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Major smartphone OEMs and wireless carriers agree to support anti-theft measures

Posted by wicked April - 16 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

smartphone theft

Like with any other valuable object, smartphones are often the target of thieves. Many lawmakers and even carriers and device manufacturers have questioned how to implement features on devices that would cut down on theft, but until now there hasn’t been much of a united stance in making that happen.

On Tuesday, a group of wireless carriers and smartphone manufacturers voluntarily agreed to start including anti-theft measures on smartphones next year. The list of companies that have pledged support include major US carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, as well as big smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, but also including OEMs like HTC, Motorola, and Nokia. It’s not an all-inclusive list, but it’s a ton of names, regardless.

This voluntary agreement means that all companies on the list will start shipping devices with security and anti-theft measures preloaded beginning July in 2015. Since the major US carriers are on board, that likely means that even if the manufacturer of a certain phone isn’t in compliance, the carrier is going to enforce it to be allowed on their network. These new features will allow users to remotely wipe and deactivate a phone, and keep it deactivated until they regain possession of the device.

Some lawmakers still have a bit of criticism over this agree, however. As it stands, the security measures will be forced onto the devices, but nothing forces the consumers from turning the feature on. If those features aren’t turned on, the devices will still be just as easy to steal as they have been in the past. Many lawmakers want these features to be mandatory and automatically turned on to ensure that they can be more effective.

However you look at the situation, this is still a step in the right direction towards cutting down on stolen devices.

source: Recode

Come comment on this article: Major smartphone OEMs and wireless carriers agree to support anti-theft measures

LG Optimus Zone 2 offers KitKat, hits Verizon

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Those who want a KitKat handset without shelling out for a contract device have a new option at Verizon: the LG Optimus Zone 2, a small prepaid smartphone that brings several features with it, among them being a guest mode and hotspot option.

The LG Optimus Zone 2 has a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 pixels display, putting it in the low-end range of devices. Under the hood, buyers will find a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8610, 4GB of internal storage space, and 512MB of RAM.

The phone features a 1700mAh capacity battery, which LG says gives it up to 10 hours of usage time or 15 days of standby. Connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR. The camera is a 3MP rear unit with a max resolution of 2048 x 1536 for still images.

This makes for a very low-end smartphone, but it falls into the sweet spot for those who need a budget smartphone and want to run the latest version of Android: $49.99 USD, sans contract. The handset runs on Verizon’s network under the company’s $45 prepaid plan.

SOURCE: Verizon

What Android smartphone manufacturer has your heart in 2014?

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

samsung galaxy s5 vs htc one m8 aa (9 of 19)

We’re not even a full four months into 2014 and yet we’ve already seen quite a few impressive looking Android flagship handsets crop up.

Although big-name devices like the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 are the first products to pop into your head, we’ve also seen the Oppo Find 7 and several other promising handsets are just around the corner from OnePlus, LG and Motorola. With so many great brands to choose from, we have to wonder, which smartphone manufacturer are you most passionate about this year?

With that in mind — Let’s take a look at what some of the more popular (or talked about) Android manufacturers have been up to in 2014, as well as speculate on what we might see from them as the year progresses.

Samsung

Samsung continues to be the de facto leader of the Android world, and even though the Galaxy S5 has received its fair share of criticism for largely sticking to Samsung’s traditional design language — initial sales seem to be rather strong.

The Galaxy S5 is currently Samsung’s newest flagship handset, though the Galaxy Note 3 is still very much a worthwhile device for those looking for Stylus support and an even larger display.

As for the rest of the year? Samsung has already sent out press invites for the so-called Galaxy K (aka Galaxy S5 Zoom), and there’s likely a few other surprises heading our way as the year progresses. And then of course Samsung’s year will no doubt finish out strong with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.


HTC

HTC continues to struggle fiscally, but that’s not stopping them from generating a lot of excitement when it comes to their handsets. Recently HTC officially unveiled the One (M8), making it available the day of its formal unveiling.

Like the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 might not be a dramatic departure from its predecessor, but it’s still a stunning looking device with solid specs and several new software improvements thanks to Sense 6.0. In addition to the M8, HTC has also been cooking up quite a few solid look mid-range devices, particularly with some of its new members of the Desire family.

So what else can we expect from HTC as the year goes on? Although we can’t say with any certainty, we imagine that there will be at least a few other members to the One family later this year, such as a new One Mini and perhaps even a new Max.


Sony

Similarly to HTC, Sony is best known for its premium aesthetics. While Sony might not be as popular in the United States as some of the other ‘bigger’ Android manufacturers, the Xperia Z2 has received quite a bit of positive attention and seems to constantly do well in various “best flagship of 2014”-type polls across the web.

It’s hard to say what else we might see from Sony this year in the phone department, though we imagine there will be several new low-to-mid range devices. It’s also possible Sony could bring us a formal successor to the Xperia Z Ultra.

Considering Sony’s tendency to bring out flagships quickly, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Xperia Z3 later this year as well.


LG

LG has brought us the LG G2 Pro, G2 Mini and several lower-end handsets this year. Based on the increasing number of rumors and leaks we are seeing, it’s also probably not too much longer before the company releases their major flagship — the LG G3.

As for the rest of the year? You can expect several other mid-range Android devices in addition to the LG G3, though probably not too much more on the flagship front. Of course, we could be wrong.


Motorola

Motorola Moto G aa 13

With the Lenovo merger marching ever closer to completion, it’s hard to say exactly what we’ll be seeing from Motorola this year. That said, there have been numerous rumors about the so-called Moto X+1.

We also wouldn’t be too surprised if a Motorola Moto G follow-up happens towards the latter part of the year, especially considering how well the handset has done, particularly across the pond.


Oppo

Oppo might be a smaller player, but it’s one that we have largely been impressed with over the last year or so. So far the company’s biggest accomplishment in 2014 has been the release of its flagship Oppo Find 7. The Find 7 has killer specs and is one of the first handsets to offer a QHD resolution.

We imagine Oppo has at least a few other surprises up its sleeve for 2014, and that could certainly include a follow-up to the Oppo N1.


OnePlus

OnePlus press (2)

For a company that has yet to produce a single handset, OnePlus has sure managed to make a pretty big stir thanks to its aggressive (and very playful) marketing tactics. The OnePlus One is expected to be unveiled on April 23rd and should have top-end specs alongside hands-free control, interchangeable premium backs and so much more.

As the OnePlus One is the first handset from the company, it’s hard to predict what else we might see from the company this year. For now, the One is enough to be excited about.


Wrap up

Obviously there are many other smaller Android manufacturers out there, but the above-mentioned are some of the brands that are either the most popular or most talked about in the world of Android right now.

So how about it, which handset manufacturer has your attention? What are you looking forward to, or what do you love about the company’s products and/or direction? Be sure to vote in the poll and sound off in the comments below!

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.






Archos 50 Helium 4G shipping starts at 199€

Posted by wicked April - 14 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

helium-available-nowrmk

Announced just before CES 2014 trade show, the ARCHOS Helium is the first smartphone featuring 4G (LTE) support from Archos. The device is based on the Qualcomm MSM8926 SoC (System On Chip), a mid range 4 cores ARM Cortex-A7 processor with Adreno 305 GPU. There is 1GB of RAM inside, bundled with 720p screen and Android 4.3. Finally, the 50 Helium is now available on Archos online store, there are considerable price variations from one territory to another, it starts at €199.99 in France to €249.99 in Netherlands, Germany and most European countries. The same 50 Helium products actually sells at 279€.99 in Spain and Italy while product release to the UK does not seem to be opened yet.

Here is the quick unboxing/demo video from Archos:

Companies like Wiko, a major player in the smartphone in France (reporting 8.3% market share in France for December 2013 to February 2014) which is quickly expanding to South Europe and other territories, surely have interest in the 4G market as well. Wiko revealed during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that they are coming with a 4G Wiko Wax smartphone under €200, which should be available within weeks from now. Let’s have a closer look at both ARCHOS and Wiko offers.

Wiko Wax versus ARCHOS Helium 50 spec comparison

Wiko Wax ARCHOS 50 Helium 4G
wiko_wax_front_back_c_nowrmk archos-50helium-nowrmk
Android version Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
(to be upgaded to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
(to be upgaded to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Processor Nvidia Tegra 4i, 4+1 cores ARM Cortex-A9 r4 at 1.7 GHz
GPU: integrated (60 cores)
Qualcomm MSM8926 4 cores ARM Cortex-A7 at 1.2 GHz
GPU: Adreno 305 / 450 MHz
Display 4.7″ 1280 x 720 5.0” 1280×720 IPS
Toughened glass Gorilla Glass 2 -
Camera 8 MP rear, 5 MP front 8 MP rear, 2 MP front
Memory 1 GB 1 GB
Storage 4 GB 8 GB
Battery 2000 mAh 2000 mAh
Price €199.99 €199.99 (£189.99)
Dimensions 140 x 67.5 x 8.8 mm 145 x 71.5 x 8.95 mm
Weight 119g 160g

On paper, the Wiko Wax is a clear winner over the ARCHOS 50 Helium: for a similar price, the Wax offering a faster processor, bigger battery, better display and a more robust protection for the screen.

Knowing that the Wiko Wax should be available later this month (as Wiko just confirmed on Twitter, in French) , it may be worth the wait to wisely compare both devices before make your choice.

wiko_wax_april_nowrmk

Archos 50 Neon leaks out, another budget quad-core smartphone from Archos

Posted by wicked April - 10 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Mentioned by Arctablet at the beginning of february, the 50 Neon should hit the stores within two months from now. And 50 Neon is just one of the many 5 inch phones Archos is planning to launch soon(think of 50b Oxygen and 50b Platinum models). Is it an interesting device? Well, the 50 Neon is just another dual-sim offering from Archos featuring the 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor from MediaTek, only 512 MB of RAM and a silly resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. There is a 2000 mAh battery inside which should make sure that the phone will last more than one day on normal usage. While no pricing information is available yet, we expect it the 50 Neon to become available for around 149€.

archos-50-neon-2-nowrmk

Technical Specifications

Operating System Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
CPU Quad-Core MT6582M Cortex A7 @ 1.3GHz
Flash Storage Memory Capacity: 4 GB
System Memory 512 Mb
Interfaces Micro USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol (MTP)
Micro SD slot
Display 5.0″
854 x 480 resolution
GPS Yes + Glonass
Camera 5.0 MPx + LED Flash
Dimensions 145 mm x 72.8 mm
Battery 2000 mAh

archos-50-neon-nowrmk

Archos Helium phones to ship in April, starting at just 169€

Posted by wicked April - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

archos-twitter-helium-nowrmkArchos Helium phones are about to start shipping. During a French live-tweet session, Archos revealed the release dates and the RRP pricing for the Helium phones. The 50 Helium 4G will be available on Archos store on April 14th and will cost you 199€ , while the 45 Helium 4G will follow a week later and will come with RRP of just 169€. Also, Archos confirmed that the Helium 45 and Helium 50 will be updated to Android 4.4 Kit-Kat during summer. Speaking of the Benchmarks, Helium range should score around 18000 points in AnTutu Benchmark.

archos-twitter-helium-2-nowrmkThe RRP price drop can probably be explained by the announcement of Wiko Wax phone back at MWC. On paper, the 199€ Wiko Wax was looking like a clear winner over the 45 Helium 4G offering a better processor, higher resolution screen and better cameras.

ARCHOS 45 Helium vs Wiko Wax : comparing 4G smartphones under 200 euros

Posted by wicked April - 4 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Announced just before CES 2014 trade show, the ARCHOS Helium is the first smartphone featuring 4G (LTE) support from the manufacturer. The device is based on the Qualcomm MSM8926 SoC (System On Chip) a mid range 4 cores ARM Cortex-A7 processor with Adreno 305 GPU.
Planning an early release with devices hitting the market by March 2014, ARCHOS was expecting to take the market for entry level 4G smartphones by storm as ARCHOS CEO, Loic Poirier declared in January 2014 to Les Echos French publication:

“During 8 months, we (ARCHOS) will be the only ones to offer 4G smartphones under 200 euros”
(translated from French “Pendant huit mois, on sera les seuls à proposer des smartphones 4G à moins de 200 euros”)

That was probably underestimating the market and competition…
Companies like Wiko, a major player in the smartphone in France (reporting 8.3% market share in France for December 2013 to February 2014) quick expanding to South Europe and other territories surely have interest in this market as well. They revealed during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona late February, that are they coming with a 4G smartphone under €200, it should be available these next weeks.

Let’s have a closer look at both ARCHOS and Wiko offers.

Wiko Wax versus ARCHOS Helium 45 spec comparison

Wiko WaxARCHOS Helium 45
wiko_wax_front_back_c_nowrmk archos_45helium_Amb_hidef_4_d_nowrmk
Android version Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
(to be upgaded to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
(to be upgaded to Android 4.4 KitKat)
Processor Nvidia Tegra 4i, 4+1 cores ARM Cortex-A9 r4 at 1.7 GHz
GPU: integrated (60 cores)
Qualcomm MSM8926 4 cores ARM Cortex-A7 at 1.4 GHz
GPU: Adreno 305 / 450 MHz
Display 4.7″ 1280 x 720 4.5” 854×480 (FWVGA) IPS
Toughened glass Gorilla Glass 2 -
Camera 8 MP rear, 5 MP front 5MP rear, 0.3 MP (VGA) front
Memory 1 GB 1 GB
Storage 4 GB 4 GB
Battery 2000 mAh 1700 mAh
Price €199.99 €199.99 (£189.99)
Dimensions  140 x 675 x 88 mm 135 x 67 x 9.75 mm
Weight 119g 140g



On paper, the Wiko Wax is a clear winner over the ARCHOS 45 Helium: for a similar price, the Wax offering a faster processor, bigger battery, better display and a more robust protection for the screen.

Wiko Wax performance

pcworld.fr website reports a great benchmark performance, on Antutu results in the 25 000 – 30 000 range which is usually obtained by more expensive phones such as the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4.

Wiko_wax_pcworld_b_nowrmk

The Tegra 4i, the SoC powering the Wiko Wax is, according to the processor manufacturer nVidia, a cut-down variant of the the Tegra 4, their current high end model, the main differences being: 60 cores on the Tegra 4i vs 72 cores on the Tegra 4, ARM Cortex-A9 r4 on the 4i vs ARM Cortex-A15 processor architecture on the Tegra 4, the 4i adding the Icera i500 LTE/HSPA+ baseband processor for 4G support.

While the 4i is expected to offer slightly less performance than the Tegra 4, it should still be a really great performer for games and graphic intensive applications. It is also worth noting that nVidia provides a nice ecosystem for gamers with their TegraZone portal and top notch Miracast support.

To get an idea of the Tegra 4 graphic performance, have a look at the quick video below comparing a Tegra 4 based tablet versus a Rockchip RK3188 powered ARCHOS GamePad.

Archos 35 Titanium is quietly released, Platinum Smartphones disappear

Posted by wicked April - 3 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Leaked by Arctablet a month ago, Archos 35 Titanium doesn’t have the specifications to write home about. Well, that’s probably exactly what Archos was thinking too and when releasing the new smartphone, they decided not to send out a PR article or tweet about the big news on their official twitter page. Anyways, the 35 Titanium is now online on the Archos website.

archos-35-titanium-nowrmkAnything new from the last time we reported about it a month ago? No, it is still that budget friendly Android phone. It comes with the 1Ghz Dual-Core processor, support for dual-sim, 320×480 display and 512MB of RAM. Here is more information about it:

Technical Specifications

Operating System Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
CPU Dual-Core MT6572M Cortex A7 @ 1GHz
Flash Storage Memory Capacity: 4 GB
System Memory 512 Mb
Interfaces Micro USB 2.0: Mobile Transfer Protocol (MTP)
Micro SD slot
Display 3.5″
320 x 480 resolution
GPS Yes
Camera 2.0 MPx + LED Flash
Dimensions 117.5 mm x 62mm
Battery 1420 mAh

Still interested in getting one? You can grab one from the Archos online store for 69€(France) or 79€(rest of Europe). ;) Speaking of the smartphones listed there, the Platinum range suddenly disappeared from the list:

archos-website-smartphonesWhy did it happen? Well, in February we already reported about the Archos 45b Platinum and 50b Platinum models were on the way. Something interesting cthere? Well, the two models will just get a processor update and will ship with quad-core processors from MediaTek running at 1.3 Ghz. We are still talking about Android 4.2 on board, 1GB of RAM and 5 MPx cameras.

Archos 40b Titanium starts shipping for 129€

Posted by wicked February - 26 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

40b-front2-nowrmkIntroduced at MWC 2014, Archos 40b Titanium has just started shipping from Archos online store. The 40b Titanium features an 4″ IPS screen, Dual-core CPU from Mediatek, Android 4.2 and dual front speakers for better audio quality. It is aimed at the younger generation and if you live in the EU, you you can now get one for yourself at Archos Store.

40bti-shipping

Is it worth the money?

Archos 40b Titanium doesn’t sound like a bad product to us. The phone has a nice sleek design with a matte finishing and for a phone which is on sale for about 130€, it is very acceptable. If we judge by the available reviews, the screen is fine and the operating system is pretty snappy. Specifications wise, we have found two downsides – the lack of KitKat and just 512MB of RAM, which is a low in terms of 2014 hardware, even for 129€. Other than that, it sounds like a great product to us.

40b-front-nowrmk40b-back-nowrmk

Lenovo announces three new smartphones: the S660, S850, and S860

Posted by wicked February - 24 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

In addition to their updated Yoga Tablet, Lenovo is also introducing three new smartphones. The S660, S850 and S860 tackle the smartphone market on all fronts. The S660 will prove an admirable mid-range handheld, while the S850 and S860 each have flagship written all over them. The S860 just might end up being the Android device you’ve been looking for, too.


The S660 brings a brushed metal design, and has expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD. The rear cover is rounded for comfort, and Lenovo tells us the pricing for this one starts at $229. If you’re looking for a good mid-range device that doesn’t look like one, the S660 is one you may be leaning toward.

S660
S660
S660
S660

The S850 has a classy all glass exterior, setting it apart from the plastic handhelds we’ve come to expect from others. A quad-core MTK processor keeps it humming all day long, while a 5-inch screen keeps your attention. A 13MP/5MP camera duo put it toward the top of the class, but a $269 price tag make it an immediate attention grabber for us.

S850
S850

The S860 is the powerhouse of the bunch, which LG says can bring up to 40 days of standby time and 24 hours of talk on 3G connectivity. A quad-core processor and 2GB RAM promise to make the S860 lightning quick, and the handheld can even be used to charge other devices — like a battery pack. The S860 will start at a surprisingly low $349.

S860
S860
S860

“The new S860, S850 and S660 smartphones perfectly complement the full range of mobile devices available to consumers around the world, letting consumers easily pick the Lenovo smartphone that’s right for them,” said Liu Jun, executive vice president, Mobile Business Group, Lenovo. “Customers told us they wanted longer battery life without sacrificing performance, so we built these new smartphones for all-day usage, blazing fast processing speeds, and a great user experience.” Whatever your smartphone needs are, Lenovo just might have you covered.