MWC 2014 - Just when you thought 6-inch smartphones were big, Huawei has gone back to the drawing board with its new, gigantic 7-inch smartphone, the MediaPad X1.
Huawei's new smartphone is still technically a smartphone at 7 inches, but it is really pushing the boundaries of a tablet here. We have small bezels on the side - just 3mm - and it is quite thin at just 7.18mm. The build quality looks great, with an all-glass front and aluminum back and sides that use an interesting nanotechnology to keep it rigid.
Inside of the MediaPad X1 we have an unknown-until-now Kirin 910 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 1920x1080-pixel screen, 13-megapixel Sony Exmor R rear-facing camera backed up by a wide-angle 5-megapixel camera on the front. The MediaPad X1 can also charge other devices from its USB port, too. The MediaPad X1 will arrive in China, Russia, Western Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Latin America in March.
It will arrive in four colors, and a price of €399 to or $548 - which is definitely not too bad considering what you're getting with Huawei's MediaPad X1.
MWC 2014 - Lenovo just took the wraps off of three new smartphones, with one of them being the S860. The Lenovo S860 features a 5.3-inch 720p IPS display, MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board flash.
We also have dual-SIM support, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, dual front-facing speakers and arguably, it's biggest feature: a 4000mAh battery. The mammoth battery is also capable of charging other devices on-the-go, which is an interesting feature indeed. The only other smartphone on the market to feature a whopping 4000mAh battery is the Huawei Mate 2, which is a 6.1-inch behemoth.
MWC 2014 - Lenovo has just taken off the wraps of its new S850 smartphone, its new super-thin, all-glass smartphone. We have a 5-inch HD (1280x720) display, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and much more.
Inside of the S850, we have a MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board flash storage, dual-SIM capabilities and Android 4.2. This isn't a high-end smartphone by any measure, without LTE support, a high resolution display or latest version of Android. The Lenovo S850 comes in two colors: white and pink.
With the price starting at $269, it will be launched in select markets in the coming months.
Apple controlled the United States smartphone market in 2013, capturing 45 percent throughout the year, according to The NPD Group. The smartphone industry as a whole jumped 21 percent for American consumers, with 121 smartphones sold to consumers and business users.
In the United States, the top smartphone brands were the following: Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola - and companies such as Lenovo and Huawei are reportedly interested in focusing more in the US market.
"In general, 2013 was a year of smartphone market stability for the US," said Stephen Baker, NPD VP of industry analysts, in a press statement. "Overall industry growth was similar to that of 2012, and while the major hardware brands saw their shares increase marginally, the space between Apple and Samsung and the rest of the industry expanded once again."
Alcatel is launching quite the number of smartphones this week, starting with the new Idol 2 smartphone. The Alcatel Idol 2 is a 5-inch smartphone, but it is also joined by its 4.5-inch brother, the Idol 2 Mini. Each of the new smartphones will arrive with 3G support, but will be joined by an "S"-branded LTE version.
The Idol 2 Mini is just 8.5mm thick, and will arrive to the market first, most likely in the first week of next month. Both smartphones will feature qHD displays, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz, Android 4.3 which is upgradeable to 4.4, NFC, an 8-megapixel rear-camera, backed up by a 2-megapixel front shooter.
The 3G-capable Idol 2 Mini will start at 169 euros (or $232) while the 4G version will be priced at 209 euros (or $287). The 3G model will arrive with a plastic build, while the 4G version arrives with a metal back and plastic at the top and bottom. There will be four colors on offer, too.
Just 23 percent of international B2B (business-to-business) marketing and sales teams are using tablets to help close deals out in the field.
Using a tablet is a good way to present during in-person sales meetings, while also able to demonstrate solutions in front of customers.
"Maybe if they talked to a lot international and smaller companies you get a high number, but there's no question that in the U.S. the majority of sales organizations are using tablets," said Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies, in a statement to TabTimes.
The world's fastest 7-inch tablet, the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7, has just been updated with NVIDIA's i500 LTE modem. This provides the tablet with the high-end speeds of LTE, but continues its great starting price of just $199.
NVIDIA's Tegra Note 7 tablet includes NVIDIA's Tegra 4 SoC, a stylus, Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), and now, LTE and HSPA+ support. The new NVIDIA i500 processor the company has installed into its 7-inch slate uses a software-defined radio technology, meaning it can provide consumers with new features through software updates.
Another benefit of the NVIDIA i500 processor is that it's just 40% of the size of a traditional modem, but features 4x the capability of its predecessor. The normal Tegra Note 7 starts at $199, while the LTE-powered model will cost $100 more at $299, and will start selling across the world in certain markets in Q2 2014.
A new report from BGR is suggesting that the rumors of alloy-framed Galaxy S5 smartphones exist might just be true. The report states that after two different cases popped up on Amazon recently, there will actually be two versions of the Galaxy S5 debuting next week. The report says that there will be the normal Galaxy S5, and then an alloy-framed model carrying the title Galaxy S5 Prime.
The Galaxy S4 Prime will feature a high-strength aluminum alloy chassis as well as quad HD Super AMOLED display which will measure in at 5.25-inches. Processing will be handled by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.5GHz quad-core processor or a Samsung 8-core Exynos chipset followed up by 3GB of DDR3 RAM. A new 16-megapixel camera will be on board with a 10-megapixel front facing camera for HD selfies. A 3,000 mAh battery, support for 4G LTE data speeds of up to 150Mbps, and Android 4.4 KitKat will also be featured.
In all honesty though, at this point, so many rumors are coming from every direction with different information each time, the best thing to do is just sit back and wait until Monday to see exactly what Samsung is showing off. We do know that the Galaxy S5 will make an appearance, and we do know that its camera and screen will be improved, and that Android KitKat will be on board. Everything else is up in the air at this point, and only time will reveal the true details.
At some point in the next few weeks, Sprint will be issuing an update to the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 Mini smartphones that will turn on a built-in feature that allows the phones to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi. This will effectively allow users to turn their smartphones into IP phones when connected to any Wi-Fi network, eliminating the need for an IP phone in your office or home.
Sprint says that the service will be free of charge for all Sprint customers, and that the IP calling will work with existing phone numbers so there is no need for a second account. When connected to a Wi-Fi network customer's calls will be routed over the internet instead of over the company's cellular network. This is expected to increase call quality and should lighten network loads considerably.
Sprint says that it will start the roll out with the Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 first before beginning the roll out to most Android-based smartphones on the company's network. No names have been given on which phones might receive the service next, but we suspect that most of the top-tier phones such as the Galaxy S4 and HTC One are on the shortlist. The concept of Wi-Fi calling is not new though as T-Mobile has been offering it since 2006. Industry analyst say that Sprint is prepping this service to help augment it's upcoming roll out of its upcoming HD Voice over LTE service which will see the current 2G Voice service discontinued.
After its failed Indiegogo campaign, many though that Canonical would be unable to bring the Unbuntu Edge to reality, but a new partnership with Meizu and BQ, little known mobile phone OEMs, to bring Ubuntu's mobile OS to production devices. While Meizu and Bq are unrecognizable by most US readers, the companies are global powerhouse. Unfortunately no availability at any US carrier has been announced, but Canonical did say that the devices would be available online at several stores as well as on Ubuntu.com.
Canonical says that the first Ubuntu smartphone will launch later this year, but I suspect that it may not be branded as or have all the features of the Ubuntu Edge we all fell in love with during the Indiegogo campaign last year. Unfortunately, with past Ubuntu smartphone deadlines being passed by months, I would not hold my breath on a timely release, and would realistically look for a launch near or after the holiday season this coming winter. If China-based Meizu and Spanish-based BQ can pull it off in a timely manner, then Ubuntu smartphones could quickly grow to take over lower tier operating systems such as Samsung's delayed Tizen, or even Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Jolla has been working to bring a new smartphone and operating system to market for a while. The first Sailfish smartphone was benchmarked back in November 2013. Those phones hit Finnish carrier DNA at roughly the same time. Jolla is now talking about its plans for the future.
Jolla says that Sailfish OS has reached version 1.0 and is now ready to ship globally. The operating system has been updated three times since it landed in Finland. Jolla will push out a fourth update for Sailfish in March.
"We're very excited to announce this. We've been working hard together with our user community to make the user experience of the Jolla smartphone and Sailfish OS effortless and distinct. We believe that Jolla now offers a truly viable option for all smartphone users. Naturally we are not stopping here, as we continue to provide monthly software updates to Jolla devices and Sailfish OS," says Marc Dillon, Co-Founder and COO of Jolla.
We're counting down the hours for Mobile World Congress 2014 here at TweakTown, but so is Samsung, which just teased something quite strange about its upcoming flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5.
In a new video, the South Korean giant teases some strange words, such as "fit," "wet," "outdoor," and "alive". We know that the new flagship smartphone from Samsung will be more fitness-centric, just like the Galaxy S4 was, but it looks like we should expect it to be waterproof, too. Samsung also flashes the words "focus" and "selfie", which could see some nifty camera features on the Galaxy S5 when it arrives.
It looks like we should expect HTC to announce its new flagship smartphone quite soon, codenamed M8, as it has passed through, and been approved by the FCC.
We can see soft, curved corners on the unannounced HTC flagship device, which are welcomed of course. This particular handset looks to feature AT&T-capable LTE, as well as bands 2, 4, 5, 7 and 17, but we should expect regional variants to make sure many markets and consumers are covered. We have the usual Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, too.
Google has a new initiative called Project Tango, which comes in the form of a prototype Android smartphone that learns, and maps the world around it. Project Tango is in developers' hands so that they can truly harness the technology Google is working on.
Project Tango is capable of learning the dimensions of rooms and spaces, just by being moved inside of them. So if you're walking through your bedroom or lounge room, the smartphone would learn the shape of your home and its rooms. The point of this? Google could eventually give you very precise directions to a particular point through Maps or Navigation.
The new project comes from the Advanced Technology and Projects Group, one of the special pieces of Google and Motorola's puzzle that it kept through Lenovo purchasing Motorola from Google. Johnny Lee, leader of Project Tango says: "The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion".
It appears that Sprint has yet again beat its competition to being the first to bring Android 4.4 to its high-end smartphones. Earlier this week, Sprint became the first US carrier to release the Android KitKat update for the Galaxy S4 Today it announced that Galaxy Note 3 devices on its service have began receiving the KitKat treatment as well.
Similar to the update for the Galaxy S4, and HTC One, the download is just over 500MB and is available as an OTA download. Android 4.4 brings several new features to the Galaxy Note 3 as well, including music album art on the lock screen, launcher selection setting, a camera shortcut on the lock screen and an overall improved user interface. Notifications of the update should pop up automatically, but users can also check for the update within the settings menu. Galaxy Note 3 devices on the Sprint network should show firmware version N900PVPUCNAB after the update completes.
For the better half of a year now we have been hearing rumors about a mysterious Android-based phone that Nokia will be releasing soon. Today we got our first glance at the device and much to everyone's surprise, it actually resembles previous devices from Nokia's Asha line.
The phone appears follow recent rumors and features a 4-inch EVGA display along with a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. Many industry insiders believe that the mysterious Nokia X phone will be launched next week during the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain, which could release in emerging markets at a pricing point of less than $100.
The first time Microsoft stepped into the tablet market with the original Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, the hardware didn't do so well. The Surface tablets were priced too high for many buyers and the Windows RT OS proved to be unpopular with consumers and hardware partners. Microsoft came back more recently with new versions of the Surface tablet including the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.
Those new tablets were received with mostly positive reviews and have proven more successful than the first versions. One thing that has been common since Microsoft launched the first Surface tablets is that the devices don't offer mobile broadband connectivity. The surface line has always been Wi-Fi only.
A new FCC filing has turned up that suggests Microsoft is getting ready to put 4G LTE connectivity under the hood of the Surface tablets. Microsoft's Panos Panay, VP of Surface at Microsoft had said in the past that a future Surface product would have LTE connectivity.
Acer has pulled the covers off the latest smartphones to slip into the firms Liquid range. The last smartphone we talked about form Acer was the Liquid S2. That was the first smartphone to be able to record 4K video. We spent hands on time with the Liquid S2 last year.
Acer's latest Liquid devices include the Liquid E3 and Liquid Z4. The Liquid E3 is the more interesting of the two devices and has a 4.7-inch HD IPS screen. The smartphone also has an 8.9mm thick unibody. Acer fits it with a 2MP front camera with its own LED flash for selfie pics.
The rear camera of the smartphone is an f1.8 13MP unit with fast focus. The smartphone also uses a 1.2GHz quad-core processor 1GB of memory, 4GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The E3 runs Android 4.2.2 and an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat is promised. Launch is set for April in Europe for €199.
Samsung has just released two new ads highlighting its new Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 tablet. The first ad, below, features basketball star LeBron James using the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. A voiceover mocks the iPhone's screen size and quality, as well as its lack of stylus.
The second ad, which is centered around the new Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. The ad makes fun of the iPad Air 'Pencil' TV spot, where the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is actually thinner than both the pencil, and the already pencil-thin iPad Air. Multitasking is another thing Samsung makes a big point of in the new TV spot, something that the iPad still isn't truly capable of.
The Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is just 7.3mm thick, while the iPad Air measures in at 7.5mm thick. The screen quality, as Samsung points out, is much better on the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, with a 2560x1600 resolution, compared to 2048x1536 on the iPad Air.
We reported yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S5 specs had arrived in leaked form, all but confirming its 2K display. But, what if Samsung were to release multiple Galaxy S5 models, with the 'premium' model arriving with the 2560x1440, or 2K, panel?
Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S5 next week, but not as we would originally have thought. We could expect multiple models to be announced, one that would be more along the lines of the Galaxy S4 possibly, with the second model being the 'premium' handset, sporting the 2K display. OLED-Display.net is reporting from an unnamed Korean industry insider that Samsung is planning a standard, and premium version of the Galaxy S5.
The standard version would feature a 1920x1080 display, while the premium model will feature the higher-res display, pumping 2560x1440 pixels onto the screen. Samsung has reportedly experienced issues manufacturing the 2K display, which means it will launch "a few months later". But I'm sure that the 560ppi display will be worth it.
We knew it was coming, but it is now official: LG has announced the G2 mini smartphone. LG's new G2 mini is the company's first ever "compact" smartphone, and will be unveiled in detail, at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, next week.
The G2 mini features a 4.7-inch qHD IPS panel with a resolution of 960x540, comes in two SoC variants: with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, or the 1.7GHz clocked NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 4i SoC. 8GB of on-board flash storage expandable through an SD card is available, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (or 13-megapixel camera, depending on the market), and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel snapper.
A removable 2440mAh battery will be featured on the G2 mini, while Android 4.4 KitKat will serve as the OS. The new G2 mini will be LTE-capable, and will feature Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and will come in four colors (depending on the region): Titan Black, Lunar White, Red and Gold.