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Feb 13, 2013

Micromax A116 Canvas HD Sold Out in 15 Minutes

Right on time, Micromax launched its A116 Canvas HD phablet in India. We reported earlier that the smartphone would go on sale exclusively at the company's oneline store for Rs 13,990 ($260/€190) outright.

We had no idea at that time why the phone would only be available at Micromax's online store, but according to AndroidOS the A116 Canvas HD was sold out 15 minutes after it went on sale. It's clear now that Micromax did not have enough units in stock to supply other retailers across the country, which is why it decided to sell the device through its own online store.

We don't have any info on when exactly Micromax will be able to replenish A116 Canvas HD stock, but we're pretty sure the company will come forward with an official statement in the next few days. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Micromax A116 Canvas HD
Image credits to Micromax

Motorola RAZR i XT890 to be Launched in South Korea

Motorola is reportedly gearing up for the launch of its Intel-based RAZR i XT890 Android smartphone on the South Korean market, as it has already received the necessary approvals for the handset’s use in the country.

Korea Communications Commission (KCC) approved the phone today, with support for W-CDMA 2100 MHz, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n and Bluetooth 4.0, but it did not offer details on its arrival on shelves.  According to Ameblo, however, the smartphone should hit shelves in the country on the networks of KT and SK Telecom.

Motorola RAZR i was unveiled with a 4.3-inch screen capable of delivering a 540 x 960 pixels resolution, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, and an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back, with support for full HD video recording.

Motorola RAZR i
Image credits to Motorola

Samsung to Showcase High-End Tizen OS-based Smartphone at MWC 2013

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics is reportedly getting ready to show to the world its first Tizen OS-based smartphones, and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona could prove a great opportunity for that.

A recent report on Korea Times suggests that the company is preparing high-end handsets for the event, and that it will also showcase them there, though not to the public. Following the success it has seen with the Galaxy lineup, Samsung appears set to build its own mobile ecosystem, based on the aforementioned Linux mobile platform.

However, although it is ready to show the new OS loaded on top hardware to several few, it seems that the company is planning on pushing the public unveiling of these smartphones a bit more. Stay tuned for more on this.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

Nokia Hints at New 41MP PureView Announcement for MWC 2013

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has been long rumored to plan the launch of a new Lumia handset with high-end camera capabilities, and it seems that this year’s Mobile World Congress might shed more light on the matter.

A YouTube video that has been already removed provided some info on the company’s 41MP PureView technology present in the Symbian-based 808 PureView handset, and also mentioned this year’s MWC, MyNokiaBlog notes. The video had been published by Nokia Russia, and it supposedly hinted at the announcement that all enthusiasts are looking for, namely a 41MP Windows Phone 8-based handset.

Given that the video was shot entirely in Russia, chances are that Nokia wasn’t pointing at the upcoming unveiling, but the fact that the clip has already been removed could suggest otherwise. However, more on this should emerge soon, so stay tuned to learn the news.

Nokia supposedly hints at new 41MP PureView announcement for MWC 2013
Image credits to MyNokiaBlog

Opera Sacrificed the Desktop Version (Presto) for Mobile Growth, a Calculated Risk or a Desperate Mistake

The decision to kill the current desktop browser and to switch to WebKit in the mobile space came as a shock to many Opera fans, but it was perhaps inevitable.

The fact is, the battle is in the mobile arena now; the desktop market is still bigger and it still generates the most money, but it's also stagnant. Opera wouldn't have been able to make any meaningful gains in the desktop market in the next few years. Even with the most optimistic estimates, by the time Opera was enough to matter on the desktop, the desktop market itself would not matter much.

The desktop doesn't matter anymore and Opera isn't doing great on smartphones

Opera Mini is the most popular mobile browser at the moment, but it's popular on feature phones. On smartphones and tablets, Opera has a minuscule market share, even upstarts such as Dolphin have more users. If Opera is to stay relevant, it needs to be relevant in the mobile market and, unfortunately, that means switching over to WebKit. There are plenty of reasons to do so, the two biggest being that WebKit is pretty much the only supported engine in the mobile space and that Apple doesn't allow browsers with their own engines in the App Store. We've covered this in detail when Opera announced it was working on ICE, an experimental iPad browser with a WebKit core.

Whether they're good reasons and whether WebKit really is the only choice, is another matter. It doesn't actually matter much at this point, the decision has been made. Opera bet everything on mobile and WebKit. We'll see if it turns out to be a winning bet.

An Android browser is coming this month, an iOS one is in the works

Opera has a WebKit-based Android browser ready to be released at the MWC, a week or so from now. That's the only officially announced WebKit browser; Opera says that it's working on several others, the aforementioned ICE for example, but those are coming later. Opera already has a smartphone browser for Android, Opera Mobile, which hasn't proven too popular. There’s no reason to think that a WebKit-based browser will do any better.

There are plenty of Android browsers out there and most people are satisfied with the default one. Opera would have to pull off quite a few miracles to get a significant amount of people to switch. On iOS, the odds are even worse. Even if Opera creates a revolutionary browser, it will still be slower than Safari, since Apple artificially penalizes third-party browser performance. Users also won't be able to make it the default browser, and any link in any app will still open in Safari. Opera has a tough fight ahead of it. Either Opera knows exactly what it's doing and has a great plan already thought out – in which case it may stand a chance, or it's desperate and rather than come up with something new it gave up the fight and decided to do what everyone else is doing.

Opera Next logo
Image credits to Opera

Microsoft Surface Pro Tear Down, Gets Lowest Score for Reparability

Since the Surface Pro is the latest star in the gadget world, the guys over at iFixit decided to tear it down and see whether it’s easy or difficult to repair the device all by themselves.

Oh well, while it’s generally believed that Apple’s products are insanely difficult to repair, it may seem like the Surface Pro has managed to break all records. iFixit has rated the device 1 for reparability, which means that, unless you’re some sort of MacGyver, it’s almost impossible to tear down the tablet and make it work once again.

It seems like Microsoft has used no less than 90 screws, while removing the screen is quite a big challenge, regardless of your skills. And given the fact that cables are everywhere once you remove the screen, make sure you don’t lose your warranty after throwing away the Surface Pro box.

This is what the Surface Pro looks like without a case
Image credits to iFixit

NVIDIA GeForce Titan Day of Arrival is February 18, 2013

NVIDIA's GeForce Titan graphics card has been the talk of the virtual grapevine for weeks, and it will finally debut next week.

According to Donanimhaber and Xtremesystems, the Santa Clara, California-based company will release the device on Monday, February 18, 2013. The GK11-based card will be available in very limited quantities, but that was to be expected from a board as strong as or stronger than the dual-GPU GTX 690.

Given how the supposed launch date has been mentioned in several places on the net, independently from one another, we can be reasonably sure this isn't just people starting false rumors. Previous reports also pointed towards a February release. See the first blurry picture of the board below.

GeForce Titan PCB shot
Image credits to WCCFtech

ASUS RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 Router

Yet another wireless networking device has been released, one that uses Wi-Fi and which ASUS has put together, even given the rater uninspiring name of RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 router.

The newcomer is more of a 3-in-1 device than a router, since it can behave like an access point or range extender, depending on need. In fact, the two detachable 9DdBi antennas can extend the normal Wi-Fi range by up to 300%. Between that, the ability to handle four networks at once (primary and guest) and parental controls, it is enough to consider the RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 Router a very well rounded networking item.

Of course, the primary network will always have bandwidth primacy, but at least ASUS made it so that no one got left in the dust. Sadly, no price is known right now.

ASUS RT-N12HP Wireless-N300 Router
Image credits to ASUS

Alcatel One Touch Star Android Phone

Alcatel has just announced the upcoming availability of another budget-friendly Android smartphone, the One Touch Star.

According to AndroidCommunity, the device will be showcased at Mobile World Congress 2013 later this month. No word on availability and pricing options yet. The good news is that Alcatel One Touch Star will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and will pack a 1GHz dual-core processor inside.

Furthermore, the smartphone has been confirmed to come with a 4-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen display that supports 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB). The phone is powered by a 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery and features dual cameras (5-megapixel rear photo snapper and VGA front-facing camera).

Alcatel One Touch Star
Image credits to AndroidCommunity

Samsung Galaxy S IV Won’t Feature S Pen Capabilities

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung won’t pack its upcoming Galaxy S IV smartphone with S Pen functionality, although previous reports on the matter suggested it might do so.

According to a recent article on DDaily, the handset will lack the functionality, though it will keep the home button from previous models. However, some changes related to the available buttons will also be made, as the back one is expected to be featured to the left of the handset’s bottom, and not to the right as on Galaxy S III.

Overall, the upcoming Galaxy S IV handset will sport the human-centered design as its last year predecessor, though only a minimal one. The news site also notes that the smartphone will sport a gesture-based non-contact user interface, just as some of the previous rumors suggested.

Samsung logo
Image credits to Samsung

Opera to Release a Chromium Based Browser (Google Clone) in the Coming Months

Opera made quite the announcement a few moments ago – in a press release that doesn't betray the gravity of the situation, it revealed that the Opera desktop browser, not the most popular but loved by many, will cease to exist. Opera will make a gradual transition this year towards a desktop browser based on Chromium.

Basically, the Opera desktop browser is dead. It's unlikely that any new major version will see the light of day; there will be a few more bug-fixing releases in the coming months, but developers are most likely already working on rebranding Chromium. Chromium is the open source version of Chrome. It is very similar to Chrome, though a few Google-specific features and the built-in Flash are missing. Since it's an open source project, Chromium is already the basis for several "browsers" with varying degrees of modifications compared to the original. Given that grabbing the source code, replacing the Chromium graphics and strings with Opera ones and maybe changing the tint from blue to red shouldn't take too long, the new browser may show up sooner than you may expect.

Granted, Opera will probably be doing quite a few more modifications to the Chromium source, implementing some of the features Opera users love perhaps, but that's more a hope than a certainty. Opera hasn't actually said anything about the new browser other than the fact that it's working on a Chromium-based one. It hasn't even said that it was killing the desktop browser, not in so many words. "To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers," was all it said.

But Opera will have to add some amazing features to Chromium if it hopes to keep any of its users, otherwise there will be little reason not to just use Google Chrome rather than a Chrome clone. Hopefully, Opera will surprise us all, but users should probably start looking at alternatives at this point – not that there are many.

This is what the Chromium Opera could look like
(It's just concept, probably Opera Chromium won't like this)

Opera is Dead, Its Desktop Browser Replaced with Chromium and WebKit on Mobile

Opera has called it a day. After almost two decades in the browser business, Opera has officially quit.

The developer announced that it is going to adopt the WebKit engine for all of its browsers on mobile platforms, something not particularly surprising, but also that it is stopping development of its desktop browser and will start supporting Chromium, the open source version of Chrome. Basically, this means that Opera will no longer be developing its own HTML layout engine, Presto, and that it will slap an Opera label on Chromium and call that its desktop browser. There aren't many details, but what is there is enough to know what comes next. Opera as we've known it is dead; the move may turn out to be a great one for the company, but it won't be the same company.

Without its own engine or even its own desktop browser, Opera is now just another company that rebrands Chromium and calls it its own browser, on par with Yandex which makes its own Chrome clone, for example. In the mobile space, it will be just another company that takes the WebKit engine and slaps some UI elements on top of it. There are now only four major browser makers in the world, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and Apple, and just three layout engines, Trident, Gecko and WebKit.

Opera is Now Dead
Image credits to Opera

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