January 15, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
At the 2013 International CES, manufacturer of the year Sony released two phones. The phones are similar and share similar names. These devices are called the Sony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL. The Xperia Z is water and dust proof while the Xperia ZL has a hardware camera button.
XDA News Specialist Jordan was on site and got a chance to get his hands on the Xperia twins. Jordan sat down and talked with the folks and Sony. In this video, he shares what he learned and shows off the devices. Check it out to see what the newest Xperias look like.
January 12, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
At the 2013 International CES, Chinese manufacturer Huawei (which we were constantly told was pronounced “wah-way”) released two phones. The most interesting phone is the Huawei Ascend Mate. This device packs a 6.1-inch HD display, an 8-megapixel camera, a 4050 mAh battery, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and a quad-core processor. This huge device garnered a lot of attention.
XDA News Specialist Jordan was on site and got a chance to get his hands on the Ascend Mate. This device has the potential to turn Huawei from an also-ran to a contender on par with the likes of Samsung or Sony. Or does it? Check out this video to see what the Huawei Ascend Mate looks like.
After a record breaking year for attendees, the 2013 International CES event has begun to much fanfare. Sightings of celebrities included Felicia Day of “The Guild” and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. There were a lot of people in attendance, as we were constantly getting bumped into and rolled over by wheelable bags.
We received notice that an Italian company would be talking about their new, improved Android Smartwatch. Being Android fanatics, we went to check it out. The presentation started 20 minutes late, so we are not sure about the reliability of the time telling feature. The device is called the i’m watch. However, the presentation did not talk much about the specifics of the device, and a stampede at the end of the presentation to see the watch left us unable to talk to anyone about the specs.
What we can glean from the brochure and presentation is that this device seems to be more about style and aesthetics than functionality. The brochure talks about the colors, the i’m cloud syncing function, and i’moticons. At the very end, the brochure talks about some basic specs. It has a 1.54-inch 220 ppi screen, 128 MB of RAM, and a customized version of Android. The device seems fairly limited. It could have development potential, though, but at an estimated price of almost $400, we can’t recommend it just yet.
We got our hands on the Sony Xperia Z and Sony Xperia ZL, the Z being waterproof and the ZL having a stylized and prominent hardware power button. The overall feel of the phone is decent, and in talking with the Sony representatives present, will probably hit the Free Xperia Project once the device is released. No release date has been announced.
Finally, we got to hear some very excellent wireless speakers for your Android device. It was nice to see a company, Phorus, realize there is more to the mobile ecosystem that iOS and iPhones. I would highly recommend checking out their speakers if you can.
January 8, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In case you haven’t noticed, the industry event known as International CES is going on this week. Over the past couple of days, XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan got a sneak peak on what to expect from some of the industry’s largest players in the television, audio, computing and mobile device segments.
In today’s episode of XDA Developer TV, Jordan talks about what he has seen and what to look out for over the next year from these companies. He talks about what is coming from AudioVoxx, Netgear, and Sony.
Additionally, Jordan had a chance to see some previews of some interesting alternatives in the mobile operating systems arena. This includes the just announced Ubuntu for Phones and Boot 2 Gecko, the Mozilla operating system. Check out the video!
January 8, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
Well the pre-CES announcements have already been made, and the first half of 2013 doesn’t look too promising for new mobile devices. The theme of the announcements this year was cloud and smart. A lot of manufactures talked about connecting every device, from your mobile devices to your televisions to your washing machines.
LG and Samsung both talked about televisions with unimaginable amounts of pixels that are smart, as did Sony. These televisions are connected to your content and your mobile device. LG is going to be releasing 7 televisions with Google TV, and Samsung is bringing mobile technology to the television with search and more. Additionally, Samsung is releasing a refrigerator with a touch screen. However, it appears that it is actually just a low-end Android device. I look forward to the day when we announce the successful root of a refrigerator, followed quickly by a XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler‘s video tear-down of the Samsung fridge.
Also, Huawei announced some new devices, including the Ascend Mate, which is the largest smartphone in the world with its 6.1 inch screen, and the Ascend D2 that is supposedly the most powerful smartphone in the world. Marketing fluff perhaps, especially given how Huawei has quite a low end device stigma. Do they have the ability to pull a Hyundai and propel their name into the ranks of Samsung and HTC? Time will tell. But unless their contributions to the open source community improve as well, I think I will pass.
After much fanfare and high production value videos and presentation efforts, including an XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler-style tear down and reassembly videos of cameras and mobile devices, the executives at Sony took the stage at CES to talk about their wares. They spoke about their commitment to pushing the envelope. They talked at length about their new televisions and 4K content.
But the really exciting part was when they announced the new Sony Xperia Z. With a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 5-inch full HD 1080p screen, the Xperia Z could be quite a contender. Talking with XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan, it did seem as though the Xperia Z was a bit of a me too device. “All the other manufacturers already have fancy, quad-core phones, so should we.” However, Sony is being very generous with their support of the open source community, so it is nice to see that there is a decent phone that is fairly open to development. Also, Sony talked about their one-touch technology, where you can tap your phone on a speaker or television remote to get sound playing on the speakers or a video playing on your television.
I imagine that the Sony Xperia Z, with the right vendor relationships of course, will be a decent force in the mobile scene in the next few months. It looks like an also ran at this point, but the device has something special about it that you can’t quite put your finger on.
The day so far at CES has been filled with product announcements that, while exciting, don’t excite us in the mobile development realm. Monster called up a cauldron of celebrity soup to hawk their headphones, people like Alicia Keyes and Xzibit—Yo Dawg, I heard you like celebrities…
However, Netgear claimed that 802.11ac is here, and any mobile device announced from here on out will have 802.11ac capabilities. They also announced that they are “doing Google TV right” with their NeoTV Prime.
At a different event, Intel began by talking about their next generation “Bay Trail” quad-core Atom processor, as part of their next generation tablet platform. The devices they showed mostly ran Windows 8, but this will presumably also include Android in the future. Will Bay Trail usurp the next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon, Samsung Exynos, and the rest of the mobile SoC army? We will have to wait until the 2013 Holiday Season to find out.
Additionally, Intel talked at length about convertibles. No, not cars. Tablets that can have their keyboards folded away or removed completely. Intel announced that all future convertible or tablet devices with their x86 Core processors must support touch and Intel Wireless Display technology. Finally, Intel made a grand statement about perceptual computing, which enables you to access your devices (including tablets) with your voice, multitouch, or vision. They claim their facial recognition log in cannot be defeated with a photo, but they did not prove it.
All told, Netgear having a stab and Google TV may just be the push that product needs. There is a lot of cool stuff we at XDA can do with Google TV and Android. Furthermore, Intel’s new Atom line may help it break into the mobile market, but I doubt it will make much of an impact this year.
International CES begins officially on Tuesday with the main event that everyone talks about, where exhibitors from around the world come to peddle their wares. There are press conferences on Monday, and to top it off, last night they had a pre-press event called CES Unveiled. Its purpose was to give people a preview of the exiting announcements and releases that would be happening over the week. To be honest though, I hope that Unveiled is not indicative of the rest of CES.
There was a disappointing lack of any cred to Android. There were many bobbles and bolt-ons for the iPhone and iPad, from external batteries for quick charges and fancy cases. There were a few Bluetooth speakers and headsets. However, often the press verbiage talks about optimization for the Apple products.
It seems odd to me that with Android market share being very large, manufactures are focusing primarily on the Cupertino Company and forgetting about the little green robot. Again, I certainly hope that this preview was not indicative of the rest of the show. I hope that manufactures are not blindly focusing on just one device in the huge mobile device ecosystem.
Some stand outs so far have been the 27-inch tablet from LG and the convertible tablet from Toshiba, both of which run Windows 8. Both devices feature x86 processors as well. The overall performance of the two devices was decent upon first look. However, when we port Android x86 to it, it could be even more interesting.
Check back later for more updates, as we bring you some of the most interesting sights at this year’s CES!
Back in October, we were greeted by news that Sony was set to buy out the remainder of Sony Ericsson for a cool $1.45 billion—a move made with the hopes of delivering better product integration and bolstering patent holdings. Fast forward two-and-a-half months, and now we have our first purely Sony phone since the 2001 merger—and what a phone it is!
The Xperia Ion by Sony will be the first Xperia-branded phone to pack 4G LTE connectivity. The goodness doesn’t stop with network speeds, as the Ion also comes loaded with a 4.6″ Reality display with Bravia technology and a massive 1280 x 720 resolution.
A beautiful screen and fast network mean nothing, however, if there isn’t enough grunt to back it up. Luckily, the Ion packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3, which mates the ARM Cortex A8-derived Scorpion CPU with the AMD Adreno 220 GPU. Sound familiar? It should—that’s the same SoC that’s powering the T-Mobile variant of the Galaxy S II, various HTC phones such as the Evo 3D, and even the hacker’s delight HP TouchPad. The memory and storage are equally impressive at 1 GB and 16 GB (expandable via microSD), respectively.
Unfortunately all is not peachy, as the Ion will launch with Android 2.3 Gingerbread rather than the oh-so-sweet Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This being XDA, we are sure to see plenty of custom ROM ports within hours of release, but it’s always preferable when the OEMs at least pretend to care about what’s best for their customers. Given Sony’s recent track record with ICS updates, however, we remain hopeful that the Ion will officially receive ICS in a timely manner.
Has the Xperia Ion made the short list for your next device upgrade? Let us know in the comments section below!
January 9, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Pinch me; I must be dreaming! About a week ago, Asus gave word that the Transformer Prime would receive Google’s latest tasty treat on the 12th. In a surprise move, Asus started the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich roll-out today to lucky device owners worldwide!
Barring strange budget tablets that no one really wants, the Transformer Prime is now the first real tablet to be officially updated to Ice Cream Sandwich. Now this brings up the pressing question as to why the Motorola Xoom—a Google Experience Device and Google’s lead device for Android 3.0 Honeycomb—has not yet been updated. Shame on you, Motorola. Amazing job, Asus!
Now, however, is when the real fun begins. Sit back, grab a cold one, and watch in the Transformer Prime Development Forum as the inevitable flood of Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs appear. Go, go, go!
It’s no secret that Windows Phone 7 hasn’t exactly taken off. Yes, we have a vibrant hacking community in our midst, and the revolutionary Metro interface is nothing short of spectacular; but for some reason or another, the sales figures have simply not kept pace with Google and Apple’s juggernauts. While part of this is due to Microsoft’s late arrival to the modern smartphone OS party, I wager that the lack of a killer flagship device is also holding back the OS. After all, Google has the Nexus line and Apple obviously has its iPhone.
Stephen Elop believes that Nokia can change all this. To that end, Nokia has just launched the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango-powered Lumia 900, which mates a large 4.3″ ClearBlack AMOLED screen with a powerful 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor. In addition, this svelte device will be compatible with AT&T’s nascent 4G LTE network, and will feature a gargantuan 1830 mAh battery to back it up. For those who aren’t lucky enough to live in an area graced by AT&T’s LTE, the Lumia 900 also features HSPA+ connectivity. The camera’s no slouch either, featuring f/2.2 Carl Zeiss optics and a wide-angle 28mm focal length backing up an 8-MP sensor. And of course, all of this is wrapped in a deliciously designed poly-carbonate casing that only Nokia could whip up.
Are you salivating yet? Judging by the sheer awesomeness of its predecessor, the Lumia 800, Nokia’s latest offering brings much needed device lust to the Windows Phone ecosystem.
Up until recently, AT&T’s Android offerings have been somewhat lacking compared to the other major American carriers. And while the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy S II Skyrocket have certainly helped close the gap, there’s no denying that other carriers simply pack a stronger punch.
Luckily for Ma Bell customers, AT&T is bolstering its Android arsenal with six new LTE-enabled and Android-packing devices: the Samsung Exhilarate, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD, Sony Xperia Ion, Pantech Burst, the Pantech Element tablet, and the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet hybrid.
Of most interest, the Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD features a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and the same 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED screen as the Galaxy Nexus—all while keeping itself slim-and-trim at just 9.279 mm. The Xperia Ion packs a 4.6″ HD display, 12 MP rear-facing camera, and a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. The Pantech Element, as its name suggests, is a weatherproof tablet for those who take tablet computing to the extreme. The Pantech Burst is a 4.0″ 1.2 GHz dual-core phone, and it marks Pantech’s first truly high end device. The Galaxy Note, already released in Europe, is an HD-packing tablet/phone hybrid with S-pen functionality for easy copy/paste and note-taking. And finally, the Exhilarate boasts a 4″ screen and eco-friendly construction.
Interested in having a look at the new offerings yourself? Sneak a peek courtesy of the official AT&T site (PDF warning). Or, you know—you can eschew technology thanks to the SpareOne we covered earlier if all these new-fangled thing-a-ma-bobs get a bit too overwhelming.