Mobile Devices

A Mobile Phone in Pocketwatch Form

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One of the more unusual mobile phones at Mobile World Congress 2015 looks nothing like a mobile phone-- the Runcible is a circular device modeled after the pocketwatch or compass of years ago.

Runcible "Runcible is designed to help you create a more civilized relationship with your digital life," creator Monohm claims, before describing it as nothing less than "the premier device for the post-smartphone era." It runs on Firefox OS and promises a "quieter" hybrid of smartphone and wearable, combining the connectivity demanded by modern life (including LTE, wifi, Bluetooth and NFC) with simple notifications, camera, a contact list limited to 12 individuals and, perhaps aptly, a virtual compass handling GPS duties.

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Xperia Z4 Tablet at MWC 2015

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Mobile World Congress 2015 sees Sony launch the Xperia Z4 tablet, supposedly the thinest and lightest (6.1mm slim and 393g heavy) 10-inch tablet around, together with the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone.

Xperia Z4The Xperia Z4 carries what Sony claims are "best in class" technologies, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit CPU, 10-inch 2048×1536 resolution display, DSEE HX audio processing and a battery promising up to 17 hours of video playback on a single charge. It runs on Android and also allows for PlayStation 4 game streaming with the combination of Remote Play and Dualshock 4 wireless controllers.

Accessory-wise Sony offers the BKB50 Bluetooth keyboard complete with dedicated tablet dock, the "slim and light" SCR32 cover and the BSP60 speaker.

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Corning Swipes at Sapphire with Phire

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Corning announces a type of glass the company claims is tougher than the latest Gorilla Glass iteration while featuring scratch resistance that "approaches" sapphire-- the so-called "Project Phire."

Gorilla Glass “We have developed a new product that will provide sapphire-like scratch resistance while maintaining the legendary toughness and break resistance of Gorilla Glass,” Gorilla Glass Technologies James P. Clappin says at the company's annual investor meeting.

Sapphire was supposed to be the latest wonder material in mobile displays, yet it is not problem-free, being brittle and reportedly hard to work with. This explains why Corning's Gorilla Glass unit sticks with glass and related composites, even as investors demand the company starts using the new material.

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LG Flips With Ice Cream Smart

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LG launches the Ice Cream Smart, the company's second Android-powered flip phone (following the 2014 Wine Smart) providing contemporary functionality within a form factor best described as old school.

Ice Cream SmartFeaturing both 3.5-inch 480x320 resolution touchscreen and physical buttons, the Ice Cream Smart carries a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB built-in storage (expandable via microSD), 1700mAh battery and 8MP rear-/VGA front-facing cameras.

Connectivity comes via Bluetooth, wifi and LTE while, confusingly enough, the Android version it runs on is KitKat, not the latest Ice Cream Sandwich.

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"Pro" iPad to Get Stylus?

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According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo the rumoured 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" will get a companion accessory fitting the bigger display-- a stylus Apple supposedly plans to sell as an optional extra.

iPad Stylus patent"Given that it’s more precise than a person’s fingers, a stylus can be more convenient to use than the combination of keyboard and mouse in some cases," the analyst says. "Therefore, we believe Apple’s stylus will improve the user experience of 12.9-inch iPad."

Such reports are usually based on supply chain sources, but in this case Kuo refers to a number of recent Apple patents dealing with stylus-based input. These include an iPad stylus complete with extendable "multitouch" nib, onboard light and even built-in gyroscope and accelerometer. However the analyst says Apple will not include motion sensors in its first stylus, instead including them in future models.

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