HTC may be looking to follow in Samsung and Apple’s footsteps in developing its own processors, according to a rumor from China Times. The Taiwanese vendor has reportedly signed a “memorandum of cooperation” with ST-Ericsson to co-develop a new dedicated chip for low-end smartphones that will come out in 2013. The joint venture will help HTC reduce its reliance on Qualcomm and NVIDIA processors, which are predominantly featured in the company’s current smartphone offerings. HTC, which has seen slumping sales, focused previously on the high-end market. The company’s market share has declined by more than 60% in the past five months, however, forcing the manufacturer to rethink its mobile strategy. More →
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 →
With Samsung’s high-end TV sales doing well, the company is now looking to launch cheaper television sets according to Reuters. Demand for lower-end TVs has been on the rise in recent months, with major South Korean retailers teaming up with local manufacturers to provide flat-screen models that are as much as 40% cheaper than Samsung sets. “As long as there’s demand, we’re open to get into that segment,” Samsung’s executive VP of visual display, Kim Hyun-suk said. “We’ve been preparing to introduce cheap models and have been studying to optimize production costs and retail prices. Those models will be ready for sale in one or two months.” Samsung is the world’s largest TV manufacturer and is aiming to sell 50 million units this year, with half of those shipments being Internet-enabled smart TVs. 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.
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 →
We guessed it would come with a cute nickname and boy we were right. The entry-level LG KP500 has been given the codename LG Cookie. Yes, that’s right, you may now refer to this “Renoir-lite” phone as the LG Cookie. Silly name aside, the Cookie packs a lot of features into what promises to be an affordable handset. Just a quick review of the specs reminds us that the Cookie will have Quad-band GSM, GRPS/EDGE, 3″ touchscreen display, 3MP camera, accelerometer, BT 2.1 and an FM radio. The LG Cookie will also run the latest version of LG’s touchscreen Flash-based UI. A new and somewhat disappointing revelation is that video recording and playback on the Cookie will not be as robust as we had hoped. The Cookie will recorded video at 12 fps and only at QVGA resolution. Pretty pathetic for a 3MP camera. Additionally, the Cookie will not support DivX or XviD. You will have to be content with MPEG4 video at 240×400 and 24 fps. Also lame. If you can do without high quality multimedia, the LG Cookie does have one very big redeeming quality and that is its price point. According to the latest information, the Cookie is priced even lower than expected with an estimated price of only €170 ($228 US) and that is before subsidies. So my friends, it looks like the Cookie will indeed hit that sweet sub-$100 contract price when it officially launches later this month. Nice!
That didn’t take long at all, did it? Yesterday we told you about LG’s pre-announcement of the entry-level touchscreen handset, the KP500. To recap that post in one sentence: The LG KP500 is positioned to be an affordable and well-equipped option for users looking to score a touchscreen handset without dropping big bucks. Here we are a day later, and more complete specs have been discovered along with a price point.
- Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900), GPRS/EDGE connectivity
- 3-inch 240×400 pixel 262K color TFT touchscreen display
- 3 megapixel camera with 12 fps video recording
- Virtual on-screen QWERTY keyboard, handwriting recognition
- FM Radio with RDS
- Accelerometer-based screen rotation and motion-triggered gaming
- 46 MB of user memory
- microSD memory card slot
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, USB 2.0
- 900 mAh Li-Ion battery with 210 min talk and 330 hrs stand-by time
- Dimensions: 106.5 × 55.4 × 11.9 mm
- Weight: 89 g
The 262K color display, lack of WiFi and 3G and the mediocre camera might be turn-offs to some but let’s not forget we’re talking entry-level here. As for the price point, the KP500 will carry a pre-subsidized price point of $350. Just as the pre-announcement from LG led us to believe, this puppy will be well-positioned for a sub-$100 contract price when it begins to hit carriers this month.
Looking remarkably like a Renoir Lite, LG has just announced its upcoming KP500 entry-level handset. Initial details are somewhat limited but we have to say, we like where LG is going with this. Sure, including a stylus in the first official press images probably isn’t going to do LG any favors but it’s the thought that counts, right? LG will be positioning the KP500 as a low-cost touchscreen handset and if the price point is in fact as low as the press release might indicate, it should drum up a fair amount of interest among consumers who aren’t willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for a handset with this form factor. At the same time, LG is definitely not skimping on features as the KP500 has plenty of functionality that will attract new blood:
- Quad-band GSM
- 3-inch touchscreen display
- 3 megapixel camera
- Active Flash UI – screen switching similar to the TouchFLO cube
- Accelerometer-based screen rotation and motion-triggered gaming
- Finger or stylus operation
- Available in black, brown, silver and gold
Pricing has yet to be covered but the KP500 will launch near the end of October in Europe and throughout the rest of the world shortly thereafter. Will this sleek entry-level touchscreen ever make it to US shores with a cute nickname? Only time will tell but our magic 8-ball is telling us “Signs point to yes”.
[Via Unwired View]