MWC 2012: Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available for download

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Feb 292012
 

Microsoft today announced that a preview edition of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system is now available as a free download to anyone interested. Designed to work on tablets as well as traditional PCs, its most eye-catching change is the introduction of the tile-based Metro interface.

“With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. “The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC.”

Microsoft Windows 8 Start screen

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview also introduces a beta version of the Windows Store, which offers a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. These will all be free during the Consumer Preview.

Windows 8 also introduces tighter integration between Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone devices and Internet Explorer 10 Preview 5 which promises a “new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices.”

Microsoft Windows 8 User Interface

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is a free download available in English, French, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese languages. Just remember that it is still beta software!

Read more: Microsoft

Mobilicity outlines spectrum auction position through “Twist” cartoon

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Feb 292012
 

Mobilicity today stated its position on the upcoming Canadian wireless spectrum auction with the following cartoon:

Twist: Mobilicity on the 2012 spectrum auction

Click for a larger version

Mobilicity President and CEO Stewart Lyons painted a grim picture if the government does not set aside spectrum for the smaller players: “For Mobilicity, acquiring more spectrum in the upcoming Federal Government auction is a must-have – not a nice-to-have. Our current 3G technology uses our entire 10MHz of spectrum and we need more to expand and introduce new technologies, such as LTE.” He added that the incumbent carriers (Bell, Rogers and TELUS) already own more spectrum than any other carrier in the world and that much of that was given to them for free back in 1985 (and worth as much as CA$20 billion according to recent estimates from the SeaBoard Group).

Industry Canada has yet to outline the rules that will govern the upcoming spectrum auction expected to take place in late 2012 or early 2013.

Read more: Mobilicity

MWC 2012: ZTE announces quad-core ZTE Era

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Feb 292012
 

ZTE EraZTE this week announced the ZTE Era, its first quad-core smartphone and its latest flagship device. Together with the other devices it introduced at Mobile World Congress, ZTE hopes that it will help it become one of the top three handset provider by 2015.

“The numbers speak for themselves. With 50 percent growth in handset shipments and 400 percent growth in smartphone shipments, we are confident that we are entering a new era in the mobile terminal market. The ZTE Era captures the excitement we feel about the future and brings it to life in a fantastic new device,” said Mr. He Shiyou, Executive Vice President and Head of the Terminals Division at ZTE.

ZTE Era specifications:

  • Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA+
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (540×960)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Connectors: microUSB
  • Dimensions: 7.8mm thin

ZTE will launch the ZTE Era in Europe and China in the second half of 2012. There is no word on North American availability.

Read more: ZTE

Sony Xperia arc S now available at select Rogers stores

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Feb 292012
 

Sony Xperia arc SSony Mobile Canada today announced via Twitter that the Sony Xperia arc S, the successor to the Xperia arc (and not to be confused with the Xperia S), is now available in Canada at “select Rogers stores”.

If you loved the #Xperiaarc, the faster, stronger #XperiaarcS is now available at select #Rogers stores across Canada.

Sony Xperia arc S specifications:

  • Processor: 1.4GHz Snapdragon
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and quad-band HSPA
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA
  • Display: 4.2-inch FWVGA (854×480)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB
  • Storage: 1GB RAM onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 8.1MP AF with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack
  • Dimensions / weight: 125 x 63 x 8.7 millimeters / 117 grams

The Sony Xperia arc S is not yet available through Rogers’ website.

Read more: Sony Mobile via Twitter

Microsoft testing dual-core Snapdragon Windows Phone 8 device?

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Feb 292012
 

Microsoft Windows PhoneWith rumours already suggesting that Windows Phone 8 will support multi-core processors, it should not come as a surprise that Microsoft has begun testing the 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset. According to The Verge, Microsoft is working on getting at least one Windows Phone 8 device ready for release by the end of the year.

The report adds that Sprint is interested in this device and has already shared its LTE specification with Nokia, suggesting that this device would be launched as a Lumia model. Sprint may also pass on the current crop of Windows Phone 7.5 devices and wait for this new device.

Asked about potential Windows Phone Snapdragon S4 devices, Qulacomm would only say that it has a “strong” relationship with Microsoft and that it has been “amazed” by Microsoft’s use of the Snapdragon capabilities. It also confirmed that “there’s no structural problem” preventing Windows Phone from running multi-core processors.

Microsoft could launch Windows Phone 8 by the end of the year but most devices using it are not expected until early 2013.

Read more: The Verge

MWC 2012: Samsung named “Device Manufacturer of the Year” and GALAXY S II “Best Smartphone”

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Feb 282012
 

GSMASamsung picked up two awards today as the GSMA announced the winners of its Annual Global Mobile awards at Mobile World Congress.

“The 2012 Global Mobile Awards continue to showcase the greatest, most creative and innovative products and services driving the mobile ecosystem today and into the future. With a record number of high calibre entries this year, it is a significant achievement to have been honoured in today’s ceremony,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The GSMA congratulates winners and commends all those taking part for raising the benchmark of contributions to mobile communications across the entire industry.”

Samsung was named “Device Manufacturer of the Year” and its Samsung Galaxy S II won the “Best Smartphone” award. According to JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division:

“We are pleased to receive this honor from GSMA and believe that it’s a testament to Samsung’s innovation, quality products, and attention to consumer preferences. We sold over 97 million smartphones in 2011, demonstrating that this is the right approach.”

Other notable winners include the following:

  • Best Mobile Tablet: Apple iPad 2
  • Best Mobile App for Consumers: Rovio Angry Birds Rio
  • Best Consumer Mobile Service: Google Maps for Android

Congratulations to Samsung and all the other winners!

Read more: GSMA

HTC and LG looking to build Jelly Bean Nexus device

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Feb 282012
 

Google AndroidWhile manufacturers are just getting started with Android 4.0 device announcements (there have a few this week), at least two of them already have their eye on the next major version of Android and the Nexus device likely to accompany its release.

Two days ago, LG confirmed its interest to CNET:

“We’re having discussions,” Ramchan Woo, head of LG’s smartphone division, told CNET in an interview. “We’re working on it.”

LG will not be alone though. It now appears that HTC, the manufacturer of the very first Nexus device, is also interested in reclaiming the honour. HTC’s global online communications manager, Jeff Gordon, told TechRadar that it is also hoping to be the one chosen:

“Google hasn’t chosen its Nexus partner for (Android) Jellybean as yet. So right now all the manufacturers are crossing their fingers.”

As Gordon points out, I don’t think that LG and HTC are the only ones talking to Google. Being selected to manufacture a Nexus device is not only a bragging right but could also give the company earlier access to Android 5.0 and likely allow it to have other models ready sooner than competitors.

Who would you like to see manufacture the next Nexus smartphone?

Read more: CNET and TechRadar

MWC 2012: Nokia announces Nokia 808 PureView with 41MP camera sensor

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Feb 282012
 

Nokia 808 PureViewNokia’s PureView teaser did not do justice to yesterday’s MWC announcement. The manufacturer announced the Nokia Belle OS-powered Nokia 808, the first device to feature its PureView imaging technologies. The Nokia 808 PureView will come with a 41MP camera sensor. No, that’s not a typo!

“Nokia PureView imaging technology sets a new industry standard by whatever measure you use,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices. “People will inevitably focus on the 41 megapixel sensor, but the real quantum leap is how the pixels are used to deliver breath-taking image quality at any resolution and the freedom it provides to choose the story you want to tell.”

Nokia 808 PureView:

  • Processor: 1.3GHz
  • Operating system: Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/EDGE and penta-band WCDMA/HSPA (HSDPA: 14.4Mbps / HSUPA: 5.76Mbps)
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS/GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4-inch 16:9 nHD (640×360) AMOLED ClearBlack
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 41MP AF with Nokia Pureview Pro imaging technology, f/2.4 aperture and Carl Zeiss optics
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: 1400mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 millimeters / 169 grams

The Nokia 808 PureView, by default, captures 5MP images that promise reduced noise and improved image quality due to the oversampling used. A full 38MP image mode can also be enabled.

Nokia expects to launch the Nokia 808 PureView in May. It will sell for about €450 (USD$605).

Read more: Nokia

Apple to hold March 7th press event: iPad 3 announcement?

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Feb 282012
 

Apple today began to send out invitations for a press event on March 7th where it is expected to introduce its next-generation iPad. The event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California.

Apple March 2012 press event

Is the “have to see” quote a veiled reference to the high-resolution Retina Display, offering a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, that is expected on the next iPad.

Past rumours have also suggested that the latest iPad could come with either an updated dual or quad-core A5 or a new A6 processor, potential LTE connectivity and a dual-bar LED backlighting system. iOS 5.1 could also be introduced alongside.

TELUS pricing for Nokia Lumia 800 revealed?

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Feb 282012
 

Nokia Lumia 800The TELUS Mobility pricing for the Nokia Lumia 800 has been revealed ahead of its March 2nd launch date. A screenshot obtained by MobileSyrup shows the following pricing:

  • Three-year contract: CA$49.99
  • Two-year contract: CA$429.99
  • One-year contract: CA$479.99
  • No contract: CA$529.99

TELUS will offer the Nokia Lumia 800 in three colours: Black, Cyan or Magenta

Read more: MobileSyrup

MWC 2012: Details on Windows Phone Tango

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Feb 282012
 

Microsoft Windows PhoneWithout officially confirming the Tango update, Microsoft announced that its Windows Phone operating system has been optimized for lower-specification devices. The update supports the cheaper Qualcomm 7x27a SoC and requires only 256MB to deliver “the buttery-smooth Windows Phone experience.” It also promises to run “nearly all of the applications available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.”

With Windows Phone, we’ve done the engineering so that nearly all of the current apps will just work on these new phones. Those apps that do need more power are flagged in the Marketplace so if you have one of these new phones with less memory you won’t unknowingly download an app that won’t run well.

The Tango update also adds a number of MMS features, including support for video and multiple images and a new voice notes feature allowing you to record one minute audio snippets.It also includes new language support for Malay and Indonesian, network requirements for China and an SMS bug fix.

According to The Verge, the Tango update will be pushed out to existing handsets but the timeline has not yet been finalized.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog and The Verge

MWC 2012: Corning Gorilla Glass 2 devices coming this quarter

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Feb 282012
 

Corning Glass yesterday announced that shipments to manufacturers of its new Gorilla Glass 2 have now begun. Introduced at CES 2012, Gorilla Glass 2 promises to be as tough and resistant to scratches as the original Gorilla Glass despite being up to 20 percent thinner.

“Corning’s new glass composition, Gorilla Glass 2, enables slimmer and sleeker devices, brighter images, and greater touch sensitivity, providing an ideal solution for the newest, most sophisticated smartphones, tablets, and personal computers,” said David R. Velasquez, global director, Marketing and Commercial Operations, Corning Gorilla Glass.

Corning expects that the first devices to use Gorilla Glass 2 will be out this quarter. No specific devices or manufacturers were named in the press release.

Since its release in 2007, Corning Gorilla Glass has been used by more than 30 major brands in more than 600 devices with shipments now topping over 600 million units worldwide.

Read more: Corning

MWC 2012: ASUS introduces Transformer Pad 300 and Transformer Pad Infinity

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Feb 272012
 

ASUS today announced two new tablets as it rebrands its Transformer tablet family. With netbooks fading in relevance, ASUS has decided to drop the Eee from its tablet names and future tablets will be known as Transformer Pads. The latest ASUS Transformers are the Transformer Pad 300, the first quad-core LTE tablet, and the Transformer Pad Infinity. As rumours suggested, the former is the first in a budget line of tablets while the latter is the first in the higher-end Pad Infinity lineup.

ASUS Transformer Pad 300ASUS Transformer Pad 300 specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L with 12-core GeForce 12-core GPU
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: None (Wi-Fi only), 3G or 4G options
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v3.0
  • Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) LED IPS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, optional full QWERTY keyboard mobile dock
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2MP with f/2.2 aperture

ASUS Transformer Pad InfinityASUS Transformer Pad Infinity specifications:

  • Processor (Wi-Fi only): 1.6GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 T33
  • Processor (3G /LTE): 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: None (Wi-Fi only), 3G or 4G options
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR & Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Display: 10.1-inch FHD (1920×1200) Super IPS+
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, optional full QWERTY keyboard mobile dock
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard options and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with flash, f2.2 aperture, BSI
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Connectors: 2-in-1 audio jack, micro HDMI port
  • Battery:
  • Dimensions / weight: 263×180.8×8.5 millimeters / 586 grams

The Transformer Pad Infinity is set to ship sometime in Q2 with the Transformer Pad 300 to follow later on. Pricing details were not provided.

Read more: ASUS Transformer Pad 300 and ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity

MWC 2012: ASUS relaunches PadFone

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Feb 272012
 

ASUS PadfoneFirst announced last May, ASUS today reintroduced the ASUS PadFone at Mobile World Congress. The concept behind the device has not changed: The 4.3-inch smartphone can be docked and transformed into the PadFone Station, a 10.1-inch tablet.

ASUS Padfone specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 8260A
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA+ (21Mbps / 5.76Mbps)
  • Other connectivity: GPS/A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard options and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF with flash, f/2.2 aperture and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Battery: 1520mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 128 x 65.4 x 9.2 millimeters / 129 grams

ASUS now expects the updated Padfone to begin shipping in April. The price and specific availability details were not revealed.

Read more: ASUS

Rumour: Samsung Galaxy S III specifications revealed

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Feb 272012
 

SamsungOnly days ago, we learned that the upcoming Samsung was allegedly planning a global launch for the Galaxy S III. The same report also indicated that it would come with a 4.8-inch display and a ceramic back. BGR has now learned new details about the device’s specifications:

Rumoured Samsung Galaxy S III specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE
  • Display: 4.8-inch “full HD” 1080p with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Other: Ceramic case

For its part, Samsung has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S III will not be unveiled at MWC but will get its own event sometime “in the first half of the year.”

Read more: BGR