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Jun 27, 2014

Lenovo’s Windows Phones Emerge in AdDuplex

One of the mobile phone makers to have already confirmed plans to release Windows Phone handsets before the end of this year is Lenovo, and the first such devices from the company have already started to appear online.

According to a recent tweet coming from AdDuplex’s Alan Mendelevich, Windows Phone mobiles from Lenovo were spotted on their platform alongside smartphones from Longcheer, JSR, Micromax, K-Touch, Prestigio, BLU, Nokia, and others. No further info on these handsets has been provided as of now, but it seems that more mobile phone makers have started to test their Windows Phones, and that new launches could be announced very soon. Lenovo and the rest of the aforementioned handset vendors should release smartphones running under the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, just as Microsoft officially announced earlier this year. Unfortunately, specific details on what Lenovo’s upcoming phone might have to offer are not available as of now, and it might take a while before such info is released.

Even so, we expect that the company will unveil an affordable Windows Phone device, the same as other vendors will, something that will certainly help the platform gain some more market share. For the time being, however, we suspect that the handset will be released only in China in the beginning.

Windows Phone 8.1
Image credits to Microsoft

Android L Applications and Wallpapers Now Available for Download

Android L, the latest flavor of Google’s mobile operating system, was made official earlier this week with a nice rage of enhancements packed inside, including updated applications and a new look, but users will have to wait a bit longer before the platform arrives on their devices officially.

However, courtesy of an XDA-Developers Forum member, users can now download no less than 61 applications extracted from the new OS version. Moreover, wallpapers from the platform were also released online, along with the new Android boot animation, so that more people can enjoy them. At the moment, only those who own a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7 2013 can get a taste of the new Android L platform release officially, while others will have to wait at least for several months to grab it. For those who don’t want to wait that long, apps such as Chrome, Calendar, Drive and others are now available for download online, unofficially, of course. The updated Keyboard in the new Android release was also extracted and put up for download, along with the Google Play Store “Velvet” client.

Before proceeding with the download, keep in mind that these apps do not come from an official source, and that some of these apps feature the same build number as those already available. However, the wallpapers will certainly appeal a lot for many users out there, as they will give their devices an Android L look without much of a hassle. Moreover, as Phandroid notes, the full Android L system dump is also available online, and those interested in having a closer look at it can now do so.

Android L wallpaper
Image credits to Phandroid

Microsoft Creates GPS System That Works Indoors

Microsoft Research is very close to completing development of another groundbreaking technology that would help people around the world get around shopping malls, large halls or parking spaces a lot easier than ever before.

The company's division responsible for creating new and innovative ideas designed a GPS system that works indoors, eliminating the need for satellite signal that's absolutely mandatory for any traditional GPS device. The new project was based on a combination of GPS and Wi-Fi-based solutions, which helped the device determine the location of any subject with an accuracy of 10 meters. Cloud connectivity is at the core of everything, the researchers explained, while the devices will feature a steerable, high-gain, directional antenna to the front of a GPS receiver. “Currently, the main approach for providing indoor location services is to profile an indoor space to get a set of Wi-Fi maps and use them to infer user location based on the device-provided Wi-Fi signatures. Profiling is a time-consuming and expensive process, because there is no ground truth to ‘nail down’ the Wi-Fi maps. Profiling is also a continuous process, because the number and the locations of the Wi-Fi access points change over time,” Jie Liu, principal researcher and a research manager at Microsoft Research, said.

Researchers have already tested the device in a total of 31 indoor locations and it proved effective in 20 of them, with a median error of fewer than 10 meters, which Microsoft says is perfectly normal for absolutely all GPS receivers. While it might sound a little bit weird at first, such a technology could have quite a lot of purposes if integrated into other devices, such as smartphones and smart watches. Microsoft is already working hard to step into the wearables market, so developing such a system would clearly offer it a fair advantage in front of the competition. “The best use case of the technology in the short term is probably profiling machines for indoor environments. Not all indoor places can receive GPS signals, but if we have enough ground truth and combine them with inertial navigations using accelerometers and gyroscopes, we can make the indoor-profiling process much cheaper and quicker,” Liu added.

At this point, the GPS system working indoors in still in the development stage, so it might take a few years to say the least until it gets the green light for production, not only as a stand-alone device, but also as an integrated module of other gadgets.

GPS units might soon work indoors too
Image credits to Mashable

HTC One (M8) in a Black Color Flavor Leaks

Before the end of this year, mobile phone maker HTC Corporation should make official a new flavor of its HTC One (M8) smartphone, one that arrives on shelves all dressed up in Black, and a leaked press photo with the handset is now available for your viewing pleasure.

The image made it online courtesy of evleaks.at and shows the back of the handset, but it does not offer further details on the smartphone itself. Thus, we have no idea when it might become available for purchase, and info on the markets that are set to receive it is missing as well. However, considering the fact that the mobile phone does not sport on its back another logo besides that of HTC, we can assume that it will enjoy global availability, the same as other color flavors did. For those out of the loop, we should note that HTC One (M8), the latest flagship Android-based device from the Taiwanese company, was released internationally in Silver, Grey, and Gold. Additionally, HTC has unveiled a Red variant of the device, which was announced as an exclusive to Verizon in the US, and is expected to announce other color flavors as well.

Although HTC One (M8) Black will sport a differently colored cover when compared to the original variants of the phone, the hardware specs of the new model are expected to remain unchanged. This means that the smartphone will arrive on the market with a 5-inch touchscreen display capable of delivering a full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) resolution, as well as with an Aluminum body. HTC One (M8) also arrives on shelves with a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor (this is a 2.5GHz processor in Asia), complemented by Adreno 330 graphics and 2GB of RAM. The mobile phone was released in 16GB /32GB variants and sports a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 128GB of additional storage space (last year’s flagship handset did not feature storage expansion capabilities).

On the back, the handset sports a dual 4MP UltraPixel camera setup, with dual-LED flash and full HD video recording. Moreover, it was made official with a 5-megapixel front camera for making video calls and taking selfies. Connectivity-wise, HTC One (M8) can deliver support for 4G LTE networks, 3G (HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, infrared port, and built-in GPS receiver. The smartphone runs under the Android 4.4.2 KitKat platform with the Sense 6.0 UI loaded on top. However, HTC has already confirmed that it will be upgraded to Android 5.0 L before the end of the summer.

HTC One (M8) in Black
Image credits to evleaks

Real iPhone 6 Unibody Chassis Leaked [Video]

iPhone 6 mockups are a dime a dozen these days, but original cases are scarce. In the video embedded below, we catch our first glimpse at the real iPhone 6 chassis, which appears to be made from anodized aluminum, as before.

The one-minute clip stems from Japan, but the actual case was probably leaked somewhere in China, where Apple’s case manufacturers are found. It shows all the design particularities that have been rumored in the media and looks as genuine as genuine gets. The case even includes a cutout for where the Apple logo will sit on the back, and its construction is extremely precise. The color of the case appears to be white-silver and differs a bit from the existing silver coloring of the iPhone 5s. The camera cutouts indicate that Apple is indeed changing the oval-shaped LED flash (from the 5s) to a round one, and rumor has it that the actual camera will stick out of the chassis a bit (like with the fifth-generation iPod touch).

The Cupertino giant is carrying over some design elements, such as the two stripes visible on the back of the phone. These are responsible for both form and function, as Apple usually puts the phone’s antennas behind them. The person manipulating the part in the video insists to compare it to two separate mockups, one tailored to the size of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, the other meant to resemble the bigger, 5.5-inch version. The mockups are visibly less detailed, lacking various elements that make an Apple product shine (including the iconic logo on the back which, in the case of the mockups, is missing). The fakes are also crafted poorly, further lending credence to the new aluminum part being flashed in the video.

We are now starting to see real iPhone 6 parts leaking out of the Far East, which means production is well underway at Foxconn and / or Pegatron and perhaps other suppliers. According to a recent report from Taiwan, Apple has rejected cases such as the one shown in the video because of manufacturing defects. Catcher Technology, the company that was responsible with creating the cases, reportedly lost three months’ worth of orders because of the faulty cases. iPhone 6 is expected to drop sometime between September and October, with some reports claiming that the actual launch date will be September 19, which falls on a Friday (historically the day Apple physically ships the new iPhone every year).

Genuine iPhone 6 case
Images credits to Macotakara
AliExpress.comで販売されている「iPhone 6 Mockup」と「iPhone 6 Body」をチェック
Video credits to Mac Otakara

Google Confirms Nexus 6 Arrives This Fall, Along with Android L

Contrary to what the latest rumors claimed, Google will continue to launch Nexus devices and the confirmation came recently directly from one of company’s officials.

For those who don’t remember, here is a quick recap on what the latest hearsay regarding Google’s Nexus lineup is. Less than two months ago, rumors that Google might cut out the Nexus family of smartphones entirely and replace them with something else called Android Silver hit the Internet. Now, one month and a half after the first rumors claiming the removal of the Nexus handset from Google’s roadmap started to emerge, Head of Android Engineering and Google’s Nexus program, Dave Burke was kind enough to clarify the confusion. In an interview during Google I/O event, Burke told ReadWrite that the Nexus program would continue and that it was not going anywhere. Google will launch a Nexus smartphone this fall, along with the new Android L operating system. The next Nexus smartphone will be officially unveiled at the same time the final version of Android L is released for all Nexus and Google Play Edition devices.

Here is Burke’s full statement: “When we are working, there are sort of two outputs. We’re building a Nexus device and we’re building the open source code. There is no way you can build the open source code without the phone or tablet or whatever you are building. You have to live and breathe the code you are developing. You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think can can or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don’t see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn’t make sense.” Obviously, there’s a change that the next Google phone will not be named Nexus 6. Perhaps the search giant will want to refresh its lineup by giving it another name, though Dave Burke is pretty clear when he refers to Google’s project as Nexus.

There are still several months until the official unveil of the Nexus 6 smartphone, or whatever its name is, so it might be a bit too early to talk about specs. However, we expect lots of leaks to pop up during the wait, so stay tuned for all the details.

Nexus logo
Image credits to Google

Possible Sony Xperia Z3 Model Numbers Emerge

One of the smartphones that Japanese mobile phone maker Sony Mobile has been long rumored to make official before the end of this year is the Xperia Z3, and some more info on the device’s model number appears to have emerged online.

To be more precise, a listing on TUV Rheinland shows that Sony is preparing a new device for release, with model numbers PM-0800-BV (D6603), PM-0804-BV (D6643), PM-0801-BV (D6616), PM-0806-BV (D6653), PM-0802-BV, PM-0803-BV, and PM-0807-BV attached to it. This is not the first time that some of these device variants emerge online, despite the fact that no specific details on what the handset will have to offer have been provided as of now. However, with model numbers such as D6603 and D6653 already associated with a possible Xperia Z2 successor, chances are that the rest of them will arrive on shelves as variants of the same smartphone. Sony, the same as other mobile phone makers out there, is already known to launch one smartphone in multiple flavors, depending on the market, carrier and some hardware changes, and the same should happen with the upcoming phone too.

Moreover, the guys over at BlogofMobile suggest that this would actually be the Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone that the Japanese vendor is expected to make official this fall during the IFA 2014 trade fair in Berlin. According to the news site, the D6603 could be the international flavor of the phone, with the rest of the models expected to land on shelves as carrier- and market-specific variants. Should this be the Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone, we might see it arriving on shelves with a larger touchscreen display when compared to its predecessor, as well as with a faster processor inside. To be more precise, the phone is said to include a 5.3-inch screen capable of delivering a Quad HD resolution, while being powered by a Snapdragon 805 processor.

Moreover, the upcoming mobile phone should pack no less than 3GB of RAM, along with 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, a microSD memory card slot, and a 20.7-megapixel or higher camera. Earlier this year, Sony confirmed that it would launch new flagship phones every half a year, and Xperia Z3’s launch at IFA would arrive right on schedule, that’s for sure. However, we still have no official confirmation on this available as of now, and it remains to be seen how much of the info presented above will pan out in the end. Keep an eye on this space for additional details.

Possible Sony Xperia Z3 model numbers
Image credits to TUV Rheinland

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