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Samsung rumored to make bloatware optional, downloadable

Posted by wicked January - 30 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Englightenment or desperation? Whichever your take on Samsung‘s motives, the Korean OEM is now reported to be slimming down its phone’s experience even further. In addition to making the TouchWiz aesthetic fall in line with the new Material Design, it will also be moving much of its less frequently used but pre-installed apps out of the default installation and into Google Play Store, or perhaps its own GALAXY Apps Store, paving the way for a more Nexus-like experience of Samsung devices.

To be fair, a pure Nexus experience isn’t exactly completely stellar, and in some cases might actually be downright unusable (no “clear all recent apps button”?). It isn’t without reason that OEMs and even Android ROMs add such features into their products, and to some extent, we can be thankful for those. But some go overboard and in that regard, Samsung is probably the most notorious offender. Not only is TouchWiz itself overloaded with features, its phones also come with a ton of preloaded apps that barely anyone uses.

The good news is that Samsung seems to be doing some spring cleaning, perhaps motivated by its slumping standing in the industry. It has been rumored to be revising its TouchWiz skin and now the latest word is that it will be doing the same trimming for its apps, many of which are redundant if not unused. Samsung might not completely be putting them to pasture, though. The OEM might simply make them available as optional downloads via Google Play Store, a practice that other OEMs like HTC and Motorola have already been doing even for some of their core apps. Considering Samsung has its own app store, however, it might choose to put those there instead.

So the good news is that the features you might have loved in TouchWiz, like Air View, Smart Stay, and Ultra Saving Power Mode, are likely to stay built-in, but ones that can be removed, like S Translator or maybe even the underwhelming S Voice might find themselves in a different space. But before you break out in celebration, do note that it isn’t known yet which apps and features will make the cut, and we might only find out for sure come MWC 2015 with the Galaxy S6 debut.

VIA: SamMobile, SlashGear

Samsung intros Galaxy J1

Posted by wicked January - 29 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

The world may be anticipating for the coming of the Samsung Galaxy S6 but the South Korean giant still has other phones to offer. The latest of which is the Samsung Galaxy J1, a budget smartphone that looks attractive with its slim profile and modern design, offering seamless performance at warp speed.

The Samsung Galaxy J1 features a 4.3-inch WVGA display, a new Palm Selfie function, Ultra Power Saving mode, a 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.2 GHz Dual Core processor, and HSPA+ connectivity. Making this phone more interesting is the Palm Selfie function which can detect a simple hand gesture to take a photo. That’s taking selfie snapping to the next level! You see, it should be more than just having high megapixels on the front-facing camera, the smartphone should work more magic for the benefit of the selfie addict. There’s also the Tap to Take Pics feature so you don’t have to press the shutter button on the phone. All you need to do to snap a photo is to tap anywhere on the screen.

The Samsung GALAXY J1 can be considered eco-friendly, thanks to the Ultra Power Saving mode. This feature automatically shuts down functions that are not in use to conserve battery consumption. Standard functions like receiving messages and making calls are essential so they can still be used even when battery runs low.

This isn’t a high-end, super smartphone but it’s good enough for basic phone functions, surfing the web, watching movies, and gaming. Expect speed and a smooth performance from this budget smartphone. No word on pricing and availability but phone will be ready in black, white, and blue.

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SOURCE: Samsung

HTC One M8 (Europe), Galaxy Note 3 (Russia) now get Anrdoid 5.0 Lollipop

Posted by wicked January - 29 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

For some smartphone users, the wait has been long and arduous, and challenging, but is now almost finally over. We’re talking about the (very) gradual roll-out of the much awaited Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google and the various OEMs have been trying to perfect the update probably, and so it’s taking them some time. For owners of the HTC One M8 in Europe, and for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the good news has finally arrived and their devices will be Lollipop-ized in the next few days (if not already).

Owners of HTC’s flagship One M8 who live in Europe have started receiving updates to their devices, at least for those in Germany and France. Those who are in Britain and Scotland say they haven’t gotten theirs, but the Senior Global Online Communications Manager for HTC, Jeff Gordon, says that the update will be arriving “in waves”. The official build is marked as 4.16.401.10 and is just 780MB, compared to the heavier upgrades we’ve had before.

For those who have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, you can already officially upgrade your smartphone to Android Lollipop as well, that is, if you’re in Russia or have a model that is the same as the Russian one. The firmware file is now available for download so you can enjoy those Lollipop features that people have been talking about, like the Material Design, lockscreen notifications, etc.

For those who are still waiting, you just have to be a little more patient. It usually takes several months for all eligible Android devices to be updated. Let’s just hope you think it’s worth it.

VIA: SlashGear, XDA

Meizu unveils Meilan m1, new m1 Note variant, LifeKit platform

Posted by wicked January - 29 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Meizu made quite a splash yesterday when it unveiled not one but three new products. Well, two and a half to be precise, as one is just a different variant. That variant is the new Meilan m1 Note for China Telecom, this time bearing a Snapdragon 615 instead of a MediaTek. Completely new, however, is its smaller sibling, the Meilan m1, with a 5-inch screen instead of the larger 5.5. And last but not the least, Meizu is expanding into your homes with a new LifeKit platform for smart appliances.

The variant of the Meilan m1 note is meant only for China Telecom subscribers. If you are one of those, you will get a model that bears a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 inside. All the rest, however, will get a 64-bit octa core MediaTek MT6752 instead. Everything else remains the same and it all boils down to processor brand preference and carrier loyalties.

The star of Meizu’s show, however, is the totally new Meilan m1, which is, for all intents and purposes a smaller and unfortunately less powerful version of the colorful Meilan m1 note. Compared to the phablet, the Meilan m1 sports a 5-inch 1280×768 screen, also made by AUO, a 1.5 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6732 CPU and 1 GB of RAM. It has only 8 GB of storage but can be augmented by a 128 GB microSD card. The cameras, however, are practically the same, with a 13 megapixel rear camera by Samsung and a 5 megapixel front shooter by OV.

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Those specs might seem like a step down from the Meilan m1 Note, but it’s for a good cause, at least for Meizu. The Meilan m1 is meant to compete with the new Xiaomi Redmi 2, which bears somewhat weaker specs in some areas compared to Meizu’s device. The two will be locking heads at the entry-level category, which is why Meizu is giving the Meilan m1 a low 699 RMB price tag, roughly $110. Availability starts February 5.

Not content with smartphones, Meizu is expanding its influence right into your living rooms. It’s new LifeKit platform will undoubtedly call to mind Apple’s almost similarly named product. Like any smart home hub, LifeKit attempts to connect and communicate with different smart appliances, and Meizu has already partnered with quite a few. For lighting, it has partnered with X-Light Plus to bring support for its smart lamps. These bulbs can change their brightness to emulate natural light and Meizu LifeKit allows you to also set the color that they emit to fit your mood. RyFit’s smart physical analyzer scales are also supported, giving LifeKit access to body information like weight, fat percentage, basal metabolic rate, and a more in order to come up with a holistic health plan for the user. These two smart appliances will soon be available for purchase directly from Meizu’s online store.

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SOURCE: Meizu (Meilan m1 Note), (Meilan m1), (LifeKit)

Print your photos through Prynt mobile phone case

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

A lot of people have been accused of over-sharing their pictures on various social networks. But some of them just really want to share moments, food, even selfies, with their friends. What if there was a way of sharing photos with your friends without having to post it on the Internet? Oh wait, right, that’s what we did decades ago when we printed pictures and gave it to our friends. A new Kickstarter project joins the growing number of instant photo printing products in the market, but this time it is an actual phone case.

Simply called Prynt, it claims to be the first mobile phone case that can actually print pictures. You simply plug it into your smartphone, choose the photo that you’d like to print or you can even take a picture right then and there, and a few seconds later, you have a printed photo that you can keep or share with your friends. It works with any smartphone and if you suddenly change your unit, you don’t need to buy a new Prynt, you just need to get a dock adapter. It also doesn’t use any ink cartridge because the special paper you print the photos on has embedded ink already.

Another cool feature for Prynt is it has augmented reality so you can make your photos move, so to speak. While you’re taking a picture, the app will take a short video. After printing the photo, you can hold the phone over it and it will recognize the photo and it will play the video. The said app is still under development however, and will be released this summer. Aside from the augmented reality, the app will also allow you to edit the photos, add background and filters, and personalize it before printing. You can also use it to share photos you’ve taken with other social networks.

The Prynt Kickstarter project has already met its goal of $50,000 (it’s at $205,772 as of this time). It seems like a lot of people are really going for instant photo printing nowadays. You can still support it if you like, although the early bird slots are already gone. Estimated delivery of the Prynt phone cases is August of this year.

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VIA: Kickstarter

ASUS releases the Zenfone C for Malaysian market

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

It looks like ASUS’s Zenfone revolution is gaining some traction, with the Taiwan-based tech company releasing a number of its Zenfone-themed models across markets in Asia and the sub-continent of India. Today, we have another Zenfone release to the Malaysian market – another sub USD$100 device to solidify ASUS’s strength in the lower market niches.

The ASUS Zenfone C seems to be a variant – or at least closely related to the ASUS Zenfone 4 A450CG. To that effect, it carries the model number ZC451CG. The Zenfone C sports a 4.5-inch 854×480 IPS display, powered by 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 processor – the processor of choice for ASUS’s lower models. That is supported by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage space. It has a 5MP/O.3MP camera combo and a 2,100mAh battery. Everything software-side runs on ASUS’s Zen UI over Android 4.4 KitKat.

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It seems that ASUS is taking the Samsung strategy to task – that is, the early Samsung strategy of releasing new variants of their existing smartphones every quarter. This was the strategy that Samsung employed that gained them market saturation (and tons of profit), but it was also the cause of Samsung’s decline in the past year. ASUS should be careful in employing this as well.

The ASUS Zenfone C will be available for the Malaysian market in the next few days at a retail price of USD$96.00. Let’s see if this turns out well for ASUS.

VIA: AndroidOS.in

ZTE Blade S6 debuts with Android 5.0 pre-installed

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

ZTE has announced the latest device to wear its name and the smartphone is called the ZTE Blade S6. The new device is very thin with a profile only 2mm thick. Power for the smartphone comes from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core chipset MSM8939.

Right out of the box the smartphone runs Android 5.0 and has a 5-inch display that uses in-cell technology. One area of focus for the Blade S6 is the camera; the rear unit is a Sony IMX214 13MP autofocus unit. The front camera is a 5MP wide-angle fixed focus offering.

Power for the smartphone comes from a 2400 mAh internal battery. ZTE fits the device with 16GB of storage and 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. The smartphone also has Hi-Fi sound, proximity sensor, accelerometer, compass, gyro, and GPS. Bluetooth and WiFi are also featured.

The smartphone has Android 5.0 right out of the box as previously mentioned, but that OS is overlaid with the ZTE MiFavor 3.0 user interface. Dual nano SIM card slots are included and the smartphone has a 3.5mm headphone port and a microSD card slot for expansion. The smartphone will sell for $249.99 in the US and will be available via Amazon.

SOURCE: ZTE

Motorola shows some #Motolove with big discounts for Valentines

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Motorola wants us all to have a happy Valentines. No, the company isn’t wishing you would find the love of your life (you wish!) but just fall in love with a new phone like the new Moto X or the Moto 360 smartwatch. Of course, this sweet deal could also be the perfect Valentines gift to your geeky significant other.

Flowers? Check. Chocolates? Check. Dinner at a fancy restaurant? Check. How about the gift? Choose something from Motorola and get a $140 discount off the price. That’s one great deal and huge discount if you buy items worth $499.99 or $50 off from your total of $249.99 worth of purchase. Send in your orders before February 14 so items will arrive in time for the day of hearts. Without a promo code, you can still get $100 and $35 off your $500 and $250 purchase—smaller discount but still good.

Register on this SITE starting February 2 and Motorola will email you the promo code. Make sure to redeem the promo code before 10:59pm CST on February 14.

The #Motolove offer does not include Nexus 6 and Moto X (2nd Gen.) on Republic Wireless and the Extended Service Plan. Other items available: Moto 360, Moto E, Moto G 4G LTE (1st Gen.), Moto G (2nd Gen.), and Moto X (2nd Gen.).

SOURCE: Motorola

Saygus to start accepting pre-orders for V2 by January 29

Posted by wicked January - 28 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Are you raring to own a smartphone that can hold up to 320 GB of storage, great camera specs, and all for under $600? The wait is almost over as American OEM Saygus announced that they will start taking actual pre-orders starting this week, as anticipation builds up for the newest smartphone in the market whose specs rivals those of already established brands. Will it actually be worth it?

On paper, and on its debut at the CES 2015 earlier this month, the V2 (that’s “V squared”, not V, version 2) seems pretty impressive. It has a built-in memory of 64GB, which is quite high compared to most 16GB or 32GB ones out in the market. But the smartphone has not one, but 2 microSD slots that can fit in 128GB each. So that means you can actually have up to 320GB of storage at one time. The 3GB RAM is also something not to sneer at. And when it comes to cameras, the 21 megapixel main camera and the 13 megapixel front-facing one is not too shabby indeed.

Saygus actually opened its digital doors to those who are interested with a “pre-registration”, but those aren’t the actual orders yet. It will continue until 12:00 PM MT on Thursday, and then a little after they will be officially accepting the pre-orders. Those who pre-registered before that will receive special discounts and accessories. Those who will already pay for their pre-orders will get limited edition accessories together with their spanking new V2.

As for its price, Saygus hasn’t officially released the pricing, but they did say it will be under $600 (maybe $599.99 eh?). We’ll have two more days to wait and see if people will shout “Shut up and take my money!” to Saygus and if the price tag will be worth it. They’ll be announcing that the pre-ordering is offically open through their Twitter account @Saygus.

VIA: Android Central

Huawei P8 images leaked, extremely slim bezels shown

Posted by wicked January - 27 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

We have an interesting leak to share with you guys – here’s another product from the big guns of China that would probably not quite make it to MWC 2015 in Barcelona, but would have the potential to make an impact during the 2nd half of the year. Huawei will most likely come out with the rumored Huawei P8 at that time, and these images might be the first look at what you can expect.

We have two images here of what purportedly is the Huawei P8 – which ties in with the rumor that the Chinese manufacturer might be dropping the “Ascend” naming convention and just go directly into the number/letter code. In all honesty, that sounds great for us.

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In these images, we see the front and back of a device conveniently marked as a “phone” on the front and back. If we take it at face value and this be the first look at the Huawei P8, all we can say is “Oh my, what slim bezels you have!” The bezels on the device are crazy slim – and when taken with all the aesthetic additions, should be a real head-turner.

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Other specs released with this leak are as follows – a 5.2-inch full HD display, powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 930 64-bit processor, 3GB of RAM running on Android 5.0 Lollipop. All in all, it sounds like a worthy successor to the Huawei Ascend P7, although it may lack the “Ascend” nomenclature. We’re sure more information will be available soon.

VIA: Android.hdblog.it