iPhone 8 Tipped to Sport IP68 Dust, Water Resistance

iPhone 8 Tipped to Sport IP68 Dust, Water Resistance

2017 is a big year for Apple as it marks ten years since the iPhone was launched. The company is looking to bring the iPhone 8 with major changes, and the smartphone is tipped to come with an all-glass body, and advanced wireless charging capabilities. Joining these ranks is improved dust and water resistance, if a recent leak is to be believed.

The Investor reports that the iPhone 8 will sport an IP68 rating, which means that the device can be immersed for up to 30 minutes in up to 1.5 metres of water. Just to compare, the current iPhone 7 sports an IP67 rating which means it can survive immersion in up to 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes. The IP68 rating is a significant improvement over the current rating, but it still doesn’t mean that you will be able to take the smartphone swimming.
Apart from being dust and water resistant, the device is also expected to have a bezel-less design. After the 3.5mm audio jack, Apple is now tipped to get grid of the Home Button to keep an all-display front. The fingerprint reader will be embedded below the display, and the 3D Touch technology is also expected to be enhanced.

The all-glass design will be accompanied by a stainless steel frame. The iPhone 8 is also expected to come with wireless charging, but Apple’s take on the feature will be different. Apparently, iPhone 8 will feature long-range wireless charging that will not require the user to place the device on a charging station or even very close to it.


HTC to Launch Six to Seven Smartphones in 2017; Will Focus on Core Features

HTC to Launch Six to Seven Smartphones in 2017; Will Focus on Core Features

HTC will introduce almost half as many smartphones this year compared to last year, if the company’s President of Smartphones is to be believed. The Taiwanese company this year will focus on its “smartphones’ core features” in an attempt to compete against other handset vendors.

Chialin Chang, President of Smartphone and Connected Devices Business, told Engadget that HTC will unveil six to seven smartphones in 2017. Talking about the recent HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play smartphones, Chang said, “We’re not trying to emphasise AI (artificial intelligence); we’re trying to emphasise companionship.” He also confirmed plans that HTC may launch “a few Desire devices for the fun and affordable” markets. Unfortunately, Chang didn’t detail availability of the new Desire models.

Further, Chang claimed that machine learning as the main USP for the new HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play smartphones. He suggested that the new Sense Companion virtual assistant is a combination of “Google’s Awareness API, device information and third-party data.”

The recently unveiled HTC U Ultra and U Play are the first smartphones in the company’s brand new U series. The biggest highlight of the new smartphones is the new Sense Companion, which is an AI-based system that learns the user’s daily patterns to provide usage recommendations. The smartphone are expected to hit market shelves in India in March.

Some of the other notable features of the smartphones are the HTC USonic earphones, which analyses the shape of the user’s inner ears with a “sonar-like pulse”; 16-megapixel front camera with UltraPixel mode, “liquid surface” curved glass construction. The smartphones will run on Android 7.0 Nougat with the HTC’s Sense UI customisation on top. Another highlight of the U Ultra smartphone is the Dual Display, which is a secondary display.


Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explosions Caused by Battery, Probe Supposedly Finds

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explosions Caused by Battery, Probe Supposedly Finds

A Samsung Electronics Co Ltd investigation into what caused some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to catch fire has concluded that the battery was the main reason, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Samsung is seeking to put behind it the Galaxy Note 7 explosions, one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history, as it prepares to launch the Galaxy S8, one of its flagship phones, sometime in the first half of this year.

Investors and analysts say it is critical for Samsung to provide a convincing and detailed explanation about what went wrong with the Galaxy Note 7 and how it will prevent such problems from recurring if it is to regain consumer trust.

“They’ve got to make sure they come clean and they’ve got to reassure buyers as to why this won’t happen again,” said Bryan Ma, Singapore-based analyst for researcher IDC.

The results of the investigation into the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosions will likely be announced on January 23, a day before it announces detailed fourth-quarter earnings results, said the person, who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter and declined to be identified.

Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung’s mobile business, will likely announce the results as well as new measures the firm is taking to prevent similar problems in future devices, the person said.

A Samsung spokesman declined to comment.
Samsung initially announced a recall of some 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones in September and identified the cause of the fire as a manufacturing process problem at one of its suppliers, later identified as affiliate Samsung SDI Co Ltd.

But new Galaxy Note 7s with what Samsung said were safe batteries from a different supplier continued to catch fire, forcing the company to permanently halt sales of the device and dealing a 6.1 trillion won ($5.2 billion) blow to Samsung’s operating profit over three quarters.

“To me it’d be surprising if they said it was a supplier issue,” IDC’s Ma said, adding he suspects Samsung may not have given enough room for the battery inside the phone.

Samsung in October said it will examine all aspects of the phone, including hardware design and software, and would hire third-party firms as part of its probe.

The source told Reuters on Monday that Samsung was able to replicate the fires during its investigation and that the cause for the fires could not be explained by hardware design or software-related matters.

While prospects for its smartphone business this year remain a major question mark for Samsung, profits are expected to rise sharply on the back of rising memory chip prices and growing sales of organic light-emitting diode screens for smartphones.


Lenovo Sends Out MWC 2017 Invites; Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus Launch Likely

Lenovo Sends Out MWC 2017 Invites; Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus Launch Likely

Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus are no strangers to the rumour mill, with the a press render of the latter handset leaking on Thursday, just days after some live images landed on the Internet. It now seems that fans will not have to wait too long for Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus launch, as Lenovo may just unveil them at MWC 2017.

Lenovo has been sending out invites for a February 26 event, according to CNET. The invite supposedly shows a Moto device with a shadow in the shape of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia with the ‘Hello Moto’ tagline at the bottom. This almost certainly means that Lenovo is heading to the MWC 2017 in Barcelona, likely with Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus in tow.

lenovo moto invite mwc lenovo

Though the Lenovo invite tells us very little as to what to expect at the event, the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus can be expected to be unveiled, as the two smartphones are the likeliest candidates as of now. After all, the MWC is as big as it gets, and brands like Lenovo and Nokia would want to make their presence felt.
Earlier this month, Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus details leaked online, suggesting that the mid-range devices will sport 5.5-inch full-HD displays, 5-megapixel front cameras, and octa-core SoCs. The main difference between the two is the rumoured 13-megapixel rear camera for the Moto G5 and a 16-megapixel rear camera for the Moto G5 Plus.

The Moto G5 Plus is also expected to be powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM. The handset is said to pack 3080mAh battery and come with 32GB of inbuilt storage.

Meanwhile, leaked Moto G5 Plus renders reveal a fingerprint scanner at the front, and a circular camera panel at the back. The Moto “M” logo sits just below the camera module and the device may be offered in Silver colour.

Apart from the expected Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus smartphones, Lenovo could also showcase some new Moto Mods (the modular accessories for Moto Z line). We are just a month away from MWC 2017 and we’ll know soon enough what Lenovo has in store for us.


Nokia 6 Registration Crosses 500,000 Ahead of January 19 Flash Sale

Nokia 6 Registration Crosses 500,000 Ahead of January 19 Flash Sale

It can’t be said enough that the hype surrounding Nokia’s comeback was huge. And when HMD Global launched its first Nokia-branded Android smartphone, Nokia 6, one expected the phone would generate a lot of buzz. And it certainly has.

It was reported on Friday that the Nokia 6 had garnered as many as 250,000 registrations ahead of its first sale in just 24 hours. Now, that number has doubled to more than 500,000. The Nokia 6 will be sold via a flash sale on January 19 exclusively on JD.com in China.

Going by the rapid pace of registrations, its safe to say that Nokia fans are still out there and HMD Global has hit its first home run. At the time of writing this, total registrations crossed 580,000.
Despite the big numbers, the Nokia 6, on paper, does very little to impress seeing how competitive the smartphone market is today. Priced at CNY 1,699 (approximately Rs. 17,000), the Nokia 6 sports a 5.5-inch full-HD display with a 2.5D Gorilla Glass on top. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The dual-SIM Nokia 6 smartphone comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery.

On the camera front, the Nokia 6 features a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection auto focus, and dual-tone flash, as well as an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The Nokia 6 was perhaps a testing ground for HMD Global to see whether the world, or at least China, was ready for the Nokia brand’s return. Seeing the registration numbers, HMD Global will no doubt be satisfied right now as it gets ready to unveil some more Nokia Android phones on February 26 at MWC 2017.


Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro With 5.7-Inch Super AMOLED Display Goes Official

Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro With 5.7-Inch Super AMOLED Display Goes Official

Samsung’s Galaxy C7 Pro is official with the smartphone now listed on the company’s Chinese website. The phone had been spotted earlier this week alongside the Galaxy C5 Pro and the already-launched Galaxy C9 Pro. The Galaxy C7 Pro had also been spotted in November on benchmarking website AnTuTu.

The Galaxy C7 Pro’s official specs fall in line with what the benchmark site had listed. The smartphone runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and features a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display. The device is powered by a 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM.

The Galaxy C7 Pro features a 16-megapixel sensor on both the front and back with f/1.9 aperture. The cameras are capable of recording full-HD videos at 30 frames per second. The handset is offered with 64GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable up to 256GB via microSD.
The Galaxy C7 Pro measures 156.5×77.2×7.0mm and weighs 172 grams. The smartphone packs a 3300mAh battery. Additionally, the Galaxy C7 Pro comes with always on display and Samsung Pay.

The Galaxy C7 Pro was earlier expected to be priced at $199 (roughly Rs. 13,600). Unfortunately, the website does not mention the price of the smartphone yet. Pre-orders of the Galaxy C7 Pro will begin from January 16 in China. The phone will be available in Rose Pink, Arctic Blue, and Maple Leaf Gold colours.


LeEco Gets Fresh $2.18 Billion Investment From Property Developer Sunac

LeEco Gets Fresh $2.18 Billion Investment From Property Developer Sunac

Chinese technology conglomerate LeEco has secured a new round of investment worth CNY 15.04 billion ($2.2 billion or roughly Rs. 14,856 crores) from property developer Sunac China Holdings, according to a stock exchange statement made by Sunac on Friday.

Last year LeEco’s founder and chairman Jia Yueting said that his company was facing financial obstacles due to the rapid pace of growth in various businesses, but the company soon afterwards announced it had secured commitments for $600 million to support its automotive and other high-tech businesses.

Sunac, through its real estate subsidiary Sunac Real Estate, said on Friday it plans to invest CNY 6.04 billion (roughly Rs. 5,966 crores) in LeEco’s Shenzhen-listed unit Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp Beijing, by acquiring an 8.61 percent stake.

It also plans to invest CNY 1.05 billion in LeEco’s film production company, Leshi Pictures, by acquiring a 15 percent stake, and pay another CNY 7.95 billion ($1.15 billion) for a 33.5 percent stake in Leshi Internet’s subsidiary Leshi Zhixin, known for its smart Internet TVs.

Trading in Leshi Internet Information’s shares, which was suspended on December 6, will resume on January 16.

Sunac has been seeking investment opportunities linked with China’s technological innovation and the upgrade of consumption sectors.
Sunac said the strengthened partnership with LeEco will enable both firms to cooperate in areas such as intelligent hardware, real estate, and smart homes. It also highlighted industrial real estate as an area for greater cooperation.

For LeEco, the fresh round of funds can likely help resolve some financial difficulties it has faced in recent months, as it continues its push into the smartphones, film, sports, electric and driverless vehicles markets.

In the stock filing, Sunac said it paid CNY 35.39 per share for its stake in Leshi Internet.

Leshi Internet Information also said in a separate filing on the Shenzhen stock exchange that Chinese insurer Huaxia Life invested CNY 400 million ($58 million) in Leshi Zhixin.


Samsung Galaxy S8 to Sport AMOLED Display, Bezel-Less Design, Promo Videos Suggest

Samsung Galaxy S8 to Sport AMOLED Display, Bezel-Less Design, Promo Videos Suggest

The Internet is indeed full of spoilers. Weeks ahead of the official unveiling of Samsung’s next flagship, likely named Galaxy S8, almost everything from the design right down to the hardware have been speculated online. On Friday, two separate reports emerged – one regarding the size variants and the other regarding 3D renders. Now, Samsung may have just revealed all with two promo videos of brand new displays – likely to be used in the upcoming flagship – posted by the company’s subsidiary Samsung Display.

One of the videos spotted by Slashleaks shows a large AMOLED display being placed on what could be the Galaxy S8. The video has since been taken down. However, the video, if true, confirms two widely speculated details about the upcoming flagship – that the device will sport an AMOLED display and will likely come with very thin top and bottom bezels and no Home Button.

The second video, however, is yet to be taken down and further confirms some of the details that we have come to gather so far. The video and Friday’s renders seem to point strongly towards a near bezel-less design. With a big screen-to-body ratio and lack of any capactitive buttons, we could be looking at a Galaxy S8 with an optical fingerprint sensor that was earlier rumoured.

Furthermore, the video also hints at a flat Galaxy 8 design, which could mean that apart from an Edge design, Samsung may continue to offer a flat design as well. The Korean promo mostly shows off the AMOLED display with sharper colours and lower battery consumption, according to the YouTube description.

Some of the most recent rumours suggest that the Galaxy S8 will in fact feature the 3.5mm headphone jack along with two top and bottom speakers. The flagship will reportedly come in two display sizes – 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch – with the larger being called the Galaxy S8 Plus. Separately, 5-inch and 6-inch models were also tipped.

With no official word from Samsung yet, all rumours and videos must be taken with a pinch of salt. With one of the videos already taken down, the second one may soon disappear as well.


Samsung Galaxy J2 Ace With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 8,490

Samsung Galaxy J2 Ace With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 8,490

Samsung on Friday officially launched two new entry-level smartphones in India. The Galaxy J2 Ace and Galaxy J1 4G were announced by the company priced at Rs. 8,490 and Rs. 6,890, respectively. While the Galaxy J1 4G was already listed on the company’s website last week, the Galaxy J2 Ace is the newest entry-level in the company’s J series lineup. The handset will be offered in Black, Gold, and Silver colour options and will be available via online and offline retailers from January 16.

The Galaxy J2 Ace is a more stripped down version of the Galaxy J2 (2016) that was launched in July 2016 at Rs. 9,750. The Galaxy J2 Ace is part of the company’s ‘Make for India’ project and includes the Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode which provides up to 50 percent mobile data savings with data compression. The S bike mode with rider optimisations is also present.

The Galaxy J2 Ace runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a 5-inch qHD display with Samsung’s proprietary Turbo Speed Technology (TST) that optimises the device’s RAM to open apps faster. The smartphone is powered by a a 1.4GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1.5GB of RAM.
The Galaxy J2 Ace sports an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front. Both the back and front cameras feature f/2.2 aperture and LED flash. The handset comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).

Connectivity options on the Galaxy J2 Ace include 4G LTE with VoLTE support, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and USB 2.0. The handset is fitted with a 2600mAh battery pack.


Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With ‘Essential’ Phone

Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With 'Essential' Phone

Just over two years after leaving Google, Andy Rubin is preparing to take on the smartphone industry he helped create.

Rubin, creator of the Android operating system, is planning to marry his background in software with artificial intelligence in a risky business: consumer hardware. Armed with about a 40-person team, filled with recruits from Apple and Google, Rubin is preparing to announce a new company called Essential and serve as its Chief Executive Officer, according to people familiar with the matter.

A platform company designed to tie multiple devices together, Essential is working on a suite of consumer hardware products, including ones for the mobile and smart home markets, one of the people said.

The centerpiece of the system is a high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Rubin discussed the smartphone with mobile carrier executives, including some from Sprint Corp., people familiar with the talks said.

Rubin registered Essential Products Inc. with California regulators in November 2015. In late 2016, the company registered “Essential” with the US Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets, accessories and “computer operating software for mobile phones” among its goods and services. It’s unclear if the devices will run on software based on Android.

While still in the prototyping stage, Rubin’s phone is aimed at the top of the market where Apple’s iPhone and Alphabet Inc.’s new Pixel reside. It’s expected to include high-end materials and the ability to gain new hardware features over time, the people said. Representatives for Rubin and Sprint declined to comment.

Rubin sold Android to Google in 2005. He spent eight years at its helm at Google, turning the operating system from a tiny project into the globe’s most dominant software for running mobile devices. In 2013, he stepped down from Android to form Google’s robotics unit before leaving altogether in 2014. Rubin’s next venture was a startup incubator called Playground Global, which backs artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality projects.
Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. “New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years,” he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. “What’s the next platform?… It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn.”

Playground Global, which occupies a sprawling warehouse in Silicon Valley, has raised at least $300 million from big investors including Hewlett-Packard, Google, and Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. The latter, known as Foxconn, is in talks to manufacture Rubin’s new smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.

At least one prototype of Rubin’s phone boasts a screen larger than the iPhone 7 Plus’s (5.5-inches) but has a smaller overall footprint because of the lack of bezels, one of the people said. The startup is experimenting with enabling the phone’s screen to sense different levels of pressure, similar to an iPhone, the person said. Rubin’s team is testing an industrial design with metal edges and a back made of ceramic, which is more difficult to manufacture than typical smartphone materials, two of the people said.

Essential’s engineers are developing a proprietary connector that serves double duty for charging the battery and expanding the phone’s functionality over time, one person familiar with the planning said. The magnetic connector would allow Essential or even third parties to create hardware accessories that add features to the smartphone. For instance, Rubin’s engineers are working on a sphere-shaped camera add-on that shoots high-resolution 360 degree photographs, the person said.

Rubin is aiming to put the phone on sale around the middle of this year for a price close to that of an iPhone 7 ($649), a person familiar with the matter said, adding that all of the plans are still in flux. Technology news website The Information earlier reported Rubin was working on a phone.

Helping run the project are former Google colleagues and Apple managers, including Rebecca Zavin, Joe Tate, Linda Jiang, and Jason Keats. Zavin, a former senior Google software manager, is running software for Rubin. Keats and Tate are helping run hardware engineering, and Jiang is a key designer for Essential, according to a person familiar with the startup. Kelly Liang, a former business executive with the Google X lab, is managing business development and Brian Wallace, a former Samsung and Magic Leap executive, is leading marketing.