We just had a chance to dive into Facebook’s (FB) new “Home” software suite on the HTC First, and came away with some good early impressions. Press weren’t allowed actual hands-on time, but instead treated to a demo from a friendly Facebook employee. As such, we weren’t able to push Home much beyond the facade of persistent status updates, floating timeline images and Chat Heads. That said, we think that’s the point of Home: It’s a software layer that hides the bulk of the functions on of your Android phone behind a wall of Facebook content and services. More →
Various reports over the past few years have suggested that Facebook (FB) is developing its own smartphone, but nothing has materialized yet. Instead, Facebook continues to expand its mobile products across various mobile platforms, and we expect the company to further its efforts today. According to earlier reports, Facebook will unveil new “Facebook Home” Android software that features deep integration with several Facebook services. The software is expected to be available across a number of Android smartphones, and rumors suggest it will be showcased on the upcoming “HTC First” smartphone rather than an own-brand “Facebook Phone.” All will be revealed momentarily though, and our live coverage of Facebook’s press conference follows below.
We had the opportunity to tour the Ford booth on Tuesday at Mobile World Congress, and were treated to a first-hand walk-through of the newest version of the company’s Sync in-car media and voice command technology. Chief among the new features is Spotify integration, giving subscribers ubiquitous access to the streaming music service by way of a few simple voice commands. More →
Another day, another Firefox OS-powered handset here at Mobile World Congress. We had the chance to take a hands-on look at Alcatel’s first Firefox phone on Tuesday and walked away with some distinctly tepid impressions. As a disclaimer, the software we played with was in beta, but Firefox and Alcatel are planning to launch these phones within months, so any performance enhancements they hope to achieve will have to be pushed out relatively quickly. More →
In a world where frequent technology shifts are commonplace, it’s tough to stand out. Phones are getting bigger and faster with each passing month and crafting a device with real-world performance that truly impresses is a challenging task. While the reference tablet we played with today at NVIDIA’s (NVDA) booth will never reach consumers’ hands, the internals are very much worthy of your attention, as there’s a good chance that they’ll serve as the powerhouse in your next smartphone or tablet. More →
Why? Seriously, Asus (2357). Why? This question bears asking, as going hands-on with Asus’ new Fonepad truly requires some big hands. Single-handed operation is a thing of the past. Remember when diminutive phones were the latest trend? When iPod grew smaller and smaller and RAZRs got thinner and thinner? Wave goodbye, dear friends. That age is long gone. More →
The new ZTE (0763) Open is perhaps more significant for what it’s not than what it is. The handset does not run Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 or Tizen. In a world dominated by just a few established major players, the introduction of Firefox’s new mobile OS, alongside handsets such as the Open, is pretty big news. Banking on the untapped demand in emerging markets yet to see the explosion of smartphone growth that has swept the rest of the planet, Firefox and ZTE are hoping to make headway with their own unique offering. More →
One thing is quite clear: Samsung’s (005930) gamble on the 5-inch handset market is catching fire. Manufacturers seem to be scrambling to concoct their very own iteration of the “phablet,” clearly attempting to capitalize on the newly forged market space created by the world’s largest Android manufacturer. Unfortunately, where Samsung led with innovation and foresight, most of these other companies seem to be playing a rather embarrassing game of catch up. Case in point is ZTE (0763). More →
Whereas the seriously unimpressive Xperia Z tablet poses no threat to any tablet vendors, Sony’s (SNE) new Xperia Z smartphone is poised to make a slightly more significant mark in the smartphone world. With the requisite laundry list of impressive specs, the Xperia Z leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sheer brute force. More →
Want another sexy phablet to feast your eyes on? We’re not so sure we do either, but at least LG’s (066570) Optimus G Pro packs a bit of style along with its Note-chasing aspiration. The handset packs a 1.7 Ghz quad-core chip, a 13 megapixel rear facing camera, a 2 megapixel front facing HD camera, a massive 3,140 mAh removable battery, and a laundry list of proprietary LG technologies including smartshare, Tracking Focus, and WDR recording. More →
Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet has been one of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory, as rumors and leaks floating around the Web over the past few weeks have painted a fairly comprehensive picture of Samsung’s latest Note. But the Galaxy Note 8.0 is now finally official, and we met with Samsung on Saturday to take a look at its new slate ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show, which kicks off on Monday. More →
LG (066570) and Japanese carrier partner NTT DoCoMo have joined to unveil the Optimus G Pro, a followup to the popular Optimus G smartphone that debuted last year. The Optimus G Pro features a 5-inch display with full-HD 1080p resolution and a pixel density of 440 ppi versus 312 ppi in the original Optimus G. The phone also sports a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon Pro chipset, 2GB of RAM, a 3,000 mAh battery and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Optimus G Pro will debut in Japan this coming April, but global launch plans have not been announced.
With the rise of smartphones, the mobile industry has gone from ridiculously small devices to oversized handsets. Samsung’s (005930) original Galaxy Note was one of the first devices to blur the line between smartphones and tablets. The 5.29-inch handset was just the start of what would become the phablet phenomenon. Since then a number of manufacturers have announce devices with larger displays, the most recent being Sony’s (SNE) Xperia Z smartphone with a 5-inch screen. It would appear the company is looking to go even bigger, however. More →