Articles about Smartphones

iPhone Upgrade Program screws Apple junkies


You may have heard that Apple had a little get together today. There were lots of big launches -- the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Plus, and the iPad Pro. Those waiting for an iPhone fix were given quite a lot to get excited about, but like your friendly local drug dealer, Apple has a 'sweetener' to help ensure its customers just keep on coming back for more: the iPhone Upgrade Program which lets you upgrade to a new iPhone every year as long as you keep paying each month.

On the face of it, it might seem like a good deal -- particularly as the price includes Apple Care -- but is that really the case? What Apple's actually doing is feeding the habit of iPhone junkies, keeping their addiction going a little bit longer, and a little bit longer, and a little bit longer. In reality, Apple would like you to perma-rent your iPhone and keep paying through the nose for it. Ideally forever. And the sad thing? People will be quite happy to bend over and take it.

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Apple takes the wraps off iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus

iPhone 6s and 6s plus edited

We have come to expect new iPhones to be introduced in September, and today Apple does not disappoint as it takes the wraps off the new iPhone 6s and its bigger brother, iPhone 6s Plus. Typical of "s" models, both smartphones retain the design first seen in the previous generation while improving upon their predecessors in a couple of key areas.

With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple has focused its attention on build quality, cameras, display, and performance. Both flagships, of course, ship with a new version of iOS, which will be generally available later this month, on September 16.

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Google slashes the minimum price for Android apps in India


Google has cut the minimum price for which apps can be sold by a fifth. The price cut currently only affects India, and sees the cost plummet from 50 Rs (around $0.75) to just 10 Rs (around $0.15). It is a decision that has clearly been taken to both entice new customers to Android, as well as discouraging existing users from switching allegiances to Apple -- particularly with the launch of the iPhone 6s.

The lower price point was made available to developers at the end of July, but now Google is starting to promote apps and let users know that there are now many apps available for the reduced price. As well as applying to apps and games in Google Play, the 10 Rs minimum now also applies to in-app purchases.

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Samsung paves the way for mobile devices with 6GB of RAM

Shock surprise

The amount of RAM that manufacturers pack into our mobile devices will only increase as time goes by. It seems like only yesterday that 2 GB was reserved for premium handsets, but now you can find much cheaper mid-rangers featuring that much memory.

However, the latest crop of Android flagship phablets now ship with 4 GB of RAM. Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge Plus are prime examples, and so is the more expensive OnePlus 2 model. And you can expect next year's batch of standard-sized flagships to follow suit, if not exceed them. But, pretty soon, that too will no longer be enough. Thanks to Samsung, in the near future our high-end mobile devices will have 6 GB of RAM.

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Our smartphone addiction, by the numbers


One in ten smartphone owners in Britain checks the device the moment they wake up. Sky News, reporting on Deloitte’s research of the matter, calls it an addiction. (I thought everyone checks their smartphone the moment they wake up, but I guess I was wrong.)

Deloitte’s research on how much Britons use smartphones has shown some crazy statistics: a third of smartphone owners look at their device more than 25 times a day. Even worse, a sixth check it more than 50 times each day.

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Messaging slowly replacing phone calls for smartphone users

Breakup Smartphones

Smartphones are a great way to communicate with people, but according to some new research, our communication is switching from voice to other means.

Talking over the phone is actually dropping in popularity. The number of people making a phone call once a week went from 96 percent to 75 percent over the past three years, according to research carried out by Ipsos Mori for Deloitte, The Guardian reports.

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Yu Yunique launches in India, offers 4G LTE for Rs 4999 ($75)


Yu Televentures, an online subsidiary of Micromax, today launches its third smartphone. Targeting the growing affordable smartphone market, the company introduces Yu Yunique. The 4G capable handset packs in an impressive set of specifications for just Rs 4,999 ($75).

The Yu Yunique sports a 4.7-inch HD (1,280 x 7,20 pixels) display and is powered by a 64-bit capable Snapdragon 410 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.2GHz with Adreno 306 GPU. It has 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage, with support for a microSD card should you need more storage. On the software front, the handset runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 launches in India starting at Rs 53,900 ($800)


At an ongoing media event in New Delhi, India, Samsung today launches the Galaxy Note 5, its latest flagship phablet device, in the country. Unlike the Note 4, and several other Galaxy smartphones and phablets, the Note 5 is comparatively well priced. The South Korean technology conglomerate announced that the Note 5 will be available for purchase starting Rs 53,900 (roughly $800), and will go on sale starting September 20.

Unveiled at an event last month, the Galaxy Note 5 is the company's latest flagship phablet device. It sports a 5.7-inch QHD Super-AMOLED display with a pixel density of 515ppi. It is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420 SoC with four Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2.1GHz, and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz, coupled with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It comes in two storage variants: 32GB and 64GB, and doesn't support microSD card. On the software side, it runs on Android Lollipop with TouchWiz UI on top of it.

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Insanity! Get Nexus 6 for $350

Nexus 6 Back

What the frak? Is it because of the presumed, imminent launch of Apple's successor to iPhone 6 or 6 Plus? Are rumors about Google launching new Nexus devices near month's end true -- and it's better to clear out excess inventory now? Or is Amazon being Labor Day weekend Amazon?

Motorola-made, Google-branded Nexus 6 is on big sale today from the retailer's U.S. store. Last night, I oogled at the phablet for $499.99, which already was a hefty discount. This morning I rolled out of bed to see $349.99. Both prices are for the 32GB model. Double the memory and pay $399.99. Yesterday: $549.99. Surely the price and supply can't last. That's helluva good deal -- and for both colors: Cloud White and Midnight Blue.

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IFA 2015: Huawei announces new Mate S flagship smartphone

Huawei Mate S

Focusing on touch technologies, the now-third largest smartphone supplier Huawei has unveiled its new 5.5-inch handset at IFA in Berlin.

The Huawei Mate S, the maker’s new flagship smartphone, features some impressive touch-based innovations.

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Sony reveals prices for Xperia Z5 family, and they're a bit insane

secrets shock surprise man woman

Sony has captured the attention of smartphone fans worldwide with its new Xperia Z5 Premium flagship, the first smartphone with a 4K display. Since the company is not doing exactly well in terms of sales, offering this very intriguing device at a price that undercuts its main rivals looks like a great opportunity to attract more new customers and gain some market share. It would be the logical thing to do.

Sony, however, went with a different strategy, which is to sell Xperia Z5 Premium and its less-premium sibling, Xperia Z5, at some pretty insane prices. The only device that is more reasonably priced is Xperia Z5 Compact, but even so it still seems to cost too much. And it is likely not to be as relevant to consumers given the smaller screen it packs -- a larger screen is an important feature to those who shop in the high-end segment, after all.

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If the iPhone empire is collapsing, Apple should be pleased

Future Man Looking

Even when Apple is doing great, some people believe the company is in trouble. Just a few days ago, my colleague Joe Wilcox wrote Collapse of the iPhone empire, in which he explains how the brand that has made Apple so successful could just as easily fall from grace with consumers. Right now, however, this could not be further from the truth.

More than a quarter of smartphone buyers across Europe have dumped Android smartphones for iPhones in the three months ending July 2015, leading to a boost in market share to 17 percent, up from 14.5 percent over the same period a year prior. And Apple has not even launched its new iPhones yet, which could spell even more trouble for premium Android vendors.

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You're probably about to notice a lot more ads in Gmail


On the same day that Google unveiled its new logo, the company also slipped out some other news that didn't get quite as much attention. Considering the news means that Gmail users are likely to be inundated with more ads than ever before, it's hardly surprising that Google wasn't shouting from the rooftops, but that's what's happening.

Native Gmail ads are now rolling out to AdWords users, giving companies a new way to gain a presence in potential customers' inboxes. This is not spam. This is not a new way to start an email-based ad campaign. It's actual AdWord-triggered ads at the top of inboxes.

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Apple's iPhones and iPads will work better with Cisco enterprise networks


Apple and Cisco have, through a joint statement, announced a partnership which will see Apple’s apps and devices become more productive in enterprise networks.

The goal of the partnership is to optimize Cisco’s networks for iOS devices and apps and integrate the iPhone with Cisco enterprise environments. That will create a "fast lane" for iOS business users, Apple has said in a press release.

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PayPal.Me lets you receive online payments through a custom URL

PayPal has long been a quick and easy way to send and receive money online; with the launch of PayPal.Me, things just got even simpler. This is a new platform which provides PayPal customers with their own personalized URL (such as as an alternative to sending out invoices. PayPal is pushing this as a way to call in your debts, but it's far more versatile than that.

The next time someone needs to send you money, you can simply direct them to your page -- or you can include the link on social networks, your website, in emails, via SMS, and so on. Any payments that are made in this way are covered by the same PayPal Buyer Protection policies as before. Anyone visiting your PayPal.Me page is able to choose the amount of money they want to send you, but you can also customize the URL you share to make a request for a specific amount.

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