Official ‘Doctor Who’ Lego set pictures escape from Gallifrey

Whovians finally get a Lego set of their very own with an official release that includes the TARDIS, two Doctors, Clara, Daleks and a nightmarish Weeping Angel.

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Samsung boasts massive third-quarter profit growth

Samsung has given us a glimpse of the earnings report it’s releasing in late October, and it shows an operating profit worth 7.3 trillion won or $6.25 billion for July to September 2015. That’s a 79.8 increase from the same period last year, according to Reuters, and the company’s biggest since the beginning of 2014. Bloomberg’s analyst say the mobile division’s profit “probably rose 24 percent to 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion), the first year-on-year rise in seven quarters.” While the S6’s shipments have reportedly dropped, a big price cut on Samsung’s flagship and the release of lower-end, mostly below-$200 phones for developing nations made the increase possible.

However, the Korean manufacturer is seeing the most success with its semiconductor business, since it supplies chips for both Samsung’s and Apple’s devices. Bloomberg believes the semiconductor division earned almost $3 billion (54 percent more than last year’s) this quarter, thanks in part to Apple’s hugely successful iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sales. It’s worth noting that the Korean won’s lower value these days contribute to Samsung’s bigger numbers, though, since it settles its sales in US dollars. That said, we’ll find out more about the company’s money matters when it releases its full earnings report.

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Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Lumia 950 series: All the cool hardware Microsoft just announced


Sarah Tew/CNET

Most of Microsoft’s hardware announcements leaked prior to its big event — color me unsurprised. But for those of you who like to study the product-debut rituals of tech companies and couldn’t make it to the live-stream or live blog heralding its new wares designed to run Windows 10 and more, recap I will.

As expected, the company showed a new Surface Pro tablet, a couple of Lumia phones and another Microsoft Band fitness wearable. We also got a big surprise: a powerful, tiny convertible laptop dubbed the Surface Book. I am not a Microsoft fangirl, but I was impressed with what we saw today.

Microsoft unveils slew of Windows 10 devices…






It started with a barrage of happy-happy numbers: 110 million devices running Windows 10, 120 years of game play streamed, 1 billion questions posed to Cortana, 1.25 billion downloads from the Microsoft app store, a 400 percent increase in developer revenue since the Windows 10 upgrade, 650 billion pages viewed with the new Edge browser, and 8 million biz PCs running Windows 10.

Mobile: Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Lumia 950 and 950XL

The Surface Pro 3 two-in-one hybrid tablet has gained surprising traction in some ways; for instance, over the past year, Adobe has been making a point of optimizing all its desktop applications to work on these Windows 10 touch devices, most recently bringing InDesign into the fold. As I expected, its applications got shout-outs as being pen-enabled during the demo, as did Pro-E CAD software.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet gets a powerful…






The new Surface Pro 4 improves on its 12-inch predecessor with a 12.3-inch display at 267 pixels per inch (5 megapixels) using Gorilla Glass 4, but retains the same footprint. Microsoft introduced PixelSense technology (a branding of its inking tech), supporting a stylus with 1,024 levels of pressure (that’s equivalent to Wacom’s consumer graphics tablets) with “best-in-class” palm detection and parallax compensation. The stylus attaches magnetically to the device, and uses a one-click launch, similar to the Adonit Jot Dash. The battery is rated to last a year.

It introduces a G5 chipset which enables real ink-like operation but intelligent interaction. It has different nibs (pen tips) which presumably deliver a different feel based on the type of inking you’re doing (painting, notetaking, and so on). Seriously, want.

It’s got a fingerprint sensor and “enterprise-level” facial recognition (Windows Hello), and it’s 8.4mm thick. The new Type cover has island-style keys on the keyboard with 1.3mm travel (also backward compatible) and a glass multitouch touchpad.

Other specs include up to 1TB of storage and up to 16GB of RAM, 30 percent faster than before and an 8-megapixel camera. There’s a docking station with four USB 3.0 ports, two 4K DisplayPort and Ethernet; it’s backwardly compatible with the 3. See how it compares with the iPad Pro, Macbook Air and Google Pixel C.

The Surface Pro 4 will start at $900 (converted, that’s £590 in the UK or AU$1,260 in Australia; pricing and availability in those countries hasn’t been revealed yet) and will ship on October 26; preorders start October 7.

The Surface Book is Microsoft’s ‘Ultimate…



Microsoft also introduced a laptop version of the Surface, the Surface Book, which looks like a Surface with an attached keyboard. It has a 13.5-inch display that has a 6-megapixel resolution at 267ppi. It, too, incoporates PixelSense and has a quiet keyboard with backlit keys. It incorporates an nVidia GeForce for graphics processing (with GDDR5 memory), and has 12 hours of battery life. It’s targeted at people who need power — gamers, designers, developers and the like — and Microsoft claims it’s faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

That attached keyboard? It pops off to turn the Book into a Surface, or flips around and folds down. The tech is called a Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge.

It weighs 1.6 pounds, is 7.7mm thick, and has a 3:2 aspect ratio (yay for pro photographers). It incorporates an Intel Core i7 current-generation processor, and the GPU is in the base/keyboard, so it only has GPU acceleration when connected.

Pricing starts at $1,499 and will be available on October 26. (In the UK that works out to £985 or AU$2,085 in Australia; again, availability in those places wasn’t announced.) OK, want this too, but can’t afford.

As for Lumia phones, the most whiz-bang features of the 5.2-inch Lumia 950 ($550) sound like the quad-HD OELD display (1,440×2,560), USB Type-C (for fast charging) and Qi wireless charging. (Its US price converts to £360 or AU$770 in the UK and Australia, respectively. Microsoft didn’t mention pricing outside of the US yet.) It’s slated to incorporate 3GB of memory with 32GB of storage (plus microSD) and use a six-core Snapdragon 808 processor. The screen has 564-pixel-per-inch resolution and uses glance screen technology (it displays information without touching the screen).

The 5.7-inch 950XL ($650; converted that works out to £425 or AU$910) is similar to the 950, but uses an eight-core Snapdragon 810 processor.

The phones both have dual antennas so you’re never “holding it wrong,” and they use liquid cooling, probably because those processors run hot. The cameras have a 20MP sensor, triple LED RGB flash, updated optical image stabilization and a dedicated camera button. It supports 4K video. Plus it auto-uploads to the cloud.

They ship with the usual Microsoft apps onboard.

Microsoft Lumia 950 packs plenty of features…






Both will be available in November, — at least in the US for ATT customers, along with a less-whizzy-but-cheaper quad-core Lumia 550 ($140, which works out to £90 or AU$195 at current rates).

There’s also a Continuum dock that has a Type C input and three USB, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors; it will let your Surface automagically switch between tablet and desktop mode and display small screen content — like your phone screen — on larger screens while behaving like a desktop device and a mobile device. Windows 10 automatically scales the screen display. I have to say, it looks tempting.

Wearables: HoloLens, Microsoft Band

The next version of its fitness band gets some much-needed updates. For Microsoft Band, the company showed the typical video of people moving and sweating, looking at their wrists, and analyzing their bodies on a tablet.

While it has the same name as its predecessor, it’s been redesigned to be wider, more curved — the OLED screen uses durable Gorilla Glass 3. Cortana (Microsoft’s Siri) has been improved. Now you can track elevation; the Band adds an eleventh sensor to handle it.

It delivers constant access to all the data recorded by the Band, and integrates Microsoft Health to analyze it — it now supports VO2 Max, a common training metric for maximum oxygen intake.

Golfers can use it for shot detection — it knows whether you’re putting, driving or taking practice swings (and doesn’t count the latter). It uses accelerometer, gyroscope and vibration sensors to display information like distance to the green, and delivers an automatic scorecard. It works with iOS, Android and Windows devices. Lots of partnerships, including a shout-out to Lose It!

Preorders start today; it will be available on October 30 for $249, which converts to around around £165 or AU$350 .

A first look at the new Microsoft Band 2…






The company also demoed “mixed reality” (its term for HoloLens’ augmented reality) in the form of Project X Ray, which turns every room in your house into a game level and has “wearable holograms” like weaponry. From the outside, it looks really cool.

Hololens has “the world’s first holographic processing unit”, and is untethered. It will become available to developers in the beginning of 2016 for $3,000 (currently that equates to about £2,000 or AU$4,200). They’re taking applications starting today.

See all of today’s Microsoft news.

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Lexus builds a full-size cardboard car (pictures)

CNET bought a house!

Take a look inside the house where we will be testing connected locks, thermostats and other smart home products so we can tell a complete story.

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Reddit experiment brings you news without the community


As great as Reddit can be for discovering interesting news, it’s not always ideal for newcomers — it takes time to navigate that sea of posts, and some communities aren’t so friendly. Reddit thinks it can help, though. It’s launching Upvoted, an experimental news website that includes both curated stories from Reddit as well as original content… but not Reddit’s community or voting. While it’ll still link back to Reddit, it’s really meant as an introduction for readers (and, we’d add, advertisers) that might be spooked by the occasional hostile comment on the main site. It’s also meant to keep more news within the Reddit ecosystem, rather than letting other sites write about it first.

This won’t be a conventional news page. Rather than rely on banner ads, Upvoted will get revenue from sponsorships for “good” original content. As an example, Tesla might pay for a genuinely informative story about electric cars. It’s hard to say if this strategy will do much to improve Reddit’s bottom line. However, it’s not hard to see why the company is willing to give this model a try. As crucial as the community is to Reddit, its anything-goes philosophy can only do so much to attract new advertisers and users — Upvoted theoretically brings in a lot more cash without damaging what makes Reddit so special.

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DTS Play-Fi makes some noise with new music products, updated app

The first major update to the multiroom audio system brings products from new partners as well as support for more services, such as multiroom Spotify Connect.

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