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Mobile (Phones)

New Law to Ban iPhone in Italy?

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New Law to Ban iPhone in Italy?

A bill presented in the Italian senate by entrepreneur and member of the Scelta Civica party Stefano Quintarelli might bring a ban of the iPhone in the country, the newspaper Corriere Della Sera reports.

Dubbed Senate Act 2484, the bill proposes Italians have open access to software, content and services. If put into effect as a law, this would obviously affects iDevices-- after all, Apple insists on its "walled garden" approach to software, whereas the bill states users have the right to download any software, be it proprietary or open source, on any platform.

As a translation of Article Four of the bill reads, "users have the right to, in an appropriate format to the required technology platform […] use fair and non-discriminatory software, proprietary or open source […] content and services of their choice."

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YotaPhone Gets Third Version

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YotaPhone Gets Third Version

Customers in want for an update on the YotaPhone, the curious dual-screen smartphone, are in luck-- Russian phone maker Baoli Yota announces the YotaPhone 3 at the China-Russia Expo in Harbin, China.

Officially the company (a joint venture between investor Baoli and manufacturer Coolpad) does not reveal much about the device. As one might expect the YotaPhone 3 retains the same dual-screen form factor, with a 5.5-inch AMOLED display on the front and a 5.2-inch eInk screen on the back.

However, an anonymous source tells Engadget the handset is fairly mid-range, as it carries the Snapdragon 625 chipset, the same found in the Asus ZenFone 3, Moto Z Play and BlackBerry KEYone. Further specifications include 4GB RAM, 64 or 128GB storage, dual-SIM slots (one of which also serves as a microSD slot), 12MP camera with dual-flash, 3200mAh battery and a USB-C port. The OS of choice is Android Nougat.

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Wistron CEO: Wireless Charging for Next iPhone?

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Wistron CEO: Wireless Charging for Next iPhone?

The CEO of Indian iPhone assembler Wistron, Robert Hwang, suggests the next generation iPhone will include waterproofing and wireless charging, Nikkei reports.

Admittedly, Hwang did not speak directly about the iPhone-- his reference was simply to "upcoming smartphones"-- but rumours do persist on the next iPhone having such features. Wistron is a smaller rival to the likes of Foxconn and Pegatron, and is reportedly building an upcoming 5.5-inch iPhone, as well as the iPhone SE and iPhone 6.

The grapevine currently says Apple will reveal three iPhone models this year-- a flagship "iPhone 8" with a curved OLED display, and a pair of "iPhone 7s" devices. All next generation iPhones are said to carry wireless charging capability, specifically contact-based charging via compatible charging pad or surface.

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Motorola Adds Big Battery to E4 Plus

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Motorola Adds Big Battery to E4 Plus

Lenovo-owned Motorola announces a pair of smartphones aimed at customers on a tighter budget-- the Moto E4 and E4 Plus, with the Plus model offering a sizeable 5000mAh battery.

The Moto E4 is the smaller of the two smartphones, being a 5-inch model with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 427 chipset, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage and a 720p display. It also includes  8MP rear-/5MP front-facing cameras and 2800mAh battery, and the OS of choice is Android 7.1 Nougat.

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Qualcomm Presents Quick Charge 4+

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Qualcomm Presents Quick Charge 4+

Qualcomm is quick to present an update on the Quick Charge 4 standard-- Quick Charge 4+, a set of enhancements vendors can add to Quick Charge 4-compliant devices.

The enhancements found in Quick Charge 4+ are Dual Charge (or at least a "more powerful" version of the feature found in the earlier version), Intelligent Thermal Balancing (steers current to the coolest dual charging pathways in order to keep temperatures down) and "advanced safety features" (monitor phone and connector temperature against overheating and short-circuit damage).

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Android Creator Enters Premium Phones with Titanium Flagship

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Android Creator Enters Premium Phones with Titanium Flagship

Can titanium trump aluminium? Android creator and former Google SVP Andy Rubin reveals the Essential, his take on what an Android-powered flagship phone should be.

As a competitor to the iPhone and Galaxy S8, the Essential features a minimalist design, with a 5.5-inch edge-to-edge display wrapping around the front-facing camera. Inside are a Qualcomm 835 chips, 4GB RAM, 3040mAh battery and 128GB storage and 8MP front-/13MP rear-facing cameras, while the OS of choice is Android.

The Essential promises to be very tough-- its construction is titanium and ceramic, a combination of materials the company claims can survive drops "without blemish, unlike the aluminium competitor devices."

Connectivity comes through USB-C and a new  magnetic connector featuring a pair of small pogo pins, similar to the Moto Mod connector found in recent Motorola phones. The 3.5mm jack is, alas, missing.

So far Essential has two accessories using the magnetic connector. The first is a miniature VR camera able to capture 4K 360-degree video at 30fps, while the second is a charging dock.

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Gartner: Q1 2017 Smartphone Sales Up

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Gartner: Q1 2017 Smartphone Sales Up

Gartner reports global smartphone sales total 380 million in Q1 2017-- a 9.1% Y-o-Y increase driven by customers spending more on better phones, leading to an increase in phone ASPs.

This shift in customer spending mainly affects Chinese vendors such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, whose strategy involves the offer of desirable features at affordable prices. As such, the combined Q1 2017 market share of the 3 companies totals 24%, up 7 percentage points from Q1 2016.

"The top three Chinese smartphone manufacturers are driving sales with their competitively priced, high quality smartphones equipped with innovative features," the analyst remarks. "Furthermore, aggressive marketing and sales promotion have further helped these brands to take share from other brands in markets such as India, Indonesia and Thailand."

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Samsung Presents Tizen-Powered Z4

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Samsung Presents Tizen-Powered Z4

Samsung has clearly not given up on the Tizen dream as it announces the Z4-- a smartphone powered by the OS promising to "combine performance and essential features with a simplified user experience."

Aimed at developing markets, the Z4 has fairly low-end specs. It features a 4.5-inch 480 x 800 resolution curved glass display, quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 5MP rear-/front-facing cameras and a 2025mAh battery. Connectivity comes through Bluetooth, LTE, VoLTE and VoWifi.

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Qualcomm Boosts Mobiles With Snapdragon 660, 630 Chips

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Qualcomm Boosts Mobiles With Snapdragon 660, 630 Chips

Qualcomm presents a pair of chipsets for lower-cost smartphones-- the Snapdragon 660 and 630 SoCs, upgrades on the Snapdragon 652 and 625 chips offering more power and faster connectivity.

The Snapdragon 660 and 630 feature the X12 LTE modem found inside the high-end Snapdragon 820 SoC, together with Bluetooth 5 and, in the case of the 660, 2 x 2 MIMO wifi. CPU and GPU speeds get an increase, as Qualcomm says the 660 is 20% faster than the 652, while the 630 is 10% faster.

The two chips are built using a 14nm process, and support up to 8GB of RAM. The 660 has an 8-core Kryo CPU and an Adreno 512 GPU, while the 630 has 8 Cortex A53 cores and an Adreno 508 GPU.

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LG Rolls Out X power2 Smartphone

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LG Rolls Out X power2 Smartphone

LG starts rolling out the X power2, a mass-tier smartphone offering the biggest battery in a mobile device from the company, in markets around the globe.

First announced back at MWC 2017, the X power2 features a 4500mAh battery LG claims can handle 26 hours of talk time, 18 hours of video viewing or 19 hours of web browsing on a single charge. As such, it promises to "last an entire weekend before requiring recharging."

As for the rest of the phone, the handset has a 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display, an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset with 1.5 or 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable via microSD) and a 13MP rear-facing camera with Zero Shutter Lag and soft LED flash.

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A Lighter, Simpler Light Phone

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A Lighter, Simpler Light Phone

Startup Light presents what it claims is a "phone away from home"-- the Light Phone, a credit card-sized phone that strips down all features making a smartphone smart, leaving a device able to solely make and receive calls.

The result of a 2015 Kickstarter project, the Light Phone is the ultimate in minimalist mobile design. An almost Apple-like slab of white plastic, it simply has a keypad, simple display, speaker, microphone, USB port (for charging), storage for up to 9 numbers and an own SIM card slot.

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