We've been waiting a long time to see smartphones with screens made from synthetic sapphire, an expensive material that justifies its cost by being nearly impervious to scratches from all but the hardest materials. So far we've seen it on a single Kyocera "tough" phone and not much else, but Chinese manufacturer OPPO is hoping to bring it to a more mainstream device. Say hello to the R1C, a phone that hangs out on the higher portion of the midrange, and is scheduled to hit China later this month.
Time waits for no man, and Samsung is similarly inclined - it's not letting a little thing like the biggest technology conference in the world stop it from announcing phones for markets on the other side of the planet. Thus we have the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7, a mid-range, photo-focused take on Samsung's formula and its plus-sized and slightly higher-end brother, respectively. Both of them should be coming to India sometime in the near future.
If you like LG's style but aren't ready to pay for a top-of-the-line smartphone, AT&T and Sprint would like a word. Both of them have announced carrier-customized models of the LG G3 Vigor, which was launched this summer in international markets as the G3 Beat. The 5-inch phone is decidedly mid-range (stretching to low end for some specs), but it's got the same look and layout as the full-sized G3, complete with rear-mounted buttons.
The All New HTC One+ 2 isn't expected to make an appearance at Mobile World Congress, but that doesn't mean HTC doesn't have things to share. The company just held a press event where it unveiled a new midrange device, the Desire 816.
This handset comes with a 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, a 5.5-inch display, 1.5 GB of RAM, 2600mAh battery, 8GB of storage, and a microSD card slot.
Following up on the announcement of the MT6595 (which will implement ARM's Cortex A17 announced earlier this month), MediaTek has announced the upcoming MT6732 SOC, targeted at what MediaTek is calling a new "super-mid market," aimed at providing a combination of cost efficiency and performance. The SOC consists of a 64-bit, quad-core, 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A53 cluster and a "next-generation" Mali T760 GPU. MediaTek boasts that the arrangement supports low-power 1080p playback with the fledgling H.265 codec, Category 4 LTE, and plenty more.
The L series has made up the middle and bottom of LG's lineup for a few years now, and the company is unsurprisingly refreshing the line at next week's Mobile World Congress. The new L90, L70, and L40 phones stretch from the mid-range to the low end of the current hardware spectrum, so they probably won't be getting the same amount of marketing attention from LG or its carrier partners. On the plus side, all three phones run a skinned version of Android 4.4.
It was just a couple of days ago that HTC started talking up its plans to hit the midrange hard this year, and lo and behold, there's at least some evidence that the company is ready to make good on that commitment. Chinese site MyDrivers.com posted what looks like a press render of a new HTC device, which Engadget later corroborated with their own render. The Chinese site calls it the Desire 8.
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.
When the LG Lucid first hit store shelves, it was one of the best mid-range handsets available at the time. It served as a shining example that a budget phone didn't have to feel like it was a budget phone. Now an OTA update is rolling out to the handset over a year after its release, further evidence that not all budget phones are destined for neglect. This new software version doesn't fundamentally change things, but it's nice to have security patches and a newer version of Google Map Services, among other things.
HTC's yet-unannounced Zara isn't exactly a stranger to the rumor circuit. We've heard all the important specs, but @evleaks has just given us a look at what appears to be a slightly censored press shot.
For those who may not remember, the Zara is rumored to be the midrange lovechild of the One and Desire lines, with (according to @evleaks) a dual core 1.2GHz processor, a 4.5" qHD (960x540) display, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable via microSD), a 2100mAh battery pack, and Android 4.3 with Sense 5.5 on top.