Latest Event Updates

Samsung Galaxy S5 to be launched with octa-core variant

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Samsung announced its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, amidst much fanfare at MWC 2014 in Barcelona.

Within hours of the phone’s launch, the official Samsung Tomorrow site posted an infographic that showed the evolution of specifications in the Galaxy S family. Notably, the infographic revealed that the Galaxy S5, much like its predecessor, will come in two chipset variants- one powered by a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC) processor, while the variant is backed by an octa-core chipset. Unfortunately, the infographic shared by the South Korean giant did not specify the chipset, though we can presume it is Exynos-branded.

Notably, Samsung has replaced the image that revealed two chipset models of the Galaxy S5, and is now showing only the 2.5GHz quad-core processor.

On Monday, the Korean manufacturer also announced that the Galaxy S5 would launch in 150 countries, starting from 11 April 2014.

The biggest new features being touted on the Galaxy S5 by Samsung include a fingerprint scanner on the home button, a heart rate sensor placed near the 16-megapixel camera, and the IP67 certification that makes it dust and water-resistant. The smartphone also features a new design in terms of the back panel now being perforated, and available with four colours at launch, and optional designer back panels.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out-of-the-box. It features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080×1920 pixel full-HD resolution. It comes with 2GB of RAM and will be available in 16GB and 32GB inbuilt storage models, with microSD card expandability up to 64GB. The Galaxy S5 sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with HDR (for video as well), and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera.

Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO functionality, ANT+, Bluetooth 4.0, USB3.0, NFC, and Infrared remote functionality. It features a 2800mAh battery, rated to deliver 21 hours of talktime, and 390 hours of standby time.

The smartphone weighs in at 145 grams (slightly heavier than the Galaxy S4), and has dimensions of 142×72.5×8.1mm (slightly thicker than the S4’s 7.9mm).

 

Asus unveils 3G dual-SIM and LTE variants of Fonepad 7 at MWC 2014

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Asus announced two new variants of its refreshed Fonepad 7 voice-calling tablet at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. One variant features LTE connectivity, while the other is a dual-SIM variant with 3G+Wi-Fi connectivity. Asus however failed to announce the pricing and the availability of both the new Fonepad 7 variants.

Most of the specifications are the same between the new devices and the refreshed Fonepad 7 tablet, which featured a single-SIM card slot, and 3G+Wi-Fi connectivity.

Some of the key specifications of the next-generation Fonepad 7, launched in September 2013, include a 7-inch IPS LCD display with an 800×1280 pixel resolution, a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and 16GB of inbuilt storage.

Launched at MWC 2014, the Fonepad 7 LTE variant (ME372CL) supports 4G LTE networks, while the rest of its specifications identical to the refreshed Fonepad 7.

The second variant of the refreshed Asus Fonepad 7 launched at MWC 2014, is the ME175CG variant that features dual-SIM support apart from 3G+Wi-Fi connectivity, as reported by Phonearena. The 7-inch dual-SIM voice-calling tablet, unlike the 4G LTE and 3G+Wi-Fi single-SIM variants, houses a 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor, with the rest of the specifications remaining the same.

The Taiwanese firm earlier in February expanded its PadFone smartphone-tablet hybrid line-up with the launch of PadFone Infinity Lite.

Much like its predecessor the Padfone Infinity, the PadFone Infinity Lite comes with a tablet docking station, which in this case features a 10.1-inch full-HD (720×1280) Super IPS display, which offers 224ppi pixel density. Like previous iterations, the smartphone fits into the tablet dock, powering the tablet with its hardware. The tablet dock packs a huge 5000mAh battery.

The PadFone Infinity Lite features a 5-inch full-HD (540 x 960 pixel) display which boasts a pixel density of 441ppi. Internally, the PadFone Infinity Lite packs a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor along with 2GB of RAM. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and also includes a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

Nokia X Android family to receive SwiftKey keyboard app for free

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SwiftKey has announced that the Nokia X family of devices – and any future Android device with access to the Nokia Store – will get the popular keyboard app for free.

SwiftKey, the fast-typing predictive text keyboard, will also arrive with support for SwiftKey Cloud, which gives users the ability to backup and sync their personal writing style across multiple devices and offers predictions for current trending phrases and words. It will also include three SwiftKey app themes (Cobalt as the default theme, Holo and Light).

The original SwiftKey app for Android is available in a free-for-a-month trial version in some regions, or users can buy the app outright for Rs. 99 ($3.99 in the US).

SwiftKey CEO and co-founder Jon Reynolds sayid, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Nokia on their debut Nokia Store, a company renowned for its significant user base and impressive reach in emerging markets. This collaboration with Nokia demonstrates our ongoing commitment to bring SwiftKey’s personalized, adaptive technology to as many users as possible.”

SwiftKey will be available on Nokia Store in the following countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, UAE, Kuwait, Philippines, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Poland and Turkey.

The Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL dual-SIM Android-based smartphones were announced on 24 February 2014 by the Finnish firm at the sidelines of MWC 2014 in Barcelona.

Also coming to Nokia X is another popular app, BBM. BlackBerry said it will make its messaging service BBM available to Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X platforms in the coming months. BBM for Nokia X will be available from the Nokia Store when the Nokia X platform launches, BlackBerry said in a statement on Monday.

BlackBerry Z10 price in India slashed to Rs. 17,990 for a limited time

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BlackBerry has slashed the price of its Z10 smartphone in India to Rs. 17,990 as the company “celebrates the 10th anniversary of its foray into the Indian market.”

The Canadian handset maker has announced that the BlackBerry Z10 will be available at the new price for a period of 60 days. The new pricing makes the Z10 a very attractive option, as one can buy a device with flagship-level performance and experience at a sub-Rs. 20,000 price.

The first BB10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, was launched in India February last year carrying a price tag of Rs. 43,490. Later, the price was slashed to Rs. 29,990 under a limited period festival offer.

Notably, BlackBerry in January slashed the price of Q5 smartphone by 20 percent in a limited period ‘New Year Bonanza’ offer, to Rs 19,990. The ‘affordable’ BB10 smartphone with a QWERTY keypad was priced at Rs. 24,990 at launch.

BlackBerry also announced a price cut of its Q10 handset by over 13 percent to Rs. 38,990, under aspecial offer in December last year.

It’s worth pointing out that, when BlackBerry announced the pricing for its flagship, the Z10 in India back in February last year, the pricing received a lot of criticism. However, the company seems to have finally sweetened the deal, by bringing the Z10’s price tag down to Rs. 17,990.

As mentioned earlier, the BlackBerry Z10 is the first phone-based on the BlackBerry 10 platform. The device is powered by a dual-core processor that is clocked at 1.5GHz along with 2GB of RAM. The inbuilt storage available on the smartphone is 16GB. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera that can capture 1080p videos and 2-megapixel camera in the front. The Z10 comes with a 1,850mAh battery, which as per the company claims gives 10 hours of talk time and 312 hours of standby time.

LG F70 with Android 4.4 KitKat, LTE support unveiled at MWC 2014

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LG has announced a new LTE-enabled smartphone, dubbed LG F70, at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. Unfortunately, the company has not revealed any details of the availability or pricing of the new LG F70 smartphone. The company’s new smartphone runs Android 4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box. The South Korean giant is targeting the LTE consumers worldwide with its new LG F70 smartphone.

The LG F70 comes with a 4.5-inch WVGA (480×800 pixels) IPS display and offers a pixel density of 207ppi. The LG F70 is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (unspecified chipset) alongside 1GB of RAM. It bears 4GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card. The LG F70 sports a 5-megapixel rear camera and also packs a VGA front-facing camera. The smartphone runs on a 2440mAh (removable) battery and measures 127.2×66.4x10mm.

The new LG F70 also comes preloaded with the company’s new advanced UX feature, Knock Code, which is an upgrade to the KnockON feature that was introduced in the flagship 2013 smartphone, the LG G2. The Knock Code feature allows users to both power on and unlock the LG (http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/lg-phones ) smartphone by tapping a personalized pattern on the phone’s screen. According to the company, the new Knock Code feature offers greater security as the pattern is entered on a blank screen using anywhere from two to eight taps, allowing for more than 80,000 possible combinations.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company said, “Not only does the LG F70 offer the best of LTE technology, its hardware and UX are also best-in-class. Utilizing our expertise in the field of 4G technology, we plan to strengthen our leadership in the global market.”

BlackBerry Z3 and BlackBerry Q20 announced at MWC 2014

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BlackBerry will release a low-cost phone in Indonesia in April and plans a broader release of a phone that restores a beloved row of control keys with a track pad.

The Indonesia phone, the Z3, will sell for less than $200 without subsidies, the company said Tuesday. It will later expand to other markets in southeast Asia. BlackBerry Ltd. CEO John Chen said a version with faster, 4G connectivity is planned for the rest of the world “sometime in the future before I die.”

It’s the first phone made under a new five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles products in vast factories in China.

Meanwhile, Chen said it will restore the keys in a new phone he termed “Classic.” He said the new Q20 is a response to lackluster sales of last year’s Q10, which has a physical keyboard but lacks the track pad or keys for functions such as going back. He said the company got many complaints about that.

BlackBerry also announced plans to expand its services for businesses needing secure communications, particularly in regulated industries such as health care and financial services. There are plans, for instance, to go beyond securing just email and messaging.

It’s part of the company’s plan to focus on its strengths in business services. BlackBerry Ltd. strayed from that as it tried to lure consumers with new devices.

The BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, showing that phones could handle much more than email and calls. BlackBerry was slow in modernizing its operating system, and once it did, the much-hyped system flopped.

Chen was brought in as CEO late last year after talks to sell the company collapsed. Although he has been credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010, Chen has acknowledged that reviving BlackBerry will be his most “complicated” challenge.

In the latest quarter, ending Nov. 30, BlackBerry Ltd. reported a $4.4 billion loss and a 56 percent drop in revenue. But the company said it had plenty of cash to engineer a turnaround.

The new partnership with Foxconn will help reduce much of BlackBerry’s manufacturing costs. Foxconn, known for its manufacturing contract work on Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will jointly design and manufacture most BlackBerry devices and manage inventory of the devices.

Chen said BlackBerry will now target the heavily regulated industries that require greater security. It will simplify its pricing and let people upgrade to the latest systems for free this year. It will also offer free services this year for companies that had left BlackBerry for rivals.

Blackphone secure Android smartphone now up for pre-order

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Blackphone, a smartphone focused on the user’s privacy, is now available for pre-order from its own official website for $629 (Rs. 39,000 roughly). While the pre-orders are open for Blackphone, the device will start shipping from June 2014. The privacy-focused smartphone was scheduled to be launched at MWC 2014, after it was unveiled earlier in January.

The Blackphone, which is a creation of GeeksPhone, a Spanish smartphone maker, along with Silent Circle, an encrypted communications firm, is available with free shipping charges for a number of countries including India. However, along with 15 percent tax, the smartphone will ultimately cost $723 (roughly Rs. 45,000) in India, not to mention the local custom duties that you may attract while importing the phone.

The Blackphone can be pre-ordered from here. The company says users can also return the Blackphone back if they are not satisfied, and they will be refunded later.

Some of the hardware specifications listed for Blackphone on the pre-order page are: 4.7-inch HD IPS screen; >2GHz quad-core SoC; 2GB DDR3 RAM; 16GB Storage; 8-meapixel rear camera; 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera; Bluetooth 4.0; LTE connectivity; Wi-Fi 802.11n, GPS and HSPA+. Other specifications like battery capacity, sensors and expandable storage option are not known yet.

The Blackphone is powered by a custom version of Android made by GeeksPhone in association with Silent Circle, called PrivatOS. The OS will allow the user to make and receive secure calls, send encrypted text messages, store files securely and browse the web through an anonymous VPN.

Phil Zimmermann, one of the creators of the Blackphone, stated, “I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products. Blackphone provides you with everything you need to ensure privacy and control of your communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features you have come to expect.”