Skip to main content

Look out, there’s another ridiculously thin phone coming soon, and it’ll be shown at MWC

gionee thinnest smartphone launch mwc2015 elife s5 1 6384
Andy Boxall | Digital Trends
Chinese smartphone brand Gionee, already known for producing very slim smartphones, has let us know we should look out for another one in a few weeks time. A short press release on the company’s website says it’ll be revealing its “latest ultra-slim smartphones at Mobile World Congress,” and will be holding an event to celebrate the unveiling. The wording certainly suggests we should be on the look out for more than one thin device this time around.

Gionee’s not the only one making super-slim smartphones, and its record-breaking Elife S5.1 has been usurped by Oppo, Vivo, and Coolpad since its release, bringing the current target for claiming the title to 4.7mm thick. Gionee notes the competition, but says many are compromising on performance and function in the quest to make ever-slimmer phones.

Despite not being a household name in the U.S., Gionee makes beautiful hardware. The Elife S5.5 and Elife S5.1 are truly premium devices, make from metal and glass, with build quality often surpassing other, better known brands. Yes, it needs to work on the software and do some performance tweaks itself, but the devices are of high quality. In the U.S., Blu Products licenses Gionee’s designs, and sells the S5.1 and S5.5 under the name Vivo Air and Vivo IV respectively.

It’s not giving anything away about the spec of the new phone (or phones), so outside any leaks beforehand, we’ll have to wait until the event to find out more. Gionee will launch its new hardware on March 2 in Barcelona, which is day one of Mobile World Congress. We’ll bring you all the news on the day.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
Zoe, HTC’s fun video remix app, out now for Android, coming soon for the iPhone (Updated)
HTC Zoe Splash Image

HTC has taken its Zoe app out of beta, and released if for more Android devices. The app is the work of a new division called HTC Creative Labs, and it's a spin-off of the identically named photography app which made its debut on the original HTC One.

Updated on 10-08-2014 by Andy Boxall: HTC 's Zoe app leaves beta, and becomes available for more Android devices. HTC has also announced the forthcoming availability of an iOS version.

Read more
At 5.5 mm thick, Gionee’s Elife S5.5 is a smartphone with supermodel proportions
Gionee S55 Front

Anything deliberately engineered to be incredibly thin sometimes turns out to be flimsy at the same time. Following a hands-on test at Mobile World Congress, we’re pleased to say the world’s thinnest smartphone, the Gionee Elife S5.5, manages to avoid the latter. However, it is almost impossibly thin at a mere 5.5mm.
Gionee will probably be a new name to many of you. However, after playing with the S5.5, it’s one I’ll remember. Before picking up the phone, I was shown how the aluminum unibody chassis had been milled down from a solid block to almost nothing, and the almost invisible sheets of glass used on the front and rear. It’s amazing to see the process in such detail. It’s not just the phone that’s a record breaker either, as these components - the Super AMOLED screen, circuit board, and rear glass cover - are also the thinnest of their type.
In hand, the Elife S5.5 feels far more solid than one would expect from such a thin phone. The aluminum edging has been shaped to make it comfortable in your hand, while the rear glass panel is cool to the touch. The 13-megapixel camera lens is mounted in a slightly raised section in the top right. At the most it adds 1mm to the overall size of the device, but in a section measuring less than half-an-inch square.
Gionee's phone is a thing of beauty
It’s a beautiful thing to see and hold, and spinning it round emphasizes not only how slim it is, but also its high build quality. The screen is a 5-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED Plus panel, and it looked fantastic. It displays Gionee’s own version of Android named Amigo, which is based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Like Huawei’s custom UI, all app icons are shown on the homescreens. It’s bright and full of little graphical flourishes, such as a “flex” to the menu when they reach the end, but the odd stutter did show up occasionally.
A MediaTek octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM runs the Elife S5.5, plus other features include a wide-angle 5-megapixel front camera, 16GB of internal memory, and a 2,300mAh battery. Gionee says the S5.5 will cost $370 when it goes on sale, and it’ll be released in 40 unspecified countries. A Gionee rep told us at least one European country would see the Elife S5.5, and that even though there are no solid plans, it would love to offer the phone for sale in North America. Whether it’ll happen or not, we’ll have to wait and see. Additionally, a 4G LTE version will come in June.
Phones produced in China by manufacturers of which we’re unfamiliar often have a reputation for being poorly constructed, but the Gionee Elife S5.5 proves at least in this case, it’s simply not the case. In the brief time I used it, Gionee’s super slim phone seemed as if it could hold its own against most other top-of-the-range smartphones.

Read more
WSJ: New smaller iPhone real, MobileMe may become free, iTunes music streaming coming soon
tiny iphone

The rumors of a new, less expensive iPhone are true, reports the Wall Street Journal. The device — which is codenamed "N97" — will be roughly half the size of the iPhone 4, weigh "significantly" less, and sport an "edge-to-edge" screen. The smaller iPhone will also include voice-based navigation, a virtual keyboard and cost roughly half the price of the current iPhone.
Apple currently sells the iPhone to carriers for an average of $625 per phone. With carrier subsidies, customers can get the iPhone 4 for as little as $199. Because of the low cost of the smaller iPhone, says the WSJ, the carrier subsidies would allow users to get the phone for very little, or possibly for free.
A free, or at least less-expensive, iPhone would allow Apple to compete with the swarm of "mass-market" (i.e. Android) handsets that have come to dominate the smartphone industry. In fact, it's curious — and not at all surprising — that this news of a new, more competitively-priced iPhone arrived just after Samsung's Sunday announcement of the Android-based Galaxy S II smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2011.
It makes perfect sense for Apple to be making moves against Android. In 2010, use of Google's Android operating system grew by 888 percent globally. That places Android second only to Symbian in terms of market share percentages. (And Symbian, we now know, will not be with us much longer.) Plus, more Android-based devices shipped in 2010 than phones running any other OS. Sources say Apple realized its need to grab a piece from the lower market; and thus, the smaller iPhone.
Last week, Bloomberg made similar claims about a smaller, cheaper iPhone being in the works. But in that version, the phone was $200 without a contract, and measured one-third smaller than the size of an iPhone 4, not half.
Apple is also allegedly "exploring a major revamp of its MobileMe online storage service." MobileMe, Apple's cloud computing and device synchronization service that launched in 2008, currently carries an annual $99 subscription fee. But Apple may soon offer the service for free, the sources say.
In addition, an updated MobileMe could become the "focal point" of a new "online music service that Apple has been developing for more than a year," and may give users access to their iTunes library from their iPhone or iPad. This may essentially confirm that Apple has been preparing iTunes to include music streaming capabilities — a rumor that's been percolating since Apple bought, and then promptly shutdown, streaming site last spring.
With both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal — respected publications that investors read — saying Apple has a new phone in the works to help the company make money where it's currently not, we can say with near certainty that the rumored smaller iPhone is true, in one form or another. Neither Steve Jobs nor an official Apple spokesperson would confirm or deny any of these rumors, however, so it's impossible to say how much of these details will be true come launch day.

Read more