Google SVP Sundar Pichai denies it bid on WhatsApp

Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai at D: All Things Digital conference

Despite widespread reporting that Google bid and failed to purchase WhatsApp ahead of Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging platform company, Google SVP Sundar Pichai went on the record during a panel discussion at Mobile World Congress to put that claim to bed, The Telegraph reports.

“Whatsapp was definitely an exciting product,” he said. “We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue.”

The source of the reports that Google attempted to pick up WhatsApp for $10 billion source back to a report by Fortune citing “two separate sources” claiming Google had previously underbid Facebook. Read more

SanDisk unveils first 128GB microSD card “designed for Android”

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, SanDisk has just announced a new accessory that will make many Android users very happy. The company has unveiled the world’s first ever 128GB microSD card. More specifically, the card uses the microSDXC standard, meaning that it works with devices only that are compatible with XC, not just the lower-end HC.

SanDisk does note, however, that the card is “designed for Android” and will be fully compatible with many Android devices. In addition to this new 128GB card, SanDisk will also be updating its “Memory Zone” app for Android, which allows users to easily and access files stored on microSD cards. The app also allows users to back up content to it and free-up internal device memory. A new “OptiMem” will automatically transfer older photos on a device to external memory.

The availability of 128GB microSD cards also signals that we could soon start seeing Android devices with 128GB of internal storage. This would be a big upgrade, especially when the operating system on many devices takes up more than 6GB of space.

The 128GB SanDisk microSD card will run $199.99 when it is released. The card will be available exclusively from Amazon and BestBuy.

Samsung announces more than 200 million Galaxy S smartphones have been sold since 2010

SM-G900F_copper GOLD_02Samsung just unveiled the fifth iteration of its Galaxy S line of smartphones at Mobile World Congress, and alongside that unveil, the company shared some sales numbers. According to Samsung CEO JK Shin, the South Korean company has sold more than 200 million Galaxy S smartphones since the line was first introduced in 2010.

While Shin didn’t break down that 200 million by each specific smartphone, we do know that Samsung crossed 40 million sales of the Galaxy S4 back in October. In December, the company announced that it had sold 10 million Galaxy Note 3 units. Another report also claimed that Samsung sold a whopping 120 million smartphones total in Q3 of 2013, more than Apple, Nokia, and LG combined.

Apple recently crossed an even bigger milestone by selling  its 700 millionth iOS device. Of course, that number also includes the iPad. Either way, it’s clear that both Apple and Samsung are neck and neck in terms of device sales. Samsung could also soon face stiffer competition from HTC when it unveils its newest flagship.

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Live stream: Watch Samsung unveil the Galaxy S5 at ‘Unpacked5’ MWC event

Samsung is about to officially unveil its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone at Mobile World Congress and a live stream of the entire event will be available through the YouTube channel above.

On top of the S5, it’s likely Samsung will have some other product announcements and give us a look at the new Gear smartwatch. There have been plenty of rumors about what might be included in the Galaxy S5, but we’ll know for sure in less than an hour.

The live stream of the press conference is embedded above and kicks off at at 2 p.m. ET/8 p.m. Barcelona time.  Read more

Sony announces 4K capable Xperia Z2 waterproof phone & tablet, fitness band and mid-range M2 phone

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The Sony Xperia Z2 waterproof phone with 4K video recording

Sony announced four new products at Mobile World Congress: two new Xperia phones, a matching tablet and a fitness band.

The Xperia Z2, the replacement for its Z1 waterproof phone, adds 4K video recording, SteadyShot image-stabilisation, digital noise-cancelling stereo mics and what the company describes as its ‘brightest and most vivid’ LED display. We first got wind of the 4K video capabilities last month via a screengrab of the camera app …  Read more

Samsung to start preloading apps onto Galaxy devices based on the profession and interests of the buyer

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

Customers buying Samsung devices at Samsung retail stores will soon receive a personalized experience based on their job, hobbies and other traits, 9to5Google has learned.

This includes contextually preloading third-party apps at point of purchase. For example, banking, finance and spreadsheet apps will be targeted at people working in corporations or self-employed businessmen. Similarly, students in higher education will get office suites and note-taking apps preinstalled. Casual games are also in the pool of possible apps, particularly aimed at satisfying younger buyers.

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