The term “entry-level” immediately reduces the appeal of smartphones in markets like the U.S. these days, as flagship phones are typically far more exciting and innovative. Still, it’s notable when a manufacturer goes to some length to differentiate an entry-level line of smartphones, and LG has done just that with its new L series. The L3, L5 and L7 are a new family of devices targeted at budget-conscious consumers that still want a solid Android experience. The L3 has a tiny 3.2-inch screen, an 800MHz processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The L5 is slightly more impressive, with a 4-inch screen and Ice Cream Sandwich, and the L7 tops out the line with a 4.3-inch display, a 1Ghz processor and Android 4.0. Check out our hands-on photos of these three new wallet-friendly smartphones in the gallery linked below.
You would think that, given the impressive specs of its new CloudMobile smartphone, Acer would want to place this thing front and center at Mobile World Congress. Think again. For some reason, the company decided to hide its new flagship model within the Google booth. Location aside, the handset’s specs are nothing to scoff at. A 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip powers this monster, which sports a 4.3-inch 1,280 x 800-pixel HD screen with a truly incredible range viewing angles, and a really well-engineered tooled metal exterior. The CloudMobile software itself is heavily guarded at the moment, and Acer wouldn’t give us so much as a peek at any screens related to its upcoming cloud service, but company reps assured us that we would be “impressed” when launch time comes around. Let’s hope the software lives up to the promise of the hardware. In the meantime, be sure to check out our hands-on photos, which are linked below.
These three new devices announced by Samsung at Mobile World Congress are each intended to occupy different spaces in the mobile market. The Galaxy Mini 2 is a diminutive little smartphone with pretty unimpressive specs, but it is aimed at the entry-level crowd where it may fare well. The 3.27-inch small handset sports a single-core 800mhz processor, Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with TouchWiz, a 3.2 megapixel camera and a positively terrible HVGA display. It feels odd to use the word “terrible” when describing a Samsung display, but Samsung cut some corners to keep this phone’s cost down and the display was definitely one of them. Performance in use was lackluster as well, but then again, if you’re in the market for a phone like the Mini 2 you’re probably not very concerned with the latest and greatest. Hit the jump for more.
Samsung has a number of new devices on hand at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and one of them was the Galaxy S Blaze 4G set to launch on T-Mobile later this year. We got a chance to check out the Blaze 4G, and we left relatively unimpressed. To be fair, the Blaze is a lightning-fast smartphone on par with a number of recent additions to Samsung’s Galaxy line, but it’s hard to get excited over a phone that is only a modest upgrade compared to T-Mobile’s current Galaxy S II. The Blaze 4G features a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5-megapixel camera and Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. It’s certainly a solid phone but with HTC’s One S heading to T-Mobile in April and Samsung’s full-HD Galaxy S III on the way as well, T-Mobile subscribers looking for the latest and greatest may want to sit tight and wait another month or so. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G launches in March for $149.99 on contract, and our hands-on photos of the handset follow below.
It may seem odd that Microsoft is hosting a media event at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show this year that will focus on its upcoming desktop operating system, but it couldn’t be more appropriate: Windows 8 is a complete acknowledgement from Microsoft that the future is mobile. Mobile doesn’t have to mean limited, however, and the Redmond-based technology giant’s next-generation OS is its first attempt to marry a touch-focused mobile platform with the robust desktop operating system that made the company famous. We saw the Developer Preview of Windows 8 several months ago, and now it’s finally time to see how much progress Microsoft has made since then.
Bookmark this link, which will go live shortly before the event begins tomorrow morning, and make sure to head there for our live coverage of Microsoft’s press conference! Coverage will begin just before 9:00 a.m. EST / 6:00 a.m. PST (3:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona).
To say that the past 12 months have been a bit rocky for RIM and the Blackberry eco-system in general would be grossly understating the obvious. The once great manufacturer has seen record capitol losses and watched its market share slide at an increasing rate. One of several reasons for the slip has been a lack of developers attention for the BlackBerry platform, especially relative to competitors such as iOS and Android. The Blackberry Playbook, RIM’s attempt at entering the tablet world, has floundered for just this reason. Ignoring the myriad other concerns about the company’s current state for the current moment, the lack of apps available for the PlayBook rendered it more or less DOA. Read on for more. More →
Samsung on Monday admitted that it has failed to gain ground in the tablet market while Apple’s iPad continues to proliferate at an increasing pace. Speaking with reporters at Mobile World Congress, a Samsung product strategy executive stated plainly that Samsung has a lot of work to do if it hopes to gain ground with its tablet portfolio. “Honestly, we’re not doing very well in the tablet market,” Samsung’s Hankil Yoon said, according to CNET. Read on for more. More →
T-Mobile on Tuesday revealed from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it is abandoning plans to update its current HSPA+ network with speedier HSPA+ 84 technology. The nations’s No.4 carrier currently supports theoretical maximum download speeds of 42Mbps across much of its HSPA+ network. T-Mobile had previously announced intentions to upgrade its back end to double its theoretical download ceiling to 84Mbps, however in light of its recent announcement that it will adopt more modern Long Term Evolution technology for its 4G network, the carrier has decided that its resources are better spent on LTE. According to The Verge, T-Mobile will utilize the same 1900MHz spectrum it had intended for HSPA+ 84, and refarm it for LTE. More →
Huawei is making quite a splash at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The company announced one quad-core handset — the Ascend D quad, which is built on the company’s proprietary in-house processor platform — in addition to a dual-core TI OMAP-based device, the Ascend D1. We got a chance to play with both models and, especially in the case of the D quad, we left quite impressed. These things move fast. Really fast. What’s more, these handsets mark Huawei’s entry into the chip making game, and place the company in direct competition with other smartphone vendors that moonlight as chip makers, like Samsung and Apple. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming year. That said, the handsets themselves will be the stars of Huawei’s lineup for at least the first half of 2012. The D quad sports 8GB of on-board storage, 1 GB of RAM, Android 4.0, Huawei’s 1.2Ghz quad-core chip, a 4.5-inch display and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Ascend D1 is externally identical to the D quad, but it will hit a much lower price point thanks largely to its 1.2Ghz dual-core chip, which replaces the D quad’s quad-core processor. Check out our hands-on shots in the gallery below.
Intel on Monday detailed a number new products and partnerships during the company’s Mobile World Congress press event. “We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Intel CEO Paul Otellini. UK service provider Orange will launch an Atom-powered smartphone based on the Z2460 reference design. The device will feature a sleek body that will enable “rich entertainment experiences [to] Orange services, including Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures.” The handset is scheduled for a late summer launch and will be available in the United Kingdom and France. Read on for more. More →
ViewSonic is doing its best to make splash here at Mobile World Congress with a number of tablet-related announcements. In addition to specific hardware launches, the company has also made some significant inroads with running Windows 7 Pro on its slates, mainly as proof of concept in anticipation of the upcoming Windows 8 launch. We liked a lot of what we saw but the P100, running both Android 2.3 and Windows 7 (theoretically upgradeable to both Ice Cream Sandwich and Windows 8) was the undisputed star of the show for ViewSonic. This dual-booting beast separates the two operating systems by way of a disc partition, and it seems to run both platforms at lightening speed. Check out our gallery below for hands-on images of the entire ViewSonic tablet line including the P100, the E10 Pro, the E70, the E100 and the G70, and stay tuned to see what ViewSonic brings to the table once Windows 8 launches later this year.
Corning announced on Monday that the first shipments of Gorilla Glass 2 have been sent to the company’s partners. Corning’s second-generation of Gorilla Glass is 20% thinner than the original without sacrificing performance or strength. “Corning’s new glass composition, Gorilla Glass 2, enables slimmer and sleeker devices, brighter images, and greater touch sensitivity, providing an ideal solution for the newest, most sophisticated smartphones, tablets, and personal computers,” Corning’s global director of marketing and commercial operations, David R. Velasquez said. The company expects the first Gorilla Glass 2-equipped devices to be available in April or May. Corning Gorilla Glass is used by more than 30 major brands and has been featured in more than 600 product models, spanning over 600 million units worldwide. Read on for the company’s press release. More →
ZTE doesn’t have a strong presence here in the U.S., but the vendor revealed several smartphones at this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show that will be big sellers in a number of markets. The Era, Orbit and PF112 are among the new ZTE phones that will launch this year, and we spent some time with each of them on Monday. The Era and the PF112 both run Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, while the Orbit is a Windows Phone. The Era is a quad-core Tegra 3-powered beast with a 4.3-inch screen and high-end specs that rival any device launched here at the show. The PF112 sports an even larger 4.5-inch screen, tri-band HSPA+ and an 8-megapixel shooter. The Orbit is the company’s low-end Windows Phone model, with a 4-inch display, a 1GHz processor and 4GB of on-board storage. In use, the Windows Phone-powered Orbit was definitely impressive for an entry-level smartphone, exhibiting the smooth user experience we’ve come to expect from handsets powered by Microsoft’s mobile platform. The Android phones weren’t operational, so we can’t comment on their performance. We can definitely still admire their sleek designs though, so check out our hands-on gallery for photos of each of these new ZTE phones.