This week HP introduced three brand new WebOS-enabled devices: two smartphones and a tablet. After gobbling Palm last March, HP has worked very closely with WebOS engineer Job Rubinstein to create innovative new products powered by the mobile and ubiquitously-connected operating system. At HP’s “Think Beyond” event they formally introduced the tiny yet powerful Veer, the next generation Pre3, and the very first tablet to run WebOS, the TouchPad.
HP Veer: The Veer is an extremely small smartphone. At just 54.5mm x 84.0mm x 15.1mm and only 103 grams, it’s about the size of a credit card and slimmer than a deck of cards. Rubinstein described the Veer like this: “The power of a large phone in a compact size.” So let’s see what this tiny beast packs inside. It features a 2.57-inch (320×400) glass touch display, an 800MHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera, full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, WiFi 802.11b/g, and Bluetooth, 8GB of storage, accelerometer, proximity, and light sensors, Adobe Flash Player support, it can act as a mobile hotspot supporting up to 5 WiFi-capable devices, HSPA+, one USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Veer will be available in early spring. (It’s being reported that the Veer is too slim to feature actual microUSB and headphone ports, so users will be forced to attach bundled adapters to access those ports.)(Click here for more…)
Today turned out to be an announcement-filled day for the hardworking team at Google. The next true “Google phone” was formally unveiled, the next version of Android dubbed Gingerbread was detailed, Google Maps Navigation received a major upgrade, and now the search giant is the latest company to offer a vast eBooks store and ecosystem. Let’s jump right to the facts, shall we?
Nexus S: The Nexus S, a collaborative effort between Google and hardware manufacturer Samsung, is the follow-up device to the Nexus One. In similar fashion to its predecessor, the Nexus S promotes a “pure Google” experience, meaning that it runs the pure vanilla version of Android; you wouldn’t dare find an inkling of customized UI overlays like HTC’s Sense, Motorola’s Motoblur, or even Samsung’s own TouchWiz. Unfortunately the specifications do not push conventional boundaries, although there are some new welcome additions that complement the new Android platform: 4-inch WVGA (480×800) Super AMOLED display (Samsung is touting the new “Contour Display” that’s “designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and along the side of your face”), 1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor, 512MB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus, flash, and HD 720p video recording, front-facing VGA camera (640×480), Wi-Fi 802.11 n/b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, A-GPS, Near Field Communication (NFC), accelerometer, proximity sensor, three-axis gyroscope. Ports-wise there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB 2.0 port. The 1500 mAH Lithum Ion battery boasts the following life support: Talk time up to 6.7 hours on 3G (14 hours on 2G), Standby time up to 17.8 days on 3G (29.7 days on 2G). Interestingly the phone only supports tri-band HSPA, so there’s no 4G support here. Of all the tech specs listed, you may be pondering about NFC. Essentially NFC works like QR codes but better; companies can place NFC chips into objects like movie posters and the user can hold up their phone to the tagged object to extract information from it (there’s no need to open an app or bring up the camera).
So the spec sheet isn’t all that impressive, but there are two things that save this phone from being just another Android device: it’s sexy Galaxy S looks (good job Samsung) and it’s the very first device to run Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread (more on that in a bit). Let’s talk release date and pricing. The Nexus S ships December 17 for $199 with a new 2-year contract with T-Mobile (or $529 unlocked) and it’ll be available for purchase online and in-store from all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the U.S. It lands in the UK on December 20 at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy retailers.
Today Consumer Reports updated their original review of the iPhone 4 after properly testing the device’s antenna. In their original review, CR recommended the iPhone 4: “The iPhone scored high, in part because it sports the sharpest display and best video camera we’ve seen on any phone…” They go on to praise the improved battery life, front-facing camera, and built-in gyroscope. During their time with the initial review test unit, they were “unable to replicate the [antenna] problems” that so many other iPhone owners seemed to be complaining about. For some reason or another, CR decided to bring the iPhone 4 into their labs to test the antenna problem head-on. (Why they didn’t do this in the first place is beyond me.) Their findings:
When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal. Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.
The tests were conducted inside a radio frequency isolation chamber, a room “which is impervious to outside radio signals.” After connecting “the phones to our base-station emulator, a device that simulates carrier cell towers” they concluded that all of their iPhone models were affected with the antenna problem. They also tested other AT&T smartphones (namely the iPhone 3G and Palm Pre) and “none of those phones had the signal-loss problems of the iPhone 4.” Boom.
CR goes on to say that these tests call into question Apple’s forthcoming software quick update which promises to fix the way the signal bars are displayed on the phone. After coming to this conclusion, they hint that the antenna problem is almost certainly a hardware issue, and a software update and blaming AT&T’s less than stellar network will not pave a way out of this sticky situation. Speaking of sticky, CR recommends that those affected with the antenna problem can remedy it by applying a small piece of duct tape over the antenna gap. Not only does this make the phone look downright ugly, it’s going to leave sticky residue and you just don’t want that on your hands (and mind). Go out and get a bumper case if you can’t manage to hold your phone differently. CR parts with these glum words: “Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4.” If the antenna problem is truly hardware-based (and it’s really starting to seem like it is), Apple needs to come out of hiding, admit their design flaw, fix it interally, and offer those affected with a free swap-out of updated models. Like stat.
[Via Consumer Reports]
After a flurry of rumors and leaks, Google has finally stepped into the light and shared with the world the Nexus One “superphone,” a collaborative device with HTC. Let’s jump straight to the facts, shall we?
The Nexus One sports a 3.7-inch AMOLED display (480×800), 1GHz Snapdragon processor, compass, GPS, accelerometer, light and proximity sensors, stereo Bluetooth, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm headphone jack, and an LED light source under the trackball for notifications. It also comes with two mics (one on the bottom, the other on the back) for noise cancellation purposes. It packs a 1400mAH battery that promises 5 hours of 3G browsing and 7 hours of 3G talk time. When you order the device you have the option to engrave a custom two-line message on the back, just like Apple lets you do with the iPod classic, touch, and iPhone.
For now, the Nexus One is teamed with T-Mobile and sells for $179 with a new two year contract. You also have the option to purchase it unlockedfor $529. It will work on AT&T but without their 3G service because it only supports T-Mobile’s 3G in the US. It is available today for purchase straight from Google. Big news is that it’s coming to Verizon Wireless (and Vodafone) this spring.
Obviously the Nexus One runs Google’ Android mobile OS. What’s so special about it is that it’s the first phone to run version 2.1, a much more polished version of Android 2.0. 2.1 includes live wallpapers, home screen panels, 3D photo galleries, Voice-enabled text fields, and a zippier and more handsome experience. Unfortunately like the Droid, the Nexus One software does not include multitouch, though it definitely could handle it. On a different note, Google promises that a future update will allow users to save apps on external storage devices like SD cards.
So what’s the verdict? After having read many reviews it looks like the Google-HTC Nexus One is the phone to get if you’re all about Android. It is not an iPhone killer, and Google is quick to point out that that is not the phone’s intention. Google supports a large ecosystem of different phones, and they welcome the heavy competition the iPhone brings to the table. So, if you are all for the Android OS, I’d take the Droid on VZ or the Nexus One on T-Mobile. Of course you could always wait for the latter to make its way to VZ this spring, can’t you?
Mechanical Mobile, designed by Mikhail Stawsky.
This concept cell phone gets its charge from you spinning it around your finger! Or you can attach a crank to it and charge it that way.
Now this is a true Chocolate phone. The NTT Docomo Melty Chocolate is a full-featured cell phone including a 8-megapixel camera, digital TV tuner, and Bluetooth. Only 13,000 units will be made, and it’s only available in Japan. Oh well. You can go ahead and enjoy the images, can’t you? Mmmm…
“What in the world is that?”
I’m really enjoying this super sci-fi viral marketing campaign. Never has Verizon created such a bold and exciting ad campaign. And it’s working; there’s much hype for tomorrow’s highly anticipated launch.
Late last night Sony officially announced the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 smartphone. It is SE’s first Android device. Some specs include a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch capacitive touch display (480 x 854 pixels), an 8.1 megapixel camera with autofocus, A-GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It also has a 3.5 mm audio jack, a micro USB connector, and it comes with an 8 GB microSD card. The most exciting news involves the personalized user interface. Android 1.6 will be running underneath SE’s elegant UI called Rachael. We have seen Rachael before but never in such an official and polished manner. SE was keen to mention that the XPERIA X10 is the flagship device in a line of Android-powered phones; glad to know there is more where this comes from. I’m looking forward to seeing how the XPERIA X10 device performs when it releases Q1 2010.
For now, be sure to check out the gallery below for some official press shots and peek after the break to see the phone (and the stunning Rachael) in action.
APPLE, WATCH OUT. Verizon is taking the battle to you, not AT&T, with this advertisement that is pushing over the airwaves on major networks such as FOX.
The 30 second spot begins with a bunch of “iDon’t” phrases, clearly bashing the Apple iPhone for all the things it can’tdo. This plays alongside an Apple commercial-esque playful tune. About 20 seconds in the viral fun begins. The phrase “Droid Does” forms in a futuristic and mechanistic way and it leaves the viewer with a hint: something is coming in November. Those who closely watched the ad caught the text visible on the bottom of the screen. This is a commercial for Verizon, and, interestingly, Verizon had to state that “Droid is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd., licensed to Verizon.” (It seems as if Mr. George Lucas owns the word “droid.”)
Anyway..after further investigation, all signs point to this being a commercial for Verizon’s first Android-powered cell phone, properly called “Droid.” (For all you fellow techies, its code-name was Sholes.) This device is developed by Motorola and will run Google’s Android operating system, version 2.0. The teaser page includes an “alien counter” that has been decyphered; the timer ends on October 30. Will more information be released about this mystery device on that date? We shall wait and see…
Well, looks like we don’t have to wait thatlong for some new info. The fellas at Boy Genius Report have captured some images of the Motorola Droid. Here’s a summation of their “hands-on:” it runs Android 2.0; it’s very thin (for a QWERTY smartphone); it’s fast; it has a 3.7 inch capacitive display; it runs on a TI OMAP3430 processor; it has a 5-megapixel camera (with flash). Will report on more information as it comes. For now, check out images of the Droid below.
Looks like Verizon is about to play some hardball with AT&T. Yeah, the iPhone may have thousands of cool apps, but Verizon can boast its vastly superior 3G expansion. The question is, which is more important to you: thousands of games or better data reception?
“A montage of the most overused horror-cinema plot device, post-2000. “ Ha, so true! I mean, how many times have you heard/seen this used before at the movies?
We’ve already seen the BL-40 (or the New Chocolate) in pictures, videos, and even groped with a hands-on. Now it’s time for its younger brother to flex its muscles. Enter the BL20 (also dubbed the New Chocolate); it features a slide-out keypad with “hidden touch navigation keys,” a convenient widget hotkey,” and a 5-megapixel camera with flash. Check out the BL20 in all its Chocolate-y glory in the over-dramaticized video above.
The long hoped for feature for the iPhone finally gets a date of arrival: the Multimedia Messaging Service feature will be enabled on all iPhone 3G and 3GS devices (sorry, original iPhone users) on September 15. For those of you not in the know, MMS is the feature that allows you to send and receive picture/video messages to other cell phone users. Up until now, iPhone users have been stuck in the dark ages, only able to send and receive texts (and more recently audio and contact files). MSS will be enabled through a required software update via iTunes.
What took so long, you ask? Put simply, AT&T’s service is sucky and they believed that their cell tower structure was not ready to handle the heavy traffic of iPhone users sending pictures to each other. After having plently of time to fix and upgrade things (and breaking a promise of a Summer MMS release), AT&T is confident in saying:
“We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end. … We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.”
Note that there was no new information divulged about tethering. It was only mentioned that it will be supported “in the future.”
Check out the Nokia Maemo 5 Internet Tablet.
According to Engadget: “The specs include a 3.5-inch 800×480 pixel (resistive) touchscreen, sliding QWERTY, 32GB of on-board storage expandable to 48GB via microSD, GPS/A-GPS, FM transmitter, TV-out, Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi, 1320mAh battery, and 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual-LED flash…ARM Cortex-A8, up to 1GB of application memory, and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration…Nokia promises [it] will be a “PC-like experience on a handset-sized device.” It also brings a Mozilla-based Maemo browser with Adobe Flash 9.4 support.”
Looks cool. Maybe Maemo can salvage what’s left of my interest in Nokia from the dark abyss that is the Symbian OS.
Mobiles.co.uk goes hands on with the LG BL-40. Check out the new LG Chocolate and its slick user interface in the video above.
Designed by Seungkyun Woo & Junyi Heo, the Leaf was inspired by our good friend, photosynthesis. The concept is simple, and genius. Where ever you are outdoors, your cell phone is charging. The Leaf contains solar cells on its front panel, allowing the sun to keep the battery at full levels on a consistent basis. And of course, if it happens to be a dark and gloomy day, you can use a trusty electric source to charge the phone in a more traditional way. The phone itself is very basic; it does calls, messages, and that’s it, really. And yes, it is made of flexible materials so it can bend to your wrist. However, the main objective of the phone does not lie in its functionality; its aim is to “remind people that they can contribute to energy efficiency.”
Russian tech bloggers over at Mobile@Mail.ru have given the LG BL40 some hands on treatment we have all been waiting for. This cell phone looks delectable. See for yourself in the gallery below.
With the Apple iPhone, HTC G1 (the “Google phone”), and Blackberry devices taking over the smartphone industry by storm (no pun intended, Blackberry), it’s time for Sony Ericsson (SE) to step up to the plate and offer a sleek device with updated hardware and a state-of-the-art user interface. And from the looks of it, it seems as if SE has done just that with their new handset code-named Rachael. Although the actual images of the cell phone may be artist rendering (or fakes for all we know), the user interface revealed in the embedded video above is very real and very exciting. The SE Rachael will run of Google’s Android open-source platform, with its own customized user interface layered on top. The polished UI seems to include a “unified messaging interface that displays Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, and calls all from one screen.” Now all we can do is wait patiently for SE to officially announce the new handset and sleek UI; they better do this quickly because smartphone platforms like the iPhone are not slowing down their progress anytime soon. Look after the break (click “more…”) for images of the Rachael device. (Click here for more…)
LG is teasing the latest iteration of its Chocolate handset. The LG Chocolate series of phones is LG’s most popular and best-selling handset to date. Officially, LG has only unveiled shadowy images the “second generation LG Chocolate.” More information will sprout between now and its supposed August release. Engadget was told: “The new LG Chocolate will be a disruptive force in conventional mobile screens in an effort to maximize usability while inheriting the original minimalist-inspired style and iconic design of its predecessor.” Sounds delicious to me.
Update: Engadget has received word of some specifications from the usually reliable source Tweakers.net: “[The LG Chocolate] will become the first of its kind with a 21:9 aspect ratio display. We’re also told that the model number will be BL-40, the screen resolution will be pegged at 800 x 345, the display itself will be over 3-inches diagonally, the inbuilt camera will be 5 megapixels, and HSDPA will be included.” Check out some additional (and official) images after the break. (Click here for more…)
[Image via Terra]