Gap between plastic, metal components may 'expand slightly' with time
First purchasers of the Galaxy Note 4 are claiming that the devices have a gap between the plastic body of the phone, and the metal frame that surrounds the edge of the phone. According to reports, the gap is large enough to stick in a business card. Samsung has issued a statement about the gap, denying that it is a problem, or will affect functionality of the device in any way.
Smaller Buddy accessory for Pop Mega offers phone functions in smaller device
Alcatel is attempting to make the large-screen phablet useful to those wanting a smaller device, by bundling it with a secondary phone device. One of two new devices, the Pop Mega is a phablet with a six-inch display which Alcatel has paired with a small "Buddy" candybar-style accessory, capable of making and receiving calls without needing physical access to the main device.
Mozilla announces launch of Matchstick streaming Internet and media dongle
Creator of the open-source Firefox OS, Mozilla has announced the launch of its own Internet and media streaming dongle device, named Matchstick. A competitor to Google's Chromecast, the dongle runs Firefox OS, and allows users to view content -- via a WiFi connection -- from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to stream to a big screen TV. TV apps will be available for download through the Matchstick App Store, and both the hardware and software for Matchstick are open-source, providing ready potential for other uses for the dongle to appear. Matchstick has been launched as a Kickstarter campaign, with backers pledging for the Early Bird option receiving one Matchstick dongle for $12. Retail pricing is anticipated to be $25.
Third-ranking South Korean phone company forced to sell after bankruptcy woes
Things have gone from bad to worse for South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech. After filing for a debt restructuring in February, it asked was forced to ask for a deadline extension in July to pay off its creditors. It turns out that the interest-free, two-year extension granted in August wasn't long enough, as the company is now searching for buyer after filing for court receivership.
Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process
While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10.
Testing finds that larger iPhone 6 Plus actually less prone than iPhone 6
Adding to new suspicions that some of the "iPhone 6 Plus easily bends" videos appearing on the web may have been staged, Consumer Reports has now weighed in with the results of its own independent testing that largely refutes the claims that the phones can bend easily. After testing both models of new iPhone, as well as some other smartphones and phablets, the lab found that while the new iPhones were indeed less resilient than the iPhone 5 or Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, the HTC One (M8) is actually the most prone to deformation.
Thin Blue Vivo IV has 5-inch 1080p display, ships unlocked
A smartphone from Gionee with a 5.5-mm body has gone on sale in the United States as an unlocked device, though it now forms part of the Blu Vivo range. Previously known as the Gionee Elife S5.5, the Blu Vivo IV retains the thin body and specifications of the original, and combines it with a five-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display.
Products made from the deal to be sold in summer of 2015
Intel Corporation and China state-owned holding company Tsinghua Unigroup today jointly announced that both parties have signed a series of agreements. The purpose of the deals is to expand the product offerings and adoption for Intel-based mobile devices in China and worldwide, by jointly developing Intel architecture and communications-based solutions for mobile phones. The agreements will see Intel invest $1.5 billion in a pair of semiconductor companies, one of which is known for the chip found in Firefox phones.
Rumor claims low-specification Tizen smartphone bound for India in November
Samsung could be planning to release an entry-level smartphone running Tizen in India, according to a rumor. Following the launch and persistent delays to bring the Samsung Z to market, the company is said to be preparing a lower-specification device for launch in November, with the unnamed smartphone said to be running on Tizen version 2.3.
Verizon release comes three days after AT&T pre-orders started shipping
Verizon Wireless customers waiting to buy the second generation of Motorola's Moto X smartphone don't need to wait very long, as the wireless company says the phone is coming tomorrow. Those wanting to customize their version of the Moto X will be happy to hear that Verizon is selling phones customized through Moto Maker in both 16GB and 32GB capacities.
New Archos phones available at low-cost, with no contract
Electronics manufacturer Archos has announces the availability of its new range of Platinum smartphones, the Archos 45c Platinum and Archos 50b Platinum. Both entry-level phones feature Android 4.4 "Kit Kat," MediaTek quad-core processors, IPS screens, and a choice of three colored back covers.
Updated Moto X believed to be inspiration for Nexus 6 smartphone
The next version of the Nexus smartphone from Google could look like an enlarged Moto X, a report claims to show in an image. The rumored device is said to be called either the Nexus 6 or Nexus X, with Motorola expected to reuse some of the design of the updated Moto X to create a larger nexus device running on Android L.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they're willing to switch platforms
A new survey suggests that the latest iPhone is attracting a very broad range of customers, with primarily four groups of roughly the same size who say they plan to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. About 26 percent were, as one might expect, current iPhone owners looking to upgrade. About 20 percent said they don't own a phone. A quarter of the 250 poll respondents indicated they would be switching from a non-Android phone, and other 27 percent say they will dump Android for iOS.
Touch-enabled physical keyboard of BlackBerry Passport detects flicks, swipes
BlackBerry has used its three simultaneous media events to launch the BlackBerry Passport smartphone. Just as rumored, the mobile device has a square 4.5-inch 1440x1440 touchscreen with a touch-enabled physical keyboard below, allowing the keyboard to detect swipes, flicks and taps similar to display-based gestures, but without the user blocking their view of the screen with their fingers.
Palm Pilots? (un)predictive text? iOS 8 internet problems?
This week in the MacNN Forums, "subego" started a thread that appears to be showcasing some of the bizarre interpretations Apple's new predictive text in iOS 8 creates -- either that, or he is simply trying to live up to his "Clinically Insane" ranking by spewing incoherent gibberish. Today a Fresh-Faced Recruit who goes by the name "Swervage" has started a rather unusual thread, lashing out at Apple for not making Mavericks compatible with Palm Pilots, going as far as saying that this is "monumentally moronic" of Apple.
Change in focus to high-end smartphones follows Sony financial guidance warning
Sony is effectively giving up on the low and mid-range smartphone market, in order to focus on high-end mobile devices like the Xperia Z3 range, a report claims. The manufacturer is apparently making the change after releasing new financial guidance it would make a loss of $2.1 billion for the fiscal year, itself partly caused by dismal smartphone sales throughout the year.
Tom's Hardware, AnandTech both find the iPhone beats the rest
Company offering 'iPhone for Life' endless upgrade promotion
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure on Monday tweeted that the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus this past weekend was the "most successful iPhone launch in our history," in a note thanking Sprint employees for their help. The announcement comes on the heels of Apple's news that it had sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units over the course of the opening weekend, a new record for the company, and Sprint's recent announcement of a special iPhone-centric lease promotion.
Metal phone launching for $200 on contract, comes with 2.5GHz processor
AT&T and Samsung released a joint statement today, announcing that the metal Samsung Alpha would be making its way to the US carrier as an exclusive. The launch of the phone is coming on September 26, with AT&T selling with a two-year contract, as a part of the AT&T Next program and as a full-price purchase without commitment.
Entry-level clamshell smartphone from LG destined for sale in South Korea
LG has launched an Android smartphone in South Korea, taking the unusual form of a clamshell mobile device. The LG Wine Smart has a 3.5-inch 320x480 display which flips up in the top half of the phone, while the lower section below the hinge displays a number pad and function keys familiar to users of the older-style mobile phones.
CDMA phones unable to mix voice and data, but had higher voice quality
Beginning today, Verizon customers across the US who buy the new iPhone 6 models or one of a pair of other smartphones that support Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) will finally be able to do something AT&T has bragged about for years: simultaneously talk on the phone and use data for applications. The process will only work on a handful of phones that support VoLTE, but Verizon iPhone 6 buyers are reporting that it is on by default or easily activated in their new purchases.
United Kingdom gains Note 4 one week earlier than United States
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is being made available for pre-order in the United States tomorrow, with shipments expected to start on October 17th, though AT&T plans to ship the smartphone earlier on October 14th. In the United Kingdom, pre-orders also begin tomorrow, though the stylus-equipped phablet will be on sale from October 10th.
Wide compatibility offered by new lineup for home theater and elsewhere
Today, Logitech announced it is entering the home control market with new home automation product compatibility, and four new products. The new Harmony Living Home lineup gives users access to, and control of, a wide library of entertainment and home automation devices, all from one centralized control system.
Moto Maker UK sends e-mail with final Moto X design, not open to pre-orders
Motorola has enabled Moto Maker in the United Kingdom, offering customization of the new Moto X. Added just after the company commenced direct sales to the country via the website, the portal allows users to modify their future phone in an identical way to the United States version of the site, though unlike in the US, British customers do not get the option to actually order the device just yet.
Move essentially guarantees Sony will take massive loss on the year
Sony has revised -- downwards -- its financial guidance for the quarter, and intends to take a 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) "impairment charge" as a result of overestimating smartphone sales. The revision will take a serious bite out of earnings, with the company now expecting to take a loss for the fiscal year of $2.1 billion dollars, versus the possibility of returning to profitability.
MacNN forum-goers anxiously awaiting the delivery of their latest, greatest iPhones have converged in the thread titled "Incoming iPhone" to discuss just where in the world the tracking numbers state their precious cargo resides. Forum members who are looking for an iPad sleeve with a spot for a power adapter that doesn't cause a bulge are conversing about the available options in a thread started by Clinically Insane member "subego" earlier this week.
New prepaid plans start at $35 with unlimited voice, text and 1GB of data
Today, a new series of tiered offerings for prepaid cellular plans were announced by Sprint. Inspired by the changing needs of wireless consumers and the need to be competitive against AT&T and Verizon, Sprint is offering plans in a different way than was announce earlier in the year. Plans have been simplified to three different base plans, giving consumers the amount of data they need.
AT&T, unlocked version of phone available, Moto 360 smartwatch back in stock
It's been a jam-packed year for Motorola so far, but it's about to get a little busier with the release of two anticipated devices. Motorola announced today that it's opening pre-orders up tomorrow for two versions of the next generation of its flagship Moto X phone, as well as the wireless Moto Hint earbud.
Large 1-inch camera sensor on back of Panasonic Lumix smartphone
Panasonic has used Photokina to launch an Android smartphone with a high-resolution image sensor powering its rear camera, similar to the Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumix CM1 boasts a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor paired with an f/2.8 Leica lens, capable of recording 4K video, with the camera functionality supported by a mechanical shutter and manual controls.
Motorola starts directly selling Moto G from UK website
Motorola has updated its online store in the United Kingdom, giving citizens the ability to directly purchase devices directly from the manufacturer, rather than diverting sales to retailers. The updated site, spotted by Pocket-Lint, stocks the second-generation Moto G for £150 ($), with separate pages offering to register visitors for updates for the Moto 360 and new Moto X. Moto Maker is expected to become available on the UK site in the near future.
Android One aims to create $100 smartphones for emerging markets
Google has used an event in India to launch the first smartphones under the Android One program. The project aims to create low-cost devices, running on stock Android with updates coming from Google directly, in order to provide people in emerging markets access to hardware and software already prevalent in developed regions.
Unlocked, unbranded version of updated Moto X said to be on the way
Motorola will be bringing out a version of its updated Moto X with a stock installation of Android, according to a report. Just like the Google Play Edition of the original Moto X, the 2014 edition of the smartphone is said to have a "Pure Edition" on the way, with the device believed to ship unlocked, unbranded, and without any extra software typically loaded onto smartphones by carriers.
AT&T to follow T-Mobile, Sprint in providing Wi-Fi calling capabilities
AT&T will be bringing Wi-Fi calling to its network, though customers will have to wait until 2015. The president and CEO of AT&T's Mobile and Business Solutions group Ralph de la Vega claimed that the technology will be made available to customers, but not until the carrier has worked to prevent calls from dropping on the service.
Low-end SoCs intended for emerging LTE markets, areas still locked into 3G service
Instead of ushering in a new high-end, power packed chips, system-on-chip (SoC), maker Qualcomm announced this week that it's releasing two new processors aimed at the entry-level device market. The new processors, branded the Snapdragon 210 and 208, are being made to help the spread of sub-$100 devices in growing LTE markets, while also continuing to support areas on the verge of moving past 3G.
Four Android apps brought to Chromebook operating system, more on the way
People waiting for their favorite Android applications to work on Chrome OS might not need to wait much longer. Today, Google announced the first set of Android apps available for Chromebooks. The move makes good on a demonstration from Google I/O, which teased the idea of Android apps running on Chrome OS through an app runtime.
Program similar to Sony's PlayStation Now tiered rental service in the United States
Japanese video game publisher Square Enix announced a new initiative this week, putting some of its most popular games in the hands of mobile device users. The new program, called Dive In, allows users to rent Square Enix titles through a dedicated application ,and play them on their Android or iOS tablets and smartphones.
London-based startup to bolster BlackBerry's BYOD programs
BlackBerry has announced that it has acquired Movirtu, a UK-based startup pioneering virtual-SIM technology, allowing a single device to have multiple phone numbers associated with it. The buy would bring technology for a "bring-your-own-device" user to have one device spanning a business number with associated apps and contacts, and a personal contact number on the same phone without juggling multiple SIM cards.
Lack of AT&T exclusivity of budget Fire Phone in US allegedly at issue
AT&T may have prevented Amazon from creating a second, lower-cost smartphone, according to a report. The retailer was apparently working with HTC on such a device, but the carrier was apparently unhappy with the terms of the partnership, wanting exclusivity of both devices in the United States, rather than just of the higher-specification Fire Phone.
No replacement launch date indicated, could be tied to lack of government approval
The New York Times reported today that Apple has informed the big three carriers and retail stores in China that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not be launched in the country on the September 19 release date. Executives at the carriers said that the manufacturer didn't inform them why the phones were delayed, but it came to shock -- as advertising campaigns were put in place touting the same release date as the United States.
Initiative to make as many users as possible able to use Wi-Fi calling
At today's latest "Uncarrier" event, wireless provider T-Mobile has unveiled a series of programs to kick-start Wi-Fi calling across its network. The carrier has revealed that every smartphone it sells going forward will be capable of Wi-Fi calling. Additionally, it is launching an initiative to provide a 802.11ac Wi-Fi router for free to Simple Choice plan users who own a smartphone capable of Wi-Fi calling. Finally, T-Mobile is short-cycling its Jump program, and allowing users not eligible for a yearly upgrade to buy a new Wi-Fi calling-capable device.
Leaked document also claims Windows Phone to be replaced by Windows brand
Microsoft may start producing mobile devices without the Nokia branding by the end of this year. An alleged leaked internal document from Microsoft Mobile, the Devices and Services arm of Nokia acquired by the company, apparently shows that both the Nokia and Windows Phone names will be replaced on new smartphones with Microsoft and Windows respectively.
Budget Alcatel OneTouch smartphones go on sale at T-Mobile
Two more Alcatel OneTouch smartphones have surfaced, following its IFA launches with the pair of budget-priced mobile devices heading to T-Mobile. The Fierce 2 has a 5-inch 960x540 display and a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, while the lower-specification Evolve 2 has a smaller four-inch WVGA display with a dual-core 1.3GHz processor.
New plan avoids sales tax, allows upgrades every 24 months
Sprint has announced a new option for iPhone users or potential buyers on its network with a new program, "iPhone for Life," that allows users to rent, rather than purchase, an iPhone model and routinely upgrade it every two years by simply adding $20 per month to their existing or new plan. New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure explained that the $20 monthly fee would be for a base model, but customers save on financing or paying full price on the device by avoiding sales tax.
Electronista, MacNN staff discuss the new announcements from the fall event
A great deal of conversation between the MacNN and Electronista staff happens behind the scenes, especially when something like keynotes are ongoing. This week's annual Apple mobile announcement is no different. Writers Mike and Jordan, along with editor Charles, tackle some of the issues surrounding the mass-media Apple reveal that Tim Cook helmed today, showing the iPhone 6 family, and the Apple Watch.
Carrier claims Huawei built its own testing machine based on stolen information, parts
Wireless carrier T-Mobile USA has filed a lawsuit against Huawei, alleging that the Chinese phone manufacturer stole a number of trade secrets relating to the carrier's phone-testing robot. In the suit filed with a federal court on September 2, the company claims that employees of Huawei took pictures of T-Mobile's "Tappy" robot, attempted to steal components, and tried to sneak back into the testing facility in Washington after they were banned.
UK, Germany first European countries to receive Amazon smartphone
Amazon has lowered the cost of the Fire Phone in the United States, down to 99 cents on a two-year contract. At the same time, the retailer revealed it is bringing the Fire Phone to Europe, with the United Kingdom and Germany set to be the first markets on the continent to receive the device at the end of this month.
BlackBerry Q20 shows classic design lines of earlier BBOS devices
The BlackBerry Classic has allegedly resurfaced following its announcement at Mobile World Congress in February, with images of the device appearing on Weibo. The smartphone, also known as the Q20, appears to be shown in the photographs with a square display similar to the BlackBerry Passport, though its physical design has rounded corners and a general appearance similar to earlier BlackBerry devices.
Sprint adds 15 more carriers to Rural Roaming Preferred Provider program
Sprint has expanded the area its LTE service operates in, by working with smaller carriers. The company has increased the number of carriers included within its Rural Roaming Preferred Provider program by 15, with the program's 27 carriers expanding Sprint's service in 27 states, over 565,000 square miles, and to more than 38 million people.
Share gain seen coming from Android, even as new iPhones imminent
Apple continues to be the market leader in smartphones in the US, the latest three-month study from ComScore MobiLens shows. As of the end of July, the iPhone line had gained a full percentage point of share over its position in April. Arch-rival Samsung also grew its share of the US market, but by somewhat less at 0.7 percent change. Drops from other Android makers such as HTC, Motorola and LG seem to have given Apple a boost, even as the debut of new iPhones draws near.
Macnn and Electronista weekly deals for September 5, 2014
It's that time of the week again! Every Friday afternoon, we're going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best deals on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, and any sales may not be valid if you're reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy. We do add deals over the weekend, so keep checking!