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NXP opens wallet to build wearables with better battery life

To help it improve the battery life of next-generation smartwatches and fitness bands, NXP Semiconductors has acquired part of U.S. chip maker Quintic.

Most existing wearables suffer from bad battery life, so any improvement in that regard would be a step in the right direction. NXP has bought assets and intellectual property related to Quintic?s BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) business. BLE is used by wearables and ?Internet of things? type sensors to communicate.

With the acquisition, NXP can integrate Quintic?s Low Energy technology with its own microcontrollers, for example, to cut costs and improve energy efficiency. That would make NXP?s chipsets more attractive to manufacturers, who theoretically could use them to build cheaper smartwatches and other wearables with better battery life.

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World of Warcraft turns ten: 10 unforgettable moments from WoW's first decade

World of Warcraft is now officially ten years old, if you can believe it. If you started playing the game as a toddler, you're now entering your teenage years, teenage players are now working twenty-somethings, and college players are settling down and getting married.

Crazy, right? To celebrate, we threw together this list of ten infamous World of Warcraft moments.

Southshore vs Tarren Mill - 2004 / 2014

Before battlegrounds gave some semblance of structure to World of Warcraft's player versus player combat, there was the infinite battle between the Alliance town of Southshore and the Horde town of Tarren Mill.

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Stealthy, sophisticated 'Regin' malware has been infecting computers since 2008

Symantec researchers have identified a particularly sophisticated piece of malware, called ?Regin? that was likely developed by a nation state and has been used to spy on governments, infrastructure operators, businesses, researchers and individuals since at least 2008.

?Regin displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen,? Symantec said in a statement Sunday, released along with a technical white paper about the malware. Indications are that Regin ?is one of the main cyberespionage tools used by a nation state.?

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Jaguar Land Rover wraps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into its own justDrive...

LOS ANGELES?While other automakers are working to implement Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into their vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover is taking a different route. At the LA Auto Show, the British company debuted justDrive, an ?app technology that integrates multiple smartphone apps into a single, voice-activated in-car experience.?

As Jaguar Land Rover describes it, justDrive is an app that opens up into an ?experience? when your smartphone is connected to your car. It?s currently available for iOS 8 users, and will be available for Android users in early 2015. The ?experience? involves natural-language speech recognition, similar to Siri?s functionality (without having to go through voice-activated menus).

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Five Android 5.0 Lollipop annoyances Google should fix immediately

The 5.0 release of Android, dubbedLollipop, is the biggest thing to happen to Android in years?possibly ever. The design and features have been revamped, and attention to detail is evident throughout. However, even our beloved Google is not perfect, and that means there are some bugs and just plain odd decisions in Android 5.0. Let's check out five of the most annoying little quirks in Lollipop and see how they might be fixed.

The Power Menu

In Android 4.4 and earlier, the menu you got when holding the power menu had a few options including toggling airplane mode, ringer modes, and of course, turning the device off. Some manufacturers even added reboot commands and additional settings. In Android 5.0 Google has gone backward and this menu now only includes "Power Off."

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Hands on with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata

LOS ANGELES?I went to the LA Auto Show in search of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Google and Apple?s bids to bring your smartphone?s screen to your car. CarPlay?s so far appeared only in a Ferrari and a Pioneer aftermarket line, while Android Auto is still in beta. Still, at a small Hyundai booth in the South Hall, two separate 2015 Hyundai Sonatas demonstrated the technologies. No other automakers were showing them.

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Report: IT pros are overly confident that they know how to prevent data breaches

It's been a rough year for businesses when it comes to data breaches. A new report from ThreatTrack Security suggests that things will improve dramatically in 2015?that is, unless the survey participants are overstating the efficacy of their network defenses. It?s important for you to take steps to secure your own data to make sure you?re protected either way.

The title of the ThreatTrack report?2015 Predictions from the Front Lines: Cybersecurity Professionals Very Confident in Their Ability to Fight Data Breaches in 2015?spells it all out. The survey of 250 IT professionals from companies of 2,000 or more employees reveals a high level of confidence when it comes to guarding against cyber attacks.

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Dirt-cheap laptops might be this year's stocking stuffer

Two ads tell you everything you need to know about how crazy notebook PC pricing is.

The first, a Dell Black Friday ad from 2010, advertises a Dell Inspiron 15 for $450?the ?doorbuster? the PC company used to lure shoppers to Dell.com. The second, another Dell Black Friday ad for 2014, promotes another Inspiron 15?but for just $190.

Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung are selling smartphones for about the same prices they always have?$200 and above, and far more if their carrier-subsidized pricing is removed from the equation.

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Alienware Alpha Review: A shockingly good tiny PC and console complement

Hardware has a shelf life like a gallon of milk. If it sits on the store shelf too long, it ends up getting poured down the drain.

That?s ultimately the ugly story behind Alienware?s Alpha game console. The Alpha was always intended to run Valve?s much hyped Steam OS, but when the alternative OS didn?t show up this summer, Alienware decided it had to ship its Steam Machine sans Steam OS before the hardware turned sour.

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Report: Samsung's head of TVs may be asked to revitalize mobile business

Samsung Electronics is considering a key management overhaul that could see the company?s head of TVs and home appliances also overseeing its underperforming mobile business, according to a news report.

Boo-keun Yoon, a co-CEO who looks after Samsung?s consumer electronics business, could also be given control of the mobile division, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter. The decision is, however, not final, the newspaper reported.

The market share of the South Korean smartphone maker fell to 23.8 percent in the third quarter from 32.5 percent a year ago, according to research firm IDC. The company said last week it planned to cut the number of smartphone models it makes by about 25 to 30 percent in 2015.

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Webcam snooper now looking for a job

The developer of a widely vilified website that aggregated feeds from unsecured webcams is apparently looking for work as a remote programmer.

Insecam, which was criticized last week by the U.K.?s data protection regulator, no longer features webcam feeds but has the message: ?Programmer is looking for a good remote job. Skills: Linux, FreeBSD, C/C++, Python, MySQL.?

The attention drawn to Insecam is likely still driving traffic to the website, but probably not from employers eager to hire its creator. Insecam contended that it did not hack the webcams but that the devices had default credentials.

In some countries, using default credentials to access a device would still be considered illegal.

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Traces of Regin malware may date back to 2006

Malware that Symantec says was probably developed by a nation state may have been used for as long as eight years, a length of time that underscores the challenges the security industry faces in detecting advanced spying tools.

On Sunday, the computer security company published a 22-page report and blog post on the Regin malware, which it described as a powerful cyberespionage platform that can be customized depending on what type of data is sought.

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Prices for AMD's powerful Radeon R9 295X2 graphics card plunge another $200

The GPU wars between AMD and Nvidia are heating up, and as a result, prices are coming down. If Newegg listings are any indication, AMD has slashed prices for its top-of-the-line Radeon R9 295X2 graphics card to around $800.

To put that into context, the R9 295X2, which features two graphics processors and 8GB of GDDR5 memory, cost $1500 when it launched earlier this year. Once Nvidia released its $550 GeForce GTX 980?the most powerful single-GPU graphics card we?ve seen?AMD responded by slashing its prices. AMD dropped the R9 295X2 dropped to the $1000 range, and the R9 290X to $300.

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Samsung wants the ITC to block Nvidia chips in the US

In the latest round of a patent battle between Nvidia and Samsung, Samsung petitioned the US International Trade Commission to block the sale of Nvidia?s graphics processors in the US, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The request, according to the ITC, would extend to both Nvidia?s graphics cards and systems on a chip, which means it could conceivably impact both Nividia?s GeForce graphics card line and its Tegra mobile processors.

The back-and-forth between the two companies began in September when Nvidia sued both Samsung and Qualcomm, alleging that the two companies infringed on some of Nvidia?s GPU-related patents. At the time, Nvidia said it requested that the ITC block Samsung Galaxy phones that contained certain chips from Qualcomm, ARM, and Imagination Technologies.

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Low cost, high resolution: Prices for 4K displays sink below $500

Prices for 4K monitors have dropped below US$500, bringing them within the reach of cost conscious buyers looking to replace 1080p displays.

The prices have been falling steadily from $700 or more earlier this year. 4K monitors are available from Samsung, Sharp, Dell, Asus, Acer, Monoprice, and small vendors.

4K gives a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels, or four times deeper than conventional 1080p resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.

Dell is selling its 28 Ultra HD P2815Q monitor for $449.99, down from $699.99 when the product started shipping earlier this year. Newegg is selling 28-inch monitors from AOC and Planar for $499.99.

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