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Mar 19, 2015

Xiaomi Denies Partnership with Microsoft, Says It's an “Experimental Program”

There's been a lot of talk surrounding Microsoft's partnership with two of the most successful Chinese brands, Lenovo and Xiaomi. The former will launch its first Windows Phone in the coming months, while the latter will put Windows Phone on some of its Mi4 smartphones.

However, it looks like Xiaomi seemed a little bit upset that Microsoft's announcement was bit too optimistic when it comes to the Chinese company's contribution to this project. In that regard, Xiaomi's VP Hugo Barra issued an official statement in which it explains that his company has not signed any partnerships with Microsoft Barra claims Microsoft is running (and leading) an experimental program with Mi fan community in China. Xiaomi does not have any contribution to this program, but the Chinese company is supportive of users who want to try new things.

This is the main reasons Xiaomi allowed Microsoft to work directly with members of the Xiaomi Forum in China. It's also important to mention that this program will only be available in China.

Xiaomi continue to bet on Android ecosystem
According to Barra, Microsoft's Windows Phone ROM that will be made available as a separate download on the Xiaomi Forum, will not be running on top of Android nor be available as a dual-boot option. Basically, Xiaomi Mi4 owners who want to test Windows 10 Technical Preview on their smartphones will be able to manually re-flash their devices with this ROM, in the same way they would re-flash other Android ROMs. Last but not least, Xiaomi reiterates its support to Android operating system through its proprietary user interface and many other in-house developed apps and services.

“Xiaomi continues to fully embrace the Android ecosystem through our MIUI software platform and we’re moving ahead full steam building many exciting new Android-based features and services,” said Hugo Barra.

Xiaomi Mi4
Image credits to Xiaomi

ZTE Nubia Z9 Running Windows 10 Caught in Live Pictures

Apple of China, Xiaomi is now working with Microsoft to bring Windows 10 for Phones to Mi4 power users, while Lenovo has already confirmed it will launch its first Windows Phones in mid-year 2015.

But these are not the only Chinese companies to take interest in Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. It turns out that ZTE might be interesting taking the Windows Phone route with some of its devices. ZTE is well-known in China, but the company did manage to get into the US market with too many of its cheap smartphones. The company's next flagship smartphone, ZTE Nubia Z9 is expected to be unveiled on March 29. We expect the Nubia Z9 to be released globally in the next couple of weeks and we're also expecting the phone to be cheaper than other flagships that will go on sale in March / April timeframe.

Even though we've confirmed that ZTE Nubia Z9 will ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system out of the box, here is something interesting for Windows Phone fans.

Microsoft may prepare a Windows Phone ROM for ZTE's flagship phone
Chinese blog MyDrivers has just find out that ZTE Nubia Z9 can run Windows 10 for Phones without problems. The smartphone seems to have been showcased at WinHEC conference where Microsoft announced that Windows 10 for Phones will be launched sometime this summer. This means that the Windows Phone ROM that Microsoft plans to provide to Xiaomi Mi4 power users might be available to other brands as well. ZTE Nubia Z9 could be another smartphone that Microsoft plans to add to this “experimental program” it debuted this month.

We doubt that ZTE will announce the availability of the Nubia Z9 in Android and Windows Phone versions, but Microsoft might allow owners to install and test Windows 10 Technical Preview. We'll be keeping an eye out for more on this one, so stay tuned.

ZTE Nubia Z9 Windows 10 home screen

Cortana on ZTE Nubia Z9

ZTE Nubia Z9 (back)
Images credits to MyDrivers

Huawei Ascend P8 Leaks Out in Image, Shows Metal Frame

Huawei is expected to host a big event in London on April 15 and we’re anticipating to see the company’s next flagship, the Ascend P8 make a debut.

While we are waiting for the big announcement, serial leakster @OnLeaks is treating us to an image showing the Ascend P8 in the wild. As you can see for yourself, the phone looks quite premium, boasting a metal frame and an atypical glazed back coating. If what the rumor mill is saying turns out to be the real deal, the Ascend P8 will arrive with a 5.2-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and will take advantage of a ceramic unibody.

Huawei’s own octa-core Kirin 930 CPU will be powering things on board together with 3GB of RAM. It is also said the phone will take advantage of a setup of two 13MP cameras on the back. Naturally, the Chinese company will be putting its latest Emotion UI version (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop) on top of the phone. A 2600 mAh battery will power the device, but given a recent teaser which highlighted the battery, we might end up seeing the phone arrive with a chunkier power source.

Huawei Ascend P8 leaks out
Image credits to @OnLeaks on Twitter

Earlier teaser for Huawei Ascend P8
Image credits to Weibo

Sony Xperia J1 Compact Goes Official in Japan with Metal Frame, Snapdragon 800

We might have to wait a while until we see the Sony Xperia Z4 grace us with its presence, as sources are indicating that the phone will make a debut at IFA 2015, but while we wait for that to happen, Sony has a new phone for us.

Or for the folks living in Japan to be more precise, because the handset in question will be sold exclusively in the country, at least for the time being.

Sony Xperia J1 Compact is a new premium handset
Now, come and meet the Xperia J1 Compact, which is quite similar in size to the Xperia Z3 Compact. It offers a 4.3-inch HD LCD display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) processor clocked at 2.2GHz and working hand in hand with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card). So that you can get an idea of the phone’s dimensions, we’ll tell you the J1 Compact measures 5.04 x 2.56 x 0.38 inches / 128 x 65 x 9.7 mm, so it’s a little bit bigger than the Xperia Z3 Compact (5.00 x 2.56 x 0.34 inches / 127 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm). In terms of design, Sony is offering the Xperia J1 with a metal frame, so the device will feel a lot more premium than the Xperia Z3 Compact.

Other specifications include an advanced 20.7MP camera on the back, plus a 2.2MP front-facing sensor, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, LTE and NFC. Everything on board is maintained alive by a 2300 mAh battery with Stamina Mode software to prolongue the device’s life cycle as much as possible.

The smartphone runs an outdated OS
Puzzlingly enough, the phone was launched with Android 4.4.4 KitKat pre-installed on it, which is pretty odd especially since the company didn’t mention anything about a possible update to Lollipop. As is characteristic of Sony, the phone arrives with IPX5/IPX8 water and dust protection. However, Sony might soon abandon its habit of making its phones waterproof, as rumors are suggesting the Xperia Z4 will arrive devoid of water protection.

The phone is SIM-free and will be made available starting April 20. Pre-orders for it will start on March 27 for a cool $454 / €425.

Sony Xperia J1 Compact arrives in JapanImage credits to Sony Japan

Sony Xperia J1 Compact boasts a smaller form factorImage credits to Phone Arena

Sony Xperia J1 Compact runs on KitKat
Image credits to Sony Japan

Sony Xperia J1 Compact is a premium modelImage credits to Phone Arena

Sony Xperia J1 Compact has a powerful camera onboard
Image credits to Phone Arena

HTC One M9+ (Not Plus) Launching in Late March or Early April

HTC fans, disappointed that their favorite company did not improve its flagship smartphone like other companies did, will be pleased to know that there might be another device the Taiwanese handset maker has in the pipeline.

The so-called HTC One M9+ (not Plus) is rumored to go on sale sometime later this month or in early April at the latest. The smartphone will be an improved version of the HTC One M9 and will be released globally, not just in some regions. Although this information is only a rumor now, @upleaks, a reliable source that brought us numerous tips in the past, claims such a smartphone exists and will be released in less than a month. Moving on to specs, the One M9+ won't be equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor, which seems to have overheating issues that haven't been solved yet. Instead, HTC opted for a MediaTek MT6795 64-bit octa-core processor.

The CPU will be complemented by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. No word on microSD card slot, but since the smartphone will feature the same form factor and design as the standard One M9, we don't see why HTC wouldn't add one. Furthermore, the One M9+ will boast a 5.2-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) capacitive touchscreen display that should feature Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coating for extra protection.

Duo Camera and 2,840 mAh non-removable battery
On the back, the smartphone will feature a 20.7-megapixel photo snapper, along with a 2.1-megapixel camera (Duo Camera), while in the front there will be an impressive 13-megapixel camera for great selfies and video calls. BoomSound, Bluetooth and touch-based fingerprint sensor in the front will be included in the One M9+ as well. It's also worth mentioning that the handset will be powered by a 2,840 mAh non-removable battery. According to rumors, HTC One M9+ will ship with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop operating system and Sense 7.0 UI on top right out of the box.

So there you have it folks, if HTC One M9 is not enough for you, then perhaps the upcoming One M9+ will appeal to you more.

HTC One M9+
Image credits to UbuntuTeam Weibo

Xiaomi Mi4 Running Windows Phone Caught on Camera

Microsoft announced yesterday that it would launch Windows 10 for Phones this summer, and along with it, new smartphones will be released as well.

The Redmond-based company has confirmed its next flagship smartphone will arrive after Windows 10 is launched, so we can expect another Lumia high-end device to be available on the market in August / September. Until then though, there will be some new affordable Windows Phone released on the market coming from Microsoft, Lenovo and even Xiaomi. Although many won't be available worldwide, like Lenovo Windows Phone handsets, those launched by Microsoft will be released globally.

Along with the announcement regarding the Windows 10 for Phones release, Microsoft also stated it has partnered with Lenovo for the release of Windows Phone handsets in mid-year 2015. Also, thanks to another agreement with Xiaomi, select Mi4 power users will be given the chance to test Windows 10 Technical Preview on their smartphones.

A special Windows Phone ROM may be in the works for Android phones
This means that Microsoft has already found a way to make Android smartphones boot Windows Phone as well. That will make it easier for Xiaomi Mi4 users to test Windows 10 Technical Preview on their devices. In favor of this statement, new pictures showing the Xiaomi Mi4 running Windows Phone have just leaked directly from China. Xiaomi and Microsoft have already stated that they are working on special ROM that Xiaomi Mi4 owners will be able to download it from the website and flash it on their phones. Time will tell when this Windows Phone ROM will be released and made available to Xiaomi Mi4 users.

Until then though, check out the pictures in the gallery and tell us what you think about the idea of Android smartphone owners being able to flash Windows Phone ROMs onto their devices.


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Images credits to @Cinquetacche

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