Lenovo Introduces S660 S850 and S860 Smartphone Models

As expected, Lenovo will continue to build on its well-known S-series family in 2014. Three models are introduced at MWC 2014 event, S660, S850 and S860. The latter should appeal to owners of Motorola’s MAXX devices who seek to obtain new smartphone this year. The Lenovo S860 could support 24-hour talk time and it could even charge other smartphones. The powerful battery is paired with 2GB of RAM and quad-core processor.

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t do LTE connectivity and comes with the slightly outdated Jelly Bean Android 4.2 OS. Nevertheless, Lenovo promises that the KitKat Android 4.4 update will arrive at some point. The 1.6Mp front-facing camera is ideal for video calls and there is also an 8Mp rear-facing camera.

The Lenovo S850 is a more affordable model with focus on lightweight glass thin construction and it has a reasonably large 5-inch display. Users could bet to get a quad-core processor. Photo buffs out there would also be happy to get 5Mp front-facing and 13Mp rear-facing camera. The Lenovo S660 rounds out the group with its 5-inch display, solid battery life and brushed metal construction. With its comfortable design and value-level price, the S66- slow in well under the S850.


Specs of Lumia 940 are Rumored

Microsoft seems to be planning to return with a vengeance. Its upcoming flagship will use the popular Lumia branding, specifically the Lumia 940. Screenshots of the device have circulated recently. But, while we can’t really guarantee the validity of these new images, the rumoured specs do seem believable.

Unfortunately, Microsoft may eschew the more popular Quad HD screen resolution and it will stay with the more common Full HD resolution on its 5-inch display. Obviously, any flagship model is expected to feature Quad HD resolution, although the immense sharpness will no longer deliver visually discernible differences compared to the current 1080p resolution. It is also interesting to note that the display will be protected with Gorilla Glass 4 layer, which hasn’t been confirmed by Corning itself. With 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM, the new flagship won’t be underpowered at all.

Microsoft-Lumia-940

Camera will likely be the best feature of the 940, since the 24Mp sensor is based on the PureView technology. It could record 4k videos at 60fps. The 5Mp front-facing shooter should be able to record at 1080 resolution. Weighing 149 grams and measuring at 8.9mm thick, the Lumia 940 should be reasonably light and compact.

iPhone 6 Going on Sale for $160

Goophone, the Chinese phone company known for its uncanny smartphone knockoffs, is back with its latest adaptation.

The i6, an imitation of the still-unannounced iPhone 6, rolls out online on Aug. 1. Designed based on supposedly leaked images and videos, the i6 is priced at $159.99 for the 16 GB model. For comparison, the 16 GB iPhone 5S retailed for $199 with contract and $649 unlocked.

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While it sounds like a sweet deal, consumers should know that i6 uses a different processor than the iPhone and comes equipped with Android instead of iOS. It also only has a 1.4GHz processor, a downgrade from the 2GHz offered with Goophone’s i5S model, which is — you guessed it — a knockoff of the iPhone 5S.

The design of the i6 and the expected design for the rumored iPhone 6 are very close: Both have fingerprint readers on the front, an auto-focusing camera in the rear and other design hallmarks borrowed from iPhones.

However, the i6 sports a image of a bumblebee on its back instead of Apple’s classic logo the i6 sports a image of a bumblebee on its back instead of Apple’s classic logo, distinguishing itself from the iPhone’s no-frills design. Goophone hasn’t explained why it uses the bee as its logo, only remarking that it is “cute.”

Unlike the Goophone i5S, the i6 is only offered in two colors, black and white. The champagne finish was a new direction for iPhone design when the 5S emerged and was copied by Goophone (and others). It’s still unknown what colors Apple will offer for the iPhone 6.

It’s also difficult to say exactly how closely the i6 resembles its Apple original, as designs for the iPhone 6 leaked earlier this year proved to be fake. An exact release date for the iPhone 6 has also been hazy, after rumors that a smaller version would debut in August were squashed. It is now widely anticipated that both the 4.7-inch will hit the market in September, while a larger 5.5-inch model could come in the months ahead.

In the past, Goophone has mimicked the Samsung Galaxy S5 and other highly desirable smartphones. While there are obvious copyright issues at hand, Chinese authorities aren’t doing much to shut it down for now.

iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display 4.7

Sapphire is the birthstone of September, the traditional gift on your 45th wedding anniversary and a material associated with both luxury and ruggedness. It can be found in opulent products like jewelry, camera lenses and fancy watches. Given that, it’s also one of the toughest materials in the world, which makes it ideal for military-grade items like aviation displays and even missiles. So when rumors emerged that a sapphire display may be featured on the next iPhone, a chorus of excitement followed. However, many phone manufacturers don’t share the same sense of optimism that Apple might hold toward this different kind of next-gen display.

iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display

Earlier this week, YouTube vlogger Marques Brownlee showed what appears to be a sapphire display for the next iPhone. While the use of sapphire won’t be confirmed (or denied) by Apple until the product is released, the idea that it would want to use the material in its next flagship smartphone isn’t too hard to believe: The company announced late last year that it partnered with leading sapphire producer GT Advanced Technologies to build a manufacturing facility in Arizona. And according to a report from 9to5mac, the deal included enough new equipment to make around 100 million to 200 million iPhone-sized displays per year.

There’s one major reason why manufacturers are looking into using sapphire displays: The material is strong. Very strong. Sapphire is about four times as tough as glass. Gorilla Glass, regularly found protecting current smartphone screens, fares pretty well against hard objects too, but in order to scratch sapphire, you’d need to find something higher than nine on the Mohs scale — a system of measurement used to rate mineral hardness from one to 10, with 10 being the highest. (For comparison, Gorilla Glass rates a seven; sandpaper is a nine; and diamond is a 10)

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Using sapphire instead of glass for a smartphone display isn’t a groundbreaking concept. The material is already used in the (admittedly far smaller) protective glass covering the iPhone camera, as well as the 5s home button (for Touch ID); and luxury brands like Vertu, Savelli and TAG Heuer use sapphire displays in their existing phones. However, it’s no coincidence that existing sapphire display phones are incredibly expensive — manufacturing sapphire is time-intensive, limited by available quantity and very costly. The price of sapphire camera lens covers is 2.6 times higher than glass. On a large phone display, the difference in cost is even higher; last year, GT Advanced reps estimated the cost for a pane of Gorilla Glass at $3, while sapphire was around $30.

iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display 2014

I reached out to multiple representatives from major smartphone players and while most companies I talked to had already researched and analyzed the possibility of using sapphire, their impressions were much more lukewarm than I expected. “The cost and supply aren’t where we’d like them to be for sapphire to be practical just yet,” said Ken Hong, Global Communications Director for LG. “Sapphire’s durability and scratch-resistance are certainly attractive, but Gorilla Glass isn’t going to be displaced anytime soon.”

There are plenty of other issues associated with sapphire. It’s heavier than Gorilla Glass and the material remains less transparent than glass, meaning it would be more difficult to see the screen unless manufacturers add a special coating to increase transparency. (Even then, it still wouldn’t be as good as glass.) Additionally, each representative I talked to confirmed that while sapphire is durable, it certainly isn’t unbreakable. In fact, the larger the display is, the more brittle it becomes; “The sapphire is too hard to withstand bending,” said a representative of a top-tier phone maker who also asked to remain anonymous. “It’s easier to break during drop tests when the size of sapphire increases.”

Another representative replied, “In a cost-benefit analysis, I doubt [using sapphire] makes sense, unless there is some perceived marketing advantage.” Despite the potential downfalls of using such a material, that’s exactly what Apple would be gunning for by using the display in the iPhone: marketing power. Sapphire’s got a solid reputation; if the new iPhone features the same material used in premium watches, necklaces and earrings, and the company can throw it in without raising the price to consumers, Apple has a great new way to distinguish itself from the competition.

iPhone 6 Sapphire Crystal Display 2014-Elastic

Even if other phone makers wanted to use sapphire displays, it would be difficult for them to secure enough inventory due to a very limited supply — a problem that the iPhone maker has avoided. “Apple uses its massive cash hoard to fund big upfront commitments for key components,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. “[It’s] something that almost every other OEM but Samsung will struggle to do.” In other words, only large companies with enough resources and bargaining power will be able to secure enough sapphire for mass production.

This doesn’t mean that sapphire displays won’t be embraced in the future; they might just come in a different form. We wouldn’t be too surprised if multiple hardware manufacturers decided to use the material on smartwatches for now, since the screens — and the number of devices to build — would be much smaller and thus more affordable than smartphones. (The Moto 360, for example, is rumored to have a sapphire screen.) Then, as supply goes up and production becomes more cost-efficient, more doors may open for phone makers who want to give sapphire a shot.

iPhone 6 Could Have Sapphire Protected Display

iPhone 6 Sapphire Protected Display Gorilla  Glass

Apple has recently sent the first shipment of sapphire components from the manufacturing plant in Arizona to the final assembly line in China. This seems to support previous rumors that the next iPhone will be equipped with sapphire panels. A few months ago, Apple and GT Advanced Technologies opened a plant in Arizona to produce specific sapphire components. The facility runs about a hundred sapphire furnaces in Q1 2014 and hundreds more will be operational later this year.

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Sapphire panels are an alternative to Corning Gorilla Glass panel and it could protect specific parts of the iPhone from scratches. At the moment, the iPhone 5S has its home button and camera lens protected by sapphire; but not its display. Sapphire is tougher to break and less prone to physical damage compared to toughened glass.

Rumors also run rampant about additional implementations of sapphire panels. It has been suggested that sapphire will be usable for solar panels.  This should allow iPhone to recharge with sunlight. The alleged Apple iWatch could also use sapphire and only time will tell what other implementations the company will do. After all, sapphire is the second toughest material after diamond.

Apple iPhone 6 Rumors Japan Display

Apple iPhone 6 Rumors: Japan Display Develops 5.5-Inch Quad HD Display; Will It Be Featured In Next-Gen iPhone In September?

At a time when Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next-generation iPhone, dubbed the “iPhone 6,” is rumored to come in two screen sizes, the timely development of a 5.5-inch display panel by one of the company’s longtime component suppliers has provided yet another boost to consumer hopes that a larger iPhone is indeed on its way.

On Thursday, Japan Display Inc. (TYO:6740), a major supplier of iPhone displays, announced that it had developed a new 5.5-inch-wide Quad HD, or WQHD, display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (538 ppi) for “leading-edge smartphones.” And, according to a report from CNET, there is a chance that the new display could make its way to the upcoming iPhone 6.

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Tokyo-based business publication Nikkei reported on Friday that Apple’s next iPhone iteration would be released in two variants with different screen sizes, including 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. The report also stated that Sharp Corporation (TYO:6753), Japan Display, and LG Display Co Ltd. (NYSE:LPL) will produce the iPhone 6’s Retina display.

CNET said that the timing of Japan Display’s announcement of the development of the 5.5-inch WQHD display and the news from Nikkei about a bigger iPhone 6 may not be a coincidence.

According to CNET, the Nikkei report included two other data points that could coincide with Japan Display’s announcement — first, mass production of the display panels would begin in the April-June quarter; and second, the iPhone 6’s display resolution could be “significantly higher than that of current models.”

The CNET report also cited Paul Semenza, a senior vice president at NPD DisplaySearch, who said that the newly developed Japan Display screen could be used in the iPhone 6.

However, Semenza also said that a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1600×900 pixels also seems to be another possible spec.

“As always, Apple runs parallel development programs to test out which is the best approach or just to try to confuse the rest of the world,” Semenza said.

While leaked details about the iPhone 6 and its features are fairly scarce and inconsistent, many reports have suggested that Apple could release the next iPhone sometime in September. The Nikkei report in question also stated that suppliers of LCD panels for the iPhone 6 are expected to ramp up production soon, “in line with a timetable for a worldwide launch as early as September.”

Schematic-Like Drawing Of iPhone 6 Surfaces

Meanwhile, an alleged schematic-like drawing of what is said to be the next-gen iPhones surfaced Friday on a popular Japanese magazine called MacFan. The drawing showed two different handsets, one with a 4.7-inch display and the other one with 5.7-inch display.

According to MacRumors, the two devices in the image were referred to as “iPhone 6c” models. Although it may sound odd for many that Apple could offer two iPhones with multiple screen sizes, the rumor did correspond to previous tidbits about the device.

In addition to a larger, higher-resolution display, the iPhone 6 is likely to sport a thinner design, three new sensors, an improved 8-megapixel camera, sapphire cover glass and iOS 8 among many other new features and upgrades.

iPhone 6 Could Be Thinner Than 7mm

It has been a while since first alleged component of iPhone 6 came straight from the assembly lines in China. The latest leak seems to show us the rear part of the upcoming 4.7-inch handset and it appears to be quite similar to early dummy units. There a couple of separated areas at the top and bottom. Overall, the photo indicates a larger device. This time, the alleged iPhone 6 seems to be constructed completely of metal material, eschewing the metal-glass structure of previous iPhone models.

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To maintain the current aspect ratio and pixel density of iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 could have 1704 x 906 screen resolution. Other things to expect are improved cameras, more powerful A8 64-bit processor and smoother implementation of TouchID fingerprint scanner.

As we can see, the iPhone 6 could be somewhat thinner compared to current iPhone models and rumors on an Apple smartphone model with sub-7mm thickness could become a reality. The slim iPhone 6 may arrive on September this year, followed by a phablet like model with 5.5-inch display. Overall, both devices should be ready for sale during the peak of holiday season this year. At the same time period, we would see the release of multiple Quad HD Android smartphone models.