Personal technology

Chris Nuttall

It may be getting chilly for barbecuing sausages on BioLite’s new attachment to its twig-powered camp stove, but be warmed by the satisfaction of knowing you are helping its efforts to save lives in developing countries.

The US company is leveraging its success with outdoors types to help fund its longer-term project of providing safer stoves for the half of the world’s population that still cooks on open wood fires every day. Read more

Samsung’s unveiling of its first curved smartphone screen today has bent out of shape a few reviewers and analysts. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Environmentally conscious or just clumsy people buying a smartphone are better off with a new Samsung or Motorola than with one of the new iPhones.

A new ranking from iFixit, a group that specialises in tearing apart phones to figure out to repair them, looks how easy it is to fix the top smartphones on the market. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Trendy China tech group Xiaomi is branching out from smartphones into China’s increasingly competitive market for smart TVs.

The private company, which said its latest round of fundraising valued it at $10bn, launched the $489 TV at a jam-packed and much-hyped launch event in Beijing Thursday afternoon. Read more

In the mid-1990s, Nokia was well on its way to becoming the world’s leader in the adolescent mobile phone business, a dazzling rise that would see it peak with a 40 per cent global market share.

The reborn Finnish upstart, casting aside its heritage in pulp and paper, was brimming with confidence based on its market-leading technology, neat handset designs and a vision of the future that at times seemed to stretch credulity. Read more

Robert Cookson

As apps go, Ant Smasher sounds simple enough. The free game, which has been downloaded more than 50m times from the Google Play app store, allows mobile phone users to entertain themselves by squishing digital ants as they scurry down the screen. Splat, splat, splat.

But Ant Smasher has a dark side. It is one of a growing wave of apps that contains “adware” – aggressive advertising technology that displays ads in a phone’s notification bar and other places outside of the app itself, without consent. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple introduced a much-needed and radical redesign for its Mac Pro desktop line this week, but its refreshing of the MacBook Air was all internal – the laptop’s look has not changed since its revamp in 2010.

Since then, many Windows laptops have tried to copy the Air’s classic wafer-thin looks and it has inspired an entire “Ultrabook” category, created by Intel. But, after trying the new Air and its most recent competition, it’s easy to see why Apple felt no need to change things externally. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Computex show in Taiwan this week has featured some inventive takes on computing, including Asus’s Transformer Book Trio that works as a Windows 8 notebook and desktop as well as an Android tablet.

Next to that, announcements from Sony and Toshiba around the show seem rather conventional, with pens featured and the latest fourth-generation “Haswell” Core processors from Intel. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Days after August’s launch, yet another smart lock has come knocking on the door in the shape of Goji, which launches an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign today.

Goji stands out from other remotely operated deadbolts with its built-in camera, which takes and emails or texts you a picture alert of the person entering your home. So you can check what state your son was in when he came in at 3am or see if the cleaner sent someone else to do her shift. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.

Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more