For better or worse, five inches seems to be the new target for flagship Android devices. Huawei is bringing its game to CES (unlike most manufacturers that are holding back for Mobile World Congress) with the Ascend D2, a new Jelly Bean 4.1 device sporting a 5-inch 1080p LCD panel and the in-house K3V2 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU. Other highlights include a 13MP camera (narrowly beating out Alcatel's One Touch Idol Ultra) and respectable 9.9mm waist.
Every time I pick up my Nexus 7, I think to myself "you know, if this were 0.9 inches smaller, I'd definitely use it as a phone." Because there's no possible way I'd look even remotely silly holding something that large up to my head, right?
OK, that may be true about me personally, but it seems someone at Huawei had a similar train of thought, as the company is set to unveil a monstrous 6.1" 1080p phone known as the Ascend Mate at CES.
Huawei has been steadily increasing its high-end offerings for the last year or so, and their latest offering is the top-of-the-line Honor 2. Last year's model gets upgraded in just about every possible way, starting with Huawei's own quad-core K3 V2 processor clocked at a blistering 1.4Ghz. Pair that with 2GB of RAM and you've got potent hardware in anybody's money... though to put down a pre-order, you'll need some yuan.
That means that if you're an Orange or T-Mobile customer, you can now buy the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE, HTC One XL, or Huawei Ascend P1 LTE on contract to ensure that you're ahead of the game before 4G goes live in the UK at the end of this month.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish I could get a real smartphone for $150 with no contractual commitment"? Well, you can. One with a 4" display, front and rear cameras, a microSD card slot, and a 1GHz processor. For half the price of the original Motorola Pebl (that thing cost $300 back in the day).
Oh, how far we've come.
But do you want a $150 smartphone? I mean, that all depends.
Owners of T-Mobile's Huawei-made myTouch can begin anxiously tapping "software update" now – the carrier is rolling out a minor update to software build C85B839SP03. Among other things, this update fixes the myTouch device's "missing megapixel" problem, allowing the camera to "realize [its] full 5.0 Mega Pixel resolution."
The update also allows users to opt out of Carrier IQ, and brings a "compose" button to the Email app, and adds call-related bug fixes.
The new network will launch as 'EE', and will run alongside Orange and T-Mobile. London, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Bristol will be the first four cities with 4G capability, with testing starting in those areas today. Before the end of the year, that list will include Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, and Southampton.
Huawei's list of announcements for this year's IFA conference is busting at the seams with a whopping four phones and two tablets, all with different screen sizes, specs, and prices, all slated for a 2012 introduction to the German market, with launch in other markets to follow, though we aren't privy to specific dates for other regions.
Ascend D1 Quad XL
The lovingly named Ascend D1 Quad XL is by all accounts the leader of Huawei's new smartphone pack, packing a 4.5" with an extremely impressive 330ppi density (and unknown resolution), a 1.2GHz K3V2 ARM quad-core processor built by Huawei, a 2600mAh battery, 8MP camera with 1.3MP front shooter, and a microSD slot for an extra boost of internal memory.
With a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, a majorly outdated version of Android, and a $50 price tag, the MyTouch Q is a hard sell to enthusiasts. (In fact, I'd bargain that literally no enthusiasts would buy it.) But as I explained just a few days ago, there's a lot more to the smartphone picture than devices that cost a few hundred dollars and can do everything short of make breakfast. A very large percentage of consumers have no desire to use their phone as a media streaming device or a mobile gaming powerhouse.
T-Mobile has just updated the supports documents for the Springboard tablet, and owners are in for a welcome surprise. The device might not have attracted much attention when it was launched, but now it's getting some sweet Ice Cream Sandwich action. Users can anticipate an OTA update to start hitting devices on August 15.
It's understandable that you might have forgotten that the Springboard existed, but it wasn't a bad device before the Nexus 7 arrived in the same niche.