If you've never heard of a smartphone maker by the name of Meizu, that's understandable. (Even though we actually reviewed their first Android smartphone about 2 years ago.) That's because Meizu, despite selling some phones outside of its home market - China - does no advertising and has very little press outreach in the western world.
Meizu's latest phone, the MX4, sells in mainland China for under $300 (1,799 Chinese Yuan) in 16GB trim.
Today Amazon popped its yearly Kindle Fire update unannounced, showing off no less than four new models of its customized Android tablet family. The Kindle Fire HD Kids is being covered in this post, but the main event is the refreshed versions of the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, Fire HD7, and the "all-new" Fire HD 6. These will make up Amazon's new line, scheduled to go on sale in October.
From the very first day Android Wear was in the news, the Moto 360 has been "the one to wait for." Every time we posted a story about the G Watch or the Gear Live, the comments were populated with no fewer than a million people declaring their intention to wait for Motorola's round smartwatch. Well, the wait was a bit longer than expected, but the Moto 360 has finally arrived.
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).
Chinese manufacturer Meizu has unveiled its latest flagship device, the MX4. It's a high-end, 5.36-inch phone that spares no expense in some components, but seems to go a little down market in others. The 4th-generation MX4 will be available later this month in China starting at 1800 Yuan (about $290) for the 16GB version, with the 32GB and 64GB versions going for 2000 and 2400 Yuan, respectively. eBay and other official import shops are pre-selling the 16GB model for $449.99.
The Amazon Fire phone is interesting for a number of reasons. It's the company's first attempt at a smartphone. It crams Fire OS into a smaller form factor than it's had to accommodate before. It has five - yes, five - front-facing cameras, four of which serve as the backbone for what Amazon calls Dynamic Perspective. One thing the phone is not interesting for, however, is being a good deal (more on that below).
Kyocera isn't exactly a big name in modern Android smartphones, but it does make a lot of rugged devices that don't get much press. It's also big in materials science, which is where sapphire comes in. See, it seems like a safe bet that the next iPhone will have a sapphire glass display, and Kyocera happens to know a lot about manufacturing synthetic sapphire for watches and electrical components. So, they're making sapphire screens for smartphones.
Huawei is a name that most of us have been hearing more and more often lately, as the company has really been pushing its presence in the North American market. It's currently offering some really unique hardware, like the 6.1-inch Ascend Mate 2, which sports a massive 3,900mAh battery. Huawei claims that it'll get you through an entire weekend without needing to hit the wall (up to 2.5 days to be exact).
Update: Here's a video of the full press conference.
We've been hearing about Amazon's potential smartphone for what seems like years, but today it's finally real. At a super-exclusive Amazon event, Jeff Bezos talked about Prime, Kindles, FireTV, customers, some other stuff, and took wraps off of the company's first go at a phone. It is, as you may have guessed, an interesting one. It's packing some rather unique features, as well as top-notch hardware:
4.7" IPS LCD HD display "optimized for one-handed use" – 590 nit brightness, Gorilla Glass
Quad core 2.2GHz processor
Adreno 330 GPU
13MP f/2.0 rear shooter, OIS – instant access button, even with the screen off
Four front-facing cameras for dynamic perspective and a wider field of view
Unlimited photo storage (cloud)
Dual stereo speakers
Ships with non-tangle headphones with flat cable and magnetic buds