Apple’s manufacturing partners are running into a few speed bumps creating the new high-resolution Retina Display for the iPad 3, CNET reported recently. LG CEO Young Soo Kwon confirmed that his company, which also builds the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and 4S, is working on the next-generation iPad 3 screens. Samsung and Sharp are also allegedly behind the development. However, CNET said that mass manufacturing a display with a 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution, twice the pixel density of the current iPad 2, has been a struggle. “It’s not a question of just making one,” a source said. “That, of course can be done. The challenge is making lots of them. This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn’t been done before.” In August, a report surfaced that suggested Apple had delayed the iPad 3 due to display issues. CNET said the companies have 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution screens prepared as a back-up in case the Retina Display can’t be mass produced in time. More →
Wholesale wireless reseller LightSquared announced on Monday that Sharp will manufacture smartphones and tablets capable of running on its 4G LTE network. LightSquared said that it will demo the first devices during the upcoming CTIA Wireless trade show in San Diego, California. “Sharp has a rich history of producing unique products that push the extremes of design and functionality, and we’re proud that they will be developing innovative devices for LightSquared’s 4G-LTE network,” LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said. “LightSquared’s wholesale-only business model and open network will provide Sharp with a platform from which they can aggressively expand into the U.S. wireless market with an exciting portfolio of smartphones and tablets.” Sprint announced an LTE partnership with LightSquared on July 28th, and we expect to hear more about its 4G LTE plans on Friday during its Strategy Media Update event in New York City. Read on for the full press release from LightSquared. More →
LG, Samsung and Sharp will provide Retina displays for Apple’s iPad 3, DigiTimes reported on Tuesday. In mid-July, rumors surfaced that Apple was testing Retina displays from Samsung and LG, and those rumors were confirmed days later when LG’s CEO said Apple will use its Retina LCDs in its next-generation iPad. Apple is also reportedly considering an investment of as much as $1 billion in a new Sharp factory that will be used to provide screens for its iPhone and iPad products. LG will be the largest iPad 3 LCD supplier followed by Samsung, although DigiTimes said Sharp could soon surpass the South Korea-based company as Apple’s second largest iPad 3 panel provider. Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the largest backlight unit supplier for the screens, according to the site’s sources. The most recent reports have suggested production of the iPad 3 could begin in September with a launch expected in early 2012. More →
Apple may invest $1 billion in a Sharp LCD factory to ensure adequate production of screens for its iPhone and iPad, according to MF Global FXA Securities analyst David Rubenstein. Apple typically buys its LCD displays from Samsung, LG and Chimei Innolux, although recent reports have suggested the iPhone maker has boosted its orders with Samsung after LG failed to meet iPad 2 display requirements. However, Apple’s recent legal battles with Samsung in the United States, the European Union and Australia could be why the company is looking to invest in other manufacturers. “If the situation escalates into a state of war, this could mean a huge shift in orders,” a source told Reuters, suggesting that Apple could give larger orders to Elpida Memory and Toshiba. Sharp is expected to provide the LCD displays for Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone, which is expected to launch next year. More →
T-Mobile already has the Samsung-built Sidekick 4G, but it may have another up its sleeves. Images of a new Android-powered Sharp phone have been leaked by Unwired View, and its slide-up screen form factor and small rounded keys definitely resemble a Sidekick. The device is rumored to offer a 3.2-inch display with an HVGA resolution, Wi-Fi, GSM/CDMA connectivity, and GPS, but other specs remain in the dark. Sharp has built plenty of Sidekicks before, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it get in on the Android game and re-enter the U.S. market. We just hope it has more beefy hardware muscle to make any future offerings even more compelling than the already solid Sidekick 4G. More →
Sharp just entered the 3D smartphone market, joining both LG and HTC, with the introduction of its Android 2.3 powered Aquos SH-12C. The smartphone made its debut in Japan and comes equipped with a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor, a 4.2-inch qHD glasses-free 3D display, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 3D video, and 512MB of RAM. The Sharp Aquos SH-12C will land on Japan’s NTT DoCoMo network on May 20th, although pricing details were not disclosed. Hit the jump for another image of the phone. More →
iPhone 4GS and iPhone 5 rumors are so played out. Might as well move on to the iPhone 6, right? Blog AppleInsider is reporting that Apple, Inc. has selected Sharp Electronics as the display supplier for its next, next smartphone — being called the iPhone 6. The information comes courtesy of Japanese newspaper Nikkan, who writes that the purported agreement will have Sharp producing p-Si LCD displays for the iPhone maker — not OLED as previous rumors have suggested. The benefits of p-Si LCD displays include higher aperture ratios, better durability, and fewer connecting pins — the screens are also said to be thinner and lighter than the current LCD screen employed by the iPhone 4. The report states that the new screens will be made at Sharp’s “Kameyama Plant No. 1.” No word on the size or pixel density of the new screens, but just give it time… it is iPhone rumor season after all. More →
As Netflix continues to barrel into living rooms across the country, the thriving company announced new agreements Tuesday that will enable one-click access to its streaming video services on compatible partner devices. The new deal will place a dedicated Netflix button, complete with the Netflix logo, on remote controls that ship with various consumer electronics including Watch Instantly-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and set top boxes. Manufacturers on board include Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Dynex (Best Buy’s in-house brand), Haier, Memorex, Boxee, Iomega and Roku. The deal is big news for Netflix, and it stands to substantially increase brand visibility. Netflix claims that there are currently more than 250 devices on the market compatible with its streaming video service. Hit the break for Netflix’s full press release. More →
According to a report in The New York Times Monday morning, Google TV might not be ready for primetime. Google TV is Google’s attempt at a next-generation WebTV service — a combination of television and the Web meant to expand and enhance the viewing experience. But the initial iteration of Google’s service seems just as half-baked as WebTV was in the mid-1990s. Google reportedly wants more time to refine the software, which has not been well received by reviewers or early adopters. Sony and Logitech both have products out to market already, but Toshiba, LG and Sharp were all set to show off new Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Google has apparently asked the companies to hold off so it can “refine the software.” The report does not address whether or not the companies agreed to hold their Google TV offerings, though changing plans would be anything but easy at this point. CES kicks off in less than three weeks on January 6th. More →
We don’t think there will be too many tears shed over this news, but T-Mobile today announced that it will be halting sales of both the Sidekick LX and Sidekick 2008 as of tomorrow, July 2nd (we called it.) There’s no bug, defect or data loss SNAFU to blame; just the cold realization that there’s no room for such a product in a smartphone obsessed nation. Here’s how T-Mobile is spinning it.
As T-Mobile looks to further innovate and raise the bar for the next iteration of the T-Mobile Sidekick, as of July 2, the Sidekick LX and Sidekick 2008 will no longer be available through T-Mobile, including retail stores, care, telesales and online. While we work on the next chapter of our storied Sidekick franchise, T-Mobile will continue to provide our loyal Sidekick customers with product service and support. Stay tuned for exciting updates in the months ahead, which we expect will provide customers with a new and fresh experience.
The electronics industry is going ga-ga over 3D. By the end of 2010, we will have 3D in our televisions, 3D in our portable gaming devices, and — if Sharp has its way — 3D in our mobile phones. By way of press release, Sharp unveiled the world’s first HD-quality, 3D camera module targeted towards mobile devices, digital cameras, mobile phones, and smartphones. The module will utilize two separate cameras to take 3D images at 720P resolution, and multiple levels of software processing, to combine the left and right camera input into a single 3D image. The camera module is expected to start shipping in July with mass production slated for late 2010. More →
Life streamers should mark their calendars for May 6th as Microsoft’s socially-driven KIN ONE and KIN TWO handsets are slated to make their official debut on Verizon Wireless. With its 5MP camera and diminutive design, the clamshell KIN ONE will be available for a reasonable $49.99 after a $100 mail in rebate and 2-year contract. With is 8MP camera and HD capability, the KIN TWO is the premium of the pair and will sport a slightly higher $99.99 price tag after a $100 mail in rebate and a 2-year deal. The KIN ONE and the KIN TWO can be activated on a Nationwide Talk plan and due to the presumed copious data consumption of upload hungry tweens, both will require a minimum data plan of $29.99 per month. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the collective gasp of penny-pinching parents around the nation. More →
We’ve only been using the Microsoft KIN Two for about half a day. Even though that isn’t enough time to put a comprehensive review together, we can still comment on our initial reactions about the device.
The Microsoft KIN One and KIN Two are aimed at a non-professional crowd, mostly the young Justin Bieber generation. For phones in this category, they definitely do pack a punch. For starters, there is Microsoft Exchange support (no calendar support), an 8 megapixel camera with 720p video capture, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and all the social networking integration you could want. Microsoft actually is not very spec-heavy when pushing this device as they realize the specifications are almost irrelevant to the target buyer — and that’s smart.
The real issue is that we cannot remember a phone in recent memory that has felt so cheap and so clunky to use. Seriously. For some reason — and I am really not exaggerating here — I do not remember ever being so frustrated with a phone. It is slow and far from intuitive. There are feature phones that I would rather carry around with me. The one saving grace we thought the KIN had was that the data plans would be more economical than the traditional $30/month unlimited data packages. Well, we were wrong. The KIN Two goes for $99.99 on a two year contract after $100 MIR, but you still need that $30 data plan on top of your texting plan, on top of your voice plan (or family plan). I’m sorry, but I don’t see the advantage of a device this limited in this day and age, not with $100 Android devices, $100 iPhones, and $100 BlackBerry handsets (that all use the same $30/month data package). The concept is fine, but the execution is more a mashup of glitter, key lime pie, and a crappy stained glass window artist all thrown together under Sharp’s assembly lines.
Yes, the added value stuff is cool — KIN Studio lets you see a historical archive of your entire phone, complete with text messages, photos and videos, and KIN Loop on the homepage is great in theory — but again, the execution here is the issue, and it reminds me of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR mess of a homescreen.
Going one step further, this device kind of spoiled my excitement for Windows Phone 7 — it is definitely not the same (though they do have the same base kernel), but it seems to be a little peak into that window, and from where I am standing, I don’t like the view. We have some photos ready to go in the gallery, plus the HTC Incredible makes a cameo for some size comparisons.