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Jan 24, 2013

Huawei Ascend D2 Disassembled, Shows Waterproof Capabilities

At CES 2013 in Las Vegas, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei has made official the Ascend D2, its latest flagship Android-based handset, which has already landed on shelves in China, while set to hit the market in other countries soon.

The device packs a wide range of high-end features, starting with its large 5-inch screen and the quad-core processor inside, and going all the way up to waterproof features. The phone looks appealing on the outside, but its inner parts can also seem of interest to enthusiasts, and the photo attached to this article (courtesy of weibo) should feed their curiosity.

In addition to said 1080p Full HD screen and quad-core processor, the smartphone also features 2GB of RAM inside, and a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back, while running under Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.

Huawei Ascend D2 disassembled
Image credits to Weibo via GSMInsider

Nokia CEO: No Android Plans – Only Windows Phone and Asha

Today, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of the last year, and posted Lumia sales of 4.4 million units for the time frame, which helped it regain profitability.

Given that the Windows Phone OS and devices running under it are just starting to pick up pace on the market, the company claims that it remains committed to driving innovation together with Microsoft. Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, reiterated this during the company’s earnings call earlier today, suggesting that the vendor had no plans on trying its luck in the Android segment of the market. Moving forth, the company will continue to focus on the release of new Windows Phone devices, while also working on expanding the reach of its Asha lineup. “We are clearly innovating with Microsoft around Windows Phone, and are focused on taking that to lower and lower price points. You will see that over time compete with Android,” Elop said, according to TechCrunch.

“But at the same time we’ve said consistently — and we’re just beginning to see it in the Asha full-touch products — that we will continue to innovate around our Asha smartphone line in order to compete with the very lowest levels of Android.” The company will work on making Asha devices more competitive against Google’s Android devices through reducing the cost of ownership, Nokia also unveiled. “We are not in a situation where we are considering something other than Windows Phone combined with what we’re doing with Asha,” Elop continued.

Nokia’s commitment to Windows Phone is expected to drive the platform to the third place on the smartphone OS market, while also helping the vendor regain a lot of the market share it has lost lately and prove that it can indeed be profitable while paying royalty fees to Microsoft. Nokia announced its plans to transition to Windows Phone in early 2011, when it also unveiled that the deal signed with Microsoft involved receiving a series of quarterly platform support payments from the Redmond-based giant.  However, as part of its Q4 2012 financial announcement, the company unveiled that the royalty payments it will make to Microsoft will be higher than the financial support received from the software company.

Nokia Lumia 620
Image credits to Nokia

VIA ARMTiGO A800, World's Smallest ARM Computer For Now

Miniature computers can be used in many scenarios, and this is the main thing that VIA is banking on in its quest to promote the ARMTiGO small form factor ARM computer.

For consumers, things as large as HTPCs (home-theater personal computers) and even small desktops qualify as SFF systems (small form factor). The term has a different meaning on the rest of the industry though. Small really does mean small when it comes to health care technology, digital signage, surveillance and other embedded applications. VIA's latest ARM PC definitely qualifies as an SFF computer, and it should do fine in all of the above fields, as well as hotel automation. In fact, according to VIA, this is the smallest embedded ARM system for embedded uses. "VIA is leveraging its advanced SFF system design expertise demonstrated in its market leading x86 ARTiGO systems to create a new family of smaller, lower power ARM based systems," said Epan Wu, head of VIA embedded, VIA Technologies, Inc.

"The introduction of the ARM-based ARMTiGO A800 allows us to provide our customers with a comprehensive range of solutions in both leading processor architectures." VIA ARMTiGO A800 measures 12.0 cm x 12.5 cm x 3.0 cm / 4.72 x 4.92 x 1.18 inches. Its heart is a Freescale ARM Cortex-A8 SoC (system-on-chip device) with two Integrated GPUs. The TDP (thermal design power) is only of 3.14W, which does not only ensure a very low power draw, but also removes the need for active cooling. In fact, VIA managed to get away with just an ultra-low profile, dustproof, fanless design that easily fits into any environment thanks to its unobtrusive dark grey, rectangular case.

Client organizations can hide the system anywhere they wish, even behind a monitor, or just leave it on the wall for everyone to see, provided they have a VESA mount (7.5 cm x 7.5 cm / 2.95 x 2.95 inches).

Image credits to VIA

Android Trojan Responsible for China’s Largest Botnet Is Based on Backscript Malware

Earlier this month, we learned that a piece of malware called Android.Troj.mdk (MDK) was responsible for the largest mobile botnet China had ever seen, with over 1 million devices being infected. Experts from Symantec say that MDK is actually a new version of an older threat, Android.Backscript.

Researchers have found that the codes of the two malicious elements are very similar and they both use the same certificate to sign APKs. The main difference is that the new variant uses an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt data. After it’s installed onto a smartphone, the Trojan collects user information, downloads additional malware, and generates adware. In addition, it also allows its master to remotely control the infected device.

Initial reports revealed that the Trojan was hidden in around 7,000 Android apps. However, Symantec says it has been able to identify over 11,000 malicious applications. For the time being, the malware has been served only on Chinese app markets.

Servers and commands contained in encrypted file
Image credits to Symantec

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Live Pictures

We’ve already got it confirmed that Samsung will launch the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet next month at Mobile World Congress 2013.

There are some rumors pointing to a possible March release on the market, though we’re still waiting for Samsung to confirm these speculations as well. Until then, the folks at SamMobile spotted the first live pictures showing the Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet in action. The pictures were posted by Italian blog dday, which also lists some of the slate’s features.

It appears that Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 will ship with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean platform out of the box and will be powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor. Furthermore, the tablet will pack 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB), 5-megapixel rear photo snapper and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
Image credits to dday.it

LG U560 Ultrabook

Intel may have a precise set of guidelines for what is an ultrabook and what isn't, but LG doesn't mind bending them a bit if it means it can provide a higher functionality to its customers.

The results of its latest experiments is the laptop mentioned in the title, the U560, which is, true enough, a bit thinner and a standard notebook, but not by much. For those that want the specific dimensions, the ultrabook measures 0.82 inches in thickness (20.82 mm) and weighs 4.3 pounds (1.95 kilograms). The reason it is so heavy is twofold: for one thing, the item has a discrete GPU (graphics processing unit), rather than relying exclusively on whatever integrated graphics chip lies in the CPU (central processing unit). The support page suggests an NVIDIA chip is used, though it might be possible to choose otherwise.

The storage is also worth noting: LG made it so that two drives are used: a solid-state drive (SSD) for caching and an HDD (hard disk drive) for capacity. LG didn't stop there. It actually went one step further and included a DVD drive on top of everything else. Optical drives are something that ultrabooks normally do without, as they add too much thickness. Nevertheless, LG made the optical drive a part of the U560.  The rest of the spec sheet sticks to familiar things. The IPS LCD (liquid crystal display) measures 15.6 inches, the CPU is a Core i5 Intel unit (1.8 GHz), the connectivity capabilities cover all the basics (USB, video, audio, etc.).

Sadly, LG has only released the U560 15.6-inch Ultrabook in South Korea, its home market. If other regions of the world ever get it, it will be later down the line. Get the full story here (translated), but don't expect to see a price. Retailers still have to reveal it.

LG U560 ultrabook
Image credits to LG

Nokia 808 PureView May Be the Last Symbian Phone Ever

Finish handset manufacturer Nokia has just published its quarterly earnings for the last three months of 2012 and things seem to be looking good for the first time.

It appears that the company successfully completed the transition to Windows Phone platform and that is shown in the figures as well. However, there is some bad news for Nokia fans who still favor Symbian platform over Windows Phone operating system. According to Nokia, the PureView 808 will be the last Symbian device launched by the company:

“During our transition to Windows Phone through 2012, we continued to ship devices based on Symbian. The Nokia 808 PureView, a device which showcases our imaging capabilities and which came to market in mid-2012, was the last Symbian device from Nokia.”

The good news is that Nokia will certainly integrate the full power of PureView technology into Windows Phone devices.

Nokia 808 PureView
Image credits to Nokia

Samsung Expects Galaxy S IV Sold 10 Million Per Month

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung has yet to confirm plans on bringing a new Android-based flagship smartphone to the market in the first half of the year, yet more rumors on the matter are now available.

According to a recent post on mt.co.kr, the company is expecting the new device to be highly popular among mobile phone users. The phone, supposedly called Galaxy S IV, might see sales of around 10 million units a month, the news site notes, adding that the South Korean handset vendor has already prepared the first batch of parts for the big launch, which should take place sometime in April. Suppliers have already received orders for various components of the device, a sign that the handset vendor is getting ready to make it official. Last year’s flagship phone from Samsung, the Galaxy S III, was made official in May, and needed around 50 days to reach the first 10 million sold units. This year’s Galaxy S IV should sport upgraded hardware and a range of new features that might allow it to grab the top spot on the market fast.

As Android Authority notes, the above numbers might not prove accurate in the end, though Galaxy S IV is indeed expected to see great demand right from the start, building on the success its predecessors have enjoyed. Rumor has it that Samsung might be preparing the unveiling of this smartphone for March, roughly two months from now, during an Unpacked Event that should be held in the United States. The phone is also said to arrive on shelves with a large 5-inch full HD screen, a next-gen processor (possibly the Exynos 5 Octa unveiled earlier this year at CES 2013), a 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back, wireless charging, and Google’s latest Android flavor loaded on top. Stay tuned for more on this.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

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