Mobile (Phones)

Strategy Analytics: Apple En Route Towards Trillion Dollar Phone

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Strategy Analytics: Apple En Route Towards Trillion Dollar Phone

According to Strategy Analytics, iPhone shipments over the past 10 years total 1.2 billion units-- and if the next iPhone retains this successful streak it is set to become the "first trillion-dollar smartphone" by end 2018.

“We estimate the iPhone has cumulatively generated $760bn of global revenue for Apple between 2007 and the most recent quarter of Q2 2017," the analyst says. "Revenues continue to grow and we predict the iPhone will become the world’s first trillion-dollar smartphone by the end of 2018.”

So far the best-selling smartphone model is the iPhone 7, the result of sleek design, large app ecosystem and an extensive global retail presence. As such, it remains "wildly popular" in all major markets, with the exceptions being China and India, where local competition from Chinese brands and high pricing make it tough for even Apple to gain traction.

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Purism Takes on Secure Smartphones

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Purism Takes on Secure Smartphones

"Freedom-respecting computer manufacturer" Purism announces what it calls the "world's first encrypted, open platform smartphone"-- the Librem 5, a phone able to make encrypted calls hiding the user's number.

The device is also able to send encrypted texts and emails, as well as set up a VPN for web browsing. It is compatible with 2G, 3G and 4G connections with any GSM, UMTS or LTE network, and even carry hardware kill switches for the microphone, camera, wifi/Bluetooth and baseband.

The OS of choice is PureOS, the Purism-developed Debian GNU/Linux derivative. It should also be able to run most GNU+Linux distributions. And in case the user wants even more control, Librem will release the device source code, making it open for editing.

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Bloomberg on What's New in the New iPhone

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Bloomberg on What's New in the New iPhone

Bloomberg claims to have the details on the upcoming iPhone 8, as Apple celebrates the 10th anniversary of its flagship device with new features such wireless charging and a 3D scanner able to unlock the phon in "a few hundred millisecond."

The news story states Apple will release three iPhones come September-- successors to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a "new, revamped model that sits at the high-end." The successors will have all the upgrades one expects, such as a faster processor, but the revamp will be the more interesting model, being a showcase of Apple flexing its "best, not first" muscles.

As the Korea Herald corroborates, the iPhone 8 features a near bezel-less OLED display similar to the one found in flagship Samsung devices. The top of the front has a notch housing the camera and new sensors (such as the aforementioned facial recognition scanner), and Android-style software-based controls replace the Home button.

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The Next Version of Android: Oreo

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The Next Version of Android: Oreo

Google announces the sweet-themed name, as well as further details, of the next version of the Android operating system-- Oreo, out now in developer preview/public beta form.

Also known as Android O, the update consists mainly of consumer-facing tweaks. These include picture-in-picture multitasking, notification "dots" on frequently used apps, improved battery management, instant app support, an autofill tool for quick and secure password and personal information entry, and, perhaps most importantly, 60 redesigns of the blob-faced emoji.

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The "Bothie" Taking Nokia 8

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The

HMD Global hopes to introduce a new word with the launch of the Nokia 8, its first Nokia-branded Android flagship-- "bothie," or a photo taken by both front and rear cameras, simultaneously.

Attempts at terminology aside, the Nokia 8 is the Finnish company's take on the likes of Apple and Samsung. It is a 5.3-inch device with an aluminium unibody, inside of which are a 2560 x 1440 resolution LCD display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (expandable to 256GB via microSD card) and a 3090mAh battery. The software of choice is stock Android 7 (aka Nougat).

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IDC: Q2 2017 Smartphone Volumes "Slightly" Down

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IDC: Q2 2017 Smartphone Volumes

IDC reports global smartphone shipments total 341.6 million in Q2 2017-- a decline of -1.3% on a Y-o-Y basis, and by -0.8% following a higher-than-expected Q1 2017.

However, despite such a drop in shipments all leading vendors continue seeing positive shipment growth. Samsung and Apple market share remains "relatively" consistent from Q2 2016, while the other 3 vendors making the top 5 (namely Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi) see share growth.

"In my opinion, the biggest change in Q2 2017 is the size of the contraction among the 'Others' outside of the top 5 OEMs," the analyst says. "It's no secret that the smartphone market is a very challenging segment for companies to maintain or grow share, especially as already low average selling prices declined by another -4.3% in 2016. The smaller, more localized vendors will continue to struggle, especially as the leading volume drivers build out their portfolio into new markets and price segments."

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Meizu Adds Selfie Screen to Pro 7 Smartphone

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Meizu Adds Selfie Screen to Pro 7 Smartphone

China's Meizu adds at least one surprising feature to the Pro 7 smartphone flagship-- a 1.9-inch AMOLED touchscreen on the back, ideal for the snapping of selfies or any number of notification features.

The tiny display handles 240 x 536 resolution, and lights up automatically when users flip the phone over. As well as the aforementioned selfie feature, it can also show the weather, clock, notifications and a music player. Meanwhile the main display features a Super AMOLED panel, and comes in either 5.2-inch (1080p) or 5.7-inch (quad HD) sizes.

As for the rest of the hardware, the Pro 7 is one of the first Android smartphones to carry the MediaTek 10-core tri-cluster chipset, the Helio X30. Built using a 10nm processor, it promises newer ARM cores, a more powerful GPU and a faster Cat 10 LTE radio. Also included are a 3000mAH battery with mCharge fast charging technology (3500mAh in the 5.7-inch model), 6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage Cirrus Logic CS43130 DAC, 16MP f/2.0 front-facing camera, 12MP f/2.0 dual-camera on the back.

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Infrared Face Unlock, Bezel-Less Screen for Next iPhone?

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Infrared Face Unlock, Bezel-Less Screen for Next iPhone?

Another week, another batch of rumours related to the next iPhone-- according to iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith, leaked HomePod firmware reveals the addition of iPhone unlocking through infrared (IR) and face recognition.

In other words, the future iPhone might use IR to 3D-scan, and thus recognise, faces in order to unlock. Trougton-Smith learned this through examining the firmware for the upcoming HomePod smart speaker, which Apple accidently released to developers earlier last week. A number of lines in the firmware code mention "BKFaceDetect," with "BK" possibly meaning "Biometric Kit." Such a name would make sense, considering how Apple likes using "Kit" in developer tools.

The code also refers to an infrared camera, which would be able to detect faces even in the dark. Earlier this month Bloomberg reported a similar story on the next iPhone featuring face recognition through a "new 3D sensor" able scan a face and unlock the smartphone "within a few hundred milliseconds."

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LG Presents Q8 Smartphone

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LG Presents Q8 Smartphone

LG announces a smaller, splash-proof version of the flagship V20 smartphone-- the Q8, a 5.2-inch handset with all features from its bigger sibling, including the always-on second screen on top of the main display.

The Q8 carries all the high-end internals from the V20, such as the Qualcomm 820 processor, 32-bit DAC, 2560 x 1440 resolution IPS display, secondary 160 x 1040 always-on display and dual-camera setup. Further internals include 4GB RAM, 32GB storage (expandable to 2TB via microSD card) and 3000mAh battery.

Connectivity comes through wifi, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, NFC and USB-C. A fingerprint sensor is included, while the body is IP67-rated for resistance against splashes, drops and other such hazards.

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Facebook, Modular Phone Maker?

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Facebook, Modular Phone Maker?

Facebook is reportedly working on the kind of device even the mighty Google gave up on-- modular smartphones, at least according to a patent filed by the social network.

As Business Insider reports, Facebook owns a patent for a "modular electromechanical device" with different components adding functionality such as a speaker, microphone, touchscreen, GPS and even a phone. The result would solve the waste involved when dumping a phone for a better model. Interestingly, the device is designed to act as either a smartphone or a smart speaker.

"Typically, the hardware components included in the consumer electronics that are considered 'outdated' are still usable," the patent reads. "However, the hardware components can no longer be re-used since consumer electronics are designed as closed systems. From a consumer prospective, the life cycle of conventional consumer electronics is expensive and wasteful."

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Alcatel Keeps Windows Phone Alive With Idol 4 Pro

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Alcatel Keeps Windows Phone Alive With Idol 4 Pro

Windows Phone might soon be over but Europe is soon getting a new smartphone running on the Microsoft OS-- the Alcatel Idol 4 Pro, a handset first launched in the US back in 2016.

Technically a rebranded version of the Android-based Idol 4S, the Idol 4 Pro features a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The display is a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution number and the cameras are 21MP back/8MP front, while the body is in metal and glass (as opposed to the typical Alcatel plastic).

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