Newest Galaxy-series offering from Samsung examined
Samsung has been standing atop the hill of Android phones for some time now with its Galaxy line. Other manufacturers like HTC and Motorola have briefly held the crown, but Samsung always seems to find a way to yank it back with innovations, ease of use and simple design. The newest in the line, the Galaxy S5, looks to push Samsung towards the top of the pile again. But what kind of features can you look forward to in the new Galaxy S5, and is it capable of competing head-to-head with Apple's iPhone 5s?
Low-cost Nexus smartphone could be priced at under $100
The next model in the Google Nexus smartphone collection could be a low-budget handset, according to reports. Google is said by report sources to be working with Taiwan-based chip producer MediaTek on a mobile device that, while relatively low in overall specification, could end up being sold by the company for under $100 off-contract.
Advances in phone optics expected by HTC within 12 to 18 months
HTC is looking towards adding optical zooming to its smartphones, the company's camera expert has revealed. Symon Whitehorn advised in an interview that the company expects to see "huge advances in phone optics" in relation to optical zooming within 12 to 18 months, and suggesting a smartphone could reach a DSLR level of imaging performance in 18 to 24 months.
Canonical releases Ubuntu 14.04 for desktops and servers, update for phone and tablets
Canonical has released its latest Long Term Support version of Ubuntu for desktops and servers. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS includes an update to its phone version as well as for tablets. Stated in a press release from by the company, the most recent Ubuntu version will "form the basis of the first commercially available Ubuntu tablets from Canonical OEM partners."
Feature deploying slowly
Facebook has announced an upcoming feature for its iOS and Android apps, Nearby Friends. The function will notify users when friends are within a certain radius, giving a chance to meet up. For security purposes the feature will be off by default, only work if both parties have it enabled, and allow restricting notifications to specific groups -- close friends, for example, or a custom list.
Developers could win cash prize for creating best Project Ara smartphone module
Google is aiming to launch the first Project Ara smartphone in January next year, the company revealed at the project's first developer conference earlier this week. Google is also attempting to encourage developers to produce sections of the modular smartphone, by offering a $100,000 prize in a competition for designing the best Ara module.
Front and back camera shooting app now available for Android devices
Frontback, a "selfie"-focused photo capturing app originally released for iPhone, is now available for Android users. The app captures two shots: one of the subject with the rear camera, and one of the user's face, a second later, with the front-facing camera (though varying combinations of shots can be paired). The second photo intends to add context much like a caption, and both images can be posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr, as well as Frontback's own newsfeed.
Rugged Cat-branded feature phone tested for durability
Mobile communications are an important part of any business, but most smartphones and mobile devices are not able to withstand the rigors of some environments. The Cat B100 feature phone attempts to fill this role by providing basic phone services in a device that can be dropped in dirt and survive an encounter with water. Is it suitable for use in construction sites, just like the vehicles it is named after? Our review attempts to answer that.
Unlocked sub-$400 smartphone uses CyanogenMod, 13MP Sony Exmor camera
OnePlus has revealed it will be launching its first Android smartphone next week, at the same time as a photograph surfaced, allegedly showing the rear of the device. The OnePlus One, running a customized version of CyanogenMod's Android ROM, will be available to buy in 16 countries and will be priced at under $400, under 350 Euro, or the local equivalent, with the device set to be revealed on April 23.
Tizen smartphones, Android-powered smart watch still on the way
Samsung is preparing to launch at least one Tizen-powered smartphone before the end of this year, according to an executive. Speaking in an interview about the Galaxy S5's sales figures, senior vice president for Samsung's product strategy team Yoon Han-kil advised that the first would be a "high-end model" launching around the end of the second quarter.
Smart watches usable with 12 smartphones, 8 tablets
Samsung has added more devices to the list that will work with the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit smart devices. A total of 20 Samsung mobile devices are now compatible with the smart watches, with the list of eight tablets and 12 smartphones including a large number of recent releases, as well as some of the more prominent best-sellers from the last few years.
String of Samsung witnesses find that Apple's patents are all invalid
Not only did Samsung not infringe on Apple's patents, a parade of witnesses for Samsung told the jury today in the Apple-Samsung trial, those patents aren't valid even if Samsung did copy them. With some help from Apple's very light cross-examination, Samsung again flew through a lengthy list of experts who testified on the relative worthlessness of Apple's patents for "data detectors" (also referred to as "quick links"), universal search, autocorrection and the "slide to unlock" concept.
Industry-led group will work on standards for phone security across platforms
Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, among others, have joined with the top five US wireless carriers to create an industry group dedicated to fighting smartphone theft and implementing multi-platform technology to aid that cause by next summer. HTC, Huawei, Motorola and Nokia are also part of the group, which is aiming to create a "baseline anti-theft tool" similar to the steps Apple has already taken in its own iPhone security software, particularly with regards to preventing reactivation.
Five front-facing cameras shown in leaked photographs of Amazon smartphone
Photographs of what is believed to be Amazon's first smartphone have surfaced. Encased in what appears to be a protective casing to prevent the external appearance from being leaked, the images of an alleged prototype device seem to suggest that the smartphone will have a 3D interface powered by multiple front-facing camera sensors.
Samsung offers Google engineers, but Samsung marketers in day of witnesses
Over the weekend, Judge Lucy Koh turned down Samsung's request for a summary judgement in the Samsung-Apple second patent trial, claiming that Apple had failed to prove its case during its presentation. Judge Koh rebuffed the claims and thus the trial continued on Monday, with Samsung still presenting its defense. Continuing its strategy of saying the case is about a dispute between Apple and Google rather than Samsung, the Galaxy smartphone maker put on a stunning seven witnesses -- most of them from the search and advertising giant.
TransferWise money transfer app now available for Android
London-based startup TransferWise has launched a native Android app, allowing users to transfer money between currencies. A peer-to-peer service, TransferWise facilitates direct money transfers to users in other countries. Six months earlier, TransferWise had released an iOS native app, with the "app" for Android users available on Google Play until today being only a shortcut to its website. Free to download, TransferWise for Android is compatible with Android 2.3 or later.
Universal app submissions part of Windows Dev Center changes
Microsoft has started to accept submissions for "Universal Apps" in its Dev Center. Developers can now link apps made for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store to create a single Windows app listing, allowing users to buy once on one platform and for it to be downloadable and usable on other Windows devices they also own.
Reason tech works a mystery
The Windows Phone 8.1 preview version of Microsoft Wallet actually supports Passbook files from iOS, reports say. iMore notes that Microsoft has developed a method of extracting information from a Passbook file. The individual passes are said to be composed of generic data, and simply rendered by the container app, much like a browser renders a webpage.
CEO John Legere attacks other carriers while eliminating T-Mobile overage fees
T-Mobile will be eliminating overage fees on all of its consumer plans, the carrier has revealed in its third day of Un-carrier announcements. Following the launch of the Simple Starter plan and the Tablet Freedom introduction on Wednesday and Thursday last week, the new announcement is accompanied by a call by president and CEO John Legere for other carriers to remove excess charges from their plans.
Windows Phone update to 8.1 adds Cortana, may void warranties
Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download as a developer preview, allowing users to try out the Cortana virtual assistant on their own devices. The latest version of the mobile operating system, which Microsoft officially debuted on April 2nd at its Build conference, can be installed on smartphones owned by developers enrolled in Microsoft's Windows Phone Developer program.
Kapture the Moment invitation suggests use of K branding
Samsung will be launching a new device on April 29th, with invitations sent to an event in Singapore. The invitation asks to "Kapture the Moment," which could be related to a rumor that Samsung is not only looking to reveal the Zoom version of the Galaxy S5, but it could be offered as a new product line and under the name "Galaxy K" instead.
User Agent Profile, photograph allege LG G3 has Quad HD display
Specifications for what is believed to be LG's follow-up to the G2 have surfaced again in reports. A leaked User Agent Profile on Sprint's website and a photograph showing part of the smartphone's display strongly suggest the LG G3 will have a resolution of 1440x2560, as well as hinting at the remainder of the flagship mobile device's internal details.
Tweet: 'Both sides relying on stories to sell jury, Samsung borrowing Google's'
At the end of the twelth day of the Apple-Samsung trial, and fifth day of testimony, Apple rested its case against Samsung following a detailed presentation from "microeconomist" and PhD Chris Vellturo in which he explained for the jury exactly how he calculated the $2.191 billion in damages Samsung should owe Apple for its infringement. Samsung, which has admitted in an earlier damages retrial that it copied from Apple, began presenting its defense -- by borrowing a Google software executive.
TYLT announces new Energi Sliding Power Case and ALIN screen protector for new Galaxy S5
Portable power and wireless charging manufacturer, Tylt, has today introduced its Energi Sliding Power Case and Alin Screen Protector for the newly released Samsung Galaxy S5. The Energi Sliding Power Case pairs portable charging with physical protection, and is equipped with a 2,800mAh internal battery that is double the capacity of the Galaxy S5. The ALIN screen protector facilitates an easy installation, with its accompanying alignment tool. Four screen protectors are provided, with each featuring two removable tabs to avoid fingerprints during the application process.
Wall Street Journal sources believe Amazon phone will ship by end of September
Amazon is preparing to release its long-rumored smartphone in the second half of this year, claims sources of the Wall Street Journal. The retailer has allegedly demonstrated the device to developers in Seattle and San Francisco, with an official announcement planned for the end of June, and for the smartphone to ship by the end of September.
Latest Chrome beta for Android improves Chromecast support
Google has announced that it has begun rolling out a Chrome 35 beta for Android users today. Featuring improved Chromecast support, users can now send some video clips from the browser to a Chromecast-equipped TV. Additionally, Chrome now offers full-screen videos and improved support for multi-window devices. The update is available through Google Play.
Google opening up Google Glass sale April 15 for one day
Confirming earlier rumors, Google is opening up wearable computing device Google Glass for purchase for one day in the US. Any US adult can join the Explorer program with any shade or frame for $1,500, plus applicable local sales tax. Available devices are limited. Purchase begins April 15 at 6AM PDT.
Flagship Samsung smartphone, smart watches go on sale today
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has gone on sale in 125 countries, as part of its global launch. Initially unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February, the flagship smartphone is being sold in stores and through carriers in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the majority of Asia, flanked by the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit smart watches.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds coming to market soon
Now that we've had time to recover from the fury of meeting so many vendors at this year's Macworld, MacNN and Electronista have had a little time to reflect on some of the products and services we saw there. Many have yet to come to market -- a running joke was the number of projects crowdfunded last summer that will be arriving in stores soon -- some have won awards, and some are just little gems we were delighted, intrigued and wowed by. First up in this ongoing series is a successful Kickstarter startup, Glowdeck.
New plan pays early termination fees, offers 4G devices for Wi-Fi only pricing
The second day of wireless provider T-Mobile's pricing plan announcements sees the carrier offering an option to add a tablet to a postpaid voice plan for free through the end of the year. Called "Tablet Freedom," the program offers cheaper tablets, and 1GB of additional free 4G/LTE data each month, in addition to the 200MB of free data available through the "Free Data for Life" promotion.
Project Ara developer kit defines basic specifications of smartphone modules
Google has provided more details about its modular Project Ara smartphone plans, by releasing its Module Developers Kit. The documents, published ahead of a developer conference for the device, detail how the smartphone is put together, as well as basic specifications that individual modules must fulfill in order to interface with the main endoskeleton and other modules.
Failure to profit could see BlackBerry exit smartphone business
BlackBerry could sell off its hardware business entirely if it fails to return to profitability in the near future, the company's CEO has suggested. In an interview with Reuters, John Chen advised the manufacturer would consider exiting the smartphone hardware market if hardware sales do not improve to a point where the company becomes profitable.
Microsoft opens pre-orders for Surface 2 with LTE in UK
Microsoft has opened up pre-orders for the Surface 2 with LTE in the United Kingdom. Just as with its launch last month in the United States, the UK edition will be limited to just a 64GB model, and its £539 ($905) represents a £100 ($168) increase over the standard Wi-Fi model. Microsoft will be shipping the Windows RT tablet on the 8th of May.
Adesso releases Tru-Form Media 1500GB wireless ergonomic keyboard and mouse
Computer peripheral manufacturer, Adesso, has announced its release of a new wireless, ergonomic keyboard and mouse set, offering users two input devices with ergonomic design. Featuring a wireless range of up to 30 feet, the Tru-Form Media 1500GB keyboard and mouse set includes a "gently-sloped" keyboard with a split design that accommodates the natural positioning of hands, wrists and forearms; the accompanying laser mouse also aims to reduce hand strain. The keyboard's membrane key switches provide improved tactile response and a quieter typing experience, lasting up to five million keystrokes.
Data plan add first by T-Mobile in the next three days
T-Mobile today introduced a new entry-level Simple Starter value plan. The new $40 plan gives users unlimited talk and text, and 500MB of 4G/LTE data. The move is the first one for the week, which CEO John Legere calls "three days of UnCarrier" in a blog post calling the other carriers to task for predatory pricing and "obscene" price hikes.
Nokia 225 has up to 36-day standby time, 2MP camera
Nokia has quietly unveiled a new feature phone meant for emerging markets. The Nokia 225 is similar in style and functionality to the Nokia 220 launched at Mobile World Congress, though it offers a marginally larger 2.8-inch QVGA display, with the manufacturer calling it the "slimmest Internet phone" it has produced to date, measuring just 10.4mm (0.41 inches) thick.
Wi-Fi hotspots to form core of proposed Comcast carrier
Comcast is considering expanding its existing cable services into becoming a carrier, according to a report. The operator is said to be working on a service that will use Wi-Fi from subscriber routers and public hotspots to provide the bulk of connections, supplemented by cellular coverage provided by an existing carrier, in a hybrid service similar to one Google is reportedly looking into creating.
Apple reveals total damages and royalties sought from Samsung
The fourth day of testimony in the second Apple vs. Samsung trial has ended, with various Apple-hired experts and employees going over the nature of the patents at stake in Apple's part of the case. The jury also got a dose of history borrowed from the first patent trial, details about Apple's manufacturing process, and finally heard the full, exact amount that Apple is seeking from Samsung in terms of both damages due to lost sales as well as what it owes in royalties for its infringement: $2.191 billion.
SesameGO launches, offering US customers with kid-friendly streaming service
Sesame Workshop has today launched a educational television streaming service, called SesameGO. Offering children-centric, advertisement-free content, the service will features classic Sesame Street programming as well as current material. Web-focused, the service is optimized for Mac, PC, smartphones and tablets, with no native apps anticipated. SesameGO is available now for US residents, and is priced at $4 per month or $30 annually.
Apple's case continues with engineer Deniau, experts Mowry and Snoeren
Over the weekend, Apple filed a notice with the court that it could wrap up its main presentation by tomorrow at the earliest, but expects to be done no later than Friday, barring any changes to Samsung's pattern of cross-examination. On Monday, patent expert Andrew Cockburn from New Zealand was summoned back to the witness stand for a scant 16 minutes of light cross-examination, followed by testimony from Apple engineer Thomas Deniau and a pair of additional patent experts.
Rapid adoption means iOS more secure, easier to develop for
On Monday, Apple updated its iOS adoption statistics for developers to show that 87 percent of active iOS devices are now running iOS 7, with only 11 percent still on iOS 6 and a mere two percent (presumably devices that cannot upgrade, such as the original iPad) stuck on earlier versions. The figure was achieved less than seven months after the original release of the upgrade in mid-September. By comparison, only about 5.3 percent of Android users have or have been allowed to upgrade to last year's KitKat , which was announced around the same time as iOS 7 and debuted a month later.
Rumored Samsung tablet uses 2560x1600 resolution, Android KitKat
Details for two Samsung mobile devices have surfaced in two separate rumors. One device appears to be an Android tablet with a 10.5-inch AMOLED display with the model number SM-T800, while the second leak suggests there could be another Windows Phone device coming from the manufacturer after the recent ATIV SE launch.
Low quarterly revenues could bounce back for HTC in next quarter
HTC is continuing its trend of poor financial results, with a loss in the first quarter that was lower than expected by analysts. The latest financial release shows quarterly revenues of NT$33.12 billion ($1.09 billion), giving the smartphone producer a net loss of NT$1.88 billion ($62.06 million) and an operating loss of NT$2.05 billion ($67.75 million).
Media client Plex to develop for use on Xbox One
Microsoft has given permission to Plex developers to create a version of the media client for Xbox One, in light of the recent announcement to support universal applications. Plex offers users the ability to organize movies, TV, music and photos for consumption on one's TV, and other devices. The developers have been granted membership into ID@Xbox.
BBC extends iPlayer catch-up video from week to 30 days
The BBC is extending the time British viewers will have to watch recently-broadcast shows on iPlayer to 30 days. Up from the previous seven-day limit, Pocket-Lint reports the popular catch-up streaming service will allow for downloads or streams of shows from any of the BBC's television channels up to 30 days after being broadcast, with the changes set to take place from this summer.
Amazon announces Dash barcode scanner, expands e-commerce versatility
Amazon has announced the release of a new LED barcode scanner, entitled Dash. Offering the ability to scan household objects and groceries, the aim of Dash is to facilitate replenishing stock within one's home by scanning existing products to order replacements. Users can scan or verbally dictate what is desired to be purchased, with Dash featuring a simplistic setup and sturdy design. Those interested can sign up through Amazon for a free Dash gadget, currently by invitation only.
Google's new Night Walk offers immersive tour through Cours Julien neighbourhood in France
Google's Street View has been taken to a new level with its release of Google Night Walk, an audio-based tour through a French neighbourhood. Leading those accessing the tour though Cours Julien, a neighbourhood of Marseille, France, narrators Julie and Christophe lead users across the city, highlighting locations of note. A mini-map displays one's progress though the city, and certain hotspots initiate YouTube clips, Wikipedia segments and photo galleries, and more.
Rivals filling voids iPhone isn't, sales team member says
Although Apple has outwardly projected an image of total confidence in the iPhone, and criticized competing devices, some people in the company have been worried about advances made by rivals, according to an internal document presented during the ongoing Apple v. Samsung trial. "Competitors have drastically improved their hardware and in some cases their ecosystems," an Apple sales team member wrote in a document for a FY2014 offsite meeting. The person also noted that all of the growth in the smartphone industry is coming from big-screen models over $300, or from devices under the $300 mark. The iPhone is neither cheap nor equipped with a large display.
Verizon-exclusive Windows Phone pre-orders begin, ships April 12
Verizon has quietly launched the Samsung ATIV SE on its network, and has started to accept pre-orders of the device. Just as previously rumored, the Verizon-exclusive smartphone will be shipping with Windows Phone 8 onboard instead of Windows Phone 8.1, though it is likely that Samsung will be providing an update to the newer operating system shortly after release.
Early termination fee payment, phone trade-in bonuses in Sprint promotion
Following the lead of similar promotions by T-Mobile and AT&T, Sprint is looking to poach customers to its network, by paying up to $650 per line. The carrier will provide customers switching their number to Sprint from another network and signs up for its Framily plan with two bonuses, in order to help pay for the cost of transferring to the service.