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Mar 1, 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge Prices Start at €699 in Europe

Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge launch did not contain any details on pricing options and wasn't followed by any announcements in this regard, so we were left wondering how much money will cost the smartphones.

The good news is the folks over at SamMobile have learned directly from Samsung officials how much money one would need to purchase the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge beginning next month. Let's start with the standard Samsung Galaxy S6, which will be available in three variants: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. The cheapest of the three will cost €699, while the 64GB will be available for €799 and the 128GB around €899. As you can see there's a €100 difference between each of these Galaxy S6 models. Keep in mind though the these are suggested retail prices, so there's a chance that you will have to pay a little higher for Samsung Galaxy S6 at launch.

The Galaxy S6 Edge will be much more expensive than the standard model
Moving on to Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, due to its 3-sided display, it makes sense to cost a bit more. Previous rumors claimed that Edge might cost up to €150 higher than the Galaxy S6. Well, it looks like the rumors were confirmed once again. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge will also be available in three flavors: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. The Galaxy S6 Edge 32GB model will cost no less than €849, while the 64GB variant has been priced at €949. The most expensive of the three will be the 128GB, which is supposed to sell for €1049. These prices are for Europe, so it's unclear how Samsung will price the Galaxy S6 in the United States, but the South Korean company might go for parity and release the smartphone for similar prices but in a different currency (USD).

It's also worth mentioning that Galaxy S6 will be available for much less at carriers, though customers will have to commit to long-term contract and a monthly fee.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Image credits to Samsung

BlackBerry Announces BBM Update with Android Wear Support, Custom PINs

BlackBerry released an update for its beta version of BBM a few weeks ago that added lots of new features and improvements. The most important was the addition of subscription based services for those who want custom PINs or other features that aren't available yet.

Today, the Canadian company announced that these new features will be available to BlackBerry 10 and Android devices beginning tomorrow, March 2. The iOS version will take a little more time to arrive, but BlackBerry announced it will be available “soon.” The most important improvement included in this update is called Subscriptions. After updating to this new version of BBM, users will notice a new section in the BBM Shop called Subscriptions, which contains additional purchasable features based on a recurring fee. At launch, only two subscriptions will be available: “no ads” and “Custom PIN.” The first one allows BBM users to remove advertisements from BBM for $0.99 per month by choosing this subscription.

Custom PIN subscription enables users to make their own customized PIN that is easier to remember for you and your friends. Obviously, they have to follow certain guidelines like the fact that they must be 6-8 characters long and they can only include numbers and letters. This subscription will be available for $1.99 per month. Those who opt for any subscriptions will received a free bonus in the form of a badge on their avatar to show off their premium status.

Photos in Groups and security updates for iOS users
Another new feature included in the update is called Photos in Groups, which allows users to share photos in BBM Group Chats. These pictures are save in the Picture section, thus you will still be able to “like” and comment on them. Next in line, BlackBerry has added Android Wear support to BBM. This means that if you use BlackBerry Messenger on Android, you will receive alerts on your wrist when new BBM messages come in. You will also be able to read and respond to them very easy. For iOS users, BlackBerry announced that it has added some security updates. By taking advantage of Touch ID, BlackBerry has enabled iOS users to password protect their BBM chats. This means that users will be able to lock their BBM conversations with a 4-digit passcode or even their fingerprint.

Custom PINs

Photos in Groups

Android Wear support

Touch ID for BBM
Images credits to BlackBerry

Samsung Galaxy S6 Full Specs [Gallery]

Samsung Galaxy S6 is totally different than what we would have expected. Although rumors pointed to a major hardware upgrade, the most important change is the looks.

Unlike any of its previous flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 features a full glass body and metal frames. Moreover, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are entirely covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and the metal frames are 15% tougher than metals used in other smartphones. Samsung claims that Galaxy S6 is the best smartphone in the world and in order to achieve that the South Korean company included its only developed Exynos 7240 chipset that accommodates 2 quad-core processors clocked at 1.5GHz and 2.1GHz respectively.

Better display and more powerful processor
The 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display supports Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution and 577ppi (pixel per inch). Obviously, the screen features Corning Gorilla Glass 4 coating for scratch resistance. Although this isn't exactly seen as improvement, the 16-megapixel camera on the back features OIS (optical image stabilization), autofocus, LED flash and 4K video recording. Samsung claims is has improved the camera lens and processing software, which is why the Galaxy S6 camera should capture better pictures than the Galaxy S5 that has a similar photo snapper. In the front, the Galaxy S6 packs a 5-megapixel camera, which can record full HD (1080p) videos, but it can also take great selfies.

On the inside, Samsung's flagship smarpthone is powered by 3GB of LPDRR4 and includes either 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal memory. Since, Galaxy S6 does not feature microSD card slot, this is a very important aspect. Samsung Galaxy S6 is powered by a non-removable 2,550 mAh battery, which features fast charging. The smartphone also comes with native wireless charging. When it comes to size, the Galaxy S6 measures 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm and weighs 138g (battery included). This makes it more than 1mm thinner than its Galaxy S5 predecessor. Connectivity-wise, the smartphone offers LTE Cat.6 (300/50Mbps), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS with GLONASS, microUSB 2.0, Infrared and NFC (Near Field Communication).

Fingerprint scanner and 115GB OneDrive free cloud storage
The phone has a fingerprint scanner under the home button and it's also the first smartphone to support Samsung Pay mobile service. The Galaxy S6 will ship with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system our out of the box and the newest version of TouchWiz UI. The smartphone also comes with a few Microsoft apps such as OneDrive and OneNote. The OneDrive offer Galaxy S6 users no less than 115GB of free cloud storage for free for 2 years. All Google apps and services are included as well, but only three Samsung apps: S Health, S Finder and S Voice.

Samsung Galaxy S6 has been confirmed to arrive in 20 countries on April 10. The rest of the world will have to wait a few more weeks for the smartphone to hit shelves.

Samsung Galaxy S6
Images credits to Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Full Specs [Gallery]

With Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung is trying to give fans more choice over its new flagship smartphones. Unlike the Galaxy Note Edge which packs a 2-sided display, the Galaxy S6 Edge sports a 3-sided screen.

The 5.1-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display supports 577ppi (pixel per inch) and Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution. It's covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which also coats the back panel of the smartphone. The smartphone measures 142.1 x 70.1 x 7 mm and weighs only 132g (battery included), which makes it very sleek and stylish. The flagship uses a nano-SIM and it's not water or dust resistant. The Galaxy S6 Edge is equipped with arguably the best processor included in a smartphone, the Exynos 7420 chipset that features four Cortex-A53 processors clocked at 1.5GHz and four Cortex-A57 CPUs at 2.1GHz. The chipset is manufactured on the 14nm technology, which makes it faster than any previous CPUs made by Samsung, but also less power hungry.

The Exynos 7420 chipset is complemented by 3GB DDRAM4, a Mali-T760 graphics processing unit and 32GB of internal memory. The Galaxy S6 Edge also comes in 64GB and 128GB flavors and given the fact that it lacks microSD card slot, this is a major trait. On the back, the Galaxy S6 Edge boasts a 16-megapixel photo snapper with OIS (optical image stabilization, f1.9 aperture, real-time HDR, LED flash and 4K video recording, while in the front there's a 5-megapixel camera with full HD (1080p) video recording, dual-video call and Auto HDR.

Touch ID-like fingerprint scanner and Samsung Pay support
The home button can be used as a fingerprint scanner, but not like the Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S6 Edge's fingerprint scanner functions like Touch ID, so you only need to touch it with your thumb, there's no need for swiping. As previous rumors claimed, the Galaxy S6 Edge does not feature a removable battery, instead it drains energy from a 2,600 mAh non-removable battery, which hasn't been rated by Samsung yet. However, the battery features fast charging and wireless charging technologies, so the fact that it's non-removable shouldn't be an issue. Connectivity-wise, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge offers a plethora of options, including LTE Cat.6 (or Cat.9), Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, GPS with GLONASS, Infrared and NFC (Near Field Communication).

It's also worth mentioning that Galaxy S6 Edge and its standard sibling will be the first to support Samsung Pay mobile service. The Galaxy S6 Edge will ship with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system out of the box with the new TouchWiz UI on top. You will be able to grab this one if you live in one of the 20 countries chosen by Samsung beginning April 10.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (3-sided display)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Images credits to Samsung

What’s the Difference: HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

As you probably know, an hour ago HTC just announced its latest flagship smartphone in Barcelona at MWC 2015, which it is calling the M9.

Naturally, you’re probably wondering if the new handset is worth putting your HTC One M8 in a box and forgetting all about it. So, is the new HTC One M9 worth upgrading or is it just a new, shiny toy, the Taiwanese company is hoping to lure you in with? 

Here are some preliminary impressions about the two smartphones.
Let’s face it, HTC hasn’t done anything too revolutionary with the design of the new phone. Know how the One M8 looks like? Well then you have a pretty good image of what the One M9 is all about. But those who have an eye for details might notice a few changes here and there. For example, the power button has been moved to live on the right side of the phone, as opposed to the M8 who had it on the top edge. The new comer takes advantage of a dual finish design (on a full metal body) which in our opinion makes it look more aesthetically pleasing. But we’re yet to see how it translates into real-life usage.

The One M9 measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm, compared to the One M8’s 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm, so as you can see it is slightly thicker. This in turn can be attributed to the fact that the One M9 bundles a slightly large 2900 mAh battery (the One M9 had a 2600 mAh one). Oddly enough, the new handset is a tad lighter than the One M8, coming at 157 g which constitutes a 3 g difference. The dual finish design scheme makes the HTC One M9 arrive in three variations: gunmetal grey with black accents, silver with gold accents and amber gold option. The One M8 was available in gunmetal gray, glacial silver, amber gold.

In the screen department nothing notable has changed, so HTC’s presentation of the One M9 didn’t linger on it that much. Basically we have the same as with the One M8, which means a 5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution. Which is a debatable move. Manufacturers like Huawei mention that we actually don’t need 2K resolutions on smartphones, as the human eye finds it hard to distinguish what comes over 300ppi. On top of that 2K displays end up putting an unnecessary toll on battery life and all just to make the phone sound good on paper. However, major tech makers like Samsung are adopting 2K panels with their latest flagship, the Galaxy S6 which is due later tonight.

So, given the fact that HTC kept the same standard on the One M9, the phone should provide good viewing angles and decent outdoor visibility like its predecessor.

Power and performance
The HTC One M9 is the third phone to go live with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 on the inside. The chip works hand in hand with the Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM. We hope Qualcomm managed to eradicate the overheating problems inside its latest octa-core chip, which have made the Snapdragon 810 highly notorious as of late. At the other end, the One M8 was based on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC clocked at 2.3GHz fitted with 2GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU. In theory, the One M9 should be snappier and more capable of aptly maintaining all activities onboard. Both models are offered with 32GB of internal storage (and a microSD that gives the ability to expand).

Since the One M9 is based on the new HTC Sense 7.0 which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop, it’s natural that the company has slipped in a bunch of new features. Sense 7.0 is not radically distinct from Sense 6.0 but there are some changes to be taken into account. For starters, the new UI adds customizable themes and contextual suggestions in the lock theme. On top of that users also get a new dynamically changing smart launcher. It’s a natural progression and HTC enthusiasts will probably enjoy the new feel.

HTC has done away with the 4MP Ultrapixel camera which was donning the One M8’s front last year. However, the snapper didn’t get much love from users. But this year HTC strikes back with a 20MP main shooter which will probably satisfy the needs of the most avid smartphone photographer. The frontal one, however, remains of the UltraPixel variety. On top of delivering a capable camera to the One M9, which is said to be able to shoot in glorious detail, HTC also added a bunch of cool photo effects which overshadow the ones present in Sense 6.0.

HTC hasn’t said anything about the official pricing of the new flagship at the presentation, but a recent lea indicates the handset will go on sale for $649 / €579. As for the HTC One M8 you can currently pick one up for around $420 / €375 from places like Amazon.

HTC One M9 vs One M8
Image credits to HTC

HTC One M9 Now Official: Snapdragon 810, 20MP Camera and Android 5.0 Lollipop

As it has been hotly anticipated for the last few months, HTC is finally taking center stage in Barcelona at MWC 2015 to unveil the company’s latest flagship, the One M9.

The launch kicked off with an inspirational video narrated by actor Robert Downey Jr. which highlights the innate connection between human being around the world. We’re all the same, even if at times we feel so different, we are “One”, the voice tells us. So here we go. The latest arrival in the One family, is the One M9 handset, which succeeds the One M8 which made its debut in Barcelona last year. HTC is calling the new phone a “new industry standard for luxury” as the model takes advantage of a “dual-tone finish on a single metal unibody design”.

The new HTC One M9 looks pretty but not fundamentally different from the One M8
Overall HTC hasn’t tweaked much of the design of the One M9, when compared to the predecessor. For example, they are keeping the big black bar that holds the company’s logo. But the back and sides have received a subtle makeover, with the sides being mirror polished while the back is hair brushed in order to deliver a dual tone loo (the silver-gold version is mentioned). As we have been expecting, the phone is said to be built on Qualcomm’s new high-end Snapdragon 810 platform which albeit being quite controversial, will probably sustain all activities onboard without a problem. The chip works in concert with 32GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (up to 128GB via microSD card).

The handset arrives with a 5-inch Super LCD3 display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and worthy 441 ppi. Even if the size of the new One M9 remains the same, the screen-to-body ration has gotten a lot better with the new arrival. There’s also Gorilla Glass 4 protection the display from any accidental scratches. Compared to the One M8, M9 is a tad lighter at 157 g (with 3g to be more precise) and measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm (146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm for the M8). The new HTC One M9 bundles an impressive 20MP frontal camera and takes advantage of sapphire glass covered lens. On the back we get the company's own UltraPixel camera which has been perfected to snap better selifes. The company is also adding a new photo editing tool that arrives with effects like double exposure.

Sense 7 UI is bringing in a host of new feats
Naturally, the new smartphone comes pre-loaded with Sense 7 UI (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop) that offers new software enhancements as well. For example, Image Match will be able to locate all photographs that include a particular person. Also, as previously leaked Sense 7 UI bundles themes to help users better personalize their phone by virtue of setting wallpapers and customizing app layouts. These themes are also easily shared onto social media. The company has also slipped something called Sense home widget that shows application on a widget in the home screen based on your location (home or at work).

Those familiar with HTC probably know the company is focused on delivering a rich audio experience. BoomSound has been improved with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. HTC Connect also makes it easier to watch music and video on your smart TV, while All Play allows several users to combine more speakers to get that holistic sound experience. To round things up, the One M9 takes advantage of Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, infrared, microUSB 2.0 and NFC. The phone also supports VoLTE and LTE Category 6 speeds. The device lives off a 2,840 mAh battery. HTC said the new phone will be available in mid-March. Customers will be able to pick the phone up in gunmetal grey with black accents, silver with gold accents and amber gold option.

We were not told how much the HTC One M9 will sell for, but according to a leak coming from the direction of Best Buy, the handset will start shipping for $649 / €579.

HTC One M9 goes live

HTC One M9 will be offered starting mid-March

HTC One M9 will be available shortly

HTC One M9 bac and front

HTC One M9 launches at MWC 2015

HTC One M9 in amber option

HTC One M9 back view

HTC One M9 en anssamble

HTC One M9, music playing app

HTC One M9 in silver, camera detail

HTC One M9 front and back
Images credits to HTC

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