Posts Tagged rsquo
Early image claims to show upcoming Samsung flagship, but there's reason to be skeptical
It’s that time of year again, boys and girls — the first purported Samsung Galaxy S4 render has emerged online. This morning Samsung fansite SamMobile posted a photo of a render showing what it claims is the next flagship phone from the Korean manufacturer. The image, which the site says was passed to it by a Samsung insider, appears to be a photo of the render as displayed on a monitor or other LCD display.
The alleged Galaxy S4 (or Galaxy S IV, if you prefer) shot shows a Galaxy Note 2-like design, with accentuated, rounded corners and no physical buttons. The device also has an extremely minimal horizontal bezel, along with the usual assortment of buttons, ports and sensors in the usual places.
There’s no way of verifying the authenticity of this image, but SamMobile has a pretty decent track record when it comes to Samsung leaks. Nevertheless, given how many inaccurate Galaxy S3 renders did the rounds last year, we’re inclined take this latest pic with a hefty dose of salt for the time being.
Even if this image is a legitimate Samsung creation, there’s no guarantee that the device it shows will become the Galaxy S4. Samsung is notoriously secretive with its flagship products, even going as far as designing and developing multiple variations of the Galaxy S3 to reduce the likelihood that the real thing would leak. So there’s a chance this design might be just one of many on the table at this early stage. (Remember that buttonless Galaxy S3 we saw just weeks before the announcement?)
In a related post, the site reports that Samsung will show an early Galaxy S4 prototype to a handful of partner executives and other big-wigs behind closed doors at next week’s CES. If Samsung ships the S4 this spring, as is expected, we wouldn’t be surprised if a few VIPs got an early look at what the company’s cooking in Las Vegas. CES has always been a big business-to-business show, after all.
For now, all we have is an image that may or may not be an upcoming Samsung phone. But if this is the Galaxy S4, we know a few Android nerds who’ll be celebrating Samsung’s new-found affinity for on-screen buttons.
Back in the spring the original Samsung Galaxy Note got Android 4.0 and new TouchWiz apps as part of the phone’s first “premium suite” software upgrade. Today, Samsung has confirmed that a second premium suite will bring the OG Note right up to date with newer handsets like the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.
A new entry on Samsung’s Galaxy Note micro-site confirms that along with an upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Note will get multi-window (full-screen multitasking), pop-up video/browser/note apps, photo note/photo frame, easy clip, paper artist, and new S Planner and email apps. That’s in addition to standard Jelly Bean features like Google Now and Project Butter.
Last month we reported on rumors that the original Galaxy Note was in line to receive such an upgrade. In the past month we've even seen leaked builds start to appear, suggesting the new firmware is close to being finalized.
There’s no information on when this new premium suite might arrive. However with Android 4.1.2 updates already rolling out for other devices, and major events like CES and MWC looming, we suspect Samsung won’t waste any time in rolling this update out to global Note models. Owners of the U.S.-specific versions may have to wait a little longer, as usual.
Android was not designed to be updated like iOS, but good luck getting everyone on board with that idea
Here we go again. Another year, another "Let's see how long it takes Android updates to roll out" story. The latest comes from Ars Technica, titled "The checkered, slow history of Android handset updates." It takes a look at how long it takes manufacturers to push out major releases to their handsets. Lots of charts. Lots of months. All done with the misconception that phones must be upgraded to the next, major release of Android, or something's wrong.
Only, here's the last graf of Casey Johnston's piece:.
Updates certainly aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone—if an OS version works well, then you may be content simply to stick with that. But for those who like the latest and greatest, it’s clear that the need for update improvements plagues the entire Android ecosystem.
Hang on. There are, like, 30 paragraphs detailing things that, in the end, Ars says "aren't the most important aspect of picking a new phone." So what did we just finish reading? Circumstantial evidence that shows … what? Android is not iOS?
Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon.
With only a few more sunsets to go before the holidays hit their peak, game devs have been pushing their holiday updates live all across Google Play. We’re going to find some of the cheeriest, jingliest, and jolliest among them, just in case you needed some help getting into the holiday spirit.
It's a camera. It's Android. It's an Android camera! And it's the best one yet, but not without room for improvement
On a sweltering August afternoon, Samsung ushered a handful of tech journalists into a conference room in Berlin, Germany, to show off two new mobile devices. The first, the Galaxy Note 2, was much as we’d expected it to be. But the second would’ve come as a complete surprise were it not for a last-minute online leak. As we frantically took notes, Samsung reps doled out what seemed to be a Galaxy S3 bolted to the back of a digital camera. This, we were told, was the Samsung Galaxy Camera.
An unusual product, the Galaxy Camera was introduced as a “convergence device,” a smart camera powered by the latest version of Android, but with sufficiently advanced optics to push it beyond the performance of high-end smartphone cameras. All the imaging, sharing, video and photo editing prowess of Android and Samsung’s TouchWiz software were present, put behind a real dedicated camera with a 16-megapixel sensor, 21X optical zoom and optical image stabilization. The popular reaction was split into two camps — some dismissed it out of hand, others, like ourselves, were cautiously optimistic.
Days later, I wrote that the Galaxy Camera makes perfect sense. I still think it does, but Samsung’s initial implementation is not flawless. And the finished product, though promising, is some way off being a perfect union of smartphone and camera.
Read on to find out why.
Although one could argue Dell never really was in the smartphone market, they did make several attempts to gain traction both on Android and Windows Phone. The Dell Streak and Venue Pro Windows Phone lines turned out to be pretty lackluster overall. Despite that fact, up until March Dell was still selling the devices on their web site but they've now finally disappeared.
Jeff Clarke, Dell's head of consumer business, confirmed Dell's lack of future smartphone intents at the recent Dell World conference stating "It needs a lot of investments to really be successful". For now, Dell will concentrate their efforts on PC's running Microsoft's Windows 8 and tablet computers based on Windows RT.
In speaking further of their Android ventures, Clarke noted “It’s a content play with Android. Amazon is selling books and Google is making it up with search. So far we couldn’t find a way to build a business on Android,” Android isn't being ignored though as Clarke also mentioned “It doesn’t mean we’re not looking at Android. You should come and see what’s in our labs.”
We’ve compiled our favorite free strategy games, shooter games, sports games, action games, role-playing games, racing games, board games, simulation games, word games, and puzzle games for Android.
Lucky for us cheapskates, Google Play is chock-full of excellent free games. It can be hard to find them sometimes, and you’ve got to weather a barrage of prompts to pay for in-app purchases in the process, but ultimately it’s possible to have a ton of fun on your Android phone or tablet without spending a dime.
Now, a lot of these I’ve pulled from my list of favorite iOS games, but there are more than a few unique entries here, particularly among the NVIDIA-optimized titles. Like I said, the vast majority of these will have in-app purchases, which may be a deal-breaker for some of you. I’ve also excluded lite versions of games, since they rarely provide a rewarding experience on their own without an upgrade.
So, if you’re looking to stock up on Android games, take a look and get downloading.
HTC has announced that it'll become the official smartphone partner of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, as part of a three-year deal that'll begin in January and span the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. The deal means fans will be seeing a lot more of HTC's branding and devices, and the company promises "to deliver new and innovative ways for fans around the world to get closer to the action," both in-stadium and remotely via mobile devices.
As part of the deal, HTC will also become official smartphone partner of the UEFA Super Cup Final in 2013 and 2014, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Scoring a partnership with Europe's leading club football (or soccer, if you insist) competitions is a big deal for HTC, which has witnessed a downturn in its revenues over the past year. A recent executive switch-up brought in a new CMO, with the aim of re-vamping HTC's marketing efforts for its next round of smartphones, expected in early 2013. HTC will surely be hoping that its new UEFA partnership will bring some pizzazz to its brand.
More details and obligatory executive quotes in the presser after the break.
HTC’s fourth-quarter refresh of the One X is good, but is it good enough to keep you from waiting for the next tier of hardware?
When first holding an HTC One X+ (or any One device, for that matter) in your hand, it's hard to believe that the company has had such abysmal sales figures the past several quaters. It arguably has one of the best screens on the market, paired with an upgraded Tegra 3 processor and bumped up internal storage of 64GB. On top of all that, the device is downright gorgeous. It really does seem like it checks all the boxes.
The One X+ seems every bit a capable high-end device as its competition, much the same way as the original One X from earlier this year. Should it be considered as your next device? Read on and you may have a better idea if it's the right choice for you.
With the holidays just around the corner, odds are you’ll be uncorking at least a couple bottles of wine. While you might not need any help emptying them, there are a bunch of solid Android apps out there that can help you pick out the best ones and share your experience with the wine-loving community at large. Now, I’m not a wine guy at all and usually reach for whatever’s in the bargain bin, but maybe with the help of some of these apps, we can classy things up a bit.
A lot has changed since we published our last round-up of the best Android phones available, and awarded the top prize to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the time, the Gnex outshone the competition thanks to the blistering performance and innovative features delivered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
But that was five long months ago. Since then, screen sizes, resolutions and core counts have continued to rise. There’s a new Nexus, and Android OEMs have had the chance to get their own Jelly Bean-based devices out into the wild. And this time around, it makes more sense to split things up and cover the U.S market separately (look for our U.S. round-up in the days ahead). In this article we’re going to focus on the best international Android phones, and recommend one unlocked world phones available in Europe, Asia and beyond.
Join us after the break to find out more about our top four devices, and learn which gets our recommendation for international buyers.
Like a lot of Verizon Wireless customers this holiday season, I’m facing one of the hardest choices in my entire 12-year history with the carrier. Big Red’s got one of the most robust portfolios ever this year, complete with arguably the two best Android devices on the market today: the Droid DNA by HTC and the Galaxy Note 2 by Samsung. I’ll be using an upgrade, so I’m in the market for a device that can get me through the next two years, or at least will remain relevant in 2013.
I’ve been using the DNA for the past two weeks, and I’ll be using the Note 2 along with it for the next few. I’ll be looking for those subtleties that often don't make it into reviews, but can be mean the difference between love and hate. Both devices are as top of the line as you’ll find, so this race is really going to come down to the wire.
If you’re a fellow Big Red customer and are facing the same choice, join me in the forums as I decide which device will earn my upgrade. Shoot me some questions, share your opinions, and help Android Central make our endorsement in time for the holidays!
We’re officially in the thick of the holiday season, and carriers are hoping now is the time you’ll sign away your wireless soul for the next two years for the promise of a shiny new device. But before you head to the mall, take a deep breath and weigh your options closely — just because it’s that time of year doesn’t mean you have to do anything rash.
For U.S. Cellular customers, 2012 just may be the best holiday season so far. Over the past year, the carrier has been steadily adding more high-end devices to its portfolio. If you’re ready to sign a two-year contract, you’ve got plenty of solid choices: The Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy S3, and the new Motorola Electrify M are all good devices with best-in-class specs. But at $300, $100, and $100 respectively, these three heavyweights might be just a bit too rich for your blood, especially if you’ve got to fill more than a couple stockings this year. But fear not, USC has some budget-friendly options, the best of which being the Motorola Electrify 2.
HTC has announced that a new head of marketing will join the company from January, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal. Benjamin Ho is a former CMO of Motorola currently in charge of marketing at Taiwanese carrier FarEasTone. He will report directly to HTC CEO Peter Chou.
HTC's current marketing and sales chief Jason Mackenzie will focus on sales strategy, the WSJ reports, while current CMO John Wang will be stepping down.
HTC said that Mr. Ho’s first project at the company will be dubbed “Marketing 2.0,” with a goal of “refocusing HTC’s efforts around holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach.”
The past year has seen HTC lose ground to rivals Samsung and Apple, and suffer financially as a result. Samsung dominated the Android smartphone space over the summer with marketing efforts tied into the Olympic Games in London. With these top-level changes, HTC will be hoping to set the stage for an improved marketing performance, and greater public mindshare, in the new year.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
We're always thinking about what tablet is best in sleek design and top-notch specs, but we're not always considering that not every age group should have its hands on a full-featured device. For the younger set, Ematic is creating a tablet experience that caters to them with this, the FunTab. It's running Android 4.0 and has mid-range specs, but that's not what's important. What is important is this tablet is rugged and easy to hold, and is pre-loaded with popular games like Angry Birds, Where’s My Water, Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja. Ematic is also partnering to put a popular childrens app, Zoodles, on the device that helps keep kids safe and allows parents to check in on their progress separately.
The Ematic FunTab is coming to Walmart for just $119.99, a great price for this type of device. Once the kids grow up though, do them a favor and get them a Nexus 7, will ya?
The screen is to die for, but how does the rest of the Nexus 10 match up? Is it the tablet to buy, or does the Nexus 7 still hold that honor?
We get giddy around here when new Nexus devices get released. Some of you guys and gals do, too. This go ‘round, we get a twofer with both the LG Nexus 4 (check out Phil's great review), and the Samsung Nexus 10 hitting Google Play at the same time.
'Tis a good time to be an Android fan.
The screen is beyond beautiful, and the next-generation hardware under the glass should be able to push Android in ways we would have never thought possible a scant 12 months ago — and maybe it pushes it a little too far. But make no mistake — the Nexus 10 is at the pinnacle of tablet technology. We've never seen specifications of this caliber before, and everything about the Nexus 10 just screams bad-ass.
The Nexus 10 is in an odd spot though, as one of its biggest competitors is for sale right beside it at Google Play, and checks in a good bit cheaper. I’m talking about the Nexus 7, of course. The new hardware in the Nexus 10 has to justify the extra $200 price, and that leads to the million dollar question. Is being the best spec’ed and best value 10-inch tablet enough to pick the Nexus 10 over it’s 7-inch brother? Let’s have a look and find out.
While the LG Escape isn’t brand new, nor was its release back in September exactly hotly anticipated, we here at Android Central are nothing if not thorough, and we believe that everyone should have all facts before they throw down some sawbucks on a new phone. Here, we’ll take a brief look at LG’s entry-level device and how the $50 Escape fares against the rest of AT&T’s portfolio, just in time for the holiday season.
EE, the carrier with an effective monopoly 4G LTE services in the UK until next spring, has announced that it's delaying the launch of its SIM-only 4G plans by "up to two weeks." The SIM-only deals, which were due to become available starting today, will now launch towards the end of the month.
Writing on its official Twitter account, the operator said –
Sorry folks – there’s been a date change for our SIM-only plans. We expect to bring them in the next 2 weeks. Stay tuned for the new date.
A statement obtained by TechCrunch seems to indicate that the testing process has overrun, resulting in the availability of SIM-only 4G being pushed back.
EE's SIM-only deals are by far the network's most cost-effective price plans. working out significantly cheaper than contracts that include a bundled smartphone. SIM-free rates start at £21 per month for 500MB moving up to £26 for 1GB, £31 for 3GB, £36 for 5GB and £41 for 8GB.
EE — formerly Orange and T-Mobile UK — became the first network to launch 4G services in the UK in late October, following an Ofcom ruling that allowed it to re-farm its existing 1800MHz spectrum for use with LTE.
The Nexus 4 was announced to much fanfare last week, especially when the prices hit. $299 for 8GB? That’s less than half what a high end smartphone will cost you off contract nowadays. Buying from the Play Store at these prices is a no-brainer for many of us.
After the dust settled, we started to get more information about the pricing and availability of the Nexus 4 outside of the Play Store. Here in the states, your only option to pick up the device with a carrier attachment is on T-Mobile. As we’ve learned since the announcement, T-Mobile will be charging $199 (after $50 mail-in rebate) on a Classic Plan with a 2-year commitment for the 16GB Nexus 4.
Now some quick math will make you realize that this may not be the best deal in the world. At $199, you’re signing a 2-year contract to save $150 off of what Google is charging directly. As we’ve highlighted several times before on the site, there are a multitude of reasons to consider buying a device full price and choosing a cheaper plan without a subsidy. T-Mobile itself even offers Value Plans, which are in every way identical to Classic Plans but are cheaper every month because they offer no device subsidy — not to mention the multitude of Prepaid options it offers.
So why do I think it’s a good idea that T-Mobile is offering the Nexus 4 on contract for an inflated price? There are actually a few good reasons.
Arcane Legends recently enjoyed a soft launch in Canada and Australia, bringing a fresh, colorful fantasy MMORPG to Android. The developer, Spacetime Studios, has a lot of experience in freemium mobile massively multiplayer online games, having kicked off the trend with Pocket Legends way back when, and since released other themed games such as Star Legends and Dark Legends. I’ve dabbled in those previously, but let me say right off the bat that Arcane Legends blows the others out of the water.
Gamers get set, Nyko’s PlayPad and PlayPad Pro controllers are now on sale in North America.
Aimed at bringing console-style gaming to the increasingly powerful devices we have, the two PlayPad models hook up to Android devices via Bluetooth.
Additionally, Nyko provides an app called Playground that allows keyboard, mouse and touch event mapping. The controllers require Android 3.0 and up devices, although 4.0 is needed for the touch mapping.
The smaller PlayPad will come in black and white, with the larger, more ergonomic PlayPad Pro to come in black. The latter is a full-sized controller and swaps out its smaller sibling's dual analog sliders for analog sticks.
The controllers were co-developed with Nvidia, and are meant for Tegra 2 or 3 games.
LA-based Nyko has set the pricetag for the more basic PlayPad at $39.99, although its website has left the PlayPad Pro price blank for now.
Good news if you’ve pre-ordered the new Nooks. Barnes & Noble will start shipping the 7-inch Nook HD and 9-inch HD+ tablets this week.
The devices will also start arriving at the book retailer’s 700 stores in the US, and 15,000 other partner stores such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy.
B&N’s CEO, William Lynch, has said that the company received a record number of pre-orders for the devices. And it managed to ink two content deals with NBCUniversal and 20th Century Fox just in time for the new Nooks to pull TV and movies from the Nook Video service.
Along with Nook Video, Nook Catalog is a recent service launched. It will deliver shopping catalogs from retailers like Pottery Barn, as retailers try to sink their hooks into the consumer market towards the holiday season.
The services will help B&N try to close the gap with the flood of other competent tablets in the marketplace, since the Nook doesn’t connect to the wider Google Play store, but to its own Nook Apps walled garden, which only has about 6,000 apps. Amazon’s Kindle Fire also routes back to its own app store, but that has about 50,000 apps in it, by comparison.
High performance at a reasonable cost, but can it ever be considered over the more popular manufacturers' offerings?
There's a pretty decent chance you've used a Huawei phone without even knowing it. A longtime seller of spec devices, Huawei has started to step into the competitive arena that is the high-end smartphone market. For 2012, Huawei offers this, the Ascend D Quad XL.
When the Ascend D Quad XL was first shown off by Huawei at Mobile World Congress back in February, it was touted as “the fastest smartphone in the world.” We hear a lot of claims about specs, but “fastest” isn’t exactly something you can measure accurately. By today’s standards, it’s likely that it isn’t going to best the top of the top — but what really matters is the real-world user experience. Does the Ascend D Quad XL have what it takes to pull users away from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG? Read on and find out.
Despite its status as a global electronics giant, Sony remains on the periphery of the smartphone world, with a tiny share of the market outside its native Japan. In Europe, it’s struggled to make a dent in Samsung and Apple’s dominance. In the U.S., Sony Mobile’s market presence is barely measurable.
After a shaky start to 2012, Sony enters fall with an unusually thorough product refresh, led by the Xperia T, its new international flagship. With a slimmed-down design, a faster CPU and refreshed software, the T offers some tangible improvements over its six-month-old sibling, the Xperia S. But in terms of software, Sony remains behind the technological curve, shipping a flagship running Android 4.0 on the eve of a possible Android 4.2 announcement.
So can Sony’s ICS-based beast measure up against to the storm of smartphone late 2012 competition? Find out after the break, in our exhaustive Sony Xperia T review.
Newer. Better. Faster. Longer. It's the updated Motorola RAZR line.
When the original RAZR hit the market last summer, followed shortly after by the RAZR MAXX, a lot of people were eagerly awaiting a true flagship line from Motorola. And the devices were met with success, thanks to Verizon’s aggressive marketing and the MAXX's considerable battery advantage.
Shortly after its release, though, the RAZR was outspec'd and overshadowed, relegating it to mid-tier status behind the likes of HTC’s One line and Samsung’s Galaxy S 3. But good things come to those who wait, and fortunately, Motorola seems to have been hard at work over the past few months. Today, the RAZR HD and MAXX HD are equipped to reclaim their spot on Verizon’s top shelf. But do they have the curb appeal to compete with some of the best Android devices ever made? Find out in our full review of the Motorola RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD.
Google’s teasing a new version of its Google Wallet over on the official site, and what's interesting is it might finally be rolling out to non-Android devices.
Upon requesting an invite on the site, you're prompted as to whether you’re using an Android, iOS or “other” device. Can we expect Google Wallet to become more ubiquitous, or perhaps see it in a version for iPhones, BlackBerry devices or Windows Phone?
This could allow you to bring your Google Wallet across different devices. The upcoming Windows 8 phones from HTC and Nokia will bring NFC capability too, although that leaves the iPhone 5 out of the tap-to-pay game for now. Maybe Google Wallet for Apple devices will help with the shopping online part of the story, or replace the Passbook app’s ticket collection function.
Then again, it's possible Google is just gauging interest from users on different platforms. We'll keep you posted on any further developments. In the meantime, hit the comments to share any speculation of your own.
Source: Google Wallet, Thanks, Eli Fried!
The latest beta of the Swype keyboard is out, and available to download from the Swype Beta website.
The popular third-party keyboard from Nuance Communications packs a number of new updates.
- Dictionary backup & sync: Users’ personal dictionaries and word additions can be synced across mobile devices.
- Three new tablet keyboard layouts: The original, a small and moveable one, and a split keyboard.
- New themes.
- Enhancements to the Chinese keyboard, and a new flick keyboard for the Japanese language. Language prediction has been updated for foreign languages, too.
And the last one is my favorite.
According to the official press release, the new keyboard could even update you with all those crazy things the kids are saying these days. Swype users can opt-in to receive new words so they can be up to date with “the newest ‘hotwords’, like ‘Gangnam Style’.”
That’s right, the K-pop revolution is taking over, and your keyboard is next.
Source: Nuance Communications