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.
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.
The creative minds at Sumo Science at Aardman have constructed a short film called Gulp, the world’s largest stop motion video. It was shot using the Nokia N8 smartphone which features a 12 megapixel camera and Carl Zeiss optics. A very tall crane was also used to help shoot the various scenes; the largest scene stretches over 11,000 square feet! It was done on location at Pendine Beach in South Wales. It only makes sense that the same group behind the world record-breaking ‘largest stop-motion animation set’ is also behind the construction of the world’s smallest stop motion video which can be seen here. Nokia’s phones might not have been all the rage in the States, but you cannot deny the delicate precision of the cameras built inside them. Jump after the break to go behind-the-scenes of the impressive Gulp.
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…)
There’s no denying that HP has been a smartphone player for years. The first iPAQ running an ancient version of Windows Mobile was first introduced in 2000. But today marks a new era in the smartphone industry for HP. In April HP aquired smartphone and OS manufacturer Palm for a cool $1.2 billion with the intention of clearing off the dust and starting fresh. Before the aquisition, Palm had already invented the modern webOS interface and hardware to go along with it in the Pre and Pixi. Under HP’s guidance and supervision, Palm is ready to show off a new version of webOS and a new Pre device.
HP webOS 2.0 boasts a load of new features. The big ones include: (1) “True multitasking” & Stacks - You can move back and forth between apps and they’ll remain the exact state you left them in; Stacks keeps related items (or cards) together making it easier to manage open applications. (2) Just Type & Quick Actions – Just Type is Palm’s name for universal search; starting typing and the device will automatically search your phone’s database and the Internet for related content. This is open for developers to experiment with; they can integrate with the search function and add their own user-customizable shortcuts called Quick Actions. (3) HP Synergy – After signing into your Facebook, Google, Microsoft Exchange, LinkedIn and/or Yahoo accounts, the information from these services will automatically populate your phone, allowing you to connect seamlessly to multiple web services. You have the control to choose what gets pulled from the cloud and stored on your phone–contacts, calendars, messaging, etc. This feature will also be open to developers, allowing them to cull data on your phone if you allow it. (4) Exhibition – When you plug your phone into a Palm Touchstone Charging Dock the Exhibition app will launch automatically, and it will display what you want it to while it’s charging (a Facebook photo slideshow, the day’s agenda, etc.). Developers will be granted an API to display aspects of their existing app experience or create specialized apps for use when the phone is charging. (5) Adobe Flash Player 10.1 beta – The web browser will support Flash content. Other notable features include: unified messaging, text assist (spell check, auto correct), HTML5 support in browser, a customizable launcher, integrated Quickoffice suite, and support for Exchange,VPN, Bluetooth keyboards, and SPP peripherals. The Palm App Catelog will be accessable too, with Facebook 2.0 and Skype Mobile featured at launch.
There’s the software. Let’s talk hardware. The Palm Pre 2 looks nearly identical to its older sibling. It boasts a 3.1-inch (480 x 320, HVGA) multitouch display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, 16GB of internal storage, built-in GPS, ambient light & proximity sensors, an accelerometer, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 3.5mm headphone, and battery that promises five-and-a-half hours of talk time. The “sleeker, streamlined design” features the same slideout QWERTY keyboard and touch panel along the bottom. All in all, it’s a slimmer, faster Pre running a mildly tweaked version of webOS.
The software definitely looks compelling; what I’m most worried about is the hardware. The specs are simply on par with what’s on the market today, and the design looks very aged. Palm had much time to develop new hardware to release with webOS 2.0 and what they came up with is nothing to call home about. It’s 2009 hardware packed with 2010 software–not the most ideal of situations for a company excited to breakout into the heated smartphone competition. Pre 2 feels like Pre 1.5 (or arguably what the Pre Plus should have been when it released last January).
Palm Pre 2 running webOS 2.0 will be available this Friday in France from the SFR mobile carrier. It will arrive in the States and Canada ”in the coming months” on Verizon Wireless (US). Pricing details have yet to be disclosed. Existing webOS users will receive an update to the latest version also “in the coming months.” And if you’re a developer, you can purchase unlocked UMTS versions of Pre 2 in the US to start building apps.
Look below for still images of the Pre 2 and webOS, and hop after the break for an under ten minute video tour of the new platform and official PR.
Journey to a distant future with me, will you? This is the Mozilla Seabird imagined by concept designer Billy May. The smartphone’s specifications will make your eyes pop out. Dual pico projectors can project images on virtually any surface. When laid down on a flat surface or placed in a dock, the projectors can illuminate a QWERTY keyboard to provide content and interface simultaneously. The embedded Bluetooth dongle doubles as a Bluetooth earpiece and IR pointer (with 1:1 IR tracking and haptic clicking) for manipulation of on-screen items in 3D space. And isn’t the curved, ergonomic design to die for?
Now don’t get too excited there, partner. Mozilla (yes, the company behind Firefox) has no plans to develop the Seabird, or any smartphone for that matter. Billy May conceptualized the Seabird in this 3D rendering to support the Mozilla Labs Concept Series, a Mozilla-backed project that fosters the brainstorming of new ideas that “push the boundaries of the Web and the browser.” The Seabird is May’s second attempt at an “open web concept phone.” Since early 2009 he’s been listening to community feedback, and what you see in the 3D rendering above is the final result. Salivating yet?
On Tuesday RIM and AT&T formally announced the latest BlackBerry handset and it’s called the BlackBerry Torch. It’s BB’s first slider smartphone, and it comes with a full QWERTY keyboard BB users are accustomed to. Let’s run through the specs, shall we? The Torch packs a 3.2″ (360 x 480) capacitive touch screen display, 5.0MP camera with flash, auto focus, image stabilization and geo-tagging, built-in GPS and 802.11n WiFi, quadband 3G radio, and 512MB of Flash memory with 4GB on-board and a microSD/SDHC memory card slot for additional storage (up to 32GB supported). It measures 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ when closed and 5.8″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ when the slider keyboard is out. Face buttons include start/end calls, main menu, back, and an optical trackpad. The Torch will be the very first BB to run the just detailed BlackBerry 6 operating system. This means it will include the fast Webkit browser (for which it was named after–RIM recently bought a company named Torch Mobile), integrated social feeds, a new multimedia experience, and universal search. The phone will be made available to purchase on August 12 for $199.99 on a new two-year contract with AT&T at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, RadioShack, and AT&T stores.
The brand new form factor is extremely compelling. It’s the new OS, which seems to be following the pack and not making its own strides, that I am worried about. Look in the gallery below for press shots and after the break for the PR and two “launch videos”.
Today Apple held a press conference to address the iPhone 4 antenna problem that’s been making waves in the news recently. Just to recap, the antenna problem occurs when an iPhone 4 user grips the lower left side of the phone. AT&T signal strengh drops from five bars to none at a rapid rate when the user touches and/or grips that specific part of the phone. An official statement from Apple advised users to hold their phones differently or slap on a case. A case would cover the vulnerable lower left side and result in better signal strength during day-to-day use. Today Jobs announced that Apple will begin offering their Bumper case for free for all iPhone 4 owners who purchase their device before September 30. In regards to extending the free case offer Apple says they will evaluate the situation again in late September. If you’ve already purchased a Bumper case, you can receive a full refund on it. Since Apple cannot manufacture enough Bumpers fast enough, they will offer a choice of free cases to choose from (these have not been specified yet). Starting late next week you can apply for a free case at Apple’s online store. And if you’re totally unsatisfied with your purchase you can get a full refund on the phone; Apple’s got a 30 day return policy and a restocking fee will not be applied.
What led Apple to making this decision to offer free cases? Read on to find out. (Click here for more…)
The “See You Tomorrow” teaser trailer–erm, commercial–is making its rounds on the ‘Net and TV. It promotes Verizon’s latest smartphone from Motorola, the Droid X. The 8-megapixel packin’ 4.3-inch beast of a phone is now shipping for Verizon Wireless customers; $199.99 with a new two-year contract.
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.
On June 6th, Palm will be releasing its brand new smartphone device called the Palm Pre. It will be available for Sprint for $199.99 after you sign up for a 2-year contract. I got a sneak-peak hands-on with the Pre this afternoon. To sum it up, the Palm Pre is simply the first cell phone that will truly rival the Apple iPhone. Both the exterior and the UI are extremely sleek and modern. Although the physical keyboard is rather small, the keys are bouncy and raised to make typing with them not too much of a hastle. I was able to run a number of apps including Calendar, Email, SMS, Photos, Camera, Music, the browser, SprintTV, AmazonMP3, Google Maps, and YouTube. The App Store was open, but I was unable to download apps from it. Synergy, Palm’s signature way of bringing together everyone’s contact information into one entity, is quite impressive. When you search a contact name, you get more than a picture of them, their phone number, email and address information. Tagged with their name is also their AIM, Facebook, and other social networking services, if they have them, of course. Think of it as a a bundle of ways to contact a person, all found in one place. The “cards” are very fluid in motion. You can easily flick an open app to the side for later use, or up and out of the way to exit it. All in all, I am very excited for the launch of the Palm Pre on Sprint. According to some rumors, the Pre will soon be available on other networks, such as Verizon, in the coming months. Here’s hoping Palm will make a move Apple did not take advantage of–opening their device to a number of networks, to get a Pre in as many hands as possible.
Check after the break for the gallery of pictures. They include the front and back of the device, as well as the official packaging of the phone. (Click here for more…)