Facebook today pushed out a small update to its iOS mobile application. The latest version of Facebook for the iPhone brings with it the ability to add emoticons to status updates, change who can see posts after they’ve been published, and start conversations after receiving photo messages. Facebook for iOS is a free update from the iTunes App Store.
Virgin Mobile today announced that the Samsung Galaxy Ring is now available for $ 179.99. The Ring features a 4.0-inch touch display, 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture, 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera, and a 1.4GHz processor. The Ring runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is compatible with Virgin iD packs. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Wi-Fi, and support for Virgin’s CDMA 3G network. It is compatible with microSD cards up to 64GB and has a 1,750mAh battery. The device is for sale online and in stores beginning today.
Huawei today announced the Ascend P6, an Android smartphone that measures just 6.18mm thick. The P6 features a metallic body that houses a 4.7-inch HD in-cell display that can be used with when wearing gloves. The P6 includes a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel main camera with backside illumination and an aperture of f/2. The P6 also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera for higher-quality self portraits. It comes with a 2,000mAh battery and Huawei’s Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) and Quick Power Control (QPC) battery optimization tools that Huawei claims results in power efficiency gains of 30%. Other Huawei software elements include its Emotion user interface, which offers customized widgets and apps. The Ascend P6 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The P6 will first ship across China and European markets beginning in July, with other markets to follow. Huawei did not say if the P6 or a version thereof would be sold in the U.S.
BlackBerry returns to its roots with the Q10, a smartphone that claims to offer the best of both worlds: a QWERTY keyboard for typing and a touch interface paired with a modern operating system. Did BlackBerry get the combination right with the Q10? Let’s dig in.
Sprint today filed a lawsuit against Dish Networks and Clearwire in Delaware that aims to prevent Clearwire from acting on Dish’s tender offer for Clearwire. Last week, the special action committee evaluating Dish’s proposal for Clearwire recommended that the board accept Dish’s offer rather than Sprint’s. Sprint contends that Dish’s offer violates both Delaware law, as well as the rights of both Sprint’s and Clearwire’s investors. Sprint also calls the offer “structurally and actionably coercive.” Sprint points out that the offer cannot be accepted without approval from 75% of Clearwire’s investors, including both Sprint and Comcast specifically. Sprint goes on to accuse Dish of attempting to fool Clearwire’s shareholders and obstruct Sprint’s attempt to acquire the portion of Clearwire that it does not already own. Sprint wants portions of the tender offer to be rescinded, and is also seeking declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory relief.
Microsoft today revealed that it has made some under-the-hood improvements to Bing voice search for the Windows Phone platform. The updates take advantage of advances in Deep Neural Networks technology, which helps computers mimic the behavior of neurons. Microsoft says the result is voice recognition that is twice as fast and results that are 15% more accurate. The improved Bing search is being rolled out in waves. Microsoft said that the improvements carry over to other apps, such as text or email messages, which will be better at transcribing dictated content.
Samsung plans to introduce a version of the Galaxy S4 with LTE-Advanced on board, according to mobile chief J.K. Shin. “We’ll be the first with the commercial launch of the advanced 4G version of the smartphone,” said Shin. LTE-Advanced can attain download speeds that are about twice that of today’s LTE. This new device will be sold in Korea as soon as this month, and Samsung is in talks with other carriers to sell the phone outside of Korea, though Shin didn’t say which ones. The LTE-Advanced Galaxy S4 would mark the fifth variation of the device, following the S4, S4 Mini, S4 Active, and S4 Zoom. At the moment, there are no operational LTE-Advanced networks available in the U.S.
C Spire Wireless today announced that it will soon offer the HTC One. The One is HTC’s flagship Android smartphone. According to C Spire, exact pricing and availability will be announced in the near future.
Google today announced that it has acquired Waze, a company that provides real-time data on traffic conditions. According to Google, Waze and its engineering team will remain in Israel for now, but its technology will eventually be added to Google Maps to help improve its live traffic features. A lot of Waze’s traffic data is generated by a community of users. Google said that it will work with the community, too, to make sure that the app’s data is always current. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a smartphone that looks more like a point-and-shoot camera than a handset. The Zoom features a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor and boasts 10x optical zoom, Xenon flash, and optical image stabilization. The Zoom has new camera software that replaces traditional digital controls called the Zoom Ring, which Samsung says can be used to launch certain camera functions such as sharing a picture while on a phone call. Beyond the camera, the Zoom runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for various different LTE bands. The Zoom includes 8GB of internal storage and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. It is powered by a 2,330mAh battery. Pricing and availability were not announced.