Energizer is making a phone. Or more accurately, a small manufacturer called DDM, which sells various low-end devices in Europe via a handful of sub-brands, is making a series of phones and then slapping the Energizer name onto them. Oh, and they're going to be "ruggedized," like models from CAT and Casio. For some reason. Because "Energizer" is a byword for "Tough," I suppose. The company is trying to drum up some interest before a big reveal at CES in January, and since this is the tech blogger's equivalent of a bye week, let's take a look.
I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. Thanks to posts from XDA forum members ald9351 and HCdroid, we now know that the picture AT&T posted with a globe on the back of the device was not just the work of an overzealous graphic artist. Here she is in all her glory misery.
To "boot" (pun intended), Big Blue has put its logo and jingle on the boot screen (displaying for a few seconds before the stock Android boot animation).
The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review.
If you've been keeping up with any tech blogs over the past couple of weeks, you know that the next Nexus phone has been a hot topic. We saw rumored specs and rumored hardware photos that only added to the confusion created back when we first reported on a possible 5.9" Nexus. Today, however, we have something special to share. We've been provided with new information about the next Nexus phone, and can confirm that it will be a 5.9" device called the Nexus 6.
Back at Google I/O we were introduced to Android One, an initiative from Google to give smartphone manufacturers guidance on how to build quality Android experiences using affordable hardware and updates directly from the Google mothership. At the time, Sundar Pichai explained that the program would be launched in India with three hardware partners - Spice, Micromax, and Karbonn "this fall," with other territories coming later.
It looks like Samsung is at it again. The company that unveiled a successor to the Galaxy Gear after only a few short months is already planning on releasing yet another smartwatch. This time the wrist-bound device should function as a standalone phone and not require something to pair to. According to the Wall Street Journal, we can expect it to drop sometime this summer.
This product, which follows behind the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit, will differientiate itself by shipping with a SIM card and the ability to place calls.
Besides the TalkBand B1, Huawei introduced three other devices in their MWC presentation - the MediaPad X1 7.0, MediaPad M1 8.0, and the Ascend G6. The first is pegged as a phone/tablet hybrid, the second just a tablet (capable of Wi-Fi calling and SMS), and the third a budget to mid-range phone.
We'll take a quick look at all three, but let's start with the MediaPad X1.
MediaPad X1 7.0
The X1 "combines the functionality of a smartphone and tablet" in its aluminum alloy body, and besides Huawei's own suite of software enhancements with Emotion UI 2.0, has plenty of specs worth looking twice at.
Getting in some early news, Samsung has - as part of CES 2014 - announced its new Samsung Smart Home service, a means by which users will be able to control all their connected home appliances (from refrigerators to air conditioners to smart light bulbs) through a single app on their compatible smartphone, tablet, smart TV, or wearable device.
To start, the service will cover three main areas, which Samsung identifies as Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service.
As if you needed another reason to lust after the Nexus 5 and/or Android 4.4, Google just announced a huge new feature for the default Phone app in KitKat. The new version of the dialer/contacts app will match incoming numbers against Google's various databases to provide an automatic caller ID for businesses using Google Places, as we've already seen. But starting next year, this feature will be applied to people as well.
For a smartphone operating system, Android hasn't always had the best features for, you know... calls. One of the especially annoying omissions has long been caller ID, but Android 4.4 takes a big step toward fixing that. If you get a call from a business that Google knows, it lets you know on KitKat's incoming call screen. Neat.