AMD Graphics to Be Licensed by MediaTek

MediaTek is said to have partnered up with AMD on mobile SoC graphics, as announced at the Mobile World Congress. This looks like a big change for both companies, having AMD to return to the ultra-low power graphics market and MediaTek finally getting faster graphics and more demand in the high-end segment.

ARM Mali or Imaginations Technologies GPUs are currently out there for anyone to use, while Qualcomm comes with its own proprietary Adreno graphics and NVIDIA with its ultra-low power Maxwell GPUs. However, a partnership between AMD and MediaTek will add some pressure on NVIDIA, having to compete with both Qualcomm and MediaTek in the future.

Both AMD and MediaTek have declined to comment on the upcoming partnership, but sources say that the companies are already working on future chips which will be announced later on. AMD has sold its Imageon graphics back in 2009 to Qualcomm, which stands as the basis of where the Adreno surfaced.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Facebooks’s Internet.org to Bring Internet to Africa

Yet another awesome step forward for global connectivity, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has cemented his last year claim that a specialised team are working on building drones, lasers and satellites to deliver internet to everyone; today at the Mobile World Congress.

During his presentation, he spent a substantial amount of time discussing the Facebook-backed nonprofit Internet.org, which aims to bring free internet access to four African countries, along with Columbia and India.

“We’re working on it,” Zuckerberg said. “When we have that stuff, the goal is to form the same type of partnerships we have today with our partners to give people more tools to connect. Some of the technology we have today isn’t cost effective… just because we’re working on plans and satellites doesn’t mean that that is the type of stuff that will do it. Over the next five to 10 years, there will be a lot of innovation. People like talking about that kind of stuff because it’s sexy, but it’s not the big bit”

This seems oh so familiar to the earlier presentation from Google’s Senior VP Sundar Pichai (found here), who stated that they are also gearing up to launch solar-powered, internet giving drones in certain countries later this year. When asked about a possible collaboration with Google, his response was “Sure. I’d love to do more with them”.Internet.org first launched in Zambia, teaming up with a local operating partner and incorporated Google search, calling it an “important tool.”

Probably the most profound statement from his presentation “To grow the Internet is expensive… we want to make progress.”

Thanks to Mashable for supplying this information

Google VP Announces Closer Launch Date For Project Titan

Earlier today at the Mobile World Congress, Google has announced that it is getting closer to officially launching solar-powered drones, under the name Project Titan; sending its first fleet into the sky sometime this year.

Senior VP at Google, Sunar Pichai, who oversees Android, Chrome and Google apps; outlined how the company is working on three big programs aimed at connecting a majority of the 4 billion people still without internet access. Project Titan will fly lightweight, solar-powered airplanes to act as satellites. The company jumped in first, ahead of rumors that Facebook was pursuing a similar venture. The drones will be programmed to hover above certain areas to supply connectivity, this technology could also be used to bring access to locations affected by natural disasters.

This isn’t the first time Google has aimed for the skies, their previous venture Project Loon involved a similar set up, but utilising balloons instead of controllable drones. The balloons cover greater areas, where the aircraft would focus on smaller, more precise areas.

“When I first heard the idea, I thought it was a crazy idea, and these balloons are really big,” Pichai said. “The notion that you can run these things to scale, which sounds like science fiction… but we will see a lot of progress in the next few years where we can turn it into a real service for users.”

Pichai said that the move for big companies like Facebook and its Internet.org initiative to get more people in remote regions to access the web is a strong and important step. “I’m glad companies like Facebook and others around the world are working on these types of technologies,” he said.

Thanks to Mashable for this information

 

MWC: Qualcomm Unviels Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner

At Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is showing off Sense ID, a new technology that brings ultrasonic fingerprint scanning to mobile devices. The main advantage of ultrasonic fingerprint scanning is that because it uses sound waves, it doesn’t require direct contact with your finger. This means the ultrasonic sensor can be underneath the device’s front cover glass or potentially underneath the display itself. Now fingerprint scanners aren’t breaking news in the mobile market. Previous iterations include the iPhone 5S with Touch ID. This system, along with all current scanners, require physical interaction with the scanner; pretty annoying if it’s cold and you have gloves on. Golves are a pretty extreme example, the scanner could be made unusable by even water, lotion or dirt; so dry clean hands all round.

This new ultrasonic scanner uses high-frequency sound waves to scan your finger, penetrating relatively large obstacles, like the aforementioned gloves scenario. This scanner uses similar technology to that in the medical sector, just not as powerful, yet. This means that the scanner could potentially scan deeper than just the top layer of skin and retrieve even more biometric data.

“At Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is showing off a prototype smartphone with Sense ID beneath the front cover glass. When I asked whether Sense ID could be placed beneath the display—so that you could scan your finger by simply placing it on the screen, just like in all the movies—I got a noncommittal response that is best transcribed as “I don’t see why not.””

Now Qualcomm can’t take all the credit here, back in 2013 the company acquired Ultra-Scan; who already had a similar technology developed for use by the US government. Now that may sound a little alarming, the US government seem to want to harvest as much data as possible, but Qualcomm has made clear that your biometric data is secured to the device via its hardware-level SecureMSM tech; no cloud data snatching here.

Sense ID is compatible with all recent Snapdragon SoCs, including the upcoming Snapdragon 820, but there aren’t any immediate products being released with this technology, the earliest indication is Q3 2015.

Thanks to ArsTechnica for supplying this information.

AVG Makes Glasses That Hide You From Facial Recognition Software

AVG, a company commonly known for protecting computing devices from viruses has embarked on an endeavour to protect your face from facial recognition software.

The concept, as demonstrated at Mobile World Congress, relies on a pair of glasses that, when worn, prevent facial recognition from detecting the presence of eyes, the most common marker for such technology.

The glasses contain LEDs that are only visible to digital cameras, which blocks areas used to recognise faces, and, in conjunction with a lining of reflective material that bounces flashlight back at the camera, make it harder to take a photo of the wearer.

Though still in the prototype stage, AVG hopes to develop the concept into a consumer model soon. The technology is sure to displease Microsoft, though, who recently revealed plans to use Kinect in retail spaces to recognise and track shoppers.

Source: Gizmodo

Leaked Images Reveal Upcoming Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo Smartwatches

Having MWC right at our doorstep, a lot of rumors coming from Samsung are mainly focused on the Galaxy S5 handset. Even so, it looks like @evleaks shifts the focus to a more wearable trend, the Galaxy Gear.

Two leaked images have been posted by @evleaks which appear to represent the upcoming ‘Gear 2’ and ‘Gear 2 Neo’, having posted later on some information about the smartwatches dropping the Galaxy brand.

There have been some changes made to the smartwatch design, having an additional button on the front and changing the camera position slightly upwards compared to the original Galaxy Gear. However, the design still looks like Samsung’s near-universal phone and tablet layout.

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo have slight differences as well, noticeable in the screen frame and camera. Other than that, both appear to have the same similar functional sense. The leaked images present only two versions, in copper-gold and black, however there are bound to be more diversity in terms of colors before they will hit the market.

Looking at the notifications, the UI seems slightly different from its predecessor, both displaying shortcut notifications on the home screen. What is interesting though is the fact that the Gear 2 displays a camera notification icon while the Gear 2 Neo displays only a general notification icon, despite both having cameras at the top of their screen.

If we are to consider that the leaked images are true, the Gear 2 Neo is said to be a cheaper option for customers, presumably due to lower specs and/or feature variety. Looking at the date on their screen, 24th of February, clearly states an official announcement is taking place at the Unpacked 5 event on Monday, having expecting the Galaxy S5 handset to be there as well.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of @evleaks

Nokia Rumored To Have Two More Android Smartphones In The Works

While we wait for the Mobile World Congress to commence in Barcelona, one of the most anticipated announcements comes from Nokia and its Android handset. The signs have been numerous and nobody can deny the fact that Nokia will release an Android version flashgrip this year.

However, recent rumors tells of not one, but three Nokia devices running the Android OS will hit the market this year, having the first flashgrip rolling out as early as May. Is Nokia looking to expand its empire having two major mobile operating systems running alongside each other, namely Windows Phone and Android?

The first flashgrip to make its way on the consumer market is the so-called “Nokia X” which should be revealed during MWC next week. The handset is said not to be something that extraordinary in terms of performance, having its rumored specs describing it as a Dual-Core 512 MB RAM smartphone. Though, it might be just the ‘appetizer’ of what’s to come next, having rumored a ‘XX’ and ‘XXX’ handsets which will follow later on this year.

Both handsets are said to be something on the higher market, with the ‘XX’ having slightly improved specs than the ‘Nokia X’, while the ‘XXX’ is rumored to be the ultimate high-end Nokia handset everyone is looking forward to. The names however are most likely to change, especially for the ‘XXX’ handset, where the name might inspire something else rather than a handset.

The question here will be if the previously mentioned flashgrips will be on display at the MWC event. The answer will most probably be no, as Nokia is not ready to reveal the two neither to select partners nor the public before the final product is ready. Though, if the rumors are true, we might expect to see the first pictures and specs as early as Q2 or as late as the end of Q3 this year.

Thank you Android Community for providing us with this information

New HTC Desire 8 Images and Specs Leaked, To Start Shipping On the 24th of February

It appears that new images of the upcoming HTC Desire 8 have been leaked, along with more details about the handset’s specification. Also, reports say that the mid-ranged handset will be released next week during or at the Mobile World Congress, while the more expected high-end M8 is said to be released somewhere in March.

The previously leaked images show the handset to be available in versions of dark blue and white. It is said that one image displays the date ’24th of February’, pointing to a launch on the first day of the trade show in Barcelona. This could also point to a dual launch date at both the MWC and Beijing, but nothing is confirmed at this point.

@evleaks has posted some more specifications about the handset, having the HTC Desire 8 sporting a Quad-Core 1.6 GHz CPU, 5.5-inch 720p display, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage with microSD expansion, BoomSound audio, a rear 13-megapixel camera, and a front-facing 5-megapixel version. The current leaked images show the handset in black, white, red, yellow and purple, though there is no mention of blue.

Though HTC is not the only one attempting to launch handset ahead or during the MWC event next week, it is one of the few companies which will show more than one device, having announced a new smartwatch concept earlier this week as well.

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Electronista

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

LG Preparing L Series III Budget Smartphones With 3.5 to 4.7 Inch Options

LG will be launching a new range of budget smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2014 later on this month. The new series of phones, dubbed the L Series III, includes 3.5 inch, 4.5 inch and 4.7 inch variants. From right to left in the above picture that’s the L90, L70 and L40. The L Series III are simply evolutions of the Optimus L II range in terms of the hardware internals. Being a budget smartphone series the specifications are relatively modest but perfectly adequate for anyone who doesn’t intensively use their phone.

The LG L90 features a 1.2GHz quad core CPU, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 4.7″ qHD (960 x 540) IPS display, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP rear camera and a 2540 mAh removable battery. The dimensions of the LG L90 are 131.6 x 66 x 9.7mm.

The LG L70 has a dual core 1.2GHz processor with a 4.5″ WVGA (800 x 480) IPS display. 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and an 8MP or 5MP (depending on retailer/carrier) rear camera top off the rest of the key specifications. The entire handset measures in at 127.2 x 66.8 x 9.5mm and has a 2100 mAh removable battery.

The final new addition is the LG L40 which is unsurprisingly the most affordable and lowest spec’d model. A 1.2GHz dual core, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of memory and a 480 x 320 resolution 3.5 inch display round up the main internals. This small handset measures in at 109.4 x 59.0 x 11.9mm and comes with either a 1700 or 1540 mAh removable battery depending on the retailer/carrier.

All three phones have 3G support and run a customisable version of Android 4.4 KitKat. As the pictures illustrates they will come in black and white variants.

Image courtesy of LG

New Rumors Reveal Samsung Tizen Launch In March 2014

More rumors surface regarding the Tizen project, Samsung and Intel’s project aimed at diversifying the Android and iOS monopoly. The last thing heard about the project was that Samsung and Intel left it for “dead”. Well, more speculation points out that Tizen is very much alive and getting ready for its official announcement.

According to a statement made back last year by Samsung CEO, J.K. Shin, the “Redmond” handset, it being the first Tizen-powered prototype, has been pushed back and will be unveiled sometime in 2014. And since no Tizen could be found at CES, it would only be logical for Samsung to reveal it at MWC. It has been a bumpy road in terms of Tizen’s development, but at least it is progress. Huawei and Fujitsu could also make an appearance with their own Tizen handsets alongside Samsung at MWC in February, but that is to be expected since Tizen’s launch will focus on Asia after its launch.

However, Tizen will also make its way to Europe, and maybe America after that. There are some talks about the Samsung Galaxy S5 being able to dual-boot with Tizen, but we are still a long way to speculate about that now. It is a possibility having a look at Jolla’s Sailfish and its Andoird dual-boot capabilities. Even so, Samsung could stop depending on Google’s Android in the future. But it all remains to be seen at what is going to happen when Tizen launches and if users will enjoy it more than the current Android, iOS and Windows Phone operating systems.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Sam Mobile

Sony Xperia Z2 Expected To Be Revealed Early Next Year

Sony has had some acceptable devices released this year, spanning from the Z model all the way to the Z1. Though none of them were considered as a big success, it might at least have been a lesson for the future. Now there are rumors of a new Sony handset, the Xperia Z2, and the question is will this be the handset that will make Sony proud? Given the recent failures to grab the attention of most smartphone users, Sony had time to analyse the market and might now have something up its sleeves.

The Z2 is said to be the successor of the Z1 handset, using the same IGZO display panel. It is rumored to have a 5.2-inch display, boasting a Snapdragon 800 CPU and run on the Android KitKat operating system out of the box. Sony will also have the same 20-megapixels camera installed on the Z2, though we are hoping on more improvements on the Z2 model.

Sony should make the announcement official at CES or MWC since they are the first events of 2014 and are right around the corner, but there is also the possibility of Sony to make it official right before we pass into the following year.

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

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
Image courtesy of news.softpedia.com

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Arrives – Enhanced Competition for the Nexus 7?

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 has been in-dev for a very long time now and its presence hasn’t exactly been off-the-radar. However, we are now finally seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 officially materialise at the Mobile World Congress 2013 event in Barcelona, Spain. Being an 8 inch tablet, it is obviously different to the plethora of 7 inch tablets we are used to seeing, the 8 inch display makes it noticeably wider. Journalists at the MWC have reported that the Galaxy Note 8 is made out of similar materials to the Galaxy Note 10.1 except with a bit more metal in the construction for solidity.

All that extra metal has been compensated by a very tin design leaving it at 0.74 pounds – only marginally heavier than Apple’s iPad Mini. The bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features three bezel buttons for menu, home and back, in left to right ordering. Samsung has added the functionality of being able to use their S-Pen with the three buttons, something that was missing off their previous Note II.

Other features include a rear facing 5MP camera, positioned centrally at the top, and a front camera at the top right. Along the bottom edge the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 includes two speaker grills, a micro USB port and the slot for putting the S-Pen back. The choice of OS is Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s “TouchWiz UI” being layered over the top. Connectivity options include 3G (HSPA+21) and Wi-Fi, although for some reason the USA is limited to a strictly Wi-Fi only version.

The choice of display from Samsung is an 8 inch panel utilising a 1280 by 800 pixel screen which equates to a ppi count of 189. Powering this device is a quad core 1.6GHz A9 processor with 2GB of RAM and other key hardware components include the aforementioned 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi, SD Card slot, S-Pen, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer and a digital compass. Storage will vary between models but you have a rather predictable 16GB or 32GB choice.

Samsung have, unsurprisingly, declined to offer pricing information at this stage which means making a judgement on the value of the tablet impossible, especially against the Nexus 7 dubbed this tablet’s biggest competitor. Expect more news of the Note 8 as the product comes to market in the second quarter of this year (2013).

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