Suspect iPhone 7 Leak Could Actually be True

Whenever Apple develops a new product, there’s usually various leaks and theories about the company’s future direction. This is especially when case when the latest iPhone is upon us and creates a media frenzy. Often, the leaked designs are innovative renders which are simply not possible to produce on a mass scale. Recently, a leaked image claimed to show the rear unibody of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 handset. The image was rightfully met with scepticism because the three dots near the bottom look like a Smart Connector. According to the reliable Japanese Apple blog MacOtakara, which was reported by MacRumors,  “the possibility is great” that both the image of the iPhone 7 Plus housing and the design sourced from Catcher are “the real thing.”

The images also suggest that there won’t be a huge difference in the device’s form factor compared to current offerings with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Previous rumours have hinted at Apple’s plans to remove the headphone jack and introduce dual stereo speakers. The source goes into detail about the possibility of two new sensors positioned at the top of the device. It’s uncertain what these will do but it could revolve around adjusting ambient lighting based on an environment’s temperature. Another consistently reported rumour is the introduction of dual cameras on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Clearly, it’s difficult to deduce if the leaked image is authentic, but MacOtakara has a reputable history when disclosing details about upcoming Apple products. As the release date dawns nearer, more rumours from multiple sources should appear. If the widespread report regarding the lack of a headphone jack is true, I’m really interested to see the reaction among consumers. Apple probably perceives this is a bold, revolutionary step to streamline the iPhone’s design. However, this surely is coming at the expense of basic functionality.

BlackBerry Lays Off 200 Employees in Restructuring Programme

BlackBerry’s position in the global smartphone market has been extremely fragile due to the rise of iOS and Android devices. Additionally, the BlackBerry 10 operating system was a commercial failure and struggled to entice app developers to the platform. Personally, I quite like Blackberry 10 but it’s difficult to make users migrate if their favourite apps are missing. This is a similar problem faced on Windows mobile handsets. Thankfully, Blackberry’s management finally realized the operating system was limiting the appeal of their devices, and decided to create a brand new model using Android. The Blackberry Priv has a sliding keyboard, gorgeous touch screen, and premium feel backing. It’s quite uncommon for modern handsets to include a keyboard, which makes it a great choice for business users writing long e-mails.

Whether or not the move to Android will reinvigorate Blackberry’s mobile sales is unknown. I don’t think the Priv name did them any favours because it doesn’t evoke any kind of enthusiasm for the product. This is a shame because the Priv is a fantastic device and well worth checking out! Sadly, BlackBerry’s turbulent financial situation means they have to make some pretty tough decisions. Recently, the company laid off around 200 employees in Canada and Florida. The official statement reads:

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,”  

“As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.”

BlackBerry also laid off 75 manufacturing workers at its Sunrise, Florida office between February 4th and February 26th according to a notice filed with the State of Florida. In theory, BlackBerry is working on two new handsets sporting the Android operating system. Although, it’s unclear if a BlackBerry 10 powered device will ever be released again. At the current time, BlackBerry could exit the smart phone sector unless efficiencies are made or there’s an upturn in profit margins.

Image courtesy of

Samsung Galaxy S7 Battery Could Last Two Days on a Single Charge

Since the introduction of Apple’s first generation iPhone, mobile handsets have become more than a basic communication tool and many users rely on a huge selection of applications. While this provides incredible functionality on-the-move, the use of WiFi, mobile data and multiple applications at once puts a huge strain on battery life. Usually, it’s quite common for mobile devices to require daily charging especially if you’re a heavy user. This really is a major flaw of modern handsets, and reduces the convenience factor of having a music player, camera, and mini-PC in one portable device. Furthermore, there’s been a recent trend to prevent users to replacing the internal battery. This really does have a significant impact because over time the battery’s charging capacity decreases, and owning two batteries can help in an emergency.

According to Tweaktown, this could be an outdated concept on higher-end phones in the near future. A Russian blogger, Elder Murtazin claims he’s been using the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S7 and the battery reportedly lasted 17 hours on a single charge. Not only that, this was achieved with the screen brightness at 100% while playing video content. Murtazin also tested the handset with 75% brightness with LTE enabled and this resulted in a charge of over two days! These numbers are extremely impressive but it’s important to adopt a cautious approach. The source might be genuine, but it’s only from one user, meaning there’s no substantial evidence at this time. However, battery technology is destined to improve and a more power-efficient manufacturing process on the CPU should help matters.

Hopefully, modern handsets will be able to provide superb functionality without impacting on essential longevity. Manufacturers need to move away from the absurd notion of soldering the battery onto the PCB and giving consumers the option to make their purchase last longer.

Image courtesy of PCAdvisor

Apple Preparing 4-Inch iPhone 5se With Curved Edges

Yesterday, a video supposedly showcasing Apple’s upcoming 4-inch handset based on the iPhone 6s design went viral and raised people’s expectations that a flagship small screen variant was in production. However, reliable sources close to 9to5Mac strongly deny the leak, and suggest Apple is simply updating the iPhone 5s, which was first released in late 2013. As a result, the new model, rumoured to be marketed as the iPhone 5se will still include a headphone jack and retain the main features of the iPhone 5s. Here is a complete rundown of the new additions according to a wide range of credible sources:

  • The chamfered, shiny edges have been replaced with curved glass like on the iPhone 6 and 6s lines
  • The same 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front camera systems from the iPhone 6
  • Support for larger panoramas and autofocus for video recording
  • Barometer for tracking elevation in the Health app
  • An NFC chip for Apple Pay
  • The A8 and M8 chips from the iPhone 6
  • Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, and 802.11ac WiFi chips from the iPhone 6s
  • Live Photos from the iPhone 6s
  • Same Silver, Space Gray, Gold, & Rose Gold color options as the 6s line

In theory, the iPhone 5se should replace the iPhone 5s and retail at an identical price point. Early indications suggest the latest unit will arrive on the shelves in either March or April. It’s interesting to see Apple update the iPhone 5s considering its ageing specification. Furthermore, the recent trend to opt for larger displays isn’t for everyone and can be a major inconvenience. That’s why it’s important to offer choice, and the iPhone 5se might just provide users the operating system they want in a smaller form factor. As always, there’s going to be speculation about Apple’s future plans, and all the information about the leak yesterday suggests the video is fake.

Windows 10 Mobile Lumia Update Delayed to Early 2016

Microsoft has struggled to compete in the highly competitive mobile sector and encourage large app developers to create Windows Mobile versions. For example, approximately seven months ago, Snapchat’s support team promised the creation of a Windows Mobile app on Twitter. However, the tweet in question has been deleted, and this doesn’t evoke any confidence in the app coming to Windows Mobile. It’s a crying shame because the operating system is excellent. Hopefully, the transition to Windows 10 Mobile will help matters, but that’s a pretty optimistic viewpoint. In an interview with ZDNet, Microsoft outlined the current Windows 10 Mobile update cycle and said:

“This November we introduced Windows 10 to phones including brand new features such as Continuum and Universal Windows Apps with the introduction of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. The Windows 10 Mobile upgrade will begin rolling out early next year to select existing Windows 8 and 8.1 phones.”

This means the original fall 2015 date will be missed and it’s unclear why the roll-out has been delayed. Perhaps, there’s a few teething issues on some of the handsets or bugs in the operating system which needs addressing. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a major problem since the current operating system works nicely. Additionally, it’s better to release Windows 10 Mobile as a polished product later on than rush it out for Christmas and receive negative publicity.

LG’s Upcoming Mobile Flagship Specification Leaked

LG’s mobile division isn’t the most successful from a financial standpoint, but the handsets themselves are absolutely marvelous. The LG Flex 2 offers superb performance on an innovative screen, while the G4 continues to reign supreme as the best premium handset on the market under £350. The G4’s successor is scheduled for release in February next year to inject sales into LG’s mobile product range instead of the traditional Q2 release date. Furthermore, the upcoming device’s specification has been leaked from a credible source and allegedly features a 21-megapixel camera, 5.6-inch 2560×1440 display and top-of-the-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. Additionally, rumors suggest there will be a fingerprint sensor, 8-megapixel front camera for selfies and controversially, a metal unibody back.

This means LG is moving away from the gorgeous replaceable leather covers and using a sealed design. As a result, you won’t be able to swap out the battery in a similar vein to most premium handsets. Honestly, this is a terrible decision if true, as many people enjoy the freedom and peace of mind from non-soldered batteries. While the unibody might evoke a more luxury feel, it’s bound to alienate a certain section of the market.

Is a removable battery important to you when selecting a handset?

OnePlus Announces Extended Warranty Programme

The original OnePlus handset was described as a “flagship killer” and offered a stunning specification for the price point. Sadly, its successor fell flat and didn’t live up to people’s expectations. This was due to people becoming infuriated with the invite process and large array of alternatives like the Hauwei Honor 7. There have also been some horror stories regarding OnePlus’ standard warranty service which doesn’t evoke consumer confidence.

To tackle this head-on, OnePlus have decided to launch an extended warranty programme which protects against accidental and liquid damage for up to two years. The warranty plan starts at €39.99 for 12 months and features a worldwide support team to produce quick turnarounds. OnePlus have set the 24-month price at €64.99. Despite this, it still falls short compared to cheaper and technically able handsets. For example, the Wileyfox Storm costs £199.99 and allows you to purchase a 3 year warranty for an additional £9.99. Furthermore, a screen replacement service also costs £9.99 per year.

Another issue to consider is EU law which offers a standard 2 year period. Clearly, this doesn’t cover accidental damage, but it seems OnePlus are oblivious to their legal obligations. In the USA, where consumer rights aren’t as protected, the policy makes more sense. I’m not convinced the new policy will entice people to buy OnePlus devices in large numbers because they are still restricted by the absurd invite system. If OnePlus wants to exist in the next 5-10 years, they have to drop this nonsense.

OnePlus to Announce New Handset

The original OnePlus handset was extraordinary popular due to a feature-rich specification and superb price. However, its successor, the OnePlus 2 doesn’t live up to the “flagship killer” name and struggled to stand out from the crowd. In 2015, the market is flooded with amazingly affordable handsets as many Chinese manufacturers like Hauwei, try to become the price to performance brand of choice. For instance, the Honor 7 retails for a similar price to the OnePlus 2 and doesn’t revolve around the absurd invite system.

OnePlus is reportedly launching a new, larger handset called the OnePlus X on October 29th which features a 1.9GHz processor and 5.5-inch display. The company released a teaser image which doesn’t offer much information in regards to the product launch. However, an FFC filing suggests the X model is in production. This is an interesting move for OnePlus as they usually stick to a very limited array of handsets. Additionally, will the new X smartphone required an invite to purchase? OnePlus really needs to get rid of this nonsense as consumers grow tired of waiting and buy a competing product.

I’m interested to see how well the OnePlus X does and if it manages to restore the company’s reputation.

Is OnePlus still the best choice in terms of price to performance?

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

BlackBerry Could Exit The SmartPhone Market

BlackBerry’s position as a leading smartphone manufacturer has been in jeopardy for the last couple of years. The BlackBerry 10 operating system failed to entice app developers and still doesn’t officially support many popular pieces of software such as SnapChat. Sadly, the company is facing the same woes as Windows handsets and cannot compete with the resounding success of iOS and Android. Although, BlackBerry has finally admitted defeat and decided to launch an Android-powered smartphone to try to save their smartphone business.

However, BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen, told The Verge that the company had set a target of 5 million smartphone sales within a year. If this doesn’t come to fruition, BlackBerry’s smartphone business will not be a profitable endeavor. As a result, Chen hinted about folding the smartphone business if the sales targets are not met. Historically, the future doesn’t look promising for BlackBerry as a mere 800,000 handsets were sold during the most recent financial quarter. Clearly, the management is hoping their slide-based Android smartphone can reinvigorate sales with a hardware launch. However, with so many alternatives out there from Apple, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Hauwei, OnePlus and more, I can only see the inevitable happening.

When is the last time you purchased a BlackBerry device?

Thank You The Verge for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Announces Lumia 950 And 950 XL

Microsoft has finally unveiled the flagship Lumia 950 and 950 XL during a hardware presentation in New York City today. The Lumia 950 range is built on Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 operating system and features an unusual organic LED display. The panel displays notification indicators without tactile contact while consuming virtually zero battery life. This is a wonderful technical innovation and a genuine surprise compared to the leaked core specifications only a few days ago.

In terms of raw horsepower, the Lumia 950 opts for a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor operating at 1.8GHz while the larger XL model utilizes the top-tier Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU. 3GB of RAM is used on both models to compliment the incredibly powerful CPU setup, and 32GB ROM comes as standard. Thankfully, this can be expanded via MicroSD to a whopping 2TB of storage. This is quite rare on flagship models as manufacturers try to restrict the storage and charge extra for ROM variations.

Additionally, the 950 and 950 XL contains a 2560×1440 display and only varies in the screen size. As a result, the 950’s 5.2-inch screen has a ppi of 568 compared to the 950 XL’s 5.7-inch rating of 518. The handsets differ in battery size too as the larger model incorporates a 3340 mAh battery compared to the 950’s more than capable 3000 mAh specification.

On another note, both handsets support 4K video capture, NFC, dual-band 802.11ac, Bluetooth, GPS and fast-charging via the included USB-Type C connector. According to Microsoft, it’s possible to attain a 50% charge in only 30 minutes. Another intriguing feature is the ‘tablet-class’ liquid cooling to keep temperatures down during 3D tasks. This is essential because the Snapdragon 810 is renowned for overheating.

Finally, the 950 and 950 XL features a 5-megapixel front facing camera and rear 20-megapixel sensor with Zeiss optics. There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the launch price and Microsoft has decided to launch the 950 to market at $549.99 and the 950 XL will cost $649.99. Clearly, both of these prices are extremely high and Microsoft appears to be aiming for the luxury market. However, trying to increase the uptake of Windows Mobile with two highly priced devices doesn’t appear to be a cogent strategy.

Is The iPhone 6s And 6s Plus Waterproof?

Apple’s launch presentation of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus concentrated on 3D Touch, enhanced camera optics and other minor tweaks. While these are interesting additions, they don’t really compare to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’ integrated protection against water spillages. Bizarrely, Apple didn’t mention this at all during their conference despite the technology being a huge selling point to demanding customers. You only have to look on eBay to see the amount of handsets being sold at a major loss from liquid damage.

So how does it work? Apple employs an adhesive edge surrounding the handset which acts as a gasket and results in a 0.3mm size increase. This material is designed to block any water coming into contact with the internal components and the logic board also features a silicone cover. As a result, the handset is virtually waterproof and users have reported no issues after submerging their phone in water. However, hardware damage can occur to the headphone port or other external inputs.

In the video, we can see how water interacts with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the protection integrated into each handset. This makes it one of the most rugged phones out there, but I’m perplexed why Apple kept this to themselves.

Blackberry’s Android Phone Dubbed ‘The Priv’

Blackberry’s upcoming Android-powered slider phone was originally codenamed, ‘Venice’ and featured a rather nifty tactile keyboard. However, a new post from Evan Blass could provide an early indication of the handset’s retail naming scheme. Apparently, the device will be called ‘The Priv’ and designed to emphasize the handset’s privacy features. Blackberry’s ethos also revolves around security, and ‘The Priv’ appears to fall in with this theme.

While the handset adopts a fairly expected name, I honestly think it’s pretty laughable. ‘The Priv’ sounds like a shoddy knock-off, or an unconvincing alien from a 1980s science-fiction B-movie. Blackberry’s financial position is fragile at best and they really needed to make an impact with their first Android handset. The device looks impressive, but I feel the name will become ridiculed and overshadow the handset’s capabilities.

It will be fascinating to see reception of ‘The Priv’ across a wide range of markets with varying languages. Perhaps, many consumers don’t care about the naming scheme as long as the phone features a high resolution screen, captious battery and top of the line specification.

I would like to see a resurgence from Blackberry as many of their previous phones were excellent but fell behind in the software department. Now this has been addressed with Android, it’s possible for ‘The Priv’ to become quite popular among the business clientele.

Thank you Crackberry for providing us with this information.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Could Set New Sales Record

Apple recently announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which look remarkably similar to the previous models. Despite this, the latest handsets feature a faster processor, 3D Touch sensors and a new Rose Gold finish. While critics weren’t overly enamored with the minor tweaks, it seems consumers are desperate to buy either handset and on course to set a new sales record. In an interview with PCMag, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller, said:

“Customer response to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been extremely positive and pre-orders this weekend were very strong around the world,”

“As many customers noticed, the online demand for iPhone 6s Plus has been exceptionally strong and exceeded our own forecasts for the pre-order period,”

“We are working to catch up as quickly as we can, and we will have iPhone 6s Plus as well as iPhone 6s units available at Apple retail stores when they open next Friday.”

While Apple didn’t release any specific data, early indications predict sales in excess of 10 million and their initial launch stock has already sold out. This occurred within a few days and it’s mind-blowing to see figures of this magnitude. In all honesty, I would have expected Apple’s appeal to have curtailed off after so many releases. Nevertheless, if the statistics are correct and Apple continues on its current sales rate, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will become the most successful launch in history.

Thank you PCMag for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Will Unveil New Hardware on October 6th

Microsoft’s latest hardware event will commence on October 6th and there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding the possible announcements. Invites have already been sent out to members of the press, but little is known about what will be revealed. We might see a glimpse of the Surface 4 or Microsoft’s latest attempt to infiltrate the highly-competitive smartphone market. Previously, there was a leak which suggested two new handsets are being readied to compete at the higher-end.

The 5.2-inch Lumia 950 supposedly features 3GB RAM, a 20-megapixel rear camera, QHD display and 32GB of storage with a microSD expansion slot. Another model dubbed the 950 XL is fairly similar but opts for a 5.5-inch display, faster Qualcomm 810 processor compared to the 950’s Qualcomm 808 and support for Microsoft’s pen technology.

Both devices are rumoured to implement USB-C charging ports in a similar vein to the One Plus 2. On another note, the Microsoft Band could receive an update but details are fairly sparse. The event is located in New York City and begins at 10 a.m EDT. Hopefully, Microsoft can create an enthusiastic reaction to their latest mobile announcements and try to improve Windows Mobile’s poor market share.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

OnePlus Teases ‘a Welcome Bit of Luxury’

OnePlus has unveiled a rather cryptic Google+ post entitled, “a bit of welcome luxury”. Additionally, the caption says “something luxurious is coming to OnePlus” which could refer to a leather back cover.  According to the comments section, people are a little underwhelmed by the OnePlus 2 and feel it doesn’t live up to the “flagship killer” name. Perhaps, the lack of Near-Field-Communication and Cyanogen operating system has aggrieved OnePlus’ core customer base.

Also, there are valid alternatives in the current market including the Hauwei Honor 7. This is a beautifully crafted device featuring 3GB RAM, 3100mAh battery, 1920×1080 display and a 3-year warranty. The original OnePlus made a profound impact as other Chinese handsets under $300 couldn’t match the device’s specifications and build quality. This isn’t the case anymore, and OnePlus is under severe pressure to match the price to performance ratio of other devices. Also, the invite system has infuriated a lot of users and led to loss sales. Mobile phones are an essential everyday item, so expecting people to wait months to purchase the handset is extremely silly.

Hopefully, OnePlus has taken this feedback on board and trying to enhance the handset’s appeal. If they included a luxury leather back by default, it would make it feel similar to the LG G4.

What do you think of the OnePlus invite system?

Apple Unveils iPhone 6S And 6S Plus With 3D Touch Haptic Feedback

Apple has showcased the latest additions to their iPhone range and described the handsets as, “the most advanced smartphones in the world”. The construction utilizes aerospace-grade aluminium and the strongest glass cover in the industry. On a more cosmetic angle, there is a new rose-gold premium colour scheme. Furthermore, both handsets opt for Apple’s flagship A9 processor and the iSight camera has been upgraded to a 12-megapixel sensor. Another invention is 3D touch which detects the amount of pressure being applied to the screen and performs various functions via force sensors. This means, tapping the screen or a prolonged press provides a very different result in the latest software.

The camera also incorporates “deep trench isolation” to reproduce colours more effectively and create a vivid image. From the presentation footage, the camera quality seems excellent and a marked improvement over the 6 and 6 Plus. Apple decided to offer 4K video with the new 6S range and this has been a long overdue feature as phones like the One Plus 2 can already do this for a much lower price. Consumers often use the front-facing camera to take “selfies” and Apple has improved the sensor to 5-megapixels. This is more than ample for quick photographs but nothing to really write home about.

In terms of networking, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus contains 23 LTE bands and a maximum WiFi speed of 866 Mbps. This makes it a great choice for people constantly travelling to a variety of countries. In a fairly cringeworthy manner, Apple announced its own Android App designed to migrate data from Android users to iOS, and suggested they are acquiring lots of ex-Android customers.

The pricing remains unchanged from the previous models and costs $199 (16GB), $299 (64GB), $399 (128GB) plus a 24 month contract on the 6S and $299 (16GB), $399 (64GB), $499 (128GB) if you decide to choose the iPhone 6S Plus. The handsets will come with the latest iOS 9 operating system and a new upgrade programme has been launched which let’s you upgrade your phone every year. Although, this is only on tariffs at a minimum of $32 per month and in Apple Stores.

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.

Amazon Cancels Hardware Projects After Fire Phone Disaster

Amazon’s ambitious entry in the incredibly competitive handset market has been a rather unsuccessful venture and resulted in extremely poor sales. According to the The Wall Street Journal, “dozens” of engineers working at the secretive Lab126 hardware development facility have been laid off. Located in Silicon Valley, the lab is used to design Amazon’s entire range of hardware products including tablets, mobile and TV. Apparently, the majority of people dismissed are those involved in the Fire phone’s development.

This isn’t a surprising revelation given the financial repressions of the Amazon Fire handset’s failure. Only three months after the product’s launch, Amazon accepted a $170 million loss to offset the lost value of the unsold Fire phones. Additionally, the company still had $83 million in its inventory at the end of this period. Even Amazon’s marketing might and huge discounts couldn’t entice people to purchase the Fire handset. Technically, it’s a fairly impressive device but the Fire operating system restricted the amount of apps available compared to Android and iOS handsets.

It’s currently unknown if Amazon will also ditch other more successful hardware projects such as the Fire TV Stick. I doubt this will be the case, as the company tries to compete with the Apple TV and offer a viable alternative to Netflix.

Was there anything in particular which deterred you from buying the Amazon Fire handset?

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

German Court Rules Apple Didn’t Invent “Slide to Unlock”

A German court has dismissed Apple’s patent claim regarding the “slide to unlock” mechanism and supported a ruling by the lower Federal Patent Court. Apple’s patent was rejected on the basis that it was too similar to an existing product by Swedish company, Neonode. More specifically, Neonode invented the basic principle of slide to unlock two years before the iPhone’s launch. However, their implementation only involved basic text and Apple decided to add a visual slider. As a result, Apple tried to argue that this was enough of a difference to warrant a patent in Apple’s favour. Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and the highest court in Germany found the differences to be negligible.

This ruling means, Apple didn’t invent the intuitive slide to unlock feature which made the iPhone such a recognizable device. Neonode continued to sell many handsets up to 2008 with their original design before declaring bankruptcy. Interestingly, their original patent is still valid, so they could have a legal basis to sue Apple on copyright grounds.

Apple’s patent crusade against Samsung and dispute with Kodak has done little to earn the respect of companies it was trying to destroy. This latest revelation will give a strong boost to Samsung in their patent war with Apple.

Do you respect Apple as a company?

Thank you ITProPortal for providing us with this information.

Samsung Offers 30-Day Trial on Flagship Phones to Tempt Apple Fans

Samsung has recently launched an incentive designed to wean long-term Apple loyalists from their normal upgrade path and seriously consider a number of alternatives. The offer applies to existing iPhone owners prepared to try either the Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge for 30 days. There is a small $1 fee for this service which covers administration costs.

So how does it work? Firstly, you need to navigate to the trial’s webpage on an iPhone and insert the phone model and network provider. Once complete, Samsung will swiftly dispatch the selected model with an activated SIM. This allows you to keep your existing number and use the phone on a standard data plan. Unfortunately, the scheme is currently plagued by stock shortages but Samsung reiterated:

“In just a few hours, all of the kits earmarked for this program were reserved by customers looking to try our latest and greatest devices.”

“We’re now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people,”

This is an extremely aggressive move from Samsung and could help to gather feedback on UI improvements or simply transfer loyal Apple customers onto the Android platform. I do wonder how many people will abuse the idea to access a premium phone for special events. However, Samsung probably believes it is worth the risk and giving potential customers the benefit of the doubt. It’s a difficult feat to persuade Apple customers to defect, but this scheme is possibly the best idea I’ve seen.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Former Google and HTC Employees to Launch “Friggin’ Awesome” Smartphone Next Month

Nextbit was originally founded as a software company and enables users to transfer files between Android devices using cloud-based storage. The company now has a more grandiose ambition and aims to take the hardware market by storm. The specialized team includes Android veterans Tom Moss and Mike Chan as well as Scott Croyle, who designed the stunningly beautiful, HTC One M8.

The chief executive of Nextbit, Tom Moss told CNET,

“It’s going to be friggin’ awesome.”

“Phone fatigue is a real thing, that’s why we’re doing something different.”

Interestingly, Nextbit always had long-term intentions to be a smartphone manufacturer and believes their unique design skills will entice customers to a relatively unknown brand. Although, competition in the Android market is intense and it’s extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd. You only need to look at the amount of Chinese brands and Microsoft’s poor Windows Phone sales to see how turbulent this sector is. Despite this, Moss made a rather bold statement and proclaimed:

“Your phone will perform better over time and function at a higher level because of this software enhancement.”

This is a startling statement to make and refers to new functionality and software optimizations. Current handset makers are under pressure to bloatware software bundled with high-end devices. Perhaps, Nextbit will offer a top-tier unit without any of this and include the basic operating system. I’m not entirely sure how they can improve a handset compared to huge companies like Apple and Samsung but only time will tell.

While Moss didn’t confirm an exact price, he did imply that they are targeting the premium bracket between $300 and $400.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Get Ready for a Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Discount

If you were looking to buy a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, you might consider waiting until next month. Samsung may be dropping their prices for the latest flashgrips soon, so hang in there for a month and get it at a discount.

All facts point to the company trying to get out of their Q2 sticky situation. Their profits fell four percent this year compared to the same time last year and as Apple is getting ready to reveal their latest iPhones, things are not looking so good. The predictions don’t look so good either, falling 3 million smartphone sales prediction short by the end of the year. Oh year, they have teased an event planned for mid August where they plan on announcing a bigger and better S6 Edge, but will they be able to make up for the demands this time?

The whole things started after they announced the S6 and S6 Edge, who had a bigger than anticipated success. This led to a short supply and high demand, thus the company missing their targets right now. However, with this kind of pressure on them, the only practical solution is to make ‘adjustments’ to their latest handsets on the market. This means that the S6 and S6 Edge will see a price drop in the near future, something that Samsung thinks will get them back in the high-end smartphone game by the end of this year.

In the end, people could get to buy their long-awaited S6 or S6 Edge at a lower price and Samsung could see more numbers of smartphone sales added by the end of the year. However, let’s just see how much Samsung is willing to slash off the latter handsets’ price tags. Excited? I know I am!

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Take a Look at a Leaked Version of Cortana for Android

Microsoft announced in May that it will roll out its personal assistant, Cortana, to Android and iOS. As the official launch is getting closer, so are the leaks it seems. Word is that a pre-release version of Cortana has cropped up last weekend on various websites.

It is said that the standalone Cortana app is already running smoothly on devices and is compatible with Android 4.1.2 and later OS versions. There have been some problems with getting it to work on some handsets, but that is bound to happen as it is a leaked version and not the official app. However, you can at least try it out before you decide if you actually want to get it for your Android handset.

People who had a chance to test it out say that it performs “as expected” and if you got a chance to test Windows 10 Preview for PC or Phones, then you most likely are familiar with what Cortana can do on Android or iOS devices too. There are some minor differences, like Cortana not being able to get content from emails or listen for music, but there were bound to be some restrictions in place. Compared to the integrated version on Windows Phones, the standalone Cortana for other OS’ requires permission to get access to pretty much everything, so if you don’t have a way to provide it, the app will not be able to use the external information.

Microsoft plans to launch Cortana for iOS and Android next week. They say it will hit the US, UK, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish markets at first, followed by Canada and India in the following months and then the rest of the targeted markets by the end of the year. The company chose this approach due to the fact that it also wants to personalize the user interaction with Cortana. For example, the Japanese market will feature Cortana bowing by default to show signs of politeness, while the UK market will house a Cortana that expresses the well-known British humour.

You can download the leaked version of Cortana for Android from APKMirror. I already have a Windows Phone device, so if you have an Android handset and choose to test it out, don’t forget to share your thoughts with a comment below!

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PCkoloji

Marshall Announces Their Very First Music Dedicated Smartphone

When you hear of Marshall, you are thinking about speakers, headphones or dedicated music gadgets for your instruments. But a Marshall smartphone? That’s something completely new and somewhat interesting.

While Marshall is just ‘borrowing’ the name and not building the actual handset, the thing itself looks pretty good. However, the specs seem a bit low for what they are asking for the flashgrip. It is said that it bears a 4.7-inch 720p IPS LCD screen, Quad-Core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera and a removable 2500mAh battery. Oh yeah, and it also has a MicroSD slot to help extend your storage, should you want to put more music on it.

The flashgrip’s key parts, being a Marshall and all, stand in its music-oriented parts. The handset is said to come with two (loud) front-facing speakers, two headphone jacks, a dedicated button for launching your favourite music app at the top and, surprisingly, a volume rocker to adjust the handset volume. Also, Wolfson seems to handle the audio hub, coming with a Wolfson WM8281 Audio Hub. If you haven’t heard about them, they seem to be named the best in the mobile audio solutions.

What we haven’t mentioned is that the flashgrip is powered by the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop OS and comes with a lot of customized music apps. The Marshall handset will be released in the UK, Scandinavia and Baltic states on August 21st, with a price tag of £399. But really now, is it worth the money they ask for what they offer? What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Here’s How to Get $200 off Your Newly Bought Samsung Galaxy Note 4

It’s been a while since Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 4. Even so, people do enjoy it and proof stands in the number of people owning such an Android device. Samsung did pay attention to this and is still interested in getting people to buy the Note 4 with a new rebate promotion in the US.

According to the rules, everyone who purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 handset at full price from a retailer or carrier is eligible to get $200 back. In order to get your hands on the cash, Samsung needs your contact information, the handset’s IMEI and the Wi-Fi MAC address, along with a photo of the receipt that has the purchase date clearly visible.

Once all the above have been submitted, it is said that it usually takes up to two working weeks to receive the money. One thing to take into account is that wireless carriers such as US Cellular or Sprint are not eligible. Also, the offer is only available between the 7th and 26th of July, so you have to hurry if you don’t want to miss this chance!

More information on the terms and conditions can be found here and you can start your rebate application here.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TheGadgetBook

The Nexus 6 Gets a Huge Price Cut in the UK

Want to upgrade your smartphone and missed the recent price cuts? Well, it may be for the best. Motorola did slash its prices a while ago, making its Moto X up for grabs at £229 for the 16GB version and £269 for the 32GB version. Nexus 6 also saw a slight £80 cut, bringing it down to £399 for the 32GB version and £469 for the 64GB version. But I know it was still too steep, so I don’t think it drew a lot of attention.

The recent price cuts comes from the Google Store, where the Nexus 6 has now hit an all-time low price. You can grab it for £304 for the 32GB model and £379 for the 64 GB model. Now that’s a huge price drop from the previous £479 and £549 price tags it previously had.

The only problem here is that we don’t know if the price cut is temporary or permanent. The safe bet is that if you have the money now, it’s time to clear out your account and buy it before it jumps back to its original price. In my opinion, the flashgrip is really worth it for what it has to offer and with a price tag such as the one above, you will definitely be making a smart investment.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Nokia Plans a Comeback to the Smartphone Market Next Year

If you thought that the famous company who made ‘tough’ phones is out of the smartphone market, think again. Nokia just announced that it plans to make a comeback next year, after Microsoft allows it. It looks like Nokia and Microsoft signed an agreement that prevents Nokia from selling anything phone-wise until 2016.

However, Nokia does not plan on making fully fledged handsets. The company announced that it will start designing smartphones and selling their brand. This means we could be looking at other Nokia Windows Phones next year, but having Microsoft provide the hardware and software, while Nokia provides the designs and its logo. However, Nokia plans on extending its services to other companies too.

This does not mean Nokia is moving away from networking, as they were focusing on the market for quite some time now. Its latest acquisition, Alcatel-Lucent, for $17.8 billion still provides a good understanding that the company wants a chunk of the latter market as well.

In the meantime, its HERE technology is still up for sale. While big companies are eyeing Nokia’s high-definition satellite imagery technology, Nokia says that a ‘good buyer’ for the tech will be someone who can improve it and expand its potential in the long run.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information