Chinese smartphone powerhouse Xiaomi has long had eyes on the global market, and today they started making progress in expanding outside of the People's Republic with their first launch in Singapore. ZDNet reports that Xiaomi's mid-range Redmi Android handset is now on sale in Singapore for S$169 (that's around $134 USD), while the flagship Mi3 is expected on March 7 for S$419 ($332 USD).
The Redmi is launching on all three of Singapore's carriers — M1, SingTel Mobile, StarHub — and while their combined 8 million subscribers pale in comparison to even the smallest carriers in China, it's a start for Xiaomi's global plans. To celebrate the launch, Xiaomi customized its MIUI interface with "Singapore-centric app icons and a wallpaper of the city's skyline."
Xiaomi recently poached former Google Android VP of Product Hugo Barra to head up their expansion plans, and Barra was on hand in Singapore along with Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin. Xiaomi's set up a service center for local customers and will soon be opening a regional corporate office and distribution center to serve the whole of southeast Asia with localized support and features.
For now, Xiaomi is focusing on Asia, targeting Singapore's neighbor Malaysia for their next launch. Jumping the Pacific Ocean for the Americas is apparently not in the near-term plans, though having gone from their first launch three years ago to 15 million devices last year and a target of 40 million sales this year, Xaiomi is certainly on a roll — the rest of the globe can't be too far off, eh?
Touch-sensitive area of chassis might work as a shutter button, new camera modes also reported
In the run up to next Monday's Galaxy S5 launch event in Barcelona, a few more details about the upcoming Samsung flagship are starting to trickle out online. Today Samsung fansite SamMobile, which has previously unveiled portions of the GS5's software, says it's gotten hold of some details about the handset's camera capabilities. Echoing earlier rumors, the blog says the GS5 will feature a 16-megapixel camera, as well as 4K recording at 30 frames per second and 1080p at 60fps.
But more interestingly, there's a claim that the Galaxy S5 will feature a new technology called "side touch." A touch-sensitive on the lower right side of the case will work like a capacitive shutter key, though its use will apparently be limited to certain camera modes. The "side touch" feature could give users a more natural way to take photos, and it's also possible that Samsung might choose to use this touch-sensitive area in other apps outside of the camera experience.
Samsung has something of a mixed track record when it comes to commercials — ranging from the cool and nostalgic to the surreal and just kinda creepy — but the company shows strong form with its latest TV spots for the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. Poking fun at arch-rival Apple's iPhone and iPad, Samsung actually does a decent job of showcasing both devices' strengths over the iOS-based competition — "two things on screen at once, versus up to one thing on screen at once."
Check out the Tab Pro spot above — a riff on this iPad "pencil" ad, by the way — and head past the break for the second ad, featuring LeBron James on a Galaxy Note 3.
Dual cameras seen again, metal appears to extend round the sides
Just 24 hours removed from the announcement of its launch event, we're seeing a full leaked render of the HTC M8 courtesy of @evleaks. If you're thinking it looks a little familiar, then you're absolutely right. Oh, and this particular one is in gold, if you like that sort of thing.
Taking a closer look at what we're seeing, there is a lot that's familiar. Boomsound speakers out front and the same overall design language as the current HTC One. There's nothing wrong with that, since the HTC One is a pretty darn handsome thing. The dual rear cameras we've seen in previous leaks are present and correct, as is a dual-tone LED flash. What lacks still is any actual solid purpose for those dual cameras.
One of the most expensive phones on Boost has a huge screen and solid build quality, but comes up short in the wrong places.
Being a Sprint MVNO, options for bringing devices to Boost Mobile is inherently limited. You're basically stuck with approved older Sprint devices that can be unlocked and moved over, and Boost's own lineup of phones. Knowing its target market of budget-minded prepaid buyers, Boost does its best to strike deals with manufacturers to get a wide range of devices on the shelves and keep the off-contract price low.
Coming in with a 5.7-inch display and an off-contract price of $299, the Boost Max is the prepaid carrier's first (physically) huge phone that's set to put a dent in your pocket, but not your wallet. At this price without a contract you won't get barn-burning internals or the best camera prowess available, but if you're hungry for a larger screen and are set on keeping the monthly payments low, you now have an appealing choice.
As expected, the "M8" appears to be a somewhat curvier version of its predecessor, complete with front-facing speakers and on-screen buttons. The band below the screen, home to capacitive keys on the M7, now serves only to display the HTC logo. Due to the nature of the leak we can't make out much else of the device, but we can clearly see out a volume rocker on the right edge, a power button in the top right corner and an opening for some kind of slot on the right edge. On the display we're seeing the same HTC Sense 6 image that leaked a couple of weeks back.
The image would certainly appear to show HTC's next big thing, but there's a lot we still don't know about the "M8" — one of the biggest mysteries being its apparent dual rear cameras. We'll be live from HTC's launch events on Mar. 25; until then share your speculation in the comments!
Nokia slipping out its own teasers for alleged Android device
Nokia X; at this point we'll be more surprised if we don't see it at Mobile World Congress on Monday. The device more commonly known as Normandy, alleged to run some construction of Android and tagged as a potential Asha replacement is now even being teased by Nokia itself. That's a giant, green X.
Posted on Nokia's Conversations blog is a reminder of its forthcoming press conference – that we'll be at, naturally – in Barcelona. There's plenty of green about, and four black crosses meeting at the same point. X marks the spot. Of course, for a few more days the rumor and speculation will continue, but soon enough we'll have everything we need to know. 08:30 local time it all goes down on Monday, February 24. Join us.
Upgraded Samsung flash 'will be used in the next Galaxy smartphone'
With less than a week to go before the expected Galaxy S5 launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung has today handed us one small piece of the GS5 hardware puzzle. In a post on the Samsung Tomorrow blog, the company has revealed a range of new LED flash parts for upcoming smartphones. The components include reflector-integrated packages, side-view LEDs and a flip-chip flash LED. And according to Samsung, one of the reflector-integrated flash LEDs — the 3432 1.8t — will be included in "the next Galaxy smartphone, which is expected to be introduced later this month." That'll be the Galaxy S5, then.
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