Tuesday, 8 November 2011

HTC Edge may be the first quad-core smartphone to market

Color us skeptical on this one, but rumors are coming down the pipeline about an HTC phone called the Edge. It's supposedly going to be the first Tegra 3-powered smartphone. According to Pocketnow, the device will supposedly offer a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU, 4.7-inch 720p HD display, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera with f/2.2 lens and Beats Audio. Curiously, no LTE capability was mentioned specifically, though 21Mbps HSPA+ appears to be good to go, and there's a slight possibility of Sense 4.0 being included -- which given its proposed launch window of late Q1 / early Q2 2012, wouldn't be a huge surprise. We'd love to start seeing more quad-core goodness headed our way, so we're definitely keeping our fingers crossed to see a lot more of the above show up at CES and MWC.

Mozilla seeks to infiltrate Android with Boot to Gecko, a new mobile OS for geekos

Mozilla seeks to infiltrate Android with Boot to Gecko, a new mobile OS for geekos

Remember those rumblings about Mozilla and its very own mobile OS known as Boot to Gecko? We now have further details to share, and unlike most operating systems -- which demand their own hardware -- this one is aiming to shack up with Android smartphones. Given the existing complexity of altering many of these devices, Mozilla's Boot to Gecko will likely find favor among geeks alone, but the project itself has much greater ambitions. First and foremost, the OS will be designed with web apps in mind, yet with functionality and device integration that's on par with native applications. The true boon here is the potential for other operating systems to integrate Mozilla's technologies into their own browsers, thus allowing true cross-platform application development and the possibility of bolstering platforms that struggle for developer interest. Right now, much of the project exists only in the minds of a few tenacious developers, but the group hopes to unveil a public demo early next year. As if this weren't wild enough, while Mozilla has no intention of creating its own Boot to Gecko device, the group has expressed a willingness to work with OEMs that share its dream of a web-based future. Go ahead and count us in. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Samsung Focus S hands-on

Samsung Focus S
The Focus S is just a few short days away from hitting shelves, so Samsung invited us over to get acquainted with the company's AT&T-bound Mango device. If you're not already familiar with the specs, under the hood is a 1.4GHz CPU that pushes all those delicious Metro-themed pixels to a 4.3-inchSuper AMOLED Plus display. Right above the screen is a 1.3-megapixel shooter and around back you'll find an 8MP cam also capable of capturing 720p video. It's all put together in an amazingly light, 8.55mm thin package that is (for better or worse) distinctively Samsung. While the all plastic construction doesn't exactly make it the most robust handset on the planet, it's not cheap feeling either. The lack of heft in the hand was somewhat shocking, especially given its size. In fact, the Focus S is lighter than its smaller and more budget-friendly sibling the Focus Flash. Thankfully, Sammy continued its recent trend of using textured, matte-finished backplates that sport a more premium feel than the glossy plastic of devices past.

As you'd expect, Windows Phone 7.5 hums along beautifully, even if the Snapdragon inside is only single core. Then again, we didn't have a chance to load it up with a slew of apps and countless accounts. The star though, is clearly the screen. Even at only 480 x 800 the Super AMOLED Plus panel is gorgeous. It's not quite as sharp as the iPhone 4's, but it's plenty bright, pleasantly contrasty and puts our aging Droid X to shame. We're also big fans of the dedicated camera button -- a feature we think all phones should have. No matter where you are in the OS, press it down and up pops the WP7 camera app. The dual-stage button easily lets you focus and snap shots, but you can always tap to focus too. And the camera is speedy -- not quite as fast as the Galaxy Nexus, but there's definitely less of a lag between shots than there is with the iPhone and just about every other Android phone out there. You can get your own greasy mitts on one starting November 6th for $199 with a two-year contract. But, while you wait, check out the gallery for a sneak peak at the device.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Behind the Glass: a detailed tour inside the Samsung Galaxy Note

By   posted Oct 28th 2011 3:00PM

While the Samsung Galaxy Note might be a behemoth of a phone (or is it a phablet?), momma always taught us that it's what's on the inside that really counts. But first we need to get to know the device a little better. To do this, we once again recruited the knowledge and insight of Francois Simond(Supercurio) to dive into the circuitry, sensors, and other innards to find out what makes this Note tick. Follow on below to get the inside scoop.


CPU: Exynos 4210 (same as Galaxy S II), running at 1.4GHz; 2786.91 BogoMIPS
GPU: ARM Mali-400 MP
WiFi / Bluetooth module: Broadcom BCM4330 (same as Galaxy S II and Galaxy Nexus)
Audio codec: Yamaha C1YMU823 / MC-1N2 (Same as Galaxy S II)
FM radio receiver: Si4709
HDMI: Silicon Image MHD Sil9234 transmitter over MHL (same as Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II)
USB switch: Fairchild Semiconductors FSA9480 (industry standard)
Battery charger: SUMMIT Microelectronics SMB136 / SMB328
NFC controller: NXP PN544
Power management: Maxim MAX8997


Accelerometer: STMicroelectronics k3dh
Barometer / pressure sensor: STMicroelectronics LPS331AP
Gyroscope sensor: K3G (same as the Galaxy S II)
Compass: Chipworks AKM-AKM8975 Electronic Compass
Finger Touch sensor: Atmel MXT540E
Stylus: Wacom E-Pen G5SP sensor

Misc. internals

Device name: GT-N7000
Rear camera: Fujitsu M5MO LS 8MP
Front camera: Samsung S5K5BAF 2MP
Linux Kernel:
Android: 2.3.5, built October 8, 2011
LCD Density: 320dpi
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Image processor: Samsung mDNIe image converter (same as Galaxy S II)
Frequency scaler: Ondemand

[Thanks, Francois]

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sony to buy out Ericsson's stake in joint venture, call it quits after ten years

By   posted Oct 27th 2011 3:02AM

We all saw it coming and, sure enough, it's finally happened. After all the rumors and opaque comments, Sony has just bought out Ericsson's share of Sony Ericsson, effectively assuming ownership of the entire venture. Ericsson confirmed the buyout this morning, adding that it will receive a cash consideration of €1.05 billion in exchange for its 50 percent stake. Sony, meanwhile, will now have the chance to integrate smartphones more tightly within its arsenal of tablets, laptops and gaming devices. The agreement also gives Sony an IP cross-licensing agreement and ownership of "five essential patent families" pertaining to wireless tech, though the breadth of this coverage remains unclear. The separation won't be finalized, however, until January 2012, pending regulatory approval. Find more details in the full PR, after the break.

Update: Sony president and CEO Sir Howard Stringer has just addressed the media on the proposed buyout and confirmed that the company will indeed move away from feature phones, as previously stated. This effectively heralds the death of the Walkman line and the dawn of Sony's exclusively Android era, though Stringer's not ruling out the possibility of bringing another OS on board. When asked whether his firm would consider buying webOS, the exec said simply, "Never say never."

Source: Engadget

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nokia Lumia 800 hands-on (video)

Oh, Nokia. Earth mother and founding father of the mobile industry. At last, we have your newest creation nestled amidst our clammy palms: a 3.7-inch slab of polycarbonate Windows Phone wonderment, fronted by a ClearBlack AMOLED display. Has that sweet breeze off the Nokianvirta River worked its special magic? Or is this just another Windows Phone? Well, first impressions are that it... feels just like an N9. Read on for our detailed impressions.

Nokia is calling this device the "first real Windows Phone," a claim that we think other manufacturers are going to have a bit of a beef with, but we'd certainly say this is among the best we've yet had the opportunity to fondle. If you're familiar with the N9 you'll know the basics of the story here, a polycarbonate shell that feels very nice in the hand and, perhaps more importantly, won't show scratches as clearly as painted metal or plastic exteriors. That baby blue you see? It's that same color all the way through to the core -- there's no paint here to chip or scratch.

Up top, doors flip open to reveal the micro-USB charger port and the SIM slot, doors that fit so well you'd barely know they're there. A 3.5mm headphone jack is up on the top as well. That's really about all there are for ports. The right side of the phone is adorned with a volume rocker and power button, and the left is completely bare -- just super sleek, curved polycarbonate. There's a speaker right there on the bottom as well.

The front is covered by that 3.7-inch 800 x 480 ClearBlack AMOLED display, which rests under ever so slightly curved glass, giving a raised effect. This is Gorilla Glass, so hopefully it being exposed in this way won't danger its visual purity. Needless to say it looks as good as the display on the N9 -- it's quite simply gorgeous. There's the same eight megapixel camera as we saw on the N9, complete with f/2.2 aperture lens and 720p HD video with continuous autofocus. Overall the Lumia 800 looks quite incredible -- this is some impressive hardware -- but will Nokia's latest flagship help drive some serious Windows Mobile market share? We shouldn't have to wait long to find out.

Tim Stevens and Myriam Joire contributed to this report.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Siri shows up on an iPod Touch, no longer plays favorites in the iOS family

By   posted Oct 25th 2011 7:24PM
That Siri gal is certainly making the rounds these days. When she's not answering your questions on a 4S, she's showing up on iPads and elder iPhones. Not one to play favorites, Siri's now lending her considerable talents to an iPod touch. Two enterprising young hackers, euwars and rud0lf77, are the ones who put Siri on the iPod, and you can see the results of their labor in the video after the break. Of course, Apple's servers still aren't as friendly as the virtual voice assistant, so Siri's latest cameo remains a silent one -- but some Siri's better than none, right?