Smartwatch maker Pebble has finally released its full version 2.0 app for Android devices, following a public beta originally brought the software and the Pebble Appstore to smartphones using Google’s mobile OS last month. The update, if you haven’t used the beta or if you’re not an iPhone owner, offers the ability to search for, install and manage new apps and watchfaces for… Read More
HTC is proud of its smartphone speakers, especially on the HTC One – but it appears to be even more proud of the so-called ‘BoomSound’ (ugh) speakers on its upcoming flagship smartphone, which it pretty clearly seems to have named the “New HTC One” unless it’s trolling hard in this new video (via AndroidCentral). The company is going to announce its new device… Read More
HTC is wacky – in a good way. The smartphone company is one of the few that still does things that surprise me, and today’s MWC announcements are no exception. Sure, the Taiwanese company introduced a new mid-range handset that’s par for the course, but it also unveiled a new app and service that puts your smartphone to work when it’s not in use, for the good of all humanity. Read More
Back in October last year, I first heard rumblings that Nokia was working on an Android handset. “Devs rumor but rather solid, not confirmed by eye,” said my source. Not long afterwards, others began to report similar rumours. However, at the time it remained unclear if this was simply the remnants of an existing skunkworks project that or something more significant.
More proof, if proof were needed, that Android won the smartphone OS wars: Nokia, the former world No.1 smartphone maker and, nowadays, the primary OEM for Microsoft’s third-placed Windows Phone platform has just announced a new family of smartphones built upon the Android Open Source Project — confirming a slew of earlier rumours that Nokia was cooking up an Android device strategy. The first device in Nokia’s Droidy new family was unveiled today at its Mobile World Conference press conference in Barcelona, with both the forthcoming family and this its debut member known as the Nokia X (Update: Nokia also announced the Nokia X+: the same handset but with additional memory, (coming early Q2, for €99/$136); and the Nokia XL, a larger handset with a 5-inch display, also coming in early Q2 for €109/$150). The twist is it doesn’t look like the standard icon-filled Android that the market is used to, being dressed up in a new Nokia UI. “The Nokia X software platform is built upon AOSP, Android Open Source Project,” said Nokia’s marketing director for its mobile phones division, Neil Broadley. ”What we’ve done is we’ve built the Nokia X software platform on standard Android open source, and then on top of that we’ve built the Nokia user experience layer — so the Nokia UI — so Fast Lane and the homescreen. “The homescreen is tile-based, so it’s similar to a [Windows Phone-based] Lumia. It incorporates some elements of that — some limited live information into the tiles. We’ve also put in Nokia and Microsoft services.” “The sub-$100 price range is a massive opportunity for us,” said Nokia’s outgoing CEO Stephen Elop, describing the range as a “different but complementary opportunity to introduce a new family that strengthens our affordable [devices] family”. “The Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud, not to Google’s cloud,” he added. The 4-inch wVGA, dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon handset, which comes in Nokia’s now familiar spectrum of eye-arresting colours (including bright green, red and yellow) and also packs a 3MP camera, costs €89/$122 (excluding taxes & subsidies) — and is launching immediately, shipping as early as next week. Nokia said it is planning a global rollout for the X but the initial focus will be on “key, fast-growing emerging markets” — including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia. Aka, markets where low cost Androids are already well established. The Nokia X’s price-point undercuts the affordably
When it comes to sales of smartphones, Android is the green giant that continues to tower over the competition. In the last three months that ended in January 2014, the Google-developed operating system accounted for around 70% of sales across 12 key markets, according to the latest figures from WPP market research division Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The mobile market may still essentially be a two horse race, with Android and iOS enjoying a significant lead, but there are lots of upstarts trying to make inroads, too. One of those is Firefox OS, Mozilla’s attempt to bring a web-first focus to smartphones. Geeksphone has been an early Firefox OS hardware supporter, and now it has put the Revolution up for sale, a higher-end device than its earlier efforts, complete with the ability to dual-boot to both Android and Firefox OS out of the box. If you’re used to working in a corporate environment but also being cool during evenings and weekends, then you might be familiar with dual-booting: I’ve been known to have my Macs run Windows on a Boot Camp partition for when I need to pierce the veil and travel to the Microsoft realm. It’s actually a pretty common scenario in desktop computing, and there are a number of products including virtualization software designed to facilitate it. But is there the same kind of utility in the mobile world? Firefox OS is definitely still an outlier when it comes to the mobile platform landscape, and as such, there’s very little in terms of pressing reasons to have it as an option. That said, the eternally curious and those who sympathize with Mozilla’s approach to software, open source and the web will probably find plenty to love about Firefox OS on a device with decent mid-range specs (it appears mostly on lower-end hardware, in keeping with Mozilla’s target market for the OS). Specs for the phone include a dual-core Intel Atom processor at 1.6GHz, as well as HSDPA cellular support, and an 8 megapixel rear camera with a 1.3 megapixel front shooter. The Revolution retails for €222, and is sold direct from the Geeksphone website. Shipments start going out March 4, so eager shoppers won’t have to wait long before they start acting like mobile chameleons.
HTC’s big push for more smartphone buyers in 2014 might not focus on hardware, despite an incoming new flagship; instead, the company is announcing a host of new customer service initiatives that could convince potential customers it’s the Android maker they want to hitch their cart to this year. A new program that offers free screen replacements to U.S.-based owners of the HTC One line of devices for the first six months of ownership is part of that push. The plan overall is called HTC Advantage, and it includes the previously announced software support for a minimum of two years from the phone’s launch, as well as between 25GB and 50GB of free Google Drive storage for two years from time of purchase. Remember, though, these offers are all U.S.-only, and are limited to devices in the HTC One line – which currently includes the One, One Mini and One Max. Still, it’s an appealing package, and will likely become even more so when HTC introduces its next-generation flagship One device March 25. Not only will you be guaranteed a device that’s more or less up-to-date for the duration of your contract if you buy or sign up for a new one when the device launches, but you’ll also be protected against your own clumsiness for the first six months of owning your new gadget. While the storage and software support are nice, I suspect the breakage insurance will be the big seller for the average buyer. It’s rare to go a full day anymore without seeing someone carrying around a top-end smartphone with the tell-tale cracked spiderweb pattern of shattered front glass. I’d say as many as a quarter of the people I know are, at any given time, making due with a phone with a broken screen because of the cost of replacement and/or contract limitations. Six months’ protection isn’t going to get you through to the end of your contract, but it’s a lot better than nothing. U.S. customers can get their screens replaced under the Advantage platform by sending their devices out free to HTC, and getting it back within eight to 10 days. Paying $29 will get you overnight shipping for faster turnaround, and the plan includes refurbishment or replacement of hardware if the broken glass is only the surface indicator of deeper problems, provided you’re still within the term of your original warranty. Android