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ZTE partners with Qualcomm and Wearsafe on personal security wearables

By Robert Triggs

ZTE, Qualcomm, and Wearsafe announced a new partnership designed to bring personal security tracking to wearables devices. The partnership, announced at at CES 2018, will see ZTE designing and building security focused-wearables based on Qualcomm’s existing Snapdragon Wear 1100 platform, combined with personal security software provided by Wearsafe.

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) are sometimes also called medical alarms or medical alerts. These devices are wireless transmitters that track a wearer’s GPS location and provide that information to the receiving party — first responders, monitoring companies, or family, to name a few — over a cellular network when the emergency button is triggered.

Historically these have be housed in bulky form factors and rather unattractive and un-ergonomic designs. Moving this technology into more familiar and more discrete products is a much-needed switch, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 1100 platform provides all the necessary hardware in a compact package.

By combining ZTE’s best-in-class wireless hardware with Wearsafe’s leading software platform, we are now able to provide an unsurpassed end-to-end personal safety solution to our wireless carrier customers and their subscribers.

David Benoit, CEO and Co-founder of Wearsafe Labs

ZTE notes the Wear 1100 platform packs in everything needed to meet the requirements of existing and next-generation PERS devices. This includes low power features such as Power Save Mode (PSM), a compact chip package, and LTE Category 1 modem with global band support. That might seem slow by today’s mobile device standards, but it’s all that’s required for lower power, smaller data IoT type devices like this.

Wearsafe comes into the equation by providing a cloud-based service beyond the traditional location information and alerts. Users are also able to store longer term location information, audio taken at the time of alarms, and even how fast a user was traveling, in order to provide greater contextual information to the concerned third party.

In a nutshell, this new relationship enables ZTE to package Wearsafe’s mPERS software into mobile devices powered by Qualcomm’s wearables platform. There were no products announced with the partnership, but we should hear more details later in 2018.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Skagen has just announced the most beautiful Android Wear smartwatch (Video)

By Jimmy Westenberg

Skagen is perhaps most well known for its beautiful analog watches, and over time those watches have been getting smarter. The company now has a wide variety of hybrid smartwatches available, including the wonderful Jorn Hybrid that we reviewed back in July.

If you’ve been looking for a Skagen-made smartwatch with a touchscreen display, today’s your lucky day. The company has just taken the wraps off its very first touchscreen smartwatch, the Skagen Falster.

Skagen really nailed the design of the Falster.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Falster is its minimalist, modern design. It features a fully-round display, very little bezel, a single dial on the right side, and interchangeable straps.

Skagen really nailed the design of the Falster. This is one of the best looking smartwatches we’ve ever seen.

The Falster runs Android Wear, which means it’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. This means you’ll have access to voice commands with Google Assistant, all the smartphone notifications you can think of, customizable watch faces (the pre-loaded ones are great, by the way), and music control on your wrist. It’s also powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. During our hands-on time with the watch at CES 2018, we were blown away by how snappy the Falster navigated through the Android Wear interface.

The Falster is launching in January 2018 for $275-$295. Considering how well designed this smartwatch is, paired with the fluidity of the software, this may be in the running for one of the best Android Wear devices of 2018.

So, who’s buying?

…read more

Source:: android authority


Razer Project Linda hands-on: Your Razer Phone becomes the brain of your laptop

By David Imel

As our phones get more and more powerful, an increasing number of people have started ditching their laptops. While there are still a few things you can only do on a dedicated computer, mobile phones have gotten to the point where we can do most of our daily tasks on them. Still, a full keyboard a bigger screen are really nice, and Razer is looking to mix two of their most popular products together to make that happen.

Razer’s Project Linda is essentially a Razer Blade Stealth with a Razer Phone replacing the trackpad and the brains of the laptop. It slots in with a simple USB Type-C connection, which immediately shifts the interface to the 13.3″ display once the connection is made. While the unit we looked at just used a 1080p 60 Hz display with no touch capacity, Razer wants the final chassis to allow for 1440p 120 Hz, and also include a touch screen. This way you’ll be able to interact with your laptop in a very similar way you would with your phone, and should get an overall similar experience.

You might think it would be inconvenient to have your phone slotted into a laptop, but you can pretty much do everything you would do on your phone on this thing. There is an array of microphones at the top of the unit so you can do high resolution audio calls, and a webcam in case you want to use something like Skype or Google Duo.

The chassis also acts as a battery bank for your handset. It’s got 53.6 Watt-hours of capacity standard, and Razer says this can charge your phone from 0 to 100% a full three times. Because of this, you’ll actually be tempted to keep your phone in the laptop for longer, as it can keep your phone topped off for when you need to take it out and hit the road.

The laptop is powered through a USB Type-C port, and also includes one USB Type-A port and a headphone jack for peripheral attachment. This way you’ll be able to use a mouse with your phone, which actually worked quite well in our demo, and would probably help you get ahead in all your competitive mobile games.

Razer didn’t announce a price point or release date for Project Linda, but I do hope that it actually launches at some point, since it’s one of the more interesting concepts we’ve seen out of the company.

What do you think of the concept? Make sure you stay tuned to Android Authority to get updates as they come, and leave all your hot takes in the comments section below.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Two new BlackBerry phones coming in 2018 along with expanded BB Motion availability, KEYone Bronze Edition

By Alex Wagner


In addition to new Alcatel phones, the folks at TCL are prepping some new BlackBerry hardware.

TCL said today that it’s got two new BlackBerry smartphones coming in 2018. No details on these devices have been revealed, but TCL does have some news to share about two existing BlackBerry Android phones.

The BlackBerry Motion is coming to the US on January 12. The GSM unlocked model will be sold by Amazon and Best Buy for $449.99.

Announced last year, the BlackBerry Motion is a full-touch device with a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 display, 12MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus and dual LED flash, and 8MP front camera with wide angle lens. Its body is IP67-rated for dust and water resistance.

Inside that body is an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a microSD card slot if you need even more storage. There’s a 4,000mAh battery powering the whole package, a USB-C port for recharging that battery, and NFC. The Motion comes preloaded with Android 7.1 but will be updated to Android 8.0.

TCL has also cooked up a limited edition version of the BlackBerry KEYone. The BlackBerry KEYone Bronze Edition features a bronze finish and dual SIM slots. It’ll launch later in Q1 2018 in select markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The Blackberry KEYone’s claim to fame is a physical keyboard, which is a feature that we don’t see much of these days. It’s also packed a 4.5-inch 1620×1080 display, 12MP rear camera with PDAF and dual LED flash, 8MP front camera with wide-angle lens, and an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor.

Other features of the KEYone include 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and a 3,505mAh battery. There’s also USB-C and NFC in there, and like the Motion, the KEYone comes with Android 7.1 but will be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo.

…read more

Source:: androidandme


Honor 7X to get face unlock feature via OTA update

By Scott Adam Gordon

  • Honor will roll out an update to provide a face unlock feature on the Honor 7X
  • The update will arrive in Q1, 2018
  • According to Honor, this will be the first time such a feature has appeared on a sub-$200 in the global market

Though Huawei might have received a big blow with regards to US plans recently, its sub-brand Honor seems to be chugging along nicely. In a press release issued yesterday (via GSMArena), Honor has said that the latest in its low-cost X line, the Honor 7X, will soon receive facial recognition and unlocking functionality.

Honor says this will be the first time that such a function has been seen on a global device with a sub-$200 price tag, adding that the update would arrive in Q1, 2018.

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CES 2018 is right around the corner, and Honor just couldn’t wait any longer to announce that the Honor View 10 will be available overseas starting Monday, January 8.

As a quick recap, the Honor View …

Face unlock became popularized last year with devices like the iPhone X and OnePlus 5T. It’s said to be a fast and secure method of unlocking a device.

The news arrives only shortly after Honor announced the Red 7X (seen above) at CES, a “passionate” new color variant arriving in time for Valentine’s Day. Check out our hands-on with the new device, including video, at the link.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Upcoming Alcatel phones to feature ‘re-imagined product designs’ and 18:9 displays

By Alex Wagner

Some new Alcatel smartphones are coming, and parent company TCL today dropped a teaser of what it’s got in the works.

Alcatel has “a new smartphone philosophy and product portfolio direction,” says TCL. The new devices will feature 18:9 displays and a universal design language across the premium, mid-range, and entry-level lineups.

The Alcatel 5 Series is the premium part in TCL’s Alcatel lineup. They’ll offer flagship-tier features at a cost that’s lower than traditional flagships, TCL has teased. Those features will include 18:9 displays, face unlock, “fantastic imaging”, and a large battery.

Next up is the Alcatel 3 Series, the mid-range devices that blend premium features and affordable price tags. These phones will offer features like dual cameras and large 18:9 displays.

The Alcatel 1 Series is all about affordability. These entry-level phones will offer features like unibody designs with premium materials, 18:9 displays, and face unlocking.

Those are all of the details that TCL is offering right now, so we’ll have to wait until MWC next month to learn more. Stay tuned.

…read more

Source:: androidandme


Alcatel partners exclusively with Flipkart in India

By Williams Pelegrin

  • Alcatel announced it will only sell its wares through Indian online retailer Flipkart.
  • Flipkart is currently the market leader in the Indian online retail space.
  • Alcatel hinted that similar partnerships could sprout up in other regions.

Alcatel already made a huge splash during CES 2018 by announcing its re-imagined smartphone lineup. Even so, the company is not quite done, as it announced a partnership with online retailer Flipkart.

TCL Communication, which uses the Alcatel brand as part of a licensing deal, announced that it will sell Alcatel-branded smartphones exclusively through Flipkart. According to Flipkart vice president and head of electronics and private labels Adarsh Menon, Alcatel has a strong presence on Flipkart when it comes to tablets, with the company “holding over a 15 percent share of all large screen tablets.”

TCL executive Christian Gatti also hinted that the company could team up with other retailers to sell their Alcatel-branded wares exclusively through them:

We’re honored to be partnering with Flipkart in India, and we hope this partnership is a model for how we can scale with similar partners in other growth markets.

This is an interesting move on TCL’s part, seeing how Amazon India is also a popular way for Indian resident to purchase smartphones and tablets. Even so, Flipkart is the de facto market leader in major segments of the online retail market in India, with the company having raised $4 billion from companies like Tencent, SoftBank, eBay, and Microsoft in 2017.

Then again, the two online retail giants have had a war of semantics for quite some time, though Flipkart wants to increase the number of active transacting customers and frequency of transactions. Seeing how Alcatel is one of the more popular smartphone and tablet brands on its marketplace, this partnership looks to be mutually beneficial.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Hands-on: Alcatel reveals 2018 device lineup at CES 2018

By Matt Adams

  • Alcatel announced three lines of devices to provide compelling options for all budgets.
  • All of the devices will feature the company’s new universal design language.
  • The new design language is based on the 18:9 display aspect ratio.

Today at CES 2018, Alcatel announced its brand new lineup of phones for 2018. The company says it’ll sell phones in three distinct pricing tiers. But just because you pay less doesn’t mean the device will suffer. The company developed a new universal design language to give customers compelling options no matter how much they have to spend.

The new design language centers around displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The 18:9 trend took over the smartphones this year with everyone from Samsung, LG, and Google to smaller companies like Doogee and Gionee producing phones with the elongated aspect ratio. TCL, the company that designs and manufactures Alcatel devices, will provide the displays. TCL is a top-three LCD panel producer and claims the title of “fastest growing TV brand in America.” Using its displays provides “access to critical manufacturing efficiencies and billions of dollars in research and development.”

Alcatel 5 Series

Now, onto the devices. As we mentioned, they will come in three price ranges. The Alcatel 5 Series will be home to the company’s budget flagship device. The 5 Series is designed to provide maximum performance, but retain a price point well under other flagship phones. This is a move that Alcatel has been pulling off for years with the Idol 3 and Idol 4S. Phones in the Alcatel 5 Series will feature premium materials, face unlocking, and a battery designed to last all day. While the company didn’t confirm it here, earlier leaks pointed to a single rear camera, a USB Type-C port, and a 3,000 mAh battery.

Alcatel 3 Series

The Alcatel 3 Series will offer the company’s mid-tier options. The 3 Series devices offer an 18:9 display, which the company describes as “large and high-resolution.” We don’t know exactly how large or high-resolution Alcatel means, but there could be several options in the 3 Series if earlier reporting holds true. Alcatel also says that the 3 Series devices will feature dual-cameras and a beautiful design.

Alcatel 1 Series

The Alcatel 1 Series will be the company’s most affordable lineup of devices. The devices will feature unibody hardware and stylish designs. They are made of premium materials, but we don’t know which materials those might be quite yet. Like both the 5 and 3 Series, devices in the 1 Series will feature face unlocking.

We’re a little light on details, but Alcatel is only giving us a little taste right now. The company promises more details next month at Mobile World Congress. Until then, check out our other CES 2018 coverage!

…read more

Source:: android authority


BlackBerry announces KEYone Bronze Edition, US launch of BlackBerry Motion

By Williams Pelegrin

  • BlackBerry announced the KEYone Bronze Edition, which features the same specs as the KEYone Black Edition.
  • BlackBerry also re-announced the Motion for the US market.
  • The company confirmed there will be at least two BlackBerry smartphones released in 2018.

2017 was an interesting year for BlackBerry. After all, not only did the company’s partnership with TCL result in the well-received KEYone, but it also resulted in the all-touchscreen Motion.

Now that we’re in 2018, BlackBerry thought to revisit both phones while also looking toward the future, even if that look was an extremely small teaser.

Let’s start with what we know: the KEYone Bronze Edition. Save for the classy bronze accent on the borders, the phone is exactly the same as the KEYone Black Edition before it. In other words, we’re looking at the same 4.5-inch 1620 x 1080 resolution display, 12 MP rear camera, Snapdragon 625, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage with microSD card support.

As with any other KEYone, the KEYone Bronze Edition is equipped with that iconic BlackBerry keyboard, which is either good or bad, depending on your tastes. The company made great strides in modernizing it, though — the touch-sensitive metallic frets between the rows of keys let you scroll up and down, while pressing and holding any key can open an app or shortcut.

BlackBerry didn’t stop there, as the company also announced that the Motion, which does away with the keyboard, will be available in the US. The phone, originally announced last October, was previously available in Canada, India and a few other regions.

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As a quick recap, the Motion retains the KEYone Bronze Edition’s Snapdragon 625, 4 GB of RAM, and 12 MP rear camera, but opts for a larger 4,000 mAh battery, IP67 dust and water resistance, and a larger 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display.

More exciting, however, is what BlackBerry has planned for 2018, plans that were not shared with anyone today. The company was expectedly coy regarding these plans, though it did say we will see at least two new smartphones this year.

Per BlackBerry senior vice president and general manager of mobility solutions Alex Thurber:

With new BlackBerry smartphones from TCL Communication now available in over 50 countries around the world, we have a solid foundation to continue building upon our portfolio in the new year.

This means customers can expect to see at least two new BlackBerry smartphones from us later this year.

BlackBerry also confirmed it will roll out Android 8.0 Oreo to supported devices, though the company did not give an exact timeframe for when that will happen.

BlackBerry did say that the KEYone Bronze Edition will be available during the first quarter in “select markets” across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, while the Motion will make its way to the US for $450 unlocked through Amazon and Best Buy.

…read more

Source:: android authority


New Google Assistant directory helps you discover actions

By Robert Triggs

Google Assistant can do a ton of things these days and as the list of compatible services and products continues to grow, especially given all the CES announcements, keeping track of all the available commands is pretty much impossible. To help us make the most of all possible actions, Google has launched a new directory page for Google Assistant.

The directory breaks down actions into categories ranging from ‘arts & lifestyle’ to ‘home control’, all the way through to ‘weather’. There’s also ‘What’s New’ and ‘What’s Trending’ categories to help discover some of Assistant’s more popular actions. The directory is full of actions from both Google and a range of third party services, which we imagine will continue to be updated as new products hit store shelves.

Regular Google Home app users will probably be familiar with the directory, as it’s laid out in a similar fashion to the Explore feature of the app. However, the new directory can be accessed from the web and will be a handy tool for those who aren’t already using Google’s Home app.

In addition to the new directory, Google has also been talking details about what 2018 has instore for Google Assistant.

In addition to the newly unveiled Assistant-powered smart displays coming from JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony, we can expect a barrage of new smart home speaker systems on the way from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio, and SōLIS this year too.

Android TVs packing Assistant are also on the way from AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth, and Xiaomi. Not forgetting the increasing number of headphones containing Assistant support, including new products from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony. Finally, Google Assistant is making its way to the automotive world via Android Auto in the near future too, which will be available in more than 400 models across 40 different brands.

If you’ve recently purchased a Google Assistant product or are planning on picking up something from one of Google’s partners later this year, be sure to check out the new directory to see everything that Assistant is capable of.

…read more

Source:: android authority