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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Leaked photos claim to show Nokia’s Normandy Android smartphone in the wild

We’ve already seen a few leaked press shots claiming to show Nokia’s much rumored Android smartphone and UI often referred to as the “Normandy” project. Today we get what appears to be the first shots of the device in the wild and better look at the device’s mix of Lumia and Asha design traits. The images above come from a thread on Coolaxap.com where leaked images of Windows devices have popped up before.

While nothing is official, recent reports said the device could debut as early as this month at the Mobile World Congress event that runs through February 27. We’ll be bringing you coverage from MWC next week and updates on Normandy as we find out more.  Read more

Samsung reportedly set to unveil “multiple” Galaxy Gear models at MWC, one supposedly running Tizen

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We’re just a week away from Mobile World Congress kicking off in Barcelona, and while the event has been rather quiet for the past couple of years, it looks like that may change this time around. Samsung has already announced a press event for MWC, during which it will unveil its Galaxy S5 flagship. According to two new reports, however, the company also has more planned for the event.

Both USA Today and The Verge are reporting that Samsung will unveil at least one new Galaxy Gear smartwatch variant at its press event next week. The Verge report is sparse on details, simply reporting that Samsung could unveil “multiple new Galaxy Gear” models at the event.

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Samsung confirms next-gen Galaxy smartphone coming this month w/ improved LED flash

Photo: digitaltrends.com

Photo: digitaltrends.com

With the number of Galaxy S5 leaks in recent weeks, many are expecting we’ll get our first official glimpse of the device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. While Samsung’s invites for the “Unpacked5” event did all but confirm an unveiling for MWC, today the company has flat out said that a new flagship Galaxy smartphone will be launched in the coming weeks. In a blog post announcing new LED flash components for mobile devices, Samsung said the technology will be “used in the next Galaxy smartphone, which is expected to be introduced later this month.”

Because high-quality smartphone cameras require a wider FOV (Field of View) angle for better picture quality, Samsung’s new reflector-integrated flash LEDs are designed to enable a great deal of flexibility by providing a wide FOV within a small space through the integration of a light source,  a lead frame, and a reflector with its own optics and diffusion features.

Of course Samsung has a long line of Galaxy devices that it could possibly be referring to, but there’s a good chance we’ll see the new flagship S5 on Monday Feb. 24. The event will be live streamed at youtube.com/samsungmobile and we’ll be bringing you live coverage as new products get announced.  Read more

Nokia teases ‘X’ phone ahead of expected Android announcement at MWC next week

Ahead of its scheduled announcement at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia is teasing what we expect to be its first venture into Android handsets.

What has been codenamed Normandy, an Android variant with a Windows Phone-like user interface seen on Nokia’s recent smartphones, is being branded as Nokia X according to information shared by evleaks and mirrored by Nokia’s promo (seen above).

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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 S5 “Prime” & “Standard” models on the way, Sprint getting lower-spec’d one?

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Samsung looks set to launch at least two different versions of the Galaxy S5, its replacement for the current range-topping S4, code-named Prime and Standard – and it appears possible that Sprint will be getting the lower-spec version.

The two versions first showed up in benchmarks by AnTuTu, showing a Prime model labelled US Cellular and a lower-spec Standard model labelled Europe …  Read more