3 years ago

HTC at Mobile World Congress liveblog!


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


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


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


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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3 years ago

Quick look: The Samsung Galaxy S4 Black Edition


It actually looks pretty hot

Samsung recently announced the Galaxy S4 Black Edition for selected markets, and we've stumbled across one here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. And you know what? It actually looks pretty darn hot! There's a lot to be said for a color change and a faux leather back.

Essentially that's what's different about it to any other Galaxy S4. Besides looking pretty fantastic, it makes a big difference to how it feels in the hand. We've never really been enamoured with the regular, glossy plastic back on the S4, but with the Note 3 style leather effect – and stitching – it feels so much better to hold.

Oh, and one more thing. The Black Edition on show here at MWC has Android 4.4.2 KitKat on board – as some folks in some places might be seeing already – and Touchwiz looks like Touchwiz. With time to really dig around there's bound to be new stuff, but to the casual eye it's business as usual.

Head on past the break for a few extra shots of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Black Edition. If only it had launched sooner. Much sooner.

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3 years ago

Head-to-head: Sony Xperia Z2 versus Xperia Z1 specs



How does Sony's new Android flagship compare to last year's model?

The Sony Xperia Z2 is official today, bringing both software and hardware upgrades to Sony's flagship "Z" series. Today's launch — along with the Xperia Z2 Tablet and Xperia M2 — comes some six months after the arrival of the Xperia Z1, the company's current high-end Android offering. So how does this new Xperia compare to its predecessor? We've got a quick breakdown of some of the main specs after the break.

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on


Iterative improvements across the board add up to a sleeker, more capable Xperia phone

Sony likes to release two flagship phones each year. We've bemoaned the fact before, but the Japanese electronics giant continues to persue an aggressive timetable of half-yearly replacements for its high-end "Z" series. Back in September at IFA, we met the Xperia Z1; just six months later we're getting our first look at the Xperia Z2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. At first glance it's tough to tell the Z2 apart from the Z1 — they're both more or less the same size and shape — big, blocky phones, and products of Sony's "Omnibalance" design language. If you weren't a fan of Sony's Z series phones before, there's little here to change your mind. But even if it doesn't lend itself particularly well to good ergonomics, it's a solid look, and one Sony's sticking to.

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3 years ago

First look at the Android Central App on the Nokia X!


Nokia says 75 percent of all Android apps should be able to run just fine on the new Nokia X line. So we put that to the test here at Mobile World Congress by (what else?) installing the Android Central App.

Android on Nokia. Gotta love it.

So how'd it go?

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3 years ago

ZTE makes Grand Memo II LTE official: 6-inch IPS display, Android 4.4 KitKat


Huge display shows off the new-look MiFavor UI

Following precisely one year after the launch of the original Grand Memo, ZTE has made the Grand Memo II LTE official here at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. Although ZTE confirmed its existence and naming prior to the show, we now have all of the details on its new huge handset. The Grand Memo II LTE is sporting a 6-inch IPS HD (we're thinking 720 x 1280) display, 13MP and 5MP cameras, Snapdragon 400 processor (initially there was confusion it was an 800), 2GB of RAM and 3200mAh battery paired with proprietary power saving software.

The hardware comes in at a staggeringly-thin 7.2mm chassis that's angular and mostly made up of screen on the front. The back shows off a subtle carbon fiber pattern in either black or white. The screen takes up a full 80 percent of the front face of the device. That screen has Gorilla Glass 3, naturally, and offers a 178-degree viewing angle and is hyper-sensitive so that it can be used with gloves if you need.

On the software front ZTE has redesigned the interface, which it calls MiFavor 2.3, to give the experience a new look and make it easier to navigate. The interface has deep integration with ZTE's pre-loaded apps, includes a new camera app that offers several shooting modes and has the latest "split screen" functionality that lets you run two apps at once.

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3 years ago

Hands-on with the Android-powered Nokia XL


Nokia this morning at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, announced three Android-powered smartphones — the Nokia X, X+ and XL. 

Make no mistake, folks — while these phones are based on the Android Open Source Project, the look, feel and purpose serve Nokia and Microsoft. This is in no way your typical Android device.

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3 years ago

Intel officially introduces 64-bit processors for Android devices


Dual-core and quad-core 64-bit devices coming in 2014

We're here at Mobile World Congress with Intel where the chip maker has officially announced its new 64-bit processors suitable for Android devices. The two different chips – named Merrifield and Moorefield – will be landing in 2014. Merrifield will be here in the first half, Moorefield will follow in the second half.

Both are 64-bit, with the Merrifield being dual-core and the Moorefield a quad-core. Both support LTE, and both were shown off on stage at the press event in reference devices by Hermann Eul, VP of Mobile and Communications at Intel. Both come with a set of pretty bold, yet not completely unrealistic claims based on previous Intel efforts in mobile.

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3 years ago

Nokia XL goes large with a 5-inch Android phone


Nokia wasn't content with announcing just two Android-powered phones today at Mobile World Congress — CEO Stephen Elop rolled out the oversized Nokia XL as well!

Nokia XL is sporting a 5-inch IPS display. It'll be available early Q2 for 109 Euros in "growth markets."

Nokia's Windows Phone-powered Lumia line is still its flagship product, Elop said here in Barcelona. "The X family serves the fast-growing, affordable smartphone segment," Elop said. It'll continue to be priced beneath its Lumia line.

Again, Nokia XL is running an AOSP build of Android (Elop didn't say what version it's based off), but it's all about getting folks into Microsoft's cloud.

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3 years ago

Nokia X and X+ are official: Built on AOSP and running Nokia services


'Nokia X takes people to Microsoft's cloud, not Google's.'

Today at its press conference in Barcelona for MWC 2014, Stephen Elop of Nokia introduced the Nokia X and X+, two new low-end devices running Android. Both phones have a 4-inch display and iconic Nokia design, with the Nokia X+ having better internal specs and an SDcard slot.

The devices are built on AOSP, but do not use any of Google's services. As Elop said at the press conference, "Nokia X takes people to Microsoft's cloud, not Google's." It leverages Nokia's HERE Maps, Outlook.com, Microsoft OneDrive and Skype among other apps to fill in the gaps left by removing Google's cloud services.

Of course because it runs Android, Nokia is making it simple for Android developers to move over their apps to the Nokia store for download on the Nokia X and X+. The process is said to be very simple, according to Elop, and if users want to take things into their own hands the phones will also support sideloading of apps from the internal storage or SDcard.

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3 years ago

Sony announces Xperia Z2, Z2 Tablet and mid-range M2 at MWC 2014


Updated specs and a few interesting features highlight quick refreshes of three devices

Sony, as it often does, is iterating quickly on its leading devices with the release of the Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet and Xperia M2. These three devices take the same basic design from their previous-generation counterparts and upgrade a few of the key specs to keep things fresh in 2014 — and while the result isn't revolutionary, all of the upgrades move these devices in the right direction.

The Xperia Z2 is a solid improvement over its predecessor, kicking things up a notch in multiple areas. The first big change is power — the Z2 is using the brand new Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.3GHz, paired with 3GB of RAM and a slightly larger 3200mAh battery powering it all. That's all fitting underneath a larger 5.2-inch display, up from 5-inches, with the same 1080 x 1920 resolution and Triluminos display technology but also adding a new "Live Color LED" technology. The Z2 sticks with the same strong 20.7MP camera, but moves up to offering both 4K video and 120fps video for slow motion — paired with five new photo and video modes in the new camera app.

On the tablet front, the new Xperia Z2 Tablet replaces the old Tablet Z, moving in the same direction with updated specs and similar design. The Z2 Tablet also jumps to a Snapdragon 801 — a larger jump considering it previously had a Snapdragon S4 Pro — and 3GB of RAM. The refresh shaves down the thickness to just 6.4mm from 6.9mm and the weight to 426g (439g for LTE) from 495g. It also adds digital noise cancelation when paired with the right headset, as well as support for a range of new accessories including a keyboard cover.

For the lower end of the spectrum, the Xperia M2 follows up after the Xperia M that was released back in September. While it still isn't a barn burner, the Xperia M2 bumps up to a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, a 4.8-inch 540 x 960 (qHD) display, 8MP Exmor RS camera (supporting HDR) and a 2300mAh battery. The original went on sale for $249 unlocked so it'll be interesting to see if the price jumps at all with these more modern specs.

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3 years ago

Live from Nokia at Mobile World Congress!


Nokia is set to potentially unveil its first Android device, and we're here to see it live

It may be the small hours in the U.S., but we're up and at 'em in Barcelona, Spain, for Nokia's Mobile World Congress press event, and it's livebloggin' time!

We're expecting to get a look at Nokia's first Android device —  the Nokia X, aka "Normandy." That X stuff may be a code name, or it may not. We'll see. And we also need to set our expectations here — we're not likely to see a mainstream Android device here. Instead, expect something low-cost for emerging markets, devoid of Google Play and the customary Google services.

Still, seeing the likes of Nokia make at least one Android device is a cause for excitement. So join us for the liveblog Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. CET — that's 2:30 a.m. in New York, 11:30 p.m. Sunday evening on the West Cost of the U.S.

This is gonna be fun.

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