Top Ten Mobile Phone News Stories of the Week

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Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed including Microsoft closing its Nokia acquisition, a 10.1-inch screen with a 4K resolution, and a very glittery Galaxy S5.

1. Nokia and Microsoft Deal to Close 25 April 

Microsoft has confirmed the acquisition of Nokia’s Devices division will be completed on 25 April. The two companies announced the deal late in 2013, and expected to close around March, but some delays saw the final date pushed until now. Once the deal is completed, we should learn more about Microsoft’s plans for the Nokia name, and how it’ll be handling future devices.

2. First 10.1-inch 4K Screen Announced

Japan Display has revealed a 10.1-inch tablet screen with an astonishing 3840×2160 pixels, a resolution also known as 4K. Thanks to some clever technical alterations, it’s no more power intensive than the equivalent screen with a lower 2160×1600 pixel resolution. Sample panels are being sent out now, but there’s no word on when it’ll be fixed to a device we can buy.

3. Crystal Edition of the Galaxy S5 Coming Soon

Samsung has teamed up with Swarovski before, and the latest joint venture will be on the Galaxy S5. The device has been teased in a very short video, showing the device’s over-the-top glittery rear panel, and adding the fact it’ll be out in May. Price and availability isn’t known, but don’t expect it to be a bargain. Have a look at it below.

4. Sony Releases its Defocus Camera App

We reviewed Google Camera this week, notable for bringing a Bokeh effect to the Android camera app, and now Sony has released its own dedicated app for producing the same thing. It’s called Background Defocus, and it takes a pair of images at the same time, then lets you mess around with the amount of background blur. It’s free to download from Google Play, but it’s only compatible with Xperia smartphones.

5. Samsung Galaxy Beam 2 Official in China

Samsung has announced the Galaxy Beam 2 in China. The new device has a WVGA projector built into the device, and can project content – including specific Samsung apps – onto your wall. Other features include a 4.6-inch screen, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and a 5 megapixel camera. We don’t expect this niche device to be made widely available in the UK.

6. Oppo Launches the R1S

Oppo has given its R1 smartphone a refresh, and renamed it the R1S. The alterations are all internal. The processor is now a quad-core MediaTek chip running at 1.3GHz, which also adds 4G LTE support to the phone. The camera has also been upgraded to 13 megapixels, up from 8 megapixels. Pre-orders for the Chinese market should start soon.

7. Nokia Pushes Asha Update to Certain Phones

Version 1.4 of Nokia’s Asha software is now ready for distribution, and the company is starting the rollout to the Asha 500, Asha 502, and the Asha 503. The new software brings various new features to the phones, including Nokia’s Mix Radio, an updated Fastlane, and voice-guidance for taking selfies. Take a look at Nokia’s promo video for its Asha range below.

8. Report Shows Tablet Sales Falling

A report published by tech news site DigiTimes says global tablet shipments fell by 30 percent during the first three months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. Both Apple and Samsung topped the sales charts, followed by Lenovo and Asus. Even Amazon’s Kindle Fire sales dropped, seeing the company fall to number seven in the charts.

9. Sharp’s New Aquos Phone Looks Stunning

Sharp’s Aquos Xx 304SH may not have the catchiest name, but it looks amazing, thanks to a screen to body ratio of 79 percent. This means the bezels are incredibly slim, particularly at the top of the device. The display measures 5.2-inches and has a 1080p resolution, and is powered by a Snapdragon 800 chip. Sadly, it’s not going to be coming the UK anytime soon.

10. Sony Updates the SmartWatch 2

Sony has released two new strap designs for the SmartWatch 2. The first is a stainless steel-look metal band called Business, and the second is named Brazil. It comes in the colours of the Brazilian flag, and is to celebrate the 2014 World Cup. A software update is also being prepared, bringing more customisation options, including watch faces and wallpaper, plus a calculator app.

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