Testing on Nexus 6 shows dramatic decrease in NAND read and write performance
While initial reviews of the anticipated Google Nexus 6 device were decent, a few reviewers pointed out some confusing performance metrics. Initial examiners of the device are reporting that implementation of Android 5.0 Lollipop's Full Disk Encryption (FDE) cuts NAND random read speeds dramatically, from over 16.6MB/s with encryption off to 6.18MB/s with the feature active.
Google offers Chromebook users 1TB of cloud storage for two years
Google is giving potential Chromebook users an incentive to pick up the notebook before the end of the year. The search company is providing new Chromebook purchases worth $199 or more with 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years as a free bonus. The offer applies to purchases at retail and online stores, as well as Google Play, but must be redeemed before January 1st, 2015.
Starbucks adds Powermat wireless charging to 200 San Francisco stores
Starbucks is expanding its wireless charging efforts, by adding more Duracell Powermat charges to 200 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, ahead of plans to offer it across the United States and possibly in Europe and Asia by next year. For customers without a compatible wireless charging device, Duracell Powermat "Rings" will be available to borrow and return for each visit, or can be bought for $10 each.
Which fashion-forward recipient will you gift with a smart watch?
Wearable devices have become an important part of the technology industry this year, with almost every manufacturer producing a smartwatch, fitness tracker, or some other form of technology designed to be worn, not carried. If you feel the need to buy a present for someone you know who wants a wearable item, here is Electronista and MacNN's first gift guide of the season, covering the newest expansion of mobile technology.
Patriot launches Fuel Ion magnetic portable battery
Patriot has launched the latest addition to its Fuel Ion ecosystem, the Fuel Ion Magnetic Portable Battery. The battery attaches to the back of any Fuel Ion phone case, offering a 2100mAh capacity that can charge any smartphone without need to connect with a power cord. Lightweight, the battery can charge itself and any enabled smartphone when the battery is connected via its base to a wall or car adapter power source. The Fuel Ion ecosystem includes cases and other accessories compatible with iPhone 5 and 5s, Samsung Galaxy 4 and 5, and Samsung Note 3. Priced at $50, the Fuel Ion Portable Battery will soon be available through Amazon and a variety of other retailers.
Reduction in Samsung smartphone launches an attempt to reverse drop in profit
Samsung plans to release fewer models of smartphone next year, in an attempt to improve its profit margin following its most recent quarterly financial results. The electronics giant's head of investor relations Robert Yi advised it will be reducing the number of device variants released in 2015 down by between 25 and 30 percent compared to 2014.
Google Nexus 6 pre-orders begin in United Kingdom
The Google Nexus 6 will be going on sale soon in the United Kingdom, with a number of retailers offering pre-orders for the device. Carphone Warehouse is selling the smartphone SIM-free for £499 and £549 ($780 and $860) for the 32GB and 64GB models respectively with delivery expected on December 1st. Amazon UK is stocking the 32GB model at the same price, but with a later release date of December 15th. Google Play does list the Nexus 6 for the UK, with identical pricing for both versions, but it is not allowing for pre-orders, nor states when it will be available.
CEO Krzanich emails company, confirms shift
Perhaps burdened by the weight of the "post-pc" era, Intel is planning to combine its PC and Mobile Chip groups into a "Client Computing" department. The shift will take place in early 2015, and will consolidate marketing, production, and staff into one department serving both needs of the company. The division will be led by the PC Client group chief Kirk Skaugen. Mobile's lead Herman Eul, a veteran of Infineon Technologies, has been asked to help with the transition until his new position is generated in 2015.
Ecobee3 gains shelf space alongside Honeywell smart thermostat
Starting on Monday, Apple Stores are now carrying at least one rival to Google-owned Nest's self-titled smart Learning Thermostat. The Ecobee3 offers an advantage over the Nest in terms of multi-room support, utilizing sensors that can be bought separately to bring more intelligent energy management to the full home rather than relying on a single point of reference. Like Nest and Honeywell's rival entry, the smart device can be managed through a smartphone app from anywhere with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. The Ecobee3 sells for the same price as the Nest, $250.
Consumers get 15GB for the price of 10GB plan, double data on select plans extended
AT&T is launching a new plan offer starting November 18, giving existing and new customers looking for a bargain in data an additional option to consider. The company's current 10GB Mobile Share Value plan is getting a 5GB boost in shared data, while maintaining the $100 per month price. The wireless carrier says that the plan will be offered for a limited time, but doesn't give a date for the end of the promotion.
Dual-screen YotaPhone sequel may have extra battery-saving mode
Yota Devices is making its second attempt on the smartphone market, with another dual-screen Android device. Just like the original, the new YotaPhone 2 will continue to have a normal touchscreen on the face, while on the back will be a similar-sized e-ink display, which can be used to display static information in black and white without using much battery power.
Allows simple user-to-user transactions
Payment service Square has partnered with Snapchat on a new feature in the latter's mobile apps for iOS and Android, called Snapcash. Users can quickly transfer money between each other by joining a chat, typing in the amount preceded by a dollar sign -- for instance "$3.50" -- and then hitting a green button. Prior to this, a person must register a debit card, the data for which is stored on Square servers.
Walgreens, others say Apple payment system is now most popular NFC payment method
Just a month after its debut, Apple Pay appears to be dominating NFC payment systems where it is available, according to reports, with the public quickly accepting the new checkout method due to its ease of use and speed. McDonald's recently noted that 50 percent of its contactless payments are now coming from Apple Pay, while Walgreens reports similar figures -- saying that the number of mobile transactions it has processed since Apple Pay's debut has doubled.
Both providers have come under heavy fire for possible Wiretap Act violations
Under enormous pressure after reports showed that some wireless providers were installing "super cookies" on user's devices designed to track their online movements, AT&T has ceased the practice. The carrier released a brief statement earlier this week about how the tracking mechanism was a limited-time test, and has "been phased off" the company's wireless network. Competitor Verizon continues the practice, however, and is showing no signs of stopping.
Customers now need to pay up to $70 more to leave Verizon contracts
Verizon has changed its customer agreement, making it more expensive to leave a mobile contract early. The early termination fee (ETF) associated with ending a contract before the two-year period is up has been adjusted, forcing new customers to pay between $60 and $70 more than existing customers would be charged to leave at the same point in the term.
BlackBerry Classic priced at $450, ships mid-December
BlackBerry made two consumer hardware announcements at its Enterprise event yesterday, alongside enterprise-focused items. Pre-orders for the BlackBerry Classic have commenced for a mid-December launch, while potential owners of the BlackBerry Passport will soon be able to acquire a red version of the smartphone, set to be released in limited quantities on Black Friday.
Combination of Samsung Knox and BES12 said to provide end-to-end security
BlackBerry is working with Samsung to make its Android devices more secure for corporate users, the manufacturer has revealed. The partnership, which will be offered to enterprise customers from early next year, will see Samsung's Knox working in tandem with Blackberry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), in order to provide a "tightly integrated, end-to-end secure solution" for communications.
Google makes data-erasing full restore images available for download
Google is now offering a number of methods by which users of four selected Nexus devices can upgrade to Android 5.0 "Lollipop." The primary method, an "Over The Air (OTA) update" is rolling out in phases to users of Google's mobile devices now, and is expected to be available to all owners of the four devices in the next month. Additionally, the company has posted full-restore factory images to its website, should a user want to completely erase a device, and start from scratch (otherwise known as a "clean install").
EMV tech becoming standard in US by end of 2015
Retail payment service Square has opened up preorders for a new version of the Square Reader, designed to scan chip-based credit and debit cards. It supports older stripe-based cards as well, and the company is promising end-to-end encryption, as well as active tamper detection. It's compatible with iOS and Android, requiring only the appropriate apps and an account with Square for paying service fees.
Nvidia responds to benchmark criticism with multi-benchmark graph
Samsung has filed a lawsuit against chip producer Nvidia, accusing it of infringing its patents and faking benchmark results for its processors. Nvidia has since spoken up about the suit, filed last week, claiming Samsung's accusations of benchmark deception is false, by comparing its Tegra K1-powered Shield Tablet against Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 and its Exynos 5433 processor.
Leadcore 2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 720p display touted in claimed cheap Xiaomi smartphone
Mid-range Android smartphones with entry-level price tags may be on the horizon, as Chinese smartphone producer Xiaomi reportedly plans to launch a cut-price device in China in the near future. The manufacturer is said to be preparing a device with a 2GHz Cortex A7 processor from Leadcore, with the unnamed device expected to be priced at 399 yuan ($65).
Adidas Photo Print app allows for customization of sneakers using photographs
Adidas is letting US sneaker enthusiasts customize a pair of shoes with a mobile app, something it has offered in Europe for a few months already. Pocket-Lint reports the Photo Print app for Android and iOS can take an image from the user's smartphone and apply it to a pair of ZX Flux sneakers. The custom shoes take between four and six weeks to ship, priced at $110.
Company didn't warn people about obstructions
Apple will have to face a lawsuit charging that it didn't warn people they would lose text messages if they switched away from the iPhone, US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered. The plaintiff in the case, Adrienne Moore, says that iOS' poor handling of text messages interfered with her contract with Verizon, which she kept after switching from an iPhone 4 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 in April. Koh argues that Moore has the right to show that Apple disrupted the contract and broke California's unfair competition law, and that she doesn't have to claim an "absolute right to receive every text message." The judge has, however, dismissed some claims linked to another state consumer protection law.
Front cover panel of LG AKA leaves gap for eyes, notifications
LG is trying to appeal to younger smartphone users in its home country, South Korea, by giving smartphones a face and personality. The AKA consists of a mid-ranged smartphone combined with four different colors of case, with each color representing a different character, and a front section which partially covers the display, leaving a gap for animated eyes to appear.
Entry-level Windows Phone device replaces Nokia branding with Microsoft
As expected, Microsoft has launched its first Lumia smartphone without Nokia branding. The Microsoft Lumia 535 barely differs from the usual Lumia physical design, with the smartphone bearing a five-inch 960x540 IPS LCD screen and entry-level specifications held within a colorful polycarbonate body bearing the Microsoft logo on the back.
Copes with serious glitch encountered by former iPhone owners
Apple has launched a new web tool for deregistering a phone number from iMessage. When a person begins using the Messages app on an iPhone, it links their phone number with an iMessage account so that conversations are seamless whether messages are being delivered via SMS or Apple's own network. The trouble is that if that person decides to switch from an iPhone to a different cellphone, such as an Android or Windows device, other iPhone users trying to message them can end up sending those messages into the ether.
LG bringing Android Lollipop to G3 smartphone in Poland this week
LG is claiming it will be the first major manufacturer to roll out Android Lollipop to its flagship device. The company is aiming to ship the Android 5.0 upgrade for the LG G3 in Poland this week, with "other key markets" to follow in the "near future." A rollout schedule for other LG smartphones and tablets will be announced by the device producer at a later date.
UK carriers expected to bid for more 4G spectrum in late 2015, early 2016
United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom has announced it will be holding another auction for spectrum covering the country, this time spectrum currently being used by the Ministry of Defence. The second auction, set to take place at the end of 2015 or early 2016, will in theory work similar to last year's successful 4G auction, and will provide winning carriers with even more capacity for their LTE networks.
LG G Watch R available to purchase on Google Play for $299
LG's G Watch R is now available to purchase from Google Play, just as the smartwatch is about to appear in stores in the United States. The Android Wear smartwatch, complete with a 1.3-inch round P-OLED display and a heart rate monitor, finally joins the original G Watch on the Google online store, though it is priced at a rather expensive $299.
Lumia smartphone launch could be first without Nokia branding
Microsoft has started to tease what could be the first Lumia device without Nokia branding. Images appearing on the Nokia Facebook page and its Conversations blog advise of a probable smartphone launch on November 11th, with the "Big on experiences" comment and #MoreLumia tag strongly suggesting either a large display smartphone or one with a high-resolution camera.
Nexus 6 goes on sale via Motorola, sells out within hours
Motorola is now selling the Nexus 6 directly in the United States, via its own online store, giving potential customers an alternative route to Google Play to acquire the smartphone. At the same time, the company is introducing its recently-leaked metal strap options for the Moto 360 through the store, as well as a champagne gold colored version of the Android Wear smartwatch.
OnePlus co-founder aims for high sales, reveals low profit, marketing budget
There have been over half a million sales of the OnePlus One smartphone, a co-founder has advised. According to Carl Pei, the manufacturer is still aiming higher, with the intention to reach a milestone of 1 million smartphone sales before the end of this year, but the high sales are unlikely to help the company earn much of a profit, due to allegedly slim margins.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Verizon general counsel wants 18-year-old pro-ISP law to dictate policy
The ISP that started the entire net neutrality debate with a court win, Verizon, is threatening legal action should the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implement Title II oversight of the telecommunications industry. Following claims that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a hybrid approach to net neutrality and ISP regulation, Verizon is threatening counter-suits, claiming that doing so "fairly guarantees litigation" by multiple ISPs.
Dual-display clamshell from Samsung shows notifications on external display
Samsung is continuing to make dual-screen flip phones, with the latest model being aimed at older mobile users. The Master Dual boasts a 3-inch internal QVGA display above a basic keypad, while on the back of the top section is a secondary 2.2-inch QVGA display, which is able to show the time and notifications, saving the user from having to open the phone for basic updates.
AT&T Next 24 has 30 monthly payments, upgrades from month 24
AT&T is giving its customers a third option to acquire a smartphone via the AT&T Next installment and early-upgrade scheme. The current Next 12 and Next 18 plans will be joined by Next 24, an option which will let subscribers pay nothing initially, followed by regular monthly payments for 30 months, up from the 20 and 24-month plans of the existing installment choices.
HTC Desire Eye exclusive to AT&T, discount available for RE camera
The HTC Desire Eye will be exclusive to AT&T in the United States, the carrier has revealed. The smartphone, complete with a front-facing 13-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, will go on sale from November 7th priced at $549.99 off-contract, $149.99 with a two-year contract, $22.92 per month under AT&T Next 18, or $27.50 per month on AT&T Next 12. Customers buying the Desire EYE on-contract will also be able to acquire the RE camera at a discount, saving $50 off the $199 sticker price.
Engineers working on routing HD voice calls over LTE between different carriers
Verizon and AT&T are working together to allow Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls to function normally between mobile phone users on different carriers. Current systems allow for the high definition calls to take place between users on the same carrier, switching to current technologies when calling another phone network, but the two major carriers aim to put an end to the loss of call quality in the future.
Will cover 150 hotels by end of 2015
Following a pilot program earlier this year, the Starwood hotel chain has officially inaugurated its SPG Keyless initiative. At supporting hotels, guests will be able to use an iPhone or an Android phone to both check in and unlock doors via Bluetooth. The system will become available at 10 Aloft, Element, and W hotels on Wednesday, and gradually expand to 150 hotel brands by the end of next year.
Court filing calls Microsoft direct hardware competitors after Nokia acquisition
Samsung is petitioning a court to allow it to invalidate its contract with Microsoft, an agreement that it has only belatedly paid patent license fees on for the last year. A late Thursday court filing declares that once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a significant competitor with Samsung. The Korean manufacturer claims that the buy puts the two companies on equal footing in the smartphone market, and continuing the contract thus would induce some problems with US laws. Samsung pays royalties to Microsoft on patents it owns that are used in Android and other software.
Amazon smartphone sales improved after severe price cut
Amazon made a mistake with the launch of the Fire Phone, an executive has admitted. Pricing of the device is claimed to be a major factor in its relative failure to gain traction in the smartphone market, one which led to the retailer's Chief Technical Officer Tom Szkutak to note as part of the retailer's quarterly results that most of a $170 million charge was due to the device, with a surplus of devices worth around $83 million left unsold.
Mid-range metal Samsung Galaxy smartphones based on earlier Galaxy Alpha
Samsung has unveiled two smartphones with metal unibody construction, following in the footsteps of the Galaxy Alpha. The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 are mid-range offerings, with the A5 packing a 720p 5-inch Super AMOLED display into a case measuring 6.7mm thick, while the A3 opts for a 4.5-inch qHD screen in a 6.9mm-thick body.
Zombie mashup of original Oregon Trail game works surprisingly well
Organ Trail: Director's Cut is a nostalgic game that promises to entertain both those who loved the original classic Oregon Trail as well as players who are simply looking for a surprisingly in-depth iOS game. Don't think that this game is simply riding the coattails of retro-gaming's popularity right now -- Organ Trail is an interesting game, even without the allure of the chiptune music and cutting-edge graphics circa 1985.
Display panel with thin bezels entering production next month
LG Display has developed a new display for smartphones, one which has an extremely thin bezel. The 5.3-inch Full HD-resolution display has a thin 0.7mm bezel on the left and right-hand sides, allowing for smartphones using the display to have a narrower gap between the edges of the screen and the outer edges of the mobile device, similar to the Sharp Aquos Crystal.
Purchase valued at $12.5 billion, with Google retaining most of the patents
Lenovo has completed the acquisition of Motorola Mobile from Google. The deal, according to Lenovo, makes the combined company the "world's third-largest maker of smartphones." Motorola is a now wholly-owned subsidiary of Lenovo, but will remain headquartered in Chicago. Lenovo is expecting profitability to return between four and six quarters from now.
Chinese maker challenging Samsung with low-end models, vaults into third place
A new report from IDC again places Apple and Samsung at the top of the heap for smartphone manufacturers as it has for years now -- but there is nonetheless notable change in the air. Samsung saw a significant drop in shipments for its smartphones, dropping 8.5 percent from the year-ago quarter. Apple, in second place, saw a 16.1 percent increase in shipments. Though Samsung was dominant with 78.1 million units shipped, a new challenger from China is beating the Korean company on its home turf of low-end smartphones.
Conference for modular smartphone will reveal initial launch details
The second set of developer conferences for the Project Ara modular smartphone will be taking place in January, Google has declared. Called DevCon2, Google's ATAP team hopes to use the time to show off developers the latest iteration of the Ara Module Developers Kit (MDK), as well as early plans for a market pilot, due to take place in 2015.
Theft belies claim of HIPAA compliance, data security primacy
Contactless payment platform CurrentC has fallen victim to user information theft. Merchants Consumer Exchange (MCX), The company behind the mobile payment system is informing beta users of the service that "that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you." The company claims no other data has been stolen, but the theft calls into question the data security of the not fully operational payment system.
Honor 4X smartphone includes 64-bit Qualcomm processor
Huawei has introduced one of its smartphones to Europe, at the same time as unveiling another in the same product line. The Honor 6, originally launched in China four months ago, is making the trip to European markets, while the Honor 4X boasts a 64-bit Qualcomm processor alongside a claimed usage time of up to 72 hours from a single charge.
Oppo N3 holds 16MP camera in motorized rotating module
Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Oppo has revealed two new smartphones it is planning to ship in the near future. Teased earlier this month, the Oppo N3 has a revolving camera module at the top capable of rotating on it's own, while the Oppo R5 aims to take the slimmest-smartphone crown, with its metal body measuring just 4.85mm thick.