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7
Sep

Amazon to release a $50 tablet this year, WSJ says


Amazon is launching a new 6-inch tablet in time for the holidays, according to The Wall Street Journal, and its main selling point will apparently be its rock-bottom pricing: $50. The company’s Fire HD 6 tablet costs twice as much with advertisements, so one has to wonder what its specs list will look like. It’s worth noting that Amazon was forced to price its current Kindle and Fire tablet models higher than $50 — Bezos’ target retail price for them — due to the cost of their components. That said, the device could be meant for people who want sort of a throwaway tablet for simple tasks like looking up recipes in the kitchen or for online shopping. After all, tablets at that price point typically have low-res screens, small storage spaces or poor battery life.

The WSJ says the device will be around half an inch bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus, but it won’t have the capability to make voice calls. Also, it’s reportedly just the first in a three-product line the company’s releasing this year, with the other two being an 8-inch and a 10-inch tablet. Previously, the publication reported that Amazon was working on a 14-inch tablet, as well, but it had to be shelved due to the Fire phone’s failure to sell. The company also had to put a stop to the development of a few more interesting projects by its hardware facility called Lab126, including a projector and a smart stylus.

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The Wall Street Journal

Tags: amazon, AmazonFire, mobilepostcross, tablet

7
Sep

Android device running slow? Here’s how to speed up your phone


Android

Android devices have a tendency of getting old. And not only in the physical way, prolonged usage can also take a toll on performance, making it seem like you need to upgrade your phone sooner than you thought. What gives? Well, you may be able to save your smartphone by performing a few tricks that can push your handset forward, possibly making it as snappy as the first day you turned it on.

Keep reading to get your device up to speed!

Delete and disable unnecessary apps

Like me, you probably have way too many apps on your smartphone. We all download applications without even thinking about it. After some testing we realize they are no good, and it’s normal to simply forget about these applications and leave them roaming around the app drawer.

galaxy-s4-how-to-uninstall-apps-aa-0017

This is fine when you have a lot of storage, but some may need to save that precious space. Not to mention, this software may be running in the background at times. Unused apps are definitely resource hogs, so just get rid of them! You can do this by using the app manager in your settings, or by long-pressing apps in your drawer and dragging them to the “Uninstall” section.

Clear the cache data

Don’t know what cached data is? Well, it’s a good thing to have it, as it actually speeds up your device. By saving some data locally, the system can reduce loading times and avoid the need to grab the same bits from the Internet every single time you enter a website or app.

The issue is that cache can build up and become pretty heavy on your smartphone’s internal storage. Try to clear it from time to time, as it can also get old. The option is available for individual apps through the app manager, or you can look for a cache cleaning application in the Google Play Store.

Android internal Storage clear cache

Clean your device storage

Got too much music, videos and other files around? Filling up your internal storage can affect performance, so try to keep your phone memory as tidy as possible. Go through all your files and decide what you will actually use and what is just taking up space for no good reason.

Get rid of widgets!

Widgets are very cool, but they can be huge resource hogs and slow down your device. These windows of information are constantly fetching data and looking for updates. Try to limit your widget usage as much as possible. Of course, don’t sacrifice your whole experience either; after all, widgets are among of the coolest things the Android OS offers. Just keep it limited to what you will actually take advantage of.

android-widgets

Dump the live wallpaper

And here’s another awesome Android feature that is not exactly the best at keeping your smartphone clean and smooth. Live wallpapers sure are fun, but they affect performance and battery life. Unless you are willing to sacrifice a bit for those fancy animations, just go grab a regular image.

Keep your phone’s software up to date

Have you been putting off installing that update that keeps nagging you in the notification area? Remember software updates are not always about new features. In fact, most times the main purpose of these OTA upgrades is to squash bugs and introduce performance enhancements. Make sure your phone’s software is always on the latest version available.

android system update

Rooting?

If you really want to go nuts and unlock the door to a whole other series of possibilities, you can root your phone. Once you get total access to your device you can install cleaner ROMs that will keep your phone running smoother. It’s even possible to overclock the processor and make it work extra hard for you, hence making the phone faster.

Just keep in mind these methods are not for the faint of heart. Rooting your phone can be a complicated process, and it can void your warranty. Not to mention the fact that you can often deem your device unusable if you fail to do things right. Want to follow this path? Be very careful, follow instructions, and do your homework first.

Perform a factory data reset!

Phones get old, but that isn’t exactly why they get slower with time. A lot goes on within your handset’s software, so giving it a clean start from time to time is never a bad idea. Sometimes even trying all the previous tips will get you nowhere. In which case the best bet would be to just go ahead and do a factory data reset.

What is a factory data reset? It’s pretty much a method in which you wipe your phone clean and leave the software just the way it was the first time you turned the phone on. Keep in mind this will delete everything in your phone, so back up any important files first!

The option is in your phone’s settings under “Backup and reset”. There’s also ways to do a factory reset using the recovery menu, but the steps are different for every phone. Google is your friend!

Android

Wrapping up

Now, if none of this works, it’s time to get yourself a new device! Let us refer you to our “Best Android phones” article, where we tell you which are the most awesome handsets around. These are all super high-end, so you know you won’t be getting any slowdowns.

Hit the comments and let us know which of these are the most effective tricks for you. Do you know of any other ways to make your phone faster?

7
Sep

Motorola’s “shatterproof” Moto X Force could launch this December for roughly $628


moto-x-force-bounce

Just a few weeks ago we began hearing rumors about a new smartphone from Motorola called the Moto X Force (codenamed Bounce). Featuring a 5.43-inch Quad HD “shatterproof” display, the unannounced Motorola smartphone sounds like quite the flagship so far. But how much cash might one have to pay in order to receive one of these units?

According to @upleaks, the leaker who has given us every Moto X Force rumor so far, the device will launch this December for 4,000 CNY, which is around $628 USD. In contrast, Motorola’s Moto X Style (aka Pure Edition) has just launched for the low price point of $399 off-contract. Seeing a bigger price tag associated with the Moto X Force should come as no surprise, especially given the potential bump up in specifications and features.

The latest from Motorola

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The Moto X Force is rumored to come with a “shatterproof” display, which could hint at a possible MIL-STD rating. According to other rumors, the Force could launch with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of on-board storage, a 21MP rear-facing camera (likely the same sensor found in the Style), a 5MP front-facing camera and a big 3760mAh battery.

If the Moto X Force launches for upwards of $600, would you still be interested? Or would the non-shatterproof Moto X Style suffice? Tell us in the comment section below!

 

7
Sep

HTC to debut a new smartphone on September 29th in Japan


 

HTC

It’s looking like Tuesday, September 29th will be a crazy one in the smartphone industry. We’re already pretty certain that Google will announce two new smartphones – the LG-made Nexus 5X and a Huawei-made Nexus – on this day, and now HTC has thrown its hat into the ring and announced a press event for the 29th, as well.

We’re not exactly sure what the company plans to announce on this day. According to Engadget, the invitation hints at some sort of “double flagship” that could be announced. Also, take note that there’s a big roman numeral “2” in the center of the invite. This could have something to do with HTC’s One line of smartphones, but like I said, details are pretty scarce at the moment.

We’ve heard rumors that the company is working on a high-end device called the A9 (or Aero), and we’ve even seen a few photos of the unannounced phone. Aside from those rumors, though, we’re not entirely sure what to expect on this date. What are your thoughts? Any ideas what it could be? Let us know in the comments!

7
Sep

Huawei’s fight to fix its image and conquer the smartphone world


“Man, China gets all the good phones.”

This is the kind of comment we’ve been hearing a lot lately. But, very few of those Chinese smartphones make it to Western markets. Besides, some folks remain skeptical of Chinese smartphones — either due to bad experience in the past or because of fears over spying by the Chinese government. Huawei in particular has taken quite a bit of heat, with the spotlight set on its founder, Ren Zhengfei, who served in the People’s Liberation Army until 1983. Yet Ren has explained — more than once — that he was just an Engineering Corps officer who helped set up a synthetic fiber factory to tackle the country’s clothing shortage, and his team was disbanded soon after completion. But that hasn’t satisfied everyone and, as the world’s third-largest smartphone maker plus one of the largest telecom equipment vendors, Huawei needs to prove its critics wrong.

Ren established Huawei in 1988 and started importing cheap network equipment from Hong Kong. Eventually, the company began making its own products and saw tremendous growth towards the end of the 90s. But it wasn’t until 2003 when it finally started making its own mobile phones. Today’s Huawei has grown well beyond China. It’s the first Chinese firm to break into Interbrand’s list of top 100 global brands, ranking at number 94 — sandwiched between Corona and Heineken. In terms of money, about two-thirds of the smartphone revenue came from overseas, so it must be doing something right.

The Mate 7 phablet in Huawei’s Shenzhen showroom.

Frankie Yu, Huawei’s head of mobile product planning, pointed out that his company’s mid- to top-range smartphones do very well in developed countries like Spain, Italy and Belgium. This is mainly due to Huawei’s well-established relationship with the carriers there. Interestingly, Yu said these were the European regions that saw the highest demand for Huawei’s phablets, so the company’s early adoption of large mobile screens — like on the Mate series — paid off.

Like Samsung and Apple, Huawei is one of the few smartphone makers that designs its own chipsets, but it took a while before these found their footing performance-wise. Yu said that when his clients picked components for their Huawei phones two years ago, they were less keen on HiSilicon chips. That’s less of an issue these days, as the latest octa-core offerings are comparable to their competitors. Most notably, they already come with integrated LTE Cat 6 radio, which has a download speed of up to 300 Mbps. That puts it a little behind Qualcomm, which already has Cat 9, but a little ahead of MediaTek.

A series of SMT machines at Huawei’s Dongguan smartphone factory.

Like most other brands, Huawei outsources some of its smartphone production, leaving just its P and Mate flagship series in its own hands. At Huawei’s Dongguan factory, a single 24-hour workshop there — eight hours per shift — can churn out about one million units per month. And a single production line can make about 1,200 Mate 7 phablets each day. Even though a smartphone has roughly 1,000 parts these days, it’d only take 15 minutes to modify a production line for a different model, provided that all the materials are ready.

The production process is pretty standard: Load blank logic boards onto the belt, coat their contact points with solder, place the tiny components onto the them, bake them, assemble the remaining parts, flash the software and finally package the devices. The real differentiator between companies these days is the amount of automation implemented — more robots mean faster, more precise operation. One of the more memorable quirks of Huawei’s factory floor was the self-guided vehicles playing Chinese pop music while delivering components to workers when they start to run low.

A worker operating an auto-screwdriving machine.

Thankfully, the robots haven’t quite taken over the factory yet. Even though there are machines that tediously check every single element of the phones’ hardware and software, Huawei still enlists the help of humans to do one last visual inspection before boxing them up. There are also others who help monitor a few assembly machines, especially those that glue the LCDs onto the phone’s glass. Together, they make up a team of just 53 workers on a dual-track Mate 7 production line, which has helped reduce the manufacturing lead time — the amount of time a product spends in the factory — from eleven days to just four days within a year.

Huawei has a device reliability lab in Shenzhen that picks out random samples for a series of tests. Most of these are pretty common in the industry, like the connector durability test, tumbling barrel test and even a back pocket stress test — it involves a big rubber stamp that repeatedly pushes down on a phone placed inside a denim pocket. The more hardcore stuff include the temperature shock test, salt water sauna test, solar radiation simulation and more. According to a technician, the smartphone that’s performed the best in his lab so far is the yet-to-be-announced P9, so that’s something to look forward to.

Huawei’s Mobile Design VP Joonsuh Kim demoing the camera on the P8.

Not even Huawei’s Mobile Design Vice President, Joonsuh Kim, could resist mentioning the upcoming device. “I can guarantee you, for sure, that the P9 will be very surprising.”

Prior to joining Huawei in November 2012, Kim worked his way up to the design director rank during his eight year stint at Samsung Mobile. He was approached by Huawei’s headhunters, which led to a half-hour interview with CEO Richard Yu that ended up lasting for two hours, followed by an extra four-hour session the next day. It was as if Yu had found his new best friend.

Today, Kim is based in the design center at Huawei’s Shanghai campus and works primarily on smartphones — with the latest ones being the P8 and the Mate S. Together with 25-year design veteran Anthony Smith, the two manage over 200 designers across the globe. One of the most recent additions being Ben Norton, a veteran of Fossil who is working on the swanky-looking Huawei Watch.

Despite the star-studded design team, there’s still room for improvement. When Huawei unveiled the P8max back in April, many were quick to call out the striking resemblance between its “pixel cover” and HTC’s Dot View Cover. Even the product render used the classic “10:08” clock display, which appears on most HTC products. When we questioned the phablet’s chief designer about this, he defended it by pointing out that his cover uses leather for a more premium feel (with the trade-off being it doesn’t support touch input), and that it doubles as a kickstand. Funnily enough, the Taiwanese man also added that he used to be a design consultant for HTC.

A designer walking through the details on the P8max.

“I can guarantee you, for sure, that the P9 will be very surprising.”

For Smith, this kind of “cross fertilization of ideas” is the norm. “The world is a big place and the space is big. I suppose we try to do the best job that we can in coming up with things that we think are fitting for what we do.” In a separate interview session, though, Kim admitted that “it’s not a desirable thing we did it,” but he’ll help his company go through this transition. It’ll probably be at least half year before we see the results, but if the Huawei Nexus leaks are legit, then we’ll have an even better litmus paper to test this Chinese brand’s acceptance in the West.

[Image credit: Factory photos by Huawei.]

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Cellphones, Mobile

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Tags: anthonysmith, china, featured, features, frankieyu, gloryzhang, hisilicon, honor, huawei, interview, joonsuhkim, Kirin, Kirin930, mobilepostcross, p9, phone, smartphone, TommiLaineYlijoki

7
Sep

New York City wants to track your car to save you time and money


Irene

Insurance outfits have been eager to track cars in the name of lower costs and driver safety, but it looks like even major urban centers are getting in on the action. New York City is launching a Drive Smart test program that will have 400 drivers install an OBD-II tracking device in return for a range of perks. If you get in, you’ll get tips on fuel efficiency, route planning and safety based on your driving habits. You’ll also receive up to a 30 percent discount on Allstate insurance if you’re sufficiently cautious. Ideally, this will save both you and NYC some money, not to mention a lot of frustration — you won’t add to the city’s notorious traffic congestion.

The pilot runs until the end of August 2016, and could lead to a larger effort if it proves successful. Whether or not it does is up in the air, however. While these trackers can do a lot to promote better driving, they also require that you give up a degree of privacy. And of course, a lot of New York City’s traffic involves cabbies, ridesharers, visitors and other drivers who aren’t really good candidates for Drive Smart. As promising as this data-based driving initiative sounds, it may only have a limited amount of success in tackling gridlock.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer]

Filed under:
Transportation

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Source:
Drive Smart

Tags: allstate, DriveSmart, drivesmartnyc, NewYork, NewYorkCity, obd-ii, privacy, tracking, transportation

7
Sep

HTC being removed from a top index on Taiwan’s stock market later this month


HTC_One_M9_Back_HTC_Logo_TAGood news is few and far between for HTC, and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon. The latest stroke of bad luck for the company will have HTC removed from Taiwan Stock Exchange’s FTSE TWSE Taiwan 50 Index on September 21st, effectively labelling the company’s stock as low-end.

The Taiwan 50 Index accounts for about 70% of businesses in Taiwan, and although HTC will still be listed in the Mid-Cap 100 Index, that section of the stock market is significantly less valuable.

With plummeting stock prices, HTC’s market value has dipped below its available cash on hand. For a company, that’s a pretty sign and essentially tells investors that the company’s brand is worthless. HTC is still working on cutting costs and trying to turn things around, but they still have a very long road ahead of them.

source: Venture Beat

Come comment on this article: HTC being removed from a top index on Taiwan’s stock market later this month

7
Sep

[TA Deals] Get the Snowflake Stealth Drone for just $29!


snowflake_stealth_drone

As cool as they are, most drones are just too expensive for the average person to buy and play around with. Drone enthusiasts are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a serious piece of equipment. Fortunately for you, Talk Android Deals has a starter drone available for less than $50. The Snowflake Stealth Drone is compact and durable, ready to take flight in small environments and endure bumps and crashes. This drone takes just forty minutes to charge; then your ready for flight and the control distance exceeds thirty meters.

Here is what the Snowflake Stealth Drone offers:

  • 6-axis gyro technology for smooth & steady flight
  • High-speed mode for outdoor racing
  • 4 multi-color LED lights to navigate the night’s sky
  • 2.4 technology to avoid multi-drone collision
  • 4 safety-protected propellers for crash recovery
  • 4CH digital proportional RC system for indoor & outdoor flight

Today, you can get the Snowflake Stealth Drone for $29. That amounts to 70% in savings. If you’re buying your very first drone, paying $29 seems way better than $290 or $2,900.

[Talk Android Deals]

Come comment on this article: [TA Deals] Get the Snowflake Stealth Drone for just $29!

7
Sep

LG, Huawei’s Nexus phones to be up for pre-order on October 13


Nexus_5_Back_Slanted_Nexus_Logo_TA

Two Nexus phones are coming this year. Both LG, a company familiar with the Nexus line, and Huawei will be producing the phones for Google’s signature hardware brand. The Huawei-made Nexus phone will be larger and have ‘better’ specifications than LG’s offering, but the latter will bring Nexus phones back to a more affordable price. Google is expected to announce the new devices at an event held in San Francisco on September 29. The pre-order date, though, is not set for that same day. You’ll have to wait a few weeks to secure your new Nexus phone.

A source tells Talk Android that both LG and Huawei’s Nexus phones will be made available for pre-order on October 13. This date is exactly two weeks after the aforementioned event. What the source did not provide us with is a shipping date; however, Nexus devices have a history in shipping 1-3 weeks after an announcement or when pre-orders are first taken.

Being that Google has still not confirmed an event for September 29, the October 13 pre-order date could change in the coming weeks.

Here is a recap of Nexus phone timelines:

  • Nexus One: December 12, 2009 (confirmed); January 5, 2010 (released)
  • Nexus S: December 6, 2010 (announced); December 16, 2010 (released)
  • Galaxy Nexus: October 19, 2011 (announced); November 17, 2011 (released)
  • Nexus 4: October 29, 2012 (announced); November 13, 2012 (released)
  • Nexus 5: October 31, 2013 (announced, pre-ordering started)
  • Nexus 6: October 15, 2014 (announced); October 29, 2014 (pre-ordering started)

Come comment on this article: LG, Huawei’s Nexus phones to be up for pre-order on October 13

7
Sep

All the news you need to know from IFA 2015


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Engadget team has been in Berlin, Germany for over a week, but now it’s time to go home. This year’s IFA, Europe’s biggest tech show, didn’t leave many surprises behind. That said, we did come across some fancy new wearables (mostly smartwatches), 4K TVs and an avalanche of Windows 10 PCs. Not surprisingly, though, a few smartphones also made their debut here — including Sony’s Xperia Z5 family and Huawei’s answer to the iPhone 6 Plus, the Mate S. Beyond these announcements, the IFA 2015 show floor was filled with high-tech home appliances, sub-par food and attendees from all over the world trying to get a glimpse at the latest technologies. Here are some of the things we saw during our time at the event.Slideshow-317504

Smartphones & tablets

Wearables

Audio

Home entertainment

Laptops & computers

Wellness

Cameras

Miscellany

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mat Smith and Jamie Rigg contributed to this report.

Filed under:
Misc, Home Entertainment, Wearables, HD, Mobile

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Tags: hands-on, hdpostcross, Huawei, IFA, IFA2015, LG, mobilepostcross, Samsung, Sony

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