Friday, 30 December 2011

HTC Vivid review: Welcome to 4G

By on 21:44

The final member of AT&T’s LTE smartphone 2011 lineup is at the start line, ready to impress. The HTC Vivid is joining the company of the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and LG Nitro HD in a bid to defend the reputation of the Taiwanese company.
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HTC Vivid official photos
Hardware wise, the HTC Vivid is a familiar sight. The smartphone is essentially put together from the parts’ bin of the HTC Sensation 4G and HTC EVO 3D, save for its 4.5“ screen and beefed up built-in memory - it packs a well familiar dual-core CPU, clocked at 1.2GHz and a Snapdragon S3 chipset.
We do suspect that HTC has intentionally omitted features such as an HD screen and a beefed up CPU in order to maintain the flagship status of the Beats Audio sporting, HTC Rezound for Verizon Wireless. Thankfully, the Vivid is priced accordingly as well.

Samsung aims to ship 374M phones in 2012, to rival Nokia

By on 21:43

Samsung had an excellent year in term of phone sales in 2011, and it hopes to replicate its success in 2012. According to Korea Economic Daily the company expects to see a growth in total sales by as much as 15%.
This means that the Koreans hope to sell about 374 million phones (including 150 million smartphones) next year, which should be enough to almost equal Nokia as the top cell phone manufacturer. The Finns are expected to ship about 399 million phones next year, so the gap between those two is as minimal as it gets.

Just two years ago Nokia had almost twice the market share of Samsung (36.4% vs 19.5%), so the Koreans are really making significant progress towards their goal of becoming the world's number one manufacturer.
And we also shouldn't forget that Nokia failed to meet its sales target in 2011, whereas Samsung exceeded it, so we might see a reversal of roles even sooner than expected. Then again, 2011 was a transitional year for Nokia and things should be much different now that it has finally started selling its first WP smartphones.

Argentina bans iPhone and BlackBerry sales

By on 21:41

The Argentinian government has banned the import and sales of Apple's iPhone and all BlackBerry smartphones, among others. The ban also extends over all foreign-made phones, but it seems Apple and RIM among the few of the major phone makers who don’t have factories in Argentina, so their ban is in focus.
Nokia, Samsung, LG and Motorola have already built plants in Argentina, so they all escape the recent Government ban.

Apple and RIM though aren’t so lucky. Their only option is to build a factory in Argentina. RIM is already looking for a partner to do so, while we don't have any info on Appleplans.
This ban is part of the government's anti-crisis policy and is temporary, until the Argentinian economy heals. Apple and RIM reportedly hold about 60% of the Argentinian smartphone market so this is no minor blow and we guess we will see some kind of response rather quickly.

ITG xpPhone 2 is out, promises Windows 7/8 in a smartphone

By on 21:39

Intel is looking forward to powering Android-based phones with its Medfield platform, but ITG still haven’t given up on the dream of running a proper desktop OS on mobile phones - namely, the Windows 7/Windows 8 OSes.
Yep, it's the new version of the xpPhone, the xpPhone 2, and it was just released in China with Windows 7 (it will jump to Windows 8 when Microsoft releases it). It's a device that ITG call a "post-smartphone" and have their sights set on beating the iPhone 4S and the other big names in the smartphone world (but the iPhone specifically).
The ITG xpPhone 2 packs a 1.6GHz processor (a single-core Atom Z530), which can be upgraded to 2GHz (it's unclear how), plus 2GB of RAM, which is double what current smartphone flagships have. But then, Windows 7 uses more RAM than a mobile platform.
ITG xpPhone 2
The xpPhone 2 has a 112GB of SSD storage, which ITG brags is way more than what current smartphones offer (we have to admit, though that 32GB internal storage plus 64GB microSDXC get pretty close).
Anyway, you also get things like a VGA port through an adapter (yes, real VGA port). With the xpPhone 2 ITG claims the smallest notebook PC in the world title. This we can believe actually - the xpPhone 2 measures 140mm X 73mm X 17.5mm. The screen measures 4.3", but the resolution is unclear (Windows 8 is said to require at least 1024 x 768 pixels), and there's a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Supporting Windows 8 is great too - it's where Microsoft and its partners are heading with their phones and the xpPhone 2 can probably run the beta OS right now. Plus, it will run any app for Windows 7 (though probably not very fast) and all Windows 8 apps too (Win 8 on ARM won't run x86 apps).
Hook it up to a keyboard, a mouse and an external monitor and you have something that works a lot like a traditional office PC. Even those laptop docks for Motorola phones don't provide that familiar desktop experience (Android just wasn't designed for that). This should be good for tech-unsavvy people who can't learn to control Android, we suppose.
ITG xpPhone 2
The ITG xpPhone 2 is a curious device for sure - but the press release is more interesting still. It's good for a laugh and raises quite a few eyebrows too.

Samsung I8350 Omnia W review: By the playbook

By on 21:35

When Windows Phone launched a year ago, we were excited to first see it on the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Omnia 7. Twelve months or so later, Samsung are sort of in power-saving mode in the joint venture with Microsoft. Their Omnia W isn’t drawing all attention to itself by blowing the numbers out of proportion.
The Omnia W has shed weight and lost some of its predecessor’s screen estate. What you get in return is an upgraded processor and double the data speeds. The display technology, camera sensor and the general feel haven't changed much.
Samsung Omnia W official pictures
Well, yes, some would call it a half-hearted effort. Or maybe, Samsung are simply waiting for the dust to settle from Nokia’s grand entry into Windows Phone. Obviously, they didn’t want – or need – a European flagship along the lines of their US-based Focus S with AT&T. With a single Windows-phone handset on the Old Continent, it may’ve made sense to focus on the midrange instead of making another flagship without a fleet. Bottom line, as long as we remember that it’s not an upgrade of the original Omnia 7, the Omnia W is an easy phone to live with, for all its strengths and shortcomings.

Meizu MX review: Amaze U

By on 21:34

This is easily a phone you can pretend doesn't exist. And you don't have to try too hard either. The Meizu MX is something of a chimera. An iPhone body and a droid mind. It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to. For a phone coming from China, the Meizu MX has no qualms with imitation. But it's not a characterless low-cost replica either.
Strictly speaking, the Meizu MX is an Android smartphone, but it goes to great lengths to emulate the Apple iPhone in its strengths and even some of its failings. The result is a unique Android experience that differs from iOS as well - it's a very curious device, the Meizu MX.
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Meizu MX official photos
It's hard to deny that the Chinese company went all out loading up the MX for a fight. The phone packs a 4.0" ASV LCD screen of 640 x 960 pixel resolution (the same res as the iPhone 4/4S) and an Exynos chipset straight from the Samsung Galaxy Note (a tad faster than the one in the Galaxy S II).