ASUS is getting into the gigantic phone market in a big way. After their initial offerings in the Fonepad line (that's large, tablet-style phones, not to be confused with the docking Padfone) the company has announced a new model and at IFA in Germany, along with a previously announced but unreleased one. The Fonepad Note 6 (ME560CG) is a conventional "phablet" design, complete with stylus, which we saw back in June.
When Samsung showed off its enormous new Galaxy Mega series earlier this year, we thought that it was only a matter of time before an American carrier decided to pick one up. It looks like AT&T is taking the bait if the latest post from the indefatigable evleaks can be believed. It shows the Galaxy Mega 6.3, the larger of the two phones, with AT&T branding and icons.
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 (SGH-I527 Melius) for AT&T pic.twitter.com/zAM1M47LJp
— @evleaks (@evleaks) August 17, 2013
The Galaxy Mega phones are relatively low-cost alternatives to Samsung's Galaxy Note series, minus the stylus and digitizer.
It was only a matter of time until HTC stepped up to Samsung and offered a "phablet" of its own, and it looks like that time is drawing close. Chinese site ePrice, source of numerous reliable leaks in the past, has posted a photo of a 5.9-inch HTC device set to take on the Galaxy Note series, Xperia Z Ultra, and the like. According to the post, it's called the HTC One Max, codenamed the T6.
Sony is getting into the plus-sized phone game in a big way. Today they've officially announced the Xperia Z Ultra, a super-sized handset that follows the design principles of the original Xperia Z. Nearly all the specifications (with the exception of the camera) have been boosted over the current Sony flagship, starting with a downright massive 6.44-inch 1080p screen. Other highlights include a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2Ghz, (labeled as "the world's fastest") a super-slim 6.5mm body, and a water- and dust-resistant design.
Remember when phones were getting smaller? Ah, those were the days. Acer just announced the Liquid S1 at Computex in Taipei, and it's got a massive 5.7-inch screen. It doesn't quite have the high-end specs of some other giant phones, but this device could appeal to a niche consumer.
The Liquid S1 is a 720p device, despite the screen being on the large side. As such, it won't be as crisp as some other devices.
We all know that Samsung's working on a new version of the Galaxy Note smartphone. And we can probably assume it's going to debut later this summer, as it has the last two years. Unlike the last two years, though, it doesn't seem like it will be released to a market free of any real competitors. In any practical sense, the Galaxy Note and Note II went basically unchallenged in the jumbo-phone segment.
4.99 inches? Small potatoes. 5.5 inches? That's like a baby's toy! In their quest to extend smartphones to every possible dimension, Samsung has announced the GALAXY Mega 5.8 and GALAXY Mega 6.3, with (you guessed it) 5.8" and 6.3" screens, respectively. While these husky and fluffy phones (the Galaxy Note 8.0 probably falls into the dayum category) are styled after the new Galaxy S4, their specifications plant them firmly in the mid-range, bringing gigantic screens to markets that were previously off-limits.
At an afternoon press conference across the street from MWC 2013's enormous venue, ASUS has just wrapped a (hilarious) press conference that saw the introduction of two new devices (or three?) – the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. Before we dive in for hands-on, let's take a quick look at the specs and pricing for the devices.
Jonney Shih with the Padfone Infinity
The Padfone Infinity is the tablet/phone combination we were expecting from ASUS today.
As promised, the Galaxy Note II is now available for purchase on Sprint for $650 less a $350 instant rebate, for a total of $300. Though T-Mobile was first to the punch by a day, Sprint is offering it for a not-insubstantial $70 cheaper.
$300 may seem a bit steep for a smartphone, but keep in mind that this isn't your typical device. It's got a 1.6Ghz quad-core Exynos CPU, 2GB of RAM, LTE, 5.5" 1280x720 Super AMOLED Plus display, plus that infamous S Pen stylus to help you get the most from the ginormous screen.
Complain as some people might, smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. Nothing exemplifies that fact more than phablets like the HTC DLX (or other variants, such as the J Butterfly), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II. Packing 5"+ displays, powerful CPUs, and 2GB of RAM, these phones aren't for your grandmother.