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?

NICT, JVC Kenwood team up for wall-sized 3D HD display, lets in your face advertising get literal (video)

Been holding out hope for a real-life holodeck? Well, looks like Japan's got wall number one out of four already covered. We kid, we kid. That Trekkie tech future's still a ways off, but recent prototypes like this 200-inch auto-stereoscopic 3D screen are bringing that illusive reality one step closer to our living rooms. Exhibited during CEATEC 2011, this 1920 x 1080 full HD display plays images at 60fps using an array of 57 projectors, and offers up viewing angles of 13 degrees. What does all of that mean for you? Well, the setup gives viewers a limited ability to peer around projected objects, so long as they stay within a 1.3m (about 4ft) area. It's yet another fruit of the collaboration between the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and JVC Kenwood, except this one's headed for the realm of outdoor digital advertising. Home theater aficionados looking for a virtual entertainment solution can always opt for Sony's HMD, but that kind of defeats the glasses-free allure.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Brand Table concept revolutionizes fast food, NFC still won't make it good for you (video)

Jersey girls and boys can now tap and pay their way around, but for the Garden State's myriad of malls, cash'll still have to do. Not so for the Ozzies Down Under who may soon never have to leave the comfort of food court chairs -- if they're packing a Nexus S, that is. Designed as a concept by University of Sydney start-up SDigital, special coaster-like "brand stickers" affixed to eatery "brand tables" would relay fast-food menus to mobile phones via NFC. Hungry, hungry humans would then make their selections, order up and receive a vibrating notification when the food's ready. It's a contactless payment solution not unlike the QkR platform MasterCard demoed for us last month. And given our ever-increasing crawl towards the bleak adult baby form factor of our potential Wall-E futures, we'd say this tech's right around the public release corner. Head on past the break for a video demo of the tukkis-numbing, Foodcourtia tech. 


Sony's 3D HMD goes exclusive for Harrods, leaves America waiting

Sony's Personal 3D Viewer's finally found its way off the showroom floor and on to the shelves ofHarrods? That's right, the dual screen 1280 x 720 0.7-inch OLED sporting headset'll initially be a limited exclusive to the well-heeled UK retailer, with a general country-wide release set for later this month. US gamers will have to hold out just a few more days until its end of October launch, but if you're super impatient, there's always that import option. Think you can shell out for the £800 (about $1,276) price tag? Then plan to pick one up the next time you're in town to see the Queen.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Motorola Droid RAZR hands-on (video)

To everyone who rocked a Motorola RAZR in the '00s, it's time to get excited again. The line -- or at least the name -- has been reborn, and not without good reason. This is a thin device -- extremely thin. The Droid RAZR by Motorola is 7.1mm thin, in fact, and holding it up next to the iPhone 4 makes Apple's phone look downright beefy by comparison. At 127 grams, it's also incredibly light, a fact that's quite apparent the first time you hold thing -- we were honestly a bit surprised when it was first dropped in our hands. The company has clearly come a long way from the first generation Droid.

Of course, as noted, Motorola didn't skimp on the specs here. The RAZR's got a TI OMAP 4430 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM inside, and it does zip through apps with ease. The handset is rocking Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread -- or at least was during our hands-on. No word on Ice Cream Sandwich -- though we'll no doubt be hearing more about that OS at tonight's event. The 4.3 inch qHD Super AMOLED display is quite bright, and should do wonders on those Netflix HD videos.

Also of note is the phone's relative ruggedness, thanks to its Kevlar backing, diamond cut aluminum and Gorilla Glass, but in spite of these facts, it really doesn't feel or particularly look like a rugged device in your hands, just a big, surprisingly light handset. It's a slick, fast, thin phone, that certainly seems worthy of the RAZR name we've all know and love.

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Ice Cream Sandwich hands-on (video)

Remember the Droid RAZR? That's so yesterday. Or, earlier today. Whatever. The point is, Samsung's just busted out the planet's first Ice Cream Sandwich-based smartphone here in Hong Kong, a few days late but hardly worse for the wear. The Galaxy Nexus (formerly referred to as the Nexus Prime) carries on the Nexus torch in spectacular fashion, and we've just spent a few quality moments with one here at the launch event. Design-wise, it's clear that the Nexus S DNA is here, though the rear reminds us most of the Galaxy S II. Those who abhor physical buttons will also be delighted, and while we'd gotten used to the whole Power + Home for a screenshot on the GSII, Power + Volume Down works just fine on this fellow.

The 1.2GHz dual-core processor was startlingly fast. It actually felt a wee bit quicker than our Galaxy S II, and given that Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus were apparently built for one another, we're assuming there's some deeply ingrained optimizations to thank. Swiping from pane to pane was faster than its ever been on Android, and the new Roboto font actually is super eye-pleasing. The touch response of the capacitive buttons -- much like those on the original Nexus One -- take a bit of getting used to, and we had to mash 'em just a touch harder than we anticipated to elicit a response. [Update: turns out our demo phone was a bit of an early build; we touched another model later in the day, and our response gripes were gone. Perfectly responsive. Hopefully that's the one that'll ship out.] Not necessarily a bad thing, just a thing worth noting. We've built our impressions after the break, replete with a video. Enjoy!

The overall phone feels adequately thin, and while the 4.65-inch display sounds gargantuan, the handset itself doesn't feel so massive to hold. Until, of course, you grab the comparatively minuscule Nexus One. Still, we've been clamoring for a 1,280 x 720 display on a smartphone for what feels like forever, and now that it's here on the Galaxy Nexus, we aren't about to kvetch. Indeed, the panel looks downright gorgeous, with unbeatable viewing angles, remarkably crisp text and graphics and a beautiful feel as one swipes across it. The fingerprint magnet that is a glossy overcoat is still here, but it's the only feel niggle we've found on the screen as a whole.

Having the 3.5mm headphone jack on the rear seems like a necessary design choice given the tapering at the top, and unlike that other phone, there's no mute switch here -- you'll just have to hold the Volume Down button for a few seconds. The rear cover pops off in similar fashion to the Galaxy S II, but the ridged plastic cover has a far softer touch than the aforesaid contemporary. The camera is also situated right in the center, with branding kept to a minimum. Oddly enough, we're being told by Samsung that two models will be available in terms of capacity -- a 16 gigger and a 32GB sibling -- but neither will have a microSD slot for adding your own expansion.

The lack of a physical Home button may be disorienting for Galaxy S II loyalists, but the Galaxy Nexus is truly the first smartphone that expresses Google's desire to make "one Android for all" -- a mantra we heard about at Google I/O, but haven't seen birthed into anything until today. Digging into theparticulars of Ice Cream Sandwich a bit, it's clear that folks who aren't elevated to Android 4.0 (we're still waiting on word of what phones will and won't make the leap) will be missing out on a fair bit. Face Unlock isn't particularly special in our estimation -- typical laptops have been using this forever, and we've never found 'em to be entirely intuitive. However, the bump-to-share functionality that was lost when webOS croaked will undoubtedly be cause for celebration. Also, just so it's known, the Galaxy Nexus we played with here was running Android 4.0.1.

The data usage manager is a total godsend in this nasty, depressing world of tiers, and while apps have done similar things for quite some time, tight integration like this is hugely appreciated. We found in our play time that ICS was amazingly responsive in every aspect. Swiping was a breeze. Gestures worked beautifully. The entire experience just felt polished. In a way, it's as if Android's growing a bit and maturing before our eyes, and it's obvious that Goog's focused on making its mobile OS as "enchanting" (Google's word, not ours) as iOS seems to be.

Overall, we're thrilled with how the first ICS handset has turned out. It's understated, sleek, beautiful and packs a display that's destined to drop jaws. Now, if only we knew how much, and what carriers...

Check out the rest of our Galaxy Nexus coverage right here!

Monday, 17 October 2011

RIM offers free apps to make up for that whole BlackBerry outage thing

By   posted Oct 17th 2011 4:46AM
RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has already apologized for last week's widespread BlackBerry outage, but apparently, that wasn't enough. Today, the manufacturer announced that it's offering customers a full slate of "premium apps" for free, in the hopes of earning back some of the goodwill it lost following that mysterious blackout. In a statement, the company said the gesture is "an expression of appreciation" for the patience that many BlackBerry users demonstrated during the incident, with Lazaridis adding that his company remains "committed to providing the high standard of reliability" that consumers have come to expect. For now, the company's offering a total of 12 apps (collectively valued at around $100), including SIMS 3, iSpeech Translator Pro and Shazam Encore among others, though more will be added at a later date. The offer kicks off on Wednesday and will last for a month, so head past the break to see which goodies are up for grabs.

 Click here to find out exactly what games are being released  or go to