MWC

HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

I’m going to be blunt with you, words can’t do justice to the experience of using HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset. There’s nothing quite like slipping into a virtual 3D world, as I did this week in a preview of Vive ahead of developer units shipping this spring. Cloistered in a room at the back of HTC’s Mobile World Congress stand, and with the reassuring voice of a Vive engineer whispering in my ear, I got to try out a number of demo apps and environments created for the platform by Valve and others, including the first announced title for SteamVR.

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Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge; extended hands-on

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge; extended hands-on

With Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, one of the coolest features is the new fingerprint scanner. Rather than having to drag your finger across the home button, you can now simply lay a finger on the button and get the same effect. It’s a much better method than Samsung’s last-gen fingerprint scanner, and draws heavy comparison to Apple’s Touch ID. But just how similar is it to Touch ID? In Barcelona for MWC, we went hands-on with the new fingerprint scanning feature from Samsung, and we gotta say — we’re impressed.

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Pebble Time Steel revealed plus smartstrap sensor add-ons

Pebble Time Steel revealed plus smartstrap sensor add-ons

It's only been a matter of weeks since Pebble showed us its new Time smartwatch, and already there's a second, metal-bodied version, the Pebble Time Steel. Echoing the second-gen original Pebble, which wrapped the guts of the first, plastic wearable in a more premium casing, Pebble Time Steel comes in stainless steel casing and has a larger battery than its cheaper sibling. Meanwhile, the Kickstarter success has also revealed exactly what it has in mind for "smartstraps" for the new Time and Time Steel watches.

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Intel charges at mobile again with new Atom x3, x5, x7 chips

Intel charges at mobile again with new Atom x3, x5, x7 chips

You have to hand it to Intel. It just doesn't let go of a dream. Despite not being able to make a big enough dent in the smartphone market, it is still soldiering on, revising its strategy again and again. While many of us thought (or hoped) that the chip maker would just focus on wearables, it's taking another stab at smartphones, phablets, and tablets. This time with a new line of mobile chips under the names of the Atom x3, Atom x5, and Atom x7.

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You want the Nokia N1, but you can’t have it: Hands-on

You want the Nokia N1, but you can’t have it: Hands-on

Nokia's N1 tablet may not be the newest Android on the block, but its China-only availability has meant checking out the iPad mini-esque hasn't been easy. Happily the Finns have been showing off the sleek hardware here at Mobile World Congress, and I can legitimately say I'm suddenly jealous of mainland China. Sure, the design is nowhere near original, but with a sticker price equivalent to $249 and what's possibly the best-constructed hardware of any Android tablet I've used recently, it's hard not to be impressed.

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BlackBerry Leap: for “rising stars” with BlackBerry values

BlackBerry Leap: for “rising stars” with BlackBerry values

If you thought that BlackBerry was going back to its physical QWERTY keyboards for good, its announcement at MWC 2015 just proved you wrong. Introducing the BlackBerry Leap, the next all-screen smartphone from the embattled company. The Leap is selling itself as a smartphone for a younger generation, hence the lack of physical keyboards, yet shares in the same features that enterprise-level BlackBerry 10 devices have, including security and Android apps. All supposedly for an affordable entry-level price tag we have yet to know about.

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AT&T’s newest integration: controlling your home from your car

AT&T’s newest integration: controlling your home from your car

Amidst all the things going on at MWC today, AT&T has made a big announcement: the company's connected car platform can now be connected to the maker's own home automation/security service, tying both home and vehicle together in a way that makes both work together. AT&T Digital Life is the maker's home security and automation service, obviously available for one's home, while AT&T Drive is the maker's connected car platform. With this new support, AT&T's own Digital Life becomes the first so-called "home management system" that works with its Drive platform.

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Six things you should know about Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge

Six things you should know about Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge

In Barcelona, Samsung did the expected. We’ve got two flagship phones, one of which is curvy in all the right ways. Not only are the two phones really intriguing, they’re downright nice. Finally, Samsung has distanced themselves from plastic and gone with more premium materials. While the two devices are out, there’s still a lot you might not be aware of. Rather than get exhaustive about what’s new, we thought we’d summarize the headline-grabbers for you. Here are — wait for it — six things you should know about the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

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Ford MoDe:Me e-bike tackles cities with smart sensors

Ford MoDe:Me e-bike tackles cities with smart sensors

Ford may be busy working on driverless cars to streamline the city, but until the robot takes the wheel it might be electric folding bikes that cut congestion. The car firm revealed its take on the e-bike segment at Mobile World Congress today, a commuter-friendly cycle dubbed the MoDe:Me and a companion app running on an iPhone 6 mounted on the handlebars for delivering navigation directions, smart re-routing, controlling the power-assist pedaling, and even integrating with the SYNC infotainment system in Ford's cars.

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Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Panasonic Nubo wants to kill Dropcam with 4G

Streaming security cameras are great, until your WiFi connection dies and your virtual peephole gets cut off. Enter the Panasonic Nubo, throwing 4G LTE into the mixture along with some smart home ambitions. Panasonic isn’t aiming low, either, claiming the Nubo is a “Dropcam killer” from the outset, and aiming to out-perform everything on the Nest-owned streaming camera’s spec sheet. I caught up with the Panasonic Cameramanager team to find out why Nubo shouldn’t just be on your home office wall, but hitching a ride in your suitcase.

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Microsoft bends their OS-agnostic mobile keyboard in half: Hands-on

Microsoft bends their OS-agnostic mobile keyboard in half: Hands-on

Two mid-range Lumia smartphones from Microsoft just got an accessory. Really, everyone did. Today, Microsoft is unveiling a foldable version of their cross-platform keyboard, launched late last year. Originally, the keyboard shielded itself from outside damage with a fold-down lid that doubled as a backstop for your tablet or smartphone. The new, fold-y version of the keyboard won’t do that, but it does offer a smaller footprint for users, handy when toting around. We don’t have word on pricing or availability just yet.

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Android Pay mobile payments framework gets offical

Android Pay mobile payments framework gets offical

First Apple Pay, then Samsung Pay, and now Android Pay. Google's Sundar Pichai has confirmed a new mobile payments system is in the pipeline, not just an app like Google Wallet, but a full service on which other companies would be free to build their own payments system. It's also being created with more than just NFC in mind, Pichai said, though the near-field technology for "tapping" to pay is likely to be the first way Android Pay payments will be made.

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