No LTE and limited internal storage, but a very low price on an inexpensive plan
GoSmart has announced a new budget model — the Coolpad Flo — with a very budget price. $99 (the full retail price) gets you 4.5-inches (854 x 480 pixels) of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a dual-core 1GHz CPU, a 5MP rear camera, 4GB of on-board storage and an SD card slot.
Interestingly, the Flo doesn't offer LTE data. Instead, it relies on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, as T-Mobile is GoSmart's parent company.
OK, here's the deal. We can't say the Flo will be a bad phone, but the specs (especially the limited internal storage) will keep us from recommending it. But the idea of a $99 phone, with no LTE radio running on a prepaid HSPA+ network is something we can get behind. Price is often a barrier, and $99 with a low monthly payment fits a lot more budgets than $299 and a not-so-low monthly payment.
Verizon and Sprint HTC Ones available from $49.99 today, $29.99 on Friday and Saturday
HTC has kicked off its Black Friday deals early, giving buyers the chance to pick up the Verizon or Sprint HTC One at a significant discount. From Nov. 24-28 and Dec. 1-7 it's available for $49.99 on-contract for new subscribers and upgrades; this Friday and Saturday that price drops to just $29.99.
HTC is also launching new gold-themed promotion in the run up to the holidays. Enter the manufacturer's #HTCinNYC photo contest, which gives mobile photographers the chance to have their images splashed on HTC's Times Square billboard, and you could win a 24-karat gold One valued at $2,500. (Not to be confused with the less precious champagne-gold model to be sold in Europe.) Two winners will receive the golden handset, and one will also be chosen each week to win a regular, aluminum HTC One.
Price is set at $349, includes wireless charging dock
Qualcomm has opened preorders for the Toq smartwatch, offering the black model for $350 and shipping in 1-3 weeks. We first heard about the Toq last September, when Qualcomm clearly perched it against the Galaxy Gear. Promising a better screen and better battery life than the Gear, as well as compatibility with any brand of Android smartphone, they made no qualms about calling the Gear out by name.
The 1.5-inch Mirasol display is always-on, and said to be visible without any back lighting. Combined with full use of the AllJoyn Notification Framework, the Toq sounds like the perfect wearable for a budding developer or technology junkie.
But the $349 price tag is going to be hard to swallow for many, and while the hardware and software are intriguing, it's not likely to fare well against models from other manufacturers with much smaller price tags. We get the feeling that while Qualcomm would enjoy huge retail success, they are going after the developer market with this one.
For more information, and to preorder a Toq for yourself, see the link below.
Manually updating your GPe HTC One to KitKat is surprisingly easy
Android 4.4 KitKat is here for the Google Play edition HTC One, and as usual it's slowly rolling out to certain handsets via an over-the-air update. But as tends to be the case with some OTAs, not all devices are receiving the update right away. Fortunately there's a relatively easy way to manually load the update onto your device — we've got a step-by-step guide after the break, and the process is actually a bit easier than the usual method of "sideloading" updates. The entire process can be done on the device itself, without connecting it to a computer.
Careful if you're updating on Android 4.4 KitKat, though ...
A quick heads up for those of you rocking SwiftKey — version 4.3.1 is now available. The big strokes for the changelog are bugfixes — the $ sign is back for non-English keyboards — and the option to put the numeric keypad on either the left- or right-hand side.
If you're updating on an Android 4.4 KitKat device, however, you'll need to look out for a gremlin. After updating, the Google Keyboard will again become the default — and SwiftKey won't appear in the list of default options. Two options to fix that: Hop into the SwiftKey app, and that appears to reset it, or choose "Select Input Method" from Settings>Language&Input>Default. Let's hope that gets sorted out right quick.
Swiftkey's got a more thorough changelog at the link below.
Even if you've previously bought FlightTrack and FlightTrack Pro, you'll have to pony up again for this new app
Mobiata's FlightTrack app has long been a go-to app for frequent fliers — myself included. But it's always been a rather complicated affair. There was the original FlightTrack, which cost $4.99. The FlightTrack Pro download added the ability to sync with Tripit (which manages multiple itineraries with ease), but that cost another $4.99. And then the app largely remained unchanged over the years, as far as design was concerned. Loads of functionality, but it was looking stale.
Then in August 2012, Mobiata introduced FlightTrack Free. As the name implies, it cost nothing — and it brought a much improved app design. But it didn't sync with Tripit, which made a non-starter for many frequent fliers.
Now, we've got FlightTrack 5. A single app, which can be yours for another $2.99. But gone is the Tripit integration. Instead, you'll have to input flights manually, one at a time. The app does recognize when two legs are part of the same trip and links them together, which is good. But having to add four or six flights at a time is annoying — and well worth a few extra bucks to those of us that have to do frequently.
The good news is if you have the original FlightTrack (and FlightTrack Pro) installed, they'll continue to work. Also, Mobiata says it's working to make up for the missing functionality.
Vector is our cross-site, cross-platform opinion and analysis show. This week, Ben Bajarin of Techpinions talks to Rene about the growth of smartphones, the segments that are emerging, what marketshare really means, and what comes next with wearables, automotive, and more.
Kobo steps up to 10-inches with its latest reading focused Android tablet
Despite not being the first name you'd think of when considering an Android tablet, Kobo impressed with its first Arc tablet 12 months ago. And now, Kobo is back, and stepping up to the 10-inch mark with this, the Arc 10 HD. We took a first look at this Tegra 4 powered tablet back at IFA 2013 in Berlin, but now it's ready for folks to get their hands on so we've got one in for review.
As with the previous generation Arc, the Arc 10 HD is still a reading focused tablet. Kobo is after all an e-reading company, and so it's sticking firmly with what it knows. On the top there's the latest version of Kobo's custom UI, but as before underneath is a pretty much untouched Android 4.2.2 experience with some pre-loaded apps and a few minor tweaks. We'll go into a lot more detail in the full review, but for now, here's a quick video walkthrough of the hardware and software.
Hot on the heels of the open-source code drop, the Google Play edition HTC One has started receiving its over-the-air update to the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat. The 320MB update is arriving automatically on some handsets today — though as usual, not everyone will receive the update right away. As is the case with other non-Nexus 5 devices, the update includes the older stock Android launcher as opposed to the new one with Google Now integrated.
If you want to sideload the update, we've got the download link after the break.
Pretty big, pretty average specs define Samsung's latest Galaxy Grand
If we weren't already offered plenty of large smartphones to choose from, Samsung has thrown yet another new device into the pot with this, the Galaxy Grand 2. The successor to the original Grand sees a bump in hardware specs, but this is still a distinctly mid-range device.
The 5.2-inch display has a resolution of 1280x720, and underneath Android 4.3 is pushed along by a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1.5GB of RAM. On-board storage is limited to just 8GB but there is at least a microSD card slot to go with that, and a reasonably sized 2600mAh battery.
Round the back there's an 8MP camera, and since the Galaxy Grand 2 is running the latest version of Touchwiz, a bunch of Samsung's own apps and services can be found on the Grand 2 including S-Translator, S-Travel and the Samsung Hub.
The Galaxy Grand 2 will come in black, white or pink in selected regions, and comes in a dual-SIM variety for folks that sort of thing is important to. What we don't have is any word on price or availability. The full press release can be found after the break.