For years now, we've been drooling over Sony's high-end hardware and gorgeous industrial design, only to be bummed since the phones rarely come to the United States. Sony and T-Mobile have a pretty good relationship, as evidenced by yesterday's announcement that the new Xperia Z3 would launch on the carrier in the US. But according to a recent post from PC Mag, Verizon may be getting some Sony phone hardware for the first time in years.
Mountain climbing! Off-road biking! Skiing! Climbing trees! All of these activities are simply too extreme for your current smartphone, or so Cat (nee Caterpillar, the bulldozer people) would have you believe. Their latest Android-powered rugged phone is the S50, announced today at IFA in Berlin and boasting mid-range specs with a body that looks like it's designed to shrug off shrapnel. It's the follow-up to Cat's B15, a phone durable enough to survive an encounter with a front-end loader.
So far Samsung's "Active" mini-series has exactly two devices, the Galaxy S4 Active and the Galaxy S5 Active. (Three, if you count Sprint's S5 Sport variant.) At IFA 2014, the company is expanding its ruggedized horizons into the tablet world with the Galaxy Tab Active, an 8-inch device with the same IP67 water and dust protection, plus a chunky body that can resist drops of up to 1.2 meters (four feet).
If HTC's various members of the One family seem a little cold and lifeless to you, you'll appreciate the new Desire 820. This decidedly mid-range device uses a variety of color schemes on its polycarbonate shell, adding a bit of style to the company's standard unibody dual-speaker layout. The result is a look that blends the HTC One M8 and, oddly, the iPhone 5c. Check out those two-tone accents on some models.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 is here, and considering the company's absolutely dominant position in the "phablet" marketplace, it's likely to become one of the best-selling Android phones over the next year. That being the case, why not take a gander at Samsung's introductory video for its new flagship? The official introduction, or gadget porn if you will, is below.
As usual with Samsung's "trailers," the actual hardware isn't really the focus.
Over the last day or so we've been seeing reports that Google is now replacing broken Nexus 5 units under its Google Play warranty program, even if those specific phones were damaged by an accidental fall or water damage. That's a pretty significant shift from the usual warranty coverage on the Play Store and elsewhere, which tends to cover a replacement or repair only if the unit is defective or malfunctioning.
Update, 9-4-13: a Verizon Wireless spokesman reached out to say that the wireless provider hasn't been fined by the FCC, and that the landline services provider (providers of home Internet and cable services) is the one being fined. Verizon and Verizon Wireless are technically separate companies. The headline and story text have been altered to reflect this.
There are a lot of good reasons not to like Verizon. But the Federal Communications Commission has taken particular exception to at least one of Verizon's practices from way back in 2006.
I've only spent a small amount of time taking business classes, and none of them were for marketing. But I have to imagine that somewhere in those big, expensive textbooks, when instruction young minds how to promote a product, is the lesson "don't associate with bloodthirsty terrorists." The electronic mobile payment consortium Isis, wishing to completely and totally distance itself from the ISIS currently holding large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, is changing its name to Softcard.
Tucked into the flurry of news around Sony's trio of new Xperia Z3 devices was the fact that they'll be the first non-gaming gadgets to use the company's proprietary PlayStation 4 Remote Play system. The flagship Xperia Z3, high-powered "mini" Xperia Z3 Compact, and the 8-inch Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be able to stream PS4 games and play them across a home Wi-Fi network later this year. The PS4 can already stream gameplay to the PlayStation Vita.
Update: A Fleksy representative contacted us to say that the keyboard will be available as a free download to all Gear S owners, but will not be pre-installed. The title of this post has been changed to reflect this.
The Gear S is an interesting device, not so much for its hardware as for its approach: Samsung decided to equip the smartwatch with a stand-alone wireless connection so it can work just fine on its own, thank you.