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Sep 30, 2013

Gionee Elife E6 with Quad-Core CPU and 5-Inch Full HD Display Coming Soon to India

Chinese company Gionee is about to launch a new high-end Android smartphone in India, the Elife E6. The handset will be officially unveiled on October 3 during a press event in New Delhi, but will go on sale several days later.

According to AndroidOS, Gionee Elife E6 will be available for purchase several days after the official launch for around Rs 22,000 outright, which is about $350 or €260. The Elife E6 is already listed at some major retailers in India, including Snapdeal, but they claim that the smartphone will start shipping in about ten days. Hardware-wise, Gionee’s high-end smartphone looks pretty buffed, so the only way to make it stand out from other devices with a similar specs sheet would be pricing. For the time being, the price listed by Snapdeal has yet to be confirmed by Gionee, but we can safely assume that it will be in the same range.

Hardware-wise, Gionee Elife E6 should come equipped with a powerful 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. No word if the smartphone packs a Qualcomm chipset or a much cheaper MediaTek CPU, but we will know more later on this week. Furthermore, the smartphone is expected to boast an impressive 5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports full HD (1080p) resolution. In addition, it should offer users an enhanced 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is capable of capturing 720p videos and is perfect for video calls and self-portraits. The Elife E6 seems to have the same cameras as the recently launched Lenovo Vibe X and Vibe Z, which will arrive in India next month.

Last but not least, Gionee Elife E6 will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and no less than 32GB of internal memory.

Gionee Elife E6
Image credits to AndroidOS

Nexus 5 to Sport Nano-SIM, Android 4.4 to Impose It on All Handsets

Nexus 5, the yet unannounced smartphone in the popular series of Google phones out there, might arrive on shelves with a nano SIM card inside, the latest reports on the matter suggest.

In fact, rumor has it that the smartphone could be only the first Android 4.4 KitKat device out there to sport the smallest SIM card. Apparently, one of the requirements for having the upcoming operating system version installed on a mobile phone would be to pack it with a nano-SIM card, PhoneArena notes.

The news site claims that Nexus 5 has been confirmed to arrive with a nano-SIM inside at Ukrainian wireless carrier Life :), the same as iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and Android 4.4 smartphones will. It still remains to be seen whether the aforementioned info was posted on the operator’s website by mistake or not, so stay tuned to learn more on the matter.

Nexus 5 expected to feature a nano-SIM card slot
Image credits to milannoartworks.deviantart via AndroidAndMe

BlackBerry: 100% Committed to BBM for Android and iOS but No Release Date Yet

Today, Canadian mobile phone maker BlackBerry reaffirmed its commitment to the release of BBM for Android and iOS devices, though it still hasn’t provided a specific launch date for it.

In a recent post on Twitter, the company said that its BlackBerry Messenger was still coming to said platforms, and that more info on when it will land would be offered to those who sign up at BBM.com for it. “Still 100% committed to bringing #BBM to Android and iPhone. Sign up at http://www.BBM.com to know when #BBM4All,” the company said

BBM was set to arrive on Android on September 21, while being planned for iOS devices for September 22. However, due to the fact that it leaked on Android hours before the official launch, BlackBerry’s servers got cluttered with requests, and the company decided to pull the plug on the release. Hopefully, it will manage to make the service available for both Android and iOS this week, so that enthusiasts won’t have to wait longer for it to arrive.

BBM still coming to Android and iOS, BlackBerry says
Image credits to tech2.in.com

Sep 29, 2013

Nexus 5 Running Android 4.4 KitKat Spotted

Google has already announced the next major Android upgrade is called KitKat, but details on the new platform's features have yet to be unveiled.

According to the latest hearsay, Google is likely to release Android 4.4 KitKat sometime next month, along with the next smarpthone in the Nexus series. Blog site Myce has just spotted a log file of what appears to be Android Key Lime Pie (also known Android 4.4 KitKat) running on the Nexus 5. The log file is about 10MB in size and includes more than 133,000 lines that show some of the features packed in the software.

From the screenshots published we can see the Nexus 5 will come with Google Babel (Hangouts) and Google Authenticator. Lots of other stuff has been revealed like a complete list with all Nexus 5 sensors (Magnetometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Game Rotation Vector, Motion detector, Step detector). Moreover, evidence of Wireless charging has been found as well, along with camera sensors settings and references to a Sprint hidden menu. Check out the gallery below and Myce's blog site for more details. Here are image screenshot gallery below, click for larger images.

Android 4.4 KitKat screenshot
Image credits to Myce.com

Meizu MX3 Now Available in China

Starting today, mobile phone users in China can purchase Meizu MX3, the latest flagship smartphone from the Chinese mobile phone maker.

The handset becomes available through Meizu’s own online portal, as well as through various popular E-commerce sites and at official dealers around the country, GizChina reports. The smartphone was announced in early September in four flavors, though only the WCDMA model arrives on shelves today. 

 The device features a price tag of 2499 Yuan for the 16GB version, 2699 Yuan for the 32GB variant, and 3099 Yuan for the 64GB model. 

 For those out of the loop, we should note that the smartphone packs a 5.1-inch full HD touchscreen display, as well as a Samsung Exynos 5410 octa-core processor. It also sports 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera on the back, and Flyme OS 3.0 (based on Android 4.2.1).

Meizu MX3
Image credits to Meizu

AMD FX-9370 and FX-9590 8-Core 5 GHz CPUs Now Selling

We've waited a long time for this, but patience is finally being rewarded: Advanced Micro Devices has finally put the top-of-the-range FX-9370 and FX-9590 4.7/5 GHz CPUs up for sale.

Not that they were out of reach before, mind you, but their availability was rather restricted, to pre-configured desktops. That meant that only those willing to pay for an already configured, high-end gaming personal computer could get it, from the likes of Origin PC, iBuyPower, Maingear, etc. It was actually one of the main, and only, quibbles that people had with the formal launch of the new CPUs. Fortunately, the Sunnyvale, California-based company is now selling the two, though not for a pittance, not at all. The AMD AMD FX-9370 bears a price of $249 / €249 and the FX-9590 carries a tag of $399 / €399. They should be found on North America-based online stores like Amazon, Newegg, NCIX and TigerDirect.

AMD FX-9000-series code-named “Centurion” are the best CPUs from Advanced Micro Devices, with 8 cores each. The FX-9590 is the best, with a base clock frequency of 4.7 GHz, a Turbo Core setting of 5 GHz, 16 MB cache memory, and TDP (thermal design power) of 220W. The FX-9370 has a base frequency of 4.4 GHz and a top performance of 4.7 GHz, but the otherwise same technical traits. Online stores also offer retail bundles. See, the FX CPUs aren't compatible with all AM3+ motherboards and coolers, given their high TDP, so getting a motherboard+CPU+cooler +(optional) memory makes sense.

One example of a retail bundle involves AMD FX-9590 processor, Asus Sabertooth 990FX mainboard, G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB DDR3 (2 x 4GB) memory and Corsair Hydro H60 cooler, all for $590 / €590. AMD did not comment on the new story, but it didn't really need to, when the online stores we have mentioned left no room for doubt.

AMD FX-9000 CPUs now in retail
Image credits to AMD

Sailfish UI Short Walkthrough

Finnish company Jolla opened up pre-order for its first Sailfish-based smartphone a few weeks ago, but did not mention when exactly the device will hit shelves.

Those who wish to pre-order the smartphone can do so via Jolla's website for €100 ($135) upfront, but they will have to pay the rest of the amount when the handset is shipped. Shortly after opening pre-sales of its first mobile phone, Marc Dillon, one of the company's founders came up with a very brief Sailfish UI demo.

However, Finnish blog site Esphoneblog recently found another short demo of Sailfish UI and this time we can see a bit more of the gestures used to handle a smartphone powered by the new operating system. Jolla's Sailfish smarpthone is expected to arrive by the end of the year and from the official announcement we already know it will come with a 4.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display, 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor and 1GB of RAM.

Video credits to Jolla

Sep 26, 2013

Intex Aqua HD and Aqua i4 Officially Introduced in India

Intex has just announced the upcoming availability of Aqua HD and Aqua i4 Android smartphones in India. Both will be available for decent prices in the coming days.

According to AndroidOS, the best-featured of the two is the Intex Aqua HD, which will be available on the market for Rs 15,900 outright ($255 / €190). The second smartphone introduced by Intex, the Aqua i4 has been confirmed to hit shelves soon for only Rs 9,490 off contract, which is about $150 or €110. Hardware-wise, Intex Aqua HD is better equipped than the Aqua i4, as we have already pointed out earlier. It comes packed with a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4 GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 32GB via microSD memory card. In addition, the smartphone boasts a large 4.7-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720p) resolution. It also sports an impressive 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, as well as a secondary 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

The budget-friendly Intex Aqua i4 features a slightly larger 5-inch FWVGA capacitive touchscreen display, but packs a less powerful 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. There’s no word on the amount of RAM and storage, but Intex states that the Aqua i4 will come with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, as well as a secondary 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. The Aqua i4 is powered by a high-capacity 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery, which has yet to be rated by the manufacturer, and packs microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). Last but not least, both Intex smartphones coming soon to India will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and dual-SIM support. “With festive season around the corner, we are planning to sell 3 lakh smartphones in the month of October, 2013.” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, business head, mobile, Intex Technologies.

Intex Aqua HD
Image credits to AndroidOS

Intex Aqua i4
Image credits to AndroidOS

Verizon’s BlackBerry Z30 New Leaked Photo Emerges Online

Mobile phone carrier Verizon Wireless has already confirmed plans to add the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone to its offering, and a leaked image with the device is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Said photo, available via BerryReview and embedded above, shows the mobile phone with the Verizon logo placed at the top of its screen. It matches the official press photo that Verizon published last week. No other details on the handset are available as of now, but the fact that this image made it online suggests that Verizon might have already started testing the device.

According to CrackBerry, we could expect for Big Red to announce some more info on its plans for the launch of this smartphone within a few weeks, despite of the lack of details. Stay tuned for more on the matter.

Verizon's BlackBerry Z30
Image credits to BerryReview

Verizon's BlackBerry Z30
Image credits to @Verizon on Twitter

TCL N3 Emerges with 6-Inch Screen and 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU

Soon, mobile phone users in China will be able to purchase a new smartphone from local phone maker TCL, namely the TCL N3.

The smartphone has been spotted online a few times before, yet now it popped up on the web in a teaser image coming from its maker itself, which makes it as good as officially unveiled. The handset will land on the market with a large 6-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a full HD resolution, while also featuring a very small bezel around it. This is visible in the photo attached to this article, available courtesy of mydrivers. The smartphone is said to pack a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor inside (none other than the MediaTek MT6589T CPU), along with 2GB of RAM.

Furthermore, a recent post on UnwiredView notes that TCL N3 features a 13-megapixel camera on the back, most probably capable of offering support for full HD video recording. There is also a 5MP front camera included in the package, enabling users to make video calls in high-definition. The specs list of the new device is also said to include a 3400mAh battery, as well as the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system loaded on top. The usual set of connectivity options should also be included in the package. As it usually happens, this TCL smartphone is expected to arrive on shelves internationally under the Alcatel brand, yet no official info on the matter has been provided as of now.

However, the specs list that this smartphone is said to arrive on the market will match those of Alcatel One Touch Hero, which was announced not long ago. Featuring a 6-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display, the smartphone was unveiled with a small bezel as well, as can be seen in the hands-on photos we had the chance to snap at the IFA 2013 conference in Berlin. No specific info on when the TCL N3 will arrive on the market has been provided as of now, or on the price tag that it might feature when released, so stay tuned to learn more on this.

Image credits to mydrivers

Samsung Confirms about SIM Card Lock on European Galaxy Note 3 and Other Handsets

Today, South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has confirmed that some of its smartphones sold in Europe come with a local SIM card lock.

The info emerged yesterday, and an official word on the matter is now available from the handset vendor, with additional info on what all that involves. According to the company, some of its current devices sold in the European Union with SIM cards from carriers in Europe work as usual. Furthermore, the company explains that users can continue using these devices outside the European Union with the SIM card of their carrier via roaming service to appropriate roaming charges to their wireless service provider. What’s more interesting is that Samsung suggests that the device could be unlocked to be used with any other carrier worldwide if a SIM card was not placed inside it, as SamMobile reports.

“If purchased in the European Union and not yet been put into use to be activated for the first time abroad, users can unlock their device for the region free from local Samsung service partners,” the company notes. Samsung has also unveiled that the regional SIM card lock has been applied to models that have been produced starting with the end of July 2013, and that they will be marked with corresponding stickers. The list of affected devices includes Samsung GALAXY S III, Galaxy S II, GALAXY Note, GALAXY S4, GALAXY S4 mini and the GALAXY Note 3.

Additionally, the company explains that this is a functionality of devices sold with SIM cards from mobile carriers in specific countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and non-EU markets. The list of EEA countries includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, and Croatia. At the same time, the move was put in effect for devices in Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia, and Vatican City.

It’s yet unclear what the SIM card lock implies, but the general consensus here is that users in Europe who will purchase any of the aforementioned devices won’t be able to place inside them SIM cards from carriers operating in countries that are not mentioned above.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Image credits to Samsung

Nexus 5 Spotted in GFXBench Next to iPhone 5s and Xperia Z1

Google and LG have been long rumored to plan the release of the next device in the popular Nexus lineup, and some more info on the handset is now available.

Supposedly set to land on shelves as Nexus 5, the smartphone has been spotted in the GFXBench benchmarking website, where its performance capabilities were compared to those of iPhone 5s, Xperia Z1, and other devices. As it turns out, the Adreno 330 graphics processor that the smartphone is expected to pack inside can deliver great performance capabilities, at least this is what the results in the GFXBench T-Rex HD off-screen test show. This is a graphical-intensive test meant to show how well devices can perform when it comes to maximum workloads that games can put on them. The unannounced Nexus 5 scored as high as iPhone 5s, while leaving the Sony Xperia Z1, LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One behind, as the graphic published on PhoneArena shows.

Of course, the Nexus 5 GFXBench results haven’t been verified as of now, and it might take a while before they are, given that the device is not official just yet, so we should take this with a grain of salt. Even so, Nexus 5 was long said to be built based on the LG G2 flagship smartphone but to pack a series of improvements inside, and the above info might pan out in the end. Rumor has it that the new mobile phone will feature a Snapdragon 800 processor inside, paired with the aforementioned Adreno 330 GPU, and with at least 2GB of RAM. The smartphone is also said to arrive on shelves with the next version of the Android platform, namely 4.4 KitKat, which should deliver various performance improvements of its own as well.

What remains to be seen is whether Nexus 5 will manage to perform at the same level once it becomes official. Given that it might have been tested with a development build loaded on top, it could deliver even better test results.

Nexus 5 GFXBench test results compared to those of iPhone 5s, other devices
Image credits to PhoneArena

Sygic India Navigation App for Android Now Available for Free

Sygic, developer of navigation applications, has just announced it India: GPS Navigation app for Android devices is now available for free via Google Play Store.

According to AndroidOS, Sygic discounted the navigation application a few times before deciding to offer it for free. Sygic India: GPS Navigation is one of the most downloaded offline applications available on Google Play Store. As developers point out, this app works with the built-in GPS and does not require an Internet connection at all. It also features turn-by-turn voice navigation and drag & drop for simple route editing.

You can now download Sygic India: GPS Navigation for Android for free via Google Play Store. The application is fully compatible with all devices powered by Android 2.0.1 and up. Keep in mind that the graphics has been optimized for tablet display as well.

Sygic India: GPS Navigation for Android
Image credits to Sygic

ZTE Geek Arrives in China with Nvidia Tegra 4 Inside

A new Nvidia Tegra 4-based smartphone is now available for purchase in China, namely the ZTE Geek, which features a price tag of only 1,888 Yuan ($308 / €229).

The mobile phone comes with appealing hardware specifications, starting with the 1.8GHz Tegra 4 chipset inside it and going all the way to the 5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel touchscreen display. Furthermore, the device was launched with 2GB of RAM packed inside, as well as with 16GB of internal memory, as GizChina reports.

ZTE Geek features a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back and a 2MP front camera. It also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS receiver, Glonass, and a 2300mAh battery. The handset was launched in China with support for the TD-SCDMA 3G network of China Mobile. It runs under Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system at the moment.

ZTE Geek
Image credits to GizChina

Sep 25, 2013

Oppo N1 Pre-Orders Kick Off Today in China

Starting today, users in China can pre-order the new Oppo N1 smartphone with a special 99 Yuan ($16 / €12) booking price attached to it.

The price tag for the new mobile phone has been set at 3,498 Yuan ($571 / €423). Users interested in being among the first to grab the device will have to pre-order it by October 10, GizChina reports. The Oppo N1 was announced earlier this week with a 5.9-inch full HD touchscreen display and with a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor packed inside.

The handset also sports 2GB of RAM, 16GB / 32GB of internal memory, and Oppo’s Color OS (based on Android 4.2) loaded on top. A CyanogenMod-powered version of the device will also be available. The most appealing feature of the new smartphone is its 13-megapixel camera, which can rotate 206 degrees.

Oppo N1
Image credits to Oppo

Radeon R9 280X First Sight, Really a Rebranded HD 7970 GHz Edition

It might sound sad, but other than the Radeon R9 290X graphics card, Advanced Micro Devices hasn't actually made anything new for the RX collection.

Verily, we've already seen that, barring the new and interesting cooler shroud, the AMD Radeon R7-260X is just a relabeled Radeon HD 7790, albeit possibly featuring a better "Curacao" or "Bonaire XTX" chip. Now, we find out something similar about the Radeon R9 280X, that it is a rebranded Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. Possibly with a better GPU clock.

Rather disappointing, but it fits AMD's decision to move away from the age-old Radeon HD formula. That said, Hawaii Pro and Hawaii XT GPUs will appear in October, so some better R9-series boards could make their debut then. Only non-reference designs will be available, as opposed to the 290X, which will be tightly controlled by Advanced Micro Devices.

AMD Radeon R9 280, just a rebranded HD 7970 GHz Edition
Image credits to AMD

Samsung Releases Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) First Official Firmware

It hasn’t been long since Samsung posted its Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) Edition kernel sources. Now the Korean tech giant is making the official firmware available on the KIES servers.

SamMobile claims firmware for the Wi-Fi only (SM-P600) and the Wi-Fi+3G (SM-P601) variants are included in the roll-out. Samsung seems eager enough to provide such information ahead of the official launch, and that’s a good thing.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 will offer users a pretty amazing Super Clear LCD screen featuring an impressive 2560 x 1600 resolution. The Wi-Fi+3G model comes packing an Exynos 520 Octa-Core CPU, while the LTE version benefits from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz plus an Adreno 330 GPU. Both models support 3GB of RAM. Underneath it all, Samsung has slipped a Li-Po 8,200 mAH battery.

Samsung pushes out official firmware
Image credits to SamMobile

Nokia to Launch Six New Devices on October 22

Nokia World 2013 has been recently confirmed for October 22 in Abu Dhabi, but we have yet to learn what devices the Finnish company plans to announce next month.

While we have suspected that Nokia will launch the Lumia 1520 phablet and the Lumia 2520 tablet, the folks over at The Verge claim that there will be no less than six different devices unveiled at Nokia World 2013 event. According to the cited source, there will be at least two Lumia devices announced next month, along with a new range of accessories, one of them being tagged as “pretty special.”

The Verge also reports a source familiar with Nokia’s roadmap, who claims that the Finnish company plans to unveil a “large range” of form factors and devices. Obviously, most of them are expected to be powered by a Windows Phone platform. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Nokia World 2013 ad
Image credits to Nokia

Leaked Picture Showcases Super Slim Upcoming Lenovo Ultrabook

The race for the thinnest Ultrabook possible is on, as companies race to produce designs that are similar to tablets in terms of bulk.

According to a new picture leaked by Weibo.com, Lenovo already has a prototype that can compete with the sleekest of slates. The device is probably still in its experimental stage, but the photo showcases its thickness being measured and the results are pretty amazing, it’s apparently just 9.77 mm / 0.38 inches thin.

Sources familiar with the matter also add that the elusive ultrabook will also feature a 13.3-inch screen that will come with a whopping resolution of 3200 x 1800 pixels. The Ultrabook amazes even in terms of weight, which is said to be just 999 g / 2.2 lbs. The device will be made of carbon reinforced polymer. We’ll certainly keep an eye for it.

Lenovo could be working on a super slim Ultrabook
Image credits to Weibo

Intel Gladden CPU Released

Clearly, Intel is not sitting idle. Even though it doesn't seem to have prepared much in the way of a counter to AMD's impending Hawaii announcement, it is definitely keeping up the stream of new CPU releases, having launched the Gladden line.

Intel actually seems to bring a new CPU or two – or three or a dozen – every other week. The ones consumers get their hands on don't appear so frequently (Intel always makes a fuss about them when they do), but that doesn't make the other any less relevant. For that matter, the previous generation of CPUs hasn't lost relevance yet either. Sure, Haswell is all everyone thinks about these days when saying Intel, but Ivy Bridge still has a role to play. Case in point, the corporation has unleashed a Pentium CPU, a Core i3 unit and two Xeon E3 v2 processors. Together, they compose the Crystal Forest Gladden Platform. Gladden, in a nutshell, is the mobile Ivy Bridge core without the integrated graphics processor (iGP), but retaining Hyper-Threading, Virtualization, SSE4 and AES instructions, DMI 2.0 (to interface with Cave Creek / 89xx series chipset) and PCI Express 3.0 support.

The weakest chip in the lot is, unsurprisingly, the Pentium B925C, with 2 cores, 4 threads, 2GHz frequency, 4 MB L3 cache memory, 15W TDP, and DDR3-1333 MHz memory controller. Its price is unknown. Next comes the Core i3-3115C, also a dual-core with 4 threads, 4 MB cache and DDR3-1333 memory, but 2.5 GHz clock and 25W TDP. Its price is $241 / €179. The Xeon E3-1105C v2 is the third, a quad-core with 8 threads, 1.8 GHz clock, 8 MB cache and DDR3-1600 MHz. It manages to survive on just 25W as well, and has a price of $320 / €237. Lastly, the Xeon E3-1125C v2 is almost identical to the E3-1105C v2, but has 2.5 GHz clock and a TDP of 40W. Its price is $448 / €331.

Intel Ivy Bridge Gladden CPUs released
Image credits to Intel

Sep 24, 2013

Dual-SIM Spice Stellar Virtuoso Pro+ Mi-492 Goes on Sale in India

Spice Mobiles has just released a new budget-friendly Android smartphone in India, the Stellar Virtuoso Pro+ Mi-492. The handset is available for purchase via major retailers across the country for only Rs 7,499 ($120/€90).

As fonearena points out, it comes with dual-SIM support that features Dual Standby technology. Furthermore, it ships with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and packs a 1.3 GHz dual-core processor inside. On the back, Spice Stellar Virtuoso Pro+ Mi-492 features a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, while in the front, there’s a secondary 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls.

It is also worth mentioning that the smartphone sports a large 4.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 854 x 480 pixels resolution, and features 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

Spice Stellar Virtuoso Pro+ (Mi-492)
Image credits to fonearena

HTC Plans HTC One Sequel with 8-Core CPU and 3GB of RAM

Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corporation is reportedly preparing the launch of a successor for its high-end HTC One smartphone, and is determined to pack it with greatly improved hardware.

Apparently, the company is considering the inclusion of an 8-core processor inside the upcoming device, at least this is what info that emerged over at Tech Community shows. A leaked screenshot that allegedly shows the About screen of the upcoming mobile phone unveils the aforementioned octa-core processor, as well as other details on the yet unannounced handset. HTC is also expected to include 3GB of RAM inside the phone, along with “Clear Audio” capabilities, though it’s yet uncertain what that would involve. Provided that the info pans out, this would become the first smartphone in HTC’s lineup to include 3GB of RAM.

What remains to be seen at the moment is what processor the smartphone will feature, given that there are not that many octa-core chips available to choose from. As UnwiredView notes, the processor could come from MediaTek, given that the company has already announced plans to release an 8-core solution in the not too distant future. One thing that appears to be certain, however, is the fact that it won’t be a Samsung CPU, nor one coming from Qualcomm. The upcoming mobile phone, which might land on shelves under the name of One+, is also expected to feature Gorilla Glass 3 protection for the screen.

No other info on this improved version of HTC One has emerged until now, and it remains to be seen when exactly HTC plans on making it official. Chances are that it will arrive later this year along with the long rumored large HTC One max, though this has yet to be officially confirmed, so keep an eye on this space for more info on the matter.

HTC One sequel to sport octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM
Image credits to Tech Community

Samsung Plans Premium F Smartphone Series

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics is reportedly planning an expansion of its lineup of high-end smartphones with a new premium family of devices, the F Series.

According to a recent article on ETNews, the F lineup will include handsets with powerful hardware inside and with metallic bodies. There are still a lot of details on these devices that are not available as of now, but some info on what Samsung might include in these devices did slip out. Apparently, the company is set to release devices with touchscreens between 4.5 inches to 5.5 inches in this series, and might even pack some of them with flexible panels. The Samsung Exynos Octa processor is also expected to be part of the lineup, though this remains to be confirmed, it seems. According to PhoneArena, Samsung is determined to pack the upcoming mobile phones with cameras of up to 16 megapixels, while also adding Optical Image Stabilization technology into the mix.

The F series devices are also expected to feature premium price tags. Thus, Samsung will manage to tap into a new segment of the market, it seems. Recently, Samsung was said to be planning on adopting metallic cases for the upcoming Galaxy S5 flagship device, though it seems that it might actually use them in other smartphones. What remains to be seen is what outer design Samsung will adopt for these premium devices, since details on this are still unavailable. Apparently, the company might be set to unveil specific details on these new products as soon as March next year, though some more info on this might leak before that happens.

Samsung has been long criticized for the use of a plastic design for its flagship Galaxy S series, but it seems that things might change completely starting with the next year. Keep an eye on this space to learn more on the matter.

Samsung to launch new series of premium smartphones next year
Image credits to Samsung

Microsoft’s First WP8 Devices to Be Lumia 1820

Microsoft has announced its intention to purchase Nokia’s handset business, yet no details on the company’s plans following the acquisition have been provided as of now.

According to the latest reports on the matter, however, the Redmond-based company might launch its first smartphone running under Windows Phone 8 as soon as next year, and could call it Lumia 1820. The info comes from Twitter user @Nawzil8, the same person who let it slip not long ago that Nokia would bring its Nokia Camera app to all Windows Phone 8 devices out there.

Nokia Lumia 1820 should be on shelves next year, yet nothing is known on the device for the time being. We’ll take the info on this first smartphone coming out from Microsoft after the Nokia deal is closed with a grain of salt for the time being. However, we’ll keep an eye out for more on the matter, so stay tuned.

Microsoft to launch Lumia 1820 as its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone
Image credits to @qxerro on twitter

Windows Phone 8.1 Screenshots Leaked with Battery Percentage Meter

Nokia’s press event is less than a month away and we’re still not sure how many devices the Finnish company plans to introduce. The latest hearsay points to an official announcement with at least two new Windows-based devices, Lumia 1520 smartphone and Lumia 2520 tablet.

Until then, we’re left with the latest leaks that present some of the upcoming features of Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. WMPoweruser has just published two screenshots that have been taken from the alleged Windows Phone 8.1 platform. Both screenshots have been recently leaked via Twitter user @qxerro and show one of the most requested Windows Phone features, the battery meter percentage.

Aside from that, the images do no reveal anything new, but we expect that more details will surface in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for updates on the matter.

Windows Phone 8.1 screenshots
Image credits to @qxerro via WMPoweruser

Samsung to Launch Limited Edition Galaxy Note 3 with Flexible Display

Leading mobile phone maker Samsung is reportedly planning the release of a new flavor of its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, one that would sport a flexible display.

Apparently, the company is set to make the handset official as soon as the next month, and will bring it to shelves in limited quantities. Samsung has been teasing flexible display technologies for quite some time now, and has also been rumored to launch the Galaxy Note 3 with such a screen, but that did not happen.

However, it seems that enthusiasts will actually have the chance to enjoy the feature in the aforementioned Limited Edition Galaxy Note 3 model. Apparently, a Samsung official has already confirmed this, Sohu IT reports. As UnwiredView notes, Samsung has already been rumored to launch devices with flexible displays in Q4 2013. I presume that the company will continue unveiling such devices in the next year, so stay tuned.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Image credits to Samsung

BBM for Android and iOS Officially Delayed, Not Coming This Week

Finally, after announcing that it had accepted a buyout offer from Canadian consortium Fairfax Financial, BlackBerry issued an official statement regarding the botched BlackBerry Messenger launch from last weekend.

For those unfamiliar with the subject, BlackBerry announced a week ago that it would launch its popular BBM application on both Android and iOS platforms during the weekend, but due to unforeseen problems, the Canadian company had to completely remove the iOS version from the App Store and shut down its servers. Unfortunately, BlackBerry did not offer any explanations on why it stopped the rollout of BBM for iOS or why it did not release the Android version in Google Play Store until today, 48 hours after the incident occurred. Well, as suspected, it appears that the unreleased Android version of BBM is the main cause of the issue, as lots of Android users downloaded this never released app that leaked a few days before the official launch and stressed BlackBerry's servers in abnormal ways.

Here is what Andrew Bocking, head of BBM at BlackBerry, has to say about the release of BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android. “Last week, an unreleased, older version of the BBM for Android app was posted on numerous file sharing sites. We were aware of an issue with this unreleased version of the BBM for Android app. This older version resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways. The version we were planning to release on Saturday addressed these issues, however we could not block users of the unreleased version if we went ahead with the launch.

We attempted to address the problems caused by the unreleased version throughout the day on Saturday, but as active users of the unreleased app neared a million – and accelerated – it became clear that the only way to address the issue was to pause the rollout for both Android and iPhone. The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app. We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task – it’s not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week.”

Blackberry logo
Image credits to Blackberry

Sep 23, 2013

PCI Express over Optical Cable, PLX Demos 32 Gbps Transfer Rates

When someone says PCI Express, anyone who knows anything about computers will think about those slots on motherboards, used for graphics cards and other add-in-boards. PCIe technology has been used differently in recent years, however, and now we see it work over optical cables, of all things.

In the end, the PCI Express interface standard is one that defines how data is moved through certain media. Adding one more medium shouldn't come as such a big shock. Still, for those used to motherboards and the like, it may very well be. Anyway, PLX Technology, an expert in PCI Express (PCIe) silicon and software connectivity, teamed up with FCI, a manufacturer of connectors and interconnect systems, for PCIe over optical cabling. A demo was held at the 39th European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) event, held from 23-25 September in London, U.K. There, FCI's new mini-SAS high-density (MSHD) active optical cable (AOC) delivered 32Gbps (PCIe Gen3, x4) optical connectivity in a small form factor.

"To be effective and meet the needs of a wide range of PCI Express users, these solutions must possess what we call the 'triple threat' connectivity option - copper, optical and AOC," said Reginald Conley, vice president, applications engineering, PLX. "In doing so, the widest range of performance and cost metrics can be met, and Mini-SAS HD has the potential to be one such solution." During the demonstration, a PLX PCIe switch card connected to a PLX five-bay PCIe expansion card through a standard MSHD connector and FCI's new MSHD AOC (SAS-based I/O system with SAS 2.1 6 Gbos and SAS 3 12 Gbps support, per channel).

In such setups, PCIe adapters, SSDs, NIC cards and any other connected devices interact with the main motherboard/server as if they were actually installed in an internal PCI Express slot. With this, engineers can develop system solutions for PCI Express even using unusual cabling, while engineers have a chance to see what performance gains can be achieved in networking, communications and high-performance computing (supercomputers as it were).

Image credits to FCI

BlackBerry Agrees on Acquisition by Canadian Fairfax Financial Consortium for $4.7 Billion (€3.5 Billion)

Canadian Fairfax Financial consortium has just announced it has agreed to purchase BlackBerry handset maker for $4.7 billion (€3.5 billion).

BlackBerry confirmed today it has signed a letter of intent agreement under which its shareholders would receive $9 in cash for each share of BlackBerry share they hold. Fairfax Financial already owns approximately 10 percent of BlackBerry's common shares and plans to contribute the shares of BlackBerry it currently holds into the transaction. “The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the Company's constituents, including for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board of Directors.

If the transaction is successful this could mean BlackBerry will go private. If both parties agree to these terms the deal could be signed by November 4. For the time being BlackBerry’s stock is currently halted and according to Wall Street it could begin trading again soon starting at $8.23. This could be a great move from BalckBerry, as the company has just announced the layoff of 4,500 employees and around $1 billion (€741 million) losses. The botched launch of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for iOS and Android that should have take place last weekend was probably the last major event the Canadian smartphone company held this year. We will keep an eye out for any additional info on this deal so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

“We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world,” concluded Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax.

BlackBerry logo
Image credits to Blackberry

BlackBerry Kopi, an Entry-Level BlackBerry 10 Smartphone

Canadian mobile phone maker BlackBerry has already confirmed plans to launch entry-level handsets in the not too distant future, and details on one of its upcoming devices are now available.

The phone, supposedly codenamed BlackBerry Kopi, will arrive on the market with a price tag set below BlackBerry Q5’s mark, though it will sport a faster processor, BGR reports. The handset is also said to have a removable battery inside, but will not feature LTE connectivity when released.

No specific release date for the device has been unveiled as of now, though it might not be too long before BlackBerry makes the smartphone official. Until more details on this cheap mobile phone become available, have a look at its outer design, courtesy of the photo above. Stay tuned for more info on the matter.

BlackBerry Kopi
Image credits to BGR

Nokia to Launch 6-Inch Lumia 1520 in October

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has been long rumored to plan the release of a large Windows Phone 8 smartphone in October, and new reports on the matter converge towards the same idea.

According to a recent article on DigiTimes, industry sources have confirmed Nokia’s plans to launch a 6-inch Windows Phone 8 device next month. The handset, supposedly called Lumia 1520, should arrive on the market with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 GDR3 platform release loaded on top.

With the launch of BlackBerry Z30 last week, Nokia becomes one of the few smartphone makers to have not launched a large smartphone as of now. However, the release of Lumia 1520 will change that, and will provide the company with the possibility to tap into territories it hasn’t visited before.

Nokia Lumia 1520
Image credits to The Verge

Oppo N1 Full Specifications and Photo Gallery

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo announced the N1, its latest flagship smartphone, which will arrive on shelves with a wide range of appealing features and capabilities packed inside.

This is the first device included in the company’s N-Lens flagship series, packed with a large screen, rotating camera, rear touch panel, and an appealing design. The main selling point of the new handset will be its 13-megapixel camera, which can be rotated 206 degrees, and which also sports six physical lenses, an upgraded type 1/3.06 imaging module, and f/2.0 wide aperture. The camera also comes with a special light-diffusing LED flash design, and can boot from sleeping mode in only 0.6 seconds via a simple 120° rotation. 

Oppo N1 also boasts a 5.9-inch IPS display capable of delivering a 1080p Full HD resolution, as well as a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor inside. The large touchscreen is complemented by a 12 cm2 rear touch panel called O-Touch, which was designed to facilitate one-handed operations on the device. It enables users to easily scroll, tap, or snap photos. Furthermore, the new mobile phone comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB / 32GB of internal memory. It also sports Adreno 320 graphics and a 3610mAh battery for longer usage times.

The smartphone was unveiled with 5G Wi-Fi 802.11 ac connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display, GPS receiver, and USB OTG. Additionally, it comes with Distance sensor, Light sensor, G-sensor, and 4D Gyroscope. Announced with support for GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz and WCDMA: 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100MHz networks, Oppo N1 measures 170.7 x 82.6 x 9 mm, weighs 213 grams, and comes dressed up in White.

The handset will start shipping in early December with Oppo’s own Color OS platform loaded on top (based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean). The phone will arrive on the international market with the option to flash CyanogenMod directly from stock recovery. On top of that, Oppo announced that it would release a limited Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition with the popular Android software pre-installed right from the start. Thus, it will become the first CyanogenMod hardware product in the world.

In addition to N1, those who purchase the device will receive the O-Click Bluetooth remote in the package, so as to be able to operate the N1 camera from a distance. O-Click connects to the handset via Bluetooth LE and can interact with it from a range of up to 50 meters. Photos gallery below, just click for larger images.

Oppo N1
Images credits to Oppo

Oppo N1 Goes Official with 5.9-Inch Screen and Rotating 13MP Camera

Today, Chinese mobile phone maker Oppo officially announced the latest addition to its lineup of high-end smartphones, namely the Oppo N1.

The new handset went official during a special press event held in Beijing, China, which was streamed live over the Internet. The device was announced with a large 5.9-inch touchscreen display that can deliver a full HD resolution, and which sports a pixel density of 373 pixels per inch. The new mobile phone features Oppo’s own Color OS loaded on top, and the usual three capacitive Android keys placed beneath the display, namely back, home, and menu. The smartphone comes to the market with a 13-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and an f/2.0 aperture, which is paired with Oppo’s Owl imaging processor.

The most interesting aspect of the device is the fact that the entire camera module can rotate up to 206 degrees, which means that it can also be used as a front camera. The sensor comes with a 6-lens design. The Oppo N1 also comes with a special touch-sensitive area on the back called O-Touch, which enables users to control the device through performing various gestures, including swipes, long-presses, or double taps. Additionally, the smartphone comes with a special accessory, O-Click, which works as a remote controller for the camera, and which can be operated from up to 50 meters away from the device.

On top of that, Oppo announced the new N1 with 16GB / 32GB options of internal memory, as well as with a 3610mAh battery packed inside. The smartphone sports Wi-Fi connectivity inside as well, along with Bluetooth, NFC, and the like. It also comes with support for USB On-The-Go (OTG), Oppo announced. There will be two official ROMs available for the new mobile phone, one of them bring Oppo’s proprietary Color OS, while the other being the previously rumored CyanogenMod software. Oppo also unveiled that the new Oppo N1 would hit shelves in China with a price tag of 3,498 Yuan ($571 / €423) attached to it. The smartphone will become available for purchase in early December.

Oppo N1
Images credits to Oppo

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 "Cheaper Version" in the Works, Launching in November

This is not the first time we hear about Samsung planning to release a much cheaper version of Galaxy Note 3 in emerging markets.

Back in August, sources close to the matter claimed Samsung would launch an affordable Galaxy Note 3 in several countries in order to boost its sales. Today, Sammobile reports new details on the unannounced phablet emerged and point to an imminent launch of a cheaper Samsung Galaxy Note 3 model.

According to Sammobile citing ETNews, the cheaper Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will sport a 5.5-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display instead of the Super AMOLED screen included with the original model, as well as an 8-megapixel main camera. We can expect this affordable Galaxy Note 3 to go on sale in countries like India and China at some point in November. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 shipping manifest
Image credits to SamMobile

Secret 3G Radio in Every Intel vPro CPU Could Steal Your Data at Any Time

We wonder if anyone expected this, but we suppose Intel had to drop a bomb at some point. And what better way to secure your spot on the enterprise 2-in-1 laptop, tablet and mobile workstation market, than by giving all of those PCs 3G support?

Hilariously enough, Intel has created one of the most sought after technologies without letting anyone know about it. Basically, all Intel vPro CPUs (which include new mobile Core i5 and Core i7 chips) have an undocumented 3G chip inside. That chip is visible to the 3G network, even when the PC is not powered on. Freelancer Jim Stone has just discovered the secret (or so he says), and according to him, the 3G is part of a second physical processor embedded within the main one. Said second CPU has its own embedded operating system and can be woken up at any time because the “phantom” power of the system is always there to draw upon. In other words, the secret 3G chip can act as a backdoor, complete with wake-on-LAN and wake-on-mobile. Which is to say, the computer can be turned on remotely through this undocumented 3G radio.

Intel actually embedded the 3G radio chip in order to enable its Anti Theft 3.0 technology. And since that technology is found on every Core i3/i5/i7 CPU after Sandy Bridge, that means a lot of CPUs, not just new vPro, might have a secret 3G connection nobody knew about until now. Sadly, Jim Stone doesn't actually provide any evidence for this, so we can either take him at his word or not think about any of this, seeing as how we can't really do anything about it even if it's true. On the one hand, it might all be fake. On the other hand, Intel may very well have integrated a secret ARM chip with always-on 3G on its vPro chips, but no one knows because the NSA forbid the disclosure of this info in order to have a backdoor into every computer. For security reasons of course.

Some will definitely argue that it's all for the sake of easy IT administration, but there will always be naysayers that will think this sort of thing exists so the hidden autocrats of our world can steal ideas from the hardworking little man. In the end, it all boils down to how suspicious and paranoid each person is about the people living in the higher echelons of our society.

Intel Core vPro Core i7 CPU might be just a little thief
Image credits to Intel

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