• Rumors

    by Published on 03-21-2017 07:00 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    And just so we're clear, a helpful redditor on r/apple has whipped up this graphic to illustrate what that means— not actually a falling drop, but instead a drop resting on a surface. As you can see on the right, it was a hallmark of the original iPhone's design, and is apparently making a comeback on the 10th anniversary edition of the device.

    The rumour comes from Korean site ET News; here's a translation by 9to5Mac:

    Apple’s next iPhone is expected to be closer to ‘water drop design’. It embodies the back side design with curved emphasis, resembling the initial iPhone. This year, the 10th anniversary of the birth of the iPhone, it also shows the character of ‘Omaju’ for the early works.
    Yeah, no idea what Omaju is, either...

    While it may feature a retro design, other facets of the iPhone 8 will be entirely new, at least for Apple fans—including a 5.8 inch OLED display, wireless charging and USB-C port. If none of this floats your boat, Apple will also be selling a spec-bumped iPhone 7s and 7s Plus alongside their 10th anniversary smartphone.

    These are only rumours, of course, albeit from a fairly credible source.

    Sources: 9to5Mac, reddit

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    by Published on 03-20-2017 07:30 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Early yesterday morning, master leaker Evan Blass tweeted this image of the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. The 5.8 inch S8 appears on the top row in (from left to right) Black Sky, Orchid Grey and Arctic Silver. The 6.2 inch S8 Plus, distinguishable by the slightly smaller bezels according to Android Police, appears in the same colours along the bottom row.

    A few hours later Blass tweeted the European pricing for the phones—€799 for the S8 and €899 for the S8 Plus. At current rates, that's $859.76 and $967.35 USD respectively, which seems unusually high, even for Samsung. It could be that the South Korean conglomerate is anticipating a higher price tag for this year's 10th anniversary iPhone and moving their own prices upmarket to match.

    These aren't the first leaks about Samsung's latest; AP has reported on previous leaks here, here and here. It is, however, the first clear picture of the entire lineup, expected to be made official on Thursday, March, 29th.

    What do you think of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus?

    Sources: @evleaks (1) (2) via Android Police

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    by Published on 02-22-2017 07:00 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    An easy way to make your average smartwatch fan angry is to mention the mere existence of the TAG Heuer Connected—this $1,500 USD luxury item is easily three times the price of your typical Android Wear watch. It's cheap for a TAG, though, and the option to upgrade to an exclusive Carrera mechanical edition after two years (for an additional $1,500 USD) seems to have worked for the company's addressable market; TAG has so far sold about 56,000 smartwatches, more than doubling their initial projected sales of 20,000 units.

    aBlogtoWatch reports that their follow-up is to be called the TAG Connected Modular, and according to Android Central it will be officially announced on March 14th.

    What makes it modular? Apparently the user will easily be able to swap straps and clasps, which is nothing especially new. But it's also possible that the head unit will have both mechanical and "smart" functionality built-in—perhaps, for example, an electronic smartwatch display on one side and a traditional watch movement on the other. That would be similar to the Halda Space Discovery, also reviewed by aBlogtoWatch.

    If this is indeed what TAG is planning, expect it to be priced accordingly. It might make the company's first generation Connected seem like a bargain.

    Sources: aBlogtoWatch, Android Central

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    by Published on 02-21-2017 07:30 AM
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    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors



    Yesterday Gizmochina found a listing on a popular Hong Kong e-commerce site for a new flagship Android smartphone from Nokia, the Nokia 8. There's just one problem: the images for the listing—on jd.hk if you want to see for yourself—look like they were lifted from the concept video you see above.

    Whether or not the Nokia 8 is actually in the works is up for debate; Gizmochina has a fairly decent reputation, and a story on The Verge published last month tells of "more announcements" coming from Nokia at the Mobile World Congress, which starts next week. On the other hand, leaker Evan Blass says those announcements will actually be other downmarket phones to accompany the midrange Nokia 6.

    For what it's worth, here are Gizmochina's specs for the Nokia 8:

    5.7 inch Super AMOLED QHD display
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (or 821) chip
    24 MP rear camera with OIS, Super EIS / 12 MP front-facing sensor
    64 GB or 128 GB storage, microSD up to 256 GB
    Android 7.0 Nougat

    Even if the pictures are fake, this former Nokia fanboy wants to believe!

    Sources: Gizmochina via reddit

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    by Published on 02-16-2017 07:00 AM
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    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 02-14-2017 07:00 AM
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    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 02-08-2017 07:00 AM
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    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 01-19-2017 07:00 AM
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    2. Devices,
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    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 07:30 AM
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    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 07:00 AM
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    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 06:00 AM
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    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 01-10-2017 07:00 AM
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    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 01-02-2017 07:00 AM
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    Another year, another Snapdragon™ high-end chip—and news of this year's model comes a little early, thanks to some leaked PowerPoint slides posted on VideoCardz.com (hence all the watermarks).

    I myself am not a chip geek, so all I can really tell you is that 2017's Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 will supposedly offer up to 27% better performance than the company's current chipsets, while at the same time using less power and taking up less physical space.

    For the benefit of any processor experts reading this I'll post the rest of the slides as well; all I ask in return is that you share your insights with the rest of us lesser mortals. ...
    by Published on 12-01-2016 07:00 AM
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    As a fan of their cheap and cheerful smartwatches, this sucks.

    Of course, it's only a rumour, and from a single source at that. But that source, paywall-protected site The Information, is fairly reputable. And it certainly doesn't help that Pebble tweeted, then promptly deleted, this shrug emoticon last night.

    I woke up to this story with a post from Android Police in my RSS feed, but it's big news all around the web:

    Fitbit is reportedly close to buying Pebble (The Verge)
    Fitbit in talks to buy smartwatch pioneer Pebble (Financial Times)
    Fitbit Buying Pebble? Smartwatch Company Acquisition In The Works, Reports Say (IBT)
    Fitbit could be close to acquiring smartwatch maker Pebble (Neowin)
    Reports: Fitbit wants to acquire Pebble (liliputing)

    Worst of all is that there are apparently no plans to continue the Pebble line; Fitbit's interest is in the company's technology and intellectual property only.

    Contrary to what you might think, there is still an active and significant userbase for Pebble products. The subreddit devoted to Pebble actually has more subscribers than its Android Wear equivalent. And unlike Android Wear I actually see people wearing Pebbles out in the world—including the new Pebble Time Round on my girlfriend's wrist.

    So where did they go wrong? I can think of two things: The refocus on fitness with Pebble Health, heart rate sensors and such was bound to end badly—if anything, it got Fitbit's attention and made them an acquisition target. Also, the wide distribution to retail chains like Best Buy—though great for bargain-hunting consumers—might, in hindsight, not have been the best idea. Pebble could perhaps have done better as a boutique online-only smartwatch-maker, funding products via Kickstarter then building them to order.

    Then there are the market forces working against them. Smartwatches are tanking as a product category, so it might well have been inevitable for Pebble to be gobbled up by a competitor with deeper pockets. But it would still hurt to see them go. Pebble wasn't the first smartwatch on the market, but if you know your wearable history you'll remember that it was the first successful one.

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    by Published on 10-17-2016 07:00 AM
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    I'm no fan of Google's iPhones and it doesn't seem like many of you are, either. I am, however, duly impressed with Android Police's reporting on the devices prior to their official launch. Leaks came early and often—AP had full specs for one of the phones as far back as last June.

    Now they've taken the unprecedented (for a tech blog) step of revisiting their Pixel coverage and grading themselves on what they got right and what they got wrong. Since they got almost everything right the exercise amounts to a pat on their collective backs, but the accuracy of their reporting is impressive, nonetheless—that is, with one notable exception. ...
    by Published on 10-14-2016 07:00 AM
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    One other bit of news to catch up on, and potentially good news for anyone in the market for an Android phone that punches above its price tag. Last Friday Chinese OEM LeEco slipped up and published pretty much everything slated for its big U.S. announcement next Wednesday, October 19th. The pages have since been taken down, but the Internet doesn't forget!

    Here are the specs of the two unlocked smartphones headed our way:

    Le S3
    5.5" Full HD display
    16MP rear camera
    Snapdragon 652 processor
    3000mAh battery
    Quick Charge 3.0
    Fingerprint scanner
    Android 6.0

    Le Max2
    5.7" Quad HD display
    21MP rear camera
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
    4GB or 6GB of RAM
    3100mAh battery
    Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
    Fingerprint scanner
    Android 6.0

    The bad news? Neither phone will have a headphone jack, but international versions of these devices have shipped with USB to audio adapters. The good news? Price. The larger Le Max2 will retail for $349 USD, with a sale price of $289 until December 18th. The Le S3 will sell for $299 USD, with an introductory sale price of $169. That might be a typo, though. ...
    by Published on 10-12-2016 07:00 AM
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    Make of this rumour what you will. I'm still trying to deal with the name.

    In the past few days two separate sources have reported that there will shortly be a super-sized OnePlus 3. Thankfully, there's no confirmed moniker for the actual phone; "OnePlus 3 Plus" is, at least for the moment, pure conjecture.

    So why would OnePlus dilute their 2016 product line with a second device? To capitalize on the Note7 disaster would be a good reason, but there's another, more practical one: the company is apparently having a lot of trouble securing AMOLED panels for production, and a new phone would give OnePlus an excuse to switch to LCD. ...
    by Published on 10-04-2016 07:00 AM
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    The Pixel and Pixel XL won't be the only hardware that Google will be announcing at 9am Pacific Time today, though they'll obviously be a big part of the event—oh look, here they are in blue and silver.

    Over the summer there have been rumours and leaks of other devices which, taken together, would suggest that Google is pushing further into VR, further into your home and further into your life... like there was ever any doubt that they would.

    Here then, is an early look at what else is likely to be announced by Google today. ...
    by Published on 10-03-2016 07:00 AM
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    Yesterday, Bell Canada published some images of the new Pixel Phones from Google. Shortly thereafter, higher-res version of those same images were discovered on the French version of the TELUS website. And then, UK retailer Carphone Warehouse trumped them both by publishing product pages for both devices. The listings were since removed, but the Internet—in this case reddit—does not forget.

    Here are the confirmed specs for the Pixel and Pixel XL:

    Google Pixel

    • 5 inch 1920 x 1080 pixel AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4
    • 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
    • 4GB of RAM
    • 32GB and 128GB storage options
    • 12.3MP rear camera with image stabilization
    • 8MP front camera
    • 2,770mAh battery with fast charging and up to 32 hours of talk time
    • USB Type-C
    • Fingerprint scanner
    • NFC
    • 143.8mm x 69.5mm x 8.6mm
    • 143 grams

    Google Pixel XL

    • 5.5 inch 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4
    • 2.15GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
    • 4GB of RAM
    • 32GB and 128GB storage options
    • 12.3MP rear camera with image stabilization
    • 8MP front camera
    • 3,450mAH battery with fast charging and up to 26 hours of talk time
    • USB Type-C
    • Fingerprint scanner
    • NFC
    • 154.7mm x 75.7mm x 8.6mm
    • 168 grams

    And here are the images. Enjoy! ...
    by Published on 09-27-2016 07:45 AM
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    Here's yet another render of the Google Pixel, found by Evan Blass and posted to VentureBeat yesterday. With exactly one week to go before its official unveiling I thought it might be instructive to compare what we know about it (and the larger Pixel XL) against a list of traits one would expect in a Nexus phone of days gone by.

    Note that I won't have definitive answers for everything you'll read in this post; chalk that up to rumours I've heard on podcasts and my unfamiliarity with Verizon. ...
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