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.
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.
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.
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.
Back at the announcement of the Galaxy S III, many people were quick to note that Samsung disclaimed the availability of the Exynos quad-core processor powering the beast as contingent on certain issues of geography. And then we learned that, for reals, the US versions of the Galaxy S III would be shipping with Snapdragon S4 dual-cores onboard - the MSM8960 chipset, to be precise.
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.
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.
Adding a tempting new device to the current pool of affordable 7" tablets, ZTE and Sprint introduced the 3G-connected Optik in February, bringing to market a great 7" display, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and an ample 1.2GHz dual-core snapdragon processor, all for $99 on a new contract. In a nutshell, the Optik is a decent 7" tablet for those on a budget. While it isn't the best tablet around, it's powerful enough for most tasks, feels great in the hand, and isn't too bad to look at.
The more capable and powerful S4 "Pro" variant of the original dual-core MSM8960 chipset (which can be found in the HTC One X, for example) will feature an Adreno 320 GPU as opposed to Adreno 225 in the regular S4 MSM8960. Before this announcement, Adreno 320 was scheduled to accompany only the quad-core Krait CPUs, like the APQ8064 and the MSM8974 which won't be coming out until late 2012/early 2013.
Shortly after the announcement from HTC CEO Peter Chou at Mobile World Congress that AT&T would be a launch partner for the new One X, the US's number two carrier let fly a press release confirming the statement. What's there to take from it? Not much.
The primary differentiating features of AT&T's version will be a dual-core Snapdragon S4 (as opposed to quad-core Tegra 3) processor, as well as LTE connectivity.