Vertu auctioned most of its luxury phones, but they remained expensive

Vertu will soon be no more, but before going into oblivion, the UK-based company has to liquidate its assets to pay its bills, as well as the people that worked for the luxury smartphone maker.

For a few days now, Vertu is selling the contents of its UK factory, including all the stuff showcased inside the company’s museum (older phones, statues, awards, etc.).

Even though all Vertu smartphones are now being sold by an auction house called G.J. Wisdom & Co., the starting prices are still high enough to make these luxury devices untouchable by the middle-class.

The …


Vertu launches tacky, expensive, helicopter-delivered Cobra Limited Edition phone

Warning – here be snakes! Opulent, red, ruby snakes. If it weren’t for the impeccable craftsmanship that went into creating the cobra mosaic out of 439 rubies and 2 emeralds (for the eyes), the new Vertu Signature Cobra Limited Edition would have looked about as tasteful as any other phone by the notorious luxury brand – that is, not much.

Vertu phones are “look at how rich I am” phones, not pieces of near-perfection like the Galaxies and iPhones we enjoy today. Still, ruby snakes on a phone is badass any time of the year and we’d gladly have one of these just for …

Uber trips will get more expensive as the company adds add route-based pricing in 14 American cities

In a bid to generate further income and recover from its $2.8 billion 2016 losses, Uber is adding route-based pricing to its transport services. In addition to charging customers based on distance, travel time, and regular/peak hours, Uber will also expect more money for covering routes in high demand. For example, riding from the suburbs to a downtown establishment may cost more than the opposite route.

The company has implemented an algorithm to predict what customers are absolutely willing to pay in order to get to a certain destination. The final fare will be …

3D touch components for the OLED iPhone 8 are allegedly 150% more expensive than for the LCD ones

By now, we have already accepted that there is a lot of truth to the rumors about a special anniversary iPhone 8 with an OLED display. It’s also rumored that the premium Apple smartphone will come with a premium price of approximately $1,000, due to the variety of features that are rumored to make an appearance in the new iPhone.

There is a serious difference between LCD and OLED displays, however, which apparently requires a different technique to be used for 3D Touch implementation. According to the Chinese media Economic Daily Times, with LCD panels the 3D Touch sensors are directly bonded …

Blu Life One X2 Mini is more expensive and more powerful than its larger brother

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone that’s around $200 or less, the options you have to choose from today are more plentiful and worthwhile than they’ve ever been before. Blu is a company that consistently releases new hardware within this price bracket, and the latest handset from the Miami-based business that aims to offer a fair amount of phone for not a lot of dough is the Blu Life One X2 Mini.

The Life One X2 Mini is a smaller and more compact version of the Life One X2 that Blu released last September, and this is noticeable right off the bat with the Mini’s 5-inch …

32GB iPhone 7 significantly slower than more expensive versions

Not all iPhone 7s are born equally, according to new tests, which appear to show the cheapest, 32GB versions are significantly slower than the more expensive 128 or 256GB versions and that some have much poorer 4G reception.

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Testing by both GSMArena and Unbox Therapy found that the speed of the storage within the 32GB iPhone 7 is significantly slower than that in the more expensive 128GB iPhone 7. Reading data from the storage of the 32GB version of the iPhone 7 was 200Mbps slower than the 12GB version, 656Mbps and 856Mbps respectively. The difference in read speed over 600Mbps is unlikely to be noticeable in day-to-day usage.

However, writing to the storage – saving data including photos, videos, music, apps or any other type of file – was found to be significantly slower on the 32GB iPhone. The 128GB iPhone 7 wrote to memory at 341Mbps, but the 32GB iPhone 7 was over eight times slower at just 42Mbps.

GSMArena found similar results in its testing of the iPhone 7, with a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus reaching write speeds of only 39.6Mbps compared with a 128GB iPhone 7 writing at speeds of 308Mbps.

Meanwhile, testing of different versions of the iPhone 7 Plus have also apparently revealed discrepancies in their cellular performances. According to New York-based Cellular Insights, which conducted tests using networking equipment, the iPhone 7 Plus smartphones with model numbers A1778 and A1784, including those available in the UK and Europe, performed noticeably poorer than those with model numbers A1660 and A1661, including those available in the US.

A1778 and A1784 iPhone 7 Plus smartphones have an Intel modem chip that connects them to the 4G network, while the A1660 and A1661 models use a modem supplied by Qualcomm, a common supplier of modems and processors to many Android smartphones, including the new Google Pixel.

The Intel iPhone 7 Plus models showed at least 30% worse network performance, and in some cases as poor as 75% worse, than the Qualcomm iPhone 7 Plus models. This performance gap means that the Intel iPhone 7 Plus models will have poorer 4G reception than the Qualcomm versions and slower download and upload speeds.

Milan Milanović from Cellular Insights said: “In all tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem. We are not sure what was the main reason behind Apple’s decision to source two different modem suppliers for the newest iPhone.”

In Cellular Insights further testing, it showed that the Intel iPhone 7 Plus models had worse reception than the iPhone 6S in the majority of signal conditions.

Most of the time users blame mobile phone operators when the signal drops out on their smartphone or data speeds are slow, but the testing indicates that depending on smartphone model, it might not always be the fault of the network provider.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Is More Expensive to Build Than Apple iPhones

Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6 Edge, is the most costly yet to build and assemble, according to a teardown analysis of the device by the research firm IHS.

According to a report due out later today, the 64 gigabyte version of the phone built for use on Verizon Wireless’ network cost about $290 to build, including parts and assembly. That’s about $34 per unit higher than the costs of the Galaxy S5 released last year, and even higher than the most costly versions of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. IHS estimated the top end of the materials cost on those phones at $247 and $263. The 64GB version of the phone sells for $699 without a contract and some versions cost more.

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The cost of components, known in electronics industry lingo as a bill of materials, has been steadily climbing in recent years, says Andrew Rassweiler, an analyst who heads up IHS’ teardown research efforts.

“Samsung is clearly studying Apple’s playbook by using things like metal enclosures and other design choices that are similar to Apple’s,” he said. “The bottom line is that this phone costs less than an iPhone to buy, but it costs Samsung more to build.”

The most costly component in the S6 is the curved touchscreen display which wraps around the left and right sides of the phone. The curved portion of the screen acts as a secondary display for notifications and can be used to launch applications with one hand. The combined display and touchscreen elements add $85 to Samsung’s costs, Rassweiler says.

The second-most expensive part is the Samsung-made Exynos 7 applications chip, which costs an estimated $29.50. The phone is the first to sport a chip built on 14-nanometer manufacturing technology, which allows for the packing of more computing power in a smaller space than with prior chip generations. The only other 14-nanometer chip on the market right now comes from Intel. Apple is expected to use a 14-nanometer chip in a future iPhone.

The new high-end chip also required expensive new high-end memory chips to accompany it. The phone has three gigabytes worth of Samsung-made DDR4 memory, which added $27 to the component cost. It was the first time that DDR4 memory has been spotted in a smartphone, Rassweiler said. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus both use DDR3 memory. The teardown also estimated the cost of the 64GB of flash memory used for data storage at $25, also Samsung-made.

Rassweiler said the teardown revealed a $15 Qualcomm-made baseband chip for connecting to cellular networks in the version of the Galaxy S6 Edge sold through Verizon. A separate analysis is being done on a version of the phone being sold through AT&T, which may reveal a Samsung-made chip.