Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Is this the first decent look at the rumoured HTC One Mini?

We've heard rumours, read about leaked specs and potential release dates, but now it appears that the HTC One Mini handset may be in front of our very eyes.

Engadget has posted a pic from a "trusted source," claiming to show the shrunken 4.3-inch device up against the flagship 4.7-inch counterpart.

If the picture is genuine, the smaller iteration of the device will maintain the aluminium unibody that was such a massive hit on the original HTC One.

According to the photographer who provided the leak, the phone will pack a scaled back 1.4GHz  dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, compared to the original's quad-core offering.

As of right now, the source claimed the device is packing the Android 4.2.2 the latest version of Jelly Bean, as well as Sense 5.0, with HTC's new Blinkfeed feature.

As to whether the UltraPixel camera tech will make its way onto the smaller handset, well that remains unclear, but full HD video is apparently on board.

The report didn't commit on screen resolution either, although previous leaks have suggested that a 720p display will be in play rather than the spectacular full HD offering on the original.

Engadget's report said to expect an announcement this "fall" whereas Bloomberg's report yesterday had suggested an August release was on the horizon.

Only official word from HTC will settle the matter which, at the moment, we don't have.

EXCLUSIVE: Huawei Ascend P6 full specs leak via internal doc

The Huawei Ascend P6, although still listed as rumored in our database, is all but officially announced after its latest specs leak. With last month's official render and not-so-official pricing of the device, followed by leaked benchmark results and live photos, we'd almost expect to be able to walk into a store and see it on shelves, even though Huawei's "mysterious" launch event is still a week away.

The latest leak involves internal documents, which were sent to us by one of our readers who chose to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. While we can't share the actual documents with you, we can reveal their contents, which give us the full nitty-gritty on the device.

We got to learn that the Ascend P6 will be powered by a 2000 mAh Li-Po 2000 battery and will have a 5MP front-facing camera capable of 720p video recording. The Bluetooth specification turned out to be v3.0 rather than v4.0, and the wireless 802.11a standard isn't supported, which probably points to the lack of dual-band Wi-Fi.

There's also confirmation of a temperature sensor and the exact measurements, which come in at 132.7 x 65.5 x 6.5mm, with a weight of 120g.

The detailed specs sheet also proves that many of the previous rumors were correct - the smartphone will be powered by a a quad-core 1.5 GHz K3V2+ Huawei chipset with 1.5GHz quad-core CPU and an Intel XMM6260 modem. The Huawei Ascend P6 will also offer 8MP camera capable of 1080p video recording, 8GB of expandable internal storage with 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch 16M color screen of 720p resolution - all running on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Sony Xperia M gets priced in the UK and Germany

The single SIM variant of the handset is available for preorder in Germany from for €239, while the dual-SIM version is listed at for €299. The difference seems a bit too big so we assume the latter price is slightly off, though.

In the UK, Handtec has the single-SIM model for £227.99, but it is currently listed as out of stock. Meanwhile, Carphone Warehouse has the M pegged for an August 2013, which coincides with the Q3 launch frame given by Sony on announcement.

The Sony Xperia M was revealed last week by Sony. Besides offering dual-SIM and single-SIM models, is a midrange handset with a 4-inch display of FWVGA resolution, dual-core 1 GHz Krait processor, 4 GB of expandable storage and 1 GB of RAM. It'll run Android 4.1 out of box, and it also has a slew of connectivity features which include NFC, and a 5MP shooter with front-facer.

Apple to release licensed gamepad controller for iPad and iPhone this year

Apple is said to be releasing a licensed controller compatible with the new iOS 7 mobile platform on iPhone and iPad devices later this year.

The Cupertino company will release a game pad for iOS devices later this year via a third party manufacturer, but an actual design has not yet been revealed.

According to information contained within the Apple WWDC 2013 keynote, leaked data on the Apple Developers site and PocketGamer sources, the iOS 7 game pad is already in production and will be available later this year, in line with the “autumn” iOS 7 release date.

The iOS 7 game controller will either be a wraparound device that transforms the iPhone or iPad into a handheld gaming console like the PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS, or a wireless standalone controller connecting via Bluetooth.

Apple must ensure that its licensed gamepad conforms to a number of industry standards, undergoing a certification process that ensures all controllers meet the necessary requirements.

This certification will make sure that the controller has the correct button layout, analogue stick dead zone, an ergonomic build and will test button response time as well.

Of course, if Apple does produce a licensed gamepad controller for its iOS 7 devices at least mobile gamers can be sure that it is compatible with all games with controller support held within the vast Apple App Store.

Developers will also be pleased as they will automatically know their game is compatible with a licensed Apple controller, rather than having to configure and test their titles for other unofficial iOS gamepads.

According to the sources, Logitech and MOGA, who already make Android game controllers, will have officially licensed game pads for iOS 7 devices like the iPhone 5 or iPad mini by the autumn months.

HTC One Mini leaked again

The HTC One Mini has leaked online again, with the reduced size and spec HTC One smartphone released sometime this summer.

According to “two people familiar with the matter”, HTC is looking to release the HTC One Mini sometime this summer as a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini competitor.

Reducing the HTC One’s 4.7-inch Full 1080p HD display to a 4.3-inch 720p HD affair, the HTC One Mini will go on sale in August, if the information from the Bloomberg sources is correct. This August release date has been tipped before, so the HTC One Mini release date rumours seem strong in this respect.

The handset will also pack a less powerful Qualcomm processor, potentially dual-core, rather than the quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 offered in the One.

From the leaked HTC One Mini pictures that appeared online last week, the reduced-spec handset seems to continue the brushed aluminium finish seen on the HTC One.

Latest rumours also suggest the HTC One Mini will have 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM to support that smaller processor.

The HTC One Mini should retain the Ultrapixel camera technology introduced in the HTC One with the HTC Zoe photography software.

Unfortunately, the HTC One Mini may be slightly chunkier than its bigger brother, but this is due in part to an effort to reduce the price of the smartphone, angling for the mid-range market.

Originally codenamed the HTC M4, the HTC One Mini could have a 1,700mAh battery and still offer 4G LTE, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Tipped to pack Android 4.2 Jelly Bean too, expect to see the HTC One’s Sense 5.0 UI over the top complete with the HTC BlinkFeed news aggregator home screen.

A larger HTC One Max was leaked online recently as well, so HTC could be releasing a miniature and super-sized version of its HTC One.

Vodafone Smart Mini launched

Vodafone has launched its latest affordable smartphone, the Vodafone Smart Mini, which is available to buy now.

The compact smartphone is an entry-level handset that packs a 3.5-inch 320 x 480p HVGA Capacitive touch screen and a 1GHz processor.

Available later today on the UK network provider’s website, the Vodafone Smart Mini is being offered for just £50 on a Pay As You Go tariff. 

For anyone purchasing the Vodafone Smart Mini before the end of July, Vodafone is offering all-you-can-eat data for 30 days with the Freedom Freebee to make the most out of the new handset.

Vodafone Smart Mini Features

The Vodafone Smart Mini is a compact smartphone that measures 115 x 62.3 x 12.2mm dimensions, with a 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen display. The smartphone offers 320 x 480p screen resolutions, which isn’t exactly HD but for the price range is sufficient.

In the rear the entry-level smartphone packs a 2-megapixel camera with digital zoom, but lacks any front-facing camera for video-calling capabilities.

Running an unknown version of Android Jelly Bean, the Vodafone Smart Mini has a 1GHz MT6575 processor with 512GB.

With 4GB of built in storage, 2.4GB of that is available for use, but it is bolstered by a microSD card slot supporting memory cards up to 32GB.

Available in a black and white to begin with, Vodafone will also be offering the Smart Mini in pink for the girls.

The Vodafone Smart Mini will be available later today, or for something a little bit higher up the spec sheet, consumers can opt for the Vodafone Smart 3 that is £95 PAYG for a 4-inch display and 1GHz ARM A9 processor.

Huawei Ascend P6 camera specs and Emotion UI leak

We're less than a week away from the official unveiling of the Huawei Ascend P6 smartphone, but fresh details concerning its camera tech and Emotion UI have leaked onto the internet.

Excitement is building around the Huawei Ascend P6, which will be unveiled at a launch event on June 18. It's expected to become the thinnest smartphone in the world at just 6.18mm thin.

This freshly leaked information concerning the Huawei Ascend P6 comes from the ever-reliable @evleaks Twitter account, which supplied a brief spec rundown and screen grabs of the new Emotion UI overlay.

The tweet appears to confirm the rumours of a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 4.7-inch HD (720p) display, and a 5-megapixel camera. However, what's interesting is that the 5-megapixel camera will be front-facing.

It's suggested that this sharper-than-usual front cam will include a feature called Face Enhance. Consider our interest even more piqued than before.

So what of the main rear camera? According to the tweet, it's be an 8-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) affair with - equally intriguingly - a "4cm macro."

As for the Emotion UI, which will be layered thick over some version of the Android OS, just check out the above image. Huawei is evidently going for a range of themes that will reshape and recolour the core app icons and widgets.

One thing's for sure, with its mixture of cutting edge design elements, quirky firsts, and slightly-less-than-cutting-edge specs, we're genuinely interested to see how the Huawei Ascend P6 pulls together next Tuesday.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom officially lands with 16MP snapper and 10x optical zoom

Samsung has taken the camera phone market to new levels with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom officially unveiled with a 10x optical zoom snapper.

Centred around a 16-megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom is more compact snapper than traditional smartphone, with optical image stabilisation and Samsung’s new Zoom Ring interface lining up alongside an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS.

Stretching its S4 spin-off branding perhaps a little too far, the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom shares little in common with its flagship sibling beyond its name and a slight design similarity. The unconventional handset does, however, see Samsung merge too of its leading sections as the smartphone and camera teams combine.

“Combining our industry leading expertise in digital imaging and smartphones, the Galaxy S4 Zoom is a converged device that delivers on all fronts and is a product we are excited to be bringing to the market,” Simon Stanford, Vice President of IT & Mobile Division for Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland said.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Features

Kicking off with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom camera, and the photo-focused handset looks set to boast some strong imaging capabilities.

With a 16-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor lying at the heart of the device, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom camera is further enhanced by the impressive 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilisation which are set to push the boundaries of what is expected from smartphone snapper.

With the zoom lens boasting a 24-240mm lens at F/3.1-F/6.3, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom camera hosts an ISO range from 100 to 3200 and is further assisted by an integrated Xenon flash. A second, 1.9-megapixel forward-facing camera is present up front.

Featuring a Zoom Ring interface, Samsung has suggested: “When you are in the middle of a phone call and you see something you absolutely have to share, a quick twist of the Zoom Ring will activate the In-Call Photo Share feature, letting you capture and send an image directly via MMS to whoever you are talking to.”

On to the smartphone side of things, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom specs sheet sees a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display with a somewhat disappointing 960 x 540 pixel resolution.

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor running the show, the S4 Zoom is less powerful than the standard S4, with 1.5GB of RAM, a 2330mAH Lithium-Ion battery and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD also thrown into the mix.

Far from the most svelte handset on the market, thanks to the sizeable camera components, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom lines up at a chunky 15.4mm thick and 208g in weight, a combination that will stretch your pockets.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Release Date and Price

As with the two other Samsung Galaxy S4 spin-offs to have already been unveiled, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and waterproof Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the new Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom release date has yet to be confirmed.

Currently Samsung has pegged the Zoom’s arrival only as ‘this summer’. A Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom price is also still awaiting confirmation.

Will BBM on an iPhone save BlackBerry?

When BlackBerry architect Gary Klassen first came up with the idea for what became BlackBerry Messenger, his colleagues at what was then Research In Motion didn't understand why anyone would need anything except mobile email. Even his wife wasn't impressed.

"The first time I brought BBM home, I put two devices down on the table and I said to my wife 'watch!'. I typed in a message on one phone and it showed up on the other and she just looked at me and said 'couldn't you do that before?' I said 'no, no, it's different this time!' She wasn't convinced - but now my whole family uses BBM."

There has been one recent defector, Klassen joked. "My nephew bought an iPhone and he was ostracised from his community." But he'll be able to come back into the fold in the summer when BBM comes to iOS and Android phones.

Mobile is different

Klassen has been behind plenty of BlackBerry successes. He's worked on a wide range of BlackBerry products, from the 'old-skool' software all the way to BlackBerry 10.

He helped build the first ever colour BlackBerry phone before working on IM integration with services such as Yahoo Messenger, then moving on to work on HTML email. He even created the first version of the famous BlackBerry 'splat' to tell you when you had new messages.

In 2005 he came up with the idea of creating a mobile-only instant messaging system - an idea that didn't make sense to everyone.

"BBM was a bit of an underdog when it started. Not everybody believed in it; how could we compete against the incumbents such as MSN and ICQ? When we were working with Yahoo we could only do what the other clients did, but with this we would control both ends of the connection, so we could do a lot more.

"We experimented with all kinds of stuff that we thought were good ideas and found out they weren't. In a mobile environment certainty and reliability have so much more importance, and a sense of presence is different on mobile."

Showing whether someone was available to read and reply to your messages turned out to be a whole new challenge, and one that initially presented a few hurdles:

"There was a study in a college where they gave the students mobile IM and at the end of the study they were surprised to find that the students were really distressed by it, they didn't want to have anything to do with it." Klassen says, "Appearing online and available, when I'm not, causes stress."

The BBM team solved that by marking when a message had been delivered to the other person, so you knew the system was reliable, and marking when a message was read so you know whether you could expect to get a reply.

"When we added those Ds and Rs, we changed the paradigm," Klassen told us. "If I know the end point is another mobile, I get the implications. It becomes socially acceptable if I don't reply because I'm busy or I'm on a bus. And it doesn't rely on me changing a setting or the network being able to decide whether I'm available."

Generally, BBM users do reply pretty quickly. VP of software product management and ecosystem Andrew Bocking told us that BBM users spend about 90 minutes a day in BBM "and around half of the users read messages that are sent to them within 20 seconds."

Klassen and the BBM team knew they had a hit on their hands when the service started spreading virally inside the company. Despite the doubters who pointed out that they already had instant email, when Klassen showed off BBM, people started using it - even though he thought it wasn't ready.

"I wrote down the URL and in three days there were hundreds of people using it. Half the parts that we thought were essential didn't work but they could still use it, and they did."

And once it became popular, other employees had to join in to stay connected. "If someone on a team didn't want to use it, they found they had to because the team had started planning their monthly lunches on it," Klassen remembers.

He doesn't claim to have had a grand vision for BBM from day one, and certainly not a cross-platform one. "With technology, often we look back and say 'that's why we built it, we built it for this or that' - but sometimes you don't. The way that BBM came about was that we built something and we listened carefully to what stuck with the users."

Giving in or spreading out?

BBM has always been one of the selling points for BlackBerry, so is bringing it to iOS and Android an admission of failure? CEO Thorsten Heins said repeatedly at BlackBerry Live that taking BBM cross-platform now is a vote of confidence in how good BlackBerry 10 is and how many features it has beyond BBM.

As Bocking pointed out to TechRadar, it could be an advert for BlackBerry. "Going cross-platform; think about what an opportunity that creates for people to experience BlackBerry Messenger and get a taste for BlackBerry. We can turn 60 million BBM users into advocates on social networks."

Klassen agrees that it's far easier for people to see the appeal of BBM once they've used it. "There are people, when I talk about Ds and Rs, who have stories about what that has meant to them. If I talk to someone who hasn't used it before, their eyes glaze over. They don't understand the benefit and it's hard to explain that you get addicted to looking for the R until you've experienced it.

"We're giving people the opportunity to experience it and then they can ask themselves 'what is it about this that I like?' And then maybe they'll ask 'why is somebody in my community [who's using a BlackBerry] able to communicate so much more effectively?'"

But there is another reason. With BBM Channels launching, BlackBerry needs to have as many users as possible for brands to sign up to their channels so BlackBerry can earn money from things like sponsored invitations.

As Bocking explains, "Extending [across other mobile platforms] grows the audience, and a large base is critical to have the mass to monetise any service.

"Going cross-platform is an acknowledgement this is a heterogeneous environment we are living in, and by supporting our services across those platforms we can support our customers, [something] they've asked for."

That means BBM has to be as good on iOS and Android devices as it is on BlackBerrys. It will start with text and images but voice and video chat will come later. "We want feature parity so we can build a highly engaged audience on the platform," says Bocking.

And Klassen told us that includes core features. "We can implement the same user interface and we can tell you when a message has been delivered. Those things will be built in, so we can give you the same confidence you're looking for when you send a message."

Samsung Galaxy S3 update reportedly delayed, Android 4.2.2 forced to wait

The Samsung Galaxy S3 update set to bring Android 4.2 goodies to the S4’s predecessor is facing delays, latest reports have suggested.

An issue that is also reportedly set to befall Samsung Galaxy Note 2 owners, the claimed Android 4.2 update delays have yet to be officially confirmed, instead coming courtesy of repeated, and usually reliable, Samsung tipster, SamMobile.

Making the announcement via Twitter, the reports stated simply: “Samsung delayed 4.2.2 for Note 2 and S3.” They added that a remodelling of Samsung’s familiar TouchWiz UI is to blame for the potential postponement but offered no timeframe for an eventual arrival.

The Android 4.2.2 Samsung Galaxy S3 update had been previously pegged for a June rollout by insider sources. With the South Korean manufacturer remaining quiet on the matter, we have contacted Samsung for official word and will update you with any developments.

Although seemingly set to affect Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 users, the Android 4.2.2 update is of no concern to those who have already made the jump to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung’s latest flagship model comes with the latest software direct from the box.

While it is still unclear the full range of features set be added by the Android 4.2.2 Samsung Galaxy S3 update, it is expected that an number of the S4’s camera options, including Dual Shot and Eraser could be introduced to the aging devices.

On top of this, it has been claimed that the S4’s eye-tracking Smart Pause and Smart Scroll could make their first step away from being exclusive to the latest flagship model.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nokia Lumia 925 release hits the UK, on sale now

The Nokia Lumia 925 is now available to buy in the UK, with the metal bodied Windows Phone 8 device hitting multiple retailers and networks.

The first metal bodied Lumia handset to hit the market, the Nokia Lumia 925 pairs a selection of premium innards with a more desirable, high-end exterior than the likes of the fat, plastic Nokia Lumia 920. On sale in the UK now, the Lumia 925 is Nokia’s answer to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

“We are delighted with the channel support for the Lumia 925,” said Conor Pierce, VP Nokia UK & Ireland. “It’s a fantastic device that will be ranged across all of our partners here in the UK.”

With the Nokia Lumia 925 release to see the iPhone 5 challenging handset made available through Vodafone, O2 and Three, further stockists include EE, Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse. While Vodafone will exclusive support the 32GB black model, O2 has the 16GB white edition to itself.

“The Nokia Lumia 925 is the best Nokia Windows Phone 8 device yet and will further support the growth of Windows Phone,” said David Johnson, O2’s General Manager Devices. “We think customers will love it, especially our exclusive white version.”

With many networks offering the handset free when taken out on contract, the Nokia Lumia 925 looks set to cost around £34 per month over two years. Those looking to snap up the handset will see the device paired with multiple calls, text and data bundles.

Nokia Lumia 925 Features

Sporting a 4.5-inch AMOLED display with a strong 1280 x 768p resolution, the Nokia Lumia screen sees ClearBack capabilities paired with a Gorilla Glass 2 protective coasting a Super Sensitive Touch options, allowing users to work the phone whilst wearing gloves.

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor running the show, an 8.7-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilisation takes pride of place on the handset’s rear.

Sporting a 2000mAh Lithium-Ion batter, the handset adds a second, 1.2-megapixel forward-facing camera with a wide-angle lens into the mix.

Samsung Galaxy Note 12 release tipped for Q3 release

Samsung may be planning a 12-inch version of its Samsung Galaxy Note device, due to be announced in Q3 this year to compete with a rumoured larger iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 12 could pack a 12.2-inch screen with the ultra-high 2560 x 1600p resolution, equating to a 247ppi image density.

According to a Korean publication that is known for Samsung and LG leaks, its high-resolution large panel will be supplied by Sharp and use the thin and energy efficient IGZO screen technology.

Expected to be announced by the South Korean manufacturer in Q3, other specifications for the Samsung Galaxy Note 12 are still unknown. The Samsung Galaxy Note 12 will feature the iconic Samsung S-Pen stylus that accompanies the existing Note products like the Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 8.0.

The largest current Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet has a 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. It packs a 10.1-inch WXGA LCD display with 1280 x 800p resolutions.

Running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is a little outdated now so could do with an upgrade, especially a hi-res larger tablet.

What’s also interesting is that the Korean source also suggested that Apple will be bringing a larger iPad to the market around the same time Samsung is supposedly launching the Galaxy Note 12.

No further information has been given about the larger iPad, including any hint of a screen size, but this is the first we are hearing about such a device.

Samsung has a London-based event that is occurring on June 20 at Earls Court. Although we doubt we’ll hear anything on the 12-inch Samsung Galaxy Note then, TrustedReviews will be there to bring you all the news.

First Samsung Galaxy S5 rumours emerge pointing to metal bodied design

The Samsung Galaxy S4 might only have been with retailers for a matter of weeks but that hasn’t stopped the first Samsung Galaxy S5 rumours hitting the web, pointing towards a new metal bodied design.

Suggesting the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be the company’s first handset to run a new form factor based on a refreshed internal new design foundation, claimed “sources close to the South Korean phone maker” have suggested the S4 follow-on with be more similar in its finish to the likes of the HTC One.

While we recommend these reports be taken lightly and with a liberal pinch of salt, AndroidGeeks has reported that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will apparently sport an aluminium body in a bid to provide a more premium, high-end appearance than past models.

Casting some doubts over the validity of the claims, they stated: “The information was provided to us by a trusted source close to the South Korean phone maker, who wanted to remain anonymous.”

With the Samsung Galaxy S4’s plastic construction one of the few criticisms many had of the Android 4.2 powerhouse, it is not unfeasible that the company also responsible for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 could adopt a metallic finish for its next flagship smartphone.

While we have our doubts on the sourcing of these latest reports, a more premium, metal design must surely be atop many a consumers’ wish list for Samsung Galaxy S5 features they would like to see. If little else, these reports show us the fast-paced nature with which the tech sector continues to evolve with many already looking to the S4’s successor before the phone itself has even reached its peak.

With plans for the Samsung Galaxy S5 no doubt already in the works deep within the manufacturer’s HQ, reports have suggested that, as well as causing a price increase, a move to a uni-body aluminium design could see the next Samsung Galaxy S handset lose its removable battery and microSD storage expansion credentials.

On the murmurings of a ‘Design 3.0’ direction change, the claimed insiders added: “While we don’t have the slightest idea what Design 3.0 really means in terms of looks, we can now confirm that Samsung will start to use aluminium for its high-end smartphones, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be the first one to receive this treatment.”

Huawei Ascend P2 available in white exclusively from Phones 4u

The Huawei Ascend P2 will be available in white exclusively from UK retailer Phones 4u for free on a £25 per month contract.

Available as an online exclusive on the Phones 4u website, the white Huawei Ascend P2 will starting shipping from the middle of June, although an exact release date hasn’t yet been confirmed.

Other retailers and UK network providers will be offering the Huawei Ascend P2 in black, but Phones 4u will be the only place consumers can pick up the handset with the stylish white finish.

Phones 4u are offering the handset free on any contract starting at £25 per month, with pre-orders for the Huawei Ascend P2 starting today.

Huawei Ascend P2 Features

Running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Huawei’s Emotion 1.6 UI on top, the Huawei Ascend P2 packs a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, but lacks a microSD card slot for expandable memory options.

Within its 8.4mm thick form factor, it has a 4.7-inch 720 x 1280p resolution screen with a 312ppi image density protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2.

In the rear the Huawei Ascend P2 has a 13-megapixel BSI camera capable of recording full 1080p HD videos at 30fps and HDR capabilities. Up-front the smartphone has a 1.3-megapixel snapper that can record 720p HD videos also at 30fps.

The Huawei Ascend P2 has a 2,420mAh battery and packs Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and 4G LTE connectivity.

Designed to be a high-end alternative, the Huawei Ascend P2 doesn’t quite match up to smartphones like the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4, but has enough power and a reasonable price tag to be a good option for consumers looking for something a little more economic.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 coming to Carphone Warehouse at launch

The newly announced Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 release will land at Carphone Warehouse at launch, the retailer has confirmed.

Formally unveiled yesterday, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is the latest mid-rage handset to be announced by the South Korean manufacturer, with the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 follow-on to sit underneath the flagship Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as the recently unveiled raft of spin-offs.

Allowing wannabe owners to register their interest in the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 now, UK retailer Carphone Warehouse has today revealed that it will stock the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean powered handset from launch later this summer.

“The new Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is one of the first mid-tier 4G ready smartphones,” Carl Cowling Carphone Warehouse’s Group Commercial Director said. “It’s an exciting time for the market and the increasing number of more affordable 4G enabled handsets will ultimately give more customers the chance to get their hands on super-fast 4G services without breaking the bank.”

Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Features

Powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has increased in size over past models, adding a 4-inch WVGA display into the mix with a somewhat lackluster 800 x 480p resolution.

With a 5-megapixel rear-mounted camera paired with a VGA snapper up front, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 features list sees a 1800mAh Lithium-Ion battery line up alongside 4G LTE connectivity options and 1GB of RAM.

At 10mm thick and 119.5g in weight, the Ace 3 is far from the most svelte device coming to market. It boasts 8GB of internal storage expandable via microSD.

iTunes Radio release date, news and features

Apple's foray into the music streaming arena has been a long time coming and today it finally launched iTunes Radio at its WWDC 2013 keynote.

But with the software not set to launch in the US until fall and the rest of the world soon after, will it be too little too late for the tech giant to take on the already bedded in likes of Spotify, Pandora and Rdio?

We take a look at what Apple's iTunes Radio streaming service has going for it:

iRadio by any other name

Happily, Apple rejected the name 'iRadio' that had been bandied about by the internet for so many months before the WWDC unveil.

There were so many reasons why Apple should have shunned the name iRadio. For starters, it's ugly and inelegant and those are two qualities Apple does not go for.

Secondly, multiple trademarks already exist on the name iRadio - there's a music service in Ireland, for example, and an old four-star Wi-Fi radio bearing the name.

Thirdly, the word 'radio' smacks of old tech - and with Apple reportedly ditching skeumorphism in its iOS 7 update, we thought it might do away with such out-dated premises in its music streaming service - obviously a swing and a miss on that one.

Finally, iRadio is a name that the media collectively coined for ease of referring to whatever it is Apple has up its sleeve - and we know from the 'new iPad' debacle that Apple won't be led by the media when it comes to naming conventions.

There's a free, iAd-funded version

Just as an advertising trade mag reported, Apple is looking to use its iAds platform to deliver targeted audio ads to non-premium iTunes iRadio users.

All iTunes users will be able to access iTunes iRadio for free but if you want to ditch the ads, then you'll have to subscribe to iTunes Match.

You can buy music

Of course, Apple's streaming product ties in with iTunes, giving users a barrier-free way to buy songs they've streamed. The 'buy' button prevails on all songs played through iTunes Radio.

One patent points to the possibility that you'll even be able to load up credit and buy cached songs without even having an internet connection - no official word on that from Apple yet, though.

The iRadio release date is later this year...

Although Apple to unveiled the service to devs at WWDC 2013, it won't launch to consumers until 'fall' which is when we'll also see iOS 7 hit our iPhones.

...but only in the US

But that fall release date (or autumn, if you prefer) only applies to those in the US - the rest of the world is still awaiting a vague release date which will follow the American launch.

What did we see in our technological crystal ball ahead of the iTunes Radio reveal? Check out the rumours below:

Music labels are on board

This is all speculation, of course, but several separate sources have claimed that the big three record labels - Sony, Universal and Warner - have all signed on to Apple's upcoming streaming service.

After literally years of negotiations (depending on who you believe), Universal was supposedly the first to crack, with Warner not far behind. Sony was a tougher nut to crack, however - perhaps mindful of its own streaming ambitions - but got on board at the eleventh hour.

Details of the deals are pretty much non-existent at this point, although an aging rumour suggests that Apple is looking to pay out more to rights holders than its major US rival Pandora.

It's kind of delayed

Apple is lagging well behind the competition in the music streaming arena. It's been five years since Spotify took streaming main(ahem)stream and although Apple's managed to retire Ping and bust out iTunes Match in that time, it hasn't really made it into streaming.

That's despite rumours of the service circling for at least a year - the reasons for the hold up are supposedly down to rights holders trying to hardball for a better deal, rather than any technological issues. But worth remembering that this is all speculation and you can't believe everything you read.

Meanwhile, arch-nemesis Google has managed to get in on the action - something that will have the folk over at Cupertino really het up.

Genius is iRadio's not-so-secret secret weapon

Genius, which runs in the background of your iTunes account working out what you're into so it can offer relevant recommendations, is what could set iRadio apart from Spotify and Pandora, which rely far more heavily on social integration and third-party apps to help you find new music to stream and (hopefully, eventually) buy.

For a roundup of the biggest WWDC 2013 keynote highlights, check out the video below:


Galaxy Mega 6.3 masquerades as Note III in spy photo

We've been seeing leaked photos of a Samsung phone in launch box (basically black blocky plastic to conceal the final design), supposedly the Galaxy Note III. There's a new one out today, next to an old Nokia and another Samsung launch box.

We dug through our database and found the Nokia phone to be the 1202, which measures 105.3mm tall. After straightening out the photo a little, we used that to measure the diagonal of the screen on the big device and came up with 6.3". So, this is most likely a Galaxy Mega 6.3.

We measured the smaller device too and found that its screen diagonal is 4.3", most likely the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. Both the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and Galaxy S4 mini are official, so this image shows nothing new.

We're still waiting on the real Galaxy Note III. Samsung has a "Galaxy and Ativ" event coming up on June 20, but more realistically it will debut in September at the IFA event just like its predecessors.

Official HTC Tiara photo leaks ahead of announcement

The official image of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 smartphone, the HTC Tiara has leaked. The design of the HTC Tiara is quite similar to the HTC One SV and the specifications of the device lies between that of HTC Windows Phone 8S and the HTC Windows Phone 8X.

The HTC Tiara is rumored to sport a 4.3-inch Super LCD2 display of WVGA resolution and will be powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor along with 1 GB of RAM. HTC Tiara also features an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.6 megapixel front shooter and 8GB internal memory.

HTC Tiara will run on Windows Phone 8 OS and the juice for the smartphone will be provided by a 1,800mAh battery. Unfortunately, there is no official word on the release date of the HTC Taira, but the smartphone is rumored to be launched by the end of the month.

Get your hands on the beta version of iOS 7 now

The latest build of Apples popular mobile operating system, iOS 7, is now available for download through Apple's developer portal. Naturally, you need a developer's account to get access to it.

In case you missed it, Apple announced iOS 7 yesterday at WWDC 2013. The new build includes a complete UI overhaul, a new control center, updated multitasking and Siri personal assistant capabilities, and more.

Announced also is the latest build of Apple's Macintosh operating system, v10.9 - codenamed Mavericks, which you can also find in beta form at the developer portal.

The beta builds of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks should hopefully keep you busy until fall, when both are expected to get full releases.

iOS 7 design and features

iOS 7 design

A greater synergy between hardware and software design is something Apple is looking to achieve as it moves towards iOS 7.

We saw the most overt 'leak' of iOS 7 from Apple-loving site 9to5 Mac, before the launch, and it looks like it was bang on the money with the render it created from the preview it was shown.

In reality, we saw a heavily-overhauled new operating system, one that bore more than a few similarities to Nokia's MeeGo in colour and layout. For instance, the icons have been given a more 'rounded' feel, as well as being given a colour overhaul.

The font has also been tweaked as well, with some fancy-looking schematics showing how some things have been changed height wise... although it does look pretty similar though.

Control Center is now a pervasive part of the whole ecosystem, allowing users to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to control everything from the Airplane Mode to the integrated Flashlight. Music is still available in this screen, while you can also control the brightness on screen without having to exit the app.

This isn't the most novel of systems, and was already in place when it comes to music and brightness control; but at least now it looks much nicer and there's a torch/flashlight to play with as well.

The notifications bar is now a full-screen affair, and will also be available on the lock screen, meaning you won't need to wander around through the redesigned number pad any more to see who wants to play some boring game with you.

iOS 7 features

Apple decided that while there were a large number of enhancements to get excited by in the new release of the software, there were ten that it wanted to get properly excited over and tell the world about.

While the design was overhauled, the internal bits and pieces were something of a more incremental upgrade, but one that showed Apple was looking to the future in its battle against Android.

Control Center

Control Center is one of the big ones, as it now allows you to control the main guts of the phone; swiping up from anywhere on your iPhone or iPad will bring up the new hub for loads of options no matter where you are.

It's been given the same translucent sheen as with most of the iOS 7 updates, but gives a lot of space up to the music player and brightness controls, as well as making AirDrop and AirPlay the stars of the show at the bottom.


You're probably impressed with our segue there: Airdrop is now finally available on iDevices, allowing you to share anything from an app that supports Share Sheet.

A quick tap on the screen will give you access to the functionality - Apple didn't miss the chance to mock the need to tap the phones together on Android here - and you can share multiple items at once by adding in more caresses of the screen.

iTunes Radio and Music

Music is obviously a big thing over at Apple and the Cupertino-based firm reckons the player it's chucked into in iOS 7 is "the best music player we have ever done".

Instead of showing just the music stored on your iDevice, the Music app on iOS 7 also adds in your library stored on iCloud, allowing you to view all your tracks in one place.

Turn your iPhone to landscape mode and a wall of album art tiles appear which you can slide sideways through, and tapping on one will zoom you into that album.


Safari has gained something of an update, with the same visual overhaul coming to the browser to allow dynamic resizing of the URL bar, giving you more space to see what's on the screen, as well as allowing you to slide back and forth through your browser history.

One cool feature is the updated bookmarks element, which sits on the start screen of the iDevice, and collates links posted through your Twitter friends in one place for easier information discovery - meaning you don't have to worry about that pesky Twitter app if all you like doing is passively watching your stream.

The Tab system has been updated visually too - you're no longer are limited to eight tabs open, as the new 3D rendering will allow you practically limitless tabs open at once, which can also be synchronised across multiple accounts and machines thanks to iCloud Tabs.


The camera app has been given something of an overhaul - there's not a lot of extra functionality added in, more a change on the layout taking things to a simplier, swipe-friendly interface which has a few more options than on iOS 6.

You do get some extra features in the shape of various lens shapes including square, circle and panorama elements to lay over the top of your snaps in iOS 7, while live photo filters let you see what your subject will look like in a multitude of effects before you even hit the shutter key.

Photo gallery

Viewing your photos has also been given a Jony Ive finish, with iOS 7 automatically arranging pictures by location into groups, which Apple is calling "moments".

Pinch to zoom out and the Photo app will re-draw your photo library into collections, recognising a day trip or recent holiday and then slinging them all into one group automatically.

There's no extra functionality like the Zoes found on the HTC One, or burst mode found on the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4 - but then again, Apple didn't show the camera in that much detail.

Zoom out once more and you get a year overview of all the images in your album, with locations tags to remind you where you were each year. If you want more fun-time functionality, then just hold your finger over the thumbnails to see an exploded view of each individual image, and release your digit on the one you wish to view full screen.


Fan-boy favourite Siri hasn't been left out with a fancy new interface and, wait for it: new voices! Huzzah!
You can now choose from male or female intonation of being told 'no internet connection present' while cultured French and German languages have also been added, with more promised "over time".

There are a range of new commands for Siri in iOS 7 too, such as "play my last voicemail", "turn on Bluetooth" and "increase my brightness".

The likes of Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing search results have all been integrated into Siri, and Apple promises there's even more to come from its personal assistant in iOS 7 - stay tuned for more information as it drops.

iOS in the Car

iOS 7 allows car manufacturers to integrate the operating system with built-in screens in vehicles, as well as full Siri support for eyes-free usage. This means you can finally live the dream of owning a Ferrari, using Siri but not owning a single Apple device. Truly, the future.

Cars will be able to read your iMessages to you and allow you to dictate a response, as well as use other features such as accessing Maps for directions and controlling the music player.

If you have a hankering to get hold of one of these iOS 7 enabled cars then you'll have to wait until next year when 12 manufacturers will produce compatible vehicles - but Nissan, Honda and Volvo are all there. Score.

App Store overhaul

There's an all new look for the famous App Store, which we found out earlier now has over 900,000 apps, making it easier to find those tiny programs to fritter away precious moments before death.

You can search for apps based on age range in iOS 7, which Apple is pushing as a great feature for parents, while the 'Apps near me' feature will show you the most popular apps based on your current location. We assume it's a good idea to drive swiftly away if you suddenly near a car park and apps to 'make friends easily' come up on your iPhone.

And something which will probably please a huge amount of the Apple fan-base: apps will now update automatically in the background. Presumably this can be turned off, or simple changes that wreck an app will leave users helpless to do anything about it.

Multi tasking

And let's get to the end of this interminably long list: Multi-tasking has been changed somewhat to allow you to see what you're jumping to in a lovely visual manner, replacing the little bar that comes up at the bottom of the screen.

We're going to miss that little user interface that flipped up and allowed us to see what was going on in the app above at the same time, but the new version is pretty neat to look at, with the app icon flipping along below the pane.

There's plenty more to come from iOS 7 in the near future, so keep having the odd look back if you want to know more about the future of Apple's mobile platform.

iOS 7 release date and compatible devices confirmed

An iOS 7 release date has been confirmed alongside the full range of iOS 7 compatible devices, as the new software update is officially announced.

Formally unveiled alongside iTunes Radio, a refreshed MacBook Air range and OS X Mavericks during Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote, iOS 7 was the highlight of the share, bringing a range of new features and functions to the company’s iPhone and iPad lines.

Describing the software overhaul as “the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” Apple has confirmed that an iOS 7 release date will be held this autumn. Although a precise date has yet to be set, it is expected the software refresh will be made available to coincide with the eagerly awaited but still unconfirmed iPhone 5S release date. It is believed Apple’s next-generation handset will hit retailers in September.

Not to be limited to new devices, Apple has revealed the full range of iOS 7 compatible devices, with the software to be made available to existing iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners.

Set to be made available as a free download, Apple has announced that iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 devices will all be compatible with the iOS 7 update. iPhone models before the iPhone 4 will unfortunately miss the cut.

On top of this, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPad 4 owners, as well as those sporting the iPad mini will all be able to make user of iOS 7’s new multitasking features. The fifth-generation iPod touch is the final device to be handed iOS 7 compatibility.

“iOS 7 is the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering in launching the software. “To create it, we brought together a team with a broad range of expertise from design to engineering. With what we’ve been able to achieve together, we see iOS 7 as an exciting new beginning.”

He added: “There is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation—it’s about bringing order to complexity,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals. It has a whole new structure that is coherent and applied across the entire system.”

iOS 7 confirmed, dramatically redesigned iPhone OS adds true multitasking

iOS 7 has been officially unveiled at WWDC, with Apple unveiling the Jony Ive designed software overhaul alongside a range of innovative new features.

The primary focus of the WWDC 2013 keynote, iOS 7 has long been known to be in the works, with the iPhone and iPad bound operating system posing the biggest overhaul yet to Apple’s much loved mobile operating system. Creating a flatter more refined user experience, Apple has introduced a more subtle colour scheme to the OS as well as a more layered approach.

iOS 7 will hit existing and new devices later this year and will replace the aging iOS 6 which has fallen someway behind the rise of Android. An iOS 7 release date has been confirmed for the 'fall' presumably to fall in line with the eagerly awaited iPhone 5S release.

"We wanted to take an experience that people know very well and add to it,” Apple said in announcing the new iOS 7 software. "To create it, we brought together a broad range of expertise.”

Highlighting the dramatic and all-encompassing changes introduced by iOS 7, Apple added: “Even the simple act of changing your wallpaper has a very noticeable effect on how your iPhone looks and feels across the entire system."

Tim Cook stated: "This major effort is only possible because of the incredible collaboration between Jony and his amazing design team and Craig and his amazing engineering team."

iOS 7 Features

Although focussing heavily on the design and feel of the company’s portable products, Apple has introduced a range of new features with iOS 7, including the much called for arrival of true multitasking.

Allowing users to simply swipe between open applications, the iOS 7 multitasking introduction will see Apple’s currently clunky double tap to re-access previously used apps system dispelled to the annals of time.

Speaking on the iOS 7 design, mastermind Jony Ive stated:"We have always thought of design as being so much more than the way something looks. It's the whole thing, the way something works on so many different levels."

He added: "Ultimately, of course, design defines so much of our experience. I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency... True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It's about bringing order to complexity. iOS 7 is a clear representation of these goals."

Building on past successes, the iOS 7 user interface has been completely redesigned yet will be instantly familiar to existing iPhone or iPad owners.

Focusing around a new Control Center, the iOS 7 UI offers quick, convenient access to many of the software's core features in a similar vein to Android's drop down settings options.

Allowing users to add real-time photo effects in the camera mode, iOS 7 sees FaceTime audio added, providing the option to make high quality audio calls over a data network. On top of this, Apple Maps is set to receive a number of updates, with a new Night Mode responding to ambient light.

With Siri integration set to benefit from new voices, Twitter compatibility and Wikipedia integration, the iOS 7 updates have covered all areas of the Apple experience.

Lining up alongside the newly confirmed Apple iTunes Radio, iOS 7 will be made available as a free update to iPhone 4 handsets and up as well as iPad 2 tablets and later. Fifth-generation iPod touch owners will also benefit from the new software later this year.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sprint unveils 5" ZTE Vital with Jelly Bean and 13MP camera

Sprint unveiled the ZTE-made Vital and will be releasing it on June 14 to its customers for $99.99 with a two-year deal after a $50 mail-in rebate.

The smartphone is running on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on a 5" IPS panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (around 293 ppi). It also features a 13 MP main camera and 1 MP front-facing one.

There's 8 gigs of built-in storage along with a microSD expansion slot. The whole thing is powered by a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and has LTE support, NFC and a 2460 mAh battery.

The Sprint Vital will be available through all of Sprint's retail channels including stores, over the phone, web sales and Business sales starting June 14.

HTC might launch Butterfly S and Desire 600 on June 19

HTC recently announced its dual-SIM Desire 600 with Sense 5 on board, but there was no word on the availability of the smartphone. The Taiwanese manufacturer might launch the Desire 600 smartphone along with the rumored Butterfly S on June 19, if these press invitations that appeared online are the real deal.

The HTC Butterfly S is said to be a slight upgrade over the current Butterfly with the device sporting a 5-inch 1080p display, UltraPixel camera, microSD card slot and a higher capacity battery.

We already know the specifications of the HTC Desire 600, but to recap its features, the device sports a 4.5-inch Super LCD2 display with qHD resolution, 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 200 chipset with Cortex A5 processor, Adreno 203 GPU, 1 GB of RAM, 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.6 megapixel front shooter.

The Desire 600 comes with 8GB of inbuilt memory, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 1,860mAh battery and a wide range of connectivity options that include Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and GPS.

Apple App Store tops 900,000 iOS apps milestone

The Apple App Store now plays host to more than 900,000 iOS applications for iPhone and iPad users, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed.

Speaking during the company’s WWDC 2013 keynote speech, Cook confirmed that in the wake of hitting 50 billion iOS downloads, the Apple App Store is nearing in on the 1 million iOS apps milestone with more than 900,000 currently available to choose from.

Suggesting than 90 per cent of the 900,000 iOS apps are downloaded on a monthly basis, Cook of the impressive figure joked, “that’s a lot of zeroes and a truly staggering number in less than five years.”

With the App Store set to celebrate its fifth birthday next month, Cook humbly stated that "nothing like the App Store existed before, and it has fundamentally changed the world."

Delving deeper into the true size of the App Store, Cook said: "We have 575 million accounts in the store, most with credit cards and one-click buying. We have more accounts with credit cards than any store on the internet that we're aware of."

With $10 billion having been paid out to developers so far, he added: "One of the things we love about the app store is that it levels the playing field between large developers and small developers.

"The momentum is incredible. We paid out $5 billion of that just in the last year." This figure represents three times more than all other platforms combined according to Cook.

BlackBerry Q5 release date tipped for mid-July with sizeable price tag

Despite being launched as the first BB10 smartphone designed for the price conscious, the affordable BlackBerry Q5 may launch with a hefty £349.98 SIM-free price tag.

Launched last month at the BlackBerry Live conference as a mid-range device packing a full physical QWERTY keyboard, the BlackBerry Q5 was said to target “budget and emerging markets” by BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins.

However, according to Unlocked-Mobiles, the BlackBerry Q5 may not be as kind on the wallet as expected. The site lists the QWERTY keyboard handset for £349.98 on a SIM-free basis, which may put it in line with other mid-range handsets like the Nokia Lumia 820, but is certainly not for those on a tight budget, especially when something like the Google Nexus 4 only costs £239 for 8GB or £279 for the 16GB option.

The supposedly affordable BB10 OS smartphone should become available around the middle of July.

BlackBerry Q5 Features

Packing the same 3.1-inch LCD touchscreen display with 720p HD resolution as the BlackBerry Q10, the BlackBerry Q5 is a compact handset bearing the full physical QWERTY keyboard synonymous with BlackBerry smartphones.

It has a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU with 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage bolstered by its microSD card slot for expandable storage options. Powered by a 2,100mAh lithium-ion battery, the BlackBerry Q5 will be available in red, white, black and pink body options aiming to appeal to the younger market.

The BlackBerry Q5 has a 5-megapixel rear-mounted camera with an additional 5-megapixel snapper up front and weighs just 120g, despite its 10.8mm thick body.

Running the upcoming BlackBerry 10.1 OS, the BlackBerry Q5 certainly feels like the inferior version of the BlackBerry Q10, but still has a fairly strong set of innards.

Intel reveal early look at Tizen Obsidian UI

Intel has unofficially offered a first look at its own Obsidian UI that it plans to bring to Tizen and potentially Android devices too.

Early screenshots of the Obsidian UI have come courtesy of an anonymous Intel staff member to Ars Technica that reveals some of the UI’s unique features.

Looking more like the Android and Windows Phone UI platforms that iOS, the Obsidian UI is still in a very early build but has distinctly square app icons and three buttons always available along the bottom of the display: phone, messages and contacts or people.

Instead of a round notification icon in the corner of the app icon like iOS, the Obsidian UI rotates the app icon by 45 degrees and adds a triangular red or green signal in the bottom point to indicate alerts like missed calls or new data.

The home screen icons are densely packed with much less room between them than with the Android or iOS UI designs, but still allow those that require attention to make that 45 degree turn, which is animated as you swipe to each home screen.

Obsidian will feature a slide-to-unlock feature on the Lock Screen with the handset launching the home screen to begin with. Users can swipe left to reveal a single contact screen, perhaps a favourites section, or left again to a full contacts list. Two swipes to the right though will reveal the apps screen.

When opening tabs, the Obsidian UI offers a quick-view pane along the bottom of the screen, including for apps like the clock and settings menu. To open the app in full, there is a button that appears at the bottom of the screen.

Intel hasn’t yet offered any release details for the Obsidian UI, but seeing as the UI is still in its very early stages it may be a while yet. If and when it launches though, the Obsidian UI will run over the Tizen 2.0 mobile OS.

Backed by the Linux Foundation with Samsung and Intel as the major funders, the Tizen mobile operating system will also support Samsung’s TouchWiz interface featured on smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4.

It is an open source mobile operating system by nature and will be able to run Android apps with a simple code tweak.

Worldwide population outnumbered by mobile devices by 2017

By 2017, the worldwide population will be outnumbered by the amount of mobile devices in use across the globe.

The combined total number of mobile phones, smartphones and tablets in use by 2017 will be larger than the world’s population, according to predictions from analysts CSS Insight.

Over 6.6 million mobile phones alone will be in use by 2017 states the company in its latest market forecast, with smartphones accounting for two thirds of that figure. In 2012, smartphones only contributed just under 25 per cent of all mobile devices sold.

This year alone sales predictions put mobile phone sales at over 1.9 billion and 53 per cent of that figure will be taken up by smartphone sales.

Smartphone adoption, especially in North America and Western Europe has grown exceedingly quickly. It is suggested that full saturation in these locations will be achieved within three years. Over half of all mobile devices used in the US and Western Europe are already smartphone devices, but by 2015 that statistic will rise to 80 per cent.

With these regions reaching full saturation, beyond 2015 emerging markets will account for the majority of growth in the global mobile device market.

Tablet sales are also seeing rapid increases, with combined smart mobile sales due to rise by 2.5 times over the period between 2012 and 2017 to 2.1 billion units.

Despite their market dominance, CSS Insight predicts even Google and Apple faces challenges with iOS and Android adoption.

“Having defined the modern smartphone era, Apple is struggling to keep up with overall smartphone market growth, particularly as that growth shift towards emerging markets”, said CSS Insight’s Director of Forecasting, Marina Koytcheva. “Apple will have to choose between sustaining its profit margin and holding onto market share.”

“Android on the other hand is highly dependent on Samsung. As profit margins are squeezed Google will need to ensure Android remains a viable choice for other phone-makers.”

Microsoft and BlackBerry still need to make an impact, although they are increasingly seen as “relevant competitor[s]” on the mobile device market.

New mobile operating systems like Tizen, Firefox and Sailfish will all be wrestling for a slice of the mobile device sector market share in the future.

BlackBerry A10 to be a 'big' full touch phone with a Q4 release date

BlackBerry’s next flagship BB10 handset is set to be a ‘big’ full touch device to rival the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, industry sources have revealed.

Expected to land as the BlackBerry A10, the company’s BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 follow-on will reportedly see the manufacturer once again troubling the big players, with an expansive touchscreen display reportedly backed up by a bulging array of premium innards.

Suggesting the handset could help finally restore BlackBerry’s ailing fortunes, an insider within a leading UK network provider, who claimed to have sampled a prototype device, told us the as yet unconfirmed BlackBerry 10 handset will play host to a 'big' full touch display, scrapping the physical QWERTY keyboard supported by both the BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry Q5.

Hinting that the handset could be around the 5-inch mark in size, our source told us the device will be a powerhouse of the smartphone scene, with BlackBerry getting ready to throw everything it can at this new, flagship handset. They failed to provide further details on the handset’s exact specs sheet.

Although failing to confirm the name of the device, the insider suggested the handset, which has leaked elsewhere as the BlackBerry A10, will supersede the BlackBerry Z10 as the Canadian manufacturer’s flagship handset. They added the A10 arrival could see the Z10 price pushed down to a more affordable mid-market level.

Completing BlackBerry's 2013 line up, the Canadian handset manufacturer revealed earlier in the year it would launch five new phones this year. Our industry insider telling us the Z10, Q10 and BB Live unveiled Q5 will be joined by the mysterious 'big' full touch device and a new BlackBerry 7 OS powered handset.

BlackBerry has yet to offer any word on the mooted BlackBerry A10 arrival. We will keep you posted on all the latest BlackBerry A10 news as and when we get it.

iOS 7 unveiled with stripped back design...but looks rather familiar

Apple has taken to the stage in San Francisco at its annual WWDC event to announce the next iteration of its mobile platform dubbed iOS 7.

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, branded iOS 7 "the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone", which shows you just how important this update is to the company.

Taking over from iOS 6, the new software will find its way onto iPod, iPhone and iPad devices bringing with it the biggest design overhaul since its conception in 2007 - a change which has been led by Apple stalwart Sir Jonny Ive.

It overhauls the icons, as we saw earlier today, but also offers new elements like transparency throughout the apps, meaning you can see images slide up behind heading and keyboards, giving a more unified feel.

It may be a shock to the system for dedicated Apple users who have become accustomed to the way iOS looks and works, but it's a revamp that the aging system desperately needed.

The new platform brings not only a visual makeover, but also offers a host of new features too.

Control Center is one of the big ones; swiping up from anywhere on your iPhone or iPad will bring up the new hub for loads of control throughout the device. This means you can control music, screen brightness, turning off the radios and even flicking on the flashlight for when you need to stalk around a house in the dark.

Airdrop is also now available, allowing you to share anything from an app that supports Share Sheet, with a quick tap showing up the friends that are nearby - with Apple claiming that there's 'No need to wander around the room bumping your phone with others.'

Safari has gained something of an update, with the same visual overhaul coming to the browser to allow dynamic resizing of the URL bar, giving you more space to see what's on the screen, as well as allowing you to slide back and forth through your browser history.

One cool feature is the updated bookmarks element, which sits on the start screen of the iDevice, and collates links posted through your Twitter friends in one place for easier information discovery.

The Tab system has been updated visually too - you no longer are limited to eight tabs open, as the new 3D rendering will allow you practically limitless tabs open at once, which will massively upset those that just love neatness.

It will allow iOS 7 to compete with Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry in the coming years.


//PART 2