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Samsung Announces New Galaxy K Phone With 20.7 Megapixel Camera

April 30, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Gaming

Expanding on last year’s device, Samsung’s new Galaxy K zoom sports a more powerful 20.7 megapixel camera and comes with a special alarm to aid users in snapping timed selfies.

Like its predecessor, the new Galaxy K zoom is hybrid device, melding an Android smartphone with the bigger lens of point-and-shoot camera. The handset has a camera with a 10x optical zoom in the back, using a 20.7 megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor for better low-light picture taking.

Auto focus functions, filter settings, and object tracking are among the additional features built into the device, along with a so-called “Selfie Alarm”. The Galaxy K also comes with a front-facing 2 megapixel camera. In terms of video shooting, the phone can record at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution at 60p.

Outside of its camera functions, the Galaxy K has a similar look to Samsung’s latest flagship phone the Galaxy S5, and has a textured back. The Galaxy K, however, has a smaller display at 4.8-inch, with a pixel resolution at only 1280 by 720.

The phone doesn’t have the fingerprint sensor found in Galaxy S5, but does feature the same “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to help prolong battery life.

Inside the handset is a Samsung “hexacore” chip that uses both a 1.3 GHz quad-core and 1.7 GHz dual-core processors. The phone has 2GB of RAM, and only 8GB of memory, but a microSD slot for expandable storage.

As a hybrid device, the phone still retains much of the thickness of last year’s Galaxy S4 Zoom, bulging at 20.2 mm. But the phone weighs 8 grams less at 200 grams.

The Galaxy K zoom will be available globally in May. Pricing will be given when the product launches.


ZTE Debuts 6.4 Inch Smartphone With 13 Megapixel Camera

March 26, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Those who really enjoy taking selfies might be interested in the latest handset from ZTE, a smartphone that the Chinese company claims is the world’s first with a 13-megapixel front-facing camera.

Called the Nubia X6, the 6.4-inch smartphone has the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, and a massive 4250 mAh battery. In addition, it has two 13-megapixel cameras, one in the front, the other in the back.

The X6 joins thegrowing number of 6-in. smartphones starting to appear on the market. It has a 1080p screen that packs in 344 pixels per inch. The aluminum-cased handset also has dual speakers, slots for two SIM cards, and comes in configurations with either 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM.

Like other handset makers, ZTE is highlighting the phone’s cameras as a way to attract consumers. The X6′s rear-facing camera uses an “EXMOR RS” imaging sensor from Sony that helps it take pictures in low light levels to the point that it can capture clear photos of stars in the night sky.

The phone runs Android 4.3 with ZTE’s Nubia 2.0 user interface. ZTE incorporated a split screen function so that users can view separate apps at the same time on the large screen.

The phone is the latest device to carry the Nubia name, a newly established brand ZTE hopes will distinguish itself in a market already crowded with rivals. To raise its profits, the company is increasingly developing more high-end devices at higher price points.

ZTE will start selling the phone first in China, with pre-orders beginning on March 25. But the company will probably roll out the device to other markets later in the year, said a ZTE spokeswoman.


HP New Slate Tablets Running Android Jellybean Go On Sale

December 4, 2013 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Hewlett-Packard’s latest Android tablets with multiple screen sizes are available via the company’s website.

The tablets run Android 4.2, code-named Jellybean, and are listed at the company’stablet page. The list includes the $199.99 Slate 7 Extreme with a 7-inch screen, the $329.99 Slate 8 Pro with an 8-inch screen, and the $299.99 Slate 10 HD with a 10.1-inch screen.

The Slate 8 Pro offers 11.5 hours of battery and has the hardware to provide 4K video and gaming. The tablet has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, which has a graphics processor capable of handling 4K video. The screen can display images at a 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution. An HDMI port allows the tablet to be connected to TVs for 4K video. Other features include an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 720p front camera, 16GB of internal storage and a 1GB of RAM.

The Slate 10 HD offers 10 hours of battery and is meant for Web surfing and basic multimedia use. The screen displays images at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It has a dual-core Marvell PXA986 ARM-based chip, 16GB of storage, a high-definition front camera and a five-megapixel back camera. Other specifications include 1GB of DRAM and a micro-SD slot.

The Slate 7 Extreme is listed at the site, but is out of stock. The tablet offers 10.5 hours of battery life, and as the product name suggests, it is meant for entertainment and high-definition video. It has a Tegra 4 chip, making it capable of processing 4K video. Other features include a 1280 x 800-pixel screen, 16GB of storage, an HDMI slot, a five-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera.

The entry-level $149.99 Slate 7 Plus tablet, which is an upgrade from an earlier Slate 7 that was discontinued earlier this year, is also available. The Slate 7 Plus has 8GB of storage and an older Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Other features include a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The tablet offers six to seven hours of battery life.

All of the tablets have Wi-Fi and micro SD slots.



HP Offering $169 Slate 7 Android tablet

April 29, 2013 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Hewlett-Packard on Friday began shipping its $169.99 Slate 7 tablet with Android 4.1, which suggests the company’s re-entry into the consumer tablet market after the TouchPad failure in 2011.

The tablet became available first in the U.S. through its website. The tablet is also available for order on the company’s U.K. website, and is scheduled to ship on May 1.

The Slate 7 weighs 370 grams, offers five hours of battery life on video playback, and is the company’s first tablet with Android OS. The 7-inch screen displays images at a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The tablet has 8GB of internal storage, but has a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. It has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running at 1.4GHz and key features include a 3-megapixel back camera, a VGA front camera and Wi-Fi. Other features include Beats audio, which is also found on HP’s laptops and desktops.

HP hopes buyers will choose its aggressively priced tablet over other Android tablets like Google’s Nexus, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which are priced at $199. But HP’s well-entrenched rivals offer a suite of services and content including music and movies along with the tablets. HP is relying on Google for delivery of music, movies and TV shows to its tablets, but has said it could offer its own cloud service when the time is right.

Slate 7 is HP’s first consumer tablet offering since the 2011 debacle of the webOS-based TouchPad tablet, which was nixed after HP that year announced it would either sell or spin off its Personal Systems Group, which dealt in PCs and tablets. In a fire sale, HP sold off its remaining TouchPad tablets at prices starting at $99 and people lined up outside stores to buy the product. HP ultimately retained the PS, and sold off the webOS assets to LG in February this year.

Analysts have said that the tablet’s price, specifications and HP brand name are attractive.

HP has said it is experimenting with different screen sizes, and has said more consumer tablets would be released this year. HP also offers business tablets like the ElitePad 900 based on Windows 8. The $649 Envy X2 with Windows 8 is a hybrid that can be used as a tablet or a laptop.




Toshiba Claims Excite LE Is World’s Thinnest Tablet

February 29, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Toshiba will begin shipping its new product,the Excite LE tablet next week, which the company claims will be the thinnest tablet yet.

It has a 10.1-inch display, is 0.3 inches (7.7 mm) thick and weighs 1.18 pounds (535 grams). By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2, which also has a 10.1-inch display, is 0.38 inches thick and weighs 1.3 pounds. Apple’s iPad 2, which has a 9.7-inch screen, is 0.34 inches thick and weighs 1.33 pounds.

The Excite LE will be priced at $529.99 for a 16GB model and $599.99 for a 32GB model, and will initially ship only in the U.S. That’s a bit pricier than the iPad 2, which is $499 for the 16GB model. Apple is expected to announce a new version of the iPad next week.

A Toshiba spokeswoman couldn’t confirm any plans to sell the Excite LE outside of the U.S., but said variants of the device could show up in other countries.

The tablet runs the Android 3.2 OS and will be upgraded to Android 4.0 in the spring. It gives up to eight hours of battery life, according to Toshiba, and runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP 4430 processor from Texas Instruments. Features include front and rear-facing cameras, and micro-USB and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ports.

Toshiba already offers Android tablets with 7-inch and 10-inch screens.


Sprint To Sell $100 ZTE Tablet

February 3, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint is debuting one of the lowest cost tablets on the market — a ZTE tablet with midrange specs — but you’ll have to sign a two-year service contract to get the low $100 price tag.

The 7-inch ZTE Optik runs Android 3.2, instead of the most recent version of the OS known as Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). It operates on Sprint’s 3G network, but not its faster WiMax network.

The Optik’s hardware is decent, if not top of the line. It has WXGA 1280X800 resolution, a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It features a rear facing 5-megapixel camera and front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video calls.

The tablet comes loaded with the Swype typing application, Sprint TV and a host of Google apps including Gmail, Maps with Navigation and Google Books. It has an expandable memory slot that accepts microSD cards as large as 32GB.

It has an outdated Wi-Fi radio that supports 802.11 b/g but not 802.11n.

Sprint will start selling the Optik on Sunday from its stores or online for $100 with a two-year contract. Without a contract it will run $350. Contract options include $20 for 1GB of data, $35 for 3GB and $80 for 12 GB.

The Optik is ZTE’s first tablet in North America.


AT&T Finally Getting Its First LTE Phones Next Week

November 1, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T is gearing up to add the one important component that has been missing from its LTE rollout: smartphones.

The HTC Vivid and the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket will both arrive Nov. 6 and will represent the first AT&T smartphones to have LTE connectivity. Both devices run on Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) and feature dual-core processors, 4.5-inch display screens and 8-megapixel cameras capable of filming 1080 HF video. The Skyrocket is slightly more expensive at $250 while the Vivid is priced at $200.

AT&T officially launched its LTE network in five markets last summer and the carrier has been steadily expanding into more markets ever since. The carrier will launch services in Boston, Washington, Baltimore and Athens, Ga., on Nov. 6 and has plans to launch LTE in 15 markets covering 70 million Americans by the end of the year. LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution, is essentially a bridge from 3G technologies such as HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev. A to the 4G IMT-Advanced technologies that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says will deliver consistent speeds in the 100Mbps range.

Rival carrier Verizon first launched its LTE network in December 2010 and has since expanded it to cover all major U.S. markets. The carrier estimates that its LTE network will cover around 185 million Americans by the end of this year and that it will have upgraded its entire 3G footprint to LTE by the end of 2013.

Until its first launch earlier this year, AT&T waited patiently to get its LTE network up and running and it consistently tried to get more mileage through upgrading its current HSPA+ network. But while HSPA+ does deliver significantly higher speeds than legacy HSPA or EV-DO Rev. A 3G networks, it is simply no match for LTE as a mobile broadband technology.

LG Tries To Revive Mobile Business With New 4G Phone

October 10, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

LG Electronics Inc, the world’s No.3 mobile phone  maker, on Monday launched a new smartphone that runs on South Korea’s fast, fourth-generation network, in the company’s latest attempt to breathe life into its loss-making handset business.

The Optimus LTE will square off against Samsung Electronics Co’s 4G version of its flagship Galaxy S model and Apple’s new iPhone, which runs on standard 3G network, during the key year-end holiday season.

The high-end model comes after LG suffered five consecutive quarterly losses from handset sales and is set to report a wider loss for the September quarter later this month due to a lack of attractive high-end models.

LG has been slower than its bigger rivals to refocus on smartphones, and its smaller scale has held it back from profiting from rising demand for cheaper phones.

The firm now hopes its early move to the 4G segment can help revive its fortunes.

“Optimus LTE is our ambitious product that mobilizes our LTE and display technologies,” Na Young-bae, senior vice president and head of LG’s domestic marketing, told reporters.

The model, with a 4.5-inch high-definition screen, has an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. It is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s 1.5 GHz dual core processing chip and Google’s gingerbread version of the Android operating system.

Its hardware offering is similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S II LTE.

LG said it has yet to decide when the product will go on sale in overseas markets.


New Android Phone Can Go 3 Days Without Charging

September 26, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Huawei unveiled a new Android smartphone that the company says has a battery life of up to three days on a single charge.

The Huawei Honor has a 4-inch touch screen, a 1.4 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of integrated storage that can be increased to 32GB with a memory card. It runs Android 2.3.5.

The smartphone has a 1,900 mAh battery, a micro USB port, a rear 8-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel front camera.

The Huawei Honor measures 10.9 millimeters at its thinnest point and weighs at 140 grams. In contrast, Apple’s iPhone 4 is 9.3 millimeters thick and weighs 137 grams.

Huawei plans to launch the smartphone in China, Russia, the Middle East and markets in Asia-Pacific in the fourth quarter Huawei said it will announce pricing details soon.

Huawei has been working to expand its smartphone profile, with the aim of selling its products across the globe. The company has typically built handsets for the lower and mid-market price range. In August, Huawei unveiled its Vision smartphone, which has a 3.7 touchscreen and uses Android 2.3.


Sprint To Be The First To Offer Samsung’s Galaxy S II

August 31, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint will be the first U.S. mobile carrier to offer Samsung’s Galaxy S II, starting Sept. 16, but T-Mobile and AT&T said Tuesday they also will sell the phone.

A follow-on to the popular Galaxy S, the phone will be the thinnest available at all three operators.

The largest mobile carrier in the U.S., Verizon Wireless, notably has decided not to sell the phone. Verizon recently said it already has an extensive portfolio of Android phones and so would not offer the Galaxy S II.

All models of the Galaxy S II will work on the 4G networks of the respective operators and will run Android 2.3, or Gingerbread. The phone will have a 4.3-inch Super Amoled Plus display, which uses technology developed by Samsung. It will have an 8-megapixel rear camera, plus a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing.

Users will be able to record video at 1080p and connect the phone to certain TVs to view content such as videos on the larger screen.

Sprint is calling the phone the Epic 4G Touch and will sell it for $200. Neither T-Mobile nor AT&T disclosed prices or shipping dates for the Galaxy S II.


No Samsung Galaxy S II Phone For Verizon Wireless

August 26, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Wireless on Thursday confirmed that it will not offer the Galaxy S II smartphone, which Samsung is expected to unveil on August 29.

“We have a robust portfolio of devices that offer customers exciting options including the Droid Charge by Samsung which runs on our 4G LTE network,” a Verizon spokeswoman said in a statement. She declined to provide additional details on the decision.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, not having the support of the biggest U.S. carrier means “Samsung could have a more formidable task taking on global market-share leader Apple Inc. and its iPhone.”

The Samsung Galaxy S II is Samsung’s fastest-selling smartphone to date, based on its April debut in South Korea and parts of Europe, selling one every three seconds between April and July. The device runs a dual-core 1.2-GHz processor, includes an 800-by-480 Super AMOLED Plus touch screen, 8-megapixel rear-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras, and 4G support.

Samsung has sent out invitations for a “major product announcement” in New York on August 29, which is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S II U.S. launch.


Verizon Adds LG’s Revolution To Its 4G Phone Line Up

May 26, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Wireless announced the Revolution by LG, an LTE-ready smartphone, will become available for sale in stores and online Thursday for $249.99 with a two-year service plan.

The Revolution has a 4.3-in. touch screen and 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It utilizes the Android 2.2 mobile operating system and comes preloaded with the Netflix application for access to movies and TV shows.

Verizon called the smartphone an “entertainment powerhouse” partly due to the Netflix capability, but the Revolution also runs the Adobe Flash player, provides Dolby Mobile sound and features high-definition video recording and playback.

It also features two cameras, a 5 megapixel, rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera that supports video chat. It includes a 16GB pre-installed microSD card, which is above average for today’s smartphones.

The Revolution is Verizon’s third LTE-ready smartphone, after the HTC ThunderBolt, introduced in March, and the Droid Charge by Samsung, which finally went on sale May 14.

Verizon’s LTE supports download speeds of up to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps where LTE is available. Otherwise the signal switches to 3G, usually about one-tenth as fast.