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MWC 2016: Day 3 Mobile Device News Roundup

by Ken Hyers | Feb 23, 2016

Mobile World Congress 2016 Day 3

Our device analysts are on the show floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, in Barcelona, Spain. Each day we are blogging the most important device news and announcements.

While the “big” announcements came on the first day of the show, from Samsung and LG, plenty more came on day 2 and today.

1. Cyanogen introduces Mod SDK: Cyanogen targeted developers through the introduction of its Mod SDK, a platform that opens up the Cyanogen OS version of Android for third-party developers to create apps and services. Cyanogen’s Mod SDK (not to be confused with the CyanogenMod ROM used by hobbyists) provides APIs to enable Skype, Cortana OneNote, Hyperlapse mode for cameras, TrueCaller (caller ID) and others. Cyanogen is also supporting hardware developers with the new platform, providing a kit with the tools needed to make Cyanogen devices that work with the latest components. As should be obvious from the list above, Cyanogen is paying special attention to investor Microsoft by making it easier to integrate its software and services for users of the Cyanogen OS 13 update which will be introduced in March 2016.

2.Cubot and Cheetah Mobile unleashes the CheetahPhone. Partnering with Chinese handset maker Cubot, mobile utility app maker Cheetah Mobile is launching a co-branded CheetahPhone smartphone. Curiously, given that it will run Android 6.0, Cheetah promises that the new phone will offer 38% longer battery life than Android 5.1.1 phones due to its Clean Master software which optimizes memory and manages apps. The mid-range (199 EUR retail) LTE device will go on sale in Europe in Q2’16.

Cubot CheetahPhone
CheetahPhone

While the new phone offers a host of features including fingerprint sensor and full HD 5.5 inch display, the specs, while reasonable are not earthshaking. The CheetahPhone fits in well with the growing trend of microvendors seeking to carve out small niche markets based on relatively minor differentiation. In this case Cheetah and Cubot hope to capitalize on Cheetah Mobile’s claimed nearly 2 billion global installations and more than half a billion active base of users of its apps, including the Clean Master application.

3. Gionee wants to make customers smile. The Chinese smartphone maker returns to MWC’16 with a new flagship phone, the S8, a new logo and the tagline “Makes Smiles”. The high-end S8 smartphone, which Gionee presenters at MWC refer to as the “smile phone”, has a lot of hardware features that will please customers. What is less likely to please some, including Apple, is its Amigo UI (version 3.2) which employs a menu structure that is an almost exact copy of the one in iOS. Continuing with the iPhone theme, Gionee’s new flagship offers a pressure-sensitive touch feature that it calls 3D Touch (just like Apple’s).

Gionee S8
Gionee S8

With a super-slim 7mm thick all metal body, a 5.5 AMOLED screen and a MediaTek octa-core Helio P10 processor, along with plenty of RAM and storage, the 449 EUR (retail) S8 will be sure to please customers, though few outside of Asia will get a chance to buy it given that around 3/4ths Gionee handsets are sold in China. The S8 will roll out to markets by the end of March 2016.

This completes Day 3. Remember to check back tomorrow for the Day 4 blog, as well as for regular updates about all things mobile device-related on all of our Devices blogs.
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