While everyone loves to gush over flagship phones, the truth of the matter is that for many customers, cheaper phones - be they last-gen's flagships or this-gen's budget devices - are the route of choice. Traditionally, the former route tended to work out better, especially for enthusiasts; after all, generation-old flagships tend to still outperform and out-feature current-gen budget devices. Plus, high-end devices generally have a ton of developer support and are usually better supported by the manufacturer. But is buying a used flagship still the better option for a budget-conscious consumer? After spending some time with a brand new budget phone from Pantech and Verizon, I'm not so sure.
Splashtop is one of the leading pieces of remote desktop software, not to mention app of choice for NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang when he wants to play Skyrim on his tablet. Now, Splashtop 2 HD has hit the Play Store, bringing pinch-to-zoom support, a new interface, and a very attractive price tag of free, for the time being.
As of right now, the app is free on the Play Store, however Splashtop says that this deal will only be available "for a limited time." Now, according the Play Store rules, a developer cannot convert a free app into a paid app, so it's unclear just how this will work once the developer ends the free period.
For most people, you can probably pull a 3G/4G connection of a few megs. Alternatively, if you're somewhere with WiFi (such as at home), you can probably pull a few more megs. But the two are mutually exclusive - that is, if you're using one, you can't be using the other. Or rather, they were - because now, thanks to Super Download, you can run both simultaneously.
Obviously, the app could provide you with some pretty impressive speeds, but it's still in the early beta stages. As such, even the paid version costs the Play Store minimum of $0.99 - quite the steal as it is, and with the price likely to go up as the app matures, it seems like a good time to snag it.
Sprint may not have officially announced its plans to fire up the speedy LTE network outside of the initial launch markets and a few additional ones, but it looks like a working 4G-LTE connection can be already picked up in the Bay Area Peninsula way ahead of the rumored schedule.
Our tipster Seth reported getting 4G connectivity on his Galaxy Nexus around Palo Alto and Mountain View, getting Speedtest.net speeds of 13+Mbps down and 8+Mbps up. After looking into the situation, I found a number of users of the S4GRU forum confirming connectivity in the same area, along with Sunnyvale and Cupertino, the home of Apple.
Today, MetroPCS announced yet another addition to its stable of prepaid Android smartphones. One of the pricier off-contract handsets, the device retails for $459. So, what do you get for a significant portion of your rent for the month? Well, for a Metro PCS phone, it's actually a pretty decent spec list:
- 4.3" Super AMOLED display
- 1Ghz processor
- 8MP rear-facing camera w/ flash
- 1.3MP front-facing camera
- 32GB of "external memory"*
*Note: It's a little unclear what they mean by "32GB of external memory." The device's spec page also lists a 16GB memory card, so it may be that the device has an SD card slot that supports up to 32GB, but only includes a 16GB card.
In a post to Google's Android Building group today, Jean-Baptiste Queru once again acted as the bearer of good tidings for developers and tweakers everywhere, announcing that "a new set of proprietary binaries for Jelly Bean are available."
The new batch of binaries includes those of the Nexus S and Nexus S 4G (Crespo and Crespo4G respectively), the latter of which we just recently saw added into the AOSP fold.
The set also includes updates to the both the GSM Galaxy Nexus (maguro), and Verizon's Galaxy Nexus (toro, which itself is ever so close to full AOSP support).
Conspicuously absent from the party is Sprint's variant of the Galaxy Nexus, but there's no surprise there.
Rounding out the list of budget Android handsets for which details emerged overnight, it looks like Samsung will be releasing the Droid Charge look-alike Galaxy S Lightray 4G to MetroPCS in mid-August.
The Galaxy S Lightray is not your average budget device, though – besides a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display (carrying an unknown resolution), 8MP rear camera (with flash), 4G LTE connectivity and (maybe) a 1.3GHz single-core processor, this phone appears to be packing a TV antenna for "Mobile TV" (evidently powered by Dyle TV). Besides that interesting inclusion, the Lightray will also feature HDMI out and a mobile hotspot capability.
AT&T just flipped the LTE switch to 'on' for four lucky markets in parts of Florida and Massachusetts, including:
- West Palm Beach, FL
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Miami, FL
- Worcester Area, MA
It also expanded in a few other markets:
- Baltimore, MD
- Boston, MA
- Washington D.C. (which expanded the network into Northern VA)
While AT&T's still small-ish LTE network pales in comparison to Verizon's nearly-nationwide 4G blanket, it seems to be rolling out new markets on a consistent basis, making sure to cover all the major metropolitan areas.
At this point, you have to wonder if Sprint or T-Mobile will ever catch up.
After announcing its financials for the second quarter with money bleeding left and right, Sprint decided to follow up the negatives with a few positives and switched subjects to something a little less gory - upcoming 4G LTE markets. Before Labor Day, which happens to be September 3rd this year, the following areas will be lit up with speedy (but probably patchy) LTE:
- Baltimore, MD
- Gainesville, GA
- Manhattan/Junction City, KS
- Sherman-Denison, TX
Compared to dozens of cities announced at every Verizon and AT&T 4G expansion, Sprint is definitely lagging behind, but we're hoping they will be picking up the pace towards the end of the year and into next year when the Network Vision rollout is supposed to be completed.
You know what time it is: time for Big Red to light up some new areas with its hyperfast 4G LTE network. The lucky ones this month:
- El Dorado/Magnolia and Russellville, Ark.
- New London County, Conn.
- Fort Pierce/Vero Beach and Melbourne/Titusville, Fla.
- Columbus and Rome, Ga.
- Burley, Idaho; Mattoon, Ill.
- Anderson and Muncie, Ind.
- Manhattan/Junction City and McPherson, Kan.
- Lafayette/New Iberia, La.
- St. Joseph, Mo.; Bozeman/Livingston, Kalispell and Missoula, Mont.
- Goldsboro/Kinston, Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount/Wilson, N.C.
- Zanesville, Ohio
- Meadville and Punxsutawney/DuBois/Clearfield, Pa.
- Orangeburg, S.C.
- Sherman/Denison, Texas
- Cedar City and Logan, Utah
- Rutland/Bennington, Vt.
- Lynchburg and Winchester, Va.
- Bellingham, Wash.
- Beckley, W.Va.