Archive for category Mobile Phones
While not launching the next Samsung flagship at MWC in Barcelona was probably the right choice for Samsung, that doesn’t change the fact that we’re itching with anticipation over when the Galaxy S III will show its pretty little edge-to-edge face.
We know most of the specs (well, rumored ones at least), which means we know we’ll see a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, a quad-core Samsung Exynos CPU running at 1.5GHz, and a little 4G LTE icon. What we don’t know, however, is when we’ll see any of this.
But reports are now leaking out of Korea, citing Samsung’s global marketing and advertising agency Cheil Worldwide, claiming that the phone we hate to wait for should show up in April. Things don’t get any more specific than that unfortunately, but this still gives us plenty to work with.
For one thing, we already knew that launch date rumors were circling around the March/April time frame. Secondly, Samsung itself confirmed that the phone would arrive “before Summer,” which leads us to believe that narrowing the launch period down to April seems correct.
We’ve also heard that the S III will launch simultaneously in over 50 major markets, rather than seeing an incremental roll-out like the S II. This means that whatever launch date is given will likely apply to us in the States, instead of Samsung’s home team getting early access.
Color us skeptical on this one, but rumors are coming down the pipeline about an HTC phone called the Edge. It’s supposedly going to be the first Tegra 3-powered smartphone. According to Pocketnow, the device will supposedly offer a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU, 4.7-inch 720p HD display, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear camera with f/2.2 lens and Beats Audio. Curiously, no LTE capability was mentioned specifically, though 21Mbps HSPA+ appears to be good to go, and there’s a slight possibility of Sense 4.0 being included — which given its proposed launch window of late Q1 / early Q2 2012, wouldn’t be a huge surprise. We’d love to start seeing more quad-core goodness headed our way, so we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed to see a lot more of the above show up at CES and MWC.
Samsung has already demoed its flexible OLED displays as seen up top, but now they’re promising them in phone form, possibly in the “earlier part” of 2012. Does anyone want this?
Samsung phones like the impending Galaxy Nexus already have a curved glass screen—but a truly flexible display might make the process easier. Or perhaps a clamshell phone with a display on top and bottom? Other than that, I’m scratching my head as to why this make sense on a handset.
Why would you want to bend your phone’s screen? What would you gain from it? What does Samsung gain from it, beyond novelty? PC World says the tech will follow on tablets, which is maybe a plus for compactness, but otherwise, this seems more novelty than breakthrough. Screens shouldn’t bend for the sake of being bent.
Sony-only phones are coming back as predicted. The Japanese electronics giant has announced that it will acquire Ericsson’s share of Sony Ericsson partnership, bringing it into the Sony ‘platform of network-connected’ products.
Sony will be throwing Ericsson around $1.45 billion for their half of the company, as well as ownership of a bunch of patents and a broad IP cross-licensing agreement. We should see Sony forging ahead with its network services, including its most recent Entertainment Network. Let’s just hope that the inevitable integration of the PlayStation Network won’t mean hackers are let into your phone next time it gets hacked.
The Lumia and Asha range of handsets may have been the focus of the Nokia World event but that’s not all that Nokia had to show.
One of the more interesting things on display was a Nokia phone with a flexible OLED display called the ‘Nokia kinetic device’. The device comes with a large flexible OLED display that you can bend from the middle or from around the edges.
But being able to bend is not its only feature. It actually uses that ability to control the UI on the device. You can, for example, zoom in and out by bending it from the middle. You can scroll through a list by bending it from around the edges. You can see a demonstration of this in the video below.
The advantage of this method is that it can be used without looking at the display and also when you’re using gloves, something that capacitive touchscreens cannot do. The downside is that you have to use both hands and it’s not terribly convenient, with far too much effort being required to flex the device compared to simply tapping on the screen.
The announcement of LG’s Optimus LTE phone in South Korea heralded a new era in Android smartphones thanks to its new 1280 x 720p resolution display on a 4.5-inch screen. Described as a retina display for Android, it’s powered by LG’s Mobile HD Graphics Engine. The display itself is described by LG as a “True HD IPS” screen. IPS is a type of LCD display technology stands for in-plane switching and refers to the parallel placement of the liquid crystals in relation to the display glass.
The new device also features 329 ppi RGB resolution for crisper text and images; automatic color adjustments thanks to the Mobile HD Graphics Engine; and an HD Movie Editor.
This display capability will be built into Android 3.2, Ice Cream Sandwich, to make it easier for developers to program apps to scale to multiple screen sizes. Though the higher res display is meant more for tablets, it’s clear that phones are taking advantage of it, too. In addition to the South Korean-only Optimus LTE, the forthcoming Google Nexus Prime is expected to include a similar 4.65-inch display with 1280 x 720p resolution.
Apple’s new iPhone 4S is just last year’s design loaded with a new brain and more memory. It will run your apps faster and Apple’s new iOS5′s Assistant, an artificial intelligence program that listens and interprets your orders, and a new camera.
It just looks exactly the same, but there’s plenty of changes inside:
It’s the same old design as the iPhone 4. Nothing to say here. Same materials, same look.
• CPU and graphics: The iPhone 4S now has the iPad 2′s dual-core A5 CPU. It also has dual-core graphics, which will allow for faster and more detailed 3D. Apple claims this hardware combination makes the iPhone 4S seven times as fast as the iPhone 4 on games, and two times as fast on normal tasks.
• Internet speed: Like rumored, the new iPhone 4S runs on faster HSPA+ networks. That means that your telephone will download stuff faster from the Internet. Before it was up to 7.2 Megabits-per-second downloads. Now they claim two times as much: 14.4Mbps. This depends on the carrier, of course. I don’t know about you, but on AT&T I never get the maximum speed they claim.
Apple claims that, in real life situations, they are fast or “faster” as the competition’s phone on faster 4G networks. We will test that claim.
• New camera: There’s a new camera in the iPhone 4S. Its sensor is 8 megapixels, compared to the previous 5 megapixels. Much better than before. The most interesting thing is the sensor, however: It’s a CMOS backside illuminated sensor. Apple says that gets you 73% more light than the iPhone 4 sensor. The latter was already quite impressive, so I can’t wait to try this one. Apple has also remodeled the lens system, with five lens elements. They say they get now f2.4, which is very good.
The camera system is also faster than the previous version.
• New HD video: With the new sensor and new lens system, the camera now shots video at 1080p video with real-time image stabilization and temporal noise reduction.
• Battery life: Apple claims the new processor doesn’t impact the life of the battery. All the contrary. They say it will give you 8 hours talking battery life with 3G networks. If you set your phone to 2G, you will get 14 hours of talk time. 3G web browsing will give you six hours of battery life, while Wi-Fi access runs up to nine hours.
Video playback sets the battery at an impressive 10 hours maximum, while music goes up to 40 hours. These numbers best the iPhone 4′s previous theoretical battery life.
• New antenna design: Apple says that they have changed the antenna system, presumably to solve the signal attenuation problem.
• Storage: The iPhone comes now with 16, 32 and 64GB of storage.
Apple is also including Siri in the iPhone 4S, which will only run in this model (and presumably the iPad 2). The reason is the need for a faster A5 processor.
But the key about Siri, according to Apple, is that it isn’t just voice recognition. It reallyunderstands natural language and follows complex commands. It’s conversational too, so it will reply back to you and you can reply back to it. Think Enterprise’s computer vs the current crop of voice recognition software.
This thing actually seems smart, judging by the demos. It actually interprets what you are saying. You don’t talk to it using commands. You just talk to it like you would talk to another person. So instead of asking “tell me the weather today” you can just say “Do I need a raincoat?” and it will reply “It sure does look like rain today!” Or if you say “Wake me up tomorrow at 6am” it will automatically set up the alarm for you. Or “hey, remind me to buy milk later” and it will remind you to buy milk as you pass near a grocery store—yes, Siri is location aware.
Siri also pulls information from Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha to give you smart answers to your questions. You can even ask him for definitions, which Siri will read out loud.
Apple has not disclosed if Siri would be available for developers, but I don’t see why not. It’s only logical to expect all apps to be integrated in the assistant flow, so you can ask Siri to buy you two tickets for Avengers playing around 7 on a Sunday. That’s the kind of stuff this thing seems able to do, although we would have to try it to know.
Siri will only support English, French and German in this release. Apple says that they will keep expanding the services as time goes by.
The iPhone 4S would be available in black and white. The 16GB model would be $199, 32GB for $299 and 64GB for $399. The iPhone 4 would still be available in black for $99. All these prices require a contract.
You can pre-order the iPhone 4S on October 7. It will be available on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint on October 14.
iPhone 4S international availability : Initially, the iPhone 4S will only be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.
If you bought a craptastically cheap mobile device in the past year, I have just two words for you: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’ve had to carry a piece of unresponsive, slow-moving junk with you when you could have either spent a few more dollars or waited a few months for prices to drop. On second thought, I take back my apology. You got what you deserve. If it looks like a cheap gadget, it is, and you get what you pay for.
There’s simply no good reason—other than a unique combo of impatience and stupidity—to buy a bargain-basement tablet with performance issues. Last Wednesday, we learned about the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire, which, with its dual core CPU and extra-bright screen, should hammer the final nail in the coffin of tablet pretenders such as Coby, EFun, Pandigital, andVizio. But even before the discovery of Fire, there was no excuse to throw good money after bad slates.
Imagine how bad you’d feel today if you bought an Archos 7 tablet last year. Sure, it gave you Android for less than $200 at a time when a $500 iPad was the only other consumer slate out there, but you’d break your finger trying to tap the resistive touchscreen and the back was hot enough to sterilize Kevin Federline.
Fast forward a little more than a year. How would you feel now if last fall you’d foolishly purchased the Viewsonic G Tablet,whose slow-poke Tap n’ Tap (and tap and tap and tap) UI and bulky plastic chassis made it feel much cheaper than its $399 price tag? Today, an Eee Pad Transformer with a gorgeous Honeycomb UI and a dual-core CPU costs $399 or less.
Purchasing a feeble phone such as the small-screened Sharp FX Plus is even worse than buying a bargain-basement tablet, because you have to pay for data and carry the handset with you every day for a minimum of 1.5 to 2 years. Meanwhile, you’d be paying the same data fees per month for a state-of-the-art handset like the Samsung Galaxy S II.
Serving 18 to 24 months with a slow, low-res phone is worse than doing that time at the state pen with an overly affectionate cellmate. Over the course of 24 months, the typical wireless plan on one of the major four carriers will cost you anywhere from $1,700 to $2,400. So why on earth would you compromise on features or performance to save $100 or even $200, when the cost of the phone itself is less than 10 percent of your investment and you plan to use it every single day?
I can’t help but think about a friend who, in 2009, chose an HTC Droid Eris over a Motorola Droid, because the Eris—which had a much slower processor and lower-res screen—was free and the Motorola Droid cost $200. She’s been regretting her decision ever since, as her underpowered phone crashes constantly and makes molasses seem fast, but in 2011 she’s stuck paying for service on that clunker until the contract is up.
This month’s hot superphone is next month’s low-cost sale item. So why not take advantage? While you’re gawking at the $79.99 LG Enlighten with its pokey 3G connection, low-res 480 x 320 screen, and slow 800-MHz CPU, both the HTC Thunderbolt and the Samsung Droid Charge—big-screened LTE phones which cost over $200 when they came out in spring—are available for free on Amazon.com. You’d have to be huffing screen wipes behind the Verizon store to choose a brand-new budget phone over a slightly older flagship device.
The golden rule for electronics purchases is this: If you want a gadget and can’t afford a decent one, either splurge or wait for a price drop. Never compromise on something you plan to use every day.