Mobile Devices

The Samsung Galaxy View on Oversized Tablets

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Samsung is the next company to take on the oversized tablet concept with the Galaxy View-- an 18.4-inch device the company claims offers an "unprecedented mobile entertainment experience."

Galazxy ViewDesigned primarily for media consumption (so much so it even has a built-in kickstand-slash-handle on the back), the Galaxy View has a 1920x1080 resolution display, stereo speakers, 1.6GHz octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, micro SD slot and a 5700mAh battery powering up to 8 hours of video playback on a single charge. As such it does not really look ideal for portable use outside of the house, what with it weighing 2.65kg.

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Microsoft Presents Surface Book, More Win 10 Devices

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Microsoft takes on both the Apple MacBook Pro and iPad Pro as it launches its first laptop, the Surface Book, together with the updated Surface Pro 4 tablet, new Lumia smartphones and Band 2 wearable.

Surface Book Described by the company as nothing less than a "redefinition" of the laptop, the Surface Book features a 13.5-inch optically bonded 3000x2000 resolution display users can remove for use as a regular tablet. One can also simply bend the flexible hinge holding the display to the keyboard all the way back for more support.

It has both touch and pen input support, while the keyboard has a glass trackpad with 5-point touch input.

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LG Intros Call-Making Urbane 2nd Edition

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LG launches a sequel to the Urbane "luxury" smartwatch-- the Urbane 2nd Edition, a wearable the company describes as "the first Android Wear device to feature cellular connectivity."

Urbane 2ndThe watch supports 4G and 3G networks, allowing users to make calls from their wrists without need for pairing with smartphones over Bluetooth or wifi.

Specifications-wise the Urbane 2nd Edition features a 480x480 resolution circular P-OLED display with pixel density reaching 348ppi (the highest on the market, LG claims), a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 768MB RAM, 4GB built-in storage, 570mAh battery, heart rate tracking and stress level monitoring. Control comes through either touchscreen or 3 buttons on the right side allowing quick access to settings such as contacts, LG Health and apps lists.

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Google Updates Device Lineup

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Google announces annual device lineup updates-- the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P and 5-inch Nexus 5X smartphones, Microsoft Surface/iPad Pro rival Pixel C, a redesigned Chromecast HDMI dongle and, in new offerings, the Chromecast Audio wifi audio streamer.

Google devicesThe smartphone offerings have features new to the Nexus family, namely a Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor and a USB Type-C port. The bigger of the two, the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, is Huawei-made and is the first Nexus devices with an all-aluminium body and a 12.3MP camera with a sensor promising "massive 1.55µm pixels."

Further spec details include a 2560x1440 resolution AMOLED display, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU, 3GB RAM, 32/64/128GB storage, 8MP front-facing camera and 3450mAh battery.

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Adding Buttons to Touchscreens With GelTouch

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Researchers at the Technische Universität Berlin propose a means to add temporary tactile buttons to a touchscreens-- the GelTouch, a display with a layer of gel that hardens with the application of heat.

GelTouchGelTouch uses a heat-responsive hydrogel. The gel is fluid and transparent at room temperature, but turns stuff and opaque when heated above 32°C. A layer of conductive indium tin oxide (ITO) heats discrete areas of the display via electric current, turning the gel solid to create any number of button layouts.

A 7-inch prototype shows a grid of buttons, a slider and a 1-finger joystick buttons, all usable with applications such as a phone dialler and simple games. Buttons disappear once heat is removed.

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