Modules from Project Ara will be switchable while smartphone is in use
Google's modular smartphone project will allow users to replace individual modules from the mobile device while it is still running. The majority of Project Ara modules will be hot swappable, with exception to the processor and display, so users will not be required to shut down the device before making any changes to the hardware.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LG G Watch R will have October release, cost more than G Watch
The LG G Watch R, the round-faced sequel to the G Watch, will be shipping in October, the company has revealed. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson declined to state how much exactly the Plastic OLED-based Android Wear device will cost when it goes on sale next month, but did advise it would be more expensive than the $230 price the original launched with.
Rear camera of new Moto G upgraded to 8MP, front camera to 2MP
Motorola has launched its second attempt at the Moto X's budget-friendly stablemate, the Moto G. Just like the updated Moto X, the new Moto G bears the same name as its predecessor, though unlike the flagship, Motorola has made more modest changes to the smartphone, with some of the internal specifications remain unaltered.
Rear 13MP camera of new Moto X has surrounding ring flash
Motorola's sequel to the Moto X has been unveiled with a number of improvements on the original, but retaining the same name. The new Moto X has a slightly larger 5.2-inch AMOLED screen with an upgraded 1080p resolution, backed by a quad-core Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM.
LTE-equipped Cat S50 has 4.7-inch 720p display, curated app store
Cat, a brand better known for the heavy-duty industrial equipment, has unveiled another smartphone just three months after the Cat B15Q was launched. The Cat S50 is a ruggedized Android KitKat device fitted with a 4.7-inch 1280x720 display protected with Gorilla Glass 3, with the IP67-certified LTE device able to survive against dust, submergence, and the occasional impact.
IFA Alcatel OneTouch launches powered by octa-core processors
Alcatel OneTouch has increased its Hero device range by two at IFA, with a smartphone and a tablet joining the roster. The Hero 2 Android smartphone is powered by an octa-core 2GHz processor behind a 6-inch 1080p display, while the Hero 8 is a tablet with an eight-inch 1920x1200 screen, also backed by a MediaTek octa-core processor.
Second Huawei IFA smartphone launch shows Ascend G7 with metal body
Huawei's second smartphone launch at its IFA event is a more modest device in comparison to the Ascend Mate 7. The Ascend G7 is an LTE-equipped smartphone with a 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, and though it has specifications making it a mid-ranged device, Huawei has attempted to make it more attractive by using a metal body with relatively few plastic sections.
Ascend Mate 7 catches up with other flagships, adds fingerprint scanner
Huawei has updated the Ascend Mate smartphone line, with the release of the Ascend Mate 7. The phablet, announced at IFA today, has a six-inch 1080p display packed into its 185g (6.5 ounces), 7.9mm-thick (0.31 inches) aluminum body, giving the smartphone a pixel density of 367ppi and extremely thin bezels on either side of the screen.
Lenovo Vibe Z2, Vibe X2 have high-resolution front cameras
Lenovo has extended its Vibe smartphone line with two new Android devices at the company's IFA media event today. The Vibe X2 has a unique multi-layered case design and packs a MediaTek True8Core processor, while the Vibe Z2 is the company's first 64-bit smartphone with a thin 7.8mm (0.3 inches) brushed metal unibody case.
Lumia Selfie app preinstalled on Lumia 730, Lumia 735
Aside from the Lumia 830, Microsoft revealed two other Nokia-branded Lumia devices at IFA. The Lumia 735 and the Lumia 730 Dual SIM differ in terms of the number of SIM cards they each hold, but are effectively the same smartphone, with both using the same 4.7-inch 1,280x720 OLED display and quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor.
Rear 10MP PureView camera used in Lumia 830
Part of a launch of three smartphones at its IFA event, Microsoft revealed the Lumia 830. Offering a 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, the Windows Phone device is billed by the company as an "affordable flagship," with the aluminum-framed smartphone packing a rear 10-megapixel PureView camera aided with various camera app functions in the accompanying Lumia Denim software update.
Galaxy Note 4 has Octa-core processor option for some markets
Samsung's expected reveal of the Galaxy Note at its Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event at IFA has confirmed earlier rumors of its high-resolution display. The phablet's 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display equals the size of its predecessor, but Samsung has boosted the resolution to Quad HD, 2,560x1,440, with a claimed 90-percent Adobe RGB color gamut and Gorilla Glass protection.
Xperia Z3 Compact shown in range of colors, usual Xperia styling
Details for two of Sony's IFA launches may have leaked before the company's event on Wednesday. Photographs of a smartphone believed to be the Xperia Z3 compact have surfaced, showing a range of color options for the device, while another image claims to show the complete specifications list for the larger Xperia Z3.
Event country, timing suggests first Android One devices due this month
Google has sent out invitations to an announcement event due to be held on September 15th in India. Though not specifically hinting at a product or service, it is believed the event will involve the launch of the first Android One smartphones, a program Google introduced in June to provide low-cost Android mobile devices to emerging markets.
Rapid laser-based focusing from LG G3 reused in South Korea-bound Gx2
LG has launched its fourth smartphone for the month, following the L Bello, L Fino, and G3 Stylus. The LG Gx2 is another large-screened device that combines the styling of the LG G3 with lower specifications, though the smartphone uses the same laser autofocus system as its flagship counterpart combined with a lower-resolution 8-megapixel rear camera for quicker focusing.
HTC Desire 510 includes Snapdragon 410 capable of 32-bit, 64-bit processing
HTC has launched an entry-level Desire-branded smartphone capable of 64-bit processing. The Desire 510 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and though it will initially run as a 32-bit processor initially, HTC may enable its 64-bit processing once Android L starts to roll out to consumer devices in the future.
First Amazon smartphone sales speculated as underwhelming
Amazon may not have made as much of an impact with its first smartphone than initially thought, according to a report. Using data from Chitika's advertising network and ComScore figures, it is suggested that the online retailer may have sold fewer than 35,000 units of the Fire Phone, an underwhelming figure when compared to the hype.
L Bello, L Fino smartphones use LG rear key design
LG has launched a pair of mobile devices aimed at first-time smartphone owners and emerging markets. The L Bello and the L Fino are 3G smartphones using the same rear-key design as other LG releases, such as the LG G3, with the two offering mid-range specifications, quad-core processors, and a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera.
Mid-range specifications, 13MP camera included in US ZTE smartphone
ZTE has unveiled a new mid-range smartphone it will be shipping to the United States. The Nubia 5S mini LTE, originally launched in China late last year, offers a 4.7-inch 720p IGZO display, backed by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage with microSD expansion also available.
Sprint launches Sharp Aquos Crystal with slim bezel design
Sprint has confirmed it will carry the recently-announced Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphone on its network. Boasting a 5-inch 720p display with minimal bezel and mid-ranged specifications, Sprint will be selling the Aquos Crystal for $240 off-contract and $10 per month under Easy Pay, while the prepaid brand Boost and Virgin will both offer it for $150. Sprint did not advise of when the Aquos Crystal will be available, but the Japanese launch earlier this week points to a release on August 29th.
Metal Samsung Galaxy Alpha uses 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED display
Samsung has unexpectedly launched the Galaxy Alpha smartphone, weeks before an Unpacked launch event. The rumored smartphone has been revealed as using a metal frame with a soft back cover, a change from the heavily use of plastic in earlier Galaxy devices, with the Alpha's 7mm (0.28-inch) thickness making it one of the slimmest Galaxy smartphones the company has ever produced.
High speed photos taken with help of smartphone app, compatible with many current cameras
Welcome to another Tuesday edition of the Crowdfunding Critic here at Electronista and MacNN. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we bring you a crowdfunding project that we like enough to share with our readers. As we note, this isn't an endorsement of the project or the campaign, but rather something the staff thought was interesting enough to mention. As with any crowdfunding project, we urge our readers to research the items they are considering pledging on, as all investments come with risk. The subject for today's post is the MIOPS smartphone controllable high-speed camera trigger.
Clear Image function in OnePlus One camera app creates composite from ten photographs
OnePlus has started to roll out an over-the-air update to the OnePlus One smartphone, upgrading the device to Android 4.4.4. The staggered rollout, which should reach all device owners by the end of this week, fixes a number of bugs in the firmware and updates Android itself to a more recent version, as well as introducing a new function to the camera app called Clear Image.
Prototype in testing claimed to use screen which covers sides of smartphone
Samsung is testing a prototype smartphone with a wraparound display, according to a report. The previously-rumored smartphone is said to employ a display panel that stretches over from the front onto the two sides of the device, effectively treating the edge displays as a software-defined interface instead of the typical volume and power buttons used by current devices.
Firm states that Chinese company overtook Samsung on weak shipment quarter
Research firm Canalys ushered in some less-than-welcome news for Samsung this week, as the firm indicates that the Korean electronics manufacturer has lost the leading smartphone spot in China. Xiaomi, a Chinese manufacturer that has rapidly risen in popularity, has claimed the top spot for market share in the country, dethroning Samsung on the back of weak quarterly results.
High-resolution display of Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro has pixel density of 490ppi
Lenovo has launched its previously rumored flagship smartphone with a six-inch Quad HD-resolution display. The Vibe Z2 Pro sports a pixel density of 490ppi in its thin 7.7mm (0.3 inches) frame, with the smartphone also boasting a 16-megapixel rear camera with a BSI sensor, optical image stabilization, and a number of features to help photographers.
Pre-IFA event could see unveiling of Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Alpha
Samsung is planning to launch new devices in early September, according to an invitation sent to members of the media. An Unpacked event is set to take place on September 3rd in Berlin, two days before the IFA tradeshow is set to take place, and based on items launched at previous Unpacked events at this time of year, it may be the launch venue for the Galaxy Note 4.
Low-budget Kogan smartphone takes on Moto G
Australian hardware manufacturer Kogan has made its latest LTE-equipped smartphone available for international purchase. The Agora 4G, effectively an upgraded version of the Agora launched last year, is attempting to take on the low-budget Moto G and Moto E with a similar-specification list featuring a few improvements, including a five-inch 720p IPS display.
Rugged Kyocera Brigadier has sapphire glass display, dust and water resistance
Verizon has quietly launched two smartphones on its network, with both available to buy today. The LG G Vista is a previously-rumored 5.7-inch smartphone with a qHD resolution, while the Kyocera Brigadier is a ruggedized smartphone with a 4.5-inch 720p display, a screen which is unusually protected by a front panel made from sapphire glass.
Larger but lower-resolution screen touted for LG G Vista compared to G3
A large-screened mid-ranged smartphone from LG is on the way to Verizon, according to reportedly leaked documents. Claimed to be called the LG G Vista, the smartphone appears to combine the specifications of the G3 Beat unveiled earlier this month with a device slightly bigger than the current flagship G3, albeit without the "Quad HD" display.
Same processor, RAM, camera claimed to be used in Xperia Z3 as in Xperia Z2
The Sony Xperia Z3 has resurfaced again in rumors, this time with a list of alleged specifications. The rumored follow-up to the Xperia Z2 is said to have a 5.15-inch 1920x1080 display, marginally smaller than the predecessor's 5.2-inch version, and though it will apparently be a better smartphone, it appears the new device will only be a minor improvement overall.
Xiaomi Mi 4 has 5-inch 1080p display, claimed quick-charging battery
Chinese mobile device manufacturer Xiaomi has unveiled two new items for the Chinese market. The Xizomi Mi 4 continues the Mi device line with a 5-inch display and a hint of iPhone styling, while the Mi Band is a low-cost fitness band which can be used as a proximity security system for the smartphone, allowing the Mi 4 to automatically unlock when it is held in the same hand that is also wearing the band.
Thin Gionee smartphone sacrifices specification for compact body
China could soon see the release of what may be the world's thinnest smartphone. A listing with Chinese regulator TENAA confirms an Android device from Gionee with the model number GN9005 is on the way, with its thickness of just 5mm (0.2 inches) being half a millimeter thinner than the company's own Elife S5.5, and two thirds of the thickness of the iPhone 5s.
Mid-tier LG G3 Beat uses quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 8MP camera
LG has launched an alternative to the LG G3 with mid-ranged specifications and a potentially lower price tag. Rumored as the G3 Mini a few months ago, the G3 Beat downgrades the 5.5-inch 2560x1440 display of its stablemate for a 5-inch 1280x720 version, giving it a screen-to-body ratio of 74.1 percent, and though internal components have gone through similar changes, some of the G3's features make a reappearance.
ZTE Nubia Z7 equals majority of LG G3 specifications
ZTE has launched three Android smartphones as successors to the Nubia Z5S and Z5S mini. The main Nubia Z7 is a device similar to the LG G3 in terms of specification, complete with a 1440x2560 5.5-inch display, the Nubia Z7 Max is a slightly lower-specification device with a 5.5-inch 1080p display, and the Z7 mini has a slightly smaller 5-inch Full HD screen.
Xperia C3 focuses on self-portrait photography with selfie apps
Just as rumored yesterday, Sony has launched an Xperia smartphone with selfie-friendly features. The Xperia C3 will notably ship with a front-facing soft LED flash beside a 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera, with extra functionality aimed at self portraits including the Smile Shutter, double tapping the back cover to take shots, and automatic scene recognition with HDR and automatic flash in its Superior Auto mode.
Vue cinemas bans Google Glass from UK movie screenings
Google Glass has been banned from cinemas in the United Kingdom, one week after the head-mounted device went on sale in the country. Following the lead of the Alamo Drafthouse, Vue cinemas has taken a stand against Glass, reports The Independent, while Cinema Exhibitors' Association chief executive Phil Clapp warns that customers will be requested not to wear Glass into cinema auditoriums, "whether the film is playing or not."