Blu’s Pure XL Handset is a QHD Beast Costing $350

While Blu might not be the most recognizable brand in the mobile sector, it’s certainly making an impact with the price to performance ratio offered across their handset range. This is particularly pertinent with the Pure XL which features a QHD (2560×1440) Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3, 3GB RAM, 2.0 GHz 64-bit octa-core Meditek MT6795 CPU , 64GB storage, 3500 mAh battery, 24 megapixel f/2.3 sensor and 8 megapixel wide-angle front camera.

This is a specification worthy of any flagship phone and remarkably similar to the Moto X Style. The mobile also utilizes a fingerprint reader which unlocks within 10ms. The device is also capable of quick charging and supports NFC. To put this into perspective, the Hero 7 is the closest rival but doesn’t allow for NFC functionality in non-Asian markets. In the near future, this could become a fairly significant omission as mobile payment methods become widely adopted in major stores.

$350 makes the Pure XL a considered purchase but one which almost seems too good to be true. Judging by the specs alone, the handset should retail for $450-$550. According to the press documentation, the Pure XL is constructed from a solid aluminium design with polished edges in a sleek 9.66mm form factor.

There is a huge quantity of clones and unbranded Chinese handsets which makes selecting the perfect device a difficult proposition. However, the Pure XL is possibly the best package I’ve seen and features a flagship specification at mid-range pricing.

Thank you AndroidPolice for providing us with this information.

IFixit Tears Down the Brand New Apple Watch

The eight months waiting time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch to the world has been a long wait for some people, but that wait was over yesterday when the Watch officially started to sell. iFixit is well-known for their teardown of Apple products and they’ve of course also taken the Watch in for a close inspection and to find out just exactly what is inside this device.

The teardown is still ongoing while I am writing this piece and it’s being updated in real-time until they’ve taken everything apart that can be taken apart. The watch looks like a solid piece of engineering and the assembly looks great, but then again it has to be perfect if you want to fit this amount of technology and a battery into such a tiny device.

The previously rumoured diagnostics port hidden between the armband and the watch itself was also discovered. iFixit is also taking a closer look at Apples first foray into inductive charging, a thing that many believe will be the future for a lot of mobile devices.

Apple Watch Specifications:

  • Pressure-sensitive, flexible, touchscreen AMOLED Retina display
  • One model measuring 38 mm (vertically) with 272 x 340 pixels (290 ppi), the other model measuring 42 mm (vertically) with 312 x 390 pixels (302 ppi)
  • Custom-designed Apple S1 SiP (System in Package)
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • NFC + Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Accelerometer + gyroscope + heart rate monitor + microphone + speaker

As previously mentioned, the teardown is still ongoing and you can head over to the official page and stay up to date with the latest findings.

Thank you iFixit for providing us with this information

Another Smartwatch Contender – Samsung Curved Gear S

Rumors have been circulating of Apples apparent plans to release their iWatch on the 9th of September, in conjunction with their iPhone 6. Doing so has thrust smartwatches directly into the limelight. As with many other markets that Apple are involved in, Samsung wants their ‘thumb in the pie’, thus, they are introducing another smartwatch to their range – the Samsung Curved Gear S.

All things curved seem to be a big Samsung led trend these days. They’ve released curved televisions and curved smartphones with competitor LG said to be releasing a curved laptop into the mix. Following this trend, the Samsung Curved Gear S will feature a 2-ich curved AMOLED display, complete with 3G technology all connected via Bluetooth and WiFi.

The watch will provide you with similar functionality as all other smartwatches, allowing you to answer phone calls, utilize its GPS functionality and monitor select applications. As with many other smartwatch plans, this product will once again be targeting the health and fitness consumer audience, providing their new product with S Health features and marketing it as a fitness tracker.

Samsung’s new smartwatch is set for release this October – the price is yet to be announced. For more information, view the official release.

Image courtesy of HiConsumption

Smartphone AMOLED Panels Said to be Cheaper than LCD in Two Years

LCD panels have been previously used in smartphones and are still being used in most smartphones today. However, the newest display technology on the market is the AMOLED panel, used in smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 3, providing improved image quality, but at a much higher price than the LCD panels.

Manufacturers still use the LCD panels in order to bring smartphones at a much cheaper price, having the AMOLED panel’s price at 10-20% higher than the LCD. In an example, it is said that a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels AMOLED panel is said to be 16% more expensive than the LCD counterpart. The good news is that as time passes, new technology becomes more demanding and prices drop. This is said to be the case for the AMOLED panel as well, having said that it will even out or be even cheaper than a LCD panel within two years.

“Until recently there have been few breakthroughs in the production of AMOLED displays, and the OLED industry seemed to be facing hard times,” said DisplaySearch’s Jimmy Kim. “If AMOLED costs fall below LCDs, as expected, it would lead to more opportunities for the OLED display industry, greater competition with LCD, and more choices for consumers.”

It is said that AMOLED production has recently started in China as well as Korea, with expectations for higher demand in the near future. Also, Korean manufacturer, Samsung, is said to have made significant achievements with its Quad HD 1440 x 2560 pixels screen by improving its grayscale and color accuracy, along with its brightness.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Samsung’s New Tablets Are Set to Have Richer Colours in Screens

The new tablets from Samung, Galaxy Tab S, are set to have better colours in their screens due to the new models now coming with Samungs own AMOLED technology. AMOLED screens, active-matrix organic light-emitting diodes, haven’t been featured on Samsungs tablets until now because bigger AMOLED screens have been harder to produce.

AMOLED technology isn’t all about brilliant picture clarity, it’s also about power efficiency. The AMOLED screen takes less energy to power and allows tablets to be thinner, although the cost of producing AMOLED screens is roughly between 10% and 30% more than standard LCD ones.

The two new tablets will be available with screen sizes of either 8.4″ or 10.5″. The smaller model will retail for $400 (£235) and the larger one for $500 (£294) which is a very competitive price. The display resolution of the two models will be 2560×1600 no matter what size screen you get. This just tops the resolution of Apples iPad Air. (2048×1536)

Samsungs main competitor in the tablet market, Apple, has had an advantage in the tablet market, when regarding image quality,  because of their ‘Retina’ display technology. Samsung have an opportunity to take on Apple in the tablet market, now that they are packing powerful hardware, stunning picture quality and more into their tablets, all whilst selling them for an affordable, wallet friendly(ish) price.

The tablet market will be one to keep an eye on in the coming months!

Thank you to JapanToday for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of JapanToday

Google Now Smartwatch Reportedly In The Works

Reports reveal that a Google Now smartwatch may be in the works, however it will not be made by Google. It is said that the Google Now smartwatch is just one of three wearable concepts devised by HTC.

In addition to the Google Now concept, HTC is also reportedly working on a smartwatch based on the Qualcomm Toq and a smart bracelet which is said to be used for playing music and track fitness-related activities. However, HTC will privately reveal the last bracelet concept to carriers at MWC 2014.

In terms of specs, the Toq-based version is said to boast a Qualcomm Mirasol display, Bluetooth connectivity and offer music payback as well. But by far, the most interesting device will still remain the Google Now smartwatch which is said to feature an AMOLED display.

The company has previously confirmed that it plans on moving into the wearable devices market, stating that it worked for a few years on concepts and ideas. Whether or not the concepts will show up on the production line depends on how well the carriers will appreciate HTC’s work at MWC.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BGR

Samsung To Begin Production Of Its Galaxy Note 3 Lite Smartphone

There has been rumors of a low-end version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 called the “Galaxy Note 3 Lite” lately. Samsung did not announce anything specific about the Lite version so far, but it appears that Korean ETNews\( via Chip Loco) reports that the Galaxy Note 3 Lite is already in production.

According to sources, Galaxy Note 3 Lite will not be smaller than the current Note 3, having the same 5.68-inch screen on it. The difference between the two is that the Lite phone will come with a LCD screen, as opposed to AMOLED currently found on the Note 3. Samsung is said to be manufacturing 500,000 Galaxy Note 3 Lite in January and afterwards another 1,500,000 in February. The company hopes that the Lite version will account for around 30% of the sales for the Note 3 lineup.

What Samsung wants to gain through this move to launch the Lite version of the Note 3, nobody really knows. Having two similar devices on the market, one slightly cheaper than the latter, will in fact affect the sales of the more expensive one, that is only logical. Yet Samsung is known to play with similar strategies in the past.

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Chip Loco

Apple’s iPads Could Be Challenged By Samsung’s AMOLED Tablets Next Year

Samsung could be working on new high-end tablets with AMOLED displays according to South Korean Web portal Naver. Following some industry rumors, Naver said that Samsung is working on a 8-inch screen tablet and a 10-inch screen tablet. Both will come with AMOLED displays, which are designed to be faster, thinner, and brighter than the LCD counterparts. Rumors also point out that the tablets are going to be part of Samsung’s premium line-up, meaning they won’t come cheap.

“We were the first to commercialize AMOLED back in 2007. This year we successfully produced 440 ppi [pixels per inch] high-resolution AMOLED….we also launched the first curved AMOLED displays,” Kinam Kim, CEO of Samsung Display, said last month during a presentation at the company’s analyst day in Seoul, South Korea.

One of the tablets will reportedly be released early next year, at the same time as Samsung will launch the Galaxy S5. Samsung is aiming to compete with Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini by offering higher-end tablets with two screen sizes. The iPad Air and the new iPad Mini still use LCD screens but are equipped with the Retina Displays to enhance their resolution. Samsung outfitted its new curved Galaxy Round smartphone with an AMOLED display and sees the high-quality display as the future.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information

Samsung Will Put AMOLED Displays In Tablets From 2014

ZDNet reports that Samsung is going to focus on bringing AMOLED display tablets to the market in 2014. The reason behind Samsung’s decision to do this is because it believes that the smartphone market is becoming oversaturated with devices. Therefore Samsung believes it can make more progress (and revenue) by focusing on tablets in 2014, compared to smartphones which it evidently focused strongly on this year.

The logic behind AMOLED displays in tablets is the same as the logic behind AMOLED displays in smartphones. Firstly they offer better battery life than some other conventional display methods like TFT or LCD. Additionally they have an ability to turn off unused pixels which allows them to increase their own life span and they also offer a darker black experience (using dynamic pixel lighting).

AMOLED and Super AMOLED have become buzzwords in the smartphone market, used by smartphone vendors to justify higher prices and no doubt Samsung will be doing the same in the tablet market to offer some really expensive tablets. Samsung wants to sell 42 million tablets in 2014 and it is going to start by releasing a 12.2 inch tablet in the near future, rumours have also suggested that a 13.3 inch tablet could be coming from Samsung too.

Image courtesy of Samsung

Sharp Shifts Focus On Producing IGZO Panels

Sharp, the world-renowned manufacturer of quality display panels that are used across a range of devices, has announced that they will be converting their TV display manufacturing plant to increase production of energy-efficient IGZO panels for Smartphones. IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) panels are known for their excellent color reproduction, viewing angles and most of all, extreme power optimization (to the tune of 90% lesser power consumption when compared to traditional LCDs).

The screens are more energy-efficient because they don’t need to be refreshed constantly to prevent an image from flickering. Sharp says a standard amorphous silicon display may refresh itself 60 times a second when an image is on the screen, while IGZO refreshes itself only once a second. It can also pack more pixels into the displays for a higher-resolution screen.

Hopefully, after expanding production at their Kameyama plant Sharp will be able to produce enough volume to be able to supply their panels across the border as well. People will love to see next-gen flagships with IGZO panels compared to the likes of Super AMOLED and Super LCD.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Blackberry Z30 Is Made Official – Snapdragon S4 Pro and 5 Inch 720p Display

BlackBerry have revealed their latest flagship Smartphone the BlackBerry Z30. The Z30 is the successor to the Z10 and is a full touch screen device. The phone ships with BlackBerry OS 10.2 and opts for a 295ppi 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED display.

Internally the Z30 is powered by a dual core 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU putting it on par with similarly spec’d devices like the Moto X and Google Nexus 4. The Z30 uses a 2880 mAh battery internally which is slightly beefed up over the Z10 predecessor – though the battery is non-removable. The Z30 measures in  at just 9.4mm thick, 140.7mm tall and 72mm wide due to the 5 inch display. Internal storage is at 16GB but with room for MicroSD expansion.

The BlackBerry Z30 will support 4G LTE, dual band b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. The camera is nearly identical to that of the Z10 with a 2MP front and 8MP rear that are capable of 720p and 1080p video respectively. The Z30 also comes with an improved antenna for better reception in low signal areas and “natural sound” audio enhancements.

Pricing and availability was not announced though the UK and Middle East are expected to get the handset next week.

Image courtesy of BlackBerry, Information Via Engadget