Several rumors surrounding Apple’s next-generation iPhone handsets tend to resurface each year, and the imminent launch of an entry-level “iPhone nano” is one that we have seen regularly since Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007. China Times is among the first to bring purported news of a low-cost iPhone in the works this year, citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain with its report. Apple is looking to expand expand its position in the low-end smartphone market according to China Times, and its $375 iPhone 3GS is too pricey to compete with entry-level Android smartphones. As such, the company is planning to launch a new low-end model later this year, possibly at or around the same time the sixth-generation flagship iPhone hits the market. More likely is the possibility that Apple will retool a current iPhone model in an effort to cut costs, but as we have learned in the past — and as we may soon see again with the possible introduction of an “iPad mini” later this year — the “iPhone nano” is rumor until it’s not. More →
Sprint on Wednesday announced the “family-friendly” Android-powered ZTE Fury. This entry-level handset features a 3.5-inch capacitive display with a 1GHz single-core processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The Fury is equipped with a 5-megapixel rear camera, a microSD slot, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB of RAM and the usual suite of preloaded Sprint apps. “We realize that there are a lot of choices in the market when it comes to choosing the right cell phone that fits the needs of both a working parent and their family,” said David Owens, Sprint’s vice president-Product Development. “Providing affordable, Android-powered devices, like ZTE Fury, in our lineup helps give families the tools and information to better manage their wireless usage while still providing the style and functionality they need to keep up with their busy lives.” The ZTE Fury will be available on March 11th for $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →
While technology enthusiasts look forward to a number of high-end smartphone announcements vendors are preparing for Mobile World Congress next month, 2012 will see entry-level smartphones become more popular than ever. Market research firm Deloitte estimates that the number of sub-$100 smartphones in use globally will surpass 500 million this year, and by the end of 2012 there will be 200 million NFC-equipped devices in the hands of consumers. The firm also sees apps continuing to play a huge role in the mobile market, with the number of available apps set to top 2 million later this year. ”The number of apps available reached one million in December 2011 and will double again by the end of 2012,” Deloitte TMT analyst Jolyon Barker said in a statement. ”However, the proportion that are paid for remains small. Only a fifth of downloaded apps sell more than 1,000 copies and only a tiny proportion of unpromoted apps will ever become successful.” The firm’s full press release follows below. More →
Apple reportedly has plans to launch two new iPad models next year according to a recent report. Set to be unveiled at a press conference in January, the two new iPads will join Apple’s iPad 2 to create an iPhone like tablet lineup. The iPad 2 will remain available at an entry-level price point, DigiTimes claimed citing unnamed industry sources, while new mid-range and high-end iPad models will launch early in 2012. Both new iPads will feature dual-LED backlit 9.7-inch displays with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. It is unclear what features might distinguish the new mid-range iPad from the high-end model. The report also claims that Apple’s rumored 7.85-inch iPad will not be among the models to launch early next year. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair recently said in a note to investors that Apple would continue to sell the iPad 2 at a lower price point following the launch of its next-generation tablet model.
UPDATE: Loop Insight’s Jim Dalrymple noted that according to his sources, Apple has no plans to unveil an iPad 3 at the iWorld expo in January as noted in DigiTimes’s report. More →
Global shipments of low-cost Android smartphones are expected to explode over the next four years. A new report from market intelligence firm In-Stat suggests that annual shipments of sub-$150 Android phones will reach 339 million units in 2015. In-Stat says that consumers in the market for smartphones with such a low unsubsidized cost only have one option — Android — leaving current (Symbian) and future (Nokia’s secret new OS) platforms high and dry. Even in 2013, however, In-Stat views fragmentation as an issue and says the spec requirements of newer Android builds like Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will keep it off low-end phones. Read on for more. More →
Nokia on Tuesday unveiled its first two Windows Phones, a sleek high-end smartphone dubbed Lumia 800 and an affordable model called the Lumia 710. The latter is a mid-level handset that will retail for €270 abroad before taxes and subsidies. While it doesn’t have the sleek unibody architecture of the 800, it certainly packs a fair amount of bang for the buck. Starting things off, the Lumia 710 features a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor that makes navigating the UI a fantastic experience. That’s right, a €270 smartphone with a 1.4GHz Snapdragon. Read on for more and be sure to check out our hands-on gallery below.
Apple is preparing to launch a new, less expensive iPhone 4 model that will become available at the end of September alongside the iPhone 5, Reuters reported on Tuesday. Citing multiple anonymous sources, the news organization says that the retooled iPhone 4 will feature a smaller 8GB flash drive manufactured by an unnamed South Korean company. Apple has sourced flash drives for its current iPhone models from Toshiba and Samsung. Reuters also contradicts recent reports that the iPhone 5 will launch in early October, writing instead that Apple is “targeting an end-September launch for the next-generation iPhone 5.” The report restates numerous others that claim the iPhone 5 will feature a larger display, a new antenna design and an 8-megapixel camera. More →
VIZIO on Monday evening announced that its affordable 8-inch VIZIO Tablet is now available from numerous retailers nationwide. The Gingerbread-powered device is VIZIO’s first foray into the tablet space, and while the slate’s specs aren’t cutting edge, it’s unsubsidized $299 price tag makes it a great option for tablet buyers on a budget. Spec highlights include an 8-inch 1024 x 768-pixel display, Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread, 2GB of storage and support for up to 32GB of removable storage, a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a front-facing VGA camera for video chats. “VIZIO set out to build an innovative tablet that breaks new ground and addresses the gaps in current offerings in the market,” said VIZIO CTO Matt McRae in a statement. “The VIZIO Tablet offers a superior multimedia experience with its three speaker design, home theater integration with IR, and a perfect size for typing, eBooks, gaming and portability. These innovations and our ground breaking price push the category forward and deliver on our brand promise of Entertainment Freedom for All.” VIZIO’s 8-inch tablet is now available at Sam’s Club, Walmart, Costco, Amazon and other VIZIO retailers across the country for under $300. VIZIO’s full press release follows below.
Apple has quietly launched a new entry-level iMac that targets education. The new model features a 21.5-inch display like the current base iMac, but the specs are dialed down in order to push pricing to a slightly more attainable starting point. Highlights include a 3.1GHz Intel Core i3 dual-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 250GB hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6750 GPU. Pricing starts at $999, 11% higher than the last iMac aimed at the education market, and the new model is available immediately to education customers on Apple’s website.
While the Daytona 500 kicks off a race to the top each year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Nokia 500 is a race to the bottom. Nokia on Monday announced a new Symbian-powered smartphone that will aggressively attack emerging markets and smartphone users on a budget. The €150 ($217) Nokia 500 costs about what most popular smartphones do after subsidies, and it features specs we’re not used to seeing on entry-level devices. Highlights include a 1GHz processor, a 3.2-inch 640 x 360-pixel touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera, 2GB of storage and HSPA data. It also weighs just 93 grams, making it the lightest Symbian smartphone to date. As attractive as this handset could be in the low-end market, it begs the question: how long will it be until Nokia can attack young demographics and emerging markets this aggressively with entry-level smartphones powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS? Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has said on numerous occasions that Nokia will be able to push affordable Windows Phones out to market very quickly, but €150 before subsidies is not an easy price point to hit. Nokia did not specify a launch date for the Nokia 500, saying only that it will be available before the end of the year. A pair of videos showcasing the new Nokia 500 follow below. More →
Images of what is claimed to be an entry-level iPhone 4 prototype have surfaced online courtesy of a site called Tinthe. The same site in the past published photos of an engineering sample white iPhone that featured what is said to have been a very early test build of iOS 4, in addition to having the white plastic MacBook before announcement and release. The iPhone this time around appears to be an iPhone 4-like device, except the user that uploaded the photos claims it’s more of an “iPhone 4 lite” with plastic casing on the front and rear opposed to the glass exterior the current model features. From the photos however, this to me looks like a pre-production white iPhone 4 at best, and at the very worst, an aftermarket conversion kit commonly found on the streets of China and online. Additionally, the phone looks like it’s jailbroken which wouldn’t make much sense. Lastly, we exclusively reported that Apple would be selling its least expensive iPhone product, the iPhone 3GS, alongside the iPhone 4 and soon-to-be introduced iPhone 5. Why would Apple want to have a lower-cost iPhone 4 that looked like the company’s now high-end — and soon to be mid-end — iPhone 4? If you’re still not convinced that this product is either not ever being released, or is an aftermarket creation, there are a few more photos after the break for you. More →
Apple has inked deals with numerous additional parts suppliers for its upcoming iPad refresh according to a new report from DigiTimes, further supporting the notion that the tech giant plans to unveil a new version of its market-leading tablet later this year. Citing industry sources, the report claims Taiwan-based component manufacturers including Novatek Microelectronics, Richtek Technology, Capella Microsystems and Integrated Memory Logic have been awarded contracts to supply integrated circuits for the iPad 3. Contrary to previous speculation that Apple’s next iPad would be a high-end “Pro” model, DigiTimes states that Apple is seeking to utilize lower cost parts from Taiwanese suppliers in order to “compete with an array of tablet PCs to be launched by rivals in the second half of 2011.” A more likely scenario, however, is that Apple may simply be looking to offset the added expense of the upcoming iPad’s Retina Display with cheaper circuits. Such a move could allow the Cupertino-based company to launch its next-generation iPad at the iPad 2′s current price points. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPad this fall alongside the iPhone 5. More →
Samsung’s newest budget Android phone is now available in the U.S. from T-Mobile. The Samsung Dart is a Froyo phone that sports a 3.14-inch QVGA display, a 3-megapixel camera with video capture support, 512MB of internal memory, microSDHC support up to 32GB and a 1,200 mAh battery. The specs clearly seem a bit dated, but for the low price of free on contract, this is a great budget Android phone for teens and first-time smartphone buyers. More →