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. Sure, there were oddities like the Optimus Vu (aka LG Intuition in the US), but Samsung was so plainly far ahead of everyone else in this part of the market that its Note devices became synonymous with the term 'phablet.' When you see someone with a giant phone, it's a pretty automatic assumption that's a Note or Note II.
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. Neither phone has the Note's trademark S-Pen stylus.
The most telling part of the spec sheet is resolution, or rather, the lack thereof.
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. It's got decent specs, and boasts ASUS' new AOCC "Ubiquitous Cloud" functionality, but has a rather stunning price, pegged at €999. The device isn't expected to make an appearance States-side.
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. And on top of all that, it runs Jelly Bean and packs a massive battery.
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.
Left to right: HTC J Butterfly (Japanese variant of the purported DLX), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II.
The LG Optimus Vu, which launched on Verizon as the LG Intuition with Verizon earlier this month, was undoubtedly a strange device. Taking a page from Samsung's – ahem – note book, LG created the Vu for the phablet market, but decided to go with a somewhat awkward 4:3 aspect ratio, adding to the device's laundry list of quirks.
Well, the Korean manufacturer has just officially announced the Vu's successor – the Optimus Vu II. While it's a bit surprising to see a follow-up on the Vu this soon, the device looks alright on paper, and offers a few key spec improvements over its older counterpart.
If you're a close follower of tech, you're probably familiar with the LG Intuition, or at least its European brother, the Optimus Vu. The major selling point: a 5", 1024x768 (4:3) display. Sure, the other specs are noteworthy in that they match other high-end phones, with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 1GB RAM, Android 4.0, and LTE. But that massively wide screen is undoubtedly going to be the talking point.
And talk people will. It's hard not to remark on just how ridiculous it looks and feels. At first, anyway. After using it for a few minutes, though, it suddenly seems somehow normal that it's so absurdly large.
Remember HTC's 5" mystery device we caught a glimpse of last month? Well, according to Engadget, a user of China's popular social network Weibo earlier revealed what may (or may not) be an official press shot of the device – a shot which also reveals the device's potential name – the HTC One X 5 (named, obviously, for its ample display size).
Engadget has "reason to believe [this] is an authentic press image of the finished result," but we're always skeptical of leaked press shots, and after putting the image under a magnifying glass, we're not so sure. Without further ado, here's the image in question:
Comparing this image to the blurry cam photos we saw before, the shot looks pretty accurate.
When the first Galaxy Note launched, everyone was reasonably skeptical. Was the world ready for such a large phone? Turns out, yep. So now, it would be expected for more carriers to want in on the action. Cue Sprint, stage left. One curious XDA member started poking around in some Sprint documents and found reference to one "SPH-L900." We know SPH is a designation Sprint uses for its Samsung phones (Galaxy Nexus is SPH-L700, Galaxy S III is SPH-L710, etc.), but the L900 is brand new. The specs, however, match those of the Galaxy Note II.
Three new devices joined the T-Mobile guard today: two phones and one phablet.
First, the new Huawei myTouch has hit the stores, with a price of $49.99 on a new 2-year contract accompanied by the following specs:
- 4-inch "high-res" screen
- 1.4GHz CPU
- 1500mAh battery
Next, the myTouch's keyboard-wielding cousin, the myTouch Q, also went on sale. Its price is $49.99 as well, and its specs appear to be identical except for the aforementioned addition of a QWERTY keyboard.