After a period of growing speculation and rumours, LG this week revealed the G4, its latest Android-powered flagship smartphone, which is going to be a direct rival for the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and iPhone 6.
While the G4 is definitely built to give off a sense of luxury, it verges from the all-metal course charted by its rivals, thanks to the addition of a leather-bound back surface. This is an interesting approach and one which makes the phone feel a little more organic and warm than its cool, shiny rivals.
There are, of course, metal back plates available to swap out with this leather option, but it is an interesting decision, nevertheless.
The 16 megapixel primary camera is another big talking point, with an advanced f/1.8 lens, allowing it to capture images quickly. LG also gets one over on its rivals by making the battery removable and adding a microSD card slot, both of which are not found on any of the aforementioned models from Samsung, HTC and Apple.
The 5.5 inch IPS display is brighter and better than that of its predecessor, while a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset and 3GB of RAM lurk under the surface. In all, it will be a compelling new flagship smartphone to consider in 2015.
Although Nokia may have been killed off as a mobile manufacturing brand by Microsoft after its takeover, it seems that fans may not have seen the last ever Nokia handset to hit the market after all.
This is according to Nokia’s top representative in China, who claimed that the firm will be harnessing the factories that it owns in the area, to produce smartphones running Android next year, according to TechRadar.
Nokia has already dabbled with Android devices in the past and so it would not be unreasonable to assume that it is capable of creating budget-oriented handsets running this operating system, perhaps with emerging markets in mind.
And while Nokia itself has neither confirmed nor denied these assertions by one of its presidents, it seems like a statement made from someone so high up the chain of command should be given quite a lot of credence.
The Lumia brand lives on with Microsoft’s name tag attached and there are still models like the Nokia Lumia 830 on the market, for those who want to see what the company was capable of achieving when working with Windows Phone 8, rather than Google’s Android OS.
WhatsApp is one of the world’s biggest cross-platform instant messaging services, allowing millions of users to send billions of messages a day to one another, whether they have an iPhone, Android or Windows device.
Multimedia content has been transferrable to contacts via the app for some time, but now it has integrated true VoIP calling capabilities for iOS, meaning Apple users need never make a traditional call again.
Android customers have already been using this new feature for a few weeks, but its arrival on iOS and the iPhone 6 could make WhatsApp much more than just a platform for sending IMs.
Whether you have a Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G data connection available, WhatsApp will be able to make calls. And because VoIP uses the internet to connect people, there is no need to worry about paying international call rates to contact someone overseas.
The only costs will be those of your data allowance, although with Wi-Fi widely available, it should be possible to make truly free calls via WhatsApp.
Of course, you could argue that WhatsApp is successful precisely because it is an alternative form of communication to a voice call. But when you want to organise something, actually talking on the phone may be a boon.
A relatively low-key launch for the Xperia Z4 took place in Sony’s native Japan this week, with the firm’s new flagship model set to take on rivals including the HTC One M9 and Samsung’s Galaxy S6.
Up front it has a 5.2 inch 1080p screen, with a front-facing 5.1 megapixel camera, allowing it to take solid selfies. A 20.7 megapixel primary camera on the rear will do a better job for general photography and video capture, benefitting from a 25mm lens, which can snap wide angle images.
The Snapdragon 801 chipset is onboard the Z4, with eight physical cores and a 64-bit architecture, allowing it to offer cutting edge processing power. 32GB of built-in storage is the standard amount offered, while a memory card slot means that this is not the limit of the phone’s potential capacity.
Four different colour variants of the Xperia Z4 will go on sale later this year via Sony, with standard white and black models sitting alongside copper and aqua green alternatives, to suit different tastes.
With a body that is just 6.9 millimetres thick, Sony’s new big hitter will not take up much room in spite of its large display. And like HTC, it has stuck with 1080p for the panel, shunning the QHD resolution pursued by Samsung.
This week saw the arrival of the latest preview version of Windows 10 for phones, with the biggest addition being access to the brand new mobile browser, which Microsoft has been working on for its next mobile operating system.
Known as Project Spartan, this is not your typical Internet Explorer experience, or rather it is being branded as a distinct entity from Microsoft’s long running browser family. And this could well be a sensible move, given that IE’s reputation and market share are both at an all time low.
The new underpinnings of Project Sparta are intended to make it quicker to load pages and render elements than its rivals, which means on mobile devices it should be a very nippy performer.
Windows 10 is set to launch later in the year and represents a more unified approach to software than has been seen from any of Microsoft’s rivals. That means desktops, laptops and smartphones should share the same ecosystem of apps and services, allowing for easy migration from one device to the next, while the user experience remains consistent.
Windows 10 will, hopefully, be available on existing models running Windows Phone 8.1, although backwards compatibility for all devices is not guaranteed.