All news, rumours and discussions about Android
The Passport Silver Edition - which was announced by BlackBerry earlier this week - is now available for purchase in the US from Amazon. The online retailer is selling the device for $549, and you can get one shipped as soon as tomorrow.
What's worth mentioning here is that the handset - which also brings a stainless steel frame aside from the new color - is already available for purchase in the country from BlackBerry, which is not only selling it at the same price but also offering some free accessories worth $130 for a limited time - there's no such offer on Amazon.
Keep in mind that the model Amazon is selling is only compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, which means that it won't work with carriers like Sprint, Verizon, Boost, or Virgin.
The rumors on the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 have been rocking between microSD support and lack thereof in the past weeks. While obviously that's already been decided by Samsung, we have no way of knowing it yet and we're still relying on word of mouth at that point.
So this latest report, coming from Taiwan, claims that the dual-SIM version of the upcoming high-end phablet will indeed support microSD storage expansion. The feature will be implemented in the now increasingly popular way where the microSD card shares a slot with the second SIM - not the best solution if you actually need to use both SIM cards, but single-SIM users will be able to get the coveted memory expansion.
One possible caveat is that the dual-SIM versions of flagships have been reserved to certain markets and notoriously difficult to come by elsewhere, so you may need to resort to non-official channels to acquire one. It is a viable option though, if you absolutely must have that 128GB music collection on you at all times.
Of course, good as it may sound, all this is nothing but a rumor. Had there been a photo of the card tray, we'd be more inclined to believe it, but as it stands now, the best option is to just wait out the 6 days until the official announcement on August 13.
Samsung is testing an 18.4-inch tablet, import records reveal
In the Android world, there are small tablets, medium-sized tablets, big tablets, and then we have Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2. Compared to every other tablet out there, they are positively huge.
However, they may not be Samsung's biggest tablets for long. It turns out that the Korean company is already working on a much bigger device, one sporting an 18.4-inch touchscreen.
What you see in the image above is the fact that such a huge tablet has entered India for testing and evaluation purposes. After it's gone through those tests and finished its evaluations, it's going to be destroyed. This will probably prevent more leaks for a while, even if this is actually going to turn into a real product.
That's a big if, though. With such a huge screen, this would be very much into niche territory, and a rather small niche at that. Still, for some commercial settings even this size could work. Which might be the reason for Samsung to think about releasing it.
Oddly enough, the value of each unit of this tablet has been set at just INR 32,371 in the import documents, which means about $507 or €464. That's a bit less than we were expecting given that its huge display surely can't be cheap. Then again, this number may just represent how much it costs Samsung to produce each unit, in which case it makes more sense.
T-Mobile unveils the ZTE Obsidian, out on August 13 for $99.99
T-Mobile has announced a new Android smartphone today. It's the ZTE Obsidian, and it will become available from the magenta carrier, online and in stores, on August 13.
This is a lower-end offering, aimed at those who prefer a cheap device with the basics covered.
It's got a 4.5-inch 854x480 touchscreen, a 5 MP rear camera with LED flash, a 2 MP selfie shooter, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of expandable storage, and a 1,800 mAh battery.
It's powered by MediaTek's MT6735M chipset, boasting a 1 GHz quad-core CPU. The Obsidian comes with 4G LTE support and it runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.
It will be offered by T-Mobile for $99.99 all-in. Alternatively, you'll be able to use the carrier's famous installment plan to pay nothing upfront then followed by 24 monthly installments of $4.17.
Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe and Zenfone 2 Laser go official
In the middle of a fairly quiet week Asus introduced new Zenfones to bolster an already strong lineup. The Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe is a prettied up version of the Zenfone 2 from earlier this year, while the Zenfone 2 Laser is a version of the 5" model but with a better camera performance.
Asus Zenfone 2 Deluxe
Even with the same dimensions as the model from March, the Zenfone 2 Deluxe stands out with its curious "premium-crafted polygonal design." It features 500+ triangles joined together for a "crystal miracle."
The Zenfone 2 Deluxe is still a dual-SIM phone with a 5.5" 1080p screen (Gorilla Glass 3 on top) and is powered by the same Intel Atom chipsets – Z3560 and Z3580. This time both feature 4GB RAM (the older model had paired the Z3560 with 3GB RAM).
Another improvement is that the base storage is now 64GB and you can go up to 128GB. You can add another 128GB with a microSD card. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop as before.
The camera setup is the same - 13MP for photographing others, 5MP for yourself. Video capture resolution is not listed but we suspect it's still at 1080p. Inside is a 3,000mAh battery with BoostMaster fast charging – 60% in 39 minutes.
Asus Zenfone 2 Laser
Like the ZE500CL, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser has a 5" 720p screen and is more compact than its 5.5" siblings. The change is the camera – it's now 13MP (up from 8MP), which can be extended up to 52MP with Super Resolution mode.
And as the name suggests there's Laser autofocus. The main camera features 5 lenses and an f/2.0 aperture, while the 5MP selfie camera (up from 2MP) has a wide-angle 85° lens with f/2.0 aperture. The laser autofocus system promises focus locks in 0.3s and works even for macros. There's Super HDR mode for shooting against bright light and a low-light mode for "4x light sensitivity and noise reduction".
Unlike the other two 5" Zenfone 2 models, the Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 (the others use Intel Atoms). It has 2GB of RAM and 8GB or 16GB of storage (expandable, of course).
The 5" screen has 720p resolution and it's a non-IPS panel, but at least it's protected by Gorilla Glass 4. Like its big bro it runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and has LTE connectivity. The battery is either 2,070mAh or 2,400mAh, this could be a regional thing.
Asus announces Zenfone Max with 5,000 mAh battery
Asus just launched a new mid-range smartphone entirely focused on battery life. Dubbed Zenfone Max it comes with an ample 5,000 mAh battery that should give it extra long power autonomy.
The massive battery of the smartphone can even charge other devices when connected to the phone. Exact endurance numbers haven't been quoted, but given the humble internals we expect them to be impressive.
The Asus Zenfone Max is built around a 5.5-inch IPS display of 720p resolution that has Gorilla Glass 4 protection on top. It is powered by a Snapdragon 410 chipset with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB RAM. Internal storage is 16GB, but that's further expandable via the microSD slot.
The primary camera on the Zenfone Max features a 13 megapixel sensor, dual-LED dual-tone flash and laser-assisted autofocus, while the 85-degree wide-angle lens selfie snapper produces images of up to 5MP resolution.
The dual-SIM device will launch in October, running on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Zen UI 2.0 on top. It will support 4G LTE networks, 3G with HSPA+, GPS and Bluetooh 4.0.
Sony Xperia C5 Ultra to carry $425 price tag in Hong Kong
When Sony announced the Xperia C5 Ultra earlier this week, there was no word on its pricing and exact launch date. However, the device is now listed on the company's Hong Kong website, revealing a HK$ 3,298 ($425) price tag for an unlocked, dual-SIM unit as well as a release date of August 14.
Specs-wise, the Xperia C3 successor is powered by a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6752 chipset, and sports a a 6-inch, 1920x1080 resolution IPS display. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB expandable internal memory, and packs in a 2930mAh battery.
In terms of camera, the handset features a 13MP unit both in front and at the back. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. For those who aren't aware, the Xperia C5 Ultra will only be available in selected countries across emerging markets
Meizu m2 note to go on sale in India next week
The Meizu m2 note - which was announced a couple of months ago in June - will be available for purchase in India starting next week, i.e. August 10. The device will be an Amazon exclusive in the country, and will carry a price tag of INR 9,999 ($157) - this is apparently for the 16GB variant.
Specs-wise, the successor to the popular m1 note is powered by a Mediatek MT6753 SoC with octa-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-T720MP3 GPU, and sports a 5.5 inch FullHD display. It comes with 2GB RAM and 16/32GB expandable memory options, and packs in a 3100 mAh battery.
In terms of camera, the handset features a 13MP rear unit and a 5MP front shooter. The model that'll go on sale in India will come with Android 5.1-based Flyme OS pre-installed.
Samsung and Google promise monthly security updates from now on
Recently a pretty nasty vulnerability in Android was discovered. It's being called Stagefright, and it affects versions 2.2 Froyo and newer of the OS. There is a fix, and thankfully it's now starting to be deployed through over-the-air updates by different manufacturers and carriers.
But to ensure a more swift response to future situations of this nature, two companies that are very important to the Android ecosystem have announced some similar measures today.
Let's start with Google, the developer of Android and the company in charge of software updates for the Nexus line. It has unveiled that, going forward, it will release monthly security updates for the Nexus devices, in addition to the usual platform updates.
The first such security patch is in fact rolling out right now to the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and Nexus Player, fixing the aforementioned Stagefright exploit. According to Google, Nexus devices receive security updates "for the longer of three years from initial availability or 18 months from last sale of the device via the Google Store".
At the same time, Samsung, the biggest Android device maker, has committed to implementing a new security update process for its products. This will fast track patches when new vulnerabilities are uncovered. The updates will come to Samsung devices over-the-air "regularly about once per month".
The Korean company is already doing some fast tracking in issuing a patch for the Stagefright bug, but it "plans to further develop this process and implement it as a timely security update practice".
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