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Monday, May 11, 2015

Samsung Gulf now says no Lollipop for Galaxy Note 8.0

Just a week after it said that the Galaxy Note II won't be getting Lollipop, Samsung Gulf has now revealed that the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet will also not receive the update. The subsidiary made the revelation in a reply to a query on its Facebook page (see image below).
However, Samsung's decision to not update the Note 8.0 could be region-specific, given that the South Korean company's Spain and Denmark subsidiaries have already confirmed the Android 5.0 update for the Note II. But to be sure, we'll have to wait for other Samsung subsidiaries to reveal their update plans for the Note 8.0.
Meanwhile, Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S4 models have started receiving the Lollipop update.

Alleged press image of Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 leaks out

Purported live photo of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet made the rounds on Twitter, courtesy of @OnLeaks. The Korean giant’s full-size tablet is rumored to make its official debut at some point in June.
Overall, it appears that Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 will feature similar design language as the Galaxy S6 smartphone. This should hardly catch anyone by surprise - last year’s Samsung Galaxy Tab Srocked the same design as the Galaxy S5.
The leaked image appears to showcase a slate with cellular network connectivity. A SIM card slot and a microSD card slot are sitting side by side.
Past rumors have suggested that Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 might be thinner than iPad Air 2. Allegedspecs of the slate include 9.7” display with 2048 x 1536 pixels (like recent iPads and the Nexus 9), 3GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in storage, 8MP rear camera, and 2MP front snapper. The chipset is going to be a Samsung Exynos solution with octa-core CPU.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Moto X (2014) Android 5.1 soak test begins

Motorola has just started the soak test of the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Moto X (2014) 2nd generation smartphones across select countries. Along with the laundry list of bug fixes and tweaks, a couple of interesting features are also included.

Moto Action app offers different gestures to perfect specific function with the Moto X smartphones. So far, one can wave in front of the screen for incoming call to silent the ringer. The new Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the soak test adds a new ‘Chop Twice for Flashlight’ gesture to Moto Action app.

Basically, the Moto X (2014) users can simply perform the chop action using their phone twice to turn on the Flashlight directly and do it again to switch it off. A quick nifty way to turn on the flashlight instead of scrambling through the app drawer while looking for the Flash light app.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Microsoft quietly testing new Lumia with 4.7" screen in India

Microsoft has decided to attack the entry-level smartphones category in India by introducing multiple models. While the high-end Lumia devices remain work-in-progress, yet another budget-level Windows Phone device is being tested in India.

As per Zauba's import data, Microsoft is testing a Lumia phone with RM-1127 product code. This phone has a 4.7" display and is a single-SIM device.
Bearing a declared value of INR4,578, the actual price of this phone might be significantly higher, as noted in the case of Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL recently. Since the Lumia RM-1127 is only being tested, it might take couple of months for it to release formally.
Source | Via

Upcoming iPad Pro will feature A9 CPU, Force Touch, and NFC

A new report from Apple Insider citing people familiar with Cupertino’s agenda sheds light on some of the specs of the upcoming iPad Pro. The upcoming full-size slate will allegedly feature next-generation A9 CPU, NFC, Force Touch, and USB-C connector.
The presence of an Apple A9 chip in the 12.9” iPad Pro should hardly catch anyone by surprise. The component will all but certainly be a beefed up version of the CPU that will debut in the iPhone 6 successor.
NFC might allow the iPad Pro to work as a terminal for receiving Apple Pay transactions, as well as for connecting the tablet to a previously rumored, pressure-sensitive Bluetooth stylus. It is highly unlikely that the tablet will be used often for making payments given its size.
USB-C will not be the only iPad Pro port. The slate is also expected to have a Lightning connector as well.
Last week, the alleged measures of the unannounced slate appeared via leaked schematics. Apple iPad Pro will likely debut at some point this fall.

Upcoming Lenovo A6600 gets TENAA certification in China

A yet to be revealed Lenovo A6600 appeared in TENAA certification listing in China. The entry-level smartphone is rumored to cost around $110 when it becomes available.
Lenovo A6600 features MediaTek chipset with 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of expandable memory. The display is a 5” unit with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
There is an 8MP main camera on the back of the device, coupled with 5MP front-facing unit. The smartphone has a 7.5mm waistline and LTE connectivity.
Overall, save for the different chipset, the specs of Lenovo A6600 are similar to those of Lenovo A6000 Plus. The device boots a rather old Android 4.4.4 KitKat, which should be replaced by Android Lollipop at some point in the future.
No word on the exact launch date of Lenovo A6600 just yet. Expect to see the handset in three different colors when it debuts - white, black, and gold.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Microsoft to launch two high-end Lumia phones later this year

Microsoft recently shared more details on the Windows 10 OS for desktops but didn't give us much on its phone platform. Later, the operating system group chief Joe Belfoire noted that the Windows 10 for phones will arrive later this year.
Now we learn Microsoft is also planning to introduce two high-end Lumia devices with its latest platform. These Lumia devices can be expected to run Windows 10 out of the box.

Out of the two, a premium model with codename Cityman will sport a 5.7-inch QHD display, an Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset with octa-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a 3,300 mAh removable battery. The Cityman will feature a 20MP rear snapper which hopefully carries the PureView lineup a step further and a 5 MP front camera.
Meanwhile, Talkman will feature a 5.2-inch QHD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC with hexa-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB built-in storage, and 3,000 mAh battery. This one will also have a 20MP rear snapper and 5MP front camera.
There's no way of verifying the validity of this report so take it with a healthy pinch of salt.

Samsung acknowledges Galaxy S5 Lollipop update issues

Back in March this year, the Android Lollipop update for the Galaxy S5 (as well as the S4) was put on hold by Samsung Norway due to some major issues, but as the update reached the UK the following week, we thought it was an isolated problem. However, now we learn that's not the case.
Users of the Galaxy S5 have been complaining about the update in the UK, too, and just days ago the local branch of the South Korean company finally admitted to the issues plaguing the update, promising to roll out "micro updates" to help resolve them.

Source | Via

Galaxy Tab A series tablets now available in US

As confirmed earlier, Samsung has released its Galaxy Tab A series tablets, the Tab A 9.7 and the Tab A 8.0, in the United States. The devices are available for purchase from multiple retailers, including Amazon and Office Depot.
The 8-inch model carries a price tag of $230, while the 9.7-inch variant will set you back $300. Both tablets are available in White, Titanium, and Smoky Blue color options.
Meanwhile, it is expected that a special edition 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab A with S Pen (in Titanium color) carrying a price tag of $349.99 will be out on May 17.

Windows 10 for smartphones will not launch this summer

Microsoft will not launch Windows 10 for smartphones this summer. The Redmond giant’s Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore delivered the new at a Build media event in San Francisco.
As it turns out, Microsoft is focused on launching Windows 10 for PC first. Builds of the new OS for smartphones are said to be behind in their development compared to their desktop counterparts.
The above strategy by Microsoft should hardly catch anyone by surprise. The company pulled a similar trick with the launch of Windows 8.1 - its variant for smartphones (Windows Phone 8.1) arrived at a later stage.

Huawei's Honor 6 Plus smartphone arrives in UK

As confirmed by the company last month, Huawei's Honor 6 Plus smartphone, which was released back in December last year, is now available for purchase in the UK. Three UK is selling the SIM-free version (black color) of the device for £299 ($457).
It's worth noting that Three UK is the exclusive carrier partner for the device in the country, and those ordering the handset from the carrier will receive it starting May 6.
In addition, the SIM-free version of the device is also available for pre-order from Amazon UK, which has both white and black color models on offer, and will ship the device starting May 18.

Samsung’s Tizen Store now available worldwide

Samsung has made the Tizen Store available in 182 countries around the world, even as the company's only Tizen-based smartphone - the Z1 - is currently only available in India and Bangladesh, according to Wall Street Journal.
The move clearly indicates that the South Korean company has plans to bring Tizen phones to more countries around the world. And since the Tizen Store currently has little to boast in terms of big-name apps, Samsung might be hoping to attract more app developers by expanding the store's reach.
Samsung, however, is keeping its cards close to its chest, claiming that the plan for Tizen smartphones has not changed since the launch of the Z1.

YU to launch Yuphoria on May 12 in India

YU Televentures, a Micromax subsidiary, is ready to introduced its second major smartphone after the Yureka. The Indian company has been sharing teasers about the new smartphone under the label Project Caesar.
Now the YU Televentures official Twitter account has shared an update which clearly states the arrival of the next major handset. Quite obviously the Yuphoria will feature Cyanogen 12 OS based on Android 5.0 Lollipop.

YU will introduce the Yuphoria smartphone on May 12 but there are no details available on the specifications, price, and availability of the smartphone.

Samsung Pay scheduled to launch in the second half of 2015

Samsung has revealed that its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay, will be launched in the second half of this year, and the first countries to take advantage of the service will be the US and South Korea.
The revelation was made by Samsung Electronics’ Managing Director, Park Jin-Young, who also said that “the consecutive release schedule to the rest of the other countries […] in the second half of the year is still under discussion.“
For those who aren't in the know, Samsung Pay was announced back in March during this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC). It uses near-field communications (NFC) and magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology developed by LoopPay.

Apple iPad Pro dimensions detailed in a leak

The Apple iPad Pro has been an ongoing rumor for no less than a year and a half now, and at some point it was even expected last fall. So far the large tablet has remained elusive, but we've seen alleged live images of one or two bumper cases for it as well an artist's take on the slate's looks.
A new leak now claims to detail the iPad Pro's dimensions, and also suggests that the screen will be 12.9 inches instead of the 12.2 inches where the rumors had previously settled. The schematics reveal a footprint measuring 305.7 x 222.6mm. A 12.9-inch screen in 4:3 aspect should be 196.6 x 261.2mm, which would mean a screen-to-body ratio of about 75.7%. Compare that to the current iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 which are both around the 71.7% mark.

The tablet is reported to be 7.2mm thin, which is a good achievement, when Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and Tab Pro 12.2 are both thicker at 8mm. Such a large tablet would be prone to bending though, if the designers overdo it on the slimming down trend.
Other body elements that are noticeable in the schematics are the speaker grilles - typical iPhone 6 design, but there are no less than four of them. That should promise some serious sound output, unless it was merely symmetry the designers were after and there are no actual speakers behind all of the grilles.
A single port on the short side is also pictured, and our guess is that it would be a USB Type-C port, judging by Apple's latest MacBook 12". A volume rocker, headphone jack and a power button are also positioned on the sides, while a camera is drawn in one of the corners on the back.
Now, the source of the drawing is @OnLeaks, so it should be credible enough. But the blueprint itself is dated December 2014 and five months later we're yet to see more sound proof of the iPad Pro's existence, so don't get overly excited.

Google Nexus 6 battery swells and explodes

The battery on the Nexus 6 has been one of the sore points of the phone. It would have been one thing if it was just a case of poor battery life but the phone also has technical issues with the battery, where it has been found in several cases to swell, causing the rear cover to pop open.

In case of this particular user, however, it didn't just swell. The battery on her Nexus 6 actually exploded, although thankfully, there was no fire. This happened while the phone was lying unused, and not being charged. Not that that should cause the battery to explode, either.
You probably don't hear too much about the Nexus 6 battery issues because the phone itself isn't terribly popular. However, this is not some minor issue that one can ignore and battery issues need to be taken seriously. Hopefully, Motorola will act on it and find some concrete solution.

Platinum Gold Galaxy S6/S6 Edge arrives in Canada

Just over a week before the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge launched in Canada, Samsung had said that the Gold Platinum variant will be released in the country “in the coming weeks… through major carriers.” Looks like the wait is over.
The model is now available for purchase from Rogers, Fido, Telus, Videotron, and SaskTel. Everything else, including the specifications as well as the price, remains the same.
For those who aren't in the know, Samsung's latest flagship smartphones were only available in the Black Sapphire and White Pearl colour options at launch in Canada.

Lenovo A3900 with 5-inch display now official

The Lenovo A3900, which was spotted at TENNA (China's FCC) back in February this year, has been announced. Priced at $80, the smartphone is now listed on its manufacturer's website.
Specs-wise, the handset is powered by a MediaTek MT6752 chipset with 1.2GHz octa-core processor, and sports a 5-inch (480 x 854) display. It comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of expandable memory, and packs in a 2300mAh battery.
In terms of camera, the budget device features a 5MP rear unit and a 2MP front shooter. It runs Android 4.4 with the Chinese company's own Vibe UI on top, and supports 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and OTG connectivity.

Android Lollipop with Flyme OS 4.5.1 arrives on Meizu MX4 Pro

As expected, the high-end Meizu MX4 Pro began receiving Android Lollipop. Sized 650MB, the new firmware is seeding to the smartphone over-the-air.
After the update, the smartphone will boot to Android 5.0.1 with Flyme OS 4.5.1A. Meizu MX4 Pro launched with Android 4.4.4 with Flyme OS 4.0.
Reportedly, Meizu MX4 Pro has become significantly more responsive thanks to the new ART runtime in Android Lollipop. The update is also said to improve the accuracy of the device’s home button, as well as partially address its heating issues.
If you are a Meizu MX4 Pro owner, head over to the device’s settings to check if the new firmware is available.

LG G3 S starts receiving Android Lollipop update in Europe

The LG G3 has been running Android 5.0 Lollipop for quite a while now, but so far the same hasn't been true for the G3 S. This is the midrange handset that looks like the G3, but comes with lesser specs. It's probably the closest thing to a G3 Mini, as it were.
And apparently LG hasn't forgotten about the G3 S on the software front. The Korean company has started pushing the Lollipop update to G3 S units, at least in Hungary.
Since the new software is already out in Hungary, it might make it to other European countries very soon. After applying the update, the G3 S runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, and software version V20a.
Since Android 5.0 is only now making its way to the G3 S, it's still unclear when (or if) this device will receive the update to Android 5.1, or LG's newest UI overlay on top of Google's OS.

Asus releases Lollipop update for ZenFone 5

Asus has released the Android Lollipop update for its ZenFone 5 (A500KL) smartphone, which went on sale back in July last year.
After installing the update (click the Source 1 link below to download it), which is 819.44MB in size, you'll be on software version TW_V12.4.5.21. However, the Taiwanese company is advising users to upgrade their devices to software version V11.4.6.94 before installing the Lollipop update.
As for other ZenFones, here's is the Android Lollipop update plan:

ZTE Nubia Z9 spotted on TENAA with crazy specs

ZTE revealed two models under the Nubia brand a month ago, the Nubia Z9 Max and Z9 mini. Meanwhile the true flagship Nubia Z9 remains unannounced, and that is expected to change on May 6, when a launch event is scheduled.
The Nubia Z9 hasn't exactly been kept a secret though and showed up on a number of occasions sporting a near-bezelless design and a metal frame for enhanced durability. But while there was also some consensus on the specs, a new listing by Chinese regulator TENAA dropped the bomb claiming some unbelievable hardware.
The device, carrying a model number NX508J, is said to come with a CPU clocked at a whopping 3.5GHz. It doesn't stop there, and RAM is quoted to be the unheard of 8GB.
ZTE Nubia Z9

The Nubia Z9 was previously said to be equipped with the Snapdragon 810, which comes with Cortex-A57 cores, clocked at 2GHz, and Cortex-A53 cores, clocked at 1.5GHz, in an octa-core big.LITTLE configuration. Looking back to the Nubia Z9 Max, which was already confirmed to sport the S810 and is listed on TENAA with 3.5GHz CPU, you could conclude that the regulators have simply added up the clock speeds of both sets of cores.
Little explanation can be found in the amount of RAM though. In the datasheets, available online, it's not explicitly stated if Qualcomm's chip supports the 8GB, but we're also wondering if there's any actual practical sense in it at this point in time. What sounds most likely is that it's an error on the TENAA part.
A few other discrepancies with the specs established so far come in the camera department, where an 8MP/8MP duo is quoted in the listing. Both the Z9 Max and Z9 mini come with a 16MP main camera, and the Nubia Z9 is unlikely to be a step back. It's also not a dual rear camera arrangement as the accompanying images clearly show.
The microSD slot has also been dropped in favor of 32GB of internal storage, as opposed to the 16GB of the other two models. Another thing to point out is that display size is listed as 5.15 inches, which goes in line with the rumors of 5.2 inches, but resolution is quoted to be FullHD, and not QHD, as previously believed.
Obviously, a lot of questions remain unanswered, but with a launch date less than a week from now, the mysteries will soon be cleared.
Source | Via

HTC to release Limited Edition One M9 with INK engravings

HTC has launched a new campaign dubbed HTC INK to offer limited edition One M9 smartphones. By teaming up with the supermodel Jourdan Dunn, the Taiwanese company will offer custom-designed engravings inspired from tattoos.
Jourdan has collaborated with the Cally-Jo Apothecary, a celebrity tattoo artist, to come up with a new design. One of their first design has been shared already with a rather vague explanation.

The open hand and eye symbolize the need for protection and strength while still being open and approachable in personality and style. The natural leaf elements and patterns around the outside of each visual reflect the growth in creativity that Jourdan is feeling at this time, and the sun and moon together represent balance and harmony in her character.
HTC plans to offer limited edition HTC INK One M9 units with unique designs engraved by hind. HTC INK project is yet to specify if it is a one time, seasonal thing or will be an ongoing like Apple’s Project Red that aims to aid in fighting aids in Africa.
For those who plan to get a limited edition unit, do have a look at our HTC One M9 review for the technical aspects of the device.

Microsoft Lumia 430 launched in India for $83

While Android based smartphones are fighting for the entry-level smartphone position, Microsoft aims to get a spot too, at least in India. The software giant's Devices division has introduced the Lumia 430 Dual SIM model for INR5,299 ($83) with black and orange color options in India.

Sporting a 4-inch display (480x800), the Lumia 430 can hold two micro-SIM cards in dual standby mode. Powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snadpragon 200 SoC, the Lumia 430 has 1GB of RAM, 8GB expandable storage, and 1500 mAh battery.
At the rear it has a 2MP camera and in the front is a VGA camera. Measuring 10.6mm thick, the Lumia 430 Dual SIM also packs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS for connectivity.

Apple could soon become No. 1 in China

Apple might have lost its world's top smartphone-maker crown to Samsung, but it looks like the Cupertino-based company could soon make it to the No. 1 spot in China, which is the world's largest smartphone market.
According to a report from market research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 13.5 million iPhones in China during Q1 2015, up from 7.8 million it shipped in the year-ago quarter. With 12 percent market share in the quarter, the iPhone-maker held on to its No. 2 ranking in the Asian country.
On the other hand Xiaomi, which is the largest smartphone OEM in China, shipped a total of 14 million handsets in the quarter, claiming 12.8% market share.
According to Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, "Xiaomi has maintained the number one smartphone position in China for three quarters in a row, due to solid demand for its popular Redmi models. However, Xiaomi's rapid growth is now coming to an end, and it has delivered negative sequential growth in China for the past two quarters."
Meanwhile, Apple "has narrowed the marketshare gap with Xiaomi to less than one percent. Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models are proving wildly popular with Chinese consumers and, if current trends continue, Apple could become China's largest smartphone vendor in the second half of this year," he said.
Another point worth noting here is that Samsung, which is now the world's leading smartphone vendor, did not even rank in the top three, something which has happened for the first time since Q4, 2011.

iOS 8 adoption continues to climb, now stands at 81%

Apple is reporting that 81% of all active iOS devices are now using iOS 8, the company's latest mobile operating system which was released back in September last year.
iOS 8 adoption has been somewhat slower than that of its predecessor iOS 7, which, for comparison, was powering around 90% of all active iOS devices the same time last year. However, it is gradually picking up - it stood at 75% last month and 79% a couple of weeks ago.
As for the remaining iOS devices, 17% are still using iOS 7, while 2% are stuck running even older versions.
Source | Via 1 | Via 2

Android 5.1 for S6 and S6 Edge to reportedly bring Guest Mode

The Android 5.1 update for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will also bring along a new Guest Mode feature, according to a Sammobile report.
Guest Mode enables you to set up separate profiles for guests, allowing you to share your device without worrying about your personal stuff, including installed apps, being seen by others. The feature was first introduced for tablets with the Jelly Bean update but arrived on phones with Android Lollipop.
It isn't yet clear when the update will roll out to the devices. Meanwhile, a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge for T-Mobile has been caught getting Android 5.1.1.

Huawei G Play Mini becomes official in Italy

Today Huawei has made a new smartphone official in Italy. It's called G Play Mini for whatever reason, and it's already available to purchase for €229 ($254) without a carrier contract.
The Huawei G Play Mini is rather intriguing, because it has the exact same specs as the Honor 4C which got official in China yesterday, but the design is slightly different. This is most obvious in the upper part of the front side of the two devices.
Why the company chose to pair the internals of the Honor 4C with another design and name instead of simply releasing that in Italy is still a mystery.
Anyway, if you're interested in the Huawei G Play Mini, know that it has a 5-inch 720p IPS touchscreen, a 13 MP rear camera with LED flash, a 5 MP selfie snapper, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable internal storage, and a 2,550 mAh battery.
It's powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 620 chipset, which sports a 1.2 GHz octa-core CPU, and it has dual-SIM support (though no 4G LTE).
The G Play Mini could be making it to other European countries soon, now that it's gone official in Italy, but there's no information about time frames yet.