Articles about Smartphones

BlackBerry Passport to arrive in September

BlackBerry logo

BlackBerry is still alive and kicking in the smartphone market, at least in terms of intentions if not market share, and the company will be launching a major handset by the name of Passport this September.

This phone was previously known as "Windermere", and the spec was rumoured last month, with the handset boasting a 4.5-inch screen with a 1440 x 1440 resolution, offering a very sharp 453 dpi.

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Hyped OnePlus One smartphone sees yet another delay

time watch laptop waiting impatient

A shipment of OnePlus One smartphones heading for Europe has been delayed for two weeks due to having incorrect font on the back of the handsets.

In a somewhat embarrassing setback, Android World reported that the company explained to consumers the reasons for the delay to the prototype shipment in an e-mail sent this week.

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: June 15 -- 21


This is the week of the Surface Pro 3. Brian had already attended the launch event earlier in the month, and has provided an essential list of hardware and software purchasers need to grab for the best all round experience -- he even goes as far as suggesting that it's better than a MacBook Air. Even before launch there was an update available for the tablet-cum-laptop, and there was also news that the Intel Core i3 and i7 models would be shipping earlier than previously expected. But not all of the products we looked at this week were quite so "every day". There was the wifi doorbell complete with camera, and also the prospect of charging your phone wirelessly with your pants -- yes you did read that correctly.

The Windows Phone market is dominated by Nokia, but a new batch of handsets has been unveiled by Indian manufacturer Micromax. If Android is your mobile OS of choice, you may be thinking about venturing into the rooted world. This week a new tool was released that makes the process as quick and painless as possible, opening up a whole new breed of apps and options. Joe decided to take a walk on the wild side and adopt the Nokia Lumia Icon as his phone of choice. In the Android arena, a new contender entered -- the Amazon Fire Phone. Will a kill switch be added? Microsoft and Google have agreed to add it to their mobile operating systems.

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Parallels Access 2.0 lets you control your PC or Mac remotely using iPad, iPhone or Android device


Looking for a way to access programs on your desktop or laptop from your mobile? You could go down the route of installing something like TeamViewer, but with the best will in the world, trying to control your entire Windows or Mac desktop from your mobile is a fiddly experience at best.

A more practical solution can be found by going down the Parallels Access route, and it’s one that’s just been made even better with the release of version 2.0.

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Microsoft, Google to include kill switch in Windows Phone, Android

Smartphone Smashed Screen Hammer

Both Microsoft and Google have agreed to add a kill switch their mobile operating systems. Following an agreement with the New York Attorney General, the next versions of Windows Phone and Android will include a feature that will render handsets useless if they are stolen. The attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, published a report yesterday outlining the importance of such a feature, and revealed that two of the biggest names in technology are on-board.

It's something that authorities have been calling for for some time now, citing the sheer number of mobile phone thefts taking place around the world. Schneiderman's report points to Apple as proof of the efficacy of a kill switch. Thefts of iPhones dropped by 17 percent in New York City after the introduction of a remote wiping and locking feature. The Secure Our Smartphones report took fire at Samsung. The company had opted not to include a kill switch, and thefts of Samsung handsets jumped by 40 percent in NYC. "Reactivation Lock" has since been implemented on a small number of new Galaxy handsets.

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Android 4.4.4 KitKat available now, here's how you can install it

android kitkat

Less than a month after the last Android update launched, Google is now treating Nexus users to another iteration of KitKat. It made its way to the factory images repository first, but is also slowly rolling out over-the-air to compatible smartphones and tablets.

Android 4.4.4 KitKat, build version KTU84P, is available, through a corresponding factory image, for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, 2012 Wi-Fi Nexus 7, 2013 Wi-Fi Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. The Nexus 7 slates with cellular connectivity (3G and 4G, launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively) have yet to receive the same treatment.

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Yo: This app can't do anything else!


While there are many fairly specialized mobile apps out there, Yo, which was just launched by Life Before Us, takes the cake for being the narrowest-focused messaging service available on Android and iOS now.

Why? Because Yo can only be used to say "Yo" to your contacts. As you can imagine, it does not even trigger a keyboard when you want to hit a friend with a message, as a touch of a button will do the trick (Life Before Us touts this as a feature, in case you are wondering why the heck I am mentioning it).

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ChargeKey changes its name and offers 25 percent discount for BetaNews readers


You might recall that we recently reviewed the ChargeKey and ChargeCard USB charging gadgets. These are now being relaunched with an updated design using more durable materials and have had a name change to NomadKey and NomadCard -- though we’re guessing they won't recharge your camel.

There's also an extra product, the carabiner-style NomadClip that you can fit on your key chain, belt or anywhere else to ensure you’re never without a charger. It’s non-load bearing but with a steel frame and polycarbonate outer shell it should be tough enough to survive life's day-to-day knocks.

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Huawei Ascend G6: Affordable 4G smartphone [Review]


I was quite a fan of the Huawei Ascend P7 when I reviewed it last month, noting that it was a worthy flagship phone. At the high-end of the market, Huawei's problem is less what it does with its handsets, and more the profile it gets as a company in competition with the likes of Sony, Samsung and HTC.

The Ascend G6 is not a flagship handset. It is currently available for around £225 SIM-free as a 4G handset, and an otherwise identical 3G version will be around £185. It is a good comparator for the new £235 HTC Desire 610.

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Amazon takes on Apple and Google with Fire phone


Amazon today unveiled the latest entrant to the smartphone race -- the Fire phone. The handset continues the Fire name that is more readily associated with Amazon's range of Android tablets, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it stand out from the competition. A press event in Seattle brought to an end weeks of rumor and speculation as the phone, which features Dynamic Perspective that allows for maps and other images to be displayed in three dimensions, was revealed.

Run by four ultra-low power specialized cameras and four infrared LEDs, Dynamic Perspective has numerous uses. One application makes it possible for users to gain a different perspective on an image or object on screen by moving their heads. In games, a move of the head can be used to switch views, and there is scope for unique navigation options within apps. Some applications are slightly simpler, and mimic those found in other handsets such as Samsung's Galaxy range. For example, auto-scroll allows for easy reading of lengthy documents and web pages without the need for swiping.

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Why you may want to buy a BlackBerry again

BlackBerry 10 hub

Canadian mobile maker BlackBerry may have just cracked its biggest problem -- the weak BlackBerry 10 OS ecosystem -- as it just signed a licensing agreement with Amazon, which will bring the Android Appstore to its ailing smartphone operating system.

When the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 OS launches this fall, more than 200,000 new apps will be available on the platform, on top of what BlackBerry World already offers. The latter is likely to feature more apps that leverage BlackBerry 10 features, while the former will take on the role of filling the biggest gaps, caused by missing popular titles like Candy Crush Saga, Netflix and Minecraft, among others.

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Better camera performance coming to flagship Nokia Lumia smartphones

Nokia Lumia 930

The Lumia Cyan software upgrade, which is set to roll out this summer, brings Windows Phone 8.1 to the crop of Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Hardly surprising, the latest firmware will come bearing other gifts on top of a better operating system, among which are a slew of changes designed to squeeze extra performance out of high-end PureView cameras.

In a Q&A session on Nokia Conversations, when asked about the firmware's imaging changes, Microsoft's Juha Alakarhu reveals that the Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 cameras are the Windows Phone 8, PureView-equipped devices that benefit from Lumia Cyan. Here are the sort of improvements users can expect to see.

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This is the Samsung Galaxy S5 you really want

Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A 2

The Samsung Galaxy S5 can get easily lost in a crowd of Android flagships. Compared to any of its well-known rivals, like the HTC One (M8) and Sony Xperia Z2, it fails to differentiate itself when it comes to screen resolution, processor choice and RAM capacity. And, compared to the more recent LG G3, it clearly loses the fight.

Some folks expected Samsung to release the Galaxy S5 with Qualcomm's mighty Snapdragon 805 processor and a higher resolution display, which would have given it the edge over the increasingly fierce competition. Now, the South Korean maker is doing just that, by adding a better version of its flagship smartphone to the lineup. Meet the Galaxy S5 LTE-A.

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My Nokia Lumia life begins

Nokia Lumia Icon

Second in a series. Sunday started an unexpected journey long anticipated. I walked out of Microsoft Store San Diego holding my first Nokia since abandoning the brand in 2009. Before Nokia imploded, first unable to respond to Apple innovations and next by adopting Windows Phone as primary platform, I preferred the handsets -- using over the years the N95, N96, N79, N97, and N900.

I am the proud owner of the Lumia Icon, which marks my family's slow migration to Verizon from T-Mobile. AT&T would make more sense, since the iPhones my daughter and father-in-law use would work unlocked. If the Lumia 930 were available, I could go to the Blue rather than Red network from Pink (which becomes Yellow if purchased by Sprint). My initial reaction is surprisingly good, of the handset and Windows Phone 8.

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4G LTE Motorola Moto G available now in US

Blue Moto G Motorola Front Shell

In Mid-May, Motorola made the entry-level Moto G Android smartphone even more appealing to consumers on a budget by announcing the still-affordable 4G LTE-toting model. The faster cellular connectivity has been an oft-requested feature as more and more mobile operators roll out compatible networks across the globe.

This enables subscribers to experience faster data speeds, leading to an improved experience when it comes to things like web browsing and video streaming. Costing just $219, the 4G LTE Moto G is now ready to offer these kind of benefits to a large pool of potential buyers, as it goes on sale in US.

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