Rumour: Apple iWatch to launch this year

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Mar 042013


Rumours that Apple is working on a wearable device refuse to die down. A team of over 100 people led by none other than Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, is now hard at work on this so-called iWatch. Bloomberg today reports that Apple is looking to have the device out this year. The Verge corroborates the report, adding additional details as well.

The iWatch remains in development at this time. Rather than leveraging the iPod nano’s touch interface, Apple is reportedly adapting its iOS operating system to work on the watch. Battery life also remains a concern with Apple hoping to have the iWatch last up to five days between charges but only managing about 2 so far.

Features that Apple could give its iWatch include the ability to let users make calls, check map coordinates as well as typical phone capabilities such as call display. It could also include a pedometer and sensors to track health-related information such as heart rate.

Apple expects that the iWatch could be more profitable than its other much-anticipated project, an iTV. Gross margins for the global watch industry average about 60 percent. While Apple may not see similar profits, it would still benefit from significant ones. According to Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen, this could be a US$6 billion opportunity for Apple with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod — something consumers didn’t even know they needed.”

Is an iWatch or similar gadget in your future? Sound off below.

Read more: Bloomberg and The Verge

Image: Is this the HTC One?

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Feb 112013

Another day, another HTC One (also known as the HTC M7) rumour. The usually reliable @evleaks is back today with a leaked press render of the HTC One:

Rumoured HTC One

The image is very similar to one leaked in mid-January. The major difference is that this time we see the screen and the new HTC Sense 5 user interface. It also shows a new navigation key configuration that drops the multitasking button, keeping only the Back and Home ones. It also hints at an aluminum chassis.

HTC is expected to unveil the HTC One as its latest flagship at a dedicated event on February 19th. Aside from its rumoured 1.7GHz quad-core processor, Google Android Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5.0 and 4.7-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display, it will reportedly sport a new “ultrapixel” camera with three 4.3MP sensor layers.

Read more: @evleaks [via Twitter]

Samsung to announce Galaxy S IV on March 15th?

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Feb 102013

If most rumours agree that Samsung will use a dedicated event to unveil its next flagship smartphone, they cannot agree on when this event will take place. According to SamMobile, which has proven reliable in the past, the event will in fact take place on March 15th. Its “trusted insider” adds that the Unpacked event will take place at a “still top-secret” location.

The report adds that event invitations will be sent out when the Mobile World Congress wraps up. At the event, Samsung will unveil the Samsung Galaxy S IV (model GT-I9500) in black and white variants. The Galaxy S IV will then go on sale in early April but not globally. It appears that North America will have to wait until May or June.

Reinforcing the April launch, a number of accessories, including a number of cases and a wireless charging kit, are expected to launch in calendar week 15 which just happens to fall in early April.

The Samsung Galaxy S IV is expected to come with Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa processor with Mali-T658 GPU, Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, a 4.99-inch Full HD (1920×1080) Super AMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera and a 2,600mAh battery.

Read more: SamMobile

Eastlink to launch wireless network on February 15th?

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Feb 092013

Canada could have a new carrier by the end of the next week. According to TechVibes, Eastlink will finally launch its wireless network on February 15th. Initial coverage will include Nova Scotia, the company’s home province, and Prince Edward Island.

At one point, Eastlink had been expected to launch its wireless network in 2011. But it has not been in a rush to launch with company CEO Lee Bragg explaining last year that, “There’s no first to market advantage for us, we’re not in a big panic. We really want to do this right.”

There are no specific details about the launch yet (especially as Eastlink has not announced it yet). Information about devices available, plans offered will come with the imminent announcement. With Eastlink offering other services such as cable and internet to customers, you can count the company offering new service bundles that include wireless.

Read more: TechVibes

Has Google sold 1 million Nexus 4 smartphones?

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Feb 082013

Google Nexus 4Google Nexus 4 sales may just have topped one million units. The announcement comes not from Google or LG but from xda-developers where some enterprising forum users developed a formula that lets them to estimate how many smartphones have been manufactured based on crowd-sourced IMEI numbers. It so happens that a recent submission suggests that the million unit milestone has been reached. According to forum user draugaz who has been tracking the numbers:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have just reached the millionth device!

(of course just judging by serial number, i.e. minus gaps)

ATURBK 302KPSL999998 20130205 TURKEY

Which means, IMEI prefix 35391805* is now officially complete and the next one will be started.

The same tool has been used to estimate production run totals by month. The results show that from a run of 70,000 in October, LG has ramped production up to 550,000 or more in January.

Considering that the Google Nexus 4 has been sold out more often than available and that it only went on sale just over two months ago, the million unit milestone is pretty impressive. With production volumes catching up to demand and availability being expanded to carriers (Videotron and WIND Mobile now offer it in Canada), we may be hearing about new sales milestones in the near future.

Read more: xda-developers (Source: TechCrunch)

HTC M7 to launch as HTC One?

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Feb 082013

The usually reliable @evleaks today tweeted that the HTC M7, likely to be HTC’s next flagship device, will launch as the HTC One.

The HTC One is expected to be announced on February 19th at a dedicated HTC event. It could launch with at least three major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

The HTC One could also launch with a new type of camera with three 4.3MP sensor layers to deliver images built from “ultrapixels.”

Read more: @evleaks [via Twitter]

Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 spotted at supplier?

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Feb 082013

The rumoured Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 are the topic of rumour again. According to a post on the Chinese Sina Weibo microblogging site, both devices were apparently spotted at an Apple supplier in China. Pictures were not allowed for fear that they would later be leaked (fancy that!).

According to the person who saw both devices, the iPhone 5S is described as very similar to the iPhone 5 while the iPhone 6 is wider, longer and thinner. The Google translation is not very clear but appears to suggest that the iPhone 6 could sport a 5-inch display. Past rumours have indicated that Apple was working on a new iPhone with a larger display. Could the iPhone 6 be none other than the mysterious “iPhone Math” with its 4.8-inch display?

The report adds that both devices should launch this year but gives no specific details. Earlier rumours have suggested that the iPhone 5S may come out in the March-July timeframe with a second model to follow later in the year. Apple could also release a third model but was not mentioned in this latest rumour.

Read more: CNET

Full specifications of ASUS Fonepad revealed?

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Feb 072013

More details are now surfacing about the ASUS Fonepad, a 7-inch tablet that could come with voice and data connectivity. First, there an image of the back of the device showing an aluminium casing and an Intel logo that confirms which company is supplying the processor:

Rumoured ASUS Fonepad

A number of specification details have also been revealed. These align well with previous details.

Rumoured ASUS Fonepad specifications:

  • Model: ME371MG
  • Processor: 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 with PowerVR SGX540 GPU
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Display: 7-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8/16/32GB onboard and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 3MP
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2
  • Battery: 4,270mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 196.6 × 120.1 × 10.4 millimeters / 340 grams

ASUS may unveil the Fonepad as early as MWC 2013 with availability to follow in the second quarter.

Read more: (in Bulgarian) [Google translation] (Source: UnwiredView)

Next-generation Google Nexus 7 to use Qualcomm S4 Pro processor?

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Feb 072013
Google Nexus

More changes appear to be in store for the next-generation Google Nexus 7 than had been originally reported. You can now add a change of processor to earlier rumours that it will gain a Full HD (1920×1080) display and thinner bezels. According to Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell, Google and ASUS will drop the NVDIA Tegra 3 processor in favour of a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro AQP8064 SoC for the upcoming tablet.

The report provides two reasons for the potential change:

“Supply chain conversations indicate two reasons for Google’s selection of the Snapdragon APQ8064 over Tegra 4: (1) competitive pricing and (2) a decision to single-source the application processor and 3G/4G modem to simplify logistics and create a fully pin-compatible platform interface.”

Google is expected to unveil its latest Nexus 7 tablet at Google I/O 2013 in May. Shipments would follow sometime in the second quarter (likely in the late May to early June time frame). Pacific Crest estimates that Google could ship up to 10 million next-generation Nexus 7 tablets between its launch and Q1 2014.

Google already uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro for its Google Nexus 4 smartphone manufactured by LG.

Read more: Barron’s (Source: UnwiredView)

Rumour: ASUS to launch 7-inch Fonepad at MWC 2013

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Feb 072013

It appears that ASUS can’t get enough of the 7-inch tablet form factor. Aside from manufacturing Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, it offers its own entry-level ASUS MeMO Pad. Digitimes is reporting that it could unveil a third model, called the Fonepad (not to be confused with the Padfone which is also the topic of recent rumours), at MWC 2013.

Unlike most other 7-inch tablets, the ASUS Fonepad would support 3G connectivity (voice and data), GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Other specifications include an Intel Atom Z242 processor,a 7-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS display, 1GB RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, and a 3MP camera. Most intriguing is the suggestion that it will have voice capabilities. Perhaps it will come with a Bluetooth headset as holding up a tablet to your head is nothing if not cumbersome.

The ASUS Fonepad will reportedly be priced in the US$300 range. ASUS would presumably focus on its voice capabilities to distinguish it from similarly-priced tablets (including the 3G version of the Google Nexus 7) but its lower processor and display specs may work against it.

We should know more at MWC 2013 should the ASUS Fonepad turn out to be real.

Read more: Digitimes

Google Android 4.2.2 to launch as early as mid-February?

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Feb 052013
Google Android

Ahead of the expected launch of the next major version of Android at Google I/O in May, Google is reportedly readying another Jelly Bean update. According to The International Business Times, Android 4.2.2 is currently undergoing testing internally on a variety of Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and the older Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It was first spotted back in early January on a Nexus 4.

The update is described as “minuscule at best.” New features are likely to be kept for Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Instead, Android 4.2.2 will instead focus on bug fixes and security enhancements. A changelog is not yet available but one fix mentioned will address the Bluetooth streaming issue on the Nexus 7.

Android 4.2.2 is reportedly set to launch in “a couple of weeks” with a release window of mid-February to mid-March.

Read more: The International Business Times (Source: BGR)

HTC M7 to use “ultrapixels” camera sensor?

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Feb 042013

HTC’s next flagship device, the HTC M7, will use a new “ultrapixels” camera sensor that promises to take much better pictures than we are used to from our smartphones. Past rumours have suggested that the HTC M7 would come with a 13MP camera but Pocket-lint has learned that the camera will instead come with three 4.3MP sensor layers (adding up roughly to the rumoured 13MP figure) that will work together to deliver a single image.

Effectively, each final pixel, or “ultrapixel” as HTC will describe it, will be generated using the data from all three sensors. The image generated will not be as large as that of a 13MP camera but promises to be crisper and cleaner and offer better colour accuracy.

Similar techniques have been used by other companies with other devices to achieve similar results. Notable in this category is the Nokia 808 PureView with its 41MP camera sensor.

HTC will make its new Ultrapixel sensor a key feature of the HTC M7 when it is announced. The name will presumably help distinguish it from more traditional higher pixel cameras and emphasize the uniqueness of what it offers.

HTC is expected to unveil the HTC M7 at a press event set for February 19th.

Read more: Pocket-lint

MWC 2013: Mozilla press conference set for February 24th

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Feb 042013

Mozilla today sent out invitations for a press conference that will take place on February 24th, the day before MWC 2013 officially opens. It confirms that Mozilla will not only attend but also exhibiting something at the event:

Mozilla MWC 2013 press conference invitation

The invitation makes no mention of what Mozilla plans to announce but there’s a good chance it will have something to do with its Firefox OS. It recently announced two developer smartphones, the Keon and the Peak, which are developed by Spain’s Geeksphone in partnership with Telefonica.

While Firefox OS is still under development, the launch of developer phones suggests that it is in the final stretch. Could Mozilla formally announce Firefox OS at MWC 2013? We’ll know later this month.

Read more: CNET

ASUS MeMO Pad 10 press shots leaked ahead of MWC 2013 announcement?

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Feb 032013

ASUS last month launched the entry-level ASUS MeMO Pad, a 7-inch tablet priced below most 7-inch tablets including the Nexus 7 (which it manufactures for Google). Leaked press shots now suggest that it is about to complement this tablet with a 10.1-inch model. Much as its smaller sibling, the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will reportedly also target a lower price point than similarly sized tablets.

Rumoured ASUS MeMO Pad 10

Along with the leaked press shots, Dutch website TabletsMagazine reports that the ASUS MeMO Pad 10 will be powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It will come with a 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS display, 1GB RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and a microSD card reader, front and rear cameras and USB and HDMI ports. It will be available in blue, white and pink. Unlike the ASUS Transformer tablets, it will not have any docking functionality.

Despite the fact that an announcement is reportedly set for MWC 2013, some Dutch are apparently already taking pre-orders for the MeMO Pad 10 for €299 (about CA$405).

Read more: TabletsMagazine (in Dutch) [Google translation] (Source: AndroidCentral)

Samsung to unveil Galaxy S IV at dedicated event after MWC 2013?

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Feb 032013

This one should not come as a surprise. Despite some rumours that Samsung will unveil the Samsung Galaxy S IV at MWC 2013, most have suggested instead that Samsung would use a dedicated Unpacked event much as it did last year with the Galaxy S III. You can now add CNET to the list for the latter hypothesis. According to “a person familiar with its launch plans,” Samsung will not make any major announcements at MWC 2013 and will instead hold a separate event for its latest flagship smartphone. This would certainly explain some of its recent announcements such as the Galaxy Express and Galaxy Xcover 2.

Most recently, Samsung used dedicated events to unveil the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II (among others). It’s a growing trend among manufacturers who use such events to give their products as much attention as possible both from the media as well as consumers. BlackBerry did so this week for the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 and HTC is holding an event on February 19th just days ahead of Mobile World Congress.

Most rumours expect that Samsung’s Galaxy S IV event will take place sometime between March and April.

Read more: CNET