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2 years ago

Hands-on with ZTE's line of Android 4.0 tablets

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In addition to its flagship line of smartphones, ZTE had its Ice Cream Sandwich tablets on hand here in New Orleans, some of which were making their American debut. As I said about the smartphones, it certainly appears that ZTE is trying to crack into the top tier of Android devices; if it will succeed remains to be seen.

The ZTE tablet line is driven by the PF100, a beauty we first met back in Barcelona. It’s got a beautiful 10.1-inch WXGA display with TFT technology, along with Tegra 3 and a gig of DDR2 RAM under the hood. The processor is clocked at 1.5 GHz and make no mistake about it- the PF100 offers a buttery smooth, mainly stock Ice Cream Sandwich experience. The PF100 is also packing a 5MP rear camera, a 2MP front shooter, Dolby sound, and HSPA+ radios.

Just underneath the PF100 is the V96, though “beneath” may be a matter of opinion. Screen and most specs go hit-for-hit with the PF100, including the stock ICS experience; the big difference here is the processor and radios. The V96 is packing a 1.7 Ghz dual-core processor instead of Tegra 3 (no word on model), and it ships with LTE-compatible radios. A pretty fair trade off, we’d say.

At the lower end of the spectrum is the K75, which may or may not seem like a big step down compared to its big brothers. If you prefer a 7-inch footprint, the K75 is the flavor for you. It’s wi-fi only, with a lower-res screen of 1024 x 600 pixels. It’s got Ice Cream Sandwich onboard, but this one’s modded quite heavily. Under the hood, ZTE remains tight-lipped on the processor, which is more than likely on the lower end of the spectrum.

All in all, not much news tablet-wise out of CTIA this year, though it’s refreshing to see smaller manufacturers like ZTE are edging their way into the market. Some photos of what ZTE has been up to follow the break.

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2 years ago

HTC One S Otterbox Commuter hands-on

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We just got a look at the Otterbox Commuter case for the HTC One X, but we didn't want you One S owners to feel left out, because sitting right next to it was the commuter series case for the One S. Much like the One X, the One S features those wonderful curves and no one wants to ruin that by adding some ugly or bulky case, even if they are adding protection. In the past Otterbox cases have been kind of bland in design, and very industrial looking, but it appears as though that is gone.

Following the curves of the device the Commuter series case offers great protection for users who wish to keep their device safe and sound, but does it in a very stylish way. The overall style and flow matches that of the device, which is a key factor because many people are enticed by the design and feel of the HTC One Series. Hit the break to check out some more images, and be sure to stay tuned for a full review.

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2 years ago

Google+ app gets updated, it's beautiful - and iOS only for now

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Google is showing off the new sexy with the Google+ app update, but unfortunately only iOS users get to see it for now. Things like full bleed pictures, crisper sharp fonts, larger profile pics and a revamped home screen are on board, and from the looks of the screen shots it's absolutely freaking gorgeous. But again, it's only for iOS right now. 

Before we start writing those on-line petitions, Vic Gundrota, Google senior VP, has already said the Android version is coming soon, with "a few extra surprises". That does little to soften the blow, though. To be fair, the iOS version really sucked and was in dire need of an update. Google loves to make money from folks with an iPhone (and they make mountains of it from them) so it's good business to offer something for the iFolks. I'll patiently wait for the Android version, and wonder what the extra surprises might be. Speculate away in the comments.

Source: Google; via +Vic Gundotra

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2 years ago

Hands-on with ZTE's flagship Android 4.0 smartphones

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Chinese manufacturer ZTE made a nice impression in New Orleans this year, bringing with them a host of high-end smartphones and tablets proving that they’re playing in the Android market for keeps. ZTE introduced these devices in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, but this marks the first American appearances of its high-end PF112, seen above.

And high-end is an understatement indeed. The PF112 is packing a gorgeous 4.5-inch display with 1028 x 720 resolution that adds up to a vivid, colorful experience. We’ve got a nice 8MP camera around back, and HSPA+ radios under the hood. ZTE still won’t dish on what processor it’s using, but based on how fluid Ice Cream Sandwich looked on the device, and the specs of its lower-end Era, we’d be willing to bet it’s a quad-core model.

One step down from the PF112 is the Era, that is second-in-command in ZTE’s flagship line. It’s packing a quad-core AP30 in-house processor, as well as the same 8 MP camera and HSPA+ radios as its older sibling. Where ZTE skimped a bit here is the display: at 4.3-inches, the Era is packing qHD resolution with TFT technology. Like the PF112, the Era is running Ice Cream Sandwich with little if any customization from ZTE.

As you’ll see in the photos and videos after the break, ZTE definitely put some thought into its Android offferings. Spec-for-spec, the flagship devices match some of the best phones on the market today. We don’t know if that’s enough for ZTE to make a splash here in the United States, though, especially considering the lack of LTE on its flagship line. We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for a release date, and we’ll be sure to pass along the information as it comes in.

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2 years ago

AT&T and Samsung kill off plans to release the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD

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If you've been holding out for AT&T to release the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD you can now give up the dream and move onto the Samsung Galaxy S III. As confirmed by Samsung's Ryan Bidan, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD has been put to rest on AT&T due to the fact that it just doesn't make sense to release the device now that the Samsung Galaxy S III is out there.

Although Bidan stopped short of confirming that AT&T would see a release of the Samsung Galaxy S III, at this point it's pretty much assumed or in Bidan's words it'll be coming to "the fastest HSPA+ and LTE networks" in the country. That doesn't leave a whole lot of options and surely, AT&T will want to fill that gap.

Source: The Verge

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2 years ago

Future of CyanogenMod 7 detailed, new device support on the way

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While much of the custom ROM community is focused on getting the latest and greatest Ice Cream Sandwich-based goodies onto their devices, the CyanogenMod team continues work on the Gingerbread-based CM7. The current iteration, CyanogenMod 7.2, is being developed alongside the upcoming CyanogenMod 9, and a final release is coming "soon" according to the latest status update.

There's also good news for owners of devices that won't make it up to CM9 -- development on version 7 will continue beyond 7.2, so hopefully no-one should be left in the lurch. Finally, the CM team announced that five new devices have been added to the nightly list for CM7.2 -- the HTC Status (aka ChaCha), HTC Wildfire S, LG Optimus ChicMotorola Photon and Samsung Galaxy 5.

There're more details to be found in the full CM status update, over at the source link.

Source: CyanogenMod

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2 years ago

HTC One X Otterbox Commuter Hands-on

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While walking around visiting some of my favorite booths down here at CTIA I came across the Otterbox booth and decided to check and see if they happened to have anything new on display. Of course, front and center of the display was their new Commuter Series case for the HTC One X! Odds are that you have already seen an Otterbox case or a hundred before, so you know what they are all about, and this follows the same design principle. This two piece case has a silicon case underneath their hard shell, and the one I saw was in a rather stunning blue.

At first I was a bit fearful of the thought of adding a case to the device because it has such beautiful lines as it is, and I know folks who own the device wouldn't want to give that up. Otterbox has done an excellent job with this case in recreating the lines of the device through the case, and adding a lot of protection with little sacrifice. Hit the break with us to check out a couple more shots, and stay tuned for a full review!

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2 years ago

Huawei Ascend P1 hands-on

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Next up in Huawei’s Ascend line is the P1, the “platinum” model that we first met back at CES in Las Vegas. Like the D Quad, it was worth another look here in New Orleans, as Huawei added its custom-flavored skin to the device.

I was impressed by the P1 back in Vegas and I stand my ground today. With a 1.5 Ghz dual-core OMAP 4460 processor, a gig of RAM, and Android 4.0 under the hood, this thing flies. Huawei seems to have really optimized its own software as well as Ice Cream Sandwich to run like butter on the P1. The 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display isn’t full HD, but it’s bright, vibrant, and offers amazing viewing angles.

Sure, it isn’t the “diamond” of the line, but the P1 isn’t anything to balk at. It’s beautifully thin and light, and I really like the design that Huawei has created. It looks unlike any other phone on the market, which gives Huawei leverage to really market the entire Ascend line.

The P1 will be hitting Europe and Asia this summer. Like the D Quad, Huawei only had the HSPA+ model on hand, a variant that is having a hard time breaking into the US market. The device is available with LTE radios, which will hopefully better position it to land on American shores. Visit the gallery and my hands-on after the break.

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2 years ago

Google Maps updated with indoor directions, Google offers, business photos

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There's an update to Google Maps available today that brings the app to version 6.7 and adds a couple new features. Google offers has been integrated, letting users see nearby deals and sales based on location, indoor directions provides walking directions (US and Japan only) for places big enough to need such a thing, and business photos offer a 360-degree panoramic view of the inside of participating businesses. 

There's a short video after the break showing off the new tools, and the download link is there to make for easy updating. 

Source: Google

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2 years ago

Huawei Ascend D Quad hands-on

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Huawei had a sizeable presence at CTIA this year, much like it did back at CES and Mobile World Congress earlier this year. The Chinese company looks poised to enter the high-end smartphone market, marking a shift from the mid to low-range devices it has made a name for itself with. Huawei hopes to achieve its goal with the Ascend line, a group of phones that have the guts to stand up to the likes of Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. At the top of the heap sits the Ascend D Quad (the D, Huawei says, stands for Diamond), the gem of the line.

We first saw the D Quad in Barcelona, but things have changed a bit. In the past few months, Huawei seems to have added a custom skin to its Ascend line, a departure from the nearly-vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich experience we first saw. We won’t complain though: things don’t seem to have slowed down, and the skin is certainly not painful to look at.

Other than that, the phone remains largely unchanged. It’s still got a beautiful 4.5-inch 720p display with PPI approaching 330, a Huawei-made K3V2 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, and a “best-in-class” 8MP camera. Everything adds up to a beautiful experience: the D Quad is thin, light, and really gorgeous. It might not have the name recognition of the One or Galaxy S lines, but I assure you, this is not a device to disregard.

The D line comes with a few variations: opt for the D1 and you’ll get a processor clocked at 1.5 GHz; opt for a Quad XL, and you’ll get a 2,500 mAh battery, up from the standard 1,800 variant. The model you’re looking at here is the standard D Quad.

The release date for the D Quad is a bit fuzzy: the model in my hands is HSPA+ only, though Huawei would like to launch the LTE-equipped version sometime this summer, though no US carriers have bit just yet. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that they do, though, as we feel that Huawei is in it to win it. Hit the break for another look.

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