Apple would like to remind you that it still thinks Samsung copied the iPhone

Some wounds never heal. Just ask Apple, the new champion of grudge holders.

As we were all celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the original iPhone, Apple took a moment during a rather extensive and fascinating interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern to once again call out rival Samsung for allegedly copying iPhone technology.

Apple’s current head of Marketing Greg Joswiak, an amiable guy whom I’ve had many pleasant and sometimes pointed conversations with, is one of the featured players in Stern’s video, which cleverly details the history of the iPhone through the eyes of someone who was born on the same day.

However, when she asks Joswiak about the rise of the big-screen Android phone and Samsung’s part in it, Joswiak’s smile fades and he calls it “annoying.”

Okay, I get that. Apple was on top of the world with an industry-changing device that came in exactly one flavor. There were no Pros or Maxes or screen-size variants. You got 3.5-inches and that was the end of it. Then Samsung arrives with devices like the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S4, all with screens at least an inch larger. Worse yet, their designs and icon-based home screens were a little too familiar-looking.

Yeah, I guess I’d be annoyed, too.

But Joswiak isn’t done. “They were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology.” Oh, wow. So, we’re going there. Warming up to the topic, Joswiak continues, “They took the innovations that we had created and created a poor copy of it and just put a bigger screen around it. Yeah, so we were not too pleased.”

Huh. It’s like the wounds are still fresh, even though they’re not, even from a litigation standpoint.

Apple vs. Samsung

Back in 2011, Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement, claiming Samsung copied the look and feel of its iPhone 3GS. Samsung would later countersue, claiming Apple was copying them.

The legal battles raged for years and cost – mostly Samsung – millions of dollars until the two parties quietly settled in 2018.

Yet, here is Joswiak, ripping open that old wound as if the companies are not still partners.

That’s right, for as many pieces of technology as Apple seeks to build itself (including, now, Apple Silicon), it’s still relying on component manufacturers for various iPhone parts and technologies. In recent years, Qualcomm (another frenemy) and Broadcom have supplied wireless chips and Samsung is often the go-to supplier for the OLED displays on most modern iPhones.

Granted, Apple insists on bespoke components from many of its partners, meaning that whatever, say, Samsung might build for its own phones and other companies, Apple probably asks it to make numerous adjustments to satisfy its own rigorous requirements.

Even if Apple and Samsung were never partners, Joswiak’s fresh enmity is striking. It’s as if he isn’t aware that the entire handset industry is inexorably sliding to the middle. All smartphones look alike and even if Samsung hadn’t allegedly “copied” some of Apple’s design and functionality elements, there was a clear path forward for all smartphones:

  • Bigger screens
  • Biometric security
  • Thinner bodies
  • Longer battery life
  • Apps and on-screen app management
  • Better and more cameras

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also how development works. Unless you are inventing something no one has ever seen before, your product and design will inevitably be built on the backs of what’s come before.

Naturally, Samsung (and other third-party Android smartphone designers Apple also eventually sued) all saw the seemingly ubiquitous iPhone and used them for a time. They had to understand that phenomenon. Even if they didn’t do teardowns and reverse engineering (many probably did), they’d be influenced by the iPhone all the same.

One might argue that the creation of another platform option and some aspirational design decisions made by Samsung (like bigger screens) actually helped Apple by leading them to expand the iPhone options from one model to today’s five choices (iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone SE (2022)).

Usually, when you ask a tech executive about the competition, even from a historical perspective, they demur and talk about how competition led to growth and innovation for them.

Joswiak, though, made it clear that Apple is still annoyed.

Upon reflection, though, maybe this isn’t a bad thing. It means Apple is as hungry as a young company. It can still feel the slights from the early days and uses them as fuel to drive new innovation.

Perhaps it’s even a sign that Apple is preparing to, after all these years, strike back at Samsung where it hurts the most – in the marketplace. And what better way to do that than with Apple’s first folding iPhone. Imagine how Samsung will feel when that arrives.

I’d guess, “annoyed.”

Posted in Uncategorised

BT asks for more time to replace Huawei kit in its core network

BT has asked the UK government for more time to remove Huawei’s telecoms equipment from the most sensitive parts of its network infrastructure.

All mobile and broadband operators must remove any Huawei kit installed in the core layers of their infrastructure by 28 January, 2023 as part of a wider ban on the company’s technology due to alleged security concerns.

BT is migrating to a new 4G and 5G core powered by Ericsson’s cloud-based technologies. However, the company’s CTO Howard Watson told Bloomberg that supply chain issues caused by the pandemic had slowed down progress.

BT Huawei

Although BT is still working to the original deadline of early next year, it has formally requested an extension.

Huawei has had a presence in the UK market for two decades and was a supplier to all four major mobile operators. However, in July 2020 the government followed the US’s lead and banned operators from using the Chinese firm’s technologies.

The ban forms part of a wider package of sanctions on the Chinese firm.  In July 2021, the government reversed its previous policy and confirmed all mobile operators would be forbidden from purchasing new Huawei 5G radio gear from 2021 and must remove all equipment installed in their 5G networks by 2027.

It was a dramatic reversal of previous policy, and at the time, the government said it expected the ruling to delay 5G rollout by up to three years and add £2 billion of additional costs to operators.

No evidence has ever been produced to support the alleged security concerns and Huawei has persistently denied the allegations.

Via Bloomberg

Posted in Uncategorised

Google’s DIY Pixel repair is here, and it looks better than Apple’s version for iPhones

Not so long ago, Apple started allowing iPhone users to repair certain faults for themselves, and now Google has started offering a similar service to Pixel owners.

In partnership with iFixit, Google now offers parts and repair kits catering to a myriad of mobile maladies, covering the original Pixel through to the Pixel 6 line – though the exact selection of parts and supported phones seems to vary a bit from country to country.

You can order a kit online, and it'll come with the relevant replacement parts, along with the tools necessary to fit them. iFixit also provides detailed repair manuals for all supported fixable problems; available fixes include replacements for the screen, rear cameras, batteries, and in some cases, the charging assembly.

See more

Depending on the device and problem, the cost for these repair kits can range from around $22.99 / £24.99 (for a Pixel 2 camera) to $192.99 / £189.99 / AU$252.99 (for a Pixel 6 Pro screen).

At launch, the kits are available in the US, UK, Australia, and EU countries where the Pixel line is available.

Of course, these repairs won’t be for everyone – generally, we’d suggest getting a professional to fix your Pixel, unless you're confident in what you’re doing. Either way, another manufacturer that officially supports the right to repair is great.

For those who have the tech know-how or for whatever reason can’t easily get their phone repaired elsewhere, this is a handy option, and one which should make Pixel phones last all the longer – which is good for both our wallets and the environment.

Analysis: how does this compare to Apple’s Self Service Repair?

We haven’t tested either of these services ourselves, but from looking at them both it seems Google’s repair service might have some advantages over Apple’s.

For one thing, the replacement Pixel parts generally look cheaper – though this can vary, depending on the components in question and the region.

One key difference with these Pixel repairs is that you buy the relevant tools for the job from iFixit, whereas Apple Self Service Repair simply has you rent them. The latter is probably more sustainable, but alongside paying for the equipment rental, an enormous hold (of $1,100 excluding taxes in the US) will be put on your card, in case you don’t return the kit in full and on time.

That huge cost is because Apple sends out a full suite of tools, with the same selection sent out regardless of your issue, whereas iFixit just sends the tools you need for your device's specific ailment.

Another difference in Google and iFixit’s favor is that, at the time of writing, Apple Self Service Repair is only available in the US, though this is set to change.

Still, given how much trouble The Verge had when performing their own iPhone repair, you might want to skip it anyway, and it remains to be seen whether Google’s repairs will be any easier. Our advice? Pick up one of the best eco-friendly phone cases, and hopefully your phone won’t need to be repaired in the first place.

Posted in Uncategorised

Apple iPhone is officially 15. It was cooler when it was a baby

The early days, when the iPhone was new, were special. 15 years ago, Steve Jobs and Apple engineered what could best be described as a hype beast of a product launch.

First, Jobs unveiled the iPhone at Macworld in January 2007, but it would be months before the iPhone would officially launch. Whether by design or necessity, that delay turned out to be the best possible way to launch what would become a technological and cultural touchstone.

Anticipation for availability details and the official launch date built and built until Apple announced and, naturally, the tech media reported it.

Hype central turned out to be the one-year-old Apple Flagship Store on Fifth Ave. While I remember launch day, I don’t recall attending or even walking by. However, reports from the time described a line that literally ran down the front steps of the store and snaked around the block. There was media, and third-party companies trying to ride this cresting wave of excitement. It was pandemonium.

The old-fashioned way

Apple generated all this without the benefit of social media. Facebook was just a couple of years old and mostly only college students used it. Twitter hadn’t caught on with the general public. There was no Instagram.

This was all built on traditional media hype and word of mouth.

Apple leaned into it, hard. There were store employees acting as cheerleaders, leading people in chants of “When I say ‘I,’ you say, ‘iPhone.’”

The scenes of people waiting all night (sometimes for days) outside of Apple Stores were repeated around the country. 


Apple and Jobs had spent the last eight years building brand devotion that some might argue surpassed the concurrent quality of their products. I don’t see it that way. There’s never been a company, tech or otherwise, that managed to pair exquisite design and industry-leading quality and utility with a brand affinity that built into something approaching a cult.

As one guy told The New York Times in 2007 while he waited online outside a Chicago Apple Store for the first iPhone, “If Apple made sliced bread, yeah, I’d buy it.”

The devotion was born out of products like the iMac, iBook, and iPod. Steve Jobs was the glue that bound it all together. It was hard to find an Apple fanatic who wasn’t as devoted to Jobs as he was to his iPod.

An original iPhone

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Devotion and repetition

After that first launch, I became a regular at the yearly launch events, which eventually moved from the Summer to September or October. For a while, the hype machine continued unabated. At the iPhone 6s launch, I remember meeting one of the first eager iPhone recipients, a young woman who traveled from Lithuania to get a Rose-colored device she still couldn’t buy in her home country.

Still, by then the tenor of the events had shifted. Yes, there were still lines, but they were often filled with professional line waiters who would buy the phones for other people and those who were buying for resale. Pre-orders, home delivery, and at-home activation all became commonplace – and easier than waiting outside an Apple store.

The lines were starting to shrink, but Apple’s team of hypers was growing and getting bolder.

After the Lithuanian woman brought her new, still-boxed phone outside, they demanded she unbox it for the crowd. She complied and seemed excited, but I thought it was a little forced.

Never the same

There are the occasional blips back to past excitement, like when Apple introduced the iPhone X in 2017. Its radical new look and notch created a buzz not seen since the Jobs days. I thought the line at the Fifth Avenue store was among the biggest I’d seen in years. I had the phone early and when I waved it in front of a few future iPhone X owners, they visibly swooned.

Obviously, the pandemic vaporized that phenomenon for a few years, but even before then, I’m not sure the lines of iPhone customers were as big as the groups of professional Team Apple cheerleaders who created a gauntlet for new iPhone owners to run through.

15 years on, Apple’s iPhone is still an excellent smartphone, clearly a leader in its field, but the hype bubble Apple and Steve Jobs nurtured and grew is visibly deflated. We still love the devices and buy them by the millions, but that cultural moment is gone.

I look forward to the next product that can generate that kind of thrill.

Posted in Uncategorised

Ericsson’s €6bn Vonage deal delayed by US probe

Ericsson’s proposed €6.2 billion acquisition of cloud-based communication specialist Vonage has been delayed by an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The Swedish telecoms equipment giant had hoped to complete the deal by the first half of 2022, but now expects the transaction to go through next month. It added that it is working closely with authorities and that it has no reason to believe there will be any complications.

“The merger has cleared all other requisite foreign and US regulatory approval requirements, and the parties are working to conclude the regulatory process as expeditiously as possible,” it said.

“Ericsson and Vonage remain fully committed to this transaction and are working towards closing before end of July, 2022.”

Wireless power

Ericsson hopes the takeover will allow it to bring more of its 5G technology and expertise into the enterprise market and expand its overall portfolio for businesses.

“We are hiring an additional 250 software developers, engineers and architects with cloud native skills to enhance our capability to deliver the benefits of cloud native technologies to our global customer base via our RAN, Management, Automation and Orchestration offerings," said the firm.

Ericsson is one of several major network equipment providers (NEPs) looking to supply mobile operators as they continue their 5G rollouts. The development of cloud-based, software-defined technology, including RAN, is critical to this endeavour.

  • If your tests are showing a slow connection you should check out the best 5G phones 
Posted in Uncategorised

Samsung adds virtualized 2G to its network portfolio

Samsung’s virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) platform now supports 2G connectivity, addressing one of the company’s biggest weak spots in telecoms equipment.

The Korean electronics giant sees 5G and the shift to software-based, cloud-native infrastructure as a huge opportunity to crack a market that has traditionally been dominated by Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia.

Central to Samsung’s pitch is that, unlike other vendors, it is focusing its resources on 4G, 5G and 6G rather than legacy technologies, and can deliver an end-to-end proposition that combines chipsets, radios, and cores.

Samsung 2G networks

But although 3G is losing importance, 2G is still essential for many operators for emergency service calls, is used for certain mass IoT applications, and offers the widest platform for international roaming.

Samsung hopes that by adding support for “yesterday’s innovation”, its products will appeal to operators that still rely on 2G but still want to modernize their networks. Virtualization means 2G, 4G and 5G can all be supported from a single platform, simplifying infrastructure, and saving physical space.

“Virtualization of 2G will be an effective way for operators and enterprises looking to leverage this legacy technology, enabling operators to maintain 2G with more efficiency in deployment and management,” said Kiho Cho, VP and Head of Product Strategy at Samsung Networks. “It is also an optimal option for markets that are not ready for 4G or 5G, but still want to modernise networks and future-proof their technology investments.

“Legacy 2G network solutions are often outdated and take up too much physical space, with lower operational efficiency. By replacing traditional hardware-based 2G network equipment with a software-centric approach, operators can benefit from site simplification, centralised management, deployment efficiency and cost savings.

“Virtualization also aids in ensuring a smooth migration path to more advanced network technologies. When the time arrives that traffic diverts away from 2G, operators can phase it out, making room for and allocating resources to newer technologies. This can be easily done with a vRAN architecture, which can turn 2G on or off at any time—and use freed up server capacity for 4G and 5G traffic, rather than having to physically remove hardware infrastructure from cell sites.”

Posted in Uncategorised

5 fascinating facts from 15 years of iPhone

Within the first 30 minutes of Apple’s 2007 Macworld keynote in early January, Steve Jobs unveiled the first-ever iPhone. Just an hour later, however, the tech press and eager fans alike learned that they’d have to wait until June to actually get their hands on one. Fifteen years ago today, that wait was over.

With June 29, 2007 marking something of a milestone in the history not just of smartphones but consumer technology as a whole, we thought it’d be fun to see how that fledgling handset has evolved into the most established smartphone on the planet, by serving up a smattering of facts pulled from the history of the iPhone’s 15-year existence.

The iPhone actually missed its first sales target

During the iPhone’s 2007 launch, Jobs said the company had set its sights on selling 10 million units, equivalent to 1% of the mobile phone market at the time. Despite successfully launching on time and to generally positive reviews, (according to Statista) the original iPhone actually only sold 1.39 million units in 2007, and a total of 6.2 million handsets before being discontinued in July 2008.

Apple didn’t own the ‘iPhone’ brand name at launch

Apple had reportedly been in talks with networking giant Cisco for years ahead of the iPhone’s unveiling in an effort to lock down the rights to the brand name. Cisco took ownership of the iPhone name when it acquired a company called InfoGear back in 2000, which had in turn trademarked the name ‘iPhone’ way back in 1996 (as reported by CNBC).

According to TechRadar’s US editor-in-chief, Lance Ulanoff, at the time speculation started to form regarding potential alternatives Apple might have to settle for if a deal with Cisco couldn’t be struck. Suggestions such as ‘Apple Phone’ and even ‘Steve Phone’ were apparently bandied about; however, Apple and Cisco settled their dispute in late February 2007, just four months ahead of the iPhone’s market release.

The iPhone didn’t launch with the App Store, or a selfie camera

While nowadays the thought of having an iPhone without an App Store is unthinkable, that’s exactly how the original device made its way to market. It wasn’t until July 10, 2008, that the App Store launched, at which time it featured just 500 apps.

Today there are 1.96 million App Store apps (according to Statista) and that’s after Apple culled all the 32-bit apps no longer compatible with iOS.

Other notable iPhone staples also took time to materialize: the iPhone 4 was the first in the line to play host to a front-facing camera; Siri didn’t arrive until 2011, as part of iOS 5 on the iPhone; and the iPhone’s signature Lightning Port didn’t replace the 30-pin connector – popularized by the iPod – until 2012’s iPhone 5.

The iPhone 13 is up to 3.2 times more expensive than the original iPhone but at least 53 times more powerful

The original iPhone – with its 4GB of storage – cost $499 on a two-year plan from AT&T, Stateside (the 8GB model cost $599), while the current iPhone 13 line ranges from $699 to $1,599 – that’s for the base 128GB iPhone 13 Mini and top-spec 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max, respectively. As price increases go, that’s not that bad, especially considering just how far features and performance have come.

Speaking of performance, Moore's Law be damned; based on figures from GadgetVersus, the iPhone 13 line’s A15 Bionic chipset is approximately 53 times more powerful in single-core comparisons, compared to the underclocked RISC ARM 1176JZ(F)-S v1.0 SoC inside the original iPhone and, understandably the gains afforded to multi-core architecture expand the chasm even further.

Apple has shipped over 2.8 billion iPhones to date

While Apple hasn’t been officially releasing worldwide iPhone sales figures since November 2018 – when the total officially stood at 2.2 billion – multiple sources (as collated by Business of Apps) peg the units shipped, as of the end of 2021, at a total 2.8 billion iPhones.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple also currently holds 62% of the premium smartphone market, and the top four spots for the most popular phones on the market (as of April 2022), worldwide.

What does the future hold for the iPhone?

While it’s clear that Apple has made some monumental strides in the iPhone’s illustrious history so far, it’s also no secret that a successor is already waiting in the wings.

Our iPhone 14 hub has all the latest updates on the next line of iPhones, including leaks, rumors and news.

Posted in Uncategorised

Google Pixel 7 could have a big selfie camera upgrade

While Google has already revealed some details about the Pixel 7, there’s plenty that hasn’t yet been confirmed – and the camera specs are among those things. However, thanks to code found in a new version of the Google camera app we now have a clearer idea of what the Pixel 7’s front-facing camera might be capable of.

9to5Google went digging in the recently released Google Camera 8.5 and found code for both the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro. This code reveals that both models should be able to record 4K video using the front-facing camera.

That would only actually be an upgrade for the Google Pixel 7 though, as the Google Pixel 6 Pro is already capable of this, while the Pixel 6 isn’t.

While that would be a handy upgrade, it could point to an even bigger change, as it might mean that the Pixel 7 has the same sensor as the Pixel 7 Pro. We’re not sure what sensor that would be yet, but it could be the 11.1MP one found on the Pixel 6 Pro – which is distinctly better than the 8MP one from the Pixel 6.

However, that’s all just speculation for now, as the camera code doesn’t reveal which sensor is used. But it’s likely to be a different sensor to the Pixel 6 anyway, as slightly more megapixels are typically needed for 4K recordings.

All that said, we’d take these findings with a pinch of salt. Their presence in Google Camera code suggests this is likely accurate, but it’s possible that Google is simply experimenting with features, and that 4K recording may not ultimately be supported on the Pixel 7.

Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 lacks a telephoto camera (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: not the most essential upgrade

While it looks like the Google Pixel 7 could have a big selfie camera upgrade, this isn’t the aspect of the camera hardware that’s most in need of improvement.

In our Pixel 6 review we were fairly happy with the performance of the front-facing camera for photos – even though it didn’t quite match the Pixel 6 Pro’s, which also benefitted from a wider field of view.

The 4K upgrade for video would be nice, but it’s not something that many users will probably find overly important.

What we really want to see is the addition of a telephoto lens on the back, as the Google Pixel 6 only has wide and ultrawide cameras. The lack of a telephoto camera helps keep the cost down of course and gives the Pixel 6 Pro an additional selling point, since that phone does have one.

But even the standard Pixel 6 is expensive enough that it’s a feature we’d like to see, so hopefully one will be added to the Pixel 7 to help it rank among the best camera phones.

Posted in Uncategorised

Surprising iPhone 14 leak makes us question loads of past rumors

In the classic film 12 Angry Men, Henry Fonda plays one dissenting voice in the crowd, whose intent is to cause the other characters to question their previously-held assumptions. And when it comes to iPhone 14 leaks, we've got a new Fonda in town.

We've heard many, many leaks pointing to there being an iPhone 14 Max, which will have the specs of the vanilla model but a larger display - in fact, we'd heard so many voices claiming that this phone was coming, that we'd stopped questioning their validity. But maybe that'll change going forward.

Korean leaker lanzuk (who has a mixed, but generally accurate, track record), posting on social media site Naver, has claimed that there will indeed be a new member of the iPhone 14 range. However, lanzuk says it will be an iPhone 14 Plus, not Max, that's on its way.

It sounds like it's the same kind of phone as the Max was expected to be, with a 6.7-inch display, with the name being the main change.

If accurate, this would be the first time Apple has used this suffix for an iPhone since the iPhone 8 Plus, though it's still used for software like Apple TV Plus.

Some leakers have already come out against this leak - notable ones who've talked about the 14 Max before - and one such example is ShrimpApplePro, who has as mixed a track record as lanzuk.

Analysis: what's in a name?

What's in a name? Not much, usually - but in this case, maybe a lot.

You see, lots of iPhone 14 leaks have pointed toward the Max name - if they turn out to be wrong, it means that perhaps lots of the information those leaks provided could also be incorrect.

Perhaps the upcoming phone won't have identical specs to the base model, and maybe the prices we've heard for it could be inaccurate too.

Like Henry Fonda's character in 12 Angry Men, the goal of this leak isn't to convince us of something new, but to cause us to doubt what we previously assumed to be true - and it's totally worked. 

Now, we're going to take each iPhone 14 Max or Plus leak with a pinch of salt - this might not be the new best iPhone after all.

Posted in Uncategorised

OnePlus Nord N20 SE could land soon as one of the best cheap phones

It was only a couple of months ago that the affordable OnePlus Nord N20 5G launched, but now an even cheaper spin-off could be about to land in the form of the OnePlus Nord N20 SE.

The as-yet-unannounced handset has been spotted on Thailand’s NBTC certification database by GizmoChina. This is a database that various gadgets pass through before being sold in the country, and information on it is likely to be accurate.

In this case, that information doesn’t reveal much, but it does include the OnePlus Nord N20 SE name, along with a CPH2469 model number. The main thing this listing confirms is simply that the OnePlus Nord N20 SE probably exists, and that it’s likely to be announced before too long.

This isn’t all we’ve heard about the phone, as previous leaks have shed light on some of the possible specs, including a 5,000mAh battery and dimensions of 163.74 × 75.03 × 7.99mm.

Oppo fans with photographic memories might have noticed that those are the same specs as the Oppo A57, and that’s no accident, as it’s also rumored that the OnePlus Nord N20 SE will be a rebranded version of that phone.

The Oppo A57 also has a 6.56-inch 720 x 1612 LCD screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, a MediaTek Dimensity 810 chipset, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 5G, a 13MP main camera, a 2MP depth sensor, and an 8MP camera on the front.

We can’t be certain that these two phones are one and the same, but either way, if it’s priced right, the Nord N20 SE could be one of the best cheap phones. We’ll probably find out soon, as we’d expect the OnePlus Nord N20 SE isn’t far off.

OnePlus Nord N200 5G

The Nord N20 SE could sit either just above or below the N200 (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: where it sits in the Nord line

The OnePlus Nord N20 SE will presumably be a lower end phone than the OnePlus Nord N20 5G, based on its name and its rumored specs. That phone costs $299 (around £245 / AU$430), so the Nord N20 SE will likely cost less.

But it will possibly cost more than the OnePlus Nord N200 5G, which retails for $239 (around £175 / AU$319). Then again, the Nord N20 SE’s rumored specs are a combination of higher and lower end than the N200’s, so its position is a bit unclear.

Buyers outside the US probably won’t need to worry though, because as with these other mentioned phones the OnePlus Nord N20 SE probably won’t land in the UK and definitely won’t launch in Australia.

OnePlus doesn’t have a presence in the latter, but UK buyers have plenty of other Nord handsets to choose from, such as the affordable OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G.

Posted in Uncategorised

HTC is hiding an intriguing cheap phone behind NFT and metaverse buzzwords

HTC's new Desire 22 Pro is a surprise release from the Taiwanese phone maker that's billed as the perfect companion for your journey into the metaverse, but there's more on offer here than just the latest buzzwords.

The company's newest device comes with a few curious selling points. HTC is calling it the "ideal companion to Vive Flow" (the company's VR "glasses"), meant to serve as a gateway into immersive experiences and the "Viverse" – HTC's own suite of metaverse-focused apps.

Blockchain-based features are rife on the Desire 22 Pro too. It  comes with something called Vive Wallet, so you can keep any owned NFTs in check and monitor the performance of your cryptocurrencies, while Viverse Market lets you buy stuff in the metaverse.

It's not actually clear what metaverse-related benefits this latest HTC Desire has over any other smartphone and it's very possible that the company is just piggybacking off these terms currently dominating the technological zeitgeist.

Because of these features, it sounds as though HTC is really targeting the kind of pro-Blockchain user who owns crypto or NFTs, has an interest in the metaverse, and hangs on the latest Web3 announcements. 

But given how divisive these new internet trends are proving, such features could equally put off certain users; some people have concerns about the potential environmental impact of blockchain, as well as the startling instability of crypto, and a device that contributes to or centers around these endeavours would then be best avoided.

Taking such a stance would be doing the Desire 22 Pro a disservice, as behind this buzzword-laden mobile, actually sits a tempting cheap phone.

Analysis: the specs aren't bad

If we'd heard of the HTC Desire 22 Pro without words like 'Viverse', 'cryptowallet' and 'Blockchain', we'd actually consider it a fairly competitive mobile that straddles the gap between budget and mid-range.

It costs £399 (roughly $490 or AU$700, though it's only up for pre-order in very specific countries, right now), and for that money you get a nice smattering of specs.

There's a 6.6-inch FHD+ 120Hz display, three rear cameras (including a 64MP main sensor), 8GB RAM paired to 128GB storage, a 4,520mAh battery – oh, the phone has wireless charging; which is something you really don't see in devices at this price.

It's not a perfect mid-range offering, however, with the Snapdragon 695G chipset potentially leading to a slower user experience than equivalent rivals. Plus, given that HTC isn't exactly a smartphone powerhouse anymore, it's not clear how many, if any, Android OS updates users can expect.

Still, a phone with these specs and at this price point would normally be something we'd hesitantly recommend, but if anything, the addition of Viverse and Blockchain branding thrown about the place make it a much tougher sell. Perhaps this won't find its way onto our list of the best phones after all.

Posted in Uncategorised

Android 13 Easter egg has finally been found – here’s how to get it

After several beta iterations, the Android 13 Easter egg has been rolled out to eligible phones, finally giving us a first look at what weird addition Google has thrown into its latest operating system update.

Google always adds Android Easter eggs, sometimes several ones per update - Android 12 had both a color spot one so you could work out the background colors on your phone, and also a clock-based one that crowded the screen with bubbles in the Material You theme of your choice.

The Android 13 Easter egg takes after that second one, including with the way you activate it, but instead of bubbling up the screen it fills it with... emoji. Yep, your display quickly looks like a group text full of 50-plus-year-olds.

For a few generations, the Android Easter egg was a little game, like Android 10's nonogram, but that hasn't been the case for a while now.

If you want to see what the emoji apocalypse looks like, we've written up this quick guide on how to see the Android 13 Easter egg.

How to see the Android 13 Easter egg

Android 13 Easter egg

(Image credit: Google)

Bear in mind before you start this guide, that you need to be using a phone that has the Android 13 beta installed - if you don't know whether you do or not, you likely don't, as it's something you need to install yourself. 

Once you're on Android 13, head over to the Settings app, then scroll down to About Phone, which you should press. Then find the Android Version option which, again, you should press on. You'll know you're on Android 13 if the top option now says... well, 13.

Next, tap this 13 a few times until the settings app closes, and you're back on your phone's home screen - except with a giant clock taking up most of the display, To progress, you now have to drag the minute hand of this around the clock a few times until the time is set as 1 o'clock. 

This is a reference to Android 13, as in 13:00, or 1pm.

Now, the clock will turn into the Android 13 logo, and loads of spots will appear around it - congratulations, you've just trigged the... Android 12 Easter egg (well, save for the '13' instead of '12' in the middle).

What you need to do now is pretend the minute hand is still there, and drag your finger in a circle around the '13'. Once you've done a full rotation, the spots will change into emoji on a certain theme - doing more circles will change up the emoji.

Some of the themes include monkeys, cats, astrological symbols or space and aliens - there are 14 in total, which feels like one too many for obvious reasons.

You can't keep this theme viewable on your phone while you do other things - it's purely a fun little emoji surprise. Given its similarities with the first Android 12 Easter egg, we could see another when Android 13 has its full release toward the end of the year - we'll have to wait and see. And at least, this is a fun way to make Android 13 distinct from the otherwise-similar iOS 16.

Posted in Uncategorised

Samsung Galaxy S23 might be stuck with the S22’s cameras

If you were hoping for a camera revolution from the Samsung Galaxy S23 or Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus then you might be out of luck, as the latest leak suggests at least one of the sensors will be the same as the Samsung Galaxy S22’s – and there’s reason to suspect another might be too.

According to GalaxyClub, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus will both have a 10MP telephoto camera, just like the Galaxy S22 and Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus.

Now, the site doesn’t know that this is an identical sensor, and also doesn’t know whether it offers the same 3x optical zoom. But given that it apparently has the same megapixel count it’s likely to be the same on those fronts too.

We’d take this with a pinch of salt as it’s exceedingly early for Samsung Galaxy S23 leaks, and as it’s not clear where the source got this information, but it’s believable.

As the site points out, the 10MP telephoto camera used by the Samsung Galaxy S22 was only added this year – the previous two models used a different telephoto camera. Samsung isn’t one to switch out and upgrade every component every year, so the company likely sees at least one more year of life in this 10MP sensor.

By the same logic, we might see the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus use the same 50MP primary sensor as the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, since that too was new this year. Though there aren’t any rumors on that front yet – this is just speculation.

However, we may at least see upgrades to the ultrawide camera, as the same 12MP one has been used for several years now – and there’s also talk of upgrades to the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera array

A Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

Analysis: bigger upgrades could be found in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is already way ahead of the rest of the S22 line on the camera front, but the S23 Ultra could get further upgrades.

Samsung equipped the latest model with identical snappers to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, so an upgrade to at least some of them could be due for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, lest it might feel a bit stale.

We have an idea of what one of those upgrades might be too, as Samsung has unveiled a 200MP sensor, and at least one source reckons this might be used in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

On paper it sounds like quite an upgrade from the 108MP main sensor that’s currently used, but we hope the rest of the cameras get some attention too. If they do, then Samsung’s next Ultra is sure to rank high among the best camera phones.

Via GSMArena

Posted in Uncategorised

It looks like the Pixel 6a is outsmarting the Pixel 6 in one huge way

 Google’s Pixel 6a may not have formally hit the market yet but that hasn’t stopped some reviewers from getting hands on a device early, testing it out and showing a few ways that the cut-price Google phone doesn’t quite belong with the Pixel 6 family.

Malaysian tech YouTuber, Fazli Halim, managed to get hands on a retail-ready Pixel 6a sample in early June and gave it the unboxing treatment, but now he’s back with a full review, in which we see the 6a’s fingerprint sensor compared side-by-side with the line’s current top-dog, the Google Pixel 6 Pro.

While both phones feature optical in-display fingerprint sensors, in Halim’s review, the Pixel 6a’s sensor proves to be both consistently quicker at reading and unlocking the phone, as well as more consistent, when compared to the Pixel 6 Pro.

It's surprising given the lower-spec (and therefore cost) of the Pixel 6a that the performance would be so much better - but early signs seem to suggest as much.

Analysis: a lighter touch

Sluggish and lacklustre fingerprint sensor performance was just one of the many small quirks that plagued the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro around their launch in late 2021, with Google only partially addressing some of the issues the phones have faced via subsequent software updates.

With this in mind, it was heartening to learn that the Pixel 6a would be using a different fingerprint sensor to the 6 and 6 Pro, something Senior VP of Devices & Services at Google, Rich Osterloh, confirmed during Google I/O 2022 when the Pixel 6a was first officially announced.

While Halim’s video gives us our first proper look at the Pixel 6a, consumers will have to wait until July 28 to officially buy the phone, which swaps out several key hardware attributes found on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to achieve a lower asking price of $449 / £399 / AU$749, granting it the potential to be in the running as one of the best cheap phones out there.

The fingerprint is just one tweak that the Pixel 6a offers by comparison to its siblings, with a smaller 6.1-inch 60Hz Full HD+ OLED display, a lower resolution 12.2MP primary camera (compared to the 6 and 6 Pro’s 50MP main unit, which render them some of the best cameraphones currently on the market) and a base memory and storage configuration of 6GB and 128GB, respectively.

Where the Pixel 6a does hold up is with the same Google-made Tensor SoC and, of course, that snappier fingerprint sensor, which – paired to the lower price tag – might make for the perfect combination for some.

Then again, we’ve got the Pixel 7 just around the corner after Google inexplicably showed it off at I/O earlier this year - and that will probably come with a new PIxel 7a model not that long after, so the search giant hasn’t made it easy to decide when to go for a new phone, it seems. 

Posted in Uncategorised

Korea’s getting a cute Samsung/Starbucks collab, and we want it too

Never one to shy away from branded collaborations, Samsung is teaming up with Starbucks -- no, not the Battlestar Galactica character -- to release a new line of phone and earbud cases.

Made out of a “eco-friendly material”, the phone cases will be for the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra, as reported by 9to5Google who translated the original post from Korean. The cases reflect Starbucks’ art style as it takes inspiration from the company’s branding. Certain items will be for certain phone models as they take their respective hardware into account.

The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus will share two cases inspired by the aprons that the baristas wear. Yes, really. One will have a simple Starbucks logo while the other will have a tagline that reads “Count Stars in Your Galaxy.” the S22 Ultra will have two cases that sport extra holes for the phone’s camera lenses. Both have a rear strap: one will be a caricature of the company logo while the other has a fake receipt.

In addition to the phone cases, Samsung and Starbucks have designed two cases for the Galaxy Buds 2. The first is a rather plain looking green case with the Starbucks logo printed on the cover. The second case is much more adorable: it looks like a coffee mug complete with latte art. 

It’s unknown if the collaboration will ever be released outside of South Korea. The lineup launches on June 28 via Starbucks’ Naver store. 9to5Google reports the drop will be limited, so if you have a way to ship them, be sure to act fast. 

We did ask Samsung if there’s a possibility that the lineup will launch internationally and what exactly is “eco-friendly material”, but we didn’t get a response to either question. It should be mentioned that the S22 Ultra does have similar looking cases made out of silicone with a strap on the back. This silicone material has been referred to as eco-friendly.

Limited collaborations

Alluded to earlier, Samsung has a history of launching playful collaborations. For example back in May, Samsung launched a special edition charging case for the Galaxy Buds 2 in the shape of a Poké Ball. The unfortunate truth is that many of these collaborations don’t leave South Korea.

There are some that go international like last year’s Galaxy Watch4 collaboration with luxury brand Maison Kitsuné and the Galaxy S20 Plus BTS phone from 2020. But for whatever reason, 2022 has seen Samsung be more stingy with releasing collaborations overseas. 

Whatever their reasoning may be, we hope Samsung does launch the cute coffee cup case outside of South Korea. If you’re interested in other cool collaborations, we wrote about China getting a Naruto style phone

Posted in Uncategorised