The latest in the mobile tech rumors

All New HTC One All Over Again?


Did you wait with bated breaths for the HTC One M8 to be released amidst the slew of leaks and renders posted amongst social media and tech blogging sites? After the critical acclaim of the 2013 HTC One, the tech world anticipated a flagship that had the potential to take control of the Android smartphone market out of the hands of Samsung with superior build quality, friendly UI, and unparalleled audio performance. Once April came around, we witnessed HTC unveil a phone that improved on every aspect of its previous iteration, but still left a little more to be desired from the M8.

It would appear that HTC has plans to release a second flagship phone later this year to compete directly with the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy Note 4 being called the HTC One M8 Prime (let’s hope they don’t name it this for brevity’s sake). The ever-accurate @evleaks has revealed that HTC will be adding a supercharger to the already top of the line device. According to the leak, the processor will be upgraded to a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processors clocked in at 2.5GHz from the 2.3GHz 801 and adding an addition GB of RAM (3GB total).

Photo of @evleaks 360 degree render of the M8 Prime

It’s debatable as to whether or not users will be to fully utilize the Snapdragon 801 on the current M8 so bumping to the 805 wont make a noticeable difference besides improved battery performance. A more efficient use of power might be negated with what @evleaks disclosed the alleged display.

If true, the M8 Prime will be one of the first major smartphones to be sporting a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, equaling a pixel density of 534. Nothing has been leaked on battery size yet, but given a half inch bump in display size and increasing resolution from 1080p to 2K will almost force HTC to include a larger battery if they hope to have create a phone that lasts more than a couple hours away from a wall charger.

Take away the next gen processor and incomprehensibly crisp display, one of the most compelling leaks is the camera. The past two One models have used the same four megapixel shooter utilizing larger than normal pixels. HTC has stuck by their “Ultrapixel” camera as the larger pixels take in more light, allowing for greater low light performance. While low light performance is top notch, the camera has otherwise been the most criticized feature on both models.  Rumors on the M8 Prime peg the M8 Prime sporting an 18MP camera, as outlandish as it sounds. I’d be more opt to believe an 8 or 13MP camera, utilizing their Ultrapixel technology, but we shall see a fall draws nearer.


Could this raised lens be the rumored 18PM camera?

We know very little as of yet, but given @evleaks history, there is merit to these rumors. As with most smartphone manufacturers, HTC has not announced this phone and likely won’t until sometime in the fall. Despite less-than-stellar profit margins on previous flagship devices, HTC is a company that creates innovative and critically acclaimed smartphones while withholding the oft-overdone software gimmicks . We just hope that HTC can employ a marketing campaign worthy of the One’s brilliance. 

Source: PhoneArena

Beats acquisition and what it means for iOS 8


On May 9, Dr Dre allegedly confirmed selling Beats to Apple for the premium price of $3.2 billion during his “first billionaire in hip-hop” video. Not known for making public purchases of companies, this is an abnormal move for Apple. If rumor be true, this will be it’s largest buyout ever, having never spent more than $400 million on a company.  Given iTunes Radio offering a similar music streaming service that Beats Music provides and selling Beats headphones on the iTunes store, what will Apple get out of this deal?

A revamped and sexier media player UI

Apple has been a leader in music playback since the release of the first generation iPod back in 2001. For years, iTunes has been the top online music store, registering 1 billion songs sold by 2006. Growing frustration over the limitations iTunes has allowed for other music streaming services to gain traction in the market. Services like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music are still growing, despite iTunes launching its free iTunes Radio service to directly compete with them. Despite acquiring 20 million users within the first month of its release, Pandora still holds 31% market share to iTunes Radios’ 8%.

Chart shows Pandora's stronghold over the streaming music market (source: 9to5mac)

Chart shows Pandora’s stronghold over the streaming music market (source: 9to5mac)

With such a recognizable name in the headphone game, Beats Music has experienced rapid growth since its launch in January 2014. In a mere four months since its launch, Beats Music has added nearly 50,000 individual users and another 62,000 family accounts that allow up to five users. This type of growth to match the marketability of the Beats brand is an intriguing prospect for a company like Apple.

This growth is due in part to the Beats name, as well as subscription deals with AT&T offering the family plan for $14.99 a month, but the user interface of Beats Music is much more attractive and easier to find new music than what iTunes Radio has to offer. While I do prefer the UI of Beats Music to iTunes radio, I do not believe this to be a main proponent to the purchase. Beats Music is built on MOG service, which was purchased back in 2012. One of the highlights of MOG is their commitment to providing music in the 320-kilobit format, but given the ability of Apple, this is something they could achieve on their own without paying the steep price of $3.2 billion.

Lower Royalties

One compelling reason for the purchase could come down to the royalties that Beats Music pays for each song playback. According to reports, each song play costs Beats Music $0.000126, which is significantly less than the reported $0.006-0.0084 that Spotify pays. Apple, on the other hand, pays $0.13 per play. If Apple can retain the royalty fees that Beats Music plays, that could pay dividends for it.

Possible HD audio playback and headphones that no longer require a 3.5mm headphone jack

Is this going to be the new look for Apple's stock headphones?

Is this going to be the new look for Apple’s stock headphones? (source: electronista)

Amongst the rumors for iOS 8, there has been talk of Apple prepping for high-definition audio playback. Currently, iOS 7 can’t handle audio playback for 24-bit audio files and the purchase of Beats make this possibility seem even more plausible. With the acquisition of Beats, Apple could start developing HD audio playback using custom, Beats made headphones that utilize the lightning port instead of the 3.5mm headphone jack. This is particularly interesting as the 3.5mm headphone jack is old technology and with the rise of Bluetooth headphones, it makes sense create headphones that use the same port one charges from.

Of course, this is all speculation as the acquisition isn’t official yet and Apple hasn’t made any comments regarding it. What do you guys think? This is a particularly interesting topic as Apple has never made a purchase like this before. If you have any other ideas or theories as to why Apple would purchase Beats, please leave some comments, as I’d love to read them and continue this conversation.

Source: TheGuardian; CNET

iPhone 6 Camera Rumors – Super Zoom and Improved Low Light Performance?

Apple arguably uses one of the best cameras in the mobile tech industry in the 5s with their 8MP iSight camera, but they may be looking to improve it for its next iteration. Rumors indicate that Apple will retain the same number of megapixels for the 6’s shooter but increase the pixel size instead. From 1.5 micrometers in the 5s, the 6 might see a jump to 1.75 micrometers, which will allow more light to enter each megapixel, providing improved low-light image quality. Drunken bar selfies will look better than ever.

Patents shouldn’t dictate what we predict new technology will provide as Apple has many patents that we likely will never see in fruition, but one of the latest filings published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has many photo junkies salivating. This patent is called “Super-resolution based on optical image stabilization” and from the looks of it, it will incorporate a process similar to the Oppo Find 7/7a’s camera to produce high-resolution images from a lower-resolution camera.

Source: USPTO Via: AppleInsider

Source: USPTO
Via: AppleInsider

If you’re unfamiliar with Oppo’s Super Zoom setting, it essentially takes 10 burst shots in succession with its 13MP sensor and combines them together to create a 50MP image. Of course this is a software feature and won’t actually create a real 50MP shot, but the resolution ends up being much higher than the original with Super Zoom on.


Picture highlights the 7’s Super Zoom feature and its ability to zoom much further with its 50MP software adjustment than with its original 13MP shot (via Engaget).

This is an interesting patent for Apple, and one that I am reluctant to believe will be available for the iPhone 6. The 5s currently uses software-based image stabilization for their iSight camera for two possible reasons: they believe that software-based image stabilization will become better than OIS once the software is better optimized or Apple could not fit OIS in their current camera because the phone was too thin. I’m inclined to believe that both factors play a part in the decision, but the latter being the main reason OIS was left out of past models.

As compelling as this feature could be, don’t expect anything to come of it. If the rumors hold merit of Apple unveiling a phablet sized 5.5” model to go with the 4.7” one, it may include more features similar to this to provide a more premium experience without compromising hardware (ala the iPhone 5c). But considering Apple’s struggles fitting a battery inside the 6’s thin design, don’t keep your fingers crossed on this one.

Source: AppleInsider; iSource

The LG G3 – The device to best the Galaxy Line?

Rumors have been gathering the past couple months regarding the G3 and while LG doesn’t have the clout that Samsung has in regards to selling smartphones, the touted specs of the G3 are noteworthy. Of course these are merely rumors, but if achieved, LG could take mobile technology to the next level of innovation; a level that Samsung and HTC failed to achieve with their latest flagships.

G3 brushed shell from @evleaks

The highly accurate @evleaks providing a glimpse of a back that mimics the brushed aluminum of the HTC One M8

Will we finally see a 2k display?

Scheduled to drop May 27, the G3 will be unveiled merely 8 months after it’s predecessor, to better compete with the Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8). If the rumors hold merit, the G3 will become the first smartphone (with exception to the non-yet released Oppo Find 7) sporting 2k-resolution display. On a 5.5” True HD-IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, this will give the G3 roughly 534 ppi.

What can we expect from internals?

Underneath the display, the device will house Qualcomm’s newest chipset, the Snapdragon 801 with a Quad Core CPU clocked at 2.26 GHz and Adreno 330 GPU. These are along the lines of the S5 and M8, but the G3 is rumored to come with 3 GB of RAM on its 32 GB version, which top the formers’ 2 GB. The camera will be a 13 MP shooter with OIS and rumored to shoot 4k video, similar to the S5 and Note 3.

Is it enough?

Will these specs be enough to compete with the Galaxy S5 though? Having owned the G2 myself, I will say that LG deserves more recognition than they received for it. The power and volume rocker located on the back was a risky move, but proved to be as ergonomic as advertised in my experience and this allowed for a bezel smaller than any I’ve seen before. It’s difficult to comprehend by reading reviews, but having owned the 4.7” HTC One (M7) and 5.2” LG G2, they took up roughly the same hand real estate, despite have a .5” larger display.


Most recent shot from PhoneArena show a more clear image of a polycarbonate back and not aluminum.

The one thing I could not stand on the G2 (and the reason I ended up returning it) was the polycarbonate shell. Despite being a large guy who perspires easily, I’ve never had issue with slippery phones from my experience with iPhones, the HTC One, or the Nexus 5. But without a matte finish or aluminum body, the polycarbonate finish (much like the Galaxy S4) would take any moisture from my hand and act as a lubricant, making the device feel cheap and grimy.

From the renders and new commercial launched, it appears that LG heeded the complaints and took a page out of HTC’s book in resolving the issue. The pictures leaked leads us to believe the G3 will use a similar brushed aluminum uni-body like the M8, but given alleged specks, it seems much more likely it’ll be a brushed polycarbonate finish that mimics aluminum.

What I’m most interested in seeing how the 3200 mAh battery will handle the 2k display. The G2 was a beast when it came to battery life, utilizing a slightly smaller 3000 mAh battery, but it also a smaller 1080p screen. My guess is that the new, more efficient Snapdragon 801 will use less battery life and the difference between the two devices will be a wash, but we will have to wait and see.

The G3 likely won’t beat the S5 in sales, but that has more to do with Samsung’s marketing monster than it does the G3’s possible shortcomings. The only thing the S4 had over the G2 was a removable battery and micro-USB expansion (both of which are available with the G3). Take away Touch-Wiz and LG’s UI, install a custom ROM, and these devices are very similar, with the G2 besting the S4 in internal storage, processor speed, screen size, battery size, and a better chipset.

The reality is that top end specs and superior hardware won’t be able to compete with the marketing department with seemingly unlimited funding (look at sales of the beautiful and acclaimed HTC One M7) that is Samsung. But at the end of the day, that’s okay. LG Electronics division is very profitable on their top of the line TV’s, home appliances, and lighting technology so they can afford to take risks with their mobile technology. It is this push for innovation that will drive the market to compete and improve and, ultimately provide the consumer with the absolute best it can offer.


Source: PhoneArena; GottaBeMobile