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2 years ago

What's coming at Mobile World Congress? Quite a lot, actually

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Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest mobile tech shows in the world, begins in just a few short days in Barcelona, Spain. We’ll be there to bring you all the Android-related developments from the show floor, starting this Sunday, Feb. 26.

As is always the case with such a big show, early details of product announcements often leak out ahead of time, and some companies even take to making announcements a few days before the event begins. We’ve covered all kinds of crazy developments leading up to this year’s MWC, and today we’ve condensed everything we’re expecting to see into one handy article.

Read on for a complete picture of what the major Android players are likely to be bringing to Barcelona. (And check back in case of updates!)

Updated Feb. 22: Fujitsu, LG Optimus 3D MAX, 4X HD and Tmo HTC Ville information.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus accessories showing up on Samsung U.S. website, but we can't have them just yet

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The seemingly endless wait for the official Samsung Galaxy Nexus accessories continues to drag on. Latest developments see the range added to the Samsung US website. Sounds good right? Before you all go rushing on over there waving your credit cards, you might want to take a step back. 

The range is showing up as out of stock, and worse still is on a two week backorder. Being on backorder is practically the same as no order, but perhaps we're gradually edging closer to getting our hands on  these -- particularly that sweet car dock. We really want one of those. 

On the other side of the Atlantic over here in the UK, things aren't looking any brighter. Clove Technology were hoping to have had their first stocks for the GSM Galaxy Nexus by now. Their product pages have been updated to reflect "availability to be confirmed" and "first stock delayed."

Expansys UK are still showing availability over Tuesday and Wednesday next week, but their dates haven't changed in some time now. We're all hoping they're accurate, but sadly not holding out too many hopes. 

If Samsung themselves have placed a two week backorder on stocks though, perhaps that means we will actually be able to get our hands on some in two weeks. Looks like for now though the wait continues. 

Source: Samsung Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S II Skyrocket getting an update, failing for many

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Folks are letting us know that the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is in the midst of receiving an update. However, that update's failing for a good many. We're not seeing any official changelog just yet either on AT&T's or Samsung's side, but we've got inquiries in. Chances are we're looking at bugfixes with just a 21MB update, but we'll let you know if/when we hear more.

Source: @travis_benjamin; Skyrocket forums
More: AT&T Skyrocket support

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2 years ago

Initial Snapdragon S4 benchmarks show promising performance

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It's not often we get excited about benchmark numbers, but we'll make an exception today. Early benchmarks of the first chips based upon Qualcomm's new Snapdragon S4 ("Krait") architecture have appeared, showing dramatic improvements from earlier Snapdragon chips. The tests run by AnandTech on Qualcomm's S4 Mobile Development Platform (powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core MSM8960 chip), show single and mutli-threaded CPU performance dwarfing earlier models. This includes TI OMAP chips used in phones like the Galaxy Nexus and Droid RAZR, as well as the much-vaunted 1.2GHz Exynos chip in the Galaxy S II.

The chip produced leading web benchmark scores too, according to AnandTech's results. The site recorded its lowest (best) SunSpider Javascript score with Qualcomm's new MDP, at just 1532 in the stock Android 4.0 browser. And graphical tests on the MSM8960's Adreno 225 GPU were almost as impressive, with Qualcomm's MDP being beaten by the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II in just a couple of GPU tests.

So the MSM8960 is shaping up to be an impressive chip indeed. We're expecting to see it in a number of mid-range and high-end devices this year, including HTC's "Ville" (rumored to ship as the HTC One S).  We'll no doubt hear more about this chip, and the devices it'll be powering, at MWC next week.

Source: AnandTech

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2 years ago

Ubuntu on Android becomes real, looks to take on Moto's Webtop experience

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This, folks, is Ubuntu on Android. An honest-to-goodness, not janky or VNC'd, full build of the Linux distro powered by an Android smartphone.

We'll let that sink in.

Canonical -- the company behind Ubuntu -- today announced that it's bringing the full Ubuntu experience to multi-core Android phones in the same way that Motorola has attempted to extend its hardware to a more traditional computing experience with Webtop. That is, you'll connect your phone to a keyboard and display, and from there have full control over a proper Ubuntu experience, all powered by the phone. Because your Android smartphone is already running a Linux kernel, the marriage between your phone and Ubuntu is darn near seamless. The Ubuntu build actually shares the kernel from your phone and boots in parallel.

Canonical gave us a walkthrough of the experience, and it really couldn't be more simple. Dock the phone, and Ubuntu Unity fires up. Photos and videos are instantly available in the desktop experience.

But photos and videos are chump change. You've got full Chromium and Thunderbird apps. VLC. The Ubuntu Music Player. If it's on Ubuntu, it can be on your phone.

But the real power is in the ability to launch your Android apps within that desktop experience. Same goes for contacts. Or your network settings. Or your notifications. It's Android within an Ubuntu experience. And it's pretty slick.

As for hardware requirements, you'll need a dual-core smartphone with at least a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. You'll need 2GB of storage free as well, plus USB host mode and HDMI out (MHL adapters will work, Canonical tells us), plus video acceleration. Older phones need not apply, basically.

It's worth repeating that this is your phone powering Ubuntu -- not the Ubuntu desktop on your phone. We're going to get a close look at Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, Spain. Stay tuned. For now, we've got Canonical's full press release after the break.

More: Ubuntu

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2 years ago

Viber update adds Ice Cream Sandwich compatability

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Viber, the cross-platform VoIP app popular for its free voice calling and text messaging, has received its official upgrade for Ice Cream Sandwich-compatability, available now in the Android Market. Viber arrived on Android last summer and just recently announced that it has reached a 50 million registered users milestone. Viber uses your 3G/4G or WiFi connection to call or text other registered Android or iOS Viber users for free. 

In addition to support for Android 4.0, the most recent update also brings with it "significant enhancements" to the Viber voice engine, promising better voice quality, improved support for lower-end devices, and better handling of poor network quality. Other recent updates have brought location and photo sharing, as well as UI improvements, including the ability to see when another person is typing a text message. 

If you've got a Galaxy Nexus or a shiny new ICS ROM on one of your devices, you'll want to grab the update from the Android Market after the break.

Source: Viber

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2 years ago

US Cellular officially getting the Samsung Galaxy S II

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It's been a couple months now since we broke the news that US Cellular would be getting the Samsung Galaxy S II, and today the carrier manufacturer made it official. Samsung's flagship phone from 2011 will be making its debut on the regional carrier sometime in the future (no date was given) and it'll launch with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Don't everybody go rushing to the store at once.

That's not to say you'll be getting a bad phone -- it'll cost $229.99 after $100 mail-in rebate. It's odd timing considering we'll be seeing new fare from Samsung in the coming weeks and months, most likely. And nor is it slated for USCC's fledgling LTE network. But you do get Samsung's 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos processor, an 8MP rear camera and 16GB of storage tucked into that 4.5-inch form factor, which is nice, we suppose.

More: US Cellular

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Mini 2 headed to Three UK

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Three is the first UK network to announce that it'll be carrying the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Mini 2, which were announced just a few hours ago. These are two entry level devices from Samsung, with screens ranging from 3.2 to 3.8 inches, and respectable (if not mind-blowing) internals.

We first saw the Galaxy Mini 2 a couple of weeks back, in a leaked promotional image, and it looks like Samsung's built on the hardware of the original Galaxy Mini, with some much needed upgrades. The CPU's been bumped up to 800MHz, while display resolution has been upgraded to HVGA (320x480). Internal storage has been expanded too, giving it enough internal flash to be "upgradable to the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich", according to Three product manager Brendan Ardnt.

The 3.8-inch Galaxy Ace 2 offers a little more horsepower, with a dual-core 800MHz chip, 768MB of RAM, a WVGA screen and 5MP camera. Like the Mini 2, the Ace 2 runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, backed up by TouchWiz 4.0.

We'll be watching with interest to see where both devices land in terms of pricing, as both could be tempting for first-time smartphone buyers if priced competitively.

Source: Three UK Blog

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2 years ago

High-end Panasonic Android phone rumored for MWC

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Panasonic may have just announced the Eluga, its first smartphone for the European market, but it may preparing to announce something more impressive at MWC next week, if the latest round of rumors are to be believed.

British tech site Pocket-Lint reports, via sources at Panasonic, that the manufacturer will unveil a "premium" Android handset at next week's show, with a bigger screen and meatier specs. Rumored specs include a dual-core CPU, presumably at a faster clock speed than the Eluga's 1GHz, along with a display powered by a new Panasonic technology. A rear camera based on Panasonic's Lumix range is also reported, in addition to a front facing camera. 

We're sure we don't need to tell you by now, but we'll be live at MWC next week to cover all the announcements live.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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2 years ago

LG unveils style-focused Optimus L3, L5 and L7 ahead of MWC

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Following the recent announcents of the Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE Tag, LG has taken the wraps off three more Android smartphones ahead of next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Optimus L3, L5 and L7 make up what the manufacturer calls its "L-style" series -- a series of smartphones for design-conscious consumers.

LG has outlined a new design philosophy to go along with these new products -- put simply, it's hoping you're after a slimmer, squarer handset of metal construction. From today's press release --

"L-Style’s  design philosophy is comprised of five aesthetic elements:  Modern Square Style for a comfortable grip, Floating Mass Technology for a slimmer look, Seamless Layout for a more intuitive arrangement of keys, Harmonized Design Contrast utilizing metallic accents and Sensuous Slim Shape that naturally draws one’s attention."

Eagle-eyed readers may remember the entry-level L3 from its brief appearance on a Swedish retailer's site a few weeks back -- the device was said to run Android 2.3 on a 3.2-inch display. That's been confirmed as part of LG's announcement today, though detailed hardware specs for all three devices are conspicuously absent.

In the absence of a spec list, we'll have to guess that L5 and the L7 are mid to high-end products. Both run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (behind LG's Optimus UI, of course), but the only specs LG is confirming at this stage are the screen sizes -- the L5 is a 4-incher, while the L7 is a little larger at 4.3. LG says the L3 is due in Europe this March, while the L5 and L7 will follow in the first half of the year.

We'll bring you more on all of LG's new handsets, including the L-style series, from the show floor next week.

Source: LG PR, LG on Flickr

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