Who'd ever be dorky enough to wear a smartglass and a smartwatch at the same time? Virgin Atlantic employees, apparently. The company has partnered with Sony to equip its plane engineers at Heathrow Airport with the Sony SmartWatch 3 and the SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 for the next few months, starting next week. This, by the way, comes a year after Virgin had its ground crew from the same airport wear both a Sony Smartwatch 2 and a Google Glass to greet Upper Class passengers by name. According to Sony, the engineers will use the smartglass to stream real-time videos to technicians to speed up technical assistance. The smartwatch, on the other hand, will notify them of job allocations and any changes they should know of.
We're here at BlackBerry's cozy MWC press event waiting anxiously for CEO John Chen (or anyone, for that matter) to pull back the curtain on the oft-rumored BlackBerry Leap. So far all we've gotten is a recap of progress to date and some security-minded endeavors, but surprise, surprise -- the $275 Leap just popped up on BlackBerry's global devices site for all to see.
Next time you buy an Android phone, you just might find Waze among its pre-installed apps. See, it's now part of Google Mobile Services, or what you call the list of Android apps that manufacturers and carriers can install before shipping devices out to buyers. If you recall, Mountain View snapped up the navigation app back in 2013, and it remained separate from Google Maps. In Google's and Waze's announcement at the Mobile World Congress, spokesperson Julie Mossler wrote: "If a leading telecom preinstalls Waze in his handsets, a large percentage of the population would immediately have access to blocked roads, dangerous intersections traffic and more in real time."
Not too long ago, Mountain View was trumpeting that new gadgets with Lollipop would have encryption turned on by default, but, as Ars Technica reports, that isn't the case. The Nexus 6 handset and Nexus 9 tablet offer it, but third-party devices aren't cropping up with the feature turned on out of the box. Specifically? The new Moto E, with Ars saying that Samsung's Galaxy S6 demo units at Mobile World Congress lack it, as well.
After a lengthy hiatus, Mortal Kombat is coming back to the mobile world -- and it's giving you a few extra incentives to brutalize fighters while you're waiting for the bus. Mortal Kombat X will reach Android and iOS users on April 14th with not just the obligatory fatalities and other gory details, but a two-way reward system that encourages you to keep playing when you switch platforms. If you thrash enough suckers to unlock content on your phone, for example, you'll get some perks when you fire up your console at home. Something tells us the mobile MKX won't be as challenging as its full-size counterpart (swipe to finish someone off, really?), but look at it this way: it's not often that you get to break someone's jaw on your commute and feel good about it later.
So you want to play games on your Android TV set, but you'd rather not shell out for a gamepad? You might not have to in the near future. Google has revealed that an upcoming update to Google Play Services will let you use your Android mobile devices as controllers for Android TV games. If you want to start a four-way race or shooting match, you'll only have to ask friends to pull their phones out of their pockets. You'll have to wait for developers to use the technology before you can start playing, but that patience could pay off if it spares you from buying controllers that will likely spend most of their life gathering dust.
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While its first Android Wear smartwatch might be grabbing the headlines, Huawei also has a new phablet on display at MWC this year. The MediaPad X2 is the sequel to last year's X1, which, depending on how you look at it, was either a small tablet or an enormous phone. There's not a lot new to look at here -- aesthetically it's very similar to the X1 -- but internally there are a few changes.
PayPal is no stranger to mobile payment solutions, but at Mobile World Congress, the company is making a useful upgrade to its Here card reader. In addition to being able to handle payments from those chip-and-PIN credit/debit cards, the new version of PayPal's transaction tech will also support NFC. This means that not only will the latest version of Here wrangle touchless payments from the aforementioned cards, but it'll also allow retailers to accept funds from mobile devices. It's said to work just like terminals in retail stores, except this add-on connects with a separate mobile device to power the whole thing. That's good news for the PayPal faithful as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay all leverage NFC to transfer funds. There's no word on pricing just yet, but the new version of Here will hit the UK and Australia this summer, with a US debut slated for later this year.
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MWC technically starts today, but that didn't stop some of the industry's biggest players from trying to get a head start on the fun on Sunday. Besides the big launches, there were a couple of pre-show events for those offbeat things that didn't need an auditorium to themselves. This means the preceding Sunday is actually one of the busiest days for big announcements. Here's the pick of the bunch this year, just head to the gallery below.
Did you sleep in on Sunday, only to realize that you'd missed Samsung's big Galaxy Unpacked event? Relax -- you can still watch the show as if it were fresh. As is its custom, the Korean tech giant has helpfully posted both a replay of the full event and a quick recap. The focus of the presentation is no longer all that surprising (spoiler: It was about the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge), but it's worth checking out if you want to see Samsung explore every nook and cranny of its latest smartphones.
This wouldn't be the first time that Gionee's released a slim, 5.5mm-thick phone. Following the aptly named Elife S5.5, the Chinese company is back with an LTE refresh model that's confusingly dubbed the Elife S7, which manages to retain the same slimness (read: not 7mm thick), the standard headphone jack and a lighter weight of just 126.5g, while packing some nice upgrades. First of all, you get a slightly bigger 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, along with a similar 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek chipset with 2GB of RAM, but enhanced with 64-bit computing, multi-mode LTE radio and dual micro-SIM slots. And yes, the phone runs on Android Lollipop with Gionee's customized UI. There's also a more generous 2,750mAh battery -- a notable jump from the S5.5's 2,300mAh cell that had us frustrated.
A mobile payment system is only as secure as its weakest link... and in the case of Apple Pay, it's the banks' ability to verify who you are. The Guardian has learned that thieves are setting up iPhones with stolen IDs and taking advantage of lackadaisical identity checks (often just a part of the social security number) to provision victims' cards for Apple Pay. After that, it's open season -- crooks just have to claim that the legitimate card owner is on a trip to go on a shopping spree.
Intel's been slow to transform itself for the new mobile world, but with its latest family of Atom chips, it may finally be able to go toe to toe with Qualcomm. The chip giant announced the Atom X3, X5 and X7 processors at Mobile World Congress today, giving it an arsenal that can fit into both budget and high-end devices (and everything in between). Specifically, Intel's targeting the new X3 chip at devices under $75, while the X5 and X7 are aimed at gadgets priced at $119 or more. The X3 also marks the first time it's been able to integrate a modem into a system-on-a-chip (it's available in both 3G and LTE variants). While Intel's still struggling to become a player among Android devices, these new chips offer something that Qualcomm doesn't: full Windows support. They put Intel in a prime spot to cash in as device makers start designing their Windows 10 wares (which will include everything from phones to high-end desktops).
This is what HTC's Vive VR headset looks like in real life. It's not a dummy model; those sensors are fully functional. It's on my actual head. The first thing you may notice (if you don't, check the gallery below), is that it looks a little bigger than the Oculus Rift. Or at least, thanks to the height of the sensor-housing faceplate, it feels that way. Those sensors are also exposed, a bit like they were on Oculus' Crystal Cove prototype at CES 2014. Take a look around the headset from different angles, and you'll see that HTC may not have deviated from the current virtual reality design script too far, but at the same time, it doesn't feel entirely derivative. Can this thing blow our minds like we hope it will? Is the VR race now officially on (given, you know who's newest headset has just debuted too)? We'll let you know once HTC finally pours its Valve-powered VR content into our eyes later this week.