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.
Today’s no doubt a big day for ASUS: while chairman Jonney Shih is gearing up to introduce the PadFone 2 in Milan later today, we just saw CEO Jerry Shen wowing the crowd with the same phone-in-tablet combo back in Taipei. Just as the recent leaks have shown, ASUS’ surprisingly quick follow-up to the original PadFone is simply bigger and better in many ways, notably with a screen upgrade to 4.7-inch 720p Super IPS+ panel (with up to 550nits brightness thanks to Sharp’s IGZO technology), Qualcomm’s awesome quad-core APQ8064 SoC instead of its dual-core sibling, 13-megapixel f/2.4 BSI sensor from Sony, 1.2-megapixel front camera, and a much slimmer PadFone Station slate — partly because it no longer features a docking bay cover! New owners will be greeted by Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but ASUS promises a Jelly Bean upgrade soon. There’s much more than meets the eyes so read on to find out more.
While the Optimus LTE’s already made its way to South Korea, Japan and the US (in the guise of the Spectrum and the Nitro HD), LG’s decided to give this dual-core handset a new name ahead of its Hong Kong launch at the end of this month. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Optimus True HD LTE. Alas, the “true HD” part here doesn’t actually mean the phone’s getting 1080p resolution on a 4.5-inch panel (which would be 490ppi; yet Toshiba’s actually done it!); but we were told that ’tis really just a dig at Samsung’s HD Super AMOLED technology — you know, the magic behind that 4.65-inch screen on the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II HD LTE.
Simply put, LG doesn’t think that 1,280 x 720 on PenTile counts as HD due to the lower number of sub-pixels; and while it’s at it, the company also criticized AMOLED’s over-expressed colors and higher power consumption in “normal user environment” — for the latter, LG showed that its AH-IPS has a more consistent power consumption across varying levels of overall whiteness. You can see the relevant slides after the break.
Just to wrap up today’s product launch extravaganza in Beijing, Lenovo also threw in its new LePhone S2 dedicated to the phone category in China (while insisting the 5-inch LePad S2005 is more of a tablet, but we’ll let you guys do the debate). This 3.8-inch WCDMA phone is no match for many of the big players out there with its single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 chip, but other than that it should be pretty sufficient for the average user. The specs include a 800 x 480 TFT display, Android 2.3.4, 512MB RAM with 8GB ROM or 1GB RAM with 16GB ROM (neither comes with memory expansion), slightly different casing design for both models, eight megapixel 720p CMOS camera and a much lighter body compared to its two predecessors — we’re looking at a reduction from 165g to just 120g (including the 1,500mAh battery) at 10.9mm thick. Sadly there’s no word on release dates or prices for the S2, so again, come back in a bit for our hands-on photos from Engadget Chinese.
Chinese mobile customers face a similar dilemma as their American counterparts: they have to choose either China Unicom’s WCDMA network, China Telecom’s CDMA2000 network or China Mobile’s more obscure TD-SCDMA offering. Needless to say, this can be a real headache for phone fanatics stuck on a carrier that doesn’t support their desired devices, unless they don’t mind surfing the web on 2G radio (if compatible at all). Luckily, nowadays Motorola tends to take good care of all potential Chinese customers whenever it rolls out a new Android phone, including the Droid RAZR (aka XT910, pictured right) in this case. Read on to find out what these two new phones are about.
Let’s be honest: with the size of a brick and a relatively short battery life, it’s no surprise that ITG’s xpPhone hasn’t quite dominated the smartphone market since its launch back in November. In fact, we haven’t even seen one in the wild, and we certainly wouldn’t have missed it if there ever was one on the street. That said, ITG hasn’t given up, as the company’s just announced its second-generation Windows-powered smartphone. The reason? Well, interestingly enough, ITG prefers Windows’ greater range of compatible software compared to those of mobile OSes, namely Android and iOS. Let’s just leave it at that for now.
Simply dubbed the xpPhone 2, this beast of a QWERTY slider packs a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 chip, along with 2GB RAM, up to 112GB of SSD storage, 4.3-inch display and compatibility with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 — obviously the latter OS will depend on its final release date. Not only has battery life been bumped up to around 18 hours of call time or 46 days on standby, but the phone’s also been slimmed down to 140mm x 73mm x 17.5mm, which is a huge improvement compared to its bulky predecessor. With the touch-friendly Windows 8 on board along with a non-underclocked CPU, we have a feeling that the xpPhone 2 will at least fare much better than Fujitsu’s F-07C; as for the rest, we shall see when it comes out in January next year. And no, it probably won’t run Crysis.
In other obvious news, Android and iOS continue to sit pretty atop the US smartphone market, according to a recent NPD study. The current titans of the mobile industry both saw their pieces of the OS pie increase in Q2 of 2011, putting Andy Rubin’s green robot in the lead with 52 percent and Apple at 29 percent. Newly adopted webOS, and Microsoft’s WP7 and Windows Mobile all managed to cling to their respective 5 percent shares with no yearly change, leaving only BlackBerry OS to experience an 11 percent decline. But the real meat and potatoes of the report focuses on Google’s soon-to-be in-house partner: Motorola. Despite the rosy picture painted by recent acquisition talks, the company appears to be facing tough competition from Android OEM rivals, and the wireless market as a whole. In regard to overall mobile phone share (read: dumbphones, et al.) and smartphone-only, Moto saw a 3 percent year-to-year decline, with its biggest loss coming from Android unit sales — a 50 percent drop to 22 percent of the market. Will the rosy glow of Mountain View “help inspire new paths to differentiation” for Moto, or are we just looking at a repeat of the “RAZR era?” While you ponder these pressing questions, head past the break to read the full report.
Is Microsoft preparing to fill in Google’s old mobile boots? It could very well be, now that the search king has firmly committed to the hardware side of the mobile business. According to a report on GigaOM, MS was one of many potential suitors circling Motorola’s treasure trove of patents, effectively forcing El Goog to swoop in for the $12.5 billion kill. Moto’s portfolio of 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications would have significantly strengthened Redmond’s attack on the Android platform, but it appears the loss might actually benefit MS in other unintended ways. Despite the cheery, public well-wishing from handset makers, insider rumblings indicate a possible mass OEM defection to Windows Phone 7 could shortly be afoot, paving the way for a fierce, three-way mobile OS fight. For its part, Google doesn’t seem too worried about the competition, considering the deal’s hefty $2.5 billion break-up fee — a percentage three times that of the AT&T / T-Mobile mergerpenalty — a confident financial sign it intends to win this wireless race.
The long wait is finally over! Joining the likes of HTC EVO 3D and Sharp SH-12C is LG’s very own Optimus 3D aka Thrill 4G for AT&T, which we first got our hands on back in February and again in March. The specs for this Android 2.2 device (yeah, we know) have remained untouched since we last checked: here we have a 4.3-inch glassessless 3D LCD with 800 x 480 resolution, a 1GHz dual core TI OMAP4430 processor, 512MB of speedy dual channel RAM, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and a couple of 5 megapixel cameras on the back that can capture 3D 1080p video at 24fps, or 3D 720p at 30fps. Other tidbits include 14.4Mbps HSPA+ connection, an HDMI-out port, and a removable 1500mAh battery, all inside a 5.93 ounce package. Alas, no date’s been mentioned for the phone’s US launch, but the lucky Europeans will get to pick up this phone first, followed by the rest of the world “over the next several weeks.” Stay tuned while we keep our eyes peeled open for further news.
First the ASUS Padfone, then the CMIT TransPhone, and now a third phone-docking tablet but with a little extra spice. Our latest contender comes from a Taiwan-based startup dubbed ICE Computer, who has just announced its partnership with ECS over its Trinity concept, a mobile display that lets you dock either a PC module or a smartphone (not necessarily an iPhone, let alone an iPhone 5 as reported by some sites; the dummy’s just for show and convenience). From our quick chat with ICE product manager Jaryson Wu, we learned that the company’s been working on this project for quite some time, though ike ASUS and CMIT, ICE also lacked a working prototype to show us.
So the idea is simple: slide in a PC module or phone of your choice, and you have yourself a fully functioning touchscreen tablet that has an upgradable core — that’s one tick for environmental friendliness, and another tick for potentially more powerful upgrades. But that’s not it, as ICE may also throw in USB 3.0 ports, additional internal storage, and even a fan inside the Trinity tablet, but that will depend on the clients’ needs. Jaryson indicated that there are no plans to launch products under the startup’s own brand, nor is it going to develop its own phone to go with the add-on any time soon — we’ll just have to wait and see what it’ll deliver in the first quarter of 2012. Video interview after the break.
Qualcomm’s back again with yet another set of impressive numbers. For the second quarter of this fiscal year, the chip giant saw record earnings of $3.88 billion, up 46 percent from the same quarter in the previous year, and collected $999 million of sweet profit which is a 29 percent jump from last year. This is no doubt to do with the 70 percent increase in the MSM7000- and MSM8000-series Snapdragon shipments in this half of the fiscal year (compared to 2H 2010), and it should be noted that this quarter also saw the 100th Snapdragon-powered device announced by a Qualcomm client. Additionally, EVP Steve Mollenkopf reassured us that the recent events in Japan won’t have any significant impact on upcoming shipments, so the 30 Snapdragon tablets in the pipeline should arrive as scheduled. Excerpts from the financial report can be found after the break.
Looking for your fibrous dose of gadget leak? Look no further than China which has, again and again, outed several spy shots of what appears to be the Xperia X10 Mini Pro’s successor. Dubbed the SK17i and codenamed “Mango,” this time we’re looking at some proof of Android 2.3 on this little Sony Ericsson slider, along with a homescreen UI not dissimilar to that of the X10 Mini and X8 series. Other than that, we’re not seeing anything new here, though we can’t help but wonder if the unused Xperia Duo trademark has finally found its rightful owner — you know, maybe Duo as in a two-part slider phone? As always, only time will tell.
From a gadgeteer’s point of view, one of the best things about the Olympics is its tendency to bring in new technologies to the hosting city. Take the 2012 games, for example: not only are the London Underground stations getting WiFi hotspots, but news has it that Samsung and Visa are holding hands to deliver NFC mobile payment solutions to the city. In fact, more than 60,000 locations in London are already geared up with contactless payment systems, and right now Visa is negotiating with banks to get its contactless cards and mobile phones approved. For the latter, one such device will be Samsung’s Olympic and Paralympic Games mobile handset that comes with a Visa-enabled SIM card, and it’ll be made available to sponsored athletes as well as various retailers. Furthermore, this alliance will continue after the Olympics, and Visa is rolling out its mobile payment system in many other countries as we speak, so it shouldn’t be long before we hear more Visa handset announcements.