Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed including the announcement of the Moto G Google Play Edition, the super secure Blackphone, and the latest video showing the LG G Flex.
1. Super Secure Blackphone Coming to MWC
Blackphone is a new firm ready to release its first handset at Mobile World Congress at the end of February. Its claim to fame is security, as it’ll provide private calls, messages, file sharing and even video chat on the device. It’ll run a version of Android called PrivatOS, which has been developed with the help of mobile security experts Silent Circle. The price and specification of the phone have yet to be confirmed.
2. Bumpy Screen Plagues LG G Flex
LG has admitted to an issue with the G Flex’s touchscreen. The phone, which has one of the first flexible screens on the market, has repeatedly been spotted with two bumps on the surface of the display. It’s apparently caused by excessive flexing, something LG was aware of, but as it doesn’t affect quality or performance, it decided not to hold it back from sale. LG says the bumps can be pushed in, or will disappear naturally over time.
3. Google Announces Google Play Edition of the Moto G
We’re not sure if such a thing is really needed, but Google has announced a Google Play Edition of the Motorola Moto G. The Moto G was released late last year, and comes with an almost standard version of Android 4.3, and an update to Android 4.4 is already rolling out. The Google Play Edition has a completely stock version of Android 4.4 installed, and will get timely OS updates in the future. Sadly, like the other Google Play Edition phones, it’s not available in the UK. But then, the version we can buy is pretty close to it, so we don’t mind too much. Take a look at our review of it below.
4. HP Launches the Slate 6 VoiceTab
Hewlett Packard took a break from producing smartphones, but now it’s back with the Slate 6, a smartphone/tablet hybrid set for release in India soon. The device has a 6-inch touchscreen with a 1280×720 pixel resolution, a quad-core processor, and a 5-megapixel camera. Despite being almost tablet sized, the Slate 6 has 3G connectivity and can act as a phone, just like the Huawei Ascend Mate 2. HP hasn’t confirmed whether the Slate 6 will be released anywhere else in the future.
5. Zapp Signs On With Five UK Banks.
Zapp, the mobile payment scheme ready to launch later this year, has signed up with HSBC, First Direct, Metro Bank, Nationwide and Santander. All five banks will support Zapp’s digital wallet, and provide access to balance information through the Zapp app. Zapp will use NFC in stores, and also function online.
6. LG Releases Gold and Red G2 Special Editions
To celebrate the Lunar New Year in Singapore, LG has released two special editions of the G2 smartphone. While the spec remains the same, the rear panel has been swapped for one in either red or gold. Each has a new texture which LG says is more resistant to fingerprints, and improves grip. Both are out next week, but haven’t been announced for any other countries yet.
7. LG Prepares Us for G Flex Launch
LG’s getting ready to put the G Flex smartphone on sale in the UK, and has released a new teaser video to drum up some interest. The minute-long video highlights the phone’s traits – the flexible screen, cool design, and self-healing rear panel – all accompanied by some longing looks at the phone’s unusual curve. A precise release date hasn’t been confirmed.
8. Sony Bundles the Smartwatch 2 With New Xperia Z1 Compact
To help promote its new Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone, announced at CES 2014 earlier this month, Sony will be selling the phone through its own website in a rather tempting bundle. For the sum of £450, you get the 4.3-inch phone together with your own Smartwatch 2 for free. The Xperia Z1 Compact is powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor, and has a big 20-megapixel camera, plus 4G LTE connectivity. The only real difference between it and the full-size Z1 is the 720p screen.
9. Motorola Details Moto G KitKat Update
If you own a Motorola Moto G, then very soon, it’ll be getting an update to Android KitKat. Motorola has confirmed the update has already been sent out, and has listed the various new features on its website. These include new navigation bars, a full-screen mode, improved dialling, and a completely revised camera interface with new editing features. With KitKat installed, the Moto G’s already decent battery life should improve too.
10. Watch Out for Quirky Moto X Ads Soon
Motorola will launch the Moto X in the UK on 1 February, and the company’s general manager has said it’s planning a series of “unorthodox” adverts to promote the phone. Instead of focusing on the specs, it’s going to highlight the Moto X’s voice control features to make people say, “Wow.” Motorola plans to tap into Google’s quirky way of advertising its products, in an effort to increase its 1.8 percent share of the UK smartphone market.