Articles about Smartphones

India gets its first Firefox OS smartphone

Intex Cloud FX

For Firefox OS to become mainstream, the open-source smartphone operating system has to reach as many important markets as possible, through devices that are more than capable of meeting the needs of local buyers. When it comes to India, Mozilla is confident that the new Intex Cloud FX has what it takes to woo local consumers.

The launch of Cloud FX marks the first contact Indian buyers will have with Firefox OS, as it is the first device of its kind to be available in this Asian market (and, the whole of Asia). That places it in the difficult position of having to set the right tone for Firefox OS, and upcoming handset launches, in one of the largest smartphone markets worldwide. Fail now, and all hope may be gone forever.

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Opera Mini will see some Microsoft feature phones through their death throes

Opera Mini will see some Windows Phone through their death throes

Asha and Series 40 "feature" phones (read cheap, crappy phones) may be taking their last breath -- Microsoft plans to kill them off by the end of 2015 -- but it's never too late to try spicing things up by changing the default browser, eh? This is precisely what's happening with the ill-fated handsets, along with the Series 30+ range, as Opera Mini replaces the current Xpress Browser. Despite the seemingly short-lived nature of the deal, Opera Software is upbeat about the arrangement as, undoubtedly, will any poor blighter suffering with one of these handsets.

What is there to look forward to in the browser switch? Like other versions of Opera Mini, the version replacing Xpress Browser benefits from built-in compression that reduces data usage and helps to speed up web browsing. The deal will come as something of a surprise to many, and it has come rather out of the blue. Starting in October, Asha, Series 30+ and Series 40 handset owners will start to see notifications inviting them to upgrade, and newly produced handsets will come with the browser pre-installed.

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Universities fail to get to grips with cyber security

students university graduation

As thousands of students prepare to return to university over the next few weeks, new research by security ratings company BitSight shows that this is a busy time for hackers too.

The researchers found that Ivy League schools, for example, see a 48 percent increase in the number of malware infections during the academic year from September to May.

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LG targets 3G markets with two new affordable Android smartphones

LG L Bello Fino

Even though 4G is undoubtedly the better technology for data consumption, in most markets across the globe 3G is still prevalent. The lower cost as well as the broader device selection certainly helps the latter remain attractive to consumers, at least until 4G is as readily available.

South Korean maker LG is keen to supply 3G-toting handsets going forward, as it announces the new Android-based L Bello and L Fino smartphones. The two, which are aimed at price-conscious consumers in "growing 3G markets", are said to pack solid specs, so let us take a look at what they have to offer.

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Emerging markets say 'bigger is better' when it comes to smartphones

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A new report from market research firm Jana has revealed that emerging markets prefer smartphones with a larger screen -- that is, "phablets".

Out of 1,386 smartphone users, over 50 percent of users expected their next phone to have a screen that's at least 5in or larger. The reason for the popularity of a large screen is that for many users in emerging markets the smartphone is their only portal to the Internet.

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Satellite broadband finally opens up the internet to me

Satellite broadband finally opens up the internet to me

A few weeks ago I complained bitterly about my atrocious internet connection. The impact of a deathly slow and unnervingly unstable connection is hard to overstate. Tension and frustration chez Wilson reached boiling point. Nerves were frayed and tempers short. But as I sank into the bleak, hellish broadband abyss, a hand reached out to save me. The hand was extended by the suitably named Satellite Internet who took pity on me having read of my plight. A trial of satellite broadband was duly offered, and I don’t think I could have said "yes, please" faster. It's something I've considered before, but the startup costs had put me off.

Satellite Internet's service uses Astra satellites, the same ones used to deliver satellite TV to Europe. This means that a smaller dish than you might expect is needed. Forget the monster installations you may have seen in people's gardens in years gone by, these days the dishes have shrunk to something that's just about the same size as those used for TV broadcasts. Installation was delayed due to my trip to the Isle of Skye (which, incidentally, has blisteringly fast internet considering it's a tiny island connected to the mainland with a small bridge), but this morning two installation engineers arrived at 8:00, having travelled more than two hours to reach me.

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Battery-saving InkCase+ enters full production

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E-Ink displays for smartphones are on the way after Oaxis’ InkCase+ concluded its Kickstarter campaign with over double the funding that it needed.

Oaxis’ 30-day campaign concluded with $207,073 raised from 1,516 backers and the original goal took under three hours to fall before it accelerated on to a level that saw two new rewards introduced for backers.

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Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

We expect, and are expected, to be contactable at any given moment -- and indeed we often expect the same of others. Send a text, and you expect a response. Pen an email, and you expect to receive one in return, and fast. Hit up someone on Google chat and an all-but-instant reply is all but expected. Maybe this doesn’t sound like you, but I can guarantee that you fit on the spectrum, and also that the people you are in contact with make the same demands of you. When did this change? It used to be that you'd call a landline number and if you didn’t get a reply you might just try again a few hours later. The fact that we now carry mobiles with us virtually 24/7 means that it is weird if someone doesn't answer the call.

They can’t be busy! Try again! Still no reply? Send a text. And an email. And an IM. If it was limited to office hours, it might be understandable -- and bearable -- to some extent, but there has been a massive slip in end-times. It is acceptable to send emails to someone at any time of day. You may have woken up at 3 in the morning and thought of something relating to work, or even just something that made you laugh, and felt the need to share it immediately. The recipient, in all likelihood, will be alerted to this email on a smartphone or tablet if they don’t happen to be sitting at their computer. At 3 in the morning, it might not wake them up, but at, say, 8pm how likely is it that the email will be ignored? The recipient's working day just got extended by several hours.

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Four simple steps for securing your smartphone or tablet

pickpocket phone stolen steal purse woman

A friend of mine bought a new iPhone 5s recently, used it for just over a week, and then 'lost it'. It might have been stolen or simply misplaced, she has no idea. All she knows for certain is she no longer has it in her possession. That’s bad enough, but she spent much of the first week copying over photos and other personal data to it from her old phone, but didn’t devote any time -- at all -- to protecting the device.

So in other words, if someone else has her iPhone now -- which it’s pretty safe to assume is the case -- they also have access to everything on it, which could be potentially catastrophic for her. The thing is, it’s so easy to protect a smartphone these days it amazes me so many people don’t bother to take the following simple steps:

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Meet Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Silver

It is well known that Samsung has often been criticized for giving its premium smartphones a not-so-premium look and feel. But, in spite of all this, in the land of upscale Galaxy handsets, an all-plastic body, with a bland design, has always prevailed. Until now.

Today, Samsung finally shows us that a premium Galaxy smartphone can break away from the norm, as it reveals the new Galaxy Alpha boasting a metal frame and an attractive design. The device's main rival is likely to be Apple's upcoming iPhone 6, which is expected to ship with a similarly-sized display.

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Sony Xperia T3: Decent smartphone with a few issues [Review]

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The Sony Xperia T3 updates the Xperia T2 which, er, was an update to the Xperia T. Except that's not quite how it is. When the T came out early last year it was the flagship phone for Sony. It even had a much talked about spot in a James Bond movie. The flagship handset line from the Sony range is now the Z series, and the Z3 is due very soon. The T series is now the mid-range in Sony's stable, and the Xperia T3 is priced at £299 online at Sony's website.

Sony has worked hard to consolidate design across its handset range, and that's evident with the Xperia T3. The monolith appearance with squared-off corners and distinctive button design and placement is carried through from the Z range, though the price differential has had a clear effect on materials. Where the Xperia Z2 has a glass back that I found rather too reflective and slippy, the T3 has a more usual rubbery finish on the back that's easier on the hands and doesn't act like a mirror for the narcissists among us.

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LG unveils another smaller G3 variant

LG G3 A

South Korean maker LG has unveiled another smaller variant of its G3 Android flagship. Called G3 A, the smartphone features hardware specifications similar to last year's G2 flagship, but in a body which resembles that of G3. It is the second smaller version of G3 announced by LG so far, with the first being G3 Beat, also known as G3 S.

Like G2, G3 A has a 5.2-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,080 by 1,920. It is powered by a 2.26 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, which features 2 GB of RAM, and a 2,610 mAh battery, which is removable. So far, its hardware specifications are more impressive than what G3 Beat brings to the table.

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Wireless devices that don’t require any batteries

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Smart devices that lack a battery or wire connection but can still send data over Wi-Fi, have been created by computer scientists.

Experts from the University of Washington have developed a way of using radio frequency (RF) signals as a power source for smart devices and reusing existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide connectivity to them.

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Forget fancy features -- most smartphone users just want better battery life

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Smartphone makers would do well to take into account the results of a new poll from price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com which found that just 3 percent of Smartphone users are interested in quirky or unique features, such as Amazon’s Fire phone’s face tracking.

While gimmicks like that might help differentiate one device from another, what most smartphone users want is a phone that is easy to use and doesn’t require constant charging -- and preferably with built-in fingerprint scanning security.

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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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