March 22, 2013

Xiaomi Mi-3 pictured in the wild, could be one of the first handsets running Snapdragon 800 [RUMOR]

With all the quad-core processors hitting smartphones this year, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU remains one of the most coveted. This might have something to do with processor’s 4 cylinders firing at a blazing 2.3GHz. While we most likely wont see the 800 hitting these shores until the end of this year, it looks like China could be one of the first in line when the 800 drops. Reportedly the next-gen Xiaomi Mi-3 phone will have the Snapdragon 800 housed inside and that’s not all…
Word has it that by the time the Mi-3 is released, it will come out of the box running Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, along with the next version of MIUI as a topping. And let’s not forget a 5-inch 1080p display, 13MP camera, 3,000mAh battery and anything else considered “high-end” these days (like an aluminum body from the look of these supposed “leaked” images).
Of course this is all rumor at this point with no word on pricing, but going by Xiaomi’s previous Mi-Phones, we can expect it to launch for around $310. Like always, there’s a slim-to-none chance these will ever make it outside of their homeland of China. If it looks anything like the above pics, I might be making a trip to China sometime in the very near future.
[iT163 via UnwiredView | Images via GizChina]
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New Google Glass patent describes ways to control objects around the wearer

Google has applied for a patent that describes a technology that would allow Google Glass to recognize and control various objects. According to the patent application (source link below), it could superimpose images of a control interface when the target object is recognized.
Basically, just like being able to recognize people, Google Glass could be able to recognize objects. It would do so using a variety of methods, according to the patent, including RFID, NFC, Bluetooh, WiFi and even QR codes.
A few examples are given, including the one of a garage door that’s fitted with a QR code. The code itself is not visible to the human eye, but can be read using infrared by Glass and the device can determine the closed or open state of the door. Now, should the user get close to his home in his car, the garage door can open automatically and lights can be turned on.
The same way, the door can be closed when the person wearing the glasses leaves through the garage.
Another example involved a refrigerator being recognized by the glasses when the user gets close to it. A virtual interface would then be shown over said refrigerator, allowing the user to control its features using gestures.
One of the images attached to the patent application involved a printer being controlled this way, but the list of possibilities is limited just by imagination.
It’s just another idea of use for a product that some think is the future of Android.
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Look out Gorilla Glass, next gen devices might feature sapphire displays

Have you ever dropped your smartphone or tablet? Not a pleasant experience, I know. As always, the relentless pursuit of innovation is yielding achievements and developments in areas not previously thought possible. Science once confined to the limits of military and security applications has been leaping over to the cutthroat mobile device market for some time now.
When it comes to protecting the displays of our precious devices, Corning’s Gorilla Glass is currently state of the art. Here’s a demo we’ve seen at MWC in February.

Sapphire could be the next wonder material 

Sapphire itself is a special material. With a melting point of 2,030C, it remains virtually impervious to pretty much everything that’s thrown at it. As the second hardest material next to diamond, it is significantly more abundant and less expensive, making it perfect for our beloved mobile devices. What’s more is that it has long enjoyed success in a variety of applications – namely bulletproofing the cars of some very special people, and on Rolex watches to ensure that the face stays scratch free throughout years of use. And there’s many more.
Pieces of GT Advanced Technologies sapphire glass. The one on the left is designed for an iPhone 5
Extremetech GT Advanced Technologies sapphire glass prototypes. Can you spot the one for the iPhone 5 on the far left?
The sum of it is that sapphire is ten times more scratch resistant than normal glass, and, while we don’t have real world tests of how it will stack up next to Corning’s famous Gorilla Glass, we’d have to say that it’s likely to yield some drastic improvements for people that tend to drop their devices more than they ought to.
Naturally, it’s still a material that has a crystalline structure, and is therefore still capable of shattering or cracking, but the fact remains, it is significantly harder and stronger than the materials used in our smartphone displays today. While it remains roughly ten times as expensive as its immediate competitor – Gorilla Glass, economies of scale in the furiously competitive mobile device economy will result in it becoming much cheaper in a relatively short period of time. According to the talented nerds at ExtremeTech:
 ”Sapphire glass is around three times the strength and scratch resistance of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, [making] an almost perfect smartphone screen. There’s one caveat: according to a market analyst, a sheet of Gorilla Glass costs around $3, while the same piece of sapphire glass would cost $30. Thanks to increasing competition, though, the cost of sapphire glass is dropping. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a high-end smartphone (such as the iPhone) use a sapphire screen in the next few years.”
If you’ve taken the time to see our drop tests, you’ll know that most devices don’t hold up very well against concrete. Assuming similar advancements are made in other materials, we one day could all own devices that are incredibly hard to smash, shatter, and break.
Is this a welcome advancement? Have you ever shattered or broken your devices display?
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ZTE Grand X Quad shows up in product shots, @evleaks style (update: already available)

ZTE Grand X Quad
Another day, another @evleaks leak. This time it's a pair of official product shots of the ZTE V987 we saw back in January, and apparently the official name here is the Grand X Quad -- not quite as elegant-sounding as the more powerful Grand S, perhaps. That's pretty much it from the mysterious leakster, but thanks to TENAA's database, we already know most of the specs from last time: 5-inch 720p gapless display, 1.2GHz quad-core chip, 8-megapixel camera, dual-SIM support (WCDMA plus GSM) and a removable 2,500mAh battery. Assuming this Grand X Quad will be sold cheaper, we'd imagine it'd do pretty well if it features the same build quality as its sister device -- we'll let you guys know once we get to do a hands-on, naturally.
Update: Well this is weird. It turns out that ZTE's been very quietly selling this budget phone for ¥1,699 or about $270 in China since late February, though availability is very limited by the looks of it. No wonder ZTE didn't even bother with a press release.
Via: Engadget Chinese
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
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Mailbox e-mail app signs up 1 million users

Mailbox lets you swipe a message to archive it.
Mailbox lets you swipe a message to archive it.
(Credit: Screenshot by Lynn La/CNET)
Dropbox's Mailbox app for iOS has just picked up its 1 millionth user.
The free app hit the iTunes store on February 7, where iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can download it. But access to the actual service has been doled out on a first-come, first-served basis via a reservation system.
As of yesterday, 1 million of those reservations have been filled, according to a blog from the Mailbox team. But there are still a fair number of people in line.
Filling out a reservation today, I learned that around 445,500 users are ahead of me. The folks at Mailbox seem to take a second on average to fill each reservation. So if my math is correct and that speed remains consistent, I should receive access in about five days. The Mailbox team has promised that the rollout will ramp up overtime until eventually a reservation system is no longer needed.
The app itself has been beefed up. Beyond offering bug fixes and performance tweaks, it now lets you undo your last action simply by shaking your phone
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Report: Cheaper Next-Gen iPhone to look like iPhone 5

We’ve heard it time and time again – Apple will release an ‘economy’ iPhone. In the end, bargain hunters usually end up with the option to buy last years model at a discount price. Well, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (reveal-er of 4S specs), it’s definitely happening this year. What’s interesting about his proclamation is that he is claiming that it will be a new iPhone internally, but using the frame of the iPhone 5. Here’s a diagram to help better drive the point.
iphoneroadmap Report: Cheaper Next Gen iPhone to look like iPhone 5 It is very likely that Apple could save on some funds with a recycled body, especially with many other insiders reporting that Apple is tired of losing the “screen wars,” meaning they would like to extend on their current screen real-estate. If it is to happen, it would break the current trend of iPhone bodies being recycled two-years.
According to Kuo, Apple’s cheap iPhone will have a “super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber” so it’s strong but cheaper to manufacturer than an aluminum frame. The cheaper iPhone will allegedly come in a variety of colors, and be thinner than the current iPhone.
It is expected that Apple will hold an announcement this summer, which will reveal the new predecessor to the successful iPhone line.
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Google Babble screenshots leaked or more likely a mockup?

We have no way to know if these are real, but the font looks a bit block-y and not Roboto enough and the quote “JC has started a Voting” is suspicious.
The service is rumored to combine all of Google’s messaging platforms into one and compete better with Apple’s iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger. Chatting on Google services now includes Google Voice, Google Talk, Google Hangouts, and others.
The rumors also point to a May release at Google I/O.
Me personally? I’d have given this a less than 5-10% chance of being legit.
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March 18, 2013

Apple’s Entry-Level iPhone To Feature A 4-Inch Display, Super-Thin Plastic Casing And Come In Multiple Colors

We have heard a lot about the so-called entry level, or cheap iPhone, as well as many rumors about the iPhone 5S and larger iPhone 6. Today we have yet another rumor, but this time it is strictly about the ‘budget’ iPhone.
AppleInsider was lucky enough to speak with Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a reliable track record in predicting Apple’s future product plans. The reason why Kou wanted to share his knowledge on the budget iPhone was to dispel claims made in a new  Economic Daily News story that claimed Foxconn would be losing orders for Apple’s low-cost iPhone and that the handset would have a larger display than 4-inches.
Apple Entry-Level iPhone To Feature 4" Display And Supering Thin Casing
According to Kou that budget iPhone will actually have the same size screen as the iPhone 5 — 4-inches — and will have a  ”super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber.” Apparently this material will make it stronger, thinner and lighter than most smartphone plastic casings, with a thickness between 0.4 and 0.6 millimetres. Most smartphones that have a plastic casing come with a thickness between 0.7 and 1 millimetre, so this is actually very thin.
Additionally the budget iPhone will come in a wide range of colors, like Apple’s iPod lineup. We have heard many similar reports on this and as such this is very likely to become a reality. Kou went a step further however, and has said there will be between 4 and 6 color options.
Budget iPhone Colors
Apple would foolish to ignore the amount of unsubsidized subscribers in the world and a budget iPhone would better help them compete with the likes of Samsung that have a smartphone for almost ever person that suits their needs.
What do you think? Will Apple actually release a budget iPhone, or would the fruit company never do such a thing? Drop us a line in the comments section.
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March 14, 2013

Google to retire Google Reader and other services this summer

It has been an eventful day for Google, starting off with an announcement that Andy Rubin, who has been a big part of the Android movement, will be leaving. Now another wave of changes have been announced – Google Reader will be retired on July 1st due to what has been a steady drop in usage. Likewise, several other Google services will also be shutting down.

This comes as a bit of a blindsided announcement for those who have happily and loyally used the service, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Twitter and Facebook are both alight with users who are expressing their displeasure over the announcement, and the search is on for an adequate replacement that lives up to its Google counterpart.
As we mentioned, Google Reader isn’t the only service that will be shutdown. In addition, CalDav API, Apps Script, Google Cloud Connect, Google Voice App for Blackberry, Google Building Maker, Snapseed Desktop for both Windows and Mac, and Search API for Shopping are all getting the axe as well. According to Google, this is its second round of spring cleaning.
After this takes place, the combined results of spring cleaning rounds one and two will be a total of 70 services and features being shutdown. Those of you who use Reader can export your data using Google Takeout by July 1st, at which point the service will fizzle away. Are you a Reader user? What service do you plan to transition to? Let us know in the comments!
[via SlashGear]
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Samsung Galaxy S4 leaks again in better pics, more features outed

Another day another leak. With Samsung set to take the stage tomorrow evening live in New York City to announce and unveil their new Galaxy S4, we’re getting a few more high-res pictures and additional feature details tonight. While these come from the same leak as before, which hasn’t been confirmed as 100% accurate, we’re pretty sure this is legit. Imagine the Galaxy Note II S-Pen features without the S-Pen. Read on for more details.
Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 9.06.32 PM

The same Chinese forum has came through yet again this evening with an entire array of high-res images of the Galaxy S4. Showing it up close and personal in HD as we get a better look at that textured plastic design on the front, back, as well as that beautiful 1080p full HD 4.99-inch display. They even show off a few features we haven’t heard about until today.
Sadly it appears this units plastic battery cover already has a crack, so take that for what it’s worth. We’re not too worried about it because that removable back allows us to replace the now confirmed 2,600 mAh battery, as well as add storage with the micro-SD slot. So we’ll take it. They once again confirm the 1.8 GHz 8-core processor and 2GB of RAM, as well as a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU for stunning graphics and gaming.
Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 9.07.55 PM
Then the image above shows an amazing feature we haven’t heard of until this evening. That being the same ‘hover’ feature found with the S-Pen stylus on the Galaxy Note II. It appears the Galaxy S4 will recognize the users finger and almost act as a stylus for floating menus and more. On the Note II this gives you a preview of pictures in a gallery without ever opening it, previews of videos, and much more. That would be quite a feature to have all while only using our finger.
Then the images also show off the already detailed Smart Stay eye tracking features we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. Features which will scroll automatically as your eye meets the end of a page, change pages when needed, and more. You can even see the Eye-Scroll enabled icon in the closeup image below.
As a reminder we’ll be live in New York City with all the details, pictures, and video they’ll allow so you’ll want to stay tuned right here for our coverage. Hit the link below for additional images of this impressive looking smartphone.
[via 52samsung]
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This Will Be The Most Realistic iWatch Concept You Will Ever See [IMAGES]

This Will Be The Most Realistic iWatch Concept You Will Ever See [IMAGES]

MacUser magazine has recently done a great job at envisioning how an Apple iWatch could look like. Although we have seen a lot of iWatch concepts lately, none of them have really screamed reality to me. They often times either look too futuristic or just aren’t something Apple would actually ship to the public.
MacUser’s concept on the other hand actually looks like something Apple would release, and I am sure you will agree with me. MacUser magazine partnered with 3D artist Martin Hajek to conceive, design and construct a plausible Apple watch. The end goal was to make the concept look like something you would actually buy from Apple, not something 20 years off in the future.
iWatch Concept
Adam Banks, Editor in Chief of MacUser magazine stated “We came to the conclusion that Apple’s most likely play would be to keep its watch as conventional as possible, with the feel of something classic rather than excitably innovative. This ruled out the ‘slap wrap’ design featured in a recent Apple patent, which harked back to the 1980s toy craze. We came back to the classic leather strap, something Apple could make well – like the iPad Smart Cover, for example – but for which third parties could also offer alternatives.”
According to MacUser the iWatch will be similar to the design of the iPhone 5, but may not feature a camera. It also believes Apple may come up with a clever solution for conserving battery life such as using piezoelectricity, which I wrote an in-depth article on awhile back.
All-in-all this concept is pretty realistic and uses certain technologies that Apple has patented in the past. It will be interesting to see whether or not Apple is actually working on an iWatch or if the iWatch will instead be a TV.
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