Archive for February 27, 2017

Korean Smartphone Companies Duke It Out At MWC

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

If you were wondering what could possibly reverse Samsung’s fortunes after the exploding Galaxy Note 7 debacle, wonder no longer. Today at Mobile World Congress Samsung teased the Galaxy S8 in a video:

Also making an apparence were two new tablets. One Android and one Windows. The latter is interesting as Samsung has tended to be an Android shop with brief dabbles into Tizen which is their in house OS. Though you have to ask this question. Why would Samsung come out with tablets if nobody is buying them? There’s also a new Gear VR headset with a bundled controller on deck as well for what it is worth.

So if Samsung had no phone to show off, LG showed up with one in the form of the G6. Apparently it will have a 5.7-inch screen with a 18:9 aspect ratio (instead of the 16:9 standard) and Dolby Vision HDR, which could mean better-looking images. It’s fully waterproof, and has a dual-lens camera with some nifty photo tricks, too. We’ll see if that can steal the thunder from the S8.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of the LG G6:

 

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Sony And Nokia Kick Out New Phones At MWC… Why?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

Mobile World Congress is in full swing and I have two more releases that you might want pay attention to. If only to see if they succeed or fail. The first is from Sony and it’s called the XZ Premium according to The Verge:

The XZ Premium has the world’s first 4K HDR (2,160 x 3,840, High Dynamic Range) display in a smartphone. Sony has the latest and best Qualcomm chip while others are still offering the Snapdragon 820 and 821, but the Xperia XZ Premium won’t be out until late spring or just ahead of the summer. Hell, the demo units shown off ahead of MWC weren’t running anywhere close to final software — so Sony is pre-announcing its new flagship device by a long margin. Other notable features include water resistance, rated to IP65 and IP68, a thinner profile at 7.9mm, and MicroSD storage expandability. The phone’s battery is a reasonable 3,230mAh, and there’s a fingerprint sensor integrated into the side-mounted power button as usual.

A 4K HDR screen on a smartphone? Well, that’s either going to look spectacular, or nobody will care because other than Netflix and some sporting events in Canada, there isn’t a whole lot of 4K content to be had. Even if there was, 4K makes sense on a 50″ TV. But a smartphone? Hmmm….

The other release is from a company who is quite literally back from the dead. So is the smartphone that they’re bringing out. That company is Nokia and the smartphone is the 3310. Remember those? Nokia is clearly hoping that those of a certain age do as those phones used to be very popular. Here’s the details from Wired:

The 3310 is still very much a feature phone. It has a web browser, but only barely — it’s a dumbed-down version of Opera, basically there for emergency tweeting. It exists for you to make phone calls, send texts the way you did a decade ago (T9 FTW!), and play Snake. The 3310 weighs less than three ounces, and its battery lasts an absurd 31 days in standby time, or up to 22 hours of talk time. The new 3310 has a camera, for one thing, a 2-megapixel shooter. It also has a 2.4-inch, 240×320 screen, which is hilariously small and low-res but still a huge improvement over the original.

Okay, this is another release that will be a spectacular success or a #fail. I can’t see someone who uses an iPhone or a Samsung product buying this. But the filpside to that is that baby boomers and maybe Gen X’ers might be the target market for this. We’ll see when it ships.

 

TELUS Announces The New Your Choice Canada-US plan

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

As of today, it has never been easier for frequent US travellers, snowbirds and people with family and friends in the United States to stay connected. TELUS is expanding its Your Choice suite of rate plans with a new Canada-US plan, a monthly rate plan that works the same in both Canada and the US and includes unlimited calling and texting to Canadian and US numbers as well as usage from the customer’s data bucket while in Canada or the US.

This new Your Choice Canada-US plan is available to all Canadian customers – new and existing – and to customers choosing to bring their own device when signing up with TELUS.

This new plan is a great option for customers who frequently travel to the US, Canadians who are studying in the US and frequently talk/text with friends and family in Canada. It’s also great for Canadians with friends and family living in the US that they talk and text with frequently or customers who are semi-frequent travellers that value convenience and peace of mind when it comes to their monthly bills.

In addition to the new Your Choice Canada-US plan, TELUS offers customers a variety of ways to stay connected at home and abroad from different Your Choice options to travel options including TELUS Easy Roam.

For more information on the Your Choice Canada-US plan visit telus.com/CanadaUS<http://telus.com/CanadaUS.

Many Canadians Don’t Know How To Check If Their Connected Devices Have Been Compromised: Intel Security

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

A recent Intel Security shows that although protecting personal information is top of mind for Canadian consumers, they often fall short in taking the proper precautions to do so.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Canadians are worried about the security of their financial information. In fact, 44% of survey respondents are most concerned about a hacker stealing personal financial information.
  • The fear of losing personal information has many Canadian consumers motivated to keep a close eye on their devices. 83% of consumers check to ensure their connected devices have not been compromised.
  • Unfortunately, 51% of Canadians don’t know how to check to make sure their devices or applications have not been compromised.
  • Top Canadian consumer cybersecurity concerns include:
    • Theft of their personal financial information (44%)
    • Identity theft (38%)
    • Being watched or listened to if their device has been compromised (23%)

Below are some tips from Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist with Intel Security, that can help Canadians remain safe while leading a connected life:

  • Lock down your devices. Our devices are like an extension of our bodies. It’s imperative that they are locked down with a strong PIN code, as well as complex and unique passwords to prevent unauthorized access. Use a multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution, like True Key by Intel Security, that will combine your strong passwords with an extra layer of security – like your fingerprint or facial recognition.
  • Keep your devices updated. Be sure to update your devices when new versions of the operating system or applications become available. Updates often include critical security fixes designed to patch and protect from attacks.
  • Take control of your home network. Setting up a guest Wi-Fi network allows visitors to access the internet but keeps your home network private and isolated from their devices. You can also separate your IoT devices (smart home devices, wearables, etc.) from traditional connected devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) where more secure information is stored, so if an IoT devices is compromised, the breach will be limited to devices connected to the guest network. Solutions, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform [Warning: PDF], help you easily manage and protect devices connected to both networks, and can ensure that guest devices connected to your network don’t open you up to an attack.

More information is available in a blog post by Gary at: https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/connected-life/

Intel Security commissioned OnePoll to conduct a survey of 13,000 adults (aged 18-55+) in December 2016. Respondents used an internet-connected device on a daily basis and were based in the following regions: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the U.S.

ZTE Unveils Forward-looking “5uper Generation” Smartphone

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

ZTE today at Mobile World Congress unveiled the Gigabit Phone, the world’s first smartphone with download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps. Thanks to ZTE’s independently developed Pre5G Giga+ MBB solution and smart devices, onsite visitors witnessed a successful test of download speeds reaching up to 1Gbps on the Gigabit Phone, an indicator of ZTE’s technology strength in the upcoming “5uper Generation”.

The ZTE Gigabit Phone, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, utilizes a combination of carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO antenna technology, and 256-QAM modulation to achieve LTE download speeds that are up to 10x faster than first generation LTE devices.

Thanks to ZTE’s technology strength in 5G and Pre5G Giga+ MBB solutions, the ZTE Gigabit Phone is three times as powerful at improving data processing capability in the current network. It is the cornerstone of ZTE introducing 5G to 4G networks and providing worldwide carriers with Pre 5G solutions.

In the future, with download speeds up to 1Gbps as a standard and ZTE’s technology strength in 5G systems and networks, the mobile experience on smart devices will be enhanced to an unimaginable level.

The Gigabit phone will challenge world limits and transform the ultimate pursuit of human senses. The unimaginable speed of up to 1Gbps will improve users’ lifestyles by allowing for 360° panoramic VR video, instant cloud storage, entertainment upgrades and fast cache of ultra Hi-Fi music and movies, and instant APP, which removes the need for download or installation of applications.

The introduction of ZTE’s Gigabit-class mobile phone marks an important cornerstone for the 5G mobile era. This phone is not only revolutionizing communication, but also revolutionizing human connectivity with a new standard of speed, bringing a qualitative leap to a new world of mobile experience.

If you are at Mobile World Congress, you can visit the ZTE booth The ZTE booth at 3F30, Hall 3, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona.

HP Announces A Ton Of Gear At MWC

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

HP Inc. today at Mobile World Congress announced a dynamic new commercial 2-in-1 detachable along with a range of innovative accessories that empower people to work wherever, whenever, with connected mobile devices that are fun as well as functional, powerful and secure. The new HP Pro x2 612 G2 is designed for today’s mobile professionals who want a stylish device that is easy to use. At the same time, they need applications that automate workflows in field services, government, healthcare, and retail verticals while delivering high productivity with the enterprise-class security and serviceability IT requires.

The Pro x2 is a versatile 2-in-1 detachable, featuring multiple modes ideal for commercial use, including presentation mode, inking mode for taking notes, tablet mode for data collection, and notebook mode. The Pro x2 can be configured with a choice of the latest 7th generation Intel processors, providing reliable performance to meet a variety of end users’ needs.

The design goals for the Pro x2 were built around mobile productivity, which includes WLAN and optional WWAN, with a fast-charging battery that offers up to 11 hours of battery life. The device’s magnetically attached Collaboration Keyboard features dedicated keys to directly manage voice and video conference calls. For drawing and taking notes, the HP Active Wacom Pen with App Launch combined with the extended 165-degree kickstand make it easy to present and share. The Pro x2 includes a USB-C connection for quick charging and data transfers and USB-A for accessing traditional legacy peripherals.

IT requirements for security, manageability and lifecycle management were also key focus areas for the Pro x2. The device was built from the ground up for secure work environments and includes a built-in smart card reader, a removable SSD, and the HP Client Security Suite Gen3, along with an optional fingerprint sensor and optional Near Field Communications (NFC). IT lifecycle management includes a removable back cover and enterprise-class serviceability for the display panel, kickstand and other key components, along with dedicated 24/7 commercial support. And the Pro x2 is designed to last for the traditional enterprise 3- to 5-year lifecycle, passing MIL-STD testing for drops, dust, humidity, temperature changes and functional shock.

Also announced today is a range of new vertical workflow accessories for the company’s x2 lineup and breakthrough Elite x3 platform. These accessories are designed with versatility in mind, helping mobile professionals be productive and remain connected whether they are in the office or on the go. Accessories launching at Mobile World Congress include:

  • HP Elite x3 Mobile Scanning Solution and the HP Elite x3 Mobile Retail Solution: Building on the innovation of the Elite x3 launched at last year’s Mobile World Congress, these solutions extend the benefits of the x3 platform beyond the mobile professional to mobilize vertical workflows for healthcare, field and retail workers. The integrated barcode scanner can be used to check prices, access inventory and CRM information on the go and then seamlessly transition to the back-office with the ability to dock and connect to a display, mouse, and keyboard for a full PC experience.
  • HP Pro x2 612 G2 Rugged Case: Ideal for customers in extreme work environments, this case features a 360-degree rotating hand strap, shoulder strap, stylus holder, optional port plugs and is compatible with the Pro x2’s keyboard.
  • HP Elite USB-C Dock: Turn your device into a desktop and connect to multiple displays and devices while charging with this enterprise IT ready dock, compatible with devices like the Pro x2, HP Elite x2 1012 G1, or HP Elite x3 that have a multi-function Type-C USB port and devices that support Thunderbolt™.
  • HP USB-C Travel Hub: For mobile professionals who need access to additional peripheral ports while on-the-go, this solution delivers pass-through connectivity for displays and USB devices and charging for the Pro x2, Elite x2 or the Elite x3 while the device is being used – with one USB-C™ cable.
  • HP Retail Case 12: Announced at NRF, this solution combines with the Pro x2 to create a portable solution for store associates to sell and conduct mobile transactions on the sales floor.

 

Pricing and Availability

  • The HP Pro x2 612 G2 is available now, starting at $979.
  • The HP Pro x2 612 G2 Rugged Case is available now, starting at $49.
  • The HP Elite USB-C Dock is expected to be available in March, starting at $149.
  • The HP USB-C Travel Hub is available now, starting at $49.
  • The HP Retail Case 12 is available now, starting at $249.
  • The HP Elite x3 Mobile Scanning Solution is available now, starting at $329.
  • The HP Elite x3 Mobile Retail Solution is available now, starting at $999.

Google Assistant Coming To More Phones Starting This Week

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

Google has announced that Google Assistant which is the company’s AI based personal assistant would be coming to Nougat and Marshmallow handsets. Previously, the AI based personal assistant was only available on the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones that Google makes, which I am sure didn’t make a whole lot of people happy. Most notably Google’s partners like Samsung and LG.

The first people to get this will be Android users in the U.S. sometime this week. English speaking Canadian users, as well those who speak English in Australia and the U.K, will gain access to Google Assistant sometime later.

So Android users, is this something that you’re looking forward to? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.