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Mobile Phones

Samsung Intros Galaxy S6 edge+, Note5, Gear S2

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Samsung Intros Galaxy S6 edge+, Note5, Gear S2

Samsung shows off its latest smartphone flagships at Unpacked 2015-- the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5. Also revealed are more details on the Samsung Pay payments service and the round-faced the Gear S2 smartwatch.

The S6 edge+ and Note5 are fairly similar, being equipped with 5.7-inch Super AMOLED 2560x1440 resolution displays, octa-core 64-bit processors, 4GB RAM, 16MP rear-/5MP front-facing cameras and 3000mAh batteries. The S6 edge+ retains its predecessor's curved display, while the Note5 includes a stylus.

The two devices get an interesting accessory in the shape of a keyboard case-- a hardware keyboard user snap on the bottom half of the display. The device recognises the case and adjusts the UI accordingly, essentially turning into a BlackBerry-style phone.

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LG Flip Phone Arrives in Europe

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LG Flip Phone Arrives in Europe

The LG Wine Smart, an entry-level Android smartphone combining a touchscreen with hardware buttons in retro flip phone stylings, arrives in the European market following its S. Korean debut back in September 2014.

Supposedly enhanced with "more advanced multimedia features," the Wine Smart is has a physical 3x4 numerical keypad for users wanting "easy and accurate typing." It also has hotkeys for frequently used features such as phone dialer, address book, SMS and camera.

Other features include a 3.2-inch 480x320 resolution display, 1.1GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB storage, microSD slot and a 1700mAh removable battery. The OS of choice is Android 5.1.1.

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Motorola Updates Moto Lineup

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Motorola Updates Moto Lineup

Lenovo-owned Motorola launches the next generation of the popular Moto smartphone lineup with an updated version of the low-cost Moto G and a pair of Moto X models, the Moto X Play and the flagship Moto X Style.

The 3rd generation Moto G is a 5-inch handset with decent specifications, including a quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset, 2470mAh battery 1 or 2GB RAM and either 8 or 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD slot). Like all Moto smartphones the OS of choice is Android, while the rear-facing camera has a 13MP sensor and dual-LED flash.

The new Moto G is also tough, as it has a Gorilla Glass display and IPX7-rated casing for protection against splashes.

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The Indestructible, Unhackable Phone?

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The Indestructible, Unhackable Phone?

A company named Turing Robotic Industries claims to have the most secure smartphone around-- one not only unhackable but also unbreakable, with a casing made out of "Liquidmorphium," an alloy supposedly stronger than steel.

While it looks as stylish as any smartphone can be, the Turing Phone does not initially impress in the specifications department. It runs on a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, features a 5.5-inch 1920x1080 display and, curiously enough, lacks any ports other than a MagSafe-style "Wallaby Magstream" port. For the connection of any other accessories, including a headset, one has to depend on Bluetooth and NFC.

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Mobile Processors Reach 10 Cores

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Mobile Processors Reach 10 Cores

MediaTek announces an industry first with the Helio X20, a system-on-a-chip (SoC) for smartphone and tablet use packing 10 cores on a single die, all connected with the so-called MediaTek Coherent System Interconnect (MCSI).

The 10 cores are arranged in 3 clusters-- two Cortex-A725 cores clocked at 2.5GHz, four Cortex-A53s clocked at 2GHz and four Cortex-A53s clocked at 1.4GHz. The arrangement is compared to a car with 3 gears allowing for fuel efficiency across different terrains, since the low-power cores can handle non-demanding tasks while the 2.5GHz cluster takes care of bigger jobs.

The company also says the grouping allows for power savings of up to 30% off a standard ARM "big.little" implementation.

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ZTE Intros "Borderless" Nubia Z9

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ZTE Intros

Chinese smartphone maker ZTE announces the flagship Nubia Z9-- a 5.5-inch smartphone featuring a "borderless" design (with a bezel less than 1mm thick) and an interesting grip-sensitive frame.

The smartphone features what the company calls "Frame interactive Technology" (FiT) to allow grip- and gesture-based control on the mid-frame. For example, one can turn on the camera by holding the phone horizontally with 4 fingertips, or switch between apps by flicking up or down the frame.

Such functionality is currently limited to pre-installed apps, but ZTE says 3rd party developers will be able to use the technology in their apps.

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LG Smartphones Reach G4

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LG Smartphones Reach G4

LG reveals the successor to the flagship G3 smartphone-- the G4, a handset promising to be the company's "most ambitious" yet featuring an IPS Quantum Display, F1.8 aperture lens camera and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.

The 5.5-inch display handles 2560x1440 resolution, while further specifications include 3GB RAM, 32GB storage (expandable via microSD slot), 3000mAh removable battery and 16MP rear-facing camera. It runs on Android 5.1, as tweaked with LG's "human-centric" UX 4.0.

However what LG really puts emphasis on is the device's looks-- the subtly curved casing is available in "handcrafted, genuine full grain leather" (in 6 different colours) or ceramic.

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Butterfly Wings: The Key to Glare-Free Displays?

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Butterfly Wings: The Key to Glare-Free Displays?

They say the flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world, but the wings of a particular species of butterfly might actually be key to the glare-free displays of the future.

The butterfly in question is the glasswing butterfly, a Central American species famous for having transparent, glass-like (thus the name) wings. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers say these wings have very low reflection (around 2-5%) of visible, infrared and ultraviolet light-- a survival adaptation for the insect, but an inspiration for the creation of low-reflection surfaces.

For the curious, a flat glass plane has a reflection of anything from 8% to 100%.

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LG Touts G4's Display

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LG Touts G4's Display

LG is so proud of the display in the upcoming G4 it is launching it before the actual smartphone, claiming the 5.5-inch QHD LCD panel is nothing less than a "quantum leap" in mobile device displays.

The 1440x2560 resolution, 538 PPI panel handles 120% colour gamut, exceeding the 100% gamut offered by other mobile displays. It does so through the use of blue LED chip with red and green phosphors instead of the traditional yellow found in other LEDs.

LG also boasts of a contrast ratio 50% higher than conventional QHD LCD panels, while brightness is up by 30% without demanding more power consumption. Further improving image quality is "photo-alignment" technology, a means to increase contrast ratio by evenly aligning liquid crystals in order to reduce light leakage.

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