ASUS has teased the long-awaited Padfone (not the first time it's done so), as well as the high-resolution TF701 Transformer Prime, in its first two pre-MWC promo videos. The first, entitled "divided we stand, together we rock," clearly hints at the Padfone's "phone within a tablet" functionality, allowing users to plug the smartphone into the tablet dock for a larger-screen experience.
The second tells us that with "twice the detail" comes "twice the fun", and shows a box being filled with lots of small rubber balls which, like smaller pixels, make for a sharper image. The TF701 is expected to build on the original Transformer Prime's specs with a higher resolution 1920x1200 display.
We've got both videos after the break, and we'll be covering ASUS's presser live next Monday from Barcelona.
Sony Ericsson has released an updated beta ROM for a selection of its 2011 Xperia phones, based on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This latest (and unsupported) release builds on the alpha version released back in December with new functionality. This includes elements of the "UXP NXT" user interface powering new phones like the Xperia S -- you'll notice the new app dock and live wallpaper in today's video -- and familiar ICS features like camera shortcuts and music controls on the lockscreen.
Certain radio firmware has also passed certification since Sony released the alpha ROM, meaning mobile data and FM radio support is now enabled, though Wifi and Bluetooth are still unavailable. And needless to say, as it's a pre-release ROM, Google apps (including face unlock) are not included. Nevertheless, we expect it won't take too long for enterprising hackers in the Android community to shoehorn this functionality back into the device.
If you want to get in on the pre-release action, you'll need an Xperia Arc S, Xperia Ray or Xperia Neo V that's fully up-to-date with the latest official software. For download and installation instructions, check the source link -- or if you want to see how the ICS update is shaping up without messing with your device, we've got the official preview video after the break.
Not wanting to feel left out in the flurry of pre-MWC announcements, Motorola has revealed the availability of the international (GSM) RAZR in white in the UK, starting at Phones4U next Thursday, Mar. 1. As you might've guessed, it's the same Motorola RAZR that's been available in the UK since late November, with a funky white trim.
Phones4U appears to have scored brief timed exclusivity period with the white RAZR, so it's likely you'll need to pony up for a 1-2 year contract if you want one right away. But if you do manage to snag one between launch day and Mar. 25, you'll be entered into a draw to win tickets for the Snowbombing festival this April in Austria.
Phones4U's pre-order page shows the white RAZR as available for free on a number of contracts with O2, Orange and Vodafone. The best deal seems to be a £21.50 per month package with O2, offering 200 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB, though Orange has triple the minutes and double the data allowance for £28.50 per month.
For more on the RAZR, check out our review of the Verizon version from last year.
Samsung and AT&T this morning announced the Samsung Rugby Smart, a 3.7-inch Android 2.3 smartphone that should stand up to a beating or a soaking or any sort of other torture you might put it through.
In addition to being dustproof, it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for as long as 30 minutes -- quite a bit longer than you'd last -- and is also hardened against humidity, rain, shock and extreme tempertatures. Specs include:
Operating System: Android 2.3
Display: 3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display
External Memory: Supports up to 32GB via microSD™
Internal Memory: 4GB
Dimensions: 122.4mm x 65.9mm x 12.19mm
Weight: 4.2 oz
Camera: 5MP rear facing with flash and auto focus with HD 720p video capture; 1.3 MP front facing camera;
Battery: 1650 mAh LiIon Poly
Talk Time: Up to 8 hours
Standby Time: Up to 16 days
The Rugby Smart will cost $99 with a two-year contract. We've got a couple videos of the Rugby Smart after the break.
The pace of pre-MWC leaks shows now sign of slowing, as a new leaked image claiming to show the "HTC One X" (aka Endeavor) has surfaced over on PocketNow. As you can see, it looks like an HTC phone. And Sense 4.0 looks the same as in that leaked RUU.
Sales of Samsung's leading smartphone for 2011, the Galaxy S II, have reportedly reached 20 million, ten months on from release. This figure, reported by Korean news agency Yonhap, sees Samsung doubling the 10 million it sold in the first six months of the handset's availability, and reportedly brings total Galaxy S series sales to over 40 million worldwide.
Late last year, Samsung overtook Apple to become the world's leading smartphone manufacturer, and reported some 300 million total handsets sold in 2011. However, the two companies remain locked in a international legal skirmishes which have seen both try to block each other's products from sale.
There's been a lot of talk about Ubuntu since they let it out that they're working on some goodies for Android devices, and it got us to thinking. In the real world (you know, that one that exists outside the Internet we hear so much about) Linux holds a tiny sliver of consumer market share, forecasted at less that two percent for 2012 according to Gartner by way of Wikipedia. Compare that to the five percent of the market that Apple holds, and the whopping 93 percent that is the Microsoft juggernaut. But based on the chatter the past couple of days, I'm thinking that people who read Android Central don't really fit those numbers. That means I gotta ask, or I'll never know. Cue our late-night poll for the evening:
We'll see this one soon in Barcelona, and you can bet that we'll get our greasy hands on it for some camera time.
On thing to note, while this all lines up well with the rumors about the O4XHD, LG and T-Mobile are still mum about any G4X version that may be in the works. We'll poke around and see if anyone has anything to say about that one as well. Just a couple more days, folks.
It's the same four-core Cortex A9 system on chip that we talked about a while ago, it's still just as fast, and still goes easy on your battery. It just has a hip new name that's nice and easy to say while being descriptive about what's going on under the hood. We love hardware vendors who make things easier on us. NVIDIA, which is trademarking the 4-PLUS-1 moniker, says it needed a user-friendly name after getting some customer feedback. Makes sense, and 4-PLUS-1 will certainly look good on a box that holds the next hot tablet we all lust after.
The Tegra 3 chip uses the fifth core in a unique way -- it's active when not a lot of CPU power is needed, and handles things in the background like checking for new mail and watching video. This leaves the other four high-performance cores ready to kick in when needed, and uses much less juice from your battery while they are idle. It's unique, and it's great to see anyone doing things that give us a longer time between charges. One thing we're sure of, is that when all four of the high-speed cores are going, that sucker is fast. They're updated their white paper about the Tegra 3, and you can find it right here.
Also of interest, they also let us know that we'll be hearing the 4-PLUS-1 name quite a bit at Mobile World Congress next week. We've heard rumors of devices from HTC and others using the Tegra 3 platform, and we're sure that we'll see more starting Sunday in Barcelona. Phil and Alex will be spending the week there, so we'll keep you guys on top of everything 4-PLUS-1 related, as well as all the other news.
US Cellular's Samsung Galaxy S II may hit stores on March 1, according to an internal document sent to Android Central. The memo, titled "Samsung Galaxy S II Equipment Launch Announcement" is dated Feb. 20 -- the day before the regional carrier actually announced the device. The memo reads as follows:
The Device Launch Management team is pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II on March 1, 2012.
Samsung and US Cellular are proud to launch the Samsung Galaxy S II a high end 3G Android-powered device. Based upon the success of the Samsung Mesmerize, we have worked with Samsung and [are] now able to offer our customers another great 3G Samsung Galaxy product. Maintaining a strong 3G portfolio is critical to our device line-up and the Samsung Galaxy S II is a perfect fit.
All stores are expected to have the Galaxy S II by March 1, according to the memo, but it also sounds like some may see it sooner. As always, nothing's official until it's official -- we've seen these sorts of things change before. And there's no still mention of an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
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