Mobile (Phones)

WSJ: Galaxy Edge-Style iPhone for 2017?

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WSJ: Galaxy Edge-Style iPhone for 2017?

According to the Wall Street Journal 2017 will see Apple imitate Samsung in at least one aspect-- the company will release an iPhone with a curved display similar to that found in Galaxy Edge devices.

Such a device requires an OLED display, a technology long rumoured to appear in an upcoming Apple smartphone. In fact, according to the WSJ Apple is demanding suppliers to "increase output of thinner organic light emitting displays and submit prototype screens with better resolution than ones from Samsung.”

However Apple is reportedly testing over 10 prototypes, meaning the model featuring a curved display might not make the cut.

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HTC 10 evo Arrives in Europe

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HTC 10 evo Arrives in Europe

HTC announces the European availability of the smartphone known in the US as the Bolt-- the 10 evo, the first handset from the company featuring unibody metal frame complete with IP 57 water resistance.

The 5.5-inch 10 evo features admittedly dated specs compared to the competition, being powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU, 3GB RAM, 32GB expandable storage and a 3200mAh battery. The rear-facing camera has a 16MP sensor and phase detection autofocus, while QuickCharge 2.0 fast charging and a fingerprint sensor complete the package.

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OnePlus 3 Gets 3T Boost

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OnePlus 3 Gets 3T Boost

OnePlus presents a boosted variant of the flagship OnePlus 3-- the OnePlus 3T, a smartphone near identical to its predecessor apart from an upgraded Snapdragon 821 CPU, larger battery and a camera improvements.

The OnePlus 3T retains the same form factor as OnePlus 3, even if the company managed to squeeze a 3400mAh battery (up from OnePlus 3's 3000mAh) promising 13% more use on a single charge. Speaking of charging, OnePlus also added "Dash Charge" rapid charging able to provide a day's worth of power after all of 30 minutes of plugging it in.

As for the CPU, the Snapdragon 821 is the faster sibling of the 820, the chip powering flagship handsets such as the Google Pixel and the LeEco LePro3. The other aforementioned upgrade involves the cameras, as the front-facing shooter has a 16MP sensor while the rear-facing camera gets a scratch-proof sapphire lens cover and better electronic image stabilisation.

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Apple Launches iPhone 6 Repair Programs

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Apple Launches iPhone 6 Repair Programs

Apple presents a pair of repair programs for iPhone 6 units affected by a pair of problems-- one for the so-called "touch disease," the other for "unexpected shutdown issues."

The touch disease is a rare screen flicker issue hitting the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. According to various consumer reports it involves a grey flickering band located near to top of the display. In extreme cases the band extends further down the screen, impacting touch response.

Apple does not explain the reasons behind the issue, but screen replacement fails to fix it. According to AppleInsider, the cause actually lies in either degradation of the solder joints connecting to the touch controller, or simple touch controller failure. Either way the iPhone maker now offers a repair service at authorised service providers and, of course, Apple Stores.

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A Gold-Plated iPhone to Celebrate Trump

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A Gold-Plated iPhone to Celebrate Trump

Customers with wallets weighed down by too much money wanting to celebrate the electoral victory of one Donald Trump can perhaps do so with a gold-plated iPhone 7, courtesy of Russian company Caviar.

Dubbed the "Supremo Trump Changeover," the iPhone 7 features a glitzy gold-plated design the Donald himself would surely approve of. Caviar insists it is "an expression of hope for a rapprochement between Russia and the United States and that of the benevolent words Trump and Russia will follow the actions that will lead to a change in relations between the great powers for the better." Which is fair enough, we guess.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 to Launch With Viv

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Samsung Galaxy S8 to Launch With Viv

Samsung is to differentiate the upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship with an AI assistant, Reuters reports-- specifically Viv, the service the Korean company acquired little more than a month ago.

The service will also be integrated in other Galaxy smartphones, as well as home appliances and wearable devices. Samsung does not detail how the Galaxy S8 will use Viv, but it does say Viv allows for seamless use of 3rd party services through an interconnected nature and a sophisticated backend featuring "dynamic program generation."

"Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," the company says. "Even if Samsung doesn't do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease."

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Samsung Mobile Accessories Roll Out From Korea

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Samsung Mobile Accessories Roll Out From Korea

Samsung announces a number of mobile accessories previously exclusive to its home Korea are to be available globally-- a selection of 6 devices including wireless speakers, earphones and chargers.

As the company puts it, "the exclusive items were created to both enhance users’ mobile experience and help them get more out of their devices." One such device is the Wireless Speaker Bottle, a wireless speaker in the shape of a, well, bottle. Or a cylinder, rather. Samsung says it "cuts a pleasing figure" while pushing 360-degree audio, wireless charging and LED lighting controlled via gestures and companion app.

Another speaker in the line is the Wireless Speaker Scoop-- a small speaker with a splash-resistant design complete with built-in microphone, noise-reduction and echo cancellation technology as well as "intuitive" controls. On the audio side Samsung also offers the Rectangle in-ear headphones with fabric-and-metal construction, tangle-free flat fabric cable and DLM (double-layered motion) structured speakers.

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Sharp CEO Confirms OLEDs in Next iPhone?

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Sharp CEO Confirms OLEDs in Next iPhone?

Nikkei reports Sharp will indeed supply OLED panels for the next generation iPhone-- or at least Sharp CEO Tai Jeng-wu stated this is the case at Tatung Unversity, where he was awarded honorary doctorate degree.

"The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels," Tai said. "We don't know whether Apple's OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn't walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity."

Tai become Sharp president and CEO in August, after the Japanese company was acquired by Hon Hai. He is also an executive at Foxconn, the mega-company handling most Apple manufacturing. One also has to keep in mind Sharp is a long-time iDevice display supplier, meaning Tai is in a position to know future iPhone plans. In fact, he also says Sharp is building an OLED facility in Japan, and it can even move OLED manufacturing to the US should it need to.

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BlackBerry Presents DTEK60 Android Phone

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BlackBerry Presents DTEK60 Android Phone

BlackBerry might not be in the phone development business, but it is still lending its name to 3rd parties-- as is the case with the DTEK60, a TCL-made Android handset packing BlackBerry software.

A successor to the DTEK50 (technically a clone of the Alcatel Idol 4), the DTEK60 features enhanced security through the addition of a fingerprint sensor. It also carries a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 resolution display, Sanpadragon 820 CPU, 4GB RAM, 21MP rear-/8MP front-facing cameras, and 3000mAh battery inside glass-backed casing. Connectivity comes through USB-C port.

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Kodak Brings Ektra Back in Smartphone Form

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Kodak Brings Ektra Back in Smartphone Form

The 1941 Kodak Ektra camera gets a revival in the shape of a smartphone-- specifically a "professional-quality, photography-first" handset sharing the name.

“Kodak has a rich history in imaging technology and the launch of the Kodak smartphone today demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bringing the latest advances in photography to consumers," the company says. “The original Kodak Ektra camera was launched in 1941 and in its latest reincarnation, opens up a world of creative opportunities to all who care about photography.”

As one might imagine, the Kodak Ektra smartphone is not actually made by the company itself-- after all, following its 2012 bankruptcy Kodak is solely in the business of licensing its IP. Instead, the device is made by UK-based Bullitt Group, a company specialised in bringing together components from a variety of sources in order to build phones for various brands (for the curious, these include Cat, JCB and Ministry of Sound).

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A Bendy WhammyPhone for Music Creation

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A Bendy WhammyPhone for Music Creation

Researchers at the Queen's University Human Media Lab create a musical instrument for a flexible smartphone-- the WhammyPhone, a device users can bend in order to create sound effects on a virtual instrument.

The WhammyPhone has a 1920 x 1080 resolution flexible OLED (or FOLED) touchscreen complete with keys for the playing of sounds on synthesiser software running on a PC. This is paired with a bend sensor, allowing one to further manipulate the sound by bending the phone. A demo video shows a number of musical uses for the WhammyPhone, including the simulation of strings on a guitar, the bowing of a violin or the control of loops in Electronic Dance Music.

“The real importance of WhammyPhone is that it provides the same kind of kinesthetic feedback that, say, a string provides when it is bent to alter the pitch,” the researchers say. “This kind of effect is critical for musicians to control their expression, and provides another level of utility for bend input in smartphones.”

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