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Feb 28, 2012

MWC 2012: Motorola MOTOLUXE Hands-on




Motorola announced all its new products at the International Consumer Electronics Show, last month. 

Given the fact that the company's main market is North America, Motorola didn't bring anything new at this year's Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain.

However, we had the chance to try out some of the low to mid-range smartphones that the company is trying to sell in Europe and South America. 

Motorola MOTOLUXE is one of the mid-range handsets that will soon be available in more European countries.

The smartphone sports a surprisingly large 4.0-inch capacitive touchscreen display, along with an impressive 8-megapixel rear camera. 

Motorola MOTOLUXE is powered by Android 2.3.7 Gingerbread and is only 9.9mm thick. 

Check it out in the photo gallery below (licorice styling).









MWC 2012: Acer CloudMobile Hands-on




Acer does not have a booth of its own at Mobile World Congress 2012. Instead the company preferred to rent some meeting rooms.

Silently launched a while ago, Acer CloudMobile was pretty elusive at the MWC. Luckily, we've been able to find the phone tucked in a corner within Google's booth. The phone is showcased along with its less-featured brother Acer Liquid Glow.

There isn't much to say about the phone's look as the device received the IF Design award last year. 

Suffice to say, the phone feels great in hand and features a stunning 4.3-inch HD IPS screen that takes your breath away.

Hopefully, Acer will make this one available in as many contries as possible for a competitive price. 

Check out the gallery below for more pictures.










MWC 2012: Nokia Asha 302 and 203 Hands-On




At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia unveiled new handsets in the Asha series, set to deliver great capabilities and performance to users in more markets than before. 

The company also had the new devices on display in its booth at the event, and we had the chance to take a better look at the Nokia Asha 302 and 203. Hands-on images are available at the bottom of the article. 

The Asha 302 will hit shelves with a 2.4-inch screen and with a large QWEDRTY keyboard, a common feature on Nokia’s business devices in the E-series. 

Of course, this is a Series 40 device and its capabilities are not as high as many might have wanted it to. However, the 240 x 320 pixels screen is complemented by a 1GHz application processor, which makes the phone a great option at its €95 (£80/$125) price tag. 

The handset packs 128MB of RAM, along with 256MB of flash memory, and a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. 

On the back, the new device features a 3.2 megapixel photo snapper with video recording in QCIF (up to 30fps). 

It measures 115.2 x 58.9 x 13.5mm, weighs 106 grams and packs a BL-5J battery that can deliver up to 9 hours of talk time or up to 707 hours of standby time. 

As for the Asha 203, we should note that Nokia packed it with a 2.4-inch QVGA touchscreen display and with a 2-megapixel photo snapper on the back. It comes with a microSD memory card slot as well, with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space, and with dedicated SIM manager. 

The feature phone measures 114.8 x 49.8 x 13.9 mm and weighs 90 g with battery (BL-5C). It will be released on shelves in Silver White, Dark Red, and Dark Grey, with a price tag of EUR 60 - $80 attached to it. 

The most appealing feature of this device is the inclusion of 40 free EA games for people to install and enjoy on their handsets in the first two months of use.

























MWC 2012: LG 3.0 by Prada Hands-on




The third phone manufactured by LG and Prada has been recently launched on the market in the UK. Given the fact that the smartphone was officially announced last month we had to check out the device showcased at LG's booth during Mobile World Congress 2012.

Alas, this was one phone hard to find. However, this is not the only smartphone that made headlines in the past 3-4 weeks and has yet to be showcased at MWC. Fortunately, we learned that if you cannot find a certain Android device at the manufacturer's booth you have more chances of finding it in the Google area.

This is exactly what happened this year when we were approached by someone from Google's booth who wanted to show us the new LG Optimus 4X HD. After the short demo he pulled the LG 3.0 by Prada out of his pocket as a bonus.

At first glance the phone strongly resemblance the big LG Optimus Vu, save for the size of course. The back cover of the Prada phone features a textured pattern that is more complex than Vu's or the entire L Style series.

Now about size, LG 3.0 by Prada is well balanced. It's pretty lightweight and feels exceptional in hand, mostly because of the premium material on the back. The only minor flaws in design that I could find are the lock/unlock screen and camera buttons.

Both have been placed on top side of the phone and are a bit too small and a bit hard to push. Other than that the design is pretty minimalist with as little external buttons as possible. 

The interface of the phone is designed in black&white to look more serious and stylish, but it can be changed as the phone comes with several pre-defined themes. The UI is snappy and cleanly designed. There's also a nice feature that will also be included in Optimus Black and other older Optimus models after they get the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

This feature allows users to expand the multiple menus inside the main one with  single gesture, as well as place shortcuts on the home screen by drag&drop anything within these menus.

Overall, the LG 3.0 by Prada is one of the few devices showcased at this year's MWC  that looks both serious and stylish at the same time.








Google Confirms Android 5.0, Might Launch It in Fall




The next major Android release might become available in late 2012, Mountain View-based Internet giant Google confirmed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Nothing was specifically announced on the matter, but things that we were already expecting have been confirmed. 

Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google, told Computerworld that the company was indeed planning to make the next flavor of Android available in 2012, but did not offer a specific release date for it. 

“After Android 4 comes 5, and we haven't announced the timing yet, which we're still sorting out,” Lockheimer reportedly said. “There's a lot of engineering work behind it still, and there's also just the question of how to time it.”

He also noted that Google was working on bringing a new Android release each year, and that small updates would be delivered before that. 

If so, it means that Android 5.0 might not be released until fall, but that we will see updates such as Android 4.1 made available before that. 

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was launched in November, which points at a similar launch timeframe for the next Android release, but changes might occur, it seems. 

One thing that appears to be certain, however, is the fact that the next Android release will be called Jelly Bean. 

In fact, Google appears to be already teasing the next version of Android in its booth at MWC 2012. The photo attached to the left, courtesy of The Verge, confirms that. 

Recently, Google was rumored to plan the release of Android 5.0 in the second quarter of the year, with optimizations for tablet PCs. A similar rumor emerged in December, claiming that the OS would be dubbed Android 4.1. 

Google has yet to make any plans on the upcoming OS flavor official, but it might not be too long before that happens. Keep an eye on this space for more on the matter.




Sony Launches Four New Cyber-Shot DSC Cameras




There are a bunch of new digital cameras in town, ones that place as much focus on size and toughness as they do on performance and image quality.

The new cameras that have made their official entrances are called Cyber-Shot DSC-WX150, DSC-TX66, DSC-TX20 and DSC-W690 and have prices of $180 / 133.77 Euro to $350 / 260 Euro.

The first two use 18.2 MP “Exmor R” CMOS sensors, while the other pair relies on the a 16.1 MP sensor (P “Exmor R” CMOS on the DSC-TX20 and 16.1 MP CCD on the DSC-W690).

We aren't going to dwell on all their individual specs, since Sony has already listed them in its official announcement.

What we will look at is the cameras' ability to take high-resolution pictures, some even while underwater.

Sony also wrote that the newcomers can take clear pictures both during the day and during the night, though it did not go into details as to how much would be visible from an underwater shot at twilight or under the new moon.

Moving on, the The DSC-WX150 and DSC-W690 models are described as the world's thinnest 10x optical zoom cameras (measured at the slimmest part and excluding the lens).

The “Advanced Aspherical” lens element is the major factor behind this slimness, since it makes the lens unit smaller than on rival products.

On that note, the TX66 stands out through its ultra-slim, front-sliding design and measures about 12.2 mm (excluding lens cover).

Furthermore, the TX20 is the most “rugged” of the lot, waterproof (up to 5m or 16ft), dustproof, shockproof (up to 1.5m or 5 ft) and freezeproof (up to 14oF).

The list of assets exhibited by one or more of the newcomers goes on with fast Auto Focus, image stabilization, multi-shot capabilities (including 10 fps burst mode), “Background Defocus” mode, 3D still image shooting,“Dual Record” functionality (captures high-resolution still images while shooting video) and “Clear Image Zoom” digital zoom technology (boosts optical zoom to 2x virtual capability -i.e. 5x optical zoom to 10x virtual zoom- at full camera resolution).


MWC 2012: Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G and Galaxy S Advance Hands-On




T-Mobile USA users will soon get the chance to grab the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G smartphone on the airwaves of their wireless carrier and to take advantage of its capabilities. 

Before that, however, they can have a look at the handset in the live photos that we managed to shoot at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we found it next to Samsung’s Galaxy S Advance.

The handset was launched with a Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon Dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion application processor inside, with Adreno 220 graphics and 1 GB of RAM. 

It also includes a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display capable of delivering a 480 x 800 pixels resolution, as well as 16GB of internal memory, and a microSD memory card slot capable of supporting up to 32GB of additional storage space. 

The phone’s specs list also includes HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Mobile Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth, microUSB v2.0 and built-in GPS receiver. 

On the back, the new mobile phone was packed with a 5-megapixel photo snapper, with auto focus and support for 720p HD video recording. It also features a 1.3MP camera on the front, great for making video calls. 

The new device will also hit shelves with Stereo FM radio with RDS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor and compass, while running under Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. 

The Galaxy S Advance will run under the same platform, though it will include a slower dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9 application processor. 

This smartphone will arrive on the market with a similar screen as Blaze 4G, as well as with the same pair of cameras. However, it will include only HSDPA, 14.4 Mbps connectivity capabilities, and 768 MB RAM (along with a 2 GB ROM and 16 GB of internal storage). 

Both smartphones will include support for various applications and services designed specifically for the Android platform.
















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