PhoneArena at Mobile World Congress: We landed in Barcelona

It was a long day yesterday, as the PhoneArena team set off to Spain. Despite the nearly 12 hours journey, though, we arrived safely in our apartment for the next few days. And while we get accustomed to Barcelona, and wait for MWC to kick off, we managed to take some stunning photos of the local architecture and atmosphere, which you can check out below.

Also, make sure to take a look at the MWC schedule. It contains all the major events and the most anticipated devices for this year’s MWC. For a more detailed prognosis, check out our article on what …


Futurama game World of Tomorrow coming soon to mobile devices

Fox Interactive and TinyCo have just announced they will soon be launching the next mobile game title in the Futurama saga: World of Tomorrow. The new project has the original show’s creators aboard, including Executive Producer Matt Groening, Executive Producer David X. Cohen, as well as most of the team behind the popular TV series.

Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow will be launched on both Android and iOS platforms, and will be available for download via Google Play, App Store, as well as Amazon Appstore.

Fans of the TV series can now pre-register on Google Play and be notified when …

Remix OS on Mobile will allow you to have an Android smartphone that can also work like a PC

In 2015, a company by the name of Jide hit the scene with the Remix Ultra Tablet. The Remix Ultra Tablet featured a design very similar to Microsoft’s Surface line of gadgets, but rather than running Windows, the Tablet was powered by something called Remix OS – Jide’s custom take on Android with various elements that are very akin to a desktop operating system. The Ultra Tablet created for somewhat of a cult following, and Jide was quick to follow it up with the Remix Mini later that year. Dubbed as “The World’s First True Android PC”, the Remix Mini is a tiny $90 PC …

Apple iPhone takes a big step toward Wireless Charging

Rumors have swirled for a while that Apple might embrace wireless charging beyond smartwatches (including for the next iPhone), and the company only seems to be stoking those expectations.

Apple-iPhone-8-Wireless-Charging-2017

Apple has quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, which governs the Qi standard you see on most devices with wireless charging. This doesn’t guarantee that this year’s iPhone will tout wireless charging, or even that Apple will use the Qi standard at all (the Apple Watch uses a modified take on Qi). However, it does say a lot about Apple’s broader wireless charging strategy.

For over a year, there’s been talk of Apple exploring long-range charging, possibly through a partnership with Energous.

You’d just have to keep your iPhone within several feet of a charging station to top it up. The Wireless Power Consortium move doesn’t mean that Apple has given up on long-distance electricity, but it does suggest that the company believes conventional inductive charging is more practical in the near term. Also, it shows a firmer commitment to the very concept of wireless charging.

Apple doesn’t think it starts and ends with one wearable product.

Nintendo's second mobile game is far better, and here's why

Let me just start by saying that I am not that familiar with the Fire Emblem franchise, but I’m a sucker for good turn-based tactical jRPG. Especially one that lets me play on the go, with Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon being a prime example.

With that out of the way, I feel the urge to congratulate Nintendo for a job well done. Fire Emblem Heroes is probably the perfect example on how to make a free-to-play game with microtransactions. And I certainly hope that more developers learn from it than not.

But this is not the only thing Nintendo …

A soap resistant phone

Enter Kyocera’s new phone, launched in Japan on Thursday. Called Kyocera rafre, it’s not only resistant to water; it can also withstand hot water and soap without any trouble.

soap-resistant-phone

You can also use rafre’s touchscreen with wet hands or when wearing gloves. And in accordance to the kitchen theme, the phone comes with a preinstalled cooking app which can be operated with hand gestures.

In terms of specs, the Kyocera rafre is an entry-level phone, with a 5-inch screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of memory, a 13-megapixel camera, a 3,000mAh battery and (pleasant surprise) Android 7.0.

Interestingly, the phone does not have a traditional speaker (and thus, no earpiece speaker hole, which makes it more resistant to liquids, dirt and dust). Instead, it uses the “smart sonic receiver” technology which transmits sound via vibrations — somewhat similar to Xiaomi’s forward-looking Mi Mix.

Interestingly, the rafre is not the first soap-resistant phone out there. That honor belongs, according to Kyocera, to its predecessor, the DIGNO rafre. There’s a difference though. The new device is resistant to both foaming hand and body soap, while the older phone was only resistant to the former.

Youtube Video Here

Apple is reportedly reinventing the iPhone fingerprint reader

Reliable Apple analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting that they believe Apple is looking to leapfrog its existing Touch ID sensor, first introduced in 2013 with the iPhone 5s and refined with a 2x faster sensor for iPhone 6s, to instead rely on several new biometric technologies, which will enable new iPhones and iPads to feature ‘zero bezel’ designs.

Apple-iPhone-fingerprint-reader-2017

The current Touch ID is a capacitive sensor, KGI believes the company will supplant it with a new optical fingerprint sensor as well as facial recognition sensors. The optical sensor is necessary for Apple to execute its vision for a zero-bezel iPhone, currently rumoured for iPhone 8.

KGI’s report says that the ‘under glass’ design of current fingerprint recognition components used in the iPhone do not wholly meet the requirements of a full-screen form factor iPhone. As such, Apple will want to move to an ‘under panel’ system. This means abandoning the capacitive technology Apple acquired with the purchase of AuthenTec in 2013 and moving to an optical-type sensor.

However, optical fingerprint sensors will have to be compatible with the signal interference of flexible OLED panels (expected to debut with iPhone 8) and it makes production much more difficult. KGI says that the optical sensor is still in early development stages, so it doesn’t sound like it is going to debut with the iPhone 8 this year.

To date, Apple’s Touch ID Home Button has existed in two versions: the original sensor which debuted with iPhone 5s and a 2x faster second generation sensor included since the iPhone 6s. Independent reports about the next major iPhone, coming in the fall, claim that Apple will integrate the Home Button into the screen to reduce the bezels on the front.

Some form of face recognition technology has also been rumored to be part of the iPhone 8 tentpole features. KGI says that Apple is leaning towards full-face recognition rather than biometric iris recognition. Eventually, the firm believes Apple will rely solely on face recognition for authentication and unlock, eliminating the Touch ID sensor entirely. The timeline for this is not clear and again seems to be far in the future.

For the time being, KGI says Apple will rely on a combination of fingerprint and face detection sensors, rather than fully supplanting the latter with the former. It’s worth noting the report does not tie its commentary with any particular Apple product, so even if other rumors are swirling about face recognition for iPhone 8, KGI is not necessarily endorsing that sentiment at this stage.

LG’s Hub Robot sounds like a mobile Amazon Echo


lg-smartthinq-hub-1-1024x926 LG and Samsung have really taken advantage of the calm before the CES storm by teasing out their product announcements, one by one. LG’s certainly ahead in terms of sheer strangeness here, having already announced a floating speaker and a wearable speaker collar.
The Seoul-based electronics giant will also apparently be showing off a bunch of robots at the show. It’s not the… Read More

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2017 Apple’s Biggest year ever

Apple became the most profitable company in the world, and the following year, with the 6S and 6S Plus, was even bigger. But enthusiasm waned in 2016 — iPhone unit sales fell for the first time since the device hit the market in 2007.

apple-2017

For Apple, this past year was largely a time for refinements, not entirely new markets. But 2017 could be a completely different story. If all the rumors about the company’s product lines are true, next year could be Apple’s biggest — ever. Think radically redesigned iPhones, revamped iPads and new product categories. And 2017 could be a big year for software and services, too.

Most dramatic iPhone changes ever?

OK, Apple always says its latest iPhone is the best ever. But 2017’s claim may be legit.

We’ve just been through three years of the same-looking iPhone. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are water-resistant and boast better cameras, but they’re no longer a must-have upgrade.

The 10-year anniversary of the first iPhone comes next year, and there’s speculation that Apple could release a major new design.

Some rumors about the “iPhone 7S” (or “iPhone 8,” as some have dubbed it) include reports Apple could finally introduce wireless charging and ditch the round home button that has been in every iPhone since the first, which would let it pack a big screen in a smaller body.

Apple could release three new phones next year, including a premium version with an OLED screen. That would allow for better image quality and a thinner device because the display wouldn’t need backlights.

One thing all rumors seem to agree on is that there are big changes ahead for the next iPhone. It could set off what Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has dubbed a “supercycle” of demand.

Redesigned Apple Watch

As with the iPhone 7, Apple released a second-generation version of its smartwatch that looked an awful lot like the original. (But now with a water-resistant body!)

Apple doesn’t reveal how many Apple Watches it has sold, but IDC estimated the company shipped 1.1 million units in the third quarter, which included only a couple weeks of Apple Watch Series 2 sales. The firm said that “Apple’s success will likely be muted as the smartwatch category continues to be challenged.”

Still, Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month that the gadget set a sales record during the first week of holiday shopping and is on track for its best quarter yet.

Apple in 2017 is expected to make the first design changes to the Apple Watch since it introduced the device last year. It has filed for a patent for a watch with a circular display, but it’s unclear whether such a device could go on sale in 2017. Likely changes include better screens, new health-focused sensors and cellular connectivity that lets you use the watch without your phone.

Apple glasses?

Apple’s next big wearable may be something worn on the face. A report said the company is working on smart glasses that would connect wirelessly to an iPhone, displaying images and other information to the wearer. But seeing this device next year could be a stretch; it’s reportedly still in the exploration phase.

Google Glass, introduced in 2012, failed spectacularly, but this year’s Snapchat Spectacles, which let users shoot videos to post to the Snapchat messaging app, have turned out to be hugely popular.

AR, VR push

Apple glasses could be the company’s first stab at augmented reality. It has largely been silent about the technology that overlays the virtual world on top of the real world (a good example of this is Pokemon Go). CEO Tim Cook has called it interesting, and it’s certain Apple will do something at some point — the question is when.

As for virtual reality, less is known about Apple’s ambitions. The company likely is exploring the tech that’s gotten the attention of Samsung, Facebook and Google, but it’s unclear what its plans are for the market.

iPads without a home button?

Apple’s iPad line hasn’t sold well for the past couple of years. The company has been counting on its Pro line — with optional detachable keyboard case and stylus — to revitalize demand, but so far, iPad Pros haven’t stemmed the two-year drop in iPad unit sales.

Reports say iPads could be in for big changes in 2017, some of which are similar to rumors of iPhone changes. Apple may get rid of the home button and minimize the bezels around the iPad screen. And some reports say Apple will introduce a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro (joining the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions it has now, though reports vary on the actual size of the new device). There’s also talk the company could finally update its iPad Mini with a new 7.9-inch model in the spring.

Yahoo Answers makes its official mobile debut


yahoo-answers-now Yahoo Answers has officially launched on mobile. As TechCrunch reported last month, Yahoo’s experimental app code-named Yahoo Hive had been rebranded as Yahoo Answers Now – a move that indicated Yahoo’s plans to bring its desktop Q&A site to the App Store. However, at the time, the app still required an invite in order to test it out – that restriction… Read More

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