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Apr 30, 2014

Google Reportedly Killing the Nexus Series in Favor of “Silver” Lineup

Mountain View-based Internet giant Google is reportedly planning on partnering with various mobile phone makers out there for the launch of a new series of premium devices, called Silver phones.

This new family of handsets would arrive on shelves with high-end hardware specifications packed inside, as well as with close-to-stock Android software, and might replace the currently available Nexus lineup. These handsets are expected to become available for purchase both though Google’s own channels and via other retail channels, with only up to five such devices up for grabs at the same time. The info comes from The Information, which also claims that the program is well underway, and that Google is planning on conquering the very high-end of the market with these devices. Devices included in this lineup would feature specific hardware capabilities, while offering a pure Android experience, something that Nexus phones and Google Play devices can offer at the moment. Multiple manufacturers will be able to join the Silver program, it seems.

The same as Nexus handsets at the moment, devices included in the Silver program will receive new software updates fast, said report claims. One thing that should be noted here, however, is the fact that Silver phones appear to be so close to Nexus and Google Play Edition devices at the moment that it is possible that Google is merely moving to another stage with these two programs, bringing them closer together. Should this pan out, it remains to be seen what differences handsets included in the program will feature when compared to existing Google phones out there, or to other devices capable of offering a pure Android experience. Apparently, Google is planning on launching the program in the US, Germany and Japan next year, and it will also work with carriers and other retailers for the release of these devices, while planning on spending good money to promote them.

Additionally, the Internet giant is said to plan on paying for making them available through carriers too and might even be willing to pay for development costs, should that be needed. As one can imagine, no official info on the matter has been provided as of now, though chances are that more details will emerge sooner rather than later, especially with Android Police already unveiling some of them earlier this month. Specific details on manufacturers to enroll in this program haven’t emerged either, but it seems that LG and Motorola might be among the first to release Silver phones when the initiative is made official. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before more on this emerges, so stay tuned to learn the news.

Google to replace the Nexus series with new Silver handsets
Image credits to Google

LG L80 Officially Introduced in Indonesia

Yesterday, we reported that a brand new L Series III smartphone leaked ahead of its official launch, the L80 dual. The smartphone was spotted in Russia, where it is set to arrive in late May for an unknown price.

However, it looks like LG has officially introduced the L80 in Indonesia several hours after the smartphone’s leak in Russia. This time, we have more details on the phone’s price tag and specs sheet. According to GSMArena, the LG L80 will be available for purchase in Indonesia soon for only IDR 2,500,000 outright, which is about €155 or $215. Although no exact release date has been confirmed, we can safely assume that the smartphone will go on sale next month. The LG L80 will be available in two variants, single SIM and dual SIM. Depending on the region, Android fans will be able to get one or the other. For example, customers in Russia will be offered the dual-SIM model, along with those in Indonesia, but in various European countries, the LG L80 might only be available in the single-SIM version.

What’s important is the fact that aside from that, both variants are similar when it comes to hardware and software configuration. This means that customers will be able to purchase a cheap smartphone that will come with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and all the exclusive LG features, like Knock Code, QSlide and so on. On the inside, the LG L80 packs a 1.2Hz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, which should be enough to run most of the apps and games in the Google Play Store with some exceptions.

On the back, the mid-range Android smartphone packs a 5-megapixel photo snapper with LED flash and video recording, while in the front, there’s a secondary camera for video calls. Connectivity-wise, LG L80 offers 3G with HSPA on SIM 1 (on the dual-SIM version) and EDGE on SIM 2. In addition, the device comes with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS with A-GPS support and FM Radio. It is also worth mentioning that the L80 only packs 4GB of internal memory, which is why those who decide to go for it should take into consideration acquiring an additional microSD memory card (up to 32GB). LG Indonesia has also confirmed that the smartphone will be powered by a generous 2540 mAh battery, which has yet to be rated. Last but not least, LG L80 sports a larger 5-inch WVGA IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 480 x 800 pixels resolution.

LG L80
Images credits to chip.co.id

Huawei Ascend P7 Leaks in New Photos Ahead of Official Release

Next week, Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei should make a new flagship device official, namely the long-rumored Huawei Ascend P7, and a new set of leaked photos with the device is now available for your viewing pleasure.

Available courtesy of NowhereElse, these photos show a design similar to that of Ascend P6 last year, which does not come as a surprise, since the phone was already rumored to resemble its predecessor a lot. When unveiled in early May, the Ascend P7 will feature a 5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, as well as a 1.6GHz processor inside, coming from Huawei itself. Moreover, the upcoming flagship device is also expected to land on shelves with 2GB of RAM packed inside, as well as with 16GB of internal memory, and a microSD memory card slot for expansion purposes.

On the back, it will sport a 13-megapixel camera, capable of at least full HD video recording, paired with a 5MP front camera for video calling and selfies. Huawei Ascend P7 is also said to sport a 2.460mAh battery inside, and to run under the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, with Huawei’s own Emotion UI loaded on top. The phone hasn’t been officially confirmed as of now, but its smaller version, Huawei Ascend P7 mini, was unveiled this week. Images gallery below, click for larger image.

Huawei Ascend P7
Image credits to NoWhereElse.fr

Intel Might Not Have a Choice but to Use ARM Cores from Now On

The idea that Advanced Micro Devices would start to use ARM technology in its processors is one that has been both supported and dismissed by the world at large for the past year. No longer though, and Intel might have to adjust its tactics because of that.

You might have already come upon the news about the new APUs (SoCs really), the Beema and Mullins chips that AMD has just launched. I’ve already explored pretty much everything in regard to them that can be of interested to us common mortals. I have even taken a closer look at that nifty little Intelligent Boost technology that overclocks the processor while taking into account how warm/hot the skin on your hands is. However, in the end, the most game-changing element in the new chips is the ARM Cortex A5 core that AMD built into the accelerated processing unit systems-on-chip. With this, the hybrid nature of AMD’s processor lineup is extended from two-fold (x86+GPU) to threefold (ARM+x86+GPU). Some may say that the ARM core has no bearing on performance so it shouldn’t be counted, but I disagree. The core may not actually compute much, technically, but it has a very important role.

It’s all about security

I’ve already explored this, but I’ll make a summary here as well: the Cortex A5 core enables AMD’s TrustZone technology to operate. What the technology does is decide whether or not the system should be allowed to boot. More importantly, it will divide the APU/SoC in two, using the Cortex A5’s own ROM and SRAM memory. The unsecured “half” of the SoC does the heavy lifting (work documents, games, media playback, etc.) while the secured half handles network and Internet data exchanges, transactions, antivirus, and so on. All in all, the Cortex A5-enabled TrustZone technology provides a level and type of hardware encryption not seen before. For a microcontroller, the chip has a very important role.

Intel might have to reconsider its stance on ARM

For the longest time, Intel has steadfastly stuck to its policy to only use x86 technology in its central processing units and compute modules. Admittedly, now that it has the Quark and other chips with arguably low TDPs, it’s not “critical” to try ARM designs, even though ARM technology is still more energy-efficient. However, AMD has shown a very out-of-the-box use for the technology. And while its Beema and Mullins APUs will only be used in mid-range PCs and mobile devices (respectively), I don’t have trouble imagining AMD launching Opterons with TrustZone, or other server chips.

So, with x86-based CPUs that also have this ability to encrypt everything coming in and going out of a computer without touching (and slowing) everything else, I imagine that server makers will be quite interested in the concept. Micro-server clients in particular. That’s not even taking into account that AMD has fully ARM-based server solutions, and that adding TrustZone will only make them more appealing. Not to say that Intel’s chips don’t have hardware-based security, because they do, but AMD’s approach is novel enough to cause ripples.

The possible futures

I haven’t heard Intel commenting on AMD’s inclusion of ARM tech in its chips, not yet, and I’m pretty sure that the “purely x86” stance will go on for at least a while. However, I believe the odds are good that Intel will at least consider this kind of hybridization, even if it reconsiders and never tells anyone about its inner turmoil. I’m making abstraction of Chipzilla’s wearable device-intended SoCs here of course.

The AMD TrustZone technology explained
Image credits to AMD

Apr 28, 2014

Samsung’s First Tizen OS Smartphone to Land in Russia in May

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has already confirmed plans to launch its first smartphone running under the Tizen OS sometime in the second quarter of the year, but no official release date for it has been provided as of now.

According to the latest reports on the matter, however, we might see the company making the upcoming device official in Russia in May. According to a post on tizenindonesia, the phone will also come to other markets soon after, including Brazil, and other countries where Samsung’s Bada OS has managed to get some traction. No confirmation on the matter has been provided as of now, but said news site notes that the info comes from a Samsung official, who also confirmed that the mobile phone would be a high-end device. Until Samsung makes a formal announcement on this, we should note that a company’s handset supposedly running under Tizen has made an appearance in India, where it is undergoing some testing.

As sammytoday notes, the phone has been spotted on the website of Indian import-export firm Zauba with model number SM-Z910F attached to it, and with a 4.8-inch touchscreen display. The phone is being tested in three different country versions, destined for Russia, the UK and France, it seems. However, despite its possible limited initial availability, the handset might arrive in more markets soon after.

Samsung's first Tizen OS handset to land in Russia next month
Image credits to tizanindonesia

Samsung SM-G906S Spotted Online Again, Could Be Galaxy S5 Prime

One of the devices that South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics might bring to the market in the not-too-distant future is a premium version of the Galaxy S5, and the device appears to have emerged online once again.

A certain Samsung SM-G906S has been spotted in official Samsung documents for the Find My Mobile service, where it is listed among the devices supported in the service, despite the fact that Samsung hasn’t made it official as of now. Previously, the mobile phone was spotted in benchmarks with a 2K (2560 x 1440 pixels) touchscreen display, which suggested that this might indeed be the premium device model that enthusiasts were looking for, as SamMobile notes. Supposedly called Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, the device is now said to be launched sometime in June with an aluminum body and a possible 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor packed inside, paired with 3GB of RAM.

The smartphone is also said to feature a 5.2-inch screen, 32GB of internal memory, and a 16-megapixel or better camera on the back. No official confirmation on the matter has been provided as of now, and Samsung even took its time to deny any plans for a premium version of Galaxy S5, but it seems that a formal announcement could be made sooner rather than later, so stay tuned for specifics on the matter.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime allegedly spotted in Samsung documents
Image credits to galaxyclub.nl

Android 4.4 KitKat Update for Meizu MX3 Now Available for Download

We reported about two weeks ago that Chinese company Meizu confirmed it would offer Android 4.4 KitKat updates for its MX2 and MX3 smartphones on April 28.

True to its promise, Meizu has just started to seed Android 4.4 KitKat for the MX3. The information has been confirmed by meizufans.eu forums where the full changelog of the update has been published as well. The update contains an update for Flyme OS 3.6.1A and lots of new features, improvements and bug fixes. There’s also a new ART mode, which can be enabled via Developer Tools. Some camera bug fixes have been included in the update as well, along with the music player issues. New compatible Bluetooth Smart devices that support Bluetooth Smart bracelet have been added, as well as the option to add call log sync.

Some optimizations to Notification bar and Gallery are also included, along with some improvements to input method and unlock. Those with rooted devices should clear date, otherwise the smartphone may not boot. A synchronization backup is recommended in order to avoid losing contact and other sensitive data. For the full list of changes included in this Android 4.4 KitKat update for Meizu MX3 please head over to the original forum thread.

Android 4.4 KitKat update for Meizu MX3
Image credits to meizufans.eu

Apr 27, 2014

LG G3 Emerges in Leaked Photo, Back-Mounted Buttons Confirmed

LG G3, the next flagship Android-based handset from the South Korean mobile phone maker, is expected to arrive on shelves sometime this summer with a design similar to that of LG G2 from last year, and an allegedly leaked photo with the device appears to confirm this.

The image, available courtesy of GSMArena, shows that LG G3 will sport Volume and Power buttons on the back, beneath the camera, just as LG G2 did. Moreover, it also unveiled that these buttons have been slightly changed, and that LG will also include a new sensor next to the camera, which explains the cut hole spotted in plastic cases for the device earlier this week. The smartphone will pack a LED flash to one side of the camera, with the aforementioned sensor on the other side, though no specific info on what this will serve for has been provided as of now. LG G3 is said to arrive on shelves with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, though LG might also release versions with 3GB of RAM inside and 32GB of storage.

The handset, supposedly running under Android KitKat, should hit the market with a 13MP or a 16MP camera on the back, improved optical image stabilization capabilities, and a large, 5.5-inch touchscreen display, while being powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor.

Allegedly leaked photo of LG G3
Image credits to GSMArena

Apr 25, 2014

Cheap Nexus 6 Model to Pack a 64-Bit Processor

Recently, Mountain View-based Internet giant Google has been rumored to plan the release of a cheaper version of the Nexus 6 handset, which is reportedly set to land on shelves sometime towards the end of this year.

Up until now, Google and its hardware partners have released Nexus devices with high-end hardware packed inside, though with appealing price tags attached to them. However, it seems that this might change when Nexus 6 arrives this fall. Apparently, the company has decided to release a cheap Nexus model that would target the entry-level market, though it seems that it will still pack it with appealing hardware inside. Rumor has it that the phone will hit shelves at less than $100, and that it will sport a MediaTek processor inside, which should provide it with the possibility to deliver decent performance capabilities, despite its low cost. A new report coming from Economic Daily News claims that the MediaTek processor that will be included inside the mobile phone might be the 64-bit 1.5GHz quad-core MT6732 chip.

Moreover, the news site notes that, provided that this CPU does not make it inside the phone, the 2.0GHz octa-core MT6752 chipset will. Both of these processors come with Mali-T760 GPUs and with support for LTE connectivity, which should indeed deliver great performance capabilities to all users. Moreover, both of these are 64-bit chipsets, using the new ARMv8 instruction set, as PhoneArena notes. The inclusion of one of these processors in the upcoming cheaper Nexus 6 variant will ensure that even users on a budget will still be able to deliver the performance capabilities that high-end phones can provide at the moment. Despite the fact that MediaTek-powered handsets are considered to be inferior due to the fact that they sport much lower price tags, they are still capable of more than decent performance levels.

Should Google indeed plan the release of a $100 Nexus 6 handset with a 64-bit processor inside, it will certainly manage to attract a lot of users to the Android OS at the entry-level market, posing some issues to rivals such as Windows Phone, which are highly popular in this segment at the moment. However, no official confirmation on Google’s plans on this has been provided as of now, and it would not come too much as a surprise if the new rumor does not pan out. Hopefully, additional details on the matter will be provided sooner rather than later, so stay tuned for more on this.

Nexus 5
Image credits to Google

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 Is a Surprisingly Powerful Mid-Range Motherboard

ASRock may have unleashed five different Z97-based motherboards, but one of them is likely to outsell all the others, because mid-range products always sell the best. There's a reason they're called “mainstream” after all.

The motherboard in question is called ASRock Z97 Extreme 4, which means that it still has some pretty nifty assets but manages not to cost an arm and a leg. Presumably, anyway. Since ASRock hasn't exactly shared the prices with us, we can't really do anything other than guess at this point in time. Anyway, the newcomer has a similar black and blue color theme as the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6, sharing many of the visual elements with it really. Still, it does only have 8 SATA 6.0 Gbps ports instead of 10, and a single Gigabit Ethernet port instead of a pair. The rest of the spec sheet seems to be pretty similar though, from the 12-phase VRM (voltage regulation module) to the four DDR3 DIMM memory slots (which allow for up to 32 GB memory at any given time).

Moving on, there are three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, leading to the possibility of triple-SLI and CrossFireX multi-GPU configurations. Add to that three PCI Express x1 slots and you have expansion slots for pretty much everything, from video to audio and I/o adapters of all kinds. You can even install an audio card if you think the on-board solution is not good enough. Do keep in mind, though, that Purity Sound technology with 7.1 channel surround sound is actually pretty good. ASRock may have designed the Z97 Extreme 4 as a mid-range board, but only in comparison to the others in the 9-Series. In the big picture, it's still pretty powerful. If the company manages to keep prices on the level, it might steal customers from Gigabyte's own Z97 Enthusiast motherboards that came out a couple of days back.

That said, other than the parts we have already enumerated, the ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 boasts VRM heatsinks, a separate PCI Express power connector (for extra stability), M.2 slots (for add-in mini PCI Express cards and SSDs) and eSATA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. A VGA port, two USB 2.0 connectors, 6 USB 3.0 ports and PS/2 exist as well. Make sure to read the name of the product carefully when you start browsing online. The ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 and Z97 Extreme 6 don't just sound but also look a lot alike.

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4
Image credits to ASRock

ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 Motherboard Released with 7.1 Channel Purity Audio

The Z97 OC Formula may be ASRock's latest and greatest motherboard, not counting anything larger than the ATX form factor anyhow, but it's not the only one that the company released. In fact, it's just one of five.

Still, of the four that we haven't checked out, the Z97 Extreme 6, at least, deserves to be looked at independently, so here we go. You can tell that the Z97 Extreme 6 isn't meant for the same ludicrous overclocking opportunities as the OC just from looking at the power distribution. The CPU only gets one 8-pin ATX power connector instead of two, even if the VRM (voltage regulation module) still has 12 phases. Even without overclocking, though, any PC powered by the Haswell refresh CPU from Intel will perform well. And since Devil's Canyon CPUs are also supported, that means that high-grade, powerful computers are just as easy to set up too, even if they won't score any OC records. In case you were wondering, Devil's Canyon is the codename that Intel is currently using to refer to the unlocked Haswell refresh CPUs, the ones that are not coming out until the second half of the year.

On that note, future-generation Broadwell central processing units will work on the new ASRock motherboards as well, since they, too, will boast the LGA 1150 socket. But we digress. The ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 boasts three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI Express 3.0 x1 slots, Ultra M.2 and M.2 slots (for add-in mini PCI Express cards and SSDs), a separate PCI-e power connector at the bottom (for more stability) and 10 SATA 6.0 Gbps ports. You'll have a hard time filling your desktop computer with enough SSDs, HDDs, HHDs and/or SSHDs to get something out of all those connectors, that's for sure. Furthermore, ASRock provided four DDR3 DIMM memory slots, plus OC and LED for Diagnostics. Because even if this is not a mainboard intended for a lot of overclocking, that doesn't mean it can't be done. It's called “Extreme” for a reason after all.

Finally, the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 features Gigabit LAN (dual ports actually), eSATA, HDMI, DisplayPort, six USB 3.0 connectors, Purity Sound 2 technology (powers 7.1 channel audio jacks) and PS/2 (for normal peripherals). Unfortunately, ASRock didn't say what prices it will slap to the motherboard when it starts shipping them in a week or two. Look for the model with blue heatsinks if you're specifically interested in this one instead of any random ASRock Z97 mainboard.

ASRock Z97 Extreme 6
Image credits to ASRock

Apr 24, 2014

Xiaomi’s Tablet to Come with Retina Display (2048 x 1536 Pixels) and NVIDIA/Intel CPUs

In case you were missing some more conflicting rumors regarding the mythical Xiaomi tablet, we have a new batch for you.

As you might remember, we were hoping the slate will make an appearance yesterday at Xiaomi’s media press event, but as it turned out, the company ended up launching two wireless routers and TV box instead. Like the next-gen Nexus 10 tablet, the Xiaomi slate has been said to arrive since forever. Even more puzzling, the rumor mill couldn't agree on its specifications whatsoever. Now a new report coming to us via Focus Taiwan claims the slate is indeed on its way and will arrive with a pretty amazing set of specs. For starters, the device will boast an iPad mini-like 7.85-inch display with an ultra-sharp resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. Furthermore, sources claim the device will be assembled by Taiwan-based Foxconn Technologies and Invantec and will retail for as little as $160 / €116 when it arrives on the market in the third or fourth quarter of the year. The information seems congruent, considering that Xiaomi and Invantec have partnered up before for the manufacturing of the high-end Mi3 smartphone and low-cost Hongmi models.

Moving along, the report also says Xiaomi is working alongside with chipmakers Intel and NVIDIA in order to bring the tablet to life and ensure the device is a success when it arrives on the Chinese market. This new turn of events certainly seems puzzling, especially since we were expecting a tablet with pretty mid-range specs. Prior to the current report, rumors claimed the Xiaomi slate would be arriving with a Snapdragon 400 processor fitted with Adreno GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The slate was said to also offer the 4G LTE option, but disappointingly enough, the MiPad might arrive with Android 4.3 out of the box, as opposed to Android 4.4. KitKat.

At some point it was speculated that the tablet would come bundling a pretty awesome IGZO display, as the technology was getting more and more spread. The slate was also said to have a 7-inch screen and run on a quad-core MediaTek MT8125 CPU clocked at 1.5GHz. Other possible specifications included a 13MP camera (capable of recording video in 1080p). We also heard the tablet might arrive with a massive 9.2-inch display and a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Judging by the render that leaked online at some point, the Xiaomi tablet might end up being offered in multiple colors, apart from the classic black we see in most tablets these days. So what will the Xiaomi tablet really bring to the table when it arrives on the market?

Xiaomi is working with Intel and NVIDIA on its first tablet
Image credits to Engadget

Apr 23, 2014

Pantech IM-A888S Emerges in AnTuTu with Snapdragon 805 CPU

South Korean mobile phone maker Pantech is gearing up for the release of a new high-end handset, one that might land on shelves with the Snapdragon 805 processor packed inside, as a recent listing in AnTuTu shows.

The company has been rumored before to plan the release of such a device, but no proof of that has emerged until now. However, a certain Pantech IM-A888S has been spotted in the aforementioned benchmarking app powered by this processor. According to the listing, the handset should land on shelves as a flagship model, packing a screen capable of delivering a 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution, and pairing the Snapdragon 805 CPU with 3GB of RAM. The handset managed to score 36970 points in AnTuTu. As PhoneArena notes, considering the fact that this is still a prototype device, the score is a pretty good one. The news site also notes that the new phone might arrive on the market as the successor of Pantech Vega LTE-A, which was launched with model number IM-A880S attached to it, provided that the handset vendor continues to use the same naming scheme as before. 

No details on the release date of the new smartphone have been offered as of now, but chances are that it won’t go official for several months. Stay tuned for more on the matter.

Pantech IM-A888S
Image credits to Antutu

Oppo R1S Goes Official with 5-Inch HD Display, Quad-Core CPU, on Pre-Order from April 25

After launching the Oppo R1 mid-range Android smartphone, the Chinese company decided to try its luck with a sequel, which is dubbed Oppo R1S. The Oppo R1 and R1S have been priced similarly, although they have different specs, so it’s up to each and every Android enthusiast to choose the right device for them.

The official launch of the R1S doesn’t come as a surprise given the fact that the smartphone received its certification in China last week. However, we did not know when exactly Oppo would announce the new smartphone. Powered by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system with Color ROM, Oppo R1S is another mid-range smartphone that offers more than decent hardware specs. According to fonearena, the R1S will be available for pre-order for 2,500 yuan ($400 / €290) outright beginning April 25. For the time being, the smartphone will only be released in China, but Oppo may decide to bring it to other countries in the region as well. It is also worth mentioning that Oppo R1S will be available in both blue and white color options and will be up for pre-order via Oppo’s official online store.

Just like the HTC Desire 816, the Oppo R1S is equipped with a more than decent 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, which is accompanied by an Adreno 305 graphics processing unit and 1GB of RAM. The R1S comes with 16GB of storage, but there’s no mention of microSD card slot for memory expansion, so we must assume that it lacks one. That may be its only downside, though there are plenty of companies that offer free cloud storage for various periods. Furthermore, the Oppo R1S sports a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720p) resolution. The phone is only 7.1mm thin and weighs 140 grams (battery included). Speaking of which, the smartphone is powered by a 2140 mAh battery, which has yet to be rated by the manufacturer.

Another strong point of Oppo’s mid-range smartphone is the 13-megapixel camera on the back, which features 6-element, f/2.0 aperture, 1/3″ Sony IMX214 sensor, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording. There’s also a secondary, no less impressive, 5-megapixel photo snapper in the front, which is perfect for selfies or video calls. On the connectivity front, Oppo R1S does not disappoint, as the smartphone comes with 4G LTE support, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS and microUSB.

Oppo R1S
Image credits to fonearena

Apr 22, 2014

Meizu MX4 Coming to China in August with 2560x1536 Resolution Display

Word about Meizu planning a new flagship smartphone this year emerged over the weekend when Jack Wong took it on forums to confirm that the new MX4 would be bigger and better than its predecessor.

Although no details on the phone’s specs sheets were revealed by the company’s official, the mere statements regarding the existence of Meizu MX4 caught fans’ imagination. Today, new info on Meizu MX4’s possible release date emerged online via Phonearena. According to Chinese blog site 163.com, the MX4 should arrive in the Mainland sometime in August. Meizu MX4 is said to be priced at around $320 (€230), though Android fans should take the information with a grain of salt until the Chinese company confirms the smartphone’s suggested retail price. No details on the phone’s sheet have been unveiled in the leak, but the latest hearsay claims that Meizu MX4 will boast a stunning 5.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display that supports 2560 x 1536 pixels resolution.

The phone will be available in two versions and at least one of them will be powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 805 chipset. It will also pack 3GB of RAM, 16-megapixel rear-facing camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Meizu MX4 is expected to ship with Flyme 4.0 OS, which is based on the latest version of Android. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Meizu MX3
Image credits to Meizu

Motorola to Launch Moto E (XT1021) Model Soon

Last week, mobile phone maker Motorola was rumored to plan the release of some new handsets in the near future, including one that would feature model number XT1021 and a thin body, and some more info on the matter is now available.

According to a recent article on xataka.com.mx, the handset is expected to arrive on shelves in Mexico as Moto E, which will debut a new phone series at the vendor. Motorola was also said to plan the release of new versions of its Moto X and Moto G devices, and it seems that it is determined to expand its portfolio as much as possible this year, though it will continue to focus on the low- and mid-range markets. The new Moto E should pack rather appealing specs for a budget-friendly handset, including a thin form factor, and the latest version of Android loaded on top, which might help it gain traction on the market pretty soon. As previously reported, the mobile phone is expected to arrive on the market with a 4.3-inch touchscreen display of unknown resolution (though it might prove to be a 720p screen), and with a 1GHz dual-core processor packed inside.

Moreover, the handset is said to pack 1GB of RAM inside, as well as 4GB of internal memory, and a microSD memory card slot for expansion purposes. It will be powered by a 1900mAh battery and should sport a 5-megapixel camera on the back, rumor has it. Moreover, the new device is said to be only 6.2mm thick, which should add up to its appeal, that’s for sure. According to the aforementioned website, Motorola will make the phone available for purchase with Google’s Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system loaded on top. The same as Moto X and Moto G before it, the upcoming Moto E is expected to lack software customizations coming from Motorola, thus being capable of providing users with almost a pure Android experience.

Rumor has it that the new smartphone is next on Motorola’s roadmap for this year, and that it will land on shelves sometime in the next few weeks. No specific info on its release date, availability and pricing has been offered as of now, but chances are that it would cost anywhere between 2,999 pesos ($230/€166) and 3,199 pesos ($245/€177), it seems. Provided that the info leaked on this device will pan out, it should not be too long before Motorola makes an official announcement on the handset’s arrival, so stay tuned.

Motorola to launch Moto E soon
Image credits to Motorola

Aqua Computer Full Water Block for Radeon R9 295 X2 Dual-GPU Graphics Card Released

Dual-GPU graphics cards are special products with equally special demands, and while NVIDIA managed to get away with a more or less common-looking cooler, the same cannot be said about AMD. It looks like there was still room for improvement though.

Aqua Computer has formally launched a full-cover water block for the Radeon R9 295 X2 dual-Hawaii “Vesuvius” graphics card. This is actually a more surprising development than one might think, because the dual-chip graphics card already has a surprisingly good cooler. Instead of using some air-based solution, AMD instead called on Asetek to make a hybrid cooling module that combines the benefits of a heatsink and fan with those of a radiator and two water blocks, one for each GPU. It's why most of AMD's OEMs aren't likely to launch custom-cooled versions of the board: it's not just a simple case of replacing a normal, lackluster reference cooler with a mildly better, custom one. Aqua Computer had the right idea: only a full liquid cooler could replace the default one, even if it did mean loss of independence.

What do we mean by that? The Radeon R9 295 X2 has a closed-loop, all-in-one hybrid liquid cooler, meaning that it can be installed, as is, in any PC. Water blocks need you to already have a water cooling system in your desktop PC though, one with a reservoir, pumps, connection to an outside water source, etc. Fortunately for Aqua Computer, those with enough money to create a PC strong enough to hold the overkill video card should have no trouble covering the costs. Indeed, they may choose water cooling as a default commodity regardless. And now for the actual product. The Aqua Computer kryographics Vesuvius for R9 295X2 is made of high-purity electrolytic copper raw material and weighs 2.72 kg / 5.99 pounds all on its own.

In addition to the GPUs themselves, the RAM chips and the VRM (voltage regulator module), it comes into contact with the PCI Express bridge chip as well. That last one usually doesn't get direct treatment. The areas above the GPUs have a micro structure with 0.5 mm grid, and maintain an even temperature thanks to how water flows through both in parallel. Another advantage is the high gloss polished base which, helped along by thermal grease, should be able to pull and neutralize heat very quickly. As for the cover, it is made of Plexiglass and milled from a single, solid block. It also totally lacks drilled threads, instead using a stainless steel frame to stay in place.The kryographics Vesuvius for R9 295X2 water block from Aqua Computer has a price of €170 / $170, but a nickel-plated variant will come out soon, for €185 / $185.

Aqua Computer kryographics Vesuvius for R9 295X2
Image credits to Aqua Computer

iPhone 6 with 5.5-Inch Display Could Be Delayed Until 2015

Samsung’s SDI battery division and LG Chemical are being hard-pressed to produce some of their thinnest batteries yet for the unannounced “iPhone Air” launching towards the end of this year, as some analysts have predicted.

Taiwan’s Commercial Times says Apple wants the battery for an upcoming iPhone to be less than two millimeters thick, in what is giving the aforementioned cell makers “headaches.” The unannounced phone is dubbed “iPhone Air” in the report, and it is this particular model that Apple wants to equip with a 5.5-inch “phablet” display, the paper says. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo working with KGI Securities wrote in a recent research note that Apple is indeed planning to deploy such a device, but that the Cupertino company won’t be able to deliver until the very end of 2014 because of several manufacturing issues (possibly including the battery problem). And while the 5.5-inch model will seemingly be called iPhone Air, the smaller 4.7-inch version will adopt the iPhone 6 dubbing, sources say. Apple has two more products called “Air,” one in the tablets category, the other in the notebook line.

iPhone 6 is expected to ship much earlier, indicating that manufacturers are having less trouble churning out the parts for this particular model. There’s even a chance the iPhone Air could be delayed until 2015. A rough machine translation of the key takeaway in the report reads, “By the large size of the cyclone blew smartphone, previously came on the market, Apple will launch two large iPhone, a 4.7-inch, two to emphasize slim 5.5-inch models. Currently 4.7-inch progress clearer, should be available in the second half of this year, but due to technical difficulties iPhone Air may only come out in the next year.” Apple’s first scheduled event for 2014 (in the absence of other announcements that may come soon) is the Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off on June 2 and lasts until June 6.

At the opening keynote, Tim Cook and his fellow executives are expected to spend a great deal of time discussing the latest innovations in software, perhaps with the release of early iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 snapshots (as developer previews). iPhone is no stranger to WWDC, but Apple has refrained from launching new iPhone versions at the event for the past two years. Most analysts expect the company to hold tradition and unveil its new smartphone(s) in fall, again.

iPhone Air concept
Image credits to SET Solution

Premium Galaxy S5 Leaks as Project KQ with 2K Screen, Snapdragon 805 CPU

South Korean mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics has been long rumored to plan the release of a premium version of its Galaxy S5 handset, and some new info on the matter has emerged now.

Previously, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was said to hit shelves in two flavors, including one that would be called Galaxy S5 Prime, and which was expected to pack better hardware capabilities when compared to the standard model, something that could pan out soon. Although Samsung has denied any intention to launch a premium variant of the device, new information that emerged online over at SamMobile suggests that the new handset variant is real and that it could become official sooner rather than later. Said device is supposedly featuring the codename Project KQ, which clearly shows that it would be a Galaxy S5 variant. It should arrive on the market with a more powerful processor inside, as well as with a Quad HD screen, up from the Full HD one available on the currently available model.

Apparently, Samsung was planning the launch of S5 with a 2K screen right from the start, though it abandoned the idea and moved to the 1080p screen in the end. However, Project KQ (Galaxy S5 was known internally as Project K) should go official as the premium version of the device, the one that users have been waiting for ever since Galaxy S5 was still only a rumor. Moreover, it seems that Samsung might pack the new phone not only with the aforementioned 2K screen, but also with a more powerful processor inside. One flavor of the handset might land on shelves with an Exynos 5430 chipset, packing a 2.1GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU and a 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 one, a nice improvement over the Exynos 5422 processor.

The chip should also feature a Mali GPU clocked in at 600MHz, along with HEVC hardware decoder, and a dedicated (Cortex A5) co-processor for audio encoding, decoding and audio equalization. The premium flavor of Samsung Galaxy S5 is also said to include an Intel XMM7260 Category 6 (300mbit/s) LTE modem, which would mark Intel’s debut into the LTE market for high-end devices. Moreover, Samsung is also expected to launch a version of the device with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor packed inside, which might hit shelves with model number G906S attached to it. No official confirmation on any of the above has been provided as of now, but chances are that the new very high-end Samsung smartphone is indeed nearing its official unveiling. Hopefully, it will be introduced in the next several months, so keep an eye on this space for updates.

Samsung said again to plan the launch of a premium version of Galaxy S5
Image credits to Samsung

Apr 20, 2014

The iPhone 6 Could Really Come on June 2, and Here’s Why

It has long been speculated that Apple can’t afford to stall the big-screen upgrade, and several analysts have predicted that WWDC 2014 will be the time and the place (Einstein would probably call it the “timeplace”) of the iPhone 6 launch.

It’s not just possible, it’s probable

The first argument that springs to mind whenever someone asks me "when do ya' think the iPhone 6 will be announced" is the leaks. The massive amount of leaks that are cropping up all over the place, much earlier than expected. Take, for instance, that heavy tool that’s said to be used for the machining process to carve a block of aluminum and achieve the desired final shape. Apple has been doing cases like this for years now, and it seems they’re at it again. In fact, there’s no reason to assume otherwise. The schematics for the phone also seem to have leaked early, allowing some case makers to jump the gun and create compatible sleeves, and the front glass panel has also emerged in photos. Granted, they could all be fakes, but there is no indication that they are. The timing is awfully strange. Unless the phone has already entered production, of course. And why would Apple kickstart production now if it’s going to ship this thing in October, as some analysts maintain? One reason could be to avoid supply constraints, but the tech giant would never trade having its upcoming iPhone exposed so early simply to avoid bottlenecks.

So my theory remains that the primary reason why these leaks are occurring right now is because yes, Apple has moved into production full-swing, and yes, the photos are spilling out because we’re less than two months away from the phone’s unveiling. The shipping is a different story altogether, but I maintain that Apple is building the devices now because it plans to show off the novelty on June 2.

Those “other” analysts could be right

That’s right. I’m siding with the ones who really think Apple needs to hurry out this new iPhone. I don’t have an explanation for it. I just think sooner-rather-than-later applies really well here. I’ll be the first to admit my theory could crumble should Foxconn (Apple’s assembler) incur some manufacturing hurdles. There’s also a chance the Cupertino giant might simply change its mind. An asteroid could hit the Earth by then, heck even aliens could pay us a visit in the interim. But the fact remains that there are a lot of clues pointing to the WWDC14 launch. Here’s another one. Remember when Tim Cook said – using slightly different words – “hold your horses, we have a lineup that will shake the ground in 2014?” Well, 2014 is well underway and there’s absolutely nothing new whatsoever from Tim Cook and his buds. When do you reckon he’ll show off all those groundbreaking products? In the one autumn event reserved for iPhone 6 / iWatch / Apple TV refresh?

No. Unless the iWatch can be demoed in fifteen minutes flat and the TV upgrade in another 10, I don’t see how Apple could fit the three in a single show. And I don’t want to believe the company is holding off the iWatch for 2015. If that happens, I’ll not only quit writing these silly predictions, I’ll quit my job altogether. Jokes aside, the only way I see Apple respecting tradition again is if one of the aforementioned product launches is delayed / canceled / a fabrication of the media. Either way, it would really conflict with Tim Cook’s promise for a stellar 2014. It's just as possible Apple has the iWatch / iTV announcement lined up for WWDC14. Whatever comes out first, the developer gathering should host at least one of these major announcements. As I stressed in the lines above, all three can't be crammed into a single keynote.

WWDC14/iPhone 6 banner
Image credits to todoiphone.net

Apr 19, 2014

Google and MediaTek Reportedly Partner for Cheap Nexus Devices

Google’s Nexus series of smartphones is well known for the high-end hardware specs that it brought to the market over the years at low price tags, yet it seems that the lineup might see a series of changes in the not-too-distant future.

According to the latest reports on the matter, Google might actually consider the launch of much cheaper handsets in the series, while packing them with lower hardware specifications than before. Info coming from Chinese media suggests that Google might have partnered with MediaTek for the release of an Android phone at under $100 (€73), and that the device will land on shelves with the Nexus brand attached to it. The info reportedly comes from sources with Taiwan supply chains, though no exact details on when said device might arrive on the market has been provided as of now. However, it seems that Google is not considering replacing the Nexus family of devices with lower-end, cheaper phones, but that it is actually considering expanding the series of the mid- and entry-level segments, so as to better compete with rivals, as GforGames notes.

Whether the phone will be aimed to compete with Nokia’s entry-level Windows Phone handsets, which have attracted a lot of users to their side, or with devices coming from other Android vendors, it remains to be seen. One thing that is certain, however, is that Android indeed needs to strengthen its presence in the mid-range market for a bit, especially with platforms such as BlackBerry, Firefox OS, Windows Phone, and others aiming at assaulting it with newer, better devices. The Nexus series has been focused on the high-end segment, especially with powerful hardware capabilities but low price tags, yet with Android already strong in this area, Google would be right to switch its attention to other market levels as well.

No official confirmation on the possible partnership between Google and MediaTek has been provided as of now but, should one be indeed planned, more details on its will start to emerge sooner rather than later. MediaTek is already supplying chipsets to various mobile phone makers out there, allowing them to release cheap yet powerful handsets, and the same could happen with the rumoured new Nexus phone too. Hopefully, Google will decide to share some more details on this sooner rather than later, maybe as soon as the I/O conference in June, so keep an eye on this space for specifics on the matter.

Nexus 5
Image credits to Google

Apr 15, 2014

OnePlus One Benchmark Scores Leave Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 Behind

Later this month, Chinese phone maker OnePlus is set to make official the first handset that has been specifically designed for the CyanogenMod platform, and it appears that the company will unveil a truly high-end device when that happens.

According to a screenshot from AnTuTu benchmark, the upcoming smartphone, which will be called OnePlus One, can score as high as 38,179 when tested, which is much more than what flagship phones available on shelves today can offer, as PhoneArena notes. The screenshot comes from OnePLus CEO’s Weibo account, which suggests that it is legit. Moreover, it is meant to prove that the company was serious when announcing that its handset would be able to offer new levels of performance to all users.

Previously, the handset vendor confirmed that the new device would arrive on the market with a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AC processor packed inside, which is indeed one of the fastest available on smartphones today. The handset will also arrive on shelves with 3GB of RAM packed inside, as well as with a 5.5-inch touchscreen display, though its case won’t be larger than that of a 5-inch smartphone, the company says. OnePlus One is expected to become official on April 23, so stay tuned to learn more on its capabilities.

OnePlus One benchmarks
Image credits to weibo via PhoneArena

Apr 14, 2014

Huawei Ascend P7 Shows Its Metallic Chassis in Newly Leaked Photos

One of the handsets that Chinese mobile phone maker Huawei has been long rumored to plan on bringing to the market is the Huawei Ascend P7, which emerged in a new set of leaked images today.

Said images, available courtesy of weibo (via gforgames), show that Huawei is likely to adopt a metallic case for the new handset, which should translate into a premium design for the yet unannounced handset. The specifications list of the new device are also said to be high-end, which does not come as a surprise at all, considering the fact that Huawei Ascend P7 is expected to arrive on shelves as the next flagship phone from the Chinese vendor. Previous rumors on the matter suggested that Huawei would pack the device with a 5-inch full HD touchscreen display, and that it also planned on packing it with a 1.6GHz quad-core HiSilicon chipset. Moreover, the handset should land on the market with 2GB of RAM, along with 16GB of internal memory, and a microSD memory card slot for expansion purposes.

One the back, the upcoming smartphone should sport a 13-megapixel camera, complemented by an 8MP front camera for making video calls. A 2460mAh battery is also said to have been included in the device. Huawei Ascend P7 should become official with the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system loaded on top. According to previous reports on the matter, Huawei might unveil the phone in early May, so stay tuned to learn more on the matter.

Huawei Ascend P7
Images credits to weibo via gforgames

iPhone 6 Will Be Made from Aluminum, Leak Indicates

New photos depicting Foxconn molds destined for the iPhone 6 have emerged corroborating a previous leak and potentially confirming Apple’s plans to have a bigger iPhone deployed this year.

According to Steve Hemmerstoffer of Nowhereelse.fr, “Some of the holes that were drilled into the block in fact serve to fix the inserts which will form a crude which is then machined housing (finishes) using a CNC milling machine.” Aided by the comparison iPhone 5s placed next to the mold, the dimensions suggest that the hardware will be used to machine the case of a larger iPhone, seemingly the rumored 4.7-inch model. This is the second leak of its kind. The hardware looks identical, in what would confirm that the former was also legitimate. The leaked photos, however, suggest that Apple will most likely stick with aluminum for the case of its next-generation iPhone. Aluminum has been the company’s top choice for various device enclosures, but this time around people were expecting a more exotic refresh. The Cupertino giant is known to have acquired rights to use a space-age material known as Liquidmetal, which has the properties of steel, glass, and plastic, all with a high strength-to-weight ratio.

It appears that Apple is still not ready to employ the amorphous metal alloy for the manufacturing of entire device casings, as machining or milling are not techniques used to handle this material. Instead, Liquidmetal is heated to the point where it behaves like plastic, and is then stretched, twisted and bent until the desired form is achieved. Lastly, the metal is cooled and left to solidify. The machinery shown in these images would not be suitable for creating Liquidmetal casings. Therefore, if this is a real iPhone manufacturing machine, the next-generation model will most likely be made from aluminum. The iPhone 6 would be Apple’s fourth model made with an aluminum enclosure.

Some rumors have suggested that Apple could put sheets of sapphire crystal on both sides of the phone, something that would also explain the company’s efforts to produce such copious quantities of sapphire at its Mesa, Arizona factory. The leaks also seem to have started early this year. If the Cupertino giant wants to continue with its autumn refresh cycle, then such leaks shouldn’t have occurred for another two months or so. Therefore, we also speculate it might just be possible for Apple to have already entered production with the iPhone 6 for an unveiling at WWDC14 in June.

Purported iPhone machining hardware
Image credits to nowhereelse.fr

LG G3 Leaks in Live Photo, Confirms QHD (2560x1440) Display

LG is expected to launch its next flagship smartphone, the G3, sometime in Q2 2014. According to the latest rumors, the South Korean company may officially introduce the device sometime in May, while the phone will go on sale in June.

Although these timeframes are just speculation for the most part, what’s certain is the fact that LG G3 will come with a stunning display that will support QHD (2560x1440 pixels) resolution. Ubergizmo has just published a picture showing the alleged LG G3 running the AnTuTu benchmark. The cited source claims it has reached out to LG for comments on the G3’s specs and the company has confirmed that its flagship handset will indeed boast a QHD display. Sadly, this is all that LG wanted to comment on the leaked pictures, so there’s no telling what other goodies the G3 will have under the hood.

However, rumors point to a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 32GB of internal memory. No word on the size of the display, but it could be between 5.2 - 5.5 inches. It will be interesting to see whether LG will also add a microSD card and whether or not the G3 will come with at least 3GB of RAM. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Alleged LG G3 picture
Image credits to Ubergizmo

Apr 12, 2014

Gigabyte Selling the GeForce GTX Titan Black Graphics Card with Two Coolers

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan Black graphics card is the best single-GPU board that NVIDIA has up for sale at the moment, and the best single-GPU board period, according to quite a few people. Gigabyte's latest version of it is pretty odd though.

We say that not because the board is factory overclocked, which it is, but that's something we'll look at later on. No, we say that the new video card is peculiar because it ships with two coolers instead of one. The card itself has the stock model, with a single fan and the well-known grey and black shroud, covering a card-length heatsink. However, the box also contains the WindForce 3X cooling system, which can withstand a TDP (thermal design power) of 600W. Normally, an OEM would install its custom cooler on the board and ship the product like that, but Gigabyte did not do so here. Instead, you, the buyer, will have to replace the stock one with the WindForce 3X. We're not totally sure why Gigabyte chose this router, but it could be one of those things involving NVIDIA's policies and whatnot.

Once a video card is launched, NVIDIA, like AMD for that matter, sometimes dictates a period during which OEMs aren't allowed to change the design. That means they can't launch boards with custom PCBs and coolers, although they can ship the coolers separately. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX Titan Black with WindForce 3X could, in this instance, be an example of this. Key word being "could." From what we saw in the past, NVIDIA did not, in fact, forbid partners from changing the design. EVGA's collection of five different GTX Titan Black adapters is as good a piece of evidence, as you could find for that.

So we don't really get why Gigabyte would sell this product bundle, especially since the factory overclock on the board almost demands a superior cooler. Speaking of which, the newcomer runs at a GPU frequency of 1,111 MHz, which is 31 MHz above the 980 MHz stock clock. Because of that, the video card, with its 2,880 CUDA cores, 384-bit memory interface and 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM will be even more ludicrously overpowered. It's a wonder that Gigabyte didn't have to replace the 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors with a pair of 8-pin ones. The connector set (dual-DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs) is the one feature that was left alone. Gigabyte's newest GTX Titan Black video card bears the name of GV-NTITANBLKGHZ-6GD-B and should be up for pre-order at €910 / $1,000.

Gigabyte GTX Titan Black with WindForce 3X 600W cooler
Image credits to Gigabyte

Apr 9, 2014

Meizu Shows Its MX3 Running Ubuntu for Phones

Canonical announced a while ago that it had chosen Meizu and BQ as the first hardware partners for the first Ubuntu-powered phones, and now an official video of Ubuntu running on a Meizu phone has been made public.

Not all Ubuntu fans understood why Canonical chose these two companies to be the spear point of Ubuntu in the busy phone market. Both Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical representatives tried to explain why Meizu and BQ. “Meizu is one of China’s most successful high-end smartphone manufacturers with over 1,000 employees, 600 retail stores and a global presence in China, Hong Kong, Israel, Russia and Ukraine. In January, the company announced its strategy to expand into other international markets as well as to ship phones in America later in 2014 and Ubuntu will be a key part of this expansion,” said one of the many communiques from Canonical. Users can only try Ubuntu for phones by installing it on Nexus devices and on a handful of other unsupported phones (like the latest Nexus 5). This will remain in place until the new Meizu and BQ phones hit the market.

There is no news of the BQ phone, but Meizu MX3 will be used as the flagship phone for Ubuntu. The phone comes in two versions, one with a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A15 processor and one with a Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor. It's unclear which one is used in the video, but presumably it's the fastest one. As you can clearly see from the clip, most of the system seems to be in place, but the Ubuntu version used to illustrate the features is a little old. Some of the new features promoted by Canonical can't be seen in this video, like the new Scopes. In any case, the performance seems to be rather smooth, with the exception of a few apps that open slower than they should. On the other hand, the gallery app looks amazing and the transition effects look very good.

There is no official launch date for the first Ubuntu phones. Until now, the only proposed date is the fall of 2014, but there is no certainty about it. Based on the progress made in the development of Ubuntu Touch, we might even get a 2015 launch. Canonical made some great headway with the operating system and there is no reason to doubt that it will be ready to ship its OS in time.

Ubuntu running on Meizu MX3
Image credits to MeixuMXOn
Short demo showing Meizu MX3 running Ubuntu.
Video credits to Meizu MX On

Firefox OS 2.0 Leaks in Screenshots, Looks Stunning

Mozilla has already partnered with several handset makers for the release of some Firefox OS-powered smartphones, which are now available for purchase in several emerging markets in South America.

However, it looks like the company plans on bringing its Firefox OS to more mature markets, but in order for the move to be successful, Mozilla has to make its mobile platform much more appealing to end users. That seems to happen as we speak, as the first Firefox OS 2.0 screenshots have just been spotted by the folks over at GforGames on the Chinese blog site MyDrivers. The new UI integrated in Firefox OS 2.0 looks amazing in comparison with the older version that is now included in all the smartphones available on the market which are powered by Mozilla’s mobile platform.

Firefox OS-based devices are among the cheapest smartphones available one the market, so if these screenshots are legit, then fans of Mozilla’s devices are in for a nice surprise in the coming weeks. Given the fact that there are no details whatsoever on what’s shown in these screenshots or when exactly the new version of Firefox might be released, we can only hope that Mozilla will come forward with an official statement sooner rather than later. What do you think about the new Firefox OS 2.0 UI? Here are screenshot gallery, click for larger images.

Firefox OS 2.0 UI (screenshots)
Images credits to MyDrivers

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