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Laptops, Tablets, eReaders

Microsoft Offers Surface-as-a-Service

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Microsoft Offers Surface-as-a-Service

Microsoft presents what it describes as a more flexible model for the sale of hardware at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC)-- Surface-as-a-service.

As the name might suggest, Surface-as-a-service allows partner to lease Surface hardware and associated cloud software on a subscription-based basis. In Europe the scheme sees launch through ALSO, and involves a Surface tablet bundled with Windows 10, Office 356 and other ISV software.

"This will complete your ability to offer services for cloud, Windows 10, Office 365 and for Surface so you can have one end-to-end holistic offering for your customers," Windows and devices boss Yusuf Medhi says.

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Lenovo ThinkPads Hit by Critical Security Flaw

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Lenovo ThinkPads Hit by Critical Security Flaw

Lenovo ThinkPads suffer from an exploit allowing the disabling of write protection of critical firmware areas, security researcher Dymtro "Cr4sh" Oleksiuk warns.

Dubbed "ThinkPwn," the exploit targets a privilege escalation flaw in a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) driver. It allows attackers to remove the flash write protection and execute rogue flaw in the System Management Mode (SMM), a privileged CPU operation mode.

Oleksiuk says the result can disable SecureBoot (prevents boot-level rootkits) and the Windows 10 Credential Guard feature (prevents theft of enterprise domain credentials). And if matters weren't bad enough, the flaw probably comes from a CPU reference specification used by a number of independent BIOS vendors (IBVs), meaning it might also affect laptops from OEMs other than Lenovo.

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Panasonic Updates Toughpad Tablet

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Panasonic Updates Toughpad Tablet

Panasonic launches the 4th generation of Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet-- one featuring improved battery life and an OS update to Windows 10 Pro.

The ruggedised tablet also gets a CPU ugrade with a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6300 vPro processor complete with built in Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU. The battery promises up to 14 hours of use on a single charge, with an optional larger battery extending the number to 28 hours.

Connectivity comes through wifi and Bluetooth, and an 8MP rear-facing camera is also included.

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HP Adds Touchscreen to Chromebook 11

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HP Adds Touchscreen to Chromebook 11

HP prepares for the upcoming update allowing Chrome OS to run Android apps with the Chromebook 11 G5, a touchscreen-equipped notebook running on the cloud-based OS.

An update of the original non-touchscreen Chromebook 11, the G5 features a slimmer chassis with narrower bezels, an 11.6-inch 1366x768 resolution display, 2/4GB of RAM, 16/32GB of local storage and a battery the company claims provides up to 12.5 hours of use on a single charge.

Connectivity comes through x2 USB 3.1 ports, x1 HDMI 1.4 port, wifi, Bluetooth 4.2, microSDXC card reader and a headphone jack.

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HP Starts Laptop Battery Recall

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HP Starts Laptop Battery Recall

HP starts a global safety recall and replacement program for the batteries in HP, Compaq, ProBook, Envy, Presario and Pavilion laptops sold from March 2013 to August 2015.

Also covered by the recall are laptop batteries sent as replacements or sold as accessories/spares during the period.

The reason behind the recall? As the company puts it, "these batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers." The recall and replacement program covers all batteries, whatever the age, "at no cost" to customers.

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IDC: W. Europe Goes for Hybrids

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IDC: W. Europe Goes for Hybrids

According to IDC W. European shipments of ultraslim convertible and detachable devices see 44.7% Y-o-Y growth in Q1 2016-- making the category account for 18.4% of consumer and 21.9% of commercial PC and tablet shipments.

Such reults are up from Q1 2016, when hybrids made 9.2% and 16.3% of consumer and commercial shipments respectively. Such devices are also bucking the negative trend seen in combined Q1 2016 W. European PC and tablet shipments reaching 18.2 million units, a -13.7% Y-o-Y decline. Consumer demand is down by -18.6% Y-o-Y, while commercial shipments see a softer -5.2% Y-o-Y drop.

On the other hand Q1 2016 detachable shipments are up by 190.4% Y-o-Y in W. Europe-- from 500000 a year ago to 1.5m units. Convertible notebooks are up by 12% Y-o-Y thanks to consumer demand for portable, mobile and functional solutions, although one has to point out enterprise and professional demand for detachables is also on the increase.

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Graphene Makes Brigher, Bendier ePaper

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Graphene Makes Brigher, Bendier ePaper

China's Guangzhou OED Technologies presents what it claims is "the world's first graphene ePaper"-- a technology promising to be brigher and more flexible than such displays currently available on the market.

A long promised wonder material, graphene comes in layers just 0.335 nanometers thick. A conductor of heat and electricity, it allows for pliable ePaper displays with high-light transmittance. In addition, graphene ePaper is less expensive to produce, since the graphene involves cheaper carbon instead of the exotic indium metal required by regular ePaper.

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Apple Adds Skylake CPUs, Rose Gold to MacBook

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Apple Adds Skylake CPUs, Rose Gold to MacBook

Apple updates the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display with a couple of additions, one internal and the other external-- the thin-and-light notebook gets 6th generation Intel Skylake CPUs, as well as a rose gold colour option.

The dual-core Intel Core M CPUs come at speeds of up to 1.3GHz (and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz), bringing a 10-20% improvement in processing power. Also included is faster 1866MHz memory, Intel HD Graphics 515 promising a 25% improvement on the graphics side and a bigger battery adding 1 hour of use over the previous model.

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Next Amazon Kindle Goes Oasis

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Next Amazon Kindle Goes Oasis

Amazon announces the latest entry in the Kindle eReader family-- the Oasis, a model with an flared design featuring one edge thicker and heavier than the other.

According to the company such a design makes the device "perfectly balanced for one-handed reading," since it is weighted to feel like the the spine of a real-life magazine or book.

The Oasis also has a 6-inch Paperwhite display promising more a more crisp reading experience, with a 60% increase in LEDs improving reading in both low light and bright sunlight. Weight totals 131g while thickness is 3.4mm at the thinnest point, since the thicker wedge houses the battery and motherboard.

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