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Samsung creating the next Nexus?

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Samsung Romania announced/leaked on Twitter more than a week ago (wonder how nobody noticed it, but that’s a discussion for an another day) that Samsung just started the production of Nexus 3. In a tweet, Samsung Romania stated that the next generation Nexus will launch before the end of 2011 and it will launch with Android 4.0, also known as the Ice Cream Sandwich. Given from rumblings that Samsung was working on the next generation Nexus deemed Nexus Prime (which is a real character in Transformers cartoon), this comes as a no surprise. Although Google tends to rotate manufacturers of Nexuses, those rumblings and tweets do nothing to distill rumors that the next generation of Nexus phones will come from Samsung. Given that Android-powered Galaxy S II has been flying off the shelf and serving as a de facto flagship Android devices in many countries, it almost seems like Google is rewarding Samsung for its great effort.

Of course, there was another rumor that Google is not creating one Nexus phone, but several Nexus phones, each from different manufacturers. So what will actually happen with Nexus is still up in the air. Yet, either way, we can see Samsung hitting this out of this park with a beautiful ‘Super AMOLED HD’ display (which will feature a 4.3-inch, 720p display) and a dual-core, 1.5 Ghz Exynos CPU as well as a LTE connectivity. You really cannot beat Samsung on the spec superiority as we have seen in Galaxy S (beast of a hardware) and Galaxy S II, and with stock Android 4.0 on board, I can’t see how Samsung and Google can go wrong with this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Source: Geekword

Source: http://pocketnow.com/android/samsung-romania-confirms-a-samsung-made-nexus-3

Written by Geek Park

July 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Verizon road-map leaked, Galaxy S II nowhere to be found.

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Daily roundup coming soon…

According to Phil Nickinson from Android Central, Verizon seems to have an arsenal of Android devices releasing this summer. Droid 3, with the dual-core OMAP4 processor and 8 megapixel camera as well as with Gingerbread, should launch Mid July, which lines up well with rumored July 14th release. Droid Bionic, the beast of a phone with Tegra 2 and LTE capability, should launch in late July, more than six months after its announcement at the CES. (It almost makes me doubt whether Verizon delayed the release so they can lure people into tiered plans). Blackberry 9930 Bold, with BB OS 7 and 1.2 GHz processor and all, should be released late July. Blackberry Curve 9370, also known as the Sedona, is launching in August according to the rumor, and it will include BB OS 7 and 512MB of RAM. Samsung Plato is an unknown device, although Jerry Hildenbrand, another writer for Android Central, found it to be the name used for Samsung’s smart TV. We’ll see whether Samsung will partner with Verizon to release Google TV on Verizon (perhaps its FIOS tv integrated?) this august? LG Gelato is Optimus Slider for Verizon in August. Finally, LTE version of Galaxy Tab 10-inch, which is already up for a pre-order, is releasing late July.

Feature phone wise, we’ll see LG Revere this August, Cosmos 2 (with slideout keyboard) this August as well, as well as Samsung Convoy 2 (which is a MP3-oriented folder phone) and Pantech Breakout late August. We’ll also see Samsung Aegis, which is a business laptop, launching September.

Exciting news from Verizon, but where’s the Galaxy S II aka. Samsung Function?

Link: http://forum.androidcentral.com/rumored-devices/98432-unofficial-verizon-roadmap.html

Written by Geek Park

June 29, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Optimus 3D… With Optimus Prime

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In Seoul today, LG had a cinema screening of Transformer 3 (which I heard is awesome) starring Optimus Prime with…. Optimus 3D. Coming up next, HTC will announce a screening of Incredible 2 (the movie) with Incredible 4 (the phone) in 2013.

Written by Geek Park

June 28, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Posted in android, LG, smartphones

Google i/o Day 1!

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See the liveblog here for more details.

What a day it was! We saw everything from newest generation of Android (from cellphones and tablets to… exercise machine?), launch of Google Music and Movie (Finally!), and ongoing move to tackle the ever-growing fragmentation head-on. Stay with us as we go over highlights from Day 1 of Google i/o 2011.

Best Moment: When Google went Oprah and gave away 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1.

 First: Android’s monstrous growth.

400,000 activations daily, adding up to more than 140 million activations a year! 100 million devices already activated just in two and a half-year (Oh, how I miss G1)! 4.5 billion Android apps downloaded already and 200,000 Android apps in Android Market! Just amazing how fast Android grew in one and a half-year after the launch of Droid.

Second: Honeycomb 3.1 and Ice Cream Sandwich… 3.2?

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Seriously, we have no idea what version number Ice Cream Sandwich will be.

While ICS is not launching until this fall, updated version of Honeycomb is already getting pushed into Verizon Xooms (about 250,000 of them). Updated version includes expandable widgets (like one in LauncherPro),  improved performances (so hopefully, no more lags) and an ability to accept numbers of USB devices from XBox controller to just your regular flash drive. This makes all the effort done by Asus to integrate USB into its Eee Pad Transformer basically useless (Although Transformer not recognizing USB devices sometimes, maybe it’s a good thing that Google stepped in). You can see all the features in action right here.  Also, Google announced that it will update Google TV software from FroYo to 3.1 version of Honeycomb, with simplified UI (and hopefully a full Market support). With Honeycomb designed to enhance Android experience in big screen, I think Google made a very good move here.

While Honeycomb received pretty major updates, Ice Cream Sandwich basically looks mouth-watering. Features added are very “Minority Report” like, with devices now recognizing movement of your faces (ala. Kinect). This enables one to simply zoom in and zoom out by moving one’s face around. While other features still remain unknown, Ice Cream Sandwich will be pushed into both smartphones and tablets. Google promise that apps written for Ice Cream Sandwich will support both tablets and smartphones without any need of optimization, but we’ll see how Google deliver on that promise. But Apple said that too for the iPad. (You can see all the Ice Cream Sandwich action right here)

Also, big promise to tackle fragmentation as members of Open Handset Alliance and major manufacturers of Android devices (from HTC to Samsung, although Dell and Asus are notable exceptions) promise to deliver software updates up to 18 months after launch of new device. While there are questions remaining (which we’ll try to ponder in the editorial coming very soon), this is a great move to stop “will my devices get updated?” questions and Behold II debacles.

Third: Google Music and Movies

Google is launching cloud-based music player and movie rental service. Google Music Beta, as it’s called, will allow you to stream up to 20,000 songs in the cloud (ala. Amazon Cloud Drive, albeit with more storage), with songs playable in computers, Android devices and even Blackberry Playbook. It also enables offline caching so you can hear songs even when you’re not in 3G area (or if you have a WiFi-only devices). Google Movie, available now in Xoom and in 2 weeks in Android 2.2 and above devices, will enable you to watch movies anywhere you go. It also enables you to “pin” movies so you can watch movies offline, just like offline caching in Google Music, although “pinning” a movie restricts watching the movie in devices other than the one you have pinned to. But both do sound bit disappointing when Google was widely expected to launch a full-blown music streaming service.

We also have editorial about that written up pretty soon, so stay tuned.

Fourth: Android @ Home

Labyrinth controlled by... Droid (not the robot, but the phone)?

For more, click here.

Google also showed off its Android @ home framework. It’s basically Google version of “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad,” with Google’s SDK giving accessory manufacturers to fully integrate accessories into Android devices. One cool example was the exercise machine. It connected to Android phone to launch an app created by the manufacturer of the exercise machine, and even went on to launch a simple game with a helicopter rising and falling based on your exercise pace (really addicting, if you say so). Hopefully, we get to see a lot more of those cool examples actually becoming products. Maybe something like this, but for Android?

Of course, with Android already being a toy for all the DIY hackers and developers, it definitely looks like lot of people will jump on this. Beside, Google definitely seems like it wants to give off SDK for very little cost or even free.

So, What’s Coming Up?

Rumor is that Google will announce more details on Chrome laptops. Perhaps the company will announce a $ 20 a month renting of Chrome laptops, as one rumor suspects. Of course, I think we can expect tomorrow’s keynote and presentation to be bit more Web-oriented and technical, Google having announced everything Android today. But whatever Google reveals tomorrow, we’ll try to keep you guys up to date with the roundup and blog posts as well as editorials. So, stay tuned!

Written by Geek Park

May 10, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Posted in android, ios, LG, smartphones, tablets

Dear Carriers, Give Us More Deals Like Optimus V.

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Smartphone carriers have always tried to attack both the high-end and the low-end market, with $ 200 iPhones and EVOs sitting right next to free Optimus Ones and Cliqs. The strategy may work for UK and other nations that have tiered plans and no 2-year contracts, but it obviously doesn’t work for the U.S., where carrier subsidies (and good deals from Amazon) basically equalized the price of low-end and high-end smartphone with iPhone excepted. For instance, who would pay $ 50 for Optimus S when you can get Atrix 4G for $ 100 from Amazon? Especially when Atrix has CPU that’s almost four times faster than the one in Optimus, not to mention that Atrix has bigger (and better) screen as well? Customers obviously are not blind, as seen in the list of bestseller phones from Amazon, where Top 25 feature no “budget” smartphones.

Then where’s the room for low-end smartphones? Well, look no further than Metro PCS, Virgin Mobile, and other regional/MVNO carriers. Optimus One line of phones as well as dumbed-down Galaxy line of phones have invaded MVNO carriers for months, launching at price that’s no higher than regular smartphones (around $ 200-$ 300) but with a plan that costs far less than that of national carriers. Optimus V is a great example. The phone launched in February of this year, at low price of $ 150 (at $ 200 now) and the plan that only cost $ 25, and the reception has been outstanding.  Users gave the phone 4.7 out of 5. It received editor’s choice award from PC Mag. BNET called the phone “perfect pick for cash-strapped business owners who crave smartphone power.” Seriously, the praise for the phone can fill up the entire phone book at this point. While the phone itself is just a budget smartphone that can’t compare to EVOs and Droids, its relatively cheap off-contract price and cheap plan definitely became a selling point for many people, especially those first-time smartphone users.

What Optimus V speak about the smartphone market is that cheap price doesn’t matter, it’s the cheap plan that matters. With Virgin Mobile’s plan, one can easily use a smartphone for a price lower than even regular featurephone (24 month – Optimus V: $ 800, LG Cosmos Touch from Verizon with 450 minutes – $ 1040). And with lot of MVNO carriers using cellular towers from national carriers, reception and call quality have been thrown out of the question also. So, budget-conscious users, like me, can finally consider moving to MVNO carriers, with solid phones and cheap, yet feature-packed and reliable plans. Especially if AT&T/T-Mobile merger drives the cost of plan up, those in a financial pinch basically have no choice but to move to prepaid carriers.

This is why carriers should seriously consider developing another plan for low-cost smartphones, especially when data clearly shows that those with budget smartphone uses less data than those with premium smartphones. While data tiered plan lessened financial burden on those who use very little data (not many, FWIW), it has not done enough to lower the overall cost of owning even a low-end smartphones in national carriers. What I recommend would be this:

  • Budget Smartphone – Unlimited Data for $ 15.
  • Premium Smartphone – Unlimited Data for $ 30.
  • Other features such as voice and text remain same for both categories.

This will save $ 360 (along with $ 150 ~ 200 user will save when he/she buys low-end smartphones) per two years, not a chump sum. It will definitely drive more people into smartphone area (You only have to pay $ 15 more a month to get Optimus S instead of enV Touch? Sweet!), not to mention extra money carriers will gain when smartphone users buy apps (30% of Android app revenue goes to carriers). This will also drive more people to buy premium smartphones as users are sucked into smartphone ecosystems already (“I already bought $ 200 worth of app for my Kyocera Zio, and I don’t want to go back to featurephones and not be able to use those apps I bought… But my Zio is so slow. Wait, there’s Galaxy S II that’s faster and that can use apps that I bought? Sign me up! It’s only $ 15 more a month than what I pay for Zio anyway”).

What’s good about Android is that the OS have already progressed far enough that it’s very smooth on even a basic, 600-MHz CPU at this point. Along with cheaper and more efficient chipsets developed, manufacturers should be profitable even by producing $ 300 no-contract smartphones. Even $ 200 no-contract phone may work, as LG is trying to do. Although embracing low-budget smartphones with cheap plan may cut carrier’s profit margin at first, carriers should easily see benefits as more and more users will dive into smartphone world and more expensive plan in general. Beside, with lord of money already hauled in by carriers, I got to think that at least one carrier is willing to take a chance.

Inspired by: http://thisismynext.com/2011/04/30/carriers-act-swiftly-save-low-end-smartphone/

Written by Geek Park

May 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM

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