Posts Tagged smartphone

IRL: Kogan’s Agora HD, a $189 smartphone made obsolete by the Moto G

Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

IRL: Kogan's Agora HD, a $189 smartphone made obsolete by the Moto G

When I first came across Kogan at last year’s CES, it was for the launch of the Aussie company’s very first Agora smartphone. It was a modestly specced handset with some performance issues, but that was understandable: the going price was just $149, a sign that affordability was considered above all else. Then just nine months later, a follow-up smartphone, the Agora HD, was announced. A new 720p, 5-inch display and quad-core 1.2GHz processor were the headline features, but really there were improvements across the board. It was inevitable the price had to go up, too, but even then $189 felt like a small hop compared with the leap in hardware.

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HTC Predicts Optical Zoom Coming To Smartphones As Early As 2015

The gap between smartphones and digital cameras is soon about to get thinner as HTC predicts smartphones will be getting an optical zoom feature. An optical zoom is a true zoom feature that uses lenses to zoom in or out of a subject. It is much better than the digital zoom feature that current smartphones use which uses software to enlarge a photo and will often result in pixelatation. With optical zoom present in smartphones it will now be able to compete against digital SLRs.

optical zoom

HTC’s Symon Whitehorn says that it is possible that optical zoom will be coming to their Android smartphones within two years. In an interview with Vodafone he said that “I think we’re looking at about 18 months to two years until that lens barrier begins breaking down and it becomes much harder to justify buying a dedicated camera outside of specialist or nostalgia reasons.”

Right now smartphones are the device of choice for people who want to take photos. When someone takes a selfie it’s usually done with a smartphone since the photo can instantly be shared to any social network. When there is a party and photos need to be taken chances are a smartphone is going to be used.

One drawback to using a smartphone is that it doesn’t perform well when compared to regular cameras. Sure it is better than the point and shoot cameras but compared to digital SLR there is a huge gap in the quality of shots taken.

Symon further says that “There’s a boundary that everyone wants us to crack. As smartphones have become people’s primary camera, we expect more of them. That’s why we’ve put so much investment into the camera – because smartphone cameras take the majority of our images now. We already outperform a lot of compact point and shoot cameras, but we want to approach the performance of regular cameras. Every generation of our cameras seems to close that gap.”

For smartphones to reach the level of quality shots that can be done by a digital SLR it must work on its optical zooming feature. No amount of digital zooming will be able to match the quality of shots provided by optical zooming.

Several manufacturers have already toyed with the idea of optical zooming in smartphones however this has to be refined further. Symon believes that HTC is in a position to be an innovator in this area. He says that the company is trying to match the performance of dedicated cameras that have lenses that cost thousands of dollars. While this won’t happen in the short term period it is the direction that the company wants to pursue.

via vodafone

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AT&T GoPhone adding more data to smartphone plans

AT&T’s pre-paid GoPhone customers are in for a nice little treat: their monthly data allotments are going up, but their monthly cost is staying the same. Starting April 25th, GoPhone’s 2GB $60-a-month plan will be bumped up to 2.5GB, while the $40-for-250MB plan will double to 500MB. Additionally, those on the larger and more expensive plan will gain mobile Wi-Fi hotspot support at no additional charge. And if you happen to be wanting to buy your smartphone from Wal-Mart, GoPhone shoppers there will have the option of a $45 monthly 1GB plan.



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Motorola could soon announce an ultra thin smartphone

Motorola Leak

Motorola is heavily focused on midrange devices, with the Moto G being one of its most successful Android smartphones. It seems like the company could follow that trend if a report coming out of Brazil is anything to go by. This device will apparently feature a very slim form factor and is said to be only 6.2mm in thickness. The handset will reportedly break cover next month in Brazil with global markets expected to follow suit subsequently.

The smartphone will arrive in three different models XT1021, XT1022 which comes with support for dual SIM and XT1025 which supports dual SIM standby and digital TV on-the-go. All three variants will feature a 4.3 inch display of unknown resolution, a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, a 5-megapixel camera on the back, 4GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, a 1,900 mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat.

This could very likely be a midrange device with the hardware specs sheet not looking very flattering. However, devices like this have a huge market around the world, so Motorola will hope to replicate the success of the Moto G with this new offering.

Source: Tecnoblog

Via: Talk Android

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‘Easy Unlock’ feature for Chrome OS leaks, could unlock a Chromebook with a nearby smartphone

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Chromebooks keep getting better and better. They are a great alternative to a full laptop if you are already connected to all of Google’s offerings. And now it looks like Chrome OS, the backbone for a Chromebook, is getting an expanded layer of security. The people over at Android Police found a feature titled Easy Unlock in the Chrome OS development channel. Easy Unlock would unlock a user’s Chromebook and smartphone are within a reasonable range from one another.

The feature is not yet ready to be fully used; however, the reason for that could be since an official application is going to be released.

Would you use Easy Unlock as a way to easily access a Chromebook?

Source: Android Police

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Philips W6618 Android Smartphone Packs A 5300mAh Battery

How long does it take before the battery of your smartphone runs out of power? Does it last the whole day or does it give out that low battery notification in the later part of the day? As well all know a smartphone is only useful if its battery is charged, once it gets drained it’s pretty much useless.

Philips W6618

Philips may have a solution to the battery problem of smartphones by coming up with the Philips W6618 Android smartphone that uses a 5300mAh battery pack.  On paper this will give consumers 1604 hours or 60 days of standby time and more than a day and a half of continuous talk time. That’s two months of standby time before you will need to recharge your device again. While the battery life will depend on how the device is being used I’m sure that with heavy usage this model can still make it through the day without needing a recharge.

Technical Specifications

  • 5-inch capacitive touchscreen display (540 x 960 pixels)
  • Dual SIM
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB ROM
  • expandable via microSD support
  • 11.6mm thick
  • 5,300 mAh battery (non-removable) Android Smartphone Packs A 5300mAh Battery

In terms of specifications the device can be considered a mid-range model with its quad core processor and one GB of RAM. Its 5-inch display has a rather low resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. This won’t be a problem though for consumers looking for a device with endurance.

Despite using a 5300mAh battery the Philips W6618 is still a compact device having a thickness of only 11.4 millimeters. It doesn’t look bulky at all.

As far as we know there isn’t any other smartphone in the market with this battery capacity. The recently announced China made Eton Thor smartphone only packs a 5000mAh battery. Even the Droid Maxx falls short using only a 3500mAh battery. The W6618 has even a larger battery than several of the popular tablet brands such as the Nexus 7 (3950mAh) or the Samsung Galaxy Tab PRO 8.4 (4800mAh).

The Philips W6618 has recently been released in China and costs 1,699 CNY or roughly $273. The company usually sells its devices in Asia with some select models reaching the European market. As of this writing it is still uncertain if this model will be sold outside of China.

via cnmo

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ASUS ZenFone series debuts in Southeast Asia

ASUS is finally bringing its new ZenFone smartphone series to the market, but it isn’t doing it first in primary regions. These Intel-powered devices are first landing on the shelves of stores and retailers in Southeast Asia, specifically in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

It isn’t uncommon for ASUS to launch budget devices with sometimes unremarkable hardware. And in that vein, the three members of the brand new ZenFone family, unveiled at CES early this year, are also quite nondescript. What makes them notable and interesting, however, is that they are all powered by a processor you usually don’t find inside a smartphone: an Intel Atom CPU. Intel has long been coveting a piece of the smartphone market but success has continually evaded its grasp. Though its Atom mobile processor has indeed been seen in both Android and Windows 8 tablets of late, the promise of an Intel-toting commercial smartphone has rarely been fulfilled.

That said, the ASUS ZenFone smartphones, as expected, occupy the lower ranges of the smartphone ladder. The 4-inch ZenFone 4, for example, only runs on a 1.2 GHz Z2520 Atom chip with 1 GB of RAM and resolution of 800×480. Both the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 have a faster 2 GHz Z2580 and actually both sport the same 1280×8720 screen resolution, despite having different screen sizes. All three will be running ASUS’ brand new ZenUI custom Android interface. But really, the highlight of these devices is the Intel processor, at least for those in the mobile tech world who will be eagerly awaiting reports of its performance, power consumption, and heat dissipation, in terms of a smartphone.

Of course, there is no denying that the price tags are quite tempting. In Singapore, the ZenFone 5 will debut next month with a price tag of 249 SGD, roughly $198, though no pricing or date for the ZenFone 4 and 6 have been given yet. While availability in Indonesia is still unclear, the prices already run thus: the ZenFone 4 will sell for 1,0990,000 IDR ($96), the ZenFone 5 for 2,099,000 IDR ($184), and even the most expensive ZenFone 6 only has a price tag of 3,099,000 IDR ($270). Unfortunately, ASUS has not yet disclosed market plans in either the US or Europe, which would definitely give these Intel smarpthone a very thorough testing.

VIA: CNET

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Smartphone “Kill Switch” Gains Ground As Major Companies Support It

A new program called the “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” is gaining ground as Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft, as well as the five major US carriers have pledged their support to it. What this program does is it basically allows a “kill switch” feature to be included in a smartphone allowing the owner to activate it if the device gets stolen or lost. This protects the sensitive data that may be stored in the device and makes it useless to sell in the black market.

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As early as July 2015 all smartphone models sold in the United States by the signatories will have a pre-loaded or downloadable anti-theft tool that will be offered at no cost to the consumer.

The anti-theft tool will have the following capabilities

  • Ability to remotely wipe a user’s data which include photos, contacts, emails, personal info, etc. once the device gets lost or stolen
  • Make the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users. This means that the device will be locked and its features cannot be used except those that are authorized by the FCC such as calls to 911, or emergency numbers programmed by the authorized user.
  • Prevent reactivation of the device without the authorized user’s consent.
  • Make the smartphone operable again once recovered by the authorized user and restore the data that was previously wiped.

Steve Largent, President and CEO, CTIA, said that “We appreciate the commitment made by these companies to protect wireless users in the event their smartphones are lost or stolen. This flexibility provides consumers with access to the best features and apps that fit their unique needs while protecting their smartphones and the valuable information they contain. At the same time, it’s important different technologies are available so that a ‘trap door’ isn’t created that could be exploited by hackers and criminals. By working together with policymakers, law enforcement and consumers, we will deter theft and protect users’ personal information on smartphones.”

This latest development is a reversal to the previous stance of the wireless carriers. The carriers at first resisted this idea saying that hackers may find a way to exploit the “kill switch” feature and may use it against the owner of the device.

The mounting pressure from several politicians who have already formulated laws on a state level requiring a remote shutdown feature may have swayed the decision of the wireless carriers.

Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson said that “We got the kill switch technology solution we wanted to protect Illinois consumers. The wireless industry has agreed to provide a free preloaded or downloadable anti-theft application for smartphones to help protect owners if their phones are stolen. This tool would allow smartphone owners to remotely wipe their personal data and remotely shut down a stolen phone so it is not valuable to thieves. Today’s announcement is a significant step to provide additional protections to Illinois consumers.”

Rhode Island State Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio said that “I am grateful to the participating carriers, device manufacturers and operating system companies for voluntarily coming to this decision to improve public safety. This is a move which is good for consumers and good for business, in my opinion. It gives consumers peace of mind and protects them from the threat of having their personal information exposed. The ability to make the system inoperable also eliminates much of the incentive for theft in the first place.”

The “kill switch” feature is seen as a solution to the growing smartphone theft problem in the U.S. today. According to the FCC one in every three robberies in the U.S. involves phones. Lost mobile devices amounted to a $30 billion loss to consumers in 2012 alone.

via ctia

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The Amazon smartphone lives, leaked photos show multiple cameras on the front Face

amazon smartphoneRumours surrounding a possible Amazon smartphone have until recently just been a pipe dream. Fortunately though, Amazon looks like its almost ready to take on the smartphone market with rumours starting to hot up again, this week culminating in a set of leaked photos of a device that is said to be Amazon’s new smartphone. You’ll notice that there are multiple cameras around the edge of the camera, which are said to be used to track eye and head movement to create a dynamic, 3D user interface on the device.

Amazon smartphoneThis is definitely a big gamble for Amazon seeing as nobody else on the market currently has a 3D display, though that may also work in its favour as a niche product. Other rumoured specifications for the device include a 4.7-inch 720p display, a unspecified Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM and a 13MP rear camera. The device pictured here is said to be announced in June and released in July, which will then be followed by a smartphone with lower hardware specifications and like Amazon’s other devices, both these smartphones will likely run a heavily skinned and forked version of Android.

amazon smartphoneWith all the heavy casing around the device, it’s hard to make out exactly what the Amazon smartphone might actually look like, but it does remind me of a Nokia Lumia. What do you think about the leaked pictures of the Amazon smartphone? Would you considering getting one if, or when, it is released? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: BGR via Phandroid


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Apple, Samsung and others to adopt anti-theft smartphone kill switch

Apple and Samsung are duking it out in court yet again, but there’s at least one thing they (and a host of their smartphone making rivals) agree on: users shouldn’t be helpless when their phones are stolen. That’s why, starting in July 2015, all of the smartphones those companies sell in the United States will come with an anti-theft tool meant to help keep your data out of the wrong hands. The full list of backers includes the usual heavyweights: besides Apple and Samsung, there’s Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, along with the country’s biggest wireless carriers. Those parties in total represent a tremendous chunk of the American wireless industry, so your next (or next next) smartphone will almost certainly let you stick it to the sticky-fingered.

And what, pray tell, would such tools do? According to the CTIA, users will be able to remotely wipe and restore their devices (say, from a cloud backup), and prevent them from being reactivated or used by unsavory types. That seemingly simple move wouldn’t just save us all anguish, it could save us a collective total of $2.5 billion a year in replacement costs and insurance fees. It sure sounds like a win for consumers, but some — like Senator Mark Leno, who sponsored a bill to create a kill-switch for connected gadgets in the Golden State — think such tools should be on by default rather than requiring users to opt-in. He’s probably on to something, but at least all these companies have a few months to iron out the details.

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Source: CTIA

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Apple, Samsung and more to adopt anti-theft smartphone kill switch

Apple and Samsung are duking it out in court yet again, but there’s at least one thing they (and a host of their smartphone making rivals) agree on: users shouldn’t be helpless when their phones are stolen. That’s why, starting in July 2015, all of the smartphones those companies sell in the United States will come with an anti-theft tool meant to help keep your data out of the wrong hands. The full list of backers includes the usual heavyweights: besides Apple and Samsung, there’s Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, along with the country’s biggest wireless carriers. Those parties in total represent a tremendous chunk of the American wireless industry, so your next (or next next) smartphone will almost certainly let you stick it to the sticky-fingered.

And what, pray tell, would such tools do? According to the CTIA, users will be able to remotely wipe and restore their devices (say, from a cloud backup), and prevent them from being reactivated or used by unsavory types. That seemingly simple move wouldn’t just save us all anguish, it could save us a collective total of $2.5 billion a year in replacement costs and insurance fees. It sure sounds like a win for consumers, but some — like Senator Mark Leno, who sponsored a bill to create a kill-switch for connected gadgets in the Golden State — think such tools should be on by default rather than requiring users to opt-in. He’s probably on to something, but at least all these companies have a few months to iron out the details.

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Source: CTIA

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Google’s Gmail makes access to your smartphone’s photos much easier

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Google has announced that they are rolling out support in the Gmail web client for users to access all of the photos from their smartphone when composing new messages. To take advantage of the new features, users do have to have the Auto Backup feature for photos enabled on their Android powered phones. When composing a new email message, users can click on the Insert Photo button to be taken to a new dialog. In the past users were given the option of uploading an image from their computer or pasting the URL for a photo. The new dialog box adds tabs for Photos and Albums stored on a user’s account via the Auto Backup.

In addition to easily inserting an image backed up from their smartphone, users can insert an entire album, useful if one has gone through the effort to organize images into albums. Google also says images can be resized in the compose window using dragging handles.

The update will start rolling out today.

gmail_phone_photos_insert_resize

source: Official Gmail Blog

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Amazon Smartphone Photos Leaks Out

There’s a lot of talk lately that Amazon will soon be releasing its own smartphone. This has been going on for several months now and in fact it was previously believed that the online retail giant will team up with HTC to come up with a smartphone however this hasn’t materialized.

amazon smartphone 1

The latest news coming from several media outlets is that Amazon is about to officially reveal its own smartphone. The company’s first ever flagship model was even spotted in a few leaked photos. The device has a protective shell covering it so its exact design is yet unknown however we are able to see some of its features already.

What’s probably the most interesting feature of this device is that it has 5 front facing cameras. Previously we learned that this smartphone will have a 3D functionality without the user needing to wear glasses. One front facing camera will be used for video calls or snapping selfie photos while the remaining four cameras (which is said to be low-power infrared cameras) located on the four corners of the device will take charge of the glasses-free, head-tracking 3D effect.

amazon smartphone 2

He extra cameras will be able to track the face and eyes of the user in relation to the screen of the device thus allowing it to make automatic adjustment in on-screen elements. This allows the device to provide a 3D experience without the need for special glasses. This is a similar solution implemented in the Nintendo 3DS as well as that of the 2011 HTC Evo 3D.

Since the 3D feature of this device will be the main feature that differentiates it from the other smartphone models in the market, Amazon is making sure to use this technology in most of the areas of the device. In the lock screen for example, users will be greeted with wallpaper that changes its perspective as the user shifts viewing angles.

Another use of the 3D feature is that the company is said to incorporate it across several Amazon stores. This means that customers will be able to see a three dimensional image of a product instead of just a 2D image.

As far as specifications of the Amazon smartphone goes it is reportedly going to sport a 4.7-inch 720p display, use a Qualcomm Snapdragon  of unknown build,  come with 2GB RAM, and use a forked verison of Android called Fire OS.

The company is also developing a  second smartphone with slightly lower specifications

via bgr

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First Photos of Amazon 3D Smartphone Emerge, May Launch Alongside Low-End Model

First Photos of Amazon 3D Smartphone Emerge, May Launch Alongside Low-End Model

Speculation of an Amazon smartphone is nearly as old as time itself. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems nearly every year that rumblings suggesting the online retailer is planning to launch a phone are widely reported but never pan out. This time may be different, however; if information and snapshots obtained by BGR proves accurate, Amazon may finally look to grab a slice of the smartphone market this summer.

According to the article, Amazon has a low-end and premium handset in development. The premium model is pictured, but its design is concealed by a security cover.

The high-end device is more interesting by far. BGR sources were able to corroborate rumors of a 3D interface, confirming the presence of four front-facing infrared sensors that track the retinas of users’s eye and software that works to change the perspective of on-screen elements. The effect is like a 3D hologram without the need for glasses or parallax.

The report said every aspect of the phone’s UI will leverage the unique hardware. Backgrounds on the lock screen will shift perspective, for instance, and applications icons will move in all directions. A customized version of the Amazon Store will include 3D images, allowing users to view products at different angles.

Several preloaded apps will support 3D, including a maps application, but Amazon is apparently working with select developers to have third-party support at launch.

In terms of hardware, the premium smartphone is no slouch. It reportedly sports a 4.7-inch, 720p display and packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

The entry-level handset will launch after the high-end model and potentially lack 3D support.

No word on pricing or availability, but the report said the low-end model would be aggressively priced. As far as a launch windows, Amazon may intend to unveil the smartphone within  3-6 months. 

Are you bullish on Amazon’s 3D, readers, or is it just another gimmick?

Via: BGR

First Photos of Amazon 3D Smartphone Emerge, May Launch Alongside Low-End Model is a post from: Droid Life

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Report says Amazon will reveal its smartphone in June

amazon_logo_kindle_hd

Everyone is waiting for Amazon to finally release its smartphone, Project Aria. As recent as last month, there were reports that the device is coming this year. And now a report out of The Wall Street Journal says that Amazon’s smartphone will be revealed in June. And shortly after in September, it will be ready for consumers. It has been reported that Amazon has let developers in San Francisco and its hometown Seattle test prototypes over the course of the last few weeks.

The long-rumored 3D content feature for the Amazon smartphone has also made an appearance in this report. This would allow for users to view 3D content without the need for special glasses, similar to what Nintendo does with its 3DS handheld gaming system. This feature would be a huge difference maker from any competition.

For Amazon to be successful with its smartphone, having one of the world’s most coveted online storefronts doesn’t hurt. After announcing Fire TV last week, Amazon’s set-top box has already become the current best-selling media streamer on the site.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Report: Amazon phone to launch in September

CNBC is reporting that Amazon does indeed have a smartphone lined up for launch, and will be announcing it this Summer. Via Twitter, they note the device will be announced in June, well ahead of a September release. Further details suggest 3D aspirations, which is something we’ve heard before from Amazon.


According to CNBC, the screen will support 3D images without the need for special glasses or other trickery. They do not note the size of the screen, nor do they mention resolution. A link to CNBC’s page only gives a placeholder for an article, and no content in tow.

News of an amazon smartphone doesn’t surprise us, as we’ve heard it before in one way or another. First it was three seperate devices, then a phone that could alter screen orientation or scan objects for purchase. Wild rumors abound, but we’re still left without an Amazon smartphone.

We’re not told if it’s Kindle branded, what the price will/could be, or if it’s only being sold to Prime members. If so, it would likely have to be unlocked, which could cut out the likes of Verizon and Sprint. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon has been showing the device off in San Francisco and Seattle of late. They also back up earlier claims of four cameras to track your eye movement, and that the 3D screen will make images appear as holograms.

It sounds far too ambitious to be Amazon, so we’ll temper our enthusiasm for an official launch. We’re also concerned about pricing for such a robust device, with 3D screens and retina tracking. Amazon s keen on offering low-cost devices, and what’s being described is likely nothing close to that.

Source: CNBC, The Wall Street Journal

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Amazon will reportedly ship a 3D-based smartphone in September

The success of Amazon’s Kindle line and the Fire TV may just have them finaly building a smartphone — and if rumors are true, it will have a 3D-style screen. According to the Wall Street Journal, folks have been briefed by Amazon about the upcoming smartphone. They’re calling it part of a larger move to get into the hardware side of the business.

Supposedly developers in Seattle — where Amazon is based — and San Francisco have had demos of versions of this new Amazon phone, which is reportedly to be announced by the end of June. One of the things to set this apart from the field of other phones is the screen. Sources tell the WSJ that the phone will display a sort of 3D imagery without the need of special eyewear.

Of course, Amazon has declined to comment.

We know you guys and gals won’t, so let us know if you would be interested in something like this.

Source: WSJ



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Amazon to launch its smartphone in June?

Amazon Phone

We’ve heard about Amazon’s plans to launch a smartphone from several months now. One rumor even suggested that it would team up with HTC to bring this smartphone to the market, but that didn’t materialize. A new report has now claimed that the online retailer plans to launch its new smartphone in June this year, with units starting to ship out by September. The rumored 3D content feature is said to be available with this handset.

It is believed that Amazon has provided test prototype units to developers in Seattle and San Francisco, which confirms the existence of this product. However, we don’t have access to live images or pictures at the moment, so take this with a grain of salt until then.

Considering the massive popularity of Amazon’s recently launched Fire TV console, we can already predict the kind of demand its smartphone would see, assuming that the pricing remains minimal. We will hope to stumble across more leaks of this mystery smartphone in the coming days.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Via: The Verge

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Alleged camera shots of the OnePlus One surface

OnePlus One

The OnePlus One smartphone is set for an unveiling on the 23rd of April. And while there’s still some time left for the launch, we now have a glimpse of what the camera sensor would be like thanks to a few sample shots being posted online. The makers of the smartphone recently handed out three units of the smartphone to winners of its photo contest.

However, there was a caveat. The smartphone given to them could only run the camera app and nothing else, so as to keep the aura of secrecy intact. And one of the contest winners decided to capture some images from this sensor and post them online on a Chinese forum.

And from the results, it’s clear that the smartphone will surely have no problems in the camera department. Of course, it won’t replace your DSLRs or other professional equipment, but the images look pretty crisp and detailed for a 13-megapixel sensor. Other aspects of the camera are not known yet, but we only have to wait less than two weeks to get all the info we need on this device.

The OnePlus One is also expected to feature a 5.5 inch 1080p display, a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 chipset, 3GB of RAM and an Android 4.4 based CyanogenMod 11 ROM.

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Source: myDrivers

Via: Phone Arena

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Oppo R1 visits the FCC with support for American network bands

Oppo R1

The Oppo R1 was officially launched in December last year as a China only midrange offering. The smartphone has now made its way to the FCC for certification. This new listing reveals support for LTE and also comes with support for American network bands, hinting strongly at an American launch.

While GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are unlikely to offer this new smartphone on contract, the R1 will most likely be available unlocked, thus giving users the liberty to pick their favorite carrier.

Even though the smartphone features midrange hardware, its pricing could be crucial in convincing potential buyers of its worth. The handset features a 5 inch 720p IPS display, a 1.3 GHz quad core MediaTek chipset, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and the Android 4.2.2 based Color OS ROM.

Since this is merely an FCC listing at this point, there’s no word on availability or pricing. But considering Oppo’s history with midrange devices, we expect the smartphone to cost below $300 at launch.

Source: Engadget

Via: Phone Arena

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Winds of change in smartphone market to put squeeze on manufacturers

New Samsung Galaxy S5 smarphone, Gear 2 smartwatch and Gear Fit fitness band are displayed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

After news came out earlier this week that Samsung, despite its size and commanding position in the smartphone market, was still expecting a decline in operating profit for the second quarter in a row, many people started wondering what the future may hold for smartphone manufacturers. Analysts indicate the market is already suffering from softening margins and the pressure will be on market leaders, like Samsung and Apple, to make their high-end phones more affordable. Besides the squeeze on margins at the high-end, analysts also see more of the market shifting to other segments, especially low- and mid-range smartphones targeted at the “mass market.”

According to analysts, Samsung is already showing signs of responding to the changes. For example, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S 5 in South Korea has been reduced by about one tenth already. The company is also adding in a package of apps and web content valued at approximately 600,000 won ($570 USD). According to Lee Min-hee, an analyst with IM Investment, Samsung has also moved to reduce the cost of producing the Galaxy S 5 by 10 to 15 percent compared to the Galaxy S 4. Even with these moves, Samsung expects their margin on the devices to continue to weaken. Such moves also come with another downside – they make it harder to maintain a premium brand image.

Another premium brand phone manufacturer, Apple, could be in an even more difficult spot. Analysts like Walter Piecyk with BTIG note that Apple is “foregoing incremental revenue opportunities by not having a product that addresses that market” in reference to the mass market of buyers looking for something other than a premium phone. Some documents that came out in court recently suggest Apple is aware that one of the items consumers want is cheaper phones. The company does not appear to be ready to go down that path though leading investors to hope Apple can be successful with new products, like wearable devices. To be sure, Apple enjoys a large margin on their devices in the 40 percent range, but that is down from a few years ago and the trend appears to be for a continued slide. This could even accelerate if they produce an iPhone 6 with a bigger screen, another item consumers are clamoring for.

While the leading manufacturers of smartphones struggle to maintain strong margins in light of consumer demand for cheaper, larger devices, smaller companies, especially those located in China, seem poised to have an impact on the mass market. During 2013, the share of smartphone shipments from companies outside the top five increased to 39.3 percent compared with 27.4% in 2011. Lee points out that “the winners in the current market conditions will be those who show the best cost-efficiency, and in that sense Chinese players will be in a better position.”

Do you think Samsung and Apple will be able to maintain their dominant positions for the next five years?

source: Reuters

Come comment on this article: Winds of change in smartphone market to put squeeze on manufacturers

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HTC One M8 has the lowest screen latency of any smartphone to date

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Whether it’s slicing up fruit in your favorite mobile game, or scrolling through menus and homescreens, screen latency is absolutely vital to the user experience on our mobile devices. Contrary to popular belief, the time it takes for your smartphone to register the touch of your finger tips doesn’t always have to do with the amount of GHz found on your smartphone either. Much of this is software based. You may have heard from friends or family (or even experienced it yourself) how responsive iOS can be even on the oldest of hardware (yes, GPU acceleration helps a good deal as well).

Imagine our surprise to find a newly released Android device smashing previous records when it came to screen latency — the all new HTC One M8. In a review we came across from the French tech blog Lesnumeriques, they found the HTC One M8 scored an incredible 46ms screen latency. The next closest device (which held the previous record) was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 at 67ms, followed by a variety of Apple products like the Apple iPhone 5/5s with 75ms. For reference, here’s a chart showing some older devices.

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We should note that left out of their tests was the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, two of the biggest smartphones of the year (although their previous iterations can be found scoring relatively high). You would think a faster processor comes largely into play, except for those awkward times when it doesn’t.

So what does this tell us? Well, it let’s us know that the future Microsoft envisioned is closing in fast, and the HTC One M8 could be leading the way. Score another one for the M8.

[via XDA]

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Someone created a charger that can fully charge your smartphone in 30 seconds [VIDEO]

StoreDot proof of concept 30 second charger prototype

Battery life has long been a major concern in mobile. It’s only recently we’re finally seeing small strides being taken with how chip vendors and smartphone manufacturers are approaching the issue. This typically involves either creating additional low-power CPU cores, or throwing higher mAhs into our smartphones and tablets. But what about charge times?

As our phones become more powerful (and bigger), and we begin to demand more out of our devices, we really need to start thinking about other avenues to explore if we hope to break free from constantly being tethered to a wall socket.

It was early last year we saw Qualcomm’s attempt at speeding up our device’s charging times with their Quick Charge 1.0 technology that can be found in most current smartphones (the recently released HTC One M8 even features Quick Charge 2.0, though compatible chargers wont be available until later in the year).

And while being able to charge a phone in under an hour and half is all good and dandy, how cool would it be if you could charge your smartphone in under 30 seconds? Suddenly, that 15 hour battery life doesn’t sound so bad.

StoreDot is an Israeli startup introducing their prototype charger and battery technology that does just that, taking a near depleted smartphone to a full charge in 30 seconds or less. The charger, which is about the size of your everyday laptop charger, was shown doing just that on a Samsung Galaxy S3 (support for additional smartphone models is also in the works). The battery itself features biological semiconductors made from “naturally occurring organic compounds” (peptides) and short chains of amino acids. While quite large right now, StoreDot says it should roughly be the size of current smartphone batteries by the time its ready for release.

The best part is you might not even need to wait until you’re old and grey before we see this in the real world. StoreDot says that when the product becomes commercially available in 2016, pricing should be about twice that of the average phone charger. Right now, they also have another project aimed at making the charger smaller for more practical use.

The biggest question we have is how long these batteries will be able to hold a charge, and how well they handle our power hungry mobile devices. You can find a video of the prototype charger in action below.

[WSJ]

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Don’t try this at home: Samsung Galaxy S5 hammer test ends in the most hilarious way possible [VIDEO]

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Okay, these smartphone “stress test” videos on YouTube have got to stop. Why? Aside from breaking my heart every time I watch a $700 smartphone getting destroyed on camera, they can also be downright dangerous. Don’t believe us? Then check out this recent video by TechRax who, upon slamming his Samsung Galaxy S5 with a mallet, ends up puncturing the battery, spraying out noxious fumes into the air and causing the reviewer actual physical harm. Grab the Febreeze, boys and girls. Video below. #Dead.

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Samsung Galaxy Ace Style Android 4.4 budget smartphone now official

Samsung has finally given the official word on its Galaxy Ace Style smartphone previously sighted only in Germany. This budget smartphone is one of if not the first low-tier smartphone that will be running Android 4.4 KitKat right off the bat.

The Galaxy Ace Style made its appearance last week in photos taken from Germany. The information taken from there revealed a small smartphone with quite low hardware you’d typically see in budget smartphones. Samsung’s announcement now confirms all of those, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Here we have a 4.0-inch WVGA display. No IPS or AMOLED here, you only get TFT technology. The exact resolution has been left out but our previous source put it at 800×480. You also have an unnamed 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU paired with only 512 MB of RAM, typical of a low-tier device. The 4 GB of internal storage might worry some, but the Galaxy Ace Style is capable of supporting an additional 64 GB via a microSD card. You do have WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC, though no LTE. Battery capacity is at 1,500 mAh, which, again, is fairly normal for this class of device, though how long it will last with a more recent Android version is yet to be measured.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this smartphone is the Android 4.4 running on it. Samsung is practically giving more budget-conscious Android fans a chance to enjoy the latest version without having to worry much about the price. What that price will be is still unknown, but the Galaxy Ace Style, available in Cream White and Dark Gray colors, is scheduled launch this month.

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SOURCE: Samsung

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Project Ara photos show modular smartphone well on its way

If you aren’t yet entirely convinced that Google’s Project Ara is still alive and kicking, then the recent round of press materials should hopefully change your mind. After getting a video tour of the places and people behind the scenes, the public is now getting treated to a few still images of the modules currently being developed.

The dream of modular smartphones is definitely not new but the combination of timing, today’s technology, and an increasingly mobile world might just be enough to turn this dream not only into a reality but also into a business.

It all starts with the endoskeleton, an aluminum frame that will hold the smartphone modules, 8 at the back for various things like battery, data storage, sensors, etc. and two at the front for displays and buttons. In Google’s business plan, it will be selling these endoskeletons as the only Google-branded part of the device. As mentioned before, modules will be kept in place using electro-permanent magnets.

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And when it comes to modules, the sky’s the limit, almost. These can range from the truly essentials one to the more eccentric or niche options. Sensor-laded smartphones will have nothing on a Project Ara device, which can don any sensor as needed, and swap them with other parts along the way. Below, you can see some examples, including an infrared camera that can be used for thermal-based photography, a model of a thermal imaging lens with an enclosure, and a prototype of a pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels.

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But while Google has the technology and resource to make Project Ara happen, the greatest challenge for the company will be turning it into a sustainable commercial product. For that, it will need not only a crowd of interested buyers but also hardware makers that will be making Ara modules. There might be no market yet to convince bigger players, but as much 3,328 companies have registered for the developer conference this month, signifying their interest in being a part of what could be the next smartphone revolution.

SOURCE: MIT Technology Review
VIA: SlashGear

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Possible first look at Samsung’s upcoming premium Galaxy F smartphone

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It has been rumored for several months that Samsung will offer a premium smartphone, whether a Galaxy S 5 variant or part of an F seriesNow images of the said device has leaked on Twitter.

These photos really could be much of nothing because it looks a lot like a prototype to me. In fact, it could be an early prototype of the Galaxy S 5, but the speculation is that it isn’t because the speaker placement isn’t like the Galaxy S 5 (see below). In fact, one could argue that these images are of a Galaxy Note 4 prototype. Note: The Twitter leaker never mentioned what phone these image were of, just that it has a 2K display.

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I guess we will have to wait and see. What do you guys think? Could this be the new premium Galaxy F?

sources: Twitter (1) (2)
via: HDBlog.it

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Who is the number two smartphone manufacturer in India? Sony, that’s Who!

Who is the number two smartphone manufacturer in IndiaIndia is one of the largest emerging smartphone markets in recent years (China of course being the other), so it stands to reason that many smartphone manufacturers are vying for the attentions of the Indian population. While the global market distribution of devices seems to be relatively stable in its rankings, the story is not as simple in India; While Samsung is predictably first in market share, if you asked the question ‘who is the number two smartphone manufacturer in India’, you might be surprised to hear the answer is actually Sony.

Driven by sales of the Sony Xperia M Dual and the Sony Xperia C, Sony achieved a market share of 9.1% (by sales) to end 2013, which was particular impressive as they leapfrogged Apple, who had 7% in the same quarter, for second place. Seeing as Sony generally has a lackadaisical showing in Western markets, it is probably Sony’s intention to try and secure their position in this growing and lucrative market before fully committing to the more competitive markets. The road isn’t going to be easy, however, as Apple has re-launched the iPhone 4 at an entry-level price point of $375, and Nokia’s super-budget device, the Nokia X, is likely to make waves in this budget smartphone arena.

What do you think about Sony’s fortunes in India? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: XperiaBlog via Phone Arena


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TAG Heuer announces a luxurious solar-powered smartphone

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Need something a little bit more premium feeling than the HTC One (M8) and its aluminum construction? Enter TAG Heuer’s Merediist Infinite smartphone. The company that manufactures primarily watches and other high-end accessories is the smartphone and it features a solar panel to charge the device. To start charging, the device needs natural light; however, artificial light will work to a lesser degree. To do this, TAG Heuer is putting one of Wysips’ solar panels in-between the glass and LCD components of the display.

Only 1911 units will be produced to sell and the price tag will show just how premium TAG Heuer is making the Merediist Infinite. The device will be made of titanium, rubber, and carbon fiber.

As you prepare to break the bank for TAG Heuer’s device, hit the break to watch an introductory video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: TAG Heuer

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Phonejoy Play Bluetooth Game Controller Review

I love playing games on consoles. In fact I remember when I was a kid I was already playing NES games which was back in the 80’s. Now that I’ve grown up I still play games however I do it on my mobile device due to my busy schedule. The best part about playing games on a smartphone or tablet is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. The downside to this is that if you are used to playing with physical controls then the touch based control system can sometimes be frustrating.

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Phonejoy’s Play Bluetooth game controller which will become available in the market this coming April 8 is one of the best solutions in getting physical gaming buttons to any smartphone. It works for the Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. Its use of a spring-loaded slider mechanism allows it to fit most smartphone models with a display of up to 6-inches. It can also be used remotely to work with tablets or laptops.

Technical Specifications

  • DIMENSIONS:  3.43 ( h) x 4.02 (w) x 1.46 inches (d); 102 mm (w) x 87 mm (h) x 37 mm (d)
  • WEIGHT: 0.39 lbs / 176 g
  • GAME BUTTONS : Directional Pad, 2 Analogue Thumbsticks, 4 Shoulder Buttons, 4 Action Buttons
  • SYSTEM BUTTONS : Start + Back Button, Invert Analog Switch, Power ON/OFF Switch
  • BATTERY: built-in rechargeable Li-Ion Battery 8h
  • SUPPORTED CONTROL MODES: HID Gamepad, TV/Android TV Navigation, HID keyboard, iCade
  • SUPPORTED DEVICE SIZE: up to 6.1 in / 15.5 cm
  • SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Android 4.0 or higher and Bluetooth 2.1+ capable device (phone or tablet)
  • SUPPORTED VIEWING FORMATS: most Android smart phones in landscape direction, specific tablets or phablets can be used only in portrait mode.

I was able to get this game controller courtesy of Phonejoy founder Martin Kessler. The device ships in a nice looking brown box that’s packed with useful information. There’s even a measurement scale on one side so you can just place your smartphone against it to see if it fits the controller.

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Inside the box there’s the game controller, micro USB cord, charging adaptor, audio adaptor, soft pouch, and a protective carrying case. There’s also the usual documentation, stickers, and a thank you card.

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The Phonejoy Play controller has a nice feel and weight and has an ergonomic design that makes it suited for use in extended gaming periods. Its buttons have a nice tactile feel to it and are rubberized on top allowing your fingers to have good friction.

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I used an LG Optimus L7 Series II smartphone to test out this controller. What I did first was to download the Phonejoy app from the Google Play store which allows for the easy setup between the smartphone and the controller. The process of linking both devices via Bluetooth is easy since all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions. One other useful feature of his app is that it lists over 150 games that are compatible with the Play controller. Once you click on a game you like you will be sent to its Google Play store link. This way, you won’t have to manually search for the games that are compatible with this controller.

The first game I used to test this controller was Super Mario Advance 4 using a Gameboy Advance emulator. This game was originally designed to run on a GBA but has been ported to run on Android devices. It’s quite difficult playing the game with precision using the touch display of a smartphone however using the controller it becomes quite easy. I was able to finish the first few stages without losing any life.

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Overall I am very pleased with the Phonejoy Play and would recommend it to anyone who loves to play games using their mobile device. If you are interested in getting this device then you can head out over to the Phonejoy website to order it. The basic package costs $69.90 while the advanced package costs $79.90.

The post Phonejoy Play Bluetooth Game Controller Review appeared first on The Droid Guy.

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