MWC 2015 – All you need to know

MWC2015

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 runs from 2nd to the 5th March and is the biggest event in the mobile technology calendar.

There is always lots of news that comes out of the event.  Covering it all will be a virtual impossibility, but we certainly aim to bring you the most important and relevant stories here on the Clove Blog.

Below you will find a list of news stories from the event.  This list will be growing over the course of the event.

Click the news story you are interested in to be taken through to a separate post that explains everything in detail for you.

News Stories from MWC 2015:

BlackBerry Classic White coming soon

BlackBerry_Classic_White_FrontAs the name suggests, the Classic Blackberry that many knew and loved returned with the ‘BlackBerry Classic’ at the start of the year.

Competitively priced at £315 including VAT when purchased SIM free, the Classic has won back some of the old faithful.

Since hitting shelves in the UK at the start of January, it has been available in Black colour only, but now we have added the White colour option to our site.

Due to be available towards the end of March, the pricing and specification is the same, the only difference is the colour.

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BlackBerry Leap announced

BB_Leap_Sidaa

BlackBerry are looking to Leap (pun intended) into the BYOD market with this new 5″ all touchscreen smartphone.

If you are familiar with the BlackBerry Z3 it is essentially an improved version of this or an upgrade to the BlackBerry Z30.

A workhorse the Leap offers performance and productivity at a great price without looking or feeling cheap.

The slab black design is similar to many phones on the market today but the soft touch textured back cover makes for a comfortable and secure grip in hand.

Able to keep you online and in touch with everyone you need to, the 4G enabled handset can make calls, send text messages, emails, browse the web and much more.

Whilst BlackBerry are known for a great keyboard, the Leap features an online screen keyboard which is best in class thanks to personalised next word suggestions and auto-correction software.

A dual core processor and 2GB of RAM keep things ticking along and power the BlackBerry 10 OS that is installed on the Leap.

Where it once fell behind the competition the software has been greatly improved. Retaining the security and stability you need.

BlackBerry 10 features a combined inbox that makes light work of emails and social network updates and the pre-loaded Amazon app store, gives access to thousands of applications that are not available from BlackBerry’s own app store.

No longer is the lack of apps a viable reason to ignore what it has to offer.

A rear facing 8 megapixel camera captures images and video and the WiFi or 4G connectivity options make it simple to share these moments if required and the internal battery will keep you operating for long periods of time with up to 25 hours of usage time.

Pricing and availability is still to be confirmed, but if you are interested you can register your interest by following the link below.

BlackBerry Leap Smartphone – Register your interest

Also announced alongside were accessories for the Leap.  These include:

If you would like to read the full press release you can do so below.

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YotaPhone 2 Pros & Cons

YotaPhone2-official-heroThe YotaPhone 2 is a new breed of smartphone, offering something truly different and innovative to everything else on the market. We often spend our time with smartphones reading – news articles, sports results, emails, all simple tasks that drain battery.

Yota have decided that one solution is to offer a second, low power screen. What would usually be the back cover is in fact an Electronic Paper Display or EPD, similar to an e-reader device. You can transfer any content to the EPD – for moments of extreme power management you can even control the entire Android OS from here!  

Like every phone there’s both good and points to the new Yota handset, read on below for a full rundown or skip to the end for Jon’s 60 second review.

What could be better

The EPD is not new technology but takes a fair amount of getting used to as it is not ‘normal’ for phone technology. The monochrome colour scheme and much lower resolution can be frustrating, however one does have to remember this is really designed for text only, not complex tasks.

Refresh rates on EPD are still quite low and so this can suffer from a ‘ghosting’ effect. This is a residual image on the screen from the previous frame. Apps designed for EPD will make a habit of flashing the screen to remove these traces, however if simply browsing online on using an app not optimised for EPD then you will encounter this a lot.

EPD also cannot be read in the dark as it requires light to reflect the image. The flipside is that contrast rates are very high so it can be read in comparatively low light, as long as there is some!

One for the more clumsy among us – you now have two screens to take care of! Both come with anti scratch protection, however you do need to take a bit more care of the YotaPhone 2 than other handsets as whichever way is up, there’s always a screen facing down…

Image and video results from the main 8 megapixel camera are quite lacklustre. It is a shame that they don’t live up to the other premium qualities of the phone. This was clearly an ambitious project and it has succeeded very well in every respect apart from this. Images are passable, however it seems that Yota simply shoved a standard mobile camera module into the phone and didn’t really put any thought into the software or how it would work. Some care in this department would have made the YotaPhone 2 truly exceptional.

Finally a minor gripe is that audio from the speaker is a little quiet and directional but otherwise very clear. Having got used to powerful dual front speaker set ups from Sony and HTC, other designs are now far more noticeable in their quietness.

YotaPhone 2 on table

What doesn’t need changing

The design, build quality and materials are all spot on. The YotaPhone 2 looks and feels like a solid smartphone, with a smooth, subtle curvature reminiscent of the Google Nexus S from Samsung. Lesser known manufacturers often fall short when it comes to production value, not so here. Yota’s new device isn’t cheap – to be expected with a second screen – however they more than justify the price tag through specification and build.

The overall feature set is actually very impressive. Putting aside the EPD screen for just a moment, the YotaPhone 2 showcases a high-end quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2 GB RAM and a hefty 32 GB internal storage. There’s also NFC and wireless charging which many top-tier manufacturers are still failing to include in every phone, alongside HDMI output via Slimport.

Tech fans will also be pleased with dual-band ac WiFi, LTE support and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for both screens. There’s a lot of phone for your money here and Yota haven’t been afraid to price accordingly.

With so much focus on the EPD, the standard 5 inch screen is an incredibly capable AMOLED panel that rivals top Samsung phones for colour reproduction and contrast.

The YotaMirror app has been developed in-house by Yota and is seamlessly integrated with Android. You can use it to mirror or flip content directly from the front to the back display. You can effectively control the entire Android OS from the EPD if you want serious power management. Otherwise it only ever takes a few taps to send an interesting article, email conversation or long read over to the EPD.

Battery life is excellent if you manage your EPD use effectively. It is perhaps the major selling point and does take some retraining to do, however if you ensure your text heavy work is sent to the back, even power users can cram 2-3 days from the YotaPhone 2.

Finally I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there that like to be seen with something new or different. Yota’s new handset is exactly that, a completely unique proposition in a crowded market that justifies itself at every turn.

The HTC Vive VR headset built with Valve is an intriguing new direction

Eyes right Oculus, the HTC Vive is the newest player in the VR game

htc-vive-heroThe consumer Virtual Reality space just got a little more crowded thanks to the HTC (RE) Vive. Not heard of it yet? Well you will soon enough, as the manufacturer traditionally known for crafting award-winning smartphones has teamed up with big time software and gaming company Valve to announce this foray into VR technology.

For those not familiar with Valve, they are the company behind the critically lauded Half Life and Portal series of video games (among many others), as well as developing the hugely successful Steam digital distribution platform for PC gaming.

VR technology has seen a huge resurgence in the past couple of years, thanks mostly to current industry darlings Oculus and their Rift headsets.

Improvements and miniaturisation of high density displays, graphics reproduction and, increasingly, mobile technologies, have paved the way for the current wave of headsets and ideas for the future of not just gaming, but all kinds of entertainment and content delivery.

HTC CEO Peter Chou even teased some ideas for future applications beyond video games including attending concerts, seeing the latest movie releases and interactive learning experiences.

Developer edition available soon

HTC-Vive-RenderBeing shown off at MWC right now is prototype headset which will probably be very similar in appearance to the developer kit HTC/Valve intend to start delivering in the next few months. The kit is covered in sensors and cameras and makes the wearer look a little bit like Jeff Goldblum’s transformation in body-horror classic The Fly.

It’s certainly not the prettiest bit of kit you’ll see anyone wearing this year, although by the time consumer models become available towards the end of the year, we can expect a more polished final design. Those interested in a developer kit will need to apply through Valve’s contact form.

Sensors galore!

The front of the Vive is covered in over 70 sensors to create a “Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution”, that will eventually allow you to move and interact within a 15 x 15 ft. space. HTC are also developing a pair of wireless tracked controllers to come with each headset.

The full tech details are far from being announced yet; we expect HTC to drip-feed these to the industry in a bid to gain hype over the Vive. We do know some basics though – each eye will have a 1,200 by 1,080 screen, with refresh rates up to 90 frames per second – a combination which aims to eliminate refresh flicker and push back the “uncanny valley” effect.

The headset will pair with a couple of base stations to create the (up to) 15 x 15 ft. virtual space, whilst the controllers will allow you to interact with virtual items and objects within that. You can watch the initial teaser video below and read on for the full HTC press release.

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Follow us on Instagram for our tease campaign

icon320x320We have today launched a tease campaign that will be running for 14 working days.

The images which are visible on our Instagram account (@clovetechnology) slowly reveal a new and unique product that will be coming to the Clove website very soon!

If you are not already following us, you can do so by adding @clovetechnology to the accounts you follow on Instagram, or keep an eye on our other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter as the teaser images will appear there too!

The big reveal will take place on Wednesday 13th March.

In the meantime here is the first image.

Tease_Campaign_Day1

Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

Another IP rated handset from Sony

Sony_Xperia_M4_Active_B_WWell known for their IP ratings, Sony have announced the M4 Aqua, a mid range smartphone that will survive immersion in fresh water up to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

Sporting a 5″ touchscreen, octa core processing power, a 13 megapixel camera and Android 5.0 the M4 Aqua has quite a bit going for it.

Sony are more than just a smartphone manufacturer and as such they have brought across technology and experience from their camera division and put it into the M4.

Using the Exmor RS sensor for mobile images are crisp and clear with various shooting modes to ensure you get the best shot you can and post capture editing tools allow you to tweak things prior to sharing on social networks or with family and friends.

With 2GB of RAM and octa-core processing power all the tasks you may complete on the phone will be effortless and the built in battery and power saving technology allows for up to 2 days of usage from it, without needing to re-charge.

At this time no word has been given on pricing or quite when we can expect to see the M4 Aqua on shop shelves.  There are several versions which will launch in different markets either with 3G or 4G and either 8 or 16GB of internal memory.  As and when the information comes through you can be assured we will let you know.

Register your interest in the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

HTC One M9 announced

HTC keep the same award-winning design and move Ultrapixel to the front for the selfie generation.

HTC One M9 (Clove)Samsung may have excitedly showcased two new phones at MWC last night, however HTC kept things conservative yet classy with a slick iteration on their now iconic HTC One design.

The all new HTC One M9 may look very similar to last year’s M8, although there are a number of new features to draw in new users and tempt existing customers to upgrade.

Let’s get straight to the official spec. sheet, then we can take a peek under the hood.

  • Android 5.0 Lollipop – full access to Google Play services
  • HTC Sense 7 – new location based widgets and applications
  • Qualcomm 810 octa-core processor for super fast performance
  • Global 4G LTE connectivity (bands 1 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 20 / 28)
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 32 GB base storage
  • micro SD card support
  • 5″ SLCD 3 display at 1080p
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4 display
  • Hand-polished aluminium and scratch resistant coating
  • Machined unibody construction
  • BoomSound dual front speakers
  • Available in Grey, Gold and two-tone Silver/Rose Gold
  • 20.7 MP main camera with UHD (4K) video recording
  • Sapphire lens cover to avoid scratches
  • HTC Ultrapixel (4MP) front camera – excellent low light selfies
  • HTC Zoe and One Gallery

Availability

We will be stocking the HTC One M9 as soon as HTC UK make the device officially available SIM free and unlocked. RIght now we’re pencilling in an April launch, however we need word from HTC on exactly what date they’re looking to hit.

Of course as soon as we know more we’ll update our product listing and post right here on the Clove Blog.

Whilst we wait for word on pricing, we don’t yet have a pre-order list available. This will be coming soon. You can instead head over to the Clove retail site and sign up for notifications. That way when we open our pre-order campaign soon we’ll let you know, as well as keeping you updated as the release date gets closer.

HTC One M9 – Register your interest

We’re also expecting a number of official and 3rd party accessories for the HTC One M9. We already have listings from Case-Mate, although we’re just waiting on images and dates from them. HTC have announced an updated 2nd generation Dot View case for the M9 with a transparent back, as well as an IP68 rated Active Case and Headset for adventurous types.

Images

There’s a number of press rendered images of the HTC One M9 below, showing off the 3 colours all currently expected to launch. The Gunmetal Grey and Gold options appear to match up with the M8 releases in 2014.

The version getting the most attention at the moment though is the two-tone Silver / Gold. This is silver backed, with ‘rose gold’ edging and a golden tint to the front bezel. My opinion of the grey, gold and silver is simple, flash and classy in that order, although I’m sure everyone will form their own opinions!

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200GB MicroSDXC memory card from SanDisk

200GB_MicroSDIt was not all that long ago that having 64GB microSD memory cards seemed like just a pipe dream.

However a few years on and technology has developed significantly.  So much so that SanDisk have announced and will soon be releasing a 200GB microSD memory card.

Whilst some devices such as the Galaxy S6 are opting for fixed internal memory, many devices like the HTC One M9 and the LG G3 still have microSD memory card slots.

Those who love movies, music and taking pictures can sometimes find the memory in the phone is not enough and need to take advantage for external memory options.

Whilst streaming from cloud services is said to be one option, the speeds and availability of wireless connections such as 4G can be prohibitive so a more traditional memory card option is the best bet.

Last year SanDisk announced a 128GB option but a year on and we now have the 200GB option.

Offering data transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s you can be assured that this premium memory card will serve you well.

SanDisk intimated a cost of $399 or approx £250 and a release within the next few months.

We will keep you posted as soon as we know more on UK availability.

In the meantime, you can register your interest HERE if you know you will need this memory card in your life.

A full press release is available below for you to read if you would like to.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge announced

The successors to the S5 have been revealed.

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We all knew it was coming but it was just a case of Samsung really confirming it for us.

Yesterday evening in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung unveiled to the world the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge, the successor to the Galaxy S5.

Two different versions of the S6, the devices are almost identical in specification, with the exception of the Edge having a sloped edge to the display on the right and left side.  This is very similar to the Note Edge, but now on both sides.

SM-G920F_001_Front_Black SapphireWhat are the key features and specifications?

  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with full access to Google Play services
  • Octa core processor for super fast performance
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32, 64 and 128GB memory options
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back to resist scratches and impacts
  • Made from aluminim and glass for a premium in hand feel and look
  • 5.1″ Super AMOLED display with Quad HD resolution
  • Edge version has angled screen that offers quick access to certain features and customisation options
  • 16 megapixel rear camera with UHD (4K) video recording and optical image stabisation
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • Qi wireless charging
  • Fast charging with wired connector – Get 4 hours use from just 10 minutes of charge
  • Available in a range of colours including Black, White and Gold
  • MHL 3.0 for sharing content with a HD display
  • 4G connectivity
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • and much more…….

Samsung introduce the two models in the following video.

When will they be available?

First stock is epxected to be available from week commencing 10th April.  Precise launch dates and prices for each colour and memory variant are to be confirmed but around the 10th April is when we expect to see the first S6 and S6 Edge units begin shipping.

Can I pre-order?

At the moment you can only register your interest in the handset. We expect a pre-order campaign to begin later this month.  Of course we will bring you news as this happens.  In the meantime, if you want to be notified about either the S6 or S6 Edge, follow the appropriate link below.

Samsung Galaxy S6 – Register my interest

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Register my interest

Personalise with accessories

Both the S6 and Edge have an array of accessories available for them to protect and personalise your new smartphone.

From screen protectors to S-View cases and fabric wallets and even OtterBox Defender cases, you can view the full range of accessories on the following links.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Accessories

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Accessories

Image Gallery

See what the S6 and S6 Edge look like.

 

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If you would like to read the full press release, please take a look below.

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