smartphones

According to a comScore report, European smartphone owners accessing retail websites has grown by 43 per cent in the last year. The company used data across five leading EU markets - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.  The study showed that the European mobile retail audience grew significantly over the past year, with 20 per cent of smartphone owners shopping while on the move.

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Nokia has joined forces with the University of Bristol in the UK to develop the first practical way of processing quantum cryptography on a mobile phone. What does this mean with a mini jargon buster? It would essentially enable you to send encrypted messages or data in secrecy. Currently utilised by banks and other organisations who can afford such expensive technology, the work carried out by Bristol University and Nokia could integrate simple client electronics on a single chip - perfect for a mobile phone.

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After their Windows Phone 7.5 handset, the Allegro, came onto the scene last year with little fanfare, Acer maintained that they were still committed to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. But after hearing nothing but crickets chirping from Acer's neck of the woods in 2013, many of us are wondering if they have wavered in that commitment. As it turns out, the answer is "yes, but..."

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A Taiwanese company by the name of Polytron Technologies has built a device seemingly from the future, or our dreams. Their creation is an almost completely transparent smartphone made up of smart glass with liquid crystal molecules that can display images. The result is a see-through phone, with the exception of the batteries, MicroSD card and some electronic components.

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Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, was interviewed recently by CBS. The well-known figure in the tech industry is running a campaign to build awareness of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The couple have jumped into the deep end when it comes to charity work, but as well as being interviewed and questioned on the foundation, Gates was also answering Microsoft-related questions.

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Nokia has hit smartphone innovation head on with wireless charging, PureView camera technology and more, but the company doesn't appear to wish to halt with what's already on offer. According to a report over on MonWindowsPhone, Nokia is believed to be looking to work with SunPartner Group on its What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface (Wysips) product and add solar charging to smartphones later this year.

Prototypes are rumoured to be making an appearance at this coming Mobile World Congress. Now, before we head into this rumour, do have the salt shaker at hand. 

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HTC have finally put their cards on the table and released details of the HTC 8X, their new flagship Windows Phone 8 device. Gone are the HTC ultra-utilitarian design aesthetics and in its place we see a smooth curvy body design that comes in some cheeky colours.

HTC have been with Windows Phone from the beginning and many have eagerly awaited the pronouncement of their new devices. With a strong design heritage and deep understanding of the platform, HTC have produced some of the finest devices. The 8X is their flagship phone, but how does it compare to the Lumia 920, the hero device from Nokia?

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Financial news for HTC continues to get worse with the company now chalking up another $40m (US) loss. From underperforming on smartphone sales to “restructuring” its investment in Beats audio, HTC is not having a good time of it. The hit this time comes from the cloud gaming service OnLive.

HTC’s hope, was that cloud gaming could help bring high end games to those without the beefy hardware to pull it off. Other big players such as AT&T, Autodesk and Warner Bros also had a stake. OnLive almost went bankrupt due to the huge investment it needed to make on infrastructure to power their gaming service.

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A recent paper presented at Black hat 2012 by Peter Hannay has demonstrated a vulnerability in how iOS and Android deal with certificates whilst operating with an Exchange Server. The good news in this report is that Peter was unable to trick Windows Phone 7.5 devices using the same methods.

Using a man in the middle attack combined with a generic fake certificate, they were able to gain some traction in sending a command to iOS and Android devices to commence a device wipe. When devices are connected via Active Sync they commit to accepting certain responsibilities, one of the most important and sensitive of which is the wipe command. They tested off two sets of Exchange 2010 servers. One running with a self-signed certificate, a very common configuration for small business and another using a certificate from a trusted certificate signing authority.

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As well as Nokia shifting almost 4m Lumia handsets in Q2, it would seem there is yet more good news for our Windows Phone. If true, as a recent survey by Amplified Analytics is showing, and there is a 18% rise in customer satisfaction then things are looking rosy indeed. The survey carried out by aggregating over 104,691 customer reviews suggests that the Windows Phone users are almost 20% more chuffed with their recent purchase than in the previous quarter.

Drilling into the details it seems that the current Windows Phone darling, the Lumia 900 seems to be wiping the floor with the other OS satisfaction results in some areas. Depending on how you read into these bar graphs, the Lumia owners are more than happy with the OS. The same seems to be echoed in the results for the design also.

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AT&T announces shared data plans

Today, AT&T has announced the company will offer shared data plans for those customers who have multiple Windows Phones or other smartphones. Available in late August the plans range from 1gb to 20gb with monthly fees as high as $200 plus $30 per smartphone. The shared data plans will also allow customers to add devices, other than smartphones, for an additional monthly fee.  Go over your monthly data allotment and it'll cost you an extra $15 per gigabyte.

There will be no changes to AT&T's current device upgrade policy that allows eligible customers to upgrade phones without being required to switch plans.  Existing individual and family plans will still remain available for AT&T customers as well.

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Senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan

Since the announcement of Windows Phone 8 and some its new functionality, it's been unclear whether or not we would see some budget devices (256MB of RAM) sporting the new OS, or if the 7.8 update would be the only option (currently, Microsoft's answer to this problem are Tango phones like the Lumia 610). The question was posed by KnowYourMobile to senior product manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, who hinted that economical Apollo devices are a distinct possibility:

"I would argue those are not mutually exclusive strategies and that is in fact is our approach. We will continue to support the current platform with the 256MB footprint in devices like the Lumia 610. And one of the points about the new architecture is that it will scale both up and down," and then added, 'In fact, having support for removable SD storage will enable OEMs to build devices with less storage initially that is user expandable, so the bill of materials is potentially even lower for the handsets."

Sullivan also went on to explain Microsoft's reasoning on limiting earlier Windows Phone devices to the 7.8 update, despite major disappointment amongst consumers.

"We’ve really tried to do the right thing for all audiences and that means making Windows Phone 8 the best possible release we can. Therefore we targeted the latest generation of hardware by building what are effectively primarily hardware-dependent capabilities that we achieve with this new [shared] core. 'It made more sense to focus on making Windows Phone 8 as good as we possibly could, fully exploiting this new generation of hardware."

Sure, nobody wants Apollo to be limited because of outdated hardware standards, but with Microsoft knowing ahead of time that Windows Phone 7 was going to be superceded before its release, they have a bit of a public relations fight on their hands. But that's technology for you. As you as you have the latest and greatest, it's already being replaced. Hopefully, we will see some wallet-friendly Windows Phone 8 handsets so even the most price-conscious techies can keep up with the times.

Source: KnowYourMobile; Image credit: Mashables

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Recent FCC documentation shows that a new Windows Phone device made by Chinese manufacturer ZTE has passed certification. There are not many details on the N859, as it is called, other than that it is CDMA-only and will be running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). One N859 has popped up on Occasional Gamer's gaming stats page, so we know there is at least one out there being tested in the wild.

It's a little odd that ZTE would be looking to release a WP7.5 device so close to the launch of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo), as many consumers will likely just hold off on buying a new phone so they can get the latest and greatest. However, ZTE tends to target emerging markets and cost-conscious consumers, so perhaps they are betting on demand for a more economical device with fewer bells and whistles.

Source: FCC, OccasionalGamer; Via: WindowsPhoneDaily, Engadget

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For those hoping for a sequel to the Dell Venue Pro Windows Phone, the stars don't seem to be in your favor. In a recent interview with Forbes, Michael Dell re-affirmed his companies position discontinue smartphone sales and development.

But what would it take to get Dell back into the smartphone business? When asked, Dell's response was,

"If the market changes so that a vendor like Dell can compete with smartphones more successfully we’ll likely reenter but, until then, our focus is going to be on managing, securing, and keeping these devices fed."

While conditions may develop to see Dell re-enter the smartphone market, there's no telling what OS they would choose. On the plus side, Dell thinks Windows 8 is exciting and we can expect to see a lot of activity when Windows 8 becomes available.

Seeing that Dell is enthusiastic about Windows 8, could we eventually see a Windows Phone 8 device from Dell?  Or should Dell concentrate on computers and tables, leaving the Windows Phones to others?

Source: Forbes; Thanks, Tryggr, for the tip!

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The Lumia 710, a budget low cost Windows Phone, has been featured in an article over at Yahoo! recommending good free smartphones (tied to carrier terms). There are six handsets in total: iPhone 3G, LG Phoenix, Droid Pro, LG Enlighten, LG Rumor Touch and the Nokia Lumia 710

As noted in the article, the 710 sports 4G connectivity, a 1.4Ghz chip, 3.7" screen, 5MP camera and the latest version of the Windows Phone OS. Looking at the other competitor handsets, it illustrates just how aggressive Nokia is with pricing their Lumia family of smartphones.

Soruce: Yahoo!thanks soulzero for the heads up!

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PocketNow has obtained some info on a new Windows phone from LG, codenamed the Miracle.  You may know it as the LG Fantasy, which we heard about last July, and popped up 5 months later on XDA Developers.  The Miracle is said to be a mid-range phone equipped with a 4-inch WVGA NOVA screen, making it the first WP7 device of its kind.  It will also have a 1GHz processor, 8GB of storage, and 1.3MP/5MP cameras.  LG's Miracle is also thought to connect using 14.4Mbps HSPA radio, 5.0GHz-capable 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 3.0.  Another interesting detail is that it will also have NFC tag-reading capabilities, though we're not quite sure how it will come to be used.

Word is that the Miracle will be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress and subsequently released later this spring.  So far, there is no information on carrier, but according to its FCC passage in October, it appears to sport CDMA bands.  Could we finally be seeing a new offering from Sprint or Verizon?

Source: PocketNow

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An unnamed Samsung phone, model SGH-i667, has passed through Bluetooth certification.  According to Blog of Mobile, the device supports LTE, which means it could very well be the Samsung Mendel.  The Mendel is one of three new 4G phones expected to hit AT&T, the others being HTC's Radiant and Nokia's Lumia 900 Ace.  If the SGH-i667 is indeed the Mendel, it is rumored be big, sporting a screen larger than the 4.3 inches found on its sister, the Focus S.  The Mendel is expected to hit the shelves sometime in the first half of 2012.

Source: Bluetooth; Via: Blog of Mobile

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PocketNow has gotten their hands on details about the Nokia Lumia 900 (aka, Ace), which is heading to AT&T.  Despite past speculation that it would ship with the version of Windows Phone known as Tango, it will indeed have version 7.5 Mango.  As Nokia's flagship phone, the Lumia 900 will sport:

  • 4.3-inch WVGA display
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 8MP camera
  • 1830mAh battery

The Ace weighs in at 160 grams, just slightly more than the Lumia 800's 142 grams.  This is doubtless due in part to the larger screen.  Despite the greater weight, both handsets look to have the same thickness, about 12mm.  PocketNow took the specs of both phones and used them to create the above comparison picture.

It's not yet known how much storage the Ace will have, but a supposed leaked spec sheet from October showed both a 16GB and 32GB option, though its veracity has been highly questioned.  Based on what we know of Nokia's other handsets, there is no evidence to support the theory that they would offer multiple storage options.  We should find out for sure at CES, where it is also expected that Nokia will unveil a mid-range offering, the Lumia 719.

Source: PocketNow

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The Samsung Omnia W (i8350) has gotten it's price for consumers in the Netherlands, €329, slightly less expensive than its Italian counterpart.  The Omnia W, which just recently launched in India as well, is a nice mid-range phone at a mid-range price.  It sports a 1.4GHz CPU, along with a 5MP camera and 3.7" Super AMOLED screen.  It won't blow your socks off, like the HTC Titan, but it won't break the bank either.

Source: Belsimpel (Thanks for the tip, Relief!)

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HTC Titan and Radar coming to Taiwan

Today HTC announced that its island home of Taiwan will be seeing the HTC Titan and Radar in the very near future.  The Titan, HTC's new flagship phone, is set to hit shelves later this month at a retail price of Tw$18,900 ($619.67).  The Radar, its lower price point counterpart, is expected in November and will fetch Tw$13,900 ($455.74).

Taiwan joins the expanding Mango marketplace, along with India, who gets official Windows Phone support today.  you can bet that both will see their fair share of the bump in marketing recently promised by WP7 phone manufacturers like HTC.

Source: AFP, Via: WMPowerUser

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