Newest Smartwatch From LG Cancelled After Six Days on Market

LG’s newest smartwatch, the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, has just been cancelled, after only being available on the market for 6 days. The true reason for the cancellation is not yet clear, but an LG representative went on record with Android Police that it was due to hardware issues.

LG refused to detail exactly what the issues with the hardware were, however, it was assured that use of the device was not hazardous to the user, instead providing this statement: “Late in the quality assurance process for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, our engineers were made aware of a hardware issue which affects the day-to-day functionality of the device. After further investigation, the decision was made to cancel the rollout of the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE due to the complicated nature of the issue.”

Despite already having been on sale for six days, the removal of the device from the sites of distributors such as Verizon and AT&T have been swift, with sites either reporting errors or redirecting to other LG Smartwatches in place of the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE’s page. The watch is even conspicuously absent from LG’s own website, which is a very abrupt about-face for the company. With LG unsure as to whether the product will ever be available for sale again, it is clear they want to avoid publicity on the issue, due to their strong position as a hardware manufacturer for some Android Nexus devices. Despite this, LG is yet to issue a recall on the product to anyone who already purchased the watch, so it may be prudent for any early buyers to look into the returns policy from their provider.

The cancellation of this device is a setback for both Google and LG, who touted the product as the first Android smartwatch with built-in cellular connectivity, allowing it to make calls and receive messages even when separated from a handset. This would have opened up sales to people who don’t see the purpose of a smartwatch if it’s just another interface for your phone and not very useful when separated. The only assurance LG leaves us with is that “For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase.”

iPhone 7 to Feature Innovative new Intel LTE Chip

A new report suggests that the new Apple handset, the iPhone 7, is set to feature the Intel 7360LTD modem chip, which doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but given that it’s also reported that Intel already has 1,000 employees working on the brand new hardware for the upcoming handset, it should be pretty special.

The new LTE chip is set to give the next-gen Apple handset a hefty speed boost, offering much faster wireless speeds that I’m sure any user of the device will welcome. The new chip is said to be capable of up to 450Mb/s downlink, will support an impressive 29 LTD bands, meaning that using the phone virtually anywhere in the world shouldn’t be an issue, with all major 4G LTE bands supported.

“Sources with knowledge of the situation say that Apple eventually would like to create a system-on-a-chip (SOC) that includes both the phone’s Ax processor and the LTE modem chip. A system-on-a-chip design could deliver significant returns in improved speed and better power management.” said Venturebeat

If this works out, a partnership between Intel and Apple could be very lucrative and could open up a lot of possibilities for both companies in the future. Of course, Apple is sticking with the LTE chip for now, as the iPhone 7 is expected the run on the new 10nm A10 chip.

T-Mobile CEO Confirms Unlimited Data Plan Has Restrictions

T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere has made a very direct announcement accusing some customers of flagrantly abusing the networking infrastructure. The controversy surrounds T-Mobile’s “unlimited” 4G LTE data plan which costs $80 per month and includes 7GB of tethering before network traffic management occurs. According to Legere, there are 3000 customers using up to 2TB of data per month and concluded that users have been:

“..stealing data so blatantly and extremely that it is ridiculous.”

“I’m not sure what they are doing with it – stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin.”

Supposedly, the people in question are bypassing the 7GB tethering limit by using an LTE network to download content on their phone via a browser. In reality, the proportion using 2TB of data or more is only 0.01%. Therefore, this public damnation of such a small sector of T-Mobile’s consumer base seems rather foolish and not a brilliant idea from a PR perspective. On the other hand, at least the company is being transparent and clearly defining what constitutes fair use.

Technically, the term unlimited refers to an uncapped plan but many network providers utilize a fair usage policy in the small print. Personally, I feel these companies have to make the terms explicitly clear and perhaps change the wording from unlimited. This is because, the wording could constitute as false advertising and you cannot expect customers to inspect the small print. Perhaps T-Mobile feels this small percentage is affecting their profit margins and wants to set out a clear strategy for the future when it comes to acceptable data usage.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

AT&T Says NO to the FCC’s $100 Million Throttling Fine

If you read about it, AT&T just got fined last month for allegedly throttling customers with ‘unlimited’ data plan. To sum it up, the FCC saw that AT&T had been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed. So, they decided to fine them with a staggering $100 million.

If you think the FCC is asking for a lot of money, they apparently aren’t. According to them, they first decided to fine AT&T with up to $16,000 per violation for millions of violations, but the figures were so ridiculously high that they went with the latter sum instead. Even so, AT&T now thinks that they did nothing wrong.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T now states that the FCC is infringing their First Amendment right by demanding the company to tell customers of their FCC rule violation. But let’s face it, when you say ‘unlimited’, you don’t really mention about network slowdowns. Another interesting thing is that AT&T recently changed their policy for throttling LTE users after they pass 5GB of data. This means that unlimited data LTE users now get throttled during the time when the network is highly congested. Previously, unlimited data LTE customers used to get throttled for the rest of the month after passing 5GB of download. But despite AT&T’s attempts to convince the FCC it did nothing wrong, they are also facing a court order from the commission, which aims to bring millions of dollars of refunds to consumers.

In my opinion, throttling customer speeds, either on mobile data or the fiber optic speed you ‘get’ at home is not an option. I know a lot of internet providers face huge amounts of network congestion, but is that our or the network’s fault? I think mobile and ISP providers should focus on spending that money on upgrading their networks to handle more connections instead of keeping the speed throttling habit. What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

NETGEAR Partners With AT&T on Prepaid 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot

NETGEAR is mostly known for the local area network (LAN) devices, but they also got a range of mobile routers for people who also want great connection options on the go. They have now partnered with AT&T that will sell the NETGEAR AirCard 779S Mobile Hotspot under the AT&T Unite Express for GoPhone brand name.

The mobile hotspot will provide you with AT&T’s 4G LTE internet connection through prepaid data plans, allowing you to customize your costs to your needs. You can enjoy secure and affordable WiFi when you need it, on your terms, with three flexible rate plans and no annual contract or credit check.

The mobile hotspot is about as big as a deck of cards and easily slides into your pockets, purse, or backpack so you have it where ever you go. You can connect up to 10 devices simultaneous for up to 10 hours mobile internet. The hotspot also features Guest access for one-time users that you don’t want to share your normal password with.

“Our newest mobile hotspot is an easy-to-use device that our customers can simply turn on and connect, without adjusting settings,” said Judy Cavalieri, vice president, AT&T voice and prepaid products. “NETGEAR has designed our AT&T Unite Express with the intuitive setup and the outstanding experience that meets our high standards for quality. We’re also happy to offer our Spanish-speaking customers an optional Spanish language interface to make using the hotspot even easier.”

Key Features

  • 4G LTE / 3G support
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • Color LCD screen to monitor battery life and network connections
  • Guest WiFi for one-time users
  • Securely connects up to 10 WiFi devices
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Optional Spanish language interface
  • NETGEAR AirCard App compatible

Helio X20 Shows More Gaming Performance and Power Improvements

MediaTek has just revealed what the Helio X10 successor, Helio X20, packs under the hood and it is just amazing. The major highlights of its improvements are reflected in 40% more gaming and multimedia power and up to 40% power improvement compared to the X10.

First of all, the Helio X20 is based on the 20nm architecture and comes with 10 cores. They are made out of four Cortex-A53 running at 2.0 GHz, another four running at 1.4 GHz and two more Cortex-A72 cores running at 2.5 GHz. Now the first four Cortex-A53 cores are made for low to medium application processing needs, including UHD video playback.

However, The extra two Cortex-A72 cores aim to help out with the more intensive applications such as games, which do not need more than two cores to run on a mobile device. Even so, the 2.5 GHz clock speed deals with everything on the market so far.

In addition, the 10-core architecture is based on what MediaTek calls the ‘Tri-Cluster’ architecture that aims to cut power consumption by 30%. Also, Mali-T880 graphics processor offers an extra 10% power improvement compared to the previous generation that adds up to having 40% power improvement in total. A perfect illustration of what the new architecture brings is shown in MediaTek’s pic below:

The X20 also comes with support for a 32-megapixel single camera or 13-megapixel dual cameras with 3D depth engine and 4K recording, 10-bit colour depth and support for HECV and VP9 hardware decoding, as well as LTE Cat-6 technology, C2K with SRLTE and 70% improved modem power compared to the Helio X10. More information about the X20 can be found on its web page here.

Images courtesy of MediaTek News

Google Launches Fi, a New Way to Say Hello

Google have launched another massive project today; the American based company have announced that they are now releasing a new wireless service.

The service, called Project Fi will be will be the first wireless network to seamlessly change between wi-fi and LTE, constantly working out which is strongest and selecting that one to transfer calls and data; two of the networks that currently support this feature are T-Mobile and Sprint. To use the new service you will need a Nexus 6 device as it requires a special sim card. Don’t be worried about this though, Google have hinted that the nexus will be first of many devices.

Google posted this on their blog earlier today:

“Project Fi works to get technology out of the way so you can communicate through whichever network type and device you’re using. Wherever you’re connected to Wi-Fi—whether that’s at home, your favorite coffee shop or your Batcave—you can talk and text like you normally do. If you leave an area of Wi-Fi coverage, your call will seamlessly transition from Wifi to cell networks so your conversation doesn’t skip a beat”

Thats pretty neat eh? The company has also said that they are changing the way phone numbers work on their service. Phone numbers will be hosted in the cloud so you can talk and text with your phone number on just about any phone, tablet or laptop providing it can run Google Hangouts.

Googles new service is going to be well priced too, for $20 per month you can get all of the basics (talk, text, wifi tethering and international coverage in 120+ countries) and an additional $10 per GB of cellular data used while in the US or internationally. 1GB is $10 per month, 2GB is $20 a month and so on. The clever part of this is that you only pay for what you use. For example if you pay for 3GB with $30 and only use $1.4GB you’ll get $16 back.

Google have also released a short video about the project.

Google are currently running an early access program to invite people to sign up to the service. If you have coverage and live in the US you can request an invite at fi.google.com; to check your fi coverage you can visit here.

Thank you to The Google Blog for this information.

Images courtesy of The Google Blog.

The FCC Will Vote on Plan to Share Valuable 3.5GHz Specturm next Month

The FCC is said to be voting on a spectrum-sharing plan that could make its way to the military, mobile service providers and individuals alike on April 17th. The spectrum is said to open up a frequency from 3550 to 3700 MHz to three classes of users, including new mobile device owners who could use the service similar to Wi-Fi.

The current demand for wireless spectrum could benefit from auctioning off the new 3.5 GHz, leading to better wireless data performance for users in crowded places, provide better rural broadband services and even give a better spectrum for industries that do not use Wi-Fi and LTE services.

In order to keep track of existing radios and licensed services, the FCC also plans to implement a Spectrum Access System alongside the new spectrum in order to manage the interference. This is why it plans to seek proposals for both the Spectrum Access System and sensing service at the same time, but the new tech is not likely to be approved before 2016.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Voice-over-LTE Set to Launch in the UK on Three This Summer

The UK is laying the ground for an intense competition between carriers this summer. Three, the 4th largest mobile carrier in the country, has just announced that it will be launching its VoLTE feature in Q3 this year.

This means that Three will be competing with carriers such as Vodafone, who has already announced that it will be launching VoLTE, and EE, the UK’s largest carrier, who has similar plans in enabling the feature on its networks this year as well.

VoLTE is similar to VoIP, but operates over the 4G/LTE networks as data, compared to the previous “closed-circuit” calls on 2G and 3G. The result is said to bring faster call setup and crystal clear audio, while in turn making better use of the available spectrum.

This sounds pretty amazing, but there have also been a lot of battery performance issues with 4G smartphones in the past using this type of feature. However, new chipsets are said to be rolling out more optimized than their predecessors. But questions regarding what handsets will be compatible with the VoLTE networks still remain.

Three has not stated which devices will be compatible with its future VoLTE network, however handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 onwards should have no problem in connecting to it once it is launched.

Google Working on New VPN Service for Open WiFi Networks

Android 5.1 appears to come with a new network security feature, as reported by Pocketables. They have found a new VPN feature on Google’s latest Android build called Google Connectivity Services, which can be found in Settings > Apps > All and by scrolling down, users can see it under the latter mentioned name.

It seems to be a bit tricky to launch the app, having to launch it as an activity rather than a fully fledged Android app. The activity is named “com.google.android.apps.gcs/com.google.android.apps.gcs.WifiAssistantOptInActivity” and can be launched with the help of QuickShorcutMaker, an app which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store.

Once you place the Google Connectivity Service on the screen and launch it, users are greeted by popup message stating the following: “To help protect you on open Wi-Fi networks, your data will be transmitted securely through a Google VPN.”

The “Learn More” button will take users to the Google support page, also accessible from here, while the “Got It” button takes the users to the standard VPN connection request screen.

However, the test was not successful, having attempted to connect through open WiFi networks, secure WiFi networks and even LTE with no avail. It is still unclear if and when Google will launch this feature, whether it will be open for everyone or will it be discontinued. What we do know is that Google is at least making an effort to bring some VPN services to its latest Android OS.

Thank you Pocketables for providing us with this information

Netgear Reveals 450Mbps LTE Mobile Hotspot

Netgear will demonstrate their first 450Mbps LTE mobile hotspot this week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. The new hotspot is the first of Netgear’s to support the category 9 LTE Advanced technology and will be released under the AirCard series.

The AirCard mobile hotspot supports 4G LTE Advanced Category 9 and 3-Carrier Aggregation. It aggregates up to three bands to provide up to 60 MHz of bandwidth for a potential download speed up to 450 Mbps. The hotspot is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem and a QCA6174 2-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi chipset. Availability is set for later in 2015 from multiple unspecified service providers.

While LTE doesn’t have the best coverage yet, this mobile hotspot would be a great thing to have when located in a coverage sweet-spot. It would truly eliminate the need for those long outdated copper lines that still are being used in most areas.

Thanks to Netgear for providing us with this information.

Mobile Power Consumption – Attention Turns to Network Connections

In today’s fierce market, manufacturers have designed ever more power efficient processors and displays; this has resulted in attention being turned to another of the most power-hungry components, the modem.

“The modem is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial parts of the smartphone in today’s connected society. With 4G LTE, users consume orders-of-magnitude more data than with 3G. Increased consumption, paired with the advent of cloud technologies, requires that smartphones always be connected to the network—always sending data back and forth. As a result, the modem and RF frontend have become pivotal components of the smartphone in enabling connectivity and doing so without impacting battery life.”

Coinciding with becoming more efficient, modems also strive to become more powerful, something that typically doesn’t go hand in hand without innovative leaps in technology, similar to new nano-processes in processors.

Moor Insights & Society have published a research paper delving in-depth into throughput, power consumption and antenna tuner capability offerings from Samsung and Qualcomm; this research paper can be found here.

Thanks to Moor Insights & Society for sharing this information with us

T-Mobile Enables its New “Wideband LTE” Capable of 100Mbps+

T-Mobile has just enabled its next-gen 4G LTE service in Manhattan, with the carrier calling it “Wideband LTE”. T-Mobile’s new Wideband LTE is capable of massive speeds, in excess of 100Mbps in some cases.

T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a press release “New Yorkers deserve a network that moves at the blazing speed of this amazing city. Our LTE network was already fastest here. Now, with the launch of Wideband LTE, we’ve widened our lead even further throughout the greater metro area. We are working relentlessly to bring more Wideband LTE to more markets in 2015 for our customers to enjoy.

The new Wideband LTE service is spread throughout the United States, with the company adding that not only in Manhattan live, but the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island and Northern NJ all have the super-fast LTE access.

Source: BGR.

GiffGaff Goes 4G from £12 per Month

UK mobile virtual network operator GiffGaff is now offering 4G data at a very low £12 per month.

They’ve joined the 4G crowd a year later than the other UK networks, but their low priced 4G ‘goodybags’ should appeal to new and loyal customers. Those who joined the network before October 29th can take advantage of the speedier connectivity at no extra cost, meaning their 4G packages will cost exactly the same as their 3G ones.

That deal will only last 2 months though however, and from January 12th these customers will have to pay the same prices as new customers today. You’ll get 1GB for £12 per month, 3GB for £15 per month and 5GB for £18 per month.

Source: Engadget

UK Mobile Data Signal Hotspots Uncovered in New Map

Phone retailer, mobiles.co.uk has released a new crowdsourced map that reveals the true strength of mobile data coverage across the UK.

The map uses a handy colour code to show areas of strong and weak signal, offering the ability to separate coverage by 2G, 3G and 4G data reception. It also displays average speeds for a particular area and reports that the entire UK average for 4G connectivity stands at 14.7Mbps.

It also allows us to see where 4G has really caught on (in cities) and exactly where it hasn’t (mostly in the rural areas of Wales, Scotland and the North of England). We also get a chance to compare different networks, with the map suggesting that EE is the best for 4G, covering 75% of the UK.

Source: The Telegraph

Latest Yoga Tablet 2 Pro Features QHD Display & Built-in Projector

The new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is finally here and while previous models have been no stranger to cool features, their latest one certainly stands out from the crowd. Equipped with a powerful 8 watt sound system and mini subwoofer for multimedia playback, the tablet also features a built-in pico projector, allowing the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro to throw a 16:9 50-inch image on to any surface.

The projector mode will take the battery life down to just three hours, but for watching some YouTube videos, most movies, or just showing a presentation, it’s more than enough; of course you could always just keep the power adaptor to hand and run it for as long as you like.

The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro comes equipped with a stunning 13-inch QHD panel, 8MP rear camera, LTE, expandable memory, 15 hours battery life and of course the integrated Yoga stand.

The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro will be available this month from most major retailers and the 32GB model will set you back $499.99.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Forbers.

Samsung Rolls Out its Exynos ModAP SoC with Integrated LTE

South Korean smartphone manufacturer, Samsung, has just announced its latest SoC addition, the ModAP chip, which features an integrated 4G LTE radio. While the company was mostly focusing on their handsets in the past, it looks like it now wants a big piece of the SoC market as well.

The processor itself is said to boast only a Quad-Core processor on a 28 nm HKMG process architecture, compared to its Exynos 5 chips which boast Octa-Core processors. Looking at the SoC market, the only manufacturer available to produce LTE-enabled SoCs was Qualcomm, having Samsung’s flashgrips powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. However, Samsung seems to want to stop depending on Qualcomm’s SoC and start making their own hardware for their handsets, with the possibility of making their SoC available to other smartphone manufacturers as well.

It is said that the Exynos ModAP SoCs have the ability to support the 4G LTE Release 9 of 3GPP and Cat 4, FDD and TDD, as well as legacy 2G and 3G mobile interface support. Although Samsung did come a long way with its SoCs, it is still behind Qualcomm and its Cat 6 LTE-enabled chips, capable of speeds up to 300 Mbps. Even so, Samsung states that thanks to the Exynos ModAP SoC, handsets will be able to boast high-resolution cameras and offer features such as video recording in high quality or playing back graphics in higher quality.

Thank you The Times of India for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Daily Tech

13 Countries Added to AT&T’s International LTE Roaming Add-On List

American multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T is planning to expand its international LTE roaming services, having it being made available in Canada and the UK last year.

The corporation is planning to extend their services by adding 13 more nations to the feature list, including Spain, France, Russia and others. Taking into account how AT&T is dealing with EE in the UK and Rogers in Canada, the charging rates for the additional feature, named “Data Global”, will not change with the LTE service additions, but AT&T has not specified anything about it in their press release.

“Today, AT&T has expanded its international LTE footprint to now include Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong and Antigua & Barbuda. AT&T is committed to providing its customers a wider global footprint to enjoy LTE data speeds. In fact, AT&T currently has agreements to allow for LTE roaming in over 200 countries.”

However, due to different countries having different LTE bands, it would be a bit hard to get your phone to work with LTE while roaming, though if the smartphone used is fairly new, it would have more chances of connecting thanks to the newer LTE technology which adds support for more and more LTE bands into one single handset.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

MediaTek 64-bit LTE-enabled Quad-Core MT6732 Announced

MediaTek has revealed one of two 64-bit LET chipsets at MWC for smartphones, it being the Quad-Core MT6732, Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 410 competition on the mid-ranged market.

The CPU features four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores, a highly advanced 16-core Mali-T760 GPU, a multi-mode 4G LTE modem, and an imaging chip, having test showing performance results higher than a A9 core while cutting down on power cost.

Looking at the T-760 GPU, it is claimed to have a 400% energy efficiency increase than previous Mali-T604 chips, in addition to having OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.2, and being Direct3D 11.1-compliant. The power saving technologies consist of ARM Frame Buffer Compression and Smart Composition, both optimized for data transfer, cutting power costs by up to 50% each in the process.

When talking about the 4G LTE connectivity, we can say that it has Category 4 speeds with 150 MB/s downstream and 50 MB/s upstream, while 3G/DC-HSPA+ networks have their seed set at 42 MB/s downstream and 11 MB/s upstream. There is also TD-SCDMA working as legacy 2G/3G networks, having the Dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as the ‘cherry on top’ in terms of connectivity.

The MediaTek MT6732 is said to support low-power 1080p, 30fps video playback for media encoded with H.265 and legacy H.264 codecs, while offering 1080p, 30fps H.264 video playback and recording. it also features an integrated 13MP camera image processor with support for “picture-in-picture”, “video-in-video”, and, *gulp*, Video Face Beautifier, packed together with the company’s proprietary ClearMotion and MiraVision algorithms for jitter reduction, smooth playback, and “DTV-grade” picture quality.

While everything sounds fine and dandy, MediaTek will not start producing the chipset anytime soon, having it planned to start at the end of this year. Besides, no information about the second 64-bit Octa-Core MT6752 has been released just yet as well.

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

Surface 3 Featuring NVIDIA’s K1 Rumored To Launch Next Year

Microsoft is rumored to launch new versions of its Surface series, the Microsoft Surface 3 and Mini. It is said that the Surface 3 will feature a 64-bit version of NVIDIA’s K1 chipset, having it ready to launch next year. The Surface Mini though is set to launch sometime later this year.

Nvidia launched its Tegra K1 at the Consumer Electronics Show, and it features Nvidia’s first custom 64-bit core, codenamed Denver. The Denver core is based on ARM’s v8 instruction set, and the 64-bit K1 will feature a dual-core variant featuring two Denver cores that are clocked at 2.3 GHz. But the interesting feature on the K1 is its GPU, which comes with 192 CUDA cores and brings Nvidia’s desktop architecture to the mobile platform.

Besides the Surface Mini and Surface 3, Microsoft is also considering an LTE-enabled version of the Surface 2 tablet. Tablets running Windows RT have failed to find any momentum, which is largely due to the limited filesystem. It has been rumored that Microsoft is looking to resolve this issue with Threshold, the operating system that is said to unify common Windows features across devices and ecosystems.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

Snapdragon 802 and 602A Announced By Qualcomm

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 802 and Snapdragon 602A, however they are not to be seen on the consumer market. The 802 is designed specifically to power smart TVs, but not any smart TVs. It is going after 4K and UHD sets. It features the Adreno 330 GPU, the one found in the original Snapdragon 800 as well, along with its four Krait cores, clocked at 1.8GHz. The chip also features dual-band Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac connectivity, which enables ultra-high Wi-Fi capacity for seamless streaming.

A new feature implemented is the Hexagon DSP, which provides Dolby Digital and DTS processing. It also enables OEMs to develop their own features, such as audio control and support for various gestures. Although I am not a fan of audio control or even “intelligent” services like Siri and Google Now, I have to say being able to simply tell your TV to mute when the phone starts ringing sounds like a very useful yet simple feature. It is definitely better than looking for the remote.

The Snapdragon 602A is not a smart TV chip, having the A suffix denoting its automotive quality. It is designed for car infotainment systems. It features Gobi 3G/4G modems along with WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0 connectivity, so it is essentially capable of transforming your car into a mobile hotspot, media centre or office. Since this is an automotive chip, it has to work all over the globe, therefore it supports LTE TDD/FDD, CDMA 1x and 1xEV-DO, DC-HSPA+ and UMTS, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE networks. As a mobile hotspot, it can handle up to eight simultaneous devices, more than enough for the average company car, or to keep a couple of kids busy (and quiet) in the back seat.

Qualcomm says the first “Gobi 4G LTE” cars will be rolled out this year. As for the 802, the chips should sample soon and we should see the first smart TVs based on the new chip by the end of the year.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Archos’ First LTE Smartphones To Debut At CES 2014

Archos has revealed some 4G LTE smartphones that the company is thinking of showing at the upcoming CES 2014. Namely, the Archos 45 Helium 4G and 50 Helium 4G are Archos’ first LTE smartphones which will be released on the market. Both devices will have Android 4.3 pre-installed, with a future upgrade to Android 4.4 undergoing development. The smartphones also boast a 1.4GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm processor, an Adreno 305 GPU, 1080p HD video capture, and 1GB RAM.

The Archos 50 Helium is going to be a higher-end handset, having a larger 5-inch 720p HD LCD display, 8-megapixel camera, and 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It also has a 2,000 mAh battery and a higher price tag of $250 off-contract to go with it. The Archos 45 Helium 4G is said to be an entry-level handset, having a smaller 4.5-inch display with a 854×480 FWVGA resolution, a 5-megapixel main camera, a VGA front-facing camera, and a smaller 1,700 mAh battery. The more budget Helium is reported to have a price tag of $200.

If you haven’t associated Archos with smartphones, you’re not alone. The company is better known for audio and video equipment, with its newer tablet and smartphone efforts more active in European markets than in the US. While these two rise to the top of Archos’ portfolio, they’re positioned to bob around the midrange in terms of their features and specs.

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

Statistics Report That Mobile Data Nearly Doubled In 2013

According to industry analyst Chetan Sharma, a consultant for wireless carriers, mobile data usage nearly doubled in the last year. On a global scale the average is now at 240MB per month, up from 140MB last year, while usage on the US jumped from 690MB to 1.2GB on average during 2013.

Sharma said the growth in data use could be attributed to the widespread coverage LTE, along with faster and bigger smartphones better suited for browsing. Though not explicitly mentioned in the report, the growing popularity of mobile apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine probably played their part too.

This news is very beneficial to companies like T-Mobile or Sprint, which unlike Verizon and AT&T, don’t enforce hard limits on data usage per month. For now the average is still within lower than 4GB traffic, and although Verizon’s CEO has said unlimited plans are not sustainable there’s nothing stopping them from gradually adapting to consumers’ growing needs.

Wi-Fi does not get neglected in all this, and also holds a key point in internet connectivity, helping offload as much as 60% to 70% of the total traffic in most countries. With Wi-Fi sharing services like Fon making their way to the US in 2013 and companies like Republic Wireless falling back to Wi-Fi to provide service, there’s still a lot going on in this space to keep you from being at the mercy of wireless carriers’ data caps and overage charges.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information

A More Affordable Sony Xperia E2 With LTE To Be Released In 2014

While Sony managed to introduce several interesting high-end smartphones this year, it also launched lower-end models, like the Xperia E. The Xperia E will seemingly have a successor. Unsurprisingly called Sony Xperia E2, this should be released in 2014.

Unlike the firs Xperia E, the E2 will have LTE connectivity – at least that’s what EMSOne is claiming. We don’t know much else about the handset for now. However, since the original model is a low-end device with a 3.5 inch HVGA display, its successor will most probably also have low-end specs.

Affordable LTE smartphones will become more and more popular next year, and the Xperia E2 will apparently be one of them. Since Android 4.4 KitKat doesn’t require powerful hardware, we can certainly hope that the Xperia E2 will have it on board at launch.

The original Xperia E has a dual SIM version, so the new E2 may also come with support for two SIM cards.

Thank you UnwiredView for providing us with this information
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LTE and 64-bit Support Brought Forth In Upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 410

It was only a matter of time before Qualcomm would try to enter the market with its own chipset capable of supporting 64-bit, though the processor does not appear to be of the high-end range. The Snapdragon 410, however, is a 28nm SoC that seems to be focused more on lower-end devices and emerging markets instead. The new Snapdragon is expected to arrive at manufacturers in the first half of 2014, with it reaching consumer devices somewhere in Q2 2014.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, though not as high-end as we would have hoped, does come with plenty of extra feature support. One of the main features is the LTE, which Qualcomm says is a feature it wants to bring to all of its products. In particular, this next-gen connectivity comes with multimode and multiband support, ensuring that many devices carrying the chip will work on LTE networks around the globe. Another feature of the Snapdragon 410 will be an Adreno 306 GPU, which will offer support for dual and triple-SIM devices. Other features consist of having 1080p video playback capability, a 13-megapixels camera range, Along with GPS/GLONASS, enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC and Bluetooth.

Qualcomm wants to dominate the smartphone and tablet market in terms of processor manufacturer, therefore the new Qualcomm Snapdragon will have a compatibility table spanning from Android to Windows Phone and even Firefox OS, all the way to “high-volume” devices in emerging markets which sell for under $150.

Although this is just a low-end processor that Qualcomm announced, it would not make sense if they did not release any high-end version in the near future. Especially when CES and MWC are not too far away.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
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Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking Chip To Improve Nexus 5 Battery Life

According to latest news, Qualcomm has revealed that the new Google Nexus 5 not only features the company’s fastest mobile processor, the Snapdragon 800 SoC, but also features a certain Qualcomm QFE1100 envelope tracking chipset, which is a front-end for OEMs to design global 4G LTE compatible devices, like the Nexus 5. This isn’t the first time that the QFE1100 is being used in a Smartphone. Samsung was first to the finish line with the Galaxy Note 3, launched nearly two months ago.

“The Nexus 5 also utilizes the Qualcomm QFE1100 feature, an important component of the upcoming Qualcomm RF360 Front End, a comprehensive, system-level solution that allows OEMs to develop a single, global 4G LTE design.”

Qualcomm states that the new chipset offers 30% lesser heat and 20% decreased power consumption. Thanks to the improvements made by the chip designer, the Nexus 5 will last longer while being used over 3G/4G networks than any other device with a similar battery capacity and internal specifications.

“The QFE1100 feature is the world’s first envelope tracking (ET) technology for 3G/4G LTE devices and offers significant performance improvements, including reduced heat by up to 30%t and decreased power consumption by up to 20%, enabling thinner form factors with longer battery life.”

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.
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Google Says Nexus 5 Will Not Come To Verizon

Google made a statement recently to the Verge which suggests that Verizon will not be offering the Google Nexus 5 handset.

Google’s senior VP of Android Sundar Pichai stated clearly and simply that “the Nexus 5 will not be on Verizon” without any explanation of why this will be the case. The announcement is strange given that the Nexus 5 will run on all rival carriers: Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T in the USA, but apparently the lack of support can be put down to the Nexus 5 not supporting the LTE Band 13 required for use on Verizon’s network. However, the device does still support GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100, HSDPA 900 / 2100 and most other LTE bands so it will work on the vast majority of networks.

It isn’t exactly surprising news as in the past Google and Verizon haven’t worked well together. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus took so long to come to market, due to Verizon’s long software review process, that it was almost out-dated and second class by the time it was ready, while the Nexus 4 didn’t support Verizon’s LTE so it meant Verizon couldn’t offer the phone to its customers. Google and Verizon also had a little scuff over the new Nexus 7 2013 Edition tablet where Google showed it operating on the Verizon network despite Verizon claiming it wasn’t supported. Verizon then changed its message saying it would support the device “soon” but has stayed quiet on the topic since.

It isn’t all bad news for Verizon customers though, as Google and Verizon are working together “on a set of projects for 2014” according to Sundar Pichai.

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