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Firefox for Android 20 beta brings new features and better support for old ARMv6-based phones

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The Mozilla team focused on the new Firefox OS at the MWC, but the stand-alone Firefox browser wasn’t neglected either. Firefox for Android version 20 was released in beta and it brings a customizable home screen, per-tab private browsing and a few other features.

Owners of old phones will be pleased to hear that Mozilla has added support for more ARMv6-based devices. The minimum requirements are now QVGA screen, 600MHz CPU and 384MB RAM. Legacy support isn’t new to Mozilla, Firefox still supports Windows XP while Microsoft stopped putting out new IE versions for XP a while ago. Read more »

Highlights of yesterday’s Asus event show Padfone Infinity and Fonepad announcements, skimp on the magic

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The Asus MWC event yesterday brought the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. It wasn’t very well organized for the press, but luckily, you can watch the highlights in the comfort of your own home.

Asus tried to spice the event up with a mini magic show, but that was mostly cut out of the video. What does that say about how engaging the performance was? Read more »

The LG WCP-300 is the world’s smallest wireless charger, launches in South Korea this week, rest of the world to follow

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A growing number of smartphones support wireless charging and we’ve seen a number of dock designs. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of excitement about the technology among consumers though. Maybe LG’s world’s smallest wireless charging station can do something about it.

The LG WCP-300 has circular shape with a 7cm diameter (2.8”) and is based on Qi, which is the most popular wireless charging standard at the moment. The LG-built Nexus 4 supports it, as do the Optimus G Pro, Vu II and LTE2 (Nokia’s Lumia phones also use this standard). Read more »

Nokia Lumia 521 bound to T-Mobile USA, WP8 for less

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The Nokia Lumia 520 was only announced this morning and T-Mobile USA is already claiming a piece of the action. The carrier will get a dedicated version of the phone – 521 – which differs only in the supported 3G frequencies.

The Lumia 520, or 521 in this case, is an upgrade over the current 510 – it runs Windows Phone 8 on a 1GHz dual-core Krait processor, with double the RAM (512MB), double the internal storage (8GB, there’s a microSD card slot too) and 720p video capture. You can check out our hands-on impressions from the MWC for more info. Read more »

Battery tests for Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 complete, here are the results

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The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 is one of the few smartphones with IP67 rating – it combines simple durability and advanced functions, so it needs to prove its endurance both when trekking in the wilderness, but also when enjoying modern conveniences like browsing the web.

A 1,700mAh battery is on the low side of what we would have imagined for a phone that’s likely to spend a lot of time away from an electricity socket, but let’s see if the Xcover 2 can counter the limited capacity with efficiency. Read more »

BlackBerry Z10 battery tests are done, results are inside

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The BlackBerry Z10 has serious ambitions to become the business phone, but there’s one major requirement – it should be able to last during long hours spent at the office or traveling between meetings.

With a 1,800mAh capacity the Z10 battery isn’t the biggest around, but it has an OS designed just for it at the moment (unlike Android that runs on many different devices with many different chipsets). Read more »

Sony Xperia Z may be using Dragontrail glass on the front, Gorilla Glass on the back

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Sony is traditionally very tight-lipped about what kind of tough glass it uses on its smartphones, but during a press conference in Hong Kong the proverbial beans might have been spilled, at least as far as the Sony Xperia Z goes.

And the answer seems pretty weird – Sony uses two different materials from two suppliers for the front and the back glass of the device. Read more »

Canonical announces Ubuntu for Tablets OS, preview coming tomorrow to Nexus 7 and 10

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The Ubuntu team has been busy working on a phone OS, but it decided to take an intermediate step and create a tablet OS. The timing of the launch coincided exactly with the HTC event (leading us to question if the two are related, turns out it wasn’t) and while the new HTC One got all of the attention yesterday, it’s time to meet Ubuntu for Tablets.

Ubuntu’s interface started off as a desktop UI, but Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu – has a vision similar to that of Microsoft. They want one interface to conquer all screen sizes, from a pocketable phone to the 60” TV on your wall. Read more »

Kernel source code for the Jelly Bean update of the Samsung Galaxy S II released

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Samsung recently started rolling out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II to give it the same Nature UX experience as its successor. Now, the Koreans have open sourced the kernel used for the update, which will help developers of custom ROMs.

Samsung has steadily been releasing source codes for the kernels used on its phones (the Galaxy S II ICS kernel was released in March), trying to play nice with the developer community. Read more »

Google Now update brings widget, two new cards

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Google Now is pretty handy, but you need to check either the notification area or the app itself to see the cards. Not very good for at-a-glance info, is it? This is why the fourth update of Now brings the handy service in widget form.

A couple of new cards are tagging along too, they’ll make going to the movies and house hunting easier. Read more »

Microsoft Surface Pro torn down, found nearly impossible to repair

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Microsoft split its Windows OS into two – Windows RT on ARM and Windows 8 on x86 processors – and with that there are two sibling tablets, the Surface and Surface Pro. The RT-powered Surface was already taken apart by iFixit to judge how hard it is to repair, now it’s the Pro’s turn.

Here are some of the more interesting components found inside the Surface Pro: Read more »

Sony Xperia Z gets xperimented on, given a bath in slow-motion

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The Sony Xperia Z is an Android-powered daredevil and three videos show it participating in so-called Xperimentations – all in slow motion, of course, everyone knows action scenes need to be shot that way.

Check out the videos after the break, they are just 38 seconds each. And don’t forget your umbrella. Read more »

Oppo Find 5 battery tests are done, results inside

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The Oppo Find 5 has ambitions of playing in the big leagues – it certainly did well enough during our review to be allowed entry. But high-end phones with their powerful chipsets and big screens can munch through a battery in record time.

Good thing it has a 2,500mAh battery – Motorola’s MAXX phones aside, most 5” or less phones have far less juice. The battery’s non-removable, too so it’d better be good. Read more »

BlackBerry Z10 arrives at our office, gives a presentation on the platform’s future

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The BlackBerry Z10 represents a major step forward for the company (formerly RIM, now just BlackBerry). We put it in front of our camera almost as soon as we pried it out of its box. We couldn’t help it but share with you the first glimpse of how well a touch-only BlackBerry of the new generation will handle, considering the unflattering response that the Storm and the Torch got.

One thing is immediately clear – the BlackBerry Z10 is far removed from the Storm, both in terms of hardware and in software. Read more »

Panasonic promises better camera performance with their new Micro color splitters for digital image sensors

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New camera sensors are all the rage recently – first rumors of HTC’s new sensor design (new for phones anyway), and now Panasonic’s plans for a completely new sensor architecture based on the wave properties of light.

Panasonic’s design drops the standard Bayer filter for micro color splitters – instead of filtering light by colors, these splitters use diffraction to sort out colors, which reduces losses (a Bayer filter would block 50%-70% of the light before it hits the sensor). Read more »