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Piecing Evidence Together: The Nexus Line, HTC M1 & S1, and an Elusive Tablet

Posted by wicked April - 27 - 2016 - Wednesday Comments Off

Google I/O 2016 is less than a month away, which means we’ve entered the final bout of new Nexus rumor hype. Today, famed device leaker @evleaks threw the Android enthusiast world into a tailspin with his latest tweet:

Now, Mr. Blass has a penchant for leaking accurate information, so I was already on board with the idea of the HTC Nexus existing. However, these tweets do not tell us much information if at all about the actual devices themselves. Plus, as much as we believe that @evleaks has a solid source, it’s always good to find corroborating evidence to back up his claims. After all, the only thing we have to go on is the reputation of Mr. Blass, right? That’s why we took a look at the evidence, both circumstantial and direct, in order to paint a picture for what Google is cooking up to reveal next month.


How do we know it’s HTC?

We don’t know, for sure. There are only a string of rumors out there, but when many rumors point to the same thing, you start to suspect it might just be true. First of all, HTC made both the first generation Nexus 7  (correction: the Nexus One) as well as the Nexus 9, so of course it was always a possibility for HTC to again partner with Google. However, the first one to jump on the 2016 HTC Nexus bandwagon was another leaker by the name of @LlabTooFer:

This first rumor about the existence of the HTC Nexus devices isn’t very strong on its own. In addition, you might think that the discrepancy in codenames listed here and what @evleaks just posted shows that these earlier rumors to be inaccurate. It’s possible, but keep in mind that over 4 months have passed and it’s possible that the internal codenames have changed. There’s not any evidence pointing to this being the case, but that’s why we’re going to use other pieces of evidence to build our claim.

Like, for instance, the fact that LG is unequivocally out of the Nexus game. LG states the reason being that the company needs to focus on its own brand. This makes sense, considering LG’s momentum coming into 2016 with a slight market share increase. Although, we can’t really say it’s worked out too well for LG given the less than stellar reception to their LG G5 so far, but I digress. We might be reading too much into it, but it’s possible that LG moving away from the Nexus series was also in part due to the fact that Google was beginning to express interest in exerting more direct control over the brand.

It’s hard to imagine why a company would want to bend over backwards to fulfill the whims of their Google overlords, unless, perhaps the company is desperate for cash. Indeed, HTC has not had a very stellar performance as of late. While this does somewhat lend credence to the idea that HTC would partner with Google to garner sales where their own products are failing to do so, keep in mind that Google itself doesn’t see the Nexus brand as a huge moneymaker, so why would HTC? One possible reason is that even though Google doesn’t intend for the Nexus devices to be top sellers in the market, that doesn’t mean they can’t be.

Nexus 7

The Venerable Nexus 7 – First of Its Name, King of the Nexus Tablets and the First Jelly Bean, Lord of the Seven Inch Tablets, and Protector of the Nexus Brand

 

Next, we have a rather admittedly-spotty source in the form of a Chinese leak claiming that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, signed a three-year contract with HTC to partner for the next Nexus devices. That same source claims that the devices will be a pair of 5.0″ and 5.5″ devices, which lines up with the “T50” and “T55” codenames earlier if we are to believe that those names indeed refer to the screen sizes of the devices.

Finally, of course, we return to the original source mentioned in this post, namely Mr. Blass’s own tweet. This is the final piece of evidence we believe points to the fact that HTC will be in line to produce the next Nexus device(s). AndroidCentral makes a pretty good argument that this partnership makes perfect sense given HTC’s string of recent partnerships in other areas. All of the coins spin and point in the same direction, the only thing left is to wait and see until Google I/O 2016.


How do we know it’s a Tablet?

Again, we don’t know for sure. But there are a lot of things that do point to this being the case. For starters, let’s look at the currently released Pixel C device. We’ve talked about this before, but the Pixel C was released at a time when Android simply wasn’t a suitable operating system for tablets. We know, we know, this has been a problem for for ages. However, Google themselves have admitted the failures of the Pixel C tablet and has promised that Android N would be coming with better tablet support.

Credits: AndroidCentral

Credits: AndroidCentral

Speaking of Android N, remember all the multi-tasking improvements they’ve made? Multi-window support? Enhanced stylus support? Many of Android N’s most important software improvements are pretty geared towards tablets rather than smartphones. So it makes sense for Google to push for a new tablet device to showcase their recent tablet enhancements. But that’s not it, it not only makes sense for us to think Google is gearing for better tablet support, they’re practically begging developers to work on new tablet apps before Android N goes live.

Furthermore, consider the fact that Google just today pulled the plug on the Nexus 9. You can no longer find the Nexus 9 tablet on the Google Play Store no matter how hard you look. This is hardly an unusual occurrence, but it suggests that it may be time for a new tablet refresh. It wouldn’t make sense for Google to pull the Pixel C tablet, since it’s still relatively new hardware. But the Nexus 9 being pulled makes perfect sense.


Two Nexus Phones, or a Nexus and a Pixel?

Looking back at the tweet that started all the craze today, there’s nothing in it that actually suggests that the two leaked devices are Nexus phones. All we know is that they are two Android N devices dubbed M1 and S1. A new Pixel could just as readily be one of the devices that was leaked here. Or it could not be, if the very early leaks by @LlabTooFer and the Chinese site MyDrivers are to be believed. One interesting thing to note is that Google has no interest in making a Pixel phone, as they already have the Nexus lineup to cover that. In addition, the Pixel line-up is primarily designed by Google, while the Nexus line-up is always created in collaboration with a partner. Obvious, I know, but it’s important to consider when figuring out what the new device will be.

So what does this mean for us? It means that the two new devices could be two new Nexus phones, or a new Nexus phone and a Nexus tablet, or a new Nexus phone and a Pixel tablet. I’m leaning towards the middle option, here, given the evidence we’ve seen thus far. At the very least, we’re pretty sure that at least one of these devices is a new tablet, but we know next to nothing about the phone.

Finally, some additional tidbits about these rumored devices: the codenames. M1 and S1 don’t tell us much about the devices, but given Google’s penchant for naming their Nexus devices after aquatic animals, it’s possible that the codenames for these devices will also follow a similar pattern. AndroidPolice found some evidence from a Qualcomm senior engineer making reference to a device called ‘Marlin’ in the AOSP Gerrit just about a month ago. Furthermore, as 9to5Google points out, on April 8th a strange device bearing the name of ‘Nexus 6P’ showed up in a Geekbench benchmark. Strange how, you might ask? Well, the device scores far higher than other Nexus 6P devices, and in fact scores about on par with devices bearing the Snapdragon 820 SoC. The device also has 4GBs of RAM and is already running Android N, too. But the strongest piece of evidence from this benchmark is the fact that the motherboard shows the name ‘Marlin’ in the bench, which is the same codename referenced by the Qualcomm engineer.

nexus2cee_marlin1_thumb-1
Nexus 6p bench

As for ‘S1’, we have no idea what this one could be, as we haven’t seen any actual reference to a codename that starts with S in any of the usual places. Your guess is as good as mine, though, again it’s probably going to be named after some kind of aquatic animal.

And there you have it. That’s all the evidence we’ve seen so far. We think it’s highly likely that HTC is involved in making the next Nexus devices, and we also think it’s very likely one of those devices will be a tablet. The only way to be sure is to wait and see. I’m hyped, are you? Let us know your thoughts below!

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 leaked…by Xiaomi’s CEO

Posted by wicked April - 25 - 2016 - Monday Comments Off

mi_band_1s_xiaomi

Everyone’s getting in on the leaking game these days, including company CEOs. I don’t mean the subtle internal leak for publicity though, or even the casual Eric Schmidt Moto X way. No no, I’m talking about the “I’m gonna stick this thing right in front of the camera” kind of way. So it was with Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, showing off the unannounced Mi Band 2 at a conference in China this week.

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The boss man struck a pose with the new wearable on his arm, showing off its LCD display and physical button. At the same conference the Xiaomi Max was also pictured on a table, so I guess when you’re at the top of the food chain you don’t have to worry too much about being pictured with unannounced devices. Anyone lower down the ladder would likely be looking for a new job.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Lei Jun MyDrivers

The Mi Band 2 is the successor to the infinitely popular Mi Band, a $15 fitness tracker that relied on a smartphone app for tracking info due to its lack of a display. The Mi Band 2 looks set to rectify that omission, making it a standalone tracker capable of showing the basics on its LCD screen with further details available in the app.

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The Mi Band 2 looks to have the same rubberized strap found on the original Mi Band but adds a physical button for navigating through on-screen contents. We still don’t have details on a launch date or price, but with the Xiaomi Max launching on May 10 we wouldn’t be surprised if the Mi Band 2 gets unveiled at the same time.

Do you use a fitness tracker? Do you prefer a smartwatch or a fitness band?

Moto G4 leaked in hands-on video, aka Moto G 4th generation

Posted by wicked April - 19 - 2016 - Tuesday Comments Off

Moto G4 back crop

Those Moto G4 leaks just keep on coming, but this time they’ve stepped things up a notch. A new video has appeared on YouTube, showing a fully functioning Moto G 4th generation prototype in the flesh. The video shows most of the features we’ve seen in previous leaks, although this unit has on-screen buttons without a physical home button.

Motorola Moto X Play 2015 -19See also: Flashbacks and Forecasts: Motorola in 20168

We get a good look at the camera bump on the back and the minor degree to which the device wobbles on a flat surface. There’s a power button and volume rocker on the right hand edge and a centered USB charging port on the bottom, although we can’t really tell if it’s USB Type-C or not. It appears the only speaker is the in-call speaker at the top of the display and at 0:27 we can see the “lip” that allows the back cover to be easily removed.

We get a look at Active Display on the device, as well as the stock-looking home screen. We also get a bit of a look at the “mystery hole” on the front face of the chin below the screen (with another on the back near the camera). It certainly doesn’t look as invisible as most LED notifications lights, so it may well turn out to be a pinhole mic after all, or something else entirely.

The most interesting detail though is the absence of a physical home button. Previous leaks have shown a physical home button that presumably also houses a fingerprint scanner, although several commenters have noted some of these images look Photoshopped. Whether this is the case or it will only be the Moto G4 Plus that gets a fingerprint scanner, we’ll have to wait and see.

See below for the previously leaked photos of the Moto G4.


motorola-moto-g4-cameraNowhereelse

Previous post, April 18: It was only a few days ago that we first heard the names Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus and we predicted that it wouldn’t be long until the next round of leaks appeared. That day has already come, with two new caught-in-the-wild shots of the Moto G4 showing up, detailing both sides of the first Lenovo-branded Moto device for 2016.

The most interesting of the two photos gives us our first clear look at the rear of the device, complete with a pill-shaped camera array. There are two unidentified sensors above the camera lens and what looks to be a two-tone flash beneath it.

The material on the back looks to be a rubberized plastic and the camera ensemble is now housed behind glass (what we’re hoping is Sapphire Glass). A mystery hole lies to the side of the camera and could be a pinhole mic, although its positioning is very strange indeed.

Moto G4 front and back leak Nowhereelse

Another “mystery hole” sits on the front of the phone to the side of the physical home button. While it’s location makes more sense for a mic, it is also in a very odd position design-wise. It could also be an LED notification light, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out for sure.

MORE FROM MOTOROLA:

The same familiar square-shaped finger scanner appears yet again, with its raised edges making it look like a clickable button of the Galaxy S7 variety rather than a capacitive sensor like that found on the OnePlus 2 (assuming it hasn’t been Photoshopped in). I for one can’t see a USB port or speaker grill anywhere. While we can’t see any Lenovo branding in the photos it may well appear at the bottom on the rear of the device.

What do you think of the new-look Moto G4? Do you think Lenovo’s influence is visible?

First Moto G (4th gen.) and “Moto G4 Plus” details emerge

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2016 - Saturday Comments Off

Moto G4 Plus leak

While we still don’t have much to go on regarding the first Lenovo-branded Moto devices to appear this year, we do have a few names. The Moto X3 appeared on the import tracking site Zauba recently and now the first the Moto G (4th gen.) specs have emerged and images of a Moto G4 Plus have appeared as well.

Motorola Moto X Play 2015 -19See also: Flashbacks and Forecasts: Motorola in 20168

Moto G4 Plus

It’s important to note that none of these images, names or specs are anywhere near official, but they do come from generally reliable sources. Twitter leaker Evan Blass posted a heavily doctored image of the bottom edge of a device featuring a square home button that is likely a fingerprint scanner with the text: Moto G4 Plus. (No Moto G4 Plus specs were listed.)

A commenter on Blass’ tweet “confirmed” the name and stated it is being tested at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, later tweeting “for the Moto G4 Plus I can only go on what I see. And it was pretty darn nice. Expect a nice looking evolution in Motorola’s design language.” Another commenter re-posted the image at the top of this article which appeared a few weeks back and also features a similarly-shaped physical home button.

Moto G4 Plus twitter leak

Lenovo has already confirmed that its Moto-branded devices this year will feature a fingerprint scanner, and while the naming convention may sound odd, it does make better sense to call a fourth generation Moto G the Moto G4 instead. As with many other other devices lately, the “Plus” is being assumed to refer to a larger-screened variant of a smaller original.

Moto G (4th generation)

Which brings us to the next tweet which comes from the source of the two recently leaked mid-range Galaxy devices as well as the Zauba listing for the Moto X3. The tweet reportedly reveals the specs for two Moto G variants with the same screen size, with both devices presumably available in May.

The Moto G (4th gen.) specs listed include a 5.5-inch display, 16 GB ROM, 13 MP camera and 240 Euro price tag, while the “Moto G Plus” specs include the same sized screen and internal storage but a larger 16 MP camera and 280 Euro price tag. Without further specs to go on its hard to say to what degree the Moto G Plus (or Moto G4 Plus) might be a more premium version of the standard Moto G4, but at least it reveals the possibility of the Plus referring to better specs rather than a larger size.

As usual, take all of this with the usual level of skepticism, but now that the first specs, images and details have emerged, you can bet that more leaks will be coming in the very near future. In the meantime, hit the comments to let us know what you’re expecting of Motorola’s first devices under the Lenovo banner.

Are you excited for Moto devices under Lenovo? How do you think they will change?

Huawei P9, P9 Max and P9 Lite specs leaked at Oppomart

Posted by wicked March - 16 - 2016 - Wednesday Comments Off

Huawei P9 oppomart pic

We are gradually closing in on the Huawei P9’s April 6th launch date and today Oppomart appears to have leaked the smartphone’s hardware specifications rather early. Not only that, but the leak seemingly confirms the existence of the P9 Max and P9 Lite versions of the handset as well.

According to the listings there will be three handsets in the Huawei P9 range, each targeting slightly different price brackets in the market. This strategy would allow Huawei to cater to multiple market segments and regions with a single flagship range. The Huawei P9 looks to be the all-rounder model, boasting a 5.2-inch 1080p display, octa-core Kirin 950 processor, and a reasonable $499 expected price tag. Although we should stress that Oppomart’s import prices won’t necessarily reflect Huawei’s actual target prices.

  Huawei P9 P9 Max P9 Lite
Display 5.2-inch, 1920×1080 6.2-inch, 2560×1440 5-inch, 1920×1080
Processor Hisilicon Kirin 950 Hisilicon Kirin 955 Qualcomm Snapdragon 650
RAM 3GB 4GB 2GB
Storage 32GB 64GB 16GB
Rear camera Dual 12 MP with OIS and laser focus Dual 12 MP with OIS and laster focus Dual 12 MP with OIS and laser focus
Front camera 5 MP 5 MP 5 MP
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,000 mAh 2,500 mAh
~ Price $499 $699 $299

The P9 Max is the highest end model in the series, boasting a 6.2-inch QHD display, extra storage and RAM, as well as a slightly more powerful Kirin 955 processor. The P9 Lite cuts off a portion of the RAM and internal memory while opting for a hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor, in order to substantially cut the handset’s price tag. The Lite model probably fits more into the super-mid-range section of the market, where value for money is the key factor.

All three of the Huawei P9 handsets are said to come 4G FDD-LTE connectivity, a dual-SIM tray, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow installed out of the box. The software will be based on Huawei’s own EMUI version of Marshmallow. The spec sheets also state that all three of the models will feature the dual-rear camera technology that we have seen leaked a number of times and that Huawei made references too in its launch event teaser.

Huawei-Logo-2015-3See also: Leaked Huawei P9 pics show off dual-camera setup in closer detail19

Of course, this leak comes quite some time ahead of the expected official launch event and might not necessarily reflect final hardware. Still, what would you think about the Huawei P9 range if these specs turn out to be accurate?

It looks like the Samsung Galaxy J3 will also be coming to AT&T

Posted by wicked March - 14 - 2016 - Monday Comments Off

Galaxy_J3_ATT_Leak

Evan Blass, aka @evleaks, has just leaked the existence of the AT&T bound variant of the Samsung Galaxy J3. This mid-range device originally launched on Virgin and Boost Mobile back in mid-January, and now it looks like this device will be joining AT&T shortly.

For a recap, this device is powered by a quad-core snapdragon 410 processor paired with 1.5 GB of ram and 16 GB of internal storage, expandable thanks to a micro SD card slot. You also get a 5 inch 720p AMOLED display along with a 5 MP rear shooter and 2 MP front-facing camera. Powering you through the day is a user-removable 2600 mAh battery. Certainly not the most high-end device on the market, but an all-around pretty solid device.

The Boost/Virgin Mobile variant of the device comes in at a pretty reasonable $179.99, so you can probably expect the AT&T model to come in around, if not exactly, the same price. As for a launch date, the picture Mr. Blass tweeted out may hold the answer. The date on the phone in the picture is Friday May 6th, leading us to believe that will be the release date. But, as with any leak, nothing is officially confirmed so take that hunch with a grain of salt.

Source: @evleaks

 

Come comment on this article: It looks like the Samsung Galaxy J3 will also be coming to AT&T

Here’s a look at the LG G5 Magic Slot and removable battery

Posted by wicked February - 19 - 2016 - Friday Comments Off

LG logo crop

From rumor to all-but confirmed feature, the LG G5 Magic Slot continues to be an intriguing innovation and a potentially game changing flagship feature. Now we have a real-life glimpse at what a Magic Slot module will look like, complete with a battery attached.

LG G5 battery

Unfortunately, the image doesn’t give us a look at the actual module. Rather it’s just a picture of the box which presumably contains a battery module for G5. However, the image appears to confirm that the Magic Slot indeed pops off the bottom of the smartphone, much like the early rumors suggested, and will open up access to a removable battery. A feature removed from a number of other high-end smartphones. Keeping a removable battery will certainly win the G5 a few fans and this might even turn out to be a more convenient solution than having to pull off a phone’s back.

The latest report suggests that LG will be unveiling two Magic Slot modules at MWC. We are pretty positive that one of these is some sort of camera attachment called the LG Cam Plus. Another module rumor floating around hints at an audiophile grade DAC, dubbed the LG Hi-Fi Plus, which is said to have been developed in conjunction with Bang & Olufsen. Interestingly, the two did just announce that they’ve been jointly working on something audio related for the G5.


LG V10 Vs LG G4 Quick Look-15Read more: LG G5 rumor roundup: release date, specs, and features95

There are just a couple more days to wait until LG unveils everything about the G5 at MWC. Are you sold on the Magic Slot?

Huawei P9 renders leak, revealing dual-rear camera and plenty of color options

Posted by wicked February - 17 - 2016 - Wednesday Comments Off

huawei-logo-mwc-2015-3

The Huawei P9 is not expected to make an official appearance until after the hullabaloo of MWC, although the company does have a press event scheduled, but that hasn’t stopped a new selection of leaks appearing online. The purported press images of the P9 show off a rear dual camera configuration, a fingerprint scanner located in the usual place, and quite possibly a metal body too.

A closer inspection of the rear camera configuration suggests that we are looking at a laser focusing system located just underneath the dual-tone LED flash. It’s a bit tough to make out on the darker models, but you can see it clearly on the brighter colored cases. Previous rumors suggest that this will be a dual 12 megapixel camera configuration, accompanied by an 8 megapixel front facing camera.

Huawei P9 gold
Huawei P9 white
Huawei P9 pink angles

Other rumored hardware specifications include a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the company’s own Kirin 955 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and a 2,900mAh battery. There have also been suggestions that Huawei may be preparing to launch a selection of P9 smartphones, ranging from a lower cost Lite model through to a larger and more powerful enhanced edition.

Huawei P9 colors

It looks like there will be plenty of color options for the Huawei P9 too. The renders shows that black, gold, grey, pink and white should be the standard offerings. The slim bezel and curved edge design is pretty sleek looking too, if you ask me.

What do you think about this quick look at the Huawei P9?

HTC One M10 could land in the US in May

Posted by wicked February - 11 - 2016 - Thursday Comments Off

HTC One M10 could look similar to the One A9, pictured here

HTC may have failed with its flagship efforts last year, but the mid-range One A9 heralded a new era of design for the Taiwanese manufacturer. This year, the company has its sights set firmly on the flagship market, and today we’re hearing that the new HTC One M10 could launch in the US in early May.

HTC in video:

The One M10 was initially expected to make its debut at MWC 2016 in ten days’ time but recent rumours first suggested, a launch in March, before the current plans for an announcement in London on April 11th leaked into the wild. Today’s rumour comes from perennial tipster evleaks, who has a long track record of accurate leaks and suggests we’ll see the M10 hit retail stores across the US around May 9th.

What the One M10 will be called however, is another question: while HTC is expected to stick with the One branding for its new flagship, the “M10” moniker is expected to make way for another, as yet unknown, moniker. The company could potentially stick with the M-branding but with the premium model for Asia – the One X9 – using the X-branding, we could yet see the company move away from the M naming convention.

The One M10 is rumoured to look similar to the One A9 and is expected to sport a 5.1-inch QHD AMOLED display and a 12MP Ultrapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilisation and laser autofocus. It will run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Sense 8 on top and will be powered by a Snapdragon 820 in Europe or an unspecified MediaTek chipset if you’re in Asia.


htc one a9 first impressions aa (12 of 45) HTC One M10: Everything you need to know

On paper the specs list certainly sounds impressive enough to pose a real threat to devices from Samsung and LG  but do you think the One M10 is enough for HTC to realise its comeback aims? What do you think the handset will be named when it launches and are you planning to buy one? Let us know your views in the comments below!

New cases surfacing on Amazon reveal LG G5 details

Posted by wicked February - 4 - 2016 - Thursday Comments Off

lg_g5_case_amazon_02

The LG G5 is set to be announced later this month in conjunction with MWC 2016 and the device is expected to bring some big changes to the design of LG’s flagship. One group that looks forward to the release of any new smartphone is accessory manufacturers. This is especially true when there are significant changes that will prevent the use of prior generation accessories as it creates an open market for new sales. Case makers are probably excited to see the new LG G5 launch approach and have already started loading up sites like Amazon with their wares. That is good for us as these listings help reveal what LG has in store for us.

For the LG G5, several sources have indicated the smartphone was getting a new dual-camera setup and the volume rockers were moving around compared to prior generations. Some new cases that are listed on Amazon show us what the new setup is going to look like in some of the clearest images yet and help confirm these rumors.

These listings reveal a pair of camera lenses sitting side-by-side when the phone is held in a vertical position with a pair of dual-LED flashes sitting in between. As part of the camera module, there also appears to be a laser autofocus unit which would be consistent with LG’s past G series and V10 history. Below the camera module is the power button that is believed to double as a fingerprint scanner. The cases also clearly show the volume rocker being moved to the side of the device.

lg_g5_case_amazon_01
lg_g5_case_amazon_03

sources: Amazon (LK case), Amazon (Diztronic case)
via: GSMArena

Come comment on this article: New cases surfacing on Amazon reveal LG G5 details

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