Articles about Smartphones

Google might launch two new Nexus phones in 2015, but no tablet

Nexus 6 Back

Google revealed lower revenue from its Nexus devices last year, putting some pressure on the low-cost, high performance program’s future. Fortunately, it sounds like Google is planning to give the Nexus smartphone another try in 2015, according to Android Police.

Instead of having a single mobile, Google is planning two Nexus devices this year. One will feature a 5.2-inch display, the other a 5.7-inch display. LG will work on the smaller device, while Huawei will take its first role in the Nexus program with the 5.7-inch model.

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Google revamps age rating system for Android apps in Play Store

Google revamps age rating system for Android apps in Play Store

Google's system of rating apps and games in the Play Store has been relatively simple up to now. A rudimentary high, medium, and low labelling format has been used to give a rough indication of the age a particular title is suitable for, but things are about to get a lot more complicated. Developers are now required to answer a questionnaire about their apps so they can be assigned movie-style age ratings.

Sounds simple enough, but this is not a global system; different parts of the world have different views of what is suitable for different age groups. What is deemed acceptable for 15-year-olds in one country might be thought suitable only for over 18s somewhere else. Any app that does not receive an age rating will simply not appear in Google Play.

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My sister abandons Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia Icon

Mobile apps do matter, otherwise my tech-savvy sister wouldn't be giving up one of the best smartphones on the market: Nokia Lumia Icon (which is the 930 internationally). She bought the handset from me last summer and from Day 1 praised the utility and usability of the user interface, attractive but sturdy design, and amazing hardware capabilities, which include the quality of images produced by the camera.

Nanette rang Thursday afternoon, explaining that she had reached the inflection point of frustration finding apps she wanted or absolutely needed. She wanted my advice about a replacement. Should she return to iPhone (Nan used the 4 before Icon) or get an Android? Her user story illuminates what can happen when someone entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem raises his or her head above ground and sniffs the Android and Apple air.

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Pets are destroying tech

Pets are destroying tech

"The dog ate it" is a classic excuse for failing to deliver homework, but a new study shows that it also explains a good deal of damage to various items of technology. You may well have dropped a phone in the toilet, smashed a tablet on the floor or accidentally obliterated a laptop screen, but it seems our furry friends are just as much to blame as us bipeds.

Figures released by insurance company SquareTrade show that in the last five years, pets in Europe have been responsible for the destruction of £1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) worth of tech. British households have been hit with the highest pet vs tech bills, with cats, dogs and other domestic creature clocking up £358 million in damage.

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Sony announces Xperia Z3+: Just another flagship

Waterproof credentials of Sony Xperia Z3+ shown in Copper Gold

While the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung all have new flagship smartphones for 2015, Sony is still trying to sway consumers with last year's Xperia Z3. While it is not exactly dated, it is showing its age in a time when the competition is rocking newer and more impressive hardware, as well as more attractive designs.

So how is Sony answering? The Japanese maker has decided that the flagship it needs to compete against rivals like G4 and Galaxy S6 is actually a rebranded version of the Japan-only Z4 that it unveiled in mid-April. Sony is either crazy or dropping out of the race.

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Samsung announces Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man-themed limited edition

Samsung has teamed up with Marvel to release an Iron Man-themed version of its Galaxy S6 edge Android flagship smartphone. The handset is introduced in celebration of the Avengers: Age of Ultron blockbuster, and hits store shelves starting tomorrow as a limited edition.

As you might expect, where the Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge differs from its standard counterpart is in the looks department. But there are also differences when it comes to packaging, with the former being shipped in an Iron Man-themed box with extra -- cool -- accessories.

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Apple may have leaked its upcoming iPhone 6c

Apple leaks iPhone 6c with Touch ID on UK listing of Lightning Dock

There has been another leak of an Apple smartphone -- far from an unusual event in itself, except this time Cupertino itself is responsible for spilling the image.

The Guardian spotted the picture which popped up on the Apple Store, advertising a new charging dock with a lightning connector. Inside the dock was an iPhone 5C with a difference – rather than a home button, it appears to have a fingerprint scanner.

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SURE turns your Android device into a universal remote

SURE for Android turn smartphone into universal remote

You can turn your tablet or smartphone into a remote and control every smart device in your home, thanks to a new app available worldwide now.

Tekoia, the provider of smart universal remote solutions for digital media, smart appliances and the Internet of Things, has announced it launched SURE globally.

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Android 5.1.1 now available for Nexus 4, 5, cellular 7 and 9 -- here's how you can install it

Android 5.1 Lollipop announcement image

You might think that Google will quickly update its supported Nexus devices to the latest version of Android, after releasing it. After all, the search giant controls the development of the mobile operating system and Nexus software updates. But that is not exactly the case.

Some Nexus devices -- like the second-generation Nexus 7 -- got Android 5.1.1 Lollipop last month, while other handsets -- like the 4G LTE version of Nexus 9 -- are only now receiving the software upgrade. Not a level playing field it would seem.

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Huawei's LiteOS Internet of Things operating system is a minuscule 10KB

Huawei's LiteOS Internet of Thing operating system is a miniscule 10KB

Chinese firm Huawei today announces its IoT OS at an event in Beijing. The company predicts that within a decade there will be 100 billion connected devices and it is keen for its ultra-lightweight operating system to be at the heart of the infrastructure.

Based on Linux, LiteOS weighs in at a mere 10KB -- smaller than a Word document -- but manages to pack in support for zero configuration, auto-discovery, and auto-networking. The operating system will be open for developers to tinker with, and is destined for use in smart homes, wearables, and connected vehicles.

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Your smartphone is too big

Big Large Oversize Smartphone

I love my Nexus 6. This morning, while waking to the rush of caffeine from steaming coffee, I read headlines on the device. "I’m Phed Up With Phablets: They're too big to prevail" caught my attention. The short commentary, by Brian Rubin for ReadWrite, rails against the bigger-is-better-smartphone trend. Screen on my cellular is massive: 6 inches, and I forever promised myself to never use a phone so large -- until I did and converted. Much as I enjoy using the N6, for which I can still manage many operations one-handed, smaller would be my preference. Perhaps yours, too.

Here at BetaNews, we first raised doubts about ever-expanding screens four years ago. I still remember the discussion about the story, and more importantly the headline, before Ed Oswald wrote "Is that the Samsung Galaxy S II in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" In 2015, what seemed large then -- a 4.3-inch screen -- is puny. Even iPhones are bigger. Rubin rightly raises alarm about choice: "The real problem isn’t so much that there are too many phablets, but that there aren’t enough non-phablets these days -- at least none that are truly interesting".

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LG expands G4 lineup -- announces G4 Stylus and G4c

LG G4 Stylus and G4c together

LG's G4 lineup is growing, as the South Korean maker just announced G4 Stylus and G4c. The two new smartphones look similar to their flagship sibling, G4, but sport much more modest hardware.

G4 Stylus is the proper phablet in the lineup, while G4c is the compact offering -- if it can be called that, given that its display is as big as some of G4's rivals. Both smartphones can be considered mid-range offerings.

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Court of Appeals says Samsung's legal payments to Apple should be reduced

Court of Appeals says Samsung's legal payments to Apple should be reduced

Patent lawsuits in the world of technology are nothing new, and the case between Apple and Samsung resulted in one of the largest fines ever being handed down. Samsung was ordered to pay $930 million in damages after a court found that the company had violated Apple patents with its smartphone and tablet designs.

Today the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned part of the original ruling, saying that the jury was wrong to say that Samsung infringed on Apple's trade dress intellectual property. The exact details of what this will mean are yet to come out, but it should lead to a fairly hefty reduction in Samsung's legal costs.

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Snapchat plans to release a Windows Phone app, but don't get your hopes up

SnapChat

While Windows Phone Store is home to lots of third-party apps, you will not see a Snapchat client in there. And it is not due to a lack of effort. The company simply does not want any such offerings to be available, actively working towards eliminating each and every one.

Rudy Huyn, a well-known Windows Phone developer, has gone as far as asking Snapchat to review the code of his 6snap client to keep the app alive in Store, but the company would not budge. Also, when Snapchat CEO Evan Spegel was told that Windows Phone users want an official app, he simply replied: "didn't think anyone used those". However, Snapchat's could-not-care-less-about-Windows-Phone stance seems to have changed, as it just announced that a Windows Phone app is on the cards.

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LG G4 rolls out this week

LG G4 Available Colors Back Covers

South Korean maker LG has announced that its latest flagship smartphone will roll out globally starting this week. Unveiled in late-April during a special event, G4 is positioned as a rival to the likes of HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

LG says that G4 will be available through around 180 carriers and retailers across the globe, and will continue its roll-out throughout June. It will not be immediately available in key markets across Europe and North America.

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