Archos 50 Diamond smartphone

Archos has a couple of new products with them at CES 2015, both of which probably won’t get nearly as much attention as stuff from the likes of LG or HTC. Regardless, they’re here — a smartphone by the name of Archos Diamond 50, and the Archos 80b Helium tablet.

The former is a 5-inch smartphone boasting 1080p resolution and a Snapdragon 615 octa-core chipset, silicon that features a set of 4 1.7GHz cores and a set of 4 1GHz cores in ARM’s big.LITTLE configuration.

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It’ll also come with 2GB of RAM, a 16 megapixel rear camera, a whopping 8 megapixels on the front and 16GB of internal storage with support for expanding it via microSD by 128GB. The device will have 4G LTE and launch with Android 4.4 KitKat, and is powered with a 2,700mAh battery. The best part, if we know anything about Archos, is that this should all be relatively affordable for anyone who seeks a high-end smartphone experience without a high-end wallet.

Archos also had a new tablet to introduce, a 4G LTE-equipped 80b Helium line that features size options of 7-inches, 8-inches and 10.1-inches, all with 1280 x 800 resolution. They’ll look to use MediaTek’s 1.7GHz quad-core chipset and 1GB of RAM to get the job done processing wise, as well as 8GB of internal storage, a 3,600mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat.

Not the most impressive sounding of the lot of tablets available right now, though considering they’re expected to be ultra affordable we’re not sure there’s ample room to complain. Stay tuned as we look to bring you a closer look at both at CES 2015 this week.


Saygus V2 phone with 320GB storage

CES isn’t really known for smartphone unveilings though this year’s edition did see a few announcements from players like Asus, Lenovo and LG. However, it was Saygus, a fairly unknown name, which hogged all the headlines with its V2 (V Squared) smartphone that boasts of top-end specifications and unique features.

The Saygus V2 is a well built smartphone with its kevlar shell, magnesium frame and aluminium rim.

At first glance, we even thought its a ruggedised phone! It won’t win any awards for slimness but having said that, it doesn’t really feel too bulky at 141gram.

The phone comes in white and black back panel options and the panel has matte finish with a textured design pattern and some additional graphics.

The back panel is removable and hides the battery compartment that houses a 3100mAh removable battery, a sim card slot and two microSD card slots each supporting up to 128GB capacity cards. The samples we played with were sealed so we could not take a look.

The right edge of the phone sports all hardware buttons(volume rocker, power and camera shutter) and a fingerprint sensor as well as a 60GHz mobile beaming transmitter.

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The buttons are made of metal and offer good tactile feedback.

We weren’t able to test the fingerprint sensor but we like its unique positioning.

The phone is IPx7 certified for protection against water and can be submerged in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes.

The bottom edge houses the 3.5mm headset jack and a micro-USB port while the top has an infrared sensor.

At the front, the phone is slightly curved towards the bottom and you also see the big Harmon Kardon speaker at this place (the other speaker is near the ear piece).

The display panel has very thin bezels and houses a 5-inch full HD (1920x1080p) borderless screen.

The panel is protected by the latest Gorilla Glass 4. The display looks vibrant and bright and offers wide viewing angles.

Saygus V2 sports a 21MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 13MP front-facing camera, also accompanied by a flash.

Saygus clams the V2 is the first smartphone to feature Optical Image Stabilisation with both the front as well as rear cameras.

The phone is powered by a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB RAM. It has 64GB internal storage (not all of it is usable).

You can use two 128GB microSD cards expanding the capacity to 320GB, which is the highest at this time.

The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Android geeks would love the fact that it comes with an unlocked boot loader making the phone easy to root and install different ROMs as it even allows users to boot from the microSD card slot.

Saygus is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, US and currently has no plans to bring the device to India.

The phone will ship in Q1 2015 at a price that is 20% lesser compared to top flagships.

The executives at the Saygus booth hinted at a close to $700 pricing for the V2 so don’t expect it to be the next OnePlus One.

iPhone 6 Sent 101000 Feet Into Space (Video)

Check out this video of the iPhone 6 in an Urban Armour Gear case being sent 101,000 feet into space.

On November 28th, 2014 we sent a brand new iPhone 6 on the ultimate adventure to the stratosphere. On its journey, the iPhone reached a height of over 101,000 feet and encountered temperatures as cold as -79 degrees F and winds as strong as 70 MPH. During the descent the iPhone 6 and flight rig withstood a 150 PRM rotation as the parachute deployed and the rig fought to stabilize. Upon landing the flight rig broke apart, however the iPhone remained unscathed and in perfect working order.

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The flight rig contained two GoPro cameras, 1 GPS locator and a backup phone with GPS and active tracking installed. The flight lasted over 3 hours and covered 12 miles across the ground. The iPhone 6 was wrapped in our composite iPhone 6 case with no screen protector installed. The iPhone was on upon takeoff but froze and shut down as the temperature dropped. When the iPhone 6 and flight rig were found, the iPhone was powered on and tested for full functionality.

Take a look at the video below and hit the link for more info on Urban Armour Gear. Youtube  >> Video <<

Samsung Galaxy A7

Samsung is coming out with a new phablet that will incorporate a metal frame and comes at “competitive price point,” according to the Korean electronics maker. The A7, unveiled on Monday, comes just a few months after Samsung announced its two smaller siblings, the A5 and the A3, in late October.

The A7 is not only bigger, with a 5.5-inch high-definition AMOLED display, but also packs more computing power as it combines two separate quad-core processors. It also has a larger battery at 2,600 mAh, but still maintains a thickness of only 6.3 mm, making it actually thinner than the A5 and A3.

The phone runs Android 4.4, has 4G LTE connectivity, and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Inside is 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and a microSD card slot to add more memory.

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Samsung declined to comment on the phone’s price or availability.

The smaller Galaxy A5 and A3 models initially targeted the Chinese market, where the South Korean handset maker is facing intense competition from rival vendors such as Xiaomi and Lenovo.

In last year’s second quarter, Samsung lost its top position as the country’s largest smartphone vendor, amidst the entry of more lower-cost phones entering the market.

Samsung lost market share globally in the third quarter of 2014 to about 24 percent from around 32 percent in the same quarter in the previous year, according to research firm Gartner. The company’s smartphone shipments dropped to 73 million in the quarter from 80 million in the third quarter of 2013.

The company has guided that its operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2014 is likely to have fallen by about 37 percent, largely on account of competition from Chinese players.

The Galaxy A series could help Samsung regain its position. In China, the A5 and A3 are priced at 2,599 yuan (US$424) and 1998 yuan, putting the phones in the mid-tier range.

Phones under the Galaxy A series use a metal frame design, a feature that some reviewers wanted to see in Samsung’s Galaxy S5 flagship device.

Samsung’s new A7 device could end up being offered as a cheaper alternative to its Galaxy Note 4, a high-end product that can start at 5399 yuan (US $870) in China.

HTC One M9 News Specs, Release Date and Price

HTC’s flagship phones are typically among the most beautiful models released each year. They’re often also a tad smaller than the increasingly large phones Samsung and LG put out. Now it seems HTC might break with tradition and offer a super-sized flagship with the One M9. Despite this name, it’s not certain whether the phone will replace the One M8 yet, or live alongside it as the sequel to the aging, but equally massive, One Max. It may even be a different device entirely, says one well-regarded leaker.

It may launch at CES
A rumor from Upleaks said the Hima may arrive on all four U.S. carriers in March 2015. It was later tweeted it’s unlikely HTC will announce the Hima at Mobile World Congress, but will introduce the device at a separate event instead. Upleaks claims the Hima will launch in late March. The leaker does expect to see some new Desire phones launch at MWC in March.

So when will it launch? In late December, Nowhereelse.fr write Steve Hemmerstoffer tweeted what appears to be a leaked press release render along with the claim that the HTC One M9 Hima will arrive at CES 2015 instead of in late March, as previously suggested.
The same image was also discovered on the Weibo social network, where a January 5 announcement date was also stated. Of course, it’s unclear if this render is real or not and there’s no telling whether predictions of a CES launch date will prove true or not. We’ll be at CES next week, so we’ll all know soon enough.
Screen may be jumbo-sized … or not
A report from China hints that the next HTC One will sport a jumbo 5.5-inch screen with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. Even though it’s just half an inch bigger, the jump from 5.0 to 5.5 inches is a huge one — especially for HTC.

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There is some debate as to whether the screen will be phablet-sized or not. Twitter leaker  posted a possible list of specs for HTC’s next flagship phone, which is apparently codenamed Hima. Upleaks claims HTC will stick with a 5.0-inch full HD, 1080p screen. It’s an odd decision, if accurate, when nearly all its competitors are placing Quad HD screens on their phones; but it’s still early days for the One M9.
It’s also possible that  Hima isn’t the HTC One M9. In reply to one commenter on Twitter,  said the next HTC flagship is the Hima, but the Hima isn’t the M9. In other words, these two sources could be talking about two different phones. Upleaks posted an updated spec list on his website just before Christmas, in which it’s reasserted the Hima will sport a 5-inch screen. The device’s full dimensions could be 144.3 x 69.4 x 9.56mm. Seeing as the HTC One M8 measures 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm, it seems that the two phones will be similar in size.
It will have high-end specs
Along with the possible increase in screen size, HTC will reportedly add a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM to the handset. However, depending on when the M9 arrives, the processor might end up being the Snapdragon 810. All that high-end hardware may be powered by a 3500mAh battery.

Meanwhile,  posits the One M9 will pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor, along with 3GB of RAM, and a surprisingly small 2840mAh battery. The same leaker later posted benchmark results which show the exact same spec list. It’s unclear which report is correct, or if both of them have a kernel of truth.
Good speakers and slick design
Now that Apple has taken over HTC’s former audio partner, Beats Music, the company may look to another famous speaker maker for collaboration on the One M9. For a while now, HTC has been making its own speakers called BoomSound, and has dabbled with special edition phones endorsed by Harman Kardon; but Bose will supposedly provide the speakers for HTC’s next smartphone.
HTC will probably keep the same high-quality build on the One M9, with a casing made of an aluminum silicon-carbide composite. Upleaks tweeted that the Hima will come in silver, gold, and gray color options. He later added in a gunmetal gold color option to his list of predicted colors.
Two sharp cameras
The One M9 will undoubtedly have a fine camera, as most of HTC’s phones do, but this time around it may not have an UltraPixel sensor anymore. Early reports mentioned a 16-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization, but didn’t reveal anything about the front-facing camera.
In late December, Upleaks hinted that the Hima will sport a 20.7-megapixel back camera and a 13-megapixel or 4-megapixel UltraPixel front-facing camera.

Asus ZenFones Intel chips and optical zooms

Asus launched its new flagship smartphone, the ZenFone 2, which has something different inside: a 64-bit Intel chip. The ZenFone 2 packs one of Intel’s newest quad-core 2.3GHz Atom processors, setting it apart from the vast majority of smartphones that opt for an ARM-based chip. The Intel chip, which can be paired with a whopping 4GB of RAM, is capable of 64-bit processing, putting it in the same league as Apple’s more recent chips; 64-bit apps are supported in Android 5.0 “Lollipop,” and that’s exactly what the ZenFone 2 runs.

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So yes, this is a flagship. If there were any question, just look at the spec sheet: a 5.5-inch IPS (in-plane switching) full HD display, a 13-megapixel rear camera, support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and several LTE bands, a 3,000 milliamp-hour (mAh) battery, and storage options up to 64GB. Dual SIM card slots betray the ZenFone’s target market (i.e. not the U.S., where the company has virtually no market share).

Asus updated the design of the ZenFone with a curved, brushed-metal back and a minimal bezel around the screen. Similar to LG’s phones, the ZenFone 2 puts volume buttons on the back, just below the camera.

Besides the ZenFone 2, Asus is also launching the ZenFone Zoom, a smartphone that remarkably includes a camera with a 3x optical zoom. While it’s not the first phone with a zoom, Asus claims it’s the world’s thinnest. Backing up the 10-element lens is optical image stabilization, which can compensate for some camera shake, leading to fewer blurry pics.

Asus priced the ZenFone 2 to sell: A version with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage sells for just $199 US (that’s with no contract), launching in the coming weeks. No pricing or availability yet on the ZenFone Zoom.

Asus Transformer Chi books PC tablet hybrids

The Windows Chi books — which can be used as tablets, or docked to keyboards — are fairly thin and lightweight and come in three different sizes. The hybrid is nothing new, but the Chi books offer a nice variety for customers to choose from, be they interested in super-sharp screens, processor power or portability.

T300
The flagship device is the largest 12.5-inch T300 Chi that comes with either a HD (1920×1080) or pristine WQHD (2560×1440) display. The T300 has an Intel Core M processor and 128GB of storage. The device runs Windows 8.1 and retails for $799 for WQHD version and $699 for the regular HD version. It weighs about 3 pounds when it’s docked with keyboard.

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Though Asus calls this device “razor-thin” (it’s 7.6mm), the Chi series isn’t even close to the sveltest of them all. (The iPad Air 2, for example, is a mere 6.1mm thick.)

T100
Of course, the largest of the Transformer Chi models is probably designed for users with a “bigger is better” ideology regardless. The next-largest of the Chi models (the 8.9-inch T100) is actually the thinnest of the three, coming in at 7.2mm thick when it’s not docked to the keyboard.

This one doesn’t have an HD display, and it comes with an Intel Atom processor instead of the more-powerful Core M. The price, however, is a nice come down: starting at $399 for 32GB of storage.

T90

The baby of the bunch is the T90 Chi, which has an 8.9-inch display. It’s also super light when it’s being used as tablet — less than a pound. The screen is 7.5 mm thick. The T90 runs the same Intel Atom processor as the T100 and can be purchased starting at $299.

Sharp raises the 4K game with virtual 8K TV

4K is everywhere at CES 2015, but that makes it common, not cool. You know what’s cool? 8K — a screen with four times the pixels of 4K, and Sharp just announced a TV that can display. On the spec sheet, Sharp’s set is a 4K TV. Indeed, the company calls it the Sharp Aquos Beyond 4K Ultra HDTV and it careful not to use the term “8K” in describing what its 80-inch set can do.

But there’s some pixel magic going on: The TV is one of Sharp’s Quattron models, meaning every pixel has four subpixels instead of the usual three, adding yellow to the red, green and blue trio. The set has a total of 66 million subpixels — 42 million more than a normal 4K TV, and all of those subpixels can be individually controlled.

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Similar to PenTile screens on some smartphones, Sharp’s clever TV can allow pixels to “borrow” subpixels from their neighbors, increasing the overall sharpness (the company has done this before with full HD TVs that can simulate 4K), also called pixel splitting. The result is a display with an effective resolution of 7,680 x 4,320, which is — you guessed it — 8K.

Technically it’s not actual 8K, which is why Sharp avoids the term. It’s really “virtual 8K,” but Sharp claims the set is the highest-resolution 4K UHD TV you can buy.

There’s also the sticky point that there is no meaningful amount of content available in 8K, so to get the benefits of the tech, you’ll be relying mostly on Sharp’s proprietary Revelation Upscaler, which converts 4K and lower resolutions to the higher pixel count.

The TV also includes Sharp’s Android TV-based smart-TV platform, which brings Google Play apps to your TV screen.

There’s no price or release date for the Aquos Beyond 4K Ultra HDTV, but Sharp says it’ll be available in late 2015.

Sharp will also be demonstrating an actual 8K TV at the show, but that model will be a prototype.

Sony next phone is hidden in the eye of the beholder

In preparation for the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony has released a video teaser for its next Xperia smartphone. With the device likely to be revealed in full during the company’s CES press event at 5PM on January 5th, the video reiterates the number 5 more than once, and, just to make sure the point about Android 5 is missed by no one, even includes a big red lollipop. In spite of the Xperia Z3 only being a few months old, having launched this September, Sony looks set to replace it with a new, even thinner handset, which the teaser suggests will place an emphasis on vibrant and colorful visuals — whether with new display technology or an improved camera.

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The cool thing about this video is that all the hints are subtle but recognizable with a bit of thought — such as the nod to mobile gaming represented by the shadow fight between a dragon and a knight — and the Xperia Blog has spotted a reflection of the new Xperia intentionally left lingering in a closeup shot of a human eye. Zoom-enhancing that frame doesn’t tell us much more about the phone that is to come, though it’s pretty safe to assume that Sony will be looking to Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 810 to power it.

P.S. — On second thought, perhaps Sony isn’t teasing an entirely new device here at all. The Japanese company only offers the Xperia Z3 through Verizon and T-Mobile in the US, and its teaser title of “Welcome to the New World” could indicate that the January 5th announcement will be about bringing the Z3 to more American carriers, most likely with an upgraded version of the handset running Android Lollipop and destined for AT&T.