Arguably the straight to DVD release of the smartphone world, BLU Product’s Vivo 4.3 is getting a second act in the form of the Vivo 4.65 HD. Aside from the 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display it’s named after, this up-and-comer ships with Android 4.0, a 1.2GHz A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. If you can get past less than stellar specs — and resist waiting for the Nexus 4 to be back in stock — BLU’s future flagship can be yours outright for $300 sometime in January.
Motorola created quite some buzz with its first “Intel inside” Android phone, the RAZR i, back in September, so it’s only natural to see the company tapping into the Chinese market with a localized variant. Dubbed the RAZR i MT788, this China Mobile device bears much similarity to its Western sibling on paper: 2GHz Intel Atom Z2480, 4.3-inch 960 x 540 AMOLED display (with Gorilla Glass), eight-megapixel camera, microSD expansion (up to 32GB) and Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
The difference? Well, the chassis is the most obvious one: instead of using the same design as the original RAZR i, the new MT788 looks identical to the MSM8625-powered dual-SIM XT788 on China Telecom. On top of that, the battery is rated at just 1,735mAh instead of the RAZR i’s 2,000mAh, and there’s just 4GB of built-in memory instead 16GB; but the front-facing camera’s bumped up from 0.3 megapixels to 1.3. There’s no price just yet, but interested buyers can pick one up in China starting in mid-December. Will the world’s largest carrier help Intel take a significant bite out of the mobile phone market? Only time will tell.
Considering the recent glut of smartphone announcements, news of yet another Galaxy S III variant shouldn’t have you tittering with glee. But for those of you tied to MetroPCS and hankering for a beastly mobile option, that 4.8-inch handset is almost ready to ship. Shown off at the carrier’s booth here at Pepcom, the designed by nature device is virtually unchanged, save for branding on the back that nods to the 4G network it runs on. Otherwise, it’s the same TouchWizzed Android ICS experience we’ve come to know and love. There’s no official word on pricing or a concrete release date — outside of a very vague end of Q4 bow. But still, if you want to take a sneak peek at this off-contract option, check out the video after the break.
The Xperia T, formerly codenamed Mint, rumor and leak victim since January, has officially broken cover. Revealing its 4.55-inch face to the crowds in Berlin, the Reality Display packs a 1,280 x 720 resolution and offers what Sony is calling the “best HD experience on a phone to date.” The company claims you can view vids in full 1080p HD quality, though we’re still waiting to receive additional clarification on this statement. (Update: Sony clarified that it was merely referring to the 1080p video recording capabilities of the phone.) The Xperia T runs on Ice Cream Sandwich, but we’re told it will be upgraded to Jelly Bean shortly after launch. It also features a 13MP fast capture camera and boasts a feature Sony is calling Sleep to Snap, which means you can go from a black screen to taking photos in an instant. What else does this new flagship offer? A one-touch function with NFC which you can use to tap to connect to other Sony devices, a 60-day premium trial of Music Unlimited and a new tier called Access which will be available in Europe for 0.99 Euros per month and will deliver full access of the service to PCs and the PS3.
The T — which will be known as the TX in select markets, and should be launching globally over the next few weeks — also sports a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon S4 CPU, pentaband UMTS / HSPA+ radios, a front-facing cam with 720p video capture, MHL connectivity, FM radio, 16GB onboard storage and an 1,850mAh battery. Dimension-wise, the T will weigh 4.9 ounces (139g) and come in at 9.35mm thick. Lastly, the new Xperia flagship will be available in black, silver and white hues (while the TX appears to come in pink as well). Pricing is still an unknown, but as we’ve seen before, it may largely depend on the market anyway. We’ll keep you posted as more details come in.
Sony Xperia Tablet S official: slimmed-down design, Tegra 3, IR remote and Android 4.0, starts at $400
Looks like those leaked slides showing Sony’s Xperia-branded tablet were right about pretty much everything. (Well, everything except the price, anyway). The company just formally announced the Xperia Tablet S and, as rumored, it features a Tegra 3 chip, Android 4.0 and up to 64GB of built-in storage. Like last year’s Tablet S, it has that distinctive folded-over magazine shape, except this go-round it’s made of metal, and measures between .35 and .47 inches thick (the weight, too, has dropped to 1.26 pounds, down from 1.31). Sony also kept the Tablet S’ IR emitter, which allows the tablet to double as a universal remote, and this time you can program shortcuts to do things like watch sports. Rounding out the spec sheet, there’s a full-size SD slot, a 9.4-inch (1,280 x 800) IPS screen and a 6,000mAh battery promising 10 hours of runtime.
As we mentioned, the tablet will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but Sony is promising an upgrade to Jelly Bean as soon as it can optimize all its custom apps. And indeed, there are quite a few specialized applications here. For starters, there’s a new Watch Now app that allows for live TV-viewing (cable subscription required), with the option to “check into” shows and share comments on Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, Sony added a Guest Mode that lets you create custom user profiles, forbidding the use of certain apps — a handy parental control tool, we say. Naturally, Sony also threw in Music and Video Unlimited, where you can buy content from Sony’s vast movie and song catalogs. Finally, the tablet comes with 5GB of space in PlayMemories, Sony’s new cloud storage service.
The tablet will be available September 7th, though Sony is accepting pre-orders starting today. It will start at $400 for the 16GB model, with the 32GB going for $500 and the 64GB for $600. And yes, as those leaked slides indicated, there will most certainly be accessories. For starters, there’s that optional Surface-like keyboard we heard about, priced at $100. There’s also a three-position stand, with HDMI output and a USB adapter for a charging. That, too, costs $100. Sony is also selling a charging cradle ($40), a plain-Jane stand ($25), a dock speaker ($130) and a carrying case, priced at either $51 or $80, depending on whether or not you get it in leather. We very much expect to get some hands-on time at IFA, so stay tuned for first-hand impressions.
There will soon be a new Optimus L-Series smartphone on the prowl, as LG has just announced the Optimus L9 as a followup to its Optimus L3, L5 and L7 handsets. This series is viewed by LG as a budget lineup that places an emphasis on style, and the L9 will undoubtedly be the leader of the pack, as it boasts both a dual-core 1GHz CPU and a large, 4.7-inch IPS display. The phone will be outfitted with Android 4.0, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a beefy 2,150mAh battery.
New software is also set to ship with the Optimus L9, which includes both a redesigned keyboard and a language translation app. The new keyboard is dubbed the My Style Keypad, which allows users to adjust the key placement for easier one-handed typing — like we’ve seen in Android 4.0 for the Galaxy Note — along with a separated layout for landscape view (that you can peek in the gallery below). Meanwhile, the language translation service is dubbed QTranslator, which leverages OCR to translate sentences and phrases from 44 different languages into 64 native languages. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability, though we’ll be sure to let you know the moment those final tidbits become known.
Archos has had its hand in the slate game since the early days of “internet media tablets,” and while its products don’t have quite the same brand recognition as, say, Samsung’s, we’ve found the French company’s devices to be some of the best-value tablets available. Budget-minded prices and innovation don’t usually go hand in hand, but in the case of its new 101 XS Android 4.0 tablet, Archos has a few tricks up its sleeve. The slate boasts a keyboard cover and kickstand, along with a magnetic hinge allowing the lid to attach to the display. Arriving in November for $400, the Archos 101 XS is a productivity-minded take on slates, complete with a full set of keys and a bundled copy of OfficeSuite Pro. Do the hardware and software add up to a killer combo? Read on to find out.
Acer’s itchy trigger-finger has caused it to launch two new Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphones before IFA kicks off next week. The Liquid Gallant comes in single (Solo) and dual-sim (Duo) variants, packing a 1GHz MT6575, 1GB RAM, a 4.3-inch qHD capacitive display, 5-megapixel camera and a 1,500mAh battery. It’ll include 4GB on-board storage, which can be bolstered with microSD up to 32GB, there’s 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR. The budget-nature of the specs gives us hope that it’ll be moderately priced when the Duo arrives in September, rapidly followed by its single-sim kid brother — with both available in “Gentle Black” and “Ceramic White.”
As mentioned earlier, we’ve just gotten our hands on Qualcomm’s latest development platform to see how its first quad core chipset fares. And boy, that APQ8064 really doesn’t disappoint, but it should be no surprise — we’ve already seen how the top dual core S4 chipsets already beat their quad core competitors in certain aspects, so it’s only natural for the quad core S4 Pro to annihilate them. As you can see in our chart after the break, the APQ8064-based MDP easily beat the Tegra 3-based One X and Nexus 7, as well as the Exynos 4412-based Galaxy S III. And partly thanks to the Adreno 320 graphics core, the MDP even scored an astonishing 132fps in our GLBenchmark test, while the quad core Galaxy S III with Mali-400 graphics came second with 99fps, with the remaining devices lingering around 60fps only.
Obviously, the question remains how big of a trade-off there is on battery life in exchange for those two extra cores and the more powerful graphics chip. That said, we have a feeling that Snapdragon’s Krait architecture and asynchronously clocked cores will again prove that Tegra 3′s 4-PLUS-1 design isn’t the best solution for battery efficiency — as many of you might already know. We shall see when APQ8064-based products become available later this year. For now, take a gander at our numbers and photos.
As Google I/O 2012 rolls along, the YouTube team is updating its Android app to v4.0 with a load of new features, but you’ll need Android 4.0+ to take advantage of them (at least for now, see below). Available in 47 countries, the new app brings a brand new UI with support for channels that reflects the redesign rolled out on the website last year (not the circle-centric look that it is testing with a select few), and it can precache videos from your favorite channels for viewing later. All you have to do is select “preload” in the setting menu and it will pull down videos from your subscriptions and Watch Later queue when plugged in and on WiFi. To actually view them later you will still need to be online, but they’ll load instantly from the device’s storage instead of streaming.
Another new feature is integrated remote functionality to control playback on connected TVs and other devices. This apparently extends to more than just Google TV, as we’re told to “expect more updates later” on how this feature will become broadly available. If you’re not rocking the latest Android software don’t freak out yet, as the team indicates these features will come to more devices later. Developers should be excited too as there’s a slew of new YouTube APIs available, hit the source links below to check them out or download the app yourself.
The Xperia miro’s moved up its coming-out party a whole nine days thanks to Sony Mobile’s Facebook campaign. Loaded with ICS, the phone is outfitted with a 3.5-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing “chat cam” and comes in shades of black, gold, pink and silver. Integrated Facebook features and customizable illuminations are also promised, but the lid hasn’t been lifted on more detailed specs. As of now, the social-minded phone is only slated for release in Europe, but look out below for some additional glamour shots or head past the break for the video unveiling.
Sony Xperia GX packs 13-megapixel camera and 4.6-inch HD display, joined by Xperia SX to offer LTE in Japan
Sony’s announced its first two LTE-capable phones for its Japanese customers — and there’s two of ‘em. The Xperia GX is up first, with a 720p 4.6-inch display squeezed in alongside a new 13-megapixel camera — a first for Sony’s mobile family, and presumably its new CMOS sensor. A 1.5 GHz dual-core processor ensures it should all tick along nicely, while the hardware design follows the curves of last year’s Xperia Arc, this time with a matte finish. The camera upgrade and huge screen makes a good case for this to be Sony’s new flagship device — mere months since the Xperia S debuted in Europe — and before the Xperia Ion has even had chance to launch in the US.
It’s joined by the Xperia XS, which Sony claims is the world’s lightest LTE capable handset, weighing in at just under 100g. It packs a smaller 3.7-inch screen with the same Mobile Bravia engine found on its bigger brother — and the rest of Sony’s recent handsets. It’s joined by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor (although there’s no specifics on what type just yet), a more standard 8-megapixel camera and it wouldn’t be a Japanese phone without infrared connectivity, mobile wallet and a mobile TV — they’re all built-in. Both phones will launch in black and white, and Android fans can rest easy, as they’ll both arrive with Android 4.0 installed when they hit stores in Japan this summer.
So enthused with the Galaxy S III that you want to know exactly when in the summer Americans can buy one? You can follow us, of course, but Samsung has you covered with a sign-up page that will take your vitals with promises that you’ll “get the latest on the Next Galaxy.” We wouldn’t read too much into seeing AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and others in the list of carriers to choose from, though. Samsung has run identical sign-up campaigns in the US before, and it focused the initial Galaxy S II launch on three major carriers rather than carpet bombing every network at once.
Sammy’s latest marketing ploy kicked off with a string of nonsense that could just as easily have come from the Sunday morning jumble: “Destination: tgeltaayehxnx,” declared the Samsung Mobile Twitter account. Anagram wizards will read that as, “the next Galaxy,” and wouldn’t you know it, it’s also the URL for an auspicious countdown clock. Sammy promises to let visitors take “the next step” in about 17 hours and counting. Bonafide internet sleuths can find an extra carrot strung up in the site’s source, reading, “discover how Samsung is about to challenge the way you view the Galaxy once more.” Is Samsung about to break its own May 3rd unveiling? We’ll let you know in 16 hours and change.
Update: It seems like that ticker just might be counting down to some sort of anagram guessing game, according to an Engadget tipster who partook in some directory diving. Among a series of assets of different colored lettered tiles he found images with instructions warnings, reading “Click on the letters in the correct order to reveal your real destination,” and “Following technology blindly often gets you nowhere.” Ominous.
It’s still only available for Ice Cream Sandwich, but those not bound by an older OS can now download a fairly significant update to Google’s Chrome for Android web browser. In addition to some added language support and broader availability, it brings with it the ability to select desktop versions of websites, save bookmarks to your home screen as a shortcut, and download files to your device, plus options to choose which apps handle certain links. As before, it remains a beta, and it’s tailored to suit both Android smartphones and tablets.
After months of rumors Samsung has officially announced the world will meet the next Galaxy phone in London on May 3rd with this invite, first received by Dutch site Tweakers.net. While most speculation will immediately focus around something we’re expecting to arrive as the Galaxy S III, the BlackBerry World-spoiling invite we received is conspicuously devoid of details like name or specifications. The Galaxy S I and II are already million unit sellers many times over since they got started two years ago and have lead the Android pack as of late, so what will Samsung do to top itself this time? (Answer: not 3D, and it’s probably a little too late for the Continuum to make another run at the secondary OLED gimmick.) There’s just 17 days left until we find out for sure.
Fiddling with updates this evening? If so, you may notice your Gmailapp begging for a refresh, as Google has revised its famed email program to bring the Ice Cream Sandwich experience to Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) users. Specifically, it’ll allow you to swipe to move between newer and older conversations, tap to access Recent labels, set custom notifications for individual labels and sync the last 30 days of messages so you can read and search messages faster both online and offline. As for Android 2.2 and 2.3 users, they’ll see a new labels API for third-party app developers as well as nondescript “performance improvements.” If you needed any help, the download link is waiting there in the source.
Just when we thought our favorite Android virtual keyboard couldn’t get much better, TouchType decided to prove us wrong by launching SwiftKey 3 Beta. If you’re one of the product’s 30,000+ VIP users, you’ll want to get your hands on the company’s newest creation right now, for free. What’s new? The space bar is no longer required, for one — Smart Space detects and corrects “miss-typed or omitted spaces across whole phrases.” Paradoxically, that same space bar is now wider, just in case you’re feeling nostalgic. Smart punctuation further enhances the UI, with language-specific improvements in tow. In fact, SwiftKey 3 offers support for seven new languages — Korean, Estonian, Farsi, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and Serbian (for a total of 42). Finally, you’ll find two lovely new themes, Cobalt and the Ice Cream Sandwich-inspired Holo. We’ve been playing with TouchType’s latest and greatest for a few hours now on both our HTC One X and our Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and we’ve stopped using the space bar completely. Did you notice? Wedidn’tthinkso. Check out the gallery of screenshot below, hit the break for a demo video and the full PR, then follow the More Coverage link to sign up as a VIP.