The Nexus 7 is shaping up to be a pretty cool device for $199, and one feature that doesn't seem to have been talked about, or mentioned by either Google or ASUS, is a magnetic smart cover sensor. Considering its a pretty nice feature, one would think that either company would've mentioned it by now.
All you have to do is place a magnet near the front of back of the Nexus 7 along the bottom left-hand side while in portrait mode with the display home, and you can see the results for yourself, or in the video below:
Google do sell covers for its Nexus 7, but it's not known if they support the "smart cover" feature. Could Google or ASUS not have mentioned it, so they didn't get caught in Apple's lawsuit-frenzy? This could be tapping against their patents, but Apple's focuses more on its ability to latch onto the device itself, rather than turning its display on and off. We shall see.
Imagine your brand new, shiny, fast Samsung Galaxy S III experiencing screen burn-in. Yes, it has happened to others, and Samsung seem to be unwilling to take responsibility for warranty replacements for the Galaxy S III smartphone and its (sometimes) premature screen burn-in.
Samsung opted to use the popular AMOLED screen in the S III, and it is often susceptible to burn-in, or permanent discoloration of particular areas of the screen itself. What causes burn-in? It can be from the combination of inconsistency in the materials used to make the screen (in this case, AMOLED), and the same image being shown on the screen for a long period of time.
Considering icons, widgets, and more stay on the screen more-or-less permanently, unless you move them, this can be a problem. In the past week or so, Korean bloggers and community members have been debating Samsung's recent denial of problems with the new AMOLED screens. In the product manual for the S III, Samsung warns their users by stating "Do not operating your device with a paused screen for a long time".
Samsung also states, "We are not responsible for any problem arising from the said cause". So the question would then turn to, are Samsung responsible, if they're stating that the S III could have burn-in problems in the manual itself? Personally, I never let my smartphone screen stay on for extended periods of time, I see no point.
While Google and ASUS' Nexus 7 tablet will retail in the U.S. for $199, and the companies saying they're selling it for a little over cost, a teardown by IHS iSuppli has shown that the Nexus 7's total build cost is $151.75 for the 8GB model.
The 16GB Nexus 7 costs $159.25 to make, and the BOM (bill of materials) is a little lower than previous estimates, pegging the Nexus 7 at around $184, seeing the companies make around $15 per tablet sold. Where the interesting part comes in, is that the 8GB is $199 retail, and the 16GB is $249 retail. Considering there's only $7.50 worth of difference in build prices, a $42.50 profit for the 16GB is not bad at all.
But, this is no different to other products and companies doing the same thing. It is known in the industry to make money from selling memory, storage and other options at disproportionate premiums. Considering the Nexus 7 is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC, it's a great alternative for $199 (or $249).
As we get closer and closer to the next-gen iPhone launch, we see more and more pictures and details of the device. This time Gotta Be Mobile have posted a few pictures of what they're calling an "engineering sample" of the next-gen iPhone.
It's not clear what the sample itself represents, it just looks like a solid chunk of metal machined into the form of what would be the upcoming iPhone. If the picture and device are real, this would support previous information showing a large central section on the back plate that differs from the top and bottom portions of the rear casing.
Measurements also seem to be in line with previous information, where the next-gen iPhone looks to be the same width as the iPhone 4S (5.86cm) and a little taller (just over 12cm, versus 11.52cm of the 4S), this is to accomodate the larger display on the next-gen iPhone.
As if users of mobile phones didn't have enough to be worried about, the constant nagging feeling about dropping your phone is about to get worse. SquareTrade, a company who sells extended warranties for electronics, conducted three drop tests on the new Samsung Galaxy S III and Apple's equivalent, the iPhone 4s. The results are a bit shocking.
To put it bluntly, neither device likes being dropped. The tests weren't 100% scientific in that they were conducted only once and weren't exactly fairly matched. In the video, it appears that the iPhone gets thrown much higher than the Galaxy S3 does and it also does worse as a result of this discrepancy.
Furthermore, in the car test, the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn't fall off the car until it reaches a greater speed which means it hits the ground harder than the iPhone. It also fairs worse in this test. Overall, however, users of mobile phones should buy cases and be extremely careful with their devices. The major problem lies in the glass screens that are used for capacitive touch screens--they tend to be the most delicate part of the phone.
DigiTimes is at it again, this time with a report that Microsoft have thrown away their plans for an aluminum-magnesium design for their upcoming iPad competitor, Surface. Microsoft will reportedly use a chassis made entirely from magnesium.
The move to magnesium is said to be because of supplier constraints. But, even though the Surface tablet may go through this change, it will still sport Microsoft's VaporMG technology. There's not much known about VaporMG, but Microsoft have attributed the incredible thinness of Surface to the tech.
If Microsoft have changed to magnesium for Surface, it comes from the inability of suppliers meeting the company's demands for manufacturing the Surface shell. Microsoft wants to push out 5 million Surface tablets before the end of the year, and after discussions with several chassis makers, none of them could meet such a production volume. More problems in the fact that Microsoft seems to be experiencing high-yield challenges for VaporMG, even with the reported change to magnesium, which is more easily designed.
Google's Nexus 7 has been rooted, overclocked and flashed with custom ROM, all before its official release
Before the sure-fire-hit $199 tablet from Google and ASUS hits, the Nexus 7, the tablet has been overclocked, flashed with a custom ROM, rooted and replaced with a full tablet user interface (UI). 'FadedLite', a member of the XDA-developers forum posted some instructions on how to do the rooting.
But, it seems that rooting the Nexus 7 isn't as easy as previous smart devices, as the Nexus 7 features a locked bootloader. We all know that things like this can usually be overcome, with experienced developers trying their hand on the Nexus 7, provided they have sdk, can use adb as well as fastboot, and have debugging on the Nexus 7. They'd also need to download Su and CWM.
Overclocking on the Nexus 7 is impressive already, ramping up to 1.5GHz thanks to a kernel build from zaventh. The kernel does sport other features such as voltage tweaks, and support for init.d. The kernel is insecure, which is to be expected in its early days. User 'jcarrz1' offers an "enhanced" Android Jelly Bean experience with a custom ROM. This custom ROM sports init.d support, Zip alignment, a host file that blocks ads, the Aroma installer, Busybox, the Nexus 7 boot animation, an uncluttered appearance, the removal of some unnecessary apps, and enhanced speed.
It seems as though LG wants to claw their way back up that smartphone winning mountain, with their first quad-core smartphone arriving in the form of the Optimus 4X LTE this month, but there is a follow-up coming soon that should also impress. This device is said to have a camera that beats the Optimus' 8-megapixel rear-snapper.
A report from The Chosunilbo says that LG Electronics chairman Koo Bon-moo has direct input into the planning and development of the as-yet-unnamed device, which is due to his dissatisfaction that the mobile-making division of LG has not taken full advantage of technology produced by fellow LG subsidiaries.
What makes Bon-moo's blood boil is that parts from LG Display, LG Chem and LG Innotek are featured by numerous LG competitors, including Apple, but last year, the LG Electronics chief said to have pointed out that LG is not "making enough" of the technology. Recent smartphone industry data from Strategy Analytics revealed that LG hold just 3.7-percent of the industry-wide shipments, with Samsung taking 30.6-percent, and Apple with 24.1-percent.
Rumors of a 7.85-inch iPad have been coming in thick and fast, with the latest news to crawl down the spider web of the Internet over the weekend is that Foxconn's Brazil-based plant will start production of a 7.85-inch iPad this coming September.
Japanese blog Macotakara has reported:
According to Chinese reliable source, the tablet called iPad mini will be produced in Brazil, however production test to collect data for new cutting machine is already done in China. Source said that, production phase of this tablet will be started since September, and this tablet should be shipped until holiday season, but announcement will not be so soon.
Google's Play store saw the disappearance of Samsung's GALAXY Nexus smartphone off of their virtual shelves last week, but it has made its triumphant return. The injunction to stop the Nexus from being sold was awaiting a response to four reported violations of patents.
But, it was back a little over 24 hours later. The Nexus is important for Google to keep going into the future, as its their lead device for Ice Cream Sandwich. Although the device won't ship for another three-to-four weeks, it should be running a version of ICS that doesn't infringe on the patents Apple were throwing the injunction orders at them over.
Are you looking forward to grabbing a Nexus from the Play store?
Smart devices may be getting faster, better, thinner and all that, but battery life is (to me) the most important aspect of any smart device, especially a smartphone. I hate having to charge my phone during the day, and I can't wait to get to the point where we're charging these things for week-long use.
Well, Which? test labs, who insist they are completely independent of any manufacturer, magazine, or website, have compared some of the latest and greatest smart phones such as Samsung's GALAXY S III, HTC One X, Sony Xperia S, Apple's iPhone 4S, and more, as well as the average 101 mobile phones they previously tested, and compared them under medium 3G receiption levels to get a realistic estimate of real-world usage.
The results of this are very interesting, Samsung's GALAXY S III smashes it out of the ball part with 726 minutes of calling, equivalent to a 12-hour session. HTC's One X was second with 635 minutes and Apple's iPhone 4S came in at fourth, with just 467 minutes of call time.
With Microsoft making the decision to make their own hardware may have upset other OEMs, Samsung are still going full steam ahead on releasing a smart device based on Windows RT and it will be released in October.
The Windows RT-based tablet from Samsung will sport an ARM-based processor, and has now opened up a new avenue of business for the company, since they're now supporting Windows 8 and Windows RT-based devices. The move is sure to help Samsung have more devices on offer, with multiple OSs to choose from, to combat their main competitor, Apple.
Windows RT is set to become the first mainstream OS from Microsoft built for touch-screen devices that works on energy-efficient chips that are usually bound for smartphones. Most traditional desktop and notebook PCs run x86-based processors.
Amazon's first-generation Kindle Fire started off with a bang, but sales of the tablet are dropping off, which means we're headed toward next-generation territory. Sources close to AllThingsD have said that Amazon are looking to unleash the next-gen Kindle Fire in Q3, and are talking to developers about hardware already.
The next-gen Fire is meant to be both thinner and lighter than the original Fire, sporting a built-in camera and much-improved display. Developers have also been told to build their apps for a display with a 1280x800 pixel display, different to the 1024x600 display of the current Fire.
This makes the next Kindle Fire's screen to look better, as well as featuring a new aspect ratio, meaning the display has an entirely new width-to-height ratio. DisplayMate President Raymond Soneira told AllThingsD:
The really interesting thing here is that the screen shape is changing slightly: From an aspect ratio of 1.71 (tall and narrow in its standard Portrait mode) to an aspect ratio of 1.60. That's a 67 percent increase in total pixels, and it is visually significant. It gives the display a PPI (pixels per inch) of 216.
Google's $199 Nexus 7 tablet arrives in the next week or so, and we've previously reported that Google and ASUS were selling them for around cost price, $199. But, research firm UBM TechInsights believes that it costs Google $184 per Nexus 7 tablet to be manufactured, leaving $15 in profits.
Compared to Amazon where they make around $46 per Kindle Fire sold, and Apple make around $170 for each and every iPad sold. So the question asked is why would Google even bother with making a tablet if there's hardly any profit margin?
Well, first off, it gets their tablet into more hands than if it were more expensive, and Google getting their Nexus 7 into as many hands as possible is good for generating revenue elsewhere. From their Google Play store, the use of Gmail, Maps, YouTube and more.
Motorola have just outed their next Atrix phone, known as the Atrix HD. The listed specs show the Atrix HD will sport a 4.5-inch HD Colorboost display with a resolution of 1,280x720, a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and the swish look of the Droid RAZR.
Filling out the sepc we find a 1,780 mAh battery, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and measures in at just 8.4mm thick. Motorola make it "business ready" as the Atrix HD features Gorilla Glass and Kevlar fused together, so it should be tough as nails.
There's no news on when the Atrix HD will hit stores, but if you want to find out more about it and sign up for updates, check out this link.
The rumor of an iPad mini from Apple have been around for quite a while now, even as far back as October last year. We've reported on them many times, and it is the perfect path for Apple to take to combat the impending Google Nexus 7 tablet, as well as the Amazon Kindle Fire, and upcoming next-gen Fire.
The latest reports are coming in from the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg, both claiming anonymous sources with "knowledge of the plans" confirming a screen between 7- and 8-inch in diameter, and the component suppliers in Asia are preparing for a mass production of this new product in September.
Research in Motion may have hurt BlackBerry lovers last week, announcing the delay of the BlackBerry 10 OS until 2013, but between now and then, there's sure to be tonnes of news to keep us happy. A leaked hardware roadmap has been leaked, and gives us a good idea of what to expect from BlackBerry 10-based devices in 2013.
But, before 2013, we should see a release of the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G which should be launched in Q4 of this year, perfect timing for the holiday season. This device does pre-date the BB 10 launch, so there shouldn't be much to do hardware-wise with the PlayBook 4G.
Q1 2013 is where the fun begins for RIM, with the launch of BB10 and the first full-touchscreen BlackBerry device, which is the BlackBerry London/L-series device. After the London/L-series device launches, we should see the BlackBerry Nevada/N-series, sporting a full QWERTY pad.
A new tablet is to be expected, dubbed "Blackforest ". Blackforest is expected in Q3 2013, but there are no details of the tablet itself. Considering it has '128' in its name, this would leave me to believe we should expect 128 to represent the amount of flash storage the tablet will sport.
Google's $199 Nexus 7 tablet is barely even available and the team at iFixit have torn one apart and looked around inside the tablet. Nexus 7 is just a millimeter thicker than Apple's iPad, but that 1mm can make a huge difference when it comes to repairability according to iFixit, who gave the Nexus 7 a score of 7 out of 10.
To compare this against other popular tablets, Apple's iPad scores a repairability score of two out of 10, Amazon's Kindle Fire scores an eight, and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet takes home a six out of ten. iFixit said in their report:
That's the difference between being able to open a device and service all of its internals, and not. That's the negligible difference between extending the life of your device through repair, as opposed to tossing it in a landfill. And most of all, nobody will complain about that one millimeter difference in day-to-day use, but the user-serviceability it brings will make all the difference when the device breaks.
Android Mobile New Zealand donned their detective cap and reported that New Zealand will be getting the Nexus 7 tablet from Google, even though Google themselves haven't confirmed that NZ would be getting the 7-inch slate.
The 16GB version of the Nexus 7 will be made available from mid-July, with the 8GB model being an exclusive to the Google Play Store. The biggest news I find from this is the $439 NZD price, considering Google launched it for $199 in the U.S.
But, with high import costs, a local purchase might make more sense, so would the local warranty. If you're based in NZ, this should be great news for you.
We've heard the rumors of a budget, smaller iPad that is meant to be around 7-inches in size, but the rumors are growing stronger thanks to the latest investment report from Pacific Crest, where analysts predict that Apple will launch a 7.85-inch iPad mini this October, priced at around $299.
The report states:
Based on our supply checks, we expect Apple to launch a 7.85" iPad in October. We anticipate an entry-level 7.85" iPad with 8GB of NAND capacity to price at $299.
But, would it be good enough to combat the $199-priced Nexus 7 tablet from Google? It looks like the mid-range, 7-inch tablet market is about to get a serious injection of two hot new members.
According to analyst Thompson Wu of Credit Suisse, ASUS are using the close partnership with Google and their recently-announced Nexus 7 tablet to enhance their brand rather than just the desire to make money.
Production cost is said to be roughly $200, and the Nexus 7 sell for $199.99, meaning ASUS are breaking even on every tablet sold. Usual OEM business methodology would be vastly different, but ASUS are looking to build their brand in a system where OEM's "have limited opportunities to differentiate" from the brands ASUS are making hardware for.
We believe Asustek realizes that in a market where OEMs have limited opportunity to differentiate without content and operating systems, it's demonstrating its edge via research and development and innovation, while building upon its brand value.