And a great darkness was cast over the land, for on the horizon loomed the great spectacle of Mobile World Congress.
The team's on their way to Barcelona right now… but the news from MWC 2016 doesn't kick off until Sunday. There'll be plenty from them next week, so here's what happened this week!
The long-awaited cloud-centric Android-powered Nextbit Robin landed and was reviewed, revealing a device with compelling hardware and a unique solution that leverages the cloud to expand app storage dramatically. But the big news is coming next week, with the impending unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G5, among other things.
But the big news of the week came on the front of taking a stand, with Apple refusing to provide the FBI with the tools needed to unlock the iPhone that belonged to a terrorist. Their refusal isn't about terrorism — Apple CEO Tim Cook condemned the attacks — but a matter of maintaining the privacy of all iPhone users. Apple's not alone in the fight, with a number of tech leaders, including Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others lining up in support of Apple its users, and by extension their own users. This case isn't about a single iPhone — it's about setting precedent for maintaining or compromising the security of every mobile device.
1. Windows Central — Lumia landing
Microsoft has a very busy week. On Monday, they announced the Lumia 650 – a device we have been expecting for some time now. We gave our first impressions of the budget Windows Phone and came away impressed with its elegant design.
For Windows 10 Microsoft released build 14267 for Mobile and PC for the Insider Fast Ring. The new Redstone-branch of the OS brought new features to Skype and more. For production, Microsoft released build 10586.107 for all Windows 10 Mobile devices. Microsoft also released an army of patches for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to fix ongoing power problems related to the Intel Skylake processor.
Windows Central announced the availability of our Windows 10 app for PC and phone. We also announced our new Gems campaign in conjunction with Microsoft, and it's still not too late to enter our contest where we're giving away a Lumia 950 XL or order our new 'Start me up' retro tee.
- Microsoft Lumia 650 first impressions: Metal makes a difference
- Windows 10 build 14267: Everything you need to know
- Announcing the all new Windows Central app preview for Windows 10!
- Microsoft finally fixes power woes on Surface Book and Surface Pro 4
2. Android Central — The Penultimate Edition
As we all await the excitement in Barcelona, there's been some time to enjoy some of the experiences we've seen so far this year. Samsung is going to be taking the stage soon to show off the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but any look at the future would be pointless without a look at the past. Specifically, the recent past, as we enjoy talk about the time spent so far with the Galaxy Note 5.
There's also plenty to talk about in the rest of the world. Nexbit has finally started shipping the Robin, and after spending some time with it we found there's a lot to like. It's a fun look at what Android would be like if your personal data was managed automatically. While talking about how we handle personal data, we found Sundar Pichai's support of Apple's current situation with the FBI a little on the weak side.
3. CrackBerry — More affordable than ever
As we head into Mobile World Congress, the news coming from BlackBerry has been a little light but a few notable pieces of news were dropped recently including new patent licensing deals, a price drop on the Priv for the US and U.K. and in Canada through Bell. Plus, BlackBerry unleashed a new BES12 Cloud update with usability and security improvements.
- BlackBerry and Canon sign patent licensing agreement
- BlackBerry and IGT announce agreement on patent licensing deal
- BlackBerry offers Priv and Passport discounts through Feb. 24
- Bell offering the BlackBerry Priv for $299.99 for a limited time
- BES12 Cloud update brings usability and security improvements
4. iMore — Apple vs. FBI
A lot of stuff happened this week, but none of it really matters compared to the stance Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, took against an FBI demand that Apple make a version of iOS that would allow a device to be more easily hacked. That it was a terrorism case was meant to manipulate our emotions and our fears into giving up our privacy. Apple's argument is strictly ethical and rational: That a back door once created cannot be contained, and our privacy once given away will forever be gone. Rational arguments seldom win against emotional manipulations. In this case, for all our sakes, it has to.