Smartphones

The Squeezable HTC U11

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The HTC U11 looks like any regular smartphone, but it does have one surprise up its sleeve-- users can "squeeze" the 5.5-inch handset to control apps, camera and more.

HTC U11Dubbed "Edge Sense," the system consists of pressure sensors below the volume buttons on the sides. A calibration tool allows users to set a short and long squeeze, and the two actions can be configured in different ways. For instance, one can squeeze the phone to summon the camera, followed by either a short squeeze to take a selfie or a long squeeze to switch to the rear-facing camera.

HTC adds the phone ignores "false squeezes" caused by pockets and the like, while an eventual software update will allow users to configure any app to take advantage of app functionality. The company also suggests one use a squeeze to summon one of the two included voice-controlled assistants, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

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Samsung Presents Tizen-Powered Z4

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Samsung has clearly not given up on the Tizen dream as it announces the Z4-- a smartphone powered by the OS promising to "combine performance and essential features with a simplified user experience."

Samsung Z4Aimed at developing markets, the Z4 has fairly low-end specs. It features a 4.5-inch 480 x 800 resolution curved glass display, quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 5MP rear-/front-facing cameras and a 2025mAh battery. Connectivity comes through Bluetooth, LTE, VoLTE and VoWifi.

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Qualcomm Boosts Mobiles With Snapdragon 660, 630 Chips

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Qualcomm presents a pair of chipsets for lower-cost smartphones-- the Snapdragon 660 and 630 SoCs, upgrades on the Snapdragon 652 and 625 chips offering more power and faster connectivity.

Snapdragon 660The Snapdragon 660 and 630 feature the X12 LTE modem found inside the high-end Snapdragon 820 SoC, together with Bluetooth 5 and, in the case of the 660, 2 x 2 MIMO wifi. CPU and GPU speeds get an increase, as Qualcomm says the 660 is 20% faster than the 652, while the 630 is 10% faster.

The two chips are built using a 14nm process, and support up to 8GB of RAM. The 660 has an 8-core Kryo CPU and an Adreno 512 GPU, while the 630 has 8 Cortex A53 cores and an Adreno 508 GPU.

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LG Rolls Out X power2 Smartphone

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LG starts rolling out the X power2, a mass-tier smartphone offering the biggest battery in a mobile device from the company, in markets around the globe.

LG X power2First announced back at MWC 2017, the X power2 features a 4500mAh battery LG claims can handle 26 hours of talk time, 18 hours of video viewing or 19 hours of web browsing on a single charge. As such, it promises to "last an entire weekend before requiring recharging."

As for the rest of the phone, the handset has a 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display, an octa-core MediaTek MT6750 chipset with 1.5 or 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable via microSD) and a 13MP rear-facing camera with Zero Shutter Lag and soft LED flash.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Gets Launch

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After months of stories of phablets spontaneously catching fire Samsung reveals the Galaxy S8 and S8+, a pair of devices promising to be the company's return to mobile device form.

Samsung Galaxy S8The S8+ is the bigger option with a 6.2-inch screen, but the S8 might be the superior model since it features a 5.8-inch "infinity display"-- a Super AMOLED screen wrapping around the curved front of the phone, making it almost bezel-less. Both displays run at 2960 x 1440 resolution, and phone construction features Gorilla Glass 5 on both front and back with a metal band in between.

Depending on region, the phones are powered by either Qualcomm or Exynox octa-core processors together with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (expandable to 256GB via microSD slot) and a 3000mAH battery (3500mAh in the S8+). Also included is a 12MP duopixel f/1.7 aperture rear-facing camera, 8MP front-facing camera, fingerprint sensor, USB-C port and, in a Samsung first, Bluetooth 5 connectivity.

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