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February 26th, 2014
08:26 AM ET

Samsung on "cruise control" with GS5, but shines with Gear Fit

Samsung's latest flagship smartphone is out. The reviews are in. And the reaction is...

Meh.

"What you're seeing here is a Samsung that's very much on cruise control," says Chris Ziegler, deputy managing editor of The Verge.

"It's an evolution of the S4, not a whole new phone. There were some of us who were hoping they would take a little bit of a leap here, go to an aluminum body, maybe a new user interface, but really it's just an evolved S4."

Compared to its predecessor, the S5 has a bigger screen, a better camera and a faster processor.

There's also a fingerprint sensor built into the home button, just like what you find in the iPhone 5s.

But one big change in the Galaxy S5: there's a built-in heart rate sensor. Does that score points for Samsung?

"The fact that they included a heart rate sensor in the GS5 really isn't surprising when you consider fitness is a buzzword in mobile now," Ziegler tells me.

Along with the Galaxy S5, Samsung unveiled three smartwatches at the Mobile World Congress – the Samsung Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, and the Gear Fit.

For Ziegler and his fellow editors at the Verge, the slender and form-fitting Gear Fit stole the limelight at the big reveal in Barcelona.

 "Of the new smartwatches that they showed yesterday, that would be the winner for sure," says Ziegler.

Click on for the full interview.

January 1st, 2014
11:21 AM ET

Looking back at 2013

News Stream usually brings you stories about the power of technology to improve our lives. But in 2013, the top tech story was more ominous.

Since June, revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs have come to light. The fallout has been felt in Washington and the rest of the world.

Tech companies have expressed outrage over the U.S. government's spying practices. Listen to Google's chairman Eric Schmidt in Part 1 (above).

In Part 2, hear from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and examine the new generation of gaming consoles.

Finally in Part 3, astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks about his popular videos from space. And we ask what the future holds for mobile technology.

We hope you enjoy these highlights from 2013. We look forward to the year ahead!


Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Mobile World Congress • Technology • Titans of Tech • Viral Videos
February 28th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Making a call on what’s next in mobile

Inevitably, I met a booth babe with a t-shirt that read, “Call Me Maybe.”

I’m at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - home of fine food, football and phones with the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year.

Why am I here? Our world is changing fast. We are at a critical inflection point as desktop computing shifts to mobile, and smart mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous. We are ushering in a new digital era where everyone will be on the move and always connected.

The change is happening so fast, blink and you may miss it. It’s already challenging the authority of established computing giants like Microsoft and pre-smartphone era stalwarts like Nokia.

Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE are chipping away at the authority of BlackBerry. Open-source operating systems are emerging as players in the race for mobile OS supremacy. Messaging apps like WhatsApp are stealing revenues away from network providers.

So I’m here to determine what’s happening and try to anticipate what’s next before reality slams me in the face.

So, here goes. These are the three top emerging mobile trends I’ve picked up here in Barcelona:

FULL POST

February 28th, 2013
08:25 AM ET

Day 3 at MWC

Most top tech brand showcase their latest products at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Of course, one big name is missing. Apple never attends shows like this.

And it feels like other companies are starting to follow suit.

The Verge's David Pierce says it feels like Samsung is starting to pull away. He notes that the Galaxy S4 will come out in two weeks in New York, though it did announce the Galaxy Note 8 in Barcelona. HTC unveiled its flagship phone last week. Google executives are in attendance, but the company does not have booth and announced its new Chromebook last week. And Pierce feels Nokia fell flat, failing to announce anything big.

So is the Mobile World Congress going the way of Las Vegas's Consumer Electronics Show?

Pierce says, ""There's a lot here but it seems like a show like this, and even CES, they're becoming traditional trade shows again where it's industry people coming to getting to know each other and make deals. There's a putting green upstairs just for making deals. It seems like, in a sense of big consumer show where we see the really exciting stuff, it's starting to slow or at least lull."

And there are many movers-and-shakers at MWC. Check out our Day 3 highlights below:

Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley

PayPal President David Marcus

BlackBerry's Vivek Bhardwaj, the man behind BB10 OS

Plus, a fun look at how FC Barcelona reaches its fans through apps!

February 27th, 2013
10:10 AM ET

Day 2 at MWC

As you might imagine, mobile phones are front and center at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. We've already highlighted Nokia's big push with cheaper phones.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also hinted the company is looking to launch a tablet. He told Kristie Lu Stout, "We're considering what's the right way to enter, if we were to enter. How do we differentiate in that market. How do we as confidently stand up with a tablet as we do with the Lumia smartphones. We want to make sure we understand all of that."

Three of the biggest new products at the show this year are tablets. They are the latest offerings from Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Sony.

HP is back in the tablet market with the 7-inch Slate 7. But CNNMoney's Adrian Covert says, "(It) is not a premium-grade tablet, nor a remarkably cheap device."

Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 takes aim at Apple's iPad Mini. Covert calls the Galaxy Note 8 "fast and speedy." But he notes that while 8 inches is small for a tablet, it's huge for a phone. It is still  unclear if the phone-enabled version will be sold in the U.S.

Covert says Sony's Xperia Tablet Z could be the best tablet at the Mobile World Congress. And at 10.1 inches, it is also one of the biggest.

Among our other Day 2 highlights:

Discussing the rise of Chinese smartphones

Nvidia's Project SHIELD and its new vision for gaming on the go

Sitting down with Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's Senior Marketing Manager

February 26th, 2013
02:43 PM ET

We're at the Mobile World Congress

News Stream is at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It's the mobile industry's biggest event of the year.

In the coming days, we will speak to the biggest names in the business, as we look for the software and gadgets that will dominate our lives in the years ahead.

On Day 1, we talked to Google's Matias Duarte. He's the Director of Android User Experience. And his description of the latest OS is both awesome and slightly scary.

Duarte says, "We've been rolling out amazing, powerful new features that are almost like a superpower. Like Google now with Jellybean. Your phone is actually your companion. It knows what you want to search for before you do and can offer that information."