iPhone 6 Release Date Is Near As Foxconn Hires 100K New Workers

Apple Inc.’s iPhone 6 will reportedly enter production in July. And well before the production kicks off, Taiwanese Economic Daily has learned that Foxconn Technology Co Ltd is hiring 100,000 new employees in mainland China to assemble the iPhone 6. Foxconn is expected to be responsible for 70% of the next-gen iPhone units while the remaining 30% will be produced by another Apple partner Pegatron Corporation.

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iPhone 6 production drives biggest job creation boom in China’s recent memory

Pegatron Corporation  is also increasing its workforce in China by 30% to support the huge anticipated demand for the next iPhone. Last year, Foxconn Technology Co Ltd  had hired 90,000 for the iPhone 5S manufacturing. Sources said that Pegatron and Foxconn’s combined hiring efforts for the iPhone 6 production would drive the biggest job creation boom in China’s recent memory.

Besides recruiting new people, Foxconn Technology Co Ltd plans to expand two production lines. The timing of the recruitment drive is right for the widely expected iPhone 6 schedule. Production of the device is rumored to ramp up in July for a September launch. Most people have focused their attention on the 4.7-inch version, which is expected to amount for bulk of the sale. Foxconn will reportedly be the sole supplier of the 5.5-inch model.

iPhone 6 expected to launch in September

While Foxconn Technology Co Ltd  is hiring aggressively in China, the company is laying off employees in India. Just a few days after offering a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), the Taiwanese company announced that it will cut jobs in Indian coming weeks. Notably, that has nothing to do with the iPhone 6. Foxconn’s Indian unit is dependent on business from Nokia Corporation’s Chennai plant. Nokia is cutting production at the plant due to a tax dispute.

The iPhone 6 is expected to have a tougher-than-concrete sapphire display, iOS 8 operating system, TouchID fingerprint sensor, NFC integration, an upgraded A8 processor, a 13MP main camera with optical image stabilization and a higher price tag.

Apple Inc. shares inched up 0.43% to $91.30 in pre-market trading Monday.


LG Optimus L70 for Cricket

What a better way to celebrate launching of a new service than with a brand new phone? AT&T’s new Cricket Wireless service has been up and running for about two weeks now and the carrier is already looking to expand its Android smartphone portfolio. Starting today Cricket customers can have a wider range of devices to choose from thanks to the addition of the LG Optimus L70 to the roster. The phone is now available from carrier’s stores for just $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.

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If you have your eye on the LG Optimus L70 at a discounted price, you better hurry up since the promotion will be live for a limited time. After the deal expires, the handset will cost $99.99. Of course, you don’t have to worry about long-term commitments. Cricket Wireless is a prepaid brand, hence it doesn’t require contracts. The LG Optimus L70 is a mid-range smartphone that has been already set for sale at Metro PCS. The phone sports a 4.5-inch IPS display with 800 x 480 resolution and is powered by a dual-core MSM8210 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. Under the hood, the device hides 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of internal memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD slot. Other features include 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front-facing snapper and a 2100 mAh battery which, according to LG, is capable of delivering up to 15 hours of talk time or up to 21 days of standby time.

The Optimus L70 for Cricket ships with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box and a full suite of LG-exclusive apps such as KnockON which lets you wake the phone by double tapping the screen, or Knock Code – an easy way of unlocking your L70 with a preset knock pattern. Other useful features include QSlide and QuickMemo with On-Call Notes which allows you to access the QuickMemo app and take notes while on call. The phone also has a special Guest Mode thanks to which you to restrict access to some areas this way preventing unauthorized persons from viewing content they are not supposed to see.

ZTE Grand S Pro for US Cellular is now available

If you still haven’t found that perfect gift for your dad that would show him in a manly way how much you love him, be sure to check out US Cellular’s new offer. The carrier teamed up with ZTE to launch a large, Android smartphone – the 5-inch ZTE Grand S Pro, just in time for Father’s Day. Packed to the fullest with powerful components, the Grand S Pro is available in US Cellular store starting today for $99.99 with a new two-year contract. If long-term agreements are not your thing, you can grab the phone for $249.99 outright.

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For a price this affordable it would be justified to expect modest hardware, poor performance and unattractive design. However, guys from ZTE worked hard to make sure that none of the above could be said about the Grand S Pro. In fact, the phone has more to offer than some of the more expensive devices. For starters, the ZTE Grand S Pro for US Cellular has a 5-inch display with a decent 720p resolution. The screen is protected from damage by Dragontrail Glass which is equally durable as the more commonly used Gorilla Glass. Under the hood the phone has a quad-core 2.3 GHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor paired with 2 GB of RAM, as well as 8 GB of internal memory with an option to add up to 32 GB more through microSD slot. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the 13-megapixel main camera with Zero Shutter Latency, LED flash, autofocus and multiple shooting modes. There is also a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting and selfies. Other features include Dolby Digital Plus sound, 4G LTE connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Powering the device is a 2,300 mAh battery which is expected to deliver up to 10 hours of talk time or up to 264 hours of standby time. If you really wanted a reason to complain, you could find it in the operating system. The Grand S Pro ships with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is still a pretty recent version of the platform, but nevertheless not the latest one. Anyway, all things considered, the Grand S Pro offers great value for its price and seems like a worthy alternative to more expensive smartphones.

The iPhone 6 Eye ID Retinal Scanner, iPhone 6C and iPhone Air

The latest iPhone was launched in September so it is still very young player even when we take under consideration that smartphones age rather fast. However, it seems to be old enough for the talks and speculations about next-generation iPhone as they started increasing in intensity. Some of the ideas are pretty creative; maybe even a tad too creative for the present state of technology. For example, Italian designer Set Solutions imagines the iPhone 6 could come with Eye ID Retinal Scanner.

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The Eye ID Retinal Scanner would serve basically for the same purpose as Touch ID,  but could add some more advanced functionality. By using a beam-like technology, the Eye ID Retinal Scanner would scan your retina in order to confirm your identity and let you unlock your phone.

Moreover, the Retina scan could provide easy and secure access to your online banking account or allow you to make purchases from iTunes and the App Store. The idea is interesting; however, chances that we will see it in the next-generation iPhone are close to none at this point. For one, the technology is too expensive and not small enough to fit into a smartphone. More distant future looks more promising, though.

There are some other concepts concerning the next-generation iPhone. One model, known as the Apple iPhone Air is a mixture of iPhone and iPad Air design. Another model, called iPhone 6C, could be the first curved iPhone, hence the „C” in the name.

These concepts, however, are obviously not leaks but imaginative ideas that stand little chance to materialize. At least for now.

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 Features Specs and Price

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a big screen smartphone at a decent price tag. It improves on the earlier Samsun Galaxy Grand coming with a larger display screen of 5.25 inches and is slightly taller. The resolution has increased to 720p and the pixel density is 280 ppi compared to the 187 ppi of the previous version. The design has also been enhanced with faux leather at the back; processing is more robust with a quad-core Cortex A7 Qualcomm processor. What makes it a winner is that you are getting all the specifications at half the price of around $400, when compared to the previous Grand model.

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Features and Specs

Though the name does not have the ‘duos’ tag to it, it actually supports two GSM SIM cards in a standby mode. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC, clocking at 1.2 GHz, powers the device. This is a mid range processor but it is quite powerful when combined with a RAM of 1.5 GB, which offers excellent multitasking features. The storage is only 8GB, but you can enhance it up to a maximum of 64 GB with the use of the microSD card. The SIMs support 3G speed of a maximum of 21 Mbps. Connectivity includes Wi Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.0.

The device has an LCD screen, and not the most sophisticated AMOLED screen found in higher end devices from Samsung. Text and icons are crisp but there is no full HD screen display.

Operating System

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 runs on the Android 4.3 version. It is also topped or skinned with TouchWiz user interface from Samsung, so that there is almost no similarity with the stock Android. Lock screen and notifications are placed differently and so are the icons in the status bar. Home screens have also been customized with panels that are scrollable.

My Magazine

My Magazine offers you some news articles from all over the Internet, almost similar to Buzzfeed in the HTC. Users can also make additions, including videos or photographs from their device and also social feeds. Flipboard is also available on the home screen.

Multi Window Features

Like all other big Samsung devices, Multi Window features allow the user to split the screen, so that two applications can run simultaneously. This is very convenient, as you can save a combination of two apps and then launch them together.

S Voice

This is similar to Siri of the iOS. It can be accessed easily by double tapping on the Home button. You can then say ‘Hi Galaxy’, so that voice commands are enabled. With S Voice, you can make calls or send text messages. You can also set up alarms or reminders and add posts to Twitter or launch applications, do web searching and control settings, such as Wi or Bluetooth and so on. Accuracy of S Voice is excellent and the response voice is also very natural. However, you will need a data connection for S Voice, either through Wi Fi or a cellular data connection. Voice controls help you handle calls and also trigger the camera or handle many other basic functions of the phone using your voice. This hands free mode is especially useful while driving.

Applications

Samsung Grand 2 also has access to the Samsung Apps along with the Samsung Hub. Here, you can find books, games and videos as well as many other learning materials. You can then install these apps consisting of videos and books, both free as well as paid ones.

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 offers a well-rounded product and has struck the right balance between the price, the features and the performance.

 

Top 5 World Cup Apps for the iPhone

The 2014 World Cup has arrived. Starting tomorrow, soccer fans around the globe can follow their favorite teams in the Group stage and beyond. Following the world’s largest sporting event from anywhere has never been easier thanks to mobile devices. There are a variety of free iOS apps that can help make sure fans don’t miss any action.

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Here are five top iPhone apps for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Not only will these apps provide live match scores and highlights, there’s in-depth information and breaking news. Results and headlines from across the world of soccer (or football, as it’s known by most of the world) are key features of some of these apps as well.

1.  FIFA Official App – The official World Cup app from FIFA not only provides fixtures and live results, but fans can use the app to vote for Man of the Match in each game. Joining the Global Stadium makes it possible to share reactions to plays with friends, players, coaches and celebrities. FIFA includes information on the host country and details about players and teams.

The official app has been completely redesigned for iOS 7, with a pull-up Matches menu that swipes left and right to display scheduled matches and other information. In addition to the World Cup section, live results from elsewhere in the world of football and a FIFA Ranking are available.

2. ESPN FC – ESPN’s football club app has a special section exclusively dedicated to the World Cup. The menu option comes in addition to details and results from other clubs and competitions. ESPN is the exclusive FIFA Official US Broadcaster, so the app will have live match video highlights available moments after they happen. ESPN will also deliver analysis from key sports reporters who are in Brazil to cover the action.

For cable subscribers of ESPN, the app WatchESPN rounds out the experience with live feeds of the ESPN networks. Those in the US can watch live broadcasts of matches right on the iPhone.

3. World Soccer Finals – For straightforward live results and schedule information, this World Cup app does the trick. Users can track their favorite team at a glance, view standings and statistics, and view a map of the venues in Brazil. Calendar and notification features round out the package, which is focused on the matches themselves.

4. FOX Soccer 2Go – World Cup match information and news, as well as live scores and schedules can all be viewed with Fox Soccer. Subscribers to the channel through their cable provider can access additional live content, however in the US the official FIFA broadcaster is ESPN.

5. MLS Matchday – Last but not least, the official MLS app is updated with a dedicated World Cup news section as well as fixtures and live match details. As usual, details of MLS regular season games and other tournaments such as the Open Cup are also highlighted. Fans can participate in the Brazil Bracket Challenge along with 24 MLS players who have joined the fun.

iOS 8 Beta 2 Now Available

Apple has released iOS 8 beta 2 three weeks after releasing the first beta to developers at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California on June 2nd. The second beta is available now as an OTA update or through Apple’s development portal. The new beta features mostly bug fixes. Check out the full iOS 8 beta 2 changelog below.

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Apple is expected to launch iOS 8 alongside its next-generation iPhone and rumored iWatch this fall. iOS 8 will bring a host of new features to Apple products including Apple’s Health app, improvements to messaging, an App Store Family Sharing option and more.

Lego Fusion merges physical brick building Electronic Kids Toys digital play

Lego has revealed a new line of play kits which are designed to combine its traditional brick-building and app-based gaming. The new Lego Fusion range will allow children to photograph their physical creations using a smartphone or tablet, and then see them brought to life in virtual worlds.

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There will initially be four Lego Fusion sets: Town Master, Battle Towers, Create and Race, and Resort Designer. Each kit will consist of more than 200 Lego pieces, a “capture plate” to build on, and will be accompanied by a free downloadable app for iOS or Android. The purpose of the capture plate is to allow the app to identify the size and colors of the Lego bricks used.

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As prompted in the games, users build on the capture plate and import their creations by pointing the device’s camera at them. At this point, the constructions are incorporated into the digital world, allowing them to be played with virtually. In games with buildings, 2D façade creations (their capture plates are just one row of studs deep) are automatically transformed into 3D buildings.

Gamers are then, through a series of challenges and interactions, required to continue building in the real world, to progress in the game. This creates a constant back-and-forth between the physical and virtual elements of play. Lego says this engages children in both the digital world and the real-life one, and helps combat the “zombie gaze” that parents will recognize in their app-playing kids.

In Lego Fusion Town Master, users create their own Lego town, building things like houses, restaurants, a fire station and shops, and importing them into the game. They also complete errands and missions, such as catching robbers, fighting fires and skateboarding, all while trying to keep citizens happy. Resort Designer, which is part of the Lego Friends line-up, works in much the same way, but with a holiday resort theme … and more pink bricks.

The Battle Towers set requires players to build a tower and then defend it against virtual attack in a bid to rule a kingdom. Damage to towers in the app can be repaired by completing timed real-world building challenges. In Lego Fusion Create and Race, players construct a car which can be taken for a virtual spin in races, demolition challenges or used to perform stunts. Every brick used in the real-world car will have an impact on its performance in the game.

From September, users of Lego Fusion sets will also be able to access their digital creations from any compatible device. After logging into the Lego Fusion app with a Lego ID, they’ll be able to see and select their gallery and game play progress.

Aimed at 7-12 year-olds, Lego Fusion Town Master, Battle Towers and Create and Race will go on sale in August. They will be followed by the Resort Designer kit, which will be released in September. The kits will cost US$35 each.

 

Japan is planning to bring 5G network by 2020

The Japanese government continues its support for the development of network technology, pushing together with local companies in trying to make 5G (5th generation) mobile bandwith available by the year 2020 – which is, incidentally, the year the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games roll in – way before other countries do.

Long Term Evolution – or more popularly, LTE – has been more or less the standard in Japanese mobile networks, growing in popularity and usage since it was launched in 2010. LTE is technically not 4G, as misrepresented in most marketing ploys – it is 3.9G, with a standard bandwidth of around 70 to 80 Megabits per second. With 5G technology, Japan is looking at speeds of 10 Gigabits per second. For comparison, if you think your LTE connection is fast enough, imagine speeds 100 faster than your current LTE. This kind of connection is of course primed for higher densities of content, like 4K videos. We might not be seeing a lot of 4K-resolution videos at the moment – and there are not a lot of screens, whether TV ormobile gadgets, that can handle 4K video – but Japan is looking at 4K and even 8K video to be developed in the near future. For those kinds of high density content, 5G connections will be almost essential.

With this in mind, Japan’s Ministry of Communications plans to give the private sector impetus for developing 5G network technology faster than other countries. The ministry is planning to take this proposal to Japan’s three big mobile carriers this year – that is, NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank – as well as smaller communications companies and manufacturers of cellular phone technology and network hardware, the likes of Panasonic, Sharp and Fujitsu. It is understood that the ministry will be looking for government support for funding the development of 5G technology. The Japanese government is even hoping to pull in the considerable abilities of Japanese universities to make sure Japan is way ahead of rivals in Europe and South Korea in this endeavor.

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NTT Docomo looking toward 5G mobile network infrastructure by 2020

NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile network by virtue of sales, has released a statement of its ambitions for an ultra-high speed 5G network in place by the year 2020. Presenting the available details of this plan to the technology media at this year’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) Japan, Docomo hopes to join other major technology outfits in coming up with their own 5G network by the end of the decade.

According to Docomo, 3G frequencies – that is, the standard network infrastructure including HSDPA, HSUPA, and HSDPA+ – are getting a bit crowded because of the ubiquity of smartphones in the current market. As with the current leading edge 4G LTE-Advanced, Docomo will aim to use higher unused frequencies with its 5G plan. This goal will utilize additional smaller cells along with the current ones to boost the network signal. The small cells would cover smaller areas, with the company planning to use a lot of these in regional batches. The 5G concept is not a finished product yet, as the concept and indeed the global standard, is still being developed. But the Japanese mobile communications leader is aiming to have the 5G technology and infrastructure come together by 2020.

NTT Docomo is not alone in pursuing 5G speeds. In May this year, South Korean mobile giants Samsung revealed that it had hit 1Gbps during testing of its own 5G technology. As Samsung noted at the time, using high-frequency bandwidths – for 5G, it may fall in the 6GHz range – will pose issues in transmission, as the range of these frequencies will be smaller. This is the current problem for most 5G developers, but it should be ironed out eventually. Chinese technology outfit Huawei has also claims to be on the development of 5G network technologies, which it plans to have ready for 2020. Everybody seems to peg 5G by the end of the decade, but for consumers and smartphone users, it just means that 2020 could be a breakthrough year for handheld download speeds.

5G Networks By 2020? Samsung Looks To The Future

Samsung is looking some seven years into the future and claims to have built and tested a 5G wireless network capable of delivering one-gigabit-per-second speeds. Though many parts of the world are still scurrying to build out their 4G networks, Samsung says they´ve developed the necessary technology to operate in the millimeter-wave Ka bands and deliver such ultra-fast speeds.

The Korean company claims their “mmWave Mobile Technology” is a proven solution, and by pitching in with others in mobile research, they hope to have this network “commercialized” by 2020.

“The millimeter-wave band is the most effective solution to recent surges in wireless Internet usage,” said Chang Yeong Kim, executive vice president of Samsung and head of their digital media research in a statement.

“Samsung´s recent success in developing the adaptive array transceiver technology has brought us one step closer to the commercialization of 5G mobile communications in the millimeter-wave bands.”

Delivering faster wireless broadband speeds requires a larger data pipe. Current “4G” networks operate on the lower end of the frequency spectrum. The mmWave network is said to broadcast signals at higher frequencies and can theoretically deliver speeds up to several hundred times faster than 4G. Though widening the spread of frequencies used seems like a viable way to offer a faster and more full-featured network, previous research has shown that these high-frequency, millimeter-wave bands might not be well suited for transmitting data over long distances.

Enter Samsung´s adaptive array transceiver, a cluster of 64 antennas which has been shown to successfully transmit data in the 28 GHz range (4G networks often operate in the 800 MHz range) at around 1.056 Gbps and across a distance of about 1.2 miles. Samsung claims this array of 64 antennas can mitigate any radio reception lost to operating in these millimeter-waves lengths.

Though Samsung claims that their network will be able to deliver data at one gigabit per second, this isn´t the first time we´ve heard about wireless networks operating at these speeds. LTE-Advanced is the next great wireless advance to be commercialized, and it can transmit data at a theoretical 1Gbps. More realistically, however, it will deliver speeds of 15 megabits per second, or about 25 percent faster than the average 12 megabits per second delivered by today´s 4G networks. In an interview with CNN following this year´s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Tod Sizer, the head of wireless research at Alcatel-Lucent´s Bell labs said 5G has more to offer than speedy data.

“5G won’t be about more speed, necessarily. It may be faster, but it will be more about meeting the expectation of service quality,” said Sizer.

Each new iteration of wireless networking has brought about a new feature in addition to fast speeds. For instance, 2G delivered better voice quality, 3G delivered data and 4G has enabled faster video streaming.

5G is expected to be ubiquitous enough to handle millions of connections and deliver wireless connectivity to millions of other connected devices. Samsung specifically mentions using their 5G network to deliver 3D movies and games as well as ultra high-definition content and even remote medical services. The Galaxy maker also said they plan to jump into this increasingly competitive 5G market and further the research with their adaptive array transceiver. For now it seems Samsung sees 2020 as a very real goal for rolling out 5G networks to wireless providers all over the world.

New version of Android will enhance battery life and speed up apps

Several months ago, Google added an experimental runtime option to speed up apps in Android 4.4 KitKat. A runtime, for the record, supports the apps running on your device — without it they’d be nothing but piles of useless code. Called ART (short for Android Runtime), that same mode will become the default when Mountain View releases the next version of its operating system. Developers spotted tweaks to Android’s open-source code indicating the upcoming change, and the update looks to be a positive one. Without getting bogged down in details, ART essentially makes apps run faster and more efficiently, with the downside being that they’ll take up slightly more space on your phone, as well as lengthier install times.

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ART will likely replace the current app-running software Dalvik as the default on Android, though the latter option could still be available. In addition to enhancing app performance, ART is said to slightly increase battery life. Even if the gains are small, that’s good news for anyone using the most popular mobile OS in the world. And with Google I/O just a week away, we may hear about the next version of Android very soon.