Nest Cam IQ with Google Assistant launched along with cheaper Nest Aware plan

Basically, this move could obviate the need for a Google Home speaker, unless users actually want decent speakers. Also, more flexibility for more features.

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Essential Phone can now enter Android 8.1 beta with simple OTA update

It's less hassle, even if it takes a little while to get into. But if you don't happen to have a good hand at ADB and still want to trial beta software, this is the way to go.

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First Android Enterprise phones outed from Google to Huawei to LG

21 Android phones have been certified as great options to deploy in the enterprise space. The key here? Software update and OS update guarantees.

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T-Mobile BOGO iPhone deal makes room for iPhone 7 starting February 23

The buy-one-get-one deals have been coming in hot and heavy in the US cellular field with T-Mobile being one of the active players batting for the iPhone.

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How the iSIM might give your next phone a huge battery

The iPhone X’s notch turned out to be the “next big thing” in phone design, but the next (next) big thing might not even be noticeable to the naked eye. ARM has developed new iSIM technology that might eventually see the trusty, but ever cumbersome SIM card going away for good.

But for now, temper those expectations as it’s making its debut in Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This new SIM replacement is integrated right into the processor and thus, takes up far less space than even eSIM, the impressive SIM card-less tech recently used in the Google Pixel 2 and Apple Watch 3, let alone an entire SIM card slot. 

Conceptually, iSIM isn’t too different than the eSIM, though its dimensions are stark by comparison. Compared to ARM’s new tech that is said to be smaller than a “millimeter squared”, eSIM consumes 6 x 5mm of space inside of the phone – precious space that manufacturers could use to boost RAM or pack in a larger battery.

In with the new SIM

The main motivator behind the creation of iSIM is to make way for new hardware innovation, which given the diminutive size of many IoT devices, any extra space is a good thing. But the implications for the tech could (and will likely be) far-reaching into other product categories. 

Phones, wearables and tablets come to mind first, which would benefit greatly from iSIM technology from a hardware perspective, as mentioned earlier.

In addition to saving you the dreaded hassle of fussing with SIM cards, eliminating the need for a SIM card would save manufacturers some money, which are costly to produce – apparently around “tens of cents” each, according to a statement provided to The Verge. That might not sound like much, but any cash saved on SIM-related hardware could be allocated toward more titillating features.  

But there are other advantages at bay, like having your contacts, carrier settings and other pertinent account data stored securely on the iSIM, and by extension, the cloud, which presents a more formidable roadblock for phone thieves to penetrate.

Lastly, while several phone makers have figured out ways to make waterproof devices with SIM card slots, removing the manual SIM technology would make future smartphones more resilient to the elements.

We’ll likely see more phones adopting SIM-less features in the near future, perhaps with the Google Pixel 3 and the iPhone X2. Heck, maybe we’ll even see some MWC 2018 announcements ditching SIM altogether.

Via WCCF Tech

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Broadcom is still looking to acquire Qualcomm, but at a slightly lower price

Broadcom's recent "best and final offer" for a record-breaking Qualcomm takeover was not final after all, but it may well have been the best the potential seller will ever see.

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What can India expect from MWC 2018?

It’s that time of the year again. Mobile World Congress begins in less than a week, and with it we expect a bunch of new launches. Many, or even most of these devices will head to India and have a tangible impact on the market here. From the Samsung’s to Xiaomi’s, we expect devices spanning all market segments, and those that will have tangible impact on the Indian smartphone space.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung has always been on of the major highlights of the yearly mobile conference. This time, it’s the Galaxy S9 that will set the benchmarks for upcoming flagships in the following year. It’s likely that Samsung will launch a Plus variant this year as well, but it usually doesn’t differentiate between them much, except the screen size and battery. This time, the Plus variant is rumored to have a dual camera, so things might change. 

The company has always been the first one to take the wraps off its flagship phones in India too. This year as well, we expect it to bring the flagship to India sometime in April. 

Looking back points towards a routine where Samsung holds an early grip in the flagship segment, competing against the flagships from last year. So this year, the S9 after its India release will compete against the likes of iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL. This gives the company a head start to begin the year.

While Samsung successively has had better display and design, this year wouldn’t be that easy as Apple has finally moved to a newer design and a better display too. Similarly, Samsung’s camera will have to pass through tough competition from the Pixel 2. So, it is not going to be a usual run for the Galaxy S-series too. 

HMD Global (Nokia)

The Android-powered Nokia we now know was born exactly one year ago on the MWC stage. Nokia will once again return to that stage to begin the next chapter with a set of new launches. We are expecting a new Nokia 3310 (4G) variant, an entry level Nokia 1, a mid-range Nokia 7, and the Nokia 8 Pro. Also, there are chances of the flagship Nokia 9 to be released alongside the three phones.

But, Nokia has uphill task on its hand. Xiaomi already has the lead, with its new Redmi Note 5 range, while Motorola is expected to unveil the G6 soon. Speaking as reviewers, the Nokia phones last year were unimpressive in most respects, except design. The company will have to amp up its game to take charge in India.

Moreover, we expect to see some alluring flagship phones this year, so Nokia needs to serve up something extraordinary. If done right, customers in India may show some loyalty towards the brand this year. 

Nokia has been among the top sellers in the Q4 2017, which means the company is gradually setting its place in the market. In India, Nokia phones have seen a fair response from the tech fraternity, but the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 didn’t look strong in front of phones like Redmi 4 and Moto G5. Especially, the flagship Nokia 8 lacked the X factor, considering it was the best from the company last year.

Sony Xperia

Sony is expected to release the successor to its flagship Xperia XZ1 this year. Additionally, there are rumours about a new Xperia XZ1 Premium, XZ1 Plus and XZ1S to be released too. Since Sony has a track record of delaying the India launch of these phones, we expect the same this year too, but we can’t predict when the devices will actually come here.

While Sony's phones have historically been expensive, the company has been making them comparatively more affordable. The Japanese company is expected to join the 18:9 bandwagon this year, and it'll be interesting to see whether it can make a mark in India.

Nevertheless, Sony's strategy has been to produce for its fans. So, the company has been happy with its limited customer base, which is what should continue this year.

Also, if Sony choses the right period to launch the phones in India, then things might change. If the company comes too late in the market, it may again fall short of time to establish the product. Timing and price is key for Sony.

LG

LG hasn’t given any hints on what’s coming from their end this MWC, but the most we can expect from the rumours is a new LG V30S and another device running Snapdragon 845. 

For LG, it would be a hit or a miss depending on when they are launched and how they market their new phones in India. Since LG has also moved away from budget phones, it’s just the flagship products that the company can depend on. The competition in the flagship is quite intense, LG will need something unique at an aggressive price to pierce into the market.

What’s more?

Many other OEMs like Asus, Blackberry, Huawei and Lenovo will be presenting their devices, but it’s not certain if their products will make it to India. A new Zenfone 5 series is expected, rumours of a new Mi Mix 2S and an affordable HTC Desire 12 could also debut. 

Lenovo has scheduled it's event, but there's no update if the company is going to launch the G-series phones at the event this year. Going by the history, we can expect the phones to debut during the event. 

Moreover, we expect a new generation of wearables and a real iPad rival to be launched this year at MWC. If you still wish to read more about the expected phones and more at the MWC, you can visit our hub for more info.

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AT&T announces first three cities set for mobile 5G deployments this year

True mobile 5G service is right around the corner, at least in "parts of" Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas for lucky AT&T customers.

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3 ways the Samsung Galaxy S9 is going to fix what sucked about the Galaxy S8

New Samsung Galaxy S9 rumors point to a refined smartphone that’s out to right the few, but noticeable, wrongs of the Samsung Galaxy S8, our current best phone title holder.

It won’t have big, flashy changes when it launches on February 25, according to every credible leak we’ve seen. However, it’ll fix three obvious problems that dogged the otherwise stellar 5.8-inch Android phone in reviews. The 6.2-inch Galaxy S9 Plus is said to be going through similar revisions.

Samsung doesn’t need to make drastic changes to its flagship smartphone in 2018. But you can look forward to the following trio of Galaxy S9 features that are poised to make the best phone even better at MWC 2018.

We hated having to blindly find that offset rear fingerprint sensor

1. Galaxy S9 to fix Samsung’s maligned fingerprint sensor

What sucked about the Galaxy S8: The fingerprint sensor on back of the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and Note 8 was awkwardly offset from the center and right next to the camera. It led to a lot of camera smudges. We hated it.

The Galaxy S9 fix: Samsung will move its maligned fingerprint sensor to a better location underneath the camera, according to renders and Samsung Galaxy S9 case leaks, and that’s good news.

We’re in for a center-aligned rear scanner on the Galaxy S9, and Samsung is also said to be readying a Face ID-like feature similar to that of the iPhone X. Yes, it may have the best of both biometric unlock methods: a fingerprint sensor on back and Face Unlock on front. If you miss Touch ID and want to sometimes use Face ID, Samsung will likely tout both. It’s not the in-screen fingerprint sensor we really wanted, but the next best thing.

A variable aperture and HDR video could take on the Google Pixel 2

2. More camera focus, more HDR video

What sucked about the Galaxy S8: If you’re not first, you’re last. While the Galaxy S8 has a better camera than the iPhone X, the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL best them all in our best camera phone tests.

The Galaxy S9 fix: Samsung is boldly promising “The camera. Reinvented” at its MWC 2018 press conference on Sunday, and there’s room to believe that’s it’s going to have a take superb photos and video. It’s ready to strike back at Google’s Pixel Visual Core technology.

First, it's expected to sport a variable aperture of f/1.5 (great for low light) to f/2.4 (more in focus, like group shots). Second, the Snapdragon 845 chip (likely in the US phones) hints that this may be the first phone to support HDR video capture to soak up 64 times the color data that the Snapdragon 835 can. Third, the Galaxy S9 Plus is supposedly getting a dual-lens camera, just like the Note 8.

3. Stereo speakers – finally

What sucked about the Galaxy S8: The curved Galaxy S8 display made it look like a multimedia powerhouse – and then it opened its tiny, bottom-firing speaker mouth and we all collectively tweeted sad face emojis. It was way too easy to cover up the speaker grille, thus ruining the experience.

The Galaxy S9 fix: Every major leak concerning its the Galaxy S9 speakers has good news: we’re going to be hearing sound come from the phone in stereo. It’s about time for a Samsung flagship received stereo speakers given the fact that the iPhone X has them – heck even the iPhone 7 did it.

We’re expecting the Galaxy S9 to include a speaker within its earpiece at the top and stick with the bottom-firing speaker, just like Apple does. Samsung values its all-screen design too much to do true front-facing speakers like the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL. But this is a significant step in the right direction and music to all of our ears.

If everything else stays the same, that's okay

4. Staying the same isn’t so bad

Samsung had continued to impress us with its picture-perfect screen and smartphone design, and none of that appears to be changing in 2018. It’s also sticking with the 3.5 headphone jack, and we actually like the Samsung Experience software (it’s not called TouchWiz anymore and it’s not terrible). Bixby AI has a chance to improve in year two, as well.

The big mystery is the Samsung Galaxy S9 price. With all of these improvements and Apple being able to charge a high premium for the iPhone X, are we going to see a price increase? Current signs point to yes, even though this is an iterative update and Samsung should be saving on the bill of materials with so few design changes.

However the S9 price shakes out, we’re in for a superior camera, amped-up stereo speakers and, thank goodness, a fixed fingerprint sensor. That’s more important for anyone who wants the best smartphone possible. Samsung’s prospects with the Galaxy S9 are tremendous in 2018 thanks to its three small, but meaningful feature tweaks. We'll see if it listened to our feedback on Sunday. 

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T-Mobile and AT&T join Sprint and Verizon in supporting Always Connected PCs

Set to go on sale "this calendar quarter" across a number of leading retailers in various global markets, Qualcomm and Microsoft's Always Connected PCs will have the full backing of America's big four carriers.

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Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 845 VR reference design, AI Engine and more

Some of the most immersive future VR headsets will be powered by the Snapdragon 845 chip, according to Qualcomm. The SoC also comes with an AI Engine and Broadcast Audio technology for high-end smartphones.

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