I am generally of the view that when it comes to high-end smartphones, most such phones are now squarely in the "pretty good" category. While the internet moans and groans about SD cards, removable batteries, and heavy-handed UI modifications, these things are trivial to most people in the day-to-day operation of a device. But much in the same way some car enthusiasts refuse to relinquish the manual transmission, some smartphone enthusiasts will not let go of the microSD slot until it is pried from their cold, dead fingers.
Those of you looking for a cheap, small phone running Android will have one more option on AT&T starting later this month. The company issued a press release this morning finally announcing the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini. That's Samsung's cheaper, smaller version of the GSIII which actually has very little in common with the GSIII in terms of hardware. It will launch on AT&T on September 27th for $.99 on a two-year contract.
Verizon may have just gotten the HTC One, but it's hard to call it a "new" phone. Other carriers have been selling the aluminum slab for a few months now. It's getting to the point where that on-contract price is downright reasonable. For example, right now the Verizon HTC One is $49.99 on both Amazon and Best Buy.
You can get this deal whether you're a new customer or you're upgrading an existing line.
Are you the kind of hulking man-monster than accidentally crushes tiny conventional smartphones in your Bunyan-like grasp? Alternately, do you always carry a purse (you too, ladies) and prefer a phone with as big a screen as possible? And are you a current or prospective US Cellular customer? Well then, prepare to have your day made. The leviathan Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 goes on sale for US Cellular tomorrow for $149.99 on-contract after an instant rebate.
More and more developers are taking advantage of the nifty new ability to start a semi-closed beta on the Google Play Store via Google+. The latest is TeslaCoil Software, makers of the customization tool WidgetLocker (among other things). If you want to try out the latest and possibly greatest version of WidgetLocker, just head for this Google+ Community and join in.
Joining the beta is quite simple. Once you join the community, click the Play Store link that's displayed on the page, go through the standard warnings and whatnot, and you'll be directed to a seemingly normal Play Store entry for the app.
No one likes to be last. The LG G2 was originally slated to become available online from T-Mobile on September 18th, nearly a week after competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T were to start offering the handset. AT&T already jumped the gun when they started offering sales online a week ago, and now T-Mobile is offering the G2 at the same time as everyone else, at least online.
Unlike AT&T and Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile offers the G2 for $99.99 upfront.
It doesn't take very long for new phones to go on sale these days, especially if you're savvy enough to check Amazon. For example, the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now just $108 for new customers, or $118 for those who are eligible for an upgrade. (You can also add a new line and get the phone for $108.) Want something a little tougher? Amazon is offering the ruggedized Galaxy S4 Active at the same prices.
When it comes to Android tablets with detachable keyboards, one name comes to mind: Transformer. There's no denying that ASUS has carved out a pretty specific niche in the Android tablet/laptop convertible category. HP is looking to change that with the SlateBook x2, a 10.2-inch Android tablet with a keyboard dock that essentially converts it to an Android-powered laptop. It's small enough to fall into the "netbook" category, but that's a dirty word I try to stay away from.
The Kindle Fire isn't the type of Android tablet that sends enthusiasts running to the store in droves, but that shouldn't diminish all that the tablet gets right. It remains one of the best-selling Android tablets out there, and if you aren't turned off by ads - excuse me, special offers - it's one of the best new tablets you can find at such a low price. Amazon will offer a refreshed version of their popular tablet anytime now, but new leaked photos may just spoil the surprise of what the company's upcoming tablet will look like.