At an event in Milan this morning, ASUS made official the PadFone 2 – the tablet/phone combo device that looks to improve on its predecessor while continuing the goal of providing "incredible mobile flexibility." ASUS touts a redesign of both the phone and tablet elements, the integration of which appears to be much more elegant than the original, with the phone sliding vertically into the back of the tablet, ditching the clumsy door of the original PadFone for a sleek dock.
SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation, has confirmed via a press release and a live event in Tokyo the $20.1bn investment that would give SoftBank a 70% ownership of Sprint. The news hit the rumor mill 3 days ago and was pretty much confirmed by CNBC yesterday. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2013 pending regulatory approval.
Roughly $12.1bn will be paid to the shareholders at $7.30 a share and $8bn will be used to "strengthen Sprint's balance sheet," grow the network, and perform "strategic investments."
Sprint's shares closed at $5.73 last Friday for a +144.87% gain this year so far.
The worst kept secret in HTC's recent history, the One X+, was finally officially announced this morning by the Taiwanese manufacturer. Let's take a closer look at what has changed.
The updated One X variant features:
A beefier Cortex-A9 NVIDIA Tegra 3 AP37 processor running at 1.7GHz (up from 1.5GHz)
ULP GeForce NVIDIA GPU, running at 520MHz (up from 416MHz)
64GB of internal storage (up from 32GB)
2100mAh battery (up from 1800mAh), which HTC says may give you up to 6 hours of extra talk time
1.6MP front-facing camera (up from 1.3MP)
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
135g - slightly heavier but only by 5 grams (up from 130g)
The rest of the specs remain the same, including a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB of RAM (a real bummer considering Samsung's and LG's latest offerings contain and really benefit from double that), Beats Audio, and an 8MP rear-facing camera.
Amtrak, aiming to give you a "new way to take the train," released an official app to the Play Store recently.
The (logically named) Amtrak app allows passengers to plan their entire train excursion, from buying tickets (which can be displayed right on your device) to navigating to a nearby station, changing/upgrading seat selections, checking train schedules, and using an Amtrak Guest Rewards account.
"Optimized for Android," the app carries a holo-ish interface with swiping tabs, proper navigation and scrolling, and all the visual flair you may expect from an app in line with Android's design guidelines.
There may have been a bit of a false start recently, when a Sprint employee took to the community forums to announce that the rollout of Jelly Bean for the Nexus S had begun. Maybe the rep confused the Nexus S for the Galaxy Nexus, as we hadn't heard any reports that users had received the OTA for the older of the two Nexii. Today, though, Sprint has posted in its forums details on the upgrade, including a release date of today, September 11th.
Samsung's rumored Galaxy Camera, which we saw leak just a short while earlier, is now official. The Jelly Bean packing point-and-shoot is Samsung's first foray into Android-powered cameras, and is in fact helping to shape what could become a successful niche market (after all, we did just see Nikon unveil a new Android-powered point and shoot).
Of course what you're really interested in is the camera's specs. The Galaxy Camera doesn't seem to disappoint on paper, packing a 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor with an impressive 16.3 effective megapixels.
The LG Optimus G, the tantalizing flagship device for which LG released an teaser video last week, is finally official.
The phone, which we know to be packing a 4.7" 1280x768 display, 2GB RAM, a 1.5GHz quad-core S4 Pro processor, and a 13MP rear camera, is slated to launch in Korea next month, followed by a yet undated global release expected to start with Japan in either October or November.
RealPlayer, one of the most well-known media playing solutions available for desktops, has received its own Android app, which came out of beta and hit version 1.0 (officially 0.0.1.0) today. In a press release, Scott Uomoto (SVP Consumer and Helix Divisions, RealNetworks) boldly stated that "this is the media player that people want."
Despite any preconceived notions you may have about RealPlayer, the official Android app already has overwhelmingly high ratings and a somewhat decent feature list – first off, RealPlayer can be used to centralize not just your music, but videos and photos as well.