Galaxy S9 / Matrix phone / MediaPads

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The Galaxy S9 will have a 5.8in screen, while the larger S9+ will have a 6.2in screen. Both 8.5mm thick smartphones have curved screens, thin bezels, stereo speakers and reduced top and bottom non-screen elements compared to last year’s models. This year the S9+ will come with more memory and storage compared to the smaller S9, and will also have a dual-camera system similar to that fitted to Samsung’s larger Note 8, which includes a telephoto camera.

But it is the wide-angle camera fitted to both models that marks the biggest change for the smartphone. The 12-megapixel camera has the first variable aperture fitted to a smartphone, which physically switches between an f-stop of 1.5 for low-light photography and an f-stop of 2.4 for shooting outdoors… More at The Guardian.

Interesting to see ‘one’ major new feature in what is otherwise a very similar phone to the last one, at least that’s how it may be viewed by the majority.

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Now HMD, makers of Nokia-branded phones, is bringing the Nokia 8110 back to life as a retro classic. Just like the Nokia 3310 that was a surprise hit at Mobile World Congress last year, the 8110 plays on the same level of nostalgia. The slightly curved handset has a slider that lets you answer and end calls, and HMD is creating traditional black and banana yellow versions… More at The Verge.

There must be financials that suggest bringing these retro phones back makes sense. I would love to play with one, but likely only for an hour or so.

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The new MediaPad M5 tablets will come in two sizes: 8.4 and 10.8 inches, starting at 349 and 399 Euro respectively. For the most part, the smaller and larger tablets have exactly the same specs, with 2560×1600 displays (for a 359 and 280 PPI rating, respectively), Kirin 960 quad-core processors, 4GB of RAM and either 32, 64 or 128 GB of storage space. They also come with pretty standard 8MP front cameras and 13MP rear cameras, all the usual sensors (including a fingerprint sensor) and Android 8.0. All of the SKUs also offer an SD card expansion slot that can bring the total on-board storage up to 256 GB… More at TC.

A ‘me too’ release if ever I saw one. Completely uninspired.

The ubiquity of phones

There was a time not so long ago that websites and blogs like this one would happily cover all of the latest developments in the PDA and phone worlds. It was exciting and there was always some new development to hang an emotional hat on. Whether it was high resolution screens, stereo sound, more storage or even marvels of technology such as cameras in phones, there was always something that fixed what was not working or which gave us something that was not previously there.

It would be foolish to suggest that phones are perfect today and that there is no scope for innovation or for improvement, but the reality is that phones are ubiquitous and they do what we need them to do without any noticeable problems.

Most people use their phones throughout each day and completely take for granted what they can do. They are not like some of us who marvelled at the Sony Clie, the Psion PDAs and who witnessed mobile technology growing up bit by bit over a couple of decades.

Phones are as exciting as washing machines for most people and they have no interest in ‘phone news’ or new developments. Provided they do what they need them to do they are happy and so that situation will continue for the foreseeable future.

I get that there is a market for creative tips and instructional text on how to get the most out of the latest powerful devices of today, but emotion and excitement are not paramount in any way and apart from the big releases each year from Samsung and Apple, the vast majority simply do not care. They care as much as you and I do about a new tumble dryer being released with a new feature that was not they before. In short, they do not care and this is the big worry for the likes of Apple who must be looking at this and seeing a troubling future.

At some point there either needs to be a correction where a new technology becomes exciting again (smart watches?) or we just settle with small developments and let the renewing of phones become much less frequent and for the industry to be worth a lot less in its entirety.

Nokia 6 – £199.99 SIM free

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“The Android-powered Nokia 6 is the flagship of the 2017 Nokia smartphone range, packed with great features for a smooth, great-looking mobile experience. Exclusively available from Carphone Warehouse.” More here.

A decent price SIM free, but I am struggling to see what makes this phone worthy of your money. Maybe a Moto G competitor?

A Battery-free Cellphone

University of Washington engineers present the first battery-free cellphone design that consumes only a few micro-watts of power. The new design can sense speech, actuate the earphones, and switch between uplink and downlink communications, all in real time. The system developed by researchers from the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the UW Department of Electrical Engineering optimizes transmission and reception of speech while simultaneously harvesting power which enables the battery-free cellphone to operate continuously.

Coolio.

RED’s Hydrogen One

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Obviously, the 3D stereo function is not even the main feature of this display, as the Hydrogen One is also deemed to be holographic (H4V), virtually-augmented and mixed-reality-ready smartphone. The panel can “switch seamlessly between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content, and interactive games.” Oh, let’s not forget that it will be “nanotechnology” that will swap those regimes. Snap! More at phone arena.

The kind of feature we snigger at now while gawping at the $1,195 price and then it becomes normal a few years later.

The Nokia Vision 2018 concept phone

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Can I say, before the smartphone craze, Nokia was the Apple. Their phones surpassed everything we wished and hoped for. If you didn’t have a Nokia, you didn’t have a phone worth even talking about, or talking into. Now that craze has split among various other companies, with Apple and Samsung having the lion’s share. However, in my heart I will always root for Nokia… More at YD.

Amazing to think that even a concept such as the above feels so very 2017. The next big thing will look nothing like the current high-end devices from Samsung and Apple.

The MP01

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Walk down the sidewalk of any major city and it’s likely you’ll see the same exact scene: Masses of people staring down at their phones instead of interacting with other living, breathing humans. At some point, after the smartphone became an essential part of our lives, push notifications and news feeds have commanded more and more of our attention.

You could just not use a phone, of course, but then you’re completely disconnected. Is there a middle ground between giving in to total digital immersion and being off the grid?

A Swiss technology company called Punkt thinks so. It recently released its retro-inspired “dumbphone,” the The MP01. The cool-looking feature phone takes us away from apps as it allows nothing more than texting and calling… More at Mashable.

I really like the design of this phone. It’s like early Motorola with a modern twist.

Got a Nokia 3310, I never want to go back

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After a week, I feel content in the dumbphone world; free of worry, free of that hovering impulse to constantly check what’s new. I receive a call or a message every now and then, and that’s alright. When was Sylvester Stallone born? Hell, I don’t know. You check it out, if you want.

There are other advantages. At £50, the Nokia 3310 may not be cheap, but it’s far cheaper than most smartphones. If someone steals it, no big deal. I don’t even have to worry about data; no passwords are stored on it. I can take it to the beach, worry-free… More at Mashable.

Yeah sure, I believe you…