As Phil mentioned in this week's column, the next two weeks in the smartphone world are going to be particularly crazy. We've got events from HTC and Sony next week, and Mobile World Congress starting the following weekend. (And we have a feeling March is going to be even more action-packed.)
So in the run up to these events, there's been plenty of international news to report from all the major manufacturers. Head past the break to find out what's been stirring these past seven days with the rumored HTC "One," Galaxy S4, Optimus G Pro and Sony Xperia Z.
The intent of the following article is help readers who may be on-the-fence about purchasing Google’s latest Nexus smartphone known as the Nexus 4. In addition, it is also a post to organize my thoughts in a rational manner to discuss why I decided to take the $350 plunge and purchase the latest smartphone when my previous smartphone was still chugging along.
To preface, there is some important background information that should be disclosed before delving into the Nexus 4 purchase. I originally owned an LG G2X on T-Mobile (which makes the Nexus 4 my third consecutive LG phone) through its Classic family plan. As a result, I received a subsidized G2X for free (since I purchased it several months after its initial launch) on a Classic family plan.
T-Mobile has two main postpaid plans: Classic and Value. The idea behind the Classic plan is you pay a higher fee per month over two years but receive subsidized equipment. Under the Value plan, customers pay less per month, but forgo subsidized equipment. In any case, my family plan is eligible to switch to a Value plan by the end of the month, which means our fee per month will decrease significantly. Since I made the decision to switch to a Value plan, I would not receive any future upgrades for another subsidized device, so it made sense to purchase the Nexus 4 from a contract/plan standpoint.
Now, the G2x was a solid smartphone when it was first announced since it was the world’s first dual-core smartphone. However, after a year and a half of usage and a few custom ROMs later, it was obvious that processing power and battery life decreased significantly. I am a firm believer in getting the full value of out a device before tossing it aside, but the temptation of the latest hardware coupled with a very cheap price point was too strong. It also helped that I was able to lend my G2x to my brother who previously used a feature phone, but now had a decent smartphone running stable CM7. This is the second point for buying the Nexus 4; I was able to give my G2x to my brother and I really desired something with style, prowess, and speed.
My only regret with purchasing the Nexus 4 has been not ordering it when it first became available. I decided to wait until after the first wave of production before finalizing the contract situation, and consequentially, I had to wait until the end of January when it became available again. Without going into a full review of the device, I am completely satisfied with my decision in buying the Nexus 4. One underwhelming factor is its battery life, but it is still leaps and bounds what I was accustomed to with my G2x. Another is the fact that onboard storage is fixed at 16GB, but that is something I will learn to manage. However, I have been very impressed with its quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 4.7 inch HD display, and Jelly Bean.
The moral of the story here is T-Mobile’s Value plans are very attractive, especially on a family plan. I personally do not have a problem with T-Mobile’s network service. Granted, it is not as ubiquitous nor powerful as Verizon’s network, but it gets the job done in my opinion. If you are considering purchasing the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile or AT&T, I would recommend taking a close look at your contract and making sure it makes sense from a financial standpoint. Hopefully, I can muster two-three years of solid usage from my Nexus 4, something I couldn’t imagine doing with my previous smartphone.
As a bit of a teaser, I will have a review article covering two Diztronic cases for the Nexus 4 in the next several days.
If you are an HTC enthusiast, or even Android enthusiast, then chances are you are pretty excited for HTC’s upcoming event. It is all but guaranteed that HTC will use the event as a chance to announce its latest flagship Android device. HTC is adopting a page from Samsung’s playbook by launching its flagship device on more than one carrier on the same day.
According to a rumored report, the HTC One (M7) will see light of day in America through three carriers: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Notably missing from the party is Verizon Wireless, which makes sense once you consider the fact that the DROID DNA was launched only a few months ago. Pricing for the 32GB model is expected to be $199 on contract with the 64GB model commanding a $299 price tag. At this point, I would like to remind our readers that this report is still a rumor and, therefore, subject to change.
We’re less than four days away from the anticipated event, hopefully HTC has something great planned for us!
HTC is betting big on its upcoming event on February 19th to truly capture the hearts and wallets of the general public when it introduces its latest flagship device. On the 19th, HTC will be hosting an event in New York City and London simultaneously. Currently, there is a countdown clock posted on the HTC website which is obviously counting down until the event takes place.
The interesting part with the countdown is how every time it reaches 51, 41, 31, 21, 11, or 1 second, the 1 becomes highlighted in green and the background shows off something from the phone. It is an interesting sequence that is well put together by HTC website developers. While we know the device is internally known as the HTC M7, it has been rumored to launch as the HTC One. Having HTC put emphasis on anytime a 1 appears in the countdown sort of confirms the HTC One moniker.
In any event, we will have to wait until February 19th for official confirmation on the smartphone(s) HTC plans to introduce. Here’s to hoping it manages to exceed our expectations.
Motorola Solutions — that's the other Motorola that wasn't bought by Google — has announced the launch of AME 2000, a secure platform including an Android handset, aimed at federal agencies. Using Moto's Assured Mobile Environment tech, AME 2000 combines an off-the-shelf smartphone with additional hardware and software to enable secure voice and messaging services, as well as secure VPN connectivity over mobile data or Wifi.
The AME 2000 includes Security Enhanced Android — the NSA-approved custom version of the OS designed with high-security use in mind. In addition, it features Motorola's CRYPTR hardware security module for microSD security.
Moto hasn't released an exact spec sheet for the phone itself, but based on the images published, it looks like we're dealing with a RAZR-class device running Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. Regardless, if you want to get down into the details of the security features provided, you'll find that over at the source link.
It's by no means the first time we've seen Android used in high-security devices. Just over a year ago it emerged that U.S. government and military officials were to be outfitted with secure Android-based phones, and in 2010 General Dynamics was said to be looking at Android for use in "next-gen wearable" computers.
Source: Press Release
A new standard that gives phones and PCs a bigger role in authentication could disarm attacks that rely on stealing passwords.
A consortium including PayPal and Lenovo, the world’s second-largest PC manufacturer, has launched a set of technology standards that could reduce reliance on passwords, potentially making online accounts more secure.
On February 19th, HTC will be hosting an event in New York City ahead of the highly anticipated MWC 2013. At this point, many in the tech industry believe HTC will use the event as a vehicle to announce the hyped HTC M7. As of late, it has been reported that the M7 will likely launch as simply the HTC One, although this is presently unconfirmed.
Fortunately, today we have an interesting leak which shows off the press image for the HTC M7/HTC One. Courtesy of evleaks, the press image reveals a stylish HTC smartphone, with a large and vibrant HD display. It does contain a few cues from HTC Sense 5, which the M7 is likely to launch with.
At this point, we will have to wait until February 19th for HTC to officially introduce the M7 smartphone, but the image does help whet our appetite.
Two different T-Mobile MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) carriers have confirmed that they will be offering prepaid LTE service as soon as the network goes live, according to statements obtained by FierceWireless. Both Solavei and Ready SIM executives have indicated that they intend to offer LTE on T-Mobile's network to its existing customers as soon as possible. Ultra Mobile, another T-Mo MVNO, has hinted as to its LTE prepaid options as well.
This is great news for users who have decided to go with the prepaid route to have a more affordable wireless bill every month. Until this point it was unclear whether or not T-Mobile would hold its LTE network for its own postpaid customers, and MVNOs operating on AT&T's network have yet to receive access to LTE. Although there is no confirmation at this point, this likely means that T-Mobile's self-branded prepaid offerings — called "Monthly4G" — will be offering LTE as well.
This is going to be an exciting time for both T-Mobile and its prepaid MVNO partners when the LTE network finally goes live later this year. Previously leaked device roadmaps seem to suggest that March 27th may be the date for the network launch.
MWC 2013 is a little over two weeks away, and we are expecting great things from many smartphone manufacturers. LG has already teased some juicy, impending announcements. Unfortunately, LG refuses to reveal anything concrete, leaving it up to us to speculate ahead of the official announcement.
Today, LG launched a teaser video on YouTube that doesn’t reveal too much information other than the device shows off “unlimited possibilities.” One thing is known for sure, LG is hyping up its announcement and possible launch at MWC 2013, hopefully the manufacturer is able to deliver.
Some of LG’s best known products on the market today are the LG Optimus G and the LG Nexus 4. Rumors of its MWC announcement include a 5.5 inch Optimus G Pro that will be made available through global markets. As of now, Samsung proudly reaps the benefits of the phablet marketplace with its Galaxy Note II. Whether LG can swipe some market share from Samsung remains to be seen.
OUYA may be pitched as a home console, but when it comes to product cycles, the company is following the lead of mobile device manufacturers. OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman sat down with Engadget recently, where she offered some choice quotes on topics ranging from games to hardware strategy.
First off, Uhrman talks up her company's plans for successors to the Tegra 3-powered, Android-running OUYA console. "Our strategy is very much similar to the mobile strategy [...] There will be a new OUYA every year. There will be an OUYA 2 and an OUYA 3."
Uhrman also seems open to tweaking the box's hardware to get gamers the best bang for their buck. This includes "better, faster processors," and more flash storage, if possible. Despite possible changes in hardware, the OUYA CEO reassures that compatibility won't be an issue. Backwards compatibility will apparently be baked in, something we're sure the Android platform will help out with to some extent. She was also quick to dismiss any fears about games being tied directly to hardware. Instead, an accounts system similar to Steam and Google Play will be employed.
On the subject of hardware, Uhrman says her team is working flat-out with chipmaker NVIDIA to get the best performance possible out of the console's Tegra 3 CPU. As the OUYA is mains-powered rather than using a battery, and features active cooling, the power constraints of mobile devices don't apply. As such, the company's promising "the best Tegra 3 device on the market."
OUYA development kits went out to devs earlier in the year. Kickstarter backers should get the console in March, ahead of a general launch in June. The device will cost $100.