On the same day that Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 and detailed a hardware lineup, Google decided to announce new hardware along with a new version Android.
Google leaves it up to many third party smartphone manufacturers to develop devices to run Android. Once in a while, however, the search engine likes to inject its own cream into the crop with devices branded Nexus. The next smartphone featuring vanilla Android is the Nexus 4 and it’s a collaboration between Google and LG this time. Here are the hard specs: 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus display (1280 x 768 resolution, 320ppi) with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor; 2GB RAM; 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording and 1.3 megapixel front camera; 2,100mAh battery promising 15.3 hours talk time and 390 hours of standby; 8GB and 16GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC and wireless charging; ports include Micro USB, SlimPort HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; it’s 9.1mm thin and weighs 139g; and it supports 3G (WCDMA) and HSPA+ networks. The Nexus 4 comes loaded with the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2) and it releases November 13 at $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB); it will be sold as an unlocked device at those prices in the Google Play store. Buy the 16GB model from T-Mobile with a new two-year contract and you can get it for a more affordable $199. On launch day it will be available in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia and it’ll start to roll out to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East beginning in late November.
Google is already in the tablet game with the Nexus 7, and today they’ve decided to up their game with an even larger slate to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. A collaboration with Samsung, the Nexus 10 packs–you guessed it–a 10.055-inch WQXGA display with an incredible 2560 x 1600 resolution (300 ppi) and Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coat of protection. Other specs include: dual-core Cortex A15-based 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos 5250 processor; Mali T604 GPU; 2GB RAM; 5 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front camera; front-facing stereo speakers; 9000 mAh battery promising 9 hours of continuous video playback and 500 hours of standby; 16GB and 32GB storage capacities; WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth; supports NFC; ports include Micro USB, Magnetic Pogo pin charger, Micro HDMI, and 3.5mm headphone jack; and it’s 8.9mm thin and weighs 603g. The Nexus 10 too comes preinstalled with Jelly Bean 4.2 and it releases November 13 at $399 (8GB) and $499 (16GB); these slates are WiFi-only.
Google’s original Nexus 7 slate is seeing an update. The 8GB model is no longer offered; in its place are 16GB ($199) and 32GB ($249) flavors. Available today are those WiFi-only models, and come November 13 a 32GB model with WiFi and HSPA+ data (with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US) will sell for $299.
In addition to announcing a new smartphone and tablet, Google injected new life into Android with the latest version of Jelly Bean 4.2. Photo Sphere allows you to take pictures in every direction and stitch them together for immersive panoramic images; Gesture Typing brings Swype-like interaction to the virtual keyboard; support for multiple user accounts gives your friends and family their own personal spaces on a single device (this feature is limited to tablets only running v4.2); Daydream allows you to personalize your screensaver with photos and news; and Google Now and Google Search have been updated with more cards and an enhanced interface, respectively. For more, click the source link below. (Update: The Google Search app for iOS has been updated with improved voice search that rivals Siri. Download here, video demo after the break.)
And just like that, Google has their very own lineup of Android-powered Nexus devices in three different sizes. Get a closer look at the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet in the galleries embedded above; after the break there’s video.
On May 20 the Samsung Focus 2 will enter the marketplace and make the jump to Windows Phone and speedy 4G LTE easier at an extremely affordable price. For $49.99 (after signing a new two-year agreement with AT&T), customers will get a smartphone that packs a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 5 megapixel camera that supports 720p video capture, a front-facing VGA camera for video calls, and a single-core 1.4GHz processor. The Focus 2 will be sold in a fresh coat of “pure white” and come loaded with the latest version of Windows Phone (7.5, that is). Sign up to be alerted to the phone’s release right here. PR after the break.
The very first phone running Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich is now available on Verizon Wireless. The 4G LTE compatible Galaxy Nexus by Samsung packs a 1.2GHz processor, a big 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED display, 5 megapixel rear-facing and 1.3 megapixel front-facing cameras, 1GB RAM, and 32GB on-board memory. Android ICS brings with it a whole slew of new features including Face Unlock, Android Beam, an enhanced Camera app, a new People app, and of course an entirely redesigned user interface. Get all the juicy details here. As of December 15 the newest Nexus was made available on VZW and can be yours for a cool $299.99 with a two-year contract. Pics below, PR and video after the break.
There was the Nexus One and Nexus S. Today in a joint event based in Hong Kong Google and Samsung announced the next Android flagship device: the Galaxy Nexus. Both the hardware and software that make up this smartphone will bring you to your knees. First, check out these hardware specifications. The Galaxy Nexus sports a giant 4.65″ (1280X720) HD Super AMOLED display and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual core processor and 1GB of RAM. There’s a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, zero shutter lag, and 1080p HD video recording at 30fps around back and a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front for video calls. Built-in sensors include an accelerometer, compass, gyro, light, proximity, and a freakin’ barometer. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 technologies are onboard, as is NFC. The sleek devices measures at 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm and weighs 135g. A Li-on 1,750 mAh battery comes attached. Ports include USB 2.0 and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Customers will have the option of 16GB and 32GB storage capacities. will HSPA+ and 4G LTE models will be produced with all signs pointing to AT&T and Verizon Wireless as official carriers, though this information along with pricing has yet to be announced.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the next Nexus phone will come loaded with the next generation Android OS dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich. Previously introduced and detailed at Google I/O earlier this year, ICS (now labeled Android 4.0) will merge Android’s smartphone OS Gingerbread (v2.3) and tablet OS Honeycomb (v3.0) to form “one OS everywhere” and bring the best of both worlds to smartphone devices. At the Hong Kong event Google further detailed ICS and shed light on some super cool functionality that’s baked into it. With Android 4.0, Google says “the lock screen, home screen, phone app, and everything in between has been rethought and redesigned to make Android simple, beautiful, and useful.” The revamped OS brings with it many enhancements and new features, but there are four major ones that were discussed at today’s event. (1) Face Unlock uses facial recognition to unlock your phone. In Settings, Android will snap a picture of your face and remember it each time you go to unlock your phone. If lighting is poor, you can unlock your phone with a conventional swipe. (2) Android Beam uses NFC technology to wirelessly share content between two devices. Users can physically touch two phones together and tap a “beam” button to share web pages, apps, maps, YouTube videos, and more. Does this remind you of WebOS’ “tap-to-share” functionality? It should. (3) The enhanced Camera app brings with it a panorama mode, 1080p video capture, zero-shutter lag, and fun effects like silly faces and background replacement. Photos can be edited right on the device. (4) A new People app helps users organize their contacts with social network integration (Google+, “other social networks”) including the ability to view status updates and high-res photos. Other software updates coming with ICS include virtual on-screen buttons that take the place of physical capacitive ones, a new modern “Roboto” font, a customizable launcher, offline search in Gmail, accessing apps from the lock screen, enhanced voice recognition, tabbed browsing, and the ability to exit apps running in the background. If you want to learn more about what’s packed inside Ice Cream Sandwich, head over to the Android Developers website.
The Galaxy Nexus will be the very first device to run Android 4.0. Google says that “theoretically [Ice Cream Sandwich] should work for any [Android] 2.3 device.” Though there are no plans to rollout ICS to legacy Android devices just yet, you can expect Google and hardware manufacturers like Samsung and HTC to speak up about software updates for specific devices in the near future. The Galaxy Nexus with ICS goes on sale in the U.S., Europe, and Asia this November. Again, pricing and carriers are TBD. Check out the super sleek phone and OS in the gallery below, then find official PR after the break.
In May Microsoft previewed the first major upgrade to its rejuvenated mobile OS. Mango will bring multitasking, IE9, and deeper social network integration, among other things, to Windows Phone 7 devices. This fall, AT&T intends to upgrade their entire WP7 portfolio to Mango. Nice! But there’s more. In a press release (in full after the break), Ma Bell also announced three brand new handsets that will ship with Mango on board in Q4. The new and improved Samsung Focus S features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.4GHz processor, a rear facing 8 megapixel camera and a front facing 1.3 megapixel, ”4G”-capable speeds, and a thin profile at 8.55 millimeters. The Focus Flash downgrades things a bit and packs a smaller 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5 megapixel camera with front facing camera, but it keeps the speedy 1.4 GHz processor. And finally the large-and-in-charge HTC Titan features a 4.7-inch display, 1.5 GHz processor, and 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. Pricing and exact available will have to wait.
Update: Microsoft shows off a bunch of Mango’s new features in dramatic video fashion after the break.
Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!
So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
The Charge is the first Droid-branded phone from Samsung. Unlike like its family members, however, it’ll cost you a whopping $299.99 after rebate. But then again, it is also the first Droid to boast 4G speeds. Let’s talk specs. The Charge packs a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display (Samsung touts its “brightness, clarity and outdoor visibility”), 1GHz processor (no dual-core action here, unfortunately), a rear-facing 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera that can be used for taking stills and video chatting, and it’s powered by Android 2.2 with Flash support and mobile hotspot capability. And of course it’s preloaded with Sammy’s Media Hub that “offer[s] a vast lineup of critically acclaimed films and TV programs for rent or purchase.” But let’s take a step back to mobile hotspot capability; the Charge can share its 4G connection with up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices or a 3G connection with up to 5 devices and get this–according to the press release the “feature will be included for a limited time at no additional charge.” Sweet! The latest Droid handset lands on Verizon Wireless April 21. Sneak a peek below. PR after the break.
In mid-February Samsung teased the followup to its first major tablet the Galaxy Tab. The 7-incher is loaded with Android 2.2 and honestly it just doesn’t compete with the king (Apple’s iPad, duh). So Samsung went back to the drawing board to come up with a new version of the Tab, designing it around Google’s made entirely for tablets OS called Honeycomb. The result is the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Since February, however, Sammy has retooled the slate making it thinner, sleeker, and adding a customized software layer to it. Also, they’ve introduced a slightly smaller version dubbed the Galaxy Tab 8.9 (yep, it’s got an 8.9-inch display).
Instead of running through all of the specifications here (most of them remain the same since the February tease), I will list the changes that have been made. First and foremost, the Tabs have been redesigned and made incredibly thin. They both measure 8.6mm (or .33-inches) thick. Sammy touts them as “the world’s thinnest mobile tablets.” And it’s true; comparatively the iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick. They are also extremely light; the 10.1 and 8.9 weigh just 595 grams and 470 grams, respectively. Because of the thinner design the Tabs have been forced to ditch the 8 megapixel rear camera for a slightly lesser 3 megapixel variant; the front-facing 2MP camera remains in tact, as does the ability to shoot 1080p HD video. Another change lies in the software. Previously Samsung was contemplating shipping the Tab with plain ol’ Honeycomb. This time around they’ve decided to incorporate a new version of their customized skin called TouchWiz UX. The software layer brings a Live Panel menu and Mini Apps Tray to let users browse and manage apps in new ways.
Competitive pricing and availability have been spilled, too. The one with the bigger display will hit the market first on June 8; the 8.9-incher will arrive shortly thereafter in “early summer.” Strictly WiFi-enabled models have been detailed. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will go for $499 (16GB) and $599 (32GB) and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 will also come in 16GB and 32GB SKUs at $469 and $569, respectively. For those of you in the market for a tablet, the Galaxy Tab just became a hot item worth anticipating. Jump after the break for the official PR.
Update: According to Pocket-lint, the original (thicker) Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will ship afterall in the UK only on Vodafone. It will be known as the Galaxy Tab 10.1V.
The next Samsung Galaxy Tab is leaps and bounds bigger and badder than its Android 2.2-based predecessor. The aptly titled Galaxy Tab 10.1 features a 10.1-inch WXGA TFT LCD display with a 1280 x 800 resolution. It’s powered by a 1GHz dual-core Tegra processor and it runs atop Google’s “built entirely for tablet” Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) OS. Unlike the original Tab, its successor does not come bundled with Samsung’s TouchWiz skin; much like Motorola’s Xoom tablet, the Tab 10.1 is being billed as a “Google Experience” device which means that you’ll find the plain vanilla stock Honeycomb OS preloaded and nothing else. Other specs include: rear 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, front-facing 2 megapixel camera (both cameras shoot 1080p HD video), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0 and 3.5mm headphone ports, accelerometer and proximity sensors, gyroscope, digital compass, Adobe Flash 10.1 support, 16GB/32GB internal storage. The tablet’s very light and thin at just 1.23 pounds and 0.4-inches thick. HSPA+ support is there, as is EDGE and GPRS. Vodaphone has been named the first carrier to carry the Tab 10.1 and it’s expected to launch in Europe and Asia this March. Pricing and North American release details have not been specified. With the Tab 10.1, Samsung has constructed a worthy competitor to enter the fray with iPad, the Moto Xoom, and the whole slew of tablets readying to make waves in the marketplace. Full PR after the break.
CES 2011 was host to a myriad of upcoming tablets running Android, Windows 7, custom skins, you name it. Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series is certainly one of the most innovative and is a stand-out winner in my humble opinion. At first you might look at the slate and think it’s just a thicker iPad. But that thickness is apparent for a reason; hiding underneath the tablet is a slide-out chiclet keyboard with a trackpad. This hybrid machine doubles as a 10.1 inch tablet and a small notebook PC. I’m really impressed with the design factor here, but specs are important too: 1366×768 multitouch display, Intel’s 1.66GHz (Oak Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 4-in-1 memory card reader, webcam, 802.11n WiFi, 3G/WiMax & DLNA support, built-in accelerometer, USB, HDMI out, will last up to nine hours on a single charge. Samsung’s Fast Start feature will boot up the machine in as little as 15 seconds, or restore it from Hibernate and Sleep modes in 3 seconds. The hybrid will ship with Windows 7 Home Premium and Samsung’s custom skin called Touch Launch that “comes with preloaded applications that are optimized for the touch screen display.” To launch Sammy’s skin you simply and elegantly swipe a blue strip located on the screen bezel. The Sliding PC 7 Series will drop in March at $699.
I’m really digging the choice hardware manufacturers are giving consumers when it comes to tablet design. Companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung are creating such inventive, sleek hardware designs that give users the option to use a simplified OS in a tablet form factor and a more robust Windows experience with a touchpad/keyboard present. I like the idea of having a tablet that can easily be converted into a more full-fledged computing device when a full-sized keyboard is needed. At just 2.2 pounds, Samsung’s slider isn’t that hefty and I think I can sacrifice a couple pounds in weight and some inches in thickness to know that a reliable physical keyboard is just a hand gesture away from accessibility.
Jump after the break to see the notebook do its transformation thing. Official PR’s there too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of (and maybe even interacted with) Microsoft’s Surface. It’s a multitouch table that can be found in banks, hotels, and AT&T stores. An example of its function: at an AT&T store you can place down two smartphones and the table will recognize their presence and provide with specifications and features to help you make a purchasing decision. Surface is known for its multitouch and object recognition capabilities. This week at CES 2011 Microsoft detailed the next generation Surface dubbed “Surface 2.0 Experience.” Building on top of the original Surface functionality, the new experience features PixelSense technology, “which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.” Microsoft explains, “PixelSense gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, including more than 50 simultaneous touch points. With PixelSense, pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.” For instance, in addition to recognizing touch inputs like your fingers, Surface can now “see” things that touch the screen. For example, if you placed a piece of paper with the words “Hello, world” printed on it on top of the Surface display, the software will recognize and interpret the letters instantly. In a word, Surface has become smarter.
Microsoft has collaborated with Samsung to create the next physical Surface table called “SUR40.” Table specs: 40-inch 1920×1080 HD multitouch display, 2.9GHz AMD Athlon II X2 dual core processor with AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU. And now that the table comes in a thinner form factor (it’s four inches thin) customers can mount the table onto a wall if the space calls for it. Otherwise, standard or custom table legs can be designed and requested.
At $7,600 the Surface is still geared toward business customers and not the general consuming public. Companies like Dassault Aviation, Fujifilm Corp., Red Bull GmbH, Royal Bank of Canada, and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts have expressed their interest in developing custom software for the Surface and deploying it at their respective locations. SUR40 will be available “later in 2011″ in 23 countries around the world. Look after the break for official PR and a video demonstration of the new Surface experience in action.
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.
About one month ago Samsung and mobile operator partners detailed Galaxy Tab offerings. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile put their cards on the table, while U.S. Cellular said it it was coming soon and AT&T remained silent. Today the latter two carriers shared their respective release dates and pricing schemes, so I thought it’d be helpful if I charted out each carrier’s Tab information. So without further ado:
Verizon: $599.99 (no contract required); optional 3G plan- $20/month for 1GB of data; released 11/11
Sprint: $399.99 (new 2-year contract required); $29.99/month for 2GB or $59.99 for 5GB; releases 11/14
T-Mobile: $399.99 (new 2-year contract required); $24.99/month for 200MB or $39.99/month for 5GB released 11/10
AT&T: $649.99 (no contract required); $14.99/month for 250GB pay-as-you-go plan or $25/month for 2GB pay-as-you-go plan; $50 Media Hub Movie Rental credit with purchase for a limited time; releases 11/21
U.S. Cellular: $599 (no contract required) or $399 (contract required); $14.99/month for 200MB or $54.99/month for 5GB with tethering enabled; releases 11/19
Been looking for an iPad alternative? This Android (Froyo) based tablet is it. That is, until iPad 2 comes out.
Samsung Galaxy Tab coming to Verizon Wireless November 11 for $599.99 [Update: Sprint & T-Mobile details]
If you’ve been hunting for an iPad alternative to satisfy your tablet needs, look no further than here. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab will be sold through Verizon Wireless for $599.99 come November 11. You want specs? Oh, I got specs. The Tab sports a 7-inch (1024×600, WSVGA) multitouch display, 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, rear-facing 3 megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera, 2GB of onboard storage with 16 GB pre-installed on a microSD card (expandable memory up to 32GB), 802.11n WiFi, A-GPS, and a headphone jack. It weighs 13 ounces and is 12 millimeters thin; Sammy says it can “easily fit into a jeans’ backpocket”, but I’m not so sure about that. The display supports full HD 1080p video playback and the rear-facing camera can shoot up to 720p at 30 fps. The browser supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1.
The Tab runs Android 2.2 (aka Froyo) with a tweaked version of Samsung’s TouchWiz skin on top. Google Maps Navigation and Google Goggles come preinstalled, along with Swype keyboard functionality. Apps like Qik and Fring are available to download in the Android Market and can be used for video chatting over a WiFi connection. In addition to its custom skin, Samsung is throwing in some of their own apps they think will be useful for users. The Media Hub offers a ”vast lineup of critically acclaimed films and TV programs for rent or purchase.” Samsung has partnered with MTV Networks, NBC, Paramount, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment to bring media content to Tab owners. Purchased content can be shared with up to five devices that carry the Media Hub application. The Social Hub “works with the user’s Messaging and Contacts to initiate the sending and receiving of information, whether it is e-mail, instant messaging, social network updates or SMS messages.” Also, calendar information from portal calendars like Google Calendar and social networks can be unified into one calender view. There’s also a Document Viewer & Editor that can open and make changes to any Word, Excel, Powerpoint or PDF document, AllShare DLNA Technology can stream content to DLNA-compatable devices, and Daily Briefing gives you access to updated weather, news, stocks, and schedules. Accessories will be sold separately: keyboard dock ($99.99), desktop dock ($49.99), car/GPS dock ($99.99).
The Tab will eventually be sold through all major US carriers (including AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile), but it’s coming to Verizon Wireless first. The Tab on VZW will sell for $599.99 with no strings attached, meaning there’s no required 2-year contract obligation. You can access the Internet on it using WiFi, and if you so choose you can add an optional 3G plan and pay $20/month for 1GB of data. Users can access V CAST Apps, Verizon’s mobile storefront for apps, and the Tab will come preloaded with V CAST Music, V CAST Song ID, VZ Navigator, Slacker Radio, Kindle for Android, BLOCKBUSTER On Demand, and a game called “Let’s Golf.” Text, picture and video messaging is supported, but voice calling is not. I repeat, the Tab is not a cell phone. It may look like an oversized Android handset, but it cannot make and receive calls in the U.S.
Look in the gallery below to check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab from all angles, and jump after the break to watch a 10 minute “official demo” of the Android tablet.
Update (10/25): Today Sprint shared pricing details for their version of the Galaxy Tab. Sprint customers can purchase the Tab for $399.99 with an obligatory two-year contract and they’ll need to cough up $29.99/month for 2GB of data or $59.99 for 5GB. Preorders start today and it releases November 14.
Update 2 (10/27): T-Mobile will sell the Tab for $399.99 on a two-year contract. A $35 activation fee is required. Goes on sale November 10.
Update 3: The Tab is also coming to U.S. Cellular, but price and a release date have not been detailed yet.
Windows Phone 7: 10 devices, 4 launch hardware partners, 60 mobile carriers in over 30 countries worldwide; coming 10/21 in Europe & Asia, early November in U.S.
Today Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage in New York City to reveal the final details surrounding the launch of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft first unveiled their new cell phone operating system in February at Mobile World Congress; next they spotlighted developer support at MIX’10; and most recently they detailed Xbox Live integration. All there was left to do is reveal launch harware and mobile operator partners and device release dates and pricing. And that’s exactly what went down today in NYC.
Let’s start with the Windows Phone 7 launch hardware partners and the actual devices you might potentially pick up come this holiday season. Samsung, LG, HTC, and Dell are collectively bringing ten new devices that will run WP7. The Samsung Focus (codenamed Cetus) features a 4-inch (480×800) Super AMOLED display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 8GB of onboard storage with microSD expansion up to 32GB. It’s the thinnest WP7 launch device measuring at 9.9mm (or .3 inches) thin. It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. The Samsung Omnia 7 features the same 4-inch (480×800) Super AMOLED display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 8GB of onboard storage. It will launch with Orange (France and UK), SFR (France), Movistar (Spain), and Deutsch Telekom on November 8. The LG Quantum (or Optimus 7Q outside the U.S.) features a 3.5 inch (480×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, 8GB of onboard storage, a slideout QWERTY keyboard, and it comes preloaded with PlayTo, an app that allows users to wirelessly stream content to DLNA-enabled devices. It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. and with Telstra in Australia. The LG Optimus 7 features a 3.8 inch (480×800) LCD display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 16GB of onboard storage. It will launch with Telus (Canada), América Móvil (Mexico), Movistar (Spain), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), and SingTel (Singapore).
HTC is launching five WP7-powered devices. The HTC HD7 features a 4.3 inch (480×800) display (it’s the WP7 launch device with the largest display), 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), 16GB of onboard memory, built-in kickstand, and it comes preloaded with Netflix, Slacker, T-Mobile Family Room (a note-taking sharing app), and a T-Mobile TV entertainment app. It will launch exclusively with T-Mobile in the U.S. in mid-November and with O2 (UK, Germany, Ireland), Movistar (Spain), SingTel (Singapore), Telstra (Australia), and Bouygues Telecom (France) on October 21. The HTC 7 Surround features a 3.8 inch (480×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), built-in kickstand, and 8GB of onboard storage. What makes this device standout from all the others is the slideout speaker that features Dolby Mobile and SRS Surround Sound technologies. It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. and with Telus in Canada. The HTC 7 Pro will be the first WP7 CDMA device and will launch exclusively with Sprint in the first half of 2011. It features a 3.6 inch (400×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), 16GB of onboard storage, and a slideout QWERTY keyboard. Update: The 7 Pro will arrive in Europe “early next year.” The HTC 7 Mozart and HTC 7 Trophy are two WP7 handsets that will not (initially, at least) not make it to the U.S. market. They both feature a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and HD 720p video recording. Here’s where they differ. The Mozart features a sleek aluminum unibody construction with a 3.7-inch (480×800) display and 8 megapixel camera with a Xenon flash. The Trophy, on the other hand, features a slightly larger 3.8 inch (480×800) display and a slightly lesser 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. The Mozart with launch with Orange (France and UK), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Telstra (Australia) and the Trophy will launch with Vodafone (Australia, Germany, Spain and UK) and SFR (France).
And finally there’s the Dell Venue Pro. It features a 4.1-inch (480×800) AMOLED display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with flash, and a portrait-designed QWERTY keyboard. It will launch exclusively with T-Mobile in the U.S.
And that’s a wrap on the hardware discussion. As you can see, all ten WP7 devices are very similar in terms of internals: the 1GHz processor, the 5 megapixel camera, the 8GB-16GB internal storage, 3.5 inch to 4.3 displays, and the handful of slideout QWERTY keyboard-equipped models. Through the end of the year, WP7 devices will be exclusive to AT&T and T-Mobile; this leaves a wide gap in the CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) playing field. By the time Q1 of 2011 rolls around, Microsoft better have deals finalized with the other mobile carriers if they truly want to compete in the competitive smartphone market. Also, hardware partners will eventually have to up their game with better and differentiating specifications and designs if they want to stay relevant. HTC is doing a fine job so far with the 7 Surround speaker design the HD7′s large 4.3 inch display. But for now, the WP7 starting lineup is quite impressive. The stars are certainly aligning for a successful launch.
In addition to revealing hardware and mobile carrier partners, Microsoft also shared some information regarding software developments. Though they weren’t specific about the exact number of launch apps for Windows Marketplace, they did show off bunch of promising apps. They include Twitter, eBay, Fandango, Netflix, Slacker, IMDb, and games such as Tetris, The Sims 3, Monopoly, Need for Speed: Undercover, and The Harvest. AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega was on hand to show off the AT&T U-verse app. The app will be preloaded on all AT&T WP7 devices and will allow users to download and watch TV shows on the go. If you are already a U-verse subscriber at home, accessing and downloading content off the app is free. You will have the ability to manage your DVR recordings, access TV guide listings and an On Demand library. If you are not a subscriber, AT&T will offer a $9.99/month plan to watch TV on the go when WP7 launches wide in November. (Keep in mind, “live” TV is not available; you are simply downloading content to watch now or later.) In related news, AT&T has confirmed that Xbox 360 owners will have the ability to use their console as a U-verse receiver starting October 15. New subscribers can order a $99 Xbox installation kit and a technician will load the software onto the console for you; current subscribers will be forced to pay an extra $55 on top of the $99 installation kit to make the switch from set-top box to Xbox. And here’s one last software tidbit: Microsoft promises a free software update bringing copy-and-paste functionality to all WP7 devices will be pushed out in “early 2011.” Update: In a statement Microsoft confirms that public beta software will be available for Mac users to sync “select content” with their WP7 device later this year. Look after the break for the first two WP7 commercials!
Apple, Google, RIM…it’s on.
Cell phone makers respond to Jobs’ claims surrounding Antennagate [Update: Apple throws Moto's Droid X into the mix]
Last week Apple CEO Steve Jobs held a press conference to address the iPhone 4 deathgrip situation. During the presentation he spit out phrases like “phones aren’t perfect” and claimed that the antenna problem is “a challenge for the entire industry.” To provide factual evidence to back these statements, Jobs showcased videos of the iPhone 3GS, BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II all dropping their signal strength when gripped in a certain way. (Apple uploaded these videos to their YouTube page.) Over the course of the next few days following the press conference, RIM, HTC, Samsung, and Nokia shared their thoughts on the matter. You can be sure they did not take Apple’s “all smartphones have weak spots” accusation lightly.
The first cell phone manufacturer to counter-attack Apple’s claims was Nokia, a company Apple interestingly did not make an example of at the press conference. Though they agree with the fact that “antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held”, a non-direct jab at Apple comes later in the statement: ”… we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.” Since Apple did not mention Nokia during the presentation, Nokia kindly left Apple out of their brief statement. Little did they know that Apple would post a video of the Nokia N97 Mini getting deathgripped on their YouTube site just four days later.
Now let’s hear what the other cell phone makers had to say about their honorary mention. RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie start the statement off like this: “Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable.” Other choice quotes: “Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation.” .. “One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity.” Yeah, they just said that.
Things cool down a bit with the reactions from HTC and Samsung. In an exclusive statement to Pocket-lint, HTC’s Eric Lin compared the Droid Eris’ complaint rate to iPhone 4′s. At the conference, Jobs said that over 0.55 percent of iPhone 4 customers called AppleCare to complain about the antenna problem to date. Lin shared that “approximately .016% of customers” feel the need to call in about Droid Eris antenna-related issues. That’s around 34x lower then Apple’s rate. Although HTC has yet to push out more formal response to the debacle, I’d say they win the point on this one. Samsung rounds things out with a terse reply saying that the Omnia II’s antenna is located at the bottom of the device, a logical ”design [that] keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna.” Look after the break for the full statements from Nokia, RIM, and Samsung.
All in all I believe that these cell phone makers are justified in responding to Apple’s “Antennagate” mess. It may be true that most smartphones have weak spots, but it was an obvious design flaw on Apple’s part to both place that spot where a hand is apt to grip the device and point out its exact position with a black strip. And to reiterate RIM’s closing words, all of these other smartphones do not require a case to function properly. Handing out free cases is a temporary fix. To remedy a hardware problem a new, better design must be conjured up. When it comes time for Apple to reevaluate the situation in September, I hope they have a more permanent fix in the works.
Update: Today (7/26) Apple posted yet another video in attempt to prove that the antenna problem affects most smartphones. This time around it’s Motorola’s Droid X, one of Verizon’s current flagship phones. Watch the bars drop from 3 to 0 after the break.
Thanks to state of the art 3D technology, classic pieces of art can now be analyzed to reveal what’s been hiding behind them for so many years.
Watch as 23-year-old Franklin Page sets the Guinness World Record for the fastest text message on a touchscreen mobile phone. The phone used is the Samsung Omnia II which is the first to feature Samsung’s new text entry technology called Swype. Page, a Swype intern, set the new record at 35.54 seconds, beating out the previous record of 40.91 seconds. He won the crown typing: ”The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.” That’s the 160-character phrase Guinness uses for all text-messaging records. And the deed was captured on camera and made into an exciting commercial for Samsung.
Yeah it’s around seven minutes long, but if you are even slightly interested in 3D TVs and the forthcoming slew of them entering the market this year it’s worth a viewing. In the video preview a Samsung rep details the Samsung C7000 LED TV, giving us an early peek into the brand new 3D tech that’s embedded inside. There’s SD/HD modes, a 3D mode (duh), a 2D to 3D converter, a sleek remote, and the sporty 3D shades. Man I wish I had a British accent.