• Devices

    by Published on 04-29-2019 03:10 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Just back from two weeks in Sapporo and Tokyo, and multiple visits to Japan's twin temples of tech: Bic and Yodobashi Camera. On every visit I find the shelf space for traditional keitai increasingly overrun by Android phones, all while the vast majority of locals are using hardware made by Apple. But a few hot handsets managed to stand out...

    INFOBAR xv

    According to The Verge, this 15th anniversary edition of au's iconic candy bar actually went on sale last summer. Like more recent models it runs Android; unlike recent models there's no Play Store installed—users instead have to make do with pre-installed apps. This probably isn't the phone to get if you have small children, as they might well try to put it in their mouth and suck on it. I've caught myself having that same thought.

    NTT DoCoMo KY-01L

    Launched last fall (says Engadget) this is Kyocera's answer to similar minimalist nouveau-feature phones like the Punkt MP-02. The DoCoMo version is quite a bit thinner, though:

    It doesn't have any cameras but it does have a (monochrome) web browser. And its e-paper display should give the user better than expected performance from the 380 mAh battery inside.

    Pocketalk Voice Translator

    Technically not a phone, but it does take a SIM card. Pocketalk was all over our hotel TVs and prominently displayed at Bic and Yodobashi as well. Here's the pitch:

    If you're suspicious of a dressed-up version of Google Translate you're not alone; Pocketalk does indeed run a custom version of Android OS. Interested parties in the USA can order one from Amazon and let the rest of us know if it actually works.

    Sources: au, Engadget, NTT DoCoMo, Pocketalk, The Verge

    by Published on 04-08-2019 12:55 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Retromobe on Blogger is a worthy bookmark for the occasional trip down smartphone memory lane. I was caught a bit off-guard by this past weekend's entry: the OnePlus One, which was announced five years ago this month. Pictured above is the first of two SKUs for the company's début, with 3 GB RAM, 16 GB of storage and the silk white back. Marques Brownlee reviewed it in May, 2014:

    Of course, the more sought-after version was the one with 64 GB of RAM and the sandstone back. I finally got the invite to purchase mine that July—and yes, the invite system was definitely the worst part about being a OnePlus customer in the early days. Flash sales would have been a much more transparent way to move the company's limited stock.

    And the best part about OnePlus was, for me, the software experience. I was already familiar with CyanogenMod and the commercial version, CyanogenOS, added lots of eye candy to an already-capable Android ROM. That this new device was modder-friendly sealed the deal.

    Five years later I'm on my fifth OnePlus-branded phone, the 6T. I'm still grateful for that unlockable bootloader, and these days it's OxygenOS providing the superior Android experience. And as someone who likes to travel, the fast charging and dual-SIM support are welcome additions. In fact, starting Wednesday and for the next two weeks, it'll be a data-only SIM from Japan's DoCoMo occupying my usually empty second slot.

    Photo and video captures have been getting steadily better but there's still room for improvement. If I'm honest, though, it's really only when pixel-peeping photos on a desktop computer that I get Google or Huawei envy.

    So happy 5th birthday, OnePlus... and thanks for continuing to prove that upgraded memory and storage don't have to cost users an arm and a leg!

    Source: Retromobe

    by Published on 04-05-2019 10:00 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Hot on the heels of last Friday's earnings report (direct link to PDF right here) BlackBerry stock shot up a whopping 47% on the Toronto Stock Exchange early this week. Granted, its stock price on both the TSX and NYSE is still nowhere near that of Apple or Google but, as Yahoo! Finance reports, they've managed what seems to be a very successful pivot into software and services:

    Take a look at some recent headlines and you’ll quickly realize this isn’t the BlackBerry of yesterday.

    For example, in November, BlackBerry partnered to develop new approaches for high-net-worth digital security. A few days later, BlackBerry announced that it had become a HIMSS Certified Consultant, meaning it can now integrate its service offerings into major healthcare initiatives around the world.

    Most importantly, BlackBerry acquired artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company Cylance for $1.4 billion in cash. Management noted that they will immediately integrate the Cylance team into its segment that makes software for next-generation autonomous cars.

    As you’ll see, these moves have helped build a reliable source of revenues for BlackBerry while positioning the company well to tap some of the largest growth opportunities of the 21st century.
    Now I myself don't own shares in the company, and I wouldn't ordinarily post about stock market blips here. But in this case I do think it's good news for fans of physical keyboards and security-hardened Android devices; if BlackBerry manages to stay in the black then there can only be more BlackBerries on the horizon for its loyal customers.

    Source: Yahoo! Finance

    by Published on 03-25-2019 01:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Before moving forward there's one more story from last week that bears a closer look, a rather unfortunate one for HMD's efforts to revive the storied Nokia brand. To bring you up to speed, a site in Norway broke the news that the Nokia 7 Plus was sending personal user data—including the device IMEI, MAC and SIM ID, plus location information—to a server in China.

    Nokia was quick to respond, explaining that a single batch of the device in question shipped with an activation client "meant for another country". The issue has since been fixed via a software update.

    In a separate press release, Nokia goes on to detail what data they collect, along with why and how they do it:

    The what includes some location data, but cannot be used to identify you without your express consent—that is, only if you opt in to Nokia's User Experience Program;

    The why includes activating the device warranty, as well as improving user satisfaction;

    The how basically boils down to two servers, one in China for Chinese customers and the other in Singapore for everyone else.

    Oh, and if you own a Nokia 7 Plus navigate to Settings > System > About Phone > Build Number. If your device shows either of the following:


    ... then the fix has already been applied.

    Sources: NRKbeta via Ars Technica, HMD Global via GSM Arena

    by Published on 03-21-2019 01:20 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Apple has officially refreshed their wireless earbuds, which now offer "Hey, Siri" support, a new H1 chip that promises better battery life and, perhaps best of all, a case that now supports inductive charging. From the product page:

    Lay it down, charge it up.
    With the new Wireless Charging Case, charging is as simple as placing the AirPods case on a Qi-compatible charging mat. That’s it. The LED indicator on the front of the case lets you know that your AirPods are charging. And when you’re away from a charging mat, you can use the Lightning port to charge.
    The case is also backwards-compatible with older AirPods, and can be purchased separately. Alternately, you can get the new earbuds with the old case, since Apple has yet to release a first-party wireless charging mat. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Pricing is as follows:

    AirPods with standard case: $159 USD / $219 CAD
    AirPods with wireless charging case: $199 USD / $269 CAD
    Wireless charging case: $79 USD / $99 CAD

    The new AirPods can be ordered online now, and will be available for purchase in-store next week.

    Sources: Apple Canada, Mobile Syrup, The Verge

    by Published on 03-19-2019 12:01 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Wow, time flies... Five years ago today I posted about Wear OS (then Android Wear) for the very first time. A tip of the hat to Android Police for reminding me of this.

    As a fan of smartwatches I'm unfortunately not a fan of Wear OS. If it works for you, then great—for me, I've been spoiled by cheaper hardware that I don't have to charge nearly as often. Even the crew at AP seems to be struggling to find nice things to say about it; in an anniversary write-up offering five perspectives on Wear OS, two of the contributors have moved on to Tizen, while a third mirrors my own opinion of it:

    It has fitness and exercise-related features, but it isn't very good at it. It has app support and the full Play Store, but it's too small and fiddly to provide a very good UX. Devices include pretty high-end hardware with things like fancy round AMOLED displays and reasonably fast SoCs, but battery life is terrible. Every platform and hardware advantage comes with a corresponding and deal-breaking weakness.
    Even more telling is a recent AP round-up of Wear OS apps and watch faces. Scrolling through the article I immediately noticed two things: (1) most of the apps featured come from a single developer and (2) a surprising amount of watch faces are carry-overs from the Pebble.

    It's certainly encouraging that traditional watchmakers like the Fossil Group have embraced Wear OS, but I'm unsure if that's enough to call the platform a success. There's plenty of stock in stores but, from what I've observed, very few on people's actual wrists.

    Sources: Android Police (1) (2)

    by Published on 03-15-2019 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Huawei's forthcoming P30 Pro is expected to have a monster camera setup—not only will it have the requisite-for-2019 40 megapixel sensor, but also a 10x zoom, via a clever idea first demonstrated by OPPO at MWC in 2017:

    Huawei is using a similar periscope design and and doubling the magnification. The rest of the phone ain't too shabby, either; leaked specs (via Fone Arena) are as follows:

    6.47 inch 2340 x 1080 pixel OLED HDR display
    rear cameras: 40 MP OIS / 20 MP ultra-wide / 8 MP 10x "hybrid" zoom
    front camera: 32 MP
    Kirin 980 processor
    8 GB RAM / 128, 256 or 512 GB storage + NM card
    Hybrid dual SIM (nano + nano / nano + NM card)
    In-display fingerprint sensor
    4200 mAh battery with fast charging
    Android 9.0 (Pie) with EMUI 9.0
    Available colours: Aurora Blue, Black, Ice White, Orange
    Launch date: Tuesday, March 26th

    Expect a slightly-lesser (ie, no zoom) P30 to be announced alongside the Pro.

    Source: WinFuture via Fone Arena

    by Published on 03-14-2019 02:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Vivo's APEX 2019 concept smartphone was announced in Beijing back in January, but for some reason is only this week making the rounds on western tech blogs. At first glance it seems like just another high-powered Chinese Android device:

    Near-bezel-less FullViewTM display
    Snapdragon 855 processor
    12 GB RAM / 512 GB storage
    5G modem

    But here, direct from the press release, is what makes it very different:

    Vivo’s first 5G smartphone offers an ultra-simple and uniquely recognisable design with Curved-Surface Waterdrop Glass and no openings, seams or bezels for a simpler user experience.
    Wait, did they just call us simple...?

    What's in it for the user when it comes to a design like this? It's waterproof, hopefully. And for the manufacturer? Less moving parts, less assembly required and therefore cheaper to produce. There isn't even a SIM slot for this thing—according to CNET it's compatible with eSIMs only.

    Which brings us to my big problem with this device. If you thought the removal of the headphone jack was user-hostile then Vivo's taking away of everything else is on a whole other level. It's not just that the power connector is proprietary (although that's also terrible) it's that there is no easy way to connect this thing to a desktop computer—making the APEX little more than an expensive toy. A piece of dumb consumer electronics. Unworthy of being called a computer itself.

    Fortunately, it's just a concept, and not at all guaranteed to represent the dystopian smartphone future for us all.

    Sources: CNET, Vivo

    by Published on 03-13-2019 03:00 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Rumors

    Last June I posted what was basically a fan render of the iconic Moto Razr, re-imagined as a foldable phone. Now, some nine months later, it seems like that flight of fancy wasn't so far off.

    Yes, that's another render you're looking at above—but what's different about this one is that it's based on drawings submitted by Moto itself to the World Intellectual Property Organization:

    And now the bad news: specs for Moto's first foldable aren't exactly top-tier...

    6.2 inch 876 x 2142 pixel primary display
    800 x 600 pixel closed display
    Unknown camera array
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor
    4 or 6 GB RAM / 64 or 128 GB storage
    2,730 mAh battery
    Available in black, gold and white

    Even more bad news: there are rumours that this foldable but otherwise very average Android handset will start at $1500 USD. Still interested?

    Sources: Tom's Guide , XDA

    by Published on 03-08-2019 02:40 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Apparently yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the founding of Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario. My bad for missing this!

    To honour the occasion here's a star-studded montage of well-wishers courtesy of the official BlackBerry YouTube channel:

    BNN Bloomberg has also published a retrospective chronicling the ups and downs of the former king of mobile messaging. While I'm not currently a BlackBerry user myself, it seems to me that in terms of their mobile device business they (and TCL) have done pretty well as a boutique provider of security-hardened Android phones. As a random testament to their enduring presence, "Captain Two-Phones"—aka Michael Fisher—carries one:

    So a belated HBD to BlackBerry and its fans... May there be many more for you to enjoy!

    Sources: BNN Bloomberg, CrackBerry

    by Published on 03-03-2019 08:07 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices,
    3. Commentary and Analysis,
    4. Reviews and Hands-on
    Article Preview

    I checked out the Blackberry Key 2 LE recently. While I thought it was a solid phone, I also got the feeling that it was built to not step on the toes of a more expensive model. The screen was nice but could be better, that sort of thing.

    Now it’s time to check out the fancier model, the Key 2 (no LE). ...
    by Published on 02-28-2019 03:20 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Sony has announced a new flagship at this year's Mobile World Congress. It's standout feature is it's super-tall 21:9 display. Maybe they'll sell a thumb extender to use with it...?

    A regular 16:9 screen ratio isn’t able to show most movies in the way they are meant to be seen. A 21:9 aspect ratio is the original format for movies and still the industry standard. What’s more, it lets you see even more of the apps and content you love.
    Sony Xperia 1
    6.5 inch 21:9 4K HDR OLED display, 1644 x 3840 pixels
    Triple 12 MP rear cameras: 16 mm / 26 mm with OIS / 52 mm with OIS
    8 MP selfie cam
    Snapdragon 855 processor
    6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage + microSD (up to 512 GB)
    3330 mAh battery
    Android 9 Pie
    Colours: Black, Grey, Purple, White
    Available: late spring 2019
    Price: rumoured to be 1099 CHF (around $1100 USD)

    Product Video:

    Sources: 91mobiles, Sony (1) (2)

    by Published on 02-27-2019 01:55 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Looks like Huawei has one-upped Samsung at this year's MWC, with their own foldable phone that offers a bigger screen and a thinner chassis that folds flush.

    The HUAWEI Mate X is engineered to be impressively thin with a Falcon Wing design. This unprecedented stretchable hinge is artistically crafted to dissolve into the device for a smooth and flat finish on both sides. The firm and durable design ensures the screen will not over-stretch while folding or bulge while unfolding.
    Huawei Mate X
    8 inch 2480 x 2200 pixel OLED display (unfolded)
    6.6 inch 2480 x 1148 pixel front display (folded)
    6.38 inch 2480 x 892 pixel rear display (folded)
    Triple Leica Cameras: 8 MP telephoto / 40 MP wide / 16 MP ultra-wide
    Kirin 980 processor + Balong 5000 5G modem
    8 GB RAM / 512 GB storage + NM card (up to 256 GB)
    Dual SIM / Single SIM + NM
    4500 mAh battery with 55 W SuperCharge
    EMUI 9.1.1 powered by Android 9 Pie
    Colour: Interstellar Blue
    Available: Q2 2019
    Price: €2,299 (around $2,600 USD)

    Product Video:

    Sources: Huawei, Pocket-lint, The Verge

    by Published on 02-26-2019 03:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Air Motion and Hand ID are the buzzwords you need to know for LG's 2019 flagships, announced this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. To get an idea what those buzzwords mean, check the videos at the end of the post. First, some specs:

    LG G8ThinQ
    6.1 inch QHD+ OLED FullVision display
    Crystal Sound OLED Stereo Speaker (in-screen)
    Dual rear cameras: 12 MP standard / 16 MP super-wide
    Front camera: 8 MP standard
    Snapdragon 855 processor
    6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage + microSD (up to 2 TB)
    3500 mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0
    Android 9.0 Pie with Air Motion, Hand ID
    Colours: Carmine Red, New Aurora Black, New Moroccan Blue
    Price: TBA

    LG G8sThinQ
    6.2 inch FHD+ OLED FullVision display
    Triple rear cameras: 12 MP standard / 12 MP telephoto / 13 MP wide
    Front camera: 8 MP standard
    Snapdragon 855 processor
    6 GB RAM / 64 or 128 GB storage
    3550 mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0
    Android 9.0 Pie with Air Motion, Hand ID
    Price: TBA

    LG V50ThinQ 5G
    Primary screen: 6.4 inch QHD+ OLED display
    Secondary screen (optional accessory): 6.2 inch FHD+ OLED display
    Triple rear cameras: 12 MP standard / 12 MP wide / 12 MP super-wide
    Dual front cameras: 8 MP standard / 5 MP wide
    Snapdragon 855 processor
    6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage + microSD (up to 2 TB)
    4000 mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0
    Android 9.0 Pie
    Colour: Astro Black
    Price: TBA

    Product Videos:

    Sources: BGR, LG Newsroom

    by Published on 02-25-2019 02:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    This year's Mobile World Congress is well underway, and I'll be doing my best over the course of the week to bring you the best of what the show has to offer... Today we'll be taking a quick look at the return of Nokia's PureView brand, on a device with no less than five rear cameras (!)

    Working in perfect unison, the five 12 MP cameras collect up to 10 times more light than a single smartphone camera color sensor. The results: photos with superb dynamic range that capture detail and texture from both the highlights and shadows, plus incredible depth-of-field and vibrant, truest-to-life color.
    To be clear, you won't be getting different focal lengths from this device (ie. no zoom); instead Nokia's latest seeks to produce the best possible image from its five cameras and the same focal length.

    Notable specs are as follows:

    5.99 inch QHD pOLED display
    5 x 12 MP ZEISS rear cameras (3x mono, 2x RGB)
    20 MP selfie cam with flash
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
    6 GB RAM / 128 GB storage (no microSD)
    3320 mAh battery with Qi wireless charging
    In-display fingerprint sensor
    Android One powered by Android 9 Pie
    Available in Midnight Blue
    Price: $699 USD

    Sources: Nokia, The Verge

    by Published on 02-22-2019 03:20 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Wrapping up our coverage of this week's Galaxy Unpacked event with a set of wireless earbuds, a pair of fitness trackers and a new smartwatch.

    Galaxy Buds
    Bluetooth 5.0 / USB Type C
    Sensors: accelerometer, ear on/off detection, hall, proximity, touch,
    58 mAh battery (buds) / 252 mAh battery (charging case)
    Colours: black, white, yellow
    Requires Android 5.0 or later / 1.5 GB RAM
    Price: $129.99 USD / free with Galaxy Fold or pre-ordered Galaxy S10
    Available March 8th

    Source: Samsung, The Verge

    Galaxy Fit / Fit e
    0.95 inch full color AMOLED display, 120 x 240 pixels @ 282 ppi (Fit)
    0.74 inch PMOLED display, 64 x 128 pixels @ 193 ppi (Fit e)
    MCU Cortex processor running Realtime OS
    Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, HRM
    120 mAh battery with NFC wireless charging (Fit)
    70 mAh battery with Pogo charging (Fit e)
    5 ATM water resistance / MIL STD 810 G
    Colours: black, silver (Fit) / black, white, yellow (Fit e)
    Minimum requirements: Android 5.0, 1.5 GB RAM / iOS 9, iPhone 6
    Price: $99 USD (Fit)
    Available Q2 2019

    Sources: Samsung, Wearable

    Galaxy Watch Active
    1.1 inch full colour always on AMOLED display, 360 x 360 pixels
    Corning Gorilla Glass 3
    Exynos 9110 dual core processor running Tizen OS
    768 MB RAM / 4 GB storage
    A-GPS/Glonass, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, Wi-Fi b/g/n
    Sensors: accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, gyroscope, HRM
    230 mAh battery, WPC-based wireless charging
    5 ATM + IP 68 / MIL STD 810 G
    20 mm interchangeable strap
    Colours: black, rose gold, sea green, silver
    Minimum requirements: Android 5.0, 1.5 GB RAM / iOS 9.0, iPhone 5
    Price: $199.99 USD
    Available March 8th

    Sources: Samsung, The Verge

    by Published on 02-21-2019 03:45 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Continuing our coverage of this week's Galaxy Unpacked event, here are two additional smartphones that may or may not be coming your way this year...

    Galaxy Fold
    Main display: 7.3 inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3)
    Cover display: 4.6″ HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9)
    Triple rear cameras: telephoto, wide, ultra-wide
    Dual cover camera: selfie cam + depth sensor
    Unnamed 7nm 64-bit Octa-core processor
    12 GB RAM / 512 GB storage (no microSD)
    4380 mAh from two batteries
    Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
    One UI running on Android 9 Pie
    Price: $1980 USD
    Availability: Q2 2019

    Sources: Samsung, XDA

    Galaxy S10 5G
    6.7 inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display
    Quadruple rear cameras - telephoto, wide, ultra-wide + depth sensor
    Snapdragon 855 processor with X50 5G modem
    8 GB RAM / 256 GB storage (no microSD)
    4500 mAh battery
    Unknown biometric login
    Android 9 Pie
    Price: unknown
    Availability: Summer of 2019 in Europe, other markets to follow?

    Sources: Android Police, Samsung

    by Published on 02-20-2019 04:42 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked Event just wrapped up and there's a lot to (dammit) unpack. To be honest I'm a little overwhelmed by everything that was announced, so I'm going to break this down into a more manageable three parts.

    First, here's the Galaxy S10 family:

    Galaxy S10e
    5.8 inch 2280 x 1080 AMOLED display (19:9)
    Dual rear cameras - fast, ultra-wide
    Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor
    6 or 8 GB RAM / 128 or 256 GB storage with microSD
    3100 mAh battery
    Side-mounted fingerprint sensor / facial recognition
    One UI 1.1 running on Android 9 Pie
    Colours: Flamingo Pink, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White, Prism Green
    Price: from $750 USD

    Galaxy S10
    6.1 inch 3040 x 1440 AMOLED display (19:9)
    triple rear cameras - fast, telephoto, ultra-wide
    Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor
    8 GB RAM / 128 or 512 GB storage with microSD
    3400 mAh battery
    Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor / facial recognition
    One UI 1.1 running on Android 9 Pie
    Colours: Flamingo Pink, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White, Prism Green
    Price: from $900 USD

    Galaxy S10+
    6.7 inch 3040 x 1440 AMOLED display (19:9)
    triple rear cameras - fast, telephoto, ultra-wide
    Snapdragon 855 or Exynos 9820 processor
    8 or 12 GB RAM / 128, 512 GB or 1 TB storage with microSD
    4100 mAh battery
    Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor / facial recognition
    One UI 1.1 running on Android 9 Pie
    Colours: Flamingo Pink, Prism Black, Prism Blue, Prism White, Prism Green
    Price: from $1000 USD

    Sources: Android Central, Samsung

    by Published on 02-15-2019 03:15 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    Shenzhen-based Nubia Technology is, according to Tom's Guide, set to make their new smartwatch, the Nubia-α, official at 6:00pm local time on Monday, February 25th at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

    The good news: its flexible display is perfectly suited for a wristwatch.
    The bad news: baby's got some serious love handles over here.

    I'm only guessing but I'd be willing to bet that the evolution of its design went something like this: When it was decided that this thing would run a modified version of Android it became necessary to stick an enormous battery behind the screen. Someone said: "Hey, I bet we can hide that battery a bit by sticking a camera onto it", then someone else added: "Ooh, and if we put a SIM card slot in it the user could make video calls". And so the changes were made, without ever consulting the display team so that they could maybe, you know, make the screen a little wider?

    Check out this Mr. Mobile video to see how little the Alpha's design has changed since its first appearance behind glass at IFA last fall:

    If you're a wearable tech enthusiast like me, be thankful that your current smartwatch doesn't look anything like this.

    Source: Tom's Guide

    by Published on 02-14-2019 03:25 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Devices

    (Spoiler alert above...)

    Redditors on r/Android seem to be collectively freaking out over an Android Authority observation that NFC support is waning on devices from certain brands—specifically Alcatel, LG, Oppo and Xiaomi. As someone who boycotted the OnePlus 2 over its lack of NFC but also trialed LINE Pay while in Taiwan last month I can absolutely understand why.

    Two words: QR codes.

    Alipay (which I'm expecting to be crowned the new king of mobile payments any minute now) relies on QR codes, as does WeChat Pay and LINE Pay. My personal experience in Taiwan was that smaller vendors who would otherwise only accept cash were usually set up for LINE Pay as well, since LINE is the island nation's most popular messaging platform.

    Are QR codes less secure than NFC? Probably—although LINE Pay at least generates a one-time code per transaction that's only valid for five minutes. But I'm of the opinion that on-device security takes a back seat to your credit card company, who should be on the hook to cover you for any fraudulent charges to your account, whether made through a mobile app or otherwise.

    My big test for LINE Pay will come this April when I try it out in its home market, the notoriously credit-card-averse country of Japan. I'll have to get back to you on how that goes...

    Source: Android Authority via reddit

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