Hisilicon, the Chinese semiconfuctor design firm wholly owned by Huawei, announced its next-generation flagship SoC at a press event in China. According to reports, the new chip will deliver massive graphics and storage subsystem performance improvements while also improving battery life. The Kirin 960 could debut as soon as next month, powering Huawei’s expected Mate 9 smartphone.
The Kirin 960 combines four high-powered 2.4GHz ARM Cortex A73 cores and four lower-powered 1.8GHz Cortex A53 cores. This arrangement is fairly common, allowing the SoC to allocate resources to tasks depending on power and battery life considerations. According to figures provided by Huawei, the Kirin 960 beats Apple’s A10, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and Samsung’s Exynos 8890 in the multi-threaded Geekbench 4 test, and is second only to the A10 (though by a large margin) when considering only one core.
Huawei can also boast of being the first to market with ARM’s new Mali-G71 GPU, which was announced at Computex this year. The Kirin 960 uses the G71 MP8, which indicates 8 GPU cores. The Mali-G71 is based on ARM’s new “Bifrost” architecture and is geared for 4K content and VR. Support for the Vulkan graphics API is also a first. The improvements add up to a claimed 180 percent improvement in graphics performance compared to previous-generation Kirin SoCs. HEVC and h.264 encode and decode are supported at 4K 30fps.
Another improvement is support for the high-speed Universal Flash Storage 2.1 standard which can improve overall system responsiveness. Thirteen of the 14 most popular apps load faster on the Kirin 960 than its competition, according to Huawei. In addition, LPDDR4 RAM can be used in devices based on the Kirin 960, and there are promised improvements to the camera ISP and sensor control logic.
The SoC integrates a 4G LTE modem, which can handle up to Cat 12/13 speeds, ie 600Mbps downloads and 150Mbps uploads. It is fabricated on a 16nm process and will be manufactured by TSMC.
Huawei is expected to launch the Mate 9 next month. It is unknown whether it will take advantage of all the Kirin 960’s capabilities, but it should be running Android N when it makes it to markets.
Samsung may have dug itself into a hole too deep to come out unscathed. The company is in the process of unprecedented second recall, after ‘safe’ Galaxy Note 7 replacement units also started to catch fire. While the engineers at Samsung cannot pin down a solid reason for these explosions, a report suggests that the SoC is to blame, and not the battery.
A Financial Times report states that the explosions are being caused due to an SoC tweak made by company’s engineers with the aim to speed up the charging process. However, the battery could not handle the rate at which it was being charged, and this is causing the handset to catch fire and explode.
“If you try to charge the battery too quickly it can make it more volatile. If you push an engine too hard, it will explode. Something had to give. These devices are miracles of technology – how much we can get out of that tiny piece of lithium-ion,” the report writes, citing a person informed by Samsung executives.
This is in no way confirmed by Samsung, and the company still maintains silence on that front. There is no official word on what is causing the safe units to catch fire, and Samsung engineers are also reportedly unable to narrow down a flaw.
For now, Samsung has completely halted production and global sales of the Galaxy Note 7. The controversy is said to be costing the company billions of dollars, not to mention attract heaps of ill will in the market. In the most recent cases, a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was caught on video catching fire at a Burger King, and a US plane was immediately vacated after a replaced unit started emitting smoke.
At the Honor 8 (Review) launch event, Huawei also launched the budget Honor Holly 3 smartphone in India. The smartphone comes with an 8-megapixel camera for selfies, and sports an octa-core processor as well. The Honor Holly 3 will be available for purchase at Rs. 9,999 in the country.
At the event, the company announced that the Honor Holly 3 is the first ‘Made in India’ smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer. As for specifications, the Honor Holly 3 features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s EMUI 4.1 on top. The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz Kirin 620 octa-core CPU paired with 2GB RAM. It offers 16GB of internal storage with the option to further expand via the microSD slot (up to 128GB).
Coming to the camera, the Honor Holly 3 has a 13-megapixel rear BSI CMOS sensor with f/2.0 aperture. Additionally, there is also an 8-megapixel front camera for selfies with f/2.0 aperture. The Honor Holly 3 packs a 3100mAh battery, and has bundled in sensors like accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, compass, and G-sensor.
Connectivity options include 4G support, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Driect, Wi-Fi hotspot, Micro USB, and Bluetooth v4.0. The Honor Holly 3 measures at 154×77.1×8.45mm and weighs 168grams. The smartphone will be made available in Black, White, and Gold colour options.
Apart from the Honor Holly 3, Huawei also launched the Honor 8 and Honor 8 Smart in India for Rs. 29,999 and Rs. 19,999 respectively.
The much-anticipated Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe has finally gone on sale in the company’s home country, Taiwan. The Snapdragon 821 SoC-powered ZenFone 3 Deluxe has been priced at TWD 24,990 (approximately Rs. 52,000 or $800). The Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe has now become the first commercial smartphone featuring the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 to be available in the markets.
According to GizmoChina, the ZenFone 3 Deluxe will be available in Glacier Silver, which will start shipping from September 12, and Shimmer Gold, which will be available from September 23.
Apart from the Snapdragon 821 SoC, the new ZenFone 3 Deluxe also packs a massive 256GB of built-in storage. Rest of the specifications of the new ZenFone 3 are identical to the ‘regular’ ZenFone 3 Deluxe models. It features a 5.7-inch full-HD Super Amoled display and packs a whopping 6GB of RAM and supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB). The rear camera sports a 23-megapixel Sony sensor with 4K video support and also packs an 8-megapixel front camera. There is 3000mAh battery on board. It measures 156.4×77.4×7.5mm and runs Asus Zen UI based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Asus at the global launch in May had revealed pricing of the some ZenFone 3 models, the Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) was priced starting at $249 (roughly Rs. 16,800), the Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL) priced at $499 (roughly Rs. 33,600), and the Asus ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) priced at $479 (roughly Rs. 32,200). The Taiwanese company however had not announced the pricing for the Snapdragon 821-based ZenFone3 Deluxe back in May.
Recently, Asus India launched the ZenFone 3 series in the country. The ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL) was priced at Rs. 21,999, the ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) at Rs. 27,999, the ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) at Rs. 49,999, and ZenFone 3 Laser (ZC551KL) at 18,999. The high-end ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL) starts at Rs. 49,999, with the Snapdragon 821 model priced at Rs. 62,999.
After the Energy XL launch last month, Blu has now launched another smartphone called Pure XR. The unlocked smartphone has gone on sale on Amazon and Best Buy for $299.99 (roughly Rs. 20,200).
The Blu Pure XR smartphone is available in Gold and Grey colour variants. The fingerprint scanner is located inside the home button in the front. The smartphone houses the speaker grille and the 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom, on each side of the USB Type-C port. The volume buttons and the power button sit on the right edge of the device. The Blu Pure XR sports a metal unibody, 3D touch sensitivity, thin bezels, and invisible antenna lines.
As for specifications, the Blu Pure XR runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports dual-SIM cards. It features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Super Amoled display with 401ppi pixel density and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 octa-core processor with Mali-T860 graphics GPU and 4GB of RAM. It offers 64GB of inbuilt storage that can be further expanded via microSD card (up to 64GB).
As for the optics, the Blu Pure XR sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with 6P lens, laser focus, phase detection autofocus, f/1.8 aperture, LED flash, and HD video recording ([email protected]). There’s also an 8-megapixel selfie camera with a wide-angle lens. The smartphone packs a 3000mAh battery that is claimed to deliver up to 20 days of standby time on one Quick Charge. The company claims that just 10 minutes of Quick Charge powers the device to enable 1 hour of talk time. The connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth v4.0, and NextRadio. The dimensions of the Blu Pure XR are 154.3×74.9x7mm, and the smartphone weighs 147 grams. There is no word on when this smartphone will launch in countries outside of the US.
Vivo has launched 4G VoLTE-enabled Vivo Y21L smartphone in India, the successor to the Y21, at Rs. 7,490. The smartphone is now available in the country in White and Grey colour variants.
The dual-SIM Vivo Y21L sports a 4.5 inch FWVGA (480×854 pixels) display and and runs on the company’s Funtouch OS 2.5 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) processor paired with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone has 5-megapixel rear camera with flash, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
The latest addition to Vivo’s lineup of affordable smartphones comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). Connectivity options on board the Vivo Y21L apart from 4G and VoLTE support include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio jack, and Micro-USB with USB OTG compatibility.
The smartphone bears a 2000mAh battery, weighs in at 145 grams, and measures 130.7×66.4×9.2mm. Sensors on board the Y21L include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, and a magnetometer.
Vivo says the Y21L comes with unique features such as Palm Capture and Voice Capture. The company claims that the former feature helps users click more detailed, sharper and vivid photos while the latter one allows users to click the pictures by just saying the word “Cheese”. Other features include Smart Wake and Smart Click. Smart Wake allows gesture shortcuts while the Smart Click feature lets you bring up customised features or apps by holding down the volume key.
“We are pleased to offer the new Y21L packed with 4G VoLTE technology to our Indian customers at an affordable price of Rs. 7490. With this device, we reassure our commitment to offer quality products to our valued customers”, Vivo India’s CMO Vivek Zhang said about the launch in an emailed statement.
Huawei on Thursday launched the G9 Plus smartphone in China, priced at CNY 2,399 (roughly Rs. 24,200) for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB storage variant. A 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant was also announced, but no pricing or availability details were given yet. The smartphone is already on sale in China.
The Huawei G9 Plus appears to be identical to the Huawei Maimang 5 that was launched last month, and according to a report by GizmoChina from the Beijing launch, the phone is just a variant of the Maimang 5 meant for China Unicom customers. The Maimang 5 was meant for China Mobile customers.
With the price of the G9 Plus matching the Maimang 5, it’s fair to assume when the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant launches it will be priced the same as the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant of the Maimang 5, which is priced at CNY 2,599 (roughly Rs. 26,200).
The dual-SIM Huawei G9 Plus smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s EUI 4.1 skin atop. It sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) IPS LCD display with pixel density of 401ppi. It is powered by a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with 3GB of RAM.
It sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with PDAF, OIS, and dual-tone LED flash, apart from an 8-megapixel front facing camera. The G9 Plus comes with 32GB of storage that can be expanded via microSD card (up to 128GB). As we mentioned, a 4GB RAM and 64GB inbuilt storage variant was also announced, but no pricing or availability details are available as yet.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.1, 4G, and USB Type-C. Sensors on the phone include a proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, and an accelerometer. It weighs 160 grams, and measures 151.8×75.7×7.3mm. It is powered by a 3340mAh battery.
If a new rumour is to be believed, then Chinese company LeEco may unveil the successor to the Le 2 soon. A new leak via Chinese tipsters claims that LeEco is gearing to launch the Le 2s with upgraded innards including the next high-end Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 821. Another highlight of the Le 2s is said to be the massive 8GB of RAM on board.
Gizchina reports that the LeEco le 2s may be the first handset featuring 8GB of RAM. It is said to be unveiled early next month, though there is no word so far from the company. Some of the other innards tipped include a 5.5-inch display with 2.5D curved glass and 64GB inbuilt storage. Unfortunately, there are no more details available for the alleged LeEco Le 2s.
There are a couple of blurry images also leaked claimed to be of the Le 2s but they only give an idea of the front panel. The handset can be expected to retain the design language seen on the Le 2.
Of course, as with all rumours and leaks, we advise readers to take the above information about the Le 2s with a pinch of salt, as LeEco has yet to make any announcements about its new flagship smartphone and the credibility of the sources cannot be independently verified.
To recall, LeEco back in June launched its second generation Le 2 and the Le Max 2 smartphones in India. The Le 2 was priced at Rs. 11,999, while the Le Max 2 was priced at Rs. 22,999 for the 4GB of RAM/ 32GB storage variant, and Rs. 29,999 for the 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant.
The Chinese conglomerate entered television segment in the country earlier this month. It launched the Super3 series of televisions in India including the 55-inch Super3 X55, the 65-inch Super3 X65, and the 65-inch flagship model – the Super3 Max65. All three offer 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) resolutions, while only the flagship model supported FPR 3D and came with bundled glasses.
Apple’s iPhone events are usually considered to be the most anticipated events during the calendar year in the tech industry. Every year, the build-up to the launch of the new iPhone creates great hype, and according to the latest reports, this year’s event might take place on September 7.
According to a report earlier this week by Bloomberg, this year’s iPhone launch event will take place on September 7. The launch events usually take place in the first half of September and therefore the information is certainly credible, and author Mark Gurman has in the past been a reliable source of Apple rumours. However, there has been no official word from the Cupertino tech giant about the launch event as of now.
The company is rumoured to be working on new MacBook Pro models but according to the report, the MacBook models will not be announced at the iPhone launch event.
In other leaks, images of alleged ‘A10’ processor, which is rumoured to be used on the upcoming iPhone models, have been leaked on Chinese website Weibo (via 9to5Mac). The name of the processor is very much in line with previous processors used by the company however, the credibility of the pictures is not yet concrete.
The upcoming iPhone models are rumoured to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack, and feature redesigned antenna lines. The phones are also expected to pack improved hardware including the camera, while some leaks have also suggested that there might be a Pro version in the works. Last week, it was suggested that apart from the colour variants available on iPhone 6s, a ‘Space Black’ variant of the phone will also be available with the new iPhone models.
Despite the recent surge in Apple’s stock prices after it reported its third-quarter earnings, Apple is not seen in a purple patch by the industry experts. Stuart Frankel’s Director of Institutional Sales Steve Grasso in a statement to CNBC said that Apple will “underperform perpetually” and also added that the upcoming iPhone is also likely to disappoint.
Meizu on Wednesday launched the M3E smartphone at an event held in China. From the looks and specifications, the M3E bears a resemblance to the Meizu m3 note that was launched in April. The M3E is priced at CNY 1,299 (roughly Rs. 13,000), and will be available in Sky Grey, Moonlight Silver, Rose Gold, Champagne Gold, and Glacier Blue colour variants. Registrations for the first flash sale on August 14 have begun.
The Meizu M3E runs Android-based YunOS with Flyme UI on top, and bears a hybrid dual-SIM card slot. Following along the lines of the m3 note, the M3E features a 5.5-inch (1080×1920 pixels) LTPS 2.5D curved glass display with a 403ppi pixel density. The handset is powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 SoC (four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1GHz) coupled with a Mali T860 GPU and 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM.
The M3E sports a 13-megapixel rear camera powered by Sony IMX258 sensor with dual-tone LED flash and an f/2.2 aperture, 5P lens, and PDAF. On the front you get a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and 4P lens. The fingerprint sensor is embedded on the home button and the device sports an all-metal design.
The smartphone bears 32GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). Connectivity options on the Meizu M3E include 4G, VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.1, and GPS/ A-GPS. The M3E measures 153.6×75.8×7.9mm in dimensions, and weighs 172 grams, making it slimmer and slightly heavier than the M3 Note. The M3E packs a smaller battery pack at 3100mAh, and Meizu says with mCharge fast charging the battery can gain to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.