Cell Phone

HTC's "unexpected surprise"? That sapphire screen U Ultra edition we already knew about

Dear HTC, when your company's in serious financial trouble, and your latest flagship isn't really that good, you don't get to outright lie about having something "surprising" to reveal, particularly when we've known about it for months. And then you wonder why people don't buy your devices anymore.

 
And the thing itself? A limited edition HTC U Ultra with 128 GB internal memory and a sapphire screen. That's it – no new device of any kind, not even a new color, but just the very same thing we heard about back in January, except you can now actually pre-order it. The price is, as previously listed, NT $28,900 which is a whopping $920 in US currency. Not that it matters, as the sapphire-screen edition is also limited to Taiwan only.
 
In addition to the phone, the luxury package also contains a leather case, a power bank, and a key ring, as well as a fancier packaging. Pre-orders should start shipping by March 28, which, for the record, is also a month later than what HTC first announced.
Cell Phone

Apple to start making iPhones in India

Apple iPhone sales are cooling off in China with local competitors rising and the U.S. and European markets seem to have reached smartphone saturation, so Apple is turning its eyes towards one of the biggest and most underdeveloped phone markets currently: India. After months of negotiations with the Indian government, Apple is finally ready to start making iPhones in the world's second most populous nation. Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing partner Wistron will start making iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s within 4 to 6 weeks at a plant in Bangalore, and it will also add the iPhone SE to the mix within a three-month time frame. "Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron," an Indian official confirmed to the Wall Street Journal. APPLE WILL START MAKING IPHONE 6 AND 6S IN INDIA WITHIN 4 TO 6 WEEKSWhy is Apple moving manufacturing to India, though? The reason is indeed practical: Apple iPhones are currently simply too expensive for Indians, a potentially huge market for Apple. Manufacturing locally would allow cutting as much as $100 off the price of iPhones, a lot of it due to import taxes in India. Apple has sought some heavy tax breaks in exchange, but negotiations with the Indian government have been tough and the unofficial information is that the government has not yet accepted most of Apple's demands. "We will try to accommodate as much of their demands as possible, but they too appreciate and understand our limitations," an official working closely with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Currently, Apple has a meager 5% market share in India.
Cell Phone

Samsung to boost Galaxy S8 appeal with early bird promos before the April 21 release

Samsung is planning a veritable marketing blitz around the Galaxy S8 and S8+ launch, tips Korean media, and not only on its home turf, but also here in the US. There will apparently be 4,000 retail locations where potential customers will be able to toy with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ across the country, but it will be those who plan on preordering that will benefit most from Samsung's largess in the form of promos and subsidies. Last year, Samsung did something similar with the Galaxy Note 7, notifying whose who preordered about extra stuff coming their way together with the phablet. The goods ranged from free Gear VR sets and microSD cards thrown in by Samsung itself, to extra carrier promos piled up on top, like a year of Netflix on the T-Mobile house. This year, it seems that folks in the US will be getting at least a free Gear VR of the newest iteration, as well as various incentives like a $100 gift card, judging from the leaked Target circular for the period. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ preorders will start on April 7, and run until April 17, reiterates the source. Samsung will begin shipping the handsets to those who preordered as soon as April 18, while general availability is said to commence at the April 21st release date.
Cell Phone

Sony wants to turn your phone into a power vampire

Outlandish patent applications are a dime a dozen these days, yet a few of them warrant mentioning due to just how scarily close to reality they can be. One such case is one of Sony's latest granted patents, which proposes the idea of devices wirelessly leeching power from others in their vicinity, which gives off some serious Dracula vibes. This is a terrible idea by all accounts, but what scares us the most is that Sony might just do it.


So let's begin: patent application US 20170064283 describes "a method for configuring wireless power and data transfer between consumer electronic (CE) devices," or in other words, a combination of wireless charging and near-field communication. The problems with this are many: firstly, as anyone who's ever used wireless charging can tell you, the technology is finicky and relies on the phone being placed on a very specific position on top of the charger. And this is because, at least for now, charging works in an extremely short range, actually making it more restrictive than the classic wired solution. Now imagine having to position two phones perfectly on top of each other, while also completely giving up on using either one of them.
 
And this is just the beginning, as we haven't even touched the problem of power efficiency, which is miserable in most implementations. In other words, you'll drain much more battery power than you'll receive, resulting in a considerable net minus. And as for those batteries: the most commonly used type, Li-ion, isn't going anywhere any time soon, despite suffering from major power capacity reduction in a short span of time. So imagine how much worse your already failing year-old battery will get if another device starts regularly leeching off of it.
 
Sony wants to turn your phone into a power vampire
Granted, this is a very short-sighted view of the patent, which, for some reason, covers data transfer as well as wireless charging, making the idea a weird alternative to the old idea of wireless peer-to-peer networks. Also notable is the fact that the application specifically addresses the latter of the above problems with a paragraph devoted to preventing devices running on battery power from supplying it to others.
 
In any case, the technology for this patent simply isn't here yet, even if recent rumors have suggested it may be coming in the near future (but from Apple, rather than Sony). Still, the biggest hurdle for implementing at least some variation of this is shrinking down the power supply mechanism and figuring out how to cram it into a phone. And if Sony manages to do that, it might just put it in its next flagship, despite the general uselessness of it, à la Samsung and its heartbeat sensors.
Cell Phone

The OLED iPhone 8 curves may be smaller than Samsung’s, 5.2" viewable area tipped

All the rumors that Apple is experimenting with a new touch control paradigm for the sides of the rumored OLED iPhone 8 with curved display may have been referring to various prototypes Apple always has in its labs, according to Nikkei sources from the supply chain. The insiders claim that the iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen with a 5.2" viewable area that will be ever so slightly curved on all sides, purely for aesthetic purposes, with no new touch functions introduced for the sloping sections, let alone news tickers like on the first Note edge. This screen size is close to the 5.15" diagonal tipped by famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo as well. In fact, the source claims that the bendy panels atop of the iPhone 8 will be curved even less than what Samsung did with phones like the S7 edge. Samsung itself restricted the curve amount and angle on the Note 7 compared to the S7 edge, and is expected to do the same with the S8, relegating the sloping edges mostly to beauty duties, rather than a tangible functionality. Apple is tipped to follow suit, and may also slap a slightly curved glass back panel that will be supplied by its traditional partners Biel Crystal and Lens Technology. This corroborates yesterday's rumor that Biel will provide Apple with "thermoformed" glass backs for the iPhone 8, too. The Nikkei source reiterates once again that a lot of the commotion around the eventual OLED iPhone 8 is still in flux in Apple's labs, which in its turn coincides with what Macotakara claimed the other day. The Japanese tipped that Apple is still toying around with many prototype ideas, but in the end what it will come up with may not be as drastic as rumored, or that the iPhone 8 with OLED screen may only be announced in September, but released at a later date. Plenty of time for Apple to clear it up, and we'll keep our eyes peeled for any new developments. One point is for sure, though - an OLED iPhone 8 would be pretty expensive.
Cell Phone

Buying an iPhone is better than a healthcare plan and we were blind to the truth all along (sarcasm)

On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz made an interesting point. Rather than getting that hot, expensive new iPhone, as a sensible American, you better invest in the GOP's forthcoming healthcare plan of comparable price. Because you are free individual and you have a choice. But having both the new iPhone and adequate healthcare costs much money in the current system, so if you don't have that, you darn better make the responsible choice.
 
What if you really wanted that iPhone, though? Too bad! Suck it up, or hustle! Conan O'Brian's team of comedians uses every opportunity to land a critical jab at politics – and especially at Apple – so their quick reaction comes as no surprise. What if getting that new iPhone is actually the sensible thing to do – and a better investment than healthcare, at that? Apparently, we have been blind to its untapped medical potential all along! Let the video demonstrate why Apple has "the only healthcare you'll need."
 
The iPhone handles medical exams, acts as an advanced thermometer, does emergency blood transfusions, delivers superb diagnostics, and... you probably didn't want to know that, but rectal examinations are on the menu, too! Funsies aside, the most popular smartphone in the US is more than capable of assisting your treatment, thanks to the Apple Health app's monitoring and data sharing functionality. Still, you probably shouldn't put it in your mouth because Conan told you so. If you do that, you may have bigger problems than having to choose where to spend your money.
Cell Phone

LG G6 has a shiny glass back, but does it scratch easily?

The LG G6 is in many ways a reset for LG: it's not modular, it does not feature a leather back, it's... well, more mainstream. It is trendy: it has a sturdy metal frame and a glass back, and while it might not be of the same design pedigree as the curved-screen Samsung phones or some others, it still looks good.

 
But with a glass back you inevitable start to wonder: won't this also scratch easily? After all, many people prefer using their phones without a case and nobody wants a scratched up phone in a month or two.
 

OTHERS TORTURE AND SCRATCH THEIR PHONES, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO

So let's take a knife and try to scratch up our brand new phone to test... said no one ever. Well, one person did: an adventurous tester that will settle the case once and for all, so that you don't need to damage your device just to feed your curiosity.

 
The answer is: no, it does not scratch easily. It won't scratch even when you try harder with a sharp knife. Keep in mind that we're talking about the back glass here: it's said to be Gorilla Glass 5 protected, while the camera is said to be covered in Gorilla Glass 4, while the front - allegedly to make it as thin as possible - is Gorilla Glass 3 protected. So there you have it, the LG G6 will not scratch easily. Now, if only we could know when will LG start selling it and what will be the price...
Cell Phone

Huawei P10 Plus: taking a closer look at this stylish dual-camera flagship

When you're building a new smartphone, it's way too easy to get caught up in race to outdo your competition in a race to implement snazzy new features or design elements. Maybe you want to be the first phone around with a extra-wide 18:9 display, or the first to deliver a handset capable of filming slow-motion video that pushes 1000 frames per second. But while you're sure to get a lot of attention crafting handsets like that, there's also a whole lot to be said for keeping things simple: giving us a smartly-constructed, attractive phone built from the latest hardware, and running software that delivers a tasteful assortment of new functionality.

Is that a boring way to make a phone? We don't necessarily think so, and while it's easy to get caught up in the awe and spectacle of flashy new features, we very much appreciate a really well-executed phone that's not trying quite so hard to grab the spotlight.

Of all the flagships we've seen this year at Mobile World Congress, it's Huawei's pair of the P10 and P10 Plus that arguably best fit that bill. They're iterative phones, sure, but ones that build on the solid foundation of the P9 and P9 Plus.

Compared to last year's phones, though, 2017's models deliver some smart upgrades. We've already given you the full rundown on specs for these models, and shared the experience of some of our early hands-on time. Our initial interactions, though, have largely been dominated by time spent with the smaller P10. Not content to let the 5.5-inch P10 Plus feel lonely, we tracked the handset down on the MWC show floor to bring you a better look at the higher-end of Huawei's two brand-new flagships.

The difference between the P10 and P10 Plus is far from night-and-day, with the same processors driving these handsets, the same base memory and storage levels, and same design: both giving us a nice, thin 7mm-thick metal body, smooth, pleasing-to-hold curves, and a variety of color options and finishes to choose from. Even the prices aren't far off, with just 50 EUR separating the pair.

If you've been paying close attention, you've probably picked up on some of the ways these two handsets stand apart, as well, and besides the obvious ones like the larger, higher-res screen on the P10 Plus and its giant 3,750mAh battery, there are much more subtle upgrades, like the wider f/1.8 camera aperture for the P10 Plus – which should translate into better low-light performance.

That all adds up to make the Huawei P10 Plus a pretty darn tempting alternative to the P10 – so long as you don't mind the slightly larger screen, there's not a lot of compromise to be found, and you get a decent number of extras for not a whole lot more money. We'll be giving both the P10 and the P10 Plus our full review treatment in the days to come, but for, check out our Huawei P10 Plus image gallery and hands-on video with the stylish new flagship.

Cell Phone

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 price and release date

Samsung just announced its Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book slates here at the MWC expo, and they turned out to be as exciting as tablets can be these days of ultraportable laptops and assorted detachables. The S3 is very similar in design to its predecessor, albeit with some expected spec bumps like Snapdragon 820 and AMOLED display, while the Windows-laden Books try to fit into Intel's 7th-gen Kaby Lake processor era. We were already expecting some sort of S-Pen accessory to be available for the Tab S3, and Samsung delivered a stylus that looks a bit different than previous Note-destined S-Pens. The stylus looks to be quite a tad thicker than models that Samsung has kicked out in the past, and the overall design of it strikes an alarming resemblance to Microsoft's Surface Pen. It is available as an optional accessory, alongside keyboard covers and other add-ons. How much for the Galaxy Tab S3 and the Samsung Book 12" and 10" models? Well, Samsung disclosed that the Nougat-laden tablet will be available in Europe next month for €679 if you get the basic Wi-Fi version, and €769 if you want LTE connectivity, while the Book's prices are yet to be announced.
Cell Phone

Samsung sees strong growth ahead for the 2-in-1 Windows powered tablet market

Anyone with a rudimentary grade school knowledge of math can tell you that 66.6% of Samsung's new tablets introduced at MWC were powered by Windows instead of Android. Of the three new tablets introduced by Samsung, only one of them (the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3) comes pre-installed with Windows. Android tablet sales are being negatively impacted by the continued strength in Android phablets. And this year, there is a good chance that the top selling Android phone will be the 6.2-inch Samsung Galaxy S8+. In addition, Android tablet sales are being negatively impacted by the lack of a strong upgrade cycle. Unlike smartphones, which are replaced every two-years by many consumers, most tablets do not offer compelling updates to specs or features.

At MWC, Samsung introduced two Samsung Galaxy Book 2-in-1 tablets. The manufacturer believes that this is where future growth in the tablet market lies. According to Eric McCarty, vice president of mobile product marketing for Samsung Electronics America, year-over-year growth in the 2-in-1 niche of the tablet market is running at 140%. And with 60% of these devices running Windows, we can assume that Samsung will be using that platform on a majority of its future slabs. Especially since devices like the Samsung Galaxy Books are made for enterprise use. And that means employees will get to use Windows in the office, and Windows out of the office.

Even with the expected gain in the 2-in-1 segment, it isn't clear if this is enough to right the entire ship. IDC reported tablet deliveries of 176 million tablets last year, a drop of 15.6%. Apple iPad shipments declined 14.2% to 42.6 million. Samsung saw tablet shipments drop last year to 20.6 million, still enough to finish 2016 as the second largest tablet manufacturer behind Apple.

Cell Phone

LG G6 rumor review: design, specs, features, everything we know so far

With 2016 on its way out, and the smartphone rumor mill in full swing as usual, it is time to take a good look at all the information we've got regarding next year's flagships, review it, and sort it out neatly for your reading pleasure and convenience. With the Galaxy S8/S8 Edge out of the way, it is now time to turn our attention toward LG and the successor to this year's modular G5. However, save for the seemingly universal assumption that it will continue LG's flagship naming scheme by moving on to the next digit, rumors regarding the LG G6 have thus far been as contradictory as they have been scarce.


With some reports suggesting that the LG G6 may ditch the modular concept of its predecessor in favor of a less-adventurous, waterproof design with non-removable battery, while others still claiming the battery will be removable despite the added water resistance, even educated guessing is becoming a bit difficult at this point. However, our job here is to present you with all the relevant informationregarding next year's flagships, and that's what we are going to do now. With that said, let's take a look at all we know about the LG G6:

 

Quick navigation:

LG G6 rumor review: design, specs, features, everything we know so far

1. Design
2. Display (New!)
3. Hardware
4. Cameras & iris scanner (New!)
5. Software and features
6. Price and release date

 

Design

 
Non-modular G6

The LG G5 was a very experimental device. Perhaps too experimental. The modular concept was highly promising but failed to deliver in the end

The LG G5 was a very experimental device. Perhaps too experimental. The modular concept was highly promising but failed to deliver in the end

Numerous sources, including various South Korean publications, have claimed that LG will be dropping the whole modular thing it experimented with on the G5 and opt for a more traditional design instead. The various reports on the matter cite multiple reasons for this suggested change, including low sales of the G5, troubled production yield due to the phone's complicated modular build, as well as big shifts in the executive circles responsible for the development of the G5.
 
Whether the company will drop modules entirely for its upcoming flagship is up for debate, but it does make a lot of sense and ties up with other rumors regarding the phone's design

Non-removable battery that won't overheat

Both the LG G5 (pictured above) and V20 sported removable batteries, but the G6 may break this tradition with a non-replaceable, sealed battery unit

Both the LG G5 (pictured above) and V20 sported removable batteries, but the G6 may break this tradition with a non-replaceable, sealed battery unit

Some reports claim that the G6 won't have a user-replaceable battery, which is somewhat in line with the rumors suggesting that the phone will have a non-modular build. However, other sources, most notably the Korean Herald, suggest that the LG G6 may retain the removable battery aspect from the G5 and the more recent non-modular V20 for “safety” purposes, vaguely referencing the Note 7 debacle. An interesting point, although we don't really see the removable battery as an adequate precautionary measure against malfunctions. Furthermore, if modular design is really a no-go for the G6, LG may have a much better reason to keep the battery sealed in. This brings us to our next point.
 
LG has announced that, in order to prevent the battery on the G6 from overheating, it will employ a copper heat pipe cooling system that will drive heat away from the battery. According to the company, G6's battery won't overheat even at temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius. LG says that it is testing the battery for the new flagship at temperatures 15% higher than U.S. and European standards, in order to ensure their resistance to heat.

Waterproofing

Both the G5 and V20 (pictured above) sported removable batteries but neither of them was water-resistant
Both the G5 and V20 (pictured above) sported removable batteries but neither of them was water-resistant

Both the G5 and V20 (pictured above) sported removable batteries but neither of them was water-resistant

 
One of the most widely cited possible reasons for dropping the removable battery aspect is some sort of advanced waterproofing technique. While Samsung uses waterproof tape around the displays of its Galaxy phones, LG is said to be looking at an adhesive-based waterproofing method similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Although we've seen water-resistant phones with removable batteries, such as the Galaxy S5, LG may be working on a way to make its future flagship devices even more resistant to the elements, and a sealed battery could definitely help.

Body

The LG G5 sported a unibody aluminum build coated with primer to conceal the seams between the casing and antenna slits. It wasn't received with standing ovations by fans and we weren't amazed either. However, LG may be looking to spice things up for the G6 with some sort of a high-gloss back. Some reports suggest that the casing could be made of glass, while others claim that LG is more likely to use some sort of metal polishing technique, similar to what Apple did with the Jet Black iPhone 7 models, to achieve a high level gloss without compromising sturdiness.
 
A recently leaked image of a case by an unknown manufacturer gave us the first (alleged) glimpse at the G6, highlighting two horizontally aligned cameras with the flash in between, as well as a fingerprint scanner underneath. The image is in line with previous rumors that the G6 won't be too different from the G5 and V20, as far as the setup of sensors on the back goes. Unfortunately, no openings for ports or buttons are visible on the case, so we can't say anything about their placement at this point.
Cell Phone

Video teaser confirms February 26th MWC unveiling for the Huawei P10

You probably don't need to see another confirmation to remind you that the Huawei P10 will be unveiled at Barcelona during MWC on February 26th. Nonetheless, the company on Monday posted a brief video confirming the unveiling date and location. The clip includes a message that says "Change how the world sees you." The last part of that statement would seem to indicate that there will be something unique with the way the phone looks. And we think that the video itself is giving away the answer.

Note the background color at the end of the clip is green. There is speculation that the Huawei P10 is going to be available in Green, a color you don't see offered that much on a smartphone. Other color options might include Black, Gold, Purple and White.

Both the Huawei P10 and the premium Huawei P10 Plus are said to be equipped with a 5.5-inch screen carrying a 1440 x 2560 resolution. The Huawei designed Kirin 960 chipset is under the hood containing an octa-core CPU (consisting of four Cortex-A73 cores for high performance tasks and four Cortex-A53 cores for light housekeeping). It is the first SoC to employ the Mali-G71 MP8 GPU. The dual-camera setup on back of both models is expected to weigh in at 12MP with the use of Leica optics.         

Originally, there was talk that the only difference between the P10 and P10 Plus would be the use of a flat screen on the former, and a dual-curved edge screen for the latter. But yesterday, another possible difference came to light after Spanish retailer Phone House put up a listing for the Huawei P10 Plus that had the premium model equipped with 8GB of RAM. The price of the unit was listed at $799. While technically possible (the Kirin 960 SoC will support up to 8GB of RAM), the figure could be merely a placeholder. For now, we will play it safe and wait to find out the official details from Huawei on February 26th.

Cell Phone

A new Apple patent brings a major iPhone 8 rumor closer to reality

We've heard countless far-fetched rumors about the upcoming iPhone 8, but few have been as prevalent as the one claiming Apple is getting rid of the standalone fingerprint scanner and embedding it into the screen itself. While that sounds exactly like the type of thing tech journalists make up to increase their viewership, a patent application granted to the company today seemingly confirms the existence of such technology. After its acquisition of LuxVue, a pioneer of the so-called micro-LED technology, Apple inherited a trove of intellectual property, including methods for the manufacturing of thin flexible screens, which are expected to be integrated into the next iteration of the Apple Watch. Today's patent, too, was a part of the IP transfer, and details a screen with infrared light emitters and sensors interwoven with regular RGB diodes, allowing for high-resolution touch sensing strong enough to enable the reading of fingerprints. A patent drawing detailing how fingerprints could be detected with the new technology A patent drawing detailing how fingerprints could be detected with the new technology This comes at an interesting time for the company, as at least one of this year's upcoming models is expected to switch to OLED screens, and rumors have been floating around for a while about Apple's desire to ditch Touch ID. Do note, however, that the patent means next to nothing unless the company has the ability to actually manufacture the technology detailed inside, so take everything with a pinch of salt. This isn't the only possible method of achieving the rumored built-in fingerprint sensor, though, and Apple actually has another patent describing a similar technology, based on putting a sensor behind the screen which reads through gaps in space. Today's listing, however, is much more detailed and thus somewhat more plausible. Other alternatives exist, too – namely, Qualcomm's Sense ID, which utilizes ultrasonic waves instead. As for other rumors, there are plenty - the upcoming iPhone 8 is expected to come in several variants, just like its predecessors, and is said to feature wide-range wireless charging, an 'edge to edge' display, tap-to-wake functionality, a bigger battery, and more. The official unveiling, however, is still far ahead in the future, so details are, as always, subject to change.
Cell Phone

Huawei P10 and P10 Plus specs and pricing appear on leaked document

Out of China, an alleged product information sheet for the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus has turned up in our in-box this morning. We caution you that there is no verification that the information printed on the document is legitimate, so we do suggest that you read this with your cynical eye, and take this story with a grain of salt. According to the leak, the Huawei P10 will be offered in three variants. Those models include one with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of native storage, priced at the equivalent of $508 USD. A version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of native storage will cost the equivalent of $595 USD. And the model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of native memory will be priced at the equivalent of $682 USD. The Huawei P10 Plus will be available in two versions. The model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory is priced at the equivalent of $726. And the Huawei P10 Plus with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory will cost the equivalent of $828 USD. Both phones are expected to feature a 5.5-inch screen with a 1440 x 2560 resolution. The home-grown Kirin 965 chipset is powering both devices and each model has a 12MP dual camera setup on back featuring Leica optics. The front-facing selfie snapper weighs in at 8MP. One report last month says that the only physical difference between the two models is that the P10 carries a flat screen while the P10 Plus has a curved-edge display. Both models are expected to be unveiled February 26th at MWC in Barcelona. Yup, that's the same day we expect to see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, the LG G6, and several Nokia handsets made official.
Cell Phone

Samsung trademarks Galaxy J3 Luna Pro name

The Galaxy J series is about to expand with the addition of a few new smartphones. The unannounced Galaxy J7 (2017) is one of the handsets Samsung is expected to reveal very soon, but that might not be the only affordable smartphone launched by the South Korean company in Q1.

We reported less than a week ago about the Galaxy J7 Sky Pro, a name that Samsung trademarked in late January. Even though we don't have a confirmation yet, this might be a carrier-branded version of the long-rumored Galaxy J7 (2017), which will be released in the United States.

The name of a third Galaxy J series device has been spotted recently at USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office): Galaxy J3 Luna Pro. Judging by its name, this doesn't seem to be another variant of the Galaxy J7 (2017), but rather a refresh of the last yearGalaxy J3 Pro.

Although it might not mean anything, it looks like Samsung trademarked both the Galaxy J7 Sky Pro and Galaxy J3 Luna Pro names on the same day, January 24, 2017. The next step for Samsung would be to make both affordable smartphones official.


Cell Phone

Would you pay more for an iPhone or a Galaxy if they were 'made in America'?

President Trump rose to prominence on the wings of many promises during the election campaign period, and one of those was the "made in America" battle cry. It would result in manufacturer mandates to assemble their goods here, and bring paying employment back to the Rust Belt, compensating somewhat for the exodus of manufacturing jobs to China and other places over the last few decades. Well, there might not be mandates just yet, but some companies are being singled out as examples, and getting coerced into investing in US factories through an intriguing mix of tax incentives and plain old Twitter storms by the President himself. Apple's Tim Cook was summoned not long ago to discuss making some of its gadgets here, and yesterday the President shouted a loud "Thanks you!" to Samsung for building an imaginary factory here in the US, which caused a bit of a confusion, as those plans are apparently neither finalized, nor approved just yet. In any case, if and when iPhones get assembled here, partially or in full, it would add up anywhere between $30-$100 to the basic $649 price of one, calculated MIT researchers, and the same probably goes for a high-end Galaxy. In fact, one popular Apple analyst already suggested that there should be a special "made in the USA" model for which Apple may charge between $100-$200 more, depending on the version. That is why we wanted to ask you if you would be willing to pay more for your phone provided that it had the "made in America" stamp on the back. Tell us in the poll below, and sound off in the comments.
Cell Phone

Huawei launch event confirmed for February 26, P10 and P10 Plus flagships incoming

There have been rumors claiming Huawei plans to launch its P10 and P10 Plus flagship smartphones in March of April. It appears that these reports come in line with the official information we've just received today.

Huawei has just announced a launch event, which is to take place at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 on February 26. The Chinese handset maker did not provide any additional details on the matter, but it's safe to assume that at least one of the two flagships will be announced in late February.

With the release of the P10, Huawei will completely move its flagship lineup into “phablet” territory. The P10 is expected to sport a 5.5-inch display, just like the P10 Plus that's rumored to include a similar panel with Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution.

We've also learned the both P10 smartphones will be equipped with powerful HiSilicon Kirin 960 chipsets, coupled with Mali-G71 MP8 graphics processing units and 6GB of RAM. The Leica-branded cameras are likely to made it into both models as well.

The main difference between the two models could be the fact that the P10 Plus will feature a dual-edge curved display, while the standard version will come with a flat panel.

Cell Phone

iPhone 7 Plus vs Sony Xperia XZ camera comparison: which does 2X zoom better?

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine treated herself to an iPhone 7 Plus. Long story short, she loved it, and it wasn't only for the gorgeous shade of Rose Gold it was sporting. The screen, the battery life, and the performance all blew her away, but the feature she was enjoying the most was the dual camera. Her pictures were coming out clear and detailed, even when she was zooming – something that couldn't be said about her old phone. Or for most other phones, actually.
There's a reason why the iPhone 7 Plus's camera performs that well. Next to its main camera there's a secondary Telephoto cam with proper optical magnification, and its 2X zoom brings the subject twice as close without sacrificing detail. In contrast, most other phones have to digitally stretch the image to achieve the zoom effect, and doing so results in loss of image quality.
Yet I think there's an Android phone that could match the iPhone at the zooming game – the Sony Xperia XZ. It doesn't have a secondary camera. It has no optical zoom either. But it has a bigger camera sensor, a wider aperture, and a ton more megapixels – 23, to be exact – to capture even the most minute details in every image. In comparison, the Telephoto camera on the iPhone 7 Plus has only 12 megapixels to work with. Will the XZ's technically superior camera be able to produce better shots at 2X zoom? There's one way to find out!
 Scene 1: Old-timer
iPhone 7 Plus
Sony Xperia XZ
 
IPHONE 7 PLUSSONY XPERIA XZ
 
On the left we have an image out of the iPhone 7 Plus, and on the right – a photo from the Sony Xperia XZ. Both shots were taken at 2x zoom. Can you name a winner? Looking at details alone, I can't. Both images look mighty fine even if I take a closer look, so I'm calling this round a tie. Looks like the 2x digital zoom on the XZ could prove just as useful as the iPhone's. 
Scene 2: Santa Claus
 
iPhone 7 Plus
Sony Xperia XZ
 
IPHONE 7 PLUSSONY XPERIA XZ
 
Or maybe I spoke too soon. This pair of images was taken at the office, where light conditions aren't exactly perfect for a photo shoot-out. Both photos look fine, of course, but the iPhone's is noticeably more detailed. Why is that? Well, the Xperia XZ's camera tends to be more susceptible to digital noise, and digital noise is always more prevalent in low-light shots, hence the smudgy details seen in its photo.
 
Scene 3: The bookshelf 
iPhone 7 Plus
Sony Xperia XZ
 
IPHONE 7 PLUSSONY XPERIA XZ
In this third set of images, the iPhone still has the upper hand over the XZ. This does not become obvious at first, but if you take a closer look, you'll notice how the detail in the texture of the wallpaper is mostly missing. Also, the titles of the books are clearer to read in the iPhone's photo. But then again, I'd say that both photos are usable as they look good enough.
Scene 4: In the woods 
iPhone 7 Plus
Sony Xperia XZ
 
IPHONE 7 PLUSSONY XPERIA XZ 
And the Xperia XZ is back in the game. For this next scene, the light from the setting sun provided it with enough light to capture a nice, sharp photo – one that matches the iPhone 7 Plus in terms of detail. Okay, maybe the iPhone does have a tiny bit more detail in certain areas of its image, but overall, I'd call this round a tie. 

Scene 5: Happy

iPhone 7 Plus
Sony Xperia XZ
 
IPHONE 7 PLUSSONY XPERIA XZ 
Alas, the Telephoto camera on the iPhone 7 Plus has its downsides. One of them: it is less sensitive to light compared to the phone's main camera. That's why in some low-light situations – in scenes such as this one – the iPhone's camera software chooses not to use its 2x zoom lens and shoots with its regular cam instead. Yes, the zoom in the iPhone's photo above is purely the product of digital image stretching. There's no optical zooming going on. Yet I can't say that the Xperia XZ's photo looks any better. When examined from up close, both photos have more or less the same level of detail, and I'd even say that in some areas, the iPhone's image does look clearer.
 Conclusion 
iPhone 7 Plus vs Sony Xperia XZ camera comparison: which does 2X zoom better?
After doing what I do for a living for so long, I have developed the habit of observing how people use their phones. And one of the things I've noticed is that pretty much everyone uses the zoom feature of its camera – regardless of whether they're a pro photographer or if they got their first smartphone yesterday. That's why it makes perfect sense for smartphone makers to give their phones better zooming capabilities. Apple did exactly that. The Telephoto camera on the iPhone 7 Plus does a really, really great job at bringing the subject closer to the photographer. It isn't the first phone to do so using optical means, but it is the first to implement optical zoom in a sensible, practical way. All the iPhone 7 Plus needs is enough light to do its magic. 
So, can the Xperia XZ match the zooming capabilities of the iPhone 7 Plus? Yes, I'd say that it can, but only to a certain extent. As long as light is plentiful, the Sony Xperia XZ takes sharp, detailed shots at 2X zoom – shots that look about as good as those from the iPhone 7 Plus. For the most part, that is likely thanks to the technical advantages of the camera Sony is using, such as the higher megapixel count and wider aperture. In low-light environments, however, the XZ's camera is held back by its susceptibility to digital noise, while the image processing that's supposed to clear that noise isn't making things any better. 
But then again, even though the iPhone 7 Plus and the Xperia XZ use completely different zooming techniques, all of the images I showed you above turned out perfectly usable. I guess whoever said that the best camera is the one you have was onto something.
If you liked this post, perhaps you'll like some of our other articles related to the iPhone 7 Plus and its awesome dual camera. Check them out below:
Cell Phone

Apple's AirPods have taken 26% of the online market for wireless headphones

After a two-month delay while Apple was ironing out some problems with the product, the wireless Bluetooth powered AirPods finally launched on December 13th. Already, AirPods own 26% of the online wireless headphone market, cementing what Apple CEO Tim Cook has called "a runaway success." The data comes from Slice Intelligence and is generated from actual receipts. This means that the figures should be very accurate.

In December 2015, wireless headphones accounted for half of the entire online U.S. headphones market for the first time. Last month, three out of every four headphones sold online in the states were of the wireless variety. Besides Apple, Samsung has its Gear IconX wireless ear buds that compete with the AirPods. But Apple does have the benefit of having sold millions of Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus handsets, all sans a 3.5mm earphone jack. All of these iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners are potential AirPods buyers. On the day of the product's launch, December 13th, wireless headphone sales made online were ten times higher than the pre-holiday figure for an average day in 2016. For all of 2016, it was the single day with the most online sales of wireless headphones.

Apple has been dominating the category, and not just because of the $159 AirPods. Prior to the product's launch, Beats had the leading market share based on online sales, with 24.1%. That company of course, is owned by Apple. After the AirPods launch, Beats owned 15.4% and Apple had 26% for a combined market share of more than 40%. It might have been coincidence, but Bose got a huge lift from the AirPods launch as its share of the online wireless headphones market rose from 10.5% to 16.1%

Now that we now who is selling product, the question is, who is buying it? Female Boomers have the largest share at 38% followed by male Millemmials at 35%, and female Millennials at 32%. You can check out all of the data by clicking on the slideshow below.

Cell Phone

Galaxy S8 shipments said to target 60 million, release date set for mid-April

Citing industry sources, Korean news outlet The Investor reports that Samsung is targeting 60 million unit shipments for its upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone. The company has placed component orders to match this target and is working towards a mid-April release date for the product. This means the Galaxy S8 could take about a month longer to land in retail stores than its predecessor. This may or may not owe to Samsung extending its quality assurance process to prevent potential product-breaking flaws.

The sources claim that Samsung will begin mass-producing the Galaxy S8 in March. One of the reports suggests that an initial batch of 5 million units will be completed in March, while the other suggests that 5 million units will be Samsung's monthly production capacity for the months after. Either way, the sources claim the company will be showcasing the smartphone "a month or two" before its mid-April release. This means the Galaxy S8 could be announced at MWC 2017, either in late February or the first days of March, while being shown to carriers and retail partners behind the scenes.
60 million is quite an ambitious target. The past three generations of Galaxy S smartphones managed between 45 to 48 million units, with a record of 70 million units still held by the Galaxy S4 (2013). Its predecessor, the Galaxy S3, came close with 65 million units. Reportedly, Samsung set such a goal to help overcome the losses sustained after pulling the faulty Galaxy Note 7 off the market last year.

The report names iris scanner module maker Partron, camera lens firm Sekonix, and connectivity-handling Samsung Electro-Mechanics and Amotech as component delivery partners.

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