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Cell Phone Reviews and Mobile Phone News
Read about the latest news updates, from apps for the Nokia Lumia 710 to updates on AT&T's Gingerbread system
 
02/26/2017 09:00 AM
ZTE Says Gigabit Phone Is Fast, But Reveals Few Details

ZTE today announced a smartphone that is capable of attaining download speeds of 1 Gbps. The Gigabit Phone, says ZTE, is the first handset to lay claim to such raw speed. The phone is able to do this using ZTE's Pre5G Giga+ MBB solution, though ZTE didn't share many details about the network technology involved. The Gigabit Phone itself relies on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor paired with a Qualcomm X16 modem. Together, they can take advantage of carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and 256QAM to deliver 1 Gbps downloads. In addition to the speed, ZTE claims the Gigabit Phone is three times more efficient at processing data across today's LTE 4G networks. The Gigabit Phone and the underpinning technology will help ZTE and its partners bridge existing LTE 4G networks with what will eventually become 5G technologies. ZTE did not show a picture of the phone, nor state any other specifications or details such as pricing and availability.


 
02/26/2017 08:37 AM
Huawei P10 to Come in Eight Pantone Colors

Huawei today announced the P10, its new mid-size flagship phone for 2017. The phone is similar in size to last year's P9, but with more rounded sides and corners to make it feel thinner. The metal-body phone will be offered in eight different colors -- including Greenery, Dazzling Blue, and Ceramic White. Greenery is Pantone's color of the year for 2017. Most colors will come with a sand-blasted soft-touch finish, while Dazzling Blue will sport a hybrid diamond cut (brushed metal) finish, and Ceramic White will be high-gloss. The P10 is powered by the same Kirin 960 processor as found in the Mate 9, accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. The 5.1-inch, full-HD display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 with rounded edges. A new-generation, dual-sensor Leica camera module on the back includes a 12-megapixel / f2.2 traditional camera plus a 20-megapixel monochrome camera. The 8-megapixel camera on the front also has a Leica lens. The company has also placed the fingerprint reader on the front, below the display, where it replaces the usual three Android navigation buttons. Swiping left brings up recent apps, while swiping right performs the "back" action. The phone runs Android 7.0 with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 software on top. The 3,200 mAh battery can be topped up with fast charging via the USB-C connector. A 3.5mm audio jack is also present. The company will also offer a slightly larger variant in the P10 Plus. The P10 plus steps up to a 5.5-inch 2K display and 3,750 mAh battery. It also has a better camera lens with a f/1.8 aperture. It will be offered in seven color options. Pricing starts at €649 for the P10. The US is not among the list of initial launch markets, but some versions will support AT&T and T-Mobile networks.


 
02/26/2017 08:30 AM
Huawei Watch 2 Packs in the Features

Huawei today announced the second generation of its Android Wear smartwatch. The new Huawei Watch 2 adds a number of features, including optional 4G LTE data, standalone GPS, continuous heart rate monitoring, NFC, Android Wear 2.0, and a special watch-only mode that can achieve up to 25 days of battery life. The watch-only mode displays only the time and a live step counter. In smartwatch mode, the 420 mAh battery can power the watch for two days, or ten hours with both LTE and GPS active. Fast charging via the magnetic dock can fully power up the battery in one hour. The 1.2-inch, fully-round, AMOLED display has improved resolution at 328 ppi. The standard model has a plastic body to allow for integrated LTE antennas. The face is made of ceramic and Gorilla Glass 3. The rubber straps are standard 20mm with quick-release pins. The Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water resistance. A "classic" model is also available with a sleeker metal body, but without LTE. The classic model comes with a 22mm hybrid strap that is leather on the outside, and rubber on the inside for sweat resistance. The controls consist of the touch screen and two side buttons: a home button and a customizable shortcut button.


 
02/26/2017 07:53 AM
Google Assistant to Land On More Phones

Google today said a wider selection of Android phones will soon have access to the Google Assistant. The Assistant is already available to the Pixel, Google Home, Android Wear 2.0, and within the Allo messaging app. Starting this week, the Assistant will come to most phones running Android 6 Marshmallow and Android 7 Nougat. It will reach English speakers in the U.S first, followed by Canada, Australia, and the U.K., and later Germany. Google says it will add more languages and regions over time. The Assistant will be installed automatically on handsets running the latest version of Google Play Services (10.2).


 
02/26/2017 07:00 AM
Hands On with the LG G6

LG's flagship handset for the year is the gorgeous G6. It's a beautiful handset that packs an a amazing amount of technology into its slim frame. This may be the first year wherein LG's flagship truly goes toe-to-toe with the best from Apple and Samsung. Here are our first impressions of the LG G6.


 
02/26/2017 07:00 AM
LG G6 Is Rugged, Waterproof, and Powerful

LG today announced the G6, its flagship smartphone for 2017, which is meant to compete with the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. The G6 features a sleek metal-and-glass design that keeps the footprint at a minimum despite the large screen. The G6 packs a unique 5.7-inch qHD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and curved corners. The rounded corders of the display, along with the rigid aluminum chassis and Gorilla Glass 3, make the display less prone to breakage when dropped. LG has tweaked the UI to take advantage of the added real estate with additional software controls that appear in select apps. The camera app, in particular, takes advantage of the 18:9 (or, if you prefer, 2:1) aspect ratio to allow for two side-by-side square photos when shooting, along with an always-visible film strip. The camera itself boasts two, identical 13-megapixel sensors, one with a 125-degree wide field of view, and the other with a standard field of view. The camera capture 4K video and includes a two-tone flash. LG selected a 5-megapixel sensor for the user-facing camera, which has a 100-degree field of view, a selfie flash via the LCD screen, and advanced beautification controls. It records full HD video. The LG G6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The phone supports microSD memory cards up to 2 TB. LG improved the battery in size when compared to last year's G5 to 3,300mAh. It supports Quick Charge 3.0 rapid charging and Qi/AirFuel wireless charging through the Gorilla Glass 5 rear panel. LG said the phone will support myriad LTE bands, including those used by all four carriers in the U.S. Pricing and exact availability are expected to be announced by LG's carrier partners, though the retail launch is expected by March 10.


 
02/25/2017 02:00 PM
TCL Reveals the BlackBerry KEYone Smartphone

TCL today announced the KEYone, a BlackBerry smartphone that combines a large screen, full QWERTY keyboard, and hardened Android software in an aluminum body. TCL first teased the phone at CES last month, but has now shared all the KEYone's details. To start, the phone is a large slab with a 4.5-inch full HD screen with Gorilla Glass 4 filling the top two-thirds of the face. A physical keyboard below the screen offers trackpad functionality, app shortcuts, and a fingerprint reader in the space bar. The phone has rugged aluminum frame and a soft-touch faux leather rear panel. Internal specs include a Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and space for a microSD card up to 1 TB. The battery measures 3,505mAh for beyond a full day of use, and it charges rapidly (50% in 36 minutes) thanks to support for Quick Charge 3.0. The rear make makes use of the 12-megapixel IMX378 sensor from Sony with large pixels, f/2.0 lens, PDAF, 4K video capture, and two-tone flash. The front camera boasts an 8-megapixel sensor with an 84-degree field of view, selfie flash, and full HD video capture. The phone runs Android 7.1 with BlackBerry Hub+ and the company's DTEK security software. The KEYone will be sold in several variants around the world. TCL says two versions of the phone will work well in the U.S., including on the networks operated by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The company plans to launch directly to consumers in Canada first, with the U.S. to follow shortly thereafter. TCL hopes to sell the device through carrier partners late in the year. The BlackBerry KEYone costs $549.


 
02/25/2017 02:00 PM
Hands On with the BlackBerry KEYone

The BlackBerry KEYone is here, a big smartphone that includes a large display, physical keyboard, and BlackBerry's hardened version of Android. The phone is big and has middling specs, but are importantly, it pulls at the heartstrings of those raised on BlackBerry's old corporate mini-machines. Here are our initial impressions of the KEYone.


 
02/24/2017 01:54 PM
Samsung Makes Its Secure Folder A Downloadable App

Samsung today released its Secure Folder through the Galaxy Apps Store. Secure Folder is a protected space for smartphones that can store files, documents, images, videos, or other content that the owner wishes to lock away. Samsung says the Secure Folder can act as a way for people to set up separate profiles for apps on the phone, as well, ensuring that only the protected content is available to those profiles. Samsung expects people will use standard tools such as PIN, pattern, passcode, or biometric verification (fingerprint) to access and manage the Secure Folder. The Samsung Secure Folder has ben around for a while, but it has always been preloaded directly to devices by Samsung. This marks the first time the app is available on its own as a separate download. Samsung is making the app available to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge first, with other models to follow later.


 
02/24/2017 11:26 AM
ITU Targets 20 Gbps for 5G Specification

The International Telecommunications Union today released a draft report for what might eventually become the 5G specification. IMT-2020 is the working name for the 5G standard and the ITU has laid out a basic framework it wants to see technology companies meet. For example, the ITU wants a single cell site to support download speeds of at least 20 Gbps shared across the site. Real-world speeds would be on the order of 100 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up for every user connected to the cell site. Each cell site will also need to support maximum latency (network response time) of 4ms with 1ms available most of the time, and support up to 1 million connected devices to square kilometer. Further, 5G will need to be available to mobile devices traveling between 0 and 300mph with 0ms latency when mobile devices switch between cell sites. Last, the ITU wants to see 5G become more efficient with respect to mobile device power needs, and more efficient at delivering a raw number of megabits per hertz of spectrum. The ITU expects to discuss the specification over the next six months and finalize the standard by November. It will then be up to technology companies to make it happen. Many U.S. network operators and their telecommunications equipment partners are testing various ways to deliver 5G-like performance via LTE this year.


 
02/24/2017 07:40 AM
More Carriers and Phone Makers Agree to Adopt Google's RCS-Based 'Android Messages' Service

Google today said more wireless network operators and handset manufacturers will use Android Messages, its RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on their phones. (Android Messages was previously known as Google Messenger.) Some of the features of RCS, which is a global standard, include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts. It has been improved lately with more interactive tools, such as the ability to check into flights. Google says a number of brands plan to use RCS in order to enhance their own services and help spur adoption. Some of the brands include Walgreens, Baskin-Robbins, FICO, Gamestop, Sonic, Subway, and Time. Moving forward, the Android Messages app with RCS will be preloaded by LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, HMD Global, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony, and Wiko, along with Google's own Pixel and Android One devices. Further, Google was already working with carriers Sprint, Rogers, and Telenor, and today added Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe. Notably absent fro the list of phone makers is Samsung, while AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have also yet to commit. Phones with Android Messages on board will still be able to interact with Samsung handsets and those running on non-Sprint networks of course, but will lose the advanced features available via RCS. Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon haven't said if or when they might adopt Google's Android Messages, though T-Mobile and Verizon already use their own RCS-like messaging platforms.


 
02/24/2017 07:26 AM
LG's X Power 2 Packs a 4,500mAh Battery

LG today announced the X power2, a follow up to last year's bountiful, battery-boasting handset. The X power2 features an embedded 4,500mAh battery that LG says delivers 15 hours of video playback, 14 hours of real-time navigations, or 18 hours of web surfing. It included rapid charging and soaks up 50% of its capacity when plugged in for just one hour. Other specs include a 5.5-inch HD display, 1.5 GHz, octa-core processor with 1.5/2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. The phone has a 13-megapixel main camera and a wide-angle, 5-megapixel user-facing camera with selfie flash. LG says the phone comes in black, gray, gold, and blue. It will ship to several regions, including the U.S. later this year. Pricing was not disclosed.


 
02/23/2017 03:06 PM
LeEco EUI Update Adds App Drawer to Le Pro3 and Le S3

LeEco today gave its Le Pro3 and Le S3 smartphones an app drawer. The company is pushing the latest build of its Ecosystem User Interface to the Le Pro3 and Le S3, and the update includes a handful of new features. Based on user feedback, LeEco decided to install an app drawer on the home screen, which allows ecophone owners to find and access all their apps in a single space. The app drawer has been added to the dock at the bottom of the screen just above the home button. Both devices also receive a boost in camera performance. The Le Pro3 gains faster HDR capturing and processing, while the S3 gains improvements in low-light photography. LeEco also tweaked fingerprint sensor feedback, added parental controls, streamlined the Live app interface, improved Bluetooth reliability, and increased WiFi speeds (S3 only). LeEco says the update will be made available to ecophone users over the next few days.


 
02/23/2017 01:04 PM
Commerce Dept. Extends ZTE Sanction Relief Again

ZTE can continue to export U.S. goods for another month due to an extension offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Commerce Department first alleged in March 2016 that ZTE had violated trade sanctions in place against Iran by using shell companies to hide its exporting activities. The government initially banned ZTE from exporting any U.S. goods, parts, or components, but quickly offered a reprieve while ZTE worked with the government to resolve the issue. The initial reprieve gave ZTE until the end of June 2016, but was then extended to the end of August 2016, and then again to Feb 27 of this year. Now the extension runs through March 29. In prior actions, the Department of Commerce extended the relief by 90 days at a time. Reuters suggests the short, 30-day extension indicates a full settlement may be adopted in the near future.


 
02/23/2017 11:59 AM
Samsung's Exynos 9 Chip Uses 10nm Process, Boasts Gigabit Modem

Samsung today announced the Exynos 9 Series 8895 application processor for premium mobile devices. The chip relies on Samsung's 10nm FinFET process with 3D transistors. This results in a 27% performance boost while chewing through 40% less power when put up against Samsung's 14nm tech. The 8895 bakes in support for Category 16 LTE with 5xCA for 1 Gbps downloads, and Cat 13 LTE with 2xCA for 225 Mbps uploads. Samsung says the Exynos 9 Series 8895 has an octa-core design with four of Samsung's own CPUs paired with four ARM Cortex A53 cores. It supports the ARM Mali G71 GPU for 3D graphics, 4K quality virtual reality, and 4K video playback up to 120fps. A separate processing unit handles biometric security (iris and fingerprint) for protecting mobile payments, and a Vision Processing Unit is able to scan and recognize its surroundings for panoramic image processing and machine vision. The Exynos 9 Series 8895 is already in mass production and Samsung said it will appear in devices soon. The company is widely expected to debut its 2017 flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, in March. The Galaxy S8 will likely rely on the Exynos 9 Series 8895 processor.


 
02/23/2017 08:08 AM
Google's GBoard Keyboard for iPhone Finally Lands Dictation

Google today announced a significant update to GBoard, its advanced keyboard application or the iPhone. Voice dictation is the most significant new feature added to the tool, allowing GBoard users to press a microphone and speak their messages rather than type them. GBoard also gains support for 15 more languages, a wider set of emoji, and Google Doodles. The emoji, in particular, include the entire set of characters from iOS 10. GBoard is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


 
02/22/2017 02:11 PM
Instagram Now Lets You Add Up to 10 Photos to a Single Post

Instagram today made it possible for users to create posts with up to 10 photos. The idea is to allow people to publish a single event that includes multiple pictures and videos, rather than post a string of single images to their feed. Instagram says users will have full control over each image shared in the event post, including order and image appearance. Once live, people will be able to swipe through the events to see all the photos. Multi-image posts will be highlighted with a little icon in the corner. Instagram says event photos/videos will be limited to square shapes for now, and support only a single caption for the lot. Android and iOS users will see the new feature in an update rolling out over the next few days.


 
02/22/2017 01:57 PM
T-Mobile Rolling Out LTE-U

T-Mobile today said it is beginning to upgrade its 4G network with LTE-U this spring. LTE-U allows LTE to operate on the unlicensed spectrum in the 5 GHz band, which is typically reserved for WiFi. Devices equipped with LTE-U will take advantage of available 5 GHz spectrum when needed to boost speed and capacity. If or when that 5 GHz spectrum experiences an uptick in WiFi use, the LTE-U devices will scale back their presence on the unlicensed spectrum and return to T-Mobile's cellular network for coverage. T-Mobile is relying on equipment from Ericsson and Nokia to make LTE-U a reality. At the same time, the FCC today approved the first devices to operate on LTE-U. The FCC's chief concern is that LTE-U doesn't interfere with the WiFi operation of 5 GHz equipment in the shared spectrum. The LTE-U Forum, WiFi Alliance, and myriad other technology players have helped shape LTE-U over the last few years. T-Mobile expects LTE-U to help it eventually deliver gigabit speeds over its wireless network. T-Mobile didn't say what mobile devices might have access to LTE-U once it goes live.


 
02/22/2017 09:13 AM
Verizon to Test 5G In 11 Cities By Mid-Year

Verizon Wireless today said it plans to trial 5G technology in 11 U.S. markets later this year. This "pre-commercial service" will be offered to a very limited number of customers and not necessarily made available to consumers. The tests will involve the 5GTF spec Verizon developed past year. The trial markets include Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bernardsville, Brockton, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Verizon competitors AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are each testing their own variants of potential 5G technologies. The actual 5G spec has yet to be defined by the International Telecommunications Union, but carriers and telecom equipment makers around the world are hoping their technologies will be included in the final standard.


 
02/21/2017 12:58 PM
Intel Claims LTE Modem to Deliver 1 Gigabit Speeds

Intel today announced the XMM 7560 LTE modem, a fifth-generation wireless radio that can produce broadband-like speeds in a variety of mobile devices. The XMM 7560 is manufactured using Intel's 14nm process and supports LTE Advanced Category 16 for downloads up to 1 Gbps and Category 13 for uploads up to 225 Mbps. The Intel XMM 7560 modem supports 5x carrier aggregation for up to 100 MHz combined bandwidth on the downlink, and 3xCA for up to 60 MHz on the uplink. It also supports 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM. Intel says the XMM 7560 works well with its SMARTi 7 RF transceiver, which supports up to 35 LTE bands and 230 carrier aggregation combinations for worldwide compatibility. The XMM 7560 also packs envelope tracking and other power optimization features to improve battery life in smartphones, tablets, and PCs. The Intel XMM 7560 will sample during the first half of the year and Intel expects to see it in consumer devices shortly thereafter. Separately, Intel this week announced new efforts in its push toward 5G. It is working with Nokia, AT&T, Telefonica, 5TONIC, Ericsson, and others to define, prototype, and deliver early 5G products.


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