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  1. The Best Cheap Phones for (Almost) Every Budget Why pay four figures? Good Android devices and iPhones are more affordable than ever. US wireless carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon go out of their way to make expensive smartphones seem affordable. Why not buy a $1,400 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra if you only have to pay $0 down and $58 a month for it? Whether you pay it all at once or in 24 monthly installments, you’re still spending more than a thousand dollars for your phone. Your pricey new device may also keep you locked to your network, leaving you unable to switch wireless carriers until the phone is paid off. Here's another idea: Forget the spendy option and get a seriously great, more affordable phone instead. We’ve tested dozens to find the best cheap smartphones that aren't annoyingly slow. Our top pick is as good as almost any device, and our other picks strike a great balance between price and luxury. Updated March 2020: We've replaced the LG G7 ThinQ with a newer model, tweaked pricing on a few options, and added some warnings about upcoming successors that will likely dethrone our top picks in the coming months. When you buy something using the links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Here's how it works. You can also support our reporting and reviewing by purchasing a 1-year print + digital WIRED subscription for $5 (Discount). 1. Google Pixel 3A ($320+) Best Overall Google doesn't think a phone needs to be $1,000 in order to be premium.Photograph: Google If you can spend $320 (or $420 for the larger Pixel 3A XL), you cannot find a better phone than this (9/10, WIRED Recommends). The 3A is the first budget-minded phone that has topped our Best Android Phones because it manages to feel like a high-end $800 phone in the ways that matter most: It's fast, it gets security updates directly from Google, and it has a camera that's as good as the one on almost any other phone you can buy. It even has a Night Sight mode that makes night-time selfies and other shots in very dim lighting conditions possible. The phones were already great value when they launched, and at that time they were priced at $400 and $480 respectively. But now the base prices have dropped, and you can almost always find the phones discounted on Amazon. Prepare to make a few sacrifices. The display doesn't stretch as close to the edges as many flagship phones, it's not waterproof, and there's no wireless charging (just fast wired charging). It's also covered in a classy polycarbonate shell instead of glass and metal—this actually makes it more durable, but if glass is your jam, take note. The Pixel 3A has a headphone jack, something even the expensive Pixel 4 and 4 XL do not have. (Here are some other great phones with headphone jacks.) If you're going to buy a Pixel, get this one, although do be aware there are reports (aka rumors) of a potential Pixel 4a arriving in May. Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and more Pixel 3A costs $320 at Amazon 2. Motorola Moto G7 ($200–300) Runner-Up A good buy for a teen, or anyone on a budget. Photograph: Motorola Motorola’s G-series phones kick-started the wave of affordable, decent Android phones when they first arrived several years ago. The Moto G7 continues that trend. It’s not the fastest or sexiest phone, but it’s incredibly cheap and performs every essential function well enough that you won’t go nuts taking a photo or waiting for an app to load. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the phone to own. It's more than adequate for a teenager or casual phone user. The Moto G7 can often be found for much less than its original $300 price, so make sure you catch it when it goes on sale, which happens frequently. There is also the more affordable Moto G7 Power, which has a massive battery, and the ultra-affordable Moto G7 Play that I don't recommend unless you're a very light phone user and are OK with a device that shows some lag. Read our full review of all three Moto G7 models for more information. Motorola has also announced two new successors—the Moto G Stylus ($300) and the Moto G Power ($250)—which are set to arrive this spring, so you may want to wait for one of those if you want the most current phone and you're OK with paying a little more. Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and more Moto G7 costs somewhere between $200 and $300 at Amazon or Motorola 3. Nokia 7.2 ($349) Best for $350 Nokia's phone receives software and security updates directly from Google for two years. Photograph: Nokia The Nokia 7.2 replaced one of our favorite cheap phones, the Nokia 7.1. It's similar but has double the storage and a larger display—with a smaller notch cutout for the selfie cam. It's a step up from some phones in its price bracket, with a reasonably fast midrange processor, dual rear cameras, and 128 GB of storage. It's also an Android One device, which means it gets two years of software updates directly from Google, including regular security patches. This makes it one of the only Android phones that will remain as updated and secure as possible (outside of Google's Pixel phones). On the downside, it's not rated for water resistance, and you'll need a case (this appears to be a good one). The glass back, though attractive, is very fragile. The Nokia 7 series usually gets updated closer to the end of the year, so don't expect a Nokia 7.3 until October. However, HMD Global, the company that makes these phones, was set to announce new Nokia devices at its now-canceled MWC press conference. Expect to see some cheaper (or more expensive) Nokia phones arrive soon. Works on AT&T and T-Mobile Nokia 7.2 costs $349 at Amazon 4. LG G8 ThinQ ($400) Best for $450 or Less It has a headphone jack. Photograph: LG Still lamenting the loss of the headphone jack? If so, you should check out LG's G8 ThinQ. Not only is it a flagship Android phone with the 3.5-mm port, but it also has a quad digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that makes music sound better when you plug in with corded headphones. Wireless audio sounds fantastic as well, thanks to its support for the immersive DTS:X 3D audio spec. The G8 is also faster than many of the phones listed above, because it comes equipped with the flagship chip of 2019, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. Paired with 6 GB of RAM, you won't have problems running any apps or games. There's also 128 GB of internal storage, a Micro SD card slot if you want more space, a 6.1-inch OLED (1440p) screen, wireless charging, water resistance, and a glass back (get a case, like this one, because the glass is slippery). It's a capable shooter too. The main 12-megapixel camera is paired with a 16-MP ultra-wide-angle one, giving you some versatility. I'd wager the aforementioned Pixel 3a still snaps better photos, though. LG isn't usually speedy at updating the software on its phones, but signs show it could be improving. Five months after Google released Android 10, LG started rolling out the update to the G8—still a slow timeframe but better than years past. You might have seen some news over the past few weeks on the LG G8X and V60 ThinQ. They're newer phones, but they cost a lot more and aren't going to add much value, so you're better off going for the cheaper G8. Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and more LG G8 ThinQ costs $400 at Amazon and $550 from Best Buy 5. OnePlus 7T ($499) Best for $500 A top-of-the-line processor makes OnePlus' phone fast and powerful. Photograph: OnePlus The OnePlus 7T (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of our favorite Android phones at any price, much like the OnePlus 6T before it. It has the chops (and chips) to go up against any high-end device but costs $200 to $400 less than most of the best Android phones and the latest iPhones. You don’t see many devices with a near top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, an AMOLED screen, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of internal storage for $600, the phone's original launch price, but it has been discounted to $500 for several weeks now, making it even better value. It's also nice that OnePlus has become one of the fastest manufacturers when it comes to delivering Android software updates. This phone launched with Android 10 and gets bimonthly security updates. The 7T has a capable in-display fingerprint sensor and triple rear cameras, including a 2X zoom lens. Our only real complaints are that it lacks a headphone jack, there's no wireless charging, and the snazzy glass-backed design makes this phone more delicate—though it comes with a case in the box. It’s also only splashproof, not waterproof. Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon OnePlus 7T costs $499 from OnePlus 6. iPhone 8 ($449) A Good Affordable iPhone The cheapest iPhone on our list. Photograph: Apple Apple eliminated the home button (and Touch ID) on the iPhone a few years ago, but if you want one more go with the classic design, get an iPhone 8 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It's missing a few of the camera tricks of newer iPhones, but it still runs just fine and should continue to chug along for at least a few more years. The big benefit of an iPhone (like the Google Pixel phones) is that Apple controls its software, so each model is supported for half a decade or so. Apple's App Store is also home to some of the best mobile games and apps, some of which you won't find on Android phones. We recommend waiting until the end of April if you can before jumping on the iPhone 8, though. There's a lot of talk about Apple releasing an updated iPhone SE model by then that will cost around $399, which will likely make it the cheap iPhone to buy. Works on AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and more iPhone 8 costs $449 from Apple 7. iPhone XR ($599) The Cheapest Modern iPhone We recommend the XR as a step-up iPhone option. Photograph: Apple If you want the best deal for a high-end iPhone, consider the iPhone XR. It's our top iPhone at the moment. Just know that, like the OnePlus 7T, this phone is only "cheap" when you compare it with the incredibly expensive new models. The iPhone XR (8/10, WIRED Recommends) came out in 2018, but it still compares well to the new iPhone 11. No, it doesn't have an extra wide-angle lens, and its camera can't capture as much detail in the dark, but otherwise there isn't a huge difference between last year's model and what Apple is selling for $100 more today. Until the iPhone 12 rolls around in late 2020, the XR is worth strong consideration. iPhone XR costs $599 from Apple Should You Buy Now? With the Covid-19 outbreak, this is a difficult question. In short, yes. If you buy any of these phones now, they will serve you well. But several manufacturers will be announcing newer models soon (some already have), with plenty of launches expected in April and May. Factory activity in China is falling at record rates though, according to the BBC, so phonemakers may not be able to ship their new 2020-model phones until many months after they're announced. If you need a phone at this very moment, buy one now. If you can wait to see what the field looks like in late May, do it. Check Network Compatibility If you buy an unlocked phone on this list and try to take it to one of your wireless carrier's retail stores, they may tell you it isn't compatible with the network. It likely is. Just use a paper clip to pop the SIM card out of your current phone, then slide that SIM into your new phone. If it doesn't work at first, reboot the phone or just wait a couple of hours. If you need a new SIM, try ordering one online from your carrier, or try to get them to give you a SIM when you activate a line in the store (if you're starting coverage). Tell them you have a phone. Many times, reps will want to sell you a phone; that's one potential reason they might hassle you into buying a different device in the store. Having said that, please make sure whatever phone you buy will work on your wireless network. Listings on retailers like Amazon should state clearly which networks it will be compatible with. Also make sure the listing says that the phone is being sold "unlocked." Warning for Verizon and Sprint users: There's a higher chance an unlocked phone will not work on your network. Make sure it is labeled to work on Verizon or Sprint, or that it says the phone is CDMA-capable. Verizon customers, if something strange is going on, like you get no texts, you may also need to contact customer service and tell them to enable CDMA-Less roaming. AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM carriers, which is the standard for most of the world; most unlocked phones are compatible with them. If you're nervous, look up the specifications of the exact model you're considering. Make sure it has the LTE bands it needs to run on your carrier. Speaking of networks, none of the phones in this guide support 5G, which is perfectly fine. 5G phones are pricey, and the networks are still only available in a handful of places around the country, so you're not missing much. Avoid These Phones! If a phone isn't listed here, or if it's refurbished, be careful. It's easy to waste money or time when you're shopping for affordable phones. It's hard to get a sense of how a cheaper phone will act in the long term when you use it in a store for five minutes, and retail employees may not be much help. Make sure you read reviews online. For whatever reason, big manufacturers like Samsung like to keep selling their old pre-2019 devices, like the Galaxy S8. A good rule of thumb is to avoid most devices that originally came out before 2019. They probably won't continue to get software and security updates for long, if they're even being supported now. Source: The Best Cheap Phones for (Almost) Every Budget (Wired)
  2. Three activists wandered around busy spots in Washington, DC, on Thursday using camera phones to run people's faces through facial-recognition software in protest against growing use of the technology. The software they used was Rekognition, Amazon's commercially available and sometimes controversial facial-recognition tool. The protesters collected 13,740 face scans, including of one US congressman. Protesters in white jumpsuits with smartphones mounted on their heads scanned people's faces on Thursday. Protesters who oppose facial recognition donned white hazmat suits and cameras to collect face scans of more than 13,000 people. Activists from Fight for the Future mounted the protest in Washington, DC, on Thursday. Three protesters wearing white jumpsuits bearing signs saying "Facial Recognition in Progress" scanned the faces of passersby using smartphones mounted on their heads. They used Amazon's commercially available facial-recognition software, called Rekognition. The protesters were making the point that facial recognition remained unregulated in the US. Private companies and the US government are increasingly adopting the technology, prompting fears of surveillance creep. The protesters focused on the halls of Congress as well as busy metro stops, and they were looking in particular for members of Congress, journalists, and Amazon lobbyists, according to a press release. The protest was livestreamed, and a tally was kept of how many people they scanned. The final count was 13,740, including 25 lobbyists, seven journalists, and one congressman, Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California. The website where the protest was livestreamed allows people to upload their picture to check whether they were among the 13,740 faces scanned. Fight for the Future says it will delete all the photos and data after two weeks. "This should probably be illegal, but until Congress takes action to ban facial-recognition surveillance, it's terrifyingly easy for anyone — a government agent, a corporation, or just a creepy stalker — to conduct biometric monitoring and violate basic rights at a massive scale," Fight for the Future's deputy director, Evan Greer, said in a statement. "We did this to make a point." Fight for the Future's protesters. The organization is calling for immediate legislation banning the use of facial-recognition technology by governmental bodies and law enforcement. Four US cities have enforced their own facial-recognition bans: Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco in California, and Somerville, Massachusetts. The protest took place on the same day a bipartisan bill was introduced that would force the police to obtain a warrant before using facial recognition. Fight for the Future's methods were not universally welcomed. Chris Gilliard, an expert in privacy and tech policy, objected to the logic of using nonconsensual facial recognition on unsuspecting citizens, especially people of color. Greer responded in a comment to Vice that Fight for the Future deliberately picked areas "already under surveillance" rather than residential areas, a logic Gilliard rejected. "Following that logic, I could set up my surveillance project in a neighborhood filled with Ring doorbells. After all, everyone in that neighborhood is in the system," he tweeted. Artificial-intelligence experts have expressed concerns specifically over the usage of Amazon's Rekognition software by law enforcement, as researchers found it was more likely to misidentify women and people with darker complexions. Source
  3. Xiaomi recently submitted a design patent for a smartphone design with dual camera selfies at its corners. The patent was first spotted by TigerMobiles and features several images of smartphones sporting different placements of the dual selfie cameras at the top. As full-screen smartphones designs with pop-up selfie cameras such as the Mi 9T have somehow become the trend, Xiaomi is finding more ways to place the selfie camera. Specifically, some of the designs depict positions other than the teardrop notch or pop-up camera design. In fact, one design clearly shows the dual sensors located on opposite ends of the phone. While another other suggests that the top bezels could make a comeback. Admittedly, these designs do look odd at first glance, but given enough time, it’s likely that these designs could become the next trend. In any case, these are just patents, and at the time of writing, it’s unclear if Xiaomi will even act upon these designs for all its future smartphones. Source: 1. TigerMobiles via GSMArena // Image: TigerMobiles 2. Xiaomi Submits Patent For Dual Corner Selfie Cameras On Smartphones (via Lowyat.NET)
  4. MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers want to make it a legal requirement for all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in Russia to come pre-installed with certain Russian software in a bid to support domestic software producers, according to a draft bill. The bill, tabled at the lower house of parliament on Thursday, would allow authorities to draw up a list of mandatory, locally-made software. If passed, it would come into force in July 2020. Russia’s cell-phone market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Huawei products. The bill also proposes fining companies that sell devices without pre-installed Russian software from 50,000 to 200,000 rubles ($790-3,170) starting from January 2021. The proposal will only become law if it is backed in three votes by the lower house of parliament and then approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin. The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and communications ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Russia has introduced tougher Internet laws in the last five years, requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store user data on servers in the country. ($1 = 63.0265 rubles) Source
  5. Hi All, Just wondering if Nokia with Canonical makes Ubuntu Touch Devices, does people love it and buy to help support Ubuntu Touch development? My wish is that Nokia should join hands with Canonical to make Ubuntu Devices. If that happens, all lazy s/w app giants will create apps supporting Ubuntu Touch platform. I'm calling s/w app giants as lazy bcoz if they would've supported Ubuntu Touch earlier, the OS could've been overtaking Android & Windows Phones(or Windows 10 Mobile) by now. All Nokia & Ubuntu/Linux fans(incl. myself) or devs out there, please suggest Nokia to create Ubuntu Devices in future ASAP. Please vote and provide feedback in comments(if any). Members please note that I'm referring to the future and not now. I'm not a fool to ask for/suggest a change in the first year of re-emerged Nokia. @steven36 & @teodz1984: Please read the desc carefully before providing comments.
  6. First to 5G? For smartphone users, the race is kind of meaningless EE is the first UK carrier to jump to 5G. But for more consumers, the upgrade just isn’t worth it yet. 5G has arrived in the UK today. Jaromir Chalabala / EyeEm Pop the champagne and polish the medals, for the competition to be first to 5G has declared its victors. UK carrier EE turned on the country's first 5G network in the country on Thursday, beating its rivals to the punch. EE joins Verizon and Swisscom as "winners" of the race to being the first in its country to offer customers the next generation of network speeds. 5G is successor to 4G and its higher speeds will enable new experiences from autonomous cars to seamlessly integrated smart homes. For a handful of early adopters out there, EE's 5G switch-on will bring the first taste of whizzier, much-hyped mobile internet. 13 PHOTOS Samsung, LG, Motorola: How soon can we expect 5G phones? But it's crucial to recognize that it will just be a handful. Initially, 5G will only be available in the busiest and most central parts of the small number of launch cities.The rest of the time, you'll be connected to the good old-fashioned 4G network. So it may be worth holding off on upgrading to a 5G phone contract for now. Here lies the awkward period when 5G transforms from relentless hype to reality. It's a point of pride for a network to switch on 5G first, and you'll hear a carrier trumpet the claim in countless commercials. But it doesn't necessarily reflect when you'll get 5G or the ultimate strength of your network's 5G offering. Keep in mind, the industry celebrates many 5G milestones, even if most average phone users couldn't care less. Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insight, doesn't think EE being first to pull the 5G trigger spells doom for other networks. In the UK, Vodafone is due to launch its own 5G network at the beginning of July, with O2and Three set to follow by the end of the year -- a relatively small difference. "If anything, it gives a bit of an opportunity to see how it's been positioned to market and use that early learning to inform their own propositions," he said in an interview. But that's not to say there aren't also good reasons to be in the pole position. "Being first is really important to maintain leadership when you have a technology transition," said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm in an interview with CNET at EE's launch event in London last week. "You're always going to have first mover advantage, not only because you're going to get the learnings and the technology, but you actually can be faster to bring it to maturity, understand the new use cases and actually provide the value proposition to your customers." And it's not just the networks that could be affected by being early to 5G -- the hierarchy of device manufacturers could also be switched up. 5G is unusual in that it's the first generation of new network technology in which the ecosystem of devices is mature ahead of the carriers, said Amon. Several prominent Chinese manufacturers, including Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus, have timed their arrival or expansion in Europe to coincide with the advent of 5G. Of the current top manufacturers in the UK (Apple, Samsung and Huawei), only Samsung is currently in a position to compete with the newbies, with the Galaxy S10 5G variant is available on Vodafone and EE. Apple is conspicuous by its absence from the range of devices offered at launch and may not have a 5G phone of its own until 2020. Meanwhile Huawei's devices were pulled -- or put on "pause" -- by EE and Vodafone at the last moment due to uncertainty over its future relationship with Google's Android. So while you might be trying to decide between a Huawei and Samsung phone for your next upgrade, in a year or so you could be weighing up an Oppo or Xiaomi device instead. "You could certainly argue that it's an opportunity for some of these new device makers to make a bit of an impact on the market," said Mann. Don't worry, there will be plenty of time to make up your mind. Mann estimates networks won't be providing widespread 5G coverage to hundreds of thousands of people until the end of 2020. "It's definitely going to be a long process," he said. Source
  7. NEW YORK (Reuters) - The average American video gamer is 33 years old, prefers to play on their smartphone and is spending big on content — 20 percent more than a year ago and 85 percent more than in 2015, a report showed on Thursday. The annual research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) comes as more American households rethink how to set limits for kids who love gaming and how to allocate their entertainment budgets in the streaming era. The $43.4 billion spent in 2018 was mostly on content, as opposed to hardware and accessories. Of pay-to-play games, “Call of Duty: Black Ops III”, “Red Dead Redemption II” and “NBA 2K19” took the top spots for most units sold but the list did not include free games such as “Fortnite.” “Games are striking an important chord with American culture,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA’s acting president and chief executive officer. “That’s what makes it the leading form of entertainment today.” Nearly 65 percent of U.S. adults, or more than 164 million people, play games. The most popular genre is casual games, with 60 percent of players gaming on their smartphones, though about half also play on personal computers and specialized consoles. Parents are limiting screen time for their kids and using video game ratings to screen content, and 87 percent of parents require permission for new game purchases, the study showed. Some 46 percent of all gamers are female, though they favor different kinds of games than men, particularly depending on age. Female gamers between 18 and 34 years old prefer “Candy Crush”, “Assassin’s Creed” and “Tomb Raider” and play most often on smartphones, while their male counterparts mostly play games on consoles, particularly “God of War”, “Madden NFL” and “Fortnite.” Gen Xers, who are 40 to 54 years old, lean towards “Tetris”, “Pac-Man”, “Call of Duty”, “Forza” and “NBA 2K.” Male baby boomers aged 55 to 64 like “Solitaire” and “Scrabble”, while women lean towards “Mahjong” and “Monopoly.” Game players were no more prone than other Americans to live isolated, sedentary lives, according to the report. Americans will soon have even more ways to play video games. Apple Inc is launching a game subscription service and Alphabet Inc’s Google announced a video game streaming service late this year. The new services will present challenges to established video game developers like Electronic Arts Inc, maker of “Apex Legends”; Tencent Holdings Ltd’s Riot Games, maker of “League of Legends”; Valve Corp, owner of “Counter-Strike” and the Steam distribution platform; and Activision Blizzard Inc, owner of “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.” Ipsos gathered data from more than 4,000 Americans to conduct the study for the ESA. Source
  8. Your smartphone is going to look a lot stranger next time around Big, small, folding and curvy; MWC should see plenty of oddities to tempt jaded gadget buyers. But the real action is elsewhere. In tech, like in many other areas, nobody really knows anything. That's why, for all the predictions that artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented reality or 5Gwould be the things that mattered at Mobile World Congress last year, the device that actually stole the show was a phone that looked like a banana. Nokia's 8110 4G 'banana phone' turned out to be one of the stars of MWC last year. And with the smartphone industry desperate for something to turn around its fortunes, we can expect more oddities this year, too. "Globally the smartphone market is a mess right now," said Ryan Reith of tech analyst IDC recently, pointing out that we are holding onto our smartphones for longer, that most of us already have already bought one so finding new customers is getting harder, and that, amidst economic uncertainty, there is growing consumer frustration around continuously rising prices. I'd add another factor -- we're becoming bored of what we're being offered. Increasingly it's hard to differentiate between a mid-range rectangle of plastic and glass and a flagship slab of plastic and glass, except by price. Which is where something like the banana phone comes in. Tech companies need exciting stuff to get us out buying new hardware again. While Nokia's yellow device isn't likely to be copied by too many rivals, expect plenty of foldable phones over the next couple of years -- and maybe one at MWC from Huawei, hot on the heels of Samsung. If these devices prove popular, plenty more will follow. But some tech companies are already looking beyond the smartphone, and it's perhaps significant that one of the big events at MWC 2019 isn't even smartphone-related: it's a look at Microsoft's HoloLens smart glasses. Still, while odd smartphones and AR goggles are fun to write about, you don't see many people toting either, which means tech companies are going to have to work a lot harder to explain why we need to buy new devices. 5G is going to be everywhere at MWC, and many smartphone makers and network operators will hope that when it arrives it will give the market a much-needed boost by providing a compelling reason to upgrade. More bandwidth and lower latency will certainly make the mobile experience better -- especially for people who like to walk down the street making a video call. There will be plenty of 5G handset announcements and talk about 5G rollouts, although in reality it will be later this year and into next year that 5G will really come into its own. Much depends on when the 5G iPhone arrives, as this will mark the mass-market arrival of 5G -- for consumers, at least. But 5G is about more than that. Although they won't grab the headlines like a foldable phone, there will be plenty of AI, IoT and augmented reality plays on display at MWC. Most of them will rely on the bandwidth and the vast number of connections offered by 5G networks -- which will be able to support a million devices per kilometre -- to become reality. The recent clash between the US government and Huawei shows how just how important 5G networks will be in future. The IoT will bring plenty of innovations, particularly for business where the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is ramping up fast. But the combination of AI, 5G and millions of sensors in our homes, watches, cars and clothes is going to create a surveillance capitalism bonanza that society is in no way ready for. If you think data privacy is a mess when it comes to smartphone apps, just wait until you are surrounded by sensors that record your every move and heartbeat. Deciding who gets access to all that data is going to be one of the big decisions we must make over the next few years. Sure, at MWC all eyes will be on the shiny gadgets; but don't miss the important stuff going on in the background. Source
  9. For years, the number of Americans who have reported using the internet, social media, and smartphones has been on a meteoric rise. But that rate has slowed to a near-stall. New data published this week by the Pew Research Center show that, since 2016, that number has plateaued, indicating those technologies have reached a saturation point among many groups of people. The percentage of Americans using smartphones (77%), the internet (88% to 89%), and social media (69%) has remained virtually unchanged during the last two years. “Put simply, in some instances there just aren’t many non-users left,” the report states. More than 90% of adults younger than 50 report they use the internet or own a smartphone. This number squares with some of the trends noticed earlier this year by Gartner, a global research firm. The fourth quarter of 2017 marked the first time since 2004 that the market for smartphones declined globally compared to the prior year. People are less frequently buying new phones. “While demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales,” the firm reported. That’s already posed significant challenges for foreign companies looking to break into the US market. The Chinese brand Xiaomi is the fourth-largest seller of smartphones in the world. But as CNBC reported earlier this year, any goals it has for getting its products into American hands will be tough, with market saturation being a big reason why. Of course, there are segments of the US population that represent room in which to expand the use of smartphones and the internet. About 60% of Americans living in rural zones complain they have internet speeds so slow that it inhibits use. There’s also the population over 50 years old, which often complains that learning a new technology isn’t worth their time, according to the Pew report. In 2015, a Pew survey showed 34% of people over 65 said they had no confidence in their ability to perform tasks online. So for companies looking to make inroads, some of the challenges are clear: Invent products that make usability improvements to what’s already offered by Apple or Samsung that can be applied across a broad age range of people. It’s a tall order, but a tighter market could just pave the way for a newer, better wave of technology. Source
  10. The Subtle Nudges That Could Unhook Us From Our Phones ENOUGH. IT'S TIME. You've decided to reclaim your morning commute by spending it on something substantive. No more bottomless Instagram feeds and auto-playing YouTube videos for you! So out the door you stride with that week's New Yorker wedged beneath your arm, a new episode of Flash Forward playing in your ear, or the latest Jesmyn Ward novel cued up on your Kindle app. So far so substantive. But it doesn't last. You've nearly reached the bus stop when the assault on your attention begins with a notification about… notifications: Check out the notifications you have on Twitter. In a more vulnerable moment, you'd have tapped the push alert reflexively. But not today. You've no way of knowing what awaits you on the other side (experience has taught you that "your" Twitter notifications are occasionally about personal mentions, but they're usually about other people's activity), so you leave Schrödinger's tweet alone and motion to put your phone away. But it's too late. Before you can pocket your device, something catches your eye. Was it a Slack from your boss? One of the tiny red badges dotting the corners of your apps? Or maybe a Snap from your brother? You're ensnared. You spend your commute flitting from app to app, feed to feed, one notification to the next. You even catch yourself scrolling through Twitter (turns out WIRED and two others retweeted Chelsea Clinton). Next thing you know you've arrived at work, your Kindle app unopened, your podcast unlistened to, your longread unread.... Scenarios like this one contribute to the growing sense among tech critics, policymakers, and the public that technology companies hold too much sway over attention, well-being, and our very democracy—even as they disagree over the extent to which tech giants have overstepped. To some, our phones and apps are little more than a distraction; to others, they're nothing short of an existential threat. But the vast majority of critics—and more and more companies—agree: People could use help deciding where to place their attention, to ensure that their time with technology is—to borrow an increasingly fashionable phrase—time well spent. And make no mistake: We users do need help. And that help can take a form that's subtle and effective. It is tempting to blame our failure to resist our phones, apps, and feeds on a lack of self control. As with so many things in life, the recipe for a healthy relationship with technology seems to boil down to a command of one's impulses. But how you use your phone, and the apps on it, is ultimately about decisions—and decisions hinge on more than self control. They're also informed by rational and irrational judgements, subconscious biases, and information gaps (among other factors), all of which contribute to a quirk of human behavior that has long fascinated psychologists, philosophers, and economists: People will often make a decision at one point in time that becomes inconsistent—or works against their apparent interests—at a later point in time. Behavioral economists have a name for the tension between our present and future selves. They call it time-inconsistency. It colors countless human decisions, from the trivial to the momentous: Eat that cookie—or stick to your diet? Put a chunk of your paycheck toward a new outfit—or your 401k? Just think: How often has your preference in the moment (say, for a delicious snack or a nice jacket) come to contradict your later preference (for a flatter stomach or a more robust retirement fund)? This tension now defines many people's relationships with their phones, as well. Science doesn't have a definitive answer about the effect technology is having on our brains, or on society. But evidence does suggest that the ways in which we use our devices on a minute-to-minute basis often contradict how we wish we used them—or didn't. When Moment, an app that helps people track their screen-time, asked 200,000 of its users to rate the ways they engage with their phones, apps like Facebook Reddit, Instagram, and Snapchat fared notably worse than those like Google Calendar, Headspace, and MyFitnessPal; the latter left people feeling happy, while the former had the opposite effect. And yet, with few exceptions, survey respondents spent much more time in apps they later regretting so much time on. The survey reveals what many of us know intuitively: The way we use our phones is not time-consistent. Today, through default settings like push notifications and autoplaying videos, tech companies like Google and Facebook take advantage of this time-inconsistency. They exploit our tendency to procrastinate and our susceptibility to inertia to grab our attention, no matter how it makes us feel. But our susceptibilities also make us receptive to something Harvard legal scholar Cass Sunstein calls libertarian paternalism, a term he coined with Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler to describe "nudges" by which institutions help people make better choices (as judged by themselves), while preserving their freedom to make those choices at as low a cost as possible. A hallmark example: Employers that automatically enroll their workers in tax-deferred retirement plans (while allowing them to opt out) dramatically improve the contribution rates of their employees. The question for tech giants, Sunstein says, is not whether they should engage in libertarian paternalism, but the ends to which they do so. "For companies like Facebook and Apple, there is a pressing need for a lot more thought on the goals of choice architecture," he says. "Once we specify the goals, we can identify an assortment of freedom-preserving tools, such as reminders and warnings, that can help users." Policymakers, designers, and former employees from the likes of Google and Facebook have begun to imagine what those tools might look like. One suggestion: Companies could use their stockpiles of personalized information to detect and notify users who are spending more time than they'd like their platforms—or even identify risky behavior. "If you're an alcohol manufacturer, you have no way of knowing who's abusing your product," says Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products. "But if you're a tech company, you can actually reach out and say, hey, you might have a predisposition for technology addiction." In an essay titled "Choicemaking and the Interface," social scientist Joe Edelman proposes alternative interfaces that would give users more nuanced, up-front choices about how to spend their time and the way they'll spend it on one choice or another. Typing "facebook" into your address bar, for example, might prompt you to select whether you intend to visit for a "Quick Break," "Easy Reading," or to "Organize an Event." The proposed interface would also show you how well these uses of Facebook had panned out for people who selected them in the past. "In order to display these kinds of cues, we'd need to build giant database about people, about their choices, and about the outcomes of those choices," Edelman writes. Compiling such a database might seem unfeasible, were it not for Facebook's more than decade-long practice of polling users on everything from their satisfaction with the platform to how trustworthy they find the sources in their newsfeeds. A survey from February went so far as to ask users whether they agreed or disagreed that "Facebook is good for the world." But to be good for the world, Facebook and other tech giants first have to be good for us ! MORE ON THE SUBJECT : Wired's editor-in-chief Nick Thompson spoke with Tristan Harris, the prophet behind the "Time Well Spent" movement that argues our minds are being hijacked by the technology we use. Though it's worth questioning whether science actually supports the concept of "tech addiction" at all. Whether you believe in addiction or not, the right tech can help us form new, better digital habits—like these ones. ------------------=------------------------------ Related Video Are You Addicted To Your Phone? On a typical day, the average person checks their phone 85 times. In total, we spend about 5 hours on our phones each day. Here we explore the fine line between normal phone use and device addiction. SOURCE : Wired
  11. One of the reasons why we were so excited about the “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie was the fact that it was being made with the Dolby Atmos technology. Now imagine watching the movie on your tablet or smartphone with the same Dolby Atmos sound effect! Dolby has found a way to ‘trick’ your brains into thinking that surround sound is possible via headphones and tablets. The reason why we enjoy movies more at a Dolby Atmos-equipped theater is because of the immersive sound experience. It’s like you actually hear the bullet whizzing past your ear or the horses galloping from one end of the screen to the other. The Atmos technology gives the sound artiste the creative freedom to choose where they want to place the sound components. For example, they may choose to make the sound ‘move’ from the left of the screen to the ceiling of the theatre and then back to the right. Replicating this sound effect for smartphones and tablets sounds a bit complicated, but apparently its not. Joel Susal, who is Dolby Laboratories Product Manager for Mobile, says that the same theatre experience can be replicated for the mobile devices thanks to the algorithms that Dolby has developed. The tech made its appearance at the Mobile World Congress and explained how a dedicated audio processor chip or an ARM processor core running the algorithms can replicate the Atmos effect. Essentially, the brain is ‘tricked’ into thinking the sound is in 3 D, when in fact it isn’t. Since the audio is naturally streaming in from the earphones, the listener feels like the sound is coming in from a specific direction in the third-dimension, due to the new mobile audio technology. According to Dolby via CNET, This technology is compatible with most devices and requires an OS that is using the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip. Although the Dolby mobile partners for this tech are not yet clear, we are hopeful to see its first draft ready by this year end. Source
  12. For those of us who don't know, 'bloatware' refers to all that extra stuff that's been pre-loaded on your device, before you even got to your neighborly carrier's outlet. These often come in considerable numbers, are sometimes downright irritating and take up space, and worst of all -- can't be removed by normal means. The situation is so bad, really, that countries like South Korea are targeting the practice with upcoming legislation that will see it discontinued by law. What's making matters worse is the fact that if you want to get truly rid of the extra fat, you'll need to be rooted, a simple operation that still scares a whole lot of people (that's probably for the better, though). Now, there are some scripts that will work without root, but they require some basic understanding of Android recoveries, which tend to freak out people even more, and they still require quite some manual work. Obviously, to thoroughly clean your system of bloat, you'll need root, but you're not completely powerless if you're unwilling to. Said otherwise, this is a quick guide suitable for Android beginners. Step 1. Navigate to Settings > Apps > slide to All. Hunt down the offending app that you want put to rest and press the Disable button. Step 2. You'll get prompted whether you're sure that you want to disable the given app. This can't hurt your phone permanently, as you can always revert the change, not to mention that essential processes are protected against this. Just go ahead and click 'OK'. You may be prompted to uninstall any updates made to the app, just okay that too -- should you wish to enable the app again, it'll automatically find its update off the Play Store after a while. Lastly, you need to click 'Force Stop' to actually kill the app's background process. Alternatively, you can simply reboot your phone. Step 3. Now that you've successfully disabled an offending app, you should probably bar it from using your notification bar as a toy by removing the check from the 'Show notifications' box. Furthermore, if you're not planning on using the app any time soon, you can go ahead and delete app data, which will free up some space by deleting the sometimes obscene amounts of data they keep handy. Step 4. Once you've disabled your first app, another column will be created in the Settings > Apps menu, which will show you all the disabled apps in one centralized place. This arrangement will not necessarily look this exact same way on your device -- some versions of Android list disabled apps at the very bottom of the 'All' column. As you can see, Google+, when disabled, no longer shows up on your homescreen/app drawer. Voila! Source
  13. A leaked photograph of some retail packaging appears to show a new case for the Apple iPhone that will be offered by AT&T. The case will feature a micro-NFC chip, which together with a free mobile app, will allow the iPhone to support the Isis mobile payment service. The Incipio Cashwrap will retail for $70 and is already in AT&T's inventory, according to published reports. At CES, a version of the case for both the Apple iPhone 4 and Apple iPhone 4s was revealed. The cases are expected to launch in March. While AT&T is involved in the release of the Cashwrap case, it is unknown whether the other two carriers involved in the Isis mobile payment service, T-Mobile and Verizon, will also offer the cases. By using the case and installing the Isis Mobile Wallet app, you can store credit cards and loyalty cards, using them to pay your bill by tapping the iPhone on an Isis Mobile Payment terminal. Source
  14. LG is planning to skip the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for some of its smartphones and move them straight to the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. According to the report, many of LG's devices will be going straight to Android 4.4, skipping right over Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 in most cases. Among the models cited by our source are the LG Optimus F3, LG Optimus F6, LG G Pad 8.3 (including Verizon model), LG G Pro Lite, LG Optimus F7, LG-D315 (unannounced), LG LS740 (LG Optimus F3 successor), LG Optimus L9 II, LG Optimus Vu II, LG Vu III, and LG G Flex. The LG Optimus 4X HD will be sticking at Android 4.1.2. That is a model that is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Source
  15. 1.The 6.8-inch Hisense X1 Chinese Hisense showcased its behemoth, 6.8-inch X1 phablet during CES2014 in Las Vegas, and promised US availability by the end of Q2 this year. The giant device sports an IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080x1920, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, a 13-megapixel camera and a healthy, 3900 mAh cell. It is said that the X1 will come packing Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. 2. 6.44-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra The Sony Z Ultra may no longer be the world's largest phablet, but it's got style that often dwarfs that of its competitors. Sporting the typical Xperia design language,this phablet's 6.44-inch display sports a 1080x1920 resolution, and is also equipped with a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera. 3. 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Having jump-started the entire phablet category essentially on its own, Samsung's answer to the mounting competition is the Galaxy Mega 6.3, and it's no wimp, either. Equipped with a 6.3-inch, 720x1280 pixel resolution LCD screen, the Mega offers a whole lot of phone. Other notable internals include a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear shooter. 4. 7-inch CoolPad Great God/Halo CoolPad took the veil off its gargantuan, 7-inch Great God (CoolPad Halo for the west) at CES2014 just a week ago. The Chinese company is little-known in the US and Europe, but it's actually one of the largest local manufacturers, and appears intent on sticking around. The 1080x1920 resolution screen is powered by MediaTek's new octa-core MT6592 chipset, 2GB of RAM and a 4000mAh battery. 5. 6.95-inch Cube Talk 69 Another native of China, Cube, has released information about its upcoming, 6.95-inch, 1080p Talk 69 phablet. Along with a competitive price tag of about $247 for the Chinese market, the massive phone also comes equipped with a 2GHz, octa-core MT6592 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera and a 3100mAh capacity cell. 6. 6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate 1 and 2 The Huawei Ascend Mate 1 and 2 both share the same amount of screen real estate: 6.1-inches of 720x1280 pixel glory. This is the biggest device in Huawei's portfolio and is sure to intrigue admirers of the large screen form factor. 7. 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520 After playing a role of catch-up for quite some time, Nokia finally caught up with the competition with the Lumia 1520. This 6-inch, 1080p beast sports some rad hardware for a Windows Phone device, including a Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 3400mAh cell and an impressive 20-megapixel shooter. 8. 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1320 The Nokia Lumia 1320 can be seen as the budget-friendly version of the Lumia 1520. This obviously means that the super high-end hardware has been stripped down significantly, meaning a less crisp 720x1280 resolution panel, a dual-core Snapdragon 400 chip, 1GB of RAM, 3400mAh cell, and a 5-megapixel snapper. 9. 6-inch Alcatel OneTouch Hero The Alcatel OneTouch Hero is among the most conservative phablets out there, at least size wise. It's 6-inch, 1080x1920 resolution display is a beaut, while the phablet's dimensions are, at the same time, kept in check thanks to its super-slim bezels. Hardware highlights include a quad-core, 1.5GHz MT6589T processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 3400mAh battery that helped the Hero rank among the most enduring 1080p devices out there. 10. 6-inch Vivo Xplay 3S Chinese Vivo earned itself quite some media attention, thanks to the simple fact that its Xplay 3S is en route to become the first smartphone to pack a QHD (1440x2560) resolution screen. In addition, the 6-incher is all-round bulletproof in terms of hardware. It's powered by the highest-powered version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, 3GB of RAM, a 3200mAh battery and features a fingerprint scanner. 11. 6-inch LG G Flex The LG G Flex debuted as the world's first truly bendable smartphone, and just about everything you'll found on its specs sheet screams bleeding edge. It sports a 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution flexible P-OLED display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera. Moreover, its rear panel has been treated with a special coating that 'heals' trivial scratches. 12. 6-inch Lenovo S930 The Lenovo S930 is an affordable phablet with some middling internals. It's equipped with a massive 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution display, a quad-core MT6582, 3000mAh cell and an 8-megapixel snapper. 13. 6-inch Asus Zenfone 6 With a suggested price of $199, the Asus is on path to release the super-affordable Zenfone 6, a part of the Taiwanese company's new line of budget phones. Sacrifices were obviously made to arrive at such a compelling price point, so you 'only' get a dual-core, 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 chip, 1GB of RAM, a 3230mAh cell, and a 13-megapixel snapper. 14. 6-inch Acer Liquid S2 Acer isn't about to miss out on all the phablet fun that's to be had in 2014, either. The Liquid S2 is the company's answer to the increasingly popular phablet category, and it's sporting quite the hardware on it. This includes Qualcomm's finest, the Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM, a 3300mAh cell and a 13-megapixel rear camera. 15. 6-inch Sony Xperia T2 Ultra Sony announced the Xperia T2 Ultra and T2 Ultra dual in the middle of January 2014, and we're expecting this 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution phablet to launch with a price tag suitable for its mid-range nature. On the inside, the 7.6mm thinT2 Ultra is packing a quad-core, 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel shooter with Exmor RS sensor and is powered by a 3000mAh embedded battery. 16. 5.9-inch Oppo N1 The 5.9-inch Oppo N1 gets an honorary mention, as we simply couldn't imagine leaving it out. Its 1080p screen is nearly as massive as the one found on the rest of the giant-screened devices before it, and its hardware is nothing short of high-end, either. It packs a Snapdragon 600 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 3600mAh battery and a swivel-rotated 13-megapixel camera. ' 17. 5.9-inch HTC One max The 5.9-inch HTC One max also gets an honorary mention, thanks to its stylish looks and compelling hardware. It packs the usual -- a Snapdragon 600, 2GB of RAM, and a 3300mAh battery, but also one of HTC's proprietary (and disappointing) 4MP UltraPixel cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and a set of front-facing stereo speakers. Source
  16. 1. Samsung Galaxy NotePROSamsung's beast of a tablet known as the Galaxy NotePRO is built from the ground up with productivity and multitasking in mind. In fact, there is probably no other Android tablet that can give you as much freedom and flexibility in these two aspects than Samsung's 12-incher. And you get an S-Pen stylus as well, hence the name. Sure, the NotePRO is relatively large and heavy, but that's hardly surprise given the sheer size of the device's screen. 2. Samsung Galaxy TabPRO seriesYou can't go wrong with a tablet that has "PRO" in its name. And sure enough, Samsung's new Galaxy TabPRO Android slates have quite a lot to offer in terms of hardware specifications and software features. 3. Sony Xperia Z1 CompactFinally, someone managed to come up with a high-end Android smartphone that's actually compact. That's the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact we're talking about, equipped with its snappy processor and capable camera. And it is resistant to liquid damage, which is a trait that few other phones can brag with. All of these features place the Xperia Z1 Compact among the best phones we had the chance to play with at CES 2014.4. Sony Xperia Z1SSo, it turned out that the Sony Xperia Z1S wasn't exactly what we expected it to be, but that doesn't make it any less awesome of a smartphone. Later this month, anyone in the US eager to get their hands on Sony's flagship will be able to do so via T-Mobile. 5. Asus ZenFone seriesWe were genuinely surprised when Asus announced its new ZenFone series at CES, especially when we heard how cheap the phones were going to be. At only $99, $149, and $199 respectively, the Asus ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 6 are could give the company's market share a welcome boost.6. Asus PadFone XIs it a phone or is it a tablet? Well, the Asus PadFone X is actually an amalgamation of both, but if you're familiar with the PadFone concept then you should probably know that already. The Asus PadFone X will be available soon in the US via AT&T. Pricing has not been disclosed, but opting for a PadFone should be a better deal than buying an identical Android phone and a tablet separately. 7. Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+At CES we had the chance to take the OneTouch Idol X+ for a spin. And overall, it wasn't a bad phone at all. It is shaping up as a device that will deliver specs typical for a high-end device, but at a price that will appeal to a a broader range of buyers. 8. ZTE Nubia Z5sHere's one more noteworthy offering coming from the Far East – the ZTE Nubia Z5s. Unlike most of the ZTE phones we get to play with, this one has some top-notch hardware to draw buyers' attention with. Too bad that it is only available in China, at least for now. 9. Huawei Ascend Mate 2The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is a mid-range offering that belongs to the phablet category of smartphones. Among its stand-out features is the huge, 4050mAh battery that can push through 12 hours of video playback on a single charge. 10. Acer Iconia A1A high-end tablet the Acer Iconia B1 is not, but it does have what it takes to draw one's attention. That is its low price of just $150, which is actually pretty good given the tablet's hardware specifications. It has a 7.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 16GB of storage, and a pair of cameras for selfies and casual photos. All of that is packed inside an aluminum body that feels quite nice to the touch. 11. Asus Transformer Book DuetWhat makes the Asus Transformer Book Duet so awesome is its ability to run both Android and Windows, and switching back and forth between the two systems is as simple as tapping a button. Its price? Just $599 for the base model – definitely not bad for a dual-OS tablet/notebook convertible. Source
  17. A test lab in the U.S. confirms that smartphone cameras can detect the presence of radiation. Last year, an app called GammaPix turned smartphones into cheap Geiger Counters. The theory behind this is that the CMOS used to produce cameras on handsets, should be able to make a signal when near radiation. Researchers at Idaho National Labs not only confirmed that this is true, they also wanted to see which phones were the best at finding and signaling that radiation is near. Instead of using the GammaPix app, the group in Idaho, led by researcher Joshua Cogliati, developed their own app called CellRad to find the radiation. Surpisingly, of the phones tested, the Nexus S, a phone launched late in 2010, detected the most radiation per image. The Samsung Galaxy S III produced too much noise, according to the researchers. And there was less variation between two Nexus S units than between two units of the other phones tested. Speaking of which, the other phones involved in the testing besides the Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy S III, included the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4. Because of the much higher resolution on the back snapper, it was employed for the test instead of the front facing camera on each device. The test used the CellRad app to check for isotopes of Selenium, Iridium, Caesium, Cobalt and Americium. The guys in the lab did say that despite this capability, a smartphone will never replace a Geiger Counter in terms of the quality of radiation detection. Source
  18. Google and Samsung already have an interesting relationship, but it is about to get much more awkward. Google has seemed a bit concerned for some time that Samsung has taken such a dominant role in the Android ecosystem. Now, Google will have a new reason to be concerned: beginning in March, Samsung will dominate Android and compete with it at the same time. According to a report from Japan-based magazine Mainichi, top Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has confirmed that Tizen smartphones will become available beginning in March. The news follows a number of delays that pushed the launch of Samsung’s first Tizen phone back from last year, but the consumer tech giant apparently has no plans to delay things any further. The first round of Samsung’s Tizen handsets are expected to debut next month during the annual Mobile World Congress trade show. Source
  19. Jolla is an independent phone maker from Finland formed by a number of ex-Nokia staff. Its first Sailfish OS device is a mid-range handset with a low-resolution qHD (960 x 540) 4.5-inch display, LTE, an 8-megapixel camera, 16GB of internal storage, and microSD support. Jolla's phone will be priced at €399 (roughly $535 including sales tax), considerably more than similar devices, but the Finnish company is hoping the draw of a new OS will win consumers in its home country over. The company has partnered with local carrier DNA to peddle its wares, and we'll find out soon enough if this valiant effort to introduce a new OS into such a mature market will be successful. One thing in its favor is that Finland's only other smartphone maker — Nokia — is selling its device business to Microsoft, meaning there's a chance that, in its home market at least, Jolla could cash in on some national pride. There's no word on a precise launch date outside of Finland yet, but the company has previously said it aims to sell its device across Europe before the end of 2013. Jolla was founded by ex Nokia staff and hopes to become the new company to cheer for in Finland. You can check out a walkthrough video of Sailfish OS below. Original Article
  20. Mobile manufacturing companies like Samsung and LG are exploring the option of installing a killer switch in their handsets (Smartphones and Tablets) to make them non operable if stolen. "Data from the National Policy Agency show the number of reported smartphone thefts rose 457% to 31,075 last year from 5,575 in 2009. The Korea Customs Service also blocked attempts to smuggle 1,887 smartphones out of the country last year, more than 10 times the 2010 tally of 131 phones.” quoted WSJ. Most of the stolen devices are smuggled out the country and sold at a cheaper price. The functionality of the new feature can be guessed, the new killer switch would ensure that as soon as the phone is stolen it would erase all the data from the phone and become inaccessible to any carrier. When we use a phone it can be authenticated by our finger print scanning. This new technology can supposedly be used to develop the killer switch, which will be of a major requirement in the coming days. Pantech, a South Korean mobile manufacturer, has become the first to introduce this feature in to mobile phones. Through which we can privately secure messages and photos. But the spokesperson of the company believes that most of their user are not aware of this feature and more decent amounts of awareness regarding the safety issues need to be brought in user circles. And moreover there is a lot of pressure on mobile manufacturing companies from American prosecutors to adopt this feature by 2014. Information loss and threat due to theft is a huge concern in United States, which is generally considered as a mother market for any new idea or technology either to launch or test. Original Article
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