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4 years ago

LG Optimus LTE III spotted in the wild in South Korea


At first glance you'd be forgiven for mistaking what we see here for an LG Optimus L7, but it is in fact reportedly the latest in the Optimus LTE line -- the imaginatively titled Optimus LTE III. Spied in South Korea, the LTE III is supposedly launching sometime later this year on the country's SK Telecom network. 

Like the L-Series devices, the LTE III is reported to carry some decent mid-range specs, such as a 1280x720 display, and dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor. Software is said to be Android 4.1.2, which is hardly a surprise given what we've seen in Barcelona this week. It also supposedly packs a decent sized 2540 mAh battery to keep things ticking along.

Will LG release this outside of its native South Korea? Possibly not, but it's a nice looking device all the same -- though the physical home button still draws its critics. It also seems to have a sweet looking flip case available for it too, similar in style to that which we saw for the Optimus G Pro at Mobile World Congress. 

via Unwired View

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4 years ago

Sony releases experimental Firefox OS ROM for Xperia E


Firefox OS has been on the horizon for a while now, and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona saw the first device partnerships announced for the fledgling mobile operating system. Though not showing any hardware in Barcelona, a press release was issued detailing Sony's plans to release a Firefox OS powered smartphone in 2014 in partnership with Telefonica. 

What we have here isn't quite a Sony Firefox phone, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, what it is, is a working experimental build of Firefox OS for the Xperia E. In line with their plans to develop devices carrying the software, Sony hopes that interested developers and early adopters will take a look and garner valuable feedback. 

The key thing to remember is that Sony has released this as an experimental developer ROM. It isn't meant to be a daily driver, although from the promo video we see here it looks reasonably functional, with even the camera app working properly. 

We know some of you kids like playing around with new stuff -- our own editor-in-chief Phil Nickinson played with an early, early build of Firefox OS -- so if you happen to have access to an Xperia E and try this out, be sure to share your experiences with us. 

Source: Sony Developer World

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4 years ago

Reminder: Spring into TEGRA Contest Ending Soon!


Quick reminder for all that the 'Spring into TEGRA' contest is ending real soon (March 1st at 11:59 PM EST). Be sure to check out the contest details below and submit your entry for a chance to win one of TWO HTC One X+ devices!*

To enter, simply follow these three steps:

  1. Take a picture of yourself with your tired and worn out mobile device.
  2. Head over to the official contest thread.
  3. Post the picture, AND tell us why you absolutely NEED a new HTC One X+.

That's all there really is to it! Head over to the official contest thread and get your entry in. You never know… with a little luck and creativity (hint, hint!) you may end up with a brand new device at your front door.

* Contest closes on March 1, 2013, at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be selected shortly thereafter via PM and e-mail. ONE entry per person. Contest open to all Android Central members.

Good luck!

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4 years ago

YotaPhone hands-on - gestures, e-ink and vanilla Android


The YotaPhone is an example of one of the things we like the most about Android -- crazy hardware implemented in new and interesting ways. Dual-screen smartphones are nothing new -- recall the ill-fated Kyocera Echo of old. But Yota Devices' YotaPhone is the first we can recall that packs both a traditional LCD front and e-ink back, and today we went hands-on with the phone at Mobile World Congress. Both sides are coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 2, though the back has more of a matte texture to it. This gives the YotaPhone a unique appearance, which is accentuated by its slightly curved back.

Powering the YotaPhone is a dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU at 1.5GHz. Around the back is a 12MP camera, and the power button cleverly doubles as a SIM tray. On the software side, it's near-vanilla Jelly Bean running the show -- Yota's left the Android UI mostly intact. Both screens are 4.3 inches diagonally, and the LCD clocks in at 1280x720 pixels. As you'd expect from the vanilla Android UI running on an S4 chip, the UI is smooth and lag-free.

The phone's also lacking traditional Android buttons -- instead, button commands are activated based on gesture controls on a panel under the LCD. Swipe halfway from right to left to go back, all the way to go home, and long press the middle for the task-switcher. Similarly, you can copy images from the front screen to the rear by swiping from top to bottom with two fingers.

Certain apps, such as Calendar and Weather, can also run natively on the rear display, and there's an in-app button for transferring things to the rear screen. This means you're able to view content without burning through quite so much juice -- and it could also be useful for viewing certain types of information in bright sunlight.

The YotaPhone probably won't be a mass-market seller in the West, but it is an incredibly cool device nonetheless, playing to the strengths of both LCD and e-ink. We've got hands-on photos and a quick video demo after the break.

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4 years ago

ZTE Grand Memo hands-on


ZTE, like local rival Huawei, is desperately trying to establish itself as one of the bigger international smartphone players, focusing more and more on high-end "hero" devices. To that end, at a very businesslike (and rather awkward) Mobile World Congress press conference this week, the company revealed the Grand Memo. A 5.7-inch Galaxy Note-class device, the Memo incorporates high-end internals and a massive 5.7-inch 720p display.

As per ZTE's presser, the Grand Memo runs Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, though ZTE says the chipsets used will vary depending on country. (Update: ZTE staffers on the show floor tell us that the demo units on display are running Snapdragon S4 Pro (8064) chips, and that several different versions of the Memo will be available, including the Snapdragon 800-powered model announced earlier this week.)

For what it's worth, the company also had an NVIDIA Tegra 3-based Grand Memo on show at its MWC booth, however that device was unstable and extremely hot to the touch.

Other hardware notables include 2GB of RAM (1GB on the S4 version), 16GB of storage, 4G LTE support and a 13MP rear camera. The physical hardware of the Memo is standard smartphone fare -- a black slab with a plastic back and three buttons down below. On the back, a plastic battery cover. We saw several different back covers on the Grand Memo demo units at the show -- glossy, textures and matte versions in white and various shades of blue. Overall, the hardware is perfectly serviceable, if not outstanding.

Head past the break for more first impressions, along with more photos and video.

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4 years ago

Samsung HomeSync - hands-on with the Android-powered TV box


As a global electronics giant, Samsung has presence in every room in the home, most notably the living room -- the company recently claimed to be selling three TVs every second. And as we all know, Samsung currently dominates the Android smartphone landscape. So it was only a matter of time before the Samsung TV and Android worlds collided.

At Mobile World Congress this week we got our first look at Samsung's HomeSync, a 1-terabyte TV box with a Google Play-certified Android front-end. HomeSync delivers a full Android experience, with a TouchWiz-based UI that actually scales up really well to the big screen. The main view is a grid of running windows, and you've also got a standard app drawer view, along with on-screen keys you can hit using your pointer.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the ASUS Padfone Infinity


At the conceptual level, the ASUS Padfone series has always sounded cool, but it's never managed to translate that into mainstream success. Previous Padfones, though technically impressive, have been too expensive to win over consumers and carriers en masse. On top of that, ASUS has yet to present a really compelling use case for combining a phone with tablet dock.

Nevertheless, the Taiwanese manufacturer is back with a third Padfone iteration, the Padfone Infinity. The Infinity boasts superior specs, a redesigned, brushed aluminum chassis an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. But is that enough to justify this class of device? Check out our first impressions from Mobile World Congress after the break.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the ASUS Fonepad


Android has a long history of playing host to ridiculously large smartphones. First there was the Dell Streak. Next came the original Samsung Galaxy Note. And now in 2013 we have the ASUS Fonepad, a 7-inch tablet that's also a 7-inch phone. On first inspection the Fonepad looks a little bit like a another 7-inch ASUS tablet, the Nexus 7. But unlike that device it's also a full 3G/HSPA phone, complete with earpiece and microphone. That's right, you can hold this seven-inch slab of electronics to your head and make telephone calls.

Where other large smartphones -- including Huawei's gigantic Ascend Mate -- trim down their bezels to make them more pocket and hand-friendly, ASUS has chosen to incorporate a tablet-sized screen trim on the Fonepad. As a result, using the device as a telephone in the usual way is the binary opposite of ergonomic. If you felt awkward making phone calls on a Galaxy Note, that's nothing by comparison. Assuming you posses digits large enough to palm the Fonepad to your ear, you're going to look and feel like an idiot walking around with it pressed to your face.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Grand


With devices like the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note, Samsung has been an integral part of the push towards bigger screens on smartphones. But traditionally these larger, higher-resolution devices have been aimed towards the high-end, carrying expectedly high-tier price tags. Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we saw a device that aims to defy that convention.

The Galaxy Grand is a mid-range smartphone with high-end ambitions. Its 5-inch screen and Galaxy Note-like aesthetic give it the appearance of a premium handset, though like most Samsung smartphones it’s bright, white shiny and plasticky. There’s no ‘S-Pen’ stylus to be found, but aside from that the Grand offers a fairly complete Samsung software experience. You’re getting the latest version of the company’s TouchWiz UI, which runs on top of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The software package even includes newer additions like multi-window support -- Samsung’s method for running more than one app on-screen at a time.

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4 years ago

LG's 'VR Panorama' puts Photosphere on the Optimus G Pro


LG Photosphere from the Nexus 4 and improves it on its newest device

It's no secret that I'm a pretty big fan of the 360-degree Photospheres you can shoot with the Nexus 4. Fire up the camera app, spin around a few times and you get a really cool shot that can be panned and zoomed, and shared on Google+, or embedded with Google Maps. It's a novelty, yeah. But I'm enjoying the hell out of it, and there are some great Photospheres being published every day from remarkable locations.

But so far the only phones with that feature have been Google's Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus. Until now.

LG, which also manufactured the Nexus 4, has a new version of Photosphere built into the camera application on its Optimus G Pro, which the company is showing off here in Barcelona, Spain, at Mobile World Congress. (The phone actually is available already in Korea.) And we recently took it for a spin in Plaça de Catalunya to see how it works.

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4 years ago

ASUS Padfone 2 launching in the UK on March 1


Way back in October last year we first heard word that ASUS planned to bring the Padfone 2 to the UK in early 2013. It's now early 2013 and true to their word ASUS is indeed bringing the Padfone 2 to the UK on March 1 for £599.

For some it may seem an anti-climax given the recent unveiling of the Padfone Infinity at MWC. But, the Padfone 2 is still an impressive device packing a Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and a HD Super IPS+ display. It isn't quite the powerhouse the new Padfone Infinity is, but the hardware specs are still impressive. And of course, the Padfone 2 will be around £200 cheaper than the Infinity. 

Both white and black versions will be available, and several big name retailers will be picking it up including Amazon and Carphone Warehouse. The full press release can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

LG showcasing wireless Ultra HD transmission technology at Mobile World Congress


Last month's CES over in Las Vegas had a whole lot of 4K Television news. After HD, comes Ultra HD, and with it some pretty amazing looking TV sets with an amazing price to match. If you were sat there wondering; "when will I be able to push my smartphone content to one of these," then wonder no longer. Over in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, LG is showcasing what they're saying is the world's first wireless Ultra HD transmission technology. 

It's pretty much as simple as it sounds. Wirelessly transmitting content from a smartphone, to a 4K TV in real time. Further more, LG claims the technology consumes less than half the power of some other wireless transmission technologies. You'll find the full release after the break. 

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Lenovo K900


At CES in January Lenovo unveiled the K900, a high-end, big-screen smartphone aimed at the Chinese market. And at Mobile World Congress this week, the manufacturer gave us a closer look at this dual-core, Intel-powered beast.

At 5.5 inches diagonally, the K900 dwarfs even the Galaxy Note 2, and like other devices in this half phone space, half tablet it's easy to see how this might not be ideal for every smartphone buyer.  But the overall design is attractive enough, with a metallic chassis and squared-off edges. On the front is a 1080p display, which looks about as sharp and clear as you'd expect. On the inside, Intel's Clovertrail+ -- a dual-core, HyperThreaded CPU -- provides enough horsepower to keep things running smoothly, and around the back is a 13MP Sony Exmor R camera with f/1.8 aperture. On the hardware side, we came away pretty impressed.

The K900 is running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, along with Lenovo's own software layer software, and although it's great to see 4.2 finally rolling out to devices, the manufacturer's UI customizations leave something to be desired. Visual gimmicks such as a rotating cylindrical app drawer persist, and the sleek minimalism of stock Android has been replaced by cartoonish buttons and a lack of overall visual cohesion.

Lenovo is a relative newcomer to the smartphone market, and like many in the early days, they're doing better in terms of hardware than they are software. Nevertheless, our brief time with the K900 has our interest piqued, and we'll be keeping a watchful eye on what's next from the manufacturer.

We've got more photos and your first hands-on video after the break.

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4 years ago

ZTE launches Grand Memo with 5.7-inch display, Snapdragon 800 processor


ZTE is taking the wraps off of its latest large-screen phone, the Grand Memo, at MWC 2013 in Barcelona. What we're looking at here is a 5.7-inch display at just 720x1280 resolution -- but curiously so as the previously announced ZTE Grand S has a 5-inch 1080P display. Underneath that display the Grand Memo has a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (unspecified clock speed), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a quite enormous 3200mAh battery. There's a 13MP camera around back, much like the Grand S. The design is subtle and sleek, with a smooth plastic shell and protruding camera pod around back. On the front there are capacitive back, home and menu keys. It is also just 8.5mm thick, which is quite impressive considering the specs.

The Grand Memo is running Android 4.1, along with some of ZTE's own software customizations. There doesn't appear to be any special digitizer or stylus hardware available though, contrary to what the name would lead you to expect. Unfortunately, ZTE isn't yet giving any information on pricing or availability at this time.

Source: ZTE (BusinessWire)

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4 years ago

Samsung touts market share, infographic style


Samsung shipped a hell of a lot of phones last year, and a bunch of them were smart phones -- 213,000,000 according to their latest infographic. That's a number which equates to over 30-percent of all smart phones shipped in 2012, and as we see is more than the total population of Brazil.

Samsung of course hopes to keep this trend going into 2013, with new releases like the Galaxy Note 8.0 and the upcoming Galaxy S4, as well as the multitude of entry-level phones and tablets for emerging markets. We'll have to see if this strategy works for them as well this year as it did in the last.

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