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4 years ago

Mobile Nations at CES 13: Day zero


Once again Mobile Nations has assembled at CES, and we've come together with the Cell Phone Junkie to talk NVIDIA's Project Shield, 4K (2160p) televisions, giant phones, low-end phones, and all the rest of the news -- and the show hasn't even officially started yet!


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4 years ago

Alcatel introduces One Touch Evo7 HD tablet with Jelly Bean and 4G capabilities


Not content with releasing 5 smartphones so far this week, Alcatel is also today announcing the launch of a new tablet with cellular data capabilities. The One Touch Evo7 HD is a 7-inch tablet, that can be upgraded to 3G/4G via a removable data module that can be installed or removed to each users desires. 

Spec wise, the Evo7 HD will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean over the top of a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with a quad-core GPU. It's pretty thin and light, coming in at just 10mm thick and weighing 12.35oz. There's a push on individualizing your tablet too with a full set of accessories coming to market with the tablet, such as flip covers, pouches, and colored frames to change the appearance of the tablet. Sadly we're not treated to any information regarding on board storage at this time, and while the specs we do know aren't going to set the world alight, the Evo7 HD could be a solid budget offering at the right price. 

As with their smartphones, Alcatel will be showing off the One Touch Evo7 HD at this weeks CES 2013 event in Las Vegas. The full press release can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

Alcatel announces new Scribe HD LTE and 1080p Scribe X


Following yesterdays announcement of three new Android smartphones from Alcatel, they're back again today with the announcement of another 2 -- the Scribe HD LTE and the Scribe X. 

The Scribe HD LTE looks to be the same device as the Scribe HD that was announced yesterday, but with the added bonus of 4G LTE data capabilities. It's a 5 inch device with a quad-core processor and Jelly Bean. Not bad. 

The Scribe X is a pretty interesting looking device. It's a much higher end smartphone from Alcatel, and packs some extremely competitive specifications. Like the Scribe HD LTE, the Scribe X has a 5 inch display, but this one is a full HD 1080p resolution display. It's packing a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, with a 12MP rear camera and a 720p capable front facing camera. We're also promised a bevy of creative features and accessories centered around creating movies, editing photos and wireless sharing to your TV. 

We're lacking any information on RAM, storage and battery size at this time, but on the face of what we do know, the Scribe X can potentially go toe-to-toe with the newly announced Sony Xperia Z.

Both are to be shown off for the first time during the ongoing CES 2013 show in Las Vegas, and the full press release can be found after the break. 

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4 years ago

Sony Xperia Z heading to three UK carriers, Phones4U releasing in March


Following the Sony press conference at CES 2013, the announcement of the Xperia Z, the next question to ask is -- when and where can I get it? Sony is the number 2 Android smartphone OEM in the UK, after Samsung, so we had no doubts that we'd be seeing it receive a British launch. The good news is that the device itself isn't a carrier exclusive. 

O2, Vodafone and Three have all released statements of their intent to carry the new 5 inch, 1080p flagship smartphone from Sony. Dates are somewhat lacking, as is any indication of price. But, we do know that O2 will be carrying an exclusive purple version of the Xperia Z, along with the black version we saw yesterday. Vodafone intends to carry the Xperia Z "as soon as it is released in the UK," while Three simply says "in the not too distant future." 

High Street retailer Phones4U is a little more accurate with a release date though. In a press release issued by the chain, they announce their intentions to launch the handset on March 1 in store, with pre-registration beginning immediately on their website. That press release can be found after the break.

Update - We've just received word from Clove Technology that they too will be stocking the Xperia Z. They expect to offer it in the same time frame as Phones4U, and currently are taking pre-orders for SIM-free devices. The price is pretty steep at £528, but we'd expect a high price for a device of this stature. 

Sources: O2, Vodafone, Three, Clove

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4 years ago

First look at the Ubuntu OS on the Galaxy Nexus


Here we are, finally, with our first look at the Ubuntu operating system on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's certainly a vast departure from Android, but it is running on Android hardware, and we're all neckbeards at heart. And hacking a new OS onto an old phone is an interesting proposition in any case.

But let's face facts here: The Ubuntu OS, in its form we saw demoed tonight in Las Vegas, isn't anywhere near ready for prime time. It's not just laggy -- touch response seemed way, too, too. Hell, they wouldn't even let us touch it. That's not anywhere near fair to the developers, of course -- we know it's not ready yet. That's important to remember when the first system images are finally released, supposedly sometime in February.  But what we did see tonight was kind of intriguing, especially in the context of a potential device for emerging markets. 

As Jerry pointed out in a recent podcast, you're not going to see an Ubuntu phone in a U.S. carrier store anytime soon. Mozilla's Firefox OS is in that same state of flux, too. But we do love the idea of something different. Something to play with. And so, for now, we'll have to remain content with a brief -- and buggy -- demo.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the ASUS Transformer AiO


We've got our hands on something from ASUS that we didn't think would be around, and that's the Transformer AiO PC. To be honest it's easy to miss as an Android device because this thing also dual boots Windows 8. This 18.4-inch behemoth isn't actually a desktop computer... it's a tablet. The stand and base with the ports serves as a docking station for this device which can be removed and operated fully anywhere. It's got a nice hefty handle at the top, and a sturdy kickstand at the bottom. It's definitely heavy, so this will be more like a room-to-room mover than an out-of-the-house kind of device.

There's a button on the side that flips between Windows 8 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean seamlessly whether it's docked or in "tablet" mode. The Transformer AiO is running an unspecified ARM chip, but when you place it in the dock, you have the full power of an Intel Core i7 processor to help out with performance (especially in Windows.) It's a little unclear how the processor and OS switching is happening, however.

This is definitely one of the weirder form-factors we've seen Android put on, but we enjoy the challenge of trying to understand the possible use cases for these things. Stick around after the break for several more pictures of the Transformer AiO.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the ASUS Qube Google TV box


Asus spilled the beans on its newest Qube Google TV box earlier today, and now we've got our hands on it. With what we think may be the most interesting design to hit Google TV since... well, ever, the Qube seems promising. As far as the details go, things are a little sparse. We know it's running the current Google TV software with all of the amenities like Chrome and Youtube, and that the Qube will include 50GB of free storage from WebStorage.

Although the unit we got ahold of isn't working, we did get a solid feel for the connectivity options. You've got a full-sized USB port on the right side -- presumably for quick access to plug in drives and other devices -- and everything else is on the back. The back plate sports HDMI in and out -- for TV pass through -- as well as ethernet and another full-sized USB port. An analog in/out jack rounds out the group. The remote is a standard Google TV setup, with a little bit of "Nexus" flare in the coloring. There's also a full QWERTY keyboard on the back that seems to work well, which is important for the browsing-heavy Google TV interface.

Overall ilt seems well built enough, with a striking design to say the least. We're hoping to have more time with the Qube while we're at CES, hopefully with one that is actually hooked up to a TV. For now, take a quick walk through the hardware with us in the video and several more pictures of the Qube after the break.

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4 years ago

Qualcomm announces new Snapdragon chips that are fast as hell


As expected, mobile hardware and component companies are pouring out the new gear announcements at CES. And not to be missed is the new chips in the pipe from Qualcomm. Dubbed the Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800, on paper it looks like they will knock our socks off.

First out of the gate will be the 600 series, expected in commercial devices in the middle of this year. Take the S4 Pro that's in the Nexus 4 or DNA, and make everything better and you are on the right track. The 600 will feature:

  • Quad Core Krait 300 CPU at speeds up to 1.9 GHz per core
  • Adreno 320 GPU
  • LPDDR3 RAM support
  • Up to 40-percent better performance than the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor

Now remember, we will see this one in devices this summer, not sometime next year. And being 40-percent faster than the Nexus 4 in my pocket means the device is going to be a monster. Once you process this one (pardon the pun) you have the 800 to think about. Take the 600 you're drooling over, and take everything up to 11. It features:

  • Quad Core Krait 400 CPU at speeds up to 2.3 GHz, per core
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 2x32bit LPDDR3 RAM at 800MHz
  • 4G LTE Cat 4 and 802.11ac support
  • UltraHD resolution support  (4096 × 2304)
  • Support for DTS-HD, Dolby Digital Plus and 7.1 surround sound
  • Dual Image Signal Processors (ISPs) up to 55MP
  • Up to 75% better performance than the Snapdragon S4 Pro

It's hard to imagine how all this is going to translate into real world use. Numbers on paper excite some folks, and these are sure to get some impressive numbers. But this much more raw power will be noticeable in everyday usage as well. It's also said to be available in commercial devices in mid 2013.

And we can't wait to see it. Hit the break to read the press release.

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4 years ago

HTC One SV hands-on (Cricket Wireless)


Ladies and gentlemen, meet the HTC One SV. One S, meet the people. What you see before you here is the second of a pair of entry-level(ish) phones from HTC in recent weeks. This one's on Cricket Wireless. Its cousin, the HTC One VX, is on AT&T. 

The One SV, while simple, is very nicely designed. It's not quite a solid piece of kit, but chances are you might not notice. While the battery cover comes off, there's no obvious notch to get a fingernail into. Pry it open, though, and you get the power source, SIM card and microSD card slot. You'll need that microSD card, as there's just 5 GB of storage available in the phone for apps and pictures and what-not. 

But, really, it's not the specs, which won't overwhelm you -- it's the no-contract pricing of $349 (which is the way you think you should buy phones), plus Cricket's data plans and Muve music that make the One SV a rather attractive device. It'll be available January 16.

We've got more pics and video after the break.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Huawei Ascend Mate


We've just wrapped up at the Huawei press conference here at CES 2013 in Las Vegas where the Chinese OEM announced the Ascend Mate. This device has been rumored some time as the super large competitor to the likes of the Galaxy Note II and Optimus Vu, and Huawei didn't disappoint when it announced this 6.1-inch behemoth. As you would expect, the Ascend Mate is borderline when it comes to what we call a "phone," but they're positioning it as such nonetheless.

The hardware on this device is quite a departure from previous Huawei phones, stepping up to a stainless steel frame and solid plastic accents. Even the power and volume keys are stainless, and set well into the frame. The 6.1-inch screen is surprisingly manageable considering its size, thanks to very small bezels and on-screen navigation buttons, but this is far from one-handed use friendly. The panel itself is only 720x1280, although at first we thought it must be a typo because there really aren't any noticeable pixels. It's just a bit puzzling considering it's sibling the Ascend D2 has a 1080x1920 display at just 5-inches. Nevertheless, under the hood we see the same specs as the D2, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

On the software front, Huawei has also made some big changes coming from its previous builds. This is its "Emotion UI" set of customizations, which combines many of the stock Jelly Bean features, with its own added tweaks and style. In the keynote, CEO Richard Yu noted that their software has "fixed 200 problems with Android." This is indeed Jelly Bean 4.1.2 under the hood, but it doesn't necessarily feel like it in normal navigation. Most items have received visual tweaks -- from the app icons to the settings menu -- and Huawei has even opted to remove an app drawer from its default launcher. It's something quickly fixed from a download in the Play Store, but it hurts this device's out-of-the-box appeal for some.

The Ascend Mate is expected to launch in China starting in February, with international availability thereafter. There was no pricing given, but Mr. Yu explained that the devices would be for sale to other markets online.

Be sure to stick around after the break to take a look at several pictures and a hands-on video we've got for you straight from CES.

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Huawei Ascend D2


Huawei edged into the high-end smartphone space in 2012 with its Ascend D1 series, and it's following up this year with a large-screened, high-resolution successor, the Ascend D2. Powered by a custom 1.4GHz quad-core processor, the Ascend D2. With a 5-inch 1080p screen, the D2 is aimed firmly at current competition from the better-known manufacturers, including HTC's Droid DNA.

The D2's build quality is a substantial step up from earlier Huawei handset. There's glossy plastic around the back, but the trim is constructed of stainless steel, and a video shown at Huawei's Las Vegas press conference today showed the complexities involved in crafting the frame for this device.

The star of the show is the 5-inch display, which runs at 1080p resolution and goes toe-to-toe with the screen of the Droid DNA, which we compared in our hands-on video. Being an early demo unit, it was difficult to judge the handset's overall performance, but we can offer a few thoughts on the software. On top of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the D2 runs Huawei's emotion UI. This brings a curved, MIUI-like appearance to the OS, along with a few quirks like the launcher, which lacks a traditional app drawer.

The Ascend D2 is slated to launch in China and Europe in Q1, and with the hardware inside this device, Huawei's in a strong position. However, it remains to be seen whether the smartphone-buying masses will fall in love with its unconventional Emotion UI.

Check out our hands-on video above for a quick walkthrough, and stick around after the break for even more pictures of the device (including a side-by-side with the Droid DNA.)

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4 years ago

Sony announces Xperia Z, a 5" flagship with 1080p reality display


New Sony flagship features 1080p screen, 13MP camera, and reality display

It's been leaked and rumored over the past several weeks, but today the Sony Xperia Z is official. At its CES 2013 press conference this afternoon, the company announced a new flagship smartphone with large, high-resolution display. The Xperia Z packs a 5-inch 1080p Full HD Reality display, and runs Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with 2GB of RAM.

Design highlights for this device include a high-level of dust and water resistance, and a an all-glass back, similar to recent efforts from LG. The Xperia Z will launch globally in Q1 2013

We're live at the Sony booth at CES 2013, and we'll be bringing you hands-on coverage of the Xperia Z very soon, so stay tuned. Go past the break for the press release and a bevy of hands-on pictures.

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4 years ago

Hands on with NVIDIA's 'Project Shield'


We get our first look at NVIDIA's Tegra 4 processor, and the future of Android gaming 

It's hard not to get excited about NVIDIA's "Project Shield," the Android-based hand-held gaming system it unveiled this week at CES in Los Vegas. For one, it's really the biggest piece of news thus far. And for another -- it's just friggin' cool. NVIDIA has taken the traditional gaming-style controller, packed its brand-new Tegra 4 system inside of it, added a 5-inch, clamshell 720p display (NVIDIA's calling it "retinal") and added some truly astonishing gameplay. Consider:

  • It's running a relatively stock user interface. The nerds love that.
  • It runs any Android app. If it works on a phone or tablet now, it should work on Project Shield.
  • There's one-touch access to NVIDIA's "Tegra Zone," a curated section of Android applications tweaked specifically for NVIDIA's processors.
  • Steam. If you play a game on Steam, you can play it here, too.
  • PC gaming. NVIDIA's been showing off this tech for some time now, and it's really dialed in here. Your gaming rig does the heavy lifting, beaming the video to Project Shield, which also serves as the controller.

It's not without some hurdles in the way of success (what is), but, yeah. We're excited.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE coming to Verizon 'this month'


We're live at the Samsung CES 2013 press conference, and while there's been a whole lot of TV's and refrigerators, there was a small piece of Android goodness slipped in there for good measure. Following on from UK Carrier, EE, Samsung has today announced that the Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE will be launched on Verizon "this month." 

No pricing was announced, but this is sure to be good news for anyone with a hankering to pair up Samsung's S-Pen based tablet, with some 4G LTE data speeds. The press conference has just ended, and that's all she wrote on the Android front. 

The full press release can be found after the break.

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4 years ago

Live from Samsung's CES press event!


We're live this afternoon from Samsung's official CES 2013 press conference. Expect a slew of non-smartphone news -- TVs, washers and dryers, etc., but chances are mobile won't be completely ignored. Samsung does sell a few phones and tablets, after all.

The whole thing kicks off at 2 p.m. Pacific time (that's 5 p.m. on the East Coast). Join us after the break!

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