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Update, June 2: Nintendo strongly refuted the Nikkei report:

“There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX,” a company spokesman said in a statement to WSJ.

There you have it, rumor shot down. But, for what it’s worth, it’s possible that Nintendo is simply lying about the report not being true. It happened before.

Original post, June 1: Nintendo’s upcoming “NX” console will run a version of Android, according to a report from Japan’s respected Nikkei.

Nikkei is Japan’s most respected newspaper and the outlet published several accurate scoops on Nintendo in the past. With that said, this is, for now, just a rumor, albeit a plausible one.

Nintendo vowed to keep details of its next console under wraps until next year, but if the Nikkei report is accurate, a crucial detail just leaked. The publication cites an insider claiming that the NX’s operating system is “loaded with Android,” without providing any clarification on what that means.

NX is “loaded with Android”

The move, said the source, is meant to spur the adoption of the NX platform; developers have largely shunned the Wii U, but an Android-based OS could be much easier to develop for. Using Android would also give Nintendo a powerful and versatile operating system, coming after the sluggish OS it developed in-house for the Wii U.

Nintendo promised “a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept,” but at this point, we don’t even know if the NX will be a handheld or a home console. So it’s hard to predict what form Nintendo’s Android OS will take. It’s possible though that Nintendo will try to tap into the Android ecosystem without ceding control over the platform. To do so, the company would need to fork Android, but that shouldn’t be difficult, given that a gaming platform doesn’t need Google’s apps anyway.

In potentially related news, Nintendo last month announced it would launch five new Android games over the next three years, with the first one due in 2015.

Would it be wise for Nintendo to adopt Android? Let us know your thoughts.

Samsung’s Project Valley may be a dual-screen, foldable smartphone

Posted by wicked May - 28 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

samsung galaxy logo mwc 2015 4

We’ve been hearing for ages now about Samsung’s plans to release a foldable display, and at one point late last year, it actually went on record to state 2015 would be the year. Sadly the statement was more-or-less retracted some months ago, but there should be little doubt that something is eventually going to materialize. Exactly what it is is now becoming clearer, though unfortunately the specifics, as well as the timeline, are still a mystery.

sony-tablet-p-1

Sony has already released a dual screen tablet, though with two separate screens.

The folks at Sammobile have obtained information about a new device Samsung is working on, allegedly called “Project Valley”, or “Project V”. Said to be very early in the development timeline, the key feature here is a pair of screens, and specialized gestures to alternate between them. A caveat is given that the product may never see the light of day, let alone a public unveiling, and could be terminated at any time.

Given the nature of the code name, “Project Valley”, there is the obvious implication that the device will fold. The question – or problem rather – is just how advanced such a feature would be. Years ago, Sony released the Sony Tablet P which featured two screens that folded into one larger one. The same was true for the Japan-exclusive NEC Medias W, dual screen smartphone. And let’s not forget the Kyocera Echo, arguably the grandfather of them all.

Still, these devices all used two separate panels to achieve the desired effect. If Samsung is working on something this “rudimentary” it would call into question the logic given that all three of the aforementioned devices fared rather poorly. On the other hand, if Samsung will be developing this prototype as a way to commercialize its foldable AMOLED panels, then there is a lot of potential. Just looking at how the Galaxy Note Edge worked is a great indication of the potential, as said device featured two separate screens fused together into a product that had a very intuitive and unique way of interacting with it.

Medias W

NEC’s Japan-only Medias W was a smartphone that had two screens, though again they were separate panels.

Assuming something eventually sees the light of day, would you be interested in the prospects of a foldable, dual screen Galaxy smartphone? The Galaxy Gemini perhaps? Maybe HTC would get busy on its patent as well…

Rumor: Android M to have new update guarantee for Nexus devices

Posted by wicked May - 26 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

You’ve heard of the Android update initiative that failed a couple of years back, right? Well, just so we’re clear from the beginning, this is not that. According to well-placed sources, Google is planning a new set of update guarantees as the new “Android M” version of its mobile platform rolls out. This will particularly affect Google’s Nexus devices.

The rumor goes like this – Nexus devices, whether old devices or the new ones that will launch with Android M, will get major system updates for a set period of two years. After that, Google will support the devices with security patches for three years from release date of the operating system version. Security patches will alternately be guaranteed for at least 18 months from the date of purchase from the Google Store/Play Store (whichever is longer. The 3 year “release date” clause or the 18-month Play Store purchase clause). That may just have gone over your head, so allow us to make things a bit clearer.

nexus-7-back

Take the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10, for instance. They came out in November 2012, so they are way past the 2 year “major system update” support period. That means owners should expect security patch support at least until 2016. The Nexus 7 (2012 version) will be supported by security patches only until this year.

For the newer devices, the Nexus 7 (2013 version) should still get major system updates until this year, and the Nexus 5 as well. The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are still on sale as of time of writing, so owners of those devices can rest easy that they will at least be getting Android M and then some.

VIA: Android Police

Samsung tablet with Intel proc, 4GB RAM spotted on Geekbench

Posted by wicked May - 25 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

There have been rumors that Samsung plans to refresh its premium tablet lineup this year. And then we see this new device show up in Geekbench’s databases – a Samsung tablet that defies imagination, as it seems. It’s got an Intel processor and a whopping 4GB of RAM. What could this device be? Let’s take a closer look at the details.

The Geekbench result shows that this new Samsung device is codenamed the “CHOPIN-LTE” tablet. The name in itself shows us a few things, but mainly that this will not be a budget device but more likely a mid-tier LTE-capable device. The tablet is running with an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 quad-core processor, supported by 4GB of RAM.

samsung-chopin

The tandem is strange to say the least because Samsung has received such a boost to its Exynos “in house” processors with the apparent success of the Samsung Galaxy S6. Why would they choose to go with an Intel chipset on this new tablet?

Be that as it may, the tablet seems to run on Android 5.1, and for all intents and purposes, it should have some good specs with it. OR, it could be one of those prototypes which Samsung will ultimately scratch and we never see this one again. We just have to wait to know for sure.

VIA: Sam Mobile

7-inch HTC tablet spotted with quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM and dual-SIM

Posted by wicked May - 21 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Nexus 9-11

A week ago, rumors began to surface about a new affordable tablet from HTC, as the company confirmed that it was “looking closely” at entry and mid-level tablets. Leaks had suggested that the company was working on a 7-inch tablet codenamed H7 and a device bearing the same name has recently been spotted on India’s public import-export database, Zauba.

The shipment is listed as a sample for research and development, but also contains a brief list of specifications. The H7 tablet features a 7-inch display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and space for not one, but two SIM cards. The H7 looks to be a budget product, unlike HTC’s last effort, the high-end Nexus 9, which launched last year.

HTC H7 tablet India import

SIM slots in tablets are still quite rare in the budget segment, but dual-SIM compatibility is a popular feature in Eastern markets, which fits with the Indian source of the information.

We’re still not sure if or when the tablet will be making it to market, or what its exact price will be. The shipment lists a value of INR 9,565, which works out roughly to $150, suggesting that a final retail price might be somewhere in the $200 region. Hopefully we will hear something official from HTC soon.

Would you be interested in a budget tablet from HTC?

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Next Xiaomi Redmi rumors: 1080p, octa-core and Isocell camera

Posted by wicked May - 15 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Xiaomi Mi Note-2

Xiaomi’s popular Redmi series of handsets could be in for another revision, if the recent leak from @Upleaks is to be believed. Known as the Xiaomi H3Y or Hermes for now, the next potential entry in the Redmi series could end up housing some interesting hardware.

New Xiaomi Redmi leakAlthough the display size isn’t known yet, the rumor suggests that the phone will arrive with a 1920×1080 display resolution. Previous Redmi devices have shipped with a 720p 4.7 inch display, so the bump up to fullHD would provide a boost to the viewing experience.

The processing package looks to be a MediaTek MT6795, also known as the Helio X10, which is a 28nm octa-core chip utilizing a familiar 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53 set-up arranged in two clusters of four. This is backed up with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

Interestingly, the handset is also said to feature a Samsung Isocell image sensor, suggesting that Xiaomi could be the first third party manufacturer to make use of Samsung’s in-house camera technology. The rear camera will come in at 13 megapixel, while the front facing camera will be a 5 megapixel OmniVision sensor.

Other potential features include dual-SIM card support, a familiar entry in the series, along with a metallic body and either an Android 5.0 or 5.1 version of Xiaomi’s MIUI 6 software.

Based on this leaked, the next Redmi handset could help to bridge the gap between the series and the company’s other high-end productions. Xiaomi has been steadily releasing new smartphones this year, including its budget friendly Mi 4i and high-end Mi Note Pro, Would this new Redmi device be a welcome addition to the line-up?

HTC is “looking closely” at affordable tablets, as rumor about H7 tablet surfaces

Posted by wicked May - 15 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Nexus 9 Magic Cover-15

HTC may be interested in launching an affordable tablet, following its return to the market with the Nexus 9.

Talking to Chinese media at the Taiwan launch of the One M9+, HTC North Asia boss Jack Tong said the company is “looking closely” at the entry-level and mid-tier tablet market.

“There is less room for product differentiation and a fierce price war, so we must be very cautious about running that business. We will see if we can get better returns on smartphones or other businesses. But we are looking closely at it,” Tong said.

Tong did not confirm or deny that HTC has an affordable tablet coming down the pike, but his statement is a reversal from what he said in November, when he hinted that HTC was interested in the upper segment of the market.

Tong’s comment seems to be related to a rumor started by @upleaks and picked up by several websites earlier this week. HTC is working on a low-end tablet device codenamed H7 that should launch in Q2 (by the end of June), according to @upleaks, who has a solid track-record with HTC rumors. No other details about the H7 are known.

HTC has long been rumored to be working on self-branded tablets, to profit from the positive exposure generated by the launch of the Google co-branded Nexus 9. We were expecting a new HTC tablet much sooner, to be honest; almost eight months after the Nexus 9’s release, HTC has done little to take advantage of the opportunity. In short, the Nexus 9 has not become the launch pad we hoped it would be.

Tablet sales are waning, as large smartphones are making them less interesting and laptops have refused to fade away, as post-PC theoreticians have predicted. Still, HTC can still reap some benefits out of the tablet business, especially now that the company is launching new product categories in order to wean itself off smartphones.

Ads may be coming to HTC BlinkFeed

Posted by wicked May - 11 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

htc one m9 99

HTC recently reported its worst financial results for April since 2009, so it might not be surprising hear that the company is looking for additional ways to monetize its mobile business. According to regular HTC leaker @Upleaks, HTC may be looking to implement advertising directly into its BlinkFeed home screen to help raise additional revenue. See the leaked slide below.

HTC BlinkFeed Ads Monetization Plan

Apparently, the advertisements could range from typical Play Store downloads, to promoting strategic partnerships and offers for other HTC products. Furthermore, @Upleaks suggests that version 7.1 of HTC’s Sense Home, which was released on May 6th, already has the ad framework built in and that it could be switched on as soon as HTC is ready.

Remember, this is still just a rumor for now. Will have no confirmation from HTC on the matter and it’s not entirely clear how the company would go about implementing advertisements, if at all. How regularly advertisements would be displayed, on which devices they would be shown, and whether there’s an opt-in/out or premium option, are all currently unknown.

HTC has already begun rolling out some of its software, such as its Zoe camera app, to non-HTC Android devices and it’s possible that Sense Home could be set to follow suite. Perhaps HTC is planning an ad supported free version of Sense which could be made available to a range of Android handsets. We know that HTC is keen to reach new customers through new hardware and software channels.

While advertising is deemed quite acceptable to subsidise free or low cost services, HTC already charges a premium price for its smartphones, including its new flagship One M9. It doesn’t sound like good business sense to try to milk more money from its limited hardware consumer base and I’d be surprised if HTC was going down this route.

HTC’s long running financial issues are clearly causing trouble for the company, but do you think that BlinkFeed advertising would help?

Leak points to Xperia P successor with high-end specs and a 4,240 mAh battery

Posted by wicked April - 27 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Remember the Xperia P? We don’t blame you if you don’t. The device launched in February 2012 along the Xperia U and it was supposed to be the “middle child” in Sony’s NXT trio of devices. The mid-ranger received a tepid welcoming and it soon faded off the radar, especially after Sony adopted a brand new design concept with the Xperia Z.

Now if a report out of China is accurate, Sony could be resurrecting the Xperia P line in the form of the P2: a device sporting a similar design, top specs, and a massive 4,240 mAh battery.

The leak consists of an alleged render of the device, along with specifications and precise dimensions.

xperia 2 full

The Xperia P2 will reportedly feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage space, a 5.2-inch Full HD display, a 12.1MP rear camera, a 5.1MP front camera, and a positively huge 4,240 mAh battery.

If these specs are true and there really is a P2 coming, the device would be a dream machine for many users. That battery alone would put the Xperia P2 in very select company.

xperia p2 schematics

According to the leaked schematics, the device will be between 8.9 mm and 10.9 mm thick, suggesting there will be a curved back. It’s been years since any Android flagship went over 10 mm in thickness, but with a battery like that, the compromise may be worth it.

Now let’s talk design – the leak claims the P2 will feature a design that closely resembles the 2012 Xperia P (and S, and U), with a “chin” at the bottom separated from the screen by what appears to be a metallic strip. The big difference is the almost edge-to-edge screen, resembling the Sharp Aquos Crystal, with a slightly higher bezel at the top, hosting the front camera and a speaker.

Now, there’s nothing that screams “fake” about this leak, but we’re a bit skeptical that it’s real and accurate. Why would Sony reuse a three-year old design that has failed to really impress users the fast time around? And why would Sony complicate its life by releasing another high-end smartphone besides the Xperia Z4?

You could argue that Sony is just trying to shake things up, and that it hopes that a thick device with a massive battery will stand on its own and not cannibalize the Xperia Z line.

Or, this leak is just another wild goose chase.

Tell us what you think about this Xperia P2 leak? Credible or not? Would you buy it if Sony made it?

(Update #2: Nokia denial) Nokia to stage a smartphone comeback in 2016?

Posted by wicked April - 27 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

nokia logo mwc 2015

Update, April 27: In a brief official statement, Nokia denies that it currently has “plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets” and says that the reports about Nokia using a Chinese R&D center to produce smartphones are false. Apparently, the comments were “incorrectly attributed” to Nokia’s Mike Wang.

While Nokia’s rebuttal seems very stern and clear, the wording of the statement doesn’t rule out the possibility that Nokia will license its brand and designs to another company that would handle manufacturing and sales. That’s how the partnership between Nokia and Foxconn works for the N1 tablet.

Update, April 24: While Re/code is a very solid source, it’s always nice to get official confirmation on a rumor. Nokia’s head in China, Mike Wang told Chinese media that Nokia will use an R&D center and manufacturing facilities in Sichuan to build Android-powered smartphones from next year (via G4Games). No other details are available.

Original post, April 20

Nokia may have dropped out of the smartphone market in a less than fitting manner for a former market leader, so it might not be too surprising to hear mutterings about a return to the industry as its binding deal with Microsoft draws closer to an end. According to sources briefed on Nokia’s plans who spoke with Re/code, the company is not only planning to re-join the phone market, but also has a range of ambitious technology projects in the pipeline.

Nokia Technologies, the smallest of the three business left after the Microsoft buyout, is apparently at the head of this push for new products. This division licenses out the company’s gargantuan patent portfolio, but also designs and licenses new products, including the Z Launcher and the N1 tablet.

According to insiders, the Z Launcher and N1 tablet are just the beginning

Nokia Technologies has apparently been working on phone and tablet products outside of the Windows Phone space, and also has ideas for virtual reality technology, among others. The unit appears to be scaling up its operations, hiring former Dolby Labs executive Ramzi Haidamus and longtime Cisco executive Guido Jouret.

Former Nokia executive Richard Kerris says that people will be blown away if some of the stuff he has seen in development ever comes to market. But the fate of Nokia’s internal designs are being kept close to its chest and there’s a big difference between interesting designs and products that will thrive in the market.

Late last year, Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri declared that Nokia would not be directly returning to the consumer market, but that the brand would reappear in the consumer world. Therefore, Nokia will most likely stage a potential comeback through strategic agreements and design licensing, rather than direct manufacturing. Nokia has already “lent” its brand to Foxconn, which produces and sells the Nokia N1 tablet in China, and we may see more deals like this in the future. Not only does this play to Nokia’s strengths as a development and licensing company, but also avoids the costs and risks associated with manufacturing and marketing in the highly competitive mobile market.

Nokia-N1-6

The Nokia N1, designed by Nokia but manufactured by Foxconn, suggests how the company may re-enter the smartphone business.

For now though, Nokia is prohibited from selling phones under its own name until the end of the year and from licensing out its brand for use with phones until Q3 2016, according to the contract with Microsoft. However, once the licensing deal comes to an end, Nokia designed and branded smartphones may make a reappearance on store shelves, although likely with a different company manufacturing them.

Nokia itself has said that it is “expanding into exciting new areas … with a focus on enabling the human possibilities of the connected world”, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly what the company has in store for us.

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