Tag Archive | "smartphone"

Galaxy J7 Plus leaks: check out Samsung’s next dual camera smartphone

In case you hadn’t heard, Samsung just revealed its first dual camera smartphone on Wednesday with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It’s a new venture for the manufacturer, but the Note 8 is expected to be the first of many Samsung phones to implement such tech.

Though Samsung’s next flagship, the rumored Galaxy S9, will also no doubt feature a dual camera setup when it’s released next year, you might not have to wait so long to get your hands on a sub-$ 900 device with two cameras from the South Korean manufacturer.

Thanks to a leak from Thai website ThaiMobileCenter (via GSMArena), we’ve got our hands on a few details regarding what could be Samsung’s second dual camera device, the Galaxy J7 Plus.

Before we talk about the camera hardware, first, a rundown of the other specs: according to the leaked press materials, the J7 Plus will house a 5.5-inch, 1080p, AMOLED display, octa-core 2.4 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 256 GB via microSD card.

The handset also includes a fingerprint scanner, 3,000 mAh battery, and will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box with Samsung Bixby support.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 vs Galaxy Note Fan Edition quick look

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The J7 Plus sounds like a decent midrange handset, but where it may excel is in photography. Reportedly, the J7 Plus will include a dual camera coming with a 13 MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture and a 5 MP sensor with a f/1.9 aperture. What’s more, the “Live Focus” portrait feature introduced with the Galaxy Note 8 — which utilizes both lenses to make subjects stand out from their backgrounds — is also said to be present on the J7 Plus. As for the type of autofocus or if optical image stabilization is included, we don’t yet know.

On the front of the handset, you’ll find a 16 MP camera with f/1.9 aperture, which should provide for some detailed snaps.

The J7 Plus features a metal unibody and is coming in black, pink, and gold color variants. It’s not clear whether it will be sold outside of Asian territories, though the Galaxy J7 V and J7 Perx did make it to US carriers earlier this year. ThaiMobileCenter says the official price and release date will be announced soon.

What are your first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy J7 Plus? Let us know in the comments.

Android Authority

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Are we ready for a smartphone for hardcore gamers?

The gaming phone has had a turbulent history. Be it with the Nokia N-Gage, the Acer Predator 6, or the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, the experiment has never quite worked out. Meanwhile, many dedicated handheld gaming devices have proved successful since the original Game Boy, with the Nintendo Switch as recently as this year once again proving the potential of the gaming handheld.

We reported yesterday on rumors regarding a potential upcoming Razer handset, likely an Android phone, and one possibly targeted at “hardcore gamers.” This is not based on an official statement by Razer — it may release another Windows gaming tablet, for all we know — but it has nonetheless raised an interesting question: given the past failures and recent successes in dedicated mobile gaming hardware, are we finally ready for a smartphone for hardcore gamers?

Casual vs Hardcore

First, it might be necessary to unpack the notions of the “casual” and the “hardcore” gamer. While in the past one might use the length of time spent playing a game/games, the type of gaming system played on, the amount of money invested in gaming, and skill level, as rickety measuring sticks for discerning the type of gamer category a person fits into, these ideas are ultimately flawed. You can have gamers who want to invest time and money in video games, or want to play them well, and simply can’t.

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10 best FPS games for Android

May 9, 2017

Then there are gamers who gladly straddle these distinctions: I have both completed Dark Souls and spent most of my time this year playing 5-minute stints of Dig Deep!. In which category do I fit?

The terms are nebulous and frequently debated, but for simplicity, I’ll use them in this article. Just consider that when I write hardcore I mean “relating to a desire for depth” rather than “the time one spends playing games” or “skill level.”

The graphics myth

The market for mobile gaming is significant: Google Play Store game download figures tell us that. But current Android phones are already highly capable when it comes to playing the vast majority of games on offer at the Play Store — it would be harder to find a game that a four or so year old phone couldn’t run than one it could.

In other words, if a gamer-focused phone could only take advantage of games in the Google Play Store, it wouldn’t have much more to offer than any other flagship phone (unless it arrives at a comparatively low price, that is or is built with gaming ergonomics).

Better graphics does not guarantee that a product will appeal to a hardcore gamer. You don’t need to have particularly strong hardware to create so-called hardcore experiences. Look at, say, Dwarf Fortress compared to UNKILLED in the screenshots below (that’s UNKILLED on the bottom, there).

Which would you say has “better” graphics. Which would you say is more likely to provide a “hardcore” experience? That’s an obvious example, but if you look back to the likes of the 8-bit NES era you will find games that offer much deeper gameplay than titles found on far more powerful modern smartphones.

Essentially, you can’t have a hardcore gaming device without hardcore games; what’s an Alienware Area 51 that can only play Kitty Cat Clicker?


If a flagship phone and a Bluetooth speaker can already take advantage of what most current mobile games offer on an audio/visual level, what else could a gamer-focused smartphone offer? Here are some suggestions:

  • Dedicated games
  • Internet connectivity optimizations to ensure smooth online play
  • Upgrade options (like swapping out the GPU/CPU)
  • Additional buttons (shoulder buttons/D-pad)
  • Mouse/keyboard/controller support
  • 4K display/surround sound?

(Dedicated gaming laptops, like those Razer already manufactures, also usually target features like better battery life, lower-noise, better cooling systems, less weight, and slimmer profiles in each new iteration. But, with the exception of better battery life, these aren’t likely to be important factors in a gaming smartphone.)

Razer may try to implement one or more of the items listed above into a gaming phone, and, of those, control might be one of the better areas on which to focus. Online seems stable enough, CPU/GPU swapping would be difficult, and audio/visual improvements can, as previously discussed, only be taken so far.

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10 best card games for Android

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Unlike graphics/sound, control really can be a barrier to getting the full experience of a title, creating the difference between playing it and mastering it, and it’s a fundamental concern when porting games to smartphones. Coming from PC or console input to a touchscreen can all but destroy a game, as it lacks the precision of other types of input. It’s to the Nintendo Switch’s credit that it houses a touchscreen and additional controls.

This — better control — is an area where Razer really does have an opportunity to offer something credible to the hardcore smartphone gaming crowd. But a controller’s usefulness also relies on the game: precise control means nothing on a title like Candy Crush and everything on a game like Downwell — and your Downwells are vastly outnumbered in Google Play. Not to mention the haphazard means of even finding controller-supported titles.

Which leads me to dedicated games. This could be Razer’s other route to success as it could try to bring specific titles to the smartphone with hardcore experiences in mind. Developing its own titles, like Netflix, would be expensive and take forever, but Razer could try to encourage developers to make games for its system. Obtaining games that require its Razer Android device to play isn’t out of the question, though — Nvidia has done it. It’s just that, Nvidia is also bringing in billions of dollars in revenue every year thanks to its semiconductor business.

Wrap up

Cards on the table: I don’t think a dedicated gaming smartphone is a smart idea. There are still great strides to be made in mobile gaming, but unless Razer has some grand plan for mobile titles, the most high-performance hardware in the world still wouldn’t be enough to make a dedicated gaming smartphone worthwhile for the majority of people. Not if it only has the games in the Play Store to work with.

There is hope, though. Nvidia has made fine gaming tablets in the SHIELD and SHIELD Tablet K1, providing a dedicated controller, its own games market, streaming/casting, and offering up more Android updates than the majority of other smartphone manufacturers, all at a reasonable price. They also didn’t have that overblown look like many other devices built for gamers. They are tablets, however, products that you might buy as well as a phone. Owning a normal smartphone and a gaming smartphone might be a stretch.

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15 best adventure games for Android

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Here’s the crux of the matter: Is there a market for richer, PC- or console-like gaming experiences on mobile? Absolutely. Will premium smartphone hardware deliver that? Not a chance.

I’m still genuinely excited about the future prospects of mobile gaming. Honestly. I just think that if all a Razer phone does is provide a high-priced way to play the myriad piss-poor titles polluting the Play Store, it’s more than likely going to wind up as just another N-Gage. Prove me wrong Razer, please.

Android Authority

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OnePlus 5 is the company’s fastest-selling smartphone

OnePlus announced its latest flagship yesterday, which then went on sale at pop-up stores in a few cities around the world as well as online as part of what the company calls an “early drop”. It looks like demand has been high so far, as the OnePlus 5 is now the fastest-selling device the Chinese manufacturer has ever made. This has been announced on Twitter by Carl Pei, one of the founders of the company. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention how many units exactly were sold on the first day.

As you may know, the OnePlus 5 is the most expensive smartphone the company has made to date. However, this doesn’t seem to bother consumers all that much based on the fact that it’s selling better than its predecessor. Despite the price hike, it’s still an affordable device based on its specs, and costs a lot less than rival smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel XL, and others.

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At least for now, it looks like the OnePlus 5 will be quite successful on the market. Hopefully, the company will share more sales numbers with the public sometime after the device goes officially on sale, which is scheduled to happen on June 27.

In case you’ve missed it, the smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset, a dual-camera system, and starts at $ 479/€499. To learn more about it, check out our review of the OnePlus 5.

Android Authority

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Report: India to overtake the US as the second largest smartphone market by 2019


China is currently the largest smartphone market in the world, followed by the US, but it looks like things will change in the future. According to a report by Statista, in two years time, India may surpass the US to become the second largest smartphone market in the world.

India is anticipated to grab almost 15 percent of the world’s smartphone market share, while the US will drop down to third place with a market share of 10 percent. China, which currently has a 31 percent market share, is expected to remain number one.

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Why India is the next battleground for smartphone makers

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The possibility that India could surpass the US in terms of the number of smartphone users has been predicted for a while now. The demand for smartphones has been increasing in the country, thanks to affordable devices from Chinese companies including Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, just to name a few. Further, the population of India (well over 1 billion) is far larger than the population of the US (around 320 million), which is obviously an important factor.

In addition to India, the demand for smartphones is also expected to increase in other emerging markets like Brazil, for example. That’s why more and more manufacturers are trying to increase their presence in these markets. Xiaomi, for example, has opened a second factory in India, said to be capable of producing one smartphone per second during operational hours. Samsung also sees a bright future in India and has recently announced its plan to double the size of its existing production plant in the country.

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The wild and crazy John McAfee wants you to buy the “most hack-proof smartphone”

John McAfee is one of those folks that many people label as “colorful” if they are being polite, while others might use the term “crazy” or even worse if they don’t care for him. Like McAfee or not, he definitely is one of the most outspoken figures in the tech world. This week, he officially announced his next venture, which is to release a smartphone that he claims will be the most hack-proof device ever launched.

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First, a quick history lesson on McAfee. He is best known for founding McAfee Associates in 1987, which released the first commercial computer anti-virus software, also called McAfee. He left the company he founded in 1994, and since then he has put money in a number of other tech ventures, as well as other investments.

He also lived in the country of Belize for several years, and in 2012 he came into the international spotlight when the Belizean Police Department started searching for him as a “person of interest” in the murder of one of his neighbors, Gregory Viant Faull. McAfee decided to flee the country instead and ended up back the US where he still lives.

In 2016, a documentary on the Showtime cable TV network portrayed McAfee as a wild and crazy person. It alleged that he was involved in not one but two murders and that he has engaged in rape, drug use and more criminal activities. McAfee has denied the portrayal of himself in that documentary and said he planned to sue the filmmakers. It’s safe to say, however, that McAfee is not your normal, button-down tech geek or executive, no matter which version of the man you believe is real.

Now McAfee believes that, even with his own checkered background, there will be an audience for his privacy-themed smartphone. It’s officially called the John McAfee Privacy Phone, which is about as dull of a name as you could expect. The phone itself will be released by a security firm he leads called MGT. Earlier this week, he posted an image of what he called the first prototype of the Privacy Phone on his Twitter account and it clearly shows that it is running some version of Android.

Of course, we have seen claims about other Android phones that were supposed to be ultra-secure in the past, such as the Blackphone, that have never taken off in terms of sales. What will make McAfee’s Privacy Phone more hack-proof than these other devices? In a chat with Newsweek, McAfee says it’s all about the hardware in the phone. Specifically, he claims owners will be able to remove not just the battery but also the phone’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and geolocation wireless hardware, along with its camera and microphone.

He claims owners will be able to remove not just the battery but also the phone’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and geolocation wireless hardware, along with its camera and microphone.

He adds that the Privacy Phone will be protected from IMSI catcher devices that are designed to intercept mobile phone traffic and location data. Finally, the web browser in the Privacy Phone is supposed to include an anonymizer so when you search on the browser, you won’t get hit by ads.

McAfee is holding off on revealing the specific hardware specs of the Privacy Phone until the week before it is launched. That is supposed to happen sometime later this year. The phone will be priced at a hefty $ 1,100 when it is released. McAfee claims it is mostly targeting enterprise users, but he believes it will also attract buyers who simply want to have a more secure mobile phone experience. He seems very confident it will be a success, so much so that a second version of the phone is already planned for the summer of 2018, which McAfee claims “will be as hack proof as humanly possible.”

He seems very confident it will be a success, so much so that a second version of the phone is already planned for the summer of 2018, which McAfee claims

Putting aside the fact that many companies have tried and failed to push expensive privacy-themed smartphones to consumers and businesses in the past, this new venture has the added baggage of having McAfee attached to it. Really, would you want to buy a smartphone that was developed by a man who has been accused of so much illegal stuff in the past? We would be afraid that if we bought the phone, our info might be collected and used for . . . well, some bad stuff. Even if that was not the case, paying $ 1,100 for a phone with high claims of being ultra-safe to use without real proof is taking a huge risk, no matter who was selling it.

Are you interested in getting the John McAfee Privacy Phone, even with his reputation? Do you think such a phone, even with its hardware and software features, could be as secure as he claims? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Android Authority

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New drivers to lose license if caught using a smartphone behind the wheel

We all love our smartphones. They keep us entertained, connected, and always up to date with the latest news. However, when you sit behind the wheel of a car, the smartest and safest move is to put your device away and focus on the road.

There are way too many people still playing around with their devices while driving, which is why the authorities in the UK just implemented much harsher penalties. If you are caught using your smartphone while driving, you’ll now get a £200 fine as well as six points on your license. Previously, drivers only had to pay £100 and received 3 points. What this means is that new drivers will have their license revoked, as they can only lose a maximum of six points within the first two years of passing their test.

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The law is changing because of the many incidents that have happened on UK roads recently. One of these occurred in October 2016, when a truck driver killed a mother and her three children because he was using his smartphone while driving. Back in 2015, 22 people lost their lives while 99 were seriously injured in accidents caused by someone distracted by a smartphone.

According to research done by the RAC, 25 percent of drivers are using their mobile device while driving. Let’s hope that the stricter penalties will be able to lower that number in the near future.

Android Authority

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Chinese smartphone vendors dominate in emerging Southeast Asia market

Chinese manufacturers Oppo, Vivo and Huawei are giving Samsung a run for its money in the emerging South East Asia market. According to a recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the manufacturers accounted for 21% of the total market share in SEA in 2016, though Samsung still leads the pack with 23% alone.

The IDC produces regular reports on smartphone vendor market share, and for its emerging SEA tally, it includes data from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam (Singapore is grouped as a mature market).

Common among the three Chinese manufacturers currently succeeding in these territories is a focus on the photography chops of their major devices. The Oppo F1, Vivo V5 and Huawei P9 all boast impressive camera capabilities.

The IDC also notes that manufacturers’ regional marketing is a key factor in their recent successes. Oppo’s campaigns feature local celebrities as brand ambassadors, cultivating the idea of the brand as “trendy”, and predominately target millennials. Vivo (who didn’t make the top five manufacturers list) also started using local celebrities in campaigns towards the end of 2016.

Huawei, meanwhile, usually taps international celebrity ambassadors but focuses more on device features rather than relying on celebrity names themselves. The company showed a 13% year-on-year growth in the region, which should help it towards its aims of overtaking Apple in global smartphone sales in the next two years.

Samsung had similar year-on-year growth with 13.1% but it’s Oppo’s 137.5% increase that could have the South Korean giant worried.

Android Authority

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Huawei plans to launch its own Tango-based AR smartphone

The number of smartphones that come equipped with augmented reality cameras based on Google’s Tango technology can be counted on one hand so far; the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the upcoming ASUS ZenFone AR. Today, we can confirm that Huawei will join that small group and will launch a Tango-based smartphone of its own.

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There’s nothing else we know at this point about Huawei’s Tango phone, other than it is due for release in the near future, not even a code-name. Although we imagine that it will be packing in similarly power hardware to existing Tango handsets. We do know that competitor Lenovo plans to launch a Moto Mod for its Moto Z lineup of phones that will allow them to gain access to Tango’s AR tech, along with another stand alone Tango phone sometime later in 2017.

So far, most app developers have decided not to make AR apps that work with Tango. Indeed, there’s only about 36 Tango-capable apps in the Google Play Store at the moment. Today in a blog post, Google said that more of these apps are in the works, including one from the clothing retailer Gap called DressingRoom that will allow Tango phone owners to place clothes on virtual mannequins, which should allow owners to see how they look in a real world environment.

For more information on what Huawei has planned for the future, be sure to check out our exclusive video interview with the company’s CEO Richard Yu at CES 2017.

Android Authority

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HoloFlex is prototype Android smartphone with a flexible display and glasses-free 3D

The world’s first holographic flexible smartphone has arrived. Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University have created an Android device that can not only display objects three-dimensionally without the use of glasses or head tracking, but it also takes advantage of bendable screen technology to allow for depth input. The device, called the HoloFlex, is still clearly a prototype, but it’s a strong foreshadowing of the direction mobile tech might take in the future.

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“HoloFlex offers a completely new way of interacting with your smartphone,” said Dr. Roel Vertegaal, the director of the Human Media Laboratory. “It allows for glasses-free interactions with 3D video and images in a way that does not encumber the user.” Content displayed on the phone appears three dimensional when viewed from any angle by any number of viewers. The press release explains how this device works thusly:

HoloFlex features a 1920×1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display. Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint. These pixel blocks project through a 3D printed flexible microlens array consisting of over 16,000 fisheye lenses. The resulting 160 x 104 resolution image allows users to inspect a 3D object from any angle simply by rotating the phone.

The video showcasing the device’s capabilities includes a demonstration of the Z-axis bend input feature being used to move around parts of a 3D rendered model. Furthermore, a 3D version of Angry Birds shows how the bend capability can be used to pull back the slingshot, with haptic feedback simulating the tension in the slingshot’s strap. When the bird goes flying at the pig in a parabolic arc, the model appears to rise in the Z-axis above the surface of the phone in a parabolic arc.

holoflex AngryBirds

The HoloFlex will be officially unveiled at ACM CHI 2016 this coming Monday. Here’s hoping that someone snags some VR footage of this clever creation, because 2D video doesn’t quite do it justice. What do you think of the HoloFlex? Is this the direction smartphones are going to go, or are bendable screens and 3D just a passing novelty? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

Next: Samsung doubles down on flexible OLED production in advance of new iPhones

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Revolutionary material could cut smartphone display energy consumption

bodle technologie zero power reflective display

Smartphone displays are one of the biggest drainers of our precious battery life but a new breakthrough invention being developed by Bodle Technologies could dramatically cut the amount of juice required by future displays in a wide range of gadgets. Rather than an LCD or OLED based displays, this new reflective display makes use of phase changing materials to reproduce vivid colors while consuming very little power.

The idea is based on the technology used in rewritable DVDs and works by using electronic pulses to change the color of the display’s materials. The material itself doesn’t consume any power, only requiring a brief charge to change its state and color, meaning that the energy needed to power a display in a smartphone or wearable could be cut quite substantially.

“You have to charge smartwatches every night, which is slowing adoption. But if you had a smartwatch or smart glass that didn’t need much power, you could recharge it just once a week.” – Dr Peiman Hosseini, founder of Bodle Technologies

Bodle Technologies is said to be in talks with a number of the world’s largest consumer electronics corporations, although none have been named for legal reasons. The company has also secured a “significant” amount of finance from the Oxford Sciences Innovation fund to boost further development.

“This technology is capable of providing vivid colour displays which appear similar to paper, yet with very high resolution. It is also capable of rendering extremely high-resolution videos that can be seen in bright sunlight.” – Dr Hosseini

As well as smartphones and wearables, this innovation is also thought to be useful for the emerging smart glass market, which is estimated to be worth approximately $ 2 billion by the year 2017. Such technology could be used to block infrared waves to help keep buildings cooler without the need for air-conditioning.

We are still quite a way off from the technology hitting any consumer level products, but it’s another promising innovation that could open up an entire new market for gadgets and beyond.

Android Authority

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