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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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Microsoft reportedly cutting patent fees in exchange for pre-installed apps

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

microsoft logo mwc 2015 1

Last month, Microsoft announced a global partnership with Samsung and other hardware manufacturers to bring its mobile productivity services, such as its Office suite, to consumers and business users. But there may be more to it than simply offering customers compelling services, DigiTimes Research suggests that Microsoft is tempting Android manufacturers to pre-install its software in exchange for discounts on its licensing fees.

Android hardware manufacturers have all signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft for various essential technologies developed by the company. However, according to findings from Taiwan’s and China’s smartphone/tablet upstream supply chain, Microsoft is offering discounts to those who pre-install Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, as well as OneDrive and Skype onto their Android devices. So far, 11 hardware partners are signed up to the deal.

Interestingly, Microsoft and Samsung recently came to an agreement regarding a billion dollar license fee dispute, although the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Perhaps pre-installation of Microsoft apps in the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and upcoming Samsung tablets had something to do with it?

For Microsoft, a company that is struggling to secure itself a share of the mobile market, the benefits are clear. The company hopes to increase its software user base outside of its hardware share. We’ve seen that Microsoft is pushing free, cross-platforms applications to Android lately, as the company takes a more software focused approach to revenue. For Android manufacturers, the additional revenue is sure to be a welcome bonus, especially given how competitive and price sensitive some segments of the market have become.

We’ll have to see how Google would react to hardware manufacturers installing competing services from Microsoft, as it is unlikely that the company will be able to persuade OEMs not to sign up. It’s quite likely that a number of Android manufacturers will take up Microsoft’s offer later this year.

Suspicious Moto 360 (2015) leak shows round screen, new strap

Posted by wicked April - 8 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Moto-360-2015-leak

The Moto 360 was the first round Android Wear smartwatch announced and new renders suggest that the successor will have a couple of new features. According to leaked renders published online, the Moto 360 (2015) will have a full 360 degree round display and redesigned interchangeable watch straps.

However, looking at the renders in more detail, there are a few things that don’t quite add up. Based on a previous leak by Lenovo’s CEO, the next generation Moto 360 will have a choice of watch faces and straps but the display itself doesn’t look like the full circle display spotted in these renders.

moto-360-briefcase-1

The previous Moto 360 (2015) leak

Looking closely at the watch strap on the render is another design feature that doesn’t look genuine – the previously mentioned leak shows watch arms that are attached to the watch face but in the render, these are attached to the straps themselves. Another point to note is that the physical button is in the centre of the watch face whereas on the previous leak, they were off towards the top of the watch face.

The first generation Moto 360 has a cut out round display whilst the LG G Watch R is the first full display on a round Android Wear watch. It remains to be seen if Motorola adopts a complete design in the next gen device.

As with all leaks, its worth taking these renders with a huge pinch of salt; although the rendered smart watch does look really nice, there’s too much that doesn’t tally with the previous leak. The Moto 360 was announced just over a year ago and with Google I/O 2015 just around the corner, expect there to be plenty more leaks as Google’s event draws nearer.

Samsung’s first round watch to be named the Gear A

Posted by wicked April - 7 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off
samsung gear s aa 20

The Gear S brought a premium, curved design to the table, but the Gear A will take things even further we a circular display.r

Samsung is aiming to tick all the right boxes with the Orbis smartwatch, its rumored circular smartwatch, and SamMobile have revealed some interesting information about the new device, which could be Samsung’s most premium watch yet.

The Orbis will apparently make its debut as the Gear A and should be available in two variants – one with Bluetooth functionality and the other with 3G and voice support. Both variants of the Gear A should support Wi-Fi functionality, as well as offer premium build quality. The Gear A is expected to be the follow up to the Gear S smartwatch – which also had Wi-Fi and 3G support – but additionally it will offer cellular voice connectivity, which the Gear S is lacking.

SamMobile have also obtained model numbers for the Gear A, both unlocked and carrier variants. There are two key model numbers; SM-R720 is the Wi-Fi only version, while the SM-R730 will have 3G and voice support. The SM-R732 variant is expected to be only for South Korean carriers but its unclear whether this will be just carrier locked versions or have additional functionality.

  • SM-R720
  • SM-R730
  • SM-R730A (AT&T)
  • SM-R730P (Sprint)
  • SM-R730V (Verizon)
  • SM-R730T (T-Mobile)
  • SM-R730S
  • SM-R732S (SKT)
  • SM-R732K (KT)
  • SM-R732L (LG U+)

The Gear A is expected to have significant competition when it’s eventually released; the Apple Watch is set to launch later this month around the world and on the Android Wear front, the Huawei Watch and LG Watch Urbane will both offer difficult challenges to Samsung’s new smartwatch.

The two-pronged strategy could prove to be a good strategy as the 3G variant is likely to be pricey and having a standard Bluetooth/Wi-Fi version could allow Samsung to offer the wearable at a reduced priced. The Gear S proved to be a niche product, as a combination of marketing strategy and lack of customer appeal resulted in less than stellar sales. It remains to be seen whether the Gear A can attract significant customer interest, or end up as just another niche smartwatch.

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Sharp may sell off its smartphone LCD display business

Posted by wicked April - 6 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Sharp Aquos-26

Sharp, which manufactures a variety of liquid crystal displays (LCD) for mobile devices, is looking to spin off part of its panel making unit, say reports from Japan’s manufacturing industry. The company is facing its third annual net loss in the past four years and is promising a restructure in exchange for renewed funding. In exchange for extra cash, Sharp will apparently sell off part of its struggling LCD business.

Sharp is seeking a capital injection of around 100 billion yen from Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a fund overseen by the country’s Ministry of Economy. Japan’s government launched the INCJ fund in 2009, in a bid to improve the competitiveness of its technology sector, and already owns 35 percent of rival manufacturer Japan Display.

Part of the reason why Sharp may be looking to spin off its LCD business is due to the increasingly tough competition. The dominance of Samsung’s impressive AMOLED technology in its high-end devices has put increasing pressure on LCD developers to improve their technology. Simultaneously, South Korea’s LG Display and local rival Japan Display have both been aggressively marketing their panels to a variety of smartphone manufacturers, including those in fast growing markets such as China. Sharp accounts for roughly a third of unit shipments to Chinese manufacturers, but is facing tough competition over pricing.

Sharp has previous denied rumors that it would be selling its LCD unit. However, a spokesman recently confirmed that the company is considering reforms to its LCD business, although no decisions have yet been finalized. Restructuring plans are expected to be announced in May.

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LG G4 to use a Snapdragon 808?

Posted by wicked March - 31 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

lg logo mwc 2015 1

According to an unnamed source from Korea, the upcoming LG G4 flagship will come equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC, rather than the expected Snapdragon 810. The source also claims that Qualcomm won’t be able to fix the overheating issues that have plagued the chip’s reputation until the second half of this year.

As well as local sources, a recent GFXBench listing for an LG G4 (F500x) also points to a Snapdragon 808 processing package. The database also lists a 5.5-inch QHD display, 3GB of RAM and Android 5.1 on board.

LG G4 GFXBench

In case you missed the announcement, the 20nm Snapdragon 808 is a hexa-core SoC. It features four low power Cortex-A53 CPU cores pair up with a dual-core high performance Cortex-A57 configuration. The GPU is an Adreno 418 and the memory configuration is paired back to 933MHz dual-channel LPDDR3 rather than LPDDR4 found in the 810.

Apparently, this all comes back to the Snapdragon 810 overheating issue, but there is mixed evidence as to whether this is actually a major problem or not.

After a period of denial, LG eventually conceded that an initial batch of chips had suffered from some problems, but that the issue would not affect the G Flex 2 or G4. While the G Flex 2’s UI may be a little sluggish in places, we didn’t have the same complains about the new HTC One M9, suggesting that LG’s performance problems may have more to do with software than hardware. Some sources state that Qualcomm fixed the issue for production commencing Q1 2015, while others say the fix won’t be applied until Q2.

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Above: HTC apparently patched some One M9 overheating issues with an update.

It’s tough to know exactly what to make of the Snapdragon 810’s apparent issues, but LG dropping back to an 808, having earlier used the 810, would be a damning concession. The other possibility is that LG is reserving the Snapdragon 810, or waiting for fixed chips, until it launches its even more high-end device later this year, although that theory may leave the G4 disadvantaged against the competition.

As for performance, six cores, two high-performance and four energy-efficient, would be more than good enough for most tasks, providing that the OS is kept lean, but the loss of two cores would definitely be felt in heavy multi-tasking scenarios. The switch to a mid-range Adreno 418 GPU would result in inferior graphics performance compared with many last generation Snapdragon 805 handsets, which pack an Adreno 420 GPU. This could be particularly concerning for gamers, if the LG G4 retains a QHD display resolution.

Although this rumor may sound negative, switching to a cooler, more energy efficient chip has benefits for battery and product life-spans. If it side-steps rumored throttling issues with the 810, the performance gap may not even be that pronounced either. Of course, this would leave Samsung’s Galaxy S6 in a secure position as the performance leader.

Qualcomm declined to comment on the issue and LG stated that its release plan is subject to the development of Qualcomm chips, which doesn’t tell us very much. With the LG G4 launch date right around the corner, we’ll know soon enough if this latest rumor comes to pass.

Leaked renders reveal HTC One E9+ color variants

Posted by wicked March - 27 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

htc one e9 leaked colors

Earlier this week, HTC all but confirmed the existence of its One M9+ smartphone, but the company also apparently has a different One E9+ handset in the works as well. @Upleaks has just shared a few alleged press renders of the E9+, showing off three color options for HTC’s other upcoming large handset.

The design looks virtually identical to the phone that passed through China’s TENAA certification agency earlier in the month, down to the two-toned color scheme and the redesigned camera lens placement. The leaked images suggest that the E9+ will be made available in grey, gold/white and gold/silver variants.

Details about the HTC One E9+ are still thin on the ground. The handset is rumored to be a 5.5-inch smartphone with a QHD display, rather than the 1080p resolution found in the One M9, and is said to have a plastic body, rather than metal. Previous leaks have also hinted at a Mediatek processor, 20MP camera, and 3GB of RAM, making this a remarkably similar sounding handset to the One M9+, which is expected to debut at HTC’s event in Beijing on April 8th. The only major differentiator between last year’s E8 and M8 was the handset’s plastic body.

It is possible that HTC will be announcing some or all of the anticipated E9, E9+ and M9+ smartphones at the event in China early next month. HTC’s One E series typically hasn’t ventured much further than China in the past, although the One E8 did end up making it to the US through Sprint.

Korea report: LG G4 to come with a curved display

Posted by wicked March - 27 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

lg logo mwc 2015 3

We have just had our first leaked glimpse at what might be LG’s G4, or perhaps the rumored G4 Note, and sources from Korea have let slip another juicy detail. The LG G4, which is said be heading our way near the end of the April, will come sporting a curved display, likely at the same QHD resolution as the G3.

This design choice seems quite likely. Curved displays have been forming the core look of recent LG releases. LG’s new mid-range Magna and Spirit smartphones both come with subtly curved displays, which are similar to but not quite as pronounced as the G Flex 2. Early alleged press renders also showed off curved design earlier this month, but it is a bit difficult to tell from the head-on shots in the latest leak.

lg spirit aa 5

lg g flex 2 unboxing aa (16 of 31)Above: LG Spirit (left) and the G Flex 2 (right). Ramped up production has allowed LG to bring its curved display technology to more smartphones this year.

LG also has another even more premium product planned for later this year, so a curved display may be a good way for LG to differentiate handsets in what may otherwise become a crowed premium line-up.

LG is pinning a lot on, what industry sources are claiming is, a radically different design with the G4, as the company hopes to surpass the 10 million sales mark for its flagship smartphone this year. Some research firms are even more optimistic. Kiwoom Securities suggests that LG will sell 15 million G4 units in the first year. 7 million LG G3 smartphones have been sold since its launch last April.

LG-G4-Photos-Presse

Alleged early press renders for the G4 also show a slight curve to the display.

The latest LG G4 rumors also suggest that the upcoming flagship will ship with a fingerprint scanner, a new 20.7 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, and a plastic case, rather than the previously rumored metal cover. Of course, we’ll have to wait until LG’s official announcement for the final hardware details.

Report: Samsung to triple Galaxy S6 Edge production

Posted by wicked March - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

samsung galaxy s6 edge aa 9

The Galaxy S6 is looking to be a much needed early winner for Samsung this year. The need for additional Galaxy S6 production capacity was already been rumored earlier in the month, and this time sources are stating that the Galaxy S6 Edge in particular is seeing higher demand than expected from retail and carrier partners. Samsung is now expected to triple the originally planned production volume of the S6 Edge.

According to the Korean media, Samsung is looking for additional suppliers for the Galaxy S6 Edge’s touchscreen panel (TSP). Apparently, Alps Electronics, currently Samsung’s only supplier, does not have sufficient production capacity to keep up with demand. It is currently unclear which other suppliers Samsung may end up working with, but S-MAC has been rumored has one potential subcontractor.

The Galaxy S6 Edge’s curved display is more difficult and expensive to produce than the regular S6’s AMOLED display. Originally, it seems that Samsung may have planned a more limited supply of its Edge design for these reasons, just like with the Galaxy Note Edge, but there appears to be a strong appetite for Samsung’s more premium design. Analysts are anticipating strong demand and 20 million unit pre-orders have already been reported for Samsung’s latest flagship.

With US pre-orders scheduled to begin tomorrow and many regions already accepting early purchases, we will have to see if high demand leads to any Galaxy S6 Edge stock shortages following the global release on April 10th.

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