Published on March 31 2017

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After a tumultuous twelve months which saw exploding phones, a plummeting stock price and executive turnover, Samsung hopes to turn its fortunes around with its latest product offerings.

At a press event in New York, Samsung officially unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphones. The Galaxy S8 has a 5.7-inch display, while the larger S8+ will come in at 6.2-inches. Both phones have edge-to-edge curved displays, something Samsung refers to as "infinity display."

The Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ are Samsung's first phones to have gotten rid of the standard home button. Instead, the home button is built into the screen, using pressure-sensitive hardware and software.

The S8 allows users to unlock their phones with facial recognition and iris recognition, perhaps making up for moving the fingerprint scanner to the back. It also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that includes face detecting autofocus, but it's the same sensor and lens seen on the S7.

In addition to eschewing a physical home button, Samsung is moving the fingerprint scanner to the back of the phone, while bringing Bixby, its voice assistant similar to Apple's Siri, to its smartphones for the first time.

Bixby, a new form of assistant, is integrated into the camera of the S8 for visual search, searching for images, identifying landmarks and letting users shop online. It also can make suggestions on apps to use based on location, time of day and learns habits over time.

Batteries on the S8 and S8+ are smaller than the S7 Edge from last year, but both phones will come with fast wired and wireless charging.

Samsung's president of mobile business DJ Koh touted the phones are just one part of a mobile strategy, highlighting Samsung's virtual reality experiences from the new Gear 360 camera and other offerings.

Samsung's new offerings are the first smartphones to get mobile HDR certification from the UHD alliance, with Amazon offering HDR support on the device. Samsung also has a number of cases that fold up into a triangle to let users watch content on their propped up phones.

Inside the S8 is a 10 nanometer processor, smaller and more efficient than previous chipsets. The U.S. version of ths S8 will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, but other markets will use one of Samasung's own Exynos chips.

Unlike, Apple, which got rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Samsung's new S8 and S8+ still have a 3.5 mm connector and the phones will come with a set of AKG headphones in the box. 

The S8 will start at $750, while the S8+ starts at $850; both phones will be available in the U.S. starting April 21. 

Samsung also unveiled its DeX dock, which turns the S8 smartphone into an actual computer and updated its Gear 360 camera, giving it a slimmer design, 4K and live video support. 

In addition to the phones, DeX dock and the Gear 360 camera, Samsung unveiled a new Samsung Gear virtual reality headset, along with a controller. The new Gear VR will sell for $129 and ship in April.

Samsung also showed off its competitor to Apple's Home app, Samsung Connect, an app to manage the smart home, as well as a new router, Samsung Connect Home.

Article Source: Samsung just unveiled its new Galaxy S8 smartphone

 

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Published on March 30 2017

Samsung officially announced its much-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones today at simultaneous launch events held in New York's Lincoln Center and London's Olympic Park. 

The company's post-Note7 comeback device and de facto "iPhone 8" rival has already been the subject of several leaks in recent weeks, but today we finally got the full picture of what Samsung's new flagship models are offering consumers who are in the market for a new smartphone this year. 

As expected, the S8 comes in two sizes with a curved edge-to-edge 5.8-inch or 6.2-inch QHD AMOLED display. The always-on screen has a 2960x1440 resolution within a minimal bezel design that pushes the home button with fingerprint recognition to the rear of the device, alongside the camera. 

The rear camera features a 12 megapixel f/1.7 lens, while an 8 megapixel f/1.7 camera with autofocus sits above the screen on the front. Samsung has also integrated iris scanning and facial recognition into the front camera to make unlocking the phone and signing into websites easier. 

Samsung Unveils Galaxy S8 and S8+ With Iris and Facial Recognition, No Home Button

On the right side of the handset is the power button, while the left side houses volume controls and a separate button to activate Bixby, Samsung's new virtual assistant, developed by the original creators of Siri. Harman Kardon stereo speakers are visible on the bottom of the device, along with a USB-C port and a headphone jack. 

Inside, the S8 features a Snapdragon 835 processor, a 10 nanometer chip made in partnership by Qualcomm and Samsung. Paired with the chip is 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage with microSD support for up to 256GB. The standard model has a 3,000mAh battery, while the Plus device gets 3,500mAh. Both models support fast wireless charging. 

On the software side, the S8 runs Android 7.0 and has a Bluetooth dual audio feature that lets users stream audio to two separate headsets or speakers at the same time. There's also a multi-window feature that enables two apps to run on the screen simultaneously. Another feature Samsung is debuting with the S8 is Samsung DeX, which allows users to connect the phone to an external display, keyboard, and mouse, to use the operating system like a computer. 

The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 price starts at $750, while the 6.2-inch 8+ device starts at $850. Prices may vary. Both handsets are waterproof to IP68 standard and come in Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, and Arctic Silver colorways. Pre-orders begin on March 30. Both handsets will go on sale online and in stores in the U.S., Canada, and across Europe on April 21. 

The pieces are finally starting to come together for what should be a remarkable battle of the smartphones this year. Apple's widely rumored high-end redesigned iPhone with a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display will likely launch in September, although the majority of stock may not be available until later in the fourth quarter, according to recent rumors. 

Apple is widely expected to use Samsung-made AMOLED display technology in at least one of three possible iPhones to be released this year, so the S8 arguably offers the best preview yet of the screen quality of possible future Apple devices. Rumors suggest Touch ID could be embedded in the equivalent Apple display, while iris scanning, facial recognition, and some form of wireless charging have also been floated as possible features of a "10th anniversary" edition iPhone.

Article Source: Samsung Unveils Galaxy S8 and S8+ With Iris and Facial Recognition, No Home Button

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Published on March 29 2017

Back in mid-March, mobile marketing company Fiksu spotted four new iPad identifiers in its device data, hinting at the imminent release of new hardware. 

We did indeed see a new low-cost 9.7-inch iPad introduced via press release on Tuesday, March 21, but as it turns out, the identifiers for the new 9.7-inch iPad don't match up with the iPads Fiksu saw, suggesting there could still be additional iPad models set to be released in the not-so-distant future. 
 

Low-Cost iPad Not Among the New iPad Models Spotted in Device Logs Earlier This Month

The new iPad's identifier is "iPad6,11" and "iPad6,12," with one number each for for Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Fiksu, meanwhile, saw the following identifiers in its device logs: 

- iPad7,1 
- iPad7,2 
- iPad7,3 
- iPad7,4 

These numbers could perhaps refer to new iPad Pro models in two sizes, 12.9-inch and either 9.7-inches or perhaps the new rumored 10.5-inch model. The identifiers Fiksu saw are similar to the existing identifiers for the current 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. 

- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,7 
- 12.9 inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,8 
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi) - iPad 6,3 
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro (Cellular) - iPad 6,4 

In the original report, Fiksu said the number of new iPad models in its data was steadily ramping up, and that in its experience, those increasing numbers indicate an "imminent" release. Fiksu suggested the new iPad models could launch within a month, which would put a release somewhere around mid-April. 

There has been a lot of confusion around iPad Pro launch timelines. Rumors originally suggested a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model, and perhaps a new 12.9-inch model would launch in the spring alongside the low-cost 9.7-inch model, but we only got the latter. 

It is now unclear when we will see new iPad Pro models. The release of a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad (and a new iPhone color and new Apple Watch bands) via press release seems to suggest we aren't going to see a spring event and thus no spring launch of new iPads, but it's not an impossibility. 

If a spring debut doesn't happen, we could potentially see a launch at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June or Apple could hold off on a launch until the fall, introducing iPads alongside new iPhones in September. At this point, Apple's iPad plans are murky at best, and we'll need to wait for more information to narrow down a release timeline.

Article Source: Low-Cost iPad Not Among the New iPad Models Spotted in Device Logs Earlier This Month

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Published on March 27 2017

Apple yesterday announced the newest addition to its iPad lineup, somewhat confusingly called the "iPad" and known officially as the "5th-generation iPad," following in the footsteps of the fourth-generation model that was released before the iPad Air. 

Designed to replace the iPad Air, the iPad comes with a tantalizingly low price tag: $329. It is Apple's most affordable tablet to date and it's a competitive price point that will allow the iPad to better compete with lower-priced Android offerings. 

What do you get for $329? As it turns out, quite a lot. The iPad is a little bit iPhone 6s, a little bit iPad Air, and a little bit iPad Air 2. 

The New iPad vs. 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air 2

In a nutshell, compared to the iPad Air 2, the iPad has a brighter display and a faster A9 processor (first introduced in the iPhone 6s). Other internal hardware seems to be very similar to what's included in the iPad Air 2, with the exception of the display and the casing. Camera, battery life, Wi-Fi, LTE, and other sensors are all nearly the same. 

The iPad does not include a laminated display, and is thus thicker, much like the original iPad Air. It measures in at 7.5mm thick, compared to the 6.1mm iPad Air 2. The thickness and accompanying weight discrepancy is noticeable and the one downside between the new iPad and its predecessor. 

Compared to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the new iPad is, of course, significantly inferior, which is why it's priced at $329 and not $599. It does not support the Apple Pencil or the Smart Keyboard (no Smart Connector), and it lacks many of the display improvements, including True Tone color shifting and wide color gamut. 

The iPad has a slower processor than the iPad Pro, an inferior camera (8-megapixel vs. 12-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel vs. 5-megapixel front), two speakers instead of four, a slower LTE modem, and of course, since the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the same size as the iPad Air 2, the iPad is noticeably thicker and heavier. 

If you're looking for top of the line hardware and accessory support, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the tablet to buy, but if you don't need the bells and whistles, the iPad is a steal at its price point. 

Performance wise, it's going to run all the latest games and apps, it'll take decent pictures, it still has a high-quality Retina display, and it features a 10 hour battery life, so it will hold up for several years, especially when doing basic tasks like web browsing and emailing. 

The New iPad vs. 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air 2

For those looking for a bit more, Apple is rumored to be planning to introduce an updated ~10-inch iPad Pro model that's going to replace the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The ~10-inch model is said to have smaller bezels and perhaps an edge-to-edge display, allowing it to feature a bigger screen in a 9.7-inch-sized body. 

That tablet was originally rumored to be coming in the spring, but now it's looking like we won't see it until later in the year. Based on rumors, it may be worth the wait for those willing to shell out more money for the best technology. 

Apple plans to start selling the new iPad on Friday, March 24. The entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi only model will be priced at $329, and a 128GB model is available for $429. Wi-Fi + Cellular models are available at a $130 premium, so $459 for 32GB and $559 for 128GB

Article Source: The New iPad vs. 9.7-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air 2

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Published on March 27 2017

Apple's widely rumored high-end iPhone with a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED display will launch in September, although the majority of stock may not be available until later in the fourth quarter, according to the latest research from Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Christopher Hemmelgarn, Thomas O'Malley, and Jerry Zhang. 

'iPhone 8' Still Expected to Launch in September in Limited Quantities

The prediction suggests that Apple's tenth-anniversary iPhone, which has been variously dubbed the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Pro, or iPhone Edition, will still be available in limited quantities in September. However, shipping estimates could slip to several weeks out just minutes after pre-orders begin. 

An excerpt from the Barclays research note obtained by MacRumors:

Suppliers generally had good things to say about the upcoming iPhone 8 launch (for our purposes iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone Pro) as new features drive a more complicated manufacturing process and higher ASPs. We now believe that all three devices will feature wireless charging and will all be launched in the normal September timeframe, although the majority of iPhone Pro volumes may not be available until Q4.

Barclays contradicts a recent report that claimed the 5.8-inch iPhone will be announced alongside updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, or the so-called iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, but might not go on sale until much later. 

By the sounds of it, availability of Apple's first iPhone with an OLED display could be similar to the iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black, which was virtually nowhere to be found through the holiday shopping season last year. When an Apple Store or reseller happened to get a few Jet Black models in stock, they sold out almost instantly. 

The analysts, citing information from Apple's supply chain following a trip to Asia earlier this month, also reiterated their expectations for the 5.8-inch iPhone. Many of its predictions echo those already made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a respectable track record at revealing Apple's plans. 

Barclays said the phone will feature a 5.8-inch display with 5.15 inches of usable screen, as Kuo said. It expects Touch ID to be embedded in the display, and the remaining space could be for virtual buttons. It believes the device will have wireless charging, but wireless charging accessories will be sold separately. 

It said the 5.8-inch iPhone's stacked logic board design will provide more space for a larger battery and other components, as Kuo previously said. Other features Barclays expects include a front-facing 3D sensor module, the same dual camera setup as the iPhone 7 Plus, and a film-based Force Touch solution.

Article Source: 'iPhone 8' Still Expected to Launch in September in Limited Quantities

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Published on March 27 2017

Apple has just begun accepting orders for the new 9.7-inch iPad and (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus on its online store in the United States and dozens of other countries and regions around the world. (PRODUCT)RED iPhones are also available for in-store pickup at select Apple Stores starting today. 

New 9.7-Inch iPad and Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Now Available to Order


The new 9.7-inch iPad is equipped with a faster Apple A9 chip and brighter Retina display compared to the iPad Air 2, which has been discontinued. It is also somewhat thicker and heavier than the iPad Air 2 since it lacks a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating in order to keep costs down. 

The tablet's tech specs are otherwise identical to the iPad Air 2, including a display resolution of 2,048‑by‑1,536 at 264 PPI, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, 1.2-megapixel front FaceTime camera, two speakers, Lightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack,Touch ID with Apple Pay, and Bluetooth 4.2. 

The new 9.7-inch iPad starts at $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi, making it the cheapest new tablet that Apple has ever sold. Apple also offers a 128GB model with Wi-Fi for $429, while cellular-capable 32GB and 128GB models are available for $459 and $559 respectively in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray. 

The new 9.7-inch iPad is now available to order on Apple's website in dozens of countries around the world. The first online orders are estimated for delivery between March 31 and April 5 in the United States. 

Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad will be available to purchase at select Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores starting next week in more than 20 countries, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. 

New 9.7-Inch iPad and Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Now Available to Order

Apple's special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are also now available to order on Apple's website in 128GB and 256GB storage capacities for $749/$849 and $869/$969 respectively. Initial orders are slated for delivery on Tuesday, March 28 in the United States. 

(PRODUCT)RED iPhones have a vibrant red finish complemented by a silver Apple logo and white front bezels. Apple said the models are in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which gives customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund in support of HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. 

The special edition iPhone joins the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available to purchase year-round, including the full iPod line of products, Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, Beats Pill+ Portable Speaker, the iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, and a range of accessories for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. 

(PRODUCT)RED iPhones are available starting today at many Apple Stores, authorized resellers, and carrier stores in the United States and dozens of other countries. Apple said the new models will begin shipping to customers by the end of March in the United States and more than 40 countries and regions.

Article Source: New 9.7-Inch iPad and Red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Now Available to Order

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Published on March 24 2017

Would you like a dock for your iPhone that turns it into a laptop? That’s one idea that Apple is exploring that keeps the iPhone at the heart of Cupertino’s mobile empire while continuing to manage the decline of macOS powered options.

 

Published today, the patent describes a dock for a smartphone that replicates the look and feel of a traditional laptop. As always with patents, they are not necessarily guaranteed to lead to public releases. But they do offer a look into Apple’s research labs and the avenues they are exploring.

Apple's Predictable iPhone Mission To Replace The MacBook

The patent details an enclosure that looks remarkably like the MacBook placeholder in previous submissions to the USPTO.  Your iPhone would slot into the equivalent space of the trackpad and connect through the lightning port. The iPhone would drive the experience, interfacing with the keyboard and touchscreen in the unit, which potentially could have a secondary battery or processing power.

As with many ideas in the mobile world, this is not a new principle. HP provided a laptop-style dock for its Elite x3 Windows 10 powered smartphone leveraging Continuum. The Continuum system on Windows 10 handsets allows a smartphone to drive a desktop-like setup of keyboard, mouse and monitor and would allow any manufacturer to easily put together a dock. Go back further and you’ll find devices like the Motorola’s Lapdock from 2011.

 

if you’re looking for a device with extra battery power and increased graphical processing in a keyboard-focused base, have a look at the Surface Book - even though that’s more ‘tablet plus keyboard and screen’ rather than this ‘iPhone plus keyboard and screen’ design.

Apple's Predictable iPhone Mission To Replace The MacBook

No doubt the dock’s screen would scale up iOS from a phone UI to a tablet UI, with the user interface reacting much like the larger screened iPad Pro tablets when fitted with the smart keyboard cover. From a UI point of view much of the hard work has already been done in iOS.

 

More importantly to me it suggests where Apple sees its future of mobile computing. Apple is showing less and less love for the MacBook range as the months go buy. From little more than a specifications increase in October 2016 to updating all of its mobile hardware this week but ignoring the MacBook, Tim Cook and his team are giving every indication that it is managing macOS quietly into obscurity and focusing all its efforts on iOS powered devices.

 

Because once you have a MacBook-like doc for the iPhone, once you have all the apps you need to create a laptop like environment, why would you continue developing and promoting macOS on your MacBooks? The dock patent shows a future where iOS is in the lead in terms of mobile devices.

 

Presumably the macOS devices will remain available in smaller numbers (primarily for developers needing Xcode) but this is one more indicator pointing towards an iOS focused future with the iPhone at the heart of everything and the heady days of the macBook fading into the history books.

 

Article Source: Apple's Predictable iPhone Mission To Replace The MacBook

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Published on March 24 2017

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Specs Revealed In Schematics Leak?

Early details about the Galaxy Note 8 and beginning to trickle in and a recent leak give an idea of what design the upcoming Samsung device might take. The source, CNbeta, shared Thursday, a sketch mockup of a possible Galaxy S8 design in addition to some specifications details.

According to the source, the Galaxy Note 8 may feature a 6.4-inch 4K (3840 × 2160) resolution display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. This would mean that like the Galaxy S8, the Galaxy Note 8 may not have a home button and may have very thin bezels. The leaked schematics show as much.

They differentiate from leaked images and renders of the Galaxy S8 in that they include an internal S-Pen stylus for the Galaxy Note 8. It is likely the Note 8 will feature a curved edge display and a curved body altogether. Samsung began experimenting with this design on the Galaxy Note 7 and many leaks have shown the Galaxy S8 may have a similar look.

CNbeta also claims the Galaxy Note 8 may feature 6GB of RAM and internal storage options up to 256GB. Phone Arena noted that the RAM capacity is plausible, considering Samsung just released the Galaxy C9 Pro 6GB of RAM. However, the storage capacity rumors may be far fetched. Currently, Samsung flagships are expected to have a standard storage capacity of about 64GB with microSD expansion up to 256GB. But rumors for the Galaxy N

Other rumors suggest the Galaxy Note 8 may feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 chip, USB-C and an iris scanner. The latter two features originated on the Galaxy Note 7 and are expected to be featured on the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy Note 8 could possibly introduce to Samsung’s devices a dual-lens camera and a 3D touch mechanism. Rumors suggest Samsung might bring back a virtual home button and an optical fingerprint sensor that is embedded underneath the device’s display.

At this time no rumors about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are confirmed.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Specs Revealed In Schematics Leak?

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Published on March 23 2017

Apple’s iPhone 6s was most popular smartphone of 2016 — and it wasn’t close

Love your iPhone? You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact — you’re in the majority. According to the latest results from research firm IHS Markit, the iPhone was the most popular smartphone in the world last year when it came to global shipment numbers. In 2016, the iPhone 6s became the most-shipped smartphone in the world, followed by the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus. This puts the iEmpire’s hardware well ahead of the other 350 or so smartphone models IHS Markit tracked as part of its research.

While IHS Markit hasn’t released exact shipment numbers, it looks as though the iPhone 6s shipped around 60 million units, whereas most others in the top 10 averaged around 25 million. These results support previous findings from research firm Strategy Analytics, who also reported that the iPhone 6s was the world’s most popular phone throughout the first half of last year.

While overall may be more popular as an operating system than Apple overall, it’s clear that when it comes to individual phones, Steve Jobs’ legacy reigns supreme. The iPhone 6s shipped more than double the number of units than its closest non-Apple competitor — the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. That said, it looks like the battle dominance is really just playing out between Apple and Samsung — aside from the S7 Edge, the Samsung Galaxy J3, J5, S7, and J7 also made the top 10 list. The only non-Apple or Samsung device to join the mix was the Oppo A53.

This isn’t particularly surprising, given that Apple and Samsung are the two largest smartphone makers. Huawei, which currently claims about 10 percent market share, was notably absent from the list (as was the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7). The Oppo A53, however, managed to make its way to the No. 7 spot thanks to its popularity in China and India, two of the largest emerging smartphone markets. Indeed, a number of larger device makers are including the Asian countries in their broader business goals — Google, for example, is partnering with Indian cellphone service provider Jio to make an affordable 4G smartphone.

Article Source: Apple’s iPhone 6s was most popular smartphone of 2016 — and it wasn’t close

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Published on March 23 2017

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 leak shows the phone of your dreams

The iPhone 7 may have dominated sales in 2016 but Xiaomi’s Mi Mix stole its fair share of headlines thanks to its edge-to-edge-to-edge display that gave the device a really striking “glass phone” appearance. The company is said to be planning a successor, and newly leaked renders claim to show exactly what the Mi Mix 2 will look like. If it turns out to be legit, Xiaomi will have somehow made its insane phone design even more wild with a screen-to-bezel ratio fast approaching its limit.

The leak, spotted by Xiaomi Today, originated on the Weibo network which has produced plenty of both credible material and total bunk in the past. The renders show the purported Mi Mix 2 with a screen that eclipses three edges and nearly a fourth, leaving just a slim bezel at the bottom of the device. The phone will also reportedly be built primarily out of ceramic, like its predecessor, and AMOLED display technology.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 leak shows the phone of your dreams

The rumored device boasts a screen-to-bezel ratio even more impressive than the original Mi Mix, with 93% of the front of the phone taken up by the display, compared to the 91.3% of its predecessor.

Xiaomi said early on that the Mi Mix was essentially an experiment, and used that as justification for only producing a very limited run of the devices. Demand seemed to be fairly high for the phone, however, so if Xiaomi is indeed poised to unleash a second iteration on the world, it would be nice if they made enough to go around.

Article Source: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 leak shows the phone of your dream

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