Facebook's official app is a lot better than it used to be, if only because the service has become so ubiquitous that it's more or less constantly being updated. Even so, there are Android users with older or cheaper phones, and users in areas where it's hard to find a reliable data connection, that Facebook is intent on serving. To that end the company has published Facebook Lite on the Play Store.
It's really hard for hardware manufacturers to stand out once CES starts, especially if they're promoting budget devices that don't grab headlines. So those without eye-popping gadgets are starting to announce them earlier and earlier - for example, if Archos hadn't exercised a bit more restraint with this new budget phone and a trio of tablets, it would have technically been a year before its Las Vegas debut. Meet the new Archos 50 Diamond smartphone and three Archos Helium 4G tablets.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE still hasn't made a dent in the US market in any significant way, but it did turn heads with the ZMAX for T-Mobile, combining a big 5.7-inch screen and a spacious battery with a low price tag. The new Grand X Max, coming to budget carrier Cricket on October 10th, is even bigger and cheaper. This massive 6-inch phone will pack a beefy 3200mAh battery, all for just $199.99 without a contract.
It looks like Republic Wireless is going for the Motorola hat trick: in addition to last year's flagship Moto X and mid-range Moto G, the American hybrid MVNO is now planning on selling the low-end Moto E to its customers. According to this post on the official Republic blog, the carrier's customized version of the Moto E will go on sale next month for $99, $30 cheaper than the retail GSM model.
People seem to love gigantic screens on their phones - just ask Samsung (or Apple). And of course, plenty of customers want phones that are cheap, or at least cheaper than the flagships. And the one thing that everyone wants is longer battery life. ZTE and T-Mobile are going to try to please the intersection of these market segments with the ZMAX, a big phone with a big battery and (impressively) a small price tag.
The dawn of Google's Android One program is fast approaching, with an official announcement for the Indian market expected tomorrow. We've already seen the Android One phone from manufacturer Spice make a brief appearance, and the Twitter account for Amazon.in (the retailer's Indian branch) has teased an upcoming Micromax model. You can see the tweet below:
Log on to Amazon.in at 3:30 pm on the 15th. Spread the word. pic.twitter.com/7BvjM8XLgy
— Amazon.in (@amazonIN) September 14, 2014
Presumably the 3:30 PM timeframe refers to India Standard Time, which would be 6 AM Eastern in the United States.
Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.
Alongside the launch of the brand new super-budget Moto E, Motorola also announced an improved variant of its marginally more expensive Moto G. The updated version is now equipped with an LTE radio and an SD card slot. Naturally, the price of the LTE model is also a bit higher at $219, which is still a bargain. Oh yeah, now it also comes in white!
This is certainly a boon to those seeking a low-cost device, but don't want to settle on 3G speeds.
The Archos name isn't unheard of around these parts, but while the company has introduced more than a handful of affordable tablets into the market, it isn't the first brand to come to mind when thinking of smartphones. It has produced some before, but they were nothing particularly exciting. Now the company will up its game by rolling out not one but two 4G LTE-capable smartphones at CES next week - the largely identical-looking 45 and 50 Helium.