• Devices

    by Published on 12-05-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    If you're the unlucky owner of a bricked BLU Life One X2, help is finally on the way.

    For those unfamiliar with the story, this affordable dual SIM Android smartphone was crippled by a November 28th software update that applied itself on devices with an unknown password. Making matters worse was the radio silence from BLU. The good news is that now, almost a week later, a software fix has been made available.

    And how exactly would one apply such a fix to a device they're locked out of? I was wondering that myself... In a dispatch from their official Twitter account BLU is asking affected users to email [email protected] so that they can be walked through the procedure of fixing their phones.

    If anyone reading this goes through that procedure feel free to share your experiences here.

    Source: @BLU_Products on Twitter via Android Police

    by Published on 12-01-2017 09:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    To see what its camera setup could do I took the OnePlus 5T with me on a walk through downtown Toronto's Graffiti Alley. It was maybe an hour after high noon and the sun, though weak, was fairly direct.

    All of the photos here are straight from the phone; the only editing I've done is to scale each of them to 1200 x 900 pixels for faster loading.

    This first shot seems just about perfect, with nicely saturated but still accurate colours. Even light seems to be the 5T's friend.

    This one didn't turn out quite as well. The shaded wall is correctly exposed but the sky on the left is clearly blown out.

    This face forced the OnePlus 5's camera into portrait mode and the fake bokeh effects that come with it. The 5T did much better.

    Taken in direct sunlight... the blue bin here looks good but the colours on the wall seem washed out.

    This one looks better. And I have to say that I'm impressed by the detail in the shadows on the ground. Maybe that second low light lens wasn't such a half-baked idea after all!

    Another light/shadow test. I think the 5T handled this very well, whereas the phone before it wouldn't have.

    If you want to compare these results with previous OnePlus phones check out my graffiti walks with the OnePlus 5, OnePlus 3 and OnePlus One.

    by Published on 11-30-2017 08:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    There's honestly not much more to show you than this big expansive screen.

    I totally get the point of 2017's war on bezels now—you get a much more immersive experience in a body that's about the same size as the phone you were using before. On this device there can sometimes be a reachability issue with the taller 2:1 display, but OnePlus has included some thoughtful touches to help with that. You can program a shortcut for any of the navigation buttons (ie. a double tap or long press) to show the notification panel at the top of the screen; the same action can be assigned to a swipe down gesture across the fingerprint sensor on the back, just like a Pixel.

    For the record, I prefer a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor as it lets you unlock your phone as you're pulling it out of a pocket or bag. And where OnePlus put the sensor is perfect: dead centre, one third of the way down the phone and nowhere near the camera assembly.

    You'd expect the screen's extra pixels to have an adverse effect on battery life, especially when its the same 3,300mAh cell as the one in the OnePlus 5. But if there is a difference I've yet to notice it; it has consistently given me a day and a half or more with medium to heavy use.

    It's been an interesting ride for yours truly with OnePlus this year... After a great experience with the OnePlus 3 I was expecting the 5 to be no different, but quality control issues on the hardware I received ended up giving me my first experience with the company's "no-hassle" return policy. But I ended up with another OnePlus 5, given to me by my girlfriend's sister as we passed through Hong Kong in September. My big justification for buying the 5T was actually Freedom Mobile; because both the 5 and 5T support Band 66 the girlfriend and I can now give FM's 4G service an extended test, in the second SIM slots of our OnePlus phones.

    Once you go dual-SIM there's no going back.

    I was, by the way, able to root my 5T as soon as I got it. There isn't yet an official version of the TWRP custom recovery, but there's an unofficial version on XDA that did the trick. Android Nougat is actually a blessing on this phone, as Magisk and AdAway are fully supported out of the box.

    My one big concern with this phone is its cameras. Not content to keep the portrait lens from the 5, OnePlus has instead decided to pursue low light performance; the second lens now has a wider aperture but the same focal length. It sounds to me very much like unfinished business, a stopgap solution for something that couldn't be finished in time or delivered on budget. I'll post some camera samples tomorrow.

    In just about every other respect, though, this is a fantastic Android phone. And in this dawning age of ultra-premium flagships it's an undeniable bargain.

    by Published on 11-24-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips,
    4. Carriers,
    5. Apps

    Too late for the midnight stampedes, but I'm hoping this will at least serve as a starting point for your mobile-centric Black Friday shopping. It's not exhaustive by any means; you'll notice that Android Police and Mobile Syrup are responsible for a few links each. Kudos to them for doing the grunt work so that I didn't have to.


    Amazon Canada’s Black Friday tech deals are now live!

    Best Buy VIP Black Friday sale now live with discounts on smartphones, tablets, smart home devices

    Freedom Mobile offers up to $450 in MyTab savings for Black Friday

    Here are Canadian carriers' 2017 Black Friday deals

    Rogers and Fido launch Black Friday iPhone deals


    2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals roundup [Updated continuously]

    Deal: Get 3 months of unlimited data for $99 from Rok Mobile

    Fossil smartwatch Black Friday sale: 30% reduction on Android Wear

    Free iPhone 8: The Best Black Friday Deal Is From T-Mobile

    Here are Google Play's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals

    Feel free to add any deals not mentioned above, for the benefit of anyone else reading this. Happy bargain hunting, and stay safe out there!

    by Published on 11-22-2017 07:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Mobile Syrup has a pretty big scoop this morning: they've been able to confirm that Freedom Mobile will start carrying the iPhone in-store as of December 8th. And not cast-off refurbished hardware, either—the carrier will offer new stock and the full complement of 2017's iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.

    In Western Canada there will be even more Apple product to choose from; because FM is already running their 2500MHz spectrum in that part of the country the iPhone 6, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus will be available on the same date. Those same devices will be available in Eastern Canada once that spectrum gets lit up in early 2018.

    Canadians who finance their smartphone purchases (ie. most of us) stand to reap some considerable savings over 24 months, as all iPhones will be $0 down. Check the link below for details on that.

    It will be interesting to see what Apple's iconic smartphone can do for Freedom's subscriber numbers and, if there ends up being a big influx of new users, whether or not FM's young LTE network can handle it.

    Source: Mobile Syrup

    by Published on 11-21-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Yup, it's true... Germany's telecommunications regulator has ruled that smartwatches for kids fall under the category of unauthorized transmitters. Sales of new devices—even over the Internet—are now illegal, and the regulator is urging parents to destroy existing equipment.

    Germany is a country that apparently takes user privacy very seriously, and its government seems especially vigilant when it comes to children. Only a few months ago the same regulator issued a similar ban on an Internet-connected talking doll that listens to its owner and responds in real time. That smart toy was deemed to be a surveillance device.

    Similar issues are present in child-friendly connected watches. The problems are twofold: first, the SIM card in these watches allows parents to listen in on their child in class (for example), violating the privacy of everyone present in the classroom—including the kid wearing the watch! Also, and perhaps because these products can be construed as toys, they are insecure enough to be at risk from third-party attackers.

    That for me is the most interesting aspect of this story. Nearly every security expert I come across warns about the dangers of an unsecured Internet of things. Hopefully the people who make these smart toys and other connected devices will get their act together and step up the security of their products.

    Sources: BBC, HackRead

    by Published on 11-15-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Apps

    More bad news for OnePlus... on the eve of a new product announcement they've been accused of backdooring their devices, allowing an attacker with physical access to gain root access without having to unlock any bootloaders— which we all know would wipe any and all sensitive data from your phone, right? Anyone? Bueller...?

    Anyway, as privacy scares go, this one has been blown out of proportion just a bit. It's still bad, but nowhere near as bad as the data that OnePlus was caught harvesting last month.

    The "backdoor" here is actually a Qualcomm testing app called EngineerMode. With the correct password (which has already been reverse-engineered) it will indeed grant root access via the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). What it won't do is allow malicious software with root privileges to be installed on your device. In fact, XDA has put their own spin on this vulnerability, citing it as a great new way for modders to root their OnePlus device.

    OnePlus absolutely should have removed this app before shipping out hardware to their customers. As to why they didn't, signs point to laziness rather than something more nefarious. Oh, and by the way, some ASUS and Xiaomi phones were also sold with the same Qualcomm testing app on board.

    Sources: Android Police, OnePlus Forums, XDA

    by Published on 11-13-2017 08:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    It's not due for its official unveiling until this Thursday, but here's an early peek at the 5-month refresh of the OnePlus 5, the OnePlus 5T. That's it on the left. The photo is from a gallery published by ZDNet's German office, since taken down. Here's their explanation, with a little help from Google Translate:

    ZDNet.de received a review sample of the OnePlus 5T without being asked. It contained no cover letter—only a review guide was included in the shipment. The editors had no knowledge of an embargo date. An NDA was not agreed in writing or orally.

    Late Friday evening two e-mails reached the editorial office with the request to take the article offline, asking for reporting on the OnePlus 5T from November 17th only. The editors have decided to meet this request.
    So ZDNet's gallery is gone, but savvy tech blogs have already saved copies of the photos and re-hosted them—like Android Police, for example.

    The big news about the new phone is its new 18:9 screen, 1080 x 2160 pixels @ 401 ppi. Thanks to much smaller bezels (and a fingerprint sensor moved to the back of the device) the display fits into a shell only slightly taller than the current OnePlus 5. Everything else about the 5T seems to be the same; it's got the same Snapdragon 835 processor, the same 6 or 8 GB of RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage, the same headphone jack... And unfortunately the review units are still shipping with Android 7.1.1 Nougat rather than Oreo.

    Thankfully, the price of the new model is also expected to stay in the range of the current OnePlus 5, which in this age of ultra-premium flagships can only be a good thing.

    Source: ZDNet Germany via Android Police

    by Published on 11-10-2017 08:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Tips

    To honour the 10th anniversary of the smartphone that changed everything, I forced myself to read the entirety of Brian Merchant's The One Device. It's definitely meant for Apple fans, and seems at times to be set in a fictitious world where Android doesn't even exist.

    To be fair, one of the chapters where Android is actually acknowledged turned out to be the most illuminating one, at least for me. The author visits the infamous Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China, where a surprisingly candid employee had this to say about the local job market:

    “I was tricked to work for Foxconn,” a new recruit says. “I intended to work for Huawei,” he adds, referring to the Chinese smartphone competitor. “People feel way better working for Huawei, better corporate culture, more comfortable.” In fact, he says, “Everyone has the idea of working in Foxconn for one year and getting out of the factory and going to work for Huawei.”
    So congratulations to any Huawei owners reading this; you can rest easy with the knowledge that the people who built your device were treated well while making it. And if you were wondering about that other big smartphone OEM, later in the same chapter a Foxconn higher-up had this to say:

    “I had a meeting with Samsung executives and they said they would just follow Apple [...] That’s what they told us—they would do whatever Apple did.”
    So what exactly does Apple do? If you're not familiar with Cupertino's decidedly hands-off approach to manufacturing, check out my Christmas Downer post from 2014.

    Links: The One Device on Amazon.ca / Amazon.com

    by Published on 11-09-2017 08:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Reviews and Hands-on

    Though I will fight for the smartphone audio jack with my last dying breath I am also, somewhat paradoxically, a fan of wireless earbuds. I try to get in about four to five hours of podcast listening per week, and usually do so on a morning or afternoon walk. Wired earbuds serve this purpose fairly well, except for the cord that either gets tangled as I pull out my phone to skip through an ad, or gets caught on some random object as I walk by it. So-called "neckbuds", a set earbuds connected by a cable that goes around the back of one's head, are only slightly better; the cable has an annoying habit of snagging on my shirt or jacket collar and reminding me that it's there.

    But these... these are by far the most comfortable earbuds I've ever worn. Right out of the box they fit my ears perfectly, and if they didn't I'd still have two other sets of in-ear gels to choose from.

    BOSE recommends that you install their Connect app on the phone that you're pairing their earbuds with, which isn't at all a necessity—maybe when there's a firmware update to install, but otherwise no. Pairing them to my Android phone was as easy as any other Bluetooth device, and the connection has been rock solid ever since.

    Sound quality is on par with any other BOSE earbud or headphone, which is to say excellent. Keep in mind, though, that I'm most often listening to mono podcasts rather than stereo music.

    With their charging case BOSE seems to have solved the problem of battery anxiety. No one wants to head out on a two-hour run only to have their wireless earbuds die halfway through. These earbuds are primed for 5 hours of battery life, and their charging case is good for an additional two charging cycles. I usually go out for about an hour at a time, and find myself putting the buds back in the case as soon as I get back. The button that opens the case can also indicate the charge; pressing it lights up a row of LED lights immediately below. And if you put one bud into your right ear you'll hear a voice telling you your battery level the moment you remove the left bud from the case. Clever!

    These particular wireless earbuds aren't cheap; in Canada and the United States they retail for $250 USD and $330 CAD respectively. But for comfort, sound quality and ease of use they've so far been worth it.

    Links: BOSE SoundSport Free - Canada / USA

    by Published on 11-03-2017 06:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Mobile Syrup has confirmed what I myself tested yesterday, that the upstart Android smartphone-maker OnePlus now has much better support for LTE Band 66 on Canada's upstart carrier, Freedom Mobile.

    Here's the changelog from the official announcement on the OnePlus Forums:

    Supported Airtel VoLTE in India
    Supported Band 66 of Freedom in Canada
    Fixed Wi-Fi WPA2 security issue
    Optimized battery usage in some cases
    Optimized GPS accuracy
    General bug fixes
    After flashing the update I went for an mid-afternoon stroll through several neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto: Baldwin Village, the U of T campus, The Annex, Kensington Market and Chinatown. Everywhere I checked I had a solid 4G signal, and every time I ran a speed test I got the same results that were so elusive to my device just a week before.

    Building penetration is still an issue, of course. In certain places, like the bathrooms at the back of restaurants, the best available data signal is still HSPA+ or worse. But the software update is enough of an improvement that I can now recommend the OnePlus 5 to anyone on the Freedom network—more than any other phone, in fact, since you can test a Freedom SIM in either of the phone's dual SIM slots while keeping your current SIM in the other one!

    Links: OnePlus Forums, Mobile Syrup, XDA

    by Published on 11-02-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    ... Because that's totally a thing, right? Anyone?

    Just to get you up to speed, back in 2016 there was this crowd-funded Android phone called the Nextbit Robin. The company that made it was acquired last January by Razer, Inc.—an outfit known for making gaming-centric products like laptops, controllers and other accessories. And after much speculation (and a few leaks) this, the Razer Phone, was revealed yesterday.

    The phone's design is similar to its blocky Nextbit predecessor, but the new model puts its large forehead and chin to good use, cramming multiple Dolby ATMOS-compatible speaker drivers into each (no headphone jack, though). But what really sets this device apart is the option to run its screen at 120Hz, with enough battery power to do so for more than a few minutes at a time. Other specs:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    5.7 inch QHD LCD display @ 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz
    8GB of RAM / 64GB of storage + microSD
    12 and 13MP wide and telephoto rear cameras / 8MP selfie cam
    4,000mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+
    Android 7.1 Nougat (at launch)

    The Razer Phone will be available in murdered-out black only, with a limited edition adding a neon green logo on the back. It will retail for $699 USD. I would think that an Android phone for serious Android gamers would also have an unlockable bootloader so that you could root it and install AdAway to kill ads on free-to-play titles; maybe that's just me.

    Source: Razer via Android Police

    by Published on 11-01-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    On the left, an iPhone 8 Plus. On the right, an iPhone X. The fastest to unlock? Not what you might think!

    The GIF above was generated from an AppleInsider review on YouTube, which came to my attention via r/apple on reddit. It clearly demonstrates that getting to your home screen on an iPhone with Touch ID is faster than with the retina-scanning Face ID on the newer model.

    To be clear, there's nothing wrong with the Face ID here; it's just how the technology has been implemented. Unlocking the iPhone X will take you to your home screen notifications, requiring an additional swipe up to get you home. The iPhone 8 Plus, on the other hand, has a raise-to-wake feature that activates your lock screen—and notifications—just by lifting it, and a slight tap of the Touch ID sensor instantly takes you to your home screen.

    You could argue that Face ID is more secure, as by default it protects your notifications from prying eyes. You could also argue that Touch ID is much more convenient, as it quite obviously gets you to your home screen faster.

    If nothing else, let this serve as a simple visual reminder that "newer" doesn't necessarily mean "better"...

    Source: reddit

    by Published on 10-31-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Carriers

    Thanks to the CRTC, come this December 1st your Canadian carrier will no longer be able to sell phones locked to its own network. It's great news for consumers in this country; even better, some carriers are getting ahead of the deadline and have begun unlocking their hardware for free!

    I've cobbled together a quick list of who is currently selling unlocked smartphones (and also LTE-connected tablets). It's by no means complete, so please feel free to add to it. And it doesn't include your local Apple Store or pop-up Samsung shop—because we already knew about those, right?

    Bell and Virgin Mobile

    Both Bell and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile have begun selling a considerable portion of their device portfolios without any carrier locks:

    Alcatel GoFlip and Pixi 5
    All Google devices
    All iPhones and iPads
    BlackBerry KEYOne (requires software update)
    LG Q6
    Motorola Z2 Play
    Samsung Note 8
    ZTE Grand X View 2 Tablet

    Best Buy Canada

    All iPhones for all carriers are now sold unlocked, even the ones with subsidies.


    "Some" devices are now sold unlocked... That's super-helpful </s>.

    Freedom Mobile

    There are anecdotal reports of users getting unlocking fees waived. Your mileage may vary; I asked about unlocking a phone when activating a line on Freedom and was told I'd have to wait thirty days.

    Rogers and Fido

    Both are waiving unlocking fees, but only for devices bought outright.

    Staples Canada

    The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are now available unlocked for outright purchase, and also on an in-house 24-month payment plan.

    TELUS and Koodo

    Again, anecdotal evidence of unlocking fees being waived. YMMV.

    If you've anything to add to this list, please help your fellow readers out!

    Sources: iPhone in Canada, Mobile Syrup (1), (2), (3)

    by Published on 10-30-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    If in late 2017 you're still in the market for a high-end Android phone there are at least two new contenders on the way—a new and bezel-less OnePlus 5T and this, the HTC U11 Plus. Like the U11 it is expected to come equipped with "Edge Sense", the same squeezable frame found in the new Pixel phones, but in this case easily remappable to launch the app or action of your choice. Unlike the U11, it will have a bigger screen, a tall 18:9 display and a smaller forehead and chin, which will move the fingerprint reader to the back of the device.

    Here are the notable specs, via XDA:

    Snapdragon 835 processor
    6 inch WQHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB of RAM / 64 or 128 GB of storage
    12 MP rear camera / 8 MP selfie cam
    3,930 mAh battery

    That HTC is continuing to release new flagship hardware after losing 2,000 of its best smartphone engineers to Google is curious to say the least. I can't help but wonder how much the U11 Plus is based on the abandoned muskie project for the Pixel 2...

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 10-26-2017 06:30 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis

    One of the many benefits of open source software is that the code is freely available for anyone to pore through to their heart's content. And that's just what XDA has done, uncovering some more details about muskie, the forgotten HTC-made device that was once pegged to be this year's Pixel 2 XL.

    Of particular interest in the muskie-related AOSP commits for Android 8.0 is this line:

    <item name="battery.capacity">3830</item>
    Yup, that's right, HTC's pitch for the Pixel 2 XL was to have a massive 3,830 mAh battery, putting the LG version's paltry-by-comparison 3,520 mAh to shame. Unfortunately that big battery would quickly prove to be the device's downfall—last June someone told 9to5Google that the cell wasn't performing as expected, and that muskie's development had been halted.

    Had the device made it into production users would likely have had to content with a large forehead and chin, similar to the HTC-made Pixel 2. However, the disaster with LG's POLED screen would have been averted. Something tells me that if Google had a do-over they might have put a bit more effort into bringing muskie to market.

    Source: XDA

    by Published on 10-25-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    The #HYPE is back, apparently...

    It all started two weeks ago, when GizmoChina posted a render of what they claimed was the OnePlus 5T. Folks were skeptical, and rightly so. Last year's OnePlus 3T took advantage of the Note7 debacle and shoehorned some better specs into the already-excellent OnePlus 3; if this leaked render was to be believed, OnePlus was now planning to put the same processor from the 5 into an entirely new body.

    It doesn't make any sense, yet the wild speculation continues, fueled even further by the fact that the current OnePlus 5 is out of stock in many markets, including Canada and the United States.

    That original render was eventually dismissed as an Oppo device (the F5), but then a few days ago another render surfaced with OnePlus trim and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor—you can see it for yourself at TechnoBuffalo. That same day, someone leaked the teaser image that you see above to Android Authority.

    And now SlashLeaks has an AnTuTu screen grab with specs:

    Model number: A5010
    OS: Android 8.0
    Processor: Snapdragon 835, Adreno 540 GPU
    Screen resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels
    Cameras: 20MP + 20MP
    RAM / ROM: 8GB / 128GB

    For reference, the current OP5 has 16 and 20 megapixel cameras for standard and portrait shots.

    I guess if you're a OnePlus fan who's been holding out for a tall display then you won't have to wait until the summer of 2018 for your next phone. But all I can think of is how many angry OnePlus 5 owners there will be come November, when the 5T is expected to make it début.

    Sources: Android Authority, GizmoChina, SlashLeaks, TechnoBuffalo

    by Published on 10-24-2017 06:15 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    The Verge has taken the unprecedented step of pulling their review score for Google's Pixel 2 XL. Here's the full text from their amended review:

    After multiple reports of possible screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL, we are pulling our score for this device until we have more information. We have reached out to Google, but as of this writing the company has only said that it's "investigating."

    Since publishing our original review, our unit has developed ghostly versions of the main Android navigation buttons at the bottom, visible when you're looking at a gray background. Several other outlets have reported the same on their review units. That's potentially a telltale sign of screen burn-in, which can affect any OLED screen over time — but usually that time is measured in months and years, not weeks. It's possible, however, that it's simply a temporary "image retention" and not a permanent issue.

    If it's not permanent, it's one more disappointing problem on an already disappointing screen, and we will update our score on the 2 XL to reflect that. If the 2 XL's screen is genuinely exhibiting permanent burn-in after just a couple of weeks, we'll also update our score to reflect that (and it will be a very low score indeed).

    Until we know one way or the other, we're temporarily removing our score on the Pixel 2 XL. In the meantime, we can't recommend buying this phone until we can definitively say that the screen isn't permanently damaging itself within weeks of buying it.

    The smaller Pixel 2, however, remains a great phone with a very good (albeit smaller) screen.
    If you didn't already know, the Pixel 2 XL is being manufactured for Google by LG with a POLED display—that is, an OLED display with a plastic substrate. The smaller Pixel 2 (built by HTC) uses an AMOLED display panel built by Samsung. You can read more about AMOLED vs POLED here.

    Needless to say, any major screen issue is completely unacceptable for what in Canada is an eleven hundred dollar phone. Google will give you 15 days to return any hardware bought from their online store; if you're on the waiting list for a Pixel 2 XL you might want to cancel and see how this plays out.

    Links: Android Authority, The Verge

    by Published on 10-20-2017 07:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    While hardcore fans are still waiting for the top of the line Nokia 9 to be made official, HMD Global threw them a curve ball this week and announced the mid-range Nokia 7 for the Chinese market. The mere existence of Android phones bearing the famous Finnish brand is apparently not enough; Nokia is once again touting its Dual-sight camera (aka "bothie") as a unique selling point. Other notable specs are as follows:

    Snapdragon 630 processor
    5.2 inch FHD LCD display
    4 or 6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage plus microSD (or dual SIM)
    16 MP rear camera with PDAF, Carl Zeiss optics
    5 MP selfie cam with autofocus
    3,000 mAh battery with USB-C charging port
    Android 7.1.1 Nougat
    Courage (headphone) jack

    The 7 will be available starting October 24th in either black or white, with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and priced at either ¥2,499 or ¥2,699—which works out to about $377 or $407 USD. Will a version of this phone ever wash up on North American shores? You'll have to ask HMD Global about that.

    Sources: Nokia (China) via Android Police

    by Published on 10-16-2017 06:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Linux laptop maker Purism has succeeded where Ubuntu failed, meeting their crowdfunding goal of $1.5 million USD to produce this, the Librem 5 smartphone. Unlike 2013's ill-fated Ubuntu Edge, you probably won't be buying this thing for its specs:

    5 inch touchscreen
    i.MX6 or i.MX8 CPU, Vivante GPU
    3 GB RAM / 32 GB storage + microSD
    Front and rear cameras
    WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G / 4G / LTE
    Courage jack (aka 3.5mm headphone)

    You might, however, be interested in the Librem 5 for its Linux compatibility and privacy-minded features. Out of the box the phone will run a mobile version of Purism's in-house PureOS, or any other Linux distribution that supports its hardware. Since the processor and GPU are both open-source there may well end up being a lot of support for this phone. For privacy there will be hardware kill switches for the cameras, microphone and all wireless networks. In addition the baseband will be separate from the CPU, presumably to prevent the NSA and its Five Eyes partners from overriding any of those kill switches.

    In terms of apps, Purism is all about the HTML5, which was also the promise of Firefox OS. Remember Firefox OS? I do. It was terrible. And the cynic in me can't help but think that a phone running LineageOS and F-Droid in place of the Google apps would deliver 90% of the freedom and a much better user experience.

    But who am I to rain on the freedom beards' parade? It seems like the Linux community is wholeheartedly embracing the Librem 5, and it will interesting to watch what they whip up for it—even if it will be very much a niche product.

    Links: Librem 5 via OMG! Ubuntu!

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    loboheeler Today, 10:33 PM Go to last post

    Yes, intraband CA definitely has existed awhile....

    Yes, intraband CA definitely has existed awhile. That isn’t the same channel being used 3 times exactly, it’s three separate channels of the same frequency. That’s LAA unlicensed 5 GHz. Same...

    jakeuten Today, 10:31 PM Go to last post

    There is no need for anyone to worry about...

    There is no need for anyone to worry about switching to a 5G phone yet. 4G will be used in conjunction with the 5G networks and isn't going away anytime soon. Maybe in 2 or more years, it might be...

    veriztd Today, 10:20 PM Go to last post