We knew it was coming, but AT&T has now officially announced the NEC Terrain. Set to become available on the same day as BlackBerry's physical QWERTY-packing handset, the LTE-ready Terrain boasts a "high-resolution" 3.1-inch display, a decent 1.5GHz, dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and 8GB of built-in storage which can reach up to 32GB via microSD -- all while running a not-so-fresh version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. Given that NEC designed it with the business folk in mind, this little ruggedized (MIL-810G) smartphone also offers on-device encryption for VPN access and compatibility with AT&T's Enhanced Push-to-Talk services, which the company says makes for the perfect blend of "the necessary features needed for work and personal use." As stated earlier, the NEC Terrain will be hitting shelves on June 21st, carrying a $99.99 price tag with the accustomed two-year deal on the Rethink Possible carrier.
Jelly Bean has been making its way to ever cheaper phones in recent months, and that's very conspicuous with the launch of Virgin Mobile's new Samsung Galaxy Ring. For $180, you're getting Android 4.1 in a price range where 4.0 is still common. You're also getting a surprisingly capable device under the hood -- while there's no LTE, the prepaid handset carries a reasonably quick 1.4GHz processor, a 4-inch screen, a 5MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front-facing sensor. We'd still consider shelling out a little more cash for a future-ready 4G device, but Virgin users determined to scrimp and save can pick up the Galaxy Ring today.
Via: Android Community
Source: Virgin Mobile
Rounds is doing the rounds (natch!) this morning with a significant update to its video calling and instant messaging app. The company teamed up with Channel.me to add co-browsing to an already broad list of features. Users can now browse the web together during a video chat and see / control the same page at the same time. In terms of security, the experience mimics two people surfing the web in the same location (usernames are visible but passwords are hidden. for example). While users can enter any URL, the app also includes an icon grid of compatible sites, such as Google (for search), Wikipedia, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Amazon and eBay -- to name a few. As a refresher, Rounds lets friends watch YouTube videos and play games together during a video chat and even apply filters and scribble over each-others live video streams. It also supports instant messaging and photo sharing and ties it all together with Facebook Login. The app is available for most Android and iOS devices but is optimized to run on phones. Hit the break for the promo video and obligatory PR.
18/06/2013 - Huawei Ascend P6 hands-on (video)
Well, we can't say that we didn't know it was coming, despite only getting officially announced this afternoon in London. Either way, Huawei's Ascend P6 is here, and we got some hands-on time with it. As one leak suggested, the P6 comes with a 4.7-inch LCD display (1,280 x 720), a quad-core K3V2 processor, 2GB of RAM and just 8GB internal storage (there is thankfully a microSD card slot). Camera-wise, reports of a 5-megapixel shooter on the front were on the money, while the rear camera is a shade above that at eight megapixels. The front-facing cam isn't the only talking point, either. At just 6.18mm thick, the Ascend P6 is potentially the slimmest phone out there (for now), but is a trim waist and the promise of improved selfies enough? We spent some hands-on time with it to find out.
Gallery: Huawei Ascend P6 hands-on
We knew it was in the works given the sheer quantity of leaks but, with a small sigh of relief, Huawei's Ascend P6 is now official. At the company's London launch, the handset has been revealed with a 6.18mm-thick, all-metal body that weighs in at 120 grams -- only 8 grams more than the iPhone 5, which, for the sake of context, has a thickness of 7.6mm. The 4.7-inch device comes with a 1,280 x 720 in-cell LCD display, 1.5GHz quad-core CPU and 2GB RAM. While users may be dismayed to read that the P6 has a small 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot will let you add up to 32GB more for your media perusal. The phone's primary camera is an 8-megapixel, F/2.0 BSI lens with a 4cm macro, but the vain amongst you shouldn't worry as there's a 5-megapixel shooter up front. The build of Android 4.2.2 will be skinned with Huawei's customary Emotion UI, while AV fans amongst you will be happy to see the handset boasting Dolby Digital Plus sound. A 2,000mAh battery and GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ radios round out the spec sheet, and the handset will be launching in China from June and western Europe from July. You'll be able to pick it up in black, white or pink colors from places like Vodafone, O2, Orange and the Carphone Warehouse in the UK.
For Nuance, it's not enough that Dragon Mobile Assistant spares Android users from pecking at the keyboard -- with the app's new 4.0 upgrade, those users can sometimes avoid contact altogether. Dragon Mobile Assistant can now detect when you're in a moving car and automatically invoke a Driver Mode that relies solely on voice recognition and feedback, keeping your focus on the road. Accordingly, the upgrade builds in spoken notifications for inbound calls, messages, upcoming meetings and Facebook updates. There's also voice-aware email and customizable wake up commands. All told, 4.0 is a big boost for Android fans who see touchscreens as old hat; if you do, you can grab the update shortly (if not already) through Google Play.
Source: Google Play
HTC has been relatively quiet with its plans to push Android 4.2 to the One (aside from a few unofficial leaks), but Three UK is hoping to start the conversation. In a recent tweet, the mobile operator answered a customer's query regarding the update, stating that HTC pulled the firmware, with no specific details on when (or if) the new version of Android will arrive. We reached out to HTC and received confirmation that Android 4.2 is in fact still coming, although users may need to wait a little longer before it becomes available. We'll continue to update as soon as we hear more official news from the manufacturer, but at least we know it's still in the plans.
17/06/2013 - Skype video messaging officially launches on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android -- but not Windows Phone
Out of beta and free, Skype today launches its video messaging service across all its major platforms. Previously, video missives were limited to 20 free attempts during early testing, but free on premium subscriptions. You can now send unlimited video messages to your Skype contacts on Windows 8, Windows desktop or Mac, while mobile options encompass iOS, Android and BlackBerry. A Windows Phone version is, however, conspicuously MIA. To remind yourself how it all works, check out our early hands-on here.
HTC might be making another push into the very affordable Android phone market with the Desire 200. As teased a few months back and joining the now-official Desire 600, the smartphone pulls together a 320 x 480 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor and Android 4.0. It sounds a whole lot like the UK-bound Vodafone Smart Mini, which has been priced at just £50 on pay-as-you-go. HTC does put in a little more effort, however, including its Sense UI, front-facing speakers like the HTC One and a 5-megapixel camera on the entry-level device. According to thegiodidong, the Desire 200 also houses 4GB of storage, expandable up to 32GB through microSD and the whole package will land in Asian markets soon. Watch it get handled after the break or visit the source for a closer look.
Via: Fone Arena
16/06/2013 - Mobile Miscellany: week of June 10th, 2013
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week, the Lumia 925 touched down in Germany, a popular RSS client for Android broke free of its Google Reader shackles and BBM Channels received some sorely needed features. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of June 10th, 2013.
You may recall that a Chinese startup dubbed Smartisan promised to offer its first custom Android ROM on June 15th. Well, the time has come and the company stuck to its word, but there's a catch: the software is currently still in pre-alpha status, so it's neither stable nor speedy -- definitely not recommended for daily use just yet. That said, the release apparently includes most of the features demonstrated at the three-hour-long launch event.
The other catch is that you'll need an international Samsung Galaxy S III (i9300, WCDMA) plus Windows (presumably non-RT) to flash this early version of Smartisan OS. If you're game then head to the source link for the download and the instructions (but in Chinese). If not, you can wait for the upcoming release for the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S II, Xiaomi Phone 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Or you can just wait for Smartisan's very own phone due next year, if you don't mind testing your patience.
Via: Engadget China
AT&T hinted that it was shaking up its GoPhone plans later this month, and it's making good on its word. As of June 21st, customers using the prepaid service will have access to the same LTE service as their subscription peers; AT&T will mark the occasion by selling the Samsung Galaxy Express to GoPhone users at $250 off-contract. The simplified smartphone plans are here as well, although they're better than previously expected. The carrier is dropping all data add-ons except for the $5 / 50MB pack, which is only available for a $25 monthly tier with 250 voice minutes and unlimited messaging. However, it will only cost $40 a month for a plan with 200MB of data and 500 minutes, and a $60 plan will offer 2GB of data with unlimited voice. AT&T's new strategy won't appease some data lovers, but those trying to avoid long contracts and harsh upgrade policies should be happy.
Oh my. We thought the Oppo Find 5 was already good-looking in its original white, but it just took on some extra appeal now that there's a stylish red edition on the way. The 1080p smartphone hasn't changed on the inside, although that wasn't likely when the phone is just six months old. We're more concerned that we might not get our hands on one -- CNMO understands that the red Find 5 is a limited edition without a specific release date. Whether or not we get to see one in person, we'll at least have the photos at the source link.
Source: CNMO (translated)
In one sense, many budget smartphones aren't budget enough; they often require some substantial financial discipline for the typical buyer. Not so Vodafone UK's new Smart Mini: at just £50 ($78) on pay as you go service, it's very nearly an impulse purchase. You're even getting a bit more than you'd expect for that small cash outlay. While the 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 2MP camera, 1GHz MediaTek chip and 4GB of storage won't floor anyone, the Smart Mini ships with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean -- we've seen more expensive phones that carry older software. Those who like the Smart Mini's back-to-basics proposition can pick up a black or white model today.
Yahoo has spent the past several months revamping its mobile apps, and it's shifting that attention to a Sportacular redesign just as playoff season reaches its peak. Now going under the more recognizable Yahoo Sports name, the remade Android and iOS apps tout a simpler interface; users can also sync their favorite teams across devices. Those running iOS get a few added upgrades with this release, including iPad support and a stream of Twitter posts from local writers and experts. No matter the platform, fans of all stripes can grab Yahoo's updates at the source links.
Via: Yahoo (Tumblr)
Gesture lovers and polyglots rejoice! Yesterday, Google updated Gesture Search for Android phones and tablets, making it compatible with even more languages. The app provides quick access to music, contacts, applications, settings and bookmarks -- to name some -- by letting users simply draw characters on the screen. It now recognizes over 40 languages and even handles transliteration, which comes in handy in Chinese, for example, where some native characters require more strokes than latin equivalents. Gesture Search started life as a Google Labs project back in March 2010 and received several tweaks over the years, including tablet support last fall. So go ahead: download the latest version from the Play Store and swipe away.
Source: Google (Google+)
We had a feeling the little Galaxy S4 Zoom wouldn't be the final word in Samsung's Android-powered camera lineup for 2013, and now it seems that a truer successor to the high-spec Galaxy Camera is indeed on its way. As quoted by the Korea Times, JK Shin has confirmed that a "mirrorless camera that runs on Google's Android software" will launch at the company's forthcoming event in London on June 20th, which will likely also show off other Galaxy-branded products. Assuming no mistranslations have gotten in the way, the reference to a "mirrorless" camera implies the existence of an interchangeable lens system, suggesting that the new Galaxy Camera might be more akin to Samsung's NX range of cameras than to its cheaper point-and-shoots. If that's the case, then this could be a significant upgrade in terms of sensor size and image quality, but at this point there's still very little we can say for sure.
Via: Android Beat
Source: Korea Times
OK, HTC, we're starting to see a pattern here. Following the One, the Desire 600 (including China's 606w and 608t) and the much anticipated One Mini, it's no surprise that Peter Chou is keen to spread some BoomSound love to more devices. This will apparently include the upcoming Butterfly S, according to the above photos obtained by our friends over at VR-Zone. The leak claims to confirm that the display is still a 5-inch 1080p panel, and naturally, the old loudspeaker on the back has been made redundant by the new front-facing stereo speakers. There's of course Sense 5 as well, as evidenced by BlinkFeed in the above shots, but we're uncertain of whether the camera's been swapped with an UltraPixel version. Well, we shall find out at the launch event in Taiwan next week.
Via: Engadget Chinese
Source: VR-Zone (Chinese)
The official Cloud Print app has finally been released on Google Play, possibly rendering the third-party apps you've relied on over the years superfluous. Using the standalone software will likely be a familiar affair if you've ever printed via mobile devices in the past. Just choose a file saved on your phone, tablet or the cloud, and it'll make its merry way to your Cloud Print-ready device. Note that your photo or document still has to be funneled through your computer if you use a classic, wired printer.Head over to Google Play via the source link below to give Cloud Print a spin.
Via: Droid Life
Source: Google Play
Samsung torture-tests pre-release smartphones like many of its rivals, but it's rare in letting us have glimpses of the process. Case in point: its thorough punishment of Galaxy S 4 samples in a new video. Along with drop-testing the phone in multiple ways, the company's lab techs cover the GS4 in dust, dunk it in water, punch it, shock its controls and even bake it. The promo piece unsurprisingly shows the flagship device making the cut every time -- you didn't think Samsung would show any exceptions to the rule, did you? Still, the Korean-language clip (after the break) may be reassuring to those who were worried that a thinner, lighter Galaxy S couldn't hold up to some abuse.
Source: Samsung (YouTube)
12/06/2013 - This is the HTC One Mini
The leaks are true: HTC's rumored M4 is indeed the One Mini. We know because a trusted source in possession of the "petite" 4.3-inch handset has fed us a direct image, while also confirming some specs. From what we've seen, the few renders and blurrycam shots that bled out earlier this year appear to be dead-on. The One Mini's a more approachable (and affordable) version of the One -- both inside and out -- with some notable differences. For starters, its screen size has been reduced to 4.3-inches, much like Samsung's Galaxy S 4 Mini, making it much more palm-friendly and deserving of the Mini moniker. But we don't yet have a clear handle on its resolution. Certainly, the Mini's not going to ape the One's dazzling 1080p Super LCD 3 display -- what's more likely is that this "smaller" screen is of the 720p variety.
The Mini still features the much-lauded metallic unibody HTC ushered in with the One and Beats Audio branding on the back, although now its front face is ringed with plastic. The consequence of that latter design change should aid in reducing its weight, but it also means you're getting considerably more bezel than on the One. There's also no IR blaster on the device, so you won't be able to use it as a handy replacement for your tv remote. And cosmetically, that's about as far as the Mini strays from the One.
Much could change by the time the One Mini is released later this year -- should be sometime in Q3 -- but for the moment, the handset's running a Sensed-up version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with BlinkFeed on board. Specific details on the UltraPixel cameras weren't made available to us, but we do know the rear module's capable of full HD video recording and Zoe share capture. As for the processor inside, our source provided us with a few benchmark results, pegging the CPU as a 1.4GHz dual-core setup -- presumably, a Snapdragon 400 just like the HTC First. That's about the extent of what we have on the One Mini. For anything further, you'll just have to wait for more leaks or HTC's official announcement later this fall.
If you've been sitting around not clocking up the miles with your Basis Band, we imagine it's because you were waiting for that long-delayed mobile app. Well, it might not be Q1 as promised, but it's finally time to lace up those sneakers. It's team Android that gets out of the blocks first, with the app debuting on the Google-flavored OS. Features include automatic sync, the ability to see your current progress towards your activity (aka habits,) plus, of course, lots of historical data. Think you set your goals too high? Too low? No problem -- you can edit said habits direct from the app, drill down to show more detail, and get notifications or reminders about how well you're (not?) doing. The app is free, and while Android might have the head start, we're told the iOS version isn't far behind, so iPhone owners might want to start limbering up now. In the meantime, those with green stripes can head to the source for the goods.
Source: Google Play
Casio's G'zOne Commando was designed with all the subtlety of a cruise missile, but it must have resonated with at least a few Verizon customers. That would explain why @evleaks has posted an image of the reported follow-up, the Commando 4G LTE. The device spied here would be as conspicuously rugged as its predecessor, and the custom Android interface would receive another round of overdone machismo -- witness the metallic app tray and watch-like widget. The leak doesn't include hardware specs, but an earlier FCC filing for a similar device suggests that NFC could accompany the expected LTE. There's also unconfirmed talk of a Snapdragon S4 Plus processor. Launch details remain a mystery, although we wouldn't be shocked if the new Commando is available while it's still warm outside.
Via: Blog of Mobile
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
The iOS crowd has been able to enjoy Verizon's FiOS Mobile service for some time now, but now it's the Android faithful's turn to finally experience what they've been missing. The application, which is said to be compatible with "many of your favorite Android enabled devices," gives FiOS subscribers the ability to live stream (some) channels and have access to on-demand video content right from their smartphone or tablet. Not surprisingly, a TV subscription is a must, meaning that folks who are on an internet-only plan won't be able to enjoy what the app has to offer. Verizon FiOS Mobile is now up for grabs via Google Play, so hit that source link below and let us know in the comments if it was worth the wait.