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Samsung’s telephony-enabled smartwatch to be called Gear Solo

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Some people are unhappy that smartwatches need the support of smartphones to do anything interesting. Those people would prefer if smartwatches could do at it alone – according to The Korea Herald, Samsung will make just such a watch, dubbed Samsung Gear Solo.

Samsung has filed a patent with the Korean Intellectual Property Office for the Gear Solo name, but that name might change before the smartwatch hits the market. Read more »

Samsung Galaxy S5 battery life test

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 is bound to become one of the hottest selling handsets and so it must undergo heavy scrutiny. Battery life is an everyday worry, especially with bigger screens and faster chipsets.

The Galaxy S5 screen isn’t much bigger than that of its processor (5.1″ vs. 5″), but it is brighter. The Snapdragon 801 chipset should also offer a big performance boost over the Snapdragon 600 of last year. Read more »

Fastlane feature of Nokia X phones demoed in official video

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Nokia finally started making Android phones but made sure the interface looks anything but Android. This includes a Windows Phone-like start screen and Nokia’s Fastlane feature from the Asha handsets.

Smartphone users are perhaps not familiar with it, so the company released a video demo of it running on the Nokia XL. Read more »

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet battery life test

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The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is one of the hottest new pieces of Android hardware – it’s hard to believe how thin and light it is until you hold it in your hand. At 6.4mm thick, there’s not much room so the tablet uses a 6,000mAh battery, the same capacity as the previous model.

Snapdragon 801 is a power-efficient chipset (it’s in phones with less than half the battery capacity), but there’s still a 10.1″ screen, which would probably be the main power drain. Read more »

Tiny Thief expansion launches on iOS and Android

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Rovio, known for the Angry Birds franchise, has released an expansion for Tiny Thief and it’s free to play. Tiny Thief features cute, cartoony characters once again, but instead of flinging birds at pigs, the player takes the role of a cunning thief who has to brave pirates, witches, the Dark Knight and even a robot.

Check out a short game play video after the jump or visit the Tiny Thief web site. It’s beautifully designed and side-scrolling through it gives you an immersive peak into the game’s world. Read more »

A $30 lens turns your smartphone into a 150x microscope

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These days kids tend to get a new smartphone for their birthday instead of educational toys, but there’s no reason the two can’t be combined. A $30 lens can add 150x magnification to your smartphone or tablet camera and allow you to explore the microscopic world.

The Micro Phone Lens is a Kickstarter project by Thomas Larson who already created a similar 15x lens last year. Read more »

Line messenger reaches 400 million registered users

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Line, the instant messaging app from Japan, has announced that it reached 400 million registered users, after hitting the 300 million mark in November last year. Note that “registered” is different from “active” users, a number which Line did not unveil.

The instant messenger boasts that it now has over 10 million users in 10 countries (including the US). Read more »

Viber for WP8 update brings Viber Out support

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Viber updated its eponymous app for Windows Phone 8 to version 4.1, which enables Viber Out – the service that allows users to place regular calls (as opposed to Viber VoIP calls) to many countries on the cheap.

“Viber Out has been a game changer for our users and allows them to rely on Viber for all their communication needs,” said Talmon Marco, CEO of Viber. Read more »

Futuremark gives HTC One (M8) the boot for cheating

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The new HTC One (M8) does well in benchmarks, perhaps too well. Futuremark, makers of the popular 3DMark benchmark, have caught wind that HTC’s new flagship cheats when it detects a benchmark and delisted the device.

The same thing happened to HTC’s previous flagship, Samsung’s too (but Samsung phones were brought back after a software update disabled the boosting). Read more »

An overview of April Fools jokes: Samsung, HTC, Nokia and Google

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It’s April 1 and you know what that means – companies try to disguise marketing as 3rd grade humor. The results are funnier than the jokes themselves most of the time as HTC and Samsung – two rival companies with very different takes on the perfect smartphone – did the exact same joke.

Here’s a quick look of some of the pranks that big tech companies tried to pull. Read more »

Weekend poll results: Smartwatches, winners and losers

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Last week we asked you what you thought about smartwatches – there sure are plenty of them in the news recently and Google is finally taking them seriously with the dedicated Android Wear OS (perhaps because Google Glass didn’t exactly explode).

We have one clear result, while the others were much closer calls. Read more »

HTC One (M8) easier to repair than its predecessor, barely

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The HTC One received the lowest ever repairability score that iFixit has ever given a smartphone – 1/10. So, how did the new One (M8) do? it’s a massive improvement as the score has doubled to… well, 2/10.

The new design is still incredibly hard to repair, but at least you can now remove the aluminum back without damaging it. Read more »

HTC One (M8) battery life test

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The HTC One (M8) features a slightly bigger battery than its predecessor (2,600mAh vs. 2,300mAh) and an Extreme Power Saving Mode. That’s only for when you really need to stretch the last few percent though, otherwise it would be a shame to limit the speedy Snapdragon 801 chipset.

Note that for this test we didn’t use the power saving mode – we’re aiming to replicate regular daily usage and these modes limit the phone’s features and performance. Read more »

Watch the Samsung Galaxy S5 go under a meter of water

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 has an IP67 certification, which officially means “dust tight” and surviving up to 30 minutes at 1m underwater. That seems a little abstract, it’s much better to see the device actually make the dive.

Here’s a video of the Galaxy S5 being submerged to a meter underwater and even starts ringing with an incoming call. Read more »

HTC publishes Sense launcher on the Play Store

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HTC is following in the footsteps of Google and released its custom Android launched for free download from the Play Store. Along with the BlinkFeed launcher, the company also put out SenseTV (its remote control app) and HTC Service Pack.

BlinkFeed was first to put a magazine-like UI on the homescreen, something that Samsung has added to its latest TouchWiz incarnations. Read more »