4 days ago
Is this the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?
New pics purport to show water-resistant, ruggedized device with S4 specs
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active has long been rumored, with publications including the Wall Street Journal reporting that Samsung will release a ruggedized, water and dust-resistant version of its flagship phone this summer. Today GSMArena has obtained pics of a device that would certainly seem to fit that bill. The shots seem to show a large-screened device with a sturdy red back and physical menu, back and keys on the front.
A further image confirms the GT-i9295 model number previously associated with the Galaxy S4 Active, along with the presence of a 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 CPU. GSMArena reports that the screen is a 5-inch 1080p SuperAMOLED unit, just like the vanilla GS4. The shot of the back also reveals a remarkably thin handset, in contrast to most water-resistant phones, which are smaller and chunkier. So it looks like Samsung hasn't skimped on hardware specs in creating this ruggedized beast.
The Galaxy S4 Active might be just one of several Galaxy S4 models to make its way onto the market in the coming months. The Galaxy S4 Mini has been extensively leaked, and recent leaks also point to a larger "S4 Mega" variant.
Would you be in the market for a reinforced, waterproof phone with these kinds of specs? Hit the comments and let us know.
4 days ago
Sony Xperia UL announced for Japan, 5-inches and 1080p display
Sony's latest only headed for Japan at present, but packs some good looking specs
Yet another Sony smartphone has been formally announced, but like the Xperia A before it, this one too is destined only for Japan at the moment. Previously rumored, it's called the Xperia UL, and appears to be cut from a similar mould to the Xperia Z.
Spec wise, we're looking at another 5-inch, 1080p display. Underneath, propelling everything along is a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM and a 2300mAh battery. On-board storage is 16GB, and cameras come in at 13MP on the back and 3.1MP on the front. And, in true Sony fashion the Xperia UL is waterproof and dustproof.
The Xperia UL retains some of the same design features as the Xperia Z too. That same on/off button on the side, but the glass back is gone. It appears to be available in three different colors -- black, white and pink -- and is said to be heading to both KDDI and NTT Docomo in the coming weeks.
Source: Sony via Phonearena
4 days ago
Galaxy S4 Mega, S4 Active and S4 Mini hinted in app update text
New Samsung handsets outed in changelog for WatchON TV application
Rumors have been circulating for a few weeks that Samsung is working on a "Galaxy S4 Mini," as well as a ruggedized version of its current flagship device. Today an app changelog entry for the Galaxy S4's pre-loaded TV app could indicate that both are on the way, along with another device known as the "S4 Mega."
The shot above, sent our way by tipster Paul, shows that the recent 5.0.4 update for Samsung WatchON adds "support for [the] upcoming S4 Mega, S4 mini and S4 Active." The changelog has since been updated to remove the reference, suggesting that someone let the cat out of the bag a little early. The S4 Mini name has been rumored for some time, and the device is refers to extensively leaked. The S4 Active name would seem to refer to the rumored "waterproof" S4 variant. But the S4 Mega is a bit more of a mystery -- could the existing Galaxy Mega have been renamed? Or might this be a different large-screened S4 variant -- or simply a typo?
Whatever the case, the fact that WatchON has been updated with support for all three devices suggests that they'll likely include the S4's TV-controlling capabilities.
We'll have to wait and see if and when the Galaxy S4 Active, Mini and Mega emerge. Whatever form these handsets take, Samsung looks set to fully capitalize on the halo effect of its high-profile Galaxy S4 launch.
Thanks to Paul for tipping us the image above through the new Android Central app!
4 days ago
Japan's KDDI gets HTC J One with microSD slot
HTC flagship comes to Japan with oft-requested removable storage
HTC and Japanese carrier KDDI have announced the HTC J One -- a new variant of the HTC One designed fro the Japanese market. The J One packs much the same internal hardware as its international cousin, but with the addition of a microSD slot, allowing storage to be expanded by up to 64 gigabytes.
The HTC J One also supports FeliCa NFC-based wireless payments and 1Seg digital terrestrial TV broadcasts. (There's a new opaque area below the camera lens which may be part of the internal hardware for one of these two features.)
HTC's also debuting some new accessories alongside the J One. There's a hard shell cover with kickstand, and the HTC J One Mini -- a version of the HTC Mini handset already released in China, or a "phone for your phone," if you prefer.
This isn't the first localized HTC One we've seen with removable storage. Last month a Chinese variant of the phone appeared with a removable back cover, microSD support and dual-SIM capabilities. It isn't clear whether the J One will incorporate a similar removable back, but as HTC's already manufacturing this kind of device for China, we'd bet that's probably what's going on here.
The HTC J One is due to go on sale in Japan from early June.
Source: KDDI via Engadget, YouTube, HTC
5 days ago
Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.2.2 firmware leaked with Galaxy S4 features
Lock screen widgets, re-vamped settings, driving mode and more
Samsung has a track record of bringing key software features to older phones with major firmware upgrades, and it seems last year's Galaxy S3 is about to see such an update along with Android 4.2.2. Leaked firmware obtained by SamMobile brings the international Galaxy S3 -- the quad-core Exynos-powered GT-i9300 -- up to Android 4.2.2, and adds many features previously reserved for the Galaxy S4.
New features include a familiar array of lock screen widgets and unlock effects, new display modes, a re-tooled quick settings area in the notification pull-down, a new driving mode and an updated version of the S Voice assistant app. Some of the headline Galaxy S4 features like "Air view" hover-touch abilities aren't included -- that's because they're dependent on the S4's internal hardware.
SamMobile has published the new -- and very much pre-release -- firmware version I9300XXUFME3 online, and it comes with all the usual warnings associated with using unfinished software on your phone. In addition, it'll increase your binary counter (the difficult-to-reset counter telling you how many unofficial ROMs you've installed) by one, even though it's marked as an official Samsung firmware.
If you want to live dangerously, you can find the download and installation details over at the source link. If not, you'll find video after the break.
1 week 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.
1 week 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
1 week 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
1 week 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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1 week 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