The Wall Street Journal is the powerhouse of tech reporting today, firstly talking about Google selling Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" devices directly to customers, and are now reporting that Apple's next-generation iPhone would sport a bigger screen.
The new screen, according to "people familiar with the matter" will measure at least 4-inches diagonally. This is compared to the 3.5-inch iPhone which every iPhone has been since the original. Production is rumored to begin next month, with analysts pegging the new iPhone to be released in the fall. As usual, Apple have declined to comment.
The people familiar with the matter, who I really want to meet one day, have said that Apple are working with multiple screen makers on the new iPhone. These screen makers include LG Display Co., Sharp Corp. and Japan Display Inc., which was only created last month by three Japanese companies and the government. Apple is facing much more competition from Samsung, the world's biggest cellphone maker, who just unveiled their GALAXY S III which features a 4.8-inch display.
Well, this came out of nowhere, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is about to cause quite a stir with carriers across the United States with their new plans. The report says that the latest move from Google, where they've offered their Galaxy Nexus for $399 unlocked is only the beginning of a new initiative.
The new plans will most likely be unfolded at Google I/O, where they're planning to partner up with a bunch of OEMs in roder to have up to five Pure Google devices available, all at once. All five of the devies will sport Google's next-generation Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" operating system and will be sold directly from Google in unlocked form to end users in America, Europe and Asia. Wow.
This is huge, as it means you'll be able to buy a top-of-the-line Nexus handset directly from Google, and throw it onto a plan, only use it on Wi-Fi, or go pre-paid. Google is said to hoping to have the new Jelly Bean-powered devices on sale before Thanksgiving, right before the Black Friday and holiday sales. This would be perfect, and would combat Apple's next-gen iPhone quite well. The mobile space sure is getting interesting!
Verizon has announced plans to expand its LTE 4G service to 28 new cities along with expanding service in 11 cities. This new addition will bring the total tally for 4G coverage up to 258 cities, which covers half of the United States population. This is all part of a plan to bring 4G LTE to 400 cities in 49 states by the end of 2012. The switch will be flipped on May 17.
The newly added service areas will include:
Houma/Thibodaux and Lake Charles, Louisiana; Hyannis/Mid-Cape, Massachusetts; Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, Michigan; Biloxi/Gulfport/Pascagoula and Oxford, Mississippi; Atlantic City/Toms River, New Jersey; Dickinson and Williston, North Dakota; Ashtabula, Bucyrus and Defiance, Ohio; Eugene/Springfield, Oregon; Lancaster, New Castle, Northern Cambria County, Oil City/Franklin, Somerset and York, Pennsylvania; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Mitchell, South Dakota; Paris, Texas; Burlington/Northern, Vermontt; Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Martinsville and Staunton/Waynesboro, Virginia; and Sheridan, Wyoming.
The network will be bolstered in:
Denver, Colorado; Dover, Delaware; Fort Myers and Lakeland, Florida; Hagerstown, Maryland; Canton, Lima, Mansfield, Toledo and Youngstown/Warren, Ohio; and Erie, Pennsylvania.
Samsung's GALAXY S III is nearly here, and whilst the phone sports a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen, and an impressive 2,100 mAh battery, the battery life itself was questioned. But, GSM Arena have stepped in and thrown the quad-core smartphone through some tests, which are very surprising.
They started with 3G talk time, where the GALAXY S III beats out the iPhone 4S by a large margin, and also beats the HTC One V and S by just minutes. The iPhone 4S sports 7 hours and 41 minutes of 3G talk time, where the GALAXY S III smashes it with 10 hours and 20 minutes, impressive, Samsung. Next up we have web browsing.
During this test, the GALAXY S III only provides 5 hours and 17 minutes of web browsing, compared to the iPhone 4S' very impressive 6 hours and 56 minutes. I'm guessing this is down to the GALAXY S III's much larger screen. Video playback is something very important on smartphones these days, especially something with a 4.8-inch screen. How did the GALAXY S III go against the iPhone 4S?
Last week I reported on how Apple's Siri claims that the Nokia Lumia 900 is the best smartphone when asked and the hilarity that the Lumia says the iPhone 4S is. I made the prediction that Apple would give Siri a "personality tweak" that would change her mind on what the best smarthphone is...and I was right.
After Apple was accused of not returning information for searches for abortion clinics, Apple made the claim that they are unable to change the data Siri returns. However, they have now been caught in a lie as Siri no longer agrees with what WolframAlpha says regarding "what is the best smartphone?"
Siri now says "You're kidding, right?" or "The one you're holding" in response to the question. Clearly this shows that Apple is able to modify what Siri returns and this could lend credence to the claims of moral censorship that had previously been alleged. It also makes me wonder what other searches have been modified to suit Apple's fantasy.
Have you been sitting there thinking that the current 10-or-so-inch tablets are not big enough? Well, Toshiba is here to save the day. Toshiba's latest tablet is a 13.3-inch beast, dubbed Regza AT830. While the 13.3-inch size may impress, not much else of it does.
The screen resolution is just 1600x900, and with tablets already hitting 1080p, and Apple's hitting 2048x1536, it really is already dated. Filling out the Regza AT830 is NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC, clocking in at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC memory for storage, and Google's Android 4.0 OS. Other features are the above-mentioned 1600x900 13.3-inch IPS panel, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, support for the Japanese One-Seg TV standard, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2-megapixel front-facer, a micro HDMI port, an SD card slot, headset jack and micro USB port.
How much does a 13.3-inch tablet weigh? Well, the Regza AT830 is 1kg on the scales, and measures in at 344x211x9.9mm (WxDxH). At this weight, it's not something you'd want to carry around with you at all times, or have in your hands for extended periods of time. But, it does sport 13 hours of continuous playback ability, or 5 hours of TV viewing. There is a huge negative, though.
Price. Toshiba has slapped a price of US$1000 on it, and personally, I just think that's too much for a tablet like this. But, there are some people out there who want a 13.3-inch tablet, and it's all about justifying a purchase.
In a move that is sure to upset some, it appears that Samsung has only included a dual-core processor for the North American version of its Galaxy S III. Now, they haven't come out and said that outright, but benchmarks have surfaced which point to the State-side phone featuring only a dual-core Snapdragon S4.
The site where the benchmark surfaced doesn't clearly state that it is a Snapdragon S4 either, but the evidence is pretty clear and points to the fact that it is. The benchmark entry makes note of the 1.5GHz core clock and the inclusion of the Adreno 225 GPU. The rumors that claim this are certainly gaining some steam with the new benchmarks.
Now, while this is only a Verizon phone, I would have to think that the rest of the carrier variants will carry the same Snapdragon S4 processor. This processor is the same as the HTC One X which could cause some people to choose that phone over the S3 since the S3 won't have anymore horsepower than the One X. We can't fully confirm this story until an official launch.
It was just a matter of time before the government decided to start blowing up users phones with text messages. At least they aren't campaign text messages, but rather something of a bit more importance. The message in question will be a warning about severe weather warnings in the user's area.
The alerts will be based upon the cell phone's location rather than where it is subscribed. This way, if a user is traveling, he will also get the message and be better aware of upcoming or worrying weather conditions. It's a slightly better method than looking up at the sky like I do. The service is free and actually uses a different method than texting, but it will look like a text when received.
Almost every carrier is participating, including AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. Once the system is up and kicking, every single user will be automatically signed up for three types of alerts. Yes, while the system is for weather, the government has demanded use for national emergencies to.
The three types of alerts are: presidential alerts for national emergencies, AMBER alerts for missing children, and weather alerts for severe weather. Users can opt out of the AMBER alerts and weather alerts but there is no such luck for opting out of the presidential alerts. Let's hope that these stay being used only for national emergencies.
Apple have found a fix for their LTE or "4G" connectivity advertising in their third-generation iPad, where they've misled customers outside of North America.
The Curpentino-based company has started to change the names of their LTE iPad model to 'iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular' in its online stores, US and Canada. The change also seems to have rolled out to other stores in the UK and Australia.
This should help those who were wanting a 4G-capable iPad outside of the US, as the new iPad was previously advertised as 'Wi-Fi + 4G', that is, until authorities in the UK, Australia, Sweden and other countries threatened Apple with investigations into misleading advertising. Apple then edited a video and altered the UK website in response to complaints from UK advertising standards authority, and even offered refunds in Australia to those who complained about the lack of "4G" functionality".
As a great way to end the week, we share a story with a bit of hilarity. Many news outlets ran stories today about how, when asked what smartphone is best, Siri recommends the Nokia Lumia 900. While hilarious, it's understandable due to how Siri works. Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for most of its computational knowledge, so it isn't exactly a fair answer since it only uses a few reviews to draw this conclusion.
That little fact didn't stop Microsoft from posting about it on their blog, but, as others have pointed out, it doesn't really mean much. It is still funny, as you would think Apple would have thought about it, considering all of the other stuff they have thought about and programmed into Siri.
Even funnier is that when The Next Web asked a Nokia Lumia 800 what the best phone is, it disagrees with Siri. The Lumia 800 uses Microsoft's TellMe service combined with Bing and returns an article with the headline: "Yes, The iPhone Is Still The Best Smartphone You Can Buy." So, apparently the two devices can't decide which of them is better. Both feel the other is.
I fully expect that Apple will update Siri pretty quickly to correct her behavior, something I would call a personality reprogramming. Microsoft may also do something similar, though it seems more in line with Apple's narcissism. Just a bit of humor to end the week for you. Now, return to work, or play, or whatever it is you should be doing.
Have an iPhone? Use less than 500MB of data a month? Live in a select few regions? Then do I have some good news for you! A new upstart company based out of LA announced the launch of a preorder process for a new iPhone case which comes with a few perks. FreedomPop's iPhone case comes with 500MB of free 4G data using Clearwire's WiMAX network.
Not only will the iPhone case provide 500MB of free data for your iPhone, it can also boost the battery life of your device or share the connection through Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. The case will retail for $99, so if you cancel your data plan, the case will be paid for in just a few months. Even if you exceed the 500MB, each additional MB is just $0.01, or $10 a Gigabyte.
At this price, it is pretty much in line with what the carriers charge, so it's really a no-risk proposition. Additionally, users can earn up to 500MB extra for free through referrals and other programs. According to FreedomPop VP of Product Mauricio Sastre, "The timing couldn't be better for our product. Carriers are throttling data and increasing prices and users are desperate for affordable alternatives. As the mobile industry flexes its joint oligopolistic power, we want to ensure that we are keeping them honest."
To see if the service will be available in your area, you can visit the preorder page and enter your address.
Apple have just rolled out an update to their second- and third-generation Apple TVs, with the update reportedly fixing some bugs in a previous version, and, well, not much else. If you want to update your Apple TV to 5.0.1 (9B206f), all you have to do is turn on and initiate the software update on your own.
Normally this would happen automatically, but if it doesn't, that's how you can do it. Alternatively, you can download the updates directly from Apple:
If you're using an Apple TV and update it, be sure to come back and let us know if you've found any other changes, or had any issues!
We all know that Samsung wasn't happy with the performance of their next-generation GALAXY devices, the GALAXY S III and GALAXY Note 10.1 were poised to feature dual-core processors. But in today's electronically-driven world, dual-core just isn't enough, for some.
This is where Samsung preps their Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, which is rumored to be baked into the company's upcoming GALAXY Note 10.1 tablet. Should we expect a jump in performance, well, yes, and quite the jump indeed.
The new silicon sports the more powerful Mali GPU, and with it brings a nice jump in performance. When the GALAXY Note 10.1 GT-N8000 on Rightware's Powerboard, the fastest core on its database is from Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 processor with a score of 37. Just how does the new Exynos 4412 quad-core processor perform? It scores 60. 37 to 60 is a huge jump, nearing a doubling in performance.
During the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy S III handset, most people were really excited about all of the features that it sported. Not everyone, however, was fully excited about all aspects of the new handset. The issue that most people had with the new device was the fact that Samsung chose one type of screen over another.
It seems as though most people were disappointed that Samsung went with a PenTile AMOLED screen rather than a traditional RGB AMOLED screen. The difference lies in the arrangement of the subpixels, or pieces that make up a pixel. In a PenTile display, the subpixels are aligned RGBG (red, green, blue, green) and the actual sizes of the subpixels varies.
A traditional screen is arranged RGB (red, green, blue) with each subpixel the same size. Due to the odd arrangement and size differences in a PenTile display, some users have complained of screens not being as crisp as a traditional RGB screen. However, when the resolution is increased, this effect is lessened as the pixels themselves become smaller.
AMOLED screens have a habit of deteriorating. Google had a problem with this exact issue on the original Google Nexus phone. Apparently the blue subpixel deteriorates the quickest, so having fewer blue subpixels lessens the risk of the deterioration affecting screen quality. Since Samsung is building phones to last 18 months or more, they need the reliability of the PenTile display.
If you're looking out for a cheap tablet, you may want to wait a little while longer. Chinese device maker, Ainol, are prepping themselves to launch their Novo 7 Aurora II tablet in late-May. This is set to be the most ambitious offering from the company to-date, at a price point that makes cheap tablets like Amazon's Kindle Fire look expensive.
The Novo 7 Aurora II sports a dual-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, a five-point touchscreen with a resolution of 1024x600, 8GB of storage which is expandable by microSD up to 16GB, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as its operating system. The best bit? It's priced at just $190.
Ainol previously made headlines by unveiling the original Novo 7, which was a 7-inch tablet that also rocked Android 4.0, but was priced at just $120. Most reviews found that while it was cheap, the price just didn't make up for its sluggish performance from its MIPS-based processor.
If you are an AT&T customer looking forward to the release of a mysterious device called the Samsung Skyrocket HD, it's time to count your losses. The device, which was announced way back in January at AT&T's Developer Summit, has been canceled. AT&T has decided to forgo the device and focus on other products.
It's likely that the device wouldn't have been very unique in AT&T's lineup of phones, especially alongside the Galaxy S III. Resources will probably be diverted to the Galaxy S III, which still does not have a US release time frame aside from "summer." I imagine some prototype devices will end up on eBay in the wake of this.
Samsung hasn't said much about it, but here is the official statement as given to Engadget: "AT&T and Samsung have agreed to cancel plans to offer the Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD. We are concentrating resources on other products to bring exciting experiences to consumers." These exciting experiences are likely the Galaxy S III.
If you haven't heard of 'Tizen', here's a quick introduction: Tizen is a joint-effort operating system being developed by Intel and Samsung. Tizen is an open-source Linux-based OS with a heavy focus on HTML5 and other web standards. Tizen also borrows from MeeGo, a failed OS that was a mash-up of Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo. MeeGo was officially discontinued in September 2011 in favor of Tizen.
Some lucky few people at the Tizen developers's conference in San Francisco were given prototype Samsung devices loaded with version 1.0 of the new OS. The guys and gals over at The Handheld Blog were there in person and have a video showing off the device.
The Samsung unit sports a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen, a Cortex-A9 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear-snapper, 2-megapixel front-facer, microUSB, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC and a standard video/audi decoder. Quite the feature-packed device, I'd say. As you can see in the above video, the OS borrows quite a lot from Samsung's TouchWiz UI including its pull-down notification system and support for tethering directly out of the box.
We've all seen, read about, heard about, or touched the new iPad, but was this really Apple's best? Not according to Raymond Soneria, CEO of DisplayMate Technologies. Soneria thinks that the new iPad is not the device that Apple originally intended on releasing.
Soneria said in an interview with CNET that the third-generation iPad was meant to be thinner, featuring a new display from Sharp, which supposedly featured "IGZO" technology. Soneira said:
The plan was to use this new technology called IGZO from Sharp - a lot higher electron mobility that allows them to make the transistors a lot smaller and the circuit elements a lot smaller. There's no question that the iPad 3 is Plan B. They pushed amorphous silicon to a higher [pixels per inch] than anybody else.
But, it has been reported that Sharp's IGZO technology wasn't available at the time for the third-generation iPad, so Apple had to go with their "Plan B". Another reason behind the plan B is that Sharp could not keep up with the manufacturing demand that the new iPad would've ushered for the company. What the new iPad has been, is nothing short of amazing, but it goes to show that we could have so much more, but are given a device to just shut us up.
If you are trying to get a white or cyan Nokia Lumia 900, you aren't alone. Due to high popularity of the phone, AT&T has been out of stock for a while now. However, the white and black models are now back in stock and ready to ship. The cyan model will force you to wait a week for it to ship, though. It seems as though Nokia has managed to speed up production to meet demand.
Other retailers are also showing that Nokia has ramped up production, however, the white model is still hard to get. Best Buy has the black and cyan models shipping in two to five days with no mention of the white model. Amazon is offering the black and cyan models with an estimated ship time of 24 hours, but an 8 day delay for the white model.
Certain countries haven't taken to the Nokia Lumia 900 so well. However, in the United States, the device is popular, even with AT&T being the only carrier with it. A Nokia rep stated last month that US consumer reaction has been "positive across the channel -- including direct stores and national retail."
As the war between smartphones and smartphone operating systems wages on, Android marched forward and taken back some ground. Over quarter 4 of last year, Android sales dropped from 61% in Q3 to 49% in Q4 as Apple iPhone sales jumped from 25% to 41% over demand for the 4S. Android has returned to being 61% of all smartphone sales during Q1 2012.
Of course, as one group goes up, others must go down. In this case, Apple has declined from 41% down to only 29%. iOS and Android combined make up 90% of US smartphone sales. Overall, however, smartphones have failed to increase as a portion of overall phone sales. They remain pegged at 66% of all handset sales.
Two out of three people aged 25-34 own a smartphone. Distribution between men and women are generally in a dead heat at around 50%. Android is top in the United States with around 49% market share for last quarter. Apple only has 32% during the same quarter, yet it remains the top smartphone maker.
Android tablets are a dime a dozen nowadays, so something really needs to set new ones off from the competition. Today sees the release of yet another Android tablet, this one made by Ematic. In this case, it would seem that price would be the factor that sets this tablet off from the rest. Retailing for a slim $219.99, you still get loads of features that more expensive tablets offer.
The eGlide XL Pro 2 may have a slightly long and unwieldy name, but it is generally fitting for the long and unwieldy list of features. The tablet features a 10-inch touchscreen and comes preloaded with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The processor is a multi-core 1GHz beast and also features a 400MHz graphics processor.
"We're thrilled to launch the eGlide XL Pro 2, and add it to our expanding line of tablets which suit various needs and lifestyles," says Roy Rayn, General Manager of Ematic. "This tablet incorporates everything our consumers love about Ematic products: durability, productivity and affordability."
This tablet is one that I may finally be interested in purchasing due to its value pricing, yet good spec list.