Nokia 9 could rival the iPhone 8 in more than one way

 

New Nokia smartphones, the kind that run a nearly pure version of Android, are going to launch soon in some markets. However, the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, and Nokia 3 that were unveiled at MWC aren’t flagship handsets. If you’re looking for Nokia-branded handsets that will rival the iPhone 8 and Galaxy S8, then you’ll have to wait for the Nokia 9, a device that HMD Global is yet to make official. But while we’re still waiting for the full launch, Nokia 9 rumors abound, complete with early specs, release date, and pricing details.

A few days ago, a report from NokiaPowerUser revealed some of the alleged Nokia 9 specs a few days ago. The same tipster told the site that the Nokia 9 will be unveiled at the end of July or early August, and will launch by the end of the third quarter or even later.

The handset is expected to pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and that’s precisely why the phone might see some delays. Currently, the Galaxy S8 is the only smartphone to have access to Qualcomm’s newest high-end chips.Nokia 9 Rumors: Release Date, Price, and Specs

NokiaPowerUser also says the Nokia 9 will be priced at around €749 in Europe or around $699 in America.

Chinese leaker KK, who often posts mobile leaks on Weibo, listed the alleged specs of the Nokia 9. According to him, the phone will feature a 5.5-inch 4K OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64/128GB of storage, 22-megapixel rear camera, 12-megapixel selfie camera, 3,800 mAh battery with Quick Charging 4.0 support, Nokia OZO sound, IP68 dust and waterproof certification, and it’ll run Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the gate.

In case any of that sounds familiar that’s because it matches NokiaPowerUser’s report from a few days ago.

No, Microsoft is not ‘killing Windows 10 Mobile’

Microsoft has scotched reports that it has “abandoned” Windows Mobile.

Windows 10 is in perpetual beta, and on Thursday the software giant issued new versions for both PC and Mobile, accompanied by some ambiguous notes from Insider Preview manager Donna Sarkar. Then everyone went home for Easter.

Sarkar had written:

The biggest difference being that the build number and branch won’t match the builds we will be releasing for PC. This is a result of more work we’re doing to converge code into OneCore – the heart of Windows across PC, tablet, phone, IoT, HoloLens, Xbox and more as we continue to develop new improvements for Windows 10 Mobile and our enterprise customers.

Based on interpretations by a Swedish tech enthusiast and “corroborated” by, er, one anonymous Redditor, the rumour mill concluded that Microsoft had sidelined the Mobile branch of Windows, this time finally.

How so? Here it gets strange.

The build PC and Mobile numbers diverged (16176 for PC, and 15204 for phones and tablets); phones had not yet received Redstone 3 builds, and the new build excluded a range of older devices that had previously been included on new Windows 10 builds, including much of the user base. The temporary disappearance of the Windows Insider advisor app and a copyright date of 2016 that hadn’t been updated were also grist to the mill.

It may all seem surreal, but given the almost masochistic levels of discomfort and dismay to which Windows Mobile loyalists are accustomed, it didn’t seem surprising. Microsoft had initially acquired Nokia’s phone business to assure that the mobile platform prospered, but then ran down the phone business. No new Microsoft devices have appeared for well over a year, and none are promised. However, the Mobile branch of Windows 10 continues to be developed, albeit lagging a few months behind the main branch. And increasing the amount of shared code is something the clumsy development strategy is attempting to address.

2014’s flagship Lumia 930 is no longer eligible for new versions of Windows 10

The conspiracy was denied by product manager Brandon LeBlanc, and Windows Mobile will receive the ‘Redstone 3’ code – the next major version of Windows after the one we’ve just had.

In fact there was a more prosaic explanation for all of these things. However, as Microsoft stated on Thursday, many older devices that launched with Windows Phone 8 or 8.1 won’t be on the upgrade path. These include the excellent Lumia 735 and 830 (late 2014 models with 1GB), and more annoyingly for their owners, the Lumia 1520 (late 2013) and 930 (mid-2014), which have a perfectly adequate 2GB of RAM and still run well. By comparison, Apple’s current iOS 10 supports iPhones released in 2012, with 1GB of RAM. It’s a comparison that doesn’t flatter Microsoft.

Sometime this year (or next), Microsoft will have the opportunity to tell a better story, as new ARM processors begin to support x86 instructions. The current era is a transitional one, as Microsoft has moved from separate x86 and ARM code trees (Windows 8 and Windows RT) in the Sinofsky era, to a more or less unified code tree with separate build targets: desktop and mobile today. For newer devices it will then be possible to have just the one code base and one “fat binary” that runs on legacy PCs and newer mobile devices. That makes the question of “mobile” being “dead” rather moot. ®

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HTC seeks salvation with squeezy design

 

Former critics’ darling HTC will unveil its 2017 flagship on 16 May, hoping that a squeezy case will win back buyers.

HTC’s M8 won many “Phone of the Year” prizes in 2014, being dubbed the “Alfa Romeo” of the phone world. But its lacklustre 2015 successor added little new, and contributed to a dramatic fall in sales. – HTC had neglected the cut-throat mid market. HTC was slow to dismantle its lavish cost structure, and had placed an expensive long-term bet on the Vive VR system. The result was a tide of red ink. Unlike Sony, LG or Samsung, HTC didn’t have a large diversified parent company. In Q4 2014 HTC banked NT$47.9bn (US$1.52bn), in Q4 2016 less than half that. (pdf)

The company’s official teasers confirm that the “U Ultra” will have a squeezable frame, of sorts. Leaked user documentation had already indicated the presence of an edge sensor around the frame, which responds to pressure.

This then activates UX actions or applications.

HTC One M8The hallmark HTC dual speakers and strong audio electronics appear to be retained. A good DAC offering 24bit sound was one differentiator that last year’s 10 could boast. Otherwise leaks point to the U being routine fare for a 2017 flagship: Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch WQHD display.

A bigger question is whether HTC will price the new flagship at “old” flagship prices, c.£550, or more in line with models like the Google Pixel XL and Samsung Galaxy S8, over £700, or somewhere in between, as with the £649.99 LG L6 (and Huawei P10).

 

McDonald’s mobile ordering bet could pay off big

 

[FILE] An exterior angle photograph of a new style McDonald’s Restaurant.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Mobile ordering is coming to McDonald’s later this year and Wall Street is ba-da-ba-ba-ba lovin’ it.

Shares of Mickey D’s hit an all-time high on Friday. McDonald’s stock is now up nearly 10% this year.

McDonald’s has enjoyed an amazing comeback since CEO Steve Easterbrook took over in March 2015. He moved quickly to revamp the company’s menu and focus more on technology, such as self-ordering kiosks.

The changes quickly paid off, with McDonald’s reporting solid sales gains for much of 2015 and 2016.

Sales have started to cool off a bit in the U.S. recently though, but investors don’t seem that alarmed. The company’s sales are still sizzling in many overseas markets. And all the talk about mobile ordering has analysts excited.

McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski told investors in March that the company planned to have mobile ordering and curbside pick-up options available in all of its U.S. restaurants by the fourth quarter.

The company is also testing a delivery service in Florida markets via mobile ordering with UberEats — the ridesharing giant’s GrubHub/Seamless competitor.

Two analysts upgraded McDonald’s stock this week, largely due to rising expectations about the company’s mobile push. Several other analysts raised their price targets on the stock as well.

Jeffrey Farmer of Wells Fargo Securities lifted his rating on McDonald’s to an “outperform” — essentially a buy — because he thinks McDonald’s has a leg up on its burger rivals in mobile.

“Restaurant consumers are aggressively gravitating toward concepts that offer the greatest level of convenience and control across ordering, payment and distribution,” he wrote.

Farmer added that McDonald’s is likely to get its digital payment tech out before competitors like Restaurant Brands-owned Burger King, Wendy’s and Jack in the Box.

Bernstein’s Sara Senatore — who also boosted her rating on McDonald’s to an “outperform” — said that it was smart for McDonald’s to embrace mobile ordering, just as other restaurant chains like Panera, Domino’s and Starbucks have.

Senatore did note that Starbucks has had some problems dealing with higher demand for beverages from consumers using the mobile app.

Starbucks even said in its last earnings report that long lines for drinks were scaring off customers who hadn’t placed orders in advance. But Senatore argued that’s a good problem to have — and McDonald’s can learn from Starbucks’ growing pains.

She added that digital ordering will also help McDonald’s because it “allows for greater customization while improving order accuracy and enhancing the customer experience.”

Another analyst, Instinet’s Mark Kalinowski, thinks that mobile could be a big win for McDonald’s as well. Kalinowski surveys McDonald’s franchisees as part of his research and found that many are excited about joining the mobile revolution.

“There’s no doubt we need to be part of the smartphone generation,” said one franchisee that Kalinowski surveyed.

Another said that “younger customers avoid quick-service restaurants due to lack of technology and they don’t like dealing with people so the app will help.”

So McDonald’s clearly has a lot riding on the launch of its mobile ordering app. If technology winds up being the company’s new “special sauce,” then Big Mac lovers — and investors — may continue to flock to the Golden Arches.

InFocus to invest $10 million in India, launch 16 mobile phones this year

 

InFocus will launch 16 feature phones and smartphones this year in an attempt to break into the Top 5 handset makers in the country. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

New Delhi: InFocus, which has a licensing deal with contract handset maker Foxconn, will invest $10 million in the Indian market to expand its operations in the world’s second largest telecom market. In its second attempt to tap into the market here, InFocus will line up about 16 feature phones and smartphones this year as it eyes a spot among the top 5 handset players in the country.

“We have a huge support coming from Foxconn in terms of supply chain, logistics, manufacturing. India is very important because it is a huge market. The focus will be on bringing the best products and building a balanced online- offline strategy in India,” InFocus Mobile Global CEO Zhongsheng Luo told PTI.

He added that the company will introduce smartphones as well as feature phones to cash in on the Indian market. “We will invest $10 million to begin with. If we need to make more investments, we will. We want to be among the top 5 players in three years,” Luo, who is also the Executive Director at Foxconn International Holdings, said. Interestingly, Foxconn manufactures devices for players like Oppo and Xiaomi in India.InFocus will launch 16 feature phones and smartphones this year in an attempt to break into the Top 5 handset makers in the country. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

“There will be no conflict of interest as the team working on their products is different,” he noted. India is one of the fastest growing mobile phone markets globally. While feature phones sales have been growing at a slow pace, that of smartphones have grown at a faster speed on the back of rising consumption and falling data prices. Besides, a huge number of feature phone users are also migrating to smartphones and seeking affordable devices. Some of the leading players in the Indian market include Samsung, Lenovo (and Motorola), Micromax, Vivo and Lava.

InFocus is working with partners like Dixon and MCM to manufacture its phones in India and after August, it will start using Foxconn facilities in India for the purpose. It expects to sell 6 million phones in the first year, with 60% sales coming from feature phones (in volume terms). InFocus has a team of about 50 people, which will be ramped up to 200 by the end of the year, Luo said. InFocus plans to take a phased approach for the smartphone category.

It will start with markets like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal to be present across eight states through about 8,000 stores by December this year. “We will also have devices which will be available only online. The devices will be priced between Rs4,999-11,999. We want to play in the affordable category as that is the largest segment of the market,” he said.

The company today launched a new smartphone ‘Turbo 5’. It will be available in two versions – 2GB RAM/16Gb internal memory (Rs 6,999) and 3GB RAM/32GB storage (Rs7,999). It features a 5.2-inch display, 1.3GHz quad core processor, 13MP rear and 5MP front camera and 5,000 mAh battery. The device will go on sale on Amazon.in from 4 July.

 

The HTC U11 is a good phone with a dumb gimmick

Squeezable sides are a very bad reason to buy a phone. Especially now, when the U11’s Edge Sense doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot. Who knows, perhaps one day it will do much more than simply launching favorite apps. But even then, squeezable sides will be a very bad reason to buy a phone.

HTC has done itself a disservice banking on a goofy gimmick with its new flagship. The Edge Sense’s “new age of phone interactions” really buries the lede, as we say in the business.The U11 is a good and capable phone. A fact that embedded sensors in the phone’s frame have very little to do with.

Here is a list of things to like about it: lovely and unique design, the latest Snapdragon processor (835), a water-resistant body, a good camera and solid sound for a smartphone. It’s understandable that a company struggling the way HTC has of late might scramble to stand out from the crowd, but Edge Sense isn’t what’s going to do it.

Water under the bridge

By the time I met with HTC to discuss the U11 ahead of launch, the company had switch tacks slightly. Most of the ad material around the new phone still centers around Edge Sense, but when time comes for the company to actually talk about the phone itself, it smartly highlights the design. Granted, as my parents have unhelpfully told me time and again, looks aren’t everything. But they’re a driving force in many people’s phone buying designs.

And the U11 is a legit looker. I got compliments from jaded coworkers, which are better than just regular compliments, because they’re coming from angry people whose job it is to look at phones all day. HTC calls the design “Liquid Surface,” because, no joke, it looks like it was dipped in liquid. The company introduced the design on the U Ultra back in January — a handset the U11 more or less effectively renders redundant less than half a year after its release.

HTC achieved the standout look by covering both sides in glass — which comes with its own drawbacks. First are the fingerprints, which are sure to awaken any slumbering bit of OCD in your soul. They’re there and they’re not going away. Sorry. Second, and more importantly, it’s just not as strong as metal. Even Gorilla Glass (5 on the front and 3 on the back, owing to the scratch vs. shatter tradeoffs of each) isn’t insurance against a fall. For the clumsiest among us, the new look probably isn’t worth the potential tradeoff.

Even so, Liquid is going to be a sort of unified design language for the company moving forward. It’s curvy, it’s shiny and it’s a smart move, getting away from the busyness older phones like the One, while still retaining the familiar HTC shape. It’s like what Samsung and Apple do with their phones — creating a unified look that makes a brand instantly recognizable, regardless of model number. It’s a smart move and it’s a good look for HTC: minimalist, yet still recognizable.

Outsourced assistants

If I told you that Sense Companion is still kicking, you might rightfully respond, “great! Also, what is Sense Companion?” To which I would helpfully answer, “it’s basically HTC’s version of Bixby.” Which is to say, it’s an attempt at an in-house assistant that doesn’t actually assist that much.

Really, it’s more akin to an information hub that uses some contextual clues to serve content. Perhaps HTC never had grand plans for the assistant. Or maybe it’s just accepted the fact that few of its users are going to opt-in for Sense Companion over better made/more well-known alternatives. The company’s VP of product design told me recently, “We’ve never envisioned Companion as a wake word-type assistant,” which seems to imply that HTC knew its limitations from the outset. Whatever the case, its offering now exists more to augment what is an embarrassment of smart assistant riches.

In fact, HTC built the on-board mic system with other smart assistants in mind — namely Google Assistant and Alexa. There are four mics on-board here both for better audio recording and so it can reserve a mic apiece to always-on listening for those two assistants. Privacy concerns about that functionality aside (though there are plenty), points to HTC for knowing the limitations of its own assistant (take note, Samsung) and for giving users the option of two of the most popular assistants baked into the device (though Alexa functionality is still forthcoming).

If this means we won’t be getting a Sense Companion version of the Echo/Home/HomePod any time soon, well, that’s just a sacrifice we’ll have to make.

Sounding board

As ever, HTC gets points for seemingly being the only phone maker that cares about on-board audio. The U11 sounds a lot better than most of the phones out there, though part of the company’s drive toward Liquid minimalism means the front-facing speaker grilles are gone. Instead, music playback is reserved for the phone speaker and a small port on the bottom. It’s a step back in favor of aesthetics, but it’s still leagues ahead of the competition — though anything longer than a quick YouTube video is better left to a Bluetooth speaker.

On a related note, the company dropped the headphone jack on the Ultra earlier this year, and that’s still the case here. As a rep matter-of-factly told me earlier, “The headphone jack is going away. Let’s just get on with it.” Not the best justification for removing a once universal truth, but still probably accurate. You can’t stop the tides of change, you can only hope to upgrade all of your headphones.

What’s left adds up to a solid , if unexceptional flagship. At 5.5 inches, the display is on the larger side for HTC, with a bright and colorful quad HD resolution. The camera’s also quite good, in fact, it edged out the Google Pixel’s terrific 89 DXOMark score by a point. And HTC’s done a lot to bolster the experience like super fast autofocus and a combo electronic/optical stabilization system. And since it’s 2017, the front-facing camera also gets a healthy bump, boosting HDR speed and reducing image noise.

Feeling the squeeze

You can’t really blame HTC for leading with a gimmick. Like LG, the company’s been having a rough go of things lately, and it’s spent much of the last couple of years fumbling in the dark. A glut of cheap handsets have eaten into the company’s market share on the low-end, and things don’t seem much better on the flagship side where a handful of big players like Apple and Samsung have a tight lock on things.

Odds aren’t great that the U11 will do much to reverse those fortunes. You can build a solid handset, but when your standout feature doesn’t stand out, best of luck to you. It becomes all the more complicated when you lock yourself into US carrier exclusivity with the country’s fourth largest carrier (a lesson Essential is about to learn the hard way).

The U11 isn’t doomed to failure. There’s a lot to like here, from the unique design language, to the embrace of multiple smart assistants, to a quality camera experience. What it doesn’t add up to, however, is a stand-out device that presents a solid reason to buy this flagship over any other.

HTC’s struggling smartphone wing has dug itself a hole too deep to escape with just a good phone. It needs a big win to reverse its fortunes in the smartphone arena, and more than likely the U11 isn’t it — squeezable sides or no.

Samsung Galaxy On Max with 13MP front & rear cameras launched in India at Rs 16,900

 

Samsung has launched the Galaxy On Max photography-centric mid-level phone in India at a price of Rs 16,900. The Samsung Galaxy On Max will be exclusively available for buying from online retail website Flipkart in black and gold colours starting from July 10. It won’t be sold offline, at least initially.

The USP of the Galaxy On Max, besides its all-metal unibody design, is Samsung Pay Mini and Social camera (read a camera with filters). While Samsung Pay Mini is a lighter version of the company’s Pay mobile payments service platform, the Social camera lets users apply filters and interact with social media apps like Facebook and Instagram directly from the camera app itself.

Being photography-centric, the Galaxy On Max comes with 13-megapixel cameras on the front as well as on the back. While one of the lenses has an aperture of f/1.7 the other has an aperture of f/1.9 which technically should entail in better low light photos. Both the cameras on-board the Galaxy On Max come with flash.

 Samsung Galaxy On Max with 13MP front & rear cameras launched at Rs 16,900

“Today consumers use their smartphones to capture memories. Galaxy On Max is the perfect device for this, enabling users to click brilliant photographs under all light conditions. It also offers the option of sharing pictures on-the-go with a single click. Galaxy On Max will redefine the way people click and share pictures,” Sandeep Singh Arora, vice president, Online Business, Samsung India said.

Erstwhile, the Samsung Galaxy On Max comes with a 5.7-inch 1080p screen and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor clubbed with 4 gigs of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is expandable by up to 256GB via micro-SD card slot.

The dual-SIM phone runs Android Nougat-based TouchWiz UI software and supports 4G LTE connectivity. It is further backed by a 3,300mAh battery.

With the On Max, Samsung is again targeting tech-savvy phone buyers that use online sites for their shopping needs. This phone will only be sold online. However, that also makes the job of the On Max much more difficult because it will have to compete with the devices like the Moto G5 Plus and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 that are very strong online and are incredibly popular.

Samsung only recently launched the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Max phones in India at a price of Rs 17,900 and Rs 20,900 respectively. Both the phones also come equipped with the Galaxy On Max’s supposed USP features, aka, Samsung Pay Mini and Social camera.

Interestingly, these are not the only phones Samsung is going to launch in India this month. The company is also expected to unveil the Galaxy J5 Pro, which it has already launched in countries like Malaysia, in India in the coming days.

 

Google Pixel Now With Rs. 13,000 Cashback but Is It Worth It?

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Pixel is available at an effective starting price of Rs. 44,000
  • However it still isn’t the best value for money
  • It’s worth considering only if you absolutely must have stock Android

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are now available in India at a steep price cut via Flipkart and other retailers across the country thanks to a cashback offer. Now, this usually means you get your money back for purchases made via credit or debit cards issued by specific banks. But in a refreshing change, the Pixel and Pixel XL purchases made via cash will also be eligible. What this means is that you get a Rs. 13,000 instant discount on the smartphones.

A prominent retailer told Gadgets 360 that the reason why the phone is getting such a big discount is because there’s a lot of unsold inventory in India – a stark contrast to the US where the phones can’t be found. But are the Google Pixel phones worth buying at the new price, nearly seven months after their release?

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL have last year’s tech

At launch the Pixel and Pixel XL were the fastest in their class, toting the then top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC along with integrated Adreno 530 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 128GB of internal storage. The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch 1440×2560 pixels display, while the Pixel has a 5-inch panel at 1080×1920 pixels.

Seven months later, Google’s flagship isn’t really flagship material any more. The Samsung Galaxy S8and S8+ (review) both sport far more processing power, and they’re not alone. Xiaomi had launched the Mi 6 with faster, more efficient internals as well, and OnePlus’s new flagship is said to be around the corner as well.Google Pixel Now With Rs. 13,000 Cashback but Is It Worth It?

At the same time, flagships from brands like LG and Sony, while also sporting last year’s internals have made some interesting strides in camera tech, with the LG G6 sporting a dual camera setup and the Sony Xperia XZs cramming in a Motion Eye camera system, which essentially shrinks the tech found in cameras such as the Cybershot RX10 III, to fit inside a smartphone.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL look dated

The newest flagships are moving to sleek bezel-less designs, as we saw at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. Google’s own industrial design looked familiar months ago, and it seems plain outdated today. Plus the mix of glass and metal on the back gives it an unfinished, inconsistent feel. All of this results in smartphones that are chunky, and even boring, considering what else is available in the price range today.

Even after a Rs. 13,000 price drop, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are still expensive

Speaking of the price range, the Google Pixel carries a maximum retail price of Rs. 57,000 for the 32GB storage variant; if you want more storage, you’re going to have to put down Rs. 66,000. The Pixel XL Rs. 67,000 and Rs. 76,000, for the 32GB and 128GB models respectively.

The cashback offer means the Google Pixel will be available at an effective starting price of Rs. 44,000, which isn’t too bad. But most flagships with comparable specs have gotten deeper price cuts at the time of writing.

These include the LG G5 (Rs. 31,600), HTC 10 (Rs. 37,600), and the Sony Xperia XZs (Rs. 38,468), while the likes of the OnePlus 3T were cheaper than the Pixel and Pixel XL from launch itself, and continue to be cheaper even now.

Seven months after launch, some of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL’s biggest problems haven’t been fixed

In the smartphone world, seven months is a lifetime. Despite touting a best in class camera, its lens flare issue is yet to be resolved. In addition to this, Bluetooth pairing is still inconsistent and batteries in some units are prone to early shutdown. Don’t expect Google to be supportive either with some suggesting that after sales service, at least in India isn’t quite capable of fixing all issues.

For all of these reasons, it’s hard to justify a Google Pixel or Pixel XL today, even after the price cut. The only reason could be knowing that you’ll get the latest versions of Android ahead of everyone else – at least until October 2018. If that’s enough of a reason for you to spend at least Rs. 44,000, then your choice is pretty simple; for everyone else, the Pixel phones need to go the extra mile to get us on board.

 

BlackBerry’s Privacy Shade App Prevents Bystanders From Peeking Into Your Phone

While laptop makers have introduced several workarounds to avoid nosy eyes from peeking from behind, smartphones haven’t really been able to address that pain point. Users, especially with large smartphone screens, have always found people (particularly the nosy ones) leaning over to read that personal text or see what you’re browsing. BlackBerry is trying to address this woe by launching an app called Privacy Shade.

BlackBerry's Privacy Shade App Prevents Bystanders From Peeking Into Your Phone

The Android app makes the entire screen dark, except for a small view area that can be moved around to what you really want to read on the screen. The viewing area can change shapes from a bar to a circle, depending on what you prefer. Furthermore, the transparency of the darkened screen can also be manually adjusted, so for those who are extra paranoid, they could maximise the shade to near opaque for optimal privacy.

It is worth noting that this app is only available only to BlackBerry devices, so not all users will be able to take advantage of the nifty app. You can check if you own a compatible Blackberry device by trying to download it from the Google Play Store, or you can also sideload it from APK Mirror. Downloading from APK Mirror doesn’t lift the restriction limit of BlackBerry devices, Android Police reports.

BB Merah Putih, the company that currently holds the right to manufacture and sell BlackBerry smartphones in Indonesia, recently launched the BlackBerry Aurora smartphone for the country. The dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) based BlackBerry Aurora runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and sports a 5.5-inch (720×1280 pixels) display. It is priced at IDR 3,499,000 (roughly Rs. 17,400) in Indonesia.

BlackBerry KEYone, the ‘Last Smartphone Designed by BlackBerry’, Launched at MWC 2017 for $549

 Ahead of the official commencement of MWC 2017, the BlackBerry KEYone – the “last phone designed and engineered in-house by BlackBerry” – was launched by the Canadian company. The new BlackBerry KEYone sports the physical keyboard that once made the company an icon, albeit with several major upgrades. BlackBerry’s latest smartphone becomes available beginning April 2017 and will be priced at $549 (roughly Rs. 38,600) in the US, GBP 499 (roughly Rs. 41,400) in the UK, and EUR 599 (roughly Rs. 42,100) in Europe. 

BlackBerry KEYone Keyboard

BlackBerry is touting KEYone’s Smart Keyboard, which has a fingerprint sensor on the spacebar as well as capacitive touch on the entire keyboard for scrolling. You can ‘Flick’ predictions using the BlackBerry KEYone keyboard, and also assign shortcuts to keys (such as press B for browser) for use with a press or a long-press.

BlackBerry KEYone Software Features

The new BlackBerry KEYone runs Android 7.1 Nougat software with the company’s numerous productivity and security optimisations on top, such as the BlackBerry Hub and DTEK security monitoring app.

 blackberry mercury ces 1485327102390 blackberry

BlackBerry KEYone Hardware Specifications

Coming to BlackBerry KEYone specifications, the smartphone sports a 4.5-inch full-HD (1620×1080 pixels) IPS display with a pixel density of 433ppi and Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The phone gets additional durability with its aluminium frame. The all-new BlackBerry KEYone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC clocked at 2GHz, coupled with 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU.

As for the camera, BlackBerry KEYone bears a 12-megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX378 sensor – the same acclaimed sensor as the one on the Google Pixel – that has 1.55-micron pixels. For imaging, this smartphone also bears an 8-megapixel front facing camera with a wide-angle lens and a flash module.

BlackBerry KEYone offers 32GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB). The new KEYone comes with standard set of connectivity options, including 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C port. It runs on a 3505mAh battery that’s said to give all-day battery life and support QuickCharge 3.0 with a ‘Boost’ charging feature that gives 50 percent charge in “roughly 36 minutes.”

Announcing the KEYone, BlackBerry on its blog said, “KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry software and security with TCL’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to markets around the world. And we are very enthusiastic about how our long-term partnerships with TCL and our other partners, BB Merah Putih in Indonesia and Optiemus for the Indian sub-continent, will ensure availability of BlackBerry-branded smartphones to every corner of the world.”