Back at MWC, while everyone was waiting for Sony to announce its follow-up flagship, the Xperia Z4, the company decided to keep it under wraps and instead unveiled the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Today, the phone has finally been made official in Sony's home turf of Japan during a press conference that made all of the Z4's details public but left out any information regarding its global release or price.
The Xperia Z4 follows the same design as its predecessors, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The squarish shape, metal frame, and glass back are part of the brand's identity, but at the same time they're iterative and have become boring.
Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which has quietly become the third-largest on the planet, has a new flagship to show off. Two of them, in fact: the 5.2-inch Huawei P8 and the absolutely enormous 6.8-inch P8max. Both have been announced for a launch in "more than 30 countries," including China, Columbia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, and the United Kingdom. As usual, Huawei doesn't seem interested in selling its high-end offerings in the United States.
I hope you weren't too attached to that shiny new HTC One M9, at least in its capacity as the company's top-of-the-line smartphone. Just a few weeks after revealing the new M9 at Mobile World Congress, HTC has taken the wraps off of the previously-leaked One M9+. This larger and more technically advanced phone one-ups its little brother with a bigger, sharper screen, a built-in fingerprint scanner, and the return of HTC's Duo camera design. It also swaps out the somewhat underwhelming Snapdragon 810 processor for a MediaTek Helio X10. That might explain why the phone has only been confirmed for release in China so far.
OK, so maybe HTC's 2015 flagship isn't exactly sizzling hot (in the figurative sense, anyway). If you're in Europe, you'll soon have a less expensive option that has a lot in common with last year's model. HTC has announced the One M8s, a re-heated (sorry) take on the original One M8 from 2014. It's almost identical to its predecessor, both inside and outside, save for two major changes: the processor and the camera.
Instead of the Snapdragon 801 in the original, the One M8s gets a Snapdragon 615 with its four fastest cores clocked at 1.7GHz. The Ultrapixel primary rear camera has been replaced with a standard 13MP shooter, though the secondary "depth" camera (a design that HTC abandoned for the M9) is still present.
The photo-focused smartphone is becoming a definite niche, and at Mobile World Congress, Lenovo is hoping to break in with a new model. The Vibe Shot (which sounds a lot like something you'd order at a questionable cocktail bar) is a Lollipop-equipped phone with a 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8MP front-facing shooter. Other photo-focused features include optical image stabilization, infrared autofocus, and a tri-color LED flash. Lenovo hopes to launch the Vibe Shot in June starting at $349.
We actually got a look at the Vibe Shot back in February when Lenovo's MWC lineup was leaked. What we didn't learn at the time about the phone is its price, which is particularly attractive considering its high-midrange specs.
We've seen them leaked to death, we've seen months of rumors and speculation. Now we have verified info on the real deal: Samsung's double flagship for 2015. The Galaxy S6 will probably be the best-selling Android device this year no matter what any other manufacturer does, and the Galaxy S6 Edge is Samsung's attempt to one-up themselves with an interesting take on the standard slate design.
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.
HTC's One series has kept a consistent design language since its minor re-launch in 2013, and it looks like the Taiwanese manufacturer doesn't intend to mess with a good thing. After several leaks, the One M9 (following the M8 and M7) was announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this afternoon (or morning, depending on where you're reading this). While HTC has made a few noticeable tweaks to the flagship's design, notably dropping the "ultrapixel" and "Duo" cameras of the first two generations, this is clearly a One device.
We've already seen how the new Moto E looks, but now Motorola has made things official. The 2nd generation low-cost handset is available now in the US for $149.99 with LTE. A $119.99 3G-only option is coming soon. Note, the version you can get today is the GSM model, not the one coming from Verizon.
Here's what has changed since 2014. This year's handset comes powered by a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor, up from last year's Snapdragon 200 (edit: the 3G model will remain with the 200). The 4.3-inch 540 by 960 display has made the jump up to a 4.5 inches, reducing the ppi from 256 to 245.
Can a grown-up company return to the kiddie pool of Kickstarter funding to help with its new product? Of course it can - this is how development works now! This morning the makers of Pebble announced Pebble Time, the company's second generation of Pebble hardware, launching exclusively through a Kickstarter funding campaign (like the record-breaking original two years ago). The company hit its modest $500,000 goal less than half an hour after posting the page.
The Pebble Time gets new hardware goodies like a color e-paper screen and microphone, enabling an experience that's more in line with what smartwatches have become over the last couple of years.