Articles about Smartphones

Facebook is now working on its own digital assistant called M

facebook_m

Sounding like a character from a James Bond movie, M is Facebook's personal digital assistant. Ready to compete with the likes of Cortana, M will live inside Facebook Messenger and take artificial intelligence a step further. Rather than just helping you to find information or create calendar entries, M will actually perform tasks on your behalf.

Once up and running, M will be able to book restaurants for you, purchase shopping, and more. It will also be possible to use the service to ask for advice -- such as looking for somewhere to visit nearby, or gift suggestions -- and Facebook says the AI behind M is "trained and supervised by people".

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Apple: iPhones thriving in China

Apple

Even though China’s smartphone market is saturated, and now relies only on people replacing their devices instead of buying their first one, Apple still bets a lot on that market.

In its third quarter earnings the iPhone business grew by more than half, to $31bn (£19.64bn) on 47.5 million shipments. According to a report by the IB Times, sales in China more than doubled to $13bn (£8.24bn), over a quarter of Apple’s revenue. The company did not say exactly how many iPhones it sold in China last quarter, but it was an 87 percent increase on a year earlier.

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Don't blame Samsung; it's your own stupid fault if you break your Galaxy Note 5

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Samsung is undoubtedly pleased that its new Galaxy Note 5 is in the headline, but the company would almost certainly prefer that it was for different reasons than it breaking. Not that there is a problem with the Note 5 -- despite countless websites and blogs claiming that Samsung has released a handset with a design flaw -- but if you insert the S Pen the wrong way round, you could well break it.

Of course, when one makes a mistake -- like shoving a stylus backwards into its housing -- it's easy to try to blame someone else. Samsung's response to the situation has been advising people to "follow the instructions in the user guide", which is entirely reasonable. How much hand-holding is really required? Do knife manufacturers need to tell you not to hold onto the pointy end?

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First Windows 10 Mobile device from Archos targets entry-level shoppers, disillusioned Android users

Archos Windows 10 Mobile 50 Cesium Android 5.1 Lollipop 50e Helium

Windows 10 Mobile is not even ready for prime time, as Microsoft is still working on it, but some vendors have already announced smartphones that will debut with the upcoming operating system on board. The latest is 50 Cesium, an entry-level device from French electronics company Archos, which is also its first Windows 10 Mobile device.

50 Cesium is the Windows 10 Mobile counterpart to the newly-announced 50e Helium (shown on the left), which is "almost identical" in terms of hardware design. The only noteworthy difference is that the latter runs Android 5.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box. According to the company, this was done in order to "allow the customer to focus on what they like on the inside: the user interface". This is not a new idea, having previously seen HTC, for instance, announce a variant of its Android flagship from last year, One (M8), running Windows Phone instead of Android.

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Some people are fine with using a phone in church, but not walking down the street

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The thing with a mobile phone is, thanks to the fact it is mobile, it can be used -- just about - anywhere. But just because something is possible, it doesn’t mean that it should be done. PewResearch conducted a survey into phone etiquette, and the findings show that people are somewhat divided about where and when it is OK to use a phone.

Some of the results are not exactly surprising. A huge majority of those questioned were not cool with the idea of using a phone in a movie theater or during a meeting (95 and 94 percent respectively). But there are also some interesting quirks in attitudes to mobiles -- 4 percent of people, for instance, see no problem with using a cellphone in the middle of a church service.

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Samsung is giving away paid apps and magazine subscriptions with Note 5 and S6 Edge+

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The retail price of the Galaxy Note 5 starts at around $740 (off-contract) and $250 (2-year contract). Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy Edge+ will set you back by at least $820 (sans contract) and $300 (2-year contract). If that seems like a lot of money to you for the said devices, Samsung is offering an interesting set of goodies -- called Galaxy Gifts -- to offset the otherwise a bit pricey label.

The company is giving away a package of premium apps and subscriptions consisting of paid games including Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Driver Speedboat Paradise, PES Club Manager, and Empire: Four Kingdoms. You also get paid apps like Art Rage, Komoot, and Sketch Book for no extra charge. Worth pointing out that some of these are already free via the Play Store, and the company is taking care of in-app purchases, in such cases.

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Windows 10 Mobile will not support 4GB smartphones -- are you affected?

Coffee Beans Sad Face

Microsoft has updated a landing page for Windows 10 Mobile to reveal that Windows Phone 8.x devices with less than 8 GB of internal storage will not be upgraded to the upcoming operating system. This will come as bad news to some folks who have invested in the platform.

Windows 10 Mobile can very well run on devices that were designed with Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1 in mind, as long as there is enough storage space to accommodate the new OS. It, for instance, runs well on both my Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 520. Manufacturers which have cut corners are, obviously, to blame for this.

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Xiaomi releases MIUI 7 beta -- here's how to install it on your smartphone

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Xiaomi today releases the highly anticipated beta of MIUI 7 global ROM. The new Android-based ROM is built on Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes with a number of notable features and improvements. If you've recently purchased a Xiaomi smartphone and need assistance with the installation of the beta ROM on your device, here's a guide to help you out.

MIUI 7 beta ROM features several themes and interesting features. Visual IVR, for instance, lets you navigate through the IVR menu without even listening to the caller. The new ROM also features Opera Max to significantly reduce the data usage.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ goes on sale today

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+

We usually have to wait until the IFA trade show for Samsung to announce the next Galaxy Note flagship phablet, but this year the company moved up the second Unpacked event to mid-August. And not only has it unveiled Galaxy Note 5, but also Galaxy S6 edge+, the latter of which goes on sale today.

For those who are not familiar with it, Galaxy S6 edge+ is basically a Galaxy Note 5 with a curved display that forgoes the traditional S Pen. Or, put differently, it is the successor to last year's Galaxy Note Edge, but, again, without the stylus in tow. International availability also differs between the two models.

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Samsung offers iPhone owners 30-day Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge, or S6 Edge+ rental for $1

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Samsung is trying to woo iPhone owners with a new promotion that gives Apple fans the chance to rent one of its latest flagships for a single dollar. For one paltry buck, curious iPhone users can test drive a Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, or Galaxy S6 Edge+ with no obligation.

It's a unique scheme and one that might appeal to those who are scared of commitment... but only those with an iPhone. If you're interested you can sign up to test the Samsung handset of your choice with your current carrier, on your current tariff.

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Google's Project Ara will debut in 2016

Calendar delay

Google’s in-house modular smartphone project has been delayed until 2016. Project Ara announced the news on Twitter, claiming lots of iterations changed the course of action.

Last week, Project Ara announced a change of plans and said Puerto Rico would miss out on the modular smartphone. The original plan was to launch in Puerto Rico, offering Project Ara modules from food trucks.

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The most dangerous places to use your mobile on vacation

Times Square tourists

We all know that using public wireless hotspots can be risky, but is seems that some places are more of a threat than others.

Mobile threat defense company Skycure has put together a study into the most dangerous tourist destinations to use your mobile device, the type of threats you might encounter, and offers some tips on how to avoid falling victim to an attack.

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Google expands Android One into Africa

Infinix HOT 2

Android One is slowly but surely making its way to major emerging markets across the globe. The latest expansion sees the program being introduced today in Africa. For the moment there is only one Android One smartphone available to local consumers, which retails for roughly $87.

There is huge growth potential for Google and Android One in Africa, as Internet use remains relatively low on the continent. A study by Internet Society estimates that, by the end of 2015, 23 percent of mobile phones will be able to have Internet access, a figure which is extremely low when compared to Asia, Europe or North America. So it is very important for Google to get Android One right in Africa.

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Is this the new Google Nexus 5?

2015 Google Nexus 5 leak

It looks like the first photo of the next Google Nexus phone leaked online, and it shows some interesting details.

According to the Irish Examiner, which says the photo was "posted online", the Nexus 5 phone is on course for a refresh.

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This (!) is precisely why phones without removable batteries are a terrible idea

When looking for a new phone, people place importance on numerous things -- different strokes for different folks, and all that. Two things that are frequent bones of contention are the absence of a microSD slot, and a battery that cannot be replaced by the user. It used to be the case that every phone out there (well, let's ignore the iPhone for now) had a battery that you could easily be replaced if needed. Or perhaps you wanted a spare battery so you could use your phone for longer.

But recently there has been a worrying move towards delivering phones that are sealed units -- if your battery gives out on you, you have no option but to send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement. This takes time and money, but the problem of batteries that can't be replaced by users runs deeper than this. Just look at the image above.

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