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.
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.
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.
BLU isn't yet a household name in the realm of smartphones, but the company has been quietly releasing hardware for the last few years, letting the remarkably low pricing do the talking. Today they've pulled the cover off of three new models, all aimed at the new "phablet" craze, or at least the lower end of it. The new Studio GSM smartphones start at 5 inches and just $149, and all three feature Android 4.1, the Google Play Store, and dual SIM slots.