LG likes to keep a large, rolling selection of mid-range and low-end phones available for a variety of customers, and today it's revealing two more. The K8 LTE and K5 are both 5-inch phones with a focus on style over substance thanks to somewhat low specifications, but they should do well enough if they're launched at the right price. Unfortunately the press release doesn't say how much the phones will cost, but the K8 will sell in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Russia, while the K5 will be limited to Europe, Russia, and Latin America. Both should be available to purchase later this week in some markets.
Unlike Samsung and LG, HTC doesn't seem to be ready to reveal its next flagship, the One (M10), at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. But the company's portfolio doesn't stop at the One lineup. There's the Desire range as well, and one of its impending models is codenamed A16 and pictured in the leaked photo above, courtesy of Evan Blass (@evleaks). There are six color variants including plain black and white, and starry / sparkly black, white, red, and navy. Or at least that's the way my eyes see it.
But don't let that code confuse you into thinking this is an A-series smartphone, like the One A9.
Android One is an exciting program. Inexpensive devices with standard hardware running stock Android, with lightning-fast updates straight from Google - what's not to like? But according to a report this weekend, Android One hasn't been as successful in its premiere market as Google would have liked. The Financial Times, in an interview with Google's managing director for India and Southwest Asia, reports that big changes are coming to the series. First up: even cheaper Android-powered phones.
When One launched in India last year, the first set of phones were sold at around the 5000 Rupee mark - somewhere in the $80 range in USD.
LG G Stylo is not the name of South Korea's first robot hairdresser. Nope, it's a low-end LG phone designed around a big screen, a stylus, and not a whole lot else. The name, according to LG's press release, is a pun on both "stylus" and "stylish." Feel free to spend a minute or two letting that marketing decision sink in.
Ostensibly a sequel to the G3 Stylus, the G Stylo is probably the phone that circulated as the G4 in those rumors a few months back. One look at the spec sheet is enough to kill that notion: it's a 5.7-inch phone with a 720p screen, a Snapdragon 410 processor, and 1.5GB of RAM.
With the Galaxy Tab A, Samsung is giving its budget tablet line-up a touch of class. This is no dinky Tab 4. This 4:3 slate has a metal chassis! And now it's coming to the US. On May 1st, Americans will be able to buy the device from the likes of Amazon, Best Buy, and HH Gregg.
Unfortunately, the specs remain pretty underwhelming. Sure, we can make do with a 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. The 5MP camera may not be all that great, but whatever, it's a tablet. But a 1024 by 768 screen resolution...
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.
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.
The phone uses a five-inch screen and a qHD LCD panel - that's a little q, 960x540, not the other QHD.
Much of the innovation in Android right now is happening on the budget side of things. At a time when high-end phones are making largely incremental improvements over previous models, low-end handsets have gone from being barely functional iPhone sales pieces to compelling devices that make for great starter phones.
The original ZTE Imperial was certainly not top-of-the-line, but the phone was affordable and its specs weren't particularly embarrassing at the time. Now a successor is available from US Cellular that delivers more phone for even less money.
The ZTE Imperial II comes with a larger, 5-inch qHD display that replaces the previous 4-inch, 800 by 480 offering.
HTC's Desire family is the brand that just won't stop, having survived not one but two company-wide product refreshes. And strangely, it looks like it will also host the first HTC device to come with a 64-bit processor. The Desire 510 is a low-end phone aimed at bargain hunters and pay-as-you-go wireless users, but its inclusion of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 system on a chip makes its otherwise lackluster specifications notable.
The 1.2Ghz quad-core 410 isn't exactly a powerhouse, but its ability to support both 32-bit and 64-bit processing should make it a popular choice for mid-range and low-end phones as Android begins to support the latter with the upcoming L release.
The HTC Desire 610 is now available from AT&T, marking the first time in years that the Desire brand has appeared on carrier store shelves in the US. The phone is very affordable, going for just $199.99 without an annual contract. With one, it's only 99 cents.