Updated specs and a few interesting features highlight quick refreshes of three devices
Sony, as it often does, is iterating quickly on its leading devices with the release of the Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet and Xperia M2. These three devices take the same basic design from their previous-generation counterparts and upgrade a few of the key specs to keep things fresh in 2014 — and while the result isn't revolutionary, all of the upgrades move these devices in the right direction.
The Xperia Z2 is a solid improvement over its predecessor, kicking things up a notch in multiple areas. The first big change is power — the Z2 is using the brand new Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.3GHz, paired with 3GB of RAM and a slightly larger 3200mAh battery powering it all. That's all fitting underneath a larger 5.2-inch display, up from 5-inches, with the same 1080 x 1920 resolution and Triluminos display technology but also adding a new "Live Color LED" technology. The Z2 sticks with the same strong 20.7MP camera, but moves up to offering both 4K video and 120fps video for slow motion — paired with five new photo and video modes in the new camera app.
On the tablet front, the new Xperia Z2 Tablet replaces the old Tablet Z, moving in the same direction with updated specs and similar design. The Z2 Tablet also jumps to a Snapdragon 801 — a larger jump considering it previously had a Snapdragon S4 Pro — and 3GB of RAM. The refresh shaves down the thickness to just 6.4mm from 6.9mm and the weight to 426g (439g for LTE) from 495g. It also adds digital noise cancelation when paired with the right headset, as well as support for a range of new accessories including a keyboard cover.
For the lower end of the spectrum, the Xperia M2 follows up after the Xperia M that was released back in September. While it still isn't a barn burner, the Xperia M2 bumps up to a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, a 4.8-inch 540 x 960 (qHD) display, 8MP Exmor RS camera (supporting HDR) and a 2300mAh battery. The original went on sale for $249 unlocked so it'll be interesting to see if the price jumps at all with these more modern specs.
Nokia is set to potentially unveil its first Android device, and we're here to see it live
It may be the small hours in the U.S., but we're up and at 'em in Barcelona, Spain, for Nokia's Mobile World Congress press event, and it's livebloggin' time!
We're expecting to get a look at Nokia's first Android device — the Nokia X, aka "Normandy." That X stuff may be a code name, or it may not. We'll see. And we also need to set our expectations here — we're not likely to see a mainstream Android device here. Instead, expect something low-cost for emerging markets, devoid of Google Play and the customary Google services.
Still, seeing the likes of Nokia make at least one Android device is a cause for excitement. So join us for the liveblog Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. CET — that's 2:30 a.m. in New York, 11:30 p.m. Sunday evening on the West Cost of the U.S.
HP was on hand at Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona to show off its new Android smartphones, the Slate Voicetabs. We got a look at both the 6-inch and 7-inch versions that are most definitely part tablet, part smartphone. Both have earpieces, large displays and make phone calls.
Neither are particularly groundbreaking. The Slate 7 has a 1200x800 resolution display while the Slate 6 has a slightly better 720p panel. Both contain 1.2GHz quad-core CPU's, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. HP says KitKat will be pushed out to both, but didn't say how soon.
New range of devices targeted at price-conscious users in select markets
Building on its popular lineup of S-series smartphones, Lenovo today announced the S860, 850 and 660 at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. These latest iterations in the S-series focus on longer battery life, quad-core performance and key productivity features including the newly-announced DOit suite of apps.
Naturally as the flagship, the Lenovo S860 offers all-day battery life, including 24 hours of talk time and the ability to charge other devices off of the phone. That's paired with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM for increased performance.
Taking one step down the line, the new S850 is focused on style with a thin and lightweight glass construction and a 5-inch display. You'll again be getting a quad-core processor, and also a 13MP rear and 5MP front camera for the photo buffs out there.
Rounding out the group is the S660, a solid mid-range device with a brushed metal construction, solid battery life and again a 5-inch display. Lenovo is focusing on a value-level price and comfortable design for a device that slots in well below the S860 and 850.
Now about the pricing — the S860 will cost just $349 unlocked, with the S850 at $269 and S660 at $229. Availability is set for select markets and will be available from Lenovo's online store.
Design that set you back $450 last year makes it to a lower-end device
Alongside the MediaPad X1 and TalkBand B1, a less-flashy device, the Ascend G6, was announced to round out Huawei's mid-range effort. If you're familiar with the Ascend P6 from last year you'll know the design here — but the G6 trades specs in some places and in return adds a much-wanted LTE radio. You're getting the same plastic front and metal back with some nice accents and visual features like a 7.85mm thickness, as well as interesting color choices (our white balance isn't bad, that phone is actually pink).
The Ascend G6 steps down the screen most notably, going to a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 (qHD) display from 720 x 1280 in the P6. It keeps the same camera setup and 2000mAh battery though, but that could be considered a downgrade considering the Ascend G6 is being released several months later. The Ascend G6 benefits from the same software tweaks and improvements that we see on the MediaPad X1 — including a few UI tweaks and new camera software features.
Hit the break for a photo gallery and a few more thoughts on the Ascend G6.
Acer's latest Android handset on show at Mobile World Congress
Before Mobile World Congress even started, Acer announced a pair of new Android smartphones in its liquid series. Of the two its the Liquid E3 that's a little more interesting, with a more premium looking design and the better class – though still mid-range – of hardware.
To recap, the Liquid E3 has a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. Acer is making a play for photographers especially those who like to take 'selfies' with its 2MP front facing camera and LED front facing flash. Round the back we find a 13MP shooter with a button that can be used to quick launch a designated app or the camera. Software is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean at launch, but a KitKat is promised at some point down the line.
Do we really need a wristband that tracks your health and also turns into a headset? Huawei thinks so.
It was only a matter of time before Huawei got in on the increasingly-relevant wearable space, and the TalkBand B1 is its first attempt. This device, while it looks wrist-bound, is actually two devices in one. The name reveals its hand a little bit — the TalkBand can both be used as a fitness band to capture and give you simple information about your movement but can also be removed from the band and used as a Bluetooth headset.
That's right, you can remove the screen from the TalkBand and stick it in your ear and use it to make and receive calls. When it's all put together, the TalkBand looks and works like your standard fitness band — think Fitbit or LG Lifeband — with a 1.4-inch curved OLED display and a single button on the side. When removed, it looks like a sleek, low-profile headset with a simple microphone slot and rubber earpiece.
The band latches together with two metal prongs, and one end pulls double duty as a USB plug to charge the device. That means you have the simplicity of not needing a cable to charge, but it also gives the TalkBand IP57 waterproofing as well. The band itself feels comfortable, as it should when you'll be wearing it all the time, but is a tad thick because it has to house all of the components of a Bluetooth headset at the same time.
How does the hardware of Samsung's latest smartwatch compare to last year's release?
The Samsung Gear 2 is official, as is the Gear 2 Neo, a version of the Tizen-powered smartwatch without a camera. But how do they compare to the original Android-powered Galaxy Gear? We've got a rundown of the spec differences after the break.
Need a hand getting through the beginning of The Room Two? We've got step-by-step instructions for you.
The Room Two was launched last week on Android, and though some of you may have already started chewing on this devilishly difficult and gorgeous puzzle game, there may be many that are simply stumped at a particular point. We’re going to walk you through the solutions for the first two chapters to get you on your way. Keep in mind that these are some significant spoilers. Don’t read ahead unless you’re well and truly stuck! You can also make use of the in-game hints in the top-left. That said, also be sure to take the time to read the notes left around each level and soak up some of the excellent story.
An impressive display of hardware quality in a gigantic phone form factor
Huawei is making a big deal about its latest huge phone, the MediaPad X1, here at MWC 2014. Yes, this 7-inch device is technically a phone, but Huawei is marketing it more as an intersecting point of phones and tablets. We've seen Sony do it with the Z Ultra and Samsung with the Galaxy Mega, and now it's Huawei's turn.
This is basically just a gigantic phone, with little to make it easy to use one-handed. Huawei does its best by offering small bezels — less than 3mm on the left and right sides — and extreme thinness of 7.18mm. It accomplishes this thickness with an impressive build quality of an all-glass front and aluminum back and sides that uses an interesting nanotechnology to keep it rigid.
On the inside, Huawei is going with a relatively unknown Kirin 910 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM — in our time with the device the UI seems snappy and fluid with not a single slowdown. The display comes in at an impressive 1200 x 1920 and looks absolutely great to our eyes with solid viewing angles and colors. Huawei is still doing some weird things with its interface that keep icons and settings overly-colorful to our eyes, but if you know its interface than you'll feel at home here.
Stick around for a closer look at the phone, including video, after the break.
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