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Oct 29, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 Google Play Edition with Android 5.0 Lollipop Coming in November




A Google Play Edition of Samsung Galaxy S5 has been rumored for quite some time now, but the South Korean company is still mum on the matter.

As soon as it became clear that Galaxy S5 won’t have the same popularity of the Galaxy S III or Galaxy S4, Samsung may have decided to delay the launch of a Google Play Edition version which wouldn’t have boosted the smartphone’s sales too much. However, a smartphone that looks like the unannounced Galaxy S5 GPE was spotted the same day Google announced the Nexus 6 and Android 5.0 Lollipop, right on the company’s Android.com website. A photo of the Samsung Galaxy S5 GPE was included in a collage showing various Android smartphones powered by a stock version of the operating system. Although many believed that Samsung cut the Galaxy S5 GPE from its 2014 roadmap entirely, this doesn’t seem to be accurate. According to YouMobile citing “some trusted reports” they have received, Samsung and Google will surely launch the long-rumored Galaxy S5 GPE next month.

The said reports claim the smartphone will be launched on the market on November, but there are no details on when exactly it will be available for purchase. The good news is that unlike the standard Galaxy S5, the Google Play Edition will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box. Aside from OS, there won't be any difference between GPE and the current version of Galaxy S5. Aside from that, the smartphone is said to come with the same specs as the current Samsung Galaxy S5 model. It’s unclear though whether or not Samsung will add some of the improvements it included in the Galaxy S5 Plus version, which is expected to make its debut in Europe in the next couple of days.

That would mean the Galaxy S5 GPE should be equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor instead of the Snapdragon 801. In addition, the smartphone should also feature LTE-A support for blazing fast mobile data speeds. Given the fact that the information has yet to be confirmed by the South Korean handset maker, we recommend our readers to take it with a grain of salt until more details on the matter surface online. All in all, Samsung decision to bring the Galaxy S5 GPE on the market with Android 5.0 Lollipop in tow does make sense, so we shouldn’t rule out the possibility. We will keep an eye out for any additional info on the subject, so stay tuned for more. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 Google Play Edition
Image credits to Google

Huawei Honor 4X (Dual-SIM) with 64-Bit Chipset and 5.5-Inch Display Goes Official




Good news for customers looking for an affordable Android smartphone that would also come with new technology inside, as Huawei has just announced the upcoming availability of the Honor 4X.

Aside from the fact that it’s been priced pretty low even for a mid-range smartphone, Huawei Honor 4X is equipped with one of the newest chipsets from Qualcomm. Qualcomm recently launched two 64-bit chipsets, the Snapdragon 410 and 615, which are meant to arm mid-range Android smartphones. Some have already been launched on the market, while a few others have been announced and should hit shelves by the end of the month. Huawei Honor 4X is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 chipset, which accommodates a 1.2GHz quad-core processor inside, along with an Adreno 306 graphics processing unit.

The smartphone also packs no less than 2GB of RAM, but only 8GB of internal memory. Luckily, users can further expand storage up to 64 GB via microSD card slot. Although Huawei confirmed the Honor 4X would ship with Android 4.4 KitKat operating system with Emotion UI 3.0 on top, the press renders show the smartphone features Lollipop’s icons. It remains to be seen whether Huawei Honor 4X will be launched to Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box or it will get it later as an update. Speaking of launch, the Honor 4X is now available for pre-order in China for only 1300 yuan outright, which is about $210 or €165. This makes it a great deal considering its more than decent specs.

Moving on to camera, the phone boasts an impressive 13-megapixel photo snapper on the back, which features autofocus, LED flash BSI sensor, f/2.0 aperture and full HD (1080p) video recording.

A worldwide rollout should follow the Chinese release next month

But there’s more to it, as Huawei also included a no less impressive 5-megapixel camera, which should be perfect for taking selfies and video calls. Connectivity-wise, Huawei Honor 4X comes packed with LTE, 3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS with A-GPS support. Here are some details for those who would like to know how big the smartphone is: 152.9 x 77.2 x 8.65mm. It is also worth mentioning the Honor 4X weighs 165g (battery included). Last but not least, Huawei’s mid-range Android smartphone is powered by a high-capacity 3,000 mAh battery, which is rated for no less than 72 hours of continuous usage. Huawei Honor 4X will go on sale in China on November 6, but it’s unclear whether or not the Chinese handset maker will bring it to other markets anytime soon.



Huawei Honor 4X
Images credits to Huawei

AMD Cogent Kabini Micro Board PC Is Barely Larger than a Credit Card




Miniature computer systems have been gaining a lot more attention than usual in recent years, mostly because the technology to give them near-desktop performance levels finally exists. Or what passed for desktop performance half a decade ago.

The ARM CPU architecture has been the prime basis for tiny computers for years, along with the Arduino platform. More recently, the Raspberry Pi has been making waves, thanks to its size no larger than a credit card (thickness notwithstanding). Intel has been trying to carve a sector of this tiny PC market for itself, using the NUC (next unit of computing), but has had limited success. It was enough to finally prompt AMD to join the race though. So without further ado, behold the CSB1790 tiny System-on-Module based on Kabini APU architecture.

The AMD CSB1790

Technically, it's the Cogent CSB1790, since Cogent is the USA-based embedded system-on-module provider. AMD just supplies the GX-420CA 2.0GHz quad-core SoC. Said SoC (system-on-chip) features a Radeon HD8400E GPU. A full graphics processing unit, not an iGP (integrated graphics processor) like in Intel CPUs. Just as important is the 72-Bit Wide DDR3L-1600 w/ ECC SODIMM Socket, which can hold up to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM (random access memory). The Jaguar-based 64-bit x86 cores won't have trouble stretching their legs as it were. Other than that, the mini PC module has everything a PC needs in order to work, both alone and in collaboration with others: an x4 and two x1 GEN II (5g/s) PCI Express ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, a pair of SATA III ports (for storage), two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 connectors, an M.2 SSD SATA module, and onboard 8MB SPI NOR flash for the BIOS.

Applications for the AMD Kabini Micro Board PC

Thanks to the hardware and Cogent's own MXM-2 form factor, the CSB1790 is good for human machine interface (HMI), point of sale (POS), transportation, home automation, building automation, security systems, home theater PCs, hospitality / entertainment automation, multi-head media and digital signage, plus kiosks and medical imaging. Any other embedded systems you can think of are eligible too. Collectively, all these scenarios are known as SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) sensitive requirements. Being compatible with off-the-shelf device platforms, as well as easy to include in a custom design, helps the CSB1790's prospects greatly as well. The product page has more information if you want to give each one of the technical tidbits a closer look.

AMD Kabini-based Cogent CSB1790
Image credits to Cogent

MSI GT80 Titan: 18.4-Inch Screen Notebook with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M in SLI




Gaming notebooks are getting more and more impressive by the minute, but if the current batch of products available on the market hasn’t managed to impress you all that much, maybe the next one we will talk about will.

MSI is a company mostly known for its highly powerful mobile gaming stations and the GT72 Dominator Pro is a good example in that direction. But the good people at Swe Clockers managed to find out the device maker is prepping another disruptive gaming solution.

MSI GT80 Titan will arrive in 2015

The machine is known as the GT80 Titan, and as the name suggests, it’s pretty massive. First of all, it comes with a pretty huge screen of 18.4 inches, when most gaming notebooks out there draw the line at 17.3 inches. Apart from the size, another aspect you’ll notice right from the start is the new Cherry MX Brown keyboard (produced by SteelSeries) which has been moved forward on its own plane and is flanked by a large touchpad on the right, which can apparently double as a numeric keypad. As for technical specifications, we don’t know the whole story, but we can share a few details with you nevertheless. Apparently, the laptop integrates two of NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 980M graphic cards in SLI configuration, while the power house of the device is said to be an Intel Core i7-4980HQ.

Resolution and RAM storage remains unknown at this point

What we lack at the moment is information related to the resolution of the 18.4-inch panel, the amount of RAM storage (although this is likely to be up to 32GB) and internal storage options. Expect the MSI GT80 Titan to make an appearance on the market in 2015, but exactly when this will be the case we can’t really say at the moment. Also, nothing about pricing has been revealed until now, but you should expect the Titan to become available for sale for a “giant” price-tag. When it arrives on the market, the MSI GT80 Titan won’t be the only laptop in the company’s lineup taking advantage of NVIDIA’s latest GPUs.

Immediately after the graphic chip maker make the availability of the two cards public, MSI was one of the first companies to announce it was updating its GS70 Stealth Pro, GT72 Dominator, GT70 Dominator and GT60 Dominator gaming laptops to the latest standard. On top of that, MSI also unveiled a special edition of the GS70 Stealth Pro model which will be offered from now on with a new crimson red paint job.

MSI GT80 Titan will arrive in 2015
Image credits to Swe Clockers

Motorola Posts Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Roadmap




Lenovo’s latest acquisition in the smartphone business, Motorola has just published its Android 5.0 Lollipop update roadmap. The US-based handset maker announced a few weeks ago that it would definitely offer the Lollipop upgrade to several smartphones, some of them extremely popular in various emerging markets.

Although Motorola did not share any details regarding the exact release date of the update for any of the smartphones, the company recently put in place a dedicated “software upgrade” website where customers can check out which products are eligible for Lollipop. Before listing the Motorola smartphones that have been confirmed for an Android 5.0 Lollipop update, we would like to mention the fact that it’s hard to make any estimates about the upgrade’s release given the fact Lollipop has yet to be officially released on the market. Speaking of which, Google confirmed that Android 5.0 Lollipop would make its debut on the market along with the Nexus 6, on November 3. However, we expect Google to send the final build of the operating system before its market release, which is less than a week away.

Well, according to Motorola, the next generation of Android, namely Lollipop 5.0, is now in development, which means the US-based company has already sent the final version of the platform to some handset makers. Motorola and Google have a strong relationship, even if the latter sold it to Lenovo. That might be one of the reasons Motorola is one of the first companies that are given the opportunity to tailor Android 5.0 Lollipop for its smartphones. Anyway, Motorola fans will be pleased to know that no less than 9 smartphones have been confirmed to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop very soon.

Motorola may add more smartphones to the list of eligible products for Lollipop

Here is the complete list: Motorola Moto X (1st Gen.), Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen.), Motorola Moto G (1st Gen.), Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen.), Motorola DROID Ultra, Motorola DROID Mini, Motorola Moto G with 4G LTE, Motorola DROID Maxx and Motorola Moto E. Keep in mind though that, even if you don’t own one of the Motorola smartphones mentioned earlier, there’s still a chance that the handset maker will bring Lollipop to additional devices. While Motorola announced that these 9 smartphones would be the first to receive Lollipop, the company also said that the list of products would evolve over time, so you might want to check back for changes.

Motorola also stated that once Android 5.0 Lollipop got released on the market, it would start working with its technology and carriers to bring the update to as many products and as fast as possible.

Motorola smartphones eligible for Lollipop update
Image credits to Motorola

Nokia Is Ready for a Comeback in the Smartphone Business, but It May Take a While




For many, the Nokia brand is the most important in the world and the main reason they keep purchasing Lumia smartphones even after the Finnish company’s mobile division has been acquired by Microsoft.

Licensing the Nokia and Lumia brands was a smart move by Microsoft, but the Redmond-based company will eventually lose the right to put the Nokia brand on its products. When that happens, the Finnish company is likely to come back to what it’s been doing for about 20 years, making phones. Since Microsoft purchased Nokia’s devices and services division, the ex-handset maker focused on its other business like HERE, Nokia Mobile Solutions and Nokia Technologies. However, Nokia did not turn its face from the smartphone business even if the company is forbidden from launching any new devices under its brand for 18 months. The release of the Android launcher several weeks ago is a clear hint to Nokia’s plans for the next few years. Even if a comeback is not possible during the next year, there’s a high chance that we will see a new Nokia branded smartphone from the Finnish company arriving sometime in 2016.

The company's CFO hints to when Nokia could release a new smartphone

Forbes reports that during an earnings call following the release of its third quarter results, Nokia’s CFO Timo Ihamuotila did some interesting remarks concerning the company’s future business. Here is an excerpt of the Ihamuotila’s longer statement: “…we will of course carefully assess what would be the best way for us to maximize the value of the Nokia brand, also taking into account that we’re in the lock-up period still in the Microsoft transaction regarding our possibility to use the brand and we have recognized that Nokia brand is the most valuable from recognition perspective in the area of mobile phones and mobile devices. And there we cannot go yet at the moment.”

It will be interesting to see whether Nokia would be willing to bet on Windows Phone again, though we doubt that the Finnish company would want to compete with Microsoft. Judging by the fact that Nokia’s engineers are now looking to create easy-to-use UI for the Android ecosystem, we can safely assume that Nokia would go this route with its first smartphone after Microsoft’s acquisition of its Devices and Services division. The fact is that Nokia does seem keen on letting everyone know when exactly it can return to the smartphone market, but whether it will step into the fray or not, that is something that we’ll find out in the next months.

Nokia N9
Image credits to Nokia

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