According to "a credible source" of CNET's, it looks as though Amazon is set to unleash their second-generation Kindle Fire tablet on July 31, just over a month from now.
This would set Amazon up to combat Apple's iPad even more than they are now, launching the Kindle Fire 2 less than a year after the original Kindle Fire launched. The Kindle Fire sold quite well thanks to its cheap price of just $199.
DigiTimes has also reported that Amazon would launch a similarly-priced 7-inch Kindle tablet with a higher resolution screen of 1280x800, but the release date DigiTimes had was in Q3. DigiTimes has also mentioned that Amazon could drop the price of the current Fire to just $149, making it even more of a temptation for customers.
Considering it costs Amazon a reported $201.70 in production costs for each Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire 2 would either represent more loses for Amazon, or they're building the tablets cheaper, let's hope for Amazon's sake its the latter.
Google I/O 2012: Google didn't just talk software, or Google Glass, the company also revealed a new media streaming device dubbed Nexus Q. Google describes this product as the first social streaming media player, and is uniquely shaped like an orb and is able to stream music.
Nexus Q is controlled by your Android-powered device be it smartphone or tablet, but content is yanked directly from the cloud. Google thinks music is best enjoyed with friends, so in order to differentiate themselves from similar products on the market, Google infused Nexus Q with social capabilities. Google describes it as a cloud-connected jukebox, where everyone brings their own music to the party.
The social side of Nexus Q allows friends to create a single playlist that everyone has access to. Anyone in that group can move songs up or down on the queue, or even play a new track instantly before the previous tune has finished. Hardware-wise, we're looking at Nexus Q sporting a dual-core OMAP4460 processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and 16GB of onboard storage.
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, seems to have hinted that the company is looking to throw their PureView camera technology into future Windows Phone 8 models. PureView is the technology behind the 808 Pureview smartphone, which sported a 41-megapixel camera.
Elop was responding to questions on video that were asked by visitors to Nokia's booth at Microsoft's TechEd in Orlando. Elop did note that consumer interest in when PureView might make its way to Windows Phone 8. Elop says in the video (above):
Now, we haven't announced any other smartphones with PureView, but I can say that you will see this technology in devices to come.
9to5Mac have done some digging through the previously-obtained hardware code dump for Apple's next-gen iPhone prototypes and have discovered a very juicy detail in the code that references hardware components supporting near field communication (NFC) capabilities:
We've previously been able to pull data from PreEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2), which leads us to believe that the new iPhone will have a bigger 1136×640 display. We also detailed a lot of the hardware here but forgot one very important little bit. Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication (NFC) controllers directly connected to the power management unit (PMU).
If for some reason you actually needed more convincing that the new (well, sort of) Galaxy S III phone was one of the most hyped and popular phones of the day, Samsung has your back. It's actually important that Samsung do what it did in order to keep the hype around the latest and greatest gadget going/
That's why Samsung has announced that they will have sold 10 million Galaxy S III phones before the end of July. Samsung took a page out of Apple's book in order to create some of this hype and it has apparently worked. The specification and design was closely guarded before the launch event and it went on sale just a couple of weeks after the event.
However, it only just went on sale in the US last week and there are plenty of customers there who want to get their hands on this device. But, it is nearing the rumored time for the iPhone release, the device thought to be the only challenger to the Galaxy S III. While Samsung may have the head start, it's going to be quite the battle for the top mobile spot.
Gizmodo Australia have what they believe in their hands, the training material for the upcoming Google Nexus tablet. They think it'll be a 7-inch beast built by ASUS and should debut at this week's Google I/O conference. The specs:
- 7-inch 1280×800 IPS Display
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (not confirmed to be 5.0 just yet)
- 1.3GHz Quad-Core Tegra 3 CPU
- NVIDIA GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB / 16GB Internal Storage
- 1.2MP Front Camera
- 8 Hours Battery Life
- Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
The material does say that the tablet will arrive in Australia next month, so if the rumors are true, we should expect it to launch in the very, very near future across the world. I'd like to know if there's going to be a 10-inch model to compete with Apple's iPad, or do Google think there's more sales in the 7-inch model?
It was only back at CES 2012 in January that Sony were talking about Google TV-powered hardware jumping the pond to Europe and making their splash on the market and we're already here and now it's official.
Partnering up with Google, we see the companies announcing pre-orders for the $200/£200/$199 NSZ-GS7, which is an internet-streaming set-top box that will arrive in the US and UK with a current shipping date of July 9, but should hit shores on July 22 according to Sony. Later this year the same unit will launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the Netherlands.
The second product Sony have is the NSZ-GP9 which sports a built-in Blu-ray player and will drop in October at a price of £280/€300/$299. Those based in the UK can expect some localised content for the unit, and we should hear more at this week's Google I/O conference.
It only takes one incident, but that one incident is bad enough, so Samsung are investigating the case of the GALAXY S III that exploded in a user's car, with fears over a potential overheating problem. The user was baed in Dublin, Ireland, where he was driving and noticed a white flame and sparks coming from the S III before it exploded on the dashboard of his car.
The user posted on popular Irish forum Boards.ie, where he said:
The phone burned from the inside out. Burned through the plastic and melted my case to the phone. The phone kept working but without any signal.
After their initial investigation with the handset, Samsung have reported that they found no issue, but will continue to conduct further investigations. The user admits that the fault may have stemmed from the combination of the car mount and the car's heating system. The pictures that the user provided show scorch marks at the bottom of the phone, with the battery seemingly untouched, which may point toward that not being the issue.
Big words have come from Terry Gou, CEO of Foxconn, where he told Focus Taiwan that the upcoming next-generation iPhone will put the Samsung 'GALAXY S III to shame'. He told customers thinking of grabbing the S III to wait for the launch of Apple's new iPhone, but wouldn't go into any details as to what made it worth waiting for.
Gou also used the opportunity to brag about Foxconn's partnership with Sharp for display development and also indicated that he is keep to help Sharp take on Samsung in displays. Foxconn have had a great 2012 so far, where in late-March they had become the largest single shareholder in Sharp, with an investment of $800 million.
Foxconn also invested an additional $800 million in Sharp's new tenth-generation LCD plant that's based in Japan, which is said to be the only plant in the world capable of producing 60- and 80-inch LCD panels. They've also secured an exclusive deal with Corning on the use of the company's Gorilla Glass in the production of the new LCD panels.
We've all seen the leaked iPhone 5 shots, and I'm willing to put money on the fact that we won't know the actual, final design until days before it officially launches. The latest shots show off white-colored rendered images based on the latest leaks and rumors of the iPhone 5.
It does look nice, but remember these are rendered images and nothing concrete. The other thing is, is the new iPhone design (even as a render) enough to pull in the huge numbers Apple need to continue staying [nearly] on top?
I do like the look of these rendered images, but I think the old iPhone look needs a change. Let's hope the next iPhone is as revolutionary as the first-generation iPhone was, we need something truly exciting from Apple this time around.
HTC is pulling out of Brazil completely and stopping all sales of phones in the country. This is bad news if you are an Android fan and live in Brazil. The spokesperson for HTC said that the company is "completely shutting down their operations in Brazil." They have promised to continue supporting current customers.
"After analyzing the sales numbers, we have decided to pull out of the Brazillian market," said an HTC public representative in Brazil to AndroidPIT. It's not exactly clear why the decision was made as Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world and has recently passed Germany and France in the number of smartphone owners.
It's possible that the country's high tariffs on technology imports are the cause of this. After all, Apple managed to convince Foxconn to build a factory in Brazil so that they could continue to sell iPhones and iPads at a reasonable price in Brazil. It could also be a result of the competition with Samsung and Apple.
Owners of the Droid RAZR and RAZR Maxx on the big red Verizon network could possibly be waking up to a treat tomorrow, if they didn't today. The reason? There phone will have downloaded an update to Android 4.0. As with all roll-outs, it will gradually work its way to more and more phones bringing the same kind of happiness someone gets when eating actual ice cream.
The update brings with it a lot more than just Android 4.0. Verizon details what some of those features are:
Ice Cream Sandwich features upgraded functionality and new features, such as Face Unlock. By looking directly at the screen, the smartphone recognizes its owner and automatically unlocks the device. It also includes Direct Access Lock Screen, which allows you to easily open camera, text messages, and dialer from the lock screen.
Furthermore, the update will allow the Droid to get international data and voice services, when subscribed to an international plan. Verizon has also updated some of its apps and is providing those with the update. These apps include Backup Assistant Plus, SMARTACTIONS, Newer versions of Google Mobile Services Applications with Enhanced Features, Video Calling Portal, and Verizon Apps Store.
Looking for a new tablet to compete with the iPad's Retina display? Well, this may be just the thing for you. Finally, Android tablets with higher DPI are starting to show up from companies around the world. Today, we see that the new Acer Iconia Tab A700 is now available and on sale for only $449.99.
The new (updated?) tablet spreads a resolution of 1920x1080 across a 10.1" panel. While that's not quite as good as the iPad at 2048x1536 across a 9.7" panel, it certainly is much closer than the previous competition. At this higher DPI, text should be sharper and graphics should be better looking and free from jagged edges.
The Iconia tablet is almost identical to the cheaper A500 tablet, save for the screen. The tablet features a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 32GB of SSD, Bluetooth, dual cameras (with 1- and 5-megapixel resolutions, front, rear), and several ports, including Micro-USB 2.0, Micro HDMI, and 3.5-mm audio jacks. The tablet weighs in at 1.47 lbs and measures 0.43" thick, making it a bit thicker than the iPad, but essentially the same weight.
It is listed for sale in Acer's own online store.
Looking through the specifications sheet for the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet that runs the ARM processor reveals some interesting information. One, Microsoft has no quoted battery life specification and also never gave one during the presentation. And two, the specs say how many watt-hours the battery holds.
"They didn't talk about battery life, which is very important to decisions about [which] tablet to buy," said Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft. Gregg Keizer at ComputerWorld points out that Surface RT battery is rated at 31.4Wh which is not tiny, but is about 25% smaller than that of Apple's 42.5Wh rated battery.
At the same time however, if one looks at the iPad 2, they will find a 25Wh battery which provides 12.5 hours of battery life. The longer battery life is due to a lower resolution screen. Currently there are too many variables to produce an accurate prediction, but an early guess places the battery life at the same or worse.
Even the Surface Pro has a smaller battery than the iPad 3 and it will be running a full Intel i5 mobile chip. This means it will likely find less battery life than Ultrabooks, who often have batteries bigger than the iPad 3. True, however, is that they are bigger and heavier, but a tablet needs great battery life to be successful. We will wait until a consumer product arrives to find the actual numbers.
Well, it looks as though Android 4.1 is destined to be the deliciously-named Jelly Bean OS from Google, thanks to a Google Play listing for the GALAXY Nexus that has since been removed. Droid Life took a screenshot before it was removed, thankfully.
The next thing we need to know is will Jelly Bean be shown off at Google I/O next week? I really hope so. Droid Life have noticed that during the checkout, the new thumbnail shows a picture of teh device with the new glassy Google Search bar, which teases us that little bit more.
We should have more details of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean next week during Google I/O, hopefully.
DigiTimes' sources have had their ears close to the ground and heard the rumblings that Microsoft's newly-announced Surface tablet production will be outsourced to Pegatron Technology, but there's not a firm estimate for order numbers, yet.
These same sources have also made an estimation on end-market pricing of the Windows 8 Pro-based Surface tablet, specced with Intel's Ivy Bridge-based processor to be at least, or above, US$799. The Windows RT-based model that sports NVIDIA's 4-PLUS-1 Tegra 3 SoC will be priced above US$599.
The sources continued, saying that the industrial design of Surface will attract customers in the enterprise market, which is great for Microsoft's sales, but the high prices will push them against a wall when it comes to the bigger consumer market.
It would appear that Sprint is getting a white HTC Evo 4G LTE phone, if a picture on the site is to be believed. While it could just be a marketer's wishful thinking, Sprint does have somewhat of a history in carrying white Evo phones. It's fairly unlikely that a marketer would change the color of the HTC for this image.
After all, the image is trying to tempt people away from other networks, so why would they show something they don't offer? Sprint hasn't confirmed that the new color does exist, but going from the marketing image, it's a fair bet to say it does. The picture, while it lasts, is available here on Sprint's website.
We will keep you updated with any information regarding this possibly new phone color coming to Sprint. I wonder if HTC's Ice Cream Sandwich phone comes in vanilla ice cream color?
DISCLAIMER: Even though the source of this story is claiming they independently verified it with three different manufacturers, it still has to do with Apple and therefore will be presented as a rumor until an official announcement by Apple is made. With that out of the way, let's move onto the details.
TechCrunch is reporting that the iPhone 5 will ditch the old 30-pin connector that has been the standard since its introduction on the third-gen iPod. Instead, the iPhone 5 is reportedly going to feature a smaller, 19-pin connector that looks similar to a Thunderbolt port. It will, however, have a different pin-out.
It's pretty obvious that Apple is more concerned now with saving space inside their mobile devices. Take a look at MagSafe 2 and this new rumored dock connector and you can see that. This new dock connector could force redesigns of accessories as it will no longer provide as much structural stability as the previous one.
Additionally, users may be forced to replace their current iPod/iPhone accessories due to the switch which would be good for manufacturers, but not so great for consumers. The manufacturers TechCrunch spoke with are in an uneasy few months while they wait for the standard to be officially announced so they can create devices for it.
It appears that Samsung could have a problem on its hands with the new Samsung Galaxy S III phone. One user, dillo2k10, had his brand new Samsung Galaxy S III phone burst into flames which driving, after which he heard an audible bang. He escaped just fine, but is car wasn't so lucky and now has molten plastic in the cup holder.
It's not the first phone to ever explode in transit, but the damage to the casing looks to be pretty bad. That said, the screen apparently continued working and the only problem was that there was no longer any working reception. It's not clear what caused the phone to spontaneously explode, but you can be sure Samsung will be looking into it closely.
Samsung has updated its blog with a message to that effect:
Samsung is aware of this issue and will begin investigating as soon as we receive the specific product in question. Once the investigation is complete, we will be able to provide further details on the situation. We are committed to providing our customers with the safest products possible and are looking at this seriously.
Microsoft held their "secret" press event this week, where they announced their Surface tablet running the upcoming Windows 8 OS, but did PC makers know what Microsoft was going to show off? Well, yes, yes they did.
During an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer noted that PC makers knew about the Surface tablet ahead of the announcement. The question is, how long before the announcement did PC makers know about Microsoft's Surface tablet? The other question is why didn't Microsoft unveil the Surface tablet at Computex just two weeks ago? Did they hold off so PC makers could show off their various Windows 8-based tablets and Ultrabooks?
Was this why the Microsoft booth at Computex was so quiet? It would appear (to me at least) that this is the case. Ballmer did note that one of the reasons behind Microsoft building the Surface table was to "prime the pump" for Windows 8's release later in the year, noting that a tablet was an important piece of the overall story of Windows 8. PC makers have been quiet about the Surface tablet, and for good reason.
Will Microsoft hurt PC makers releasing the software, and hardware, as one company, ala Apple? Or will it eventually grow into a stronger relationship between Microsoft and the various PC makers? It's all exciting, from any way you look at it.
Rumors coming from Korea are that Samsung will release a successor to the 5.3-inch GALAXY Note smartphone, you know, the tablet that wants to be a phone, and the phone that wants to be a tablet. We should expect Samsung to release it as the GALAXY Note II.
Some interesting news is that it would have the guts of the GALAXY S III, so we should expect Samsung's quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor to be working its magic in the Note II. On top of this, it might sway from the 5.3-inch screen size of the already-big GALAXY Note, and increase its size, I'm guessing 5.5- to 5.6-inch. The Note II is also said to feature an unbreakable plane (UBP) display, which is a precursor to the flexible display.
One of the best bits of the GALAXY Note II is that it would arrive with Jelly Bean out of the box, yes! Rumored release date is October, and it should fall right around the time of Apple's iPhone 5 launch. Things are heating up once again in the smart device world and we hope to have a Note II on release for a review!