2 years ago

Vodafone Smart III is new own-branded budget offering


£95 up-front gets you Jelly Bean on a 4-inch screen

If you were wondering just how much smartphone you can get for under £100, Vodafone UK has your answer. The Vodafone Smart III is the latest entrant in the operator's Smart line, coming with mostly vanilla Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (despite the distinctly ICS-looking search bar) on a 4-inch WVGA screen. It's powered by an unnamed 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM, and packs 5-megapixel rear camera, so there's nothing too fancy going on under the hood. But it's an attractive enough design, and we always like to see more vanilla Android out there.

The Vodafone Smart III sells for £95 outright on PAYG, and is given away for free on contracts starting at £13 per month. The device is on sale now in black and white color options.

Source: Vodafone

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2 years ago

Galaxy S4-compatible Samsung TecTiles 2 NFC tags now on sale


Available today from Samsung, $15 for pack of five tags

Samsung has announced the availability of its second-generation TecTiles tags, tiny writable NFC stickers that can be used to trigger various actions on a smartphone. For example, used with the TecTiles app, they can be programmed to check in on social networks, or toggle various settings on the device when it's within range.

TecTiles 2 are compatible with all NFC-enabled Samsung phones, and the company says they may work on other Android-based phones with NFC too, though it's making no promises. Unlike first-gen TecTiles, TecTiles 2 are fully compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4. (Go figure.)

The tags are available today from Samsung's online store, priced at $15 for a pack of five, and they'll be starting to appear in brick-and-mortar stores from June. Hit the Google Play link above to grab the TecTiles app, or the source link below to buy the tags themselves.

More: Samsung TecTiles

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2 years ago

HTC One production capacity to double in May


Component supply issues behind it, HTC ramps up production of flagship device

Despite suffering some early setbacks due to camera component shortages, HTC is looking to ramp up production of its flagship HTC One handset. HTC North Asia president Jack Tong told Taiwan Focus that production will double in May and rise further in June to meet "strong demand." Speaking at a news conference, Tong added “We are optimistic about our high-end sales during April and June.”

Tong also highlighted the HTC Butterfly (the global version of the Droid DNA sold in Asia) as a strong performer, noting that sales had increased by as much as 50 percent since a price cut made it free on-contract in Japan. The Butterfly, Tong says, should also be getting a software update with Sense 5.0 and new features like BlinkFeed before the end of the month.

A shortage of specialized camera components resulted in shortages of HTC One stock around the phone's European launch, which had the knock-on effect of pushing back the U.S. release slightly. After a pretty dismal few months of financial results, HTC will be hoping that this increased demand for its phones will result in a stronger set of numbers in Q2.

Source: ZDNet, Focus Taiwan

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2 years ago

Fitbit app updated with Bluetooth 4.0 sync support for Galaxy S4


Samsung's latest now syncs with your Fitbit

We might have to wait a while for native Bluetooth 4.0 support to make it into the Android code base, but while OEMs are shipping phones with their own implementation of the wireless standard, app developers seem more than willing to hop onboard.

As such, the Fitbit app for Android has today been updated to take advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 syncing on the Samsung Galaxy S4, with all the improvements in efficiency that it brings. As Bluetooth 4.0 support isn't yet standardized in Android, Fitbit says custom development work is required for each new handset. Naturally, Samsung's big-selling flagship was an early priority.

Here's hoping support will follow for other BT 4.0 handsets like the HTC One. In the meantime, you can grab the latest version of Fitbit for Android over at the Google Play link above.

Source: Fitbit Blog

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2 years ago

JK Shin: Galaxy S4 to top 10 million sold next week


Galaxy ​S4 could pass the 10 million mark twice as quickly as the S3

JK Shin has told the Korean press that he expects the Samsung Galaxy S4 to pass 10 million units sold next week. Speaking with the Korea Times, the Samsung co-CEO said he was "confident" the milestone would be met, adding "it is selling much faster than the previous model S3."

The Galaxy S4 benefits from having launched across three major U.S. carriers at the same time as the global launch. By contrast, the U.S. release of the S3 took place several months behind the initial European launch. That device passed the 10 million mark in late July 2012, having begun shipping a little under two months earlier. If the S4 hits 10 million next week, it'd mean S4s are being shifted twice as fast as last year's S3. It'd also make it Samsung's fastest-selling smartphone, the Korea Times notes.

The last set of shipment numbers reported in the Korean press suggested 6 million GS4s had shipped as of May 10. Today's Korea Times article refers to units sold, not units shipped, so it's possible the distinction may have been lost in translation. Either way, that's a lot of Galaxy S4s.

Source: Korea Times; via: Engadget

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2 years ago

Lenovo K900 now available in China, more markets to follow


Pricing set in retail and online at RMB 3,299 for Chinese launch

We've been getting looks at the latest high-end Intel device from Lenovo, the K900, since all the way back at CES and it's finally ready to make its debut in China. Starting today both online and in retail stores, the K900 will go up for sale for 3,299 Yuan (about $536). If you'll recall back to our previous hands-on with the device, the K900 has a very flashy stainless steel construction with a couple of cool color options, and has many of the high-end specs you'd expect. We're looking at an Intel Atom Z2580 dual-core 2GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch 1080P display and 13MP (f/1.8) Sony Exmor camera sensor. For software, Lenovo is shipping the K900 with Android 4.2 on-board, which is a good sign, along with its own set of customizations integrated.

Lenovo says that the launch is just in China for now, where it has done pretty well in the past, but that there are additional international markets that will see the device as we move through the summer. Given Lenovo's previous device launches, we still wouldn't expect to see this one head to the U.S. in any capacity.

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2 years ago

Sony 'Xperia UL' could be headed to Japan's KDDI AU


Codename 'Gaga' device pictured, rumored to pack Snapdragon 600 CPU, 1080p display

Things could be getting a bit more crowded at the high end of Sony's smartphone range. Recently-leaked images obtained by Chinese site CNMO suggest that a new handset may be on the way. The "Xperia UL" -- previously known by its codename "Gaga" -- is shown in images that seem to have been taken during regulatory testing of the device. From the front and back the "UL" looks a lot like the Xperia ZL, with a similarly curved back and featureless front. From the side we can also see Sony's iconic round power button.

But unlike the ZL, the Xperia UL seems to feature a removable battery door, allowing access to a 2300mAh juicer. Other specs reported by CNMO include a Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 1080p display of unknown size.

The branding on the back suggests it'll be headed to KDDI AU in Japan, so there's nothing yet to indicate a wider global launch. We suspect the next major Sony launch for the west might be the rumored "Honami," said to include Cyber-shot-inspired optics in a 20-megapixel rear camera.

Source: CNMO; via: UnwiredView

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2 years ago

Sprint's HTC One getting an OTA update


Minor OTA bumps the software version up to 1.29.651.10, update is pushing out now

Sprint and HTC are pushing out a software update for the HTC One. It's a minor update, addressing a few issues that the phone shipped with, which means you'll want to get this one installed as soon as you can. Specifics are:

  • BlinkFeed improvements
  • New Sprint Zone client
  • Improved Back and Home key sensitivity 

We expect BlinkFeed "improvements" and adjustments while the service is finding itself, and Sprint needs to keep their Sprint Zone client current. The interesting portion is the Home and Back key sensitivity adjustment. They can get a little wonky, especially when using a screen protector. Hopefully, changes are getting dialed in to make the buttons as responsive as the rest of the phone.

You should see notification of the update soon, and the impatient among us can manually check in settings. When you get this one, be sure to share your experience and let us know how it affects your button sensitivity.

Via: Sprint Community. Thanks, ahaxton!

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2 years ago

ZTE Grand X 2 In announced, launch scheduled for Q3


Second-generation Intel handset from ZTE, running Atom Z2580 CPU

ZTE has announced a new Intel Atom-powered smartphone, the Grand X 2 In. The somewhat clumsily-named handset is the successor to last year's Grand X IN, which saw a limited global release late last year.

It's powered by a 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU -- that's CloverTrail+ for those of you keeping track of platforms. The x86 number-cruncher is backed up by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD. On the front there's a 4.5-inch 720p display and 1-megapixel front-facing camera, around the back an 8-megapixel camera.

On the software side you're looking at "Android Jelly Bean" -- we're guessing 4.1, since ZTE isn't saying which exact version is on there. That's lightly skinned with ZTE's own MIUI-like user interface.

The ZTE Grand X In 2 is due for release in Europe during the third quarter.

Source: Press Release

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 gets TCO certification


First smartphone to meet TCO standards for environmentally friendly and socially responsible manufacturing

Samsung has announced that its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has become the world's first to win TCO certification. The award from TCO Development, an organization focusing on sustainability in IT products, intends to showcase products that meet standards for environmentally-friendly, economically viable and socially responsible manufacturing.

Today's press release gives details of the conditions Samsung met in each category --

In the social category, Samsung demonstrated that it is committed to socially responsible manufacturing and is compliant with International Labour Organization and United Nation conventions. In the environmental category, it was found that the GALAXY S4 was free from many hazardous materials such as nickel, beryllium, and mercury which, if present, would have severely restricted its potential to be recycled at the end its lifecycle. In terms of economic viability, the power efficiency of the charger was praised, as was the smartphone’s industrial design which boosts reliability. 

This isn't the first Samsung product to be awarded accolades for its environmental credentials. Last year the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Ace Duo were awarded PAS 2050 certification by the Carbon Trust. Before that, it played up the eco-friendly Samsung Replenish, which was available on Sprint and Boost Mobile.

It's also the second such award to be given to the Galaxy S4 -- Samsung says its new phone was also awarded UL's ECOLOGO certification.

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real!


The Samsung Galaxy S4. Plain old vanilla Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It's real

Hugo Barra came back to the stage at Google I/O and dropped a huge bombshell on us. The Samsung Galaxy S4 'Google Edition' that has been rumored in the run up to the event is indeed real, and it's going on sale via Google Play! 

This Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2.2 just as the regular one does, only this one has absolutely no Touchwiz on it whatsoever. This one runs pure, un-tampered, Google fresh Android. 

Available from Google Play on June 26 in the U.S, compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile US. 16GB of on board storage expandable via microSD card, LTE, unlockable bootloader, and prompt software updates. Google promises that this Galaxy S4 will provide a "Nexus user experience." Wow. All this will cost $649.

So, is this now the Galaxy S4 of your dreams? 

Follow our live coverage of the Google I/O keynote for the rest of the day's news!

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2 years ago

Samsung says it's already shipped 6 million Galaxy S4s


Four million shipped in first four days, Korean press reports

With strong brand recognition, an colossal marketing budget and plenty of anticipation among smartphone buyers, it was almost inevitable that Samsung was going to see enormous demand for its new Galaxy S4 handset. According to an unnamed Samsung executive quoted by Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the company shipped four million Galaxy S4s between Apr. 26 and Apr. 30, and as of May 10, shipment numbers stood at 6 million.

Of course, a unit shipped isn't necessarily a unit sold to a customer, but the shipment figures do show a strong appetite for Samsung's latest handset among its carrier and retail partners. The Galaxy S4 has benefited from a smoother global roll-out than its predecessor, with Europe, North America and parts of Asia, including Samsung's native South Korea, getting the phone in late April.

If previous Galaxy handsets are any indication, this isn't the last story we'll be writing about shipment and sales milestones for the Galaxy S4. Samsung itself is hoping to hit the 10 million shipped mark by the end of May, the Chosun Ilbo reports.

Source: Chosun Ilbo; via: UnwiredView

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2 years ago

LG 'Optimus it' headed for NTT Docomo in Japan with Android 4.2


720p display, 13MP rear camera, LTE and Android 4.2, though we may never see 'it' outside of Japan

Japanese carrier NTT Docomo has unleashed their annual summer lineup, and dropping nicely into it is this offering from LG, the unusually named Optimus it. But, while the name may amuse, the rest of the device is serious business, headlined by carrying Android 4.2

While Android 4.2 may well be underneath, it looks very much like LG has gone right over the top of that with their own custom UI. Hardware wise we're looking at a 4.5-inch 1280x720 IPS display, a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, a 13MP rear camera and a 2100mAh battery. Pretty tasty, then. NTT Docomo customers can look forward to picking up the Optimus it at the end of June. 

Sadly, if this one is anything like the Japanese version of the Optimus G Pro, there's a strong chance we'll never see this outside of Japan. Ever. Shame. 

Source: NTT Docomo (1), (2)

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2 years ago

Galaxy S4 headed to NTT Docomo May 23, blue color confirmed


New color option for Japanese Galaxy S4

Japan's NTT Docomo will start selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 from next Thursday, May 23 -- and as per the pre-announcement rumors, it'll be getting a "blue arctic" color option in addition to "white frost" and "black mist." The Docomo version will also support digital terrestrial TV broadcasts through a pull-out antenna, and FeliCa NFC payment capabilities.

Besides that (and some branding changes) it's pretty much the same old Galaxy S4 we've come to know over the past few weeks. In case you were wondering, Japan's getting the quad-core Snapdragon 600 version most other countries are selling, as opposed to the rarer "octa-core" Exynos version.

YouTuber mappan777 has posted a quick side-by-side comparison between the new blue version and the better-known black model, which we've embedded past the break. (Quick spoiler: you're going to have a hard time telling these two colors apart.)

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Source: NTT Docomo, Video via SamMobile

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2 years ago

NTT Docomo announces the Sony Xperia A


Mid to high-end handset looks like an Xperia ZR for Japan

As rumored, Japanese carrier NTT Docomo has announced a new handset from Sony today. The Xperia A looks set to fit in Docomo's range somewhere below the Xperia Z -- despite sharing many design features with Sony's 5-incher, the Xperia A is a smaller handset with a little less going on under the hood. In fact, the specs and design are all but identical to the Xperia ZR, a device announced globally just a couple of days ago.

That means you're dealing with a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, a 4.6-inch 720p display on the front and a 13-megapixel Sony Exmor RS shooter around the back. Like the ZR it's also waterproof, and rated IP55/58. You'll also get some Japan-specific features like digital terrestrial TV capabilities and FeliCa mobile payment support. On the software side, it's still Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the Sony Xperia UI running the show.

The Sony Xperia A on NTT Docomo will go on sale this Friday, May 17 in white, black, pink and "mint" colors.

Source: NTT Docomo; via: Engadget

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