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Archive for the ‘Mobile News’ Category

4.7″ iPhone 6 and 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus announced: bigger, faster, smarter

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Today Apple unveiled their new iPhones, ending months of rumours and speculation. As expected, two models debuted, both far larger than their predecessors. One model measures 4.7 inches, while the other spans a phablet-sized 5.5 inches. The new iPhones include a faster processor, contactless NFC payments, an improved camera and many other upgrades. Let’s take a closer look at what was announced.

Design

The most notable difference between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6 is undoubtedly that of size. The display of the iPhone 5S measured just four inches across the diagonal, but the iPhone 6 is available with a 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen. That’s a massive jump for Apple, who just two years ago were shipping a flagship phone with a 3.5-inch screen.

Apple are including a one-handed mode to alleviate some of the ergonomic downsides of these larger displays. The larger height and width of the iPhone has also allowed Apple to shrink the thickness of the iPhone. It’s now 6.9mm for the iPhone 6 and 7.1mm for the iPhone 6 Plus, while maintaining the same weight. The larger size is cleverly considered by Apple, who have added a ‘reachability’ gesture which moves the screen down so you can reach the top buttons.

Size isn’t the only difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5. The new phones also include a noticeably thicker border between the caps on top and bottom and the main rear panel. These are intended to improve reception, giving signals a place to escape the metal body. Other details include a lock button on the right hand side instead of the top, a circular flash and a camera lens that protrudes from the chassis.

Specifications

One of the biggest new features of the iPhone 6 is contactless payments through a scheme called ApplePay. Like some bank cards in the UK, the NFC chip built into the phone allow you to pay for purchase in stores with a tap onto a point-of-sale terminal. The feature is safeguarded through the TouchID fingerprint sensor and a Secure Element. Apple have partnered with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for contactless payments, which appears in a upgraded Passbook iOS app.

The iPhone 6 will include a higher resolution 1334 x 750 pixel IPS display, which as mentioned earlier measures 4.7 inches. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, has a 1920 x 1080p screen at 5.5 inches. Inside either phone, you’ll find a new Apple A8 64-bit processor, 1 GB of RAM and at least 16GB of internal storage (up to 128GB). The whole thing is powered with a 1810mAh battery – small by Android standards, but enough for Apple to claim the same battery life as ever.

There’s an upgraded 8-megapixel camera on the rear, and a 2-megapixel camera up front for all your selfie needs. The iPhone 6 Plus also boasts optical image stabilisation, which allow the camera to operate at slower shutter speeds without being affected by shaking.

Features

One of the biggest new features of the iPhone 6 is its contactless payments system, called Apple Pay. Like some bank cards in the UK, the NFC chip built into the phone allow you to pay for purchase in stores with a tap onto a point-of-sale terminal. The feature is safeguarded through the TouchID fingerprint sensor. Apple have partnered with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for contactless payments, which appears in a upgraded Passbook iOS app.

The iPhone 6 launches with iOS 8, with includes a lot of new features that bridge the feature gap between iOS and Android. Messages now includes multimedia content, third-party keyboards are now possible, and Apple have built a fitness app called Health which interfaces with iPhone sensors and the iWatch. More Android-like features include improved notifications (which can now be actioned directly from their dropdown menu or the lock screen) and widgets (in the notification center).

Accessories

The iPhone has always enjoyed a wide range of third-party accessories, and the iPhone 6 is no different. We’ve already begun to add both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus accessories to our virtual shelves, and we’ll add dozens if not hundreds of additional accessories over the next few weeks. These range from cases and covers to chargers, in-car accessories like car chargers and car holders, battery packs, desk stands and screen protectors.

Most people will pick up at least one iPhone 6 cover for their new phone, and we’ll be well covered here. The iPhone 6 cases section of our shop already includes nearly 100 items, and will only grow from there. There are slightly fewer iPhone 6 Plus cases available, but these too will grow in number. Expect cases from all the biggest names, including OtterBox, LifeProof, Spigen, Moshi, Zenus, Belkin and many more.

UK price and release date

The iPhone 6 will go on pre-order from Friday, and the full launch will be on September 19th. The iPhone remains a premium handset, and as such will command a full price point when purchased sim-free. The 4.7-inch model comes in at £539, while the 5.5-inch model is slightly more expensive at £619. Of course, the iPhone 6 will also been available on contract.

Conclusion

So – the iPhone 6 has finally been announced! I’m excited to see the public and critical reception to the new phone, so please leave me your comments and impressions below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun or on Facebook at Love Your Mobile.

LG announce L Fino and L Bello mid-range phones

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

This week LG added a couple new mid-range phones to their arsenal, the L Fino and the L Bello. The phones, which are set to be announced formally at IFA 2014 in Berlin, are intended as “first smartphones” for teenagers or those in emerging markets. They include some features which have proved popular on the LG G3, such as rear-mounted buttons and minimal front bezels. Some software elements have also made it over, most notably the “Knock Code” feature that allows you to unlock the phone by tapping your pattern on the screen, forgoing the need to tap the rear-mounted buttons to wake the phone.

In terms of specifications, both phones are pretty reasonable. The Fino is the smaller and less powerful of the two, with a 4.5-inch 480×800 display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 4 GB of internal storage. The Bello is marginally better equipped, with a 5-inch 480×854 screen, 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 8 GB of internal storage. Both phones share 1 GB of RAM, 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras, 3G connectivity and Android 4.4.2 on board.

The phones look to be well-supported with accessories as well. QuickCircle cases, like those for the LG G3, will be available. If you’re not familiar with them, these are flip cases with a circular window cut into the front cover. The window allows you to touch and control the screen beneath, as well as let you read status and notifications without needing to open the cover. You can see the time, answer or reject calls, and even run QuickCircle-specific games in the window. We’ll have more details on both LG L Fino and LG L Bello accessories and their availability in the days to come.

What do you think of the LG L Fino and L Bello? Let us know in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for checking out the article and have a good weekend!

Sony Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact: cases and rumour roundup

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Sony is one of many manufacturers planning to announce phones in early September. Their last flagship phone was the Xperia Z2, so it seems natural to expect an Xperia Z3 at their IFA press event on September 3rd. We’ll also likely see a few variations on that theme, including a smaller phone called the Z3 Compact and a small tablet called the Z3 Tablet Compact. Let’s take a closer look at what’s expected.

Sony Xperia Z3

The Xperia Z3 will be the proper flagship of the group, and looks like it’ll be quite similar to its predecessor, with the same 5.2-inch display and similar dimensions. The internals are also mostly the same, including 3GB RAM and 16GB internal storage plus microSD. What’s changed is a faster Snapdragon 801 processor (to replace the slower and less efficient Snapdragon 800) and Android 4.4.4 on board. The design of the phone has changed too, with leaked pictures showing a simplified body that still adheres to Sony’s distinctive design language.

Official accessories for the Xperia Z3 are already being added to our site. One of these is the Z3 Style Cover Stand Case, which should be available in four colours (silver green, copper, white and black). The case’s big feature is a protective flip cover that can also turn into a folding stand.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

The Z3 Compact likewise is a straight upgrade over its predecessor, with a faster and more battery-efficient Snapdragon 801 processor replacing the Snapdragon 800 and 3GB RAM instead of 2GB. The screen gets bigger once again as well, to 4.6 inches across the diagonal, but smaller bezels ensure a minimally larger footprint.

Details on Xperia Z3 Compact cases have also been made available. Once again, we’re looking at a Style Cover Stand Case, which should come in four colours (sunset orange, aqua green, black and white).

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

The Z3 Tablet Compact is the least well leaked device, but we do know it exists thanks to a mention in a Sony support document. Specifications aren’t confirmed, but a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM and 7 or 8-inch display all would seem logical inclusions. A high-end rear-facing camera should be included as well, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see the full 20.7-megapixel units used on the Z3 and Z3 Compact.

No accessories have yet been leaked or announced for the tablet, but we’ll add them to the site as soon as information about them appears.

Conclusion

So there you have it – three new Sony tablets, all likely to be announced at Sony’s IFA press conference on September 3rd. Let us know what you think of the devices in the comments below, and remember to hold off on any smartphone purchases until after the glut of early September! Thanks for checking out the article and have a good one.

Pro Tip: Don’t buy a phone or smartwatch until September

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The beginning of September is looking like a massively busy period, as the IFA trade show kicks off and almost every major mobile company has an event planned. Scores of smartphones and smartwatches will be announced here, and most will start shipping later in the month.

For this reason, right now is the worst possible time to buy a phone or smartwatch–wait until these releases are out of the way, and then reap the benefits of lower prices or newer devices on the market in late September and October.

Don’t believe me? Just have a look at what’s coming in September:

Smartphones*

Samsung are releasing the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy Note 4. Motorola are releasing the Moto X+1 and Moto G2. Sony are releasing the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact. Nokia are releasing the Nokia Lumia 530, 730 and 830. HTC are releasing the One M8 with Windows and the J Butterfly. Chinese companies Meizu and Huawei are releasing the MX4 and Ascend Mate 7, respectively. Sharp are releasing the Aquous Crystal. Most importantly of all, Apple are releasing at least one new iPhone, the iPhone 6.

Smartwatches

September looks equally busy for smartwatches. Motorola are the biggest confirmed players here, with the eagerly anticipated Moto 360 set to launch. ASUS and LG have also teased new smartwatches for IFA, while Sony are rumoured to also be showing a watch at the event. Apple are the wildcard here–it’s not known if they’ll announce the iWatch at their September 9th event, but if they do then it’ll be massive.

Press Events

Here’s a breakdown of all announced or heavily rumoured events:

September 2nd

Meizu (MX4)

September 3rd

Samsung (Galaxy Note 4)
Sony (Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact, Z3 Tablet Compact, SmartWatch 3)
ASUS (smartwatch)

September 4th

Motorola (Moto X+1, G2, 360)
Nokia (Lumia 730, 830)
Huawei (Ascend Mate 7)

September 9th

Apple (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Air)

Signing off

September is going to be an awesome time for mobile fans, and there’s only one way to ruin it: by purchasing a smartphone or smartwatch just before its successor is announced. Wait if you can, and you’ll find cheaper smartphones or newer models in a matter of weeks. My recommendation? iPhone 6 or Galaxy Note 4. But don’t decide now – there will be a lot of excellent choices in the weeks to come!

*Not all of these phones will see European releases – the One M8 with Windows and Aquous Crystal have been announced for US markets. The J Butterfly and Aquous Crystal are launching in Japan. The MX4 and Ascend Mate 7 will launch in China. Still, it’s possible to import these phones.

The Nexus returns: Nexus 6 “Shamu” rumour roundup

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

After nearly a year of radio silence, it now seems likely that Google will release a new Nexus smartphone in the coming months. That smartphone will be called the Google Nexus 6, and it may be the last of its kind.

Before we get into the rumour roundup proper, let’s take a step back and see why the Nexus program was started in the first place – and how it’s evolved since its inception.

A potted history of the Nexus program

The Nexus program began in 2010, with the Nexus One smartphone. It was designed to allow Google to present an pure example of their Android operating system, unmarred by modifications by third-party manufacturers, allowing these partners to better make the next generation of Android devices.

With the release of the Nexus 4 in 2012, Google offered another benefit: leading-edge hardware at a near-cost price. That made the Nexus 4 a firm favourite with Android enthusiasts, who recommended the handset to their friends and family as a good way to get into Android. The Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus 5 smartphone continued this trend, offering an excellent hardware package at a very reasonable price. Both devices sold well, even while supplies remained tight and advertising minimal.

The success of Google’s Nexus program paved the way for two things: low cost smartphones running pure un-skinned Android, like the Motorola Moto G, and Google Play Edition devices, which were conversions of existing flagship phones to run Google’s stock OS.

While these new additions were appreciated by enthusiasts (and their audience of more mainstream users), no new Nexus devices were released after the Nexus 5 in 2013. Rumours began to appear about a new program, Android Silver, in which Google would run considerable ad campaigns in exchange for greater control of Android running on their partners’ flagship devices. It sounded like the days of good value Nexus devices was at an end, to be replaced only by high-end examples.

For the first half of 2014, this was our reality – it didn’t look like any new Nexus devices were coming. But as July has turned into August, a new series of leaks and clues has emerged, suggesting the release of at least one more Nexus device is on the horizon.

Nexus 6 rumour roundup

Here’s what we know so far. The next Nexus will be made by Motorola, and is known under the Shamu codename – an aquatic theme reflected by the entire Nexus series (e.g. Grouper, Hammerhead, Mako).

If the information leaked so far is accurate, the phone is set to be the largest Nexus device yet made, with a 5.2-inch screen at a industry-leading 2560 x 1440 resolution. The phone looks impressive internally as well, with a next-generation Snapdragon 805 quad-processor at its heart backed with an Adreno 420 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. A 13-megapixel camera sits on the rear of the device, while a 2.1-megapixel front-facer completes the imaging arrangements.

Of course, a Nexus phone wouldn’t be complete without a new, pure version of Android, and that’s exactly what we find here. The phone has been recorded as running Android L, which is currently available as a developer preview for the latest released Nexus phone, the Nexus 5.

The Nexus 6 is likely to be released this autumn alongside Android L. September seems the earliest potential date, but a release in October or even November is also possible. The Nexus 5 was released in November 2013, so releasing before a year has elapsed would seem an obvious target… not to mention a release in time for the Christmas rush.

The Nexus 6 looks like an exciting return for the Nexus program, particularly if Google are able to keep the price down to their usual Nexus levels. If the Nexus program is dying, best that it goes out with a bang.

Signing off

We’ll continue to bring you more Nexus 6 news as it becomes available, and of course we’ll have a full range of cases and accessories for the phone once it is announced or leaked more fully.

Thanks for checking out the article, and be sure to let us know if you’re planning to pick up the Nexus 6.

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