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Lenovo took over Motorola Mobility in 2014 and it was the biggest smartphone deal back then. The Chinese company paid $2.91B to Google for it but let the search giant keep most of the patent portfolio. And then Lenovo started bringing back to the once mighty company. But Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing revealed in an interview for Wall Street Journal that turning Motorola around was a harder task than they initially thought. Chinese government wanted from local companies to invest more abroad and that’s what Lenovo did, influenced by the fact they were briefly number 1 in sales on the Chinese market. But two years after the deal, the company axed 2,000 jobs in United States and fell to 8th place in the global smartphone world. Mr. Yang said to the WSJ reporters:
Lenovo is known for being a company that can turn a business around as we have seen with IBM’s personal computers. Since 2005 IBM ThinkPads became Lenovo ThinkPads and the Chinese company is first in sales all over the world. Yet that didn’t work with Motorola. Lenovo wanted to bring back the brand on the Chinese market after it was pulled by Google due to a quarrel with the local government. Sadly, the market was already overly saturated with affordable smartphones. The logical decision was to make high-end Motorola handsets. But that also didn’t work - there were already Apple phones at the same price. And the result from all this blunder is the first operational loss on an annual basis since the global financial crisis. Is there a winning situation at Lenovo? Let’s just hope they can pull it back together because Motorola is a brand that no one wants to see lying on the ground in its ashes of former glory....
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The the Xiaomi Mi 4c, which was launched way back in September 2015 with Lollipop onboard, will soon get the Nougat update. The company has already started testing the promised update as a device running the latest Nougat version (Android 7.1.1) has been spotted on the Geekbench benchmarking website. Sadly, there's currently no information on when exactly the update will be rolled out. Here's hoping that testing goes smoothly and it comes sooner rather than later. Via
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LeEco makes another massive step towards stating its presence at the US market. The Chinese company is selling two of its smartphones and three 4K Ultra HD TVs at Amazon with free shipping across the United States. Le Pro 3 was one of the first smartphones with the updated Snapdragon 821 when it was released. It was followed by LeEco S3, a mid-ranger with more affordable specifications. Since today they are both available at Amazon. The Le Pro 3 is priced at $399.99 and comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, like we told you earlier. Sadly, the only color option of the device is gold. The Le S3 has 3GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage and luckily, two color options - gold or silver. The device is priced at $249.99 with free delivery across US, as is Le Pro 3. LeEco is innovative company that manufactures everything from smartphones through bikes to hybrid cars (or at least it plans to manufacture one some day). That’s why we aren’t surprised to see some TVs in its portfolio at Amazon, especially after they acquired Vizio last summer. Three flat screen TVs from the Super4 X series are for sale - the 43” is $449.99, the 55” is $699.99 and the 65” is $1,099.99. All three devices are $100 off which makes it quite the bargain. Source | Via
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The everlasting hope for phones with screens larger than their footprint pushed LG and Samsung to invest heavily in foldable technological innovations. LG just filed another patent for a foldable phone, which hold on to your hats, folds on the vertical side. So when you open the device, you actually get a tablet-looking device in Landscape mode. [​IMG] Unfolded device (a) • Back (b) • Front (c) Looking at the graphs in the patent documents, the device will be with touchscreen display on the front and the back while the middle/bending side could be used as a music controller or notification bar. On the back, next to the additional display is positioned a camera, flash, fingerprint scanner and the power buttons LG is using for years now. The device can also be positioned in a tent mode like the foldable Zenbooks from Asus. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Front • Notification bar/Audio control • Tent mode • Back There is no info when and if such a device will hit the market but this concept is something we all would love to see. Special thanks to our tipster Michel. Source (PDF) (KR) | Via (NL)
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ZTE announced a couple of things at CES this year. The Honor 6X gained a competitor in the ultra-value smartphone space: enter the ZTE Blade V8 Pro. But aside from the new Blade model, ZTE has also announced a new smartphone, thought up by members of ZTE’s online community. But the phone itself was announced as a prototype without specs, until now. Note: Render might not reflect final hardware ZTE has detailed the specs for the ZTE Hawkeye, the smartphone that can currently be pre-ordered through KickStarter for $199. The price isn’t likely to remain the same after a successful funding period. In the meantime, let’s see what $199 gets you these days:
  • Android Nougat out of the box
  • Dual cameras: 12MP + 13MP w/ optical zoom
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 CPU
  • 3GB RAM/ 32GB Internal storage (expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • DualSIM card connectivity
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • USB Type-C, Quick Charge 2.0 capable
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, NFC
[​IMG] With specs like these priced at $199 (for now), the ZTE Hawkeye looks promising, and we haven’t even gotten to the standout feature: the Hawkeye can adhere to various surfaces and perform hands-free operations. The Hawkeye’s software is able to perform tasks like general navigation and page scrolling with a combination of eye gestures and voice commands. Currently, the Hawkeye is available for $199 on KickStarter with order fulfillments expected in September 2017(once the project is successfully funded). You can vote among 15 different options for the color and material of the phone by voting at csx.zteusa.com. ZTE Hawkeye...
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Pokemon Go was a massive hit and (as it turns out) highly profitable - analyst outfit App Annie reports that the game brought in revenues of $950 million in 2016. Sure, it’s free to play, but players can - and certainly did - buy many tools to help them catch and level up their Pokemon. The game, developed by Niantic, was the first to reach $600 million and now it’s the first to reach $800 million. It only took 110 days, over two times faster than Candy Crush Saga (which took over 250 days). And keep in mind that Pokemon Go wasn’t available everywhere, Niantic slowly expanded it to new countries (it launched in India just one month ago). While its popularity exploded, the virtual creatures were only in third place for total revenue, behind Monster Strike and Clash Royale. Pokemon Go reached 500 million downloads less than two months since it launched in early July 2016. Since then, players have walked 8.7 billion kilometers altogether (hey, gotta hatch those eggs). App Annie believes that the game’s appeal to non-gamers propelled the game skyward, but the Pokemon franchise and the social aspects of the game were also big factors. [​IMG] Niantic was smart about attracting attention, the Halloween event especially attracted a huge crowd. Things have cooled off since then, however. Source (requires registration) | Via
It's been eight months since Google unveiled Android Wear 2.0 at I/O last year and finally we have an official release date. Well, sort of. The date, February 9 (2017, hopefully), comes from Evan Blass, who previously used to run evleaks. Considering his track record, and his absolute certainty on the matter, you can pretty much take this to be certain date. Android Wear 2.0 is expected to bring improvements such as updated UI, standalone apps, watch face complications, and improved messaging. However, it will only be available on select Android Wear devices.
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The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge launched at €700 and €800 respectively, but their successors may hit the market at a higher price - €850, if rumors are to be believed. At least that's what often reliable Twitter tipster Ricciolo1 reports. And that’s for the small Galaxy S8… well, maybe not “small”, considering its screen could be as big as 5.7”. The bigger Galaxy S8 Plus will likely be €100 on top of that, which would place the S8 duo above the iPhones price-wise. The rumor goes on to claim that the Galaxy S8 will not be unveiled to the public at large at the MWC but Samsung will give journalists an early peak at the new flagship. The public reveal will reportedly be at the end of March with sales starting later still - in the last week of April. This would make it easy for LG to launch the G6 a month ahead of the S8. Source
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LG has just announced the X300 smartphone in Korea, and be sure not to confuse it with the LG GX300 of times past. This new LG X300 is a proper smartphone, even if positioned where entry-level meets midrange. The specsheet starts off with a 5-inch 720p LCD and goes on to include a Snapdragon 425 chipset. Not the snappiest of dragons, the 425 relies on a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU paired with 2GB of RAM. Storage is 16GB, expandable via a microSD card. Imaging is covered by a 13MP primary shooter on the back, and a 5MP selfie cam. On the connectivity front, you'd be getting 4G LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC. The X300 comes with a microUSB 2.0 port, though - LG isn't too quick to adopt Type-C across the model range. On a positive note, though, the phone runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Not so great is battery capacity - only 2,500mAh, but given the modest hardware it may be just enough. The LG X300 is priced at KRW 253,000 (a little short of $220). There wasn't info on availability in the press release, though, and neither was it mentioned if the phone will be sold outside of Korea. Source
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The latest numbers on the Apple App store were looking good, having registered a 60% year-on-year growth for Q4 2016 and reaching $5.4B in total revenue. In an attempt to maintain momentum in the UK, which is one of Apple’s largest markets, app prices will rise to account for the decrease in GBP exchange rate after the Brexit vote back in June. An app that was worth $0.99 now will cost £0.99 (up from £0.79). A similar increase of about 25% will be seen at every price tier when the changes hit the virtual shelves of the App Store. In addition to the United Kingdom, prices will also rise in Turkey and India. The Indian Rupee is going lower and lower since 2008. Turkish Lira has similar fate, reaching its lowest-ever exchange rate last week. Apple says the new prices will roll out over the next seven days. In the mean time the company already started notifying developers with specific reference to the iOS and Mac App Store. Likely the price changes will also hit the iTunes Store for TV shows, movies and books. Via