This is the time of year when we expect two things to surface in droves: leaks and rumors. With CES fading in our taillights and Mobile World Congress just around the corner, it's an interesting time for device manufacturers. And while some have already gotten their early-year announcements over with, there are those who have chosen to wait for Barcelona to unveil their newest flagships to the world.
We've been taking a close look at some of Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo's 2013 offerings: LG's flagship Optimus G Pro, Panasonic's similar Eluga X, and the dual-screen NEC MEDIAS W. DoCoMo announced three other phones at the same time, all of which are at the head of their manufacturer's lineups. We've already seen Sony's Xperia Z, Xperia Tablet Z, and Huawei's Ascend D2. Fujitsu's ARROWS X F-02E matches up to both, more or less.
Do you think phones should be even bigger? Good news: so does Huawei. You've probably already heard about the Mate, but we got a little hands-on time before the show floor opened last night at CES Digital Experience, and, well, it's big. Really big. And yes, we put it next to a Note II to show you just how mind-bogglingly large it is.
Note: there's some artifacting near the end of the video.
We had heard that Huawei was going to shock the world (or at least impressionable gadget lovers) with an enormous smartphone, and they've made it official here at CES. The Ascend Mate is real, it's got a 6.1-inch screen, and it will be coming to China in February. That monster panel is a 720p IPS LCD - strangely, a lower resolution than the new 5-inch Ascend D2 - and gives the device a 73% screen-to-body ratio.
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.
Orange and T-Mobile UK, the two companies forming the new 4G EE network in the UK, have launched three 4G capable Android phones today.
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.