The first time Microsoft stepped into the tablet market with the original Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, the hardware didn't do so well. The Surface tablets were priced too high for many buyers and the Windows RT OS proved to be unpopular with consumers and hardware partners. Microsoft came back more recently with new versions of the Surface tablet including the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.
Those new tablets were received with mostly positive reviews and have proven more successful than the first versions. One thing that has been common since Microsoft launched the first Surface tablets is that the devices don't offer mobile broadband connectivity. The surface line has always been Wi-Fi only.
A new FCC filing has turned up that suggests Microsoft is getting ready to put 4G LTE connectivity under the hood of the Surface tablets. Microsoft's Panos Panay, VP of Surface at Microsoft had said in the past that a future Surface product would have LTE connectivity.
Acer has pulled the covers off the latest smartphones to slip into the firms Liquid range. The last smartphone we talked about form Acer was the Liquid S2. That was the first smartphone to be able to record 4K video. We spent hands on time with the Liquid S2 last year.
Acer's latest Liquid devices include the Liquid E3 and Liquid Z4. The Liquid E3 is the more interesting of the two devices and has a 4.7-inch HD IPS screen. The smartphone also has an 8.9mm thick unibody. Acer fits it with a 2MP front camera with its own LED flash for selfie pics.
The rear camera of the smartphone is an f1.8 13MP unit with fast focus. The smartphone also uses a 1.2GHz quad-core processor 1GB of memory, 4GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, and GPS. The E3 runs Android 4.2.2 and an upgrade to Android 4.4 KitKat is promised. Launch is set for April in Europe for €199.
Samsung has just released two new ads highlighting its new Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, and Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 tablet. The first ad, below, features basketball star LeBron James using the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. A voiceover mocks the iPhone's screen size and quality, as well as its lack of stylus.
The second ad, which is centered around the new Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1. The ad makes fun of the iPad Air 'Pencil' TV spot, where the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is actually thinner than both the pencil, and the already pencil-thin iPad Air. Multitasking is another thing Samsung makes a big point of in the new TV spot, something that the iPad still isn't truly capable of.
The Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is just 7.3mm thick, while the iPad Air measures in at 7.5mm thick. The screen quality, as Samsung points out, is much better on the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, with a 2560x1600 resolution, compared to 2048x1536 on the iPad Air.
We reported yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S5 specs had arrived in leaked form, all but confirming its 2K display. But, what if Samsung were to release multiple Galaxy S5 models, with the 'premium' model arriving with the 2560x1440, or 2K, panel?
Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S5 next week, but not as we would originally have thought. We could expect multiple models to be announced, one that would be more along the lines of the Galaxy S4 possibly, with the second model being the 'premium' handset, sporting the 2K display. OLED-Display.net is reporting from an unnamed Korean industry insider that Samsung is planning a standard, and premium version of the Galaxy S5.
The standard version would feature a 1920x1080 display, while the premium model will feature the higher-res display, pumping 2560x1440 pixels onto the screen. Samsung has reportedly experienced issues manufacturing the 2K display, which means it will launch "a few months later". But I'm sure that the 560ppi display will be worth it.
We knew it was coming, but it is now official: LG has announced the G2 mini smartphone. LG's new G2 mini is the company's first ever "compact" smartphone, and will be unveiled in detail, at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, next week.
The G2 mini features a 4.7-inch qHD IPS panel with a resolution of 960x540, comes in two SoC variants: with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, or the 1.7GHz clocked NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 4i SoC. 8GB of on-board flash storage expandable through an SD card is available, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (or 13-megapixel camera, depending on the market), and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel snapper.
A removable 2440mAh battery will be featured on the G2 mini, while Android 4.4 KitKat will serve as the OS. The new G2 mini will be LTE-capable, and will feature Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and will come in four colors (depending on the region): Titan Black, Lunar White, Red and Gold.
HTC is planning on launching it's next-gen flagship smartphone on March 25th at simultaneous events in New York City and London, and today we have our first reliable glimpse of the new HTC One 2014 Edition. The phone has just been outed in an official PR rendering courtesy of @evleaks, the largest and most reliable mobile device leakster on the internet.
The press rendering shows off a very familiar looking device with a gold anodized alloy frame, and what appears to be conformation of the rumored dual rear camera setup. Accompanying dual LED flashes are present as well, with one featuring the familiar yellow tint, while the second appears to have a more orange hue to it. The Gold colored phone features black plastic inserts much like the original black HTC One that allow cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi antennas to receive a signal while in an alloy frame. Additionally, we can see that BlinkFeed 6 is on board, and from the looks of the notification bar, Android 4.4 is installed from the factory.
Back in July of 2013, we first reported the rumor that Nokia was working on a product called the Treasure Tag. That rumor has now become reality with Nokia announced the Treasure Tag officially and offering up pricing and launch information. The Treasure Tag will launch in April.
Each of the tags will cost $29.90 in the US. The tags will work with Nokia smartphones and with iOS and Android devices via a third party app. Up to four Treasure Tags are supported at once allowing you to tag multiple items. Each of the Treasure Tags measures 30 x 30 x 10 mm and weighs 13g.
Treasure Tags sound an alarm if you walk away from either the smartphone used in the system or a device that you have tagged. The idea is that the alarm sound will let you know you left something behind. Both the smartphone and the tag alarm so you can find the lost item.
It appears that Microsoft, Nokia, and other Windows Phone partners have chosen to not unveil any new Windows Phone devices or software updates at this years Mobile World Congress being held next week in Barcelona Spain. Instead Microsoft will hold a media even on Sunday before the show kicks off, but is not expected to announce anything new about Windows Phone 8, or unveil any new devices.
Instead, Microsoft is reportedly holding back to make a major Windows Phone push at its own Build developers conference that will be held in April, in San Francisco, California. There Microsoft, Nokia and other Windows Phone partners are expected to launch several new devices, and if rumors are true, we may even see a new version of Windows Phone entirely. Unfortunately I feel that April is too long to wait as MWC sees lots of world wide coverage, and without any new Windows Phone products, Android is guaranteed to steal the show.
US-based Samsung owners have been eagerly awaiting an update on when their mobile devices may get the Android 4.4 KitKat treatment, and today Samsung gave them just that. In an announcement earlier today, Samsung said that several of its devices will be getting KitKat soon, but a timeline on just exactly when the update might arrive was not disclosed. Samsung is sure to make several big announcements surrounding when each device will get updated to 4.4 during the 2014 Mobile World Congress though.
The list given this morning includes: The Galaxy S III, Galaxy S III mini, Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S 4 mini, Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 zoom, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy Light, Galaxy Note 8.0, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, and Galaxy Tab 3, all of which will receive Android 4.4 KitKat at some point in the very near future. Unfortunately even if Samsung releases all of the updated this week, it will still be weeks before carriers complete certification and release the OTA updates to their customers.
Anyone who has ever owned a smartphone has experienced that moment of anxiety that follows immediately after their phone falls to the ground. The first thing that goes through your mind is something along the lines of "I hope the screen did not shatter...," and the very next though that crosses is how much it will cost you to repair or replace the device. Fortunately, HTC feels your pain, and starting today, any new phone purchases will be covered under HTC's Advantage Warranty Plan in the event of a screen shattering event.
The newly amended plan will cover replacing or repairing any HTC One, HTC One Mini, and HTX One Max devices that suffered screen damaged that were purchased on or after February 18th. The company states that the screen repair on these devices will be free of charge, and as an added bonus HTC Advantage guarantees that each new device will receive timely updates to its Android operating system for up to two years after its US launch date.
With Mobile World Congress 2014 just days away, rumors of new devices from manufacturers like Sony are quickly amassing. One such rumor pertains to Sony's Xperia Z Tablet line, and if true, we could see the Xperia Z2 launched in less than two weeks. According to everyone's favorite leakster, @evleaks, Sony will debut the 10.1-inch tablet with Android 4.4 onboard.
@evleaks' post on Twitter states that the Xperia Z2 will feature a 1920x1200 pixel display based on Sony's Triluminous technology, which should provide an extremely rich and bright viewing experience. Processing duties will be handled by a Quallcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor that has been clocked to 2.3GHz. 3GB of RAM will be present and versions with 16GB and 32GB of storage will be available. An 8-megapixel rear camera will handle imaging duties and the entire device could be water-proof if it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor.
It's been just over a year since BlackBerry first unveiled its BlackBerry 10 OS and accompanying hardware, and rumor has it that the company will be unveiling a new BB10 device aimed at the emerging markets during the 2014 Mobile World Congress. Originally known as project "Jakarta", the upcoming BlackBerry Z3 is said to be the company's budget-friendly entry-level smartphone that could combat already dirt-cheap Android smartphones.
Much like the Z10, the BlackBerry Z3 will be a touch-only smartphone with no physical buttons outside of the power and volume buttons. Additionally, the Z3's rear camera is positioned top left instead of being closer to the middle, while the entire rear will be coated in a grippy dot matrix pattern. Specs on the Z3 are rumored to include a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and an Adreno 350 graphics processor. A 720p resolution screen is likely as well as either 8GB or 16GB of RAM. No word on battery sizing has been leaked, but something in the 1300mAh range is possible, and MSRP could be as low as $150 per unit.
A new leak has sprung today regarding Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S5's display resolution. The next-gen smartphone was outed in a supposed screenshot of its system info screen that says the S5's screen will be of the 5.25-inch class, and will have a refresh rate of 60Hz. However, the big news is not the screen size, but rather the 1440x2560 pixel resolution the leak unveils.
This leak all but confirms that the Galaxy S5 will feature a full QHD 2K display with a pixel density of 560 pixels per inch, making it one of the sharpest screens ever featured on a smartphone. What this means for the consumer, is that unlike 720p and 1080p, you will not notice any "screen door effect" when looking at the display up close. This is because anything above 300 pixels per inch is undetectable by the human eye.
This new screen resolution from Samsung also demonstrates Android's ability to grow the smartphone marketplace and push the technology to new heights with every new generation. In just 2 generations we have went from 720p all the way up to 2K resolutions on main-stream phones, while Apple is still stuck on its Retina technology, that was first introduced on the fourth generation iPhone 4. With the seventh generation iPhone 5S still featuring the same technology, Samsung is the clear leader in display technology at the moment.
All four major U.S. wireless carriers have something to cheer about moving forward in 2014, in a suddenly exciting market for consumers trying to upgrade devices. Verizon Wireless subscribers still pay more than others, but the No. 1 wireless carrier also is preparing to address efforts from rivals: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
"Until this year, AT&T and Verizon were both doing strong business, while Sprint and T-Mobile were dying on the vine," said Jeff Kagan, industry analyst, in a statement to TweakTown. "However things are changing: Now T-Mobile has started to grow. They have shown growth over the last couple quarters and that is promising news."
Moving forward, Kagan had this insight into what to expect from all four companies: "So while I continue to see AT&T and Verizon staying in a strong position, I also see Sprint and T-Mobile waking from their sleep and beginning to grow. We could have four growth companies in this space."
Consumers are increasingly more interested in unlimited messaging and data plans, and continually demand carriers adapt to changing needs.
Verizon Wireless slowly moved into the growing price war between U.S. wireless carriers, with lower subscription prices and additional perks available. Some of its data plans saw price cuts up to 12.5 percent, and some customers are receiving up to $20 discount per month for subscription plans.
The company also decided to attach unlimited international messaging to subscription plans in the U.S. that include unlimited domestic text, picture and video messaging.
"MORE Everything changes the game by adding even more of what customers want from their wireless provider in a single, simply monthly plan," said Ken Dixon, Verizon Wireless CMO, in a statement. "Verizon Wireless led the way with the introduction of shared data plans, and MORE Everything is the next leap forward with more storage, more messaging and more choice, all on a 4G LTE network that is unmatched in coverage and capacity."
As TweakTown recently learned, Verizon Wireless tends to closely follow what competitors do in the market, though waits patiently before responding. Industry analysts have been curious to see how Verizon Wireless would respond to price cuts from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile over the past few months.
T-Mobile is on the right track to better compete against the three bigger wireless carriers in the United States, though it will continue to be a drawn out, fierce battle. The company is putting pressure on AT&T and seeing results, with the company's sights set on attacking competitors and attracting new subscribers.
"T-Mobile was dying on the vine for years," industry analyst Jeff Kagan recently told TweakTown. "Then a little over a year ago they hired a new CEO, John Legere. He ran Global Crossing. He looked around at T-Mobile, the changing marketplace, and decided on a path. This has been successful for T-Mobile. They have seen the first couple quarters of growth in years. And hopefully they can continue to build."
Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the No. 1 and No. 2 wireless carriers in the United States, relying on "wireless, wire line, television using IPTV and a wide variety of different technologies and offerings. T-Mobile is just wireless. And a small wireless player at that," which forces T-Mobile to get a bit creative with their sales and marketing efforts. "I think T-Mobile can continue to grow going forward for a while. However they will likely remain the number four competitor. Unless they get acquired."
Verizon Wireless is competing against T-Mobile with its "More Everything" plan, so T-Mobile, the No. 4 wireless carrier, will have to find a way to respond against the biggest U.S. wireless carrier.
BlackBerry is fighting for survival in a competitive smartphone in which consumers jumped onto the Apple and Samsung bandwagons, leaving behind the once-dominant company. To make matters worse, Samsung is revamping its products to prepare for a takeover of U.S. government agencies and the enterprise workplace.
Earlier in the year, the U.S. government ordered 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones - but Samsung tallied 7,000 devices sold to the U.S. Army, with a separate deal for a few thousand devices for another government agency in the works.
Although BlackBerry still can depend on the government, Samsung is working hard to entice decision makers to adopt its government-ready devices. New BlackBerry CEO John Chen will have a fight on his hands, as he announced in 2013 that winning over enterprise customers is a major priority for the Canadian phone maker.
"We have sharpened our enterprise focus to government, regulated industries and other large organizations," while developing " a broad vision of how we will serve these companies," said John Sims, BlackBerry president leading enterprise efforts, told the Wall Street Journal.
Smartphone sales finally eclipsed the sale of traditional feature phones for the first time in 2013, though smartphone revenue will likely slow as consumers choose from cheaper devices, according to research firm Gartner. Despite the good news that smartphones have outsold feature phones, manufacturers will have to deal with dropping prices and slower-than-expected revenue growth.
Samsung, Apple and Huawei led the global market in shipped units during 2013, though Lenovo, LG Electronics, and other manufacturers are fighting for consumer attention.
"While the top three mobile manufacturers are dominating the global mobile phone market, their share collectively fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 and yearly as Chinese and regional brands continue to raise their share."
It's a great time for consumers in developed markets looking for appealing smartphones at an affordable price from wireless carriers. However, smartphone market saturation in the United States and Western Europe is slowing down, especially with consumers keeping devices for a longer time, which has led to a shakeup. Companies such as Samsung and Apple were forced to introduce cheaper models to compete with smaller companies trying to push their way into the market.
If you have ever sat in a long line outside of a fast food restaurant and wished you could just place your order with your smartphone to speed the process up, then you might just be in luck. Taco Bell is reportedly beta testing a system that would let you place your order and even pay for it before ever even arriving at the store to pick it up.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Taco Bell is testing the mobile app at five of its locations in Orange County, California, and is preparing to ramp up the program to more markets and users over the course of the next several weeks. The report also says that based on the initial success of the program, the company could roll the system out to all of its locations in the US by the end of the year.
While other restaurants have online ordering similar to this, Taco Bell is tossing a interesting twist into the mix that involves GPS location tracking. After an order has been placed, the system will track the customer via the GPS sensor in their smartphone, and when the customer is within a few minutes of the Taco Bell location, it will alert employees to begin preparing the order. This allows customers to pick up their food much faster than traditional walk-in and drive-through methods, and will save both time and money for all parties involved.
After weeks of teasing us, LG has finally unveiled its successor to the "best smartphone of MWC 2013", the LG G Pro 2. LG's G Pro 2 features a 5.9-inch 1920x1080 display, and an 'extra slim bezel' of just 3.3mm. This provides the G Pro 2 with an 'industry-leading' screen-to-frame ratio of 77.2%.
It also crams in a thicker, high-power 1W Hi-Fi sound that is 30% louder than its predecessor, with more powerful bass, too. The 13-megapixel rear-facing camera has been 'enhanced', which is now capable of shooting 4K video. The G Pro 2 features OIS+ (Optical Image Stabilizer Plus) and can shoot video at 120FPS, too.
Inside of the G Pro 2, we have Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC which is a 2.26GHz quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3200mAh removeable battery, LTE support, and either 16GB or 32GB of on-board storage. It will arrive in three colors: titan, white and red. LG hasn't yet decided on markets outside of Korea, but we should hear more about that at MWC in the coming weeks.
LG has taken to its Facebook page to confirm it will be releasing the G2 Mini smartphone at Mobile World Congress. The South Korean giant will fully unveil the new, smaller smartphone on February 24.
LG used the caption: "Experience the MINI. Mobile World Congress. 2014-02-24". Not much else is given to us to decipher, other than some pictures showing bigger grey things, next to smaller, pink things - such as a show, a starfish, and a cupcake - which has now made me hungry. We should expect the smaller G2 Mini to feature a rumored 4.3-inch 960x540 panel, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 2GB of RAM.