ZTE likely isn't the first brand that comes to mind when you think of premium Android handsets, and that isn't a surprise. The company's footprint is largest in Asia, and it typically releases budget handsets on this side of the Pacific. But ZTE has been working to change things, and today it's announced that two of its high-end smartphones are ready to compete in the US market - the Grand S and the Nubia 5.
LG and Samsung are long-time competitors in the South Korean electronics market, and the two are reportedly racing to release a curved-screen smartphone. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that LG's curved phone is set for a November release and it will be called the G Flex. Other sources claim the device will be dubbed the LG Z.
The device is said to have a 6-inch screen with a concave curve that runs vertically (like the old Contour Glass screens on the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus).
The latest Android platform distribution numbers are in, and they tell a story you probably would expect. There's no surprise ending here - more users are getting their hands on Jelly Bean, whether through updates or by purchasing new devices, and older versions are continuing their descent. Gingerbread remains stubborn, with more devices than Froyo, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich combined.
Honeycomb hasn't disappeared yet, with .1% of users still holding on to their aging tablets.
You've been warned: the Galaxy Note II was probably my favorite smartphone of 2012, and it looks like its successor, the Note 3, is stealing my heart all over again. With big hardware improvements across the board, as well as substantial additions to software, the Note 3 feels like a true next-generation sort of phone. Samsung has rather effectively ruined every other large-screen device for me, and frankly, probably every other phone released this year.
If you've been waiting for the newest and shiniest Samsung tech to get a bit of Magenta branding, wait no longer: the Galaxy Note 3 is now available from T-Mobile.com. The Galaxy Gear should be on sale, but at the time of writing the online store pages for the watch are returning errors. T-Mobile retail stores should be offering both devices starting today. The Galaxy Note 3 is $708 at full price, $199 plus a $21 monthly charge over 24 months, or $29.50 per month with zero down (if you qualify).
Update: Brightspot is official.
Already confused by the myriad of prepaid carriers out there? Well, Target thinks there should be one more. After @evleaks outed the name and pricing last night, more details have emerged. Target's prepaid service will run on the T-Mobile network and is launching October 6th online and in Target stores.
Pricing starts at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text, but no mobile data. For $50 you get "unlimited" data, including 1GB of 4G.
If the new Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is too rich for your blood, you're in good company. Woot.com is here to alleviate your conflicting desires for a "premium" Samsung tablet at a not-so-premium price. The service has put various models of the older Galaxy Note 10.1, the Galaxy Note 8.0, and the Galaxy Tab 2 on sale. They're all refurbished, but come with significant discounts.
The best deal of the lot is probably the Galaxy Note 8.0 (16GB), which can be had by itself for $279.99.
Last year's Note 10.1 was a first for Samsung. It was the first 10-inch tablet to carry the Note name, and the first consumer tablet that made good use of a stylus. It brought about many innovative, though not perfectly executed, features that changed the way Android worked. Multiple apps on the same screen, handwriting input and palm rejection, and the like were all relative newcomers to the tablet scene. And for the most part, they were all well received by those who bought the tablet.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Looking for the previous roundup editions?
A note from the editors: This is a guest post by Ryan Oldenburg, the original creator of PushBullet.
I've left my job to work full time on PushBullet. Two of my friends are joining me. Now the question is: how much can we build, and how fast?
PushBullet’s going to be the easiest and fastest way to get things on and off your phone and tablet. So far this means pushing yourself files, links, notes, to-do lists, and addresses that instantly show up in your notification tray.