Samsung's semiconductor branch tonight helped launch Barcelona's Mobile World Congress with a new mobile platform destined for smartphones and other high-end handhelds. The S3C6410 merges both a 667MHz ARM processor as well as a hardware Multi Format Codec decoder/encoder block that offloads much of the work that would normally be given to the main CPU. In addition to driving playback of video formats such as H.264, MPEG-4, and VC-1, it can also record standard-definition (640x480) video at full speed -- including while playing back video at the same time, Samsung says. The feature explicitly opens the door to two-way video calling at TV resolutions while simultaneously improving battery life versus older processors.
Sony-Ericsson has finished up its announcements in Barcelona with word of a 3G ExpressCard line and a stereo headset. The EC400 and its GPS-equipped counterpart the EC400g are Sony-Ericsson's first mobile Internet cards to provide HSPA while using the ExpressCard format; both plug into the EC/34 slot of Mac OS X and Windows PCs to provide up to 7.2Mbps downstream in peak conditions as well as up to 2Mbps for uploads. An auto-configuring process ensures a near pain-free setup process, the company explains.
Rounding out Sony-Ericsson's phone releases at Mobile World Congress are the C702 and C902, both entries in the company's Cyber-shot cameraphone lineup. The 3.2- and 5-megapixel respective phones are each designed for frequent photography, each with their own unique twists. The C702 equips assisted GPS and will geotag photos with their positions; its body is also sealed against dust and splashes and is shaped to snap photos easily with one hand.
Sony-Ericsson this afternoon claimed to have some of the best music and web phones yet with the announcement of two more devices in its Mobile World Congress lineup. The W980 clamshell is the device maker's new flagship Walkman phone and includes 8GB of built-in flash memory to hold most users' whole collections without needing an external card. Audio-enhancing functions as well as premium earbuds also provide better listening than most devices in the class, the company touts. In an unusual spin for Sony-Ericsson phones, an FM transmitter is built in along with a receiver, allowing the W980 to beam music to nearby stereos or even other phones with FM radios.
Continuing a succession of announcements for the Mobile World Congress show, Sony-Ericsson today launched two touchscreen cameraphones it says are the first truly aimed at the mainstream. The 3.2-megapixel G700 and 5-megapixel G900 [both links active soon] make the unusual choice of offering both a touchscreen and a full number pad. The 2.4-inch LCD can be used to browse music, edit photos, surf the web, and call contacts with fingers as well as to draw or write notes with a stylus; in turn, the traditional controls allow quick dialing, menu-hopping, and shortcuts to common tasks.
Sony-Ericsson opened the Mobile World Congress today by unveiling the XPERIA X1, its first true touchscreen-focused cellphone. Following a deal with Microsoft, the handset is Sony-Ericsson's first device to use Windows Mobile for its OS but also uses a custom interface of "XPERIA panels" rather than the default Microsoft front-end: users simply tap panels with their fingers to access calling, media, and other functions, according to the phone designer. Though dominated by its 3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen, the device also includes both optical and physical navigation pads at the bottom as well as a unique arc-slider QWERTY keyboard that tilts outward for more comfortable typing.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE