Chromebook

One way to reduce the number of bugs or exploits in your software is to throw it open to some of the best and most devious minds in the industry and ask them to pull it apart. That's what Google has done with its annual Pwnium conference, where it's rewarded researchers with millions of dollars in Chrome-based security bounties. However, the search giant has decided now is the time to do things a little differently. As of this week, the Pwnium competition is shifting from an annual affair to a "year round, worldwide opportunity for security researchers."

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Whoopsie boopsie! Sony just gave the world a look at its upcoming Xperia Z4 Tablet in Xperia Lounge -- a move we'd assume was in error, since it quickly pulled the listing. It didn't give away the whole farm, however. Along with a sidelong pic (above) and reference to a high-res 2K screen (2,560 x 1,440 or so), other specs like "the latest ultra fast processor" were more vague. Sony added it would have "industry leading battery performance" and a "lightweight premium body," all of which bodes well for a high-end tablet. We still don't know key details like the size, but it might be a 10-inch model (unlike the 8-inch Xperia Z3 Compact), judging by the name and pic. You won't have to wait long to find out, as Sony also revealed that the tablet will arrive on March 3rd, smack in the middle of MWC 2015.

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Quirky as it is, we quite like LG's G Flex2 for its pretty design, performance, camera and quick charging battery. The banana-shaped phone is now on sale in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Germany and the U.K. You can pre-order at Sprint for $504, or $21 a month for two years (on contract), at Carphone Warehouse in the UK SIM-free for £530 ($820) and in Germany for €649 ($740). That's a lot cheaper than the $940 of the original G Flex, and the new model has a bleeding-edge Snapdragon 810 CPU, 5.5-inch curved P-OLED Full HD display and 3,000mAh, 40-minute charging time battery. Pre-orders should pop up soon at other US carriers and it'll arrive to the rest of the world after MWC 2015, which starts next week.

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If you saw our old backpack with an electronic scooter post and thought, "That would be so much better if it were a suitcase," then your prayers have been answered. What's pictured above is a legit suitcase-and-e-scooter-in-one that can run up to 12.4 mph for 6 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery -- that should be enough to traverse huge airports with broken walkalators. It's the standard carry-on size, so you don't have to check it in if you don't want to, though it's a bit on the heavy side (17.4 pounds). This is a real product that you can buy right now, by the way, not a concept or a prototype somebody dreams of mass producing one day. The regular version will set you back $599, while the model fitted with solar panels costs $100 more. Now, if people are starting to look and judge you for riding a suitcase, you can choose to be boring and use the scooter's power to move your luggage while you walk.

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SIM chip maker Gemalto has confirmed that US and UK intelligence services likely attacked it, but said it "could not have resulted in a massive theft of SIM encryption keys." Its comments stemmed from a recent Edward Snowden leak, which revealed a coordinated attack on Gemalto by the NSA and British GCHQ. Following an internal investigation, the previously low-profile company said that a "sophisticated" intrustion by the intelligence agencies did occur in 2010-11 for the purpose of intercepting encyption keys sent to carriers. The attacks consisted of email "phishing" and spying on office networks, and several attempts were made to access the PCs of individual Gemalto employees.

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If you downloaded Yo last year, chances are it's now collecting dust in one of your app folders -- after all, how many times can you send the word "yo" to a friend before it becomes annoying? Now, its developers are attempting to entice people to use it again by turning it into an app that notifies you of the newest and most relevant content from a number of websites. The idea behind this redesigned Yo is to give people a way to get notified of new articles, videos or images from its partner websites without having to download standalone apps. All you have to do is subscribe to the channels you like via the brand new "Yo Store."

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Valve only just announced plans to bring a "SteamVR hardware system" to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and now we might have our first look at it. The sleuths at SteamDB have dug up this outline of a headset on the Steam Universe signup page, and it looks a bit different from anything we've seen from the likes of Oculus, Samsung or Sony. A year ago developers said that Valve was working with hardware with a higher resolution and refresh rate than what Oculus had at that time, but things could be different now. We'll be waiting until next week for confirmation (that three cables = Half Life 3, of course), but this may be the first accessory for your next Steam Box. Oh, and remember that Steam Controller with the added thumbstick? Today the Steam Client beta got an update with support for the new controller -- see you at GDC 2015!

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AMD Carrizo

Intel isn't the only chip giant championing battery life over performance this year. AMD has revealed Carrizo, a processor range that's focused heavily on extending the running time of performance-oriented laptops. While there will be double-digit boosts to speed, there's no doubt that efficiency is the bigger deal here. The new core architecture (Excavator) is just 5 percent faster than its Kaveri ancestor, but it chews up 40 percent less energy at the same clock rate -- even the graphics cores use 20 percent less juice.

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Blizzard may have shut down the Real Money Auction House after contention from the community, but it's opening up a new way to potentially use real money for in-game items. The difference here is that it's doing it in territories that are pretty accustomed to this sort of thing already -- most likely China. On the developer's American and European forums, an employee writes that an upcoming patch will add a new currency ("platinum"), timed experience boosts, cosmetic items, character slots and a tweaked UI to handle all of the above. Basically, the type of microtransactions that are fairly common in free-to-play games. As Gamasutra notes, Blizzard already has a partnership with NetEase (a Chinese internet company that has a web portal and its own massively multiplayer role-playing game), which operates a version of Diablo 3 in the country. All that to say, this makes sense for Blizzard.

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group of young people studying...

Turns out Microsoft had a surprise in store for students around the globe this February, and not just for those based in New York. The company's finally bringing free Office 365 subscriptions to students outside the US, so long as they live in one of the countries (it's quite a lengthy list) where the product's available. Schools will have to buy subscriptions for staff and faculty, but once they do, students (and even teachers) can self-install for no charge by using a school-issued email address at the Office in education website. After signing up, they'll get access to the newest Office, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher, and be able to install them on up to five computers and five phones or tablets. An account also comes with Office Online and, even better, 1TB of OneDrive storage, so users can go wild uploading anything without quickly running out of space.

[Image credit: Shutterstock / Andresr]

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