Smartphones

The good, the bad and the oddities of MWC 2014 (video)

From the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Nokia X to the Big Brother-blocking Blackphone and a whole armful of wearable gadgets, we've got our hands on a vast array of cool phones, tablets and mobile gadgets this week at Mobile World Congress 2014.

We've trawled the halls of Barcelona's annual mobile gadgetpalooza for the coolest cutting-edge kit and up-to-the-minute news you need to know about, and as the show draws to a close, the CNET UK team takes a look back at the best, the worst and the weirdest stuff we've seen.

Join Andy Hoyle, Luke … Read more

All the best CNET TV bloopers from Mobile World Congress

A great CNET tradition at the end of the calendar year and big technology trade shows like Mobile World Congress is the CNET TV blooper reel. Flubbed lines, accidental swearing, and breaks in concentration are bound to happen. And really, after so many long hours walking a show floor, so few hours of sleep, and so much dodgy press room food, exhaustion and general mental fuzziness are bound to set in. But we're not complaining in the least, as it's all part of the fun. And the results are hilarious.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World CongressRead more

California court: Drivers can use smartphone maps, for now

Texting or chatting on the phone while driving is illegal in California, but the law seems still to be catching up with technology when it comes to other aspects of smartphone use behind the wheel.

A court of appeals has reversed an earlier court decision that ruled map reading on a cell phone was taboo under the law, according to the Associated Press. The 5th District Court of Appeal said the law currently applies only to talking and texting on mobile devices and doesn't yet have legal language for app use.

The case came about in January 2012 after … Read more

Fund this? An expandable storage backpack for your Android phone

Much as I like my new Moto X smartphone from Republic Wireless (read all about my latest experiences), it does have one rather irksome limitation: just 16GB of onboard storage.

Thankfully, the Moto is among the Android phones that support USB On-The-Go (OTG), meaning I can plug in an external-storage device like the Meenova or PKparis K'2. (I'm currently testing both, so stay tuned for some hands-on coverage.)

Alas, products like these protrude from the bottom of the phone, which is both inelegant and risky: one accidental bump and I could permanently damage the Moto's Micro-USB port (… Read more

The quickest way to close all open Safari tabs in iOS 7

When iOS 7 launched with a redesigned Safari tab interface, we showed you how to manage open tabs. But one thing we missed that should have been obvious was a workaround to closing every open tab at the same time. Have you ever tried swiping away 10 or 15 tabs? It's an exercise in frustration, to say the least.

Thanks to a tip posted on Mac OS X Hints, the process of closing all tabs can be done in just a few taps.

Launch Safari and view your currently opened tabs. Instead of swiping each open tab away on … Read more

Book a Genius Bar appointment from your iOS device

The Genius Bar is typically the best place to visit when having issues with an Apple device, but don't forget to make an appointment first. Each time I make a visit to the store, I stand and watch as customer after customer comes in, thinking Apple takes walk-in Genius Bar appointments quickly. More often then not, the customer has to book an appointment and come back at a later time.

Save yourself some time the next time you need some troubleshooting advice, and book the appointment directly from your iOS device while you're out and about.

In order … Read more

Power Brick battery charges phones, clicks with Lego pieces

The trend in external battery packs for charging smartphones and other small devices is to make them smaller and more compact. The Coi+ Power Brick doesn't care about being tiny. It cares about being bumpy -- bumpy enough to offer a base for building Lego creations on top.

The 4,200 mAh power pack comes with four slanted official Lego bricks that can be attached to turn the device into a stand for your phone. Chances are, if you're interested in buying this, you already have a Lego stash of your own to add onto it. You could build a little throne and set your iPhone in it, or turn it into a landing pad for your "Star Wars" Lego ships.… Read more

The monetized future of BBM

BARCELONA, Spain -- If anything can keep the good ship BlackBerry sailing, it's BBM. John Sims is the man charged with taking this slice of the BlackBerry pie and make it do two things -- grow and make money. He's been in the role just two short months, but speaking with CNET on the last day of Mobile World Congress 2014, he has a lot of big plans on both accounts.

Full CNET coverage of the 2014 Mobile World Congress

"Clearly, in the longer term, we have to monetize that investment in BBM," said Sims. "… Read more

Best of Mobile World Congress: Samsung Galaxy S5, Mozilla $25 phone, smart glove and more

BARCELONA, Spain -- It's been a whirlwind week for our team of reporters at Mobile World Congress: we have taken hundreds of briefings, sat through hours of press conferences and bought you all the news, hands-ons, pictures and video that we could muster.

Today our crack team of 25 took some time out from the hustle and bustle of the show to think about the products, concepts and news stories that have impressed us most over the last week.

Here, in no particular order, are the team's highlights.

Wearable tech you might actually wear Samsung was focussing on … Read more

Android widgets on the Nokia X feel out of place

BARCELONA, Spain -- I popped by the Nokia booth earlier today to try out the new Nokia X range of handsets and came away unimpressed.

The first thing I did was to try customising the user interface, and while Nokia has added a Windows Phone-like skin, the UI was decided sub-par in experience.

You can add widgets like Android, but these widgets feel out of place and don't really fit in the theme of the handset (as you can see from the picture I took).

Call me cynical, but Nokia already missed the non-burning Android platform a long while … Read more