At an event in Milan this morning, ASUS made official the PadFone 2 – the tablet/phone combo device that looks to improve on its predecessor while continuing the goal of providing "incredible mobile flexibility." ASUS touts a redesign of both the phone and tablet elements, the integration of which appears to be much more elegant than the original, with the phone sliding vertically into the back of the tablet, ditching the clumsy door of the original PadFone for a sleek dock.
In its release, ASUS emphasizes the PadFone combo's battery first and foremost among its otherwise amped up specs. The PadFone 2 carries a 2140mAh pack, while the tablet component offers an impressive 5,000mAh that should keep things running for quite a while.
We were originally told that Rigonauts would be out on Android last Spring, but it has just now dropped. If you were waiting on this title, there is yet another barrier to entry. Rigonauts is a Verizon exclusive for two weeks, after which it will be available on other carriers. The kind of ARM chip in your device will also figure into your enjoyment of this game. Aren't exclusivity deals grand?
Rigonauts is essentially a strategy building game where you have to construct a fighting machine capable of turning back the bad guys in each of 30 unique levels. The graphics are really interesting, and it appears to have a great sense of humor.
"I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid. You're afraid nothing's going to change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you what's going to be announced. I came here to tell you how it's going to be teased. I'm going to send out this invite, and then I'm going to show these people what they want to see. I'm going to show them a world without Samsung, or HTC. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything could be announced. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you." -- LG PR
Chinese company Xiaomi (known for their popular ROM MIUI) has just announced a new phone, and this one looks to be every bit as impressive today as the original was when it was announced a year ago. The specs on the cleverly named Xiaomi Phone 2 stand out even in the world of quad-core superphones, and the company has managed to do so while maintaining a price point of just $310 USD.
1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 CPU (Adreno 320 GPU, 28nm)
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
4.3" 720p IPS display
8MP rear camera, 2MP front
Launching in China in October
The company claims some ultra-impressive benchmark results (above left), and we're inclined to believe them.
As we've seen occasionally in the past, ZTE is capable of producing a genuinely impressive budget phone. It looks like they're coming up to bat again, because some purported specs for an upcoming phone have leaked, and they certainly look impressive:
Android 4.0 (could be bumped up to 4.1 by release)
4.5" HD IPS Display (1280x720) with Gorilla Glass
1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU (MSM8960)
12.6MP rear shooter, 1MP front
8GB storage + microSDXC
.38" (9.6mm) thick
Custom ZTE UI pictured
The specs largely match today's flagships, such as the US variants of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III - right down to using the exact same CPU.
Looking to be the successor to the Pantech Breakout, it seems that a little phone called the Pantech Star Q will be headed to Verizon. This sliding, QWERTY-packing device is decidedly a budget phone, expected to ring in at just $99 on contract, but it includes a mixed bag of low-end and surprisingly appealing specs, including Android 4.0.4, a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, a front-facing camera (of indeterminate resolution), a 3MP rear shooter, a 4" WVGA display, and of course a sliding QWERTY keyboard. Besides all that, the phone will feature 4G LTE connectivity, a definite bonus for those in the budget/mid-range market.
Okay, so Kyocera's not really known for producing the best smartphones. And Boost Mobile is perhaps best known for mildly entertaining ads and cheap plans, compared to the big dogs. If you're not interested in having the latest and greatest, if your primary concern for network carrier is price, and if you spend a lot of time making phone calls under water, then I've got some great news for you: the Kyocera Hail Hydro is coming to Boost Mobile for $129 (no contract) on August 3rd.
The phone, which we covered back at CTIA, boasts some pretty meager specs. A single-core Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM and a 3.5" 480x320 IPS display.
Qualcomm, the company behind the S4 processor that so many US devices are receiving as consolation prizes in exchange for LTE, has announced that it will be releasing its own SDK for Snapdragon processors. The SDK will initially support the S4, and continue to support future processors as they're released, supporting multiple tiers of hardware.
The company touts the SDK as enabling developers to more tightly integrate their apps with Qualcomm hardware, as well as enabling access to more powerful hardware features, like so:
facial processing, such as blink and smile detection, which makes it easier to take better pictures of people in groups;
burst capture, which leverages zero shutter lag to photograph a stream of images at once to select the best shot;
surround sound recording for better audio capture;
hardware echo cancellation for better real-time audio experiences;
sensor gestures (tap-left/tap-right, push/pull, face-up/face-down, tilt) that enable developers and device makers to push the envelope on new, differentiated user interfaces;
low power always on geofencing capabilities; and
indoor location that enables apps to continue providing accurate location information even when the user is indoors.
And that included T-Mobile's version, which many speculated (myself included) might be the only Exynos-packing Galaxy S III to make its way to the US of A. We thought this might be a possibility because T-Mobile doesn't have an LTE network, and won't have one that's really in place in any practical sense for another year plus.
While Samsung pushes its newest flagship, the Galaxy S III, out all over the world, a few markets have been rumored to get a version with modified guts. Rumors previously circulated that the Japanese variant of the device would include twice the RAM of its global counterpart, and now we're hearing straight from Samsung that the Canadian variant will, in fact, come with 2GB of RAM. Additional internal changes include a 1.5GHz S4 processor (sorry, no quad-core Exynos in the Great White North), and LTE.
While the rumors of a Japanese variant including 2GB of RAM were not yet officially confirmed, this certainly lends a huge amount of credence to the story.