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With Firefox OS, Mozilla begins the $25 smartphone push

BARCELONA -- Mozilla doubled down on its bet that low-end smartphones will give Firefox OS a place in the crowded mobile market, announcing partnerships Sunday that will bring $25 smartphones to the large number of people who can't afford high-end models like Apple's iPhone 5S and Samsung's Galaxy S5 that cost hundreds of dollars.

At the Mobile World Congress here, Mozilla announced a deal with Chinese chip designer Spreadtrum Communications that will mean Firefox OS smartphones will arrive in extremely cost-sensitive markets like India and Indonesia where people often buy phones from a bin in a store. … Read more

Eye Tribe shows off working eye-tracking on a mobile phone

BARCELONA, Spain--Having recently announced an Android SDK for its Eye Tribe Tracker, the company also showed off how its eye-tracking software would work on a mobile phone without using said Tracker.

Eye Tribe's Anders Bo Pedersen, mobile lead and partner, gave us a demo proof of concept by using a modified Samsung Galaxy Note II with the infrared filter on its front camera removed and an LED emitter dongle that bounces the light off your eyes to the camera to track your eye movement.

While the software was still buggy and required a fixed distance from the smartphone, Bo … Read more

Alcatel's Fire 7 looks to be a no-frills budget Firefox OS tablet

BARCELONA, Spain -- Making its debut at Mobile World Congress 2014 is Alcatel One Touch and Mozilla's first Firefox OS-based tablet, the 7-inch Fire 7. I was lucky enough to attend a briefing to try out the slate, but as luck would have it, the only working prototype available broke when I tried to unlock it.

Sadly, that left me with only a dummy shell unit to play with, but I was able to get a good idea of how the tablet feels. The one great thing about the Fire 7 is the material used for its rear. It'… Read more

ZTE's colorful, 4-inch Open C features Firefox OS (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- In partnership with Mozilla, ZTE announced two of its newest Firefox handsets during a press conference at MWC. One of which is the ZTE Open II, while the other, slightly more powerful phone, is the Open C. The phone will launch in Venezuela for Telefónica, and Uruguay in the second quarter of this year.

Design The device comes in many two attractive colors: bright orange and blue. Though it's undoubtedly a budget phone, its faux-metallic aesthetic lends a premium look and feel that is quite stylish.

The handset features a 4-inch WVGA display with … Read more

Huawei unveils E5786, dubs it 'world's fastest MiFi'

Huawei introduced what it claims is the world's fastest MiFi, the Huawei E5786, on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain, at the Mobile World Congress 2014 trade show.

The new MiFi can connect to LTE networks and will provide download speeds of 300Mbps, the company said. Upload speeds top out at 100Mbps. The MiFi supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11ac, and it can connect up to 10 devices to the carrier LTE network via Wi-Fi.

CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

The device has a 3,000mAh battery that supposedly offers up to 10 hours … Read more

Microsoft: Pretty please make Windows Phones based on our design

BARCELONA, Spain--Microsoft wants to make it a lot easier for companies to develop Windows Phones.

The software giant on Sunday unveiled plans to release a reference design based on its mobile operating system and using Qualcomm hardware. Basically, that means anyone -- from established handset vendors like HTC to PC makers like Hewlett-Packard -- can build phones relatively quickly and cheaply. If the companies want, they can essentially slap their own branding on the device from Microsoft.

"We're open for business on Windows Phone to anyone who wants to build a Windows Phone," said Nick Parker, the … Read more

Facebook Messenger to arrive on Windows Phone 'soon'

BARCELONA, Spain -- Windows Phone users will finally be able to use Facebook Messenger.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said the app will come to Windows Phone in the next few weeks.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps we have our customers asking for," Belfiore said during a press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Windows Phone has received praise from reviewers, but that hasn't equated to blockbuster sales. Last year, handset vendors shipped 33.4 million Windows Phone devices globally, giving the operating system a market share of 3.3 percent, … Read more

LG's tiny L40 makes it MWC debut (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- The most diminutive in LG's new series of three shown off at Mobile World Congress, the L40 fits in the palm and slides into pockets. Its only 3.5-inch display keeps it portable to the highest degree, but the tradeoff, of course, is a cramped virtual keyboard that mocks thick-fingered typists.

A measly 480x320 pixel resolution is still more or less adequate for the L40, but the screen certainly doesn't shine as brightly as do its L70 and L90 siblings at maximum brightness. A silvery trim perks up the otherwise dark display, and the phone … Read more

LG showcases lil' G2 Mini for MWC (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Following the trend of releasing a shrunken-down, mini variant of a flagship device (like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini), LG showcased its G2 Mini this week during Mobile World Congress 2014.

Featuring a similar but smaller look to its bigger G2 brother, the Mini also sports more modest specs like a Snapdragon 400 processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Though pricing and exact availability has not been released, LG said that the G2 Mini's global rollout will occur some time in March.

Design More compact than its G2 counterpart, the Mini measures … Read more

LG's L90 tops the new L series (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain -- LG trotted out a trio of entry-level and midrange devices ahead of Mobile World Congress, but it was only at the show that we got our first peek of the LG L90, L70, and L40.

Design They're all extremely similar, varying only in size and components, but very much looking like triplets, with the same rounded corners, oblong physical home button, and lightly textured backing (which I think feels a little like cardboard.)

They all also run on 3G, and only 3G, and feature Android 4.4 KitKat as its OS, a step in the right … Read more