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Europe fights against ‘free’ label for apps with IAP

Posted by wicked July - 19 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

By the end of September, the European Union has reached an agreement with Google that it will stop using the “free app” label for programs with “in-app purchases” (IAPs) in the Google Play Store. The EU has been concerned that the label “free” is misleading for those apps that push their sales within the app itself, and has asked Google to back them on this.

European users have voiced their complaints that these “free apps” with in-app downloads have the potential to be misused by users, especially if the target audience of the said program are children. Parents have seen some of their kids charge hundreds of real-world money in charges for sales pushed within games and other such apps enough that the concern has reached the highest levels of government in Europe.

This resulted in the EU making their claims strongly to Google and indeed Apple against this kind of disingenuous labeling of programs. In response, Google has committed to change how apps with IAPs are listed – and will no longer list apps as “free” if they have IAPs.

Google is also planning to require authorization for purchases in apps with IAP content. Google is also expected to come up with new guidelines for developers in avoiding “direct exhortation” of children to download or purchase in-app sales. The last guideline should provide an interesting look on how app developers go about their in-app marketing. As for Apple? Well, the EU said that “regrettably,” Cupertino has not responded in a fashion that had “concrete and immediate” solutions.

VIA: SlashGear

LG G3 Beat isn’t a mini but a mid-tier budget G3

Posted by wicked July - 17 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

LG has finally announced the LG G3 Beat and in doing so has finally resolved the mystery of its size. The reason why the G3 Beat and the equivalent but rebranded G3 S are that big is because they aren’t really meant to be the mini flagship’s we’ve come to expect but are, instead, budget-friendly versions of LG’s premium G3 smartphone.

It’s a subtle distinction, but one that truly frames the device into the proper perspective. When seen in this light, the 5.0-inch 720p HD IPS screen doesn’t look so absurd anymore. It also explains why the G3 Beat’s specs are so darn low. It has the power of a 1.4 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, paired with just 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. Power comes via a 2540 mAh battery that is thankfully replaceable. There is also support for 4G LTE networks, though there is word that certain models headed for Europe might not carry that capability.

  • 5.0-inch 1280×720 IPS LCD
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcom Snapdragon 400
  • 1 GB RAM, 8 GB internal storage, micro SD slot
  • 2540 mAh battery
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera
  • Android 4.4.2

That said, the selling point of the G3 Beat won’t be the less than stellar hardware, but the mix of features, both software and hardware, that can be found on the more premium and more expensive LG G3. On the hardware side, you get the rear button controls, the brushed metal finish, “Floating Arc” design, and the new laser autofocus system for less shaky shots. As for the software, the focus will be on Gesture, or rather clenching, Shot, QuickMemo+, Smart Keyboard, and most likely, Knock Code.

LG_G3_Beat_1
LG_G3_Beat_2
LG_G3_Beat_3

Granted, these features do make the G3 Beat sound like a mini flagship, except bigger. But that’s not going to stop LG from billing this as a mid-tier variant with a large screen rather than a mini G3. The LG G3 Beat will launch in Korea on July 18 before heading to Europe. In Europe and CIS countries, it will be known as the LG G3 S instead. Pricing details are still unknown and LG will leave it up to local markets to make that announcement.

SOURCE: LG

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini now available for pre-order in UK, Poland

Posted by wicked July - 15 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung has been pretty consistent in churning out “mini” versions of their flagship phones, starting with the Galaxy S3 Mini which launched in October 2012. This year’s Galaxy S5 Mini follows in that tradition, announced publicly a couple of weeks back, and is now available for pre-order in Europe – specifically the UK and in Poland.

The announcement that the Galaxy S5 Mini would now be available in UK came right after the phone was made public. As of today, it was also announced that the device would now be available for pre-order also in Poland, with other countries in Europe possibly following suit soon. Europe has traditionally been a good market for these Samsung flagship “minis”, with the people having a tendency to opt for smaller but no less powerful devices.

The Galaxy S5 Mini is definitely a big improvement from the S4 Mini last year, retaining a number of high-profile features of its larger and more illustrious flagship predecessor. The S5 Mini the heart rate monitor set at the back of the device and the home button doubling as a fingerprint sensor. It is even very close in aesthetics to its larger cousin, up to the textured back cover that Galaxy S5 fans have often spoke well of.

Both LTE and non-LTE variants of the Galaxy S5 Mini will be powered by the Exynos 3470 chip, made by Samsung’s in-house SoC manufacturers Exynos who are making a return to the European market after being dominated by Qualcomm Snapdragon and NVIDIA Tegra chips in the region. The device will have a 1280×720 HD Super-AMOLED display, an 8MP rear camera, 16GB of internal storage and 1.5GB of RAM. Check out the pre-order pages at the source links. The mini flagship carries around a price tag of $625 – $630, easily making it the most expensive of the current batch of minis.

VIA: SAM Mobile (1), (2)

HTC One M8 Dual SIM will have limited launch next week

Posted by wicked July - 3 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

We should have seen it coming. After all, last year’s HTC One was treated the same way. Now HTC is bringing out an HTC One M8 variant for Europe that has one and only one difference: it has two SIM slots. Actually there is a second difference. It is unnecessarily more expensive.

In all other aspects, the HTC One M8 Dual SIM is exactly the same HTC One M8 Single SIM. Given that the original has truly impressed us, that’s not exactly a bad thing. Sure, you don’t get the LG G3′s QHD screen, but you do get a smaller 5-inch 1080p one. The specs are also definitely decent for a 2014 flagship, and the tricks that HTC pulled, like the Duo Camera and even Sense 6.0 itself are nothing to pan. And of course, the metal build makes it a pleasure to hold and look at.

HTC has used that same design, except for the duo camera, for the HTC One mini 2, though not in its entirety, so we’ll take what we can get with an exact replica of the HTC One M8 on this dual SIM variant. The change might not make much sense in the US, but in Germany, where it was just announced, and in other European markets like Russia, that feature is commonplace.

Unfortunately, it might not be something that those would-be buyers can easily afford. This model will sell for €799, which feels like buying one and a half HTC One M8 since the latter has a price tag of around €570 in that region. The color options will also be limited, available in that eye-catching gunmetal gray only.

VIA: phoneArena

LG G3 global rollout starts June 27 in Asia, EMEA in July

Posted by wicked June - 24 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

LG‘s premium flagship, which has unsurprisingly enjoyed popularity and good sales in Korea, will soon be launching in other parts of the globe. The LG G3 will first make its stop in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines starting this Friday, before heading out to the rest of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East sometime in July.

The LG G3 is definitely not only an eye-catcher, with the stylish “faux” brushed metal back cover and rear control buttons. It is also a smartphone that is worth drooling over in both hardware and software, the latter if you especially favor less modified Android versions. It is actually no wonder that LG has reported selling 100,000 units in Korea during its first week in the market. Now the company is hoping that the same enthusiasm, and of course sales, will be replicated in these upcoming markets.

For Europe and Asia, LG is advertising the fact that the LG G3 will be featuring wireless charging capabilities. We do wonder whether that means that other markets, like the US, will not be entitled to that nice feature. The smartphone is compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard, and so compatible with many charging plates already out there in the market. But of course, LG would prefer if you buy its own “stand-type” charger, which admittedly is a bit unique in the sense that it won’t require your phone to lie horizontally flat. Slightly contrived video ad located below.

LG has not yet revealed when the G3 will hit US markets, though some carriers have pointed to a late June launch, which is becoming later and later by the day. Pricing details are also still up in the air, and the company says that those will be revealed in local markets when they launch.

SOURCE: LG

Design choice delays OnePlus One in Europe

Posted by wicked June - 20 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

OnePlus_One_Official_01If you were one of the people in Europe who ordered the OnePlus One, you may want to check your email this morning. According to androidworld.it, the company is sending out emails to people in Europe explaining that the OnePlus One is delayed due to a design choice. Basically what it boils down to, is the company modified the CE logo to match other icons in an attempt at being as “minimalistic as possible.” Apparently, this was unacceptable and orders that were shipped to soon-to-be owners, were sent back. The email that was sent is as follows:

“Hi,

Thank you for ordering from oneplus.net. Unfortunately due to an issue with customs in Europe, one of our shipments has been delayed on its way to the warehouse. Your order was among the affected.

The issue stems from our vision for the design of the OnePlus One. For the back cover, we wanted the regulatory icons and text to be in harmony with each other and appear be as minimalistic as possible. In order to achieve this, we modified the CE icon to match the other icons. This was deemed unacceptable and our shipment was returned.

You placed an order that was planned to be shipped last week. Due to unforeseen issues with our product design, we need two more weeks until we can ship. Please accept from us a complimentary cover and screen protector (when they become available later this month) as a token of good faith. You may also cancel your order and receive a full refund.

We sincerely apologize on behalf of the entire OnePlus Team for causing you such inconvenience, and hope you forgive us for making such mistakes in the course of our growth.

Best regards,”

So there you have it. Those of you affected by the situation will have to wait about two weeks before orders start to ship again. To make up for this situation, it looks like OnePlus is adding a free case and screen protector to the mix.

source: Androidworld.it (Italian)
via: ubergizmo

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Acer rumored to be releasing 5-inch device on AT&T

Posted by wicked May - 31 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Acer

Acer has announced a new 5-inch phone for AT&T — although most of the specs (internals) are expected to be midrange, it still features a full-HD display.

The device will also have an 8MP sensor for its main camera on the back.

We don’t have any pictures or pricing for the device, but it should be pretty inexpensive. Expect more information when AT&T makes the phone official, most likely in the coming weeks.

Keep in mind that this is a pretty rare appearance by Acer on North American shores, as the company has focused mainly on European and Asian markets in the past. This could be Acer testing the waters for perhaps something bigger to come, or it could be simply nothing at all. Stay tuned.

Source: @evleaks

Come comment on this article: Acer rumored to be releasing 5-inch device on AT&T

Vodafone gives six-month subscription to Netflix with purchase of a 4G plan

Posted by wicked May - 22 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Vodafone-Single-Business-Caps

From July to December, Vodafone will bundle a six-month Netflix subscription when you sign up to one of its Red 4G plans. Customers of Vodafone also have the option of entertainment packs including Sky Sports and Spotify.

The catch?

Well, at the moment, you will need to pick a minimum £26-per-month ($43) plan, which gives you unlimited data for the first three months and then 3GB of data per month going forward.

Considering Netflix streams consume up to 1GB per hour for SD video and up to 3GB on HD content, a customer outside of a wifi connection has little chance of using Netflix more than once or twice per month on Vodafone’s 4G network (starting in the fourth month of the phone contract).

According to Vodafone, they will be spending £3 billion ($5.1 billion) for mobile networks in Europe and plans for more than 91% 4G coverage in Europe by 2016.

ZTE Blade L2 lands in Europe

Posted by wicked May - 8 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

ZTE has just announced another one of its budget devices, the Blade L2. This 5-inch smartphone is already starting its itinerary in Europe before it heads out for the rest of the world.

ZTE is probably more known for its low-spec yet affordable products, particularly its Blade line of smartphones. The latest installment of that series is the Blade L2. As you might expect, it sports rather mediocre hardware, though it might exactly be what a casual Android smartphone user needs.

The display isn’t exactly impressive, even at 5 inches. Resolution is a rather platry 854×480, which would look quite poor given the size of the screen. It runs on a yet unnamed 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, which would probably just give enough power for basic necessities. There is 1 GB of RAM though, which is double that of the bare minimum. Internal storage is marked at 4 GB with no mention of a microSD card slot, but we’ll just hope that there is one. Sadly it doesn’t even have 4G network support. It also runs only Android 4.2, which could be another point of disappointment. A 5 megapixel rear camera, with features like face detection and Smile Shot, and a 0.3 megapixel front-facing shooter rounds up the features of the Blade L2.

Devices such as these would usually come with a low price tag to make them even a bit enticing, but ZTE hasn’t yet revealed what the cost would be. The ZTE Blade L2 is already available in Spain and Greece. Later this year, it will be making its way to other European territories like Germany, the UK, and Slovakia before spreading to international markets such as Mexico, Chile, Columbia, and Venezuela.

SOURCE: ZTE

Customers lined up to buy the Galaxy S5, but not everywhere

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

samsung galaxy s5 aa (24 of 36)

The Galaxy S5 went on sale last weekend in 125 countries from North America, Europe, and much of Asia. With competition stronger than ever and tapering growth in the high-end smartphone market, all eyes are now on Samsung’s new hero device and its sales performance.

The first signs are encouraging, with customers in several European countries lining up to buy the Galaxy S5.

Samsung told ZDNet Korea that Galaxy S5 sales were on average 1.3 times higher than for the Galaxy S4, with some European markets seeing double the performance of the 2013 flagship. At a Paris store, Samsung sold 200 units in the first hour, while in the UK launch-day sales were double that of the Galaxy S4. Samsung also boasted great sales in Austria and the Netherlands, where 700 people reportedly gathered in Rotterdam for the launch of the Galaxy S5.

galaxy s5 launch day france

Launch day in Paris

A Samsung representative said orders are already “in the millions” for the Galaxy S5, and we have no reasons to doubt it. The Galaxy S line has always been Samsung’s top seller.

With that said, in some countries, the Korean company offered free Gear Fits to the first Galaxy S5 buyers, which probably encouraged customers to line up. For instance, at the Samsung Experience Store in Frankfurt, Germany, the first 200 Galaxy S5 buyers received a free Gear Fit fitness accessory. In France, SFR customers had the option to buy an unlocked Galaxy S5 and get a Gear Fit for just an extra euro.

In the US, customers were less eager to line up for the S5, reports Recode’s Dawn Chmielewski: “an informal survey of stores in downtown San Francisco found healthy preorders for the Galaxy S5, but no long lines at the purchase counter.”

T-Mobile reported the highest number of registrations for information on the Galaxy S5, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that sales broke records as well. Indeed, there are no reports of American customers lining up for the Galaxy S5, the way European customers did.

Samsung has a much stronger presence in Europe compared to North America, where Apple still commands a large and faithful following, especially at the high end of the market.