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Android, Galaxy S5, Gear Fit, Mobile World Congress, mobiles, MWC, MWC 2014, Samsung, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S5 launch, Samsung Galaxy S5 price, Samsung Galaxy S5 specifications

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 has finally been revealed, after weeks, if not months, of anticipation. While the company has detailed the numerous hardware and features of the flagship smartphone, it has chosen not to mention price. The Korean manufacturer however did say 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 will ship with Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080×1920 pixel full-HD resolution. It is powered by an unnamed 2.5GHz quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. The Galaxy S5 will be available in 16GB and 32GB variants, with microSD card expandability up to 64GB.

The Galaxy S5 bears a 16-megapixel rear camera with HDR (for video as well), and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera can record UHD video @30 fps along with HDR and video stabilization functionality.

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. A Download Booster is also being touted, which combines LTE and Wi-Fi for faster download. 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 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm (slightly thicker than the S4’s 7.9mm). 

Additionally, it has been noted that the Galaxy S5 would arrive in four colour variants – Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold. Furthermore, the handset will be compatible with Samsung Gear Fit, which is the firm’s first curved, Super AMOLED health-focused wristband.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will also arrive with the latest and updated Samsung KNOX security software to keep the user’s data safe. Some of the pre-loaded Google service available in the handset are Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search and YouTube.

Samsung Gear Fit health wristband with curved Super AMOLED display launched

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Samsung has launched the “world’s first” wearable device with a curved Super AMOLED touch display, a fitness band dubbed the Samsung Gear Fit. The company showcased the new health band at the Samsung unPacked 5 event during MWC 2014, where it also showcased the Galaxy S5 – which also has a strong fitness focus.

Smaller and lighter than the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches, the Gear Fit fitness band is focused on health. Samsung is however touting the many ways its fitness band is better than others, with unprecedented interaction with the smartphone – such as notifications, rejecting calls, and playing music – almost making it a smartwatch.

The Samsung Gear Fit features a 1.84-inch Super AMOLED display with a 432 x 128 pixel resolution. The Gear Fit comprises of a pedometer, heart rate monitor, and a sleep monitor. Other built-in functions include a fitness app, exercise mode, stopwatch, timer, schedule, smart relay, media controller. Additionally, the users will get active notification alerts for SMS, calls, e-mail and apps on the Gear Fit.

The Gear Fit also features dust and water resistance IP67 certification. Also onboard is Bluetooth 4.0 LE (low energy) wireless connectivity. The Gear Fit also comprises of an accelerometer and a gyroscope.

A 210mAh battery powers the Samsung Gear Fit, which gives a typical usage of 3 to 4 days, and up to 5 days with low usage. The device measures in at 23.4 x 57.4 x 11.95 mm (body only) and weighs 27 grams.

The Gear Fit would be available in Black, Grey, and Orange colour variants, apart from different colour and designer straps as well. The device will be compatible with 20 Galaxy devices, however just which devices haven’t yet been detailed, apart from of course, the Galaxy S5. The smartphone and its accessories, including the Gear Fit, will be available in the markets starting 11 April this year.

“[Our] Gear product portfolio continues to expand with unique devices for a wide range of lifestyles, including the new Gear Fit designed to help those consumers striving to live more fit and active lives without sacrificing their own personal style or their ability to stay connected on the go,” states JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics.

Notably, Sony on Monday launched its own fitness tracking band, the SmartBand SWR10, which features compatibility with Android devices other than those manufactured by Sony.

Samsung Galaxy S5 with fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor launched

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Samsung sought Monday to frame its new Galaxy S5 smartphone as a lifestyle product, as it emphasized a built-in heart-rate sensor and improved camera features over its slightly larger size.

One of the main appeals of Samsung phones has been their size. The screen has steadily increased since the 4-inches (10.2 cm) on the original S from 2010, while the iPhone made that jump to 4-inches only in 2012 and has stayed that way since.

But the S5 pushes the screen to only 5.1-inches (13 cm), measured diagonally, from 5-inches (12.7 cm) in last year’s model. Instead of size, Samsung touted the new phone’s ability to adapt its screen to changing external conditions and to dim it to avoid disturbing others nearby.

The phone has a 16-megapixel camera, sharper than the 13-megapixel in its predecessor. It promises faster auto focus and the ability to blur the foreground or background of an image to emphasize a subject.

Samsung Electronics Co. made the latest announcement during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain.

The new phone will go on sale worldwide on April 11. The company didn’t announce a price; its predecessor sold for about $600 without phone subsidies or a contract.

The S5 has a fingerprint sensor to use in place of a passcode to unlock the phone or make payments through PayPal. It’s a feature still rare in phones, though Apple introduced it in last fall’s iPhone 5s.

Samsung’s Galaxy S series has emerged as one of the strongest challengers to Apple’s iPhones and has helped the Korean company surpass Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker. According to Gartner, Samsung’s smartphones had a worldwide market share of 31 percent last year, compared with 16 percent for Apple’s iPhones.

A chief complaint about Samsung phones has been the company’s tendency to pack them with a slew of features, some of which don’t work well with each other or at all. Recent phones have sported an Easy Mode, with larger icons and fewer customization choices. It’s as though Samsung acknowledges that its devices have become too complex for many people to use.

Samsung showed restraint this time.

“Samsung is betting big on wellness, fingerprint reading and camera autofocus, while keeping a very similar look and feel for its hardware and software,” said Nick Dillon, a senior analyst at the research firm Ovum. “The updates are so minor that on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version.”

But he said that is to be expected “given the maturity of the smartphone market and the pressure on the Samsung not to mess with its winning formula.”

The heart-rate sensor on the S5 can be used before and after exercise to measure fitness activities. It’s not meant for continuous tracking. Samsung also unveiled a fitness band, Gear Fit, to complement two new computerized watches announced Sunday. Those will be available April 11 as well.

“These devices are Samsung’s commitment and vision to great experiences that matter the most to us all,” Samsung European executive Jean-Daniel Ayme said.

Parents, meanwhile, will enjoy the ability to hand the phone to a kid without worry. Just place it in a kid’s mode, and only approved apps can be accessed. Your kid can’t send your boss an email or post an embarrassing picture on Facebook when all you intended was to have your kid play “Candy Crush Saga.”

The phone is also water resistant.

“Our consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung’s head of information technology and the mobile communications division. “Our consumers want durable design and performance. Our consumers want a simple, yet powerful camera.”

Panasonic unveils two rugged 5-inch Toughpad smartphones at MWC 2014

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Panasonic announced its first two enterprise-oriented rugged smartphones, dubbed the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1, at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. 

The Panasonic Toughpad smartphones are likely to hit the shelves with a price tag of $1,300 (Rs. 80,000). The Toughpad FZ-E1 will launch in Japan in June, while the FZ-X1 will launch in August. Panasonic does plan to offer the smartphones in other countries, but hasn’t detailed plans.

Both the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1 smartphones come with 5-inch LCD displays with a 720×1280 pixel resolution, apart from 2GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in storage and microSD card expandability. Notably, the rugged smartphones weigh as much as many 10-inch tablets, at 430 grams. 

While the Japanese firm’s Toughpad FZ-E1 runs on the Windows Embedded 8 Handheld and is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974AB processor, the Toughpad FZ-X1 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064T processor.

“We decided to use Windows Embedded 8 Handheld instead of Windows Phone 8 because it offers more customizability,” stated Masaki Mutou, general manager at Panasonic System Networks’ Terminal Systems Business Unit.

Both the Toughpad devices besides sporting a 5-inch display are the said to be the first ones to include 3G and LTE connectivity, according to PC World. The Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1 phablets feature 8-megapixel rear cameras, and 1.3-megapixel front-facing cameras.

It has been additionally noted that the new Toughpad smartphones feature a MIL-STD-810G military rating, and can resist a drop from the height of 3 metres, and be submerged up to 1.5 metres of underwater for up to 30 minutes. The phablets can also work in extreme temperatures, ranging from minus 20 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius.

The Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1 phablets are both backed up by fast-charging 6200mAh batteries, along with the such connectivity options as Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.0, Micro-USB, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, and NFC.

The firm also launched its Toughpad FZ-M1 tablet at CES 2014. The rugged tablet, unlike previous iterations, is targeted at the enterprise segment. The tablet comes with a 7-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1200×800 pixels with glove-touch technology and also comes with stylus support (optional).

HTC Desire 816 with 5.5-inch display launched at MWC 2014

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HTC has announced the launch of Desire 816 mid-range handset at the Mobile World Congress 2014in Barcelona. HTC also confirmed that it will launch the successor to the HTC One on 25 March.

While HTC Desire 816’s price and availability are still being kept as a secret, we do know that the smartphone will sport a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels resolution) display and be powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC processor paired with 1.5GB of RAM. It will come with 8GB of internal storage with support for microSD cards up to 128GB, which may just be the highest expandable memory capacity handled by a smartphone. There’s no word on the Android version on the smartphone, though HTC did confirm the presence of a brand new HTC Sense 5.5 UI on top.

HTC Desire 816 sports a 13-megapixel f2.2 rear and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The handset ditches the firm’s Ultrapixel camera technology, seen earlier in the HTC One and the HTC One Max. The smartphone is backed-up by a 2600mAh battery, is just 7.99mm thick and weighs 165g. HTC Desire 816 will offer LTE and HSPA+ (up to 42Mbps) connectivity options.

Interestingly, the handset is the first HTC device to incorporate a Nano-SIM instead of a Micro-SIM card. The Desire 816 is said to launch in China by next month around 18 March and will be followed by a launch in April.

The HTC Desire 816 will arrive in white, black, red, yellow and purple colour variants, as seen in the previous leaks via the firm’s Sina Weibo account. HTC Desire 8 would also be sporting the firm’s native BoomSound functionality.

Sony SmartBand fitness tracking wearable announced at MWC 2014

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Sony, besides its flagship smartphone Xperia Z2 and tablet, also announced a new wearable device, dubbed Sony SmartBand SWR10, at the MWC 2014 event being held in Barcelona, Spain.

The SmartBand SWR10 will be available in 60 worldwide markets next month. The Sony SmartBand focuses on tracking the fitness and health of users and also monitors user’s sleep, receive notifications and handle media playback options.

The Sony SmartBand, like many of the firm’s previous devices, is waterproof and comes with a ‘Lifelogging’ feature. The feature lets the users see what images users have taken, what places they have been visiting and how they have been ‘communicating with the world’.

The SmartBand’s release next month will be followed by a special World Cup edition during this summer. The band will be priced at EUR 99 (roughly Rs. 8,000).

Sony also announced its much awaited Xperia Z2 tablet and Xperia Z2 smartphone. The tablet will be available in two variants: Wi-Fi and LTE/3G. The Japanese smartphone maker also introduced its successor to the Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone, the Xperia Z2 at MWC 2014.

The firm additionally announced its 4G-enabled mid-range device, dubbed the Sony Xperia M2, with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The price for the Xperia M2 has not been revealed, and it will go on sale globally in April 2014. Sony says it will be priced at under EUR 220 MSRP (roughly Rs. 18,800).

Huawei at MWC announced the TalkBand B1 sports a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display, features wireless calling and has a Bluetooth 4.1 earpiece embedded within it.

Next-generation YotaPhone with 4.7-inch E-ink display, Snapdragon 800 unveiled

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Yota Devices has on Monday unveiled the next-generation of the YotaPhone at Barcelona, MWC 2014, with the new smartphone’s biggest highlight is the full-touch control for its always-on E-ink display, something missing in its predecessor. The new YotaPhone will launch Europe in late 2014, and thereafter in 2015 make its way globally. For now, no pricing details have been given.

The Russian networking giant also announced the new YotaPhone will be more ‘intuitive and interactive’, with new hardware and software features. It is also much faster, featuring a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. The E-ink display is larger as well, apart from supporting touch, at 4.7-inches (compared to the first generation YotaPhone’s 4.3-inch).

The smartphone is Android-based, and as for version, Yota Devices is only saying ‘latest’ for now. The front display, a 5-inch AMOLED offering, bears a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels, with a pixel density of 442 ppi. The next-generation YotaPhone is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 MSM8974 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU, coupled with 2GB of RAM.

The YotaPhone (2014) features 32GB of built-in storage (no details about microSD card slot). It sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. 8.9mm thin, it weighs in at 140 grams. It is a nano-SIM device, and features 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB 3.0, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, and NFC connectivity.

Yota Devices has given the new YotaPhone wireless charging, though not much has been detailed about this feature yet. It features a 2550mAh battery, with no talktime and standby time ratings. The new YotaPhone will be available in Black and White variants at launch.

“The future of smartphones is always-on displays allowing users to stay connected without turning off the real world and disrupting the people around you. The next generation YotaPhone takes this totally innovative concept in smartphones and makes it even better. Now, with two full-touch displays, the next generation YotaPhone is twice as smart, twice as useful and twice as beautiful,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov.