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Mobile Phones

Faster Connectivity Through Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

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Faster Connectivity Through Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm describes the upcoming Snapdragon 820 mobile device processor as its most powerful yet, as it features the company's "most advanced" integrated modem and Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

The integrated modem in question is the X12. It handles LTE category 12 download speeds reaching up to 600Mbps, beating the previous company record of 450Mbp, as well as speeds of up to 150Mbps. It is also the first to support unlicensed LTE (aka LTE-U).

When it comes to wifi the X12 gets 802.11ac 2x2 MU-MIMO and 802.11ad support, making it fairly futureproof as far as mobile device modems go.

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Sony Claims First 4K Smartphone at IFA

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Sony Claims First 4K Smartphone at IFA

IFA 2015 sees Sony launch the flagship Xperia Z5 family-- the 4K display-equipped Z5 Premium, the Z5 and the Z5 Compact, all featuring the latest Sony cameras and a fingerprint sensor integrated in the power button.

The Z5 Premium is arguably the most intersting of the three, thanks to the 5.5-inch 3840x2160 resolution display. The resolutions on the other models don't go so high, as the Z5 has a 5.2-inch 1080p display while the Z5 Compact has a 4.6-inch 720p screen.

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Ex-Apple CEO Presents Obi Worldphone

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Ex-Apple CEO Presents Obi Worldphone

Obi Worldphone, the latest venture of ex-Apple CEO (and Misfit co-founder) John Sculley, presents a pair of mid-tier Android smartphones aimed at younger customers in emerging MEA markets, the SF1 and SJ1.5.

The SF1 and SJ1.5 are not the first Obi Worldphone handsets-- 2014 saw the company release 5 smartphones made with off-the-shelf parts in the UAE. The SF1 and SJ1.5 differ by being Obi-designed , if in collaboration with Ammunition, the San Francisco design firm behind the the first Beats headphones.

As such, the two handset have look reminiscent of the OnePlus handsets, with slightly raised "extruded" displays supposedly offering a bit of protection from drops. Both devices have 5-inch displays and components from the likes of Qualcomm, MediaTek, Sony, Corning and Dolby.

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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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