A 100db speaker for £134.99 on Sony's latest budget offering
Just after CES and the Xperia Z1s, Sony dropped word of a couple of more budget oriented devices, including the Xperia E1. This 4-inch Android smartphone has a party piece around back, and has been priced – without a firm release date – for the UK by online retailer Clove Technology at £134.99. Music seems to be the focus with the Xperia E1, with that pretty insane sounding 100db speaker around back, and a dedicated Walkman button.
The budget smartphone space has been getting pretty hot of late. With Nokia releasing low priced Lumia devices, and the current king the Moto G, folks who want to spend less are getting more bang for their buck than ever before. The E1 doesn't match the Moto G on outright hardware and software, with a Snapdragon 200, a 480x800 resolution display and Android 4.3, but Sony is offering its own unique taste on a low-cost phone. Current estimates on UK availability suggest April, and you can pre-order a SIM free version at the source link below.
If you're dying for a red Nexus 5, it looks like they're well on their way. We (and just about everyone else) just got pinged by @artyomstar on Twitter, who offered up a couple pics. Note the colors listed on the boxes as well.
ASUS kitting out the Padfone range with this mid-range offering that comes in Johnnie Walker Black
Barely 3 weeks after dropping a bunch of new devices on us at CES, ASUS has quietly launched another new Padfone device in its native Taiwan. The Padfone E is a mid-range hybrid offering, that looks like it sits between the Padfone Mini and the more high end Padfone X. Oh, and it comes in the best named color ever; Johnnie Walker Black – and Pearl White, but that's boring!
Spec wise, the Padfone E comprises a 4.7-inch smartphone and a 10-inch tablet dock, both with 1280x720 resolution displays. As always, the internals are all packed into the smartphone, and we're looking at a 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400, 1GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and a pretty small 1820 mAh battery – though thankfully the dock has a 5000mAh power plant within.
Details on on-board storage seem to be missing from the specs list, though we imagine it won't be anything above 8GB at best, though ASUS does provide a microSD card slot for folks that like that sort of thing. It's going on sale in Taiwan initially in dual-SIM form with a price around $560.
A Mobile World Congress unveiling appears likely for LG's next oversized smartphone
LG this evening officially announced that the successor to the LG (Optimus) G Pro will be unveiled in February, and it'll be call the LG G Pro 2.
The original G Pro — seen in the image above and which launched with the "Optimus" name at Mobile World Congress 2013 — was the Korean manufacturer's first step into the oversized smartphone world. It sported a 5.5-inch IPS display and was the first non-Nexus device to have Photosphere-like capability (called VR Panorama). LG dropped the "Optimus" name from its brand in 2013.
LG has not announced any specs or availability for the G Pro 2. Mobile World Congress takes place Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.
After two months of regular use, are we still enamored with Google’s latest Nexus phone?
It feels like the Nexus 5 was a long time coming. A couple of days before the IFA conference in early September 2013, I remember being huddled over a MacBook in a hotel bar in Berlin with a handful of other journalists, squinting over a few frames from Google’s KitKat unveiling video and trying to make out details on the back of this mysterious new Nexus phone. The two months that followed led us down a garden path of leaks, rumors and gossip as Google’s next flagship slowly came into focus — culminating in a couple of high-profile snafus that gave us a full-size render of the phone, along with a mostly-complete spec list, days ahead of the official launch.
Yet when the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 finally arrived on Nov. 1 — having been announced a day earlier, on Halloween — it turned out there was more going on than the pre-release rumors had revealed. Sure, the Nexus 5 was a high-spec'd phone at a relatively low price point. But more important was KitKat, the biggest change to Android in two years, delivering a brighter, flatter, more Googley smartphone experience. It was a big step forward for Google’s OS, and one of the most important Android phones of the year.
Since launch we’ve had a good couple of months to get to know the Nexus 5 properly, using it both as a regular day-to-day smartphone, and as a daily driver during CES, one of the busiest trade shows of the year. The N5 is still a great phone, but the extra time with it has given us a fresh perspective. Check out our long-term thoughts after the break.
$299.99 on a two-year contract, shipping February 4
More good news this morning for folks in the U.S. interested in the LG G Flex, particularly those of an AT&T persuasion. The carrier has now made LG's 6-inch curved behemoth available to pre-order for $299.99 on a new two-year contract. It won't be in hand for a little while yet, with shipping dates currently stated as February 4.
You can also pick up the G Flex on AT&T Next from $26.73 a month, or with no annual contract for $694.99. The G Flex is certainly an interesting device, with that huge display and very pronounced curve on the front, and the 'self-healing' back that LG was proudly showing off to the gathered masses at CES just a couple of weeks ago. With a Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM inside, it packs the sort of internals we'd expect from a high-end Android smartphone, and we've been impressed with our earlier hands on time with it.
Of course, we're more interested in getting hold of a proper, U.S. version and putting it through its paces. If you're considering picking one of these up on AT&T, be sure to check out the latest coverage maps before parting with your money. And for more on the G Flex, check out our hands on video after the break.
When Motorola announced the customizable Moto X on August 1st of last year, they unveiled a series of four wood backs that would be options. Eventually. The phone launched later in August with a full range of color customizations on AT&T, which eventually spread to the other carriers. But what of those elusive backs hewn from natural materials?
Offer applies to phones bought from both Sony and T-Mobile
During the official announcement of the Sony Xperia Z1s at CES, we were told about the pretty fantastic content offering that Sony was throwing in with the handset. What they didn't mention at the time was a special offer involving PlayStation Plus. But if you've bought one, or are planning to buy one soon, you'll get a free 1-year subscription to PlayStation Plus thrown in for good measure.
Sure, if you're an Xbox owner, this is probably the least interesting thing you'll hear all day. But, if you purchase an Xperia Z1s either from Sony or T-Mobile between January 13 and February 12 then you're eligible to claim the reward. All you need to do is head to the link below to redeem, and send Sony a photo of the IMEI number on the box as well as your purchase receipt for the phone. Do this by March 5 and you'll have it delivered to you by March 21.
If you've not yet tried PlayStation Plus, then it's well worth cashing in here. Sony regularly offers members content free of charge, including this month the epic Bioshock Infinite for PS3. Just be sure not to lose your receipt!
Red model pictured as fresh information comes to light
It's looking more likely this morning that Google and LG could release the Nexus 5 in additional colors, after a flurry of online activity in the past 24 hours. First came videos and pictures claiming to show the new colors in the Google Play Store, though these showed telltale signs of being little more than Photoshop jobs based on existing renders. But since then the first compelling photographic evidence has emerged, and one reliable individual in the smartphone community is saying there's some truth behind the rumors.
Following a limited rollout in Russia and Poland, it seems more countries in Europe and Asia are getting the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Galaxy Note 3 today. Reports from SamMobile and the XDA forums point to a rollout for users in the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Hungary, India and Korea. The reports refer to both the LTE-capable SM-N9005 and the 3G-only SM-N900 getting the OTA today.
The update brings Samsung's big-screened handset up to Android 4.4.2, build KOT49H, with new-style notification icons and other minor UI tweaks, in addition to standard KitKat features like immersive mode, transparent notification bars and fullscreen album art. (Updaters should also be aware that some have reported issues getting third-party S View cases to work after the KitKat upgrade, though Samsung has denied any link between the two.)
International Note 3 owners — check for software updates, and hit the comments and let us know if you've got an OTA waiting.
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