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Pic of the day : what’s this car ?

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ZTE Grand S II and Voice Control

We’ll end this little American tour at the Las Vegas 2014 CES with the last smartphone flagship, ZTE’s Grand S2. After a year of good and faithful service, the Grand S will be replaced with an upgraded, stronger version of the model that ensured the firm’s success in 2013.

First of all, ZTE wished to make adjustments about the device’s power supply. If the first Grand S was delivered with too low a 1780mAh battery, its successor will feature a strong 3000mAh battery, which should make the pleasure last for 3D, Full HD videos or Compass aficionados – we know you’re out there !

The ZTE Grand S2’s screen will be larger than its predecessor, growing from 5 in to Full HD 1080p. 5.5 in. Its processor will change from Snapdragon S4 Pro to the quad-core S800 set to run at 2.3Ghz. For the time being, we do not have information on the integrated chipset but it seems reasonable to think it will be the MSM8974AC or AB, and that the 4G LTE should be there too, which would be a logical choice as the first generation featured that functionality. However, caution dictates that we do not linger on this point for now but we have found a short video you can watch at the bottom of the page and which should put us on the right track.

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Other than this, the device should work with a 2Go RAM and a 16Go ROM for data storage, a 13Mpx camera (back) at 2Mpx (front), with an Android 4.3. But the real innovation will come from an improved voice control system. You will be able to control as you speak on the phone, starting for example with the unlocking of the lockscreen. The concept has been improved so that you can memorize several voices of people supposed, with your approval of course, to be able to unlock your phone if need be. Moreover, you will be able to command the camera and take a picture anytime you want. You will then find a whole lot of functionalities that will of course have to go through navigation controls, which can be very useful inside your car.

It’s no use asking us for more information on the SD or Dual SIM cards backups as we have none, even as regards its selling price or its future availability. As usual, we’ll keep you posted as soon as we learn more.

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To end with a small digression – ZTE and the Grand S2 didn’t come alone at the CES 2014 since a Smartwatch going by the name of Bluewatch rode the wagon with them. However, ZTE built a wall of silence around its specificities, but rumor has it that it could be an Arm Cortex M3 processor with a 128Mo RAM and a 235mAh battery.

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Draw the Geek T-Shirt and win 100€

In 2013 we wanted to produce a Geek T-Shirt but we changed our minds and waited instead for more financial visibility before launching the operation.

And then Master Kuc, an addict member – we also say ‘a fan’addict’ – who was trying to spread the good geek word around him, sent us his idea of the ultimate Geek T-Shirt.

As a result, with two ideas plus one, i.e. to call upon you to draw the Xmas Pangeek then the Chinese New Year, we ended up with the fourth idea !

Draw the Geek T-Shirt and win 100€

We still have some time before spring comes back again but the Geek T-Shirt will be your T-Shirt because you will create it.

In short – no holds barred provided the JT Geek logo be visible, with or without .com.

Your creations will be updated on the product sheet then we’ll designate the winner or winners. In the second case, they will share the loot. :-p

The T-Shirts will then be printed and you will find your bliss as you see your creations on our videos…

Up first creations !

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GLG

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Taipei vs. Beijing, a few perspectives for the benefit of travelers

The differences between Taiwan and mainland China are impressive. I visited China three times over eighteen years but this stay in Taiwan was a first. Of course, both territories speak Mandarin and are culturally Chinese. Westerners will probably find Taiwan an easier place to twoc-taipei-beijing-masterstart blending in. You will find here ten good reasons to choose Taipei and Taiwan as your travel destinations.

1. You don’t need a visa to visit Taiwan.
There is no required procedure for a 30- or even 90-day stay in Taiwan as a tourist. The visa asked on Chinese territory costs $200 and is hard to obtain.

2. There is no Great Firewall in Taiwan.
This means wherever you are, you can access the internet with a really fast connection as it is not filtered. Many things, like Facebook, are totally blocked in China. You can also watch CNN, the BBC, and other tv channels, whereas all foreign networks are blocked in China. To a new geek addict, this is of the utmost importance.

3. Religion is an integral part of Taiwanese life.
Christianity is well established on Taiwanese soil. My granddaughter goes to a christian school. In China, buddhist temples are crammed with tourists. In Taiwanese temples, crowds of true worshippers were the thing that really impressed me. The temples I saw on mainland China rather looked like soulless artifacts. In Taiwan, I was able to watch real worship and this helped me to have a better understanding of it. It is a shame such a rich aspect of Asian culture was wiped out of modern China.

4. Taipei is much cleaner.
The restaurants are really clean places. Rest rooms are all furnished with toilet paper and soap, which is not always the case on mainland China. The streets are clean – no one spits on the ground and babies are not changed everywhere. Taiwanese people may even actually seem paranoid – you will see a lot of them wear masks so as not to catch diseases.

5. Pollution is not worse than in any American city.
In Beijing, pollution is awful. I suffer from asthma. As a result, I feel like a canary in a coal mine. Every time I visited mainland China, I had bronchitis. I bought antibiotics before going to Taipei as I thought the same thing would happen but after two weeks, I realized with pleasure that I had left the country without having fallen ill or used my rescue inhaler.

6. Most people there speak English and are more foreigner-friendly.
The population is highly educated. Parents generally expect their children to be postgraduate students. China is trying to close the gap.

7. In Taiwan, I’m not a strange beast.
On mainland China, people always wanted to take photos of me, my husband or my granddaughter and, after a while, I thought it was weird. There is no such problem in Taiwan.

8. It is very easy to find a taxi.
Taxi drivers in Beijing are really just average. Many of them refuse children or luggage and it was not unusual to wait thirty minutes with many empty taxis passing us by as if they did not see us. In Taipei, we always got in the first taxi we hailed. That was a great relief.

9. In Taipei, the population respects order and the highway code.
Drivers stop at traffic lights. As a pedestrian, you feel at ease when you know you can cross a street without having to walk in a group so as not to be run over.

10. I’ve seen more Chinese antiques in Taiwan than on mainland China.
The Forbidden City and the Summer Palace were a disappointment – nothing but buildings, fine but empty. All the beautiful things seem to be at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Apparently, this is because the Kuomintang seized everything after the Communist Party of China took its share. Maybe it was a good thing if we consider the many relics that were destroyed during the cultural revolution. To see these relics allows you to see deeper into the culture and the history.

These remarks do not mean that China is not worth visiting. Here are a few interesting things you will find on mainland China.

1. There are not nearly as many foreigners in Taiwan. Everybody goes to China. I was very often the only blonde in sight, wherever we went. That did not bother me but in time, that could be a problem.
2. I was told that there were no better, more fashionable clubs for expatriate young people than in Beijing.

3. Thanks to economic growth, there are more job offers in China.

4. Wealthiness is discreet in Taiwan whereas it is spectacular in China. The streets of Beijing and Shanghai are filled with expensive cars and luxury department stores. I’m not sure this is an advantage. It’s more of an observation.

5. The food is very good in both places but there is a greater variety in China. I love the north-western Chinese food, which I did not see in Taiwan.

6. Prices for food and goods seem identical but there are many more tourist-oriented goods in China, like the Beijing Silk Market, which I really enjoy when I want to buy presents.

7.There are many places of interest in China, like the Great Wall, which is unique. This is a breath-taking country.

All things considered, I feel inclined to say that the people there are beautiful, be it on mainland China or in Taiwan. The culture is fascinating. Both destinations are worth traveling to.

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MediaTek’s wireless screen solution broadcasts video on tv, sets your mobile screen free

The Miracast wireless display mode, now available on many Android devices, is loved and hated at the same time. It is loved by those just looking for a shared wireless screen and hated by those wishing to be able to do other things on smaller screens. If you’re the latter, MediaTek can make you happy. At the CES, the Taiwanese chipset designer showcased his solution which will enable you to share the contents of a video on a Miracast screen, without causing you to give up your mobile display about other tasks, e.g. websurfing, sending e-mails or even games. See for yourself on our own video.

A firm (Rep) told us that to enjoy this solution, app developers should be using MediaTek’s forthcoming API so as to access this functionality. Nothing is said about when consumers will be able to use it at home, yet since MediaTek sent more than 200 million smartphone processors last year, we’re pretty sure developers will want their share of the cake.

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ZTE at CES 2014

This year, the information flow coming from Las Vegas’ CES (Consumers Electronics Show) is not really promoted by the smartphones and connected tablet computers or at least by this market’s world leaders, with the exception of a few announcements issued by Samsung regarding the new Tab and Note tablets. These, once the demonstration was over – yes, I watched everything – and despite the obvious quality of the Korean firm, left me with an « Apple-like » aftertaste. All in all, these new things show a software improvement, refinement of a hardware which was already developed last year, more than a real innovation in itself.

Let us also skip the rehashed talk on the curved-screen smartphones, a phenomenon that somewhat leaves the geek community indifferent. On the contrary, let us mention the CES real geek showstopper as regards smartphones – the coming of specific Chinese makes and their desire to be more fully visible on the GSM international market and compete with other firms in the innovation sector. This tendency is less tangible than that of last year’s battles of the giants in so far as it targets the American market. However, its importance is undeniable and will undoubtedly make a deep impression, this early 2014, on you, Chin’addict geeks, and us !

The ZTE phone

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In 2013, Huawei and ZTE drew attention but only partially as, in the course of the year, battery problems on the ZTE Grand S or Huawei’s Ascend Mate, which surely had Galaxy Note giggle. On another level, Lenovo carried out their plan of stability on the Asian continent thanks to their good quality and affordable smartphones, before tackling the international market, which they will certainly do in 2015 or 2016.

ZTE is back !

The CES has known a real ZTE tidal wave. A symbol of this Chinese tendency during the convention, ZTE, the global leader in telecommunication and network solutions, has decided to appear in a new light with the release of a large number of smartphones primarily built for the American market and the European one as well. You’ll certainly remember that, a few years ago, ZTE delivered white labels to French network suppliers which were quick to put their logos on them. Now, this year, ZTE is getting out of these woods, formally announcing the release of ZTE Grand SII’s remarkable specs in the wake of the Grand S. It features a 3000mAh non-removable battery which will settle once and for all the former model’s battery problem, a 16GB rom and a 2GB ram, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with a 2.3 GHz quad core, a Krait 400 and a GPU adreno 300, two cameras guranteed high quality by the manuacturer… Not the best, you will say ! Sure, but we’re talking about the Chinese leaders’ tendency to make a bid for the international trade and the ZTE Grand SII is an epitome of this manufacturer’s will to be one of the first three world leaders in smartphones.

Another event rocked the CES and that was the introduction of the ZTE ECO MOBIUS modular smartphone prototype which we have been talking about since November 2013. Indeed, last year saw the announcement of the Motorola ARA concept which was then the forerunner of exchange-unit smartphones but ZTE, this early January, made a serious claim on their capacity to deliver the first smartphone of this kind, accompanied by the largest number of offers on this telephone. Keep your shirt on, however ! Those are just announcements and ZTE’s bosses are more cautious than their spokespersons ! Actually, ZTE will offer to put the ECO MOBIUS on the market provided the ARA’s breakthrough is significant ! As mentioned in yesterday’s JT Geek, it’s a move they will not make before 2016 or 2017… You see, Chinese people are smart ! Android consoles, smartwatches, other mobiles – equipped with Windows 8 – and connected ZTE spectacles confirm ZTE’s will to flex their muscles in a lot of fields !

One other thing – a small bonus from ZTE, to end with a flourish, comes from his Nubia make which, with the Nubia 5S and 5S Mini, is trying to conquer the saturated markets of the USA and Europe, consequently France as well ! In the up-market category yet with mid-range prices, these Nubia – which we talked about in the article on Chinese 4G compatible smartphones – look like real Asian pearls and will undoubtedly leave their mark.