French carrier Orange to sell Intel Android phone direct, cheap

Reuters reported that France-based carrier Orange would launch Intel Medfield-based Atom smartphones in the United Kingdom and French markets this year. This is notable for a number of reasons.

Although long time Intel MoBo partner Gigabyte will build the device, there is no manufacturer listed on the device besides Intel. Moreover, Intel will provide some proprietary software.

The phone is based on Intel’s prototype Medfield Android phone shown off most recently at CES 2012 and now MWC 2012. Orange’s version will house Intel’s Atom Z2460 processor that clocks at 1.6GHz. It will also have a 4-inch 600-by-1024 display with an impressive 8-megapixel camera that will shoot 1080P video. IT will also ship with Android 2.3, but it will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich OS (which is strange, because the prototypes at CES ran ICS.)

The phone will market as a low-cost prepaid device and not a high-end device, even though Medfield chips usually blow away anything in the ARM camp on power (not power consumption).

I get the feeling Intel grew tired of smartphone manufacturers passing it over for cheaper ARM chips and just decided to build the phone itself.

 


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Samsung Galaxy Beam ProjectorPhone gets updated for 2012, double the lumens

Samsung Beam unveiled at IFA 2010, but it got real today with some updated specs.  The short version is that it is a Galaxy S running Android 2.3 with a huge 2000mA battery and a 15 Lumen pico WVGA projector (up from Android 2.1/1600mA/8 Lumens).

The long version/press release is below.

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Galaxy Note 10.1 running S-Pen app spotted at MWC

The writing is on the wall…. literally. As seen above, you have the 10.1 Galaxy Note, previously rumored to run the S-Pen application, and this image all but seals the deal. Samsung previously let slip a little reference in its press materials, but this evidence looks irrefutable.

I was not a huge fan of the Note’s stylus in my review, but let’s just say it is growing (on me).

 

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HTC One 4.7 inch,130g Tegra 3 Android superphone pictures and specs leak

The HTC 1’s unveiling is not for another day, but pretty much everything is already out in the open.

FullGSM got its hands on the specs (below), and IT portal got a look at the hardware. Notables include a 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor under the hood, and it seems to have as good an 8-megapixel-backlit camera as money can buy on a smartphone. The 4.7-inch 720P display is not going to sit well with those concerned about the growth of Android phone size. This thing also features a Google Wallet compatible NFC chip, but it conspicuously lacks LTE.

In addition, it is relatively light for a HTC phone. It comes in at 130 grams and a modest 9.3-mm thickness.

The full specs are below:

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Google invents new ‘g+o’ gestures for future Android devices

According to a patent originally filed in Q3 2011 and published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office earlier this month (via PatentlyApple), Google invented a new search gesture for future Android devices that incorporates various forms of the letter “g”.

As described by PatentlyApple, the gesture would allow users to circle what they want to search for within the letter “g” or “g + o” (as shown in the graphic above), and perform the search when lifting their finger. Google would not limit the feature to just Google searches, however, it would also allow you to access alternatives by drawing an “S”.

The patent application described different embodiments of the concept incorporating use of the various letters combine with a continuous circling motion (pictured below). For example, the user could circle various pieces of content or text in one motion, bypassing the need to copy-and-paste several items separately. Instead of simply performing a search once lifting your finger, the feature could also first present a list of context-sensitive options such as phone numbers, dictionary entries, or links to a Wikipedia article—for instance. PatentlyApple explained how Google could allow other companies to take advantage going forward:

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Rumor: Google-branded 7-inch tablet to launch in April

Google plans to enter the tablet market in April with a self-branded 7-inch slate.

CNET’s Brooke Crothers said Display Search analyst Richard Shim expects 1.5 million to 2 million units with a 1280-by-800-resolution display to enter initial production this spring.

The rumor mill also indicates the Google-branded tablet will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and it apparently also has Nexus ties. The device will see a $199 price tag to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire that has a 1024-by-600 display…

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Samsung to launch first smartphone without a bezel by Q3?

According to translated report from MK News (via TNW), Samsung is in development on the industry’s first smartphone without a bezel. Referred to in the report as the “Galaxy B,” the device will apparently have no bezel on three sides of the display with just a small bezel at the top to hold the earpiece and camera. The device will apparently pack a large AMOLED display, but there is no specific mention of Android or other specs. We most likely will not see much from Samsung at Mobile World Congress later this month, because the company confirmed it would not hold press events. However, some are speculating the “Galaxy B” codename could eventually be the Galaxy S III. The report said Samsung plans to launch the bezel-free smartphone during the second or third quarter of 2012.

 

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Dropbox can now automatically backup your camera roll at the touch of a button

An update to the Dropbox for Android client issued yesterday allows users to automatically save every photograph taken with a phone’s camera to their Dropbox in full resolution. A new setting to Turn on Camera Upload also lets you upload existing photos and videos over wireless or both wireless and cellular networks.

In case of the latter, Dropbox will not upload large videos using a data plan; although, you can override the preference in settings. Your photos and clips save in a private folder on your Dropbox called Camera Uploads. The company said people wishing to test the new feature would get an extra 3GB of free storage for a total of 5GB.

It is important to note that you will not get an extra 3GB at once but rather your storage limit will gradually increase as photos and videos upload with the new feature. For example, your first automatic upload scores 500MB of free extra storage. The company is also testing new Windows and Mac clients that can also automatically upload photos found on digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, or SD card connected to your machine.

Once your photos and videos automatically upload to Dropbox, you will be able to view them using a new web interface. The updated Dropbox for Android client is now available for download in Android Market. The company also confirmed iOS users will soon get the Camera Upload feature through a forthcoming update.

It is worth mentioning that Google had a similar feature in the Google+ for Android client, and Apple tackled this issue with Photo Stream—an iCloud feature that automatically syncs photos (but not videos) across Macs, PCs and iOS devices.

 

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Google+ Circles integrate with Google Voice for improved caller management

Google announced today that it is adding Google+ Circles to Google Voice.

Software Engineer Tom Ford took to the official Google Voice blog to tell users how Circles give callers more control with organizing and managing in Google Voice:

Circles give you more control over how you manage your callers; for example, calls from your “Creepers” circle can be sent straight to Voicemail, only your “College Buddies” circle will hear you rap your voicemail greeting, or you can set your “Family” circle to only ring your mobile phone.

As Ford mentioned, go to the Groups & Circles tab in Google Voice settings to customize Circles.

More information is available below.

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Samsung Rugby Smart hits AT&T for $99 on March 4

Samsung and AT&T announced a new dustproof, water-resistant smartphone today designed specifically to withstand harsh elements. Other than some pretty decent specs for an entry-level price point, the Rugby Smart is submergible for up to 30 minutes in up to 1m of water, and it is “built to mil-std 81 0f military spec standards… for Dust, Humidity, Rain, Shock and Temperature.”

The Samsung Rugby Smart will land on AT&T for $99 on a two-year commitment and packs a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display, 4GB onboard memory, 5-megapixel main camera (1.3MP front camera), and a 1650 mAh Lilon Poly battery for up to 8 hours talk time and 16 days standby. Expect Android 2.3 out of the box when it becomes available next month. The full press release is after the break.

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Samsung hits the streets to challenge iPhone users with Galaxy Note

When Samsung takes on Apple in one of its own commercials, it typically does so with a Galaxy S II ad mocking iPhone line sitters. However, Samsung hit the streets this time to compare its 5.3-inch Galaxy Note tablet/smartphone hybrid to Apple’s iPhone 4S. While it is not exactly a fair challenge, the video shows a Galaxy Note user performing various tasks with the integrated S Pen stylus. Meanwhile, an iPhone user stands dumbfounded at the results.

So, what exactly can the Note do that the iPhone cannot? According to the video, personal customized messages, the ability to draw and send walking maps with the stylus, and full support for editing PowerPoint presentations. The ad ends with the iPhone user announcing: “I’m jealous, and I’m upset, and I’m embarrassed.”
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