Years from now when people reflect on Android and its meteoric rise to the top, Google’s (GOOG) Motorola Mobility will absolutely be among the companies credited with pushing the Android platform to the next level during its early days. HTC (TPE:2498) lays claim to the first Android smartphone — the T-Mobile G1, or the HTC Dream as it was known internationally — but Motorola and Verizon Wireless (VZ) had the first Android-powered smash hit when they launched the Motorola DROID ahead of the holidays in 2009.
HTC’s $300 million investment in Beats Electronics last summer was one of the more questionable moves the struggling vendor has made in recent history. News of the deal came in August 2011, and HTC was a few weeks away from reporting its fifth consecutive month of record revenue. That run would extend to a sixth month in September before coming to a screeching halt in October as Apple launched the iPhone 4S. Things have been rocky for HTC since then — the company’s profit declined 70% in the first quarter and 58% in the second quarter as Apple and Samsung continued to dominate the smartphone industry.
Huawei isn’t a well known brand when it comes to the U.S. smartphone market. The Chinese manufacturer is looking to change that, however, and plans to push forward with more advertising in the U.S. and a slew of new smartphones. The Ascend P1 was announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics show in January, and over the past few months it has been slowly rolling out in various markets. Huawei is betting big on its Android-powered smartphones, but in a world of Samsung Galaxy S IIIs and HTC One Xs, is the company’s latest effort enough to attract consumers and increase its share of the extremely competitive smartphone market? Read on to find out.
Samsung is the world’s leading Android manufacturer. The company’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III, had an enormous around of hype surrounding it before the phone was even announced. A series of exclusive BGR reports painted a partial picture of the device, but Samsung went to such great lengths to keep the phone a secret that no one outside the company and its partners really knew what Samsung had in store. Now, the Galaxy S III is finally ready to hit store shelves in the Unites States — it will launch on all four major U.S. carriers beginning this month — but can Samsung’s latest Android phone live up to the hype? Hit the jump for my review of the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Successfully launching an iconic smartphone is a daunting task, and following up a blockbuster flagship phone launch is even more difficult. Apple and Samsung might make it look easy, but companies like Motorola, Nokia and RIM have shown us that the success of one phone is anything but a guarantee that sequels will be met with the same fanfare. Perhaps no recent smartphone launch better embodies that notion than the HTC EVO 4G, a smartphone that gave Sprint a much-needed smash hit when it launched in 2010, and its successor the EVO 3D, which is now all but forgotten less than a year after its debut. Now, Sprint and HTC are back again with the HTC EVO 4G LTE, a smartphone that is more than worthy of its “flagship” designation. Impressive though it may be on paper, can Sprint score an EVO 4G-sized hit with this upcoming superphone or is it destined to meet the same fate as the EVO 3D? My full review follows below.
How many times have you or someone you know lost a pet? I’ve been looking for something I can use to keep track of my dog, Moto, when we take him out of the house — you know, in case he starts to chase a squirrel and gets off leash. The Pet Tracker is the best thing I’ve found so far. It’s a reasonably small puck (with wings) that securely attaches to your dog’s leash, and it features a cellular connection to provide data on your pet’s whereabouts. It will also provide information about the device itself. The Pet Tracker charges on an included charging base in under a few hours, and in normal usage with Moto in the house most of the time, and the Pet Tracker reasonably close to the charging base, I’ve seen it last upwards of one week.
HTC is in a bind, too. Not a Nokia-sized bind, perhaps, but a tough situation nonetheless. The Taiwan-based vendor has been making terrific smartphones for a number of years now, but it really saw its business take off in 2011 with six consecutive months of record revenue. That impressive streak came to an abrupt end thanks to the launch of the iPhone 4S and increased competition from Samsung, however, and the company’s new One-series smartphones are the first collective step toward regaining an edge in the competitive smartphone market. Two One-series smartphones are set to launch in the United States this month, and here, I take a look at T-Mobile’s upcoming flagship One S to see if it may indeed position HTC for a comeback.
Nokia is in a bind. The company announced more than a year ago that it planned to abandon both Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone, the emerging mobile Microsoft platform that is currently still emerging more than two years after it was introduced as “Windows Phone 7 Series” in February 2010. Nokia and Microsoft had a lot in common, of course. Beyond an executive who ran Microsoft’s business division before joining Nokia as its CEO, both companies were once giants in the smartphone space. Microsoft had long since toppled, and Nokia’s market share was plummeting as its products continued to struggle against Android and the iPhone. Just two smartphones have emerged so far from Nokia and Microsoft’s deal since it was announced more than a year ago, and only one launched with carrier support in the United States. Now, Nokia is preparing to release its first flagship Windows Phone for the U.S. market — the Lumia 900 — and I spent the past week testing the handset in order to determine whether or not this might finally be the device that puts both Nokia and Microsoft back on the map.
It almost feels like we’ve been here before. Apple launched a new product with almost the exact same exterior look and feel as the previous model, and almost all of the upgrades are buried deep within the device. Why can’t Apple make a brand new game-changing form factor every year?! Steve Jobs was the best (even though the people who say this now used to talk shit about him all the time on forums and in blog comments when he was alive) and now that he is gone, Apple is done!
Apple’s iOS platform seemed to come out of nowhere and take the world by storm in 2007. The introduction of the first-generation iPhone set in motion a chain of events that lead up to the holiday quarter in 2011, when Apple recorded the most profitable quarter in technology history thanks mainly to unbelievable iPhone, iPod touch and iPad sales. No platform is selling as quickly as Apple’s mobile platform right now, but iOS is still in its infancy and the fact remains: as hot as iOS is right now, and as popular as smartphones and media tablets are, no platform installed base on the planet even comes close to approaching the size of Windows right now.
You know what they say about guys with huge phones… They’re compensating for tiny data plans. Samsung’s Galaxy Note is a giant smartphone. Or a teeny tablet. After using AT&T’s version of this device for several days now, I’m still not quite sure which is the case. It handles voice calls like a cell phone and it runs Google’s Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread smartphone operating system, but it feels very much like a tablet and it includes a stylus, which hasn’t been seen alongside a smartphone in this hemisphere for quite some time. Somehow, however, Samsung manages to pull it all together into one interesting package that might not have been worth the $10 million introduction, but it could certainly find a niche in today’s supersized smartphone market. Maybe.
After years of trying to build a smartphone worthy of reinventing the world famous RAZR brand, Motorola finally launched a handset it deemed to be deserving of the moniker last November. The DROID RAZR was released on November 11th and was a marvel compared to the flip phone it modernized. At $500 on contract, the original RAZR touted a 176 x 220-pixel display, 5.5MB of internal storage, a VGA camera and support for data speeds up to 48Kbps. This new version of the iconic handset packed a 4.3-inch AMOLED display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera, 16GB of internal storage and blazing fast 4G LTE connectivity into a slender case only 7.1 millimeters thick. While the new RAZR was well received by consumers, a few complaints surfaced following the smartphone’s launch and poor battery life was among them. For users willing to trade the RAZR’s slim profile in exchange for a bigger battery, however, Motorola and Verizon Wireless launched the DROID RAZR MAXX earlier this month. There is no question that the MAXX version of Motorola’s sleek handset took care of battery life, but is the giant 3,300 mAh power pack enough to make Motorola’s DROID RAZR MAXX one of the best Android phones on the market?
Nokia proved it was back in the smartphone game when it launched the Lumia 800 last year. But can its Lumia 710 gain the attention of U.S. consumers? Many would argue that Nokia should have decided to launch the Lumia 800 to make a bigger splash in a market that has long forgotten the Finnish smartphone maker. But the Lumia 710 is affordable — it only costs $50 with a new two-year contract — and it’s also powerful. It’s not as feature-rich as the Lumia 800, but can it still compete with other smartphones in its price range? My full review follows after the break.