MWC Stories February 27

AAPL: 136.93

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This week is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and that means almost all of Apple’s biggest competitors are getting together to show off their latest phones, tablets, and other gadgets. Yesterday was the official press day, so let’s take a look at all the devices that were announced by Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei and others…

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MWC Stories February 22, 2016

AAPL: 96.88

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It’s Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, which means most of Apple’s competitors are unveiling their upcoming smartphone lineups that will inevitably compete with Apple’s own 2016 lineup.

But while we usually have to wait until the fall for a new iPhone from Apple, this year is different in that Apple’s event planned for early next month will likely see it unveil the much anticipated iPhone 5se, a rare non-flagship and mid-year iPhone upgrade that will be a low to mid-tier smartphone competitor at pricing that will take over the current iPhone 5s lineup around $450 off contract. 

Among the announcements: Samsung has officially announced its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones — both with a similar premium metal and glass design as previous generations but with upgraded internals — while LG showed off its all-new metal modular design for its new flagship LG G5. Also on show this week is a new smartphone flagship from Acer that offers an impressive 1TB of hybrid local/cloud storage, HTC’s One X9, and a trio of Xperia X smartphones from Sony, two with high camera specs including predictive focus.

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

MWC Stories February 24, 2014

WhatsApp plans to add Facebook Messenger-like voice calling features by next quarter

Just about everyone in the tech industry is talking about the $19B Facebook/Whatsapp deal, so what better time to announce new features coming soon to the service. TechCrunch reports that WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced at Mobile World Congress today that the app will gain voice calling functionality sometime in Q2 of this year:

“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” he said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.

The report adds that WhatsApp will also soon be working with some carrier partners:

While WhatsApp, as an OTT service, may appear like one of the companies that is attacking carriers, it is also working with them. The first partnership will be with e-plus to offer special tariffs to access the app, Koum said today. Interestingly, disrupting the current mobile communications economy has put WhatsApp right back into the kinds of services that built out that economy in the first place — in today’s case, voice.

Facebook of course already offers voice calling in some countries, but it’s unclear if the new WhatsApp feature will be integrated with the Facebook voice features. WhatsApp already offers users the ability to send short recorded voice messages as pictured above).

Despite the plans for new features, Koum reiterated that, “There are no planned changes and we will continue to do what we set out to do, even after the acquisition closes.” That, he said, includes “no marketing.”

MWC Stories February 18, 2014

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 said to have fingerprint home button, though less sophisticated than Touch ID

The fingerprint sensor is said to be embedded in the home button

If a report by SamMobile is correct, Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy S5 won’t just have a similar name to the iPhone 5s, it will also have a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. The S5 is expected to be officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 24th February, replacing the Galaxy S4, though it may not go on sale until March or April.

It had earlier been rumored that the S5 would have iris recognition, but a KGI Research document pointed instead to a fingerprint sensor, which SamMobile claims to be able to confirm via sources inside Samsung.

We are finally confirming that Samsung’s upcoming flagship device, the Galaxy S5, will be equipped with a fingerprint sensor […]

Samsung hasn’t opted for on-screen buttons and is still using physical buttons, like it has been using in the past on all of its flagship devices. The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly … 

From SamMobile‘s description, the fingerprint technology appears to be less sophisticated than Touch ID, requiring users to pull their finger across the button rather than the one-touch system offered by the iPhone 5s. The ‘swipe across’ type of fingerprint scanner dates back many years.

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