Microsoft is about to hit it big with one of China's top smartphone manufacturers: Xiaomi. It has announced today a multi-faceted deal with the company including sales of patents, cross-licensing arrangements, and software pre-installation, expanding its OEM partnerships and its services' worldwide reach while also providing Xiaomi with the support it needed to enter more markets.
Microsoft will be selling 1500 patents to Xiaomi — it's not clear whether these came from the Nokia acquisition, its many other acquisitions, or ones that it originally filed for. Regardless, according to Wang Xiang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, this should beef up Xiaomi's arsenal of patents and should, theoretically, make it easier for the company to enter Western markets with lesser friction from other patent holders. Read More
USB-C seems to get more widely used with every passing day - ASUS's new ZenFones all have USB-C charging ports - and that is no more apparent than when SanDisk, a major manufacturer of storage devices (until Western Digital acquired the company last month) announces new USB-C flash drives, with a normal USB-A port on the other end for convenient movement of files.
The new flash drives, catchily named "SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C flash drives," are faster (thanks to USB 3.1), reversible, and have multiple purposes, according to the vice president of SanDisk product marketing at Western Digital, Dinesh Bahal. While more and more smartphones are using the connector to charge the battery, very few laptops have USB-C ports at the moment, making a full-size USB a necessity, at least for the time being. Read More
In today's groundbreaking earth-shattering life-changing cosmic-displacing news, OnePlus has revealed that you will not need an invite to buy the OnePlus 3, which will be announced on June 14. That's the gist of the story really, you can start writing comments about how mind-blowing that is or how I'm so obviously biased for using such a sarcastic tone, but if you stick around to read the next paragraph, I promise to give you some background information with a more impartial tone.
Still here? Alright. So ever since the first OnePlus One, the company has been using an invite system to let users buy its phones. Read More
Apps are getting big - that's one thing no one will deny. With some games reaching more than a gigabyte of space - LEGO Star Wars on my Nexus 6P is 1.17GB - it's becoming an issue for phones with less storage capacity than the more high-end offerings. To that end, Google is introducing an uninstall manager to the Play Store, nine months after Cody discovered its existence in an APK teardown.
We don't know how long this has been live - Google could have just flicked the switch on it, or maybe others have seen it in the past as well. Read More
Samsung owners who are on Verizon are lucky this week. Yesterday, the operator started pushing Marshmallow in an OTA update to the Galaxy S5 and today it's ready to roll out the same Android 6.0 to the Galaxy Tab S2.
The software version number is MMB29K.T817VVRU2BPE1 and it brings all of Marshmallow's goodies to the Tab S2, including Doze mode for longer battery life, per-app permissions for more control over your apps, and Google Now on Tap for... whatever you find Now on Tap is useful for. There are many more Android 6.0 features to enjoy too, as we've previously detailed. Read More
Samsung may be deemphasizing its stylus-packing Note devices, but LG is still pushing its more budget-friendly stylus phones. They're even called "Stylus." The new Stylus 2 Plus is out today in Taiwan and it'll be coming to Asia, South America, Europe, and North America in a few weeks. LG says this device will be a bit more high-power than the last Stylus too. Read More
Casually browsing YouTube on a mobile device is a pretty good experience, or at least it's about as good as anything we've seen on a phone or tablet so far. However, many of us aren't going to YouTube just to poke around at the latest trending videos and subscriptions, we're actually looking for something specific, and that's when the search UI comes in. Mobile search is pretty comparable to the web experience too–in fact, they are almost in feature parity–but there are still a few things missing from mobile. But a teardown reveals one of those missing features will be there soon: sorting options in search results. Read More
Recent updates to both the Photos and Camera apps have included some really interesting clues, suggesting Google may be planning to put a lot of effort into upping its game with smartphone photographers. The latest update to Snapseed was no different; not only did it bring a few worthwhile new features, but some resources inside the apk also betray plans for the future. Snapseed will be adding enhanced controls for working with white balance in RAW mode and there's an effects randomizer coming to the editor.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Sony has long been (rightly) criticized for ignoring the US market, opting to release phones here very late or not at all. In the case of the Marshmallow-powered Xperia X series, it's just a little late. These devices were announced at Mobile World Congress a few months ago with only vague talk about a US release, but now all four models are coming to the US in waves. It starts today with pre-orders for the Xperia X. Read More
This time last week, the Xperia E5 was announced by Sony, then un-announced when the company removed any mention of the phone from its social media profiles. It seems like it's ready for a second go though, with a website page now advertising the mid-range handset.
The Xperia E5 packs a 720p 5-inch display and a quad-core MediaTek MTK6735 processor. Sony hasn't mentioned the clock speed, but it likely comes in at 1.3GHz. A reasonably respectable 1.5GB RAM is onboard, as well as 16GB storage with microSD expandability up to 200GB. Camera-wise, the rear shooter is 13MP, with HDR and flash, and a predictable 5MP front-facing camera. Read More