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3 years ago

Is this the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active?

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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.

Source: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Sony Xperia UL announced for Japan, 5-inches and 1080p display

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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

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3 years ago

Galaxy S4 Mega, S4 Active and S4 Mini hinted in app update text

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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!

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3 years ago

Japan's KDDI gets HTC J One with microSD slot

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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

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.2.2 firmware leaked with Galaxy S4 features

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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.

Source: SamMobile

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3 years ago

Vodafone Smart III is new own-branded budget offering

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£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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

HTC One production capacity to double in May

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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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3 years ago

Fitbit app updated with Bluetooth 4.0 sync support for Galaxy S4

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

Lenovo K900 now available in China, more markets to follow

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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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3 years ago

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

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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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3 years ago

Sprint's HTC One getting an OTA update

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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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3 years ago

ZTE Grand X 2 In announced, launch scheduled for Q3

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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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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 gets TCO certification

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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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