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Feb 25, 2015

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua to Be Unveiled at MWC 2015

We reported yesterday Sony is expected to unveil its next Xperia tablet at Mobile World Congress 2015 trade fair. A teasing image with a few details appeared briefly inside Xperia Lounge application, but it was quickly pulled by Sony.

It's clear that the Japanese company will launch the Xperia Z4 tablet next week, but Sony's presences at MWC 2015 will much more consistent than this so we expect more devices to be announced there, other than the tablet. We don't expect Sony to launch another flagship smartphone anytime soon, especially that the company confirmed it will only release on top-tier handset each year, but we do expect it to announce a few mid-range and/or entry-level devices next week. One such devices would be the newly leaked Xperia M4 Aqua, which has just been spotted online. XperiaBlog reports this smartphone has been recently mentioned in some official documents, alongside the Xperia Z4 Tablet.
Xperia M4 Aqua may not be the only smartphone to be unveiled next week

Unfortunately, few details on the Sony's unannounced smartphone are mentioned in these documents, but once word on Xperia M4 Aqua emerged online we expect more info to leak in the coming days. Until then though, here is what we know. It looks like Sony Xperia M4 Aqua will feature IP65/IP68 certification for dust and water protection. But this was to be expected due to the name given by Sony. It's also worth mentioning the smartphone will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box. Other than that there are no other details on the Xperia M4 Aqua.

We can also safely assume that this will be a mid-range Android smartphone not a high-end device. Beside the Xperia M4 Aqua, Sony may introduce other smartphones as well, so stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Sony internal document
Image credits to XperiaBlog

Qualcomm, Watch Out Snapdragon 810, the MediaTek MT6795 Impresses in Benchmarks

Qualcomm’s upcoming high-end platform, the Snapdragon 810, made more headlines than it should have after rumors surfaced saying the chip was faced with overheating issues.

Not long after, Samsung was revealed to have renounced using the Snapdragon 810 in its upcoming Galaxy S6 flagship, which raised further suspicion. Since then Qualcomm has been striving to prove the Snapdragon 810 is not facing any major culprits. The chip made an appearance in benchmarks repeatedly showing its strength, but so have the Exynos 7420 (Samsung is going to use it in the Galaxy S6) and Tegra X1 which showed relatively better performance. Well, the original octa-core chip producer, MediaTek, is also prepping one beast of a chip. We talked about the upcoming MT6795 chip not so long ago, when we told you the piece of silicone would be capable of shooting super slow-motion 1080p video at 480fps.

MediaTek MT6795 makes it into benchmarks, too
Now it looks like MediaTek’s upcoming premium chip has popped up in the GeekBench benchmark, where it scored quite well compared to Qualcomm’s reputed high-end platform (as seen at G for Games). The GeekBench is a CPU-oriented benchmark test, so GPU results aren’t taken into account. Nevertheless, here is how the two chips managed to perform. In the multi-core test, the MediaTek MT6795 scored 4536 points, thus faring out better than the Snapdragon which only managed to grab 4345 points. In the single-core test, the MediaTek lost the battle by scoring only 886 points compared to the Snapdragon’s 1144.

The two chips are quite similar in configuration, as they both take advantage of 8 cores (broken down into 4 x Cortex-A57 and 4 x Cortex-A53). When it arrives, the MediaTek chip is expected to bring 2K support, 120MHz refresh rate and ClearMotion technology. The chip is scheduled for market release sometime towards the end of Q1 2015, so it’s probably going to take a while until the first devices bundling the architecture are offered for purchase. And who knows? By the time this happens, the chip might be made even more capable. Even as we see the preliminary results, the MediaTek MT6795 appears to be shaping out to be quite a powerful high-end piece of silicone. 

MediaTek prepping high-end octa-core chip
Image credits to Android Beat

MediaTek MT6795 in GeekBench
Image credits to Geekbench

Snapdragon 810 in GeekBench
Image credits to Geekbench

ASUS Announces Major Collection of Hardware with USB 3.1

USB 3.0 is all well and good, but it was bound to be surpassed eventually. The world hasn't quite reached the stage of USB 4.0, but USB 3.1 is already here and active. Though apparently not well represented enough, according to ASUS.

If it thought that Universal Serial Bus 3.1 technology was already widespread, it would not have felt the need to specifically set up a “USB 3.1” product line for the whole world to see. Especially since any new and promising technology is invariably used as a means to raise the profile of product brands in the eyes of potential buyers. In any case, ASUS has come forward to introduce what it describes as “the world's fastest and first complete line-up of SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 solutions.

The new lineup of USB 3.1 products
There are quite a few motherboards here, 12 in number to be exact, all of which have a USB 3.1 suffix at the end of their name. Many of them are based on the Intel X99 chipset compatible with Haswell-E Xeon and Core i7 central processing units. Most of the others are powered by the Z97 chipset, which is compatible with LGA 1150 chips. That leaves two models based on the B85 chipset, lacking in CPU overclocking support. In addition to motherboards, ASUS is selling a USB 3.1 Card with dual Type-A ports and a design compatible with PCI Express x4 and x8 slots, or even x16 slots if you're willing to, well, waste it on this instead of a graphics card.

There are cards with dual Type-A sockets or reversible Type-C. Alas, if you already have an ASUS X99 or Z97 mainboard, you might need to download a BIOS and driver update to make the cards work.

The benefits of USB 3.1 technology
In a nutshell, this interconnect generation allows for a maximum transfer speed of 10 Gbps as opposed to USB 3.0's 5 Gbps. It's not the tenfold increase that USB 3.0 brought over USB 2.0, but no one expected something like that before USB 4.0 anyway. So far, tests done by ASUS engineers in real-world data transfers have enabled read/write speeds of up to 854.6 / 863.9 MB/s.

ASUS Rampage V Extreme

ASUS X99 Deluxe

USB 3.1 Type-C card

USB 3.1 Type A card
Images credits to ASUS

Samsung Galaxy S6 Comes with 3 Microsoft Apps, but Also 2 from Samsung

The first report concerning Samsung Galaxy S6's software and refreshed TouchWiz UI emerged online earlier this month. According to sources closed to the matter, the next flagships smartphone won't feature any bloatware from Samsung.

Samsung may have inked an agreement with Microsoft to bring the Redmond-based company's apps and services on its Galaxy S6, but the details are unknown. Those who were expecting Samsung to remove all the bloatware from its top-tier smartphones will probably be disappointed to learn that the South Korean company will still include some of its S Apps inside the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. A new report coming from SamMobile, citing the same source that came up with the first leak, lists all the apps that will be pre-installed on both Galaxy S6 versions.

First of all the, Samsung Galaxy S6 won't have all the S apps removed, but it will feature only a few of those. The S Health app will be pre-installed on the flagship smartphone because it's needed in order to sync health and fitness data from Samsung's fitness trackers.

The smartphone will also come packed with all Google apps
The second S app pre-installed on the Galaxy S6 will be S Voice. We have no info on why Samsung insists on keeping this application on its smartphones, we only know that there a high chance that it's here to stay for the moment. Microsoft will have three apps pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy S6: OneDrive, OneNote and Skype. They will be grouped together into a folder called Microsoft Apps. Samsung Galaxy S6 will also feature apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger, as well as all Google apps and Galaxy Apps.

These Galaxy Apps will be included in the smartphone because Samsung wants users to be able to download other apps from its third-party store, as well as other premium apps that will be offered for free by Samsung. Last but not least, the TouchWiz UI on the Samsung Galaxy S6 is said to be similar with the one from the Galaxy Note 4, but slightly faster and with more animations from Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Samsung Galaxy S6
Images credits to XDA Developers Forum

Samsung Galaxy S6 Pictured Ahead of March 1 Announcement

With less than a week left until the official reveal of the Samsung Galaxy S6, the first live pictures of the upcoming smartphone have just leaked online.

Although the South Korean company is trying to hide the design of their next flagship smartphone like the biggest treasure in the world, it looks like someone was willing to take the wraps off the Galaxy S6's looks ahead of the official reveal. The pictures of an an alleged Samsung Galaxy S6 for AT&T have just been published on XDA Forums by someone with access to the device. He was also able to share some details on the Galaxy S6, which can only be confirmed when keeping the smartphone in your hand. For example, it looks like Samsung has decided to cover the back side of the Galaxy S6 with a resistant glass, but they have also removed the microSD card slot.

Although the person that leaked these pictures says that this might be a test model, he also points out that if that would be truly an early build then why send it so late.

No microSD card and non-removable battery
Another aspect that's worth mentioning is the Samsung Galaxy S6 might be available in many variants, including a 128GB version. Seeing it from the front, the Galaxy S6 looks very much like the Galaxy S6, but the sides bring it more closer to the Galaxy Alpha since they are made of metal. The bottom and top sides look very much like the iPhone. If we didn't know this is the Samsung Galaxy S6 shown in the pictures, we could have easily think it's the iPhone 6, when looked on from top or bottom.

Another piece of information confirmed by the leaker is the fact that Samsung Galaxy S6 won't feature a removable battery, so the SIM tray will be placed on one of the two sides of the smartphone. Unfortunately, there's no telling whether or not the device in the pictures is indeed the Galaxy S6, as we can't vouch for the legitimacy of the source. That being said we suggest our readers to take these with a grain of salt.

Galaxy S6 wrapped up in bubbles

Galaxy S6 back side

Galaxy S6 front side

Galaxy S6 right side

Galaxy S6 top side

Galaxy S6 bottom side

Galaxy S6 horizontal

Galaxy S6 SIM tray
Images credits to XDA Developers Forum

Samsung Galaxy S6 Will Be Expensive, Galaxy S6 Edge Will Be Hard to Find

It's common fact that flagships smartphones are always priced very high at launch, but as time goes by they become cheaper and cheaper.

However, handset makers rarely launch flagship smartphones and price them higher than a year before. Samsung Galaxy S5 was priced at around €650 in Europe and $650 in the United States, so we expect the next Galaxy S smartphone to be priced similarly. Unfortunately, it looks like Samsung has other plans. ArsTechnica reports a source at one of Samsung's mobile carrier partners in Europe claims the Galaxy S6 will be priced higher in Europe and United States than its predecessor. According to this source, Samsung Galaxy S6 will be priced at carriers at €749 ($849), €849 ($963), and €949 ($1,076) for the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB respectively.

As many of you probably know by now, Samsung will launch to smartphones on March 1: Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. It makes sense that the curved version of Galaxy S6 to be priced higher than the standard model and Samsung will deliver on that, sadly.

Samsung won't be able to supply enough Galaxy S6 Edge units to carriers
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will cost €849 ($966), €949 ($1,080), and €1,049 ($1,194) for the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB respectively. These prices are for the European version of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, but in the United States they might have the same prices only in USD. Another aspect that Samsung will be faced with is lack of enough Galaxy S6 Edge units, which will make it a very hard to find smartphone. Apparently, Samsung has a hard time in supplying enough curved displays for the Galaxy S6 Edge and many carriers have barely managed to get thin stocks.

It's possible that Samsung will be able to supply enough Galaxy S6 Edge units a few months after the phone release on the market, but at launch many carriers won't be able to provide enough devices.

Samsung Galaxy S6 back side
Image credits to XDA Developers Forum

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