Huawei sold more phones in 2016, but made less money

If you live in the U.S., odds are that you are somewhat familiar with Huawei. You could have seen the company’s brand adorning some handsets at Best Buy, Target or Walmart, but might not be able to pronounce the name (which sounds like “wha-weigh”), and you might not realize that the manufacturer is the third largest producer of smartphones in the world. But Huawei vows that you will soon know much more about the company; it promises that by 2021, it will become the top smartphone manufacturer worldwide, topping Apple and Samsung.

The company appears to be making progress toward reaching that goal as Huawei sold 30% more handsets in 2016 on a year-over-year basis. During a year when smartphone sales were tepid at best, Huawei’s sales growth is quite impressive. Unfortunately though, Huawei’s top line growth did not continue down to the bottom line. Profits for the firm’s consumer business group, which includes smartphones, amounted to $2 billion last year. That was down 10% from the $2.2 billion it made in 2015, and failed to reach the $2.5 billion in profits that Huawei was shooting for. Revenue for the group rose last year by 42% to $26 billion.

The increase in units sold and revenue would normally produce higher profits. The fact that they didn’t suggests that Huawei’s margins are getting slammed by higher costs. Component prices are going up as more features are being added to Huawei’s top shelf phones. And as the company gets bigger, other costs naturally rise such as those for marketing. The numbers could also mean that Huawei is focusing on growing share at the expense of profitability. That would be in line with its goal for 2021.

Reportedly, Huawei has set some tough internal targets for 2017. They include a doubling of consumer group profits to $4 billion. To achieve that kind of growth in a industry that no longer is booming, will require the company to spend its money wisely when it comes to promoting its products. It also might require Huawei to stop worrying about topping Apple and Samsung and concern itself with making a larger profit on its devices.

source: AndroidAuthority

Valentine’s Day tech gift guide: here’s what to get your significant other

Although celebrating Valentine’s Day is possibly the worst possible way to profess your love to your significant other, it won’t stop folks from engaging into various activities, mostly including cheesy love songs, flowers, balloons, and love-proclaiming greeting cards. After all, you shouldn’t be showing your love only on the 14th of February, but rather every other day of the year. Provided that your feelings are genuine, that is. 

Anyway, we digress. Although many people don’t actually care about Valentine’s Day, the holiday will be certainly celebrated by a large amount of the populace. For certain, many a gift will change hands and cause lots of smiles. Or not. In order to help you in your gift-selecting endeavors and potentially save you an awkward situation, we decided to round up some notable gifts that you can give your significant other in a few days’ time.

Anyways, we know we might be a bit late, but here a couple of gift ideas for late shoppers:

Gift ideas for women

Idea #1: A stylish phone 

Various studies have concluded that due to one reason or another, women are biologically predisposed to spot favor and discern between more shade of red and pink than men. Who are we to get in arguments with science? This Valentine’s day, you can earn lots of points with the mistress of your heart by getting her a stylish and elegant smartphone that will complement her looks! Here are a few recommendations:

Any Rose Gold Apple iPhone 

Price: $649 – $849

That’s an obvious recommendation. We don’t want to generalize, but the iPhone is traditionally quite popular with women. And ever since the iPhone has come in rose gold, the iPhone has been a tad more attractive for the feminine part of humanity. All contemporary iPhones arrive in Rose Gold, so you can choose between the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE, or the older iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.As the iP

Gold Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Price: $794

If the woman of your heart has a liking for the Android ecosystem, it’s only natural to consider getting her a sleek Galaxy S7 edge in Gold color. It might be pushing the boundaries in terms of price and overall size, but it’s one of the more viable options you have ahead of yourself. Oh, and while we are at it, check out our thoughts on the Galaxy S7 edge.

Idea #2: A wearable

Admittedly, wearables are not the most romantic gift ever, but they are intimate enough to possess a certain amount of charisma. After all, your significant other is expected to be wearing this one non-stop every day. Anyway, here are a few notable ideas:

Bellabeat Leaf Urban

Price: $139 – $199

This is multi-functional smart jewelry will easily fit any lifestyle the woman of your dreams might be leading. It can be attached to any piece of clothing or even cling to your regular lady bag, where it will stay securely and track calorie expenditure, keep count of steps taken, track sleeping patterns, and even predict stress. The Leaf Urban smart jewel comes in Silver, Rose Gold, Black silver, and Gray Rose color combinations. 

Misfit Swarovski Activity Crystal Slake Set

This is an extremely stylish custom Misfit wearable clad with finely-cut Swarovski crystals and an exterior that exudes femininity. Aside from looking elegant, it would also track steps, distance, calories, and sleep patterns of your significant other. With a user-replaceable battery that lasts up to 4 months, this is an excellent and stylish gift.

Idea #3: A feminine smartwatch

If you are considering getting your girlfriend a fitness tracker, why not step your game up and get her a feminine smartwatch instead? There are multiple manufacturers that offer feminine versions of their timepieces, and most of these look rather sleek – perfect!

Rose Gold Apple Watch Series 2 

Price: $369

The second-gen Apple Watch is as elegant and appealing as it gets, especially in Rose Gold. With a matching band like the Pink Sand one, it’s very close to being the perfect gift.

Classic Rose Gold Samsung Gear S2 

Price: $299

This is a slightly less expensive alternative to the Apple Watch Series 2. The rose gold watch goes rather well with the default white band, making this one an appealing option for the feminine crowd. The phone 

If these wearables don’t float your boat, feel free to check out some other recommendations.

Gift ideas for men

Idea #1: A manly smartwatch

A smartwatch is a very intimate gadget – you wear it every day and use it to log your daily activities. It doesn’t get any personal than that!

Samsung Gear S3 frontier

Price: $299.99

If you to get a really masculine smartwatch, then look no further than the Gear S3 frontier. It’s the epitome of a testosterone-heavy macho gadget and will likely raise the self-confidence of your significant other. Make sure to check out our full review of the gadget right here.

Apple Watch Series 2

Price: $369

Paired with a matching Black Woven Nylon or a Black Stainless Steel Milanese loop band, the 42mm Apple Watch is a stunning device. Our review of the device is available for your curious eyes right here. While you’re at it, feel free to check our review of the wearable, which is available right here.

Idea #2: A case

Phones are still fragile, and most men are not getting more careful around these. Such a dangerous combination often leads to broken screens, dented frames, and other types of cringeworthy damage. Here are a few case recommendations for some of the more popular devices out there that will keep these safe and sound:

Last, but not least, if you have no idea what accessory you want to get your significant male other, you can always gift him a new phone. A manly one is your best bet. Here are two recommendations.

LG V20

Price: $799.99

Few devices exude as much manliness as the masculine LG V20. It’s a relatively large metal device that is sturdier than your average smartphone – it’s not water-tight, but it’s at least MIL-STD-810G transit drop compliant, which means that it will endure more physical abuse than other devices. There’s much more to the V20 than looks alone, so feel free to acquaint yourself with this one better in our review, which is available here.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus (preferably in Black)

Price: $769 – $969

A large iPhone 7 Plus in Black, or even better – Jet Black, is undoubtedly a manly device. Of course, this is by no means a cheap gift, but then again, Valentine’s Day is once a year and you really love your man, right? Before you jump ship, however, make sure to check out our review of the iPhone 7 Plus right here.

HTC 10

Price: $599

With its chamfered edges and solid, pleasantly heavy aluminum body, the HTC 10 is definitely a manly device. It’s a crude and chunky device that exudes manliness – a matching gift for this year’s Valentine’s.

Check out some other worthy smartphones right here:

Top 5 best online collaboration and communication tools in 2017

With the rise of the internet, computers and mobile technology, so much has changed in the business world over the decades. And of course, it’s critical to implement the right devices and applications into your everyday operations, not just to boost productivity, but to keep up with – or stay ahead of – the competition.

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that running a business isn’t what it used to be. The working economy is far more fragmented. There are still firms that make huge amounts of revenue annually and have a physical presence across the world, but better funding opportunities and new technologies have enabled more people to pursue their business dreams on their own terms.

Should you have a big idea, there’s nothing stopping you from turning it into a lucrative business. With the right tech and software, you can run your business from the comfort of your home or a co-working environment. And when you begin to grow and take on employees, they can also work wherever they want.

Better quality collaboration tools are increasingly making this type of business strategy likely to be a success. They let you communicate and work on tasks with your co-workers in real-time, regardless of where you happen to be. You don’t even have to own a business – perhaps you’re a freelancer. The premise still stands: how you work is up to you. But if you need the right apps for collaboration and communication, these are the best around…

1. Slack

A collaboration tool which needs no introduction

Platforms: Web, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone | Features: Drag-and-drop files, on-desktop notifications, group projects | Video calls: Yes | Integrations: Dropbox, Google Docs, Box | Free trial: Free version available

Excellent interface

Impressive free version

Some might want more depth in security

Slack is without doubt a mighty collaboration tool, with millions of users around the globe. It’s an incredibly smart platform, and you can get it on mobile and desktop devices. It allows for the sending of direct messages (DMs) and files to a single person or a group of employees, and there’s the ability to organise conversations into different channels (perhaps for specific projects, one for technical support, general chat, and so forth).

The app also supports video calling. You can use the feature to talk to your colleagues about projects and work in-depth, without having to type everything into a DM. While this isn’t a replacement for cloud storage services, you are able to drag, drop and share files with your colleagues directly within Slack. It’s also compatible with services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box.

To round things off, Slack even has a free version, although unsurprisingly it has limitations (in terms of the number of messages stored, overall storage space and so forth).

2. Asana

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android | Features: To-do lists, project templates, dashboards | Video calls: Yes | Integrations: Slack, Dropbox, Github | Free trial: Yes

Project tracking

Handy integrations

Other apps have better comms features

Asana has been around since 2008, making it a veteran in the collaboration arena, and companies such as Salesforce, Uber and TED all use it as their core method of communication.

It’s been designed as an easy way for companies to track the work of employees and to get the best possible results. Using the platform, you can create to-do lists for ongoing projects, set reminders for upcoming deadlines and send requests to colleagues. Team members can also assign comments to posts within the app.

You can organise all your projects in a list or board format, and there’s a search function so you can locate past work quickly. In short, Asana is a very effective way to stay super-organised and facilitate conversations when it comes to updates on how work is progressing.

3. Podio

A mobile-friendly collaboration tool

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android | Features: File sharing, project tracking | Video calls: No | Integrations: Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Zendesk, Campaign Monitor | Free trial: No

Quality mobile apps

Wide range of integrations

Multiple subscription plans may confuse some

Podio describes itself as a flexible and customisable online platform for work and communication among teams. In other words, it gives you a way to organise large stacks of work and to delegate tasks between employees.

Just like many of the other business collaboration apps out there, Podio provides you with the tools to share files, view the status of ongoing projects and get feedback on the things you’re currently working on. These functionalities are combined into an easy-to-use interface.

Podio is also equipped with quality mobile apps for when you’re out and about, and need to use your smartphone or tablet, and it has an impressive amount of integration with third-party services and apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Zendesk.

4. Ryver

An easy-to-use collaboration freebie

Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android | Features: Easy-to-use newsfeed, filters, file sharing | Video calls: No | Integrations: Dropbox, Gmail, Box, Basecamp, Yammer | Free trial: Free product

Easy-to-use interface

Free for unlimited users and no ads

Not overly well-featured

Ryver is similar to Slack, aiming to give your organisation a highly effective means of communication, and an easy way to talk over tasks, ensuring that deadlines are met.

What makes Ryver a compelling option is the fact that you can create as many teams as you want within the app, and easily categorise them to boot. As is the case with Slack, you can use the platform to set up chats with groups and individuals.

There are some interesting filters, too. You can control who sees the things you say and post in the app, and obviously enough, join the teams that are most relevant to you. All company posts are located within a Facebook-style newsfeed, and you can mark posts to come back to them later on.

There’s also a host of native clients across mobile and desktop, including Mac and Linux – and best of all, this is a free product. You can’t say fairer than that (an enterprise version will ship eventually, though, which will be a paid offering).

5. Trello

An app for organising all your projects

Platforms: Web, iOS, Android | Features: Create boards and lists, flexible project management | Video calls: No | Integrations: Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive, Slack | Free trial: Free version available

Clean, easy-to-use interface

Free version

Not many comms features

If you have ever looked into project management and online collaboration tools, then no doubt you’ve come across Trello. Available on the web and with mobile apps, it lets you easily organise projects and work on them with colleagues.

The platform allows you to work with boards or lists, which can be organised by teams and different tasks. And within these, you can set up to-do lists and delegate amongst colleagues. There’s also the option to assign comments to cards – a quick way to give feedback to others.

Furthermore, Trello boasts a number of integrations with apps such as Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive and Slack. You can download the app for free, but there are premium options available which give access to more features.

The larger variant of the Galaxy S8 will be dubbed the Samsung Galaxy S8+

Two of the biggest smartphones that are prepping for announcements within the coming weeks are the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8. LG will be getting a head start over Samsung in regards to a release date, and this comes as a result of the company deciding to use the Snapdragon 821 rather than the 835. An edge in release over Samsung could be very beneficial to LG in regards to sales, but that doesn’t mean it can completely ignore the upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship. We’ve heard plenty of talk and rumors in regards to Samsung’s next device since the Note 7 debacle, and thanks to a leak from the famous Evan Blass, we now have an official logo for the larger of the two Samsung handsets – the Galaxy S8+.

Just like last year’s Galaxy S7 and S6 before it, we’re expecting Samsung to release two variants of the S8 – the main difference between the two versions likely being screen size. However, unlike the past two iterations that featured the ‘edge’ moniker, Samsung will ditch that as a result of both the S8 and S8+ expected to feature curved, bezel-less displays. Up until this point, we’ve been calling the larger version of the S8 the ‘S8 Plus”, but Blass’s latest leak reveals that the ‘plus’ branding will feature the + symbol rather than having it spelled out. This isn’t a big deal at all, but our guess is that the move was made as to not be too obvious about copying Apple’s branding with the iPhone.

At the time of this writing, all signs are pointing towards the S8 featuring a 5.7-inch display and the S8+ with a 6-inch one. That’s a big increase in size as compared to last year’s 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch displays on the S7 and S7 edge respectively, but the overall dimensions should be smaller than current 5.7-inch and 6-inch handsets due to the very minimal bezels that will be present.

Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S8 and S8+ later in March, and with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 CPU, curved, bezel-less screens, Bixby AI assistant, and a lot more, they’re shaping up to be two of 2017’s most anticipated smartphones. Stay tuned.

10 robots that are changing the world

Whether they’re taking our jobs, acting as our own personal butlers or planning mankind’s ultimate robopocalypse downfall, we’ve been obsessed robots for centuries. From clockwork automatons to cutting edge androids, we’ve been trekking the Uncanny Valley for around 500 years now.

It’s a journey that’s excellently explored in the new Robots exhibit at London’s Science Museum. It’s a fascinating look at an increasingly-automated world, one that promises personal convenience and a precision workforce the likes of which has never been seen before, while simultaneously questioning the very nature of our existence.

As showcased at the exhibit, here’s a look at ten groundbreaking robots that are set to alter the way we live, work and love. Pop on some Kraftwerk and take a glimpse at your future mechanized mates, as we kick off with…

Inkha (pictured above)

  • Robotic receptionist
  • Matthew Walker, 2002

Built by Matthew Walker in 2002, Inkha is a reactive robotic receptionist which would engage visitors of King’s College London, responding to questions offered up through a connected touchscreen. A proof of concept that there’s potential to automate even public-facing roles, Walker even instilled a spot of personality into Inkha, using its camera to help it dish out fashion advice, and act bored whilst waiting for someone to interact with it. Just like a real receptionist, then!

How one UK mobile network is donating old phones to people in need

Drawers around the world are full of old, out of date and unloved mobile phones that people have forgotten to – or can’t be bothered to – sell or pass on. But one UK network wants to give these phones a new lease of life.

Three is encouraging people to rid themselves of idle phones, but instead of selling them on for a small profit, it’s asking them to donate them to people who desperately need access to a phone and the internet.

Mobile recycling company SellMyMobile found that in the UK there were £13 billion worth of phones lingering in people’s homes at the start of 2016.

The new Three scheme, called Reconnected, takes these devices and gives them to people struggling with their finances, or who have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives, and provides them with free access to the Three network for 90 days to help them get back on their feet.

Helping out

The scheme, which is limited to the UK right now, donates phones to homeless people, domestic abuse victims and many other groups who don’t necessarily have easy access to the internet or a phone line.

Celina Benedict, Responsible Business Manager at Three, told TechRadar: “We think we’ve come up with a smart idea to get handsets into the hands of people who could really make the most of them.

 “That’s either to help them get jobs, reconnect with family or even just enjoy using a mobile, which we sometimes take for granted.”

The internet has become an indispensable tool that, as Benedict points out, many of us take for granted. In June 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council even declared internet access to be a human right.

If you donate your phone to the Reconnected scheme, Three will ensure the phone isn’t broken, update it to the latest software, make sure it can access the internet and pair it with the relevant accessories, such as a charger and microUSB cable.

The new user will then be given 12GB of data, 300 minutes and 3,000 texts to use each month for three months, while the phone is theirs to keep. If the person wants to continue using it after that period they’ll have to pay for network access though.

Not every recipient will be able to afford to maintain the network access, but Three’s thinking is the 90 days should give them enough time to reconnect with services and people they need to help them turn things around, such as a Job Center, or family members in another part of the country.

Benedict adds: “We couldn’t not give data, we live on data – it’s one of the most important aspects. The idea was to give them more than they needed, but give them a cap so they could see what real usage is like and set them on the right path for later.”

“We couldn’t not give data, we live on data”

Celina Benedict at Three

People in need won’t be able to apply for this scheme directly though. Three is partnering with a number of different organisations to find people who can benefit from Reconnected.

Benedict says: “What they all have in common is they don’t have access to the internet, they don’t have a smartphone. The scheme is to help them get back on track and overcome issues.

“It may be they’re at risk of homelessness or need to get employment, or even just better digital skills. They’re all just trying to improve their lives, but they’re missing this one valuable tool that most of us have and can’t even imagine living without.

Not everyone is in a situation to recharge a device, however. For example, homeless people without access to electricity won’t benefit from this scheme.

“Often people in the scheme are at risk of homelessness, so they’re staying in shelters or in provided accommodation so charging is possible there,” adds Benedict “It’s more about giving them the kit and getting them started really.”

There’s also a concern that a donated phone could be sold on by the person who receives it – and Three hasn’t put a process in place for addressing this problem yet.

“We have to rely on the community groups we’re working with,” says Benedict. “We have to trust them to understand the individuals they’re supporting, and for them to decide the individuals who would make the most of the experience and will be able to carry on using a device afterwards.”

Three ran an internal pilot for the Reconnected scheme last year, encouraging its employees to donate their old phones. It received over 1,500 handsets and managed to donate 99 to people in need.

The hope is that, by opening the scheme to the public, Reconnected will receive newer phones. More modern devices will enable the scheme to be more effective, but Three will take any phone, even if it can’t connect to the internet.

If your phone isn’t suitable for the scheme, Three will recycle the parts instead of giving it away – and that means you can clear your drawers no matter how old or damaged your phone is.

Like to take part in the scheme? You can donate your phone at any Three store around the country right now – hopefully your unloved old, handset will be good enough to make a real difference to someone less fortunate.

Can photos from your phone look like they were ‘Shot on iPhone 7’?

If you live in a larger city, chances are you’ve seen the ‘Shot on iPhone’ billboards that have been dotted around for a few years now.

The award-winning campaign has long been an impressive way to highlight the quality of images that can be captured on Apple’s phones, with the photos showcasing various different subject matters and styles.

The latest ones, for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, have focused on low-light photography – and Apple has been sending photographers around the world to get the most impressive pictures they can find (which you can see below).

It’s clear that Apple has worked hard on getting the images to look as good as possible (using a “range of hardware and apps” to produce the final images – a look at the final resolution shows the images are larger than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus can produce natively), but the upshot is that they create a stylized concept of what’s possible with an Apple device, if you’re willing to put in the effort and get creative.

Here at TechRadar we’re constantly bombarded with claims of great low light performance from camera phones, so we got in touch with the leading smartphone manufacturers to see what they could offer by way of comparison, and wow us with their very own ‘Shot on’ campaigns.

We asked them to send us the best low light snaps their flagship phones can capture, and we’re publishing them all here as galleries, with explanations of what / if any alterations were made post-shot. 

What’s clear is smartphones are really good at taking pictures, no matter which brand you’re a fan of – and we’ve roped in the expertise of TechRadar’s Cameras Editor Phil Hall to give his trained opinion on the images from each phone.

So take a look at the range of snaps we’ve received, and let us know your favorites in the comments below.

  • (We’ve contacted all the major manufacturers, and while some had no photos to share, we’re still waiting to hear back from others, so we’ll update this piece if we hear anything more).
Image 1 of 7

‘Jennifer Bin sought to show a different perspective of Shanghai.’

Image 2 of 7

Credit: Mathieu Beth Tan

Image 3 of 7

‘Reuben Wu traveled from Chicago to the volcanos of Indonesia’

Image 4 of 7

‘Eason Hsiung focused on the late night culture of Taipei’

Image 5 of 7

‘Ruairidh McGlynn traveled by dogsled through Iceland, stopping for a break in this ice cave.’

Image 6 of 7

Credit: Photo by Arif Jawad

Image 7 of 7

‘Photographer Elsa Bleda captured the energy, color and life of Johannesburg, South Africa.’

iPhone 7 specs: 

Weight: 138g | Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP | Aperture: f/1.8

Enhancements: ‘Some images shot on iPhone 7. Additional hardware and apps used.’

The photos above were taken using the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with Apple sending out a fleet of photographers to ‘capture life from dusk to dawn using the low-light camera on iPhone 7’.

We’ve long been impressed with the iPhone’s ability to shoot ‘natural’ snaps, not over-saturating, and there’s an impressively ethereal quality to all the photos in Apple’s Shot on iPhone campaign. We’re almost at the point of being able to pick such a snap out of a crowd – and all the photos in this set are stunning.

The enhancements used on each are unclear, but the main takeaway is that all this is possible with a phone – whether it requires adding on hardware or using an app to touch up certain snaps, buying this phone will allow you to really flex your creative muscles – and potentially feature in a ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign of the future if your snaps are good enough.

TechRadar’s Photography Editor Phil Hall says: “There’s no question that these images look mightily impressive. 

“I’d love to know, though, what’s gone on behind the scenes – I’m guessing they’ve shot them in raw format to draw out the best quality possible, while there’s been some clever post-processing, especially to control how image noise is rendered. 

“Regardless though, the images have real ‘bite’ and clarity, perfectly showing off what the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are capable of.”

Download the images here

Google’s Instant Tethering makes it easier to connect via your Nexus or Pixel

If you regularly use your Nexus or Pixel phone to get yourself online, the process should be a little bit easier from now on: Google has officially rolled out a new feature called Instant Tethering that takes care of much of the hassle for you.

As we reported last month, the feature is aimed at tablet users who want a quick and easy way to connect to the web through their phones. If both devices are linked to the same Google account, Instant Tethering can set up a tethered connection in seconds.

Say you’ve just unlocked your Pixel C tablet: if no regular Wi-Fi connection is found, it will scan for a Pixel or Nexus phone registered with the same Google account and automatically use the data connection on that device to get online.

Turn on, log in

Once you’re done with your web browsing or WhatsApp messaging, the Wi-Fi hotspot is disabled for you, so in theory you don’t even need to pull your phone out of your pocket – everything happens without the need to delve into any menus or settings.

“It would be nice if our phones and tablets knew how to work better together and could share their connectivity seamlessly,” writes Google’s Omri Amarilio in a forum post. Google has also posted a support article on the topic.

To use the new Instant Tethering feature, you need to be using a Pixel or Nexus phone running Android Nougat 7.1.1 or later. The Instant Tethering option should appear under the Google menu in Settings.

U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) shows up on GFXBench?

Back on the first day of this month, a phone with the model number of SM-J727A surfaced on GFXBench. This is believed to be the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017). The phone could be offered internationally, and in the states based on an FCC certification. The SM-J727A could be the international model since it is powered by the Exynos 7870 chipset. The latter contains an octa-core 1.5GHz and the Mali-T830 GPU.

Yesterday, another version of the same phone using a serial number of SM-J727VL appeared on GFXBench. This looks to be the U.S. version of the phone since it is powered by the Snapdragon 425 SoC, carrying a quad-core 1.4GHz CPU and the Adreno 308 GPU. The rest of the specs match up perfectly with the specs for the SM-J727A. In other words, it comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of native storage. Both models have an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing snapper for selfies and video chats.

It seems obvious that with the only difference between the two benchmark tests being the inclusion of the Exynos chip on one and the Snapdragon chip on the other, the former is the international Galaxy J7 (2017), while the latter is the U.S. version. To be more specific, it could be a version of the device that is heading to Verizon based on the “VL” at the end of the model number. The phone should be unveiled later this year. Based on a U.S. trademark application, the U.S. model could be launched as the Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro. According to one rumor, besides Verizon, the handset could end up offered in the states by AT&T and U.S. Cellular.

source: GFXBench via TechUpdate3

Google restocks; some Pixel XL models are available again from the Google Store

At Google, the guys with the spreadsheets and calculators have had a problem matching supply with demand for the Google Pixel XL. The larger 5.5-inch version of the first Google designed smartphone has been out of stock for weeks at the Google Store, and those who ordered from Verizon have had to wait weeks if not months for certain versions of the device (namely the 128GB model). Big Red has tried to make nice to those who have ordered the handset and are still waiting for it by sending them a free Google Daydream View VR headset valued at $79 (although on sale now for $49 by Google).

The good news is that Google has finally restocked the Pixel XL in its online store. Not all models are available, mind you. For example, the 128GB variant in Very Silver is still sold out, although that unit is available in Quite Black. If you limit yourself to 32GB of native storage, you can buy the Pixel XL in either color. The limited edition Really Blue, which is only offered with 32GB of native storage, is out of stock.

The 5-inch Google Pixel is available with 32 GB of native storage in all three colors, Very Silver, Quite Black and Really Blue, although the latter ships in 2 to 3 weeks. The 128GB variant of the Pixel is not available in any color.

If you’ve forgotten the pricing structure of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL at the Google Store, it works like this. The Google Pixel handsets are priced at $649, or $27.04 over 24 months. The Pixel XL will cost you $769 or $32.04 over 24 months. If interested, click on the sourcelink.

source: GoogleStore via AndroidAuthority