Android 5.1 is still only available on a limited number of Android One phones, but a few interesting tweaks are already on display. One feature that seems tailor-made for Android One has to do with the dual-SIM capabilities. Android 5.1 includes the ability to set a different dialer theme color for each SIM so you'll know which one you're using to place calls.
Sony's smartphones and tablets have had a nearly universal aesthetic over the last few years, focusing on hard angles and monochromatic designs. It's a good look, but the company seems to be shaking things up a bit with the low-end Xperia E4. This budget device translates Sony's industrial design into a softer, curvier plastic body. The white version is two-toned, Nexus-style, with a white housing and black screen bezel. Other touches, like the middle-mounted power button, are more familiar.
If you're a fan of the direction Samsung has taken with the design of the Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4, you'll be happy to see the same notes show up in even more hardware. The new Galaxy A7 is a bigger brother to the previously-announced Galaxy A5 and A3, complete with its thin, minimal design and metal bezel and frame. The phone's 5.5-inch screen is the biggest in the series, and it's also in the same ballpark (at least in terms of size) as flagships from both Samsung and its competitors.
ROM flashers and root fanatics who own a few more obscure Android devices have new options this morning. Official, straight from the source builds of the ubiquitous Team Win Recovery Project custom recovery are now available for the unlocked, dual-SIM card version of the HTC One M7, the carrier-customized version of the LG G3 for US Cellular, and the LG Optimus Fuel. Wait, the what? Let me check my notes...
The big question on everyone's mind when Nokia revealed the Android-powered X line was whether their new masters at Microsoft would continue the line after the acquisition. It looks like Redmond is ready for another lap around the Android pool, at least in conjunction with its extensively-customized software load, because Nokia just announced the X2 for immediate release. The 99 Euro ($135) phone is "available immediately in select countries globally." Both global and select, huh?
Do you want most of the HTC One's features in a device that's not quite as expensive? Then meet the One (E8), HTC's newest smartphone. Between the plastic (oops, sorry, "polycarbonate") body and a separate model with dual SIM card slots, it's clear that this handset is aimed at developing markets. The announcement post for the phone doesn't mention a specific date or price, but my money's on "soon" and "upper mid-range."
First of all, the E8's screen is 5" and 1080p, the same as the One M8.
Two new devices are being added to the Xperia family today in the form of the Xperia E1 and Xperia T2 Ultra. These phones sit below flagship devices like the Z1 and Z1 Ultra, but they still have that slick Sony design and the OEM's custom build of Android 4.3.
We've heard more than a few laments from HTC fans about the lack of an expandable storage option for the flagship HTC One. If you still want a One with a MicroSD card slot (and you happen to live in the United Kingdom), HTC is about to make your dreams come true. The HTC One model 802w, with a removable back panel revealing dual SIM slots and a MicroSD card slot, is now being offered as a pre-order.
A big phone usually comes with a big price tag, but Samsung is still committed to expanding options at the more affordable end of the market. The company just announced the Galaxy Grand 2 with mid-range specs and an emphasis on media.
The Galaxy Grand 2 packs a 5.25-inch 720p LCD, which works out to 280 pixels per inch. That's still pretty respectable. The RAM is only half of Samsung's flagship phones at 1.5GB, and the storage is stuck at 8GB.
Almost all the GSM phones released in North America have a single SIM card, but there are a lot of areas of the world where having a dual-SIM device is a big advantage. These devices can utilize two networks at the same time for calls, data, and SMS. For when two just isn't enough, LG is going to soon offer phones with three SIM slots.
LG is teaming up with MediTek to create the new triple-SIM devices, which will almost certainly never arrive in the US.