Rumor: ASUS Nexus tablet to feature a dual-core processor, will be priced at $149

Earlier this month, we’ve covered a couple of seemingly connected rumors regarding what is currently being referred to as the Nexus/Google tablet. The first rumor (chronologically speaking) hit the blogs when AndroidAndMe claimed to have insider information regarding the upcoming Google Nexus tablet, which would supposedly be manufactured by ASUS. Around one week later, a Digitimes report followed up along the same lines, though with a few extra details.

Summing up the previous Google Nexus tablet rumors

Up until now, rumors seemed to indicate that Google was planning to release a quad-core Nexus Tablet that would be manufactured by ASUS and would be priced between $200 and $250. Judging on the rumored specs and on Google’s track record of basing its Nexus smartphones on existing devices from OEMs, it seemed like the Nexus tablet could be based on the 7-inch ASUS MeMO 370T.
Fueling the speculations, ASUS has unveiled the MeMO 370T (running Ice Cream Sandwich) at CES, in January, but the Taiwanese didn’t even mention the device at MWC in early March.

New rumor: the Nexus tablet will be dual-core, priced at $149?

Today, AndroidAndMe reported yet another rumor, this time allegedly coming from a supply chain insider, claiming that the ASUS MeMO 370T was cancelled, and thus won’t reach the market in the state we’ve seen it at CES.
However, the source suggested that the MeMo 370T will suffer several modifications (downgrades, really) before being re-branded into the Nexus Tablet, explicitly mentioning that the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor will be replaced with a dual-core Qualcomm processor. AndroidAndMe’s source did not mention it specifically, but I’m guessing (and sort of hoping) he was talking about the Snapdragon S4, although the S3 cannot be excluded. However, there’s some good news — the dual-core Google Nexus would supposedly be priced between $149 and $199!

Android fans, cross your fingers!

To put it bluntly, if this rumor turns out to be real, it’s very much a double-blow administered to the Android community. Not only we’d be denied a quad-core Nexus Tablet, but we’d also be denied a quad-core Ice Cream Sandwich tablet (I’m talking about the ASUS MeMO 370T) that – priced at $249 – would have kicked some serious butt. On the flip side, a $149 Google tablet would be incredible, no matter how you look at it.
What do you guys think? What would be better: a quad-core Google Nexus for $200 or a dual-core Nexus tablet for $149?

Android malware steals bank credentials – Is mobile banking safe?

Mobile banking has been steadily gaining popularity, as more and more consumers get access to smartphones with internet capabilities. Today, almost every major financial institution in the world provides their account holders with easy-to-use net and mobile banking systems. But, as with every other good thing out there, malicious intent is never far around the corner. Security concerns related to the use of mobile banking applications have been recently brought to the forefront. The latest Android malware found in the wild is proving to be one of the most dangerous.

A new piece of malware was discovered by security researchers at McAfee, one that primarily targets Android systems. The app can remotely steal a user’s banking credentials from the user’s mobile device, without even triggering anti-malware apps.
As explained by McAfee researcher Carlos Castillo in a blog post, the application, dubbed FakeToken, targets major financial institutions by posing as a Token Generator app. When the application is installed, the malware even goes so far to mimic the targeted bank’s logo and color scheme, adding a certain credibility to the scheme, and making it hard for users to distinguish between the legitimate and the malicious applications.

Misleading App Icon
When running the application, users are presented with a WebView component that displays an HTML/JavaScript webpage, which is supposed to be an official Token Generator. The user is initially prompted to enter the first factor of authentication that is used to obtain access to the banking account. The application shows an error if this step is not completed. On clicking “Generar” (Generate, the malware is targeted to the users of Spanish banks), the app shows a fake token (in fact, a random number), and then proceeds to send the password to a specific cell phone number along with the device’s IMEI and IMSI numbers. The same information is also sent to a control server along with more data such as the device’s phone number. The malware gets the list of control servers in an XML file inside the original APK.
McAfee’s Castillo added that the malware also contains commands to update itself, spy on the infected system, and create a schedule to auto-run at a later date. The app retrieves all the contact information stored on the phone and serializes this information to send it to a control server.
The security researcher warned that similar malware that target other banking institutions are constantly evolving and with the ever-increasing popularity of Android and mobile banking applications, we can expect even more threats of this kind to appear.
Do you use mobile banking? What, if any, security features would you recommend to avoid problems with malware in the future?

Eat that Nvidia! Huawei Ascend D Quad XL Fastest in the World, Says Benchmark

When Huawei took stage at MWC  and introduced the Ascend D Quad XL as the fastest smartphone in the world, we weren’t entirely convinced by such a bold assertion, especially as it came from a manufacturer that used to mingle in the mid to lower class neighborhoods of Android city. But there might be some truth to Huawei’s claim, as the latest benchmark scores have revealed how Ascend D Quad XL trumped other smartphones in the speed department.

The Huawei Ascend D Quad XL, which is powered by the company’s own K3V2 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 16 core GPU, narrowly beaten the Galaxy Note’s 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos processor on the Basemark ES benchmark test. Even more interesting is the fact that the phone scored significantly higher than other quad-core devices on the list, the Asus Transformer Prime and LG X3. So we guess Huawei can now brag that its chip is faster than Nvdia’s Tegra 3. Nice!

Consistent with the score that Huawei posted back in February, the latest Nenamark2 3D OpenGL graphics benchmark results placed the Ascend D on top, beating a host of contenders such as the Asus Transformer Prime, Samsung Galaxy S2, and Galaxy Note.

Benchmark results aren’t all that matters, as they don’t necessarily reflect the real life performance of a device. But at least Huawei now has the numbers to walk the walk. With an impressive set of specs, that includes a 4.5-inch at 1280 x 720 resolution with IPS+ display, 2500mAh battery, Android 4.0 ICS out of the box, and the promised 20-50% lower price than its competitors, Huawei is set to, ahem, ascend the Android ladder even higher.
Word has it the Huawei Ascend D Quad XL won’t come until June this year, which is practically a lifetime for the tech crowds. Are you interested in getting one when it’s out?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE for Verizon full review

Samsung produces the most successful line of Android devices in the world. For their tablets, they have taken a novel approach by creating a variety of choices 7-inch, 8.9-inch, 10.1-inch and, now, 7.7-inch tablet. Most of these tablets posses enough differentiating factors to make them stand out, and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is a prime example of that with a display that blows any competing tablet out of the water.

Galaxy Tab 7.7 compared to the size of the Samsung Galaxy S2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE  features an incredibly gorgeous7.7 inch HD Super AMOLED Plus display measuring 1280 x 800 pixels as well as a Micro-SD card slot. It’s interesting to note that both of these features are not available on any of the other Galaxy Tablets. Other specs include 4G data support from Verizon’s speedy LTE network, a 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos processor, a 3 megapixel rear shooter with flash, and the device itself comes preloaded with Android Honeycomb 3.2 with TouchWiz UI on top. The size of this Tablet really sits right in the sweet spot for tablet sizes, and it’s small enough to feel very portable, and not too small that it feels llike an over-sized smartphone.

Furthermore, it has a sufficiently large battery that can power its 1.4GHz, dual-core processor through a full day’s use, and its industrial design is attractive and feels very comfortable to hold. While using the device I had nothing but a great experience, and it blew me away with its performance, I didn’t run into any lag no matter what I threw at it. The 4G LTE speed from Verizon is amazing and flawless like always. Both the 2 megapixel front and 3 megapixel rear camera do their job very well. My favorite feature of the tablet is, without a doubt, the display. It’s beautiful to see an AMOLED Plus display on a 7.7-inch screen. This tablet will make anyone who purchases one a happy camper, and will definitely garner jealous scowls from iPad owners.

The only downfall for this device is its $499 on-contract price. That’s a lot of money to pay for a device that still requires its own 2 year data contract to operate. You can still get it without a contract for $699 which is a very pricey tag for an Android Tablet.
For a more in-depth look at this amazing Android device, check out the video below.
So what are your thoughts? Is a 7.7-inch screen the perfect size for you? Any thoughts on the AMOLED display? For those of you eager for AMOLED in a tablet, but desiring a bit more power, stay tuned for Toshiba’s quad core AMOLED tablet that is coming to market soon.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a tablet that is blazing fast, has the best looking display on the market, and is a highly portable size, then the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the one to get.

Angry Birds Space Launches March 22, Brings Exclusive Content To The Samsung Galaxy

Angry Birds Space Release Date
Hopes that Samsung will announce today their next superphone at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, were hopelessly shattered, as Samsung announced that their “special announcement” will actually be the (second) unveiling of Angry Birds Space, flavored with bits of exclusive content for Samsung Galaxy owners. From the looks of it, Samsung will use SXSW to heavily promote its Samsung Galaxy Note. Like the uber-expensive Superbowl campaign wasn’t enough… It’s still a 5 months old device you know, Samsung, so how about sharing some of the next-gen love anytime soon?

Back to Angry Birds Space (launching March 22), the latest iteration in the Angry Birds saga will bring some unique adjustments to the gameplay, as gravity and the lack of thereof can account for some very interesting trajectory changes. What’s even more interesting is the fact that developer Rovio used a unique demonstration by astronaut Don Pettit of the International Space Station to showcase how the Angry Birds will behave in Space. Here’s the video that marks the first ever game announcement from outer space:
While definitely an interesting piece of information for all mobile gamers, a lot of people were kinda hoping that they will learn something about the Samsung Galaxy S3 (or whatever name Samsung comes up with for the successor to the Galaxy S2). Although we’re excited about the new version of Angry Birds, it’s not the first time we’ve heard about it, as Rovio has originally announced the game a month back. The only real “novelty” in this announcement is the fact that Samsung Galaxy owners will get bits of exclusive content.

The HTC One X Gets Rooted Weeks Before Its Launch

HTC One X Superboot
By now, most Android fans have learned about HTC’s upcoming flagship smartphone: the HTC One X. Bound to launch in April, many of us are eagerly awaiting to get our hands on this quad-core beast, and experiment with its fancy new camera technology. As it turns out, one notorious ROM developer, by the name of Paul “Modaco” O’Brien, has not only managed to get his hands on the smartphone, but was also able to come up with a quick root method for the HTC One X, several weeks before the device will become available to purchase.

The Root method developed by Modaco is called “Superboot”, and takes a hybrid approach between manual rooting and the increasingly popular one-click root methods. It will take more than one click, but Modaco’s SuperBoot will spare you of tedious tasks, such as manually partitioning or modifying the ADB. It is impossible to asses how well this method actually works since, oh well, none of us has an HTC One X to try it on. The developer claims everything should go silky smooth though, and judging by this guy’s success with previous mods, I tend to believe him, even without conclusive evidence.
An exact release date for the HTC One X is unavailable at this point, but official statements place its launch in the UK (and probably the rest of Europe) during March. The One X is expected to reach US shores early this summer, as the AT&T HTC One XL — an LTE-capable, modified version of the One X that will sport a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor instead of the quad-core Tegra 3. The rest of the One X’ (impressive) specs, including 1GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD display, and an 8MP camera, will remain the same on both continents.
Are you excited about this bad boy or are you going to wait for something better?

Just last week, we wrote about OnLive Desktop, the service that lets you run a full Windows 7 machine, complete with Microsoft Office, on your Android tablet or iPad. In a nutshell, OnLive Desktop works by “streaming” the Windows 7 environment to your tablet – all the software is hosted in OnLive’s cloud and you’re just accessing it from your tablet, just like you would with a Netflix movie.
The most amazing part about OnLive Desktop is the fact that you can get an almost complete Windows 7 experience and the Office productivity apps for free. The paid versions of the app give you more cloud storage space and access to a web browser, but, in order to get Win 7 and Office, plus 2GB of storage space, you don’t have to pay a dime.

Using OnLive May Get You in Trouble, Says Gartner

Now, Microsoft is making most of its money exactly from the two products that OnLive so generously gives away with its OnLive Desktop service. So naturally, news about the service raised many virtual eyebrows across the web, including a very prominent pair from market research firm Gartner.
Gartner noted that neither OnLive nor Microsoft have clarified how OnLive licenses the software that it provides to customers. Microsoft is well-known for its byzantine system of licensing, and Gartner’s analysts have speculated that OnLive Desktop is probably falling into a licensing no man’s land. The firm’s suggestion? Stay away from the service, until OnLive and MS clear it out.
onlive android

Microsoft Breaks Silence

Well, all the media attention that OnLive Desktop has been enjoying over the last weeks has finally triggered an alarm somewhere in Redmond, WA. Yesterday, one of Microsoft’s licensing head honchos has dropped the bomb on OnLive. In a blog post, MS Licensing and Pricing VP Joe Matz revealed how Microsoft is feeling about OnLive’s Robin Hood-styled acts of generosity. The skinny: you can’t do that, but we might change our mind if enough money comes our way.
To our relief (we love the idea behind OnLive Desktop), Microsoft didn’t apply the old “shoot first, ask questions later” strategy, although, apparently, it has all the rights to do so. In fact, in the wooden language typically used by Licensing and Pricing pros, Matz suggests that good ole Microsoft is willing to make things work.
Why is that? Why is Microsoft willing to essentially give away its flagship products to OnLive’s customers? Keep in mind that Windows 8 is just around the corner. Perhaps Redmond would like people to get used with using Windows on a tablet. Or, maybe Microsoft believes that, with consumers moving away from the PC, OnLive Desktop may serve as a bridgehead for accessing an entire new market.
Who knows? For now, we can only hope that OnLive manages to cajole Microsoft into accepting a licensing scheme that would keep OnLive Desktop on Android free (or at least affordable). Fingers crossed.

AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S2 HD LTE Gets FCC Approval

samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket hd lte
In the two months that passed since the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S2 HD LTE (or the Skyrocket HD for short) was officially announced at CES 2012, rumors and leaks regarding the supposedly last upgrade in the Galaxy S2 series have failed to surface. In fact, with all that quad-core madness that surrounded the Mobile World Congress, it’s fair to say that the dual-core Skyrocket HD has avoided (or was avoided by) the online media spotlight altogether. However, its flight below the radar ended today, as the Galaxy S2 HD LTE has received its clearance from the FCC.
The phone’s specs were officially announced back in January, so the official FCC documents aren’t what one would call juicy. Nevertheless, they do clarify that the Skyrocket HD LTE will use AT&T’s LTE 700 / 1700 bands. Furthermore, the papers reveal that Samsung has designed two different battery covers for the smartphone: one that includes an NFC antenna, and one that doesn’t. Considering that AT&T bypassed NFC functions on some of their previous smartphones, there are voices claiming that the carrier will repeat the offense and remove NFC capabilities from the Skyrocket HD. On the other hand, it’s also possible that the NFC antenna will be included in the battery, as was the case with the original AT&T Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket.
AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S2 HD LTE Gets FCC Approval
Although the papers don’t reveal anything out of the ordinary, they do hint that we’re getting close to the Skyrocket HD’s release date. Usually, when a device hits the FCC, we’re about to see a release date in the following month or so. It’s not a rule by any means, but it would make sense for AT&T to plan a launch for the Skyrocket LTE HD before the Galaxy S3 is announced (and that should happen at some point before the end of April).
The AT&T Skyrocket HD sports a 1.5 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, LTE connectivity, and a generous 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display capable of 1280 x 720 (HD) pixel resolution. So far, there is no info regarding the release date or price for the Skyrocket HD LTE, but we’ll keep you posted when fresh info pops out!

Sony Mobile Says No Go to Quad-core Chips Until 2013

If you have been waiting with bated breath for Sony to join the growing list of quad-core Android phones in the market, you may have to wait a little bit longer – like, a year longer – since that seems to be the plan according to Sony Mobile’s Product Marketing Manager Stephen Sneeden. Talking with CNET Asia at the Mobile World Congress earlier in the week, he said that it is likely that the company won’t release Android phones powered by quad-core processor until early 2013.
Will we ever get to see quad-core Xperia phones?
The Sony Mobile exec said that the company is considering moving to Cortex A15 architecture in the second part of the year, which he feels can run faster than the current quad-core architecture. As for the other reason why Sony is rather hesitant to make that jump, in his own words, “We’re going to join quad-core when we feel that the performance matches the battery efficiency.”
“You’ll see in 2013, as we’re evaluating the quad-core performance where it makes sense, where you’re not suffering in quality and the performance truly is there, and there really is something that demanding applications need. That’s when we make the right move to quad-core,” he added. That’s a fair evaluation given that most apps haven’t really tapped into the full potential of dual-core processors, let alone quad-core ones.
But speed is the name of the game and Sony is often behind the curve from its South Korean and Taiwanese counterparts – especially when it comes to utilizing the shiniest and newest processor around. It took the company more than a year to release dual-core phones compared to the competitors. Fortunately, this is something that Sony has acknowledged in the past as it parted ways with Ericsson.
Nothing is set in stone yet though. Sneeden admitted that this is just his take on the situation. Official announcements regarding quad-core or no quad-core will be made when the company is ready. Of course, Sony can always slap some GSM voice call capability to its quad-core PS Vita and call it a phone. Now, there’s a thought!

New Rumor: Galaxy S3 to be Announced in March, Launch in April

The fun never stops here, folks. This has certainly been a rollercoaster of a ride thus far, and shows no signs of slowing down. The Galaxy S3 launch date rumors have ranged from early 2012 to mid-summer, but now we have yet another rumor vying for our attention and analysis. This time we have reports that indicate that the Galaxy S3 might be launched as soon as April.  ZDNet Korea is reporting that the Galaxy S3 might be announced this month, and will launch just weeks later, in April.
Apparently, the sources for this rumor come directly from the advertising company that Samsung has employed for running a Galaxy S3 campaign for the device at the summer Olympics in UK. The UK will also be one of the first markets, allegedly, to receive the Samsung Galaxy S3, as it is apparently where the first advertising campaign will be. Additionally, there are signs that the same scenario that played out last year could repeat itself once again, with Americans having to wait several months after the UK receives it first.
If the next iPhone is launching this summer, then Samsung will want to have at least a small head start in order to sell as many units as possible. This will only work if they put the coveted device on sale before the iPhone even gets announced and showcased. But, as I mentioned before, if the Galaxy S3 has a 1080p display, it might be considered the phone of the year regardless of when it is launch.
I still wish that they would have waited for the Exynos 5250 to be ready for phones before launching the Galaxy S3, if that was at all possible. Obviously, they can’t wait if it means delaying the launch by 6 months or so. But, if it’s just a delay of two or three months, then they would be wise to wait, as the performance difference alone would definitely be worth it. Either way, I’m expecting the Galaxy S3 to impress again, but this time not just with its performance and display, but also with its slick design.
Any thoughts?

Verizon Explains Bootloader Locking: It’s For Your Own Protection, We Swear!

motorola-verizon-droidA society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither, said Thomas Jefferson a couple of centuries ago. This is a tech blog, so why the heck am I bringing this up? Because Verizon’s recent letter to the FTC reminded me that the old “liberty or protection” false dilemma is still used (successfully) to trick us into putting up with all kinds of things, from airport pat downs to, yes, locked smartphones.
But enough with the philosophy! Here’s what happened. A DroidLife reader and Verizon Wireless customer sent a formal complaint (based on a perceived breach of the licensing agreement between FCC and VZW) to the FCC, objecting on Big Red’s practice of selling devices with blocked bootloaders. Verizon responded to the formal inquiry with a letter to the FCC, in which it explains its position concerning bootloaders.
This is newsworthy because, up until now, Verizon kept quiet about the reasoning behind its bootloader locking practice. Big Red remained unfazed even when Motorola, the last big Android manufacturer to lock bootloaders, has implied that it locks devices at the request of carriers (read Verizon). So it’s interesting to see how Verizon plays defense when it comes to this thorny issue.
DroidLife Verizon’s arguments in a nutshell: we do it to protect consumers. Come everybody, a warm round of applause for Verizon! The carrier claims that its “standard of excellence” in serving customers can only be maintained if all devices are shipped securely locked. This prevents, according to the analyst that sent the letter on behalf of VZW, the supposed negative impact that boot loaded phones have on the cellular network, and even the wireless experience for the other users. In essence, Verizon claims the hassle of supporting boot loaded devices affects its service for all customers, so it chose not to support it at all.
In other words, give up your right to use your device the way you see fit, and we’ll make it worth it for you.
The surprisingly vague (for a formal answer to a FCC inquiry) letter leaves many questions unanswered. Is Verizon the one to blame for the locked bootloader problem? Does this make Motorola innocent? Or maybe is a mutually beneficial agreement between Motorola and Verizon to keep Droids locked? And why doesn’t Verizon lock all of its devices? For instance, the Galaxy Nexus, and many other smartphones from HTC, Samsung, or LG come unlocked.
What do you think?

Is Google Working with Asus on the Next-Gen Android 5.0 Transformer?

Asus has just said that its close partnership with Google will lead it to become the first company to come out with “Android 5.0 JellyBean”, most likely with a tablet. In my opinion this makes almost perfect sense, and I’m glad that it’s happening. Why “almost”? Because I’d also want this tablet to have a Cortex A15 chip inside it. But going by the rumors, Samsung might be the only company with a Cortex A15 chip out this year, and certainly the only one by the end of summer, because I believe we’ll see the first Cortex A15 device by then from Samsung.
It’s not impossible for Samsung to license it out, especially if Google asks them to do it, but I’d put it in the highly unlikely list. It would be very hard to believe that Samsung would allow other companies to come out with their best chip before they do, or even in the same time as they do. It’s also possible that this chip will be out by summer in Samsung’s next gen tablet, which will still be based on Android 4.0., and the license it to Asus for a mid-summer launch.
What would be the next best thing? A dual core Krait at 2.5 Ghz would certainly do the trick as well, or maybe even the quad core 1.5 ghz with the Adreno 320 one wouldn’t be so bad, but that might not come out until later this fall, and I believe Google wants this tablet out either immediately at Google I/O in June, or a few weeks later at most.
So here’s why it would make perfect sense for Google to launch this with Asus. I’ve been saying over and over again that I believe that Asus set the path forward for the evolution of both tablets and laptops with the Transformer hybrid machine. It’s simply the best of both worlds – laptop when you want to write and work on it, and higher battery life when on the road, or tablet when you want to relax in bed or on the couch, reading books or watching movies.
But even more telling is the latest rumors that Google wants Android 5.0 to be optimized even more for the tablet and laptop form factor. This means that Google is really intending Android 5.0 to be a big competitor to Windows 8. Windows has been untouchable for about 2 decades on the PC, and yet here we are actually considering the idea that iPads or Android may take away market share from Microsoft this time, and weaken their sales.
We are at a point in history when Microsoft has two big and serious competitors, with serious products that can actually take market share away from them. Of course they are not perfect yet to be able to do that for most people, but that’s not really the point. Windows 8 will have a lot of disadvantages when going to tablets as well, especially the ones on ARM, but even those on x86 tablets will still suffer from having to use legacy programs  that are not optimized for touch, so Microsoft’s transition to tablets (or doing both in the same time) will certainly not be a smooth ride for them.
The very first rumors said that some “game-changing” things were postponed to Jellybean from Ice Cream Sandwich. I believe this next Google I/O will be very exciting with the launch of Android 5.0, which should show that Android has a future not only on phones and tablets, but also on laptops, PC’s, TV’s and other devices as well (HUD glasses anyone?).

HTC One Series with ImageSense: Blink of an Eye Photos & More

HTC ONE Series
Historically, HTC smartphones were well-known for their design and hardware, but in one important aspect, they lagged behind the competition, and that is cameras. While over the last years, models such as the Sensation 4G repaired some of that bad reputation, HTC just couldn’t claim that it offers top-notch cameras on their smartphones.

But that’s about to change. To promote the freshly launched One series, including the One X, One S, and One V, HTC put emphasis on two major attributes – the authentic sound (the phones integrate Beats Audio technology) and the amazing camera. And from what we’ve seen so far, HTC has finally nailed it when it comes to cameras.

ImageSense – a Leap Forward for HTC

A part of the new Sense 4 UI overlay, ImageSense is HTC’s new camera and imaging features suite. With ImageSense, HTC tries to finally provide an imaging experience that can differentiate (in a good way) HTC’s devices from its competitors. So, what does HTC ImageSense bring to the table?
Here’s a quick rundown of the camera and imaging features of the new HTC One series:
  • Super-fast capture – the 8MP HTC One X can take a picture from standby in just 0.7 seconds. By comparison, the average blink of an eye takes 0.4 seconds. Pretty darn impressive. Auto-focus is supposed to take just 0.2 seconds (who can measure it?), which makes it possible to take several pics per second. The new HTC One devices don’t even have burst mode – why would you need it, when you can just keep the shutter button pressed and take as many snapshots as you want? The guys at Phandroid even pitched the One X against the Galaxy Nexus, and the winner at speed, was the HTC, hands down.
  • Better low-lighting photos – with an aperture of f/2.0, the devices in HTC’s new One series are able to capture more light than other smartphones, allowing you to take great pics even in low-lighting conditions or even no-lighting at all. For those bad lighting situations, the new HTCs also boast a single-LED Smart Flash that is tunable on five levels of brightness. During the press event at MWC, the Taiwanese also showed off the HDR technology in their new One phones. Here’s a screenshot from a DigitalTrends video that shows precisely how the One X does in terms of HDR processing, contrasted to an iPhone4.
htc imagesense one x

  • Simultaneous video recording and photo snapping – this one’s cool – you can take high-res photos while recording HD video on your HTC One smartphone, without interrupting the shooting. Just tap on the shutter button and the device will capture a photo in the background.
  • Integrated Dropbox and simple sharing – while not exactly an imaging feature, the Dropbox integration makes photo management and backup much easier. With a good WiFi connection, your photos will automatically be synced to the cloud, and they’ll eventually find their way to your computer. No more manual syncing. The new HTCs give you 25GB of free Dropbox storage space (for two years) and you’re not limited to photos, so you can save your other docs in the cloud, as well. Another neat trick – with the HDMI wireless accessory, you can instantly display your photos on any HDMI-enabled TV, no cables required.
The new HTC ImageSense surely seems promising. HTC worked hard to wipe off the bad reputation that its devices had when it came to cameras, and ImageSense shows that the clean slate strategy might just work. From early hands-on reviews, it appears that HTC did deliver what it promised, so kudos to them. It’s great to see that manufacturers move away from the megapixels race (except for Nokia) and focus on making smartphone cameras easier to use and better at taking beautiful snapshots.

Verizon Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE Unboxing

Today, I unbox the Verizon LTE variant of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. This tablet is packing some awesome hardware. In the specs department it features a 1.4 GHz dual-core Exynos processor under the hood, Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen, measuring 7.7 inches, 800 x 1280 pixels with 16M colors, Touchwiz UX, microSD card slot expandable up to 32GB, 3.15 megapixel rear shooter capable of 720p video recording, a 2 megapixel camera up front for video chat, and Android 3.2 Honeycomb to power it all underneath. The tablet is released today March 1st, 2012 and is available on Verizon’s LTE network for $499.99 with a two-year agreement.
While the tablet isn’t running the latest build of Ice Cream Sandwich on launch day, it is said to be upgradeable to ICS some time in the near future. However for now we are dealt with a still very respectful build of Android Honeycomb 3.2 with TouchWiz on top. The 7.7 inch touch screen size really thrives in text input, and it feels like the size is perfect for those that might find themselves typing out emails on this bad boy. For more on this Tablet stay locked on for the full in depth review.
For now check out the unboxing video below to get a first look and feel of the new Galaxy Tab 7.7.

We absolutely love this tablet. It’s the first tablet to come in at 7.7 inches, and there’s been a ton of enthusiasm for it ever since it first appeared in Europe not too long ago. As the only tablet with an AMOLED display on the market, for those that have come to love what the Galaxy S2 is offering, this might be worth a look. Also, with Verizon’s incredibly fast LTE connectivity on board, it might just be the one to get if you’re looking for a tablet with a great form factor, and a jaw-dropping display. Stay tuned for our full review!

Toshiba Launches Excite 10 LE in U.S., Says “What iPad?”

Toshiba X10 LE
You gotta hand it to Toshiba. Any other company would have chosen to steer clear of the Apple hype-machine, set in overdrive by the upcoming launch of the iPad3. But not Toshiba. The Japanese will launch their razor-thin Excite 10 LE (formerly known as the X10) in the United States, on March 6, the day before Apple’s big iPad event. Either they don’t care about it, or, they do it on purpose, just to mess with Apple. Either way, bravos for Toshiba.
The Excite 10 LE is a 10.1-incher that we first saw last year in fall, but, at the moment, it was known by its codename, AT200. Since then, the tablet was briefly called the Toshiba Excite X10, which was the moniker it bore when we saw it at MWC a couple of days ago. Just to add to the confusion, the slate was previously released in Japan as the Regza AT7000, and in the U.K., at the beginning of February, as the AT200. And don’t ask us what the “LE” in Excite 10 LE stands for!
In case you need a refresher, here are the specs of the Toshiba Excite 10 LE, due for a launch next week:
  • 6.93 x 10.1 x 0.3 inches (176 x 256 x 7.6 mm)
  • 1.18 pounds (535g)
  • 1280 x 800 LCD screen, capacitive
  • Android 3.2 Honeycomb (to be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • TI OMAP 4430 dual-core at 1.2 GHz
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB (or 32GB for the more expensive version) internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • 1.3MP front camera, 5MP rear camera
  • Battery life – about 8 hours.
As you can see for yourself from the photos and the spec-sheet, the newly-christened Toshiba Excite 10 LE impresses through its thinness. In fact, it’s so thin (the thinnest tablet in the world, says Toshiba), that we’re tempted to call it razor-sharp, without felling too ridiculous for comparing a tablet with a shaving device.
Toshiba Excite 10 LE
In that sexy, magnesium-alloy body lays a fairly powerful processor, although not the quad-core bonanza that we got to witness at MWC. Note that Toshiba has a quad-core beast of a tablet in the making – the 7.7-inch model we saw at MWC, which also comes with a sweet Super AMOLED screen and an equally sweet Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board. But we digress.
Speaking of Android, the Toshiba Excite 10 LE will ship with Honeycomb, which is kind of disappointing. Toshiba did promise a timely update (later this spring) to Android 4.0, but again, MWC has spoiled us, and we now expect to see ICS on every new device. Silly us! To their defense, Toshiba did start working on the Excite 10 LE over a year ago, way before ICS was on the horizon. But still…

Toshiba Excite 10 LE Price and Availability

Now, now… If you’re eager to get your greedy hands on Toshiba’s sexy new slate, you have just a short wait to bear – the Excite 10 LE will be available from “select U.S. retailers” starting from March 6. The 16GB model will cost you no less than $540, while for the beefier 32GB version you can expect to pay $599. Not exactly cheap (hell, it’s EXPENSIVE), but Toshiba does call its Excite 10 LE a “luxury tablet”.
Just to stir up old transatlantic grudges, Toshiba sells the same tablet, albeit under a different name, in the UK, for £399 (or $630) for the 16GB model and £449 (or $710) for the 32GB. Ouch!
Should you buy the Excite 10 LE? That’s a tricky question. If you’re a spec junkie, you can probably get better specs at a smaller price. Also, with a slew of quad-core slates coming this year, you might want to wait to see what Toshiba’s competitors have up their sleeves. But if you’re looking for a beautiful device to show your status, yes, the Excite 10 LE, with its ultra-thin magnesium alloy body, might just do the trick.
Anyway, it’s great to see that Toshiba cleaned up their game when it comes to tablets. Both the Excite 10 LE and the soon-to-come 7.7-inch model are, in terms of design, miles ahead of the old Thrives.

Android Devices We’re Most Excited About for 2012

The amount of innovation that is being crammed into events like MWC and CES is absolutely astounding. Honestly, it makes it hard to go back to regular life. That being said, it’s always a privilege to be able to attend events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), or Mobile World Congress (MWC), or CeBIT, or even COMPUTEX Taiwan. At these events, us tech-bloggers are so incredibly privileged to get a sense of what’s to come, and, more importantly, be part of the conversation.

Anyway, who cares? We all want to know what the hottest devices are. For those of us really passionate, we don’t even care about what’s on the market, but are always fixated (like laser-locked) on what’s coming next. With that in mind, I thought you’d appreciate knowing what we consider to be the most exciting upcoming Android devices are, for 2012. I’m literally foaming at the mouth to get my hands on some of these now. Brains!
Asus Padfone

This device has so much socialism embedded deep within its soul that I almost want to help the workers of the world unite! Seriously though, it represents an ideological shift, and is likely one of the biggest shake ups to the world of mobile technology that I have ever laid hands on. Why tether and waste two batteries simultaneously when you can get all the data you paid for, on one (three) device(s)? Despite the fact that it didn’t live up to what the rumors had indicated (Tegra 3), it has still got more than enough power  inside with its Qualcomm S4 dual core processor. With all the discrepancy in the blogosphere over quad core vs dual core, and the benchmarks that Anandtech has been able to bring to light, I see no problems here.

One SIM – 3 devices. Plus, once you connect the Padfone itself to the tablet “base-station” and then finally to the keyboard dock, you’re looking at over 10000 mAh of battery. That’s a lot of battery life folks. It’s almost enough to never run out. Considering i’ve got a 1650 mAh in my Galaxy S2, I think it’s safe to say that even the most hardcore road-warriors won’t be able to suck the fully connected Transformer like Padfone on even the most furious of cocaine-fueled tradeshow extravaganza’s. Well, that remains to be seen. Either way, Padfone good.
Toshiba Tab A270 7.7 Inch AMOLED Quad Core

AMOLED+Tablet+quad core a happy tablet make. Every time I hand my Galaxy S2 to someone that’s never seen an AMOLED display before, they always drop open their mouth, and comment on how the colors really look amazing. Sure, for professional photographers, and others that have affinity towards real, accurate colors, it might not be their thing. But for the 99% of us that love things a little bit saturated and artificially improved upon, there is simply nothing better.
These tablets are getting thinner, more powerful, and are packing more battery life than ever before. For me, 7.7 inches is a near perfect form factor, and i’m so pleased to see Samsung not monopolize their AMOLED technology. Either way, at 7.7 mm thin, the only thing that could make this device better would be a 10 inch variant, and a keyboard dock of some kind. Perhaps even a Padfone variant? Ok, i keed, I keed. Seriously, AMOLED just simply rocks. Unfortunately, this device is looking to be a bit pricey, and release date details are still a bit vague, but we will be sure to keep you posted.
Samsung Galaxy S3

I will sell my body parts to get this device. Thankfully, I probably won’t have to. I’m going to hang tight until the summer Olympics in July, where I just know Samsung is going to make a massive splash by releasing the most coveted Android phone of 2012 – the Samsung Galaxy S3. Sure, HTC released some pretty great devices at MWC, but they aren’t going to hold a candle to the Galaxy S3. That being said, they are going to come to market much sooner.
While little is known officially of the Galaxy S3, we do have some excellent sources that confirm the following:
  • 1.5GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor
  • 4.8-inch “full HD” 1080p resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio display
  • A 2-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel (zero-shutter lag) rear camera
  • Ceramic case
  • 4G LTE
  • Android 4.0
  • possibly bezel-less, which would explain the 4.8″ screen
If you’re as interested about the Samsung Galaxy S3 as we are, then be sure to check our compulsively updated release date page, fully dedicated to stalking every morsel of credible information that has to do with the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Samsung Galaxy Beam 

Is that an HD Projector Smartphone in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?
Projector. Smartphone. Prophone? Projectophone? Smartjector? Prophonesmartjector? Who cares?
I certainly wouldn’t like to be the marketer that tries to make a new category name for this particularly appealing portable projector with Android on-board.
It doesn’t matter though, because once you’re packing the Samsung Galaxy Beam, you’re going to be the coolest kid on the block – guaranteed. It’s the modern equivalent of those bad ass Reebok light up sneakers, for all you eighties kids out there. Sure, it won’t be very easy to play Fruit Ninja on while you’re beaming away, but again, that doesn’t matter.

The Samsung Galaxy Beam features an nHD projector, and is capable of projecting an image or movie or whatever you want really, 50 inches of it – from just a few feet away. Plus, it’ll be able to do it for up to three hours. At least this way, you won’t have to get close to people whenever you want to show them something on your smartphone. iPhones, don’t even bother making an appearance to this party.
Other cool specs you should know include a 2000mAh battery, a 1Ghz dual core processor, a 4 inch TFT display, a 5MP rear camera, and a 15 Lumens projector, which is really quite impressive for a device of this size. Oh, and it’s a phone.
Expect the party to get started in July, when it goes on sale in the UK for around $580, unlocked.
ASUS MeMo 370T
While ASUS was busy announcing their completely rebranded Transformer line of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablets at MWC, few failed to mention the MeMo 370T. What makes this device incredibly special is its price point. At $249, this really is going to be the device to beat. Honestly, with the specs it is packing below, and the price point it’s at, it’s simply just sitting there, beckoning you. If ASUS can actually make enough of these, unlike the two times they have two failed to produce enough to meet the demand before, then this device is going to not only be a Kindle Fire killer, but it will also raise the bar for all tablets in terms of price/performance/quality.


  • $249 – an amazing price for a quad core device
  • Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi a/b/g/n
  • Tegra 3 Quad (5 core) SoC clocked at 1.3Ghz
  • 12 core Tegra 3 GPU
  • 7″ screen
  • 1200×800 IPS display with 178 degrees of view-ability
  • 215.63 pixel per inch display
  • USB, Mini USB, HDMI, Headphone Jack, SD, microSDHC
  • 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2MP front
  • Android 4.0 ICS out of the box
  • GPS
  • Q2 2012 release date
  • 16/32/64GB
  • 10 Hours of battery life
  • 1GB of RAM