My wife often says I'm fat, but that's hardly a motivation for me to resume my exercise routine. Then the ASUS VivoWatch landed on my desk, so I had no choice but to get back on the treadmill for your amusement. To keep things short, it turns out that this fitness-centric smartwatch does have a couple of compelling features that made me interested in getting fit again -- more so than the other basic (as in no heart rate monitoring) fitness trackers that I've long left in the drawer. Also, the VivoWatch can pair with both iOS plus Android, and costs just under $150 in Taiwan, meaning it'll be going head to head with the similarly priced Fitbit Charge HR around the world. So is ASUS' first fitness device worth trying? Or should you stick to some more mature offerings? Let's take a look.

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When MediaTek first launched an octa-core mobile processor back in late 2013, many folks -- including Qualcomm -- called it a gimmick, but said feature has since become quite popular amongst device manufacturers, to the point where Qualcomm eventually had to come up with its very own octa-core offerings. Just to stay one step ahead of others, MediaTek is now prepping the launch of a deca-core aka 10-core chip dubbed the Helio X20, which will succeed the octa-core Helio X10 (MT6795) that's already powering HTC's Asia-only One M9+ plus several upcoming Chinese flagship phones. MediaTek is sampling its new chip in Q3, and the first commercial devices to use it will arrive as early as end of this year.

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Xiaomi's Hugo Barra launches the Mi 4i in Hong Kong.

If you were to compare iOS and Android, the latter's storage expansion option via microSD -- up to a whopping 200GB these days -- is often regarded as an advantage, though not all devices come with such offer. For instance, while HTC and LG have made the microSD slot a standard feature on their recent flagship devices, Samsung oddly decided to remove it from its Galaxy S6 series (ironically, the company has just announced new microSD cards). Xiaomi, on the other hand, seems to be on the fence: its flagship line has long ditched the microSD slot after its first-gen device, yet its affordable Redmi line uses said feature as a selling point. It's as if Xiaomi is contradicting itself, but Hugo Barra, the company's Vice President of International, gave us a more definitive answer after launching the Mi 4i in Hong Kong.

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As awesome as Project Ara is, we've yet to hear a solid timeline nor pricing info for Google's ambitious modular smartphone. But we bring you good news: For those who lack patience and want to try the next best thing, you may want to consider the Nexpaq, a modular case for the iPhone 6, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6 Edge and many more devices to come. Admittedly, we were a bit skeptical with this project's claim upon receiving the startup's pitch, but after meeting two of the co-founders in Hong Kong, we know they mean business.

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"China is the number one market with connected products."

That was how Intel's Senior Vice President Kirk Skaugen kicked off his keynote at IDF in Shenzhen, citing China's staggering 30 percent share of worldwide connected-device purchases in 2014. The country gobbled up 40 percent of the 46 million Intel-powered tablets shipped globally. Not bad, but 46 million is hardly anything compared to the 420.7 million smartphones shipped in China alone in the same year -- only a tiny percentage of which packed an Intel chip. Most others relied on Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung. Intel's smartphone market share is so small that it never dared to share the stats; it could be as low as 2.81 percent in the Android space, according to benchmark specialist AnTuTu.

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Yes, that's me holding a phone upside down while pretending to make a phone call. It may look silly, but that's exactly what the folks over at Alcatel OneTouch want to see going viral on the streets soon. What we have here is the new "orientation-free" Idol 3 smartphone series, which lets users quickly pick up phone calls without having to check whether they are holding the device -- either the 4.7-inch version or the larger 5.5-inch model -- the right way up. The trick? It's all down to the symmetrical design consisting of a speaker and a mic at each end of the phone; and yes, you do get to use the two front-facing speakers in stereo mode for entertainment purposes.

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Year of the Goat: 11 Chinese smartphone brands to watch

2014 had been a wonderful year for the ever-competitive Chinese smartphone market. We saw the birth of new brands, the record of world's thinnest phone broken three times, and a couple of companies entering India with great reception (although not without some struggle). So with MWC following right after Chinese New Year, what better way to celebrate both than to look at the top Chinese smartphone brands? Granted, not all of these companies will be on the show floor next week (not Xiaomi or Oppo, for instance), but there's no stopping us from saying "ni hao" to them, anyway.

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While CES isn't usually the kind of show that HTC would make a big deal out of, the company somehow decided to use this opportunity to throw out a new mid-range flagship device: the Desire 826. While it's positioned as a follow-up to the Desire 820 (which is only four months old, by the way), the new model has clearly taken a design cue from the Desire Eye: You get the same hidden BoomSound front-facing stereo speakers (now with Dolby Audio), the same anti-slip soft sides and the same overall look. But rather than using a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, the Desire 826 touts HTC's famed UltraPixel imager on the front, meaning you can take faster and brighter selfies even in poorly lit environments. Great idea, though we wish HTC had come up with this before someone else did it.

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How thin is too thin? Well, the Chinese smartphone makers are always pushing their limits on this end. Following Gionee's 5.1mm Elife S5.1 and Oppo's 4.85mm R5, today Vivo has set a new record with its X5Max, a 4.75mm-thick Android phone that still manages to pack a number of notable features. The slim aluminum mid-frame houses a vibrant 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, a 1.7mm-thick logic board and a 5-megapixel f/2.4 front camera. Flip to the back and you'll find a 13-megapixel f/2.0 main camera -- the inevitable bulge that goes beyond the phone's official thickness by almost 2mm -- and a loudspeaker towards the bottom. On the whole, the phone feels surprisingly light (Vivo has yet to list the official weight) but also solid and well-made.

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It wasn't all that long ago when China's Meizu unveiled its latest phone, the MX4, but the real flagship is actually what the company announced today. As you can tell from the name, the new MX4 Pro is a beefed-up version of the earlier model, yet it's still priced very competitively and is almost just as comfortable to hold. Most notably, it has a slightly larger 5.5-inch display with a stunning 2,560 x 1,536 resolution -- a tad more than the standard 2K resolution (hence the "2K+" label), thus making this the highest screen resolution for the current smartphone market. That said, this NEGA LCD panel is apparently very power efficient, sipping just 1.05 times the power consumed by the MX4's 1,920 x 1,152 screen. Underneath that lies a Samsung octa-core processor (2GHz A15 x 4 + 1.5GHz A7 x 4) which, according to Meizu, is 20 percent more efficient than the MX4's MediaTek offering.

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No, that's not a bulk purchasing price. According to the folks at Beijing chip designer NuFront, some Chinese retailers are now selling 7-inch 3G phablets -- powered by NuFront's TL7689 chipset -- to consumers for as low as CN¥330 or about $54 per piece (the prices pictured above are for distributors). That converts to a mere $6 profit for every device sold, which is apparently the norm in the affordable market. On paper, though, it's still a seemingly complete package: you get a 1,024 x 600 LCD screen, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 0.3MP/2MP cameras, a 1,800mAh battery and even HSPA+ connectivity.

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As you probably know, Huawei is one of the many Asian mobile companies that are obsessed with phablets due to local demand. As such, it's no surprise that there's a follow-up model to the 6.1-inch Ascend Mate 2. Announced at IFA just now is the slightly smaller 6-inch Ascend Mate 7 (yes, somehow it skipped four model numbers), which, as you've probably already seen in the leaks, features a fingerprint reader on the back. As it turns out, unlike the traditional swipe-style scanner on, say, the similar-looking HTC One Max, the Mate 7 uses a more convenient one-touch sensor similar to that of the iPhone 5s.

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Xiaomi may be the darling of tech publications when they look to the Chinese smartphone market, but let's not forget that Meizu is the real pioneer of community-centric phone brands. As such, Meizu is sparing no effort to one-up its arch rival with its latest flagship phone, the MX4, as announced in Beijing earlier today. Thanks to the MediaTek MT6595 SoC, we're looking at an octa-core (four 2.2GHz A17 and four 1.7GHz A7) device that can connect to both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE networks right out of the box, thus beating the Xiaomi Mi 4 whose LTE variants aren't due until end of this year. More importantly, the MX4 manages to undercut the 3G-only Mi 4 by about $16 to $33 off-contract, depending on the storage capacity.

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Xiaomi's regular channeling of Apple -- from its stage presentations all the way to disguising Aperture's icon as a phone's camera -- has earned its CEO Lei Jun the "Steve Jobs of China" nickname. Or rather, "Lei Bu Si," a Chinese combination of "Lei" and "Jobs." It's also a double entendre -- something along the lines of "endless shocks" -- that mocks Xiaomi's aggressive marketing. It's no wonder Lei hates the comparison. Fortunately for Lei there's another Chinese CEO gunning for that title. Meet Luo Yonghao, an English teacher turned founder and CEO of smartphone startup, Smartisan, with designs on being the next great tech visionary.

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HTC may have some problems behind closed doors, but outside, it's still widely regarded as one of the world's top phone makers. We already gave this year's One M8 flagship a rather jolly review, and now it's time to see if the same qualities are preserved in its mid-range counterpart, the Desire 816. Indeed, back at Mobile World Congress, HTC called this $390 LTE phablet the "flagship mid-range" to emphasize its competitiveness. But has it lived up to its name? Or is it too little, too late in a world full of affordable options? Let's find out.

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