Software giant Microsoft may be looking to reassert itself in the mobile market, in spite of the fact that its recent attempts to push Windows 10 Mobile have been modest at best.
This is according to an industry insider quoted by Softpedia, who said that Microsoft is in the process of developing a brand new portable device which is being designed by members of a team that is usually dedicated to augmented and virtual reality solutions.
The upshot of this is that the as yet unannounced handset could push to capture the emerging AR and VR markets, rather than competing directly with established Android and iOS smartphones.
It is expected that the device will boast flagship specifications, which make sense if it is going to be powering in-depth interactive experiences. It also seems that this will be separate from the long awaited Surface-brand phone, which is still something that Microsoft has not managed to bring to market in spite of persistent rumours.
At one point, it looked like Windows Phone might become the next big contender to Android’s crown, but even with its takeover of Nokia it has not been possible for Microsoft to gain a significant foothold in the mobile market. A new device could change this, but only if it is exceptional.
Earlier iPhone releases have been dogged by leaks in the run-up to each official announcement, so it is no surprise to see the same state of affairs afflicting Apple’s next flagship handset.
A video from a well connected YouTube channel has provided the best look at the iPhone 8 to date, showcasing many of the features which were already rumoured to be on the cards, according to TechRadar.
The iPhone 8 featured in the footage is not a finished model, but rather a pre-release version which is intended to give Apple’s accessory-making partners an idea of what to expect when it emerges in full later this year.
The most prominent change is visible on the rear, where a dual camera lens setup is present, not only boosting its photography credentials but also helping with augmented reality (AR) and other high end features.
The front of the phone features a large display and the iPhone 8 will seemingly do away with much of the surrounding bezel and even the traditional home button.
The iPhone 8 is likely to be unveiled in September this year, although if the leaks continue to flow then there may not be many surprises left up Apple’s sleeve.
The versatile, upgradable Moto Z2 Play is coming to the UK soon and is already available for pre-order at the affordable price of £379, according to Tech Radar.
With a 5.5 inch 1080p screen, the mid-tier Snapdragon 626 processor from Qualcomm and a solid 4GB of RAM, it is well specified given its cost. And since it is able to work with MotoMods, there are ways to improve its features over time.
Whether adding a bigger battery or integrating a pico projector and camera upgrade, this modular approach to smartphone design is Motorola’s calling card at the moment. Meanwhile, it is expanding its range of modifications on a regular basis, meaning the Z2 Play can be upgraded further down the line.
Interestingly, this handset will arrive alongside a brand new mod which adds an entire physical gamepad to the handset, making it an impressive machine for interactive entertainment, which is not solely reliant on touchscreen or motion-based inputs. So for serious gamers who want a portable system combined with their smartphone, this could be the ideal solution.
At £379 the Z2 Play is a direct competitor to Huawei’s similarly specced Honor 9, while managing to undercut the OnePlus 5 in terms of price.
British smartphone fans who are hoping to get hold of Huawei’s upcoming flagship release, the Honor 9, will be pleased to hear that it will retail at a lower price point than one of its biggest competitors.
A listing on Amazon reveals that UK buyers will have to pay a penny under £380 to get the SIM-free version of the handset, while the OnePlus 5 is available for closer to £490.
The Honor 9’s spec sheet is certainly healthy, with its 5.15 inch 1080p screen and Kirin 960 chipset giving it the display area and underlying power to compete with the best of the rest of the market. The real selling point is likely to be the dual rear camera setup, which combines a 20 megapixel snapper with a 12 megapixel sensor to give it true photography chops.
With a dinky 7.45mm thickness, the Honor 9 should also be light, with premium materials used in its construction to give it an appealing feel in the hand.
In a market where rival devices could cost twice as much and offer little more in terms of functionality, it is good to see Huawei continuing to take the cost-conscious approach to designing smartphones.
The latest mid-tier Snapdragon chipset from Qualcomm is reported to be more powerful and feature-packed than any of its predecessors. And a focus on improving the quality of smartphone photography for buyers on a budget is at the top of the agenda.
Tech Radar reports that the Snapdragon 450 will be capable of coping with dual camera setups, while supporting singe sensors with up to 21 megapixels of capture resolution at their disposal.
The chip will also boast a number of other bells and whistles, including being able to operate in conjunction with retina scanning technology, as has previously been seen on range topping models like the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Efficiency improvements are promised thanks to the compact design of the chip, meaning that it should be able to increase battery life when compared with older handsets. Furthermore, it is compatible with fast charging systems, meaning that it will take just half an hour for the battery to reach three quarters of its capacity.
It does not take long for mobile manufacturers to start using new chipsets once they are introduced and the Snapdragon 450 is likely to start gracing new smartphones in the autumn of 2017.