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.
We’ve had the chance to experiment with early versions of Firefox OS for awhile — just not in Firefox the browser, where you’d nearly expect it to have shown first. At least one person appreciates that seemingly natural fit. A new Firefox OS simulator add-on, r2d2b2g, lets us try Mozilla’s upcoming mobile platform from within the company’s own browser for everything that doesn’t depend on native hardware, including the browser and Firefox Marketplace. The goal is ostensibly to let developers test truly optimized web apps, although the simulator is also a good excuse for the curious to try Firefox OS without the hassle of a dedicated client or a real smartphone. If you can get by the early state of the simulator and the Xzibit jokes that come with putting Firefox on your Firefox, the extension is already providing a glimpse of a web-focused mobile future to Linux, Mac and Windows users at the source below.
It’s not folding all of its apps back into one, but Facebook has now rolled out an updated version of its main iOS app that incorporates some features first seen in its standalone apps. That includes the ability to swipe left anywhere in the app to see who’s available to send a message to, as well as the ability to add the friends you message the most to the top of your favorites — both features drawn from Messenger. You’ll also get the new “upload flow” from Facebook’s Camera app that promises to let you share multiple photos faster, and the ability to send Facebook Gifts directly from the app (although that remains a US-only feature).
Been waiting for Apple to refresh its mobile operating system? Well, the wait is over, as Cupertino has just released iOS 6.0.1 with the promise of improvements and bug fixes. We just grabbed the update ourselves, and among the highlights are: a fix for the iPhone 5′s inability to receive OTA software updates, problems with the phone and the 5th-gen iPod Touch connecting to WPA2 encrypted WiFi networks, and other cellular connectivity issues as well. There’s also fixes for a passcode lock bug, a graphical keyboard glitch and a bug that prevented the 5′s camera flash from firing. Sound good? Go grab the download and let us know how it’s treating you in the comments below.
Update: Thanks to our friends at TUAW, we should point out that iPhone 5 owners will need to download an updater app before they can grab 6.0.1.
Intel’s taking its 48-core processor and applying it to a field beyond academia: the world of mobile electronics. The company this morning announced intentions to slip the 48-core bad boy into future tablets and smartphones (emphasis on future), with CTO Justin Rattner saying the mobile implementation could arrive “much sooner” than the 10-year window predicted by researchers.
Aside from the thrilling world of linear algebra and fluid dynamics that the chipset is currently used for, Intel says it could offload processor-intensive functions across several cores, effectively speeding up various functions (say, video streaming). The availability of so many cores also means faster multitasking possibilities than the current dual- or quad-core offerings in modern smartphones and tablets — just imagine a world where two Angry Birds games can run simultaneously in the background without affecting the paradoxical game of Tiny Wings you decided to play instead. Hey, we understand — it’s just a better bird game. No big. Sadly, few software developers are crafting their wares (warez?) to take advantage of multi-core processing as is, so it’s gonna take more than just the existence of Intel’s 48-core chip to make its vision a reality.
LG Electronics has reported its earnings for Q3 2012, notching its third straight quarter of positive income with a net profit of 157 billion won ($138.57 million) and “solid” performances from its home theater and mobile businesses. Revenue is down from the same period last year, but seeing as it’s actually making money this time around it’s probably still reason to celebrate. On the mobile side of the aisle it reports an operating profit of $19.42 million with slightly higher sales than Q2, mostly thanks to those LTE smartphones it’s been rolling out. Its home entertainment biz noted a rise in LCD sales, with 3D TVs and LED-lit models growing from last quarter in most markets. Looking towards the future it’s obviously going all-in on the Optimus G (although our interests run towards the Nexus G that should debut next week), and also looks for its Ultra HD television to raise its standing as a premium brand.
Mozilla’s love of web apps is more than obvious; we just haven’t had a real chance to try the Firefox Marketplace that represents a large part of the company’s app strategy. The doors are at last open for a peek, although Mozilla has chosen the unusual path of giving mobile users the first crack: Android users willing to live on the bleeding edge of an Aurora build of Firefox can browse and run those web apps in Mozilla’s store. Everyone else willing to venture into the Marketplace will have to wait until their own Firefox builds receive a matching update, including that rare group with access to Firefox OS. We’re not quite in a rush to try a first wave of apps in an alpha-grade browser. Should you be the sort who thinks that even beta releases are too sluggish, however, your gateway to the Marketplace awaits at the source links.
In the fast moving world of smartphones, giant HD displays just aren’t enough anymore. The new hot commodity in the land of mobile is “HD Voice.” Sure, the technology isn’t exactly brand new, but using it over post-3G high speed networks is. The selling point here is high quality noise cancellation, which allows a phone’s user to be heard clearly in the noisiest of environments. The latest device to hop on the bandwagon is Sony’s Xperia T. When describing this feature, the herculean consumer electronics maker got downright emotional saying, “you feel closer to the person you are talking to.” While we’re not too sure about that, HD Voice did impress during our ears-on session. The major caveat here is that this feature requires that both parties have HD Voice capable handsets. So, until this concept becomes more mainstream, Xperia T owners’ phone calls are likely to be close, but no cigar.
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.
The most striking takeaway from a recent meeting I had with Xbox Music GM Jerry Johnson wasn’t the Spotify-like service he was in New York City to show off, but rather what he said about a much larger internal change at Microsoft. Having been relegated to the world of video games for the past decade, Microsoft is opening up its Xbox branding to a larger world of media. “‘Xbox’ is actually going from thinking about gaming in a device to being the entertainment face for all of Microsoft,” Johnson said — a major change from the Xbox name’s place as a stand-in for “the Halo and Gears of War box,” trotted out once or twice annually by lower level execs from the Washington-based software giant. “That’s what the company — all the way up to Steve Ballmer — have gotten behind. That’s why you’re gonna see movies on Windows 8 slates, you’re gonna see music, and it’s gonna be branded as ‘Xbox.’,” he explained. This naming convention carries to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 RT as well — all post-Windows 7 Microsoft devices (and Xbox 360) will refer to music and video libraries as “Xbox Music” and “Xbox Video,” respectively.
A launch event invitation has already given us a glimpse of the ASUS PadFone 2, but Bloomberg TV India caught up with the firm’s CEO Jerry Shen and snagged a video tour of the device before its October 16th reveal. The second iteration of the PadFone packs a 4.7-inch HD (presumably 720p) screen and 13-megapixel camera, which jives with specs on supposedly leaked packaging. Rather than having to fuss with a cover flap to slide the smartphone into its tablet shell, users will be able to dock the device straight into a lighter and thinner slate component. Other details are scarce, but we’re sure to find out more when the curtain is ceremoniously pulled back next Tuesday. In the meantime, you can forge past the break to see footage of the hybrid starting at the 1:40 mark.
Our 1997-era selves would die with envy right about now. Fraunhofer has developed a new generation of infrared transceiver that can transfer data at 1Gbps, or well above anything that our vintage PDAs could manage. While the speed is nothing new by itself — we saw such rates in 2010 Penn State experiments — it’s the size that makes the difference. The laser diode and processing are efficient enough to fit into a small module whose transceiver is as large as a “child’s fingernail.” In theory, the advancement makes infrared once more viable for mobile device syncing, with room to grow: even the current technology can scale to 3Gbps, lead researcher Frank Deicke says, and it might jump to 10Gbps with enough work. Along with the usual refinements, most of the challenge in getting production hardware rests in persuading the Infrared Data Association to adopt Deicke’s work as a standard. If that ever comes to pass, we may just break out our PalmPilot’s infrared adapter to try it for old time’s sake.
Earlier this morning, Google did the iOS crowd a generous favor by flipping the switch on its Street View service to help alleviate some of those Maps troubles, so it’s only natural to take care of the Android faithful as well. With that in mind, Google has updated its Gesture Search to be fully compatible with the ASUS-built Nexus 7, as well as improving the application’s UI, boosting search performance, adding support for more languages and allowing contacts without digits to now be searchable. The new version of Gesture Search can be downloaded now via Google Play, straight from your device or by simply using the link down below.
Samsung has provided investors guidance ahead of its full Q3 earnings report that’s due before October 26th, and as has been the custom, the numbers are huge. It’s expecting a fourth straight record quarter with overall operating profit of 8.1 trillion won ($7.28 billion), an amount that would more than double last year’s results for the same period and clear Q2s $5.86 billion, all on sales of 52 trillion won ($46 billion). We’ll have to wait for the full report to see numbers broken down by department, but it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of Galaxy S IIIs (it ticked past 20 million last month) adding up to reach that pinnacle. Reuters and Bloomberg have predictions from various analysts on how many handsets, RAM chips and flat-panel HDTVs were sold, but if its legal battle with Apple ends in the worst-case scenario, at least we figure Samsung will have enough left over to keep the lights on.
ASUS VivoTab RT 10.1-inch Windows 8 RT tablet comes to AT&T later this year, we go hands-on (update: now with video!)
The ASUS VivoTab RT is heading to AT&T exclusively this winter with 4G LTE — that much we already knew. But how does it feel? Well, it feels like a super thin (0.33-inches) and light (1.1 lb.) Windows 8 RT tablet. The Tegra 3 quad-core processor packs more than enough power into the 10.1-inch, multitouch Super IPS screen to make swapping between apps and other such affairs a smooth snap, and 2GB of internal RAM certainly doesn’t hurt in the speed department either. That 10.1-inch screen comes with ASUS’ “TruVid” technology, which intends to make your viewing experiences all the more magical — the screen looked plenty nice to us, as did media displayed on it, but perhaps not the “brilliant viewing experience” that ASUS is touting. There’s still no price for the device or its non-RT cousin (not to mention those AT&T data plans), but we expect to hear more in the near future — winter’s only so long, right?
Gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer isn’t backing down on its “Project Fiona” gaming tablet, despite keeping it locked away for the past nine months. The company is, however, assessing interest in the concept — first revealed at CES 2012 — by asking fans to “Like” its Facebook page. If the page exceeds 10,000 likes/shares within a week, CEO Min-Liang Tan says, “we’ll work on making the concept a reality and launch the product.” He also says Razer’s whittled down concepts for the device, though he’s open to “suggestions for specs, form factor, pricing, features,” and even “etc.” It doesn’t sound like it’ll make its previously planned “second half of 2012″ launch window, but Razer says nothing’s changed on that front just yet.
As it stands, the device sports a 10.1-inch multitouch high def screen, an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor, an unknown (but allegedly beefy) GPU, and two nunchuck-esque controllers mounted to either side of the screen. It’s also said to run Windows 8 — make no mistake, this is a PC in the form of a tablet. But you still have the power to change it! Do us a favor and don’t request rear touch capabilities.
Traveling is great — nay, amazing. And travel that requires a passport can be even more fulfilling for those willing to open their minds to new cultures (and, perhaps, deal with entirely too much security screening). But here’s the thing — travel is a lot better, generally speaking, with an internet connection within arm’s reach. Things are never more likely to go awry than when you leave your comfort zone (or, you know, home nation), and we here at Engadget have been investigating the best methods for maintaining a connection whilst abroad for the better part of our lives. To date, you’ve got a smattering of options: rent a MiFi from XCom Global, pick up a rental SIM from iPhoneTrip, pray that you can find a shop that rents data SIMs upon your arrival or pony up for whatever absurd roaming fees that your home operator deems fit.
All of the above options have their pros and cons, but the good news here is that your choices are expanding. As the market for ubiquitous connections continues to grow, another player has recently entered the market. Tep Wireless began as a hotspot rental service that mainly looked after those traversing the United Kingdom, but recently, it expanded its coverage umbrella to include some 38 countries across Europe and 50 nations total. This here editor recently had the opportunity to cross through four of those on a single journey, with a Tep hotspot in hand the entire way. Care to see how things turned out? Let’s reconvene after the break.
Just because your Android hardware hasn’t been upgraded to the most recent (or, next to the most recent) version of the OS doesn’t mean you have to miss new features. Google has shipped a new version of its YouTube app that brings the preloading feature we saw arrive on ICS and above devices back in June to Gingerbread and Froyo. You’ll still have to be online to watch preloaded videos from your subscriptions or watch later list, but they precache while you’re on WiFi and plugged in so you don’t have to wait through buffering to show someone Gangnam Style at the bus stop. Otherwise, the initial Watch page has changed slightly, there are more channels in the Channel Store and you can also queue up videos to play later on any YouTube-enabled TV (Google TV, PS3 etc.) device you’ve paired with your mobile.