Samsung introduces 4G-enabled Galaxy S4 Mini Plus with Snapdragon 410 processor

The Galaxy S4 Mini offers a 4.3-inch qHD display, a quad-core CPU, and 8MP/1.9MP cameras”

Samsung has just introduced a new plus variant of the Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone. The new phone will be released as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Plus or Galaxy S4 Value Edition depending on the market. The device utilises a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and supports 4G LTE networks.

Galaxy S4 Mini Plus design

Design-wise, the Galaxy S4 Mini Plus looks similar to its predecessor. The phone offers a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display bearing a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, and in the age of Lollipop, still boots Android KitKat. The Snapdragon 410 SoC under the hood has a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU with 64-bit support, aided by an Adreno 306 GPU and 1.5GB of RAM. The device offers 8GB of internal memory, further expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card.

The camera department includes an 8MP autofocus rear camera with an LED flash, and a 1.9MP front-facing snapper. Apart from 4G LTE support, the connectivity options on offer include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and A-GPS. A 1,900mAh battery powers the show. The handset comes in black and white hues.


HTC One M9 officially unveiled

HTC One M9 officially unveiled

HTC has kicked off Mobile World Congress 2015 with the unveiling of the HTC One M9. To put things simply, the rumors were true. Well, most of them were.

Internal Specs

On the inside, the HTC One M9 is powered a Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 128GB microSD expansion slot and 2840 mAh battery. The 20 megapixel main camera is equipped with an f/2.2, 27.8mm lens, BSI sensor, digital stabilization and is capable of capturing 4k video. The front-facing UltraPixel (4 megapixels) camera features a BSI sensor, f/2.0, 26.8mm lens and 1080p video recording.

Design and External Hardware

The new HTC One M9 features a design that’s a mix between the original HTC One and last year’s HTC One (M8). The aluminum unibody chassis measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm and weighs in at 157 grams with a two-tone, brushed finish.  The edges are a bit sharper, making the HTC ONe (M9) less slippery than last year’s model. The back of the device matches up to all the leaks we’ve seen, featuring a squircle camera cutout with scratch resistant sapphire protecting the 20 megapixel main sensor which is pared with a two-tone LED flash.

The front of the HTC One M9 is isn’t much different from last year’s One (M8), dominated by a 5-inch 1080p display centered between DolbyDigital-powered BoomSound speakers with virtual surround sound. The front-facing camera has a lower megapixel count than the One (M8)’s, but its UltraPixel (4 megapixels) sensor will certainly make it one of the best selfie cameras on the market.

While the One M9 is roughly the same size as last year’s One (M8), the newer phone is slightly more ergonomic since the power button is now located on the right side of the phone below the separate volume up/down keys.

HTC Sense 7

The HTC One M9 is powered by Android 5.0.2 and also introduced HTC Sense 7. The new software build from HTC look pretty similar to HTC Sense 6, but it packs in dozens of new features and can be customized to your heart’s content.

BlinkFeed has been upgraded with Yelp integration which can show suggestions for lunch and dinner right on your home screen. The launcher is also location aware, automatically suggesting apps based on your location while allowing you to personalize the list to your taste. Those who don’t like the location awareness features can always opt out and use the static launcher.

Sense 7 looks nice, but it’s certainly not for everyone. For those who like to add their own customizations, Sense 7 includes a Themes app which allows you to download dozens of different themes for your phone which change the main colors, fonts, soft-keys and wallpaper. If you don’t like any of the available themes, you can create your own based on pictures you take.

The DuoCamera isn’t present on the HTC One M9, but HTC has retained the uFocus effect by capturing five consecutive images at different focal lengths and merging them together to blur the background. The camera software comes with all the Eye Experience features that HTC rolled out with the HTC Desire Eye last fall, but Sense 7 does have a few new photo editing tricks. With Double Exposure (image masking) and Prismatic (shape masking), HTC hopes to give your images the “pop” they need to grab attention when sharing them on social media.

Pricing and availability

HTC isn’t quite ready to release pricing details of the HTC One M9, but the phone will certainly be priced at $199.99 with a new contract from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and should carry an off-contract price from T-Mobile that’s right around $650. Unlike the launch of the One (M8), the One 9 isn’t available right out of the gate. The HTC One M9 is slated for an “early Spring” retail launch, but we expect service providers will be making their own announcements in the coming days or weeks.

Latest Galaxy S5 Lollipop update brings back Mute mode

The Mute or Silent mode was missed by users when they updated to the latest version of Google’s mobile platform, Android 5.0 Lollipop, Samsung added it to the Galaxy Note Edge with the Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update and placed it under the notifications tray as a quick settings toggle. The company has once again saved the day, this time for the Galaxy S5, as a new software update brings back the Silent mode.

So far the update, build G900FXXU1BOB7, has only been released for the G900F variant of the Galaxy S5 in the UK but it shouldn’t take long for this update to hit other unlocked units across Europe in the very near future. G900F is the Snapdragon powered international variant of the Galaxy S5 and those who purchased it SIM-free in the UK can now check for an update in the Settings app, the underlying software will remain at Android 5.0 after the update is installed.




Lights, cameras? Then we need action!



Happy New Year, everyone! With myriad points of glowing lights dancing in colourful patterns across the sky, it can be safely said that fireworks are a crowd favorite. And where fireworks appear, there are always cameras ready to record their fleeting existence. LOTS of cameras.

That is certainly the case at the Busan Fireworks Festival pictured here, the largest of its kind in the world. This year it attracted an amazing 1.5 million people along a 1.2 km stretch of beach. Many of them recorded the displays and shared immediately with friends – the peak hour of the event saw 338 GB of data uploaded.

These are staggering figures that any network would do well to serve. Macro cells at the event supported 570 users each, with those provided by Nokia being the only ones able to keep up with the demand.

Coverage to capacity with small cells

Small cells are growing in popularity, with operators using them to fill in coverage gaps for the last 20 years. Small cells are used mostly to enhance capacity in busy areas and where subscribers expect the best performance. And we’re already seeing some deployments of 150 active users per cell in mass events similar to Busan. This is a figure that is clearly beyond the capabilities of most small cell solutions on the market and will only continue to grow.

Nokia’s Flexi Zone solution can already serve up to 600 users per cell. Combining a small size with the power of a macro cell, it offers a winning combination of coverage and capacity that means fewer cells are needed to serve the needs at mass events.

But Flexi Zone is not just for the great outdoors –  indoor small cell deployments are also taking off in a big way, both for enterprises and public areas. Although enterprises require less capacity, the ability to serve higher numbers of users is still a key requirement. With Flexi Zone Indoor Pico base stations able to support up to 400 users per cell, denser, busier parts of the building can be served with ease. And high capacity also means RAN sharing is feasible, supporting several operators’ subscribers with a single node – a critical proposition to complement or replace DAS in large public indoor locations.

As small cells move from coverage to capacity, with Flexi Zone, Nokia is meeting these emerging needs. Whatever stage operators need to perform on, indoors or outdoors, when the lights go on and the cameras roll, Nokia small cell solutions are ready for action.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the Twitter discussion with @NokiaNetworks using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #smallcells #HetNet #LTE #Nokia.

Why Huawei Should Champion Stock Android

Stock Android isn’t just better – it’s cleaner

Stock Android, as seen on the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and upcoming Nexus 6, is Google’s exact vision of how Android should look, function and feel on a smartphone or tablet. And with Android Lollipop, the platform has never looked better. So why, oh WHY, are OEMs still using their clunky, dated-looking custom skins, when there’s something far better available?

The main reason espoused by HTC, Sony, LG and Samsung is that custom skins like Sense and TouchWiz is to do with branding; they want you to know you’re using a Samsung phone, for instance, and the only way to that –– in Samsung’s eyes –– is with their own custom skin. It’s also a great way to push software (read: bloatware) onto unsuspecting consumers –– things like Samsung Apps, ChatOn and the like.

I get this position, too –– although only from a historical standpoint. Back in the day, you see, stock Android was pretty fugly and grey and not all that nice to look at. But all this changed around the time of Android Jelly Bean, which, of course, was quite a while ago now. In the last three years, though, things have moved along at an unprecedented rate, culminating in Android Lollipop, which is one of the best looking mobile operating systems around.

And yet, only a select few people –– those that buy Nexus or Motorola –– will see the software in its full glory. To me, this is criminal. It’s also one of the reasons I’m absolutely over the moon about Motorola’s continuing commitment to stock Android, despite no longer being part of Google. And firms like Huawei could learn a lot from this. Now, allow me to explain…

Earlier this week we reviewed the Honor 6 and the Huawei Ascend Mate 7, which are both built by Huawei. Both devices are very serious additions to the UK’s smartphone space. They have excellent specs, excellent hardware, excellent battery life and, most importantly, an ultra-low RRP attached to them. Personally, I’m all about the Ascend Mate 7 –– it just looks and feels stunning.

But there is a problem and it goes by the name Emotion UI. And for me it’s a big problem, one that’d stop me from buying the phone – and this doesn’t just apply to Huawei, either. I love Android and feel, in my heart of hearts, that it is the best mobile OS on the planet. But I want too SEE Android, which is why, since around 2011, I’ve exclusively used Nexus handsets. As of 2014, there is one other brand I’d use, however, and it goes by the name of, yep, you guessed it – Motorola.

You can of course root your handset and do something similar, but for a lot of people this option is off the table for a variety of reasons, despite how easy it is to do these days.

And here’s the real kicker: most consumers –– those that have only ever used Samsung or HTC phones –– might not even know what stock Android looks like. It’s not on that many handsets these days, despite the growing popularity of Google’s Nexus line of products, and I think Motorola realized this and opted to go stock because A) it was easier and B) it gave their handsets an edge over devices from LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC.

And with only two real players using stock Android setups on their hardware, there’s plenty of room for another, which is why I’d love to see somebody like Huawei –– or Sony, for that matter –– adopt a stock configuration on their handsets. No one uses bloatware. Never has. Never will. In this respect, it’s sort of like all that guff that comes installed on PCs and Macs that you never even open. If you want games, media or content you go to the app store or, in the example of PCs or Macs, download the relevant software.

So, yeah, I’d love to see some one like Huawei embrace a completely stripped down version of Android similar to what you get on the Nexus 6 and Moto X. Do that, let the hardware do the talking, and I think Huawei would start making A LOT friends in the UK and US. It’d also help with getting newer software into the hands of their customers, as less tinkering is required – just look at the speed Motorola got KitKat out to its Moto X and Moto G.

I mean, imagine THIS, running stock Android Lollipop…

Samsung just added a 360-degree video store to its VR headset

Since launch in early December, the virtual reality headset released by Samsung and Oculus VR has received a steady drip of new content. Each Tuesday, a handful of new apps launches for Gear VR — new games (Temple Run!), new experiences (a Paul McCartney performance!). Thus far, nothing’s been spectacular enough to remark about; the overall selection of content, gaming or otherwise, is still on the light side. This week changes that, with the release of “Milk VR.” Continue reading

Huawei Ascend GX1 with 6-inch HD display, Snapdragon 410 SoC announced

Huawei has announced the Ascend GX1 (SC-CL00), the company’s latest mid-range smartphone in the Ascend series in China. It has a 6-inch HD screen with screen-to-body ratio of 80.5%, is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and runs on Android 4.4-based Emotion UI. It has a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It has several camera modes such as voice capture, quick capture from the lockscreen and more. Continue reading

HTC Desire 620 officially announced, will be available in December (in Asia)

The HTC Desire 620, of which we told you earlier this week, has been officially announced in Taiwan – HTC’s home country. The new handset has two versions: the Desire 620 (featuring LTE connectivity and a 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz), and the Desire 620G (this one doesn’t support LTE, and is powered by a 1.3 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor).

Different chipsets aside, the 620 and 620G offer the same set of features, including: a 5-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixels, dual SIM capabilities, 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of expandable storage space, and a 2100 mAh battery. Both handsets run Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6 UI.

The Desire 620 is expected to go on sale in Taiwan on December 1, while the Desire 620G should be released in mid-December. The Snapdragon model costs $225 (6,990 TWD), while the MediaTek one will be cheaper: $160 (4,990 TWD).

HTC hasn’t announced anything regarding t

Acer Coming Back to Windows Phone in 2015 Read more at

Acer is a long term Microsoft partner and has been building Windows PCs for many years, but the Taiwanese company pulled out of the Windows Phone market and has been releasing Android devices. While rolling out a couple of new Android smartphones today, there are reports that Acer will make a return to the Windows Phone fold in 2015. Continue reading

Nokia Announces N1 Android Tablet


Simplicity and design at the heart of Nokia’s first brand-licensed product 

Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced the N1, the first Nokia-branded AndroidTM tablet. The N1 offers the innovative, predictive Nokia Z Launcher interface, and a carefully crafted industrial design by Nokia with a focus on simplicity. The N1 will be brought to market in Q1 2015 through a brand-licensing agreement with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner responsible for manufacturing, distribution and sales.

Continue reading