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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Moto X Force pre-orders start in the UK

The Moto X Force got official as the international version of Verizon's Droid Turbo 2 last week, and now it's already up for pre-order at several retailers in the UK.
You can pre-order the Moto X Force in SIM-free and unlocked form from Handtec for £497.99,Clove for £499, Expansys for £499.99, or Carphone Warehouse for £529.99.
If you want to get the phone on an operator contract, Carphone Warehouse is the only option for now. The Moto X Force is free on Pay monthly plans starting at £37.50 per month. That cheapest choice is at O2, and it delivers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 1 GB of 4G data each month.

At the exact opposite end of the spectrum we find a £59.99 per month plan at EE, which gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 20GB of data. There are many other options in between, though, as you'd expect.
Handtec expects to have the Moto X Force in stock on November 9, while Carphone Warehouse promises that pre-ordered units will be delivered by November 10, and Clove says the phone is due around November 14.
The Moto X Force has a shatterproof 5.4-inch QHD touchscreen, a 21 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front snapper, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 powering it, and a 3,760 mAh battery. It runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

LG device rolls through the FCC, looks like a new G4 variant

Documents for a new LG device have appeared on the FCC's website yesterday with the product number "H815PX". The LG G4's product number for the South American and South African variant is "H815P".
It is not clear why LG would keep the "815**" code since the US variants use the numbers "H810", and "H811" for AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively, while Sprint and Verizon models don't even start with "H" but "LS" and "VS".
The original launch of the LG G4 did not include wireless charging out of the box, rather, an optional charging cover was required to use this feature. These FCC documents show wireless charging as a major feature of this device. Could this be a variant of the LG G4 with wireless charging out of the box coming out in time for the holiday season?
Could this even be the LG G5? Unlikely - perhaps this is just a refresh of the LG G4 and not even a brand new phone. We just don't see how this can be an LG G5 when the product number on the documents is so close to the original G4's "H815" released back in April of this year.
At this point, for all we know this could even be an LG V10 variant. There isn't any way of knowing until LG sends out invitations for an event or carriers start selling new variants of the same phone.
Via | Source

Android 6.0 Marshmallow rolling out to LG G4 in South Korea

LG started rolling out the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to the G4 smartphone in Poland last month, and now the update has begun hitting the flagship device in the company's home country of South Korea.
Poland isn't particularly a major market for the company, so last month's roll out there was essentially a test run. And with Android 6.0 now rolling out in a main region like South Korea, it looks like LG didn't face any major issues with the update in the European country.
In South Korea, G4 devices with model numbers LG-F500K, LG-F500L, and LG-F500S are currently getting the update, which brings features like the new Doze mode that helps save your device's battery, better permissions management and microSD support, and more. A couple of LG apps - Q+ and Bridge - have also been renamed to Memo Capture + and AirDrive, respectively.
There's currently no information on which regions will be getting the update next.
Via 1 2

Friday, October 9, 2015

Android Lollipop is now installed on 23.5% of devices

Last month, Lollipop finally crossed the 20% mark in Google's Android distribution chart. That means that as of the beginning of September, 21% of all active Android devices ran one of the two versions called Lollipop.
One month later, Android 5.x keeps climbing, though it's not a fast ascension, that's for sure. In the just published chart for the beginning of October, Google reveals that 23.5% of all active Android devices now run Lollipop.

KitKat is down slightly, to 38.9% from 39.2% last month. The three iterations of Jelly Bean combined now have 30.2% market share, down from 31.8%. Ice Cream Sandwich falls to 3.4% from 3.7%, and Gingerbread goes to 3.8% from 4.1%. Oddly enough, Froyo is still stuck at 0.2% of installs, just as it was in September.
Older versions aren't part of this report because it's generated using data gathered from the new Play Store app, which only works on Android 2.2 Froyo or later. Next month we should see Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the chart for the first time, now that the new version is making its way to Nexus and Android One devices.

Google to announce Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X in India on October 13

Google has sent out media invites in India for the launch of the company's latest Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones. The event will be held in New Delhi on October 13, where the pricing and availability will be officially revealed.

So far we have seen the two phones appear on the Google Store India so it is no surprise that the company is launching them shortly after the US announcement. We also saw Flipkartteasing the Nexus 6P in India. We already know the prices of all the variants of both devices, which you can find here.

Nexus 6P will be exclusively sold by SoftBank in Japan

The Huawei-made Google Nexus 6P smartphone, which was made official last week along with the LG-made Nexus 5X, will be carrier exclusive to SoftBank in Japan. The carrier will begin taking pre-orders for the device on October 9 - tomorrow.
What's good is that you'll also be able to pre-order the Japan-exclusive Gold color model of the handset (shown above), although only in the 64GB configuration. The model is officially called Nexus 6P Special Edition. Another thing worth mentioning is that none of the colors will be available in the 128GB configuration.
Meanwhile, both NTT and Y!Mobile will sell the Nexus 5X - while the former will carry only Quartz and Carbon color options, the latter will offer Ice variant as well. There is currently no word from any of the carriers on the pricing of the devices.

Apple is largest OEM, Android most popular mobile OS in the US

The latest US smartphone market stats for August are in, courtesy of market research firmcomScore. A total of 191.1 million people in the US own a smartphone in the three month period ending in August, resulting in a 77.1% mobile market penetration.

The analytic data shows that Apple is still the leading OEM in the US with 44.1% of the market, up 0.6 percent points from last month. It's followed by Samsung and LG with 27.4% and 9.1%, with the latter managing to grow its presence 0.9 percent points. Motorola and HTC are following with 4.7% and 3.4%, respectively.

As for smartphone platform market share, Android is still the top dog, despite a small fall from the previous three month period. Now, Android takes 51.7% of the market, while Apple is at 44.1% after a 0.6 percent point rise. Microsoft's mobile OS is down slightly and is at 2.9%.

comScore has also run an analysis on the top smartphone apps and Facebook is at the top, as it's installed on 3 out of 4 smartphones in the US. Next up is Facebook Messenger and YouTube at 59.8% and 59.5%.

Apple iPad Pro will be available to order in late October, rumor says

The (literally) biggest device Apple announced last month at its fall event was the iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch tablet is the largest Apple's ever made, and it's still not available to purchase unfortunately.
That, however, may change towards the end of this month. According to certain unnamed sources that are said to be reliable, you'll be able to order an iPad Pro online starting in late October. That said, deliveries will probably start in early November.

That's also when the iPad Pro will be up for grabs in physical stores, the same people go on to say. The exact same timeline apparently applies to the new Apple TV set top box too: like the tablet, it will be available online at the end of the month, with shipping starting in early November, which is also when it will be found in stores.

Apple quietly begins selling unlocked iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Apple quietly began selling unlocked iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the United States. The SIM-free variants of the smartphones arrive on the market less than two weeks after the product family’s retail launch.

The SIM-free Apple Phone 6s sports the model number A1633. Its larger sibling features the model number A1634. Both devices require the buyer to pay their retail price in full at the time of purchase. The iPhone 6s starts at $649, while the iPhone 6s Plus will set you back $749 and up.
Today, Apple will also launch the iPhone 6s family in a plethora of European markets, as well as Mexico and Taiwan.
Source | Via

OnePlus 2 to be available in India sans invite on October 12

OnePlus has announced that its latest flagship, the OnePlus 2, will be available for purchase on Amazon India without any invite on October 12, which is coming Monday. However, the open sale will last for just one hour - 12:00 to 1 PM.
"While we’ve alleviated the invite demand to a reasonable extent on account of faster roll-outs, we feel that we owe it to you all to make it a bit more convenient this time around," the Chinese smartphone manufacturer said in a blog post.
It's worth mentioning that this would be the first open sale for the "2016 flagship killer" ever since it was released back in August this year. The handset, which went on sale in Malaysia last month, costs INR 25,000 (around $385) for the Sandstone Black variant (64GB).

Motorola launches Moto X Style in India

Motorola has announced the Moto X Style for the Indian market. The phone will be available exclusively through Flipkart and pre-ordering starts from October 14, midnight.

The Moto X Style has a 5.7-inch QHD IPS LCD, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM, 16/32GB storage with microSD support, 21 megapixel rear camera with 4K video and phase detection autofocus, 5 megapixel front camera, front stereo speakers, water repellant coating, 3000mAh battery with Turbo Charging, and Android 5.1 Lollipop.
The 16GB variant is priced at INR 29,999 ($462) and the 32GB at INR 31,999 ($493). The phone will only be available in black and white/champagne gold initially.

Meizu Pro 5 delayed until November due to factory flood

The Meizu Pro 5, which was made official later last month and was scheduled to go on sale on October 12, won't be released until next month. According to the company, the delay was caused by floods that hit a manufacturing facility in the Chinese city of Guangdong.
The facility in question manufactures the unibody chassis. There was, however, no word on whether the unfortunate situation would affect the release or sales of any of the Chinese company's other devices.
If you aren't already aware, the Pro 5 is powered by a Samsung Exynos 7420 chipset, and sports a 5.7" Super AMOLED screen of 1080p resolution. It comes with 3GB/4GB RAM and 32GB/64GB memory options, and packs in a 3050mAh battery.
In terms of camera, the handset features a 21MP rear unit and a 5MP front shooter. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop-based Flyme 5 OS.

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus arrive in 42 new countries

Apple has revealed that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones, which were released on September 25 in the first wave of countries, will be available in over 40 more countries by October 10 - tomorrow.
Over 35 countries will get the handsets today. These include Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Those regions where the devices will be released tomorrow are: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. A third wave will see the flagships releasing in 24 additional countries starting October 16, including Turkey, India, and Malaysia, taking the total count of countries to over 75 and making it the fastest iPhone roll-out ever.
The Cupertino-based company plans to release the smartphones, which are now available unlocked in the United States, in more than 130 countries by the end of 2015.

Samsung Galaxy A9 spotted in AnTuTu, S620 chipset confirmed

The Samsung Galaxy A9 poked its head above water again, surfacing at the AnTuTu benchmark database. It casts another vote for a 5.5" 1080p screen, even though the naming scheme suggests the A9 should be better than the Galaxy A8 (5.7" 1080p).
It's definitely better in terms of chipset – the Snapdragon 620 has next-gen CPU cores and a next-gen GPU. The eight Cortex-72 cores should be much faster than the A53s used in current mid-range octa-cores. The Adreno 510 will also bring a much needed performance boost for 1080p gaming. And there's more RAM, 3GB.

There's 32GB of built-in storage, but AnTuTu failed to detect the camera resolution. The Samsung Galaxy A9 (SM-A9000) ran Android 5.1.1 Lollipop when the test was ran (which was most likely a pre-production version).
Source | Via

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Android 6.0 Marshmallow factory images are out for Nexus devices

Google already announced that it would release Android 6.0 Marshmallow this week, and it looks like the company wants to start in force. That's because it's already made factory images of the new version available for the Nexus devices that are supported.
The images are up on Google's specialized developer website, which is where you can also find instructions for flashing them. Keep in mind however that going this route will delete all data you've had on your phone or tablet, so make sure you back things up first.

The images are there for the LG Nexus 5, Motorola Nexus 6, Asus Nexus 7 (2013), HTC Nexus 9, and Asus Nexus Player. Older Nexus devices are not going to get official updates to Marshmallow, while the newly announced LG Nexus 5X and Huawei Nexus 6P will launch with it preinstalled.
Now that the factory images are available, expect over-the-air updates to start rolling out for the aforementioned devices within the next few days. Updating in this way will not wipe your data, so it's an easier method compared to flashing images. On the other hand, Google's OTA rollouts are generally very slow, so you will need to be patient if you choose this option.

Moto X Style will launch in India on October 8 according to new teaser

Of the duo of Moto X smartphones announced this year by Motorola, the Moto X Play is already available in India. On the other hand, the high-end Moto X Style isn't yet, but that may change very soon.
Motorola started teasing the launch of the Moto X Style in the subcontinent last week, and now it looks like we have an actual date to speak of. The image you can see below is a teaser put up by Flipkart, India's biggest online retailer (which could be gearing up to exclusively offer this device).
Now all that remains to be seen is whether the Moto X Style will actually be available for purchase on October 8 or if that's just the date of its announcement for the Indian market (in which case it's going to be released later).
As for pricing, it's expected to be in the INR 30,000-32,000 range (that's about $460-491 or €411-439 right now).
Source | Via

Upcoming OnePlus Mini has all of its specs detailed

Before the end of the year, OnePlus will unveil a new, even more affordable device. This has so far been confirmed many times by the Chinese company's management. Yet understandably OnePlus execs haven't disclosed any information about the upcoming device's specs.
That said, today a new rumor comes to seemingly reveal all of that. Before we delve into it, however, do note that all of this comes from an anonymous source, and as such you shouldn't take any of it for granted. Furthermore, the source itself claims that these details are from a prototype that's already two months old, which means that certain hardware specs may have changed in the meantime.
The phone could be called OnePlus Mini, since it will have a 5-inch touchscreen (with 1080p resolution and 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top). It will be powered by MediaTek's Helio X10 chipset (MT6795T), which comes with a 2.2 GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU.

2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable eMMC 5.0 storage are in, but you can forget the previously talked about dual-camera setup. On the back we'll see a 13 MP unit with a Sony IMX258 sensor with f/2.0 aperture, complemented by a dual-tone LED flash. The selfie shooter will have 5 MP resolution and will be of the wide-angle variety in order to fit as many people into your "groufies" as necessary.
The battery capacity is said to be 3,000 or 3,100 mAh, which you'll charge through a USB Type-C port. Interestingly, some sort of quick charging support will be baked in, unlike in the more premium OnePlus 2. It's the same situation with NFC and an IR blaster, both of which will be integrated into the OnePlus Mini despite not having made it to the bigger device.
A fingerprint sensor will be on the back of the OnePlus Mini, and the handset will also have a 1.2W front-facing speaker, an FM radio, and IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. Its shell will be plastic.
For all of this you'll only need to pay around $250, if the source of this rumor has it right. The OnePlus Mini should become available in November or December, though it's unclear if invites will be required for buying it.

Droid Maxx 2 will be Verizon's Moto X Play, Google confirms

Verizon still hasn't refreshed its Droid-branded line of exclusive Android devices this year, but that's bound to happen in the next few weeks. Back in August many leaks and rumors claimed that the carrier's upcoming Droid Maxx 2 would be nothing more than a rebranded Moto X Play. In fact, some leaked live images of the Droid Maxx 2 pretty much confirmed that beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, in case you somehow still weren't sure of this, Google can help. See, someone at the search giant managed to inadvertently confirm the fact that the Droid Maxx 2 is just a Moto X Play by another name.

What you see above is a screenshot of the Google support page listing which Android devices are optimized for using the Cast Screen feature with the Chromecast. The second row spells things out, black on white, as it says "Droid Maxx 2 (Verizon) or Moto X Play (Rest of World)". One and the same device, then.
The mishap has since been corrected by Google and any mention of the Droid Maxx 2 is now gone from that support page, but it's pretty clear that someone at the company simply forgot that this handset isn't official just yet. Hopefully that will change soon.

Flipkart teases Nexus 6P in India

Flipkart has started teasing the Nexus 6P on its website. A new page lists all the new features of the phone but does not mention the price and only says 'Coming Soon' for release date.

Then again, we already know the price, thanks to the Google Store. As we previously reported, the Nexus 6P in India will be priced at INR 39,999 for the 32GB mode, INR 42,999 for the 64GB model, and INR 47,999 for the 128GB model.
Flipkart hasn't mentioned the Nexus 5X yet, even though the phone is listed on the Google Store.

Sony releases Android 6.0 Marshmallow update device list

Sony has officially issued a blog post detailing the list of phones and tablets bound to receive Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Here go the lucky devices:
  • Xperia Z5
  • Xperia Z5 Compact
  • Xperia Z5 Premium
  • Xperia Z4 Tablet
  • Xperia Z3+
  • Xperia Z3
  • Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
  • Xperia Z2
  • Xperia Z2 Tablet
  • Xperia M5
  • Xperia C5 Ultra
  • Xperia M4 Aqua
  • Xperia C4
The company didn't provide a specific time frame for when each devices will receive the update just yet. Sony also warns users that timing and availability of Android 6.0 Marshmallow will vary according to market and service provides.
As usual, we'll be keeping you informed when the first updates for Sony smartphones start rolling out

Microsoft Lumia 950 goes official with PureView camera

Owners of a flagship Windows Phone have had their patience stretched thin, but those that held off have been rewarded. The Microsoft Lumia 950 improves on just about every feature of the Lumia 930. About time too, the 930 is a year and a half old.

The Windows 10 Mobile device comes with a 5.2" QHD screen – the sharpest on a Lumia yet. Like the XL screen, this one is an AMOLED with Glance screen and ClearBlack, except in a more compact footprint this time.
The camera is basically the same – a 20MP PureView sensor (1/2.4") with 5th gen optical stabilization and Carl Zeiss optics (f/1.9). It can record 2160p video natively with Lumia's traditional Hi-Fi audio recording. There's a 5MP/1080p selfie camera too, but without the LED flash.
The Lumia 950 is powered by Snapdragon 808 with liquid cooling and 3GB of RAM. Gaming performance will take a hit if devs want to use the screen's full QHD resolution, but for general app usage Windows was never picky about the chipset.

The phone comes with USB Type-C and wireless charging, plus a relatively big 3,000mAh battery. Using the Type-C connector you can hook up the Display Dock, which gives you HDMI and DisplayPort video out plus three USBs.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 will cost $550, available in November. There's a dual-SIM version too.

$139 Microsoft Lumia 550 is a 4.7" Windows 10 smartphone

Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 and L flagship pair and just as we though the devices event was moving from the Lumias towards the Surface, a Lumia 550 was briefly mentioned. An entire ten seconds of the spotlight were enough to announce the affordable smartphone will be available in December for $139.
The list of specs starts with a 4.7-inch LCD display of a 720p resolution, which seems to be the best part on paper. Computing power comes from a Snapdragon 210 chipset with a quad-core 1.1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM.
Storage is a rather limiting 8GB, but is expandable via microSD. There’s a 5MP/2MP camera combo and full LTE support, courtesy of Qualcomm’s chip.
Microsoft Lumia 550

The Microsoft Lumia 550 will be available in a variety of colors for its detachable polycarbonate back cover, a staple of the lower end Lumias. Battery capacity is listed at 2,100mAh, and the whole package measures 136.1 x 67.8 x 9.9mm.
The affordable Windows 10 device tips the scales at 141.9g, virtually the same as the new iPhone 6s. Apparently, that's the industry standard for a 4.7-inch smartphone.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Twitter Names Jack Dorsey CEO, Adam Bain Becomes COO, Dick Costolo Steps Down From Board

After four months of running under Jack Dorsey interim chief executive, today Twitter finally named him as its permanent leader. The man who helped co-found Twitter in 2006 is now its full-time CEO again.
In addition to the new permanent role for Dorsey, Adam Bain is becoming COO — Bain used to handle revenue and partnerships at Twitter and was another CEO candidate. Dorsey also announced that a new board is in the works. The company already announced that Dick Costolo stepped down from the board. Dorsey will continue to serve as a board member but no longer as chairman.
“There are currently no plans to provide Mr. Dorsey with direct compensation for his role as Chief Executive Officer,” Twitter writes in the SEC document announcing the changes.
In an investor call, Twitter executives announced the changes and answered questions. “It’s our goal to exceed the expectations the world has for us,” Dorsey said. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“I’ve worked in partnership with Jack since I joined Twitter in 2010,” Bain said. He also said that he’s met with Dorsey over the years to talk about business, product and overall strategy. He also commented on the last four months as Dorsey has been temporary CEO for quite a while now.
“He’s got the senior staff working better than ever,” he said. “He’s also led the team for a product re-envisioning and product roadmap for 2016.” Naturally, the conversation shifted toward this mysterious product roadmap.
When asked about it, Dorsey alluded to project lightning, Twitter’s plan to show relevant live content to casual users.
“We’ve been reviewing our roadmap to make sure that we make Twitter easier to everyone around the world,” he said. “There’s a lot of initiatives aimed at making sure that people can immediately get value out of Twitter.”
At the same time, Dorsey reassured existing Twitter users, saying that the company is also building new tools to let power users do more things. “We’ve been playing with [Lightning] internally for quite some time and it feels… amazing,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey is juggling the job with a couple of other roles. In addition to already being the social network’s chairman of the board, he is also the CEO of Square, a payment processing company that he co-founded in 2009 and is reportedly slated for a public offering sometime this year. Insiders at Square have been quietly assuring everyone that Dorsey plans to stick around as CEO.
When it comes to splitting his time between Square, Dorsey dodged the question during the investor call.

An End To Many Speculations

After a Re/code article was published citing sources saying that Dorsey’s new permanent job was imminent, Twitter’s stock popped a few percentage points followed by a sharp decline and another rise.
Throughout his interim CEO period, Dorsey has remained committed to leading Square, as well. But the fact that Dorsey was already running another company when he took over as interim CEO of Twitter from Dick Costolo may have been one of the sticking points when considering him for the job long-term: Chris Sacca, a vocal Twitter investor,claims that a Twitter board member was one of the people who took issue with Dorsey doing both jobs simultaneously.
Some may have believed that the CEO role would always go to Dorsey, but more widely the move brings to an end one of the more-speculated leadership vacancies in the tech industry. Other names that we had heard floated for the job included insiders Adam Bain (head of revenue and partnerships and now COO) and CFO Anthony Noto; Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn; Bradley Horowtiz from Google and Padmasree Warrior.
We may now have a name to engrave on the back of the chair at the top of the table, but it doesn’t make that seat any less hot.
Twitter’s stock has been on a roller coaster, with the company weathering questions about its user growth and engagement, leadership changes, and more existentially what it is as a product. That’s led many to debate whether the company, with its stock in a dip, would simply get snapped up by a bigger fish like Google.
In that regard, you can see how someone leading Twitter who has been connected to it and its bigger vision from the start could make a lot of sense. Now the question will be how Dorsey implements that legacy advantage.