Headlines

3 years ago

AT&T adds international LTE roaming in Spain, France, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and 8 other countries

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Late last year saw AT&T adding international LTE roaming in Canada and the UK, and today they're adding 13 more nations to the list. If the added services are treated in the same way as AT&T's deals with EE in the UK and Rogers in Canada, the rates charged for the "Data Global" add-ons won't change with the addition of LTE services, though AT&T did not say if that would be the case in their press release. AT&T put a full list of the countries where you'll be able to get LTE speeds while roaming starting today:

Today, AT&T has expanded its international LTE footprint to now include Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong and Antigua & Barbuda. AT&T is committed to providing its customers a wider global footprint to enjoy LTE data speeds. In fact, AT&T currently has agreements to allow for LTE roaming in over 200 countries.

It's worth noting that there are still hurdles to getting LTE roaming working. AT&T and the LTE carriers in Canada use different LTE bands, so it may be hit or miss whether or not your specific phone will be able to roam onto LTE while abroad. Thankfully, modern smartphones are consolidating more and more LTE bands into single devices (manufacturing is just easier that way), so your chances are much higher if you have a fairly new phone.

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3 years ago

HTC aims to make mid-range phones exciting again, starts with the Desire 816

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The first in a 'new breed' of beautifully designed phones, with powerful performance and a low cost

We all want a phone that will blow the barn doors off when it comes to doing the things we love to do with our Androids. We want a phone that plays games well, surfs the web with ease, delivers quality video playback and has great stereo sound. We also love things that are affordable. HTC is trying to merge these two things in their 2014 Desire line, and today at Mobile World Congress they've shown us the first in the series, the Desire 816.

The HTC Desire 816 marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the mid-tier. Incomparably beautiful to look at and hold with the technology and software to match, the HTC Desire 816 challenges everything that people expect from lower cost smartphones. It is bringing genuine choice to the category by delivering stunning design and high-end performance at unbelievable value. —Peter Chou, CEO of HTC

The 5.5-inch 720p display is paired with Boomsound and the 13MP camera has HTC's advanced camera software via Sense 5.5. Under the glass is a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and the standard sensors and wireless radios.

The Desire 816 will debut in China this March, with a global rollout coming in April.

What say you? Can HTC bring the sexy to the mid-tier? Fill the comments!

HTC REIGNITES THE MID-MARKET WITH 2014 HTC DESIRE PORTFOLIO

HTC Desire 816 is the first of a new breed of mid-range HTC smartphones combining beautiful design and flagship performance for incredible value

Barcelona, Spain, February 24, 2014 – HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, has today unveiled the first model in its ambitious 2014 mid-range portfolio. The HTC DesireTM 816 distils elements of the internationally-acclaimed design DNA of HTC's flagship HTC One® family, with a vibrant, modern colour palate and quality materials that give the HTC Desire range its own familiar, yet distinctive flavour. Demonstrating HTC's obsessive focus on incredible design, both inside and out, the HTC Desire 816 packs an advanced feature set that makes it one of the best value smartphones ever introduced by HTC.

"The HTC Desire 816 marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the mid-tier," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC. "Incomparably beautiful to look at and hold with the technology and software to match, the HTC Desire 816 challenges everything that people expect from lower cost smartphones. It is bringing genuine choice to the category by delivering stunning design and high-end performance at unbelievable value."

Beautifully designed, powerful performance

The first edition of the new-look HTC Desire family comes fully loaded with HTC's iconic dual-frontal speakers and HTC BoomSoundTM for incredible audio quality, while HTC BlinkFeedTM keeps users up- to-date with the latest news and social updates on the spacious 5.5 inch screen. Two powerful cameras make the HTC Desire 816 ideal for photography lovers. A 13MP rear-facing camera complete with HTC ZoeTM and automatic highlight videos, as well as a 5MP front-facing camera, make it the perfect device for capturing both the perfect selfie and stunning landscapes in amazing quality. Powered by a quad-core, 1.6 GHz processor and offering 4G LTE connectivity, the new HTC Desire model offers world-class speed and power and is fully-equipped to keep pace with the most active lifestyles, whether browsing, gaming or switching between multiple apps.

Global Availability

The new HTC Desire 816 will be available in China, running HTC Sense 5.5, from March and will be upgraded to the latest version of HTC Sense via an OTA update upon global retail availability in April. For more information visit www.htc.com.

About HTC

Founded in 1997, HTC Corporation (HTC) is the creator of many award-winning mobile devices and industry firsts. By putting people at the center of everything it does, HTC pushes the boundaries of design and technology to create innovative and personal experiences for consumers around the globe. HTC's portfolio includes smartphones and tablets powered by the HTC Sense® user experience. HTC is listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE: 2498). For more information, please visit www.htc.com.

For more information on HTC BlinkFeed's ever-growing content partner ecosystem, visit the HTC Blog at http://blog.htc.com/.

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3 years ago

HTC didn't say a new HTC One is coming on March 25, except they kind of did

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The best is getting better next month

HTC just threw a little shindig here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and while we didn't hear about the supposed M8, we kind of did. The event launched the new Desire 816 mid-range smartphone but excitement was directed elsewhere.

Both HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang and CEO Peter Chou are super excited for March 25 in NYC and London. After referring to the current HTC One as still the world's best smartphone, Wang told us that on that date the best will be getting better.

So if we had any doubts left over what to expect, doubt no longer. We'll be live from both events in just a months time to see what the excitement is about.

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3 years ago

HTC announces the Desire 610 for the European market

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Boomsound and a 'stunning' screen make the Desire 610 a powerful entertainment hub

HTC has taken the wraps off the mid-range Desire 610 today in Barcelona. The device is squarely aimed at buyers who value consuming multimedia content, and HTC says it will offer an "incredible mobile audio and visual experience." Phillip Blair, HTC EMEA President, puts it thusly:

Consumer choice should be about selecting the best-in-class features without having to compromise on quality. The HTC Desire 610 offers an outstanding combination of performance and entertainment at a price that makes it possible for everyone to enjoy an exceptional smartphone experience.

The Desire 610 features a 4.7-inch display, HTC's unique Boomsound experience, and advanced camera features. Both HSPA+ and LTE radios are on-board, and it's all powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM.

The Desire 610 will be available across Europe in May. The full press release is below.

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3 years ago

Put your idle CPU to work with HTC Power To Give program

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A billion Androids could provide PetaFLOPs of computing power

Here's a novel idea from HTC. They have started a program that will allow you to "donate" idle CPU time to research through distributed computing. 

For some of us, this idea isn't new, but for the rest here's a quick and dirty explanation. When you're not actively using your Android phone or tablet, you can process data for UC Berkley through the cloud. Different projects use this data for things like AIDS research, or the quest for clean drinking water in the third world, or even the search for extra-terrestrial life. You probably think your one, lone Android device isn't going to contribute much, but HTC says that with enough participation the processing power could be measured in PetaFLOPS. That's like an IBM supercomputer, and it will make a difference.

It will all be done through the HTC Power To Give app, which should be hitting Google Play shortly. 

The process happens while your Android is connected to Wifi and plugged in for a charge, so it shouldn't affect battery life or your data cap. While there will be some bugs at first (there are always bugs at first) this sounds like  great way to put that idle CPU time to good use.

Hit the break for the full press release.

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3 years ago

HTC-funded research shows that beautiful things make people happier

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Functional, but utilitarian designs said to increase gloominess and depression

Did you know that apparently, pretty things make us happier?

HTC has announced the resuts of a study that shows well-designed objects make people not only happier, but actually can reduce negative thoughts and feelings by as much as 29 percent. No, I'm not kidding.

HTC contracted the behavioural research agency Innovationbubble, who performed a scientific (their word, not mine) study of 2,177 participants from Australia, China, Germany, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The research shows some interesting details.

  • Well-designed objects that are both beautiful and functional trigger positive emotions like calmness and contentment, reducing negative feelings like anger and annoyance by almost a third (29%)
  • Purely functional objects that are not beautiful increased negative emotions like gloominess and depression by 23%
  • Poor functionality hinders creativity, making it 45% more difficult to be creative
  • Positive moods make us more outgoing and open to new ideas – which in turn make us more creative

Clearly, this is a subtle (OK, not-so-subtle) dig at the competition in the Android space. Maybe it's time to do a study of why people don't buy well-designed phones ...

The full press release is below. Try not to kill each other in the comments, OK?

HTC RESEARCH REVEALS GOOD DESIGN MAKES US HAPPY

Well-designed objects shown to reduce strong negative feelings like anger and annoyance

Barcelona, Spain, February 24, 2014 – Surrounding ourselves with well-designed everyday objects can have the same positive effect on our mood and wellbeing as looking at a work of art or as doing exercise. A new global piece of research commissioned by HTC, a world leader in smartphone design and innovation, reveals that people feel happier looking at and using beautiful objects that work well. The results also show that being in a calmer and more contented state of mind can help fuel our creativity.

Key findings

The scientific study assessed the physical (biometric) responses of 2,177 participants from seven markets, by monitoring heart rate and sweat on skin, in addition to conducting a series of online creativity tests. Looking at and interacting with everyday objects that were ‘beautiful’, ‘functional’ or ‘beautiful and functional’ in the home and in the workplace revealed that:

  • Well-designed objects that are both beautiful and functional trigger positive emotions like calmness and contentment, reducing negative feelings like anger and annoyance by almost a third (29%)
  • Purely functional objects that are not beautiful increased negative emotions like gloominess and depression by 23%
  • Poor functionality hinders creativity, making it 45% more difficult to be creative
  • Positive moods make us more outgoing and open to new ideas – which in turn make us more creative
  • There were no major differences amongst the seven countries taking part in the study

The emotional impact of beauty and functionality

Dr Simon Moore, Chartered Psychologist and Management Director of behavioural research agency Innovationbubble, explains: “Beauty induces stable long-term positive emotions and has a cathartic effect on negative emotions. Going for a walk in the countryside or on the beach can lift our mood. Looking at a brilliant photograph or a renowned painting can move us to tears. At the other end of the scale, high impact positive emotions – elation, excitement and delight – don’t last long. They can’t – they’re too exhausting to sustain and, as such, are not conducive to creativity.” Dr Moore also remarked that many of the study’s participants consciously surrounded their work-stations or certain areas in their homes with beautiful objects:

  • “Having beautiful products around my workstation mark my creative territory.” Lin (26) – Student, China
  • “Having beautiful things to look at soothes me when I’m stressed and inspires me when I need to create.”Mei-hui (22) – Nanny, Taiwan

Looking, admiring and touching well-designed objects act like an ‘emotional vitamin’ boosting our feelings of happiness and pleasure and buffering us against stress and tension. It’s no surprise then that design is a top global purchase driver for smartphones* since we carry them with us everywhere.

“At HTC, we’ve always known instinctively that good design is important. It’s not just about creating a gorgeous phone that looks and feels great – it is about understanding the impact that well designed everyday objects have on people’s emotions and behaviour. So we put it to the test, said Claude Zellweger, principal designer at HTC.

“And what that test revealed was an interesting fact: good design makes you happy. So when we craft an everyday object like the HTC One, that goes on to receive critical acclaim, we know that we have done something right, that we have designed a phone that consumers really want”.

Top tips to fuel happiness and creativity in all aspects of our busy and stressful lives by Dr Simon Moore:

  • Tip one: Have a good friend at work. Take time to get to know your co-workers – you important for occupational happiness as they can make you smile and make you more robust in dealing with stress.
  • Tip two: Brighten up your home. Psychological studies have shown the power of natural light on our wellbeing, happiness and creativity. If you have limited windows, you can make your home brighter by using lighter hues of paint color or install some natural light bulbs where you like to spend a lot of your time.
  • Tip three: Laugh more. Children laugh about 200 times per day; adults laugh an average of 15 times per day. Laughing releases stress busting hormones so find the funny side of things.
  • Tip four: Accept that only you see the world the way you do – everyone comes from their own planet. The more you compare with what ‘you would have done/said’ the less happy you will be in your relationships.
  • Tip five: Get active. Taking a walk or a ride on a bus can often give you some well needed respite and calm and can generate those ‘aha’ moments. Many inventors have had their best ideas doing something different.
  • Tip six: Surround yourself with well-designed objects. The study commissioned by HTC shows that good design of everyday objects can make you happy, which in turn fuels creativity. Feeling blue? Creative block? Bring out that teapot.

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3 years ago

Panasonic announces rugged 5-inch Toughpad phone

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At Mobile World Congress 2014, Panasonic announced a new handset due to launch this fall in Europe. The 5-inch phone follows in line with their line of Toughpad products, in that it's tough as nails with protection against drops, extreme temperatures, water, and dust. The voice version of the device will have noise cancellation built in, which will be helpful for the industrial situations the it's likely to be used in. A glove-friendly touchscreen, barcode reader, and mounts for fixing screws all paint a picture of a phone that's ready for business.

It's been awhile since Panasonic launched the first Toughbook, but it's good to see the idea's still being supported. There's a niche market for Android devices in rough-and-tumble environments, and we don't see too many solutions that come forward to address it. Even as a consumer device, I'm interested in having a phone that I wouldn't feel nervous about dropping without a case.

Source: Panasonic

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3 years ago

WhatsApp plans to add voice call services this spring

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Shortly after being acquired by Facebook for a mere $16 billion, popular messaging service WhatsApp has announced plans to add voice services in the second quarter of this year. WhatsApp's now larger-than-465-million-userbase will be able to not only send each other text and picture images, but actually be able to call each other. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum made the announcement at MWC, as reported by TechCrunch:

“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” [Koum] said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.

Google's own Hangouts service supports similar features, including a slow but steady integration of the older Google Voice phone service, as well as support video chat. Of course, there are a number of other services that support texts, images, voice calls, and video calls, including Skype, BBM, and Facebook Messenger — though WhatsApp's service has been consistently more lean and focused than the competing offerings from larger companies.

There's no word yet on if the $1/year subscription cost will remain the same once more data-intensive VoIP comes to WhatsApp in the next few months, but we imagine that if there's an increase it probably won't be too bad. What do you think — is WhatsApp voice the VoIP service you've been waiting for?

Source: TechCrunch

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3 years ago

The Wiko WAX brings NVIDIA's i500 LTE modem to Europe

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The 4.7-inch Wiko WAX is Europe's first Tegra 4i smartphone

NVIDIA showed off the Tegra Note 7 LTE just a few days ago, and now they have a smartphone using their new i500 LTE modem to show us all as well.

The new Wiko WAX is the latest smartphone from one of Europes fastest-growing smartphone makers, and it looks to be their entry into the high-performance smartphone market. The 4.7-inch WAX features a 720p display and 8MP rear camera, and when paired up with the new Tegra 4 should be quite a speedy little devil. Gaming performance should be off the chart, and tasks like video playback and surfing the web should fly on the T4 with the 720p screen.

We'll be having a closer look at the WAX, and see how it handles the things it should do well and get a full list of the specs. Look for it, and more, from Mobile World Congress.

The Wiko WAX will be available throughout Europe this April.

More: NVIDIA

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet first look

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A year on from its last tablet effort, Sony presents another compelling large form factor slate

Sony has so far resisted the move to smaller, cheaper tablets, instead focusing its efforts on 10.1-inch slates like the Xperia Tablet Z, and before that the Tablet S. Sony's offering tablet for 2013 was a solid 10.1-inch Android slate — a thin, light, waterproof device packing plenty of performance — but it never really saw mainstream success. This year the company presents a similar looking large form factor Android tablet, in the form of the Xperia Z2 Tablet. Same screen size, same resolution, only with upgraded internals, a refreshed design and an even slimmer chassis. It's an insanely thin Android 4.4 KitKat tablet with a multimedia focus and a boatload of bundled Sony content.

Check out our first look video and photos after the break.

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3 years ago

Sprint Spark and HD Voice comes to Salt Lake City and Jacksonville

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A lot of our attention is pointed towards Europe for Mobile World Congress, but domestically Sprint has announced HD Voice and Spark support in Salt Lake City and Jacksonville, Florida. Sprint's LTE is now covering 382 markets, while the 60 Mbps available through Spark is available in 16 cities right now.

Anybody in Salt Lake City or Jacksonville happy to get the service? Anyone not on Sprint, would these services get you to switch? Because boy howdy, could they use your business.

Source: Sprint

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3 years ago

HTC at Mobile World Congress liveblog!

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We're on the ground at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona and about ready to go live for HTC! We're expecting word on the M8, aka the next-generation HTC One and perhaps more. The event is underway now, so grab a drink, some snacks, and share your thoughts as the news unfolds!

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3 years ago

Security-conscious Blackphone now available for preorder

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After making a healthy splash following its announcement, the Blackphone is ready to preorder for $629 and will be shipping in June. The Blackphone runs a version of Android they're calling PrivatOS, which, as the name suggests, aims to provide users with the utmost security and privacy.

From a pure specs standpoint, the Blackphone packs a 4.7" HD IPS screen, 2 GHz quad-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB storage, an 8 megapixel camera with flash, and LTE/HSPA+ connectivity. We're all a bit more conscious of privacy after the Snowden leaks, though it's unrealistic to expect the Blackphone will suddenly make you impervious to NSA monitoring. We're going to hunt one of these handsets down at Mobile World Congress and get a look for ourselves.

Anyone interested in getting a Blackphone can get preordering over here, or you can check out their promo video for a full run-down. Any takers?

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3 years ago

Head-to-Head: The LG G2 Mini versus the LG G2

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The little G2 might look like its big brother, but the beauty is skin deep

LG pulled the wraps off the new G2 Mini here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. We've already gone hands on, but since we've got a regular G2 in our pockets we've put the two side-by-side to see how they stack up.

But, while the two look pretty much alike, the similarities end with the appearance. The G2 Mini has been trimmed down internally and given a much lower resolution screen. There's a couple of versions out there, but check out the video after the break to see the European G2 Mini and the European G2 in a quick side-by-side comparison.

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3 years ago

Next-generation YotaPhone ups resolution on secondary e-ink display

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We got up close and personal with the original YotaPhone at last year's Mobile World Congress, and this year they're refining the dual-screen formula with an improved e-ink display.

Users can lean on the 4.7-inch always-on touch-enabled e-ink rear display for variety of tasks, including answering calls, checking e-mail, and shooting out a tweet, and earn about 50 hours of usage time total. They've also tossed in a built-in light so the e-ink display is still useful in darker situations. The primary display is a 5-inch AMOLED screen, wireless charging is included, and the whole thing is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm 800 processor.

This whole party in the front, business in the back reverse-mullet thing is kind of interesting, especially if it can deliver the promised battery savings. It certainly would take awhile to get used to using a phone with two big screens like this, but the idea of not having to wake up your phone for at-a-glance information is certainly appealing. Expect to see the new YotaPhone in EMEA and Russia in Q4 2014, and another version in America and Asia three or four months later.

Source: YotaPhone

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