Samsung’s IFA gathering in Berlin, Germany, is fast-approaching, and as is usually the case in the run-up to a media event, the rumors and speculation regarding what’ll be revealed are arriving thick and fast.

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Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is not too far from releasing, and whilst we all mull over the Metro user-interface and quicker boot-up times, there are some very unsettling findings with regards to the privacy of its users.

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Although Windows is still considerably ahead of OS X when it comes to total consumer reach, it’s a fact that more and more people are running on a Mac, and there are plenty of people out there who require both operating systems, such as app developers.

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Microsoft’s Windows OS has yielded a reputation as being something of a magnet when it comes to malicious software and security threats in general, so the news that your login password could be pretty easy for an unscrupulous individual to find is, rather than being surprising, something of a disappointment.

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Microsoft’s logo has remained unchanged for the past quarter of a century, and that simplistic, italic font has found its home on millions of machines, mouses, keyboards and software items in that 25-year period. Now, in-keeping with the Redmond company’s change of direction in Windows 8, the most famous of corporate logos has finally been revamped.

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If you happen to be the owner of a touch-screen tablet like the iPad or something similar, and also a big fan of Microsoft’s Office suite of programs, then you probably live under an umbrella of disappointment and are aware of the fact that the Redmond software giants don’t offer any native Office apps for the iPad. There’s been talk of the iPad App Store receiving some official apps from Microsoft, but up until now nothing has come to fruition, leaving some users extremely disappointed and having to look for alternative solutions to satisfy their need to create and edit documents on the go.

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If you are dicing with the idea of going out and purchasing the fabulous new Windows 8 operating system from Microsoft, then it could be worthwhile getting on board with it earlier rather than later. Microsoft is planning on offering the Windows 8 Pro version at an initial promotional price point of $69.99 for early adopters, with the price finally increasing to $199 when that promotion comes to an end on January 31st 2013.

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Microsoft today has started taking registrations for Windows 8 upgrade program for existing Windows 7 users. The program, which is available in 140 countries, lets you upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for as low as $14.99, provided that you meet the required criteria for the upgrade.

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If you own an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch device, you’ll be more than aware that storage space can often be at a premium. Apple makes up to $100 per size upgrade on the iDevice range, which means many opt for the model with the least space in order to save those precious few dollars. While many manage just fine with 8 or 16GB of real-estate for music, videos, ringtones and whatnot, it often becomes a bit of a squeeze, and quite a few end up having to delete files just to get by.

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Need for Speed is one of the most exciting driving titles on the market. If you like tooling around in super cars, injecting them with subhuman doses of nitrous before bursting corners and markers at light-speed, then you’ve more than likely played at least one iteration of Need for Speed, and the next in line – Need for Speed: Most Wanted – won’t be breaking from that mold for anybody. In fact, it’s one of those enthralling motor-based gaming series where very little braking is actually done at all, and although it can be quite repetitive in terms of gameplay, the missions and achievements always keep drivers coming back for more.

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Command & Conquer, for those who’ve not had the pleasure of acquainting themselves with the real-time strategy franchise, is one of the most enticing, addictive series ever to grace the gaming world, and an adaptation/sequel Command & Conquer: Generals – which first released a number of years ago – is set to be launching in the near future as a free-to-play.

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With everything that is currently going on in the technology industry, it sometimes gets quite difficult to keep all of the announcements in memory and remember what hardware or software is going to be introduced to the marketplace. With the iPhone and iOS 6, the Nexus 7, the chatter surrounding Windows 8 and more recently; the imminent launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note II, I had actually totally forgotten about the impromptu media event where Microsoft introduced us to their Surface tablet. When Apple announces an iPad, it is pretty much available immediately. When Google announced the Nexus 7, it was available for immediate pre-order and was dispatched a couple of weeks later. Microsoft announced the Surface and then, well, nothing happened.

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Windows RT – based on Windows 8 – is the first desktop operating from Microsoft that has been developed from the ground up for touch-screen devices i.e. tablets. It replaces the traditional desktop interface in favor of a Windows Phone-like start screen, made for touch-input apps, a Windows Store for downloading them, multi-touch gestures and more! With Windows RT and OEMs like Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo, HP etc., Microsoft aims to directly compete with Apple’s iPad in the tablet market.

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If you can bring yourself to look past the fact that you have just spent a whole heap of money on excellent Apple hardware to run OS X, then it actually makes sense to be able to install a version of Windows alongside the default operating system. This is especially true when we consider the new Retina MacBook Pro and those who want to use PC software or games in the full 2880 x 1800 resolution.

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Such is the manner in which technology moves nowadays, no sooner is one major release out of the way, do consumers, analysts and enthusiasts in general begin nattering about what’s up next. Windows 8 has been in our faces for the entire year, after Microsoft dropped the Developer Preview to the public in an unprecedented move, but despite not releasing for another two-and-a-half months, the successor to Windows 8 has already got chins wagging.

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Although Apple themselves have been the center of attention for most of the last few weeks due to the imminent announcement and launch of the new iPhone, there has been an organization that has dared to try and steal Apple’s thunder in the last week. Those guys are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and have taken it upon themselves to thwart the hype around the new iPhone by blasting the Curiosity Rover onto the red planet to send images back to earth that document its findings.

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Crytek’s CryENGINE has been around for years, and has evolved to become arguably the very best in the business, catering mostly to the first-person shooter genre. FPS titles are, hands down now, the most popular and sought among gamers, and the Crysis series is at the forefront. CryENGINE 3 was announced back in 2009, but the meticulous nature of gaming development means it takes game makers an age to utilize the engines to their full potential.

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I was never one of those iOS device owners who got caught up in the Angry Birds phenomenon, but judging by the staggering sales and usage figures which Rovio has reported in the past, it seems that the majority of the iOS device owning world have gotten onboard with the ornithological mayhem at one stage or another. The original Angry Birds game saw a huge shift in the mobile gaming world with Rovio’s success with what is essentially quite a simple idea, proving that there is definitely a market for serious game developers within the mobile ecosphere.

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Microsoft opened up registrations for the BUILD 2012 conference, and with tickets selling like lemon-topped hotcakes, it’s rather surprising to see that the whole conference sold out in a matter of few minutes, at the time of writing.

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Part of the Windows Essentials Pack, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker are two of the most popular pieces of software for basic photo and video editing (respectively). They improved significantly over the past few years, and now Microsoft has introduced major new features to both. Check them out after the jump.

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