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ZTE Blade S6: $250 gets you Lollipop, Snadpragon 615, LTE, and a 13MP camera

By Bogdan Petrovan

ZTE Blade S6

ZTE just unveiled the latest member of its “mass market premium” Blade family, the Blade S6.

A device that’s targeted at the “young and young at heart,” the ZTE Blade S6 brings together solid mid-range specifications, with Android 5.0 Lollipop, and a few unique features, in one package going for $250.

The Blade S6 features a 5-inch HD (1280 x 720) screen in a 7.7-mm plastic body, available in silver and matte pink. ZTE points out that the Blade S6 is the first device to ship with Qualcomm’s 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor and Lollipop, a pairing that should provide excellent performance. Other specifications include 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a Sony IMX214 13MP rear camera, a 5MP front shooter, and a 2,400 mAh battery. The device features “Hi-Fi sound,” expandable storage, and two nano-SIM cards, with LTE support in the B3/B7/B8/B28(B20) bands.

Network LTE: B3/B7/B8/B28(B20) (1800/2600/900/700(800))

UMTS: (850)900/2100 MHz

GSM: 850/900/1800/1900

Platform Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 octa-core chipset (MSM8939)
Operating System Android L
Size 144 x 70.7 x 7.7mm
Display 5.0 inch HD with In-Cell Technology
Camera Sony IMX214 13M AF + 5M wide-angle FF
Battery 2400mAh
Interface 3.5mm Earphone Port, Dual Nano SIM, 5pin Micro USB, Micro SD
Memory 16GB eMMC + 2GB RAM DDR3
Features

HI-FI, Proximity, Ambient Light, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro, A-GPS/GPS, FM/BT 4.0, Wifi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac § Smart Sense

§ Aliveshare

§ MiFavor 3.0 UI

Running the show is the Lollipop-based MiFavor 3 operating system, which includes ZTE’s numerous customizations as well as Smart Sense, which lets you launch apps like the music player or flashlight with gestures like flicking your wrist.

ZTE Blade S6 d

The ZTE Blade S6 will be available at a later date for $249.99. The device will ship globally from AliExpress, while in some markets, customers will be able to get it from Amazon and eBay.

Show Press Release

ZTE unveils Blade S6 4G LTE smartphone with innovative Smart Sense and a host of other premium features for the masses

28 January 2015, Hong Kong – ZTE, a global leading mobile device maker, released its Blade S6 4G LTE smartphone today. Aimed at the young and young at heart, the Blade S6 – per its name – boasts six key features designed to provide customers from across the board with world-class user experience. The new features including ZTE’s Smart Sense gesture motion control, world’s first Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 octa-core chipset running on the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system, a SLR like ultra-high-definition camera, Hi-Fi Sound, ZTE’s MiFavor 3.0 user interface and ZTE’s AliveShare application for network-less communication.

“In line with our product portfolio plan, we very much sought to push the envelope with the Blade S6, and to do so in a way that would appeal to youths, as well as those with active social lives,” said Mr. Adam ZENG Xuezhong, Executive Vice President of ZTE Corporation and CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices.

“The Blade S6 is part of our 3+1 approach, which is led by a trio of product lines that includes the voice control Star series, security-focused Grand series and mass-market premium Blade series. The sub-brand Nubia series completes the approach, which together allows ZTE to address an expansive variety of customer needs.”

To date, the Blade series has accounted for over 20 million units of ZTE’s global device sales, thereby validating the company’s strategy of adding high-end features to devices targeted at multiple customer segments.

Among those key features are the device’s Smart Sense, which includes an intuitive and practical sets of gesture and motion controls, such as with a flick of the wrist that allows users to shine the Blade S6’s flashlight, activate its built-in mirror application, take rapid succession of photographs, play music, and much more.

Powering the Blade S6 is the new Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 chipset – Qualcomm’s first octa-core system-on-chip solution – and an Adreno 405 image processor capable of Full-HD H.265 decoding. This makes the Blade S6 the world’s first Android-L device to be powered by the Snapdragon™ 615, and uniquely capable of providing one of the most seamless user experiences currently on the market.

ZTE’s MiFavor 3.0 user interface meanwhile offers numerous customisation and personalization options at the finger-tips of the consumer. The Blade S6 also packs equally a punch in the audio department thanks to its Hi-Fi sound capability. The device’s five-inch screen is built using In-Cell technology, which allows better and more vibrant image quality.

Packaged in a slender two-millimetre-thin casing, the Blade S6 comes in a silver or pink matte finish.

“With its small package and powerful capabilities, the Blade S6 is the dream device for the socially active consumers and a clear demonstration of ZTE’s ability to offer a premium smartphone at an affordable price.” ZENG added.

Price and availability

The retail price for the ZTE Blade S6 is $249.99 US. ZTE Blade S6 will be available online globally on AliExpress, and with Amazon and eBay in selected markets.

It will be available through the distributor, Qool International Ltd, and exclusively at the Hong Kong mobile operator csl. and other major retail channels including Suning, Dream Team, Sun Shine Telecom, Cyber Telecom, 188 Digital.com, Pak Lik and I Mobile in Hong Kong.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung kicks off its Note 3 Android Lollipop update in Russia

By Rob Triggs

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 jet black aa 22

Reports are coming in that Samsung has begun rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900) in Russia this morning. Probably leaving a few Note 4 owners a little miffed that they weren’t first on Samsung’s update list.

As you have probably seen from some of the screenshots and videos leaked over the past few months, Samsung’s Lollipop build comes with a revamped Touchwiz user interface and replaces many of the dark themes with a white Material Design inspired finish. Based on the leaked preview build from late last year, the Note 4’s Multi-Window feature also makes is way to the Note 3 with Lollipop.

While the Lollipop update will take some time to roll out to other regions, Russian owners can double check for the N900XXUEBOA6 build update notification by heading over to Settings > About phone > Software. Alternatively, eager SM-N900 model owners can download and flash the official firmware with Odin, which has been uploaded by SamMobile. As always, be sure to read the instructions and make the appropriate back-ups.

If you’re the patient type who’s going to sit tight and wait for the download to arrive in your region, you can check out the video below to see what Samsung has in store for your Note 3.

Hopefully an update for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 won’t be too far away either.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Xiaomi Mi 4 arriving in India from February 10

By Bogdan Petrovan

xiaomi mi4 review aa (8 of 19)

Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 4 is finally going on sale in India.

At an event in New Delhi today, head of international expansion Hugo Barra announced that Xiaomi is bringing the popular 5-inch Mi 4 to the massive Indian market.

The 16GB version of the device will sell for an attractive Rs. 19,999 ($325) through local retailer Flipkart, as well as through Xiaomi’s own online store. The 64GB model will go on sale at a later date for an undisclosed price.

Xiaomi will use the same flash sales it’s famous for, but for the Mi 4 the company will hold two sales per week, instead of one. The first sale is scheduled for February 10, and according to Xiaomi India executive Manu Jain, 25,000 to 40,000 units will be allotted for the first run. Even so, there’s a good chance this first batch will sell out in seconds, as it has become customary for Xiaomi’s flash sales.

Registrations for the sale on Xiaomi’s store open today at 6PM IST, while the sale itself will happen on February 10 at 2PM.

The Xiaomi Mi4 delivers a sleek metallic construction, a 5-inch Full HD screen, a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a large 3,080 battery, 13MP/8MP cameras, and Xiaomi’s custom MIUI interface. For more details, check out our Xiaomi Mi 4 review.

Indian readers, what do you think of the Mi 4’s price? Interested?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Hotspot Shield update brings three new VPN protection modes

By Jonathan Feist

hotspotshield

Hotspot Shield is one of the apps on our best VPN list, and it has an update rolling out today that will make it even better. Hotspot Shield version 3.0 is available now, free from the Google Play Store.

Version 3.0 brings on board three new protection modes to Hotspot Shield. The new Selected Sites, Smart Protection and Full Protection modes prove that the app is not just your run of the mill VPN tunnel. They want to do more than just let you watch BBC shows, or access your Gmail when travelling to certain countries of the world.

While the app is free to install and offers some functionality from the get go, the majority of top features will require in-app payments at a small monthly fee to unlock. Considering the extra security benefits of Hotspot Shield, it would be good to at least check out the app before shrugging it off for its costs.

Hotspot Shield v3 update

Looking at those new features, the Selected Sites tool, as the name implies, allows you to control your VPN usage and settings on a per-site basis. Not a bad start. Smart Protection offers up automated controls for the new settings, including the ability to select which settings should operate over which wireless access point you access. Full Protection mode is pretty simple to explain, you gain full security coverage for all actions on your device.

One of the best parts is that Hotspot Shield can be setup to run at boot, turn off when your device goes to sleep, and ultimately run autonomously. This means that you do not need to worry about starting and stopping your VPN on the fly, just go about your day and know that you are secure.

If you are liking what you are hearing, go ahead and grab your copy of Hotspot Shield from the Google Play Store and see for yourself what the extra features have to offer. If you need a few pointers on how to put the tool to use, head over to their how-to pages.

Are you a fan of Hotspot Shield, willing to give it a go now that it has these new features or is it still too expensive for your needs?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Former Opera CEO launches a feature-packed browser called Vivaldi

By Jimmy Westenberg

Vivaldi browser

John S. Von Tetzchner, founder and former CEO of the popular Opera browser, has just announced a new way to browse the web. It’s called Vivaldi, and it’s aimed at power users. When von Tetzchner created Opera back in 1994, the startup browser began gaining some traction and soon became one of the fastest web browsers on the web. Unfortunatlely, after Opera grew to the next level and ultimately changed directions, the founder decided to part ways with the project. He made it his point to develop a browser that’s rich in functionality and easy to use. Thus, Vivaldi came to be.

Vivaldi is built using the Chromium source code, similar to what we see in Opera’s current iteration. Being such a small team of developers, they couldn’t build their own engine from scratch, which might be a good thing. This way, the basis of the browser is set up for them, allowing the developers to focus on layout and features.

This browser is filled with awesome features. Quick Commands allow you to assign your own keyboard shortcuts to scroll through settings menus, open tabs, view history and much more. You can even jot down blurbs or add screenshots to the built-in Notes tab. Notes in the browser can be tagged and organized for keeping your thoughts in order. You can add “Speed Dials” (shortcuts) to Vivaldi, so your most-visited sites are easily accessible. Last but not least, Vivaldi has a feature called “Tab Stacks” which lets you group tabs together under a single tab. This can really come in handy if you constantly have an abundance of different web pages open at once.

Vivaldi Tab Stacks

Vivaldi Technologies is also working on a huge list of features, likely set to debut before the official public launch of the browser. Here is what we have to look forward to:

  • Mail – Yep, we are working on mail. That’s all we can say for now.
  • Sync – Your Notes, bookmarks, History and session synced across your different devices.
  • Spatial Navigation – Spatial navigation allows you to navigate the Web easily, using only your keyboard.
  • Performance – Our aim is to be the fastest browser in the universe but we are not talking about theoretical speed here. It’s all about efficiency. We focus on making it quicker and faster for you to find things and getting things done!
  • Extensions – We want to build a powerful, feature packed browser to minimize your need for extentions. They can impact browser performance and increase security risks. Still, we understand you might want more, so extension support is coming. Stay tuned.

Vivaldi is currently only available as a tech preview, though it’s widely accessible through their homepage. So far, this browser is fast, intuitive and packed with some great features. If you’ve tried Vivaldi, be on the lookout for new enhancements and updates added to the browser weekly.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Meet the Devs – Minisaur

By Joe Hindy

Developer Interview - Minisaur

Welcome back to our Meet the Devs segment! In this piece we take a little time to get to know the people who really make Android what it is today and that is the app developers. In this week’s developer interview, we are talking to Matthew Mario Negri of Minisaur.

Name: Mario Negri

Developer Name: Minisaur

Country: Italy

Website: Official Facebook page

Social Media Profile/Page: Google+

How many people on your team? 3

bruce wheels icon Developer Interview - Minisaur

Apps

Bruce Wheels

About your company?

Minisaur is a small group of 3 really good friends. We are all from Milan (Italy) and have the same great passion for videogames. The 2 designers of the team both studied Design & Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan, where they got to know each other and discovered their common interest. The last year of their studies they decided to create their first game and asked me to be the key part of the team. 🙂 Before working with Gianni and Riccardo I was a freelance software developer for many big italian and european companies and studios. Minisaur was my chance to finally focus on something I really love.

What level of experience do you have with coding and development?

I’ve worked for 6 years as a web developer and recently started to develop apps for Android. To develop Bruce Wheels and Java Android apps I use Eclipse. I have some experience with visual studio to develop .net applications, while for web I’ve been mainly using notepad++, ultraedit and sublime text.

What languages do you know? How and where did you learn them?

The first language I learned was Amiga Basic, thanks to my father’s lessons when I was only 12 years old 🙂 To develop Bruce Wheels I used Java, which I first learned back in Highschool. I’m extremely well versed with python, asp 3.0, php and c# and familiar with visual basic 6 and c ansi. The book I recently really loved to read is “Pragmatic Programmer”, which really teached me the correct way to act and think as a programmer.

What level of experience do you have with design?

0, zero. All the design is done by my brother Riccardo and my friend Gianni 🙂 They are awesome! They do their job using mainly Adobe Illustrator and Spine, a great program for 2d animations which we chose to support since its Kickstarter.

bruce wheels minisaur developer interview

What apps have you made?

Bruce Wheels is our first big app. We put all our passion to develop and design it the way we wanted it to be. We strongly believe in this project, which took us way too much time 🙂 We worked on it for 2 years in our little spare time between work, university and other annoying IRL stuff.

How do you monetize your apps?

For Bruce Wheels we chose a freemium model. The game is free to download, while the complete version without ads is unlocked with an in-app purchase. We want people to try our game before purchasing it and we thought that this was the best way to do it as a new indie company.

Do you consider yourself successful?

I created something I love, together with 2 of my best friends. Within the span of 2 years, we all acquired in depth technical knowledge in building and designing a great Android game. Yes we consider ourselves successful. 🙂

How difficult is it to make money as a developer?

As an indie developer it is really difficult. With the Android market beeing flooded with all kinds of trash apps coming out every second, games developed with passion and love are simply not noticed without marketing and advertisement.
bruce wheels minisaur developer interview

What can Android do to improve?

Android is used on so many devices, it is really difficult to get a game running well on all of them. There could also be a spotlight on a choice of new indie releases in their main page on the Google Play Store.

Why did you choose Android? Do you develop for other platforms? What are the differences between them?

We picked Android mainly for one reason: it was the type of device we all had when we started. We have never been the biggest Apple fans and love Android becouse it is open source and costumizable. I’ve never tried to develop anything for iOS or Windows Phone yet, but I may do an iOS version of Bruce Wheels soon™.

What do you think of the Android design guidelines?

Early on, there weren’t any guidelines and it was really hard to design a consistent user experience without the help of good UI designers. Now they are really well designed and simple but there’s not that much yet that could be applied to games.
bruce wheels minisaur developer interview

What are your favorite apps?

My favourite games for Android are Cannabalt, Rayman Jungle Run and Doodle Jump. I really love to use Whatsapp, Dropbox, Sketchbook Mobile, Waze, Tasker and Wunderlist on a daily basis.

What has been your experience been like working with Google?

Google is really fast to solve problems and to give feedback to opened tickets. The play console once had a problem with my app and they were really kind to immediately contact me and get it fixed.

What tips do you have for aspiring developers?

Be passionate about what you do. Passion drives creativity. It is passion that keeps you working on something you love for hours on end. It’s what eats away at your nights and weekends, completely destroying your social life.


Developer interview wrap up

We want to thank Mario for chatting with us in this week’s developer interview! If you’re a developer and this looks like something you’d like to do, check out our Meet the Devs form! We look forward to hearing from you!