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Mobile Phones

PuzzlePhone Enters Modular Phone Arena

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PuzzlePhone Enters Modular Phone Arena

Finland-based Circular Devices is the next company to take on Google's Project Ara and the mysterious Vsenn in modular smartphones with the PuzzlePhone, a charmingly named upgradeable device.

The PuzzlePhone breaks down the smartphone into 3 modules-- the Spine (display, speakers and basic structure), Heart (battery and secondary electronics) and Brain (processor and camera). Modules are built on an open source hardware standard, allowing OEMs to freely build modules according to customer demand.

The OS of choice is a forked Android version, but the makers are looking into supporting alternative operating software.

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The First Microsoft-Branded Lumia

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The First Microsoft-Branded Lumia

Following the dropping of the Nokia name Microsoft reveals the first own-brand Lumia smartphone-- the Lumia 535, an entry-level device featuring a 5-inch display and a 5MP front-facing camera.

It carries a 960 x 540 resolution display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8GB storage (expandable via microSD slot) and 1GB RAM inside plastic casing complete with colourful removable back cover. The OS of choice is, obviously, Windows Phone 8.1, and Microsoft includes features such as the Action Center, Word Flow, Cortana, Skype and One Note.

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LG's Thinnest Smartphone Bezel yet

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LG's Thinnest Smartphone Bezel yet

LG Display presents what it claims is a 5.3-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution smartphone LCD panel with the narrowest bezel in the world-- 0.7mm, narrower than the 0.8mm thickness of a credit card.

It features what the company calls "Neo Edge" technology, which uses an adhesive (instead of double-sided tape) to attach and seal the area and edges of the panel's circuit board and backlight unit. LG says this allows for a narrower bezel, blocks light leakage, water- and dust-proofs the display, prevents the corrosion sometimes caused by double-sided tape and even "dramatically" improves panel durability.

Another LG Display technology inside the panel is "Advanced In-Cell Touch (AIT), a means of embedding the touch panel inside the LCD module.

The good news for customers is the display is not simply an advanced company prototype-- mass-production is set to start from November 2014, probably (certainly) for use in the next LG flagship device.

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Microsoft: Nokia Branding No More

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Microsoft: Nokia Branding No More

Microsoft starts dropping the Nokia branding from Lumia smartphones-- Nokia France is the first country to adopt the "Microsoft Lumia" monicker, as announced on the company's Facebook page.

The Facebook post says Nokia France will change its name to Microsoft Lumia "in the coming days."

Microsoft confirms to The Verge other countries will soon follow the rebranding, which involves the renaming of social media accounts as well as websites and, eventually, products. This should come to no surprise, as Nokia Windows Phone apps have already been rebranded to Lumia.

Holiday season ads for the Microsoft smartphones should also push the Microsoft Lumia name.

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iPhone Day: Apple reveals iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Pay

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iPhone Day: Apple reveals iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Pay

Apple has what CEO Tim Cook describes as "a very key day" at the Flint Centre-- one where the company launches the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus together with Pay, the company's take on mobile payments.

As rumours suggested the iPhone 6 comes in two sizes, namely 4.7- and 5.5-inch. Both feature next-generation displays the company calls Retina Display HD, with the regular iPhone 6 display handles 1334x750 resolution and the 6 Plus featuring 1920x1080 resolution.

To take advantage of the larger display size the iPhone 6 Plus features a new landscape view, one providing extra functionality from a bigger keyboard. A desktop-class scaler allows apps to take advantage of the different sizes, while Apple's Phil Schiller promises legacy apps will "just work."

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Broadcom Intros "Most Powerful" 5G Wifi Chip

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Broadcom Intros

Broadcom claims to double the wifi performance in upcoming smartphones and tablets with the BCM4358, a 5G 802.11ac wifi 2x2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) combo chip.

MIMO technology uses multiple antennas for both transmitter and receiver. It is already found in the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display.

"The combination of 5G WiFi and 2x2 MIMO unlocks the full potential of today's smartphones and tablets. These technologies are becoming de facto requirements for connectivity in high-end mobile devices," the company says. "With the BCM4358 we are addressing critical multi-radio interference challenges while setting a new bar for performance that reflects Broadcom's continued commitment to be first to deliver the most powerful solutions in the market."

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Sony's IFA Goes Xperia Z3

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Sony's IFA Goes Xperia Z3

Sony goes all out at IFA 2014 as it reveals a slew of mobile devices with the Xperia Z3 smartphone and tablet series, an accessory allowing one to combine mobiles with PlayStation controllers and wearable devices.

The Xperia Z3 series features 3 devices-- the flagship Z3 smartphone, its smaller Z3 Compact and the self-descriptive Z3 Tablet Compact. All build on the industrial design seen in the previous Z2 generation, with a slimmer version of the same minimalist stylings.

The Z3 is the series' flagship device. It features a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 Triluminos display, weighs 152g, is 7.3mm thin and is powered by a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU, 3GB RAM and a 3100mAh battery. Like the Z2 construction is in aluminum with nylon corners.

Sony sells the device on the camera-- a 20.7MP number with a 1/2.3 Exmor RS sensor, Bionz image processing engine and 25mm wide-angle lens. The company says the device also features ISO 12800 sensitivity, as well as improved SteadyShot technology.

The Z3 Compact is near-identical to the Z3, only with a smaller 4.3-inch 1240 x 720 display, less (2GB) RAM, 2600mAh battery and what Sony says is a "liquid" translucent plastic frame.

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Samsung Galaxy Note(s), VR at IFA 2014

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Samsung Galaxy Note(s), VR at IFA 2014

Samsung reveals a couple of additions to the Galaxy Note phablet family at IFA 2014, the Note 4 and Note Edge, as well as a smartphone-powered collaboration with VR headset maker Oculus, the Gear VR.

Described by Samsung CEO JK Shin as "the most Note experience to date," the Galaxy Note 4 features a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display handling 2560 x 1440 resolution inside faux-leather soft-touch plastic casing. The company sells the massive display as being ideal for multitasking, as its Multi Window feature allows users view apps in full, split or pop-up screen modes.

Making touchscreen a bit more easier to navigate is an updated version of the S Pen stylus, now with double the pressure sensitivity allowing for two pen styles-- calligraphy pen or fountain pen. It also features enhanced Air Command functionality and a Snap Note feature for users wanting to attach photos or voice memos to the S Note app.

More interesting Note 4 features include Fast Charging (Samsung claims the 3220mAh battery charges to 50% in all of 30 minutes), 3 microphones, 16MP rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and a front-facing 3.7MP camera with f1.9 aperture one can activate with the heart rate monitor on the back of the device.

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Patriot Reinvents Mobile Charging

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Patriot Reinvents Mobile Charging

Patriot ships its faster-charging FUEL iON family, its reinvention of mobile wireless charging.

Everyone likes wireless charging (eliminates cords and makes charging as easy as setting your phone down) but the lack of charging speed has been a real down-side.

Now FUEL iON tackles that problem. Patriot says FUEL iON delivers speeds as fast as corded charging, and definitely more speed than induction charging. Because it isn’t using induction charging…

FUEL iON uses the power of magnets to charge Continue reading...

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