LG launches X Power & X Style Smartphones with Android 6.0 Marshmallow in Ukraine

LG is the South Korean handset maker, had recently launched two new smartphones in the X-series named as LG X Screen and LG X Cam. Now, the company held a conference in Ukraine and introduced two more new addition of handsets under X-series family called as LG X Power and LG X Style. Both handsets come with Polycarbonate body and runs on the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box.

LG X Power & X Style

The LG X Power features a 5.3-inch IPS display with 1280 x 720-pixel resolution which offers a 277 PPI of pixel density and 16 M colors. While in the X Power smartphone, it sports 5-inch HD display with 294 PPI of pixel density. Under the hood, it comes powered by Quad-core 1.14 GHz Cortex A53 processor which is a MediaTek MT6735 chipset paired with Mali T720 GPU. On the other hand, it comes equipped with quad-core Cortex A53 processor clocks at 1.2 GHz, which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset along with Adreno 306 GPU.

The LG X Style handset has a 16 GB internal storage which will be further expandable via microSD card slot and 2 GB RAM. While the X power smartphone houses a 16 GB built-in storage that can be further expandable via microSD card slot and 1.5 GB RAM. Both handsets support dual SIM and dual standby and offer 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, Bluetooth, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11, FM Radio and Micro USB port.

As per as cameras are concerned, The LG X Power handset bears 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED flash which will record videos up to 1080p at 30 frames per second and has an 8-megapixel front snapper for selfies and video chats. In the LG X Style, it comes with an 8-megapixel primary camera that offers to record a video up to 1080p at 30 frames per second and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies and chatting with friends.

The LG X Stye handset comes powered by non-removable 2100 mAh battery. While in the LG X Power, it comes packed with larger 4100 mAh battery which can last more than a day of usage. Coming to the pricing of the smartphones, The LG X Power smartphone is priced at UAH 5000 (approx $200 / Rs 13400), and The LG X Style smartphone will cost UAH 4.500 (approx $180 / Rs. 12000).



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LG Stylus 2 Plus offers ‘significantly better performance’ over the Stylus 2

After debuting the LG Stylus 2 ahead of MWC in February, LG has now followed itself up with the LG Stylus 2 Plus, an upgraded version of the stylus-equipped phablet.

LG says that the Stylus 2 Plus offers “significantly better performance” than the original Stylus 2, which is likely thanks to the upgrade to a 1.4GHz octa-core processor from a 1.2GHz quad-core chip. The LG Stylus 2 Plus also offers more RAM and storage than the Stylus 2, coming in 2GB/16GB and 3GB/32GB models.

The differences between the two phones don’t stop there. The LG Stylus 2 Plus has a higher-res 5.7-inch 1920×1080 display, while the LG Stylus 2 has a 5.7-inch 1280×720 screen. Additionally, the Stylus 2 Plus comes equipped with 13-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front or 16-megapixel rear/8-megapixel front camera configurations, depending on your region.

Rounding out the LG Stylus 2 Plus’s spec list is a rear fingerprint reader, 3000mAh battery, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. LG has added its own touch to Android, building in features like Quick Memo and Pen Keeper, the latter of which will alert you when the Stylus 2 Plus and its pen stray too far apart.

The LG Stylus 2 Plus is a pretty significant upgrade over the original Stylus 2, which was a entry-level device. With these improvements, the Stylus 2 Plus is a more compelling option for folks in the market for a phablet that offers solid performance and a built-in stylus for note-taking.

LG says that the Stylus 2 Plus will launch in Taiwan today with rollouts in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe in the weeks that follow. No pricing details have been given.



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Google building Assistant ‘character’ with backstory and childhood

Our current crop of assistants like Google Now, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana try to act like humans. They have personalities, they tell jokes, and they generally try not to act like robots. Google Now is likely the worst at this though, as Siri and Cortana’s characters are quite obvious.

Google wants to achieve something far better with Google Assistant, which will power Google Home. The company is aiming to make an AI that you want to talk to and that you get along with and enjoy corresponding with. Google got Ryan Germick, head of the Google Doodle team, and freelance artist Emma Coats to make a character for the assistant.

This character will be a backstory, and may even include a childhood. They aim to make the AI smart and able to carry conversations and tell stories, rather than just answer basic questions. Another goal is to make the assistant relatable.

The two have lot of work ahead of them. Despite Siri being smart and sassy, she’s still very much a basic robot with a few tricks up her sleeves. We hope to see Google Assistant rise above that.



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Google Home may be using Chromecast internals

Google Home was announced at Google I/O, promising to change the way you do things around your house. It’s similar to Amazon Echo, able to control aspects of your home just by telling it what to do. It’ll be powered by Google Assistant.

According to The Information, the Google Home hardware is essentially a Chromecast with extra parts like a microphone and speakers. It’s not an Android-powered device, nor does it need to be. Since Google Assistant is all in the cloud, Google Home doesn’t actually need to do much processing other than sending network commands and playing media. A Chromecast seems to be the perfect fit.

Of course, when we’ll be able to buy Google Home, we won’t be paying for the hardware. We’ll be paying for the ability to use Google Assistant in a connected home, which should be great if Google manages to pull it off. The cheap hardware shouldn’t be a problem; in fact, it might even provide a reasonable price when Home launches.



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Sirin Labs releases Android phone with ‘military-grade’ security starting at only $14,000

If you’re a highly-paid businessman who needs a phone as secure as it is ridiculously fancy, this might be the phone for you. Sirin Labs has launched an Android-powered smartphone called the Solarin, and it starts at a measly $13,800.

The Solarin features a 5.5-inch 2K IPS display, a Snapdragon 810 processor, a 23.8MP camera with laser autofocus and four-tone flash, a three-speaker setup, X10 LTE with 24 supported bands, 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi, and a construction of carbon fiber, leather, and titanium.

On the software side, there’s Android with 256-bit AES encryption, Zimperium mobile threat protection, and a physical security switch on the back to make sure private business data stays private.

Is this device going to replace the BlackBerry as a businessman’s best friend? Heck no! That starting price of $13,800 guarantees that it will be out of reach of most business people. You can even get a gold one for $17,400 if you’d really like.

This device is crazy in so many ways, and all the info the company gives is filled with buzz words. It’s actually pretty awesome. Check out the press release below, and let us know what you think! Will the Solarin be replacing that outdated Vertu in your coat pocket?

Side - Crystal White Carbon + DLC Side - Fire Black Carbon + DLC Side - Fire Black Carbon + Titanium Side - Fire Black Carbon + Yellow Gold SOLARIN - Duo with Forcefield SOLARIN - Flat Front with UI SOLARIN - Flat Front SOLARIN - Security Switch SOLARIN - Silhouette SOLARIN - Upright Front with Security UI SOLARIN - Upright Front with UI SOLARIN - Upright Front Show Press Release
London, 31 May 2016 SIRIN LABS today announces the launch of SOLARIN – the world’s first truly smart phone. Privacy and mobile technology are the hot topics of today. As the value of digital information far eclipses that ever held under lock and key, we seek innovative encryption apps and secure technologies to protect ourselves. And yet no solution quite fits. This is where SOLARIN comes in. Through a network of extraordinary partners, suppliers and passionate experts, and guided by the vision of our founders, SIRIN LABS has created a truly smart phone. Aimed at the international business person who carries a lot of sensitive information but doesn’t want to compromise on usability, quality or design, SOLARIN combines advanced technology to make what we believe is the best mobile phone in the world. Following over two years of R&D at bespoke facilities in Sweden and Tel Aviv, SOLARIN is made up of over 2,500 inner components within a meticulously designed exterior to achieve fast, seamless connectivity across any continent. Delivering tomorrow’s technology, today, to the toughest audience with the most exacting requirements. ‘We do not accept that price drives what’s available in technology. With SOLARIN, we break the rules.’ Moshe Hogeg, President and Co-founder, SIRIN LABS PRIVATE SOLARIN features a carefully curated privacy package to keep your private information, private – unrivalled in terms of its sophistication and accessibility. SOLARIN comes with Zimperium state-of-the-art mobile threat protection that thwarts the broadest array of advanced device, network and application mobile cyberattacks, without impairing usability or functionality of a top-of-the-range smartphone. In addition, SOLARIN incorporates the most advanced privacy technology, currently unavailable outside the agency world. SIRIN LABS partnered with KoolSpan to integrate chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption, the same technology that militaries around the world use to protect their communications, offering the strongest possible mobile privacy protection worldwide. Activated by the unique Security Switch on the back of the handset, the phone enters a shielded mode, presenting an exclusive suite for fully encrypted calls and messages. ‘Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe. This trend is on the increase. Just one attack can severely harm reputations and finances. SOLARIN is pioneering new, uncompromising privacy measures to provide customers with greater confidence and the reassurance necessary to handle business-critical information.’ Tal Cohen, CEO and Co-founder, SIRIN LABS TRULY GLOBAL SOLARIN is a truly global phone – offering faster data transfer and lasting performance. SOLARIN is powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 processor with X10 LTE and Wi-Fi, delivering high-performance connectivity. It offers up to 450 Mbps downlink and up to 150 Mbps uplink speeds, coupled with support for 24 bands LTE compatibility, setting a new benchmark in global usability. SOLARIN comes with far superior Wi-Fi™ connectivity than mainstream phones. It supports 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO (multi user multiple input, multiple output) technology, offering up to three times the speed and capacity of conventional 1×1 configuration. In addition, SOLARIN incorporates revolutionary WiGig™ (802.11ad) multi-gigabit Wi-Fi technology. WiGig™ (802.11ad) offers speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, enabling near-instant cloud access, and synching of photos, videos and media, wire-equivalent docking and high-quality, low-latency video streaming, and more. Add to this the strongest battery in the premium and high end phone category, together with Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ for fast charging and power optimisation algorithms to create the essential travel companion. ‘At every level, SOLARIN outperforms. Advanced carrier aggregation technology combines multiple LTE carriers for wider bandwidth, providing a faster, clearer connection. Using 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO technology provides up to three times the bandwidth of a smartphone, and WiGig™ (802.11ad) pushes data transfer limits, allowing next generation features.’ Fredrik Öijer, VP Product, SIRIN LABS UNPARALLELED AUDIO AND VISION Boasting a screen with unbeatable clarity, depth and colour intensity, and the richest and loudest mobile phone speaker systems available. Featuring a 23.8-megapixel camera, with laser autofocus and industry-leading four-tone flash, plus a front facing flash and 5.5” IPS LED 2k resolution screen, SOLARIN offers a display capable of colour that is distinct, pure and rich – a remarkable 120% sRGB colour gamut. The beam forming audio and state-of-the-art sound system uses three bassboosted speakers, all linked through a smart amplifier to maximise volume but control distortion, producing a clear unsullied sound. ‘Exceptional audio and vision capabilities feature highly on our target audience’s wish list. SIRIN LABS’ audio and vision engineers fixated on exceeding expectation, turning to experts to develop a new benchmark for smart phone speaker systems and unparalleled striking screen intensity.’ Tal Cohen, CEO and Co-founder, SIRIN LABS OUTSTANDING QUALITY AND THOUGHTFUL DESIGN Designed by world renowned industrial designer Karim Rashid and meticulously assembled by engineers more used to making the world’s finest watches. From the construction of its unique metal matrix composite chassis – typically used in the aerospace industry for its absolute rigidity – to incorporating titanium panels for structural strength, using tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 to help protect the curved display screen as well as the camera lens and a technical leather back panel – only materials with optimal functionality made the final grade. ‘Every single design decision and material choice was based on performance and functionality. The product you hold today unites the very best of the world stage. Our network of extraordinary partners is the culmination of our unwavering focus on quality, not cost, regardless of complexity.’ Fredrik Öijer, VP Product, SIRIN LABS SOLARIN is available online, at SIRIN LABS first store in Mayfair (34 Bruton Place), London from 1 June and Harrods, Knightsbridge from 30 June. -endsNOTES TO EDITORS Variants available at launch are: • Fire Black Carbon Leather with Titanium • Fire Black Carbon Leather with Diamond-like Carbon • Fire Black Carbon Leather with Yellow Gold • Crystal White Carbon Leather with Diamond-like Carbon Prices start from £9,500 plus VAT.


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Sony Xperia E5 now official with a 5-inch display, 13MP camera, and more

Sony’s already confirmed that its Xperia X series of devices are headed to the United States, and now the company has another device to announce.

Sony has officially introduced the Xperia E5, a mid-range smartphone with a 5-inch 1280×720 display. There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the back, which Sony says features software that will automatically adjust based on whatever it is you’re taking a picture of thanks to Auto Scene Recognition. On the front, there’s a 5-megapixel shooter.

The Xperia E5 also features a MediaTek MTK6735 quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, an FM radio, support for NFC, 16GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 200GB. It features Android 6.0 out of the box, too, and the battery measures in at 2700mAh. Sony says the Xperia E5 will last two days on a single charge.

Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t have any information on the cost of the Xperia E5 or when it will become available.



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T-Mobile’s Tourist Plan launches on June 12 for those visiting the US

The majority of announcements that T-Mobile has revolve around wireless subscribers in the United States, but the magenta carrier’s latest announcement is tuned more towards the folks who will be visiting the country from other regions of the globe.

It’s called the Tourist Plan, and it launches on June 12. The carrier says it’ll be a super-easy way for visitors of the United States to use their phone without having to worry about a ton of overages or other charges. The Tourist Plan will cost $30 per month and will work for three weeks once activated. It will give the customer 1000 minutes of domestic calling, unlimited texting to U.S.-based numbers and to 140 other countries and destinations, and unlimited data with access to 2GB of high-speed data. The plan also supports a Wi-Fi hotspot.

T-Mobile says international travelers just need to visit an official T-Mobile store or one of the many T-Mobile prepaid dealers. Customers won’t need to pay for a SIM card, and they won’t need to pay an activation fee, either. However, it’s worth noting that the plan doesn’t include Binge On or Music Freedom.



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Sony is launching the Xperia X series in the US, pre-orders begin today

Back in February, Sony officially launched a brand new X series of devices, but word on a U.S.-based launch were nonexistent at the time. That’s finally changing, though, as Sony has officially announced that its new X series is coming to the U.S. soon and that pre-orders begin today.

Specifically, the Xperia X will be available to order from B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, Amazon, and Reagan Wireless for $549.99. There will be a 128GB microSD card thrown in for good measure as well, which will bolster the 32GB of built-in storage. The Xperia X will officially go on sale on June 26.

Sony’s Xperia X features a 5-inch 1080p HD display, with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor under the hood and 3GB of RAM. The battery measures in at 2620mAh, and there’s a 23-megapixel camera on the back and a 13-megapixel front-facing camera. It’s running Android 6.0 out of the box.

The Xperia X Performance, Xperia XA, and the Xperia XA Ultra are set to arrive in the U.S. soon as well, with pre-orders for those devices starting on June 19. You’ll be able to get the X Performance for $699.99, the XA Ultra for $369.99, and the XA for $279.99. Release dates go like this: The X Performance and XA on July 17, and the XA Ultra on July 24.

Here’s a refresher on each device’s stats:

sonyxperiaxperformance

Xperia X Performance

  • 5-inch 1920×1080 display
  • 23-megapixel rear, 13-megapixel front cameras
  • Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage
  • microSD slot
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 2700mAh battery
  • Android 6.0

sonyxperiaxa

Xperia XA

  • 5-inch 1280×720 screen
  • 13-megapixel rear, 8-megapixel front cameras
  • MediaTek MT6755 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • microSD slot
  • 2300mAh battery
  • Android 6.0

sonyxperiaxaultrawhite

Xperia XA Ultra

  • 6-inch 1920×1080 display
  • 21.5-megapixel rear, 16-megapixel front cameras
  • MediaTek MT6755 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • microSD card slot
  • 2700mAh battery
  • Android 6.0


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LG introduces the G Pad III 8.0, another lackluster tablet

LG has never made much of an impression on the tablet market. While the company may take risks with its smartphones, it plays it very safe with its tablets, and LG has just announced another tablet that carries this same trend onward. LG’s G Pad III 8.0 is a standard, normal and ultimately uninteresting 8-inch tablet. Let’s take a look at what LG is banking on with this device.

  • 8-inch 1920×1200 IPS display
  • 1.5GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage plus microSD card slot
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 4800mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

All in all, the G Pad III 8.0 is uninspiring. An LTE version is also available, currently being offered on Canadian carriers Rogers and Fido. While this version has LTE, it drops the storage to 16GB and the front-facing camera is lowered to 5 megapixels. That being said, the LTE version also has Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and Bluetooth 4.2.

LG G Pad III 8.0 (2)

While the tablet may not grab your interest with specs, it is fairly inexpensive. Korean pricing for the Wi-Fi model is ₩330,000, or about $278 USD. Both Canadian carriers are offering the LTE model for CAD 240 when it’s paired with a monthly plan. That price point may just be enough to cause consumers to take a second look at the G Pad III 8.0.



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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Budget Eye, Lens Launcher

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven’t appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Lens Launcher

Lens Launcher

App info: Lens Launcher is a unique, efficient way to browse and launch your apps.

 

},"6":{"1":[{"1":2,"2":0,"5":{"1":2,"2":0}},{"1":0,"2":0,"3":1},{"1":1,"2":0,"4":1}]},"7":{"1":[{"1":2,"2":0,"5":{"1":2,"2":0}},{"1":0,"2":0,"3":1},{"1":1,"2":0,"4":1}]},"8":{"1":[{"1":2,"2":0,"5":{"1":2,"2":0}},{"1":0,"2":0,"3":1},{"1":1,"2":0,"4":1}]},"9":1,"10":1,"12":0,"14":{"1":2,"2":0},"16":10}”>nickrout.lenslauncher“]

2. Easy Sound Recorder

Easy Sound Recorder

App info:  Easy Sound Recorder is a simple, and easy to use audio & voice recorder. is designed for long-time and high quality voice record.

 

3. Auto Background Eraser Pro

Auto Background Eraser Pro

App info: Auto Background Changer having amazing tool by using it you can easily draw and erase any portion of photo & add beautiful background.

 

4. MMX Hill Climb

MMX Hill Climb

App info: The most crazy, addictive & FUN physics based racing game ever made. Upgrade your truck and own the leaderboard. Race your friends, let them know who’s the best. A Truckload of tracks and courses 

 

5. Budget Eye

Budget Eye

App info: Budget Eye is a Budget Management and Expense tracking app that is designed to help you efficiently and effortlessly manage your own as well as your family’s finances all in one easy view.

 

Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.



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ASUS delivers a punch with the ZenFone 3 family

ASUS has yet to make a large impact on the global smartphone market, but the manufacturer is back again with a new family of flagship smartphones that look to be some of the best yet. The ZenFone 3 family continues to refine and improve ASUS’s flagship line, bringing in three new smartphones aimed at a variety of markets. Let’s dive in and see what we’re working with.

ZenFone 3

The ZenFone 3 is the base model of the family. The device is svelte and features a fairly compact body, featuring a 77.3% screen-to-body ratio that highlights the lack of wasted space around the display. The display itself is a 5.5-inch 1080p Super IPS+ display that prides itself on offering high brightness, even in direct sunlight. That display is protected with 2.5D Gorilla Glass, which also encompasses the rear of the device. A metal accent band runs around the edge of the device, offering the ZenFone 3 a classy and refined design.

ZenFone 3 Moonlight White (Resized)

Internally, the ZenFone 3 is packed with power. ASUS has powered the device with a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor and up to 4GB of RAM, though the exact amount of RAM in the device coincides with the storage size option you choose. Storage comes in 32 or 64GB options and is augmented by a microSD card slot. The ZenFone 3 features a 3000mAh battery, rear fingerprint scanner, broad network support, USB-Type C charging and Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZenUI 3.0 overtop.

ASUS has made a powerful point with mobile cameras and the ZenFone 3 continues to improve upon that tradition. The 16-megapixel rear camera features a 6-piece Largan lens, f/2.0 aperture and ASUS’s TriTech autofocus technology. TriTech combines laser, phase detection and continuous autofocus to achieve focus in as little as 0.03 seconds. The rear camera also includes optical image stabilization and a powerful HDR mode. On the front, users will find a fairly standard 8-megapixel camera that should snap sharp selfies.

No availability details have been released, but pricing begins at $249 for the model with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. Three color options of Sapphire Black, Moonlight White and Shimmer Gold will be available.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe

ASUS has designed the ZenFone 3 with a full aluminum alloy unibody that’s free of plastic antenna lines on the rear. The device features a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display that covers over 100% of the NTSC color gamut, offering vivid and life-like colors. The device also has a rear fingerprint scanner and features a USB-Type C charging port.

ZenFone 3 Deluxe-3 colors (Resized)

The device is powered by a 2.15Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor and 6GB of RAM. Users can choose from three different storage size options of 64GB, 128GB, or even 256GB, all of which are supplemented by a microSD card slot that supports Apps to SD. The device also features a 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and a five-magnet speaker that’s accompanied by an NXP amplifier for loud, crisp sound.

The rear camera is a Sony IMX318 23-megapixel sensor that again features a 6-piece Largan lens, TriTech autofocus and an f/2.0 aperture. Additionally, the camera bring in OIS as well as three-axis electronic image stabilization when filming 4K video. The front camera is a wide-angle 8-megapixel shooter.

No availability details have been released, but the device pricing starts at $499 for the 64GB model. THree color options of Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray and Shimmer Gold will be available.

ZenFone 3 Ultra

The biggest of the bunch, the ZenFone 3 Ultra centers itself around an enormous 6.8-inch 1080p IPS display that’s covered in Gorilla Glass 4. The display also has a dedicated image processor that optimizes each pixel in every frame before it’s displayed. ASUS has given the ZenFone 3 Ultra an aluminum unibody with no rear antenna lines. Interestingly, this device features a physical home button that houses a fingerprint scanner within.

ZenFone 3 Ultra (Resized)

Powering the ZenFone 3 Ultra is a 1.8GHz quad-core Snapdragon 652 processor and up to 4GB of RAM. Storage options include 32, 64, or 128GB which are all accompanied by a microSD card slot. The device features a massive 4600mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support and the ability to charge other devices. Additionally, the ZenFone 3 Ultra packs two five-magnet speakers, an NXP amplifier and DTS Headphone:X virtual 7.1 channel surround sound through certified headphones.

The camera specifications of the ZenFone 3 Ultra are identical to those of the Zenfone 3 Deluxe.

No availability details have been released, but pricing begins at $479 for the 64GB model. Three color options of Glacier Silver, Titanium Gray and Metallic Pink will be offered.

Complete ZenFone 3 Family (Resized)ZenFone 3 Moonlight White (Resized)ZenFone 3 Deluxe-3 colors (Resized)ZenFone 3 Ultra (Resized)



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OnePlus launches OnePlus 3 Peer Review initiative to get feedback from customers

At some point in the (hopefully near) future, OnePlus is going to get around to officially announcing the OnePlus 3, its latest flagship handset. We already know that that will include a virtual reality shopping experience in space, and now it looks like OnePlus wants to get feedback from its customer base as well.

OnePlus has announced “The Lab,” which will include peer reviews for the OnePlus 3 and perhaps future devices that OnePlus releases in the future as well. OnePlus says that they’ve been able to build the company with the help of its customers over the years, and they believe that customer feedback and participation is the guide that sets them on their path.

The Lab is just one of many results of that, and it will launch with the OnePlus 3, which the company aims to receive “fair, honest, crowd-sourced feedback” regarding the new handset, its features, and capabilities. The goal here, according to OnePlus, is a “comprehensive community review.” What that will actually look like in the end, with so many voices, will be interesting.

OnePlus says that anyone in any region can apply to get into the reviewers slots, but in the end they’ll only choose 30 people. Once the reviewers get their phones, which they’ll get before anyone else, they’ll have several days to put the handset through its paces.

At the time of this writing, there are five days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes remaining to apply for the reviewer position with OnePlus’s The Lab, and 419 people have applied so far.

Do you plan on applying?



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Sony launches Xperia X & Xperia XA Smartphones with Android 6.0 Marshmallow in India

Sony had announced Xperia X and Xperia XA smartphones at MWC in 2016. Today, the company has launched both smartphones in India for Rs. 48990 and Rs. 20990 respectively. These devices will be selling exclusively through Amazon India and pre-registration already opened; it will start the shipping for Sony Xperia X smartphone from June 6th onwards and Xperia XA from 3rd week of June in 2016. It will also be available in all authorized retailer stores and Sony online retailer shops as well.

Xperia-X-Xperia-XA-Smartphones



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Asus launches Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra Smartphones

After launching Asus ZenPad 8 (Z380M) and ZenPad 10 (Z300M tablets that came with latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the Taiwanese company has today launched three smartphones at the Zenvolution Press Conference at the Computex 2016 under Zenfone series called as Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe and Zenfone 3 Ultra. These smartphones are the successor of the last year’s Zenfone series smartphones that came with refreshed design and good specifications. The company has come up with the improved hardware specifications such as USB Type-C port, Fingerprint sensor and runs on latest Android software which is Marshmallow out of the box.

Developing



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ASUS ZenPad Z8 for Verizon Wireless specs leak: 8-inch display, 8MP camera, and more

It looks like Verizon Wireless is on track to add another Android-based tablet to its roster, based on newly leaked information regarding the upcoming device.

Evan Blass (@evleaks) has released information and an image of what is being called the ASUS ZenPad Z8. Thanks to prominent branding on the front of the device, it’s obvious that this is headed to Verizon Wireless at some point in the future.

According to the leaked specs, the ZenPad Z8 will feature an 8-inch display with a resolution of 1536×2048. There will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor making everything tick along, and it will have 2GB of RAM. It will offer 16GB of built-in storage, feature an 8-megepixel camera on the back, and a 1.8-megapixel front camera. It will also offer a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

That’s about all that’s known about the upcoming tablet for Verizon at this point. A launch date wasn’t teased, nor how much it will cost.

What do you think of the ASUS ZenPad Z8? A worthy tablet, depending on price?



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Samsung Galaxy C5 and C7 now official with metal designs, Super AMOLED displays

Samsung is jumping into the metal smartphone pool and extending the design to more phones. That includes two brand new handsets, the Galaxy C5 and Galaxy C7.

Samsung has made the two devices officially official, showing off the Galaxy C5 and C7 which are heading to the Chinese market. First up is the Galaxy C5, which features a 5.2-inch 1920×1080 Super AMOLED display, which is set over an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. The device also boasts 4GB of RAM, will be available in 32GB and 64GB variants, and will include a microSD card slot for expandable storage and a battery measured in at 2600mAh. There’s also an 16-megapixel camera on the back, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a fingerprint sensor on the front below the display. It also has NFC support.

samsunggalaxyc7aam

The other new handset is the slightly beefier Galaxy C7, which boasts 5.7-inch 1920×1080 Super AMOLED display. There’s an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, and the battery is measured in at 3300mAh. The other specs are similar to the C5: 16MP camera on the back and an 8MP front-facing shooter, 4GB of RAM, 32/64GB of built-in storage, microSD card slot, and NFC support. A fingerprint reader is included as well.

As mentioned earlier, Samsung is launching the devices in China and there’s no word on whether or not they’ll make it to any other markets. For those interested in the devices, the Galaxy C5 starts at 2,199 yuan ($335 USD), while the Galaxy C7 starts at 2,599 ($396 USD).

What do you think of Samsung’s newest Android devices?



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HTC offering big sales on Memorial Day, free RE with HTC 10

HTC is hosting a Memorial Day sale and it’s a pretty good one. If you were looking to buy an HTC 10, now is a good time. The company is offering a free HTC RE camera with your purchase, regardless of the model you buy.

If you want the RE on its own, it’s 60% off, down to $80 from its $200 original price. There’s also a 40% sale on select accessories if you already own some HTC products.

If you want to take advantage of this sale, hit the source link and get buying. The sale ends on the 30th so you have the weekend to decide on what you want.



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Acer Liquid Zest Plus coming to US with a 5,000 mAh battery for $200

It’s not a soap or a ranch. No, the Acer Liquid Zest Plus is a budget smartphone that features some pretty respectable specs. It has a 5.5-inch 720p display, a quad core MediaTek MT6735 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 13MP camera, Android 6.0, and a huge 5,000 mAh battery.

The surprising thing is that the device is officially coming to the US! Despite advancements in how we buy phones, carrier payment plans are still really popular. Off contract devices are gaining in popularity, but Acer will have an uphill battle to fight. Thankfully, the device is only $199.

The Liquid Zest Plus will be launching in the US in July in Moroccan Blue and Andes White, and for a device that touts 3 day battery life, $199 really isn’t much. It’s also coming to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for €199. Would you consider buying this device?



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Phonebloks creator isn’t thrilled with latest Ara update

Google’s latest Project Ara update was a huge one, met with just as many jeers as cheers. The modular device is actually going to be released next year! But you can swap out far fewer components than originally planned, which kind of ruins much of what made Ara exciting in the first place. Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens has taken to his website to speak out on this, voicing his concerns.

Hakkens is essentially disappointed with two major aspects of Ara: the lack of modular components and Google’s complete control over the platform. From his website:

... the Ara skeleton is a fully equipped phone with things like CPU, antennas, sensors, battery and display. The 6 little blocky modules on the back of the phone are just add-ons like better camera’s, speakers, scanners etc. Things to customise your phone, for fun.

It means your phone still gets obsolete after a while. What if your screen breaks? Well you still need to replace the entire phone. And after a couple of years it gets slow and you need to replace your entire skeleton.

...

Originally their goal was to 'create a phone for the entire world', we loved this.

Ara is build on open standards, and developers can develop their own modules. Which is great. It creates and ecosystem of modules. However it isn’t truly open. Everything happens under the umbrella of Google. They are in charge, they make the rules. They can decided to suddenly change the connectors, or design. Making all previous modules you have obsolete. It’s a powerful ecosystem which shouldn’t be in the hands of one organisation.Dave HakkensPhonebloks

Hakkens’ concerns are valid and most certainly shared. How will Ara help reduce environmental waste? How is it really different than the LG G5 or upcoming Moto Z? While we’re still excited to see how Ara will turn out next year and how it will evolve, the first generation device sounds like it won’t be the modular phone we’ve been waiting for.



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BlackBerry Priv getting app updates for manual camera controls and new keyboard shortcuts

The BlackBerry Priv may be a bit slow to get OS updates, but the flexibility of the Play Store allowing companies to update apps rather than the entire operating system has made adding features much easier. BlackBerry has just released a few app updates for the Android-powered device and the additional features are great.

The camera app has been updated with manual controls, a big deal for anyone who loves photography. You don’t have to have an amazing camera as long as you have some control over your photos. You’ll now be able to control shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. You’ll also get keyboard shortcuts, like space to take photos, swiping the keyboard to adjust settings, and hitting “A” to revert to auto.

The keyboard has also been updated with new shortcuts, many of which computer users are used to. Cut, copy, past, undo, redo, italic, underline, and bold were added. There’s also support for Korean Hangul and Vietnamese for both the virtual and physical keyboards.

To get these new features, head to the Play Store and update your apps. By default, your BlackBerry may have already done so automatically. Let us know how you like it!



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Weekend poll: What mobile trend are you most excited about?

Smartphones, and Android phones in particular, are seeing a resurgence in innovation. Just a year ago, manufacturers seemed to be doing little to differentiate their handsets, with specs reaching a satisfying ceiling.

This year, things are different. We’re seeing interesting new trends in hardware, software and accessories. And we want to hear from you.

What mobile trend are you most excited about? Advances in AI? Virtual Reality? Something else? Check out the poll below, and let us know how you answered and why in the comments below.



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Samsung demos 4K SAMOLED display designed for VR

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Samsung is taking virtual reality very seriously. How seriously? 5.5-inch, 3840 x 2160, 4K, 806ppi seriously.

Yes, Samsung has just unveiled a new 5.5-inch 4K display that will be destined for use in VR systems as a phone display. The display is currently being shown off as a demo, but could be appear in a phone anytime now, maybe even the Galaxy Note 6 7 we’re anticipating with bated breath.

Alongside the 4K display, Samsung also showed off a Bio Blue display with better image quality and less blue light.

In VR quality, perhaps nothing matter more than display quality. Of course you need the hardware to push the display, but that’s not an issue. With a fast enough refresh rate, Samsung’s 4K display could be a game changer.



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Unlimited original quality storage for Nexus devices among changes tipped for future Google Photos update

A recent Google Photos update may have appeared to include little more than bug fixes, but according to code found within the app, much more interesting features are coming soon, including unlimited original quality photo storage for Nexus devices, album sorting and more.

Today’s information comes courtesy of Android Police, who has torn down the latest Google Photos APK only to find some interesting change coming soon to the app inside:

  • Unlimited original quality storage for Nexus devices
  • Album sorting options
  • Device folders will appear as albums
  • New exposure and contrast controls

Album sorting options and more editing tools will be nice, but the big surprise here is unlimited original quality photo storage for Nexus devices for free. Right now, unlimited storage only applies to photos under 16 megapixels. And even for the photos under that limit, they are compressed a wee bit to help Google reduce data storage.

When, how or if these changes will be implemented remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance it will happen, and soon. Yet another reason to buy a Nexus phone. What do you think?



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Google says current Android devices probably won’t be ‘Daydream-ready’

This month saw Google announce Daydream, the company’s big push into the virtual reality (VR) market. The company has grand plans for the platform as a whole, including launching its own headset, plenty of apps, and support for a variety of phones.

However, it sounds like the support department for devices to enjoy those VR experiences on will be pretty thin at launch later this year. According to a report from RoadToVR citing a confirmation from Google’s VR chief, Clay Bavor, current devices that are on the market won’t be “Daydream-ready” when the platform launches. That includes high-end flagship handsets like the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and others.

It’s an interesting turn of events, considering Google has been telling developers to use the Nexus 6P, last year’s flagship, as the platform to work for. Based on this report, it doesn’t sound like the Nexus 6P will be a certified Daydream-ready device. For what it’s worth, the 6P does feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor under the hood, which might be an important distinction, because as Engadget points out, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 is a chipset that supports VR out of the box. Of course, devices like the HTC 10 feature a Snapdragon 820 under the hood, so it sounds like the finer details will really make the difference.

As it stands, it sounds like those who want to make sure they have a Daydream-ready device should wait to upgrade until late in the year, or maybe even early next just to be on the safe side.



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Top 10 Android app updates this week: LINE, AmpMe

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we’re going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we’ll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

ES File Explorer - Version 4.0.5.3

ES File Explorer Pro

What’s new in this version:

  • Removed Charging Boost function for better user experience

 

Snapseed - Version 2.5.0

Snapseed

What’s new in this version:

  • Apply last look from the Main Screen
  • Horizontal flip in the Rotate Tool (left to right)
  • Better display of photo metadata
  • Bug fixes

 

Next Lock Screen - Version 3.2.0

Next Lock Screen

What’s new in this version:

  • New logo and color scheme. The new logo has a streamlined ‘N’, and expresses our identity as a location-based lock screen.
  • Notifications: optimized icons for smoother look, and better performance.
  • Launchpad: minor UI enhancements, added setting to hide contacts.
  • Screen time out: bug fixes.
  • Bing wallpaper: update check changed to once every hour.

 

Skype - Version 7.0.0

Skype

What’s new in this version:

  • New tablet design makes it easier to multitask as it comes with a multi-pane view when in landscape orientation.
  • Improved universal search

 

Slacker Radio - Version 7.0.19

Slacker Radio

What’s new in this version:

  • Play actions are larger, making it a breeze to find and play your favorite stations while on the go (because multi-tasking is an art form )
  • Our original content (interviews, countdowns, etc.) has been moved to the forefront, so you’ll always know what’s new
  • The My Music and Offline sections have been streamlined, allowing for quick access to whatever you’ve saved or downloaded
  • It’s now easier to Sign In & Sign Up. Boom.

 

AutoInput - Version 2.0.0

AutoInput

What’s new in this version:

  • new AutoInput Screen Capture action: record video of your screen and capture screenshots. Video here: https://youtu.be/RHt_9nK6ByI
  • inspect pixel and area colors on your screen
  • Added “Write” and “Replace” actions in “AutoInput Action”
  • new AutoInput Screen Unlock action: unlocks your screen on most pre-Marshmallow devices (some devices are known not to be compatible)

 

LINE - Version 6.3.1

LINE

What’s new in this version:

  • • Timeline Enhancements
  • ​It is now possible to add #tags to Timeline posts.
  • Type @ to mention friends or group members in your posts.
  • You can now easily view multiple photos and videos you uploaded at a glance.
  • Scroll down on any tab to collapse the upper tab menu and display more of the content area.

 

AmpMe - Version 3.2.2

AmpMe

What’s new in this version:

  • AmpMe is adding YouTube as a music source.

 

Periscope - Version 1.15.0

Periscope

What’s new in this version:

  • Save your broadcasts. Now your broadcasts save permanently by default. If you’d rather delete them, you can after ending your broadcast or from your profile.

 

AutoNotification - Version 2.5.5

AutoNotification

What’s new in this version:

  • Another attempt at reducing memory usage
  • Added compatibility with Android TV

 



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