Archive for the ‘LATEST EQUIPMENT’ Category

The pocket radar: Get ready for phones that can look through walls

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

How the $149 Walabot is already sparking the interest of developers, who plan to use it for everything from collision detection in cars to honing their martial arts skills

walabot-pocket-radar-image www.freepnonelink.net

The Walabot Pro.
Image: Vayyar Imaging

Fancy looking through walls using your phone? Well soon it will be possible using a handheld radar.

The Walabot is a radar unit that attaches to smartphones and can be used to scan the world around you.

While radar-imaging technology typically costs at least thousands of dollars, the cheapest Walabot will cost $149, thanks to Vayyar Imaging shrinking the necessary technology down to a phone-sized system on a chip.

As proof of what the Walabot can do, the Pro version of the device will come with an Android app that can peer through walls — allowing the user to find pipes and wires, for instance.

“Since Walabot can sense minute changes and very small movement, you’ll be able to see when pipes are dripping and other problems,” said Raviv Melamed, CEO and co-founder of Vayyar Imaging.

The device can see through about 7cm to 10cm of concrete, enough to allow it to look through a typical wall and can penetrate more deeply through less-dense obstacles, such as drywall. Melamed says Walabot can see through almost any material other than metal, which Melamed describes as the Walabot’s kryptonite.

walabot.jpg
An Android app uses the Walabot’s radar to see pipes through a section of wall.
Image: Nick Heath / TechRepublic

But the uses of the technology go far beyond locating a leaking pipe, Melamed foresees a host of applications being developed for the device after it launches at the end of April. These apps will not only take advantage of Walabot’s ability to “see” through solid objects, but to track people and objects in 3D space.

For instance, collision detection and avoidance in vehicles — with a Walabot-connected app letting you know when you get too close to the car in front.

“You could put this on the dashboard connected to your phone and get an alert.”

Smart homes could be another potential use, with the Walabot providing the imaging for an app that watches over people and things. The Walabot attaches to the back of the phone via magnets but it could be attached to any metallic surface in a home, such as a fridge or air-conditioning unit, and paired with a small computer such as the Raspberry Pi. Melamed gives the example of how the technology could help an app spot when an elderly person had had a fall and was unable to move.

“People fall in their bedroom or in the shower and these are places where you cannot put cameras. For example, I would love to have something that tracked my mother or father without compromising their privacy.”

If the Walabot is pointing at a person the device is sensitive enough that it can track a person’s breathing, for instance, letting you know if someone is in a particular room. That person’s breathing is detected by measuring the movement of the person’s chest, which the Walabot captures by detecting radio waves that it bounces off the person’s body. When used in open space, the Walabot can detect people and things over a range of about four to five metres.

The device is even sensitive enough to measure a person’s heartbeat, said Melamed, by detecting blood vessels pulsing under the surface of the skin.

Intelligent cities are at the forefront of the next wave of the Internet of Things. The goals are to streamline communication and improve the lives of citizens. And save a little money along the way.

These are some of the obvious uses for Walabot, but Melamed says “there are so many things you can do with this technology”, which Vayyar Imaging hopes will emerge once developers get their hands on the device.

“You could do a lot of things with Walabot and there are a lot of smart people out there who should come up with some crazy ideas to play around with.”

Developers are already coming up with ideas Vayyar Imaging would never have thought of – for example, someone from Norway plans to use it to check which logs will burn best in their fireplace by scanning them to detect differing moisture levels. Another developer wants to use Walabot to measure the speed of his kicks when he practices martial arts.

“You can just go wild with it,” said Melamed.

One of the most difficult things to see through is human skin, according to Vayyar Imaging. Even though the technology Walabot relies on was originally developed to detect breast cancer, Walabot’s makers don’t recommend using the device to carry out medical examinations.

“Walabot is not a medical tool, it’s mainly for makers to play around with.”

When it comes to safety, the electromagnetic frequency of Walabot’s radar is “close to that” typically used by wi-fi, said Melamed, but “we are sending signals using more than 1,000-times less power than your wi-fi”.

What is the Walabot?

While Walabot’s imaging capabilities may sound similar to those of Microsoft Kinect, the technology works in a fundamentally different way. While the Kinect uses infra-red scanning to map 3D spaces, the Walabot uses radar to detect people and objects. This contrasting approach means the devices have differing strengths. Whereas the Walabot has a higher detection range and can penetrate solid objects, said Melamed, the Kinect can map 3D objects in finer detail, as the resolution of the captured image is higher.

“When you go further away from the Kinect the resolution gets worse. Where Kinect ends, this starts. So these are very complementary.”

To get the Walabot’s radar technology into a low-cost device the size of a smartphone, Vayyar Imaging developed a “very complex” system-on-a-chip for collecting and handling the radar data. This is paired with a set of algorithms that analyse and make sense of the radar data and also compensate for the distortion caused by Walabot’s casing.

Walabot will cost between $149 and $599, depending on the model. The three models differ in the number of antennas and the range of data they make available to developers via an API. Walabot’s four APIs will expose various data derived from the radar signals, such as 2D range and direction tracking and movement sensing, as well as, for the top-end model, offering access to the raw radar data and spatial sensing in 3D.

“We’re trying to provide a full breadth [of data] so people at all levels can play with it,” said Melamed.

The $599 Pro version is aimed at high-end users, such as businesses or research institutions. “Basically it’s like a lab that lets you do whatever you want,” said Melamed, recommending this model for uses such as collision avoidance, robotic guidance and 3D tracking.

The Walabot will last one to two hours on a single charge and the company are also planning to release a version with an attached battery.

When used with its demo apps, the Walabot can be set up quickly, for example, the Android wall scanning app that comes with the Pro version takes about four seconds to be ready to use.

However, despite shipping with this sample app, the Walabot is primarily aimed at developers who want to build their own applications around it. The Walabot connects to computers and phones via a Micro-USB cable. Various SDKs will be available, initially an Android SDK for the C++/Java programming languages, followed by a C#/VB/C++ SDK for Windows and a C++ SDK for Linux.

The first Walabot devices will ship to Europe from the end of April and the documentation for the API launches today. The Walabot is expected to be available in the US from about mid-May, as the Walabot, while having passed FCC tests, is waiting for official certification.

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Henry Sapiecha

Samsung Galaxy S6 (32GB) review: Simply, the best Samsung Galaxy

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

samsung s6 phone image www.freephonelink.net

  • Expert Rating

    4.75 / 5

Pros

  • Metal and glass body
  • Leading 577ppi screen
  • Powerful computing innards
  • Good battery life
  • Great 16MP rear- and 5MP-front cameras
  • Improved finger scanner
  • Light TouchWiz software

Cons

  • No expandable storage
  • Battery is non-removable

RTERCU

Henry Sapiecha

THE BEST SMART PHONES FOR 2015 VIDEO SHOWS

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

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Henry Sapiecha

IRIS ID SMART PHONE RELEASED IN JAPAN

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Published on 22 May 2015

Smartphone users in Japan can unlock their phones with the blink of an eye, as the country’s biggest mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo launches the world’s first iris recognition smartphone

Reuters

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Henry Sapiecha

This is what an iPhone 6 Plus in liquid n2o nitrogen looks like in this video

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

The short answer is that it doesn’t actually look as bad as you might think. For all of the advantages of an iPhone, one drawback is they generally have to be handled fairly daintily. Apparently, that’s not how RatedRR thinks it should be. He’s made a few different “torture tests” for technology videos, but this time he took on Apple’s newest baby, the iPhone 6 Plus. His tests usually involving smashing, shooting, stomping, or otherwise putting technology through very intense paces, but in this video, creator Ryan Richards decided to use liquid nitrogen to separate the phones from the fails.

This is actually a two-part technological torture test. First, the iPhone 6 Plus is submerged in liquid nitrogen for a few seconds. The absolutely insane thing is that when it’s retrieved, it actually functions for a few seconds. It stops working pretty quickly, but the fact that it doesn’t stop working instantly one it’s in the bucket speaks to some heavy duty design. This is despite the fact that the liquid nitrogen is literally bubbling inside the phone.

The second part of the test is when Ryan takes a sledge hammer to the poor thing. The slow motion on this is pretty incredible. But what’s even more impressive is that a lot of the components survive the hit. Obviously the screen is shattered to oblivion, but the SIM card, the A8 chip, and the insert with the famous Apple logo on the back of the phone is still together. Plus, you can see the metal back is still functioning as well.

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Henry Sapiecha

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SAMSUNG SOON SELLS SUPER SIZED SMART PHONE

Friday, April 12th, 2013

LATEST SMART PHONE BY SAMSUNG TO BE THE BIGGEST YET

Biggest smartphone ever: The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3.

If you liked the big screen of Samsung‘s Galaxy Note smartphones, the company has something even more massive coming. The Samsung Galaxy Mega line, which will hit Europe in May, is led by a monstrous 6.3-inch phone – the biggest smartphone yet.

Earlier this year, China’s Huawei unveiled a 6.1-inch phone, but the Galaxy Mega beats it by a fraction of an inch. Samsung’s gigantic phone shows the race to build the biggest smartphone has taken on a similar flavour as the competition to build ever-larger flat-screen TVs in the last decade.

Little brother: The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8.

Little brother: The Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8.

Importantly, the Galaxy Mega phones do not include a stylus (the “S Pen”) – a hallmark of the Galaxy Note line. They’re also not pure tablets, since they’re equipped to connect with mobile networks.

The Mega line is led by the gargantuan 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega 6.3. Samsung oddly didn’t opt for a full HD screen at that size, giving it 720p resolution. It’s powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM, and runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It’ll be available with either 8 or 16GB of built-in storage, which can be supplemented with a microSD card.

The “little brother” in the line is the Galaxy Mega 5.8, which is even lower resolution at 960×540. The CPU is a 1.4GHz dual-core design, also with 1.5GB of ram and Android 4.2. While the Mega 6.3 can connect to 4G LTE networks, the 5.8 is HSPA+.

Samsung says the Galaxy Mega is for customers who want the “most out of one device” that brings both quality and value. They also sport new capabilities: S Travel provides trip information as well as local guides and resources, and Story Album lets users create albums of events, store moments in a timeline and quickly publish print copies of albums.

The phones have many of the features that exist on previous Galaxy devices, including Group Play, which can share content to other Galaxy phones and tablets on the same Wi-Fi network, and multi-screen capability, which lets the user run and interact with two apps on the screen at the same time.

Also included is Air View, where the screen reacts to a fingertip hovering above it by, for example, opening a drop-down menu or showing preview text in an email.

Samsung says the global launch of the Mega phones will roll out “gradually”, arriving first in Europe and Russia in May. There is no information yet on an Australian or US release

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Henry Sapiecha

BEST 5 ANDROID PHONES IN THE WORLD AT THE MOMENT

Sunday, March 10th, 2013
THE FIVE MOST PRIZED ANDROID PHONES IN THE WORLD-
AT LEAST FOR NOW
 Samsung Galaxy S3 (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

1…Samsung Galaxy S3 (AT&T, Sprint,

T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

Pumped with high-performing hardware and creative software features, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is an excellent, top-end phone that’s neck and neck with the HTC One X.

Price: $99.99 (check prices)

4 stars Excellent Editors' Choice - Samsung Galaxy S3 (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon) Read full review

Don’t be Naked to the world.

Public WiFi is just that. Public. Every time you use a public wifi hotspot, you’re naked to the world. Hackers can steal your data out of thin air.

Learn more about how to protect yourself on public WiFi.


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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

2…Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (AT&T, Sprint,

T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

Samsung delivers a powerful, boundary-pushing device that gets a lot right. Yet its complicated features and high price raise questions about its purpose.

Price: $99.99 – $749.99 (check prices)

4 stars Excellent Read full review
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HTC Droid DNA (Verizon Wireless)

3…HTC Droid DNA (Verizon Wireless)

With quad-core power, 4G LTE, a lovely 5-inch screen, and a stunning design, the $199.99 HTC Droid DNA is currently Verizon’s best Android deal.

Price: $49.99 – $599.99 (check prices)

4 stars Excellent Read full review
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LG Nexus 4 (T-Mobile)

4…LG Nexus 4 (T-Mobile)

While the LG Nexus 4 wins on internal performance and user experience, anyone shopping for an unlocked phone should consider a comparable LTE handset first.

Price: $199.99 – $549.99 (check prices)

4 stars Very good Read full review

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Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (Verizon)

5…Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (Verizon)

Motorola’s fast, stylish Droid Razr Maxx HD offers outstanding battery life, but its camera captures unimpressive images.

Price: $99.99 – $649.99 (check prices)

4 stars Excellent Read full review

VPN Protected Laptop

Cybercrime at Hotels?

Let’s face it, hackers love hotels. And not because they want to get away and sip margaritas by the pool. The huge volume of personal information collected, transmitted, and stored by the hospitality industry has made it a prime target for cybercrime. Learn More

COMPARE THE WORLDS BEST 32 SMART PHONES FOR 2013 @ THE MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

The phones of MWC

2013-Photos

Check out these 32 top android phones as shown at the world mobile congress.

Nokia Lumia 720

 

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Nokia Lumia 720

 Of all the new devices that Nokia introduced at the show, the Nokia Lumia 720 is the most high-end. It has the familiar Lumia unibody design, but it adds a microSD card slot that you can use with cards up to 64GB. Also, it’s capable of wireless charging, it has 8GB of internal memory, and a 6.7-megapixel camera with an f/1.9 aperture and an LED flash.

LG Optimus G Pro

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LG Optimus G Pro
 The Optimus G Pro is another attempt by LG to build a hybrid smartphone and tablet (or a “phablet,” if you will). It has 5.5-inch full HD IPS screen with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution — giving a high 400ppi. Fortunately, it’s a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is more standard on mobile phones than the 4:3 ratio on LG’s earlier Intuition

 

Alcatel One Touch Fire

 

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Alcatel One Touch Fire

 The Alcatel One Touch Fire is one of the first smartphones to run Firefox OS, a new software that aims to light a fire under Android. That alone gives it some street cred, even if the other features aren’t quite as noteworthy. It has a single-core 1GHz Qualcomm processor, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and a microSD card slot.

Acer Liquid E1

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Acer Liquid E1
 The Acer Liquid E1 has midrange features and relatively low-resolution 4.5-inch display, but it also brings Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and powerful external speakers.

 

Huawei Ascend P2

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Huawei Ascend P2
Huawei continues its quest for the high-end market with its new Ascend P2. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and features a 4.7-inch, 720p HD display with a 315-pixel density, a 85-degree viewing angle, 500-nits brightness, and Gorilla Glass 2. Inside you’ll find a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

Alcatel One Touch

Scribe Easy

 

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Alcatel One Touch Scribe Easy

Equipped with Jelly Bean, Alcatel’s One Touch Scribe Easy has a cool magnetic cover and a stylus you can use to transcribe handwriting into text in several custom apps. The size is a little awkward, and the specs won’t surprise you, but it won’t take a big bite out of your wallet, either.

LG Optimus F5

 

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LG Optimus F5

 Part of LG’s new midrange F series, the Optimus F5 has a 4.3-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 8GB of onboard storage, and Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean.

LG Optimus F7

 

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LG Optimus F7

 The higher-end Optimus F7, which rocks a 4.7-inch IPS display, features a wide and slim physical home button, bracketed by the standard capacitive back and menu buttons. It runs on a midlevel 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2,540mAh battery

ZTE Grand Memo

 

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ZTE Grand Memo

 Another big phone or small tablet (depending on how you see it), the ZTE Grand Memo has a huge 5.7-inch display with Android 4.1.2, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 1-megapixel front-facing camera.

Geeksphone Peak

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Geeksphone Peak
 With a with premium hardware, a 4.3-inch display, and a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, the Geeksphone Peak is the best way so far to experience Mozilla’s browser-based operating system. Other features include a proximity sensor and accelerometer, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front camera, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory, microSD and Micro-USB ports, and a GPS receiver.

Alcatel One Touch

IdolX

 

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Alcatel One Touch Idol X

 By phone standards, the 5-inch One Touch Idol X is enormous, yet a few design tricks make it seem smaller than it really is. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the rear cover is coated in a colorful rubbery material, and you can choose between two versions of the phone. One has an 8-megapixel camera and a microSD card slot and the other is a dual-SIM model with a 13-megapixel camera and no memory-card slot.

Nokia Lumia 520

 

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Nokia Lumia 520

 More midrange than the Lumia 720, Nokia’s Lumia 520 has a 5-megapixel camera that can record 720p HD video, and 8GB of storage. There’s no flash, and Nokia bypassed wireless charging, presumably to help keep costs down.

Tizen OS

 

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Tizen OS

It’s not in a real phone quite yet, but the Tizen Association showed off its new mobile OS. Japan’s NTT Docomo will be the first carrier to sell a Tizen smartphone and Samsung will be the first company to make such a device this summer.

Samsung Galaxy

Xcover

 

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Samsung Galaxy Xcover

So, why the strange name? Well, it’s because Samsung’s Galaxy Xcover is really a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini in a rugged shell. It’s IP67-certified, which means it’s dust-proof and waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It’ll survive a dunking in your drink or the bathroom, and it’ll survive you washing it afterward. Inside it has a chunky dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The display is a 4-inch touch screen with 800×480 pixels

ZTE Open

 

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ZTE Open

Another new phone running the Firefox OS, the ZTE Open is faster than Alcatel’s handset, but at this stage it’s not powerful enough to rival most smartphones. The screen has a mere 480×320-pixel resolution, for example, and the camera is a 3.2-megapixel job.

Cat B15

 

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Cat B15

 Encased in a thick rubber skin, the rough ‘n’ tumble Cat B15 can operate in temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius (-4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit) and can withstand up to 6-foot drops (1.8 meters). Features include Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a 4-inch touch screen with Gorilla Glass, a 1GHz dual-core MediaTek processor, and a 5-megapixel camera

Alcatel One Touch

Snap

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Alcatel One Touch Snap

The Alcatel One Touch Snap sports a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, a large 4.5-inch screen, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of internal memory. All this drives the phone’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software along at a, well, snappy clip.

Alcatel One Touch

Snap LTE

 

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Alcatel One Touch Snap LTE

The One Touch Snap LTE is similar to its sibling, but it supports LTE, it has a slightly larger 1.4GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, and its profile is just a bit thicker (4.65 inches).

NEC Medias W N-05E

 

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NEC Medias W N-05E

 The NEC Medias W N-05E isn’t the first handset we’ve seen with two screens. You can fold out the twin 4.3-inch qHD displays to make it a 5.6-inch tablet of sorts, but the whole thing just seems awkward.

Samsung Galaxy Grand

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Samsung Galaxy Grand

With a design that sort of resembles the Galaxy S3, the Samsung Galaxy Grand has a 5-inch LCD display with rounded corners and a wide home button. Features include Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2, 8GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, and Bluetooth, and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

Acer Liquid Z2

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Acer Liquid Z2

Though the single-core processor and the 3-megapixel camera make it largely an entry-level device, the Acer Liquid Z2 runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and it has a dual SIM card slot.

Alcatel One Touch Star

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Alcatel One Touch Star

Though positioned as an entry-level phone, the One Touch Star has a bright and vibrant 4-inch AMOLED display. It runs Jelly Bean, has some great editing apps for its 5-megapixel camera, and you can get it in a variety of colors.

Fujitsu Arrows

X F-02E

 

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Fujitsu Arrows X F-02E

The Fujitsu Arrows X F-02E is a powerful Android phone that has an exquisite screen, a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, a 16.3-megapixel camera, a fingerprint scanner, and a water- and dust-resistant shell.

LG L 7II, L5II, and

L3 II

 

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LG L 7II, L5II, and L3 II

LG also introduced more devices for its previously established L series. Though all of the handsets run on Android Jelly Bean, they offer varying designs and features. The L7 II (left) is the most high-end of the bunch. It has a 4.2-inch display with an 8-megapixel camera, and a 1GHz dual-core processor. The L5 II (middle) brings a 4-inch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 1GHz single-core processor; and the L3 II (right) sports a 3.2-inch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 1GHz processor

Geeksphone Keon

 

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Geeksphone Keon

Another phone running the Firefox OS, the Geeksphone Keon will be priced between $100 and $150 when it goes on sale in the next few weeks worldwide (it will be the first Firefox OS phone available to buy). Like the Fire, it has a 3.5-inch screen and it’s wrapped in a bright “Firefox orange” casing.

Nokia 301

 

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Nokia 301

Nokia takes us back to classic Nokia designs with the candy bar 301. The 2.4-inch QVGA display, which isn’t a touch screen, has a 320×240-pixel resolution. There’s a 3.2-megapixel camera (no flash), which includes panorama mode, and burst mode with up to five shots in a sequence. You’ll only find 256MB of internal storage, but you can save media on up to 32GB of external storage.

Samsung Galaxy Fame

 

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Samsung Galaxy Fame

 Though it carriers the Galaxy name, Samsung Galaxy Fame won’t count as a premium device. Indeed, with its low-resolution 480×320-pixel screen, 1GHz processor, and 5-megapixel camera, it won’t take a big bite out of your wallet.

Nokia 105

 

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Nokia 105

Intentionally created for the entry-level cell phone markets in China, Indonesia, India, and Nigeria, the Nokia 105 focuses on calls, long battery life, and only a few little extras. It has a tiny 1.5-inch display and no camera, but you do get a flashlight, an FM radio, alarms, and a reminder app.

Doro PhoneEasy 622

 

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Doro PhoneEasy 622

Launching in Europe, the senior-friendly Doro PhoneEasy 622 has a flip design that’s smaller than what we’ve seen from the company before, but it still has big controls and a user-friendly interface. Also, it’s the first Doro to feature video recording.

Fujitsu Stylistic S01

 

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Fujitsu Stylistic S01

Fujitsu’s Stylistic S01 also is aimed at seniors. The feature set for the Ice Cream Sandwich device hits a bit lower than most Android phones, but it has access to all of the Google’s apps that you’d expect.

Samsung Galaxy Young

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Samsung Galaxy Young
About as basic as they come, the Samsung Galaxy Young is a single-core phone with a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, a low-resolution 480×320-pixel display, and a 3-megapixel shooter. So you can see why they call it “young.”
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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

GETTING THE LATEST IPHONE 5 SMART PHONE,HOW GOOD IS IT

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Reviewing iPhone 5

Does the iPhone 5 live up to the hype?

Buzz for the iPhone 5 began way back in 2010. Many then assumed that the iPhone 4’s sequel would be a major redesign; instead we got the incrementally-updated iPhone 4S. It brought a much-improved camera, a faster chip, and Siri, but it wasn’t a breakthrough update. We would have to wait a full 27 months after the iPhone 4 to get our hands on the next big refresh.

Now that it’s here, was the iPhone 5 worth the wait? To sum this review up in one word: absolutely.

Design

The iPhone 5 (bottom) is 1.7mm thinner than the iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 5 (bottom) is 1.7mm thinner than the iPhone 4S.

When discussing the iPhone 5, you have to start with design. It may not appear to be a radical departure from the appearance of the iPhone 4/4S, but the beauty here is in the details.

The most significant detail: weight. This iPhone is light – 112 grams to be exact. The iPhone 4 and 4S never felt heavy to me, but they do now. Much like the first Retina Display made the previous iPhones’ 480×320 resolution look antiquated, the iPhone 5 makes Apple’s prior handsets feel like bricks.

The second most striking design detail is thickness. Apple shrunk the iPhone 5 down to 7.6 mm, way down from the last two iPhones’ 9.3 mm. Apple claims that it’s the thinnest smartphone ever, and it probably is (the Droid Razr measures 7.1 mm, but that spec conveniently ignores its protruding hump). Regardless of the competition, the iPhone 5 is razor-thin.

Of course the iPhone 5 also sports a longer design (8.6 mm longer than the last iPhones, but the same width) and a longer display. The new shape feels great in the hand. Apple scrapped the glass back this year and replaced it with a unibody aluminum backing. The sides of the phone harken back to the 4/4S’s external antenna frame – only this time it too is aluminum (previously it was stainless steel).

Beauty can’t necessarily be objectified, but it’s hard not to appreciate the unified design of the iPhone 5. It may be Jony Ive’s best work yet.

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Display

Not only is the display taller, but the pixels are closer to the surface.

The 4-inch display works better than I expected. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes for a more oblong window into your digital world, but Apple uses it well. Landscape videos play in their native aspect ratio, you can see more of your emails when typing, and you get an extra row of apps on your home screen.

There are some areas where the 16:9 frame feels a little wonky. Photos have black letterboxes in both portrait and landscape mode (until you zoom in). App Store apps that haven’t yet been updated for the new display also get letterboxed, though that will soon be a moot point. Browsing Safari in landscape mode could also feel a bit cramped, but Apple added a new full-screen mode to iOS 6, which works brilliantly.

The resolution is 1136×640, with the same sharp 326 pixels per inch (ppi) as the last two iPhones. In the iPhone 5, Apple moved those 727,040 pixels closer to the surface by moving a layer of touch electrodes. The resulting appearance is a welcome change. It’s moving closer to the Hogwarts parchment illusion: ink moving on paper.

Apple claims that the iPhone 5 has 44 percent greater color saturation than the last iPhones, and, though I have no way of testing that, colors do look better. It’s almost indisputably the best smartphone display on the market.
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Performance

Games like Real Racing 3 are inching closer to console-quality.

This baby zips. I didn’t notice a dramatic difference at first, but I soon saw it flying through tasks that would have bogged down the 4S. Most notable is the camera app, where I could go from sleep mode to snapping a picture in under three seconds. You can fire a burst of shots with no hesitation. It also flies through the new Flyover (3D aerial) feature in Maps; panning, zooming, and rendering of bird’s-eye views happen instantly.

What will developers be able to do with games on the iPhone 5? At the iPhone 5 event, EA offered an impressive preview of Real Racing 3, and that could just be scratching the surface. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft should take notice: the gap between mobile devices and consoles is rapidly shrinking

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LTE

After four generations of 3G, the iPhone 5 jumps into the land of 4G (sorry, AT&T, but I don’t count HSPA+ 14.4). Those who live in an area with LTE coverage will see data speeds that may match or better their home broadband connections.

I haven’t yet been able to test LTE on the iPhone 5, but LTE Android phones have been around long enough for us to know what speeds expect. Apps will download quickly, videos will stream instantly, and VoIP apps like Skype will sound near-perfect.

In the US, Verizon has – by far – the most expansive LTE network, followed by AT&T, and then Sprint. Sprint is the only US iPhone carrier that still offers unlimited data, though, so everyone else will need to monitor their usage.

Camera

The camera isn't a dramatic upgrade, but Apple improved it in at least one important area.

The iPhone 5’s camera is only a minor improvement over the iPhone 4S, but it outperforms it in the most important area: low-light shooting. In my tests, indoor and poorly-lit shots looked much brighter and clearer than they did on the 4S.

EarPods

Apple's redesigned earbuds deliver on the promise of better fit and better audio.

Apple’s redesigned earbuds (“EarPods”) are a big improvement. In this case, the company’s marketing is right on: they fit much more snugly and comfortably in the ear, and the sound is greatly improved. They won’t replace $400 TripleFi premium earphones, but they’re excellent economy headphones for most people.

Bundled for free they’re a steal, and, for the $30 price for a standalone pair, you can do much worse.
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Lightning

The new smaller Lightning connector is tiny and convenient (its reversible design is a subtle but nice touch), and it allowed Apple to make the iPhone 5 so thin. There is, however, one big issue: unless you shell out $30 for an adapter, all of your old iPod/iPhone accessories will be useless.

I don’t know how much it costs Apple to make the 30-pin to Lightning adapters, but $30 is a steep admission fee just to continue using your old docks and speakers. Even if Tim Cook & Co. couldn’t bundle the adapter with the iPhone 5, it would have been nice to see it come in under $20. If any company can afford to eat a little cost for the customer’s convenience, it’s Apple.

Summing up

The iPhone 5 is a terrific phone. If you’re looking for the best smartphone on the market, you’d have to at least start here. On paper, it doesn’t bring much that hasn’t been done before, but it integrates those elements (performance, larger screen, LTE) into a seamless package. Above all, it’s a pleasure to use.

Combine that with iOS’s balance of power, simplicity, and elegance (see our in-depth look at iOS 6), and the iPhone 5 is like a remastered version of a classic movie. It’s a familiar experience, but its refinements are in all the right places.

GRNHCRNH

Sourced from Gizmag & published by Henry Sapiecha

RIM & THEIR NEW PORCHE DESIGNED BLACKBERRY SMART PHONE RELEASE ONTO THE MARKET

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

BLACKBERRY TO CLAW BACK THEIR ADVANTAGE FROM THE SMART PHONE GIANTS

Research in Motion CEO Thorsten Heins holds up a prototype of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone at the BlackBerry World event in Orlando. Photo: Reuters

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has shown off advanced new features that will be available on new BlackBerry 10 smartphones – and a new prototype – but analysts are already questioning whether it’s “too late” to claw back market share lost to smart hone titans like Apple and Google.

The sneak viewing of its yet-to-be-launched operating system at the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Florida, brings the ailing smartphone and tablet maker a step closer to what some have described as the most crucial launch in the company’s history.

In his first keynote address since being appointed chief executive of RIM in January, Thorsten Heins unveiled the new operating system and gave a demonstration of some of its new features which include a new smart virtual keypad, advanced camera capabilities, and its ability to easily traverse between apps and system setting windows using gestures.

The Porsche designed Blackberry displayed at the Blackberry World Event in Orlando.

The Porsche designed Blackberry (not BlackBerry 10) displayed at the Blackberry World Event in Orlando. Photo: Reuters

But Heins gave no concrete date on when the Canadian company would launch a phone that used the new features other than saying hardware and software would be released “later this year”. “We’re taking our time to make sure we get this right,” Heins said.

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Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who is in Orlando for the conference, speculated in an interview with the Associated Press that it felt like it was “getting close to being too late” for the BlackBerry maker to recover despite its CEO giving what he described as a good speech.

 

“I just get the feeling that I wish they had it [the new operating system] out already. It’s going to be a challenge for them. When they launch BlackBerry 10 devices the iPhone 5, Windows 8 and all the Android devices will all be out,” Misek said.

In demonstrating the new operating system, Heins also showed off the prototype touchscreen smartphone it was running on. Developers of third-party apps for BlackBerry who are attending its seminar will be receiving a similar device – known as Alpha Dev – with different software (not BlackBerry 10).

The idea behind giving developers the prototype – which boasts a 4.2-inch screen and looks like a smaller version of RIM’s PlayBook tablet – is so that they can create apps that will work on the new operating system before it is launched further into this year.

A grab of the new interface.A grab of the new interface.

But the prototype given to developers was met with a fair chunk of criticism in the tech media – one of the key issues being the fact it can’t make calls or access mobile phone networks.

There is also the fact it doesn’t come with the new operating system unveiled by RIM’s CEO on his prototype device, which ran a beta version of the BlackBerry 10. The device given to developers instead runs something similar to what is powering the PlayBook tablet.

New features

Head of RIM’s software portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj, described the new virtual on-screen keypad as being tailored to each individual user “just like a glove”. “We’re using things like modelling algorithms to actually learn where you press every single key,” he said.

The new keypad also makes it easy for users to “type fast and accurately”, according to Bhardwaj, and shows suggestions for words on the keypad midway through typing. The words can then be swiped upwards to be inserted into something like a text message.

“This keypad really saves you time,” Heins said during a demonstration.

The advanced camera software, another of the clever features shown off that will be built into the next iteration of the BlackBerry operating system, allows users to go “back and forth in time” after taking a picture to ensure they get the right shot, Bhardwaj said.

He showed an example of a picture taken where one of the subjects had blinked when the photo was taken. He then demonstrated how one could scroll back and forth in time through a variety of shots that were taken when the photo was made, meaning one could choose a photo that was taken where a subject had not blinked, making for a better outcome.

Heins said the feature meant users would “never miss that magic moment”.

The other major feature shown off in a demonstration was a more swifter way of switching between apps running on a smartphone using the new operating system.

“We wanted a user paradigm that is easy and fast,” Heins said, showing how information from documents, emails, calendars, and address books could slide in and out from a smartphone screen’s edges. “It’s all about making things flow.”

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Companies ditch RIM

The unveiling follows some of the biggest corporate giants in Australia and around the world ditching the Blackberry in favour of Apple and Google-powered mobiles and comes as research firm IDC said that RIM’s share of the global smartphone market had slipped to 6.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, from 13.6 per cent a year earlier. Last year IDC said RIM’s share of the smartphone market in Australia was only 5 per cent.

Nicholas Ebbeck, commercial sales manager at Dick Smith for Australia and New Zealand, said BlackBerry had recently seen a decline in the corporate market not only because of the iPhone but because of other smartphones too. Ebbeck manages the smartphone contracts for big corporates, including Woolworths (owner of Dick Smith).

“Corporates at the moment are looking at alternatives and I think BlackBerry have always been a small piece of an organisation’s communication [system],” he said. Woolworths executives had recently switched to Apple’s iPhone, he said. IBM Australia and Dell also recently decided to abandon RIM.

Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said in an email that RIM’s sneak preview of the new features showed that it was “focused on details that differentiate meaningfully”. But the key to gaining back market share, he said, would be shipping and execution of a new mobile.

John Jackson, an analyst at CCS Insight, told Reuters that Heins’s address was low key but effective in presenting RIM’s vision.

“Mr Heins delivered a decent articulation of what and who RIM stood for while providing a sufficiently tantalising glimpse of some unique BlackBerry 10 features to keep things interesting,” Jackson said.  “This should be enough to at least give the naysayers pause, if only temporarily.”

Ben Grubb travelled to BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida as a guest of RIM

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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha