Huawei P9 Max Leaked Benchmark Results Reveal Kirin 950 SoC

The Huawei P9 Max, the Chinese telecommunications giant’s rumoured large-screen smartphone, has appeared on AnTuTu benchmarks, giving us partial information on the specifications. The benchmark results also reveal the inclusion of company’s recently launched Kirin 950 SoC processor.

The phablet device, which went through AnTuTu benchmarks by the P9 50S moniker, would be sporting a 6.2-inch screen size with 1600×2560 pixel resolution display. The pixel density would be 486ppi. The results also show the inclusion of Huawei’s home-made octa-core Kirin 950 processor along with Mali-T880 MP4 GPU and 4GB RAM. Notably, the Kirin 950 SoC was unveiled by Huawei last week in an event in Beijing. The chipset features four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

huaewi_p9_max_antutu_gizmochina.jpgThe AnTuTu benchmark results shared by GizmoChina also shows the Huawei P9 Max to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and house 64GB of inbuilt storage. It scored 73,759 in the benchmarks, while the 3D graphics score was 16,822. However, both were not as impressive as that of Meizu Pro 5, which scored 76,244 and 23,393. It is worth mentioning that the Meizu handset under-the-hood carries the octa-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor with Mali T-760 MP8 GPU. There are no launch date and price details for the Huawei P9 Max phablet yet.

Talking about phablets, Huawei would soon be launching its Mate 8 phablet as well. The company in ateaser last week suggested the launch date of the device as November 26. The phablet is also said to house the company’s Kirin 950 processor. An earlier leaked roadmap of the company tipped that the Mate 8 may feature a 6-inch QHD display, Kirin 950 SoC, and a 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS.

Acer Liquid Z530, Liquid Z630s Selfie-Focused Smartphones Launched In India

Acer on Thursday launched two smartphones under its ‘Liquid’ series in India – the Liquid Z530 (seen above) and the Liquid Z630s (seen below). While the Liquid Z530 is priced at Rs. 6,999, the Liquid Z630s costs Rs. 10,999. Both smartphones are exclusive to Flipkart.

While the Acer Liquid Z530 will be made available to buy from the e-commerce website from midnight Thursday, the Acer Liquid Z630s will be made available to purchase in a flash sale on November 12, with registrations due to open Thursday.

It is worth mentioning that Acer announced these two handsets in September during the IFA trade show, alongside six other smartphones. The Liquid Z530 and Liquid Z630s smartphones launched in India are dual-SIM variants, and support 4G in India.

Touted as the “perfect selfie smartphone” at the time of the launch, the Liquid Z530 packs 8-megapixel front and rear cameras. The front-camera comes with a wide-angle lens.

The Acer Liquid Z530 features a 5-inch (720×1280 pixels) IPS OGS display and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek (MT6735) processor with 2GB of RAM. The Android 5.1 Lollipop-powered smartphone also houses 16GB of inbuilt storage and can be expanded via microSD card (up to 32GB). Under connectivity options, the handset includes 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and Micro-USB connectivity options. It measures 144×70.3×8.9mm and is backed by a 2420mAh battery.

acer_z630s_front_back.jpgAs for the Liquid Z630s, the smartphone features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS OGS display and comes with the company’s Zero Air Gap screen. Running Android 5.1 Lollipop with Liquid UI on top, the Z630s is powered by a octa-core MediaTek MT6735 processor clocked at 1.3GHz coupled with 3GB of RAM. It will be available in 32GB storage variant with expandable storage support. Measuring 156.3×77.5×8.9mm, the Z630 packs a large 4000mAh battery. Similar to the Liquid Z530, the Liquid Z630s also sports 8-megapixel rear and front cameras – the front camera once again features a wide-angle lens, and also supports 1080p video recording. It includes 4G LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity features.

Acer touts that the handset features key apps designed as ‘Float Apps’ that take up only a portion of the display so users can see and interact with the screen below. The handset also comes pre-installed with AcerExtend, which allows a wireless connection with a compatible laptop or PC.

The company plans to manufacture the two smartphones in India as part of the Make in India initiative. It will begin production after its Puducherry plant opens in December.

Announcing the launch of the smartphones in India, S.T. Liew, President, Smart Products Business Group, Acer, said, “Keeping at par with the Indian government’s Make-in-India initiative, we are excited to announce that these smartphones will be manufactured locally in India. The plant will be operational by December 2015 and will have production capacity of over 1 lakh phones per month. As the demand for the smartphones increase, the investment and production capacity of the plant will also be scaled up appropriately.”

Micromax Canvas Mega Now Available, Canvas Amaze Listed on Company Site

Two new Micromax smartphones, the Canvas Mega and Canvas Amaze, have been listed by thecompany. The Micromax Canvas Mega is also available via a third-party online retailer at Rs. 8,099.

We can expect the company to start selling the Canvas Mega and Canvas Amaze in the Indian market soon.

The Micromax Canvas Mega (E353) is a dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) device which runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box. It comes with a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display and also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.4GHz octa-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 4GB of inbuilt storage, which is further expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB). It sports a 13-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash, while there is a secondary 5-megapixel front-facing camera also on board. On the connectivity front, the Canvas Mega offers 3G, GPRS/ EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Micro-USB, and Bluetooth options.

The smartphone packs a 2820mAh battery, which according to the official listing is rated to deliver up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 600 hours of standby time. It measures 154×78.7×8.9mm and is listed in Black colour. It packs sensors such as accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.

micromax_canvas_amaze.jpgThe Micromax Canvas Amaze (Q395), on the other hand, features a 5-inch HD (720X1280 pixels) IPS display. It is a dual-SIM smartphone that runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT6580 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, the Canvas Amaze comes with 2GB of RAM. Much like the Canvas Mega, the Canvas Amaze sports a 13-megapixel rear with LED flash and also comes with a 5-megapixel front camera. The Canvas Amaze bears 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB (via microSD card). The connectivity features on the handset include 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, and A-GPS. A 2000mAh battery backs the handset, which is said to be deliver up to 260 hours of standby time and up to 7 hours of talk time.

Xiaomi Set to Launch Mi Protect Insurance Service for Phones, Tablets

Xiaomi is set to launch its Mi Protect insurance service for its smartphones and tablets bought through the Mi.com website. The service would provide coverage for devices affected by accidental damage, liquid damage, falling, collision, and other such damages. The insurance cover would however be based on the device and the Mi Protect plan user opts for. In addition, the Mi Protect users would also get a free-of-cost pick and drop service for repair of the handset.

Besides this, Mi Protect insurance service would also let users block their SIM cards on the stolen device from anywhere around the world. The service also includes SIM misuse insurance cover of up to Rs. 3,000. Furthermore, 1GB of cloud storage feature also comes as a part of the service. Free assistance to new smartphone users and second servicing of the device within 1 year from activation is also a part of Mi Protect.

Users would need to call on 1800 407 333333/1800 1233330/8080 333333 to avail the Mi Protect services if the device is damaged. For the insurance cover Xiaomi has collaborated with OneAssist, which would reach out to the customer to assess the damaged device and would follow the process after confirmation.

The Mi Protect plan would cost Rs. Rs 275 for Redmi 2 and Redmi 2 Prime and Rs. 499 for Mi 4 16GB, Mi 4i 16GB and Mi Pad users. Valid for only a year, the Mi Protect cover would be applicable to smartphones and tablet that are up to two years old. The complete terms and regulations can be read at the dedicated company website.

Honor Reveals Phones Set to Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update in February

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Wondering when your Honor handset will get the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update? If your handset is one of the five named – then early next year. Honor India has announced that it will be rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow software version in the country to a range of its handsets beginning February 2016.

Honor India noted that the Honor 4C, Honor 6 Plus, Honor 7, Honor 6, and Honor 4X users in the country will be receiving the impending software version. Considering how much time smartphone manufacturers have taken in the past to roll out the new Android software to their handsets, Honor India’s current rollout timeline is impressive, however, those who were expecting it sooner might be disappointed.

Parent company Huawei recently announced on its Weibo channel that many of its handsets including the Ascend P8, Ascend P8max, Mate S, Mate 7, Ascend G7, Ascend G7 Plus, and Ascend G8 will begin receiving the update in China starting November.

Separately, a report citing Huawei marketing executive Xi Zhao said that the company plans to beta test Android 6.0 on at least one of its device before releasing the stable version of Android 6.0. Zhao said that the Honor 7 users should expect to see a beta test for Android 6.0 Marshmallow in a few weeks.

It will be interesting to see the company’s take on Emotion UI, its user interface for Android handsets. Many users have previously requested the company to tone down on customisation and apps that it bakes in its lineup of smartphones and tablets.

The company is also set to launch a high-end handset, probably the Huawei Mate 8, this month. The company has started teasing the launch of the Mate 8 for November 26. The handset is rumoured to have company’s own high-end handset Kirin 950.

Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact Receiving Firmware Update With Stagefright Bug Fixes

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Users of Sony’s latest Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact smartphones report they have started receiving a firmware update, which mainly focuses on the Stagefright bug fix. The OS update weighs 281MB and comes with a build number 32.0.A.6.152 as per user reports. The update is being reportedly seeded to all the smartphone versions.

Users receiving the update mentioned that the camera now loads much faster and the fingerprint sensor has become more accurate after the update. These changes were mentioned by the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact users on Reddit and XDA-Developers forum (via Phonearena). Other changes mentioned by users are RAM optimisation and Calendar interface optimisation. It is worth noting that since the update is rolling out in phases, it might take time to reach all smartphones in every region. Sony has not yet mentioned the official changelog for the update.

For those unaware, Stagefright is an open source media player that is used by about 95 percent of Android devices, or about 950 million devices. Zimperium reported a vulnerability in Stagefright in July that, if exploited, could let attackers to take control of an Android device by sending a specially crafted media file delivered by an MMS message.

While the companies are still rolling out the Stagefright vulnerability fix to devices, security experts have already found a new Stagefright 2.0 vulnerability. The newer version of the bug can also affect devices running OS versions below Android 5.1 Lollipop. Unlike the previous Stagefright bug, the Stagefright 2.0 can enter any device in the form of mp3 or mp4 file instead of a MMS text. Until now, LG, Google, and Samsung promised monthly security updates to fix the Stagefright and other vulnerabilities in all their smartphones. Motorola and OnePlus and other companies have also rolled out updates.

BlackBerry Priv Android Slider Smartphone Detailed by Company

BlackBerry ahead of the commencement of shipping of the Priv smartphone next week wants to make sure users are familiar with all the features. The Canadian company has released a video showing the major features of its upcoming Android handset.

The company in its YouTube video stresses on the privacy and productivity features alongside the familiarity of the Android platform. The video shows some of the highlight features of the BlackBerry Priv including physical keyboard on the slider, BlackBerry Hub, pop-up widgets, 4K video recording support, dual curved edge screen, touch enabled physical keyboard with SmartSlide, rear camera with OIS, and DTEK by BlackBerry. You can watch the video below.BlackBerry Priv Android slider smartphone is up for pre-orders at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,500), and is slated to begin shipping in the US starting November 6.To recall, Priv features a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) Amoled display and sports a pixel density of 540ppi. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM, and supports up to 32GB of expandable storage. An 18-megapixel rear camera is at the rear while a 2-megapixel front-camera is also on board. A massive 3410mAh battery backs the device. The company is yet to reveal the exact Android Lollipop version of the Priv handset.

Recently, BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ or notifications on the curved edge display was spotted in a leak. An image of Productivity Edge on the Priv showed icons for quick viewing calendar, mails, tasks, and contacts. BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ looked similar to Samsung’s People Edge, which primarily allowed users to quickly access select contacts. Samsung also included an option to light up the edge screen when mails, messages, or calls arrive. Samsung had also implemented Apps Edge, which let users pin apps to the edge display.

Sharp Posts Big Loss on Smartphone Downturn, Restructuring Costs

Japanese electronics giant Sharp on Friday posted a whopping six-month net loss of nearly $700 million (roughly Rs. 4,570 crores), hit by restructuring costs and a slump in demand for its smartphone screens.

The liquid-crystal display giant, which is key supplier to Apple and other mobile phone makers, singled out a downturn in smartphone-screen demand in China for its latest set of poor results.

Sharp warned of the loss this week, reigniting concerns about the future of the Aquos-brand maker, which has repeatedly appeared on the brink of bankruptcy in recent years as it trudged ahead with a painful restructuring.

“The situation surrounding Sharp is still severe – they have strong technology, but their finances are extremely weak,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research institute in Tokyo.

Sharp posted an JPY 83.6 billion net loss in the half-year through September, down from a small profit a year earlier, while revenue fell 3.6 percent to JPY 1.28 trillion.

Earlier this year, Sharp said it was cutting 10 percent of its 49,000 global workforce as part of a turnaround plan intended to keep it afloat after posting a bigger-than-expected $1.86 billion (roughly Rs. 12,140 crores) annual loss.

Sharp earlier announced the sale of the building that houses its Osaka headquarters and issued shares to its banks, in an apparent lifeline that underscored the company’s desperate situation.

The once-mighty firm, like rivals Sony and Panasonic, has been working to move past years of gaping deficits, partly caused by steep losses in its television unit.

The trio were hammered by competition from lower-cost rivals, particularly from South Korea and Taiwan.

But, unlike Sharp, Sony and Panasonic booked soaring profits this week in a sign that efforts to fix their tattered balance sheets were finally paying off.

LG Profit Sinks as Smartphone Business Suffers Loss

LG Electronics said Thursday its mobile communications division suffered its first operating loss in more than a year, dragging down the company’s overall earnings for the third quarter.

The mobile business lost KRW 77.6 billion (roughly Rs. 443 crores) for the July-September quarter. The South Korean company’s overall net income sank 48 percent over a year earlier to KRW 83.7 billion, far below the KRW 146.5 billion forecast in survey of analyst by financial data provider FactSet.

LG said it shipped 15 million smartphones during the quarter but its smartphones could not command high prices. The company said its mobile business will likely improve its performance during the current quarter as it began sales of the LG V10 smartphone and the Nexus 5X smartphone.

LG’s TV business turned profitable for the first time in three quarters.

Its home appliance business, which makes washing machines and refrigerators, contributed more than 80 percent of overall profit.

Sales fell 5 percent to KRW 14 trillion. Operating profit slumped 37 percent to KRW 294 billion.

Apple Closes ‘Most Successful Year Ever’ With Record iPhone Sales in Q4

Apple said Tuesday that surging iPhone sales helped propel a sharp rise in quarterly profits, as the tech giant delivered a record 48 million of the smartphones.

Profits rose 31 percent to $11.1 billion (roughly Rs. 72,240 crores), while revenues jumped 22 percent from a year ago to $51.5 billion (roughly Rs. 3,35,171 crores), Apple said.

The California tech giant, which in September unveiled revamped versions of the iPhone, said the number of units sold jumped 22 percent from last year while revenues lifted 36 percent.

Apple, the world’s biggest company by market value, gave back early after-hours gains and dipped 0.2 percent to $114.30 on the results.

Chief executive Tim Cook said Apple closed the books on its fiscal year, calling it “Apple’s most successful year ever,” following strong iPhone sales and a range of new or upgraded devices.

“We are heading into the holidays with our strongest product lineup yet, including iPhone 6s andiPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch with an expanded lineup of cases and bands, the new iPad Pro and the all-new Apple TV, which begins shipping this week,” Cook said in a statement.

For the full fiscal year ending in September, Apple booked a whopping $53.4 billion (roughly Rs. 3,47,537 crores) profit, up 35 percent, while revenues rose 28 percent to $233.7 billion (roughly Rs. 15,20,964 crores).

China, emerging markets
Some $12.5 billion (roughly Rs. 81,352 crores) in revenue came from China down five percent from the past quarter but double the level of a year ago.

Cook said the fiscal year showed “our largest absolute revenue growth ever” and was helped by “huge inroads into emerging markets generating over $79 billion (roughly Rs. 5,14,147 crores) of revenue and growing 63 percent despite very strong headwinds from foreign exchange.”

The iPhone was the key driver for Apple, bringing in more than 60 percent of its revenues for the past quarter. But iPad unit sales fell 20 percent in the quarter to 9.9 million units.

For its traditional computers, Apple sold an all-time record 5.7 million Macs in the quarter.

No specific sales figures were given for the Apple Watch, but the results showed revenue from “other” products was $3 billion (roughly Rs. 19,524 crores) over the same period.

Cook said of the Apple Watch that “we’re in the very early innings of this promising new part of our business.”

Apple Watch “has already had a tremendous effect on customer health and fitness and the stories we’re hearing about its impact are truly inspirational,” he added.

Apple is making efforts to diversify with services such as its streaming music service and  Apple Pay, and its new streaming television devices.

“The reach of our ecosystem continues to grow, and iOS is changing more and more aspects of our customers lives in very meaningful ways from their health to their homes to their cars,” Cook said on the earnings call.

He added that Apple Pay is expected to expand to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain in 2016.

Cook visited China last week and said Apple will continue to invest in the country despite slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

The launch of the company’s large-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year boosted its sales in China, though it faces sharp competition from domestic competitors such as Xiaomi and Huawei.

On his Chinese Sina Weibo or microblog account, Cook posted a photo of himself climbing the Great Wall and said he was “Happy to be back” in China.

The US company was due to open its 21st mainland China store in the northeastern city of Dalian.

Apple aims to have 40 stores in China by next year.