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Mar 13, 2015

VAIO Smartphone Is in Fact an Overpriced Panasonic Eluga U2

The Japanese company that bought Sony's VAIO brand has recently launched the first ever smartphone wearing this brand. The VAIO smartphone is going to sell in Japan for no less than $420 (€390) outright, which seriously overpriced considering what it has to offer.

The VAIO smartphone will eventually be released in Europe as well, probably with the same outrageous price tag attached to it, but we're not sure how well it will fare against so many other Android handsets in the mid-range specs. One reason that the VAIO smartphone might not be so popular among Android users, apart from the price, should be the fact that it's just another rebranded mid-range handset. Blog of Mobile has just found out that the VAIO smartphone is in fact a rebranded Panasonic Eluga U2, as phone that's been released on the market last month. This is probably one of the reasons that VAIO did not want to show how their phone looks like before the smartphone was made official.

As it turns out, VAIO and Panasonic Eluga U2 look exactly the same and offer the same specifications. That being said, here is what you'll get for this overpriced mid-ranger.

Customers are asked to pay more just for the brand
First of all, VAIO's smartphone will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box. It also comes equipped with a 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2GHz. Qualcomm's CPU is complemented by an Adreno 306 graphics processing unit, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, which can be further expanded up to 32GB via microSD card slot. On the back, the smartphone packs a 13-megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash and full HD (1080p) video recording, while in the front there's a 5-megapixel camera for video calls and selfies.

Last but not least, VAIO smartphone sports a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports HD (720p) resolution and features Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating.

VAIO smartphone
Image credits to VAIO

Panasonic Eluga U2
Image credits to Panasonic

Huawei Kirin 940 and Kirin 950 Specs Leak, One Could Power the Next-Gen Nexus

If you’re familiar with the tech industry, you’re probably aware that Chinese device maker Huawei is also in the business of producing its own silicone chips, known as the HiSilicon Kirin.

Even if Huawei’s SoCs aren’t so well known as Qualcomm’s, MediaTek’s or Intel’s chips, they are slowly starting to gain more spotlight. Recent rumors claim that the next-gen Nexus phone will probably end up being built by Huawei, who will put one of its chips inside to power everything onboard. The company’s HiSilicone Kirin 930 is currently powering the device maker’s flagship models, but Huawei has plans to soon roll out the successor of this silicone architecture.

Huawei's upcoming chips emerge with details

As a matter of fact, the first details related to the next-gen Kirin 940 and Kirin 950 have already surfaced online, showing us what we should expect. The Kirin 940 is poised to arrive in Q3 2015, while the Kirin 950 will be launched in the fourth quarter of the year. Both these models are octa-core affairs featuring a quad-core Cortex A53 plus quad-core Cortex A72 setup. Both models will support dual-channel LPDDR4 RAM (25.6GB/s) memory and 4K video encoding and should arrive with Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP (highly optimized audio/voice chip geared for efficient execution of audio and voice codecs). The two chips will come with i7 co-processor (sensor hub + connectivity + security). The Kirin 940 will be outfitted with ARM Mali T860 GPU, while the Kirin 950 will be bundled with ARM’s Mali T880 GPU.

The first model will receive 7 LTE connectivity support, while the higher-end 950 will support dual-SIM cat.10 LTE connectivity. The Kirin 940 is supposed to be the next step over the current Kirin 930, while the Kirin 950 will come with slight modifications, but will be the more premium model. It’s interesting to note that one of these two chips might as well end up powering the next Nexus smartphone. The handset is poised to make a debut sometime in the second part of the year and Google will probably talk about it at its I/O conference this summer, but will actually release the device at a later date.

Huawei Kirin 940 and Kirin 950 specs revealed
on Twitter

Samsung Plans to Focus on Low-End Smartphones to Regain Control of the Market

Following the high and mighty Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge launch event, Samsung will be pushing a new strategy to help it regain control of the global smartphone market.

While the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have made a very good preliminary impression on the public, Samsung doesn’t plan to completely rely on these premium models to win back the title of top smartphone vendor in the world. According to a fresh report coming out of the Korea Herald, Samsung has already devised a well-thought-out plan to help it win the market over yet again.

Expect a lot of Samsung low-end phones to appear in the following months
Industry insiders claim that the Korean tech giant plans to focus on entry-level and mid-range phones from now on, given that its flagship announcement is now behind it. Apparently, the fact that Samsung has released the Galaxy A, Galaxy E, Galaxy J and Z families is a clear indicator of the path the phone maker has embarked upon. The thing is premium smartphones only make a small portion of Samsung’s business, but the bulk actually comes from the low-to-midrange sector. The majority of smartphone owners don't have cash to spend on fancy handsets like the Galaxy S6 Edge and will buy products such as the Samsung Z1 (the company’s first handset to come with Tizen OS) which sells for under $100 / €87.

Many of these entry-level phones will be marketed by Samsung in emerging markets such as China and India, where the demand for cheap phones goes through the roof. The report points out that market research firm Strategy Analytics has estimated that the global sales for low-to-midrange smartphone models will tower over high-end sales in 2016, amounting to a total of 107 million. Samsung will also try and target more established markets with its affordable smartphones. And the assault has already started.

Samsung J1 is the latest budget smartphone from the company
For example, the company has just rolled out the J1 handset in Europe. The device arrives with a 4.3-inch WVGA (800 x 480 pixel resolution) capacitive touchscreen and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor fitted with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The specs aren't impressive, but customers can pick it up for only €120 / $130 a pop.

Expect more phones like the Samsung Galaxy J1 soon
Image credits to Samsung

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