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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Tipo mini-review


Sony has released more smartphones than ever before 2012, hoping that strength in numbers will help it overcome Android competition from the likes of Samsung and HTC. One important, but often overlooked area of any manufacturer’s line-up is the entry level -- it’s these devices which attract first-time smartphone users, giving them their first taste of the Android platform. We’re taking a look at one such device today.

The Sony Xperia Tipo is the manufacturer’s cheapest 2012 smartphone -- a budget phone with a basic feature set. When you’re selling a device like the Tipo unsubsidized around the £100 mark, compromises inevitably must be made. But does enough smartphone muscle remain to deliver a compelling user experience? Join us after the break to find out, in our bite-size mini-review of the tiny Xpeira Tipo.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 confirmed across across Canada, still no dates or prices


TELUS, WIND Mobile, and Mobilicity have confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 would be arriving across their respective Canadians networks this fall. It wouldn't be surprising to see Rogers and Bell to soon follow suit soon with equally vague announcements. No dates or prices have been revealed, but a few have put up landing pages in their online store. The UK is going to be getting the Galaxy Note 2 in mid-October for £546, while the American version won't be around until mid-November. That should give us an idea of what to expect in Canada. 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the amped-up successor to the original phablet. The specs are pretty sweet, as you can see.

  • Network: 3G: HSPA+ 21Mbps (HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps); 4G LTE: 100Mbps/ 50Mbps
  • Processor: 1.6 GHz quad-core processor
  • Display: 5.5” HD Super AMOLED (1,280 x 720)
  • OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Camera: Main(Rear): 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI; Sub(Front): 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI; Best Photo, Best Faces, Low light shot
  • GPS: A-GPS; Glonass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth® v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE; USB 2.0 Host; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40; Wi-Fi Direct; mHL; NFC
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM); microSD (up to 64GB)
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-ion 3,100mAh

You can get a closer look at the device in our hands-on video over here. Canadians, any of you interested in picking up the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, or is it still way too big? 

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4 years ago

Gameloft teases Modern Combat 4 at Tokyo Game Show


Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour was teased at the Tokyo Game Show by Gameloft the other day. While we might not all be particularly happy with the "I <3 iPhone" sessions where this video was aired, and the quality of the graphics and gameplay are hard to make out from this ground-floor video, it will be exciting to see how much has improved since Modern Combat 3. 

While the storyline isn't anything particularly riveting or original, games like this tend to push the outer limits of what's graphically possible on current smartphones, and I can only imagine Modern Combat 4 will continue to push the envelope.

Gameloft themselves haven't made an official unveiling through any of their channels, but we can likely expect them to make a bigger splash with their next title soon enough. Any gamers put a lot of time into Modern Combat 3? What would you like to see in the sequel?


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4 years ago

Chameleon launcher review


Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Chameleon released its widget-heavy launcher for Android tablets last week. The unified look and feel of the widgets make for a great show, and the context-based triggers for home screen launches are cool, but how easy is it to get along with most of your apps tucked away in a dock?

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4 years ago

LG Optimus G 13-megapixel sample pictures


One of the more important features of the LG Optimus G -- of any current smartphone, really -- is the camera. The Optimus G actually will come in a couple flavors. We took the 13-megapixel smartphone for a test-drive last week in Seoul, South Korea. Other regions will see an 8-megapixel shooter, with the added bonus that it gives the phone a slightly slimmer profile.

So how'd the camera perform? Pretty well. We do have to keep in mind that we were using a preproduction unit, but we were told the camera should be pretty darn close to the experience we'll have in a retail unit.  But the camera app was decent enough and had all the usual bells and whistles in the usual places.

Our one main concern was that a number of our pics seemed to be a little hazy. We tracked that down to our greasy fingerprints on the lens, and we found ourselves having to constantly wipe it down before taking a clear picture. That's not something we have to do with every device. (Or maybe we should be more worried about it?) It'll be interesting to see if that's just us holding it wrong, or if others of you will muck it up just as much.

Anyhoo. We've got a bevy of sample pics after the break. Some are in HDR, but we're not going to tell you which ones. The HDR mode actually seems to be kind of weak, so we're curious if you can spot it in action. 

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia T arrives at Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U in the UK


A little ahead of schedule, Sony’s new international flagship, the Xperia T, is now available in the UK. Phones4U and the Carphone Warehouse are offering the device on-contract through their respective websites. Both retailers are selling the Xperia T with O2, Vodafone and Orange contracts, starting at £26 per month. That’ll get you 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 750MB of data on Orange through CPW, though if you don’t mind parting with an extra £2.50 per month, P4U will hook you up with 1GB of data, 600 minutes and 3000 texts.

There’s currently no way to buy an unlocked Xperia T online through these retailers, and independent online stores aren’t expecting stock until October. However, we called around a few of our local Phones4U stores, and it seems they’re more than willing to sell you a SIM-free Xperia T when it arrives in-store this Thursday. The Carphone Warehouse stores we contacted were unsure as to when stock would arrive, or if SIM-free sales would be allowed. Neither chain was able to give us any SIM-free pricing details.

Meanwhile, XperiaBlog reports that the Xperia T has gone on sale in Germany, where it’s available through O2. Over there, handset’s currently priced at €449 on Pay As You Go.

via XperiaBlog

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4 years ago

Sprint announces new 4G LTE cities


Sprint this morning announced a handful of new 4G LTE locales. They are:

  • Lawrence, Kan.
  • Topeka, Kan.
  • Wichita, Kan.
  • Waukegan-Lake County, Ill.
  • Barnstable-Hyannis/Mid-Cape, Mass.

Sprint also said New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are seeing improved 3G coverage.

Source: Sprint

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4 years ago

Intel confirms next-gen, dual-core Medfield + LTE plans


The current crop of "Medfield"-based Intel Atom smartphone chips has one major disadvantage compared to much of the ARM-based competition -- these SoCs don't support 4G LTE connectivity. Recent Intel-based phones like the Motorola RAZR i and Orange San Diego are 3G/HSPA-only, single-core devices, which has proved a barrier to U.S. carrier uptake. Though these chips boast Intel's Hyperthreading technology for improved multitasking, the chip giant is keen to move into true multi-core territory, while implementing 4G LTE support, allowing it to move into the U.S. market.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Intel's Director of Product Marketing Sumeet Syal said the company was readying LTE products "later this year and ramping into 2013." In the U.S. market in particular, Motorola would be the manufacturer to watch for future LTE-connected Intel-powered phones. Moto has partnered with Intel to develop multiple devices over the next few years, and it's already started with the RAZR i in Europe.

In addition, it should come as no surprise to see Intel readying dual-core Medfield chips to take on higher-end ARM offerings. Syal told TechCrunch "Our next gen product will be a dual-core but again that product will also have hyper threading so essentially… you will also have dual-core with four threads."

It's just the beginning for Intel on Android, and we expect there'll be more to see starting early next year at CES.

Source: TechCrunch

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4 years ago

Samsung updates Android 4.1 Jelly Bean roadmap


Alongside today's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for some Galaxy S3 models, the Korean manufacturer has confirmed that it'll also be updating some fifteen existing devices to the latest version of Google's OS. Though no timeframe for release is provided, owners of the devices below can rest assured that they'll eventually get Jelly Bean, even if the update takes a few months to arrive.

The devices so far confirmed by Samsung as "following soon" are  --

GALAXY Tab 2 7.0 & 10.1, GALAXY Note 10.1, GALAXY SII, GALAXY Note, GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus, GALAXY S Advance, GALAXY SII LTE, GALAXY Music, GALAXY Chat, GALAXY Ace 2, GALAXY Beam, GALAXY Ace Plus, GALAXY mini II and GALAXY S DUOS.

The Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note had already been extensively rumored to have Jelly Bean updates in the works, though we're surprised not to see devices like the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and 10.1 on that list. Though that doesn't necessarily mean they'll never get Jelly Bean.

Disappointed Samsung device owners may want to check out our recent article on the cruel world of Android updates.

via The Verge

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4 years ago

Android 4.1 update for Galaxy S3 rolling out, starting in Poland


Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3 finally arrives, available first as a Kies update

Samsing has started pushing out the official Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for the international Galaxy S3 (GT-i9300).The update appears to be pushing out to Galaxy S3 owners with unbranded handsets in the Poland ("XEO" region) initially, with other regions and networks expected to follow shortly. At the time of writing, the update is being pushed out through Samsung's Kies software, rather than over the air.

As we reported last month, the update will introduce familiar Jelly Bean features like Google Now, "Project Butter" performance enhancements and the redesigned notification shade, in addition to new TouchWiz features. These include dormant mode, for better notification and alert management, as well as "easy mode" for simplified home screen operation.

Owners of the unlocked international Galaxy S3 should be getting their updates very soon, even if they're not in Poland -- usually when one region starts being updated, it's a matter of days before others follow. Carrier-branded versions, such as the U.S. Galaxy S3 models, may have a little longer to wait, as those devices must go through additional certification.

To see if your update is ready to go, start up Kies on your PC and plug in your phone. If you're already up and running with Jelly Bean on your S3, head into the comments and let us know how you're getting on.

More: New features in Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean/TouchWiz update

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4 years ago

Motorola RAZR i review


The Intel-Motorola partnership has been a long time coming. The two officially hooked up at CES 2012, where they committed to a “multi-year, multi-device agreement” to bring Intel-powered Moto phones to market. Ten months and a few leaks later, the first such device, the Motorola RAZR i, reaches European store shelves. It may not have been the bleeding-edge, multi-core, 4G behemoth that some -- including us -- were hoping for, but the RAZR i is nevertheless an important device for both companies. For Moto, it’s a chance to tackle the less hotly-contested mid-range phone market, and differentiate itself through its unique Intel internals. And it’s Intel’s first major Android smartphone from a top-tier manufacturer -- an important milestone for the chip giant in its ongoing war against the ever-present ARM.

But all this talk of important firsts and key partnerships means nothing if the device itself isn’t up to snuff. So just how does the Motorola RAZR i shape up in the crowded and fiercely competitive smartphone marketplace of late 2012? Read on to find out.

The RAZR i is a speedy, well-featured handset from Motorola, and it does a great job of showcasing the power of Intel on Android. Camera performance is impressive for a mid-range handset.

Ho-hum industrial design, last-generation screen tech. Compatibility issues in a handful of applications. Launches with ICS as others are preparing to jump to Jelly Bean.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with the RAZR i, and on the whole, we like the direction Moto and Intel are moving in. They’ve delivered a fast performer with a couple of outstanding features, and they deserve credit for that. But does the RAZR i have what it takes to survive the firestorm of competing smartphones coming this October? We’re just not sure.

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: So long, Seoul


What do you do if you're a company with some good products, but pretty much zero mind share? If you're LG, you pack up a handful of journalists and bring 'em to Seoul for a week-long media tour. That's where I was last week -- Seoul, South Korea, where LG hosted a number of us for the launch of the Optimus G, some closed-door meetings, a little bit of sightseeing, a lot of great food, and a new understanding of how this crazy smartphone business works in general, and for LG in particular.

Meanwhile, the world went crazy for the iPhone 5. Bat-shit crazy.

It's been a little while since we last chatted. Let's make this one count, shall we?

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4 years ago

Apps of the Week - OI File Manager, Music Volume EQ, Official XBMC Remote and more!


Another grouping of app picks that's primarily tools and productivity. We've got an EQ settings manager, file manager, remote app and a few others. There are enough dials, buttons and tabs in these apps to keep you busy for a couple weeks at least. If these aren't exactly your cup of tea, don't worry, we'll have another group of picks just 7 days from now. Either way, they're always worth a look -- you may just find something you like.

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4 years ago

Developers in India can now register to sell paid apps in Google Play


The Google Play Developers portal has received a welcome update, confirming now that developers in India can register to sell paid apps in Google Play. This is potentially huge news for two different reasons. India is one of the most populated nations on the planet, and the smartphone market in India is exploding at a tremendous rate. 

Developers having the facility to be paid for their work is a big deal too. Famously, the lack of paid app support in the UAE became the reason that Carbon will eventually be given away for free. While this nation is still omitted, the addition of India to the list that now reaches 32 is a welcome one. 

Source: Google Play Developers thanks Vishal!

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