Consumer Reports pits Android handsets against the iPhone in bend-test battle royale

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Consumer Reports released a new video today taking on claims of overly-flexible iPhones that have appeared online recently. Apple noted that only a handful of complaints have come in and gave journalists a look at its testing procedures. Regardless of Cupertino’s claims, Consumer Reports kept its promise to conduct testing that was a bit more scientific in nature than previous YouTube videos.

To address these claims, several different phones were tested under up to 150 pounds of pressure to see when each model would stop “snapping back” to its original shape. The devices tested were the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5, HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and LG G3.

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Google Glass can steal phone PINs from across a room

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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell have demonstrated an interesting (and slightly scary) technique for using Google Glass to detect phone PINs with 83 percent accuracy from across a room – even when the screen wasn’t visible.

The technique used applies an image-recognition algorithm that doesn’t need direct sight of the screen. Instead, it uses a reference image of the target device to detect the angle at which it’s being held, then tracks the shadows from finger taps to detect which on-screen keys are being pressed …  Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 said to have fingerprint unlock, with website logins also supported

The fingerprint sensor is said to be embedded in the home button

The fingerprint sensor is said to be embedded in the home button

SamMobile is reporting that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will have a fingerprint sensor which will both unlock the phone and allow automated website logins. We’re expecting to see the S5 officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 24th February, though it may not go on sale until March or April.

It had earlier been rumored that the S5 would have iris recognition, but a KGI Research document pointed instead to a fingerprint sensor, which SamMobile claims to be able to confirm via sources inside Samsung.

We are finally confirming that Samsung’s upcoming flagship device, the Galaxy S5, will be equipped with a fingerprint sensor [...]

Samsung hasn’t opted for on-screen buttons and is still using physical buttons, like it has been using in the past on all of its flagship devices. The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly …  Read more

Samsung feeling the pressure as Android market share approaches 70 percent

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Increasing competition in the Android market is placing Samsung under increased pressure, says Kantar, reporting sales figures for the final quarter of 2013.

After years of accelerated growth, Samsung is now coming under real pressure in most regions, with European share down by 2.2 percentage points to 40.3% and in China its share ended the year flat at 23.7% …  Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 confirmed for April, new design, may have iris-scanner

Galaxy S5 design needs to be different to the S4, says Samsung

Galaxy S5 design needs to be different to the S4, says Samsung

Samsung didn’t reveal much that was new in a fairly wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg, but exec VP of the company’s mobile division Lee Young Hee did tease a couple of things while confirming that the Galaxy S5 would be released by April.

The company is “studying the possibility” of including the iris-recognition security system we told you about last month. If Samsung succeeds, it would be a neat piece of one-upmanship on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in Apple’s iPhone 5S, iris-recognition being both faster and more secure than fingerprints.

The company also said that it recognized that the design of the S4 wasn’t sufficiently different from the S3, and that we can expect something significantly different from the S5 …  Read more

Are these images of Nokia’s Normandy Android fork UI?

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The story of the Nokia Normandy project to get Android on low cost smartphones got some more real today with yet another leak of the phones, this time with some OS shots on them. If what we’re seeing is legit, and most evleaks are, this one has two SIM card slots and very thick custom overlay.  I can’t wait to see if these are released so I can not buy one.  Read more

Samsung upping the smartphone security stakes with iris-recognition – report

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A piece on ZDNet‘s Korean site reports that Samsung has developed an iris-recognition system to unlock smartphones, and that the technology is likely to be seen in handsets launched next year.

Iris-recognition is generally considered to be the gold standard for biometric identification, allowing extremely fast matches with a very low risk of false matching. It is commonly used for border controls …  Read more

Moto G camera, video samples surface and show off the 5 megapixel goods of the $179 smartphone

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For all the things the Moto G may be, there’s little question that the Moto G isn’t the phone for the individual who cares most about smartphone photography. With a $179 price tag, we understand some compromises will have to be made and even if a 5 megapixel camera, f/2.4 lens and flash combination are present, we know some tradeoffs are at hand in overall quality.

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Results on Nexus 5 camera poll: Perhaps not as bad as (over 20,000) people thought

The results from our Nexus 5 vs. iPhone 5s photo quality survey are in.  The winner is probably not a surprise (the iPhone 5s) but the margin may have been a bit of a surprise after so many people rated the Nexus 5 camera so poorly (and Google subsequently offered promises of fixes).

At the time we turned on the answers, the iPhone won about 55% of the votes overall from over 200,000 votes placed.

Nexus 5 − 89724  (45%)

iPhone 5S – 110828 (55%)

After testing the Nexus 5 camera for a few days, it is pretty clear that it isn’t the best shooter out there, and even the best Android shooter.  But it also isn’t that bad. In fact, I think it might be a bit better than other high profile phones like the MotoX.  The weaknesses in the survey and in my own testing is in speed (it is slow, especially in low light), Low light images in general weren’t great and paradoxically over-exposure outside in well lit situations (though people in the survey seemed to appreciate that bias) seemed to happen frequently with the Nexus 5.

The bottom line however is that the Nexus 5 camera isn’t the best but it really isn’t that bad – especially for a $350 phone.   Full results before we turned on the labels below: Read more

Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega – Carrying around a 6.3-inch tablet as your phone isn’t as crazy as it seems

Size comparison between Nexus 7, iPhone 5s and Galaxy Note 2 and S4

“Is that a Samsung Galaxy Mega in your pocket?”, is how the joke usually starts.  Samsung, never content with having the biggest phone out there, released its crazy ‘Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3‘ contraption with a whopping 6.3″ display on AT&T customers in the US recently and I wanted to see if I could actually get by with it, and it alone, as not only my “Internet Communicator” but also my phone.

I should probably preface this with the fact that I’m a very sparse phone user. I rarely give my number out and even when I get a call, I rarely answer it. When I’m at my desk, I use Google Voice, Hangouts, Skype and iChat for voice communications. When I’m on the road, I’m on a cheap unlimited data plan which affords me 100 minutes of talk time a month. I usually use about half of that IYSWIM.

So with that in mind, how were my few weeks with the Mega?

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Motorola shipping (and not necessarily selling) a disappointing 100,000 Moto X phones a week

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Reuters reports that Motorola is currently shipping 100,000 Moto X handsets a week – though not necessarily selling this number.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said “When you set up to ramp a factory you need a plan, and we have shipment targets we need to make with our carrier partners, and where we need to be right now is 100,000 units and that’s where we are.”

Woodside would say only that direct sales to customers were “substantial”. Either way, we suspect the company must be secretly disappointed in the numbers …  Read more

Samsung Galaxy S4 review: continuous improvements on the screen, camera and even the software

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That’s the S4 sandwiched between the HTC One and the iPhone 5

I’ve been playing with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 (no, I won’t write S 4) for the better part of a week and, not to spoil the whole review: I love it.  It is better in every way than the S3 hardware-wise, and Samsung even has some good software on this phone, particularly in the camera field. I’ve never been a fan of Samsung’s software.

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It is what is on the inside that counts, right?

This phone will do extremely well in the market and will keep up the fight against the almighty iPhone 5 and HTC One (which we reviewed earlier this month and loved). In the Apple world, this S4 is called an ‘S update’ – where the outward design is mostly the same but a lot of changes have taken place under the hood.

Below I’ll drill down exactly what that means. Read more