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.
We were only able to spend a few minutes with Sony’s new Xperia P smartphone as we rushed from Sony’s press conference to HTC’s press conference on Sunday, and we didn’t get any time at all with the Xperia U. Thanks to a slightly lighter event scheduled on Monday, we were able to make it over to Sony’s booth and spend some quality time with its new smartphones. These are the first smartphones that will be launched by the new Sony Mobile Communications unit that picks up where Sony Ericsson left off, and to be frank, we’re a bit concerned. This pair of Android phones is well-made and we like what Sony has done to its UI atop Android 4.0, but we’re still seeing some things that concern us. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery linked below, and then hit the break for our initial impressions of the Xperia P and Xperia U smartphones.
Nokia on Monday announced two new smartphones during its press conference at Mobile World Congress 2012. The star of the show was undoubtedly the Nokia 808 PureView, a smartphone the Finnish smartphone maker teased last week. Featuring a jaw-dropping 41-megapixel camera, the 808 PureView is a mobile photographer’s dream and a smartphone enthusiast’s nightmare. Why? The 808 features solid specs but it is powered by Symbian Belle, a dated operating system Nokia is currently in the process of tossing to the curb. Spec highlights include the high-resolution 41-megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology that allows users to zoom without any loss of clarity when taking pictures at low (2, 3, 5 or 8-megapixel) resolution, Dolby sound and the ability to record 1080p videos. Details surrounding the Lumia 610 follow below. More →
Somehow making the original Galaxy Note look positively diminutive in size, the newly announced Galaxy Note 10.1 is a proper 10.1-inch tablet from Samsung. Sporting a 1.4Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, HSPA+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.1, the only thing you won’t be able to do with this slate is place an actual call. Then again, given how ridiculous the original Note looks held up to the side of a human head, we’re not so sure this is a bad thing. In use, the Note 10.1 is snappy and responsive, and the S-pen implementation is well executed. Does the world need another 10-inch tablet? We can’t answer that one way or the other, but Samsung certainly has a competent device on its hands. Check out the gallery below for some hands-on pics!
A projector phone? From Samsung? Sure, why not? We got a chance to spend some time with Sammy’s newly announced “Beam” addition to its ever-expanding Galaxy line, and we left with mixed emotions. On the one hand, this is a solid and well executed smartphone, but it sports a 1Ghz dual-core chip, Android 2.3, a 4-inch WVGA screen, 8GB of built-in storage, and 768MB of RAM, so the specs aren’t exactly on par with other modern handsets. On the projector end of things, we’ve got a powerful 15 lumens unit capable of displaying a 50-inch wide image on any flat surface. This is pretty cool, but we’re still not sure this is a space that needs filling. That said, if you’re in the market for a projector-equipped smartphone, this is pretty much the best game in town. Our hands-on photo gallery follows below.
Samsung on Monday took the wraps off another new addition to its Android tablet lineup, the Galaxy Note 10.1. Like the supersized “phablet” it joins in the Galaxy Note family, the Note 10.1 includes Samsung’s S Pen stylus for drawing, note-taking, highlighting and much more. Sadly, this still isn’t the high-definition slate we’ve been waiting for so it looks like Samsung is shooting to launch its Retina-like tablet later this year. The 10-inch Galaxy Note runs Samsung’s TouchWiz UI atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and includes a 1.4GHz dual-core processor along with the same cameras found in the original Galaxy Tab 10.1. In fact, the Note 10.1 essentially seems like a redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1 with an S Pen and a new processor, which is peculiar since the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) is pretty much a Galaxy Tab 10.1 as well. Announced alongside the Galaxy Note 10.1 is the Galaxy S WiFi 4.2, a Wi-Fi-only device aimed at gaming. Samsung’s press releases follow below. More →