More than a few Android users are lamenting the fact that high-end phones seem to be approaching the size of small billboards. For all you hoping for a true superphone that you can actually hold in one hand, Sony appears to have heard you. XperiaBlog is showing off what appears to be a catalog for Japanese Carrier NTT DoCoMo with a listing for the 4.3-inch Xperia Z1 f, which may indeed be the rumored Xperia Z1 Mini.
The CyanogenMod team has already granted official ROM support for the LTE version of Samsung's diminutive Galaxy S4 Mini, and now the international 3G variant gets a chance. The first build for the S4 Mini 3G was posted to Get.CM on Friday night, but if you're waiting for a bleeding-edge build, you're going to be disappointed. It's CyanogenMod 10.1, based on Android 4.2, which is what the S4 Mini runs under TouchWiz.
The CyanogenMod cLock home and lock screen widget is capable of displaying the time, the weather, upcoming calendar events, and more. It's highly configurable, as you would expect considering the ROM it's associated with, and thanks to popular demand, it's now available in the Play Store as a standalone app. Only now it goes by its original name - Chronus.
Let me just start by saying that I like the DROID Maxx and DROID Mini. Why conclude a review before I begin it? Because so many people have already concluded that they cannot like these phones. Motorola's new devices have proven incredibly polarizing among enthusiasts, especially to Google and Android diehards who held on till the bitter end to a fantasy (and that is what it was) that the company would come to the rescue of marginalized power users.
Verizon is the only major carrier in the US who offers the HTC One with Android 4.2, but that doesn't mean squat if you intend to flash a custom ROM on it anyway. Sense 5 is fast, attractive, and stable - but it isn't for everyone. The app drawer could use some work, and the launcher isn't exactly the easiest to customize. Besides, the available options pale in comparison to what CyanogenMod offers out of the box.
One of the things that makes the Nexus series of phones so enticing is the extremely affordable pricing options. When the Nexus 4 first hit the scene, it was only $300 for an 8GB model and $350 for the 16GB, then Google slashed the prices by $100, making them even more affordable. In a world where most high-end mobile phones can't be purchased for less than $550-600 off-contract, Nexus pricing is a breath of fresh air.
Chinese manufacturer Oppo has been teasing its N1 flagship for some time, and the phone finally became official this morning. At 5.9 inches it sits squarely in the "phablet" category, though there are certainly enough other hardware highlights to turn a few heads. The most interesting is probably the 13MP camera, which sits on a case-mounted hinge and rotates to serve as both the rear and front cameras. It's a design seen before in some laptops and earlier camera phones, but this is the first time we've seen it on a modern smartphone.
Where to begin. First things first, this isn't your typical Kickstarter-funded smartwatch that syncs with a smartphone somehow differently than the other umpteen options. The Omate TrueSmart truly is a smart watch, as it incases its own dual-core processor running Android 4.2.2. This distinguishing feature has attracted over 4,000 backers to part with $1 million, ten times more than the $100,000 goal Omate was aiming for. David ripped this watch a new one when its campaign first begun, but I think it deserves a new start.
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.