Moto G with dual-SIM support passes through FCC
Nov20

Moto G with dual-SIM support passes through FCC

Emerging markets are the key target for newly launched Moto G. And, at $179 unsubsidized, the new Motorola smartphone could be a big hit over there. One of the most demanded features for affordable smartphones in countries like India, is the dual-SIM capability. And Motorola already said that dual-SIM Moto G is coming to India and Brazil. Now, we have further confirmation of this. Moto G with the an optional dual-SIM card slot have already passed through FCC.   Just to remind you why Moto G is such a hot item, here are some key specs of this sub-$180 smartphone: 4.5” 720p display 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU 5 megapixel rear and 1.3 megapixel front camera 8 or 16GB of storage 2070 mAh battery For now, Moto G is one of the best equipped smartphones in its price category almost anywhere in world. Add to that lightning fast Android OS updates – Motorola is already delivering KitKat to some Moto X handsets – and you see why the G is so hard to...

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Take that Amazon! Chinese e-tailer Jingdong launches its own JDPhone smartphone program, eyes MVNO
Nov20

Take that Amazon! Chinese e-tailer Jingdong launches its own JDPhone smartphone program, eyes MVNO

Amazon has been trying to figure out how to do Kindle smartphone for years now. Some patent applications show that Jeff Bezos has been toying with the idea of customized Amazon Phone in 2008. It’s been 5 years now, and we still haven’t heard anything official from them. Now one of Amazon’s main competitors in China – Jingdong,  thinks it has cracked a smartphone formula and is launching its own JDPhone program next week. They also have plans for own MVNO in the near future. Jingdong VP Wang Xiaosong says that they have been selling smartphones for 7 years now, and already moved 30 million of them. This gives Jingdong a good insight on what customers expect from their smartphones, and what they do not like about them. They now decided to use that data to corner high volume 1000-2000 Yuan market in cooperation with smartphone OEMs. According to Wang Xiaosong, most of cheap smartphone owners are unhappy with their experience today. They buy a new phone with low powered CPU and 512MB of RAM, and suffer through laggy response; low resolution makes big smartphone displays are pointless, most pictures taken with them are unviewable, etc;. Jingdong will use the data about customer preferences, and share it with OEMs through JDPhone program. Smartphone vendor gets a list of minimum specs for a certain price tier, and then gets preferential placement and promotion as JDPhone to e-tailer’s 100 million customers. Right now JDPhone between 1500-2000 Yuan ($245-328)  should come with 3G connectivity, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 5” 1080p display, 13 megapixel main and 5 megapixel front camera. Snapdragon 600 CPU and 4.5” 720p display is enough for a 1000-1500 Yuan ($164-245) handset.  The first JDPhones will be ZTE’s Nubia Z5S and Z5S mini, launched yesterday. But Jingdong says handsets from 4 more Chinese OEMs are on the way. Jingdong has also applied for MVNO license to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. They plan to use the data on 100 million registered customers  to check their credit score, and will offer subsidized JDPhones with zero upfront payments. Source: Sina 1, 2,...

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64-bit Exynos CPU for Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4 confirmed by “senior ARM official”, 128-bit chip in 2 years
Nov19

64-bit Exynos CPU for Samsung Galaxy S5 or Note 4 confirmed by “senior ARM official”, 128-bit chip in 2 years

Korea Herald quotes senior ARM official today, confirming that British mobile chip designer and Samsung has discussed and agreed on a 64-bit chip, that will go into the new Samsung smartphone next year. Knowing how Samsung releases its flagship devices, they could have been talking about only two possible handsets – Galaxy S5 in early spring, or, if the new Exynos CPU is not ready by then, Galaxy Note 4 in September. According to Korea Herald, in addition to 64-bit CPUs for Samsung smartphones, companies also talked about Cortex-M processor which could be used in Samsung’s appliances and smart home systems. And, if you think that 64-bit CPUs are cool, just wait until 2015. The ARM source said that 128-bit mobile chips might be developed in the next couple of years, as biometric applications such as face recognition drastically increase the need for computing power. Although I am pretty sure he was talking about ARM design roadmap, not the actual 128-bit chips manufactured by Samsung, here. Source: Korea...

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Nokia China Dongguan factory employees protest their sale to Microsoft
Nov19

Nokia China Dongguan factory employees protest their sale to Microsoft

Nokia is holding an extraordinary shareholder meeting today, where company management expects to get the approval to sell mobile device unit to Microsoft. This being a strong emotional issue for Finns, we can expect some sort of protest both outside and inside the meeting venue later today. But there’s a group of people already in the streets and protesting Nokia/Microsoft deal. It’s the employees of Nokia Dongguan factory in China. Apparently they too are not happy that they are being sold to Microsoft  and would like to receive some compensation in the process, like their colleagues in Vietnamese Nokia factory did. Posters saying “Do not sell us, we have dignity and human rights” (according to Google translate), could be seen among protesters. Nokia China representative confirmed the protests, but says that operation of the plant is not affected. Via Weibo,...

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And the next Samsung Tizen based product is… a smart fridge
Nov14

And the next Samsung Tizen based product is… a smart fridge

The outlines of Samsung’s not so secret plan for Tizen world domination are becoming more and more clear. They know they don’t have a chance to break the Google’s and Apple’s dominance of smartphone market anytime soon. So Samsung is creating an end-run around it. Have Tizen run everything else, and with little time and luck smartphones may take care of themselves. They already started down this path with smart camera, are working on a smart TV, talking to car manufacturers about In-Vehicle-Infotanment systems, and will soon launch one more Tizen based product… A smart fridge. Yep. You heard it right. According to Korean DDaily, Samsung plans to announce its Tizen based Smart Refrigerator during CES early next year. The fridge will have a built-in PAD with big display, and will run on Nexell’s Application Processor with either 512 or 256MB of RAM, Wi-Fi b/g/n support and a few gigs of built-in flash storage. Why would you need such thing for your fridge? I’m sure Samsung will think of something. Streaming latest video news or YouTube clips during breakfast, reminding that milk is getting stale, or recommending interesting recipes, for starters. Or, maybe, just the bragging rights for the title of the biggest geek in the neighborhood will be enough for you to get...

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Xiaomi sells 380k items, $90 million worth of stuff on a Singles Day in China
Nov12

Xiaomi sells 380k items, $90 million worth of stuff on a Singles Day in China

November 11th is an interesting Holiday, called a Singles Day,  in China. It’s a play on date’s numbers – 11.11, and is dedicated to celebrate single people enjoying their unattached lives today, but treating special someones to dinner or by giving gifts to finally form long lasting relationships.  Started in 1990s, Singles Day has grown into a busiest shopping day of the year – kinda Black Friday of China. And who’s better to take advantage of such shopping focused occasion than Xiaomi- China’s hottest scheduled/flash sales e-tailer. In the run-up to the Singles Day, Xiaomi has stocked up on every item they had in their catalog – cheap Red Rice phones, Mi3 flagship smartphones, TVs, set-top boxes, various accessories, etc; and opened it all up to the public on November 11th 12.00 AM. With great success. Within the first 13 minutes all 10K of Xiaomi’s set-top boxes sold out, and they ran through 110K Xiaomi Mi3 flagships in 2 minutes. When the day closed, Xiaomi had an additional 553 million Yuan ($90 million) in their pockets, and sold a total of 380K items of various stuff with their name on it. Not bad for a single day’s work for a company that is barely  3 years old. Source: Xiaomi, Hugo...

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Retina iPad Mini delayed due to LCD burn-ins at Sharp and LG. Apple is talking to Samsung to fix things
Nov08

Retina iPad Mini delayed due to LCD burn-ins at Sharp and LG. Apple is talking to Samsung to fix things

When Apple announced iPad Mini with Retina display, they didn’t provide its release date. Which was very unusual for  Steve Jobs’s company. But there was a very good reason for that. Apple simply can not make enough iPad Minis with Retina display. And why is that? Because of the displays, of course. Turns out, the screens with the pixel density Apple requires for Retina iPad Mini, are not so easy to come by.  They’ve been talking to 4 potential suppliers: Taiwan’s  AUO, Samsung, LG and Sharp. AUO wasn’t ready to compete in the big leagues, and Samsung, well it’s Sammy – and you know how Apple loves to have them as a key supplier. Only now, they may not have a choice. There are some technological issues in mass producing that sized tablet Retina displays, only Samsung was able to solve. For more details check out these a-Si and LTPS display tech descriptions. What matters in the end, is that neither of Apple’s chosen iPad Mini Retina display suppliers  (LG, Sharp) was able to solve manufacturing yield issues, to deliver enough displays for this tablet. The problem is with something called “LCD burn-in” nobody can see, but which still falls below Apple’s standards. So now, Retina iPad Mini is delayed, and Apple is hard at work renegotiating display supply terms with Samsung. Which is the only company in the World that can supply Apple with enough Retina Mini displays to satisfy the demand. Unfortunately, after being kicked-out as a potential display supplier early this year,  Samsung will be ready to deliver enough Mini Retina screens only sometime early next year. Before that – expect weeks of waiting time for Retina iPad Mini, or be ready to hugely overpay in grey market. IPad Mini production volumes will meet its demand next January, at best. Source:...

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Nokia Lumia 525 specs show-up in China. Spoiler: It’s just Lumia 520 with 1GB of RAM
Nov05

Nokia Lumia 525 specs show-up in China. Spoiler: It’s just Lumia 520 with 1GB of RAM

The rumors of Nokia Lumia 525 (codename “Glee”) has been circulating around the net for a couple of months now. But, except for it being the successor to  the most popular Windows Phone ever – Lumia 520 – little was known about the this handset. Last week, mobile device certification agency TENAA approved Lumia 525 for use in China, and published pictures of the device on its website. Today, Mydrivers.com dug deeper into the TENAA database, and found full Lumia Glee specs: Chinese Nokia Lumia 525 will have: 850, 900,1800, 1900 GSM/WCDMA connectivity 1 GHz Dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM 4” 480×800 TFT display 5 megapixel autofocus camera, no flash, 720p video recording Dimensions: 119.9 × 64 × 11.2mm Weight: 124g As you can see from the specs, calling Lumia 525 a successor to 520 is a bit of an overstatement. It is a minor Lumia 520 refresh, with more memory (1GB of instead of 512 MB), and slightly updated design. That’s it. Which make sound disappointing, but actually makes a lot of sense. Lumia 520 only started shipping in April – 6 months ago- and is still selling like hotcakes (for a Windows Phone). It is way too early for Nokia to release a full fledged second generation of this very successful device. That will come in the first half of 2014, and will probably be one of the first Microsoft Lumia...

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Microsoft: smart watches/glasses 3-5 years away from mainstream. Google preps Glass 2&smartwatch launch
Oct29

Microsoft: smart watches/glasses 3-5 years away from mainstream. Google preps Glass 2&smartwatch launch

Microsoft has been notorious for missing some major computing trends over the last decade, then spending years and billions of dollars trying to catch up. Usually without much success. And, if wearable computing in the form of smart watches and glasses takes off in a year or two, they may do it again. Because at least some of Microsoft execs are pretty skeptical about the hype surrounding Google Glass and various smart watch efforts. According to Focus Taiwan, Microsoft corporate VP and chairman of the company’s Asia-Pacific research group, Zhang Ya-qin, had this to say about wearables during Global Views Business Forum in Taipei: “I think wearable devices require more time, maybe three to five years in development, before they can become mainstream. We expect to see a lot of try-outs of the devices in the coming years, in forms that include watches and eyeglasses” Maybe it is a misdirection, because Microsoft most definitely has a lot of wearable stuff cooking in its R&D labs: Or maybe Zhang Ya-qin is right, and technology for a mainstream consumer wearables is just not there yet. But Google has been testing a real Glass device with real people in real life for more than half a year now, collecting a lot of valuable usage data, and has a version 2 almost ready to ship. While WSJ reports that Google smart watch will enter mass production within a few months. Apple  also is all in on wearables and will, most likely, have a consumer ready iWatch out before the end of 2014. Sitting still on the commercialization of wearable computing devices, playing with the concepts and prototypes in R&D labs, waiting for the right technology to come around, while major competitors around you are busy launching real devices, sounds like a recipe for another disaster for Microsoft. Microsoft had almost monopoly in browsers, a lot of other Internet properties and yet it ignored the importance of search and search advertising until it was way too late to catch up with Google. After the decade of devlopment and tens of billions invested, Microsoft Bing is still a distant second in the field. They’ve been in smartphones since the beginning of this age. And yet, when the new true mobile computing paradigm came along, Steve Ballmer laughed at iPhone right until the moment he had to kill Windows Mobile and start fresh with Windows Phone. 3 years later and billions down the drain, the results of Microsoft mobile efforts are pathetic. Even if wearable computing is just a hype today and is not ready for prime time, can Microsoft risk to be wrong on this? I hope the new CEO in...

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China Mobile launches official 4G teaser page with Nov. 9-11th launch dates. 2 Generic iPhones in tow
Oct28

China Mobile launches official 4G teaser page with Nov. 9-11th launch dates. 2 Generic iPhones in tow

November launch of China Mobile’s 4G network, with iPhone 5S/5C in tow, has been rumored for a couple of months now. It seems that those rumors are true and TD-LTE network is going live in select cities in a couple of weeks. Over the weekend China Mobile has launched an official  teaser page which promises 4G services “coming soon” – on November 9-11th. The page even shows a couple of generic iPhones, among the cool new offers that will open up on those days. In the meantime, China Mobile retail outlets are preparing for the 4G launch and the new iPhones, too. Some of them going as far as putting up in-store iPhone posters already. We still haven’t heard anything about commercial 4G license grants from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and their officials continue to refuse to give anything more precise than “4G licenses will be issued this year” line. But China Mobile seems confident that they are getting one in the next few weeks, and are going ahead with the preparations for the big...

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