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3 years ago

Live from ASUS at Mobile World Congress!

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We've live from ASUS on the first official day of Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, Spain. Chances are we're about to get some Android tablet action dropped on us.

So check in after the break for all the liveblog action, starting at 1:30 p.m. CET, or 7:30 a.m. EST. Morning, U.S. folks!

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3 years ago

Hands-on with Sony Xperia Tablet Z

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Sony might well have set the new standard for thin and light in this Jelly Bean-based 10-incher

Seven-inch tablets might rule the race to the bottom, but Sony's recently announced Xperia Tablet Z is a little slice of 10-inch heaven. It's a ridiculous 6.9mm thin, running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with Sony's suite of custom apps and features. It's deceptively light, belying its nearly 500 grams of weight.

Design-wise, the Xperia Tablet Z borrows features form the phone side of the shop, including such details as the ring around the device. 

You've been hearing a lot about IR blasters the past few weeks, and Sony's no exception here, building one into its tablet for some proper couch-bound channel surfing.

We've got your complete Mobile World Congress hands-on with the Xperia Tablet Z after the break, so let's do this thing.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy XCover 2 hands-on

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Samsung gets a lot of stick over the build quality of some of its phones -- a common complaint of devices like the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 are that they're glossy, plasticky and cheap-looking. So it's ironic that the Korean manufacturer's come out with one of the nicest-looking ruggedized handsets we've seen so far. The Galaxy XCover 2, announced a few weeks back, packs mid-range smartphone internals into an attractive yet hardy exterior.

Make no mistake, this is still a plastic phone. But Samsung's done a good job of making the XCover 2's chassis look and feel more premium than the average rugged smartphone.The back and sides are textured, and have a metallic color not unlike the Galaxy Nexus. Around the front are the three standard Samsung buttons -- menu, home and back, and all they're of the old-fashioned clicky variety.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Optimus Pro flip cover and wireless charging puck

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The LG wireless charger (WCP-300) boasts 'world's smallest' status

It only makes sense that the LG Optimus G Pro, which bares a striking resemblance to another 5.5-inch Android phone/tablet mash-up, should also ape a few accessories along the way. The G Pro does precisely that with its own flip cover, which we took a look at this morning at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The flip cover -- well, it's a flip cover. It replaces the battery cover on the G Pro, then wraps around the front of the phone, starting at the hinge. There's a cutout for the home button, and the volume rocker is still accessible through the hinge, with little indicators to show you where it is.

The flip cover comes in number of colors and textures, and they're a nice addition to the Optimus G Pro.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Optimus L3 II, L5 II and L7 II

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LG announced the Optimus L II series last week, and today we got our first chance to check out the new mid-range handsets at Mobile World Congress. As it was last year, the L series represents LG's line of mainstream handsets, with increasingly powerful hardware as the numbers increase.

At the low end, there's the Optimus L3 II, powered by a 1GHz CPU on a 3.2-inch WVGA display. That's 320x240 pixels, and it looks about as good (or not) as you'd expect. On the other hand, this is a super-low-end smartphone, and we'd expect it to be priced as such. It's not all bad news though, as the L3 II runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean beneath LG's own skin, and the software experience is pretty snappy. You do however miss out on some of the higher-end features like the QSlide multitasking capability -- and the same is true of the L5 II and L7 II.

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 event invites going out - March 14 in New York

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We've just received our invite to a Samsung event in New York on Mar. 14, inviting us to get "ready 4 the show." Looks highly likely that we're in for a Galaxy S4 event, and we'll be live in New York on the day to bring you full coverage!

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the LG Optimus G Pro

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LG's flagship Android smartphone gets bigger, faster and ... a bit familiar-looking

You're forgiven for thinking it. We all are. It's impossible to pick up the LG Optimus G Pro -- the oversized, 5.5-inch Android half-phone/half-tablet unveiled this week at Mobile World Congress in Spain -- and not think of another Korean manufacturer's similar product. Go ahead and get that out of your system.

This is the Optimus G Pro. Not the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. But, yeah. There are certain physical similarities. You can't help by notice that. And for sure the folks in the 50 or so countries LG's planning on launching the Optimus G Pro in (beginning in the second quarter) will notice. Maybe that's the idea. Or maybe not.

In a nutshell, it takes all of the hardware and software LG brought in the original, smaller Optimus G in the fall of 2012 and expands it to a larger platform. The display sports a 1920x1080 resolution, for about 400 pixels per inch. The internal specs are beefier, powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the better to push all those pixels. Sluggish, this device is not.

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3 years ago

Polycom updates RealPresence app for Android tablets

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Polycom has updated their RealPresence application for Android, bringing support for even more tablets, and new features like smart pairing technology, content sharing, and SVC (Scalable Video Coding) format support. Before you click the link to install this one, take a few minutes to see exactly what the RealPresence app is.

This isn't regular video chat where you goof off with your friends or talk dirty to each other. RealPresence is an enterprise video conferencing solution, and it requires and it requires the proper infrastructure to run on. It's designed for professionals who need to speak with each other, in real-time, securely. As the video you'll find after the break explains, industries from healthcare to construction have a need to conference remotely, and when video is involved things are more efficient. When things get more efficient, we all benefit.

Android adoption for the enterprise has always paled when compared to the consumer space, or to Apple's iOS. Applications like RealPresence can change that, and expand the choices made when it's time to buy equipment. Jump past the break to see the mentioned video, and read the press release.

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3 years ago

Intel announces dual-core Atom, multiband LTE chip and OEM partnerships

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Intel is laying down a whole group of announcements today, covering the launch of dual-core Atom processors, multiband LTE chips and partnerships with OEMs for future quad-core Intel chips. First up is Intel's dual-core Atom (known as Clover Trail+), which is a 32nm (nanometer) processor coming in three SKU's -- Z2580, Z2560, Z2520 -- at 2.0GHz, 1.6GHz and 1.2GHz, respectively. The new Atom will deliver "industry-leading" performance, with Intel's hyper-threading technology, and battery life (which hasn't been Intel's strong suit) to rival current high-end devices.

The new chips also now support up to 1900x1200 display resolution, which will make it a suitable chip for future Android tablets. The Clover Trail+ Atoms support Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and HSPA+ 42 mobile data modems as well. Intel says it has already made partnerships with ASUS, Lenovo and ZTE to integrate Clover Trail+ processors into future tablets and phones.

Intel is also announcing today the availability of its first multimode and multiband LTE chip, the XMM 7160. One of the world's lowest power and smallest chips available, the 7160 supports up to 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and offers full LTE, DC-HSPA+ and EDGE connectivity in one chip SKU. Intel expects the radio to be ready in the first half of this year, with the radio and processor roadmaps soon converging to offer an integrated solution in the future.

Last but not least, Intel is looking forward to its upcoming "Bay Trail" quad-core Atom processors for use in tablets. The new processor will double the performance of its current tablet offerings, with potential designs as small as 8nm going forward. Intel is working with Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, LG Electronics and Samsung to have both Android and Windows 8 tablets in the market by the holiday season of 2013 with Bay Trail quad-core processors.

Things weren't too great for Intel in 2012 when looking at the complete dominance of ARM-based processors in high-end devices, but the company doesn't seem to be holding back on its mobile product developments. Give it a couple more product cycles and Intel could begin to see some market share gain going forward.

Source: Intel (BusinessWire)

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3 years ago

Samsung to hold Galaxy S IV event March 14 in New York

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According to a Samsung representative, Samsung will hold a Galaxy S IV inspired event March 14 in New York city. This will be the first Galaxy S event in the U.S. since the first round of Galaxy S phones were announced at CTIA in 2010, and Samsung mobile division chief JK Shin says the venue was moved because they were "bombarded with requests" from US carriers to hold the show in their own country.

Nobody knows exactly what to expect from Samsung's latest, but we are sure it will give us plenty to talk about. Expected with everything stronger, faster, and higher resolution that the current Galaxy S3, the handset is sure to be a hit amongst consumers.

All the details aren't known just yet, but you'll be able to count on Android Central to deliver you all the news about Samsung's next. 

Source: e. daily (Korean); via: Reuters

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3 years ago

Jelly Bean update for Sprint Galaxy Victory 4G leaks out

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Frequent firmware leaker Samsung-Updates has just put up a preliminary leak of the Jelly Bean OTA for the Galaxy Victory 4G on Sprint. The device launched back in September of last year, disappointingly so when we saw just Ice Cream Sandwich on board. What we're looking at here though is software version L300VPALJ9, based on Android 4.1.1, which is a complete OTA package. We don't have a proper changelog associated with this update, which weighs in at a hefty 370MB, but that tends to be the case with leaks.

There's no indication as to whether this is what the software will look like when it officially hits, but for now it's all we've got. Sprint and Samsung have yet to publish any support documents confirming the update. If you've got a Galaxy Victory 4G and are interested in giving the latest firmware a shot, hit the source link below.

Source: Samsung-Updates; Via: Android Police

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3 years ago

ZTE launches 4G Cloud Radio networking solutions

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ZTE does more than make Android phones that we rarely see in the U.S. They're also a big vendor to the folks who build out cellular networks, and provide all manner of equipment to folks like Verizon and other carriers. Today at Mobile World Congress 2013 they have launched what they are calling a 4G Cloud Radio solution.

It's technical, and a look at the white papers and press release is bound to bring on some serious head scratching for even the most seasoned smartphone veteran. In a nutshell, "cloud radio allows operators to address interference and coordination that affect OAM and arise as a result of the coexistence of multistandard networks. Wireless network performance can be optimized for given bearer resources, and user experience can be significantly improved. Cloud radio also protects investment, increases revenue, and helps operators secure a leading position in the wireless market."

I told you it was complicated. What we, as users, need to take away from this is that this new technology will allow carriers and the industry as a whole to make the transition from legacy 2G networks to 4G LTE smoother, more cost effieient, and cheaper. All of that trickles down to us and is reflected in our monthly bill. The full press release is after the break.

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3 years ago

Barnes & Noble looking to scale back on hardware efforts

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Barnes & Noble may be aiming to lower the investment it puts into its Nook hardware efforts, sources of the New York Times report. Following less than stellar results in its Nook division -- which encompasses e-readers, tablets and e-book sales -- B&N executives are looking into the amount of money they spend on devices that aren't directly profitable. The Nook tablets, which are well known for being cheap for their hardware and relatively easy to hack, are simply too low margin for the nation's largest book chain to be focusing on.

“They are not completely getting out of the hardware business, but they are going to lean a lot more on the comprehensive digital catalog of content,” reports the unnamed source.

The hope going forward, it seems, will be for B&N to focus on licensing its software and content to other manufacturers to take advantage of. This is a complete turn-around from last year, when the book giant expressed that Nook was to be the future of its business. It's also interesting to look at in comparison to Amazon, which seems quite content selling hardware at break-even (or even loss) prices to push sales of digital content. Companies can only take initiatives so far before they need to consider the bottom line, though.

Source: New York Times

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3 years ago

LG brings together entire four-tier smartphone lineup at MWC

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LG is taking some time at MWC 2013 to lay out its entire portfolio of phones for 2013, which it calls its "four-tier strategy". LG is hoping to cover an entire range of specs, sizes and price points with four lines -- Optimus G Series, Vu: Series, F Series and LII (L2) Series. We've already seen what LG has in store for the G Series, which is the highest end specs possible -- think Optimus G, Optimus G Pro. The Optimus Vu hasn't exactly been the hit LG was hoping for, but they're sticking with it going forward, focusing on pen input and multi-window apps as part of its QSlide software.

The newest additions to the lineup are the F Series and LII Series, filling out the middle and low-end, respectively. We received some details on the first F Series devices -- the F5 and F7 -- which have solid specs and are meant to expand LG's LTE offerings. The LII Series is focused on design rather than raw specs, with 3G-only devices that seem to be a playground for LG to try out new design elements in the low end.

LG is clearly trying to focus its design and product portfolio around the Optimus name in new ways for 2013, falling in line with the likes of Samsung and HTC that are focusing on a single flagship brand name. We'll see if this can help LG push its portfolio ahead in the coming year.

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations at MWC 2013: Day zero podcast

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Join Android Central's Phil Nickinson and Alex Dobie as well as WPCentral's Jay Bennett and a mostly silent Daniel Rubino for the first Mobile Nations podcast of Mobile World Congress 2013. With the show about to start, we've already got plenty of Android to talk about.

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