Fake fingerprint used to fool the Galaxy S5

It looks like the iPhone 5s isn't the only smartphone whose fingerprint reader can be fooled by fake digits. SR Labs has just posted a video (shown below) showing that Samsung's just-launched Galaxy S5 is susceptible to the same trick: as long as you have a good photo of a latent print (such as one from the touchscreen), you can create a mold that passes for a real finger. The lab also claims that Samsung's approach may ultimately be less secure than Apple's, since you're not forced to enter a passcode under certain conditions (such as a reboot) and can use the fingerprint to make PayPal transactions.

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Samsung Gear Fit TV spot

Samsung's track record on smartwatch marketing has been, shall we say, mixed. Its nostalgic sci-fi TV spot for the Galaxy Gear was a hit, but its awkward (and slightly creepy) romantic skier ad? Not so much. Give credit to the company for learning quickly, though, as its newly released TV commercial for the Gear Fit (shown below) mostly hits the right notes. The 30-second clip sticks to showing real-world use cases, such as tracking fitness data while running and turning down phone calls. It's still a bit silly -- really, who wears a smartwatch over a fancy bracelet? -- but it does make a good case for intelligent wristwear.

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Even Microsoft knows that Windows Live Tiles have so much potential to be a lot better, especially on touchscreen devices. In fact, a group of the company's researchers in Asia have apparently been working on making Live Tiles interactive. As you can see in the videos after the break, the experimental tiles expand when touched, showing you its contents right on the Start screen instead of launching the app. For instance, touching the mail app automatically shows a list of your emails in an expanded view, which looks very similar to an Android widget.

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With its Framily plans, Sprint wants you to convince friends, family and possibly outright strangers, to join the carrier and chip a few bucks off your bill. It's even created a new ad series to show just how broad its definition of "framily" is. The dad's a hamster, while the daughter speaks only in French, accompanied by three animated birds. However, Sprint's Frobinsons have to go a long ways to match the sheer offbeat-ness of Softbank's answer to "framily," the Shiratos in Japan.

That framily consists of a talking dog as patriarch, a wife who has the real power, a daughter played by popular actress Aya Ueto and a non-Japanese son played by Dante Carver (a Softbank commercial mainstay). The core family unit is then augmented by bit-parts from 'Uncle' Quentin Tarantino, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa (and his dolphin father) and Tommy Lee-Jones, the live-in-maid-from-space. Ad-Age wasn't a fan, but we hope the Frobinsons are just getting started. We've pulled together a few English-subtitled Softbank ads and added them, alongside Sprint's interpretation, to the video gallery below.

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When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S5 and a trio of Gear smartwatches, the company made a big to-do about how it listens to its customers. We know, we know: Every company's supposed to be doing that. But remember, this is Samsung we're talking about. It dominates the Android market by such a wide margin that it makes rivals like LG and HTC look like quaint startups. Put it another way: Samsung could release a phone with no improvements, and it'd still sell millions.

At least, that's how it used to be. The smartphone market has seen a downturn of late and even mighty Samsung has been affected. Sales are down, and the manufacturer must now make phones that give people what they actually want (shocker, we know). So what can we expect from a humbled Samsung? A durable phone that brings a toned-down TouchWiz UI, a better camera, longer battery life, improved performance, a fingerprint scanner and enhanced health tracking. I received an unlocked review unit from GSM Nation, which was the first outlet to start shipping the phone in the US with AT&T- and T-Mobile-compatible LTE. Now that I've been testing it for a few days, let's see if the Galaxy S5 lives up to all those promises.

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Windows in the Car

Microsoft has a home in the automotive world, but it doesn't have a way to bring a phone's interface to your car's infotainment system -- there's no Windows Phone equivalent to Apple's CarPlay. That might change before long, though. The software giant used a presentation at this week's Build conference to show off Windows in the Car, a conceptual platform that would adapt Windows Phone's apps and basic functions to in-vehicle interfaces. Not surprisingly, the MirrorLink-based tech looks like a cross between Microsoft's mobile and desktop interfaces; while you're running mobile apps, they get more on-screen buttons than usual to help you complete tasks faster and keep your eyes on the road. The software also focuses more on voice commands (Cortana is mentioned as a good fit), and it could eventually restrict complex app functions while you're driving. You might not get to add music to a playlist until you're parked, for instance.

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Now that the Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana announcements are out of the way, Skype's spilling the details on its upcoming app refresh for Microsoft's new mobile platform. The upgraded Skype app for WP 8.1 will feature a new button that you can press to turn a regular phone call into a Skype video chat. It's similar to that FaceTime option iOS users see when they make calls, though obviously, Skype's version will only work if you have the other person's account details.

That's not all, though -- Skype will now also come with Cortana (the platform's Siri-like voice assistant) integration. This gives you the power to instantly launch convos by hitting the search icon and saying: "Skype, get [someone's name] on video." Other than that, the Microsoft-owned outfit is updating its Windows 8.1 and RT app, as well, so you can finally pin it to the taskbar and make it accessible on both Start and desktop screens. Unfortunately, the updated app might not be available as soon as WP 8.1 launches, but Skype says it should be out in the coming months.

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The Nokia Lumia Icon is a fantastic Windows Phone that comes with a bunch of top features that most WP users haven't been able to enjoy until recently, but it had one critical flaw: it was an exclusive to Verizon, which meant that only a handful of users in the US could buy it. For the rest of the world, the only way to get a top-of-the-line Windows Phone (in nearly every spec, that is) has been to buy the Lumia 1520, but its large 6-inch display -- though beautiful at 1080p -- simply made it too big for a lot of people. Fortunately, that's about to end because Nokia announced a global version of the Icon known as the Lumia 930, which comes with more LTE compatibility and Windows Phone 8.1.

Interestingly enough, there's not much of a difference between the two devices. This actually is a bit surprising, considering Verizon has historically landed design exclusives with Nokia like the Lumia 822 and 928. The resemblance is definitely striking, with the only major hardware changes manifest in the presence of GSM bands instead of CDMA and the additional colors that Nokia will offer.

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Anyone who's played Halo, the iconic first-person shooter based 500 years in the future, knows where Microsoft came up with the name of Cortana, its new voice recognition program on Windows Phone 8.1. Master Chief might be the star of the video game series, but Cortana is the heroic digital sidekick that saves his behind in almost every level. Granted, the Windows Phone version may not help you explore an alien planet or teach you how to defeat the bad guys, but it's still capable of some great stuff.

Just press the search button on the bottom of every Windows Phone device (as long as it uses 8.1, of course) and Cortana pops up, ready to listen and obey your commands. What kinds of things can she do? You can tell her to call someone, send a text, set reminders, take notes and hook you up with all sorts of information that you might need throughout the course of any given day. And since it's powered by Bing, the engine working behind the scenes has a solid amount of oomph.

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Nokia's had a rough time with its high-end Windows Phones over the years, but it's excelled with its cheaper handsets that cater to emerging markets and anyone interested in a budget smartphone. Announced today at Build, the Lumia 630 and 635 focus on expanding the latter category. The new devices come with Windows Phone 8.1 onboard, and while the 635 includes speedy LTE data, the 3G-only 630 will also come in a dual-SIM variant. They'll be available in five colors with changeable shells, and even offer features like fitness tracking with an integrated low-power chip called SensorCore.

They'll arrive in May as the first Lumia devices with Windows 8.1, running on quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processors. As one would expect, these will ship in Asia first before spreading out worldwide, with a US release planned for July and T-Mobile / MetroPCS already announced as a carrier. Off-contract, the Lumia 630 will cost $159 / $169 for the single- or dual-SIM versions, while the 635 will be $189. We should know more about these and get hands-on experience in a few hours when Nokia holds its own press conference, so check back then for more details.

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In the heart of Stockholm a team of designers and engineers have been hard at work, mostly in secret, overhauling one of biggest names in music. (And no, we're not talking about Icona Pop or even an ABBA reunion.) On Birger Jarlsgatan, a street that divides the neighborhoods of Ostermalm and Norrmalm in the Swedish capital, sits the home of Spotify. Not all that long ago it was the undisputed king of subscription music services. Today it is just one of many major players in the exploding marketplace with would-be usurpers, from Google to Beats, surrounding it on all sides.

Over the years it's shoehorned in new features and accelerated its international expansion, but the design stagnated. Its iTunes-like desktop client didn't just look dated, it was cumbersome and many of its features bordered on obsolete. Its mobile apps and web player filled a need, but lacked the polish and stability many mainstream customers demanded. So for the last several months a team led by Michelle Kadir (Director of Product Development) and Andreas Holmstrom (Lead Communications Designer) have been toiling away to bring Spotify into the 2010s. That means a flatter more playful look with soft edges and large images. But the company also bucked the trend towards lighter color palettes by slathering its UI with enough black to make Tomas Skogsberg proud.

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If you're using Spotify on the web, desktop or iOS you should notice a pretty massive change starting today. (The new look should be coming to Android "near future.") The company is launching its most dramatic overhaul since its launch in 2008. Most noticeably, it's flat and dark. Like Swedish death metal dark. The gray and white elements it experimented with over the last couple of years have been banished and it has returned to its roots with a UI that is primarily black and slightly lighter black. Sure, there are still green highlights and the new rounded (dare we say finger-friendly) icons are a lighter shade of gray, but the overall effect is one where the most important element -- the content -- jumps off the background.

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For the last 24 hours (and likely the next 12), excitable company execs have been barraging our inbox, YouTube and your social media networks with their best shenanigans. Love it or loathe it (and you're probably starting to loathe it by now), the April Fools' tradition continues, even stronger, in 2014. Google went a little overboard, but hopefully, after today, selfies will die a death. Hopefully.

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Nokia Lumia 630 in a test case

If you've wanted to know what Nokia's entry-level Lumia 630 looks like in real life, today is your lucky day. Both a Coolxap video (below) and a handful of photos from @Umit have shown off the smartphone in all its Windows Phone 8.1-based glory, including the on-screen navigation, Action Center and the updated camera interface. Previous rumors have suggested that the 630 will be relatively powerful for a low-end device with a 4.5-inch (albeit 800 x 480) display, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM. Don't get too attached to the way the phone looks in these images, though. The 630 in the still pictures is likely using a protective case or prototype shell, and we wouldn't count on the video reflecting the final design, either. With that said, the new media may represent our best clue yet as to what Nokia might reveal at its event next week.

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Led by CEO Peter Chou, HTC has developed a reputation for making phones that are just as visually appealing as they are functional. The company's latest flagship device, the One (M8), is another in a long lineup of beautifully crafted smartphones, and we had a chance to sit down with Chou to discuss the handset and some of the process behind how it came to be. "Our challenge was how do we break through from M7 to M8?" Chou told us. "I decided last year that I'm going to spend most of my time in product to help break through. Make it premium, like watches or jewelry. We want to stand out."

Chou was definitely deeply invested in the success of the M8, and was directly involved in its development -- he lost 5kg testing out the Fitbit integration, and even spent several weeks walking around with an M8-shaped block of wood in his pocket. "I tried to simulate when I take it out, how it feels when I put it on my ear, and when I talk." In other words, Chou wanted to see it through the lens of any other consumer. During this process, he provided feedback to his design team on which areas needed to be tweaked. "We were working back and forth on fine-tuning it; 'I don't like this curve, I want it to be more natural in the hands, I want this completely metal, completely pure.'"

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