Mid-range smartphones, improved face recognition technology announced

ZTE Open
Mobile World Congress 2013 kicked off in Barcelona on Monday. This column highlights the most important launches in the four-day event.

Nukia Lumia 720

Price: EUR 249 (Rs 17,800 approx)

With Lumia 720, Nokia aims to target mid-range smartphone users. Lumia 720 has a 6.7-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens (aperture f/1.9). It features Windows Phone 8 OS with 1GHz processor with 512 MB RAM and 8GB internal memory. Nokia says the smartphone's software enhancements complement its 4.3-inch display to provide wide viewing angles and clarity in a bright environment. Lumia 720 has Nokia supports the wireless charging accessory -- as seen in Lumia 920. Lumia 720 rollout will be available in China and Asia from April 2013. Another device in the segment is 4-inch Lumia 520 that costs Rs 10,000 (approx) and is expected to hit Indian markets by Q2 2013.

Nokia has also improved its Here maps application. The app comes with LiveSight -- set of augmented-reality technologies. It uses the phone's camera and displays that view with relevant, place-based information.

Firefox OS

Mozilla, the non-profit organisation behind Firefox web browser, launched its operating system at Mobile World Congress 2013 on Monday. Firefox OS is built on HTML, is targeted at low-end hardware and Firefox OS devices will be available from July 2013. Among manufacturers planning to ship Firefox OS devices are ZTE, LG, Huawei and Alcatel. ZTE and Alcatel demonstrated their phones at MWC 2013. ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire are 3.5-inch touchscreen devices, which should appeal to those looking for cheap smartphones. The phones come with apps like Facebook, Nokia Here (maps), AccuWeather, and games like Cut The Rope.

EyeVerify Eyeprint

From being stuff of science fiction, face recognition is gradually stepping into the real world. Android Ice Cream Sandwich introduced Face Unlock, which unlocks the phone after 'seeing' your face on the front camera. But Face Unlock has a flaw. It unlocks the phone when you show it your picture too. This is where EyeVerify comes into the picture. The company's Eyeprint technology scans users' eye veins and lets them unlock the phone or open applications. The prototype app was demonstrated at MWC 2013. It takes a picture of your eye, which then goes through a segmented verification process that is difficult to hoodwink.

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