Features

MWC 2014 wrap-up: Phones, Wearables and More

MWC 2014 wrap-up: Phones, Wearables and More

This year for Mobile World Congress was a rebirth of sorts, owing largely to the restructuring of Samsung’s release schedule, Sony’s continued success with their Z series, Nokia’s push of Android, and the next big wave of wearables. We’ve also seen brands like Lenovo and HTC push hard with devices that aren’t aimed directly at the top tier. This is an interesting time for smartphones and mobile devices of all kinds - it’s no longer just about the biggest and the best.

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NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

NSA tight-lipped on webcam spy role as privacy advocates seethe

The NSA has refused to detail exactly how much access to secret Yahoo webcam surveillance that snapped photos of millions of unwitting video chatters, including those involved in adult activities, as demands from privacy regulators for more transparency in monitoring increase in volume. Allegations earlier this week that a clandestine UK scheme run by GCHQ tapped into millions of Yahoo webcam streams and recorded numerous still images to create a vast virtual "mugshot" book of potential terrorists, with technical assistance from the US' NSA in setting up the system, has reawakened criticism of the federal agency after moves by President Obama to try to dampen down what have been seen as overly intrusive methods.

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Meta.01 wearable demos 3D printing as dev release nears

Meta.01 wearable demos 3D printing as dev release nears

Wearables start-up Meta has spilled its first demo of the latest Meta.01 developer edition augmented reality headset in action, promising shipping of the wearable computer from as early as the end of April. The wearable, which uses twin transparent displays to overlay digital graphics on top of the real-world, will come preloaded with a gesture-controlled sculpting and 3D printing app, which Meta has demonstrated in its new video: the wearer is able to indicate the shape of the required object in front of them with their fingers, and have that virtual shape automatically rendered for a 3D printer and made real.

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Apple Touch ID tech explained as Galaxy S5 follows in fingerprints

Apple Touch ID tech explained as Galaxy S5 follows in fingerprints

Apple has further detailed the way security works in iOS, including how the Touch ID system handles keeping fingerprint data safe as biometrics come under renewed scrutiny following Samsung's Galaxy S5 launch. The new iOS security whitepaper, quietly released this week, covers multiple aspects of data safety across devices like the iPhone and iPad, but is likely to be most interesting for the Touch ID scanner details and insight into the so-called Secure Enclave where Apple locks up fingerprint information.

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Nokia X: potential for “hundreds of millions of users over time” says Dev VP

Nokia X: potential for “hundreds of millions of users over time” says Dev VP

This week a little more than 24 hours after Nokia X was revealed at MWC 2014, we had a chat with Nokia VP of Developer Relations Amit Patel about what his team was doing to pull in device-ready Android apps. Nokia X does not come with the Google collection of apps right out of the box - this means you’ll be working with Nokia and Microsoft’s Android apps for starters, supplemented by a set of apps coming from the new Android-based Nokia Store (app store, that is). As Patel explains, Nokia is using a modified version of the tried-and-true Lumia-based developer program to draw in new creators.

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Huge Windows Phone license fee cut tipped as Nokia X nears

Huge Windows Phone license fee cut tipped as Nokia X nears

Microsoft could slash the Windows Phone licensing fee it charges manufacturers to use the OS by nearly three-quarters, reports from handset makers indicate, as the company tries to drive adoption in developing markets on more affordable devices. Exactly what tithe Microsoft demands for each OS install has never been officially confirmed, but according to one manufacturer yet to jump on the Windows Phone train, the rumored $23-30 per device figure widely circulated might be cut by as much as 70-percent. Ironically, the cut comes just as Microsoft gets close to acquiring a project intended to bridge Windows Phone and developing markets.

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Google Project Ara will be detailed for devs in April

Google Project Ara will be detailed for devs in April

Google will hold its first Project Ara Developers' Conference in April, the company's ATAP team has announced, detailing the modular Ara smartphone and kicking off a competition for developers of new components. Held predominantly online but with a small number of developers invited on-site at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the conference will see Google's Ara team do a detailed walkthrough of the current prototype and the alpha Ara Module Developers' Kit (MDK).

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Samsung Galaxy S5: All you need to know

Samsung Galaxy S5: All you need to know

As hotly-anticipated smartphones go, the Samsung Galaxy S5 ranked up there alongside the new iPhone, with all eyes on the dominant force in Android handsets at Mobile World Congress this year. Samsung didn't stint on the show, opening the launch with a full orchestra and then running through the new specs - fingerprint biometrics, a 16-megapixel camera, and more - in a huge press event that also saw it revamp its wearable companion range. As the dust settles, follow us on past the cut for all the key details about the new Galaxy S5.

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The new HTC One is how the ‘M8′ will launch

The new HTC One is how the ‘M8′ will launch

HTC may not be showing us its new flagship Android smartphone until March 25th, but it has seemingly confirmed the name of the handset codenamed "HTC M8", with a video billing it as the "new HTC One". The name, which fits in with indications back at the original HTC One launch in 2013 that the nomenclature would be for an ongoing family of devices - rather than, say, "HTC One 2" or "HTC Two" as some had speculated - follows similar strategies by Apple around earlier iPad launches.

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