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OnePlus unleashes an even bigger Blizzard of Invites

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

After a storm, what do you get? Well, apparently for OnePlus, a blizzard. Since it just announced the availability of Bamboo StyleSwap covers for their first and only smartphone, it is only reasonable that they are now trying to reel in more buyers. This time around, they have doubled the stakes, offering invites to buy the OnePlus One to 5,000 lucky people.

The OnePlus One owners group is pretty much an exclusive club of lucky raffle winners and people with the right connections. As a small startup, OnePlus tried to go the indie route and cut out the middlemen of retailers and distributors. Sounds good until you realize that OnePlus itself becomes the bottleneck of the distribution process, without the manpower to sell the phone in markets themselves. As of the moment, the only way you can get into this club is either by winning a contest or by being invited by someone who already owns one.

There have been a few waves of invitations sent out, but perhaps even fewer waves of actual shipments. The last one was in June, when they held the “Storm of Invites” contest, putting up 2,500 invites up for grabs. This time, the number is 5,000 but the mechanics are still the same. You sign up via Rafflecopter and pretty much peform menial social networking tasks until the day of the draw. At the moment, there are already around 165,000, which means more than 41,000 participants, each allowed 4 entries, all vying for only 5,000 tickets.

It should once again be noted that this is a raffle to get invites, not to actually get the phone itself, which would have been too good to be true. Lucky winners will, of course, still have to pay for the 64 GB Sandstone Black model. That costs $349, which isn’t that bad given the features of this still elusive creature. Better hurry if you have any plans on joining. The raffle ends on July 23 at 9:15 a.m. EDT.

SOURCE: OnePlus

Skinny Gionee Android smartphone has a slim 5mm depth

Posted by Tom July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The battle for the slimmest smartphone is still being fought in some pockets of the industry and Chinese brand Gionee has come up with a 5mm-thin handset that’s got to be a contender.

The Gionee GN9005 looks like an iPhone from the front, weighs 94.6g and has a 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED display.

It runs on a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM, 16GB storage, TD-LTE connectivity, and two cameras: 8MP and 5MP on the front.

The phone come with Android 4.3 JellyBean and will be out soon.

Via androidauthority

Xiaomi Mi 4 takes on the market with steel

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

As expected, Xiaomi revealed today its next flagship, the Mi 4 and as expected, the it boasts of the best in class specs, save a few here and there. Proving past rumors and leaks right, this Chinese manufacturer has indeed tried to give the Xiaomi Mi 4 a more premium personality, by utilizing a slightly heavier but definitely sturdier stainless steel material for its body.

Let’s get the tech specs out of the way. The Xiaomi Mi 4, unsurprisingly, boasts of top of the line hardware, though there are some areas where flagships from major brands do better. While we may all probably wish for 2K screens, the Full HD resolution on this 5-inch panel, made by Sharp and Japan Display Inc (JDI), is just right for its size. Considering very few devices run on the latest Snapdragon 805, the 2.5 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 is still pretty much at the top. And with 3 GB of RAM, things are guaranteed to run fast and smooth, at least up to a certain point.

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But it is the design of the Xiaomi Mi 4 that bears noting. Not many employ the use of steel for its devices. Although it is more durable, it is a bit more expensive, heavier, and harder to get right. But when done well, the quality of craftsmanship shows, as seen in the iPhone and some of Sony’s high-end Xperia phones. Xiaomi has managed to keep the weight down to 149 g, not exactly the lightest but an achievement nonetheless. That said, there is one part of the Mi 4′s appearance that might raise a few eyebrows. When leaks revealed that the company would be returning to more rounded corners, the photos hinted at a design more similar to Samsung’s devices. The final product shown on stage today, however, reveals one that could be mistaken for an iPhone.

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But an iPhone, at least by default, would not have the customization options that the Xiaomi Mi 4 has to offer, particularly in terms of back covers. Taking a page from Motorola’s book, the company will be making available a variety of swappable covers, not just of varying colors but even of different textures, including wood, fabric, leather, and even marble. The default color options, however, are black and white. Xiaomi also has two internal storage options available, of course with different prices. The 16 GB model costs 1,999 RMB, around $322, while the 64 GB has a price tag of 2,499 RMB, roughly $402. Xiaomi has a rather interesting launch schedule for the Mi 4, starting July 29 on China Unicom, August for China Telecom, and September for China Mobile 4G. Now all that remains is the biggest questions of them all: will it ever land on the US?

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Amazon Fire Phone games put Dynamic Perspective to work

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The Fire Phone‘s fancy Dynamic Perspective feature may have left some scratching their heads trying to make sense of its utility and practicality, but it is a control system that is just begging to be used in games. It isn’t surprising, then, to hear that Amazon Game Studios has two new games in store that takes advantage of this head-tilting mechanism to put a literal twist to some conventional themes.

Match-3 or Same Games have evolved through the years, thanks in part to mobile gaming, beyond the simple pattern or item matching game to one that sometimes incorporates other game genres, like RPGs, for example. Saber’s Edge is pretty much like that, where you try to make matches that will, in turn, power up your pirate crew in battle. Of course, being a Fire Phone exclusive, there is another side to this game, literally. Where normal match-3 games use a flat board, Saber’s Edge’s items are actually laid out on a cube. Tilting your head, which is sensed by Dynamic Perspective, allows you to take a peek at the other sides of the cube so that you can plan a super match-9 combo attack. The game also makes use of other gestures like twisting and tilting to control other parts of the game.

Amazon Game Studios really love their cubes. There is also a cube in To-Fu Fury, but this time, it is the hero, a cube of bean curd, obviously. In contrast to Saber’s Edge, To-Fu Fury takes a more direct approach to battles. You take control of the tofu and make him swing, stick, and stretch to avoid obstacles and headbutt enemies in this platformer game. But while it doesn’t employ Dynamic Perspective in some fancy way like Saber’s Edge, it does give players a different perspective. Yes, again, literally. You can take peeks around obstacles and levels to get a better view of the layout and plan your strategy better. However, it doesn’t seem to be critical to finishing the game and it might be even more challenging and satisfying to play it without this feature.

Saber’s Edge is still marked as coming soon but will be available for free, while To-Fu Fury is already out and costs $1.99, both with in-app purchases. Of course, the actual price for either of these will be much higher, since you’ll need to buy a Fire Phone to even play it, unless you already own one, of course.

SOURCE: Amazon

LG G3 Cat. 6 to launch in Korea with Snapdragon 805

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

LG seems to now also be doing the LTE-A variant dance like its arch rival. Instead of vesting its latest flagship with the latest and greatest specs, including an LTE Category 6 compatible modem, LG has left the G3 a bit wanting in that area and instead will be launching a different model in its home country just for this very purpose.

So what does the LG G3 Cat. 6 variant offer that its flagship namesake can’t. Well, as the name implies, it has support for Category 6 LTE. That means, at least in theory, that users will be able to achieve download speeds up to 225 Mbps, depending of course on the network quality. Considering that Korea likes to flaunt its LTE-A networks, that might not be impossible to achieve. In practical terms, LG says that users will be able to download an 80 MB music video in just 2.8 seconds and a 1 GB movie in 36.4 seconds. Again, in theory.

There is, however, one more difference. In order to support this high-bandwidth LTE network, LG had to swap out the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 on the original LG G3 with a more recent and more multimedia-focused Snapdragon 805. But aside from Cat 6 support, the new processor also bumps up the processor speed, up to 2.7 GHz max for each of the four cores. In contrast, the Snapdragon 801 only reaches 2.5 GHz. The GPU is also an upgraded Adreno 420, bringing with it maximum graphics performance.

In all other aspects, the LG G3 Cat. 6 remains the same LG G3 that you might have fallen in love with, which is good for LG’s core Korean market. Those who have already invested in the main flagship won’t have to feel jealous over this new variant, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A, which is a substantially different and better model than the Galaxy S5. No price has been mentioned yet but so far it will only be available in Korea, starting July 25. It will come in Metallic Black, Silk White, and Shine Gold colors.

SOURCE: LG

OnePlus One Bamboo cover is here and out of stock

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Right on the dot, OnePlus has revealed the availability of the first “textured” StyleSwap cover for the still elusive OnePlus One smartphone. Of course, that depends on how you define “availability”, as this unique wooden cover is currently marked as out of stock, making it pretty much like the smartphone itself: unavailable.

OnePlus promised a lot, and to be fair, it has delivered on them to some extent. The OnePlus One was indeed a premium smartphone with an affordable price tag, which could explain the sustained interest in the device despite being near impossible to acquire. Before launch, OnePlus already promised that there will various StyleSwap covers of varying textures, including wood, something Motorola also provides for the Moto X. Today, OnePlus made true its word and the first, or maybe even only, wood cover has been revealed as Bamboo.

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Environmentalists might feel a bit aghast at the idea of using bamboo as a smartphone cover, but those who like their devices to be truly unique and personal might find this offer quite attractive. And unique it will be as OnePlus promises each cover is one of a kind thanks to an almost endless combination of bamboo fibers, nodes, and colors. OnePlus claims that no two Bamboo covers in the world will be the same. It does indeed look professionally crafted and might attract a few glances. OnePlus amusingly even made a trailer just for the cover alone.

The OnePlus One Bamboo StyleSwap cover costs $49, though, as mentioned it is currently out of stock. OnePlus has apparently taken a regular approach to manufacturing and selling these covers, unlike the per-order system of the Moto Maker. Considering that there are comparatively few OnePlus Ones out in the world, it wouldn’t be hard to keep up with orders. That said, as interesting and beautiful as this bamboo cover might be, with the OnePlus One still unavailable for retail, it will remain just a taunting photo in our web browsers. OnePlus better be careful that it doesn’t let the window of opportunity pass by, that is, if it actually has any plans of selling the smartphone the old fashioned way at all.

SOURCE: OnePlus (1), (2)

Galaxy S5′s Ultra Power Saving put to test in road trip

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Since Samsung has been harping about the Ultra Power Saving mode of its Galaxy S5 for some time now, even going so far as to mock its rivals with a clever ad, they decided to prove its worth with a coast to coast road trip test. The trip was compressed into a 2.5 minute video that shows the smartphone managed to last 7 days on the road without needing to recharge it.

The video shows two men who go on a road trip from New York to Venice, California and using a Galaxy S5 that was mostly on Ultra Power Saving Mode, they were able to use it for 150 hours through 3504 miles in 13 states visited. Not only that, they were also able to send out 86 texts, take 119 photos, take around 4+ minutes worth of videos and had 16+ minutes of talk time. We say mostly in Ultra Power Saving Mode because it was not on the entire time, as they had to switch to regular mode in some instances. The video indicates when it was on and off, depending on what they were using the phone for. Imagine how much longer it would have lasted if it was on Ultra Power Saving mode the entire time.

The feature basically turns your Galaxy S5 into black and white mode and you can only access certain applications, like making phone calls and sending text messages, the Samsung browser, and if you want to, some other apps like Calculator, Google+, Clock, Voice Recorder, Memo, ChatOn. It also turns off all unnecessary features of your smartphone, including WiFi and Bluetooth, and if your screen is off, your mobile data. Since the S5 has an AMOLED screen, this means that it doesn’t use a backlight so if it’s in grayscale mode, it basically turns the pixels off.

Since the Galaxy S5 and all its variants are the only smartphones (so far) that offer this feature, they have a distinct advantage over their competitors, since battery life and being mobile without charging are two of the most important things for users right now. Check out the road trip video and see what you will be able to do on a coast to coast road trip with your S5 on Ultra Power Saving mode.

Xiaomi Mi3S makes appearance at GFXBench, specs showed

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

A device tagged as the Xiaomi Mi3S showed up at the databases of benchmarking app GFXBench, and it has included specs of the supposed device. This is in light of Xioami’s upcoming event on July 22 where they will be expected to launch a new handset – and most people are still not sure if it will be the Mi3S, or the Xiaomi Mi4, the latter also backed by numerous leaks.

But to the point at hand, GFXBench shows a device with a 5-inch display at 1920×1080 native resolution. The spec list also but confirms the leaks that the Mi3S will be coming out with the more powerful Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor with the Adreno 330 GPU, also boasting of a generous 3GB helping of RAM.

There’s a bit of a mix-up with the cameras, with the GFXBench data putting the cameras at 12MP and 7MP, rear and front-facing respectively. The earlier leaks said that the cameras will be at 13MP and 8MP. The data also puts internal storage at 12GB, with whole device running Android 4.4.3 Kitkat.

With Xiaomi’s event coming up in two days, we are really not sure if they will be launching the Mi3S or the Mi4 – or both, for that matter. But we can see the general trending of the smaller China-based manufacturers trying to challenge the big boys in terms of specs and price range. The Mi3S is touted to arrive at around USD$300.

SOURCE: GFXBench

Moto G2 image leaked, some probable specs mentioned

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

The Moto G was an experiment in niche marketing that went very well for Motorola – and by extension Google – as it has been known to be one of, if not the best performing Android phone you buy under USD$200 unlocked. And Motorola is – in our opinion – rightly pursuing this path by developing a second generation Moto G, with improved specs and a rumored cheaper price (yes!).

It looks like Motorola will be staying with the 720p screen that made the Moto G pleasant to look at – it will still be a 1280×720 display (320 dpi), but no word on whether it will still be a 4.5-inch screen. In a world awash with 1080p and QHD screens, the Moto G’s 720p screen is… well, not bad at all, especially at the price you’re getting it.

The Moto G2 is expected to have a more muscular engine though, with a quad-core ARM V7 (VFPv4 NEON) processor and an Adreno 305 graphics processor. Still no word on RAM allocation, internal storage, and battery size (in mAh), but it’s still early days for the G2. The source confirms that it will have an 8MP rear shooter, and will have dual-sim capabilities. As for physical design and aesthetics, all we have to go on will be this single frontal image of what is supposed to be the Moto G2. Not much detail to discuss here, except maybe that it still looks sleek and premium – you wouldn’t be ashamed of pulling one out of your pocket in this day and age.

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The original Moto G was a stand-out at USD$179. With rumors indicating that the Moto G2 will cost even less – Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside being quoted rhetorically asking, “Why can’t these devices be $50?” – we may see the Moto G2 closer to USD$100, and at that price, we’d definitely get one. Launch date for the Moto G2 is said to be either late in the holiday season of 2014 or early 2015.

VIA: Android Headlines

Sony Xperia Z2 now available in US market

Posted by wicked July - 21 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Months after Sony announced its newest smartphone and months after it went on sale in other regions, the Xperia Z2 is finally available in the US market. However, it is still currently available only off contract through the Sony online store and they are offering their newest flagship at a $50 discount, bringing the price down to $699.99 from $749.99.

That’s a pretty steep price, even for the specifications the smartphone carries, as most of its rival OEMs that have almost similar specs, can be bought under $600. The Xperia Z2 boasts of a 5.2-inch screen with a display of 1920×1080 pixels, and still using the TRILUMINOS branding that Sony has been using for its mobile displays. It also has a 2.3GHZz, quad-core Snapdragon 801, Adreno 330 GPU, but what’s most important is the 3GB RAM, which should make it one of the smoothest running smartphones in the market. The internal storage however remains at 16GB, with a microSD card slot that can carry up to 128GB of storage.

For those concerned with the phone’s camera and video features, the Z2 improves upon its predecessor, the Xperia Z1, by maintaining the very impressive 20.7MP rear-facing camera, but adding several features to it. It can shoot video in 4K and has a new Timeshift feature that enables the slow-mo effect as you shoot. It’s also the first smartphone camera to have a digital noise cancelling feature. Some would say that this device’s purpose is more of a camera than just a phone.

There is still no word when the top US carriers will be offering the Xperia Z2 to its subscribers, though Sony very rarely makes such partnerships. That said, the phone is LTE ready and unlocked to, in theory, you can use it with your carrier or choice. Also, the Sony online store does not indicate when they will start shipping the devices, just that it’s on backorder.

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SOURCE: Sony

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