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HTC rolls out Eye Experience update to One M8′s in Europe

Posted by wicked October - 9 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

HTC_One_Mini_2_Official_01A

HTC is in the midst of pushing out a major update to all unlocked and carrier-branded variants of its current flagship smartphone, the One (M8), situated in Europe. Weighing in at 252MB, the upgrade transports the Taiwanese company’s Eye Experience camera user interface, together with a bunch of stability improvements.

Hit the break to see the full changelog.

System Improvements:

  • Radio stability improvement
  • Transition improvements

Eye Experience Implementation:

  • Split Capture
  • Crop-Me-In
  • Photo Booth
  • Auto Selfie
  • Voice Selfie
  • Swipe-To-Switch
  • Video Face Tracking
  • Live Makeup
  • Video Screen Sharing

Application Improvements:

  • Camera stability
  • Video highlight stability
  • Zoe 1.0

To initiate the upgrade manually, make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. Then, from the home screen, press the Menu key, followed by Settings. Scroll to the bottom and tap ‘About Device’, then ‘Software Update and ‘Update Now’.

Come comment on this article: HTC rolls out Eye Experience update to One M8′s in Europe

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active finally comes to Europe

Posted by wicked October - 3 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active has been exclusive to the US market since May but it’s only now the smartphone is coming to Europe. It was an AT&T exclusive at first but it reached other network carriers and Canada as well. The rugged version of the Galaxy S5 comes to Europe with the same specs and design.

No big change on the European variant except the model number and carrier branding. This version for Europe doesn’t show any carrier branding. It only has a Samsung logo instead of a Galaxy S5 Active logo previously found on the North American variant. As for the model number, this version is known as model SM-G870F.

Specs of the Android smartphone include a 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, 1920×1080 resolution, Snapdragon 801 SoC, 2.5GHz Quad-core Krait 400 CPU processor, 2GB 32-bit dual-channel 933 MHz LPDDR3e RAM, 578MHz Adreno 330 GPU, microSD card slot, 16GB built-in storage, heart-rate sensor, a 2800mAh battery, and a 16MP ISOCELL camera sensor.

Oh, there’s just one thing the Galaxy S5 Active doesn’t have compared to the original Galaxy S5: this doesn’t come with a fingerprint scanner. However, it has is a special key to access the Activity Zone where commonly used features like stopwatch, flashlight, and camera shutter button are located.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 Active for Europe will come in either Camo Green or Titanium Grey. The latter may look rugged alright but the Camo Green looks more kick-ass. It’s one tough phone. It’s IP67-certified which means it can resist dust and water. The military-grade phone also complies with MIL-STD 810G standards—so yeah, it’s ready for rough and tough use.

No information on release date but phone is initially priced at €629 which is about $796 in the US. The European Galaxy S5 Active seems to be a bit expensive because in the US, AT&T is offering a no-contract Galaxy S5 Active for $714.99. Still, the Active version is higher priced than the Galaxy S5.

VIA: SamMobile

UK consumers have spent $8 billion to repair their mobile phones

Posted by wicked September - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

smartphone repair

Over the last two years, consumers in the UK have spent more than $8 billion on repairs to their mobile phones.

Fierce Wireless Europe alerts us to a study by SquareTrade (who offers global protection plans for phones) which states that a person in the UK spends on average $127 on mobile phone repairs per year. The study also estimates that over the last seven years in Europe, consumers have paid what amounts to $43 billion in mobile phone repairs.

Other findings include:

  • 37 percent of British smartphone users have damaged their smartphone in the last two years
  • 27 percent of British smartphone users do not use a protective case
  • 7 percent of iPhone screens in the UK are cracked or damaged
  • 33 percent of owners of damaged phones find they can’t use some or all applications

Just last week, SquareTrade released a study showing that the total amount Americans have spent on repair and replacement of their smartphones in the last seven years was over $23.5 billion.


Source: Fierce Wireless Europe;

Sony’s Xperia Z2 receives European tablet of the year award

Posted by wicked August - 16 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Z2-Tablet-344cd2b19a87003235131408fe4a1196

Yesterday the EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) awarded Sony’s Xperia Z2 tablet >8″ tablet of the year. The judges commended the slim, lightweight device for its sleek design (6.4 mm thick and 426 g) and its waterproofed security. 

Sony went on to win five more awards for Professional Compact System Camera, Compact Camera, Camcorder, 4K Ultra HD TV, and Digital Source of the year.

Have any of you used the Z2 tablet? Does it deserve its mighty award? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Sony Blog

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Android is becoming a monopoly and that could be a problem

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

android feature JD Hancock

Android has truly become an authority in the mobile market. A powerful operating system that costs nothing to the manufacturer and brings unlimited options to the consumer is hard to beat, a fact that is confirmed by last quarter’s marketshare reports. Google’s mobile OS has reached another milestone during Q2 2014, during which the Mountain View giant shipped 85% of all smartphones!

This comes as great news to us Android aficionados, but the rest of the market is not very happy. Google’s victory can, in part, be thanked to iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry losing marketshare. As with anything else, such a substantial success is bound to turn some heads, and some of those may be holding eyes you don’t want looking at you.

European authorities are said to be looking into investigating the Search Giant for its overwhelming advantage over other mobile platforms. This investigation would carry through if Android was to ship over 80% of devices within the European nations, which currently isn’t the case. Android devices account for 73% of shipped devices within said continent.

Android Army securitycoverage

Google is walking on thin ice here. A full-blown investigation on Google’s possible monopoly could bring some serious consequences for the operating system we all love and treasure. How would this case conclude, though? We could argue Android’s monopoly is a natural succession of how great and convenient the OS is. Most of us would say Google does compete fairly.

In fact, the European market may not be so worried about how many Android smartphones are out there. Sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters European regulators are more worried about Google’s practices, inquiring they are abusing their obvious dominance in the market.

google apps nexus 5

A clear example is that Google does require that manufacturers pre-install certain applications, like Maps and Search. That is, unless they want to steer clear of Google services, much like Amazon has done with its Fire smartphones and tablets.

It’s hard for other manufacturers to offer a good experience with no official support, though, especially because Google Play Store accessibility requires that manufacturers follow certain standards (including the addition of said apps). Certain software updates also demand these pre-requisites.

Is Google taking advantage of its position? Some may believe they are, but we must also remember this is why Google created Android as a free, open ecosystem. They wanted to bring their services to as many users as possible, and offering Android as a free alternative proved to be a successful way to do so.


Source: Reuters;

Acer announces Liquid Jade Plus smartphone to launch in August

Posted by wicked July - 26 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

You might not have remembered – due to the nondescript nature of these products – that Acer announced the Liquid Jade smartphone and the Liquid Leap wearable at this year’s Computex trade show. You can be forgiven for that, but it has not slipped our attentions that Acer has already made improvements to the smartphone, announcing an Acer Liquid Jade Plus device.

The Acer Liquid Jade Plus sports a number of upgrades from the earlier device, notably that the Liquid Jade Plus will have 2GB of RAM from the earlier 1GB RAM configuration of the Liquid Jade. The improved version also has more internal storage, with 16GB rather than the 8GB of the earlier version.

Other than that, both smartphones offer identical specs. There is a 5-inch 1280×720 HD resolution display, and this is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek processor. The phones retain dual SIM capabilities, 13MP/2MP rear/front camera combo, and a 2100mAh battery. All of this will run on Android 4.4 KitKat.

This new device is now expected to partner with the Liquid Leap wearable, whereas it was the earlier version that was touted to launch in August in tandem with the wearable device. Nothing is clear as to whether the earlier version will even continue to be marketed, but the target release of the devices will be in August, with particular attention to the European market. The retail price is expected to be at €279 euros (around USD$375).

VIA: Blog of Mobile

Samsung appears to be rolling out firmware update to improve Samsung Galaxy S 5 performance

Posted by wicked July - 23 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Samsung_Galaxy_S_5_Back_Bottom_Galaxy_S_5_Logo_TA_02

According to reports, owners of the unlocked European version of the Samsung Galaxy S 5 are starting to receive a firmware update that promises general performance improvements. Sources indicate the update not only includes several “under-the-hood” improvements, it comes with a new kernel and baseband. The firmware version for this update is XXU1ANG2. No specific details are available, but at least one user has reported the amount of useable RAM was reduced after receiving the update. There is no word on when the update may roll out to devices in markets outside of Europe.

source: phoneArena

Come comment on this article: Samsung appears to be rolling out firmware update to improve Samsung Galaxy S 5 performance

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)