Patents show round Samsung smartwatches

What do Samsung’s smartwatches have in common? Well, they’re all rectangular in shape. This is the case with the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Live. However, this may not be the case with future iterations, newly granted design patents suggest.

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These patent images come from the USPTO (US Patent & Trademark Office) (1, 2, & 3). If the Korean tech giant decides to make use of these design patents on future wearables, Gear smartwatches will no longer be rectangular in shape but circular instead. Please note, however, that not patents see the light of day.

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Cortana now available for Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones in the UK

Cortana, Microsoft’s digital personal assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 devices, is now available in the UK and China. In the UK, Windows Phone 8.1 devices include the Nokia Lumia 630 and Lumia 930.

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Microsoft announced in the Windows Phone Blog:

We have been thrilled by the excitement around Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. And we’re excited to make her available for people in China and the UK with this update as a “beta” and in Canada, India, and Australia as an “alpha”.

The huge Chinese market has a bunch of different expectations and needs than the US or other countries—so while Cortana (nicknamed “Xiao Na”) generally works the same way in China as the US and the rest of the world, China did get some “special features”. As you’d expect, in her notebook, she displays what she is tracking for you, so you can see and control it. You can set reminders and quiet hours with her. She understands the whole internet so she readily helps you find anything you need. But our team in Microsoft China developed a number of additional features specifically for China. She has an alternative form which has a different visual appearance, animations, and sounds. She supports Chinese (Mandarin) in voice, text, and speech. She also has specialized suggestions tuned specifically for people living in China, like air quality information in weather cards, information about driving restrictions, and the ability to track local TV shows and celebrities. She can look up English words in the Bing Dictionary for people looking to brush up on their English.

Of course fitting a local-market isn’t specific to China! For the UK, Cortana has been tailored to support UK spellings and pronunciations and Bing-provided local data on sports teams (for the EPL), the London Stock Exchange, commuter conditions, and more. The voice and accent is, of course, local, and Cortana’s personality in the UK has also been tweaked to be more locally relevant.

We’re also bringing some improvements for Cortana in the U.S., including new natural language scenarios, snooze times for reminders, and a number of neat additions to her personality (try asking “do an impersonation” and see what happens). We’ve also added the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free in your car for phones connected to car Bluetooth kits that are integrated with your contacts list. If your car kit is integrated with your contacts, you can now treat Cortana as a contact to invoke her, simply saying “Call Cortana” and then talking to her as you normally would.

We know there has been a lot of enthusiasm about Cortana in many other markets, and we wanted to give more people the ability to start using Cortana. Therefore, we’re also starting a new “alpha” program in three countries: Canada, India, and Australia. This early adopter program will be opt-in and give people the ability to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK.

Do you now have Cortana on your Windows Phone 8.1 device? Let us know through a comment on our Phones LTD Facebook page.

 

HTC One (M8) running Windows Phone coming to US Verizon in August?

According to The Verge’s Tom Warren on Twitter, another variant of the HTC One (M8) will be coming to Verizon, a US network operator in the US. The difference is, this variant will run Windows Phone 8.1 instead of Android.

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Warren tweets, “HTC One M8 with Windows Phone reportedly coming to Verizon this August.”

The Windows Phone HTC One (M8) is expected to sport the same hardware as its Android counterpart. This means the same aluminium chassis, BoomSound speakers and Duu Camera.

Of course, since HTC is yet to officially announce the Windows Phone version of the One (M8), take this with a pinch of salt.

Would you like to get your hands on the rumoured Windows Phone HTC One (M8)? Let us know through a comment on our Phones LTD Facebook page.

Motorola rumoured to be working on a 5.9-inch Nexus device

According to a new rumour, Motorola is working on a 5.9-inch Nexus device for Google codenamed “Shamu.”

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The news comes to us courtesy of Android Police. According to the site, “The rumor this time is simple – according to information made available to us, Motorola is working on a device with Google code named Shamu. The device is supposed to be targeted at major US carriers, and unspecified carriers in other parts of the world, which would probably include the markets that currently have access to Nexus devices, though this detail is still unclear.

“The phone is supposed to carry a sizable 5.9″ display of unknown resolution, and – interestingly – a fingerprint sensor. It will also allegedly be targeted for a November release. The release time frame is – as always – not something to place bets on. It can change very quickly depending on a variety of factors.”

Speaking about the image you see above, the site says, “We feel confident in the information we were provided, and it isn’t as though Shamu has been cut from whole cloth – the device has made at least one appearance in Google’s issue tracker.”

Keep it here at Phone LTD for further updates.

Did the Samsung Mega 2 just get approved by the US FCC?

Earlier this month we came across reports saying the Korean tech giant was planning to lift the lid on the 5.9-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega 2, follow-up to the Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Galaxy Mega 6.3. Now a device that is believed to be the Mega 2 has been approved by the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

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The listing was spotted by PhoneArena. According to the site, “Now, we have reasons to believe that the Mega 2 was just approved by the FCC as the SM-G750A (this model number is obviously a variation of SM-G7508).

“Details about the SM-G750A first showed up in March, though back then it was believed that this would be a Galaxy S5 mini variant. Well, this is definitely not a mini phone: thanks to the FCC, we know that the SM-G750A measures 164.4 x 85 mm – thus being a bit larger than the Galaxy Mega 5.8, but smaller than the Galaxy Mega 6.3. A handset this size can perfectly host the rumored 5.9-inch display of the Mega 2.”
It adds, “The existence of the SM-G750A is confirmed by Samsung via a UA Profile that’s available on its website. This shows that that the device features a 720p display and Android 4.4 KitKat. All in all, in looks like the Galaxy Mega 2 will be a huge mid-end handset.”
Interested in the Samsung Galaxy Mega 2? Keep it here at Phones LTD for further updates.

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