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Aug 11, 2015

Nokia Prepares Its Comeback to Smartphone Business, Starts Hiring Android Engineers

Nokia is very serious when it comes to its device business. Even though the only product launched by the Finnish company since the sale of its mobile division to Microsoft is a tablet, we have Nokia's promise that new Android smartphones will follow soon.

According to Nokia's CEO Rajeev Suri, the Finnish company is forbidden from launching new smartphones until late 2016, but once the embargo lifts, we should expect at least one new Android handset in about one year. And for those who have doubted that Nokia is serious about its comeback to the mobile business, here is a piece of information that should convince even the most skeptical of fans. As Reuters reports, Nokia has already published a dozen adverts for jobs on LinkedIn looking for Android engineers with some experience.

In addition, the company decided to reduce the number of layoffs from its Technologies division from 70 people to only 35. This means that Nokia will maintain half the jobs for its future mobile division.

The return to mobile phones is made through a brand-licensing model
Nokia has already launched an Android application called Z Launcher, which is very popular among customers. The same goes for the N1 tablet, which was recently introduced in Europe after selling by the millions in China and Taiwan. We have no doubt that the next product wearing Nokia's brand will be very popular among fans, but we're still curious which will be the Finnish company's main partner for its comeback to the mobile world.

“The right path back to mobile phones for Nokia is through a brand-licensing model. That means identifying a partner that can be responsible for all of the manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer support for a product,” said Roberto Morlino, spokesman for Nokia Technologies. We expect the first details on Nokia's upcoming smartphones to emerge next year, but the search for a partner may end much faster, so stay tuned for more on this one.

Nokia HQ
Image credits to Nokia

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Sales Package Confirms 4GB of RAM, 5.7-Inch Quad HD Display

We're less than a week away from Samsung Galaxy Note 5's official unveil and it looks like more information regarding the flagship smartphone's specs has just leaked online.

After many renders of the Galaxy Note 5 popped up online, along with info on the phone's hardware coming from sources familiar with Samsung's plans, we now have the first image showing the flagship's sales package. The pictures were published on Facebook, but have been removed shortly after. Luckily, we've been able to save them for your viewing pleasure. Keep in mind though that the actual device isn't shown in these pictures, but the good news is that some of the phone's specs are listed on one side of the sales package.

Even though we know quite a lot of info about Samsung Galaxy Note 5's hardware and software configuration, it's nice to have some confirmation on some of the details that leaked not long ago. So, according to these images, one of the Galaxy Note 5 variations that will be available for purchase later this month will pack 32GB of internal memory.

Wireless charging will be included, too
There will also be a 64GB model on sale, but it's unclear whether or not Samsung will launch a 128GB version as well, since the similar Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge models haven't been so popular among customers. The sales package also confirms the smartphone boast a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display that supports Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution. Also, the flagship handset will come with 4GB of RAM and an impressive 16-megapixel photo snapper on the back, coupled with a 5-megapixel selfie camera in front.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will ship with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop right out of the box, and it will be powered by a 4,100 mAh battery. One last piece of information mentioned on the sales package is the 64-bit octa-core processor inside the Galaxy Note 5. Although the model is not confirmed, we know the smartphone will be equipped with an Exynos 7420 chipset.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 sales package
Images credits to Hooror

Samsung Galaxy S7 Spotted with Snapdragon 820 in Leaked Docs

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6+ edge just around the corner, we need something else to focus our hopes and expectations on. So how about the Galaxy S7 for a change?

Recently surfaced information indicated that Samsung might be able to ready the device ahead of schedule, but we’ve also been wondering about the type of processor we’re going to see on board next year’s flagship. With the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung surprised everyone by opting to rely solely on an Exynos 7420 chip, while taking Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 out of the equation. It turns out Samsung made the right choice, as the Snapdragon 810 was riddled with overheating issues ever since its inception. But with the Galaxy S7, Samsung might be making a comeback to Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is in the process of readying its next-gen platform called the Snapdragon 820, which unlike the Snapdragon 810 won’t rely on ARM cores, but on Qualcomm’s own Kyro cores. Hence, we expect the Snapdragon 820 to be of superior quality when compared to its pesky predecessor.

The Galaxy S7 might rely on the improved Snapdragon 820 
That’s exactly why Samsung might be thinking of putting the Snapdragon 820 inside its upcoming flagship model. If you have been following the news, you probably know that the Galaxy S7 has been codenamed Jungfrau internally, and according to the recent hearsay, it is possible that the company will be able to finalize the device by December. Well, the folks at G for Games managed to dig out a bunch of internal documents (via Weibo) which are related to Android M’s upgrade program. Interestingly enough, Jungfrau’s name is present in the papers just next to the MSM8996 mention, which is code for the Snapdragon 820.

There’s an extra Hero mention (it could be a codename/keyword), but for the time being, we don’t have any ideas on what exactly it might mean. Nevertheless, if we are to take this leak as accurate, it seems there’s a big possibility that Samsung will once again utilize a chipset from the Snapdragon family with its flagship line. Considering that the Eyxnos 7420 did a pretty swell job running things on board the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung will probably offer two versions of the Galaxy S7, as it did in the old days. Do you think Samsung is making the right choice?

Snapdragon 820 specs getting teased

Leaked doc showing info on the Samsung Galaxy S7

More info revealed about the Galaxy S7
G for Games

Xiaomi’s Next-Gen Flagships Might Boast Samsung-Made AMOLED Displays

We all know that this year Google is poised to launch two Nexus smartphones, one that is to be made by LG and one with the help of Huawei. And a few days ago we brought you news that the Nexus made by Huawei could be benefiting from an AMOLED display manufactured by Samsung.

What’s more, Huawei might be thinking of embedding this display technology into future handset products of its own, too. Surely, this is not the first time the Korean tech giant is outsourcing AMOLED panels to Chinese device makers. Oppo and Vivo are known for using Samsung’s AMOLED displays, and now Huawei might jump on the bandwagon as well. Today we find out that more Chinese OEMs are interested in Samsung’s OLED technology. ISH Technology Research Director for China Kein Wang has just posted an interesting tidbit on social media revealing that Xiaomi might also be interested in Samsung’s displays (as seen at Gizmo China).

Future Xiaomi flagships might come with AMOLED displays
He claims that after Huawei, Xiaomi is also looking to start using Samsung’s AMOLED panels for its upcoming high-end flagships. So the Mi5 and Mi5 Pro might not arrive with the usual IPS LCD technology, but something else. Still, since the Mi5 will probably debut first, it’s up for debate whether an AMOLED screen will be used or not. But odds for the Mi5 Pro to be equipped with one are more promising. The handset is expected to be the first to arrive with a Snapdragon 820 under the hood, and phones taking advantage of Qualcomm’s new chip architecture will probably make it out in March 2016. That’s plenty of time for Samsung to finalize a deal with Xiaomi in the display department.

Xiaomi seems to be looking to make some drastic changes in the near future. We recently told you that the device maker might be looking to enter silicon production, just like Samsung or Huawei. Word on the street has it that the company purchased an entire range of ARM core licenses and even hired Qualcomm’s former President for China, Wang Xiang. Xiaomi hasn’t made any official announcement regarding this matter, but we expect to hear more on the topic soon enough.

Samsung smartphone with AMOLED display
Image credits to Samsung

BlackBerry's Venice Android Slider Gets New Renders, Includes Hub

Just this weekend we brought you news that the BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition was spotted running Android. Which wasn’t such a big surprise given that the Canadian company is said to be experimenting with the operating system.

Last month, it was once again reported that BlackBerry was planning to launch a slider smartphone powered by the Android operating system. Codenamed BlackBerry Venice, the handset is expected to be bound for AT&T in the United States, but it might be offered through other carriers as well. Renders of the BlackBerry Venice leaked online a few weeks ago, but today we come back with a fresh batch of images showcasing the same device. This time, we’re being treated to a picture that shows us what BlackBerry Hub will look like on Android (as spotted at CrackBerry).

The Venice will bring a BlackBerry-scented version of Android
As we told you before, the handset is expected to be powered by Android out of the box, but it will also carry BlackBerry Services. In one of the screenshots, we even spot some Android icons, including the one for the Google Play Store. Another image offers us a glimpse inside the rear camera, which will apparently be of the 18MP variety and will be equipped with phase detection AF. The snapper is also expected to take advantage of OIS (optical image stabilization), just like the Passport does.

The last render indicates that the phone will have support for Chromecast, obviously due to good, old Android. If we are to believe earlier rumors, the BlackBerry Venice is said to arrive with a 5.4-inch capacitive touchscreen display with support for Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution and take advantage of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor out of the box, fitted with 3GB of RAM. BlackBerry will also throw in a 5MP frontal camera, for those who like taking selfies.

The Venice is expected to be unveiled sometime this fall and will probably hit the market in November, but this information has yet to be confirmed by the company.

BlackBerry Venice showing BlackBerry Hub

BlackBerry Venice to have 18MP main camera

BlackBerry Venice will be Chromecast-compatible
Images credits to CrackBerry

Dual-SIM Version of Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Rumored to Have MicroSD Card Slot

It has become increasingly clear that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will not come with a microSD card slot like Samsung’s previous Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.

Samsung sacrificing form for function will probably anger a lot of customers out there. However, there might be a slight chance the scenario is not all that bleak. According to an Asian source uncovered by Sam Mobile, it seems that the dual-SIM variant of the Galaxy Note 5 will pack the much-loved feature. As is the case with devices such as the Huawei Honor 6 Plus, the secondary dual-SIM slot might function as a hybrid, allowing users to slip a microSD card in there.

Even so, you should be taking this report with a grain of salt, as we don’t really see the sense of Samsung limiting this popular feature to a certain demographic. What's more, Samsung is rumored to be focusing its marketing strategy on the Galaxy S6 edge+, while leaving the Note 5 in the background. Initially, the phablet won’t even be made available globally but on exclusive markets.

Dual-SIM phones are currently the trend these days, so it might make sense that Samsung is prepping such a version too. Still, the possibility of Samsung offering a dual-SIM microSD-enhanced version of the already limited Note 5 in select markets remains pretty slim. At least in our eyes.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 in live photos
Image credits to The Droid Life

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition Spotted Running Android

Rumors claiming that Canadian company BlackBerry is working on developing an Android smartphone have been with us for some time now.

At some point, we even got a glimpse of the company’s flagship, the Passport, running on Android, so our hopes intensified. Well, as you probably know, not long ago, BlackBerry released the Passport Silver Edition, which comes with a slightly different design. And a few days after the phone was released, Mobile Syrup has spotted the device running not its original BB10 software but Android. However, the video is suspiciously blurry, so we have to advise you to take it with a healthy grain of salt. All in all, we might be dealing with an Android launcher instead or even something more advanced.

Anyway, take a look at the video and gallery (strangely, the stills are pretty clear) and make your own judgment. BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition bundles the same specs as the original Passport, so it arrives with a 4.5-inch square display with 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution, a quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU clocked at 2.2GHz plus 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card slot). The BlackBerry Passport also features a 13MP rear-facing camera plus a 2MP front-facing camera for selfies and video conferences. And now you can take a look at the phone running Android instead of the classic BB10.

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition with Android

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition showing Android apps

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition charging

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition running Android

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition spotted with Android

BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition with Android onboard
Images credits to Mobile Syrup

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