Articles about Smartphones

Nope, Microsoft isn't getting into Android with a Cyanogen investment

Nope, Microsoft isn't getting into Android with a Cyanogen investment

A little while back rumors surfaced suggesting that Microsoft was on the verge of investing in Android. Not directly, you understand, but via Cyanogen Inc. In August, Cyanogen Inc met with Satya Nadella but it seems that the talks amounted to nothing.

The company is on the verge of raising $110 million of financing, but Microsoft will not be involved. According to a report by Bloomberg, Microsoft will not be contributing to the funding, but could still be interested in perusing commercial ventures with Cyanogen Inc to help push Microsoft apps onto more Android devices.

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How about a Nokia Lumia 635 Windows Phone for just $29.99?

Nokia Lumia 635 T-Mobile

If you want to get your hands on a new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone without spending too much money or signing up for a two-year contract then Amazon might have just the thing for you.

Amazon is now offering Nokia Lumia 635, which is basically a low-end Windows Phone, as its Gold Box Deal of the Day, for just $29.99, which is $70 less than the usual $99.99 asking price.

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Bidding farewell to Google's Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5 Android action figure 2

When looking for an affordable high-end smartphone the other day Google's Nexus 5 was an obvious option. Even one and a half years after its launch, its hardware is still more than capable of running all the latest apps and games, while the camera can still be considered a decent shooter. The downside of going with Nexus 5 -- as with previous Nexus smartphones -- is battery life, which falls short of the competition. So I ended up getting something else.

It turned out to be a smart move, as Google just pulled Nexus 5 from its online store, after five months of coexisting with its latest flagship smartphone, Nexus 6. If you still want to get one then you will have to look at retailers and some carriers, which are likely to carry Nexus 5 for at least a few more months (until LG stops production and/or existing stock is depleted.)

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Xiaomi Redmi 2 with 4G LTE support launched in India for Rs 6,999 ($110)

Redmi 2

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi today launched the Redmi 2 -- the successor to its dirt cheap Redmi 1S -- at an event in New Delhi. The company has once again partnered with e-commerce portal Flipkart to give it the exclusive rights to sell the smartphone in the country. Priced at Rs 6,999 ($110), the handset will be available for purchase starting March 24 and will be sold via flash sales. The registration will start at 6PM IST on Flipkart today.

Unveiled in China this January, the Redmi 2 sports a 4.7-inch IPS HD display with 312PPI. It is powered by a 64-bit 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and Adreno 306 GPU paired with 1GB RAM. It comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card should you need more storage.

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Google opens its first store

Google opens its first store

Not to be outdone by Microsoft and Apple, Google has opened its first ever store. Located within Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, this is not a standalone store but a "shop in shop". Going under the predictable moniker of the Google shop, shoppers can expect to find a range of hardware from the search giant.

The stores will give people the opportunity to browse and try out numerous Android smartphones and tablets. Other hardware such as Chromecasts and Chromebooks will also be available. But the Google shop is about more than just hardware, it also gives people the chance to get hands-on with Google software, and attend events and classes -- forget Google Glass, this is Google Class.

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Google releases Android 5.1 Lollipop factory images -- here's how you can install it

fearlolli

The latest Lollipop incarnation may been have around for more than a month now, first arriving on Android One smartphones slated for Indonesia, but Google only yesterday made the official announcement, and revealed the much-awaited changelog. The good news doesn't end there, as the search giant also released a number of Android 5.1 factory images.

Android 5.1 Lollipop packs some pretty major changes. Among them are support for multiple SIMs, a feature that lots of Android vendors have offered for years now, and Device Protection, a feature designed to deter smartphone theft.

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Apple releases iOS 8.2 -- here's what's new

Apple Watch app iOS 8.2

As expected, at its Spring Forward press event, Apple today revealed more details about Apple Watch (be warned, it goes all the way up to $10k), and announced a new, lighter MacBook. But Apple also introduced iOS 8.2, which is needed to make use of the new wearable. Here is what the latest version brings to the table, starting with the Apple Watch connectivity.

After installing iOS 8.2, iPhone users will be able to pair, sync and configure Apple Watch from their smartphone, using the new Apple Watch app that is on the homescreen. Also, there's a new Activity app which shows up after pairing an Apple Watch, showing achievements and fitness data on iPhones. It should be said that Apple Watch only works with iPhone 5 and later models.

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HTC One M9 listing reveals US price and availability

HTC One M9_Silver_Left

It is hard not to like HTC's latest flagship, One M9. The smartphone retains the features that we like from its predecessor, such as the stereo front-facing speakers, metal body and expandable storage, while fixing the bigger issues surrounding the rear-facing camera. There is now a 20.7 MP sensor on the back, which should lead to more detailed photos, while the front of the flagship gets a 4 MP UltraPixel shooter -- it's similar to the camera on the back of One (M8).

Yet while we know what One M9 brings to the table, in regards to specifications and design, HTC hasn't told us much about availability and pricing. Luckily for us, US retailer B&H's listing of the flagship sheds some light on the matter.

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Motorola Moto Turbo launches in India for Rs 41,990 ($690) -- pick this over Nexus 6 or any other flagship

Droid Turbo

Motorola today launched the Moto Turbo smartphone in India. The Lenovo-owned manufacturer has once again partnered with the number uno e-commerce portal Flipkart to exclusively sell the handset through the online channel. Priced at Rs 41,999 ($690), the smartphone packs in some of the best specifications you can ask for in an Android device.

As for the specifications, the Moto Turbo sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with 565 ppi protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Inside the smartphone sits a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor with 600 MHz Adreno 420 GPU, paired with 3GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage. On the camera front, the handset packs in 4K-capable, 21MP rear shooter with dual LED flash and a 2MP sensor upfront.

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Huawei Honor Holly: Budget phone without budget performance [Review]

honor-holly-900x506

If I wanted to pinpoint the most important development in the smartphone sector in the last two years, it would probably have to be the rapid rise of Chinese manufacturers. Huawei is one of the companies that has forced the mighty Samsung to consent to a rapidly declining market share in the huge Chinese market. Now it is going even further to conquer the world.

The Huawei Honor Holly that I review here is a typical example of what is on offer. It signifies what consumers in rising Asian markets want most: A large screen and good performance that will allow operation as the user’s only device. Let’s take a closer look.

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Mom's Nokia Lumia Icon is gone -- she has a vintage Moto X now

Moto X

I can attest firsthand to the rising health-care costs everyone talks about. My mom went to hospital on January 30th for outpatient surgery. Still woozy from anesthesia, she left her Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone in the bed's blankets. The hospital ships the linens to Canada for cleaning, and, well—cue the violins—that handset is gone to cellphone heaven or into someone's greedy, grubby hands. Wouldn't you know, Medicare won't cover the cost of replacing the phone.

Neither will Asurion pay up. The nerve. When reporting the phone lost, Verizon suggested adding insurance to the phone line and later filing a claim. The Lumia could be replaced for $99 deductible. I must admit to a little apprehension, but, hey, cost was just 10 bucks. Damn, three attempts to file a claim all failed, with Asurion insisting that the phone was lost before insurance was applied. Either these insurers are smartypants, or this is a popular scam. Whichever, mom's hospital visit was an unexpected, health-care cost.

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Sony will only update Xperia Z series Android phones to Lollipop

Sony will only update Xperia Z series Android phones to Lollipop

There is one complaint that is constantly levelled at the Android ecosystem, and that’s the notion that it's a platform that has become very fragmented. For all of Google's bluster about Lollipop, only a tiny proportion of handsets are actually running the latest version of the operating system. This is something that doesn't show signs of changing soon.

Sony has revealed news that will undoubtedly upset many smartphone owners -- only the Xperia Z series is in line for an Android 5.0 upgrade. No Lollipop for the Xperia T2 Ultra, the Xperia M2 Aqua or anything from the E series. A perfect demonstration of why fragmentation is so prevalent. Anyone with a non-Z series Xperia is stuck with KitKat, Jelly Bean or whatever version of Android they may have.

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Hosted web apps could solve Microsoft's Windows Phone problems

Hosted web apps could solve Microsoft's Windows Phone problems

Despite my colleague Wayne Williams' eloquent suggestion that the naming conventions used for Lumia devices is part of the reason for the low uptake of Windows Phone, the platform still has a serious problem when it comes to apps. Whether there is a real problem or not, the perception is that Windows Phone -- or Windows 10 for Phones -- is rather lacking in the app department. Fear not... Microsoft has a solution.

Rather than pumping out a glut of new apps of its own, or encouraging developers to produce third-party apps, Microsoft is adopting a slightly different tactic. At MWC 2015 this week the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL were revealed, but Microsoft also announced that web apps will be permitted in the Windows store. Could this be what app-hungry consumers have been waiting for?

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge unboxing and hands-on videos

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge unboxing and hands-on videos

Fresh from the unveilings at MWC 2015, Samsung has released official unboxing videos for its two latest Android devices -- the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Published on YouTube, the video clocks in at under three and a half minutes -- no epic-length unboxings here! -- and gives us a close-up look at the flagship handsets.

Both devices appear in fairly unassuming, plain white boxes, unadorned with imagery or other distractions, but it's the contents that everyone is interested in. It's the Galaxy S6 Edge that is unwrapped first, and fans of the Galaxy series are sure to be impressed by what they see.

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Apple, Microsoft and Google need just one mobile improvement -- battery life

Apple, Microsoft and Google need just one mobile improvement -- battery life

Let’s face it, you’ve picked the mobile operating system you like. Whether you’ve opted for an iPhone, a Lumia handset or a device running Android, the chances are you’re not going to switch allegiances no matter what others may do or say to try to convince you otherwise. At the same time, few people would argue that their handset of choice is perfect.

You’ve picked your side when it comes to OS, but what about the handset itself? Apple, Samsung, HTC et al keep releasing slightly tweaked versions of last year’s handset, perhaps adding a faster processor, a larger screen and more memory. One thing is constantly overlooked, however -- battery life. And it’s time for things to change.

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