Sony Bluetooth speaker and new noise-cancelling earbuds bundled to sweeten the deal
Sony's newly announced Xperia Z2 isn't scheduled to go on sale for a little while yet, but one UK retailer is already offering a pretty sweet audio bundle with pre-orders. Clove Technology has put the Xperia Z2 up for pre-order at £550 inclusive of VAT, and for that you also get a Sony Bluetooth speaker and a pair of its new noise cancelling earbuds.
We managed to take a quick look – although no listen – at the earbuds during a Mobile World Congress briefing in Barcelona, and Sony seems pretty happy with them. Regardless, the bundle is worth a reported £120, so if you're looking at picking up an Xperia Z2 then it might be the way to go.
New Sony phones being bundled with another item aren't uncommon. Previous releases have seen the Smartwatch 2 thrown in as well, and as pre-orders open up elsewhere it'll be interesting to see what else we can pick up. Clove has all three colors in stock, and is slating April 7 as the current availability date. This will be subject to change, but gives us something to go on at this point.
Toggled in quick settings, new feature gives quick access to five favorite apps
In all the commotion over finger scanners, water resistance and 16-megapixel cameras, one neat new multitasking feature on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been easy to overlook. Nevertheless, the GS5's "Toolbox" feature could be particularly useful if you're hopping between the same few apps on a regular basis. Enabled in the quick settings area, Toolbox is a floating circle with three dots that sits on top of every thing else running on the phone. Tap it and it'll expand to show up to five favorite apps, configurable through Settings > Toolbox.
We've got a quick video walkthrough of Toolbox on the Galaxy S5 up top.
Selective focus, Shot & More, 4K video and Studio Mode are just some of the GS5's new imaging features
Samsung introduces not only a new 16-megapixel sensor and a revamped flash to the Galaxy S5, but also a wealth of new software features to go with them. The revamped Samsung camera app mostly does away with the big carousel of shooting modes, arranging various features in a grid layout, accessible from the settings icon. Here's where you'll finds options like photo and video resolution — the GS5 shoots at up to 16MP in 16:9, 12MP in 4:3 and video at 4K — as well as the selective focus and HDR modes. The former takes a bunch of exposures, does a little math, and then lets you choose whether you want to focus on the foreground of background. (There's also a "pan focus" option that tries to keep everything sharp.) HDR has been revamped too, giving a live preview of what HDR images will look like. Capture speeds — generally, and in HDR mode in particular — are also noticeably improved.
Check past the break for more, including a new hands-on video of the Galaxy S5's camera and imaging features!
LG's latest mid-ranger offers similar features to its higher-end smartphones
Prior to Mobile World Congress kicking off in Barcelona LG had pretty much shown its hand with a bunch of pre-announcements. As the show got underway, another became official with the latest F-Series device, the F70.
Unlike the G-Series devices like the G2 and G2 Pro, the F70 has a more 'traditional' look with the power and volume buttons on the sides. There's also no on-screen buttons, it continues LG's previous method of a physical home button with capacitive keys either side. But, this is still very recognizable as a current LG device.
In this day and age of malicious apps and intrusive government surveillance, you might be wondering how to keep your data secure. You could turn to a solution like the up-and-coming Geeksphone Blackphone, with a modified version of Android and sets of secure communications services. Or you could do what the government does and turn to Boeing.
Yes, Boeing. The company that makes massive jetliners, fighter jets, satellites, and all sorts of high tech military hardware is getting into the smartphone game. Their Android-powered entry is the ominously-named Boeing Black. Because stealth.
So… there's an all-new HTC One coming, and it has speakers that are good for a man making awesome sounds, moose mating calls, Viking sopranos, and two horns. The original HTC One's dual front-facing stereo BoomSound speakers sported a Class-D audio amplifier for the loudest, highest quality speakers we'd seen heard on a smartphone. The all-new HTC One, apparently, has redesigned audio components that make it more [womp womp]. We'll find out more next month.
We'll start with the Exynos 5422, an octa-core chipset that, like previous Samsung octa-core processors, is really more like two quad core processors combined. The Exynos 5422 includes four powerful ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can be clocked up to a blazing 2.1GHz, and four ARM Cortex-A7 cores running at up to 1.5GHz for lighter loads. Samsung claims the Exynos 5422 can "deliver up to 34 percent higher performance than in previous Exynos Octa models." All this power means the processor can handle 4K displays with aplomb, though it's not likely we're going to see those any time soon, so that extra oomph can instead be directed at other tasks. The 28-nanometer process used to fabricate the Exynos 5422 is said to result in a 10% reduction in power consumption.
The Exynos 5260, on the other hand, is a hexa-core processor with two big 1.7GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores paired with four 1.3GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The 6-core model isn't quite as powerful as its 8-core brother, having both a lower clock speed and fewer cores, but Samsung still projects it to be able to handle displays all the way up to WQXGA (2560x1600). The Exynos 5260 is currently in production, while the Exynos 5422 is scheduled to start mass production in the first quarter of the year, so be looking for both in future Samsung products.
Intel announced its first 64-bit chipsets for Android this week at Mobile World Congress. Following this we stopped by to take a closer look, including checking out the first Merrifield reference device. Since it's not a consumer product there was little point going too deep – so no hands on in the traditional sense – but we did learn a little more about the platform.
To recap; Intel announced two different 64-bit chipsets this week, Merrifield and Moorefield. The dual-core LTE Merrifield will be coming to market in the first half of 2014 while the quad-core LTE Moorefield will follow in the second half.
Boot up the Samsung Galaxy S5 and you'll be presented with a new message below the usual boot-up logo. The Galaxy S5 isn't just a Galaxy S5 — it's "powered by Android," and that's exactly what you'll see at boot-up.
It's an interesting distinction for Android's biggest manufacturer, and not something we've witnessed in such a prominent place on any other handset. There's been much speculation recently surrounding developments in the relationship between Google and Samsung, and there's no doubt that an Android logo on the GS5's bootscreen will put Google's OS brand in front of a ton of eyeballs in the months ahead.
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