If you're after a nicely balanced mid-to-high-end smartphone running the latest version of Android, you could do a lot worse than the Huawei Ascend P1. As we noted in our recent review of the device, Huawei's upped its game significantly with its latest phone for international markets. And with a release due in the next couple of months, pre-order prices are starting to appear across European retailers.
Ascend P1 prices at Amazon Germany and Unieuro Italy are set around the €450 mark (~£365, ~$565), placing it alongside HTC's One S in terms of unsubsidized prices (though these are, as always, subject to change in the run up to release). That makes sense considering the Ascend P1 comes close to that phone in terms of raw hardware specs, and it's clear the P1 is going to mark the start of Huawei's big play for the higher-end smartphone market. We'll be interested to see which European carriers the manufacturer's able to recruit to its cause this summer.
HTC has released a brand new version of its OpenSense SDK (software development kit), featuring the new APIs that were announced at Mobile World Congress a few months back. These new programming hooks allow third-party apps to better integrate with Sense 4.0 features like the lock screen and Beats Audio sound enhancements. (Update: the MediaLink HD API is still yet to come, HTC tells us.)
HTC says its intention is to allow app developers to add Sense-specific features with a minimal amount of time and effort. And to that end, it's included some sample code showing how devs can simply implement a check to see what the sound enhancer is doing, and act accordingly. The manufacturer's also added more code in its HTCDev.com Developer Center, so app makers shouldn't have to look far to get to grips with other APIs.
Devs can find the updated SDK and sample code over at the source link. We look forward to seeing what they can cook up using HTC's new development tools.
Hot on the heels of the Xperia Miro, which emerged on Facebook last night, Sony Mobile has announced the Xperia Tipo, a new entry-level smartphone running Android 4.0 on a 3.2-inch screen. Like the Miro, the Xperia Tipo rocks an 800MHz single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and comes in four colors -- black, white, red and blue. Other notable features listed by Sony include a 3.2MP camera, 1500mAh battery "with more than 24 hours of usage time." In terms of internal storage, you've got 2.5GB media space and 766MB for apps. That's way, way less than we'd like, but at least it's expandable via a microSD card slot.
So it's a decidedly low-end smartphone, though it should be interesting to see at which price point this device emerges. Sony's already done a pretty good job with its slightly-more-expensive budget offering, the Xperia U. If the Tipo can push things closer to the £100 mark, it might be worth a look.
Both Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo are due for launch in Europe sometime in the third quarter of the year. Full presser's after the break.
Sony's countdown timer has reached zero (a good week or so ahead of the original date), and the manufacturer has announced its new mid-range, social-focused smartphone, and the Xperia Miro.
Unveiled initially on Sony Mobile's Facebook page, the Xperia Miro takes some design cues from the Xperia Sola. It's a sleek-looking 3.5-inch device with a 5MP camera, and that's about all Sony's saying on hardware for the time being. On the software side you've got Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, backed up by Sony's UXP NXT software. Based on the promo video that Sony's just published, there's been some expansion of the company's "Facebook Inside Xperia" initiative, bringing even closer integration between the phone and the social network (and it also explains the Facebook-centric promo campaign, we guess).
The Xperia Miro looks to be a Europe-only device for now, and there's no word on US availability just yet. As you'll see from our image above, the Miro is a colorful beast, coming in silver, black, pink and gold. If you want to see more, we've got a few extra pictures after the break, along with Sony's announcement video.
*UPDATE* The contest is closed, and we're sorting through the approximately 200 entries now. We'll have a blog post up in the next couple of days with the announcement of who won!
Lloyd likes to travel, and with summer upon us he is itching to break out and see the world. Last year he jumped in your suitcases and pockets and traveled to all sorts of fun places, our favorite being the Googleplex in California, his birthplace if you will. So we think it's time to help curb Lloyd's craving for adventure in far off places, and at the same time give you guys a chance to win the brand spanking new Samsung Galaxy S III. But wait… we're not giving away just one of these, we're giving away FOUR of them! That's right, four Samsung Galaxy S IIIs are on the line one for each of the major carriers releasing the phone in the coming weeks. (That'd be Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile).
You may email us more than one picture, but this is a contest, so make sure you send in the best of the best.
We'll accept entries through June 27. That gives you a little over two weeks to get your shots in.
We'll pick our favorites, or we'll put it up to the group for a vote if we get a lot of great entries, which I'm betting we will.
Remember, we're giving you a phone -- you're on your own for service.
The winners will get to choose which SGSIII they want and we'll ship it out after the contest ends. The contest is open internationally, however please note the carrier choices. It's on you to pick which model will work in your country and take care of any unlocking that may be required. We are also not responsible for any customs duties/fees that may arise.
So that's it. Grab Lloyd and head out into the wild. Show him a good time. Then win a Samsung Galaxy S III. Epic.
The latest update to the Carphone Warehouse's "coming soon" page brings news of the UK launch window for two new Android phones from Sony and Samsung. The Galaxy Beam, Sammy's pico projector-equipped phone, and the Xperia Go, Sony's waterproof and dust-resistant 3.5-incher, are both expected on British shores from July.
The Xperia Go is the follow-up to last year's Xperia Active, with IP67-rated water resistance, a dual-core 1GHz CPU and Android 2.3 Gingerbread, upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich later in the year. Meanwhile, Samsung brings to market the first smartphone with a pico projector in the Galaxy Beam, along with a similar 1GHz dual-core chip and Gingerbread-based software. Prices for the beam are expected to start at around £350-370.
Are those 4.7-inch displays getting you down? If you're in the market for something small -- read really small -- and based in the UK, this could be for you. The tiny Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini can be had -- albeit in refurbished form -- on T-Mobile pay-as-you-go for just £49.90 plus a £10 top-up voucher, from retailer e2save.
While not the most well known of phone retailers, e2save are part of the Carphone Warehouse group. The offer is only available on the black version too, the white variant still runs at full RRP.
The best thing though -- as a 2011 Xperia smartphone, the Mini should have an ICS update waiting when it's fired up. Or, at the very least not too far off. Definitely not to everyones tastes, but should it be, you'll find more at the source link below.
Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S III are now under way (online) at US Cellular, with the 32GB version coming in Marble White, and the 16GB version coming in the same white or Pebble Blue. There's no official word on off-contract pricing, but with contracts and/or subsidies the 16GB version will set you back $199, and the 32GB version costs $249. Both prices are after a $100 mail-in-rebate, though, so you'll be paying more up front.
We figured US Cellular would be getting a version of the Galaxy S III, but hearing it announced at the same time (and delivered in the same timeframe -- "July") as the more-common carriers here in the states was a bit of a shocker. Customers on USCC are in for a treat we think, especially those in US Cellular's LTE areas. If you're thinking of picking this one up, hit the link below for more information. If you're on the fence, read Alex's über-review to help you decide.
On account of the EU's recent decision to impose price caps on mobile roaming, European operators have been forced to change price plans to abide by the new Europe-wide rules. Vodafone UK is the latest network to announce new roaming plans, with the launch of its optional Vodafone EuroTraveller service, along with lower European roaming rates for all its customers.
For £3 per day, Voda customers who opt into EuroTraveller can use their UK price plan and balance on the continent. For heavy data users who travel frequently from the UK to Europe, this is almost a no-brainer. But customers who don't opt in will also see lower rates for calls, texts and data in Europe. Calls to the UK will now cost 28.8p per minute, texts will cost 8.9p, while data will be charged at 69.6p per megabyte. The new rates kick in from July 1.
Unfortunately, roaming outside of Europe remains exorbitantly expensive on UK networks -- Vodafone charges £5 per megabyte in its "rest of world" zone, and other major operators offer equally eye-watering rates.
Sony Mobie's countdown clock for its new Xperia smartphone has counted down more than eight days in the past 24 hours. The clock, launched yesterday on the manufacturer's Facebook page, allows customers to speed up the announcement for Sony's next big thing (we're expecting the LT29i "Hayabusa") by clicking a "fast forward" button, signing up to win the device, and sharing the page with friends. Each click apparently takes 20 seconds off the countdown.
Right now the clock stands at just over three days, though if the past day's developments are any indication, we'll be hearing about Sony's new device much, much sooner.
C Spire didn't specify whether it'll carry both the 16- and 32-gigabyte versions of the phone, but it did mention that "it comes" in marble white and pebble blue, which suggests it'll carry both colors.
Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S III, has received its first official firmware update, bringing the phone up to firmware version LF2. Right now we're seeing that the unlocked UK version of the Galaxy S III is the first to have the update pushed out through Kies, as well as over-the-air. Reports vary as to which route Galaxy S III owners are taking to grab the update, and we had to use Kies after our S III wasn't able to find any OTAs.
The update apparently includes "stability improvements," though we haven't noticed any immediate changes in our newly-updated Galaxy S III.
In any case, the latest firmware also boasts freshly-baked radios and kernel, and it's still based on Android 4.0.4, 'cause that's still the latest version. British S III owners should be able to update right now. Other territories should start to receive the update in the days ahead, so keep checking Kies and the built-in updater.
T-Mobile and Samsung have made the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II live and available via Samsung Kies. Because they have labeled this an "optional" update -- ICS brings a good many changes some may not like or want -- there will be no OTA firmware update. Yeah, we don't like Kies either, but what can you do?
Anyhoo, if you do want the optional update to 4.0.3, fire up Kies and follow the on-screen information to update to the latest available firmware. Besides all the goodness that comes with ICS, T-Mobile tells us there are enhancements to Wifi calling, the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), and enhancements to user voicemail. We're just glad ICS is finally here.
This time on Android A to Z we're going to be talking about LG's L-series phones. They made a big splash earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, and a few carriers in Canada jumped at the chance to sell them, but then they seem to have fallen off the map. I'll admit, even I have to look and see what we're talking about when we have potential news about the L3, L5, or L7. Let's have a refresh.
Imagine LG's Prada phone, but remade for folks who don't buy Prada. The L-series phones are all stylish (and really resemble LG's iconic Prada phones -- check out our look at them in Barcelona) and have an emphasis on good looks. The entry-level L3 competes with phones like HTC's One V and Samsung's entry-level Galaxy phones. It's running Gingerbread on a 3.2-inch display, but it looks nice doing it. Compared to something like the Motorola Defy Mini, you get good looks along with your dirt-cheap pricing. The L5 takes things up a notch to Ice Cream Sandwich and a 4-inch screen, placing it in the middle of the road where most people look first when buying a new smartphone. They'll see the L5, and notice the build materials and design. Finally, the L7 looks to compete with the big dogs of the Android world, with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a high-end smartphone, in a damn fine looking external shell. All three are eye-grabbing, and getting people to notice is the first hurdle. We're really not sure why we don't hear more and see more about them, but we're guessing a saturated market has something to do with it.
Maybe we'll see the L-series phones make their way into the spotlight, maybe we won't. But at least now we all know what we're talking about when we see them mentioned.
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