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  1. A leaked photograph of some retail packaging appears to show a new case for the Apple iPhone that will be offered by AT&T. The case will feature a micro-NFC chip, which together with a free mobile app, will allow the iPhone to support the Isis mobile payment service. The Incipio Cashwrap will retail for $70 and is already in AT&T's inventory, according to published reports. At CES, a version of the case for both the Apple iPhone 4 and Apple iPhone 4s was revealed. The cases are expected to launch in March. While AT&T is involved in the release of the Cashwrap case, it is unknown whether the other two carriers involved in the Isis mobile payment service, T-Mobile and Verizon, will also offer the cases. By using the case and installing the Isis Mobile Wallet app, you can store credit cards and loyalty cards, using them to pay your bill by tapping the iPhone on an Isis Mobile Payment terminal. Source
  2. 1. Samsung Galaxy NotePROSamsung's beast of a tablet known as the Galaxy NotePRO is built from the ground up with productivity and multitasking in mind. In fact, there is probably no other Android tablet that can give you as much freedom and flexibility in these two aspects than Samsung's 12-incher. And you get an S-Pen stylus as well, hence the name. Sure, the NotePRO is relatively large and heavy, but that's hardly surprise given the sheer size of the device's screen. 2. Samsung Galaxy TabPRO seriesYou can't go wrong with a tablet that has "PRO" in its name. And sure enough, Samsung's new Galaxy TabPRO Android slates have quite a lot to offer in terms of hardware specifications and software features. 3. Sony Xperia Z1 CompactFinally, someone managed to come up with a high-end Android smartphone that's actually compact. That's the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact we're talking about, equipped with its snappy processor and capable camera. And it is resistant to liquid damage, which is a trait that few other phones can brag with. All of these features place the Xperia Z1 Compact among the best phones we had the chance to play with at CES 2014.4. Sony Xperia Z1SSo, it turned out that the Sony Xperia Z1S wasn't exactly what we expected it to be, but that doesn't make it any less awesome of a smartphone. Later this month, anyone in the US eager to get their hands on Sony's flagship will be able to do so via T-Mobile. 5. Asus ZenFone seriesWe were genuinely surprised when Asus announced its new ZenFone series at CES, especially when we heard how cheap the phones were going to be. At only $99, $149, and $199 respectively, the Asus ZenFone 4, ZenFone 5, and ZenFone 6 are could give the company's market share a welcome boost.6. Asus PadFone XIs it a phone or is it a tablet? Well, the Asus PadFone X is actually an amalgamation of both, but if you're familiar with the PadFone concept then you should probably know that already. The Asus PadFone X will be available soon in the US via AT&T. Pricing has not been disclosed, but opting for a PadFone should be a better deal than buying an identical Android phone and a tablet separately. 7. Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+At CES we had the chance to take the OneTouch Idol X+ for a spin. And overall, it wasn't a bad phone at all. It is shaping up as a device that will deliver specs typical for a high-end device, but at a price that will appeal to a a broader range of buyers. 8. ZTE Nubia Z5sHere's one more noteworthy offering coming from the Far East – the ZTE Nubia Z5s. Unlike most of the ZTE phones we get to play with, this one has some top-notch hardware to draw buyers' attention with. Too bad that it is only available in China, at least for now. 9. Huawei Ascend Mate 2The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is a mid-range offering that belongs to the phablet category of smartphones. Among its stand-out features is the huge, 4050mAh battery that can push through 12 hours of video playback on a single charge. 10. Acer Iconia A1A high-end tablet the Acer Iconia B1 is not, but it does have what it takes to draw one's attention. That is its low price of just $150, which is actually pretty good given the tablet's hardware specifications. It has a 7.9-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 16GB of storage, and a pair of cameras for selfies and casual photos. All of that is packed inside an aluminum body that feels quite nice to the touch. 11. Asus Transformer Book DuetWhat makes the Asus Transformer Book Duet so awesome is its ability to run both Android and Windows, and switching back and forth between the two systems is as simple as tapping a button. Its price? Just $599 for the base model – definitely not bad for a dual-OS tablet/notebook convertible. Source
  3. 1.The 6.8-inch Hisense X1 Chinese Hisense showcased its behemoth, 6.8-inch X1 phablet during CES2014 in Las Vegas, and promised US availability by the end of Q2 this year. The giant device sports an IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080x1920, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset, a 13-megapixel camera and a healthy, 3900 mAh cell. It is said that the X1 will come packing Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. 2. 6.44-inch Sony Xperia Z Ultra The Sony Z Ultra may no longer be the world's largest phablet, but it's got style that often dwarfs that of its competitors. Sporting the typical Xperia design language,this phablet's 6.44-inch display sports a 1080x1920 resolution, and is also equipped with a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera. 3. 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 Having jump-started the entire phablet category essentially on its own, Samsung's answer to the mounting competition is the Galaxy Mega 6.3, and it's no wimp, either. Equipped with a 6.3-inch, 720x1280 pixel resolution LCD screen, the Mega offers a whole lot of phone. Other notable internals include a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear shooter. 4. 7-inch CoolPad Great God/Halo CoolPad took the veil off its gargantuan, 7-inch Great God (CoolPad Halo for the west) at CES2014 just a week ago. The Chinese company is little-known in the US and Europe, but it's actually one of the largest local manufacturers, and appears intent on sticking around. The 1080x1920 resolution screen is powered by MediaTek's new octa-core MT6592 chipset, 2GB of RAM and a 4000mAh battery. 5. 6.95-inch Cube Talk 69 Another native of China, Cube, has released information about its upcoming, 6.95-inch, 1080p Talk 69 phablet. Along with a competitive price tag of about $247 for the Chinese market, the massive phone also comes equipped with a 2GHz, octa-core MT6592 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera and a 3100mAh capacity cell. 6. 6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate 1 and 2 The Huawei Ascend Mate 1 and 2 both share the same amount of screen real estate: 6.1-inches of 720x1280 pixel glory. This is the biggest device in Huawei's portfolio and is sure to intrigue admirers of the large screen form factor. 7. 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520 After playing a role of catch-up for quite some time, Nokia finally caught up with the competition with the Lumia 1520. This 6-inch, 1080p beast sports some rad hardware for a Windows Phone device, including a Snapdragon 800 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 3400mAh cell and an impressive 20-megapixel shooter. 8. 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1320 The Nokia Lumia 1320 can be seen as the budget-friendly version of the Lumia 1520. This obviously means that the super high-end hardware has been stripped down significantly, meaning a less crisp 720x1280 resolution panel, a dual-core Snapdragon 400 chip, 1GB of RAM, 3400mAh cell, and a 5-megapixel snapper. 9. 6-inch Alcatel OneTouch Hero The Alcatel OneTouch Hero is among the most conservative phablets out there, at least size wise. It's 6-inch, 1080x1920 resolution display is a beaut, while the phablet's dimensions are, at the same time, kept in check thanks to its super-slim bezels. Hardware highlights include a quad-core, 1.5GHz MT6589T processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 3400mAh battery that helped the Hero rank among the most enduring 1080p devices out there. 10. 6-inch Vivo Xplay 3S Chinese Vivo earned itself quite some media attention, thanks to the simple fact that its Xplay 3S is en route to become the first smartphone to pack a QHD (1440x2560) resolution screen. In addition, the 6-incher is all-round bulletproof in terms of hardware. It's powered by the highest-powered version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, 3GB of RAM, a 3200mAh battery and features a fingerprint scanner. 11. 6-inch LG G Flex The LG G Flex debuted as the world's first truly bendable smartphone, and just about everything you'll found on its specs sheet screams bleeding edge. It sports a 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution flexible P-OLED display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera. Moreover, its rear panel has been treated with a special coating that 'heals' trivial scratches. 12. 6-inch Lenovo S930 The Lenovo S930 is an affordable phablet with some middling internals. It's equipped with a massive 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution display, a quad-core MT6582, 3000mAh cell and an 8-megapixel snapper. 13. 6-inch Asus Zenfone 6 With a suggested price of $199, the Asus is on path to release the super-affordable Zenfone 6, a part of the Taiwanese company's new line of budget phones. Sacrifices were obviously made to arrive at such a compelling price point, so you 'only' get a dual-core, 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 chip, 1GB of RAM, a 3230mAh cell, and a 13-megapixel snapper. 14. 6-inch Acer Liquid S2 Acer isn't about to miss out on all the phablet fun that's to be had in 2014, either. The Liquid S2 is the company's answer to the increasingly popular phablet category, and it's sporting quite the hardware on it. This includes Qualcomm's finest, the Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM, a 3300mAh cell and a 13-megapixel rear camera. 15. 6-inch Sony Xperia T2 Ultra Sony announced the Xperia T2 Ultra and T2 Ultra dual in the middle of January 2014, and we're expecting this 6-inch, 720x1280 resolution phablet to launch with a price tag suitable for its mid-range nature. On the inside, the 7.6mm thinT2 Ultra is packing a quad-core, 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel shooter with Exmor RS sensor and is powered by a 3000mAh embedded battery. 16. 5.9-inch Oppo N1 The 5.9-inch Oppo N1 gets an honorary mention, as we simply couldn't imagine leaving it out. Its 1080p screen is nearly as massive as the one found on the rest of the giant-screened devices before it, and its hardware is nothing short of high-end, either. It packs a Snapdragon 600 chip, 2GB of RAM, a 3600mAh battery and a swivel-rotated 13-megapixel camera. ' 17. 5.9-inch HTC One max The 5.9-inch HTC One max also gets an honorary mention, thanks to its stylish looks and compelling hardware. It packs the usual -- a Snapdragon 600, 2GB of RAM, and a 3300mAh battery, but also one of HTC's proprietary (and disappointing) 4MP UltraPixel cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and a set of front-facing stereo speakers. Source
  4. A test lab in the U.S. confirms that smartphone cameras can detect the presence of radiation. Last year, an app called GammaPix turned smartphones into cheap Geiger Counters. The theory behind this is that the CMOS used to produce cameras on handsets, should be able to make a signal when near radiation. Researchers at Idaho National Labs not only confirmed that this is true, they also wanted to see which phones were the best at finding and signaling that radiation is near. Instead of using the GammaPix app, the group in Idaho, led by researcher Joshua Cogliati, developed their own app called CellRad to find the radiation. Surpisingly, of the phones tested, the Nexus S, a phone launched late in 2010, detected the most radiation per image. The Samsung Galaxy S III produced too much noise, according to the researchers. And there was less variation between two Nexus S units than between two units of the other phones tested. Speaking of which, the other phones involved in the testing besides the Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy S III, included the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4. Because of the much higher resolution on the back snapper, it was employed for the test instead of the front facing camera on each device. The test used the CellRad app to check for isotopes of Selenium, Iridium, Caesium, Cobalt and Americium. The guys in the lab did say that despite this capability, a smartphone will never replace a Geiger Counter in terms of the quality of radiation detection. Source
  5. Google and Samsung already have an interesting relationship, but it is about to get much more awkward. Google has seemed a bit concerned for some time that Samsung has taken such a dominant role in the Android ecosystem. Now, Google will have a new reason to be concerned: beginning in March, Samsung will dominate Android and compete with it at the same time. According to a report from Japan-based magazine Mainichi, top Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has confirmed that Tizen smartphones will become available beginning in March. The news follows a number of delays that pushed the launch of Samsung’s first Tizen phone back from last year, but the consumer tech giant apparently has no plans to delay things any further. The first round of Samsung’s Tizen handsets are expected to debut next month during the annual Mobile World Congress trade show. Source
  6. For those of us who don't know, 'bloatware' refers to all that extra stuff that's been pre-loaded on your device, before you even got to your neighborly carrier's outlet. These often come in considerable numbers, are sometimes downright irritating and take up space, and worst of all -- can't be removed by normal means. The situation is so bad, really, that countries like South Korea are targeting the practice with upcoming legislation that will see it discontinued by law. What's making matters worse is the fact that if you want to get truly rid of the extra fat, you'll need to be rooted, a simple operation that still scares a whole lot of people (that's probably for the better, though). Now, there are some scripts that will work without root, but they require some basic understanding of Android recoveries, which tend to freak out people even more, and they still require quite some manual work. Obviously, to thoroughly clean your system of bloat, you'll need root, but you're not completely powerless if you're unwilling to. Said otherwise, this is a quick guide suitable for Android beginners. Step 1. Navigate to Settings > Apps > slide to All. Hunt down the offending app that you want put to rest and press the Disable button. Step 2. You'll get prompted whether you're sure that you want to disable the given app. This can't hurt your phone permanently, as you can always revert the change, not to mention that essential processes are protected against this. Just go ahead and click 'OK'. You may be prompted to uninstall any updates made to the app, just okay that too -- should you wish to enable the app again, it'll automatically find its update off the Play Store after a while. Lastly, you need to click 'Force Stop' to actually kill the app's background process. Alternatively, you can simply reboot your phone. Step 3. Now that you've successfully disabled an offending app, you should probably bar it from using your notification bar as a toy by removing the check from the 'Show notifications' box. Furthermore, if you're not planning on using the app any time soon, you can go ahead and delete app data, which will free up some space by deleting the sometimes obscene amounts of data they keep handy. Step 4. Once you've disabled your first app, another column will be created in the Settings > Apps menu, which will show you all the disabled apps in one centralized place. This arrangement will not necessarily look this exact same way on your device -- some versions of Android list disabled apps at the very bottom of the 'All' column. As you can see, Google+, when disabled, no longer shows up on your homescreen/app drawer. Voila! Source
  7. One of the reasons why we were so excited about the “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie was the fact that it was being made with the Dolby Atmos technology. Now imagine watching the movie on your tablet or smartphone with the same Dolby Atmos sound effect! Dolby has found a way to ‘trick’ your brains into thinking that surround sound is possible via headphones and tablets. The reason why we enjoy movies more at a Dolby Atmos-equipped theater is because of the immersive sound experience. It’s like you actually hear the bullet whizzing past your ear or the horses galloping from one end of the screen to the other. The Atmos technology gives the sound artiste the creative freedom to choose where they want to place the sound components. For example, they may choose to make the sound ‘move’ from the left of the screen to the ceiling of the theatre and then back to the right. Replicating this sound effect for smartphones and tablets sounds a bit complicated, but apparently its not. Joel Susal, who is Dolby Laboratories Product Manager for Mobile, says that the same theatre experience can be replicated for the mobile devices thanks to the algorithms that Dolby has developed. The tech made its appearance at the Mobile World Congress and explained how a dedicated audio processor chip or an ARM processor core running the algorithms can replicate the Atmos effect. Essentially, the brain is ‘tricked’ into thinking the sound is in 3 D, when in fact it isn’t. Since the audio is naturally streaming in from the earphones, the listener feels like the sound is coming in from a specific direction in the third-dimension, due to the new mobile audio technology. According to Dolby via CNET, This technology is compatible with most devices and requires an OS that is using the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip. Although the Dolby mobile partners for this tech are not yet clear, we are hopeful to see its first draft ready by this year end. Source
  8. LG is planning to skip the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update for some of its smartphones and move them straight to the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. According to the report, many of LG's devices will be going straight to Android 4.4, skipping right over Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 in most cases. Among the models cited by our source are the LG Optimus F3, LG Optimus F6, LG G Pad 8.3 (including Verizon model), LG G Pro Lite, LG Optimus F7, LG-D315 (unannounced), LG LS740 (LG Optimus F3 successor), LG Optimus L9 II, LG Optimus Vu II, LG Vu III, and LG G Flex. The LG Optimus 4X HD will be sticking at Android 4.1.2. That is a model that is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. Source
  9. Jolla is an independent phone maker from Finland formed by a number of ex-Nokia staff. Its first Sailfish OS device is a mid-range handset with a low-resolution qHD (960 x 540) 4.5-inch display, LTE, an 8-megapixel camera, 16GB of internal storage, and microSD support. Jolla's phone will be priced at €399 (roughly $535 including sales tax), considerably more than similar devices, but the Finnish company is hoping the draw of a new OS will win consumers in its home country over. The company has partnered with local carrier DNA to peddle its wares, and we'll find out soon enough if this valiant effort to introduce a new OS into such a mature market will be successful. One thing in its favor is that Finland's only other smartphone maker — Nokia — is selling its device business to Microsoft, meaning there's a chance that, in its home market at least, Jolla could cash in on some national pride. There's no word on a precise launch date outside of Finland yet, but the company has previously said it aims to sell its device across Europe before the end of 2013. Jolla was founded by ex Nokia staff and hopes to become the new company to cheer for in Finland. You can check out a walkthrough video of Sailfish OS below. Original Article
  10. Mobile manufacturing companies like Samsung and LG are exploring the option of installing a killer switch in their handsets (Smartphones and Tablets) to make them non operable if stolen. "Data from the National Policy Agency show the number of reported smartphone thefts rose 457% to 31,075 last year from 5,575 in 2009. The Korea Customs Service also blocked attempts to smuggle 1,887 smartphones out of the country last year, more than 10 times the 2010 tally of 131 phones.” quoted WSJ. Most of the stolen devices are smuggled out the country and sold at a cheaper price. The functionality of the new feature can be guessed, the new killer switch would ensure that as soon as the phone is stolen it would erase all the data from the phone and become inaccessible to any carrier. When we use a phone it can be authenticated by our finger print scanning. This new technology can supposedly be used to develop the killer switch, which will be of a major requirement in the coming days. Pantech, a South Korean mobile manufacturer, has become the first to introduce this feature in to mobile phones. Through which we can privately secure messages and photos. But the spokesperson of the company believes that most of their user are not aware of this feature and more decent amounts of awareness regarding the safety issues need to be brought in user circles. And moreover there is a lot of pressure on mobile manufacturing companies from American prosecutors to adopt this feature by 2014. Information loss and threat due to theft is a huge concern in United States, which is generally considered as a mother market for any new idea or technology either to launch or test. Original Article
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