Samsung on Tuesday announced an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is now available in Europe and South Korea for the Galaxy S II. An update for the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy R,Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Tab 7.7, Tab 8.9 and Tab 10.1 will follow in the near future. Samsung is also planning firmware updates for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab 7 that will remain on Android 2.3 Gingerbread but will include Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor and other features. “We expect that our customers will enjoy an enhanced experience with their GALAXY device through this upgrade. Samsung is committed to satisfying our customer needs”, said JK Shin, Samsung’s mobile boss. The availability of the updates will vary by market and are subject to wireless carrier approval. Read on for Samsung’s press release. More →
T-Mobile on Monday announced that the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G will be available in select stores on March 21st and nationwide on March 28th. The carrier’s newest 4G HSPA+ smartphone is equipped with a 3.97-inch Super AMOLED display and a dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor clocked at 1.5GHz. The device also features a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD videos, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, HSPA+ 42 connectivity and Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G will cost $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card and a new two-year agreement. More →
Fragmentation is a recurring issue that haunts the Android ecosystem in many ways. While Google’s latest version of the Android platform was intended in large part to address the issue — which many believe to have peaked when the software giant launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb and maintained two entirely separate versions of Android for smartphones and tablets — Ice Cream Sandwich has not yet done its job. Four-and-a-half months since its debut, only 1% of Android devices currently run the unified Android 4.0 operating system according to Google’s own data. To compound matters, a recent report suggested Google may launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean as soon as this summer. There is no question that fragmentation is a real issue for the Android platform, but is it really as big a deal as some make it out to be? More →
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.
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.
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.More →
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.
Accompanying the lackluster Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) tablet announced on Sunday, Samsung took the wraps off its new Galaxy Beam Android-powered smartphone. The handset features specs that are anything but impressive in 2012, but the toned-down technology packed within the device clears room for an integrated ultra-bright projector. “GALAXY Beam provides mobile freedom, enabling a unique shared experience around digital content for everyone—anywhere and instantly—from a smartphone as slim and portable as any on the market,” Samsung’s President of IT & Mobile Communications Division, JK Shin, said in a statement. “GALAXY Beam is a device borne out of Samsung’s insight and innovation, demonstrating Samsung’s commitment to providing extraordinary experiences for consumers with products that let them express and fulfill themselves.” Key specs beyond the 15 lumens projector include Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch WVGA display, a 5-megapixel camera, 8GB of internal storage and a 2,000 mAh battery. Launch details have not yet been announced, and Samsung’s full press release follows below. More →
AT&T on Thursday announced the upcoming launch of the Samsung Rugby Smart. The Rugby Smart is a waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof Android smartphone designed for users who need a durable device that doesn’t compromise functionality (or look like a space-age phaser). Spec highlights include a 3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera, a 1,650 mAh battery and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. “The Samsung Rugby Smart is perfect for active customers who need another level of durability with their smartphone,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. “It is water and dustproof and has all the features of a leading smartphone.” AT&T’s full press release follows below along with a video showcasing the device’s rugged build quality. More →
T-Mobile on Wednesday revealed the latest addition to the Galaxy-brand lineup of Samsung smartphones. Towing the line between mid-range and high-end, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is more than just a sleek smartphone with a whopping nine syllables in its name. The handset features a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor, a 3.97-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD videos, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, HSPA+ 42 compatibility and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. “The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is loaded with rich features and services to keep consumers entertained and connected virtually anywhere they want to go,” T-Mobile SVP of marketing Andrew Sherrard said in a statement. “Paired with T-Mobile’s fast 4G network and our unlimited data plans, we’re making it easy for consumers to enjoy the benefits of 4G experiences at a price they can afford.” The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G will become available online and in stores in late March for $149.99 on contract. T-Mobile’s full press release follows below. More →
LG on Tuesday announced three more Android smartphones ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The “L-style” series will feature the Optimus L3 (3.2-inch), L5 (4-inch) and L7 (4.3-inch), three smartphones for design-conscious consumers. “Design is consistently the top or second most important factor for customers when choosing a mobile phone,” president and CEO of LG Mobile Dr. Jong-seok Park said. “With smartphones, we sometimes took a more functional approach to design but with L-Style we’re going back to our roots as a company focused on how our products fit into the lifestyle of our customers.” The “L-style” focuses on five major design elements: modern square style, “floating display” technology, more intuitive arrangement of keys, metallic accents and a “sensuous slim shape” to naturally draw one’s attention. The L5 and L7 will both launch with Android 4.0 in the first half the year and the L3 Gingerbread phone will be released in March. More →
Samsung on Tuesday announced two new additions to the company’s Galaxy smartphone line; the Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy mini 2. The Ace 2 features an 800MHz dual-core processor with a 3.8-inch WVGA display. The handset is also equipped with a 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front facing one, Android 2.3, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot. The mini 2 comes with an 800MHz processor and a 3.27-inch HVGA display with a 3-megapixel rear camera, microSD slot and Android 2.3. Both devices also ship with Samsung’s ChatON, Social Hub and Music Hub services, allowing one-step access to social networks and over 17 million songs. The GALAXY Ace 2 will be available in the U.K. in April, and the GALAXY mini 2 will be available in France in March before being rolled out globally. Samsung has not announced any details with regard to a North American launch. Read on for Samsung’s press release. More →
The most massive Android phone Samsung has ever built is now available in AT&T stores across the country for $299.99 with a new two-year service agreement, or $649.99 contract-free. Positioned somewhere between a tablet and a smartphone, the Galaxy Note features a 5.3-inch 1,280 x 800-pixel Super AMOLED display, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, an 8-megapixel camera, embedded 4G LTE connectivity and Samsung’s “S Pen” stylus. And did we mention it’s huge? BGR’s full review of the Galaxy Note will be published later this week, but AT&T subscribers looking for the biggest dose of Android money can buy should look no further. More →