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Oct 03, 2013 - 11:12 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Sprint owners of the HTC One have something to cheer about. The new Android 4.3 update started rolling out to the Sprint versions of the HTC One just yesterday. The update had already started rolling out to the device in Canada. At some point it is expected the HTC One will get Android 4.4 Kitkat, but of course, that hasn't even been officially launched yet, so it will be a few months probably.
We also wanted to share further info on the state of the Android 4.3 update as it pertains to the other U.S. carriers. HTC elaborated that the update should be coming to both AT&T and T-Mobile HTC One owners in the middle of October, while Verizon's longer vetting process will place the update around the end of the month.
As a sidebar: there is still no official word on a release for the update in the UK. Right now all we have heard is "soon." Although that is rather vague, it would suggest sometime before the end of the month.
Source: Twitter - HTCUSA
Oct 03, 2013 - 10:56 AM - by dgstorm
Yesterday we reported a rumor that LG will be coming out with a curved display smartphone based upon their flexible display technology. The intel at the time suggested the phone might be called the LG Z. Today some new intel surfaced which partially contradicts the rumor from yesterday. First, it actually confirms that LG will be launching a curved plastic display smartphone; however, it differs in that the device will supposedly be called the LG G Flex instead of LG Z.
Perhaps the LG Z name was simply erroneously reported or is an internal name. Regardless, a design sketch has been included of the device, and as it turns out, the picture we saw yesterday might be more accurate than originally thought. According to the sketch, not only will the display be concave, but the phone itself will also have a slight curve to it. This new report also confirms that the device will have a 6-inch display as was reported yesterday.
Here's a quote with a few more details,
As CNET senior editor Jessica Dolcourt explains, a flexible display doesn't mean the phone will be able to bend or flex. Rather, the display will be set at a curved -- but stationary -- position. The curve is dramatic enough to comfortably fit around your face but not so angular that it looks weird.
Oct 02, 2013 - 5:59 PM - by dgstorm
If you remember correctly, T-Mobile's Uncarrier pricing structure offers very inexpensive monthly payment plans for service, but then instead of subsidizing the phone price, you make monthly payments on the devices after paying a $100-150 dollar initial fee. It looks like T-Mo wants to go a step further and entice users with a pretty awesome deal. You can grab any one of several excellent devices for $0 down and the usual payment plan for a limited time. The device choices are: LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Samsung Galaxy S4, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. As you can see, many of these are the latest and most powerful smartphones on the planet.
Keep in mind, T-Mobile isn't being completely altruistic. Paying no money down means that your monthly payments will be a little bit higher. Still, for folks who find it hard to come up with the initial down payment, this is a very attractive offer.
Here's a link directly to T-Mobile's website where you can check out this deal: Cell Phones | 4G Phones | iPhone and Android Phones | T-Mobile
Oct 02, 2013 - 4:39 PM - by dgstorm
The latest tech teardown for a smartdevice comes from TechInsights as they dive into the guts of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. They do a cost analysis on the parts and come to some interesting conclusions. For example, the total build price of the device is $240, and the most expensive part is the display at $61. Interestingly, their build cost chart also offers a handy comparison to the build costs of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 2. It's probably not surprising that the new GNote3 is more expensive than either of those devices (the SGS4 was $214 and the GNote2 was $219).
It may or may not be important to note that the version TechInsights dissected was the Snapdragon 800 equipped model and not the Exynos 5 Octa-Core model. For the full tear-down and analysis check out the source link below.
Oct 02, 2013 - 12:06 PM - by dgstorm
According to the latest "rumint" the curved flexible tech display devices for both Samsung and LG will be launching soon. First, Samsung Sinjonggyun representatives told reporters that their curved display device would actually be “released next week.” Nothing else of note was reported regarding this launch.
Second, LG let it be known they will launch a curved display device sometime after Samsung does. They also included a stylized picture of the device (shown above) and a name for it. The smartphone will be called the LG Z, and will supposedly come with a concave 6-inch display. This contradicts earlier reports of a 4.5-inch screen size.
Both devices are expected to be in very limited quantities and come with a premium price-tag.
Oct 02, 2013 - 11:44 AM - by dgstorm
For the last two years, the partnership between Asus and Google has seemed rock solid regarding the Nexus 7 tablets. Both years Asus was the builder of choice for Google's high-value but low priced Android tablet. If rumors from the supply chain are correct, that may change soon. According to the latest intel, Asus may not get the renewed contract with Google for the third generation of Nexus 7 tablets. This would put Asus looking to build a replacement for the Nexus 7 in that price-point. Supposedly, Asus is has slowly been flooding the market with several new Android tablets in an attempt to find a replacement product which can stick. Here's a quote with more of the details,
Of course, this year we heard similar rumors that the second generation Nexus 7 would be built by someone else, but that turned out to be false. If it is true, it makes you wonder why Google isn't renewing the contract with Asus. It is possible that there is no hidden agenda from Google nor any displeasure between the two companies. It has been standard practice for Google to change-out Nexus device builders every couple of years just to give other OEMs a time in the Google spotlight. This could simply be more of that.
Asustek Computer's business strategy for the tablet market has changed recently, as the company is flooding the market with new models to see if any of them can continue the success the company has had with the Nexus 7. Asustek has released a total of five new tablets, the MeMO Pad HD 7, the second-generation Nexus 7, the Fonepad 7, the new PadFone Infinity and the recently released high-end Transformer Pad, priced at NT$15,900 (US$537) in the past three months, according to market watchers.
Since Asustek is also prepared to release the MeMo Pad HD 8, the MeMOFone HD 5, the FonePad Note FHD 6 and the PadFone mini in the near future, the market watchers believe the Taiwan-based vendor's market-flooding strategy could be risky.
Asustek shipped 6.3 million tablets in 2012 with the help from Google's first-generation Nexus 7. Although Google continued its cooperation with Asustek with the second-generation Nexus 7, rumors about the Taiwan-based vendor may lose orders for the next-generation Nexus 7 model, are pushing Asustek to accelerate its pace in trying to expand its tablet market share.
Oct 02, 2013 - 11:25 AM - by dgstorm
Here's some pretty cool news for Chromecast users. Hulu updated their Hulu Plus app to officially support the Google device. This requires an active Hulu Plus subscription which costs $7.99 per month. Now it's as easy as hitting the new 'Cast Button' in the Hulu Plus app to begin streaming your Hulu account across the Chromecast. Here's a quote from Google's blog on the subject,
Source: Google Blogspot & Google Play Store - Hulu Plus
Hulu has added Chromecast support to their Hulu Plus app—just in time for the fall television season. Now you can easily enjoy your favorite shows, such as “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and “Parks and Recreation,” on your big-screen TV by casting from Hulu Plus on your mobile phone or tablet. It’s the same intuitive, remote-free experience you’ve come to enjoy with the other Chromecast-supported apps, and is as simple as pressing the Cast button which will now appear in the app.
Chromecast, which we launched in July, is designed to be small, affordable ($35) and the simplest way to watch online video on your TV. It’s been exciting to receive such positive feedback from many of you (thank you!)—and to see Chromecast currently listed as the #1 best seller on Amazon in Electronics.
To start casting your favorite Hulu Plus content from your Android phone, tablet or iPad (support for iPhone coming very soon), just check that you have the latest version of the Hulu Plus app for Android or iOS that’s rolling out today. And if you don't already own a Chromecast device, they’re in stock and available on Google Play, Amazon, BestBuy.com or at your local Best Buy store.
Oct 02, 2013 - 11:17 AM - by dgstorm
Here's a second Nexus 5 rumor for you guys today. This one actually comes with several bits of intel, and most of it is related to the camera in the device. Recently we shared a new spec-list rumor for the Nexus 5 which suggested the camera would not be the 13MP one found in the LG G2, but would instead simply be an 8MP shooter. Today's intel seems to echo that info, but before you get too disappointed about it, despite the lower MP count, this new camera will come with some very advanced features which could make up for the difference.
First, we have a report the camera in the Nexus 5 will come with MEMS technology built-in. For the lay-person, this is microelectromechanical technology. This new tech is vastly different from the voice coil motors (VCMs) used in typical smartphone cameras. Without going into elaborate technical detail, the MEMS tech effectively speeds up the camera dramatically, allowing for a focus which is 7 times faster than current cameras. It will also help the camera take multiple images extremely fast. This would effectively allow you to shoot a picture and focus later, as with a Lytro camera. This new tech is manufactured by Digital Optics and is not normally found in smartphone cameras. Here's a quote with a great breakdown of this technology,
At this point we aren't sure if this rumor is valid, but it seems pretty solid. It comes from some hidden Nexus 5 log files, which could have been faked.
MEMS is short for microelectromechanical technology and the technology differs drastically from the current voice coil motors (VCMs) used in smartphone cameras. It is the same technology that brought us microphone, gyros and barometers in a tiny smartphone. It is extremely precise - made in clean rooms just like all other chips - and is hundreds of times more power efficient.
Voice coil motors are the current technology and they employ technologies that are a bit dated now. Auto-focusing in VCMs happens when a current is sent through a coil causing the moving elements of a camera to move in the direction of a magnet. There are a few set steps for the moving elements and at each one the camera evaluates the focus to determine whether the image is in focus or not (if not it just moves one step further and re-evaluates). It sounds complicated because it is. Plus, with that many steps locking focus could take a whole second. It is also imprecise and noisy.
MEMS technology on the other hand can focus nearly 7 times faster and is much smaller. It uses electrostatic force to draw to solid-state comb-shaped surfaces together, but they never touch and degradation takes much longer. Instead of having multiple moving elements you only have one with extremely quick auto-focus and power consumption of 1mW, hundreds of times less than VCM modules. ~ PhoneArena
That's not all of the intel we have on the camera. According to a different leaked log, this time coming from an Android 4.4 file, the camera in the Nexus 5 will come with OIS (Optical... [Read More]
Oct 02, 2013 - 10:53 AM - by dgstorm
We have a double rumor regarding the Nexus 5 today. The first one is that the device will be revealed the last week of October. This corresponds with previous rumors suggesting an end of this month launch. The rumor came from the usual "sources close to the matter," which is as dubious as it gets. This report also comes with intel that the phone will cost half the price of the iPhone 5S. This would put it in the £275 ($473 AUS, $446 US) range, which is a little more expensive than the previous Nexus 4. Of course, this rumored pricing is also not regionally adjusted, so it's possible the US sale price will be a bit lower, perhaps in the $350-400 range.
Ultimately, this rumor doesn't offer much that is new, although it is additional confirmation of some previous intel. Of course, we will continue to crank out stories which offer any hints at the launch of this new device.
Oct 01, 2013 - 6:04 PM - by dgstorm
Here's a funny video for your afternoon entertainment pleasure. It's really just a cute commercial comparing regular broadband internet to the new Google Fiber internet service that is slowly sweeping the nation. While the comparison in the video isn't directly comparable, it's still a pretty entertaining way to show the average layperson how much better fiber could be for their internet needs.
What's especially funny about this video is that the comparison is also apropos if you are comparing the old dial-up internet to broadband. In fact, this video is probably a more accurate approximation of that comparison. Enjoy!
Oct 01, 2013 - 12:42 PM - by dgstorm
No wonder Samsung keeps pushing new products in the phablet world. The market they effectively pioneered is moving like gang-busters. According to the latest marketing data from Focus Taiwan, the Galaxy Note series lineup has already sold 40 Million units and 30 Million of those were just the Galaxy Note 2 alone. This is all before the GNote3 has even launched!
If the GNote3 is even close to the level of success of its predecessor, then Samsung's big phone category will be a monster hit. It seems like the phablet is becoming much more mainstream. Share your experiences with switching from a regular sized phone to a phablet.
Oct 01, 2013 - 12:04 PM - by dgstorm
It's hard to believe this year has flown by so quickly. It seems like it was recently that T-Mobile announced their new Uncarrier plans that do away with subsidized contracts in favor of device payment plans. However, it was actually 8 months ago in March when they announced this "new" concept in mobile for the United States. Because of this long stretch of time it was easy to forget some of the details. For example, even though T-Mobile's new Uncarrier plans effectively eliminated their classic subsidized plans in their own retail stores, T-Mo was still offering their classic plans through third party retail outlets like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and more. That too is about to change.
Starting November 1st, T-Mobile will be shutting down their classic plans at third party retailers as well. This means that at all retail locations, whether it is a third party or a T-Mo store, you will only be able to get one of their new Uncarrier plans. Here's a refresh of their new plans,
- $50 a month – unlimited talk, text 500MB of 4G (2G speeds once limit is reached)
- $60 a month – unlimited talk, text, 2.5GB of 4G (2G speeds once limit is reached)
- $70 a month – unlimited everything (no throttle)
Here's a quote with a final few details,
How many of you guys have tried out T-Mobile's new plans? Share your experiences for those of us considering a switch to Big Pink.
3rd party retailers will begin sending their post-paid devices back to HQ, with support for device exchanges and buyers remorse to be handled at the wherever the device was originally purchased. It will be interesting to see what T-Mobile has up their sleeves. We know they aren’t going to leave partners like Walmart hanging for very long.
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