Now we’re intrigued. It’s a common (if unconfirmed) belief that the next iPhone will support LTE-based 4G, but the Wall Street Journal now understands through the ever-present “people familiar with the matter” that Apple is taking 4G worldwide. Where the current iPad only supports two LTE frequencies and drops to HSPA+ outside of the US and Canada, the new iPhone will supposedly cover parts of Asia and Europe as well. The exact countries haven’t been outlined, although it’s easy to imagine Apple going for those countries where 4G speeds matter the most: there’s been rumblings of talks with KT and SK Telecom in South Korea, but we could also see France, Germany, Japan and Scandiavian countries in the mix. The rumor hasn’t been confirmed, of course. That said, the iPhone was already purported to be using a new cellular chipset — and a number of carriers, most often in the US, have long said they won’t carry new smartphones unless LTE is part of the package. We’ll know the full scoop on Wednesday.
You’ve already seen this little guy in the wild, but LG has gone ahead and made its first LTE tablet very official — ladies and gentlemen, meet the Optimus Pad LTE. The 9.3mm thin slate packs a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm CPU and an 8.9-inch 1280 x 768 IPS display, along with an 8 megapixel camera on the rear and a 2 megapixel option up front. Users can expect an SD card slot that supports modules up to 32GB, and there’s also HDMI connectivity and DLNA certification for good measure. It’s powered by a 6,800mAh battery, but out of the gate, it’ll ship with Android 3.2 — no word on when the latest Pad hopes to grab a bite of Ice Cream Sandwich. The Optimus Pad LTE’s scheduled to arrive first in LG’s home territory of South Korea, but for those interested in a more complete rundown, be sure to check the PR after the break.
Mobile network operator SK Telecom plans to set the airwaves above its corner of the Pacific Rim ablaze with its latest announcement, heterogeneous wireless networks. Leveraging a combination of 3G, LTE and WiFi, the company is promising to deliver wireless speeds of up to 100Mbps to its customers. The network technology, which SK states is the “first of its kind,” can provide downlink speeds that are equivalent to the sum of two independent networks. The carrier will be rolling out the 3G and WiFi portion of this network mashup (60Mbps theoretical maximum) during the second half of 2012, with LTE and WiFi (100Mbps theoretical maximum) coming in 2013. A new handset is — unfortunately — required to leverage this new bit-smashing technology, but SK Telecom has said it will include heterogeneous network compatibility in all handsets launching in 2013. Hopefully this is one of those things that will not take its time crossing the Pacific and landing Stateside.
Well, since Samsung couldn’t get an early peek at the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, the company has simply decided to take a page from Apple’s playbook. A senior exec told The Korea Times it plans to file a request to block the sale of the upcoming iOS handset in its Korean homeland the moment the device is announced. According to the Times, the anonymous exec said it would leverage its wireless technology patents and demand that Apple either remove the telecommunications features — turning the iPhone into an iPod touch — or simply be banished from the Korean market. The knock-down-drag-out war between the two companies has only seemed to escalate in recent weeks, as Sammy has taken a much more combative and offensiveapproach. We can only hope the two get tired of divvying up the globe and declare a draw in this game of patent Risk.
What’s big, mostly white, and set for a Korean launch tomorrow? That’s right, the LG Optimus Big! This 4.3-inch whopper, LG’s largest handset to date, touts a 1GHz dual-core processor, a slightly skinned Android 2.2 as its OS, HDMI output, a 5 megapixel camera, and 16GB of built-in storage. That spec sheet sounds mighty close to the elder Optimus 2X that launched earlier in the year, though a couple of items have also been borrowed from the still unreleased Optimus Black. They are the NOVA display, which can crank all the way up to 700 nits of brightness, and WiFi Direct, which allows for wireless inter-device communication without the need for an intermediary WiFi access point. This big, delicious spec sandwich is hitting its home market on April 28th, but there’s sadly no word on when and where else it might show up. Just keep an eye out for it, shouldn’t be that hard to spot.
Dell has already put 3D to good effect in its high-end Alienware models, but Samsung claims the screen on its new RF712 gaming laptop will have industry-leading brightness, helping it to overcome the dimming effect of wearing 3D glasses. The 17.3-inch screen will employ the same Super Bright Plus technology that stunned us in its Series 9 laptop, but this time at a higher Full HD resolution. The stated brightness is 400-nits — as much as double what you might to expect to find in an average LCD and perhaps even enough for a LAN party outdoors in the sunshine (ok, maybe not). Other specs include a second generation quad-core Intel CPU, 2GB-worth of AMD HD6650M graphics, 750GB hard drive and USB 3.0. The RF712 will start selling in South Korea on May 2nd for ₩2.6million (about $2,400), but it could be a while before it hits international shores. Until then, we will be standing here wearing our active Bluetooth 3D glasses and looking out for a 400-nit speck on the horizon.
Samsung’s promised 3D video streaming service has gotten the official go-ahead in the company’s home nation today, bringing to fruition a content partnership with DreamWorks Animation and breathing new life into many 3DTV sets. The machine-translated press release isn’t entirely lucid on what content will be provided when, but it looks like movie trailers, music videos and children’s education films will start things off, before full-length features and more are added later on. All the new on-demand media will be accessible via the 3D application on Samsung’s Smart TV platform. The United States and Europe are next on Sammy’s roadmap for this VOD rollout, but don’t fret if yo live elsewhere, the service will be available all around the world in due course.
We’ve been keenly tracking the progress of these 3D displays from Samsung, from their pre-CES tease — where we were first told they were TVs, then monitors, then it turned out they were monitors with optional TV tuners — through their official launch and now to their first pricing and availability. South Korea is the unsurprising debut market for the 950 and 750 Series, both 27-inchers, discernible by their design, which in the 950′s case is asymmetric and in the 750′s is all about the thin bezel. A 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 2ms response time, 1080p resolution, and a litany of input ports await the buyer of either one, but he’d better bring a well-fed wallet to this party — the 27TA950 reportedly costs 890,000 KRW (nearly $800) whereas the 27TA750 is an 840,000 KRW outlay (just over $750). Not exactly value models, but those prices will likely change when the pair go international at some point later this month.