Broadcom aims to double Wi-Fi speeds with new 802.11ac chip

BARCELONA, Spain -- Broadcom announced a new networking processor Monday that brings a faster flavor of the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard to mobile phones.

The BCM4354 system-on-a-chip supports the 2x2 MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) technology, which can transfer data faster on a single frequency by using two transmitting antennas and two receiving antennas. The technology -- at least when a newer 802.11ac-equipped network access point is on hand -- doubles the data rate of earlier 1x1 products while cutting power usage by 25 percent, the company said Monday here at the Mobile World Congress.

Faster Wi-Fi is … Read more

Grand Memo II LTE serves up Android KitKat on massive screen (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- During a press conference at Mobile World Congress Monday, ZTE introduced its new 6-inch phablet, called the Grand Memo II LTE. The device serves as the successor to the Grand Memo, which debuted at last year's MWC. It will launch in China in April, and later roll out to other countries in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific for about $300 unlocked.

Design ZTE described the smartphone as "ultraslim," and at just .28-inch thick, it lives up to that description. However, because it also measures 6.33 inches tall and 3.26 inches wide, … Read more

WhatsApp to go big on voice communications in 2nd quarter

BARCELONA, Spain -- Mobile messaging startup WhatsApp will expand to voice communications in the second quarter, co-founder and chief executive Jan Koum announced Monday.

"We want to make sure people always have the ability to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones really affordably," Koum said in a speech here at Mobile World Congress. "We're going to introduce voice on WhatsApp in the second quarter of this year."

The startup has steadily risen in importance through a simple text-messaging service based on people's mobile phone numbers but avoiding carriers' common text-messaging charges. … Read more

Intel LTE poised to join upcoming Galaxy S5 family

BARCELONA, Spain -- At least one device in Samsung's Galaxy S5 family of smartphones could ship with Intel inside.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker is close to signing a deal with Samsung to provide LTE chips for one of the variations of the Galaxy S5 that will hit the market in the coming months, an Intel spokesman told CNET.

Hermann Eul, head of Intel's mobile chip business, had originally told CNET that his company would supply LTE chips for some models of the GS5. He had declined to provide further details about the chip or where those particular … Read more

Carriers: down with unlimited data and free services

BARCELONA, Spain -- Cash-strapped carriers moving to 4G mobile networks need to toe the line and avoid the big problem of the 3G era: unlimited data plans.

That was the exortation from Sok Koong Chua, CEO of Singtel, a carrier that offers mobile networks in Singapore, Australia, and several other countries.

"We need to be more discliplined. 4G is bringing so much more capacity to our networks. Let's not repeat mistake of 3G," she said in a speech here at Mobile World Congress, a show run by the organization that represents more than 800 such carriers.

Unlimited … Read more

Intel launches new Atom processors, touts mobile wins

BARCELONA, Spain -- Intel on Monday launched its new Atom processor for smartphones and talked up its progress in mobile as it tried to alleviate worries about its continued struggles in the market.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company unveiled two new 64-bit Atom processors and an LTE-Advanced chip during a press conference at Mobile World Congress. It also announced multiyear agreements with Lenovo, Asus, and Foxconn to develop mobile devices that run on Intel chips. Lenovo and Asus have partnered closely with Intel in PCs, and both also have introduced tablets with Intel chips inside. Lenovo introduced a smartphone with … Read more

Yahoo announces UK edition of its news app

BARCELONA, Spain -- Yahoo has announced the launch of the UK edition of its Yahoo News Digest app.

Nick D'Aloisio, the former teenage CEO of the Summly and current Yahoo Product Manager after he sold the company to Yahoo, made the announcement via a press release on Friday.

The iOS app will deliver the top news for UK readers two times a day and uses aggregation algorithms to generate a story based on multiple sources and which are then editorially curated.

You can grab the app here.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

Panasonic debuts 5-inch Toughpad tablets that can make voice calls

BARCELONA, Spain -- Sporting a 5-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, and LTE capabilities, Panasonic's latest two Toughpad tablets feel more like rugged smartphones than slates. The FZ-E1 runs Windows Embedded Handheld 8, while the FZ-X1 is an Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) device.

Like all tablets in its Toughpad range, the FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 are designed for rugged environments and will survive drops of up to 3 meters, and you can dunk them underwater to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.

The Windows-powered FZ-E1 runs off a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon … Read more

Qualcomm launches 64-bit chips for high-end phones at MWC 2014

BARCELONA, Spain -- Qualcomm just made things a little harder for its mobile chip rivals.

The San Diego wireless chipmaker on Monday introduced two new processors for high-end mobile devices -- the quad-core Snapdragon 610 and the octa-core Snapdragon 615. Both chips integrate Qualcomm's third-generation 4G LTE modem, 3G technology such as HSPA+ and CDMA, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the fastest Wi-Fi currently on the market.

Qualcomm also revealed its Snapdragon 801 processor, the follow-up chip to last year's Snapdragon 800 -- its most premium chip line. Qualcomm has boosted the performance of the CPU, GPU, digital signal … Read more

Wilocity: 2015 phones getting extra-fast 802.11ad networking

BARCELONA -- The newest, highest-speed incarnation of Wi-Fi networking, 802.11ad, is coming to mobile phones.

Wilocity announced Sunday it will show a prototype phone at Mobile World Congress that, with the company's wireless networking chips, can use the 5Gbps wireless communication links. The company's upcoming Sparrow chipset for phones will join existing chips that can be used in laptops and tablets, said Mark Grodzinsky, the company's vice president of marketing.

"Phone makers will be integrating it into phones in the second half of 2014," Grodzinsky said. "You'll see the first phones in … Read more