Mobile (Phones)

Samsung Presents Tizen-Powered Z4

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Samsung Presents Tizen-Powered Z4

Samsung has clearly not given up on the Tizen dream as it announces the Z4-- a smartphone powered by the OS promising to "combine performance and essential features with a simplified user experience."

Aimed at developing markets, the Z4 has fairly low-end specs. It features a 4.5-inch 480 x 800 resolution curved glass display, quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 5MP rear-/front-facing cameras and a 2025mAh battery. Connectivity comes through Bluetooth, LTE, VoLTE and VoWifi.

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Qualcomm Boosts Mobiles With Snapdragon 660, 630 Chips

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Qualcomm Boosts Mobiles With Snapdragon 660, 630 Chips

Qualcomm presents a pair of chipsets for lower-cost smartphones-- the Snapdragon 660 and 630 SoCs, upgrades on the Snapdragon 652 and 625 chips offering more power and faster connectivity.

The Snapdragon 660 and 630 feature the X12 LTE modem found inside the high-end Snapdragon 820 SoC, together with Bluetooth 5 and, in the case of the 660, 2 x 2 MIMO wifi. CPU and GPU speeds get an increase, as Qualcomm says the 660 is 20% faster than the 652, while the 630 is 10% faster.

The two chips are built using a 14nm process, and support up to 8GB of RAM. The 660 has an 8-core Kryo CPU and an Adreno 512 GPU, while the 630 has 8 Cortex A53 cores and an Adreno 508 GPU.

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LG Rolls Out X power2 Smartphone

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LG Rolls Out X power2 Smartphone

LG starts rolling out the X power2, a mass-tier smartphone offering the biggest battery in a mobile device from the company, in markets around the globe.

First announced back at MWC 2017, the X power2 features a 4500mAh battery LG claims can handle 26 hours of talk time, 18 hours of video viewing or 19 hours of web browsing on a single charge. As such, it promises to "last an entire weekend before requiring recharging."

As for the rest of the phone, the handset has a 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display, an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset with 1.5 or 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable via microSD) and a 13MP rear-facing camera with Zero Shutter Lag and soft LED flash.

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A Lighter, Simpler Light Phone

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A Lighter, Simpler Light Phone

Startup Light presents what it claims is a "phone away from home"-- the Light Phone, a credit card-sized phone that strips down all features making a smartphone smart, leaving a device able to solely make and receive calls.

The result of a 2015 Kickstarter project, the Light Phone is the ultimate in minimalist mobile design. An almost Apple-like slab of white plastic, it simply has a keypad, simple display, speaker, microphone, USB port (for charging), storage for up to 9 numbers and an own SIM card slot.

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Bloomberg: Bosch Supplies iPhone Sensors

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Bloomberg: Bosch Supplies iPhone Sensors

According to Blooomberg German company Bosch has won orders to supply "some" motion sensors for the next iPhone-- a possible blow to IvenSense, the current supplier of the aforementioned components.

An unnamed source claims Bosch may supply "as much as half" of iPhone motion sensors, with IvenSense supplying the rest. Bosch already provides Apple with barometric pressure sensors, at least according to gadget teardown sites such as iFixit, and rumour has the Bosch facility in Reutlingen, Germany finds use in the Apple self-driving car program.

Why would Apple want to change motion sensor supplier? This is actually a tactic commonly used the company-- one providing both component price competition and a fallback in case the main supplier can't keep up with demand. Of course, there are some exception. One of these is TSMC, who analysts believe has the monopoly on processors for the iPhone 7 and the 2017 iPhone.

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Google Invests in LG Display?

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Google Invests in LG Display?

The Electronic Times reports Google has invested 1 trillion won (or $880.29 million) in LG Display-- an investiment said to ensure Google gets enough OLED displays for the next Pixel Phone.

Reportedly, display supply was the reason Google faced shipping difficulties with the current Pixel phone. However, the ET adds the investment is not a display purchase order but part of a "strategic relationship" ensuring LG Display has enough capital to produce "flexible OLED panels" at scale.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Gets Launch

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Gets Launch

After months of stories of phablets spontaneously catching fire Samsung reveals the Galaxy S8 and S8+, a pair of devices promising to be the company's return to mobile device form.

The S8+ is the bigger option with a 6.2-inch screen, but the S8 might be the superior model since it features a 5.8-inch "infinity display"-- a Super AMOLED screen wrapping around the curved front of the phone, making it almost bezel-less. Both displays run at 2960 x 1440 resolution, and phone construction features Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back with a metal band in between.

Depending on region, the phones are powered by either Qualcomm or Exynox octa-core processors together with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (expandable to 256GB via microSD slot) and a 3000mAH battery (3500mAh in the S8+). Also included is a 12MP duopixel f/1.7 aperture rear-facing camera, 8MP front-facing camera, fingerprint sensor, USB-C port and, in a Samsung first, Bluetooth 5 connectivity.

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iPhone 7, 7 Plus Get (PRODUCT)RED Editions

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iPhone 7, 7 Plus Get (PRODUCT)RED Editions

Apple presents special (PRODUCT)RED editions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus-- models featuring a vibrant red finish on the anodised aluminium back, together with a white Apple logo and white front bezels.

Available in 128 and 256GB versions, the special editions commemorate the 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), and provide means for customers to contribute to the Global Fund for AIDS research.

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iPhone 8 to Get Augmented Reality Boost?

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iPhone 8 to Get Augmented Reality Boost?

The next generation of iPhone can lead to a "paradigm shift," analyst Gene Munster tells CNBC, since it features "augmented reality as its foundation."

"It’s not gonna be something that’s going to be a catalyst for Apple’s sales over the next few years, but that’s going to lay the foundation of the next computing paradigm," Munster explains. "We think Apple has a lead in terms of this paradigm shift coming in computing."

Munster's claims follow a Bloomberg report stating Apple is "very serious about AR." According to unnamed insiders, the iPhone maker is on an "ambitious bid" to bring AR to the mainstream, all in the name of ensuring the masses remain "wedded to its ecosystem."

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Meet Bixby, the Samsung Voice Assistant

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Meet Bixby, the Samsung Voice Assistant

Samsung presents what it claims is a "new way to interact with your phone"-- Bixby, its take on the voice assistant likes of Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant.

The result of the acquisition of Viv, an AI specialist founded by the creators of Siri, Bixby promises to be superior to the competition through 3 specific properties. These are completeness (it can handle "almost" any task one can do using the touchscreen), context awareness (Bixby-enabled apps can summon Bixby at any time, and the assistant carries out tasks specific to the app) and cognitive tolerance (it understands commands with incomplete information, and prompts users to tell it more if necessary).

Bixby will also find use beyond smartphones, since Samsung plans to put it a wide variety of connected devices, including appliances, TV remotes and wearables. In fact, the company states Bixby can work on just about anything with an internet connection and a microphone. Uniting all Bixby-enabled offerings is a dedicated hardware button, which Samsung claims eliminates the "confusion around activating a voice interface."

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Kantar Worldpanel: Life in a Two-OS World

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Kantar Worldpanel: Life in a Two-OS World

According to Kantar Worldpanel the days of a BlackBerry OS, Symbian or Windows Phone making "significant" impact are over, since the mobile industry is all but dominated by iOS-Android duopoly.

The biggest 5 European markets (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) are dominated by Android-- the Google OS accounts for 74.3% of smartphone sales in the quarter ending January 2017, a "marginal" increase over the 72.9% of the same period in the previous year. In the meantime iOS holds 22.7%, with the iPhone 7 remaining the top-selling device in Great Britain, France and Germany.

Kantar points out Nokia as a potential success story in the region, as brand owner HMD Global is focusing on quality for cost with well made mid-tier devices. Such smartphones will not rival the iPhone 7 or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8, but do compete with the likes of the Huawei 8 and P9 Lite, both strong sellers in the price-conscious Italian and Spanish markets.

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