Thursday, 1 December 2016

HMD officially takes over the Nokia phone business

Starting today, HMD Global Oy is now the home of Nokia phones and tablets. The exclusive license extends 10 years forward and covers the whole world (sans Japan). Nokia, the company, will receive royalty payments for Nokia-branded products made by HMD (for both the name and for the intellectual property used).
It’s important to note that Nokia, the company, is not an investor or a shareholder in HMD. That said, HMD is a Finish company and there’s one Nokia representative on its Board of Directors. Also, FIH Mobile (a Foxconn subsidiary) will be making Nokia-branded feature phones.

This leaves HMD to focus on the Android-powered side of things. The site (operated by HMD) promises new smartphones coming in 2017. You can sign up to be notified by email for new developments.
The site currently lists a number of Nokia feature phones, which used to be manufactured by Microsoft, until the company unloaded the factories to Foxconn (technically, to FIH).
Here’s a bit more info about the leadership of HMD, which you might find interesting.
President: Florian Seiche, former co-founder of HTC’s branded smartphone business
CEO: Arto Nummela, former VP at Microsoft MObile Devices Sales (EMEA), joined Nokia in 1994
Chief Product Officer: Juho Sarvikas, introduced Nokia Windows Phone to US carriers
The list includes even more Nokia and Microsoft alums, plus a few from HTC, Sony Ericsson and other mobile phone luminaries.

Unannounced Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) gets reviewed on video

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) has passed quite a few of the mandatory steps before going official - with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi certifications cleared, it also popped up on GeekBench and was also featured in a render video. Well, one of the preliminary units has apparently slipped out of the confines of NDAs and has gotten reviewed on video. Sadly, the video has since been taken down, but we'll walk you through it.

First of all, it's a Galaxy S7 lookalike, but we've already gotten a taste of that from the renders. We still don't get a display diagonal, but initial data points to 5.2 inches, and Antutu reports a 1080p resolution. The Mali-T830 GPU has so far been used in the Exynos 7870 chipset, but since benchmark listings quoted a 7880 SoC, we'd conclude that it's just an updated version of the 7870. There are 3GB of RAM on board and internal storage is 32GB, expandable via microSD. Speaking of Antutu, this A5 (2017) has scored just shy of 60,000 points in the popular benchmark.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) - the current model

The reviewer praises the phone for its battery life (which is generally our own experience with the Exynos 78xx chips), but doesn't seem to be a fan of the camera. Additionally, he complains about UI hiccups, noting that the A5 (2017) still runs on non-final software. Oh, it's still based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.
With test units of the Galaxy A5 (2017) out in the open like that, we're expecting an official announcement before the end of the year.

Galaxy Note7 units still in use in Australia will be disconnected from the mobile networks on December 15

Last month Samsung went further than ever in trying to ensure that all Galaxy Note7 units sold in New Zealand are returned following its discontinuation of the device. Working with the carriers over there, the company has basically shut down mobile network access for those Note7 handsets still in the wild. This move has apparently proved successful, since Samsung is now getting ready to do the exact same thing in neighboring Australia.
Starting on December 15, if you have a Note7 in Australia you won't be able to use it on any of the mobile networks over there. It will essentially be cut off from the mobile infrastructure, meaning it will only connect to Wi-Fi networks from that point on. Samsung clearly hopes that this will finally convince the "small number" of holdouts to return their devices. After all, these are the people who can live with their phones only charging up to 60%.
Samsung's even throwing in $250 in "a specific partner offer" that hasn't been detailed yet, but only if you choose to replace your Note7 with a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge. This is on top of the refund for the difference between the two sales prices, of course. The $250 offer will be valid until December 22, and at some point the page at the Source link below will be updated to tell us more about it. Before the end of the year we should find out exactly what caused the Note7 fires.

ZTE Axon 7 mini lands in the UK, yours for £249.99 SIM-free

ZTE launched the Axon 7 mini back in September as a smaller, cheaper, and lower-end alternative to the Axon 7 from earlier in the year. Having already become available in some European markets, the Axon 7 mini is making its debut in the UK today. The exclusive retail partner (for now, at least) is Carphone Warehouse.
That's where you can buy an Axon 7 mini (just in gold at the moment, grey is coming soon) in SIM-free and unlocked form, if you agree to shell out £249.99 for the privilege. If you don't want to spend that much upfront, then there's always the option to pick a two-year operator plan and get the phone for free.

If this is your thing, then know you'll need to select a plan that costs at least £17.50 per month in order to receive the handset for nothing. If you choose the cheapest contract, you get 300 minutes, 5,000 texts, and 500MB of 4G data each month from iD, the Carphone Warehouse's own operator brand. There are a couple more plans to consider, the most expensive coming in at £21.50 per month and giving you 600 minutes, 5,000 texts, and 2GB of 4G data.
The Axon 7 mini packs a 5.2-inch 1080p touchscreen, a 16 MP rear camera with f/1.9 aperture, an 8 MP selfie snapper, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 617 chipset at the helm (with a 1.5 GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU), 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a 2,705 mAh battery. It runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Now Verizon's LG G5 is receiving the update to Android 7.0 Nougat

The update to Android 7.0 Nougat for the LG G5 keeps on spreading, with every day that goes by. It's beenlaunched in South Korea first, and recently we've seen it hitting G5 units sold by Sprint, T-Mobile, as well as US Cellular. And now it's finally time for this new software to make it to Verizon's LG G5.
The rollout has seemingly commenced today, according to multiple people who have received the update. It's a 1.6GB download, so make sure you get it via Wi-Fi. As you can see from the screenshot to the left, the mini changelog LG has outed for this build contains information about such features as new themes, a replacement of LG's Downloads app by Google's, and the newfound ability to restore deleted images from the Trash folder for seven days.
Of course these aren't all the new things you'll see once you update. The release also packs the features that Google built into Android 7.0 and which have survived LG's modifications intact. Hopefully at least the new notification design (complete with direct reply functionality) has been kept by the Korean company unaltered. As usual with such rollouts, it may take a few days before you get an update notification, so don't despair if you don't see it yet.