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Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra shows of the Mi 5 smartphone

Hands on with Xiaomi's Mi 5: Great smartphone, but when do we get it?

MWC16 Following a hypetastic presentation from Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra, your correspondent was among the first to get a quick hands-on with the 5.15” Mi 5, Xiaomi’s newly announced smartphone. Xiaomi is the huge smartphone brand you may not have heard of, if you live outside the far east. It is the bestselling brand in China, …
Tim Anderson, 24 Feb 2016

Meet Barra's baby: Xiaomi arrives with a splash

MWC16 Xiaomi is heading West, and its new Mi 5 flagship brings Galaxy quality for £250 to Western markets this Spring. The Mi 5 shows a major investment in design - as the company told us at tedious length in Barcelona today. “Ceramic is up to 8H on the Mohs scale,” Xiaomi phone chief Hugo Barra told us, extolling the virtues of …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2016
ISO7816 Tattoo

Whatever happened to... virtual SIMs?

MWC16 Everyone knows physical SIM cards have had their day. Small connected devices like wearables and IoT kit don’t have the space to accommodate SIMs, and shouldn’t have to. Nor should bikes. But as the operators’ "most potent instrument of control", they haven’t been in a hurry to give it up. Apple wanted to abolish SIM cards …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2016
Intel's big screen experience: Linux running alongside Android

Intel shows budget Android phone powering big-screen Linux

MWC16 Intel is showing what it calls "Big Screen Experience" at Mobile World Congress, an Android smartphone which runs a full Linux desktop when plugged into an external display. The concept is broadly similar to Microsoft's Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile, but whereas Continuum devices are towards the high end, Intel's project is …
Tim Anderson, 23 Feb 2016

Mañana: Nokia’s in no hurry to go back to phones

MWC16 Nokia CEO said the company could return to making mobile devices this year or next, but isn’t in a hurry. “There’s no specific timeframe. We don’t need to be in a rush. We will explore this with the right partner or partners, depending on the case,” said chief exec Rajeev Suri at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “It might …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2016

LG’s modular G5 stunner shuns the Lego aesthetic

MWC16 People want a cool product more than they want a bunch of Lego bricks in their pocket. That’s why Alphabet’s intriguing modular project, Project Ara has gone nowhere. But can LG’s expansion slot initiative fare better? Yesterday LG announced its first modular phone, the G5, with two expansion units on show. It’s worth a punt …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2016
LG's G5 smartphone has a removeable battery and other companion devices

There’s a module for that: LG launches G5 smartphone complete with 'friends'

MWC16 Hands On LG has announced the G5 smartphone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, attempting to stand out with a modular approach alongside the inevitable VR support. The 5.3" G5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, 2560 x 1440 display, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, MicroSD slot, USB Type-C port, 16MP rear camera and 8MP front, and runs …
Tim Anderson, 22 Feb 2016
Bemused attendees trying out VR at the Samsung Galaxy S7 launch

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: Betting on VR with a dash of Vulkan

MWC16 Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg appeared on stage at Samsung's launch for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, proclaiming VR the new social platform; but is that enough to make S7 more than just this year's slightly faster Galaxy? Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014, and its technology is used in Samsung's Gear VR, a headset which works in …
Tim Anderson, 22 Feb 2016

OnePlus X: Dinky little Android smartie with one or two minuses

Review We've held off reviewing the third OnePlus phone, the OnePlus X, until you could actually buy it without an elusive invitation. But a fortnight ago the company abolished rationing and made it generally available. Phew. Now if you recall, OnePlus really laid on the Strategy Boutique marketing waffle when the phone was first …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2016

Microsoft patent filing confirms existence of 3D Jedi gesture phone

Microsoft could have brought a Lumia phone that responded to Jedi-like hand gestures to market a year before Apple brought out its 3D Touch feature. Smartphone displays which respond to the level of pressure being applied open up new UX possibilities for designers. Apple introduced force sensitive displays in its Apple Watch …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2016

Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Analysis Public opinion over the judicial demand that Apple create a version of its mobile operating system for the FBI – dubbed FBiOS – appears to have landed firmly against the Feds. The FBI has demanded Apple assist it in breaking into the mobile phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook who, along with his wife, killed 14 people …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Feb 2016
An angry mob

Under-fire Apple backs down, crafts new iOS to kill security safeguard

Apple has issued a new build of iOS that restores iPhones bricked after having third-party repairs. The Cupertino goliath said a new version of iOS 9.2.1, available over iTunes, will restore mobiles frozen with an 'Error 53' message. Earlier this month, people became super upset that iPhones could be rendered inoperable while …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Feb 2016
Qualcomm

Qualcomm drops antenna, amplifier silicon on OEMs

Overnight, Qualcomm dropped a bunch of silicon for its OEMs to improve various aspects of RF design, including antenna switching and amplifier efficiency. To whet the appetite, there's a bunch of antenna tuners and switches. The QAT2514 is a low-cost aperture tuner, designed to offer high linearity and isolation, and it's …
Apple protest

FBI iPhone brouhaha sparks Apple Store protest in San Francisco

Pics After Tim Cook gave the FBI the finger when asked to help unlock a mass murderer's iPhone, fanbois are planning to hold rallies outside Apple stores to support the iGiant. The string of demonstrations will kick off on February 23 across the US, it's hoped. This comes after the Feds won a court order demanding Apple assist …
Iain Thomson, 18 Feb 2016

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

Water cooler: Everyone is losing their mind over Apple being forced to help the FBI unlock an iPhone. Just what is going on? Relax, don't spill your almond milk latte. We'll make it crystal clear for you. The FBI wants to unlock an iPhone 5C belonging to Syed Farook, who with his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 coworkers in December …
Chris Williams, 17 Feb 2016
Android Marshmallow

Google to snatch control of Android updates from mobe makers – analyst

Google is on the verge of a takeover that will change the way Android development and updates are handled. This according to Richard Windsor, an analyst with Edison Investment Research, who believes the Mountain View ad giant is tiring of slow updates and will soon take control of firmware updates away from hardware vendors. …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Feb 2016
Possible Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung S7 tease suggests phone likes it hot and wet

Samsung Indonesia has posted a YouTube video depicting “The Next Galaxy”, presumably the S7. The video is on a ”launchpack” site that mentions what most people already knew: Samsung will take the wraps off the new device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. The video's below, but we imagine it might go away once …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2016

Apple must help Feds unlock San Bernardino killer's iPhone – judge

Apple must assist the FBI in unlocking the passcode-protected encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters in California. US magistrate Sheri Pym says Cupertino has to find a way to supply software that prevents the phone from automatically annihilating its user data when too many password attempts have …
Darren Pauli, 17 Feb 2016
The new Edge interface on the Galaxy S6 edge under Android Marshmallow

Samsung now pushing Marshmallows into the Galaxy S6, Edge

Android's jerky upgrade elevator has arrived at Samsung, which has decided it's time for the Marshmallow edition of the operating system to come to its Galaxy products. Marshmallow was revealed in August 2015 and made it into Google's Nexus handsets six weeks later. Fast forward another three-and-a-bit months and the world's …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2016

Is this the last ever Lumia?

Microsoft has unveiled what may be its last ever Lumia-branded phone, the Lumia 650. It’s a lightweight “business” workhorse priced at $199 before local taxes and subsidies. Despite the low price, the aluminium-framed model looks somewhat more luxurious than the two troubled “flagship” Lumia 950 models which emerged late last …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Feb 2016

iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Watch out: setting the time and date on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod to January 1, 1970, may brick the thing. In a Reddit discussion today, folks described how setting their device's clock back to that point in history resulted in a crash after which their iThing was unable to boot or be restored via iTunes. The bug affects …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
Abandoned building

BlackBerry axes 200 jobs – including a third of its HQ staff

One-time smartphone giant BlackBerry has laid off 200 of its remaining employees in a pair of cuts. The Canadian biz will eliminate 75 jobs from a manufacturing facility in Sunrise, Florida, US, and approximately 125 from its corporate headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It was earlier rumored that the company was …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Feb 2016
Sad iPhone

Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

An iPhone owner says his handset bricked itself after it was repaired and updated to the latest version of iOS. Freelance journalist Antonio Olmos reports that after having his iPhone repaired by a shop in Macedonia, his handset was working fine until he recently attempted to update the iPhone's software. The update triggered …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Feb 2016
Apple iPhone 6s

FaceTime, WhatsApp UDP streams AWOL on iOS 9 beta with T-Mo US

A problem with the handling of UDP network packets is leaving T‑Mobile US customers unable to make FaceTime or WhatsApp calls with the latest Apple iOS beta. Various netizens say they are unable to make video calls on their T‑Mo handsets when running the latest iOS beta build. WhatsApp calls are also reportedly dropped. Other …
Shaun Nichols, 4 Feb 2016

Stylish Vaio biz mobe is flying this way – ah, it's got Windows 10 inside

Last year Sony offloaded its Vaio PC division and brand, and it was snapped up by a private equity outfit. The new owner promised to make luxury tech hardware that was irresistibly attractive. It's now unveiled its first Vaio phone, a stylish aluminium design, aimed at business people. What can go wrong? Well, nothing. Apart …
Juggling apple image via Shutterstock

Like your iPhone, but not enough to touch it? This patent's for you

Do you baulk at the size of Microsoft’s mega Surface Hub whiteboard, and want something a little more Apple-tastic for your wall? Fear not. Cupertino has filed a patent raising the prospect of interacting with your iOS device without touching the screen. US Patent 9,250,734, awarded to Apple on February 2, will: Use one or …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Feb 2016
balaclava_thief_burglar

Masked men 'steal' £250k of smartphones from Exertis

The boys in blue are investigating a break-in at Exertis’ Altham warehouse earlier this week when three masked robbers made off with almost £250,000 worth of smartphones. According to Lancashire Police, 170 iPhone 6s mobes and 380 Galaxy S5 Neo devices were stolen by the trio between midnight and 2.30 am on 1 February. Police …
Paul Kunert, 3 Feb 2016
android_toys_648

Google plugs Android vulns

Five "critical," four "high" severity and one merely "moderate" bug make up the menu of Android security patches, which are now available for Nexus devices and will flow through to myriad other devices when it rains up instead of down. The critical bugs relate to Broadcom and Qualcomm WiFi drivers, Android's Mediaserver, …

OnePlus ends rationing. You can now buy its phones just like that!

You can now buy a OnePlus smartphone by simply giving the company some money. This normally wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) make news, but it’s a radical departure for the Shenzhen outfit. It means you don’t have to offer a secret password, smash up your existing phone, or win a gurning competition. As of today, all three OnePlus …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jan 2016

Sensors, not CPUs, are the tech that swings the smartphone market

A computer without sensors is a pitiful, useless thing. Keyboards are sensors, as are mechanical-optical paper-tape readers, magnetic heads on storage discs, and the logic scanning for ones and zeroes on an ethernet interface. Everything a computer does - outside of calculations - involves a sensor. Despite this, we tend to …
Mark Pesce, 28 Jan 2016
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Windows Mobile users suffer backup super-slurp as Redmond forgets Wi-Fi switch

Microsoft is telling Windows 10 mobile users to shut off automatic updates, because a bug is demolishing people's data allowances. The antics of the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview edition has lit up forums like Reddit and Windows Central, because it assumes users believe “back up everything to the cloud on whatever network …
Crashed jeep, photo via Shutterstock

Safari iOS crashing: Suggestions snafu KOs the Apple masses

A bug has struck Apple’s Safari, causing the browser to crash on iPhones, iPads and Macs. The problem is triggered when you tap on the address bar and begin to type, which would normally pop up website suggestions. Displaying these suggestions – sent from Apple's servers – appears to be at the heart of the issue. Game …
Gavin Clarke, 27 Jan 2016
blackberry_slider_tease_648

Post-nuptial BlackBerry gives birth to Good-looking offspring

BlackBerry completed the $425m acquisition of former bitter rival Good and announced the fruit of their loins today. With plenty of overlap between the two, what's been culled? It's hard to know at this stage, but BlackBerry says the new products reflect BlackBerry's strengths in MDM (mobile device management) and Good's …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jan 2016
Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung sued over 'lackadaisical' Android security updates

Samsung is being sued by a Dutch consumer group for its alleged lackadaisical approach to security updates for its Android phones. The Dutch Consumers’ Association (DCA) claims that an incredible 82 per cent of Samsung phones do not have the latest version of Android installed. It blames the Korean giant for failing to prod …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Jan 2016
Samsung Galaxy S3

Crummy Samsung gear no one wants, now no one can get – well done, Apple

A US district court has formally banned the sale of nine Samsung devices, found to have infringed on Apple's patents, in America. Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern California District San Jose court signed off on the long-sought Apple order [PDF] blocking the sale of Samsung devices released in 2011 and 2012. The full list of …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jan 2016
Dutch police

BlackBerry baffled by Dutch cops' phone encryption cracked brag

Claims by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) that it has successfully decrypted emails stored on BlackBerry smartphones have caused bafflement at the Canadian firm. Documents seen by Dutch blog Crime News show the NFI claiming to have decrypted 275 out of 325 emails encrypted with PGP from a handset in their possession. …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jan 2016

Smartphone hard, dudes, like it’s the end of the world!

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Welcome back. Just think, it’s been a week already since glum users began reluctantly re-occupying seats that had been blissfully empty during most of Christmas and New Year. No doubt your Monday was spent dealing with forgotten-password requests, Tuesday helping the same users who had already forgotten the replacement password …
Acer's Liquid Jade Primo

Windows 10 phones are not dead yet. Acer, Alcatel OneTouch just made some new ones

CES Two Windows 10 Mobile smartphones have been shown at the CES event under way this week in Las Vegas. Acer's 5.5-inch Liquid Jade Primo, first announced in September last year, is a premium device set to be available in February at prices "from €569". The phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU with 3GB RAM and 32GB on- …
Tim Anderson, 7 Jan 2016
silent circle

Oops. Silent Circle let apps meddle with Blackphone's modem

It's emerged that a software update for Silent Circle's Blackphone that shipped in December included a fix for a pretty egregious bug: the developers had left a modem interface open and accessible to code on the Android-based smartphone. When the upgrade was released, Silent merely noted that the bug, CVE-2015-6841, could be …

The new Huawei is the world's fastest phone

Hands On Huawei can today boast the fastest smartphone in the world - besting even the iPhone 6s in key benchmarks. We got a decent idea of what the new Mate 8 feels like having had a preview at Huawei's Shenzhen HQ at the tail end of last year. Anandtech has performed the first and only comprehensive benchmarks on the new 6-inch …
android_toys_648

Got a Nexus? Google has five critical Android security fixes for you

Google has fixed 12 security bugs in its Android source code – including five that would allow miscreants to achieve remote code execution or root access. The Mountain View giant said its January Android security update includes patches for five CVE-listed security vulnerabilities it rates as "critical" risks, two considered " …
Shaun Nichols, 4 Jan 2016
Smartwatches

2016 in mobile: Visit a components mall in China... 30 min later, you're a manufacturer

One trend overshadowed all others in 2015: there's tons and tons of everything. You probably know why. China has piles of cash, which means huge capital splurges in all directions. Which has caused a global glut of stuff. Steel, aluminium, rubber ... and consumer electronics. China might not exactly be dumping smartphones, but …