In this job I work with a lot of public relations people. Their task is similar to mine, but in the opposite direction: while the responsibility of tech journalists is to present consumers with information that helps them make buying decisions, PR agents are generally instructed to drive sales by getting the news out. There's nothing wrong with the profession itself, and I've known great PR agents and those who are not so great. But I often look across the professional aisle and feel profound sympathy for my counterparts on the corporate side of tech media.
Saygus, the company that really will have an actual smartphone for sale any day now, they totally promise, has some more promises for you. A press release issued at Mobile World Congress lays out a series of improvements to the crowdfunded V-Squared phone, which should be easy to implement since the phone still isn't finished despite a first quarter manufacturing target. No less than four, count 'em, four new features have been introduced since... last year's Mobile World Congress. The fact that Saygus has missed multiple ship dates between now and then is conspicuously absent from the press release.
Those features are "waterproofing" (an interesting claim, since every other manufacturer has the sense to cover their asses with the term "water-resistant"), Android 6.0 software, dual-SIM card slots (a popular feature for unlocked and low-cost phones outside the US), and a USB Type-C port, a la that OnePlus 2.
Far be it from us to question the actions of a multi-billion dollar corporation... no, wait, questioning the actions of corporations is exactly what we're supposed to be doing. Let's try this again: hey AT&T, what gives? Today the carrier is introducing a new tier to its data pricing, giving it a grand total of eleven options in its Mobile Share Value plan segment. $75 gets you 7GB of data, with the new rollover feature enabled.
AT&T's current collection of data tiers. The $75/7GB option will be available Sunday.
There's nothing odd about that in and of itself, but AT&T's plans have become strangely specific over the last few months.
Aside from its round P-OLED screen and stylish case design, the G Watch R is remarkably similar to the original LG G Watch. But as just about anyone could guess, consumers will be paying a premium for that style when the round Android Wear device is released later this year. If LG's German press release announcing the G Watch R is accurate, it's going to be quite a premium indeed. The PR lists the suggested retail price as 299 euro, a full €100 more expensive than the G Watch. It also gives a slightly more precise release date: October.
€300 is approximately $395, but thanks to the economics of releasing electronics and other high-value goods in Europe, the American price will probably be much closer to $300.
Just like any open marketplace, there's a lot of crap in the Play Store. In a strange and roundabout way, I'm actually OK with that - separating the silver from the dross of Android apps is one of our core functions at Android Police. But a recent promotion from antivirus vendor Trend Micro painted an extremely dim picture of the Play Store. The company claimed, among other things, that the Play Store was full of "potentially evil doppelgangers... with many carrying malware."
Trend's report of the situation (PDF link) was chilling, reporting that 100% of the Top 10 apps in the Finance, Media & Video, and Widgets categories had fake apps associated with them, along with 90% in the Business, Music, and Weather categories.
The mid-range market continues to expand into larger and larger handsets, and Sony doesn't want to be left behind. To that end, they've announced the Xperia T3, a 5.3-inch Android phone with an awesome industrial design, but internals that will leave hardware buffs wanting more. The star of the show is an all-steel body that's admirably thin at just 7mm. It will be available globally in late July.
Move past the admittedly pretty body (available in white, black, or purple), and you'll see hardware that's shooting for the bottom of the mid-range. First, the large "Triluminous" LCD screen is only 720p, meaning it will be noticeably less sharp (227 PPI) than most of the other phones at that size.
LG didn't do much of a job keeping the flagship G3 under wraps - pretty much every detail has been leaked in some capacity before today. But the press event in London made it official and laid the phone bare for all to see. LG's headliner for 2014 bests headliners from both Samsung and HTC with a 5.5", 2560x1440 screen boasting a DPI of 538. Unfortunately the oh-so-shiny case is only "metallic" (read: plastic), and not true metal like the HTC One family.
The phone's camera is also given a boost, not in megapixels, but in focusing power. The G3's camera has the same 13 megapixel resolution and optical image stabilization as previous models, but a tiny infrared laser module next to the rear camera will allow for more accurate autofocus in "a fraction of the time" required by conventional smartphone lenses.
If you thought that Google and Nestle were unlikely bedfellows, just wait till you get a load of this one. Qualcomm wants a piece of the low-cost streaming entertainment pie, and they intend to bring an Android-powered set-top box (a la Google TV or Chromecast) to market. There's not much information available about the hardware, but it will be called SVELTE, it'll use a Snapdragon 600 processor and an LTE wireless radio, and it will be distributed by Technicolor.
Yes, that Technicolor - the company that blew people's minds in 1939 with The Wizard of Oz and still shows up at the end of movie credits.
Just yesterday we shared leaked photos of the upcoming but unannounced Sony Xperia Z1, otherwise known as the Honami. The folks at XperiaBlog shared a collection of official rendered press photos, and now they've got their hands on a full press release and specs ahead of tomorrow's planned unveil at IFA. Altogether, it's nine pages of material reminding us that Sony's successor to last year's Xperia Z flagship should be quite the impressive piece of tech.
It's a lot to sift through, so if you're not interested in skimming through all the nitty-gritty yourself, here's what's interesting, including a few things we already knew.