Sony: No quad-core phones until 2013

By on February 29, 2012 at 6:35 PM.

Sony: No quad-core phones until 2013

Sony has no plans to launch smartphones with more powerful quad-core processors this year, a Sony Mobile Communications executive confirmed on Wednesday. Speaking with CNET Asia, Sony Mobile product marketing manager Stephen Sneeden said he believes Sony will wait until 2013 to launch smartphones powered by quad-core processors like NVIDIA’s Tegra 3. “We’re going to join quad-core when we feel that the performance matches the battery efficiency,” Sneeden said. “Because right now we don’t feel that is there. What we are going to be doing in the second-half of the year is moving to the Cortex A15 architecture, which we feel outperforms the current quad-core architecture.” While smartphone vendors like HTC, ZTE and others were busy unveiling quad-core Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phones at Mobile World Congress this past week, Sony took the wraps off two new dual-core Xperia smartphones that will launch with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. “You’ll see in 2013, as we’re evaluating the quad-core performance where it makes sense, where you’re not suffering in quality and the performance truly is there, and there really is something that demanding applications need,” Sneeden added. “That’s when we make the right move to quad-core.” More →

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Live from Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference at MWC!

By on February 29, 2012 at 8:48 AM.

Live from Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference at MWC!

Mobile World Congress has been a roller coaster ride so far this year. The week kicked off with a bang on Sunday with both Sony and HTC unveiling their latest and greatest smartphones, and the HTC One X was definitely the star of the show. Things were up and down on Monday and Tuesday however, and the show actually got pretty slow for a while there. Our time in Barcelona isn’t up just yet, however, and Microsoft chose today to unveil the latest version of its next-generation operating system, Windows 8. The technology giant released a preview version of Windows 8 last September, but we’re sure plenty has changed over the past five months. And beyond checking out all the new features Microsoft has undoubtedly baked into its new OS, we might finally get a better idea of when devices carrying the platform will finally launch. Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern / 6:00 a.m. Pacific (3:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona), so hit the break for our live coverage of the event!

UPDATE: Don’t forget to check out our full review of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which is now live! More →

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Hands on with LG’s entry-level L-Series smartphones

By on February 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM.

Hands on with LG’s entry-level L-Series smartphones

The term “entry-level” immediately reduces the appeal of smartphones in markets like the U.S. these days, as flagship phones are typically far more exciting and innovative. Still, it’s notable when a manufacturer goes to some length to differentiate an entry-level line of smartphones, and LG has done just that with its new L series. The L3, L5 and L7 are a new family of devices targeted at budget-conscious consumers that still want a solid Android experience. The L3 has a tiny 3.2-inch screen, an 800MHz processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The L5 is slightly more impressive, with a 4-inch screen and Ice Cream Sandwich, and the L7 tops out the line with a 4.3-inch display, a 1Ghz processor and Android 4.0. Check out our hands-on photos of these three new wallet-friendly smartphones in the gallery linked below.

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Acer CloudMobile hands-on

By on February 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM.

Acer CloudMobile hands-on

You would think that, given the impressive specs of its new CloudMobile smartphone, Acer would want to place this thing front and center at Mobile World Congress. Think again. For some reason, the company decided to hide its new flagship model within the Google booth. Location aside, the handset’s specs are nothing to scoff at. A 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip powers this monster, which sports a 4.3-inch 1,280 x 800-pixel HD screen with a truly incredible range viewing angles, and a really well-engineered tooled metal exterior. The CloudMobile software itself is heavily guarded at the moment, and Acer wouldn’t give us so much as a peek at any screens related to its upcoming cloud service, but company reps assured us that we would be “impressed” when launch time comes around. Let’s hope the software lives up to the promise of the hardware. In the meantime, be sure to check out our hands-on photos, which are linked below.

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Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 hands-on

By on February 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM.

Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy S WiFi 4.2 hands-on

These three new devices announced by Samsung at Mobile World Congress are each intended to occupy different spaces in the mobile market. The Galaxy Mini 2 is a diminutive little smartphone with pretty unimpressive specs, but it is aimed at the entry-level crowd where it may fare well. The 3.27-inch small handset sports a single-core 800mhz processor, Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with TouchWiz, a 3.2 megapixel camera and a positively terrible HVGA display. It feels odd to use the word “terrible” when describing a Samsung display, but Samsung cut some corners to keep this phone’s cost down and the display was definitely one of them. Performance in use was lackluster as well, but then again, if you’re in the market for a phone like the Mini 2 you’re probably not very concerned with the latest and greatest. Hit the jump for more.

More →

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Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile

By on February 28, 2012 at 3:05 PM.

Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile

Samsung has a number of new devices on hand at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and one of them was the Galaxy S Blaze 4G set to launch on T-Mobile later this year. We got a chance to check out the Blaze 4G, and we left relatively unimpressed. To be fair, the Blaze is a lightning-fast smartphone on par with a number of recent additions to Samsung’s Galaxy line, but it’s hard to get excited over a phone that is only a modest upgrade compared to T-Mobile’s current Galaxy S II. The Blaze 4G features a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5-megapixel camera and Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. It’s certainly a solid phone but with HTC’s One S heading to T-Mobile in April and Samsung’s full-HD Galaxy S III on the way as well, T-Mobile subscribers looking for the latest and greatest may want to sit tight and wait another month or so. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G launches in March for $149.99 on contract, and our hands-on photos of the handset follow below.

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We’ll be reporting live from Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference tomorrow morning

By on February 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

We’ll be reporting live from Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference tomorrow morning

It may seem odd that Microsoft is hosting a media event at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show this year that will focus on its upcoming desktop operating system, but it couldn’t be more appropriate: Windows 8 is a complete acknowledgement from Microsoft that the future is mobile. Mobile doesn’t have to mean limited, however, and the Redmond-based technology giant’s next-generation OS is its first attempt to marry a touch-focused mobile platform with the robust desktop operating system that made the company famous. We saw the Developer Preview of Windows 8 several months ago, and now it’s finally time to see how much progress Microsoft has made since then.

Bookmark this link, which will go live shortly before the event begins tomorrow morning, and make sure to head there for our live coverage of Microsoft’s press conference! Coverage will begin just before 9:00 a.m. EST / 6:00 a.m. PST (3:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona).

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RIM reels in developers with promises of change

By on February 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM.

RIM reels in developers with promises of change

To say that the past 12 months have been a bit rocky for RIM and the Blackberry eco-system in general would be grossly understating the obvious. The once great manufacturer has seen record capitol losses and watched its market share slide at an increasing rate. One of several reasons for the slip has been a lack of developers attention for the BlackBerry platform, especially relative to competitors such as iOS and Android. The Blackberry Playbook, RIM’s attempt at entering the tablet world, has floundered for just this reason. Ignoring the myriad other concerns about the company’s current state for the current moment, the lack of apps available for the PlayBook rendered it more or less DOA. Read on for more. More →

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Samsung admits defeat with early tablet efforts, but its new announcements won’t help

By on February 28, 2012 at 9:25 AM.

Samsung admits defeat with early tablet efforts, but its new announcements won’t help

Samsung on Monday admitted that it has failed to gain ground in the tablet market while Apple’s iPad continues to proliferate at an increasing pace. Speaking with reporters at Mobile World Congress, a Samsung product strategy executive stated plainly that Samsung has a lot of work to do if it hopes to gain ground with its tablet portfolio. “Honestly, we’re not doing very well in the tablet market,” Samsung’s Hankil Yoon said, according to CNET. Read on for more. More →

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T-Mobile bails on HSPA+ 84 plans, heads straight for LTE

By on February 28, 2012 at 7:25 AM.

T-Mobile bails on HSPA+ 84 plans, heads straight for LTE

T-Mobile on Tuesday revealed from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it is abandoning plans to update its current HSPA+ network with speedier HSPA+ 84 technology. The nations’s No.4 carrier currently supports theoretical maximum download speeds of 42Mbps across much of its HSPA+ network. T-Mobile had previously announced intentions to upgrade its back end to double its theoretical download ceiling to 84Mbps, however in light of its recent announcement that it will adopt more modern Long Term Evolution technology for its 4G network, the carrier has decided that its resources are better spent on LTE. According to The Verge, T-Mobile will utilize the same 1900MHz spectrum it had intended for HSPA+ 84, and refarm it for LTE. More →

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Hands on with Huawei’s Ascend D smartphones

By on February 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM.

Hands on with Huawei’s Ascend D smartphones

Huawei is making quite a splash at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The company announced one quad-core handset — the Ascend D quad, which is built on the company’s proprietary in-house processor platform — in addition to a dual-core TI OMAP-based device, the Ascend D1. We got a chance to play with both models and, especially in the case of the D quad, we left quite impressed. These things move fast. Really fast. What’s more, these handsets mark Huawei’s entry into the chip making game, and place the company in direct competition with other smartphone vendors that moonlight as chip makers, like Samsung and Apple. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming year. That said, the handsets themselves will be the stars of Huawei’s lineup for at least the first half of 2012. The D quad sports 8GB of on-board storage, 1 GB of RAM, Android 4.0, Huawei’s 1.2Ghz quad-core chip, a 4.5-inch display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Ascend D1 is externally identical to the D quad, but it will hit a much lower price point thanks largely to its 1.2Ghz dual-core chip, which replaces the D quad’s quad-core processor. Check out our hands-on shots in the gallery below.

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Intel announces new processors and partnerships

By on February 27, 2012 at 9:30 PM.

Intel announces new processors and partnerships

Intel on Monday detailed a number new products and partnerships during the company’s Mobile World Congress press event. “We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Intel CEO Paul Otellini. UK service provider Orange will launch an Atom-powered smartphone based on the Z2460 reference design. The device will feature a sleek body that will enable “rich entertainment experiences [to] Orange services, including Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures.” The handset is scheduled for a late summer launch and will be available in the United Kingdom and France. Read on for more. More →

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Hands-on with ViewSonic’s tablet lineup: Dual-boot P100, Windows 8 and more

By on February 27, 2012 at 8:15 PM.

Hands-on with ViewSonic’s tablet lineup: Dual-boot P100, Windows 8 and more

ViewSonic is doing its best to make splash here at Mobile World Congress with a number of tablet-related announcements. In addition to specific hardware launches, the company has also made some significant inroads with running Windows 7 Pro on its slates, mainly as proof of concept in anticipation of the upcoming Windows 8 launch. We liked a lot of what we saw but the P100, running both Android 2.3 and Windows 7 (theoretically upgradeable to both Ice Cream Sandwich and Windows 8) was the undisputed star of the show for ViewSonic. This dual-booting beast separates the two operating systems by way of a disc partition, and it seems to run both platforms at lightening speed. Check out our gallery below for hands-on images of the entire ViewSonic tablet line including the P100, the E10 Pro, the E70, the E100 and the G70, and stay tuned to see what ViewSonic brings to the table once Windows 8 launches later this year.

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