We’ve been hearing about a certain 5-inch HTC phablet for Verizon since July, but it looks like its Japanese counterpart may actually hit the market first. Unveiled by KDDI as the HTC J Butterfly (HTL21), this Android 4.1 device is the first announced phone to feature a 5-inch, 440ppi full-HD “Super LCD 3″ panel, and it’s fittingly complemented by a 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 underneath, making this the latest member in the small family of Snapdragon S4 Pro phones. There’s an eight-megapixel camera that naturally handles 1080p video at the back, accompanied by a 2.1-megapixel front-facing imager. Other details include 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSDHC expansion, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), NFC, LTE and CDMA/GSM/UMTS/GPRS radios — that’s right, it’s a global device. Not bad for a 140g package, and it’s waterproof as well, rated at IPX5. But the question is how well will the 2,020mAh battery last under that super dense LCD and high-end processor? Only time will tell — even KDDI has yet to finalize this part of the specs. Folks on the KDDI network can grab hold of this powerful phone in early December, with a choice of red, white or black.
We’d say the wait is nearly over, but that wouldn’t be telling the whole truth. Inching ever closer to a hard launch date, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is now poised to hit stateside on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular “by mid-November.” If you’re seeking anything more specific than that, you’ll have to hold out for individual carrier announcements. What we do know for sure, however, is that the US variant of this 5.5-incher will be packing HSPA+42 / LTE radios and sporting a nigh unchanged build — much like the company’s other flagship, the GS III. To recap, this S-Pen equipped phablet, recently unveiled at IFA 2012, features a 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display, quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos processor, 2GB RAM and ships with a skinned version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Sure, this release is shaping up to be a slow tease, but that anticipation just makes the final bow of this second act even sweeter. Official PR after the break.
Google Play quietly updated its device availability page over the weekend, making the Nexus 7 available to Germany, France and Spain. Patient Europeans can now pick up Mountain View’s seven-inch wonderkind’s 8GB and 16GB models for €199 and €249, respectively. Conversion rates comparatively price the slate at about $248 and $311, meaning the new markets will have to suffer a small premium for the slate. Worse still, is that not all of Google Play’s services are available worldwide, with both Play Music and Magazines retaining US exclusivity. If you can bear with the inconveniences, however, one fine little tablet awaits.
Adobe confirms it won’t support Flash on Android 4.1, stops new Flash installs from Google Play on August 15th
Adobe was very public about dropping mobile Flash last fall. In case that wasn’t clear enough, the developer just drew a line in the sand: Android 4.1 doesn’t, and won’t ever, get certification for Flash. The company is stopping short of saying that Flash won’t run, but it’s evident that Adobe won’t help you if the web browser plugin doesn’t install (or breaks in spectacular fashion) on that Nexus 7. Just to underscore the point, the firm is also halting new installations of Flash from Google Play as of August 15th. Security updates and other vital patches will continue on for existing users. Any fresh downloads after that fateful day, however, will have to come from Adobe’s mausoleum for old versions. The company had already said that HTML5 was the way forward on phones and tablets — now we know just how quickly it’s backing up that claim.
Phew! On the heels of big events from Apple and Microsoft, Sergey and co. got their time to shine at the Google I/O event this week in San Francisco. The show kicked off with a a keynote that featured insight into Android Jelly Bean, the unveiling of the Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus Q media streaming device, plus some seriously amazing demos of Project Glass, among others. Was the two-hour-and-change press conference enough to push Google out in front of the competition? Check out our thoughts after the break.
We had a pretty good idea that this little guy was going to be making an appearance at Google I/O this morning and, sure enough, it’s here. Not only is it here, it’s in our hands. Meet the Google Nexus 7, an ASUS-designed device with minimal branding and a clean version of the latest flavor of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Join us after the break for a rundown of what this $199 Fire-fighter feels like to use.
It’s seems like only yesterday we were all crowded around our laptops, watching a live stream and getting amped for Ice Cream Sandwich. Truth is, that was six months ago now and, while most of the Android running public still hasn’t been blessed with 4.0, it’s already time to make the leap to 4.1. Today Google officially took the wraps off Jelly Bean, the next evolution of its mobile platform and while it’s not quite the revolutionary shift that was Gingerbread to ICS, it still marks an important improvement for the ecosystem. One of the biggest features is Project Butter, a deep-diving effort to improve performance and response time. The whole system hums along at 60fps now, and while the difference of a few milliseconds might sound like small potatoes, it becomes glaringly apparent the moment you run Jelly Bean next to an ICS device. Animations are smoother and quicker. The CPU immediately ramps up the moment a touch is detected to ensure speedy response.
The home screen has also been tweaked, adding some nice features like dynamically resizing widgets, so you no longer have to place it, resize it then move it to where you want if there isn’t enough room. If there is room, but your app icons are merely in the way, the widget will automatically push them to the side. And, in a nice, slick touch, apps and widgets can be removed by flicking them off the screen. Another extremely welcome touch is the addition of offline voice input. Now you can tap the microphone and dictate a message even with the phone in airplane mode.
The camera app, which was already a highlight of ICS, has gotten even better in 4.1. Now, the gallery is slickly integrated, allowing you to quickly pull up the photo you just took with a swipe to the left. You can keep swiping through your images or even pinch to zoom out and view all your images in a filmstrip view. Deleting images is as simple as swiping a pic off the screen and, if you’ve manage to accidentally remove one, a quick tap of the undo button restores it. And, speaking of images, you can now share them and video using Google Beam, and Android now supports pairing with Bluetooth devices with the assistance of NFC.