Alcatel is bringing at least three new smartphones to MWC, but here's a sneak peek

By Daniel Bader

Alcatel is debuting three new devices at CES, but they won’t be properly detailed until next month at MWC.

Alcatel is bringing at least three new phone lines to Mobile World Congress in February, but it’s teasing the products at CES to gauge interest and set the stage for a resurgence in the brand throughout 2018.

TCL Communications, which owns both the Alcatel brands and BlackBerry Mobile, was quiet on the Alcatel front in 2017 as it focused on pushing the KEYone, but according to Christian Gatti, global president of Alcatel’s phone business, the brand is poised for a comeback of sorts this year.

To that end, Alcatel is debuting three phones at CES 2018 this week, one from each of its three new product lineups: the Alcatel 5, Alcatel 3B, and Alcatel 1X. While they vary in terms of size, build quality, and performance (most of which we don’t know yet) they all have 18:9 aspect ratio screens. Let’s take a quick look at each one:

Alcatel 5

This is the “affordable flagship” of the lot with an interesting squared-off design. While we don’t know pricing at this point, Alcatel is committing to a “sub-$300” price for the phone, which would put it in good company with many of the mid-range devices released late last year.

It lacks the dual rear camera setup of the Alcatel 3B (and it’s actually quite a bit smaller, too) it does feature a dual front-facing camera setup, one wide-angle and one regular, along with a rear fingerprint sensor. To align with its flagship status, Alcatel is outfitting the phone with a USB-C port on the bottom, and will offer a face unlock feature using the front-facing camera.

Alcatel 3B

Larger and more imposing, with a glass back and two rear cameras, the 3B is Alcatel’s “sub-$200” device for 2017, but it feels far more expensive.

It also has slimmer bezels above and below the LCD display than the Alcatel 5. It also has a rear fingerprint sensor and a more rounded design, which makes it comfortable to hold in the hand despite its imposing size. It will also have a Micro-USB port.

Alcatel 1X

The “sub-$100” device of the lot, this one is really interesting. It has a lovely felt-like texture on the back, along with a fingerprint sensor and a single camera. It has a Micro-USB port and, interestingly, will use its front-facing camera to support face unlock.

That’s all we know about Alcatel’s 2018 lineup right now, but what’s …read more



15 new and notable Android games from the last week (1/3/18 - 1/9/18)

By Matthew Sholtz

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.



Uciana is a4X strategy mobile game with a clear sci-fi theme.

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15 new and notable Android games from the last week (1/3/18 – 1/9/18) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Vivo's in-display fingerprint sensor shows the future of smartphone biometrics

By Andrew Martonik

This is the way of the future.

Phones are getting thinner and display bezels are getting smaller, so any time a company can save space in a phone it’s going to do it. The latest way to save space and give companies flexibility has been created by Synaptics, with its new in-display fingerprint solution.

The first company to use the new fingerprint sensor tech is Vivo, and I had an opportunity to use this awesome new sensor in one of its phones at CES 2018.

The in-display fingerprint sensor, as a standalone component, doesn’t look much different than any other capacitive style sensor. All it needs is a small contact point with the main board of the phone, and then companies are free to place the sensor anywhere they want. In Vivo’s case, it’s dead center near the bottom of the display, which is the easiest place to reach with either thumb when holding the phone.

This is the future of fingerprint sensors in smartphones.

This is an optical sensor rather than the capacitive type we’re used to seeing on most phones. It’s for this reason that the sensor only works with OLED displays (at least right now) — when the sensor is turned on, the display illuminates just the pixels coinciding with the sensor, shining light up to your fingerprint to then be recognized.

If you have the display turned off and tilt the phone ever-so-carefully at an angle you can see the sensor placed under the display, but it’s completely undetectable when the display is turned on. It’s up to the phone maker to handle the software side of things in terms of the on-screen prompt for your fingerprint, but the great part about this sensor is that it’s only enabled when the phone needs it.

Synaptics is quoting a 0.7-second response time for authentication, and in my testing it felt pretty speedy — just about on the same level as the capacitive sensors we all know and love. The only thing that’s hampering the speed, for me, is that it requires a bit of pressure from your finger in order to flatten out your fingerprint and be properly read by the sensor. That’s more of a mental roadblock, though, and I feel it won’t take long to retrain yourself to press it properly.

Vivo says that this is a full-production device that will be released, but it doesn’t have a time frame for it just yet. In fact, it doesn’t even have a brand name for the phone yet. Synaptics is undoubtedly making this same sensor available to other smartphone makers as well, so we could see this tech in dozens of phones in 2018.

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Samsung said to start producing foldable smartphone in November

By Joe Maring

We could be looking at a launch as early as December.

For years, we’ve dreamed of the day when we can own a smartphone that’s able to fold in on itself. This would allow us to carry phones with large displays and easily carry them in our pockets when not using them, but perhaps more important, the idea of using a phone that you can fold is just plain cool.

There have been murmurings of foldable smartphones throughout the industry for quite some time, but now according to a report from The Investor, Samsung is ensuring that this actually becomes a reality with plans to start production of a foldable phone in November 2018.

Assuming that production stays on track for November, we could see a consumer launch of the phone either in December or early 2019. Samsung is supposedly meeting with individuals behind closed doors at CES 2018 this week to show off an early prototype of the device, but Samsung hasn’t confirmed this.

Not much is known about the foldable phone yet, but it’s said that it’ll have a 7.3-inch OLED display that can be folded inside itself for easy pocketability.

Vivo’s in-display fingerprint sensor shows the future of smartphone biometrics

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Deal: Get big data on the cheap from Ting, TPO, and Mint SIM!

By Adam Zeis

If you’re looking to get some great data plans without shelling out a ton of cash, TPO, Ting and Mint SIM have you covered!

TPO (The People’s Operator)

Unlimited talk & text, plus 4GB for $45/mo.

TPO is offering unlimited talk & text plus 4G of data/month for $45 (with autopay). With TPO, you can choose Sprint or Nationwide GSM network for coverage, plus 10% of your bill goes towards a charity of your choice. And for a limited time get a free GSM SIM card.

With TPO, you have the option to purchase a new phone from the store or bring your own Sprint or GSM approved device. All Unlimited Goodness plans have no annual contract, activation fee or deposit.


100 min/100 text/100MB for $15/mo

For those who require a smaller amount of talk, text, and data, check out Ting’s deal. Each month you get 100 minutes of talk, 100 texts, and 100MB of data. With Ting, you have the option of bringing your own Sprint or GSM approved device since Ting operates on both Sprint and T-Mobile networks.

As a special offer, Ting will pay up to 25% of your Early Termination Fee (ETF) if you switch, up to $75 per device.

Mint SIM

Buy in Bulk 10GB for $25/mo

For those that want big data at a small price, unlimited talk & text, plus 10GB of data for $25/mo. This deal is available for new customers only and you’ll need to pay up front for three months of service in advance (Pay $75 for 3 months).

Mint SIM runs off T-Mobile’s network, GSM devices are compatible.

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You never know when you might need the $40 Red Cross emergency radio

By John Levite

Never leave home without it.

The American Red Cross FRX3+ emergency weather radio and smartphone charger is down to $39.99 on Amazon. While it fluctuates a bit in price, its average street price over the last six months has been around $60. It has only dropped below $50 once or twice in the last year, and it has never dropped as low as this.

Whether you’re going camping or preparing for the zombie apocalypse, you should always have an emergency radio. You can power it the normal way with a rechargeable battery or use the hand crank and built-in solar panel. Get informed of the nearest government safe houses to escape the zombie horde… or the weather. Plus, it has a built-in smartphone charger powered by hand so you can get a little extra juice for your phone when you need it most.

Features include:

  • This is the emergency radio with a large, ergonomic hand crank that requires little effort to generate power for delivering a superior combination of sound quality, playback time, and reception.
  • Its superior audio quality provides clear, crisp sound that allows you to hear every word of a NOAA Weather Band, unlike other models that produce distorted, static-filled audio.
  • Its superior battery provides 8.7X longer playback time than lesser models. Unlike other radios with analog tuners, it has an easy-to-adjust digital tuner that receives radio stations.
  • Additional superior features include an integrated LED flashlight, USB port for charging smartphones, mini-USB cable, and a built-in solar panel for supplemental power.
  • Utilizes a rechargeable lithium ion 3.7V battery.

The FRX3+ has 4.1 stars based on 246 user reviews.

See on Amazon

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The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is now available on Project Fi

By Ryan Whitwam

Google has this nasty habit of making the prettiest Pixels the hardest to get. Remember the Really Blue limited edition Pixel last year? This year, the Kinda Blue variant is only available in the smaller 5-inch form factor, and it’s been exclusive to Verizon all this time. That changes today. You can now get the Kinda Blue Pixel 2 on Project Fi as well.

The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 has a black front and light blue back.

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The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is now available on Project Fi was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Lead Google Duo engineer teases group calls, web app, and more

By Joe Maring

Group calls in Duo might finally be a thing.

Although it still isn’t quite as popular as Apple FaceTime, Google Duo has quickly become one of the best video/audio calling apps around. Google’s pushed out regular updates to the app since its debut less than two years ago, and Duo’s lead engineer recently teased a few upcoming features we could see later in the year.

On January 9, Justin Uberti posted a Tweet promoting Duo video calls on Google’s new Smart Displays and said it was “time to kick off our 2018 Google Duo roadmap.” One user then replied asking Uberti if there was a chance Duo would get a web app, support for Chrome OS, group calls, and improved audio quality.

Uberti’s response?

It’s possible that all of these are things in the works for Duo, but then again, there’s a chance that Uberti and his team are only working on one or two of these things. Support for group calls is what I’d like to see the most, but you won’t find me complaining if all these things are added throughout 2018.

Of these features, which one would you like to see added to Duo?

Allo and Duo Head of Product leaves Google for Facebook

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Source: Verizon also under pressure to cancel upcoming Huawei phone launch

By David Ruddock

According to a source familiar with the company’s plans, Verizon is facing political pressure to cancel the launch of a Huawei smartphone later this year. The source stated Verizon intended to sell the Huawei Mate 10 this summer, but it had recently been pushed back to fall, and now it appears there is a strong likelihood it will be cancelled altogether. This follows closely on news that AT&T would cancel its own launch of the Mate 10 Pro for similar reasons.

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Source: Verizon also under pressure to cancel upcoming Huawei phone launch was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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