• Devices

    by Published on 02-16-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Welcome to the Internet, where it's pretty much impossible to keep your international product launch a secret.

    Last month someone in Romania tried to pawn off their prototype Moto G5 Plus; yesterday the retail versions of both the G5 Plus and lesser G5 made a brief appearance on Ktronix.com. The product renders and specs have since been taken down, but not before an eagle-eyed redditor took a bunch of screen shots for r/Android. Here are the specs for both devices:

    Moto G5 Plus
    5.2 inch full HD display @ 424 ppi
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
    2 GB RAM, 64 GB storage + microSD (up to 128 GB)
    3,000 mAh battery with TurboPower charging
    12 MP rear and 5 MP front-facing cameras
    802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
    4G LTE with dual-SIM support
    Fingerprint reader
    NFC

    Moto G5
    5 inch full HD display @ 441ppi
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor
    2 GB RAM, 32 GB storage + microSD (up to 128 GB)
    2,800 mAh removable (?) battery with rapid charging
    13 MP rear and 5MP front-facing cameras
    802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2
    4G LTE with dual-SIM support
    Fingerprint reader

    There's no mention of price, but I'm willing to bet real money that the dual SIM support will mysteriously vanish from the models sold in North America. Because, you know, carriers.

    Sources: Android Police, Liliputing via r/Android

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    by Published on 02-15-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    I've embedded the video above only to demonstrate the ongoing innovation in mechanical watch design—albeit at the very high end of the market. It's pertinent to smartwatches because I believe there is an under-served audience of people who, like myself, really just want a nice-looking watch with full notification support.

    With this in mind I will now share my three favourite non-smartwatch blogs, in the hopes that you too might demand more in the looks department from the connected device on your wrist.

    aBlogtoWatch

    This is probably the most popular watch blog of them all. Most of the products reviewed are from the luxury brands but the author, Ariel Adams, takes the same critical eye to smartwatch design. I appreciate that.

    Every now and again they write up an especially informative feature on a brand or a specific type of watch. Their history of dive watches is a good example of this.

    WatchTime

    WatchTime is a good counter to aBlogtoWatch as it isn't so focused on high-end products. They have a good selection of buying guides for different markets, and do their own retrospectives as well. Check out their 10 milestone moments in the history of the wristwatch.

    G-Shock Central

    Chances are that even the most snobbish collector of chronographs has at least one Casio G-Shock in their collection, and there's no better source for G-Shock news than this blog. In subscribing to it I've learned (among other things) that Pro Trek wasn't just a brand name invented for the forthcoming Android Wear-powered WSD-F20.

    If you're a fan of this type of watch then you'll probably like their collection of the best G-Shock watches for 2017.

    If nothing else, these links will serve as a reminder that the wristwatch has at least a hundred years of design history behind it, so in my mind it's perfectly okay to demand more from smartwatch design as well.

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    by Published on 02-14-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    If leaker Evan Blass is correct—and he usually is—Nokia will not be competing in the Android flagship race this year. If anything, the company's new products are going in the other direction. Apparently the mid-range Nokia 6 that I wrote about last month will be HMD Global's high-end Android phone for 2017, joined by two lesser devices—plus one shameless throwback to the Finnish phone makers storied history.

    Joining the Snapdragon 430-powered Nokia 6 at MWC this year will be the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3. Here are the details that Blass wrote in VentureBeat:

    The Nokia 5, is rumored to maintain its larger sibling’s chipset, but reduce the display to 5.2 inches at 720p, halve the RAM to 2GB and decrease the main image sensor to 12 megapixels. That will translate into a €50 difference between the two models, with Nokia 6 retailing for €249 and Nokia 5 for €199.

    Nokia 3, the entry level Android, will initially go for €149.
    All three Android smartphones will potentially be upstaged by another Nokia announcement at MWC—an update to the iconic and nearly-indestructible 3310. At just €59—less than $65 USD—this nostalgia play is sure to grab lots of attention, but might also distract from Nokia's first efforts as a legitimate Android OEM.

    Source: VentureBeat

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    by Published on 02-13-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Apps



    Last week Android Authority proclaimed that OnePlus was the new Nexus. Granted, they were only talking about one device (the OnePlus One) and only one custom ROM (Lineage OS). This XDA blog post uses a broader data set—traffic on its own forums—to further the claim. When combined, the OnePlus 3 and 3T together make up the most active community on XDA.

    So for any fellow OnePlus 3/3T modders reading this, here's a quick look at four of the most popular custom ROMs available for these devices.

    FreedomOS (Nougat)

    As its name would suggest, this ROM uses the AROMA Installer to let the user choose which Google apps they want on their device during installation. AdAway and a hosts file are also included by default, along with root access via SuperSU.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    Lineage OS (Nougat)

    Lineage OS is the new moniker for what was once CyanogenMod, the granddaddy of all custom ROMs. As such there are current available builds for the OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 3, OnePlus X, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus One.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    Resurrection Remix (Marshmallow / Nougat)

    Resurrection builds on the work of CM, Omni and Slim. The standout feature of this ROM would have to be the extensive configurations menu. Note that the Marshmallow-based ROM for the OP3 seems to have been discontinued; hopefully a Nougat-based ROM like the one for the 3T will be available soon.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

    "Sultan's ROM" - Unified CM 13.0 with custom 3.18.20 kernel (Marshmallow)

    This, as you may know, is the ROM that I'm currently running on my own OnePlus 3, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Its main selling point is stellar battery life; added bonuses include not forcing encryption and supporting my favourite CyanogenMod Theme.

    XDA Threads: OnePlus 3 / OnePlus 3T

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    by Published on 02-09-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    I've been subscribed to TechAltar for a while now, and was pleased to see one of the videos from that YouTube channel grace the front pages of popular subreddits like r/Android, r/OnePlus and r/Pebble this week. The dude who appears on camera—I think his name is Martin?—clearly knows what he is talking about, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest production.

    His theory, in a nutshell, is that serving the tech enthusiast is not a sustainable business.

    He cites two notable examples: Oppo and Pebble. Perpetually a hit with the Kickstarter crowd, Pebble still struggled to find a wider customer base. Distribution through Best Buy and the like, more fashion-conscious designs like the Pebble Round, doubling down on fitness tracking with heart-rate sensors... none of this could ultimately save the company; its geek-cred became a fatal thorn in its side.

    Then there's Oppo, a company that Martin (?) actually worked for in Shenzhen, China for a time. It wasn't all that long ago that Oppo too was an enthusiast brand—as I recall, there was a version of their 2013 N1 that ran CyanogenMod out of the box. But there came a point where the company decided to pivot away from its tech-savvy fanbase and focus on more consumer-friendly products. The result? Oppo is now, according to The Economist, the number one OEM in the world's biggest smartphone market.

    So what's the early adopter to do? TechAltar's advice is to not get too attached to your favourite brand, and be ready to jump to the next thing once it comes along. Hopefully we will always have a next thing to jump to...!

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    by Published on 02-08-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    According to Evan Blass, today's the day that Android Wear 2.0 will be announced, an upgrade that will instantly elevate the lowly smartwatch from a niche device into a must-have accessory for everyone.

    Just kidding—about the second part, anyway. But the Android Wear upgrade is indeed due sometime today. There have been a bunch of developer previews available for select devices which I honestly haven't been following too closely. What I do know about the AW 2.0 upgrade is that it will support mobile payments from your wrist via Android Pay; Android Police has some screen shots from an already-updated Play Store listing to prove it.

    As someone still waiting for Android Pay to come to Canada, it's hard to get too excited about this feature.

    Another AW 2.0 feature will be apparently be Google's Assistant, available on at least two new watches that are also expected to be announced today—the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style. User manuals for these two products have already leaked, and can be read in their entirety on Android Authority.

    Finally, from Android Central, here's a list of current watches set to receive the upgrade:

    Asus ZenWatch 2
    Asus ZenWatch 3
    Casio WSD-F10
    Casio PRO TREK Smart
    Fossil Q Founder
    Fossil Q Marshal
    Fossil Q Wander
    Huawei Watch
    Huawei Watch for ladies
    LG G Watch R
    LG Watch Urbane
    LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE
    Michael Kors Access Bradshaw Smartwatch
    Michael Kors Access Dylan Smartwatch
    Moto 360 (2015)
    Moto 360 for Women
    Moto 360 Sport
    New Balance RunIQ
    Nixon Mission
    Polar M600
    Tag Heuer Connected

    Oh, and one more thing... Fossil smartwatches are currently being offered at a 50% discount at Fossil.com, with an additional 25% off via the code MORELUV—an unverified tip from a helpful redditor on r/AndroidWear.

    I'll have more news from the announcement in this afternoon's round-up. See you then!

    Sources: Android Authority, Android Central, Android Police, @evleaks, reddit

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    by Published on 02-07-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers



    About a year ago Qualcomm announced its X16 LTE modem, capable of 1 Gbps downloads. And yesterday, some lucky people in Sydney, Australia got to try it out at an event jointly hosted by Qualcomm, Telstra, NETGEAR and Ericsson.

    Designed for but not yet available to smartphones, the launch device for the X16 is actually NETGEAR's Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router, shown above. You're probably most interested in the numbers, so here are the results from a sample speed test at the event:

    930.45 Mbps download
    127.54 Mbps upload
    20 ms latency

    To demonstrate the utility of Gigabit LTE, event organizers had 5 VR headsets streaming 360-degree 4K live video, simultaneously from the same NETGEAR router. The DayDream headsets did have Google Pixels mounted inside, and thus technically only 2K screens. But that's still pretty impressive, considering that no dropped frames were reported from any of the participants.

    I found the story on r/Android, where the first commenter had a rather sobering thought:

    Telcos making their networks faster instead of making data cheaper is going to be 2017's making phones thinner instead of making the battery last longer.
    Way to spoil the party, jerk...



    Source: Qualcomm via reddit

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    by Published on 02-01-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The Fitbit Blaze—that garish, electric blue monstrosity that CEO James Park is wearing in this photo—could technically be called a smartwatch, but that's not what we're talking about here; what we're discussing instead is something new in the pipeline for 2017, bearing the fruits of Fitbit's recent (and rather aggressive) acquisitions.

    In a letter to investors detailing the company's disappointing Q4 2016 results, and perhaps to divert attention away from giving pink slips to over a hundred of their employees, Park had this to say about Fitbit's plans for the future:

    We believe the evolving wearables market continues to present growth opportunities for us that we will capitalize on by investing in our core product offerings, while expanding into the smartwatch category to diversify revenue and capture share of the over $10 billion global smartwatch market [...] We believe we are uniquely positioned to succeed in delivering what consumers are looking for in a smartwatch: stylish, well-designed devices that combine the right general purpose functionality with a focus on health and fitness. With the recent acquisition of assets from Pebble, Vector Watch and Coin, we are taking action to position the company for long-term success.
    I've already written about Fitbit's acquisitions of Pebble and Vector; according to Engadget Coin was a mobile payment startup that Fitbit gobbled up last May. More telling than the company-speak above was actually an offhand comment made at CES last month, where The Verge reported that the CEO wants a Fitbit app store "as soon as possible".

    As your resident smartwatch snob I cannot help but take exception with Park's claim that his company can deliver "stylish, well-designed devices". I won't deny that Fitbits are popular, but if that Blaze is any indication then Fitbit needs to seriously up their design chops.

    Sources: Engadget, Mashable, The Verge

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    by Published on 01-25-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Last week Wareable did something I wish I had thought of—they very cleverly went to the Google Play Store and made a list of companion apps for smartwatches, ranked by the number of installations. They deliberately left out Apple and Samsung (Apple's not on the Play Store anyway), and some other OEMs—LG, for example—are also missing from the list.

    Wareable's mandate was to shine a light on those smartwatch makers reluctant to divulge their sales figures. I found the results fairly enlightening; perhaps you will as well. For your reading pleasure I've reorganized the list a bit, and have also added Play Store links, for the sake of due diligence.

    7th Place - 500 to 1,000 installs

    Hugo Boss Smart Classic

    6th Place - 5,000 to 10,000 installs

    Casio WSD-F10
    Nixon The Mission

    6th Place - 5,000 to 10,000 installs

    Guess Connect
    Skagen Hagen Connected

    4th Place - 10,000 to 50,000 installs

    Michael Kors Access
    Vector Watch

    3rd Place - 50,000 to 100,000 installs

    Tag Heuer Connected

    2nd Place - 100,000 to 500,000 installs

    Asus ZenWatch
    Fossil Q

    1st Place - 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 installs

    Huawei Watch

    If nothing else, today I learned that the $1,500 USD Tag Heuer Connected is way more popular than I would have thought!

    Source: Wareable

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    by Published on 01-24-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis



    I'm an Android user and, despite the fanboy graphic you see above, I come in peace.

    Yesterday I came across a list of 10 reasons why people buy iPhones instead of Android phones. As a student of smartphone history it piqued my interest; while it's an inescapable fact that Android is currently the world's most popular computer OS (and that includes Windows on desktop computers), it also seems to be true that in certain parts of the world—Japan, the U.S. and Canada are immediate places that come to mind—you still see more iPhones than Androids in people's hands.

    Why is that?

    There are undoubtedly many answers to this question; I've added my own to the list that I found, and I'm hoping that you'll do the same...

    1. They like iOS better than Android

    I've definitely some firsthand evidence to support this. I remember showing my niece whatever Nexus phone I was using at the time and she promptly handed it back, saying that it was "too confusing". With home screen widgets and app drawers versus screen after screen of app icons (with folders for advanced users) I can appreciate that.

    2. iPhones support all of the apps that most people want

    It's not nearly as much of an issue as it was a few years ago, but with some game titles—Super Mario Run, for example—it's still very much the case.

    3. They’ve heard all kinds of things (true and false) about the security of iOS

    I would think the opposite, that iPhone users have heard all sorts of bad things about Android security. To some extent it's a fair point.

    4. iPhones play well with other Apple devices

    Hey, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?

    In all seriousness, just as the Linux-based Android OS makes for a good fit with my desktop Linux computers, the tight integration between iOS and Mac OS makes a good case for why you'd use both.

    5. They’ve already owned an iPhone

    I'll admit that I completely missed the boat when the iPhone 3G came to Canada; at that time I was still a Mac user, but also a cheerleader for Team Nokia. In fact, I only really bought a Nexus One in 2010 to try out a new carrier (Mobilicity) and also because Nokia decided not to lend me an N8.

    Bad move, Nokia.

    6. iPhones are easy to recognize

    I think what the list is trying to say is that iPhone is a safe, dependable choice—which until Google's Pixel didn't really exist in the Android ecosystem.

    7. iPhones aren’t packed with bloatware added by the carrier

    With a few exceptions Android is guilty as charged; no argument here.

    8. They think an iPhone will last longer than an Android phone

    I would say that the opposite is true—depending on the phone, of course. With a good custom ROM I could still use my 2014 Nexus 5 or OnePlus One as a daily driver if I wanted to.

    9. iPhones seem easier to resell than Android phones

    Can't deny that. I would further say that getting a subsidized iPhone might even be worth locking yourself into a carrier contract if you plan on selling it right away.

    10. They aren’t comparing phones based on raw specifications

    Even if they were, iPhone hardware is made to run iOS, so you'd still have a solid case for the iPhone being the better choice.

    When all is said and done the only really important thing is that you use what's right for you. Nonetheless, any comments you add below will help us Android users understand you better.

    Source: Cheat Sheet

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    by Published on 01-20-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    It's not a smartphone in the way that you'd think, but it certainly is clever!

    Using a Raspberry Pi and a collection of cheap components from eBay, someone has built the rather unique mobile phone that you see above. Not everything is working just yet, but here's what's planned:

    Calling and SMS
    This is the first functionality to be implemented, and will be considered crucial in the development.

    Basic apps
    Alarm clock, calendar, calculator, phone book, file browser, web browser and music player.

    Your own apps
    SDK will be provided and it will be developer-friendly. The laand I'll personally expect, if not at least aid with, social media apps - for a good start, since those are the apps people spend most time in.

    Linux software
    Since it's a computer after all, you can run ARM compatible (thus, almost all) Linux programs on it. A Raspberry Pi can give you a desktop with a monitor, keyboard and a mouse? This phone can, too! You like to use SSH, like me? It's going to be available!

    Pen-testing
    Lots of fun, a nice hobby for many and well-paying work for some, this phone can do it too.

    Security and privacy
    One of the features that isn't typically provided but can mean anything from something simply bringing peace of mind to a matter of life and death.

    Experimenting
    There'll be a sensor port available for connecting anything you think could add useful functions to your phone. Want to wake up when the sun rises? Add a light sensor! An additional display for notifications? Easy, connect and write code! A Geiger counter? You can have that, too!
    Note that English might not be the project leader's first language...

    My immediate question was about the cellular radio, the proprietary silicon and firmware that would connect this thing to a mobile network. It turns out that there are off-the-shelf parts for that too. The project references a wireless module from a company called SIMCom called the SIM800, allowing the user to detect GSM jamming, spoofed cellular towers and compromised GSM encryption. None of this even sounds legal but apparently it is—at least in China, where SIMCom is based.

    For more on the ZeroPhone project, see the links immediately below.

    Source: Hackaday via reddit

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    by Published on 01-19-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    I'm quite certain that "stock Android" doesn't even exist anymore, but if a new report by The Information (via The Verge) turns out to be true, it will nonetheless be good news for Android users on a budget.

    In case you didn't know, Android One is an initiative by Google originally targeted for the developing world. Just as the Nexus program was once thought of as a reference device for app developers, Android One is likewise meant to standardize hardware and software for low-end phones. For example, first-generation Android One phones in India had the following minimum specifications:

    4.5 inch (480 x 854 pixels) IPS display
    1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor
    1 GB of RAM / 4 GB of storage
    Up to 32 GB of expandable storage via microSD
    5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash / 2 megapixel front camera
    Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Bluetooth, GPS
    1700 mAh battery

    Software too is standardized—and this for me is the best thing about Android One. Under the program neither OEMs nor operators are allowed to customize the UI (though carriers can add their own apps), and Google itself handles security and OS updates directly.

    For us here in the west Android One would mean that the cheap prepaid phone you get at your local drug store or gas station doesn't necessarily have to suck. I have no issues with that.

    Look for Android One devices to appear in U.S. sales channels this summer.

    Source: The Verge

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    by Published on 01-18-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    According to TheLeaker.com—once again, that's TheLeaker.com—this is one of three LG-made smartwatches passed through the FCC, widely believed to be the new, possibly Google or even Nexus-branded wearables running Android Wear 2.0. Ars Technica reports the specs of the watches to be as follows:

    W270
    10.8mm thick body
    1.2 inch 360×360 circular P-OLED display
    512MB of RAM / 4GB of storage
    240mAh battery
    IP67 ingress rating
    Bluetooth & WiFi

    W280
    14.2mm thick
    1.38-inch, 480×480 circular P-OLED display
    768MB of RAM / 4GB of storage
    420mAh battery
    IP68 ingress rating
    Heart rate sensor
    Bluetooth & WiFi
    GPS, NFC

    W281
    Same as W280, plus 3G & LTE data (?)

    Meanwhile, at least one Apple blog is up in arms over an additional rumour that these LG watches will, like the Apple Watch, have a digital crown. Not only is that a terrible idea, it's a terrible idea that would make these devices incompatible with other, already-announced watches also running the new version of Android Wear.

    Whatever the case, all will apparently be revealed on February 9th—that's according to leaker Evan Blass who, in case you were wondering, has no affiliation with TheLeaker.com—once again, that's TheLeaker.com

    Sources: 9to5Mac, Ars Technica, TheLeaker.com, The Leaker.com, VentureBeat

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    by Published on 01-16-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    You may (and should) know Andy Rubin as the Father of Android. Both Rubin and Android were acquired by Google as a package deal in 2005, where Rubin would remain in charge of what would become the world's most popular OS until his departure in 2014. Prior to that Rubin was a co-founder of Danger, Inc., responsible for the Fido hiptop and T-Mobile Sidekick. I'd go out on a limb and call those pre-iPhone devices smartphones as well; it had full PIM support, a web browser and shipped with the first onboard app store that I can recall.

    The history lesson is necessary, because Rubin has a new company and new products set for release this year, and if the guy's track record is any indication then we should probably pay attention.

    Bloomberg reports that Rubin has registered Essential Products, Inc. with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets and "computer operating software for mobile phones" as its goods and services on offer. What will differentiate these new products from what's already on the market?

    Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. "New computing platforms happen every ten to twelve years," he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. "What’s the next platform?... It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn."
    The centrepiece of Essential's product line is said to be a high-end flagship smartphone; at least one prototype has a screen larger than an iPhone 7 Plus but in a smaller form factor, thanks to a lack of bezels, and also a ceramic shell. The phone is rumoured to launch by Q3 this year; yours truly will be watching with great interest for further news.

    Source: Bloomberg

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    by Published on 01-13-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Even if we can't get the Xiaomi Mi Mix in this part of the world, we can at least thank that innovative device for kicking off a wider design trend of smartphones with impossibly-small bezels.

    According to Forbes, this year's Samsung Galaxy S8 is rumoured to have a 90% screen-to-body-ratio. Apple will almost certainly have an all-new design for its 10th anniversary iPhone this fall. And LG? Well, what you're looking at above is a teaser for the LG G6.

    The practical benefits of smartphones with smaller bezels should be obvious—just like LG says, you can fit more screen into a smaller body. And as the Mi Mix has very clearly demonstrated, such devices have the added benefit of being quite fetching as well. They might call for a rethink of your next smartphone case; other than that I can honestly see no downsides to the idea.

    2016 saw the death of the headphone jack, at least on the iPhone, which even iVerge called user-hostile. And thin phones with overpowered screens and insufficient batteries also continue to be a thing that no one asked for. As for bezels, bezels are for watches, and the less bezel there is on my next phone the better.

    Source: Forbes

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    by Published on 01-12-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The bad news is that it's only available in China. The good news is that there's something else in the works, hopefully for Western markets.

    HMD Global, "The (new) Home of Nokia phones", is a company partly staffed by old-guard Nokia executives, now freed from the terms of their long and contentious partnership with Microsoft to manufacture smartphones under the Nokia brand. Before Christmas they released an old-school candy bar dumb phone, the Nokia 150; this month they've announced what this longtime Nokia fan has pined for since 2010, their first proper Android-powered smartphone.

    Notable specs:

    5.5 inch Full HD display
    Snapdragon 430 processor
    4 GB of RAM / 64 GB of storage
    16 MP rear camera / 8 MP front camera
    Aluminum unibody design
    "Latest" version of Android
    Price: 1,699 CNY ($245 USD)

    Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica is quick to point out that the Nokia 6 is technically not the company's first Android-powered device:

    The tag line at Nokia.com calls the Nokia 6 "The first Nokia smartphone powered by Android." HMD might want to brush up on a little Nokia history, though, since this is more like the third Nokia Android phone. The first Nokia Android phones were the "X" line released in February 2014. The technically-still-independent company took an AOSP build and made the UI look a lot like Windows Phone, replacing the Google services with Microsoft ones and creating a "Nokia Store" for apps. A few months later, now under Microsoft rule, Nokia released another Android phone called the "Nokia X2." This took the same Microsoft-y AOSP concept and gave it some updated specs.
    Fair point, I guess, though neither of those devices were available anywhere near Canada.

    If the China-only release of the Nokia 6 has you down, you may be interested in a story from The Verge about HMD planning an announcement for this year's Mobile World Congress. And if you're wondering whether the brand equity and storied history of Nokia is enough to make it a relevant player in 2017, I'm wondering about that myself...

    Sources: HMD Global via Ars Technica, The Verge

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    by Published on 01-11-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    Though vague reassurances have been made that their smartwatches will continue to be supported through 2017, a lot of Pebblers have decided to move on. Some have chosen the path of least resistance—an Apple Watch or, in my case, Android Wear. Others are less willing to compromise on battery life, having enjoyed up to a week between charges on their Pebble. For them, the Vector seemed like a good fit—offering an astounding 30-day battery life and familiar monochrome display.

    Unfortunately, just as Vector was starting to gain traction as a Pebble replacement, Fitbit went out and bought them too.

    The story broke yesterday on TechCrunch:

    Vector has said there will be no new products bearing the Vector name, but that existing products will continue to work, as will the associated software, although it will no longer be developed. It’s released an extensive FAQ about what will happen next for customers.

    Their customer support team will continue to respond to customers via a Help Page and warranties will be honored.
    For Pebblers, this is an all-too-familiar refrain.

    You could interpret this acquisition as yet another sign of a forthcoming Fitbit smartwatch—The Verge reports that an app store is also in the works. But if ever such a product comes to market I doubt it will have much support from former Pebble users.

    Sources: TechCrunch via reddit, The Verge

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    by Published on 01-10-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Device leaks can come from anywhere, and this one was found on OLX.ro, a Romanian Internet trading post. The listing has since been taken down, but not before it caught the attention of r/Android, where it was dutifully archived for discussion.

    If the seller is (was) to be believed, this is a prototype Motorola G5 Plus, with specs as follows:

    5.5 inch Full HD display @ 480 dpi
    13 megapixel rear-facing / 5 megapixel front-facing cameras
    Snapdragon 625 v2.0 processor
    Adreno 506 GPU
    32 GB storage / 4 GB RAM
    3,080 mAh battery
    Fingerprint sensor
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    In case you were wondering, there is indeed a headphone jack—and also a micro-USB port; it may not be the final design for the device.

    Those who wish to investigate further can see more images of the prototype here and an archive of the full listing here.

    Source: reddit

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    by Published on 01-09-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices



    The fact of the matter is that back in the day this Canadian could only really muse on the first iPhone from afar—the long queues at Apple stores wouldn't be a thing in this country until 2008's iPhone 3G.

    Over the course of today I expect there to be no shortage of tributes and retrospectives; look for those in this afternoon's news round-up. Until then, for some proper U.S. perspective you'll just have to make do with Apple CEO Tim Cook:

    January 9 marks the tenth anniversary of iPhone’s blockbuster debut. At Macworld 2007 in San Francisco, Steve Jobs introduced the world to iPhone as three products in one — “a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device.” In the ten years since, iPhone has enriched the lives of people around the world with over one billion units sold. It quickly grew into a revolutionary platform for hardware, software and services integration, and inspired new products, including iPad and Apple Watch, along with millions of apps that have become essential to people’s daily lives.

    “iPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”
    Shout-outs to anyone still hanging on to their original iPhone unlimited data plan from AT&T...!

    Source: Apple

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    by Published on 01-06-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview



    Yesterday I posted a video by Mr. Mobile about the BlackBerry Mercury; today I'm doing the same for the other phones announced at CES 2017, courtesy of an extensive list published by CNET.

    The only problem with that list is that they've made it into an annoying slideshow to sell more ad space. So, as a public service to you, I went out and found a video for each phone from my favourite YouTubers—for lip service's sake, the first video is by CNET themselves. Enjoy! ...
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