Articles about Smartphones

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 will not reach HTC's 8S

HTC Windows Phone 8S

All Windows Phone 8 devices are supposed to be compatible with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, but it looks like one of them, namely HTC's inconspicuous Windows Phone 8S, will be stuck running Windows Phone 8.1 going forward. That's a shame.

Due to what appear to be hardware incompatibilities, HTC has announced that the first major update for Windows Phone 8.1 will not be offered to its Windows Phone 8S users. The Windows Phone 8X flagship, which it introduced in late-2012, will, however, receive Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.

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Samsung will unveil Galaxy Note 4 early next month

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The first Unpacked event of the year sees Samsung unveiling a new installment in the Galaxy S flagship series, while the second Unpacked event of the year is where the South Korean maker takes the wraps off its latest Galaxy Note premium phablet. Since, in 2014, Episode 1 brought us Galaxy S5, it does not take long to figure out that Galaxy Note 4 is coming at Episode 2.

Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 will be held simultaneously in Berlin, Beijing and New York, on September 3. And, even though Samsung only describes it as "the event to see 'the next big thing'", the press invite hints at the unveiling of Galaxy Note 4.

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LG reveals stylus-toting G3

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South Korean maker LG plans to introduce a stylus-toting version of its acclaimed G3 Android flagship. According to a new video posted by the company on YouTube, its upcoming handset will be called G3 Stylus.

G3 Stylus is revealed as a new device part of the G3 premium lineup, which at the moment only includes G3 and its smaller brother, G3 Beat, the last of which was announced last month. What else do we know about it?

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Amazon Fire phone -- Android done differently [Review]

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Amazon's Fire phone does not have access to Google's Play Store. I want to get that out of the way first, as it may be a consumer's biggest concern about the phone. However, that said, it might not be a big deal. In fact, it is quite refreshing to experience Google's Linux-based operating system without Google. In my opinion it is dangerous for Android to become synonymous with Google's store.

With Android, you do have the ability to add 3rd party stores without rooting or hacking. Unfortunately, on most devices, only Google's Play Store comes installed. While I have seen some devices come with the Amazon Appstore preloaded too, make no mistake, the Play Store is always the main focus. The Fire phone bucks that trend and puts Amazon's store into the spotlight and that is not a bad thing. Actually, as I will explain later, you can add additional app stores and even install some of Google's apps.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 available via Preview for Developers

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

Windows Phone users who are enrolled in the Preview For Developers program can now install Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. The major update, which was announced less than a week ago, is set to officially roll out to the masses in the comings months.

The most important user-facing changes that Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 introduces are Live Folders, a new feature which finally enables folders on the platform, and improvements to the stock apps, privacy and security. Of course, it also makes way for Cortana's first expansion.

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Windows Phone 8.1 available for AT&T Nokia Lumia 925, Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 925

Months after its unveiling in early-April at Build 2014, Windows Phone 8.1 is finally rolling out to compatible smartphones. Among the latest Windows Phone 8 devices to receive the coveted software upgrade are the AT&T variants of Nokia Lumia 925 and Lumia 520, the latter of which being a branded version of the most popular Windows Phone to date.

AT&T customers using Lumia 925 and Lumia 520 can apply the software upgrade right away, suggests the US mobile operator, by heading to the Settings menu, opening the phone update submenu and tapping on the check for updates button, the last of which will reveal the option to kick off the install.

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Windows Phone is like OS X a decade ago -- gaining respect, finally

Windows Phone logo street

Four years ago, I asserted: "Windows Phone 7 series is a lost cause", and it was. But you gotta give Microsoft credit for persistence. Today the foundation is solid, and app developers are finally starting to notice, like they did in 2004 with Apple's flagship operating system.

But pundits howl like the zombie apocalypse, which is pretty good analogy for mindless Android and iOS users constantly clicking and scrolling. Microsoft's Windows Phone "glance-and-go" design philosophy is all about living beings and interacting with them rather than cold plastic and metal slabs. (Say, isn't that where we lay the dead before burying them?)

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J butterfly joins HTC's premium Android lineup

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Today, HTC introduces a new smartphone in its premium Android lineup. Called J butterfly, the device features similar specs to the One (M8) flagship, but without making use of the latter's 4 MP UltraPixel main camera, employing a 13 MP unit instead. Pixel fans, rejoice!

That said, J butterfly retains the Duo Camera technology HTC baked in One (M8). It allows the smartphone to capture depth information to achieve a bokeh effect in photos, which is typical of DSLRs. On the front, there is a 5 MP camera, that is also taken from One (M8), designed for selfie-lovers. So far, J butterfly is shaping up to be what some had hoped One (M8) would be.

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It is game over for Windows Phone

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Microsoft, it is time to reconsider your Windows Phone plans. The tiled smartphone operating system's market share came in at a tiny 2.7 percent in Q2 2014, dropping from the 3.8 percent it claimed in the same period of last year. As a result, Windows Phone saw a 28.94 percent decrease year-over-year in market share, caused by low shipments of only 8.0 million units in the second quarter of the year, 0.9 million units less than in Q2 2013 when its shipments were at the 8.9 million units mark.

The data is from a new report issued by research firm Strategy Analytics, which adds "Windows Phone continued to struggle in the United States and China", the first two largest smartphone markets worldwide. There, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech places the platform at 3.8 percent and 0.9 percent market share, respectively. That is lower than in other markets such as Australia, where Windows Phone was able to reach 5.3 percent market in Q2 2014, as well as some parts of Europe.

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Smartphone market sees stiffer competition

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The competition is heating up in the smartphone space, as, in Q3 2014, a dozen vendors have what it takes to shake up the top five smartphone makers list, according to a new report from research firm IDC. Judging by the standing from Q2 2014, the likely players in danger of losing their spots are Huawei, Lenovo and LG.

Samsung and Apple continue to be in a position of strength, with the two being responsible for 25.2 percent (74.3 million) and 11.9 percent (35.1 million), respectively, of the 295.3 million smartphones shipped in the quarter that ended June 30. That said, both lost market share compared to Q2 2013, when they claimed 32.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, thanks to shipments of 77.3 million and 31.2 million units, respectively.

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In Europe, Apple and Samsung are losing ground to 'home-grown' mobile makers

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A few years ago it would have been unthinkable, but whispers that Apple and Samsung are losing their stranglehold on the market are growing louder.

It all stems from the fact that customers are becoming increasingly frustrated at the mobile market mono-culture. In the West especially, we've developed a sort of smartphone East Anglia: hedgeless, featureless and planted as far as the eye can see. This is the Samsung strimmer, the Apple Inc. lawnmower, cutting all other competition out of the market.

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Why is iPhone so destructible?

Shattered iPhone 5s

It's the question I keep asking, wondering whether to blame the device or my daughter. Last night, she texted: "My screen cracked again. I'm so sorry". That's the third shattered iPhone 5s since May; two 5ers busted before that. Clearly, she's fumble fingers, but something just doesn't seem right. The college student sticks the damn device in a protective case. Did Apple put pretty design before damage durability?

I spent several hours searching for smartphone breakage data today -- on the web and contacting several sources compiling stats. Strangely, the most compelling comparisons are years old. For example, in late 2010, SquareTrade reported that iPhone 4 accidents exceeded the 3GS and devices from competing smartphone manufacturers. In a 2012 survey of 2,000 iPhone users, 30 percent had damaged their device in the previous 12 months.

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Nokia X lineup gets new software update

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Even though Microsoft is planning to downsize its Nokia X efforts (to the point where there will likely be no new device announced), the software giant is still supporting its Android lineup by rolling out a new software update.

The update introduces the multitasking functionality from the Nokia X2 lineup, giving users the ability to easily switch and close running apps. It can be triggered by tapping on the App Switcher icon, after swiping down from the top of the display.

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Cortana embarrasses Siri in new Windows Phone ad

Cortana vs Siri

Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.

Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.

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Mobile phone etiquette around the world

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People in other countries handle everyday situations in different ways, and that can make life difficult for the traveler. What might be seen as a polite action or way of behaving in one country could well be insulting in another, and it's not just customs or beliefs to be aware of.

Every nation has its own idea of what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette. In countries like the USA and UK, we know it’s not polite to do things like talk loudly on your phone in a public place, or answer a call during a movie or in a business meeting -- even if not everyone obeys these unwritten guidelines. Elsewhere around the globe, there are other rules when it comes to how and when to use the phone.

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