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Microsoft’s head of reasearch talks about WP’s virtual assistant

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The rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of Microsoft’s upcoming virtual assistant, which will borrow its personality from Cortana (you know, from Halo). Now, Head of Microsoft Research, Peter Lee, has confirmed that the a “big focus” for the company is artificial intelligence, including a virtual assistant.

The video interview features a short glimpse of a virtual assistant prototype at work but somewhat disappointingly it didn’t use Cortana’s avatar. Read more »

Alcatel One Touch Hero battery test

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The Alcatel One Touch Hero phablet runs on power-efficient Cortex-A7 CPU cores, but that large 6″ screen with 1080p resolution puts a bigger demand on the battery than the 720p screens of its opposition.

Most competing phablets are single-SIM devices too, while the Alcatel One Touch Hero we’re testing is the dual-SIM version. Read more »

JOdin3 flash tool for Samsung Androids runs on Windows, Mac and Linux

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If you’ve flashed a Samsung Android device then you’ve encountered Odin and you’ve done it through your Windows PC. CASUAL recently launched JOdin3, which is written in Java and supports Linux, Mac OS X and even Raspberry Pi. You can run it in a web browser, too, if you like.

JOdin3 looks mostly like Odin3, which people are familiar with, but uses the Heimdall as a base. This means the app will require a PIT file, but it can automatically grab it for itself if you don’t have it at hand. Read more »

Video reminds us that Nokia Video Director for the Lumia 2520 tablet exists

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The Nokia Video Director app was unveiled alongside the Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet. The app offers a simple way to throw together videos, with transitions and background music.

A new teaser video reminds people who bought the 2520 to download the app (and the accompanying WP8 app to more easily grab videos shot with your phone). Read more »

Acer Tab 7 Android tablet costs just $100

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Acer already has several cheap Android tablets under its belt but that doesn’t mean the company is satisfied. The latest is the Acer Tab 7 reaches even lower than the Iconia B1-720 and goes for CNY 600 at Chinese retailer JD.com. That’s $100 or €73.

As you can imagine, the specs of the 7″ tablet are no match for the best tablets out there, but they sound pretty good for the price. Read more »

Weekend poll: CES 2014 hot hardware

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This week was marked by CES and we were busy covering all the new hardware manufacturers were throwing our way. But now that the show is over, we though it’s time to hear what you think about some of the most interesting gadgets that debuted there.

Take the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – it was the most exciting phone announcement at the trade show (one of the few), but the phone had its proponents and detractors. Read more »

Huawei shows Android-powered Tron console

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Every tech company seems to be making smartwatches, but also Android-powered game consoles. At CES Huawei unveiled the Tron – despite the name, it looks more like a coke can (or a Mac Pro) rather than something to have come out of the neon and black movie.

Anyway, the Huawei Tron is powered by a Tegra 4 chipset, similar to the Mad Catz M.O.J.O. but will reportedly cost around half as much (about $120). Read more »

Xiaomi MI-3 hands-on

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Xiaomi unfortunately has yet to make its smartphones global, but the smartphone maker was at CES and we got to handle the MI-3.

It’s an Android-powered phone but Xiaomi uses a custom interface – MIUI v5 built on Android 4.2. It looks and feels quite different. Read more »

Archos unveils three smartwatches, the cheapest is $50

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Smartwatches are a hot new trend at CES but as with any new tech, they can get pricy quick. Archos brought three models, the cheapest of which (pictured below) starts at just $50 – this could make your introduction to the world of smartwatches pretty painless.

The manufacturer also showed a flagship model with curved, e-ink touchscreen and aluminum casing. Read more »

Samsung offering 14 freebies with the new Galaxy Pro tablets

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The middle name of Samsung’s Galaxy devices is “value-added”. The latest batch of tablets fresh from CES, the Pro lineup, are getting a list of goodies so complex it comes in table form. That’s for the new Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 tablet, but also the Galaxy Tab Pro tablets (12.2, 10.1 and 8.4).

With these apps under its belt, the Pro tablet will be all set for cloud storage, social networking, organizational tools, news sites, creative and other tools. Read more »

Alcatel One Touch Hero phablet hands-on

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The Alcatel One Touch Hero is a 6″ phablet with a stylus to boot that aims to win the hearts of people who can’t afford the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. We were pleasantly surprised at how well put together the device is – solid build quality, small bezels and good materials bring the Hero well out of Alcatel’s usual entry-level range.

The phablet also has an intriguing accessory system that promises to be among its biggest assets. Read more »

XOLO Win is an AMD A4-powered 10.1″ Windows 8 tablet

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XOLO is playing Pokemon with chipset provides, doing all it can to catch them all. The latest addition is AMD. The XOLO Win is a 10.1″ tablet running Windows 8, powered by an AMD APU that uses the same CPU core as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (Jaguar).

XOLO aims the tablet at youths and working professionals. Read more »

Sony car head unit turns your phone into an infotainment system

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Android in cars has suddenly become a hot topic with the foundation of the Open Automotive Alliance by Google, but who know how long it will be until the first Android-enabled car hits the showrooms. Sony has a simpler solution – a double-DIN smartphone dock.

If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology, double-DIN is basically the standard for car head units. Read more »

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 hands-on

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Samsung did well to refresh the Android-powered Galaxy Camera, yet despite the “Galaxy Camera 2″ moniker, the changes are minor. The most obvious thing is the finish – gone is the glossy plastic, replaced by Samsung’s cool faux leather.

This, combined with the brushed metal accents (also plastic), actually makes the camera look classy. Read more »

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ hands-on

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Alcatel has become known for its low- to mid-range Android phones lately, but with the One Touch Idol X+ the manufacturer attempted a higher-end product.

The Idol X+ was previously announced in China, but now Alcatel has brought it worldwide and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to take it for a quick spin. Read more »