Samsung has seen incredible success with its Android devices over the years. The Korean OEM didn't have to change much from one year to the next, but still the smartphone-consuming public was practically begging to trade up to the latest and greatest Galaxy S. Then something changed with the Galaxy S5—despite being a competent phone in almost every way, sales were below projections. Samsung's profits declined when they should have been skyrocketing.
For all the grief we give Samsung tablets about fake leather and physical home buttons, the higher tiers of hardware have some great specs. Speed demons and resolution fanatics might be particularly enthralled with the Tab Pro series, all of which feature 2560x1600 screens. If you appreciate the hardware but could do without Samsung's Android skin, the developers at CyanogenMod now support the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1.
CyanogenMod 11 nightlies are already available for the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, giving users of two out of the four tablets in the series access to AOSP-style software with rapid updates.
Galaxy S4 Active users on AT&T, don't get too excited when you see a new software update message appear in your notification bar. This is a minor update with minor changes, and once you apply it the phone will still be running the same Android 4.4.2 build that you've had since June. According to an AT&T support page, the update includes just three things:
- Connectivity improvements related to receiving calls and text messaging
- Security patch
- Updated Google apps
We've got no idea what kind of updated Google apps Ma Bell put in there, since Google prefers to do its own updating via the Play Store these days.
Samsung releases so many phones in so many variants that even professional gadget bloggers get turned around on occasion. But the folks on the CyanogenMod team are doing their best, bless 'em, and today's fruit of their labor is ROM support for an extra variant of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4. The most pertinent one for American readers is probably the G900-T, the Galaxy S5 model sold by T-Mobile as their branded version.
The Galaxy Note 4 was one of the most exciting handsets to come out of this year's IFA, and the time has come to start placing those pre-orders. T-Mobile's Galaxy Note 4 page is now ready for business. Customers can claim a handset and choose to purchase it for either $749.76 upfront or $31.24 a month for two years. Devices are expected to ship out starting on October 17th.
If you haven't been thoroughly obsessing over this Galaxy Note 4 before now, here's a refresher on the specs.
Samsung makes some surprisingly solid accessories for its mobile phones. A lot of people don't know this, because those accessories are really, really expensive, at least compared to most of the alternatives available. Today you can take half off of all the accessories - cases, cables, mounts, batteries, anything - that you buy from the official Samsung online store. But there's a catch: the coupon code is only good on items with individual prices below $50.
The Galaxy Alpha, on paper at least, is a dream phone for scores of Samsung users. You get the look of a Galaxy device without necessarily getting the feel of one. The phone is made of metal and premium materials, making up for the cheap build-quality that plagues even Samsung's high-end devices. Americans turned on by such an idea can now pick a Galaxy Alpha up come September 26th, when the phone will go on sale exclusively from AT&T online and in stores.
The Galaxy S4 Active is pretty solid as both a high-end phone and a "ruggedized" handset, but as with a lot of Samsung devices, TouchWiz keeps some power users away from a purchase. Now the indefatigable CyanogenMod team is giving you some AOSP-style options: they just released their first nightly build for the S4 Active. You can pick it up for your phone at the usual spot and install it via the custom recovery of your choice.
The Galaxy A5 appears to be an awkward phone to get excited about. SamMobile has gotten its hands on exclusive photos of the device, the SM-A500, which should be the first in a new line of A-branded phones. What makes this particular handset interesting are its build materials. SamMobile's source says that Samsung has used a different material that isn't plastic or metal but still "feels cold in the hand."
To me, this sounds like Samsung has had so much success producing faux leather backs that it's ready to try its hand at fake other materials.