ZTE Zmax 2 Launched With 5.5-Inch HD Display, 4G LTE Support

ZTE has a new smartphone in town. The company, which is now the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the US, has launched the Zmax 2 to further its presence in the nation. The Zmax 2, which is the successor to last year’s ZTE Zmax, comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop and some hardware improvements. It will be available at a price point of $149.99 (roughly Rs. 9,900) on prepay (off-contract) on AT&T from September 25. There’s no word on its availability outside the US.

 

Not long ago ZTE had virtually no presence in the United States’ smartphone market, but the Chinese company has quickly risen to stand among the top selling low-priced mid-to-high range Android smartphones. The Zmax 2 is no exception.

The ZTE Zmax 2 comes with a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280) display, which interestingly is smaller than last year’s Zmax which has 5.7-inch display. It is powered by a Snapdragon 400 SoC clocked at 1.2GHz paired with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded by up to 32GB using a microSD card should you need more storage.

Other features of the ZTE Zmax 2 include an 8-megapixel rear camera, a front-facing 2-megapixel sensor, and a 3000 mAh battery. On the software front, as noted above, the Zmax 2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The handset supports 4G LTE band, 3G, and Wi-Fi among other standard connectivity options.

The $149.99 price point which is sans contract makes the handset enticing. The Zmax2 competes with Moto G (third generation) which is priced at $179.99 in the US (roughly Rs. 11,900) and offers a similar set of hardware specifications.

Motorola Bounce ‘Shatterproof’ Phone Image Leaked, Specifications Tipped

Seems like Motorola, besides working on its next-generation Moto 360 smartwatch, is also working on a new and more powerful smartphone dubbed as Motorola Bounce. The smartphone, as per the leaked set of specifications by a known tipster, looks like a slightly upgraded version of the recently announced Moto X Style.

The rumoured Motorola Bounce, as seen in the image shared by @upleaks on Twitter (seen above) on Monday, appears to come with the same design profile as the Lenovo-owned firm’s recently announced handsets. However, the side bezels of the device make the smartphone look studier.

As per the tweet, the Motorola Bounce will feature a 5.43-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) resolution display and would come powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC, clubbed with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 430 GPU. The handset is supposed to sport a 21-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The battery capacity of the handset is said to be 3,760mAh, which if true would be one of the high capacity smartphone batteries in the market. As for the inbuilt storage, the Bounce would come in 32GB and 64GB variants.

Interestingly, the tweet also mentions the unannounced smartphone to be “shatterproof”, which could indicate a MIL-STD rating, and explains the ‘Bounce’ in the name. December is said to be the launch month for the Motorola Bounce.

Motorola, besides its Bounce smartphone, is reportedly also working on a next-gen Moto 360 smartwatch. The smartwatch’s rendered images were leaked on Monday tipping two size variants. The leaked image also indicates the upcoming Moto 360 to launch in two case and band options. The external lugs are also seen on the new Moto 360 smartwatch image, as well as the crown button in the 2 o’clock position.

Xiaomi Mi 4c Retail Box Leaked, Tips Snapdragon 808 and USB Type-C Port

Xiaomi’s alleged new Mi 4c smartphone has again made it to the rumour mills and this time the handset’s retail box has reportedly been leaked in an image.

While the Chinese company is yet to confirm the existence of the Xiaomi Mi 4c, the retail box image leak tips that the handset is indeed in the works and could be launched in the coming months. The new handset is said to be another variant of the Xiaomi Mi 4 handset, after the Xiaomi Mi 4i (seen above).

For specifications, the retail box tips that the smartphone will be powered by a Snapdragon 808 processor, in line with an AnTuTu benchmark leak recently.

Other specifications include a 5-inch full-HD display; 2GB of RAM; 16GB storage, and a 3080mAh battery. A 13-megapixel rear camera is listed on the retail box as well alongside a 5-megapixel front camera.

xiaomi_mi_4c_leak_gizmochina.jpgThe Xiaomi Mi 4c might be the company’s first smartphone featuring USB Type-C, possibly version 3.0, according to the leaked retail box image. The handset is said to run MIUI ROM, most likely the recently released MIUI 7 build. The leaked image was first spotted on Weibo by GizmoChina.

Previously leaked AnTuTu benchmark results tipped that the alleged Mi 4c will come with 1.4GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and will feature 3G, GPRS/ EDGE and 4G LTE connectivity options. It was said to measure 138.1×69.6×7.8mm, and weigh 130 grams.

Another Xiaomi handset dubbed ‘Libra’ with Snapdragon 808 processor was benchmarked last month, and appears to be the same handset.

Recently, Xiaomi was reported to be working on its first dual-edge display smartphone, believed to be dubbed the Mi Edge. It was said to be likely to launch in October this year.

According to the preliminary details, Xiaomi’s new smartphone is said to feature a 5.2-inch QHD display with 565ppi pixel density and would sport a dual-curved display, similar to the ones seen on Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

YouTube Gaming Launched; Android and iOS Apps to Roll Out Gradually

YouTube on Wednesday strode into an arena dominated by Amazon-owned Twitch, with the launch of a service tailored for the hot trend of video game play as a spectator sport.

The rollout of YouTube Gaming marked the public debut of an online venue where video game lovers can find commentary, live play, on-demand snippets and more.

YouTube Gaming had been in a test phase since it was shown off at an Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) extravaganza in June.

“As promised, and after some excellent road-testing by thousands of dedicated gaming fans, YouTube Gaming is now available,” YouTube engineering manager Frank Petterson said in a blog post.

“Blending gaming videos and live streams, YouTube Gaming brings you closer to the games, gamers, and culture that matter to you.”

An English-language website at gaming.youtube.com was being rolled out in countries where YouTube is available, according to Petterson.

He said that a YouTube Gaming application was being made available in Britain and the United States for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software, with more countries to be added “soon.”

“Having a destination where you can get all the gaming content you care about is really important,” Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming partnerships, told AFP at E3 while showing off the online venue for live or on-demand video focused on gaming.

“That is why we created this,” he said.

Massive online audiences
Billions of hours of video related to gaming are watched monthly on YouTube, from “walk-through” clips showing players how to handle challenges, to comedic commentary and in-game action, according to Wyatt.

The online arena for video game channels incorporates the search smarts of Google, which owns YouTube, to surface fresh or must-see content.

US online retail giant Amazon last year snatched up Twitch and its huge audience for live-streamed gaming.

The acquisition was one of the largest in Amazon’s history $970 million in cash for the three-year-old Internet company.

Twitch Interactive streams games being played for non-playing viewers to watch, and hosts gaming events.

It allows viewers to chat with the players and others, lending it some of the qualities of social networking websites, and it also sells advertising to generate income.

The takeover came with a boom in online viewing of real-time video game or computer game play as “e-sports” attract growing crowds as spectator events.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Features Critical S Pen Stylus Design Flaw

Samsung may have missed out on what appears to be a critical design flaw in the Galaxy Note 5. The phablet was launched by the South Korean smartphone manufacturer at a media event on August 13 with a minor tweak to how it handles the S Pen – making it ejectable. That minor tweak could result in users damaging the stylus.

The Galaxy Note 5, unlike its predecessors, comes with a stylus which is largely symmetrical on both ends. This makes it highly likely that a user would mistakenly insert back the S Pen the wrong way. Doing this, as per folks at Android Police, could cause damage to the stylus detection mechanism of the phone, making it useless.

The design change in the stylus pen and the way the Note 5 holds it is making world of a difference to the device. If a user inserts the S Pen the wrong way into the Note 5, the stylus gets stuck in the device without even clicking into place. Any attempt to remove it will cause damage to the S Pen detection mechanism. Another issue is that the device doesn’t offer any resistance to the pen when you’re inserting it the wrong way, which makes it difficult for users to realise their mistake until the damage is done.

This is yet another big blow to the Galaxy Note 5, which could significantly steer away many users who were planning to purchase it. The company has already disappointed Galaxy Note fans by doing away with a microSD card slot (further compounded by not introducing a 128GB variant) and removable battery.

Sony Teases Improved Focusing System for Xperia Z5

Sony has teased an upcoming Xperia handset on Twitter, saying all will be revealed on September 2 – the date of its IFA 2015 event where the company is expected to launch its new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z5. Like the last one, the new teaser hints at a new camera focusing technology.

The Twitter post by Sony Xperia UK on Monday shows a blurry image of a handset taking a shot of a monument in the evening. Although the image does not show the device clearly, the tweet mentions that “Get ready for a smartphone with greater focus. All will become clear on 02.09.2015,” clearly stating the device would feature an updated focusing camera technology and will launch during the company’s pre-IFA event next month.

The term ‘greater focus’ in the tweet might be referring to the inclusion of the Hybrid AF technology (which combines phase detection and contrast autofocus systems) in the unannounced Sony Xperia Z5, just like the recently launched Xperia M5.

In last month’s teaser, The post mentioned the Xperia device with new camera that can capture images in a ‘split-second’ – pointing at a new type of autofocus method, and maybe an improvement to sensor sensitivity and shutter speed.

Recent rumours have also pointed out that the Xperia Z5 might arrive alongside the Xperia Z5 Compact. Details on the rumoured Sony Xperia Z5+ also emerged on the Web earlier this month via the handset’s User Agent Profile and promotional image leaks.

OnePlus 2 Kernel Source Now Available to Download

If you wanted to make custom ROMs for the OnePlus 2 smartphone, the Chinese manufacturer is officially making it possible. The company’s CEO Carl Pei announced on Twitter that the kernel source for the OnePlus 2 is now available to the public via GitHub. The move will allow developers to make custom ROMs for OnePlus’ latest flagship smartphone.

The kernel source will provide developers with full access to OxygenOS. The custom ROM was launched as a beta in April earlier this year, based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. OnePlus had launched the OnePlus One, its first flagship smartphone with Cyanogen OS in 2014. Later, Cyanogen partnered with Micromax to give it the exclusive rights to sell Cyanogen-powered smartphones in India.

As a result, OnePlus was prohibited from selling Cyanogen OS-based Android-powered smartphones in the country, but received a reprieve to finish selling its stock, and was then allowed to sell non Cyanogen-branded handsets.

Amid the controversy, OnePlus announced that it would launch its own Android-based operating system. OnePlus realises that OxygenOS isn’t half as popular as Cyanogen’s Android builds, and if it wants to attract developers, it would require to open the kernel source to users.

The OnePlus’ custom ROM is now based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. It recently received an update which was designed to patch the Stagefright vulnerability. The update also brought along a new camera user interface to the phone, allowing users to take slow motion video at 120fps. The update also improved the battery life of the smartphone, and offered several bug fixes. You can download the kernel source from GitHub

Oppo R5s With 4.85mm Thickness, 3GB RAM Launched

Oppo has unveiled an upgraded variant of its popular super-slim R5 smartphone, dubbed R5s. Additionally, the Oppo R7 Plus is going on sale in limited markets.

The new Oppo R5s (see above) has been listed by the company’s Europe site at EUR 199 (approximately Rs. 15,000), and notes that the handset will be ‘coming soon on August 25’.

While the new Oppo R5s retains one of the highlight features of its predecessor – the 4.85mm thickness – it also brings few improvements. The R5s smartphone features 3GB of RAM, compared to 2GB of RAM on the Oppo R5 (Review | Pictures), and also comes with double the inbuilt storage, with 32GB instead of the R5’s 16GB.

Rest of the specifications of both the handsets are identical. The Oppo R5s features a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Amoled display that offers a pixel density of 423ppi. It is powered by the same 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) processor (2.1GHz quad-core + 1.5GHz quad-core) alongside Adreno 405. It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with Sony IMX214 sensor; an f/2.0 aperture, and a LED flash. There is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera also on board.

Running the company’s proprietary ColorOS 2.0.1 (based on Android 4.4 KitKat), it supports a single Micro-SIM. Similar to the R5 smartphone, the R5s doesn’t support expandable storage.

There is 2000mAh battery on board, and the smartphone supports VOOC charging technology that is said to charge the battery from 0 to 75 percent in around 30 minutes. Connectivity options on the smartphone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS/ EDGE, 4G, and Micro-USB. The Oppo R5s measures 148.9×74.5×4.85mm and weighs 155 grams.

In other news, Oppo R7 Plus is finally going on sale (via GSMArena) in limited markets. The company in May had announced that the R7 Plus smartphone will be available at CNY 2,999 (approximately Rs. 30,900). As of now, there is no word which are the specific markets where the Oppo R7 Plus (see below) will be going on sale.

oppo_r7_plus_display.jpgThe dual-SIM (Micro-SIM and Nano-SIM) supporting Oppo R7 Plus is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939 (quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 1GHz Cortex-A53) processor; 3GB RAM; Adreno 305 GPU; 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture and ISOCELL image sensor technology, and 8-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.4 aperture.

The R7 Plus runs Android 5.1 Lollipop-based ColorOS 2.1 and features a 6-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) AMOLED display, features 32GB of inbuilt storage, is backed by a 4100mAh battery, and offers Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac connectivity.

Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition With 256GB Internal Storage Unveiled

Asus has announced the launch of yet another variant of the ZenFone 2 Deluxe. Called Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition, the smartphone was reportedly launch at an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Friday.

First reported by Asus Fanaticos (via Fonearena), the new variant comes with massive 256GB internal storage, and other specifications seem identical to the 64GB and 128GB internal storage variants. The original report gives no indication about the price and availability of Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition with 256GB storage.

To recap, the Asus ZenFone 2 Deluxe comes with 4GB of RAM, a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 SoC, 13-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, and a 3000mAh battery. It sports a 5.50-inch full-HD display with 72 percent screen-to-body ration. It’s a dual-SIM, dual-standby 4G/ LTE smartphone that runs Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Asus launched the ZenFone 2 Deluxe in India earlier this month, with the 64GB internal storage variant priced at Rs. 22,999, and its 128GB variant sporting a price tag of Rs. 29,999. At the same event, Asus also unveiled the ZenFone Selfie with 16GB inbuilt storage and 2GB RAM priced at Rs. 15,999, and the 32GB variant with 3GB RAM at Rs. 17,999.

Asus also launched the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) with 2GB of RAM and Snapdragon 410 at Rs. 9,999, the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE550KL) with 3GB of RAM and Snapdragon 615 at Rs. 13,999, and the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE601KL) with 6-inch full-HD display at Rs. 17,999.

Yahoo Weather Now Alerts Users 15 Minutes Before Rain or Snow Is Expected

Yahoo has updated its Weather app with new weather alerts around the world. Additionally, Yahoo Mail has also received a new feature which will now show notifications for package arrivals alongside upcoming events.

With the latest update, Yahoo Weather app will alert users 15 minutes before rain or snow is expected, called near-term updates, giving users enough time to grab an umbrella or jacket. The company announced the update via its blog post and claimed that it is now more accurate than before. Yahoo claims that it has overhauled the way it determines and serves forecasts. The new app update also allows “zoom in on microclimates”. While the company claims that the update is now available for both Android and iOS. We only see the weather alert feature rolling out to iOS users. The Google Play despite being last updated on Thursday doesn’t list the new weather alert in its ‘What’s New’ section tipping that the company may roll out the feature to Android users in the coming days.

In other news, Yahoo Mail has received new features which will now show package and event notifications at the top of the inbox for quick viewing. With the new feature, whenever a new order mail arrives from an online retailer, Yahoo Mail will show package notifications on top of the inbox and will also include a shortcut for shipment tracking and the original email for the order.

For upcoming events, Yahoo Mail will now show a snapshot of the event details and a quick link to the original invite and directions on top of the inbox. Once the user read the event or package notification, it can be simply dismissed. Yahoo currently is rolling out the feature in the US over next few days and adds that it will continue to expand on the types of notifications in the inbox.