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Hands On with Huawei Nova Plus

Sep 1, 2016, 9:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei churned out two mid-range handsets in Berlin, the Nova and Nova Plus. The phones share most features, but the Plus is a bit bigger thanks to the larger screen and battery. Here are first impressions of Huawei's new hardware.

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Huawei Drops the Nova and Nova Plus Mid-Rangers

Sep 1, 2016, 3:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 1, 2016, 4:34 AM

Huawei today announced the Nova and Nova Plus handsets, two mid-range smartphones that feature curved metal designs, diamond-cut bezels, and 2.5D glass for a seamless in-hand experience. The devices share almost all features, expect for the screen, battery, and camera. Both run on a Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The Nova phones include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader that doubles as a trackpad and can be used to scroll through pictures as well as answer calls. A memory card slot accepts microSD cards. The devices have 8-megapixel f/2.2 selfie cameras with a "beautiful skin" tool to remove blemishes. Another tool called Knuckle Sense can automatically put the photo editor in cropping mode with the tap of a knuckle. The software includes a night reading setting that filters out blue light. The Nova has a 5-inch screen, 12-megapixel main camera, 3,030mAh battery and compact body, while the Nova Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, 16-megapixel camera, 3,340mAh battery, and larger profile. The phones will be sold in gray, silver, gold, and pink. The Nova will cost 399 Euros, while the Nova Plus will cost $429 Euros. It's unlikely either phone will be sold in the U.S.

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Intel Believes USB Type-C Will Replace 3.5mm Jack

Aug 17, 2016, 7:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.


Hands On with the Honor 8

Aug 17, 2016, 12:08 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 19, 2016, 2:40 PM

Huawei's Honor brand finally has a true flagship model in its lineup, and it combines Huawei's manufacturing chops with the Honor design flair, plus true flagship specs. It has the features of the Huawei P9 (another flagship) plus a few small extras. The design has a bit more flair, though. It's very iPhone-like. But how is it in person? We go hands-on.

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Huawei Pushes Honor Brand Uprange with Flagship Honor 8

Aug 16, 2016, 10:30 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 16, 2016, 10:43 PM

Huawei's Honor brand today announced the Honor 8, the company's first true flagship-class phone under its Honor brand. The Honor 8 has most specs in common with the well-regarded Huawei P9, the company's flagship outside of the Honor brand. That includes the 12-megapixel camera with laser focus and a secondary camera providing monochrome exposure info for improved image quality. It also includes the 5.2-inch, full-HD display, Kirin 950-series processor, 3,000 mAh battery, 8-megapixel front camera, fast charging, fingerprint reader, NFC, memory card slot, and USB Type-C connector. Further, the Honor 8 improves on the P9 with 4 GB of memory instead of 3, and adds an infrared emitter for controlling home A/V gear. The design is glass on the front and back, with an aluminum frame. A 15-layer process creates a unique visual effect behind the glass. It will be available in blue, white, and black, with the blue color being exclusive to Best Buy for the first 60 days. The phone will be sold unlocked for $400 (32GB) or $450 (64GB) starting September 3rd. Pre-orders begin August 17th.

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Samsung Hits Huawei with Handful of Complaints

Jul 22, 2016, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has sued Huawei in China for patent infringement. The Korean phone maker says several of Huawei's devices, including the Mate8 and Honor line, are violating six of its technology patents. Samsung is seeking $24 million in damages as well as a ban on the manufacture and sale of the devices in question. The lawsuit is a tit-for-tat response to a similar lawsuit filed by Huawei against Samsung earlier this year. Samsung said it attempted to resolve the matter through negotiation, but has been unable to strike a deal with Huawei. "It has regrettably become necessary to take legal action in order to defend our intellectual property," said Samsung. Tech firms often use patent-based lawsuits against rivals as a negotiation tactic.


U.S. Asks Huawei About Iran, Syria Exports

Jun 2, 2016, 11:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei's international expansion may have resulted in the company running afoul of U.S. export law, according to the New York Times. The Department of Commerce has subpoenaed Huawei seeking information about the company's business dealings in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Specifically, the Commerce Department wants to know if Huawei exported or re-exported American-made technology to these countries, which have varying degrees of sanctions in place blocking certain tech exports. At this point, the Commerce Department is merely gathering information and Huawei has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Huawei representatives told the Times it complies with the laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates. The Commerce Department conducted a similar investigation of China-based ZTE, which the government says willfully violated U.S. export laws in order to ship American products to Iran. It's not clear if the subpoenaed information will lead to charges against Huawei.


Huawei Sues Samsung Over Patents

May 24, 2016, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei has filed lawsuits against Samsung in the U.S. and China, alleging the smartphone maker is using its patented technology without permission. Specifically, Huawei believes Samsung is infringing on a patent related to LTE wireless technology. "We hope Samsung will stop infringing our patents and get the necessary license from Huawei," said the company in a statement. Samsung did not immediately comment on the matter. This marks the first time a Chinese phone maker has filed a lawsuit against foreign firms; typically, Chinese firms have been the defendants in patent cases. Handset manufacturers often resort to patent lawsuits to force negotiations for royalties.


Hands On with Android Wear 2.0

May 19, 2016, 2:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google released a developer preview of Android Wear 2.0. This new platform, which touts a wholly refreshed user interface, is the biggest update yet for Google smartwatches. Here is a quick look at this early version of Android Wear 2.0 on the Huawei Watch.

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Huawei Taps Leica to Help With P9 and P9 Plus

Apr 6, 2016, 8:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today unveiled two new smartphones at an event in London, the P9 and P9 Plus. Huawei developed the P9 and P9 Plus with help from Leica in order to improve camera performance. The phones feature two, 12-megapixel side-by-side cameras on the rear and a single 8-megapixel camera on the front. The two-lens setup on back includes one full-color sensor and one monochrome sensor that work in concert. Huawei says the monochrome sensor is used to assess and capture light for more accurate exposures. Huawei redesigned its camera app with Leica's help. The devices have 5.2- and 5.5-inch full HD screens, respectively, with side bezels measuring 1.7mm thick. The P9 uses an IPS LCD panel, while the P9 Plus relies on a Super AMOLED screen. Both phones are slim and boast metal and glass designs. The P9 and P9 Plus are powered by Huawei's Kirin 955 octa-core processor, with four ARM A72 cores and four ARM A53 cores. The phones come with either 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM. The phones support memory cards and include fingerprint sensors on the rear for biometric security. Other features include stereo speakers, infrared, USB-C, and 3,000/3,400mAh batteries. They run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Huawei's EMUI 4.1 skin. Pricing for the P9 starts around $680 and the P9 Plus starts at $850. Huawei didn't say if or when either phone will be made available in the U.S. The company sells many of its phones directly to consumers online.


Huawei Taps Leica To Improve Its Phone Cameras

Feb 25, 2016, 3:28 PM   by Rich Brome

Huawei and Leica today announced a partnership aimed at creating "a powerhouse in the reinvention of smartphone photography." Leica is a well-regarded German camera brand.


Android Wear Gains Wider Support for Phone Calls

Feb 4, 2016, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced Android Wear 1.4, which adds a fistful of new features. Chiefly, Android-based smartwatches can now make and take calls via Bluetooth when the wearable itself includes a speaker. Google says this is limited to the Huawei Watch and the ASUS ZenWatch 2 at the moment, but it expects more watches to ship with speakers and calling support over time. Watches with speakers can also be used to listen to audio messages from apps such as Glide. Android Wear 1.4 also expands the number of apps able to use voice actions to dictate and send messages, which now includes, Google Hangouts, Nextplus, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, and WhatsApp. Last, Google added a few new wrist gestures to the platform. For example, Android smartwatches can now expand cards, bring up the app drawer, or return home with a push, lift, or shake, respectively. Google says Android Wear 1.4 is rolling out to Android smartwatches over the next few days.


Huawei's Honor 5X Reaches the US January 31

Jan 29, 2016, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 3, 2016, 3:50 PM

Huawei today said the Honor 5X handset will be available as planned on January 31. The mid-range 5X supports AT&T and T-Mobile LTE 4G bands and has a unibody aluminum design. The phone includes a 5.5-inch full HD display, 13-megapixel camera, and 1.5 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 616 processor with 2 GB of RAM. The Honor 5X also includes a 3,000 mAh battery, rear fingerprint reader, and 5-megapixel front camera. It costs $200 and is available from HiHonor.com, Amazon.com, and Newegg.com.


Hands On with the Huawei Honor 5X

Jan 6, 2016, 2:47 AM   by Rich Brome

The Honor 5X is an "affordable premium" phone, a category that's expanding extremely quickly. It's Android. It has a metal back. It has respectable mid-range specs. It's pretty. Huawei is making a push to sell it online, unlocked. But what's it like in person? Read on.

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Huawei Honor 5X Steps Up Premium Design for a Low Price

Jan 6, 2016, 12:21 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 6, 2016, 12:23 AM

Huawei today announced the Honor 5X for the U.S., a phone very similar to the Huawei GX8 announced earlier today, but with a more premium design and $150 cheaper. The Honor 5X has a diamond-polished aluminum alloy casing. The four-step process includes applying a ceramic coating using a special brushing technique. It also has 4G LTE with full support for current AT&T and T-Mobile bands. Like the GX8, the Honor 5X is a mid-range Android phone with a unibody aluminum design, 5.5-inch Full-HD display, 13-megapixel camera, and Snapdragon 615 processor. The phone also includes a 3,000 mAh battery, rear fingerprint reader, and 5-megapixel front camera. Available colors include gold, silver, and gray. The Honor 5X will be available from Amazon.com and HiHonor.com on January 31 for $200 unlocked.

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Hands On with the Huawei GX8

Jan 5, 2016, 3:42 PM   by Rich Brome

The GX8 is a mid-range Android phone sold unlocked in the US market. It's an interesting entry into the growing category of phones that aim to marry premium design and materials with decent specs, for a low price. The premium design takes the form of a unibody aluminum frame and curved-edge glass front. Specs include a 5.5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 615 processor, and 13-megapixel camera. What's it like? We have some photos and first impressions.

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Nexus 6P Goes Gold

Jan 5, 2016, 1:23 PM   by Rich Brome

Huawei today announced the immediate availability of a gold version of the popular Nexus 6P Android phone. It's available in both 32 and 64 GB versions, from Best Buy and Google.

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GX8 Is Huawei's Take on Sweet Spot

Jan 5, 2016, 1:20 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 5, 2016, 11:30 PM

Huawei today announced that the GX8 will come to the U.S. later this quarter. The GX8 is a new mid-range Android phone with a unibody aluminum design, 5.5-inch Full-HD display, 13-megapixel camera, and Snapdragon 615 processor. The phone also includes a 3,000 mAh battery, rear fingerprint reader, and 5-megapixel front camera. Available colors include gold, gray, and silver. The GX8 will be available later in Q1 for $350 unlocked via Amazon.com and GetHuawei.com.

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Huawei's Mate 8 Uses Custom Kirin Processor

Nov 26, 2015, 8:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today announced the Mate 8, a flagship phablet that runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Mate 8 features a 6-inch full HD display and Huawei's new processor, the Kirin 950. The 950 is an octa-core chip with four Cortex ARM A72 cores at 2.3GHz and four A53 cores at 1.8GHz. The Kirin 950 is aided by Huawei's i5 coprocessor for low-power tasks, such as managing always-on sensors. Huawei didn't provide details about the Mate 8's camera, but the phone offers some intelligent tools like voice controls, a firewall, a defragmenter, and mobile payment capabilities. The Mate 8 runs Huawei's EMUI 4.0 skin. Huawei said the phone will be revealed in full at CES in January and made available in China during the first quarter of 2016.

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Unwired Planet Bests Samsung and Huawei In Patent Trial

Nov 24, 2015, 1:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Unwired Planet landed its first courtroom victory in the U.K. this week after a judge agreed that Samsung and Huawei are violating patents owned by the company. Unwired Planet has 16 employees and 2,000 patents it purchased from Ericsson in 2013. The company filed a similar suit against Google, but Google settled the charges. The judge overseeing the Samsung/Huawei case deemed the patents "essential" to 4G communications, however, which means they must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. Unwired Planet said the ruling "goes a considerable way towards validating [our] portfolio." Samsung maintains that it is not violating the patents. Huawei didn't immediately comment on the decision. Tech companies often use patent-based litigation to win fees from competitors. Unwired Planet is a patent-holding company and doesn't make or sell telecommunications equipment or mobile phones.


Huawei Claims to Charge Battery 50% In 5 Mins

Nov 13, 2015, 4:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei has revealed a new technique for charging batteries that is up to 10 times faster than existing methods. Huawei bonded heteroatoms to graphite molecules. This can be a catalyst for capturing and transmitting lithium through carbon, which has the effect of increasing charging speeds without decreasing the energy density or overall battery life. The company demonstrated how it was able to charge a 600mAh to 68% capacity in two minutes, and a 3000mAh battery to 48% in five minutes — enough to power 10 hours of voice calls. "Huawei is confident that this breakthrough in quick charging batteries will lead to a new revolution in electronic devices, especially with regard to mobile phones, electric vehicles, wearable devices, and mobile power supplies," said the company. The demonstrations were made at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan. Many of today's smartphones rely on Qualcomm's QuickCharge technology, which is baked into its Snapdragon processors and reduces the time it takes to charge batteries. Qualcomm's technology is not as fast as what Huawei demonstrated this week.


Huawei Takes Aim at Snapdragon 810 with Kirin 950

Nov 4, 2015, 10:18 PM   by Rich Brome

Huawei today announced the Kirin 950 chipset for phones, which is designed to compete with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-series chipsets in higher-end phones. Huawei claims that the 950 is 25% faster and 44% more power-efficient than the Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm's current flagship chip. The chip is made by TSMC using their cutting-edge 16nm FinFET+ process, a first in a phone SoC. This is superior to the 20nm process used by Qualcomm's 810 - particularly in power efficiency - although the imminent 820 will use a 14nm process. The Kirin 950 has eight cores in a big/little configuration, with four ARM Cortex A72 cores running at 2.3 GHz, and four A53 cores running at 1.8 GHz. The chip is designed specifically to optimize Android performance, and includes much-improved optimizations for camera performance and quality. The Kirin 950 includes an LTE Category 6 modem, support for VoLTE, and Huawei's new, more-efficient i5 dedicated sensor hub processor. Previous Kirin chips have been used in many Huawei phones sold around the world, including the recent P8 and Mate S.

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Boost Mobile Debuts the Huawei Union

Oct 19, 2015, 11:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 19, 2015, 12:17 PM

Boost Mobile today announced a trio of inexpensive handsets, including the Huawei Union. The Union has a 4.5-inch screen, 1.1GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. It includes a 5-megapixel camera, 2,000mAh battery, and support for memory cards up to 32GB. The Huawei Union runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and costs $79.99. Boost Mobile also announced pricing for the HTC 626s and the Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen), which cost $129.99 and $149.99, respectively. All three smartphones go on sale today.


Huawei Pushing Android 5.1 to P8 Lite

Oct 16, 2015, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today made Android 5.1 Lollipop available to the P8 Lite handset. The update is available over the air. The phone shipped with Android 4.4, so the 5.1 upgrade is a significant one.


Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools

Oct 2, 2015, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The CTIA today announced that a number of member companies have agreed to take on additional measures to help prevent cellphone thefts. Following recommendations made by the FCC, wireless companies will make anti-theft tools available to all consumers that also respect consumer choice and privacy. All new phones made after July 2016 will "make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user's possession." Beyond this baseline tool, consumers will have the option to use other, third-party solutions to locate, wipe, or reinstate their devices if they so wish. Companies that have agreed to this include Apple, Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; Google; HTC; Huawei; LG; Microsoft; Motorola; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon, and ZTE. In response, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "CTIA members' ... enhanced voluntary commitment to adopt anti-theft features and educate consumers demonstrates their resolve in combatting it. I am hopeful that this new voluntary commitment will make a meaningful difference for consumer safety. As the enhanced commitment recognizes, these solutions work only if they are adopted widely. The FCC will remain vigilant in this area by pushing for further improvements to the theft-prevention toolbox, and also by monitoring closely whether the efforts of industry and others are producing meaningful results." Apple's iOS and Google's Android already contain features that let device owners find and protect their mobile devices. The FCC hopes allowing people to download and use the protective measure of their choice will help encourage consumers to make broader use of the tool.


Nexus 5X from LG Rounds Out Google's Smartphone Offering

Sep 29, 2015, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:45 PM

Google today announced the Nexus 5X, a less-costly alternative to the Nexus 6P. Where the 6P is made by Huawei, the 5X is made by LG. Notable features include the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor positioned on the back of the phone, which can be used to secure the phone and authenticate Android Pay purchases. The 5X also includes a USB Type-C port, the new connector for phones, tablets, and laptops. The Nexus 5X has a 5.2-inch full HD screen and is powered by a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The phone's main Sony camera sensor captures 12.3-megpaixel images and relies on laser-assisted focus. It has an aperture of f/2.0 and a dual-tone flash for more accurate color. The user-facing camera rates 5 megapixels and has an aperture of f/2.2. The Nexus 5X includes a 2,700mAh battery, a wide range of sensors, and comes in white, blue, or black. The Nexus 5X runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and will be sold directly from Google unlocked. The 16GB model costs $379 and the 32GB model costs $429. It is available for pre-order beginning today and will ship in mid-October.


Metal-Clad Nexus 6P Made by Huawei

Sep 29, 2015, 11:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:42 PM

Google today announced the Nexus 6P, one of two new Nexus-branded smartphones and the first ever to be made by Huawei. The Nexus 6P is a slim, upscale handset skinned in aluminum. The 6P has a fingerprint sensor on the back for security and Android Pay authentication called Nexus Imprint. The phone has a 5.7-inch quad HD screen and is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor with 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage. The phone boasts a Sony 12.3-megapixel main camera with f/2.0 aperture and an 8-megapixel user-facing camera. Google says it improved the camera with burst mode and slow-motion video capture. Further, double-tapping the home button will launch the camera even when the phone is locked. The Nexus 6P has what Google calls the Android Sensor Hub, which includes activity and gesture recognition along with power management techniques to keep battery drain at a minimum. The 6P packs a large 3,450mAh battery, includes a USB Type-C port and charger, and offers stereo speakers on the front. The Nexus 6P runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and will be sold unlocked directly by Google. The phone costs $499 for 32GB, $549 for 64GB, and $649 for 128GB. Pre-orders start today and the Nexus 6P will ship in mid-October.


Hands on with the Huawei Mate S

Sep 2, 2015, 1:31 PM   by Rich Brome

The Mate S is Huawei's new global flagship phone. Like most new flagships, it sports a 5 inch display, metal body, fingerprint sensor, and some advanced camera technology. It will also support Force Touch, sensing the pressure you apply, to the degree that you can use it as a scale, although we've heard that there will be several versions of the Mate S, and not all will include Force Touch. It's an intriguing phone. Read on for our hands-on impressions.

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Huawei Mate S Has Force Touch

Sep 2, 2015, 8:49 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 2, 2015, 9:40 AM

Huawei today announced the Mate S, its new flagship Android smartphone. Its most notable feature is Force Touch, which precisely measures pressure on its touch screen. The harder you press on a photo in the gallery, the more it zooms in, for example. It is precise enough that Huawei will ship the phone with an app that turns the screen into a small scale. The screen is 5.5-inch full-HD AMOLED. The phone also has a 13-megapixel main camera with RGBW sensor, 1.2-degree OIS (optical image stabilization), sapphire lens, and advanced manual controls. The front camera clocks in at 8 megapixels. Another unique feature is directional listening, which uses three microphones to pinpoint voice locations and filter out background noise. The Mate S is also water-resistant using a nano coating. Like many new Huawei phones, it has two card slots; one for a SIM card, and one for a memory card or a second SIM card. It supports 13 LTE bands, including U.S. bands. It has a thin metal body and fingerprint sensor. It's powered by a Huawei Kirin 935 2.2 GHz, 8-core, 64-bit processor accompanied by 3 GB of RAM. It will be available within the next month in Europe starting at 649 Euros for the version with 32 GB of internal storage.

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Huawei's Android Wear Smartwatch Goes Upscale

Sep 2, 2015, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today said its Android-based smartwatch will go on sale this month for $349, putting it in Apple Watch territory. The wearable will come with several face variations, including stainless steel, black stainless steel, and rose gold, with leather, steel, and gold strap options. Prices vary depending on the chassis and strap combination, with the gold models costing as much as $799. All models have a 1.4-inch screen with 400 by 400 pixels protected by sapphire crystal. The watch is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The Huawei Watch includes Bluetooth and WiFi for connectivity, and sensors such as barometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope to help track movement. The 300mAh battery delivers up to two days of usable life and can reach an 80% charge in just 45 minutes. The watch runs Android Wear 1.3 and is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. The stainless steel and black models can be pre-ordered beginning today and will ship on Sept. 17, which is also when the watch will reach general availability. The Huawei Watch can be purchased from GetHuawei.com, the Google Play Store, Amazon.com, and BestBuy.com.

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Google Brings Android Wear to the iPhone

Aug 31, 2015, 10:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released an Android Wear application for iOS devices that makes the iPhone compatible with Google-based smartwatches. The Android Wear app works with the iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus as long as the phones are running iOS 8.2 and up. Android Wear allows iPhone owners to check their information at a glance, such as calls, messages, and notifications; set and follow fitness goals, such as tracking steps or heart rate; and also receive timely information about flights, traffic, calendar appointments, and more. Android Wear for iOS supports "OK, Google" voice-based queries, as well. Google says the LG Watch Urbane is the first Android Wear smartwatch to support iPhone compatibility, and that all future devices, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola, will also support iOS. Many of these manufacturers are expected to debut new smartwatches this week at the IFA trade show in Berlin.


Microsoft Avoids Import Ban in InterDigital Case

Aug 29, 2015, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft escaped what could have been a harmful ban on its devices as the U.S. International Trade Commission decided not to block the import of Microsoft's smartphones into the U.S. Microsoft lost a patent case against InterDigital in April when it was found to be infringing on two patents. The individual trade judge who reached that decision recommended Microsoft's handsets be banned from import. The full ITC panel rejected that judge's decision on Friday, however, which means Microsoft will continue to be allowed to bring its handsets into the U.S. Microsoft expressed relief at the decision, while InterDigital voiced disappointment. Earlier this month, Microsoft filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital, claiming the company charges exorbitant fees for standard-essential patents. Such patents must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discrimonatory rates. InterDigital is a patent-holding company and has had mixed success in suing companies such as Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei.


Microsoft Accuses InterDigital of Antitrust Behavior

Aug 21, 2015, 7:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital, a patent-licensing firm, for charging exorbitant rates to license standard-essential patents. The two companies have been embroiled in patent litigation for years. Earlier this year, Microsoft was found by the U.S. ITC to be violating two wireless patents owned by InterDigital. The judge in that case recommended Microsoft's handsets be banned from import. Microsoft says InterDigital is using this potential import ban as a bargaining chip to jack up licensing rates. Patents deemed essential must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. Microsoft charges that InterDigital's "abusive licensing practices" violate federal antitrust law. InterDigital has taken ZTE, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and others to court over patents with mixed success.


New Group Working on Practical 5G

Jul 10, 2015, 9:34 AM   by Rich Brome

A large and diverse group of mobile companies have formed a new group to work on potential 5G radio technology. The group is focusing specifically on technologies that will work below 6 GHz, near the frequency bands of current mobile networks. Some recent "5G" demos have relied on much higher millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies, which have short range and cannot pass through walls. Many major players are exploring including mmW technology in 5G, but it is not expected to be the core of the standard. The new group - called FANTASTIC-5G (Flexible Air iNTerfAce for Scalable service delivery wiThin wIreless Communication networks of the 5th Generation) - includes Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Sequans Communications, and Wings ICT Solutions, as well as several European mobile operators and research institutes. Their goal is a new air interface to replace LTE that is more efficient and flexible, supporting diverse needs from fast broadband to small, low-power sensors.


CTIA Says Smartphones Better Protected Against Theft

Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools. July 1 marks the day by which phone makers and network operators agreed to implement free theft deterrents on smartphones. According to the CTIA, most of the industry has responded by placing remote lock/wipe capabilities on consumer devices. The addition of an activation lock on the Apple iPhone, for example, has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in major cities. The activation lock prevents a stolen device from being activated by another person, thus making it useless to thieves. Remote wipe features allow people to erase the personal data from their handset if lost/stolen to protect their identity. The major participants in today's action include Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and ZTE. "Today's fulfillment of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is another example of the wireless industry proactively working together with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers' smartphones in the event they are ever lost or stolen. We will continue to work with all interested parties to continue to deploy new technologies and tools to improve device theft-deterrence tools. We remind consumers to take a few minutes to use PINs, passwords, apps and other device features to protect their mobile devices and personal information." The industry was coerced into acting "voluntarily" when the FCC threatened to make such protective measures mandatory.


Qualcomm Partners Up with Chinese Makers for 14nm Chips

Jun 24, 2015, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm plans to form a joint venture with Semiconductor Manufacturing International in China to develop 14nm chips. China's Huawei and Belgium's Imec will also participate in the venture. Competition in the semiconductor space is fierce and companies such as Samsung are trying to muscle their way in with improved manufacturing techniques of their own. Moreover, Qualcomm ran afoul of Chinese antitrust regulators earlier this year and was forced to pay a fine and reduce royalty rates. Partnering with Chinese companies is a way to help Qualcomm repair its image. Many of today's smartphones and tablets use chips made by Qualcomm. The denser the chip, the more efficient it can be. Focusing on the 14nm processes is vital for Qualcomm.


Hands On with the Huawei P8 Lite

Jun 3, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei hopes the P8 Lite, an inexpensive, unlocked Android smartphone, will appeal to U.S. consumers. The phone has a sleek design and a solid spec list. Here are Phone Scoop's first thoughts about the P8 Lite.

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Huawei Announces P8 Lite for the US Market

Jun 3, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today revealed the P8 Lite, its latest attempt to grab a toehold in the U.S. The P8 Lite has a similar design to the P8, but tones down some of the specs to help drop the price point a bit. The P8 Lite features a 5-inch 720p screen and is powered by a 1.5 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and Huawei's SnapShot feature for instantly capturing images with two presses of the down volume key. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. The P8 Lite can capture 1080p HD and 720p HD video from the rear and front cameras, respectively. Connectivity includes LTE Cat 4, Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, and GPS. The P8 Lite runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Huawei's Emotion UI 3.0 on top. The P8 Lite is available unlocked beginning today via GetHuawei.com and Amazon.com. Huawei said the phone will eventually be offered by Fry's, B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, and Target. The phone costs $249, but is being offered at $199 from June 3 through June 6.

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Huawei to Woo US Buyers with Financing and Support

Jun 3, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei today announced the P8 Lite smartphone and with it a new set of tactics it hopes will convince U.S. consumers to give the phone — and Huawei — a shot. Haitao Cui, executive vice president of open markets Huawei USA, believes some invisible barriers have prevented U.S. consumers from buying its devices. The company has taken steps to remove those barriers to ease U.S. consumers' fears about Huawei. To start, Huawei is banking on the appeal of unlocked devices. The P8 Lite is sold directly to consumers unlocked and without a contract. Huawei is offering 3-, 6-, and 12-month financing options, through a partnership with Affirm, for those who'd prefer to break down the P8 Lite's $249 price tag over time. The P8 Lite comes with a two-year warranty with U.S.-based support available via the phone, chat, or social media. Any and all repairs needed during the warranty period will be covered at no charge, as will all shipping costs. The Huawei P8 Lite goes on sale today, June 3, from GetHuawei.com and Amazon.com. Huawei wants to become a top-tier brand in the U.S. with its "affordable premium" devices. It hopes to be the number three handset provider to U.S. buyers within five years.

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InterDigital's ITC Case Against ZTE Fails

Apr 22, 2015, 3:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. ITC today cleared ZTE of violating a phone-related patent held by InterDigital. Late last year, ZTE was found guilty of infringing three different InterDigital patents. InterDigital is a patent-holding firm and has filed similar lawsuits against Nokia and Huawei.


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