Push notifications on Chrome for Android

Chrome's website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop -- they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you're doing. You won't have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don't have dedicated apps. You'll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It'll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it's worth upgrading now to get ready.

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"China is the number one market with connected products."

That was how Intel's Senior Vice President Kirk Skaugen kicked off his keynote at IDF in Shenzhen, citing China's staggering 30 percent share of worldwide connected-device purchases in 2014. The country gobbled up 40 percent of the 46 million Intel-powered tablets shipped globally. Not bad, but 46 million is hardly anything compared to the 420.7 million smartphones shipped in China alone in the same year -- only a tiny percentage of which packed an Intel chip. Most others relied on Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung. Intel's smartphone market share is so small that it never dared to share the stats; it could be as low as 2.81 percent in the Android space, according to benchmark specialist AnTuTu.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A

After the better part of a year, Samsung is ready to launch new tablets in the States -- if not quite the high-end models you might be looking for. It's releasing 8- and 9.7-inch versions of the Galaxy Tab A, a low-cost slate whose centerpiece is an iPad-like 4:3 aspect ratio that gives you more breathing room when you're browsing the web or reading a book. Neither model is especially powerful between the 1.2GHz quad-core chip, 1,024 x 768 screen, 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front shooter, but they do carry Samsung's lighter-weight software loadout, including bundled Microsoft apps. You'll also get between 16GB to 32GB of storage, depending on the model. The Tab A will reach American shops on May 1st starting at $230 for the 8-inch model, and $300 for the 9.7-inch version. And don't worry, cost-conscious Galaxy Note fans, Samsung hasn't forgotten about you: a version with a bundled S Pen is due on May 17th for $350.

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If you're feeling brave, Twitter is (once again) letting you receive direct messages (DMs) from any old person. As before, you'll have to opt-in by ticking a box in the settings -- but once you do, even folks who don't follow you can send you a note. On top of that, you can now reply to anyone who DMs you, even if they're not a follower. That's a big change from the status quo -- previously, you've only been able to receive messages from people you follow, and send them to those who follow you. To drive home the point, Twitter put a Direct Message button front and center on your contact page for its iOS and Android apps.

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Wood and leather are so yesterday. What you really want is some genuine marble on your precious gadgets. At least that's the pitch from Native Union, which recently announced its Clic Marble iPhone 6 case, available in matte black or glossy white -- the latter consisting of the nice Carrara white marble from Italy. Don't be fooled by its simple look, as the company took a year and a half to figure out how to carefully slice marble at just 0.8mm thick, and then reinforce it with fiberglass to keep it flexible and shatter-resistant. The case does add 2mm of bulk onto your device, and it does ask for $80 in the US or £70 in the UK, but these are the kinds of sacrifices that some are willing to make in return for that cold luxurious feel.

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EE Power Bar

Mobile operators very rarely offer something for free, so when they do, you can expect that people will be quick to take advantage. That's exactly what's happened in the case of EE, which has seen over a million of its subscribers sign up for one of its free branded "Power Bars" in just four days. The rush for the 2,600mAh blue and yellow charger helped drive a 300 percent increase in visitors to stores over the weekend, inevitably resulting in a complete wipeout of stock.

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Now that it's been on the market a full year, you can finally buy a OnePlus One without an invitation. Sound familiar? The company has opened up sales on the well-liked, $300 smartphone for brief periods before, but today said that "the One will be available without an invite. Forever." Calling the reviled invitation system a "fascinating, evolving experiment," the company admitted that "feelings toward (it) vary, and we understand that." In the same breath, however, it revealed that its next model, the OnePlus Two "will initially launch with invites."

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When Nokia sold its devices and services business to Microsoft, we assumed it was getting out of the hardware game for good. Not so. The company has since launched its N1 tablet in China and now, according to Recode, it's developing a new phone too. Exactly what it'll look like and, perhaps more importantly, the software it'll run is unclear at the moment though. The company has made some strides with its alternative Z Launcher, but its debut Android slate is fairly unremarkable. That's because it was actually designed by Foxconn -- not the old Nokia team that's given us so many bold and beautiful Lumias over the years. If the Finnish company sticks with Android, it's going to need something a little more original to stand out from the competition. (The Nokia brand will only go so far, after all.)

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Microsoft Cortana

Microsoft is already poised to bring Windows' Cortana voice assistant to other platforms, but the duo behind the OrangeSec team isn't willing to wait that long. They've developed and shown off Portaña, a simple Android adaptation of Cortana that uses a proxy to talk to Microsoft's servers. While it's nowhere near a complete recreation of the official software (you have to speak in Italian, for one thing), it does work -- you can ask a question and expect an answer back. Portaña is sadly likely to remain in a rough state as is, though, so you'll want to tinker the source code if you just have to speak to the Halo-inspired helper before there's an official solution.

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Sony's unveiled its new smartphone in Japan, the Xperia Z4, and like you might tell from the press images, it's a mighty familiar-looking one from a company still looking for its next big hit. Yep there's a lot of similarities compared to the Z3 (a phone that we were pretty happy with), including a 5.2-inch screen, metal frame, support for Hi-Res audio and the same wide-angle 25mm lens on the main camera. Upgrades since last year's model include a frame that's both thinner (down to under 7 mm) and lighter, while camera upgrades are focused on the front, which now gets the same wide-angle lens of the primary shooter as well as digital image stabilization to keep your selfie game completely on point.

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Google Wallet and Apple Pay

The money in your bank account is typically covered by federal insurance, but your internet payment services typically aren't. If PayPal or Venmo went belly-up, you'd probably lose your existing balance. That won't be a problem if you're using Google Wallet, though. Google is now holding your Wallet funds in banks with FDIC insurance, so your digital credit is now that much safer. This isn't to say that rivals leave you completely vulnerable -- PayPal has fraud protection, for instance. However, the Wallet move means that you won't have to go to court to get your cash back if Google goes bankrupt, no matter how unlikely that is.

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Maps on Windows 10 for phones

To put it mildly, Windows Phone's official mapping options are... basic. However, Microsoft is promising a better experience with the mobile Maps app in Windows 10. Get a recent preview version of Windows 10 and you'll see a map interface that is not only decidedly more modern-looking, but ties in more closely with Bing and rolls in some Here Maps features. You'll get the usual photos, reviews and directions (including Here's in-car navigation), but you'll also have an easier time finding things to do. You can specify that you're looking for something to eat near your hotel, for instance, and book the table reservation on the spot. This upgrade probably won't get you to switch phone platforms, but it's a big deal if you're a Windows phone fan who'd like to get Microsoft's best mapping services in a single app.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Don't look now, but you may soon have more options for mobile internet access beyond the usual wireless carriers. The FCC has voted in favor of rules that not only make a wide 100MHz slice of 3.5GHz spectrum available for mobile data, but makes that data more accessible. Rather than simply parcel out the airwaves to the highest bidders (which are usually telecoms), the FCC has a "General Authorized Access" tier that lets any device use these frequencies, similar to WiFi's license-free scheme. The move would still let conventional carriers bolster their networks, but it also paves the way for cheap or free over-the-air broadband. Companies ranging from Google to Verizon are interested, so you should expect an eclectic mix of services once the devices are ready.

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This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com.

After surveying almost 1,000 Wirecutter readers and testing close to 100 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases over a period of about 50 hours (so far), our current pick for the best all-around case is the NGP from Incipio. The NGP line has protected several generations of iPhones (and many other devices) and has a reputation for providing solid protection and a good fit at a great price. It's slim enough not to detract from the iPhone 6's svelte dimensions while still offering comprehensive protection for the handset's body, including its buttons. Openings along the bottom allow for compatibility with a wide range of accessories.

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We've already seen Microsoft's Universal Office apps hit tablets, laptops and desktops as part of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, now the company has announced they'll be headed to phones by the end of the month. The Universal Office apps, which so far include Word, Excel and PowerPoint, are meant to show off a new touch friendly version of Microsoft's long-running productivity suite. But they're also an example of how developers can build one app that easily runs across a variety of Windows 10 devices. On phones, the Office Universal apps highlight the content of your documents, with typical commands and controls at the bottom of the screen. Microsoft says that should help with editing documents one-handed. On tablets, the Office apps look more like the full-fledged Office 2016 desktop apps, but with a interface tweaks to make them easier to navigate with your fingers.

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