Samsung presentations always include a litany of buzzwords and redundant features, some of which are meaningless or borrowed directly from Google and Android, while others point to bigger aspirations. Today's announcement for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge introduced a new feature called Samsung Pay, a direct competitor to Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Even though this is just one more product that attempts to have consumers replace their credit cards with a phone, it carries a distinct advantage over NFC-based alternatives: it also works with traditional credit card readers.
Samsung, LG, and HTC are the heavy-hitters in the Android world - you can generally expect their flagship devices to be on almost every American carrier. So it is with HTC's new One M9, which has been confirmed for four out of the five major US carriers right out of the gate. We asked a US Cellular representative if the company planned to offer the One M9 after they confirmed that they'd be carrying Samsung's new S6 and S6 Edge, and were told that it wasn't on the release schedule at the moment.
As if you hadn't guessed already, all five major United States wireless carriers have confirmed that they will indeed offer Samsung's new flagship phones later this year. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular have all posted pages that say they'll be selling both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, though details on exact launch dates, prices, and capacities are predictably hard to find. No matter what your preferred carrier, you'll have an option when the phones come out.
Nestled in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge presentation was the announcement of a new Samsung Gear VR. They are not christening it with a new name or too much fanfare, but they did want to add refinements and make it compatible with their new flagship(s). Here are a few snaps:
Other than fitting the S6, the device is reportedly 15% lighter with a slightly expanded field of vision. A nice tweak is the ability to charge the device while it is in use, which should allow for longer sessions.
The announcements are coming fast and loose out of Mobile World Congress. Huawei has been steadily sharing new phablets, watches, and more. One of the less conventional gadgets to join the company's lineup includes a Wi-Fi hotspot designed for automobiles, dubbed CarFi. It has been designed to share a 4G LTE connection with up to 10 devices simultaneously, and it doesn't look half bad.
CarFi is similar to many other cellular hotspot devices, but it plugs directly into the DC port found in most cars and trucks.
If there's ever been a persistent comment on Android Police in the last couple of years, it's that powerful smartphones are just too damn big these days. The Nexus 6 is gigantic, and 5.2"+ is quickly becoming standard smartphone size. Finding a good, inexpensive phone that isn't too large isn't impossible, but it's probably not as easy as it should be.
So, that's where Alcatel comes in. Yes, Alcatel has a reputation for making some of the slowest, cheapest, and least likeable prepaid phone fare here in the US, but in China and around the world, Alcatel does offer a pretty large portfolio of handsets.
Love it or hate it, the original LG G Flex sure did create some buzz. The second version of the phone appears to be an improvement in just about every way, but LG doesn't seem to be content with flagship-style offerings. Three UK just announced that it will carry the LG Spirit 4G starting in June. This decidedly mid-range device also has a curved screen, and... well, that's about the only interesting thing aside from Lollipop software at launch.
Before you get too excited, Three's promotional video (the sole source of information on the phone so far) doesn't mention flexibility at all, so this phone probably won't bend or heal like the G Flex series.
Remember when HTC announced a partnership with Under Armour for an Android application and future products? Well, this marriage has carried its first fruit, the HTC Grip. Or maybe it's called the HTC re grip. I don't know, because HTC's branding for this accessory is all over the place.
Last year the buzzword at Mobile World Congress was "wearable." The fervor from that market trend still hasn't died down, but hot on its heels is "virtual reality." Despite a less than fantastic position in the smartphone space, HTC seems intent on expanding into virtual reality to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Google, Oculus Rift (and by extension, Facebook), and Samsung. Say hello to the HTC Vive... or possibly the Re Vive, depending on which HTC promo you go by.
Details on HTC's hardware are scarce - to be honest, we don't even know if the Vive is running Android or compatible with smartphones in any way.