Mobile (Phones)

The Foldable Dual-Screen ZTE Axon M

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The Foldable Dual-Screen ZTE Axon M

ZTE claims the Axon M brings nothing less than "a new smartphone category"-- or in the least something rather interesting, since it features a foldable design with two full-size displays.

The Axon M has a pair of 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 displays, one in the front and the other in the back. A hinge connects the two, allowing users to flip the rear display and slot it next to the front one, creating a single 6.75-inch display. Users can then either stretch apps across the larger display or take advantage of Android split-screen features to run two apps simultaneously, one on each screen. Users can even watch two different videos on the two screens, switching between audio streams as they want.

In addition, one can also "tent" the phone and mirror the displays, allowing two people to look at the same content from the front and back. ZTE promises the "top 100" Android apps work on the Axon M, with the tablet version of the app (if one exists, obviously) running when the it is in "extended" mode.

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Qualcomm Claims 5G Data Connection

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Qualcomm Claims 5G Data Connection

Qualcomm manages a first 5G data connection on a 5G modem chipset for mobile devices-- specifically the Snapdragon X50, a mobile device modem first announced last year.

The test took place at the Qualcomm San Diego laboratories, and involved data connections via the 28GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum) using several 100MHz 5G carriers. The modem managed gigabit speeds, but should be capable of full 5Gbps speeds once 5G deployments are complete.

“Achieving the world’s first announced 5G data connection with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset on 28GHz mmWave spectrum is truly a testament to Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership in 5G and extensive expertise in mobile connectivity,” the company says. "This major milestone and our 5G smartphone reference design showcase how Qualcomm Technologies is driving 5G NR in mobile devices to enhance mobile broadband experiences for consumers around the world.”

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Kantar Worldpanel: iOS Gains Share in Mainland Europe

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Kantar Worldpanel: iOS Gains Share in Mainland Europe

Apple gains smartphone OS share in the 5 biggest European markets in the 3 months ending August 2017, Kantar Worldpanel reports-- specifically an increase of 1.2% Y-o-Y, as held back by Great Britain.

According to the analyst, while Germany, France, Italy and Spain post iOS growth, Samsung boosted Android growth in Great Britain as the Galaxy S8 and J8 sold well while the flagship Apple smartphones lost momentum ahead to the new iPhone announcement. That said, the decline was "offset slightly" by strong iPhone SE sales.

“Samsung took full advantage of the weeks just before the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were released in Great Britain, with significant promotional activity that helped drive its overall share to a three-year high of 38.4% for the three months ending August 2017,”  Kantar says. “More than 1 in 4 Galaxy S8 buyers cited a specific promotion as a key purchase influencer, and almost half said that a good deal on the price of the phone was key to their purchase. Both of these metrics experienced a large increase over the last 2 months of the period.”

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Future iPhone to Get Stylus?

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Future iPhone to Get Stylus?

The late Steve Jobs was never subtle about his dislike for styluses, but if rumours are correct Apple is considering adding such functionality in a future iPhone.

According to Korean publication The Investor, a stylus-compatible iPhone might hit the market as early as 2019. Apple is allegedly already "in talks with a couple of stylus makers for a partnership," while the current A-series chip should receive a "drastic upgrade" to better support handwriting functions.

“Apple had to compromise on some touch performance of the latest iPhone X largely due to the less advanced chipset," the unnamed source claims.

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No Keyboard for BlackBerry Motion

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No Keyboard for BlackBerry Motion

TCL unveils a new BlackBerry-branded smartphone at GITEX Technology Week, Dubai-- the Motion, a handset replacing the physical keyboard BlackBerry devices are best known for with an all-touchscreen design.

The Motion is somewhat similar to the KEYOne, the keyboard-equipped BlackBerry smartphone released back in 2016. It carries a 5.5-inch LCD display, Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 12MP rear-/8MP front-facing cameras and a 4000mAh battery inside a body featuring an IP67 rating for protection against water and dust.

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Google Pixel Smartphone Gets Sequel

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Google Pixel Smartphone Gets Sequel

Google might be serious about different kinds of devices, but the man focus of the Pixel 2 is event obviously the Pixel 2, the sequel to last year's flagship smartphone from the search giant.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Pixel 2 is less an revolution and more a revolution of the previous model. It comes in 2 versions, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, with display size marking the only difference between the two-- the regular Pixel 2 has a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 OLED display, while the 6-inch Pixel 2 XL has a 2880 x 1440 OLED screen.

On the specs side, both the Pixel 2 models carry a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64/128GB storage, dual front-facing speakers, 12.2MP rear-facing camera with an autofocus using a laser and dual-pixel phase detection, 8MP fixed-focus front-facing camera, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless and USB-C connectivity.

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Does Apple Slow Down Older iPhones?

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Does Apple Slow Down Older iPhones?

Futuremark releases the results of a year's worth of benchmarks to verify the long-running rumour of Apple slowing down older iPhones in order to encourage the upgrade cycle-- something the company does not, in fact, do!

For those not in the know, Futuremark is the developer of popular benchmarking software 3DMark. The benchmark is available for iDevices, and allows reviewers and power users to check the performance of their iPhone before and after the installation of apps and updates. Since 2016 Futuremark has stored over 100000 of such comparisons for 7 iPhone models across 3 different iOS versions, providing "a unique insight into the everyday performance of each iPhone model over time."

The result? Contrary to the conspiracy theory iPhone performance does not degrade over time. 3D Mark aggregates the results for iPhone 5, 6 and 7 using both a CPU and GPU benchmark, and performance remains remarkably consistent-- even in the case of an iPhone 5s upgraded to iOS 9, 10 and 11.

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When Will iPhone X Bring the Supercycle?

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When Will iPhone X Bring the Supercycle?

Will the iPhone X really push customers to an iPhone upgrade, bringing about the so-called "supercycle"? KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says this might happen, but only from next year.

"Supercyle" is a term analysts came up with earlier this year. It refers to a sudden increase in sales driven by a combination of eradication of carrier subsidies and other market factors.

According an analyst note obtained by MacRumors, a couple of factors are holding the iPhone X from truly becoming a sales blockbuster. The first is the TrueDepth camera, which reportedly faces production issues. Kuo says this production bottleneck will eventually be "significantly addressed," later during 2018.

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The "Manly, Strong, Special" Doogee S60

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How masculine can a smartphone be? According to China's Doogee the answer is very, as the rugged S60 handset promises to be "manly, strong and special in [the] market."

Apparently designed to "work in fields, underwater and other outdoor environments," the S60 features IP68 protection, with an aluminium alloy complete plastic cushioning around the corners able to "take care of itself." The 5.2-inch FHD display is clad in Corning Gorilla Glass 5, and the whole device is covered with a gold finish.

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Face ID For All 2018 iPhones?

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Face ID For All 2018 iPhones?

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple has big plans for Face ID-- if the facial recognition technology gets a positive reception one can expect it to be the Touch ID replacement in all 2018 iPhones.

"In our view, TrueDepth camera could create many innovative applications, Face ID being the most important of them," Kuo writes in a note for investors obtained by ApppleInsider. "If Face ID is well received by consumers after the launch of iPhone X, we believe it is more likely that 2018 all-new models will adopt TrueDepth camera and support Face ID."

Face ID is a perhaps controversial addition to the iPhone X. After all, it failed when it was first shown off at the iPhone X reveal, forcing exec Craig Federighi to move to a backup unit. The failure crystallised all fears associated with the technology, as Federighi was met with a "your passcode is required to enabled Face ID" message (a following Apple statement insisted employees had inadvertently triggered Face ID during pre-show setup).

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Apple's Craig Federighi Answers Face ID Concerns

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Apple's Craig Federighi Answers Face ID Concerns

Of all the technologies found inside the iPhone X, none raise as many issues as Face ID. To answer such concerns TechCrunch interviews Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of Sofware Engineering, who reveals some of the details behind the facial recognition system.

Just in case anyone missed last week's reveal, FaceID is based on the TrueDepth camera, a combination of RGB camera, IR emitter and dot projector built on the top part of the iPhone X display. It uses the Neural Engine found in the A11 Bionic processor to recognise faces, and Apple says it is more secure than Touch ID thanks to a false unlock rate of just 1/1000000, compared to Touch ID's 1/50000.

Rumours suggest the TrueDepth technology was a hurried effort, and in any case there isn't much one can do with it as yet-- other than facial recognition it allows for "Animojis," or emojis animated according to the user's facial expressions, and augmented reality "masks" placed on one's face.

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