The last two years have not been kind to HTC. Despite garnering critical acclaim from the One series and consistently improving both hardware and software, the Taiwanese company is getting battered on high-end phones by Samsung and Apple, and battered on low-end phones by Samsung and just about every Chinese company out there. According to a report from Reuters, HTC will try to shift its strategy in 2014 to give more attention to mid-range devices, which it has been ignoring somewhat for the last few product cycles.
Samsung's "diversify and fill all niches" approach to the mobile market is starting to get on my nerves. Not because I object to having a dozen different choices at every screen size and price, but because I can't keep the hardware details for all these phones and tablets in my head. Nine months after unveiling the Galaxy Tab 3 in 7, 8, and 10-inch varieties, Samsung is back with a "Lite" variant of the smallest model.
Not content to simply blur the line between conventional smartphones and tablets like manufacturers around the world are already doing, HP has decided to completely erase any distinction between the two. This morning the company announced that its first smartphones since the ill-fated HP Pre 3 in 2011 won't be "phones" at all, but rather "voice tablets," competing with low-cost, big-screen models like the Galaxy Mega. Re/code reports that the two inaugural Android devices, the Slate 6 and Slate 7, will be introduced in India next month.
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.
As we saw late last week, ASUS is looking to bring its unique Padfone concept to different form factors and price points. Enter the Padfone Mini, a new entry in the series that retains the dockable phone-tablet hybrid idea but shrinks it down to make it more affordable. The phone itself isn't much smaller at 4.3", but the tablet dock now has a 7-inch screen instead of 10, not to mention a vertical orientation.
The new Nexus 7 is pretty awesome in all respects, and it should be right at the top of your list if you're looking for a 7-inch tablet. But if your budget won't stretch up to $230, ASUS has a more low-end model that's perfectly respectable. The Memo Pad HD7 (ME173X) is an upgrade to last year's budget tablet, and it's up for pre-order at no less than four, count 'em, four US online stores.
You have to hand it to Sony – they keep trying. The newly announced Xperia M is a budget-oriented phone that can be obtained in a variety of neat colors. It has a small-ish 4-inch screen, and it comes in black, white, purple, and yellow (depending on model). It's not gigantic, which is a rarity these days.
MetroPCS, the not-yet-T-Mobile-company, just announced its newest 4G LTE handset this morning, the Huawei Premia 4G. Sounds fancy, no? Don't worry – it's just OK. But for $150, you can't expect it to be a GS4.
And a GS4 it isn't. What is it, though, is a decent mid-ranger with some specs that should live up to its buck-fiddy price tag:
- 4-inch 480x800 display with Gorilla Glass
- 1.5GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 5MP rear shooter, 1.3MP front camera
- Android 4.0
Nothing super special about this one, but if you're looking for a decent mid-ranger and LTE without a contract, this may be a good way to go.
After revealing the "world's thinnest" smartphone earlier today with the One Touch Idol Ultra (at a svelte 6.45mm), Alcatel has let fly news about the rest of their planned CES 2013 lineup.
Alcatel's got more devices in line than you've got pockets, from a pair of 7" tablets (in standard and HD variants) to a bevy of "Pop" smartphones, all of them apparently aiming squarely for the budget market. Grab a snack, because we're going to take a peek at the full array.
When we think of "budget" phones, a $500 Galaxy S III may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, MetroPCS' usual strategy of having customers buy phones off contract and save money on the service is in full swing here. The device comes with a hefty price tag up front, but pick up the carrier's $50/month plan for unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data, and you're looking at around $1700 over the course of 2 years.