processor than the original S5.

The decision to host a standalone press conference for the handsets marks a change of strategy for Samsung.

All the previous versions of the Note were unveiled at Germany’s annual IFA tech show, which is still three weeks away. The S5 Plus was announced last October in a low-key press release.

One of the benefits of announcing the new models together at this point is that it should give Samsung about a month’s lead on Apple – reports suggest the company will update its own smartphones on September 9.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5 go on sale on August 21.

Keeping your tablet or smartphone secure is an important aspect of protecting yourself from web hackers. Even if your device is in your hands, hackers are becoming more skilled at getting through firewalls and finding personal information in your email or other saved accounts. There are some simple steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you.

Passcode Protect Your Device

7-Ways-to-Secure-Your-Tablet-or-Smartphone

Image via Flickr by Chris F

Most tablets and smartphones come with an option to set a passcode so that you are the only one who can get into the information stored on the device. If you leave your phone or tablet sitting out, anyone who picks it up can get into your apps, messages, and emails. Some of the newer devices also have an option to set a password instead of a four-digit passcode for increased security. The iPad Mini 3 with fingerprint identity sensor makes it even easier to keep unwanted users out of your information since only your finger will unlock the device.

Back Up Data

If your phone or tablet breaks or is stolen, you will probably realize how much information was stored on the device. Instead of waiting for an issue to arise, take a few minutes every day or two to back up the data that is on the device. You can download free or paid security apps that will automatically back up your data, or you can use cloud-based services that you can access from anywhere. If you have security concerns about keeping your information in the cloud, you can also back up to your computer.

Modify Default Settings

When you first take your new phone or tablet out of the box, it will have default security settings that may not offer enough protection for your information. Start by disabling any location tracking services, since these can make it very easy for hackers to pinpoint exactly where you and the device are at any time. When you need to use location services, such as mapping, just enable it for that usage. NFC and Bluetooth can also allow hackers to connect wirelessly to your device, so keep them off unless you are using them.

Use Devices on Your Network

If you choose a tablet or phone that isn’t compatible with your network, you will have to root or jailbreak it to make it work. This means that you will override manufacturer settings and this can result in a loss of security features. Mobile malware programs are more likely to pop up and cause damage to these types of phones and tablets, since traditional devices used on their own networks have stricter security restrictions that help keep hackers out.

Remote Wiping

Most phones and tablets have the option to remotely wipe the data stored on the devices. If you engage a remote wiping, it will restore the device to its original factory settings. This can help protect your personal information in case your device is stolen or hacked. If your device has the option to reset itself if too many wrong passcode attempts are made, be sure to enable it. There are also apps that make it easier to find your device.

Watch Out for Bad Apps

Many mobile device users have found that the most common reason that their devices are compromised is because they have downloaded bad apps. When you are considering downloading an app, make sure to read reviews and double-check permissions to make sure the app won’t access information it doesn’t need. You can also enable a security setting that won’t allow another user, such as a family member or friend, to download an unsecured app.

Use Caution on Public Wi-Fi

Accessing free Wi-Fi networks in public places can be an easy way to lessen your mobile data usage. However, if you use your device to shop or do online banking, it is a lot easier for hackers to access this information. Make sure that you only use private and secured networks when you are using credit card information or other personal details.

With a few easy tips, you can keep yourself protected from hackers and thieves who are looking for ways to get into your private data.

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Eye experts warn people not to take pictures of March 20 solar eclipse on a smartphone because of blindness risk.

The danger comes as people look directly at the Sun as they position themselves for selfies or other shots.

Inadvertently, glancing at the Sun – even briefly while setting up a shot – can lead to burns at the back of eye.

Experts advise indirect viewing, using pinholes and facing away from the Sun.

For many, this will be the first time they have witnessed the phenomenon in 15 years, but eye specialists say people should not use their camera phones to capture the event.Solar eclipse 2015

The safest ways to view the eclipse include using a pinhole camera to project an image of the eclipse on to a piece of card.

Other options involve using colanders to make multiple pinholes or using specifically designed eclipse viewing glasses.

Experts warn the glasses must be checked for damage first and should be put on before looking up at the sky.

It’s a Total Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway), and a Partial Solar Eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa. The eclipse starts at 07:41 UTC and ends at 11:50 UTC.

The sky will darken but the Sun will still peek out from behind the Moon.

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If you still think mobile sites are a passing trend, you have fallen behind your consumers and your fellow businesses. With consumers and businessmen more and more obsessed with smartphones and the mobile sales conversions rising even higher, mobile optimization is a necessary move to successfully establish your online presence. Here are five ways that mobile optimization is a must for every business’ success:

1. Mobile is Important to Consumers

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Image via Flickr by Janitors

According to a Pew Research survey, almost 60 percent of Americans owned a smartphone as of January 2014. And those same Americans use their phone for everything. It’s their camera, their calendar, and their entertainment when they are bored. They invest in everything from car chargers and cradles to smartphone speakers so they that their phone can forever act as the extension of their arm that it is. It is radio, GPS, and email, in addition to such menial tasks as phone calls and texts.

And this smartphone co-dependency transfers to the way they consume products and interact with businesses. Mobile sales rose over 50 percent in 2013, according to Google’s new Mobile Playbook, with almost a fifth of all sales now coming from smartphones and tablets. And if your business doesn’t have a functional mobile site, Google found that almost half of consumers won’t hesitate to turn to a competitor.

2. Mobile is Under-Appreciated

While those numbers should be enough to motivate every business into getting a clean mobile site, GetElastic’s infographic on mobile websites reported that just over a third of businesses had any sort of mobile site in 2013, meaning they are handing off a significant number of future customers every day to more tech-savvy companies.

And while having a mobile site is good, it isn’t the end of the road for mobile interaction. You need to have the right information clearly visible. That means address and hours for brick-and-mortar businesses and an easy-to-use shopping cart for e-commerce companies. Bottom line? Mobile isn’t an upcoming trend. It’s the standard, and if you don’t have it, you are behind.

3. The Mobile Tablet Market Should Be Tapped

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Image via Flickr by Janitors

Even though tablets are still a growing market, GetElastic found that tablet users are the most likely to make a purchase, with 72 percent of tablet users making at least one purchase on their tablet a week. In fact, over half of tablet users said that they preferred shopping on their tablet to other electronic devices, making them over three times as likely to make a purchase than smartphone users.

If you are eager to turn mobile tablet views into sales, your site needs to be simple, clean and fast. GetElastic noted that almost all online shopping carts (97 percent) are abandoned due to a cluttered screen.

4. Mobile Optimization is Just the Beginning of Consumer Interaction

Finally, once someone has been to your mobile site, GetElastic found that they are almost guaranteed to engage your business in additional ways. Over 70 percent of users will continue to interact with your brand once they’ve seen your mobile site, whether that is by continuing their research or visiting your store. A quarter of visitors will visit your retail site, and 17 percent will make a purchase afterwards, too.

5. Mobile is Fast

Mobile is an on-the-go and on-a-whim kind of marketplace, so what happens when a mobile site is slow? We already know that a poor mobile experience could send up to 40 percent of consumers to competitors. But over half of the people who do make mobile purchases will do so within an hour of their mobile search. That gives you 60 minutes or less to have a consumer browse your merchandise, pick a product, put it in their shopping cart, and pay for it.

 If the site is slow and cluttered, that 60 minutes blows by and users will be much more likely to abandon their shopping. And if consumers have experienced a slow mobile site—slow enough to deter them from purchasing something—43 percent said they weren’t likely to return.

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Lenovo has reported a 23% jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average.

For the three months to June, net profit rose to $214 million. Revenue in the same quarter jumped 18% from the previous year to $10.4 billion.

Lenovo’s core business lies in personal computers and accounts for 49% of total revenue in the quarter to June.

Laptop sales rose 12% in that period, when the industry was in a downturn.

The world’s biggest maker of personal computers said the PC industry saw a 3.7% decline in laptop shipments for the three months to June, when compared to the same period last year.

The latest figures indicate Lenovo has maintained its status as market leader for PCs, with a higher global market share of nearly 20% when compared to last year.

Lenovo has reported a 23 percent jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average

Lenovo has reported a 23 percent jump in net profit for Q2 2014 as laptop sales outperformed industry average

In a statement which accompanied the earnings release, Lenovo Chairman Yang Yuanqing said: “This has been a quarter of milestones for Lenovo – record PC share, a number three ranking in worldwide tablets for the first time and an even stronger number four global smartphone position.”

Lenovo has been making moves to diversify away from the shrinking global PC market. Its “Mobile Device Business” includes smartphones and tablets.

For the first time ever, Lenovo said it had sold more smartphones than PCs, with a record volume of 15.8 million units. That is a 39% gain from the previous year.

Yang Yuanqing also said: “As the PC industry recovers, the smartphone market continues its shift from premium to mainstream, and our acquisitions of Motorola Mobility and IBM x86 proceed toward completion, we see even more opportunity to keep growing rapidly.

“Lenovo continues to outperform the market and meet our commitments to improve profitability in our core businesses, while building strong pillars for future growth across our entire portfolio.”

The company has been on an acquisition spree. Earlier this year it struck a deal to acquire IBM’s low-end server unit.

Lenovo is also in the process of acquiring Motorola’s handset business from Google.

Both deals are awaiting regulatory approval, which analysts say could come as early as the third quarter of this year.

Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones.

San Francisco-based Flurry helps app developers analyze data about their users and deliver more personalized ads to them.

Some of Yahoo’s rivals have also bought mobile advertising technology companies in an attempt to lure marketers to their apps, as well as generate revenue from ads on other company’s apps.

Yahoo and Flurry did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

However, some reports indicated that Yahoo paid between $200 million and $300 million to acquire Flurry, making it one of Yahoo’s biggest acquisitions since it acquired blogging platform Tumblr in 2012.

Yahoo’s deal comes just days after it reported that its profit fell by 18% to $270 million during the three months to the end of June.

Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones

Yahoo has bought app analytics company Flurry to help boost its advertising revenue from smartphones

Its revenues also fell 3% to $1.08 billion.

Most of the decline was due to a sharp drop in digital display advertising, which plunged 8% in the second quarter.

However, Yahoo said that its mobile display and search revenue each grew more than 100% during the period, from a year ago.

On Monday, Yahoo and Flurry said that by joining forces they will be able to better serve their customers and boost mobile revenues further.

“With Yahoo, we will have access to more resources to speed up the delivery of great products that can help app developers build better apps, reach the right users, and explore new revenue opportunities,” Simon Khalaf, chief executive of Flurry, said in a statement.

“Over the last six years we have accomplished a lot on our own, but with Yahoo we are in an even better position to achieve our joint goals.”

Flurry works with more than 170,000 developers, picking up data from 150 billion app sessions each month, to provide information to app publishers about their audiences, app usage and performance.

The global demand for smartphones has surged in recent years and an increasing number of people are accessing the internet via handheld devices, rather than the traditional desktop computers.

That has prompted internet firms such as Yahoo, Twitter, Google and Facebook to come up with strategies to increase their revenues from mobile devices.

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Huawei has reported a 19% jump in sales to 135.8 billion yuan ($21.9 billion) for the first six months of the year.

The Chinese telecom equipment maker said it expects to make an operating profit margin of 18.3% for the period.

Huawei has traditionally concentrated on making telecoms network equipment, but has benefited by diversifying into fast-growing sectors such as smartphone manufacturing.

It is now one of the world’s largest smartphone makers.

Cathy Meng, the company’s chief financial officer, said the firm “achieved quality and sustainable growth in our consumer business thanks to the increase of brand awareness and smart devices sales worldwide”.

According to IDC, Huawei shipped 13.7 million smartphones in the first three months of this year – making it the third-biggest smartphone vendor in the world.

Huawei is now one of the world's largest smartphone makers

Huawei is now one of the world’s largest smartphone makers

Huawei did not give a breakdown of its latest sales numbers.

The company has also been looking to tap into the market for wearable technology and introduced its hybrid Talkband smart device earlier this year.

Furthermore, China’s investment in fourth-generation mobile network technology has led to a steady stream of revenue for the company.

“Driven by increasing investments in LTE networks worldwide, Huawei has further solidified its leadership position in mobile broadband,” Cathy Meng said in the statement.

Huawei’s growth comes despite it coming under scrutiny in key markets in recent years.

In 2012, US politicians claimed that the company posed a security threat because of its alleged links to China’s government and military.

The concerns over its association with the Chinese authorities have been driven in part, by the fact that the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army.

However, Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims and has stressed that it is 100%-owned by its employees and founder.

Earlier this year, a report in the New York Times alleged that the National Security Agency (NSA) had infiltrated Huawei’s servers.

In response, China has demanded a clear explanation from the US government.

Microsoft will stop developing Android-powered smartphones beyond those already available.

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system, although existing Android handsets will continue to be supported.

The move comes as Microsoft announced 18,000 job cuts across its workforce.

Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset division earlier this year.

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system

Nokia X models will now become part of the Lumia range and run the Windows Phone operating system

Nokia unveiled its first family of Android phones at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in February.

The release of the smartphones, which were priced at the lower end of the market, was described as a “perplexing strategic move” at the time, given that Microsoft had its own mobile operating system, Windows Phone.

In an email to employees on Thursday, Stephen Elop, Microsoft’s executive in charge of mobile devices, announced that Android handsets were being phased out.

“In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest-growing segments of the market, with Lumia.

“In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices.

“We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.”

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According to US scientists, smartphones reflect the personal microbial world of their owners.

A new study suggests that more than 80% of the common bacteria that make up our personal bacterial “fingerprints” end up on their screens.

Personal possessions, such as phones, might be useful for tracking the spread of bacteria, they report in PeerJ.

They reflect our microbiome – the trillions of different micro-organisms that live in and on our bodies.

Mobile phone users have been found to touch their devices on average 150 times a day.

Scientists have found an overlap between the collection of micro-organisms naturally present on our bodies and those on the screens of smartphones.

They say this could one day be used to track people’s exposure to bacteria.

In the study, biologists from the University of Oregon sequenced the DNA of microbes found on the index fingers and thumbs of 17 people.

More than 80 percent of the common bacteria that make up our personal bacterial fingerprints end up on smartphones screens

More than 80 percent of the common bacteria that make up our personal bacterial fingerprints end up on smartphones screens

They also took swabs of the subjects’ smartphones.

A total of 7,000 different types of bacteria were found in 51 samples.

On average, 22% of bacterial families overlapped on fingers and phones.

Some 82% of the most common bacteria present on participants’ fingers were also found on their phones.

They included three families that are commonly found on the skin or in the mouth – Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium.

Men and women both shared bacteria with their phones, but the connection was stronger in women.

Lead researcher Dr. James Meadow said while the sample size was small, the findings were “revealing”.

“This project was a proof-of-concept to see if our favorite and most closely held possessions microbially resemble us,” he said.

“We are ultimately interested in the possibility of using personal effects as a non-invasive way to monitor our health and our contact with the surrounding environment.”

The researchers say there is no evidence that mobile phones present any more infection risk than any other possession.

However, they say our phones might one day be used to study whether people have been exposed to certain bacteria, particularly healthcare workers.

The study confirms that “we share more than an emotional connection with our phones – they carry our personal microbiome”, Dr. James Meadow added.

There is increasing scientific interest in the human microbiome – the population of trillions of micro-organisms that live in our gut, mouth, skin and elsewhere on our bodies.

Bacteria can be harmful but they can also have beneficial effects, particularly in the gut, by digesting food and making essential nutrients and vitamins.

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Google has launched Nexus 5 – the latest incarnation of its flagship Nexus smartphone.

Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger.

The Nexus 5 has been developed to show off the capabilities of the new version of the Android operating system.

Called Kitkat, the software has been designed to work well on both high-end smartphones and cheaper feature phones.

The alliance with Google has helped bolster LG’s fortunes even though, according to statistics from Gartner, it is still a long way behind rivals Samsung and Apple.

In the April-to-June quarter, the consultancy indicated 3.8% of all smartphones sold were LG handsets putting the South Korean firm in third place.

Made by LG, Google's Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger

Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger

By contrast, Apple accounted for 18.8% of all sales and Samsung 29.7%.

The specifications for the new phone were widely leaked before it was announced on the official Google blog.

The Nexus 5 shares some of the hardware from LG’s G2 handset and can record and play back HD video at the full 1080p resolution. Its camera also has a rapid burst system that captures several photographs at the same time so owners can pick the best shot.

The handset is due to go on sale on November 1st in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea.

Google said a base 16GB version of the device would cost $349 in the US, unlocked and without a contract. The 32GB version should cost $399.

With Android Kitkat, Google said it had made the software use less memory so it could be used on handsets with much lower specifications than top end smartphones.

In addition, Google has begun moving some services off Android’s core software and onto its app store. Many see this as a way for it to maintain more control over the security of the software and its associated applications.

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The new iPhone 5S has been hailed as the safest smartphone on the market with its fingerprint recognition technology.

The iPhone 5S has proved just how secure its new password service is, by registering a cat’s paw print as a key to unlock the gadget.

Technology site, TechCrunch, wanted to test the new Touch ID feature which allows the phone’s owner and four other Touch ID profiles to unlock the phone using skin-recognition technology.

After a few false starts, the cat’s paw was recognized as one of the owner’s five chosen keys and was able to access the phone’s content.

The user was also able to use the heel of his palm and his wrist in the experiment which is described as “a broadening of the definition of what counts as a <<fingerprint>>”.

Though different parts of the body were able to be registered and then recognized as keys, when trying to fool the phone’s software by using the opposite hand than registered access was denied.

The experiment pointed out however that no other animals could be used to unlock the phone as cats have unique fingerprint like paws.

Another technology site, Pocket-Lint, found Touch ID is not just a fingerprint sensor, but a toe and fingerprint sensor.

Their tests found that a print from a toe was able to unlock the phone perfectly every time.

The iPhone 5S has proved just how secure its new password service is, by registering a cat's paw print as a key to unlock the gadget

The iPhone 5S has proved just how secure its new password service is, by registering a cat’s paw print as a key to unlock the gadget

Apple unveiled the fingerprint scanner on its iPhone 5S last week with bold claims about its high levels of encryption and security.

The firm even suggested that its Touch ID system could revolutionize smartphone security and replace the traditional, everyday password.

The Touch ID sensor is built into the premium phone’s “home” button and can be used to unlock the phone, as well as pay for shopping and apps automatically – effectively replacing the need for a password or PIN.

Speaking at the launch event in Cupertino, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said: “Half of smartphone customers do not set up passwords. [Touch ID] is an easier and more fun alternative.

“It uses key you have with you everywhere you go. Your finger.”

It works by using a small touch sensor encased around the home button that scans the layers of skin on a finger.

A user can “train” their iPhone to read and learn their unique fingerprint and when they touch the home button, the phone is unlocked.

Touch ID can also replace an App Store password when buying music, apps or books.

It uses a “laser cut sapphire crystal” to take a high-res image scan and the Touch ID software in iOS 7 determines whether the print belongs to the owner or not.

Apple said it is designed to provide “accurate readings from any angle, so the motion to unlock your device ought to be as automatic as it is now”.

It is also designed to become more accurate the more it is used.

Phil Schiller reassured users that Touch ID is secure by explaining that “all fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely inside the device’s chip” adding the prints are not stored on an Apple server, or backed up to iCloud.

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September 10 has been announced as the date Apple launches its much anticipated new iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S will take place at 10 AM Pacific time at the Apple Campus in Cupertino and according to rumors will see the unveiling not only of new and improved smartphone but also for the low-cost iPhone, dubbed the 5C.

The 5S will reportedly come with a new and improved camera and in different colored options, while the iPhone 5C will feature a plastic backing but remain essentially the same technology-wise as the iPhone 5.

Apple sent out invites to the press featuring the phrase: “This should brighten everyone’s day” along with a graphic depiction of multi-colored dots, which has led some to suggest indicates the new iPhone 5 will come in a variety of colors.

Indeed, the September 10 is due to be a bumper day for the Cupertino firm, with the announcement of iOS7, the first major overhaul of its mobile OS.

And the other highlights of the show will most likely include more details about iTunes Radio, which should launch for U.S. users on September 20th, along with iOS7.

As next week’s Apple iPhone event draws nearer, new images of what is rumored to be the iPhone 5C – boxed up and ready to be shipped – have been leaked online.

Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5C as a cheaper alternative to its upcoming iPhone 5S model at an event on September 10

Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5C as a cheaper alternative to its upcoming iPhone 5S model at an event on September 10

The photos, released by Chinese site iapps.im, show rows of the phones, with what is thought to be plastic casing, in pastel blue, pale yellow and powder pink.

Apple is rumored to be releasing the iPhone 5C as a cheaper alternative to its upcoming iPhone 5S model at an event on September 10.

The photos have since been removed by the Chinese site on the request of a “relevant party”, according to reports from Engadget.

In the images, each of the phones are also shown with a wallpaper in a corresponding color.

Rumors around Apple potentially launching two new handsets at an Autumn event surfaced in June.

They claimed that the California-based company wanted to launch a low-cost version of its iPhone 5 handset to compete with rivals Samsung.

It will be the first time in Apple’s iPhone history that the company has unveiled two handsets in the same month.

It was originally dubbed iPhone Mini, then iPhone Lite, and then leaked pictures from WeiPhone showing plastic cases suggest it could be called the iPhone 5C – with the C standing for colour.

The cheaper handset is expected to be made of plastic to keep costs down and may be sold in a range of colors including white, black, pink and blue.

According to analyst Brian White from Topeka Capital Markets, the iPhone Mini could be made of plastic and could cost as little as $99.

Other prices put it much higher at $400 and it is likely to be closer in price to Apple’s iPhone 4.

Apple does not comment on future products before its launch events.

Mark Gurman, a journalist for Apple fan site 9to5Mac wrote: “Because of the uncertain track record of the source of the image and the image’s overall low quality, it is difficult to judge if the images are legitimate.”

He continues that they do, however, mirror the technique of matching a wallpaper to the outer casing as seen in 2012 during Apple’s release of the iPod nano.

Other leaked images of the phone have shown the case in dark red, blue and green.

If the iPhone 5C follows suit with the iPod nano design, it may be released in red, pink, yellow, blue, green, black and grey as well as white.

The cheaper iPhone will be an entry-level device to go with the high-end iPhone 5S, which is expected to come in gold, black and white, have a fingerprint scanner, dual-flash camera to improve the quality of photos, and a faster processor.

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LG and Acer are both claiming “world firsts” with their latest product launches, revealed ahead of Berlin’s IFA tech show.

LG is returning to the tablet market with the G Pad, which the company is marketing as the only 8in-class device to feature a “full-HD display”.

Acer has announced the Liquid S2 , the first smartphone capable of recording video in the 4K “ultra-HD” format.

It allows the companies to get the jump on rivals in what will be a busy week.

Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Lenovo, Toshiba, Philips and Dyson are among other companies to have scheduled press conferences between 4 and 11 September at the consumer electronics event in the German capital.

The 8.3in G Pad marks LG’s return to the sector following its announcement in June 2012 that it was putting “tablet development on the back burner” in order to focus on smartphones.

LG has since improved its standing to become the world’s third best-selling smartphone-maker after Samsung and Apple, according to tech analysis firm Gartner.

Its latest figures suggest LG sold 11.5 million handsets in the April-to-July quarter giving it a 5.1% market share.

LG is returning to the tablet market with the G Pad, which the company is marketing as the only 8in-class device to feature a full-HD display

LG is returning to the tablet market with the G Pad, which the company is marketing as the only 8in-class device to feature a full-HD display

LG hopes to replicate that success by launching an 8.3in tablet with a display featuring 273 pixels per inch (ppi), which is actually slightly higher than that needed to show 1080p video in full-quality.

The extra resolution should also make text sharper, although it also means the device’s processor has to work harder to display all the pixels which will take its toll on battery life.

LG is also promoting the inclusion of its proprietary QPair app which allows the G Pad to be paired with other Android smartphones so that calls or messages can be handled via the tablet.

“LG’s recent financial results have looked quite promising when it came to smartphone sales, but I think this particular tablet might struggle to match them for third place in the market,” said Jas Badyal, an analyst at telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.

“Along with the iPad Mini and Amazon tablets there’s also reports that Tesco plans a tablet of its own, so the firm even faces the worry of the supermarkets getting involved in the future.”

Acer’s Liquid S2 is able to shoot 4K video thanks to its inclusion of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processor.

But as the 6in-screen on the Taiwanese company’s phone has a lower resolution, owners will need a 4K-television or alternative display to make the most of the format.

The extra processing horsepower does, however, mean that users can film video in 1080p at 60 frames per second allowing them to create a four-times slow-motion effect.

Other devices running off Qualcomm’s chip – or alternatively Nvidia’s rival Tegra 4 processor, which also supports the ultra-HD standard – may also be announced at Ifa, meaning the Liquid S2’s unique status could be short-lived.

French company Archos has also opted to unveil its new devices ahead of the tech show.

Its new line-up includes the 80 Childpad – a tablet featuring an application which takes owners to a special version of Google’s Play Store which only features programs that Archos’ staff have judged to be suitable for a younger audience.

Sony has already announced plans for its Android-compatible SmartWatch 2 but has yet to put the device on sale.

The Korea Times has quoted a Samsung executive as saying the firm would unveil its first Galaxy Gear smartwatch at Ifa, but that the device would not feature the flexible display shown in recent patent documents.

According to research firm Gartner, smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time in the April-to-June period.

Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 435 million units. Smartphone sales accounted for 225 million units, up 46.5% from the previous year.

Feature phones totalled 210 million units, down 21%.

The highest smartphone growth rates came from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, Gartner said.

A smartphone is commonly defined as a device that has built-in applications and can connect to the internet.

In contrast, feature phones tend to perform fewer functions and are priced more cheaply.

Smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time in the April-to-June period

Smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time in the April-to-June period

“Smartphones accounted for 51.8% of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

However, a competing firm, IDC, said this milestone had already been reached in the first three months of 2013.

Some analysts said that the price of entry-level smartphones has come down sharply over the past few months, resulting in a major sales boost.

“We have a lot of Asian manufactures such as Samsung, Huawei, ZTE and LG who are coming put with much more affordable smartphone models,” said Andrew Milroy of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

“That has helped them tap into a vast consumer base, especially in emerging markets.”

Andrew Milroy added that some mobile phone carriers had also been offering pre-paid data plans, allowing consumers in these markets to limit their bills while using features such as email and mobile applications, which had also helped attract new customers.

Gartner said Samsung continued to be the top seller of smartphones globally, while Apple saw its marketshare come down to 14.2% from 18.8% in the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, Lenovo, the world biggest PC-maker, managed to gain a lot of market share very quickly with an aggressive push into the smartphone market.

Gartner said that in terms of operating systems, Google’s Android was top, with 79% market share, followed by Apple’s iOS with 14.2%. However, Microsoft overtook Blackberry for the first time to come in third place.

Andrew Milroy said that given the growth in smartphones sales, coupled with a drop in their prices, the future for feature phones looks bleak.

“Feature phones will be a hard sell in about five to 10 years time,” he said.

“It will reach a point where the sales of a new model of feature phone will not be able to justify the amount of time and money that is spent into developing it.”

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Twenty people were injured, with seven being hospitalized, when a promotional stunt in Seoul for LG’s G2 smartphone went wrong, the company has said.

LG has cancelled a series of events promoting the handset as a result of the incident in Seoul on Friday.

People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons.

LG has taken responsibility for the situation and said it would cover related medical costs.

“LG Electronics deeply regrets that a number of Korean participants were injured during an outdoor promotional event in Seoul, Korea,” a statement from the company said.

“We can confirm that seven participants were hospitalized and, although none of the injuries were serious, LG takes full responsibility for the unfortunate situation and has offered to cover all related medical expenses.

People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab LG G2 smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons

People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab LG G2 smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons

“LG is investigating the incident to ensure that such an occurrence can be avoided in the future.”

The company added that other planned events had been called off because of safety concerns.

LG released 100 helium balloons, each with a free smartphone voucher, at the so-called G in the Cloud event, which took place in an outdoor park in the South Korean capital city.

The phones, which sell for KRW 950,000 in South Korea ($851), would be given to people in possession of the voucher, the company said.

Customers arrived with BB guns to shoot down the balloons and surged forward when they were released.

One person carried a pointed staff to the event.

One regional TV channel has dubbed the scrum “World War G” – a comparison to the film World War Z in which zombies scramble over each other to climb over a wall.

The handset was released in New York last week, after weeks of build-up on social media.

It is expected to be available globally with more than 130 carriers within several weeks.

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North Korea announces it has produced its first home-grown smartphone – Arirang – but experts have disputed its origins.

The Arirang handset, described as a “hand phone” in state media, was shown to leader Kim Jong-un during a factory tour.

North Korea has had a mobile network since 2008, but activity is heavily monitored and restricted.

Last year North Korea launched a tablet, but it later emerged it was likely to have been made in China.

Clues to the tablet’s origin were uncovered by Martyn Williams, an expert on North Korean technology, who noted that parts of the tablet’s software code suggested links to a manufacturer in Hong Kong.

The Arirang smartphone, named after a popular folk song, was unlikely to have been made in the country, Martyn Williams added.

He noted that actual manufacturing was shown, and that the device was “probably made to order by a Chinese manufacturer and shipped to the May 11 Factory where they are inspected before going on sale”.

Kim Jong-un demoing the Arirang smartphone, which appeared to be running a version of Google's Android mobile operating system

Kim Jong-un demoing the Arirang smartphone, which appeared to be running a version of Google’s Android mobile operating system

Kim Jong-un was accompanied by the Korean Workers’ Party propaganda chief and the head of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a hint that the devices could be used for widespread dissemination of government information.

The North Korean leader was seen to be demoing the device, which appeared to be running a version of Google’s Android mobile operating system.

There are no further details available about the smartphone’s exact specifications, but the KNCA reported that Kim Jong-un praised the “high pixels” of the built-in camera.

The article said Kim Jong-un had high hopes for the “educational significance in making people love Korean things”.

He advised that factory workers should “select and produce shapes and colors that users like”.

Mobile phones in North Korea have been available since 2008. The national network is maintained thanks to a joint operation by the North Korean government and Egyptian telecoms company Orascom.

Phones on the network are heavily restricted. They cannot access the internet and can only make calls within North Korea.

For a short time, foreigners in the country were able to use mobile internet, but this access was later revoked.

It is believed that many in North Korea, particular those near the borders, use illegally owned mobiles to contact people outside the country.

Being found in possession of a foreign phone would be a very serious crime.

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Did you know that lots of people have found love thanks to BlackBerry BBM? As a matter of fact, there is an entire Facebook page dedicated for people to share their stories. If you’re just curious about the highlights, here are six stories of love that happened in part because of BlackBerry BBM.

Julie and Andrew

Image via Flickr by Numbuzz

Julie and Andrew met in England and their relationship took off after they exchanged a few BBM messages. Then, Julie moved back to be with her family in Canada and the couple stayed in contact thanks to their BlackBerry phones. Their relationship continued long distance through, phone calls, messaging, and emoticons.

Navin and Niharika

This couple met during an internship training in Goa. When it was finished, they both parted ways and stayed in contact thanks to BBM for android smartphones. They spoke on the phone and chatted through BlackBerry BBM. They finally got together after Nagpur finished her studies and went back home to Mumbai. They got married and have been together for nine years now.

Siddharth and Mahek

One month into their relationship, Siddharth and Mahek reached their 100 sms limit. That’s when they decided to buy BlackBerry phones together because of BlackBerry BBM. They can now send unlimited messages to each other without the standard cost of text messages. The couple describes how BlackBerry BBM keeps them in love, saying, “I like a shirt, I send her a photo. She likes a shoe, she sends me a photo.” It keeps them connected to each other at all times. “I love you,” is one of their favorite messages to send.

Niki and Vishnu

This couple met at one of the clubs in Cochin where they had love at first sight. By the end of the night, Niki and Vishnu had exchanged numbers. They called and texted back and forth for a week until they decided to start dating. They credit BlackBerry BBM for their loving relationship. Niki says, “Without his ping in the morning, my day is definitely incomplete.

Usha and Abid

These childhood friends decided that they were made for each other and became a couple. Growing up together helped them learn each other’s likes and dislikes and strengthen their relationship. They now stay connected and in love thanks to BlackBerry BBM.

Tanaya and Amit

Both Tanaya and Amit wanted to get married so they turned to a dating website where they found each other. After the parents approved, arrangements started being made to get the marriage started. While that was happening, Tanaya and Amit fell in loved by texting each other during all of their spare time. The first gift that Amit gave Tanaya was a BlackBerry phone so they could stay connected. They are now inseparable. They will be getting married very soon.

These are just a few accounts of the great love stories that were made possible because of BlackBerry BBM. Do you have a love story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.

The European launch of HTC First, aka Facebook smartphone, has been delayed following disappointing US sales and negative feedback.

The HTC handset runs Facebook’s enhanced Home software, designed to be more integrated into the smartphone than a normal app.

First’s delay follows a raft of high-profile employee departures from HTC.

In recent months, chief product officer Kouji Koudera, Asian chief executive Lennard Hoornik and the firm’s director of global communications Jason Gordon have all departed.

Five other senior figures have also left the company.

Signs of discontent were played out in public when Eric Lin, an ex-HTC product strategy manager, tweeted: “To all my friends still at @HTC – just quit. Leave now.

“It’s tough to do, but you’ll be so much happier, I swear.”

Eric Lin had left HTC in February to join Microsoft-owned Skype.

The European launch of HTC First, aka Facebook smartphone, has been delayed following disappointing US sales and negative feedback

The European launch of HTC First, aka Facebook smartphone, has been delayed following disappointing US sales and negative feedback

Despite being one of the industry’s top players several years ago, the smartphone maker’s market share has fallen sharply and its income fell to the lowest level in eight years towards the end of 2012.

Mark Zuckerberg launched Home on the promise it would “change the relationship” people have with their phones.

The free-to-download software effectively replaces the phone’s home screen with a Facebook feed and chat options.

It was initially exclusively available on HTC’s First smartphone, before being rolled out to a selection of other Android-powered handsets.

HTC had hoped the Facebook deal would boost sales of the First device, but the handset has since been heavily discounted – and dropped by AT&T, the biggest US mobile network.

In a statement, Facebook said it had been listening to users’ “experiences” of the software.

“While many people love it, we’ve heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better.

“As a result we’re focusing the next few months on adding customization features that address the feedback we received.

“While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been photographed with a smartphone beside him during a meeting.

The mystery of what make of smartphone the ruler of one of the world’s most secretive countries favors has sparked international controversy not only among geeks but the average person in the Western street.

Is it an Apple iPhone? An HTC from Taiwan? A Sony from Japan? Surely not a Samsung from South Korea, the enemy across the border?

“I regret to say that I don’t think Kim would be seen dead with a Samsung,” said a technician in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

The dark phone seen beside Kim Jong-un’s elbow as he presided over a meeting with top national security advisers last week is at such an angle that its make cannot be defined.

But experts are agreed that it is definitely a smartphone, revealing that if it does actually belong to Kim Jong-un he is keeping up with modern technology.

“It’s believed that the smartphone seen in the picture belongs to Kim, given that the device was placed right next to the documents he was looking at,” said a Seoul government official.

South’s Korea’s media has given the picture – issued by North Korea’s state media – prominent coverage, along with a discussion about the possible manufacturer.

Samsung was 99% sure it wasn’t one of theirs.

“It looks more like an HTC model,” said a spokesman for the company whose Galaxy SIII phone is now outselling the iPhone.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been photographed with a smartphone beside him during a meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been photographed with a smartphone beside him during a meeting

South Korea’s intelligence agents have carefully inspected the photo and they have also concluded that the Taiwanese firm was the likely manufacturer.

So what does HTC have to say about the phone?

“We aren’t going to get into a discussion about the device but we do appreciate the support of all users,” the Taiwanese company said in a statement.

It is highly unlikely Kim Jong-un’s smartphone of choice is an iPhone – apart from the fact that the device at his side appears chunkier than an iPhone it is doubtful he would be endorsing a product of the hated United States.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspasper suggested that politics was behind the brand choice.

“It must have been politically uncomfortable for Kim Jong-un to use products made by the U.S. … and he can’t publicly endorse the fact that the South [Korea] is more technologically advanced,” it said, in a reference to Samsung phones.

Apart from highly-placed officials, about one million people in North Korea own mobile phones, which were introduced into the country in 2008 through a joint venture with the Egyptian telecom Orascom.

However, they can only phone each other and not make international calls. In addition phones available to the public cannot access the internet.

But it is believed Kim Jong-un and his close associates are able to get online to the outside world.

“Kim and his family members as well as the North’s political elite appear to use smartphones or other mobile phones capable of accessing the internet,” said a Seoul government official.

Foreign visitors entering North Korea are now allowed to bring their mobile phones into the country, but they have to purchase a local SIM card that allows them to make international calls but prevents them connecting to local people.

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Security researchers have found that data captured by smartphone sensors could help criminals guess codes used to lock the gadgets.

By analyzing data gathered by accelerometers they were able to get a good idea of the PIN or pattern used to protect a phone.

The data was useable because sensors can gather information with more freedom than apps loaded on the device.

Researchers said several different smartphone sensors could be subverted.

Dr. Adam J. Aviv, a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, carried out the attacks by using data gathered by an accelerometer on a smartphone. Typically this sensor logs phone movements in three dimensions: side-to-side, forward-and-back and up-and-down.

The data gathered as the phone is moved is often used in games to steer or guide an onscreen entity such as a car or a ball.

Working with Matt Blaze, Benjamin Sapp and Jonathan Smith from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Adam J. Aviv realized that the data gathered by the accelerometer could also be used to work out where someone tapped on a screen when unlocking a gadget with a PIN or pattern.

Security researchers have found that data captured by smartphone sensors could help criminals guess codes used to lock the gadgets.

Security researchers have found that data captured by smartphone sensors could help criminals guess codes used to lock the gadgets.

In controlled tests, data from accelerometers was captured, exported and analyzed to see if it matched a bigger “dictionary” of taps and swipes that had been previously gathered.

“It worked surprisingly well,” said Dr. Adam J. Aviv of the attack. In tests, the software developed by the team got more accurate the more guesses it was allowed.

After five guesses it could spot PINs about 43% of the time and patterns about 73% of the time. However, said Dr. Adam J. Aviv, these results were produced when PINs and patterns were picked from a 50-strong set of numbers and shapes.

The PIN and pattern spotting system did less well when it was applied to data gathered when users were walking around with gadgets. Using a phone while on the move introduced lots more “noise”, said Dr. Adam J. Aviv which made it harder to pick out the unlock patterns.

However, he said, many security researchers were getting interested in the sensors that came as standard in smartphones largely because the data they gathered was not subject to the same controls that governs other phone functions.

“More sensors on smartphones equals a lot more data flowing through these devices, which means protecting them is even more critical,” said Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer at mobile security firm Lookout.

“One kink or hole in the system could lead to data being exposed and utilized,” he said.

“As the physical and digital worlds merge, and we become more reliant on the interconnections forged, we need to collaborate across them to ensure the integrity of data.”

Dr. Adam J. Aviv said that typically users did not have to give permission for a sensor to gather data even if the information it grabbed had nothing to do with the application they were using.

Other researchers had looked into ways to subvert data gathered by gyroscopes, accelerometers and other orientation sensors to work out passwords, said Dr Aviv. One group even analyzed smears on touchscreens to get clues about Pins and patterns.

“We are starting to realize that the way we interact with these devices affects the security of these devices,” he said.

“The fact that we hold them in our hands is different to the way we use traditional computers and that actually can leak information to sensors in the device.”

American entrepreneur Tech Tips announces that the iPhone manicure is on its way.

In May 2013, Tech Tips is to launch Nano Nails – a false nail that contains a microchip and performs the same tasks as a traditional smartphone stylus.

According to Sri Vellani, the woman behind Nano Nails, women’s fashion choices should never be limited by a smartphone and she believes the microchipped falsie is the perfect solution.

Expected to retail at $10, Nano Nails, which come in packets of six or four, will also be available in nail tip form.

Tips and falsies can be applied at home or in a salon as part of a manicure.

In May 2013, Tech Tips is to launch Nano Nails, a false nail that contains a microchip and performs the same tasks as a traditional smartphone stylus

In May 2013, Tech Tips is to launch Nano Nails, a false nail that contains a microchip and performs the same tasks as a traditional smartphone stylus

Although Nano Nails can be a little tricky to use at first, says Sri Vellani, they work like a normal stylus and are even more convenient as you always have it to hand.

The falsies are a spinoff from Sri Vellani’s first smartphone related brainwave – the Tech Tips stylus.

Also designed to help keep your mani looking fresh, the Tech Tips stylus slips on over your natural fingernails or even gloves and also helps fend off chips, although you do have to fish it out of your bag every time your phone rings.

The latest in a line of unusual nail treatments, the smartphone manicure taps into the huge statement nails trend.

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