In the last few years, bezels have gone from a generally ignored necessity to one of industrial design's contemporary sins. That extra chonk housed, among other things, a phone's front-facing camera. But now we have notches, sliding designs, the "hole-punch" cutout, and even phones that eschew front-facing cameras entirely. So I'm curious to hear which style of camera placement you prefer.
Look, Chinese phone manufacturers, we need to have a talk. I know trademarks, copyrights, patents, and all manner of intellectual property are played kind of fast and loose over there. But when even your legitimate companies follow Apple like a bunch of multi-million-dollar ducklings, it's not poking any holes in the old "iPhone clone" argument. Case in point: OPPO's shiny new F1 Plus, a phone that has some fantastic design and hardware and could certainly stand on its own merits... that just happens to look like someone took an iPhone 6 Plus and put it through a photocopier a few dozen times.
Sometimes you've just got to sit back and marvel at the ingenuity of some Android developers. While Motorola was busy putting expensive infrared sensors all over the front of the new Moto X to enable a few gesture controls, developer OnTheGo Platforms was adding it in with something that just about every smartphone already has. Behold, BrainWave, an app that lets you play, pause, and navigate your music like a frickin' Jedi.
Once you've got the app set up, BrainWave "looks" through your phone's front-facing camera for a series of commands delivered via your right hand. Place your hand palm-down about a foot over your phone to pause or resume.
HTC is set to unveil some new hardware at a New York City event on Wednesday. The company itself has already given us some clues to a GoPro-style sports camera (including a couple of unintended product images), and a few less reliable sources claim there will be a phone with a 13-megapixel Duo camera. This weekend the Twitter leak account @Upleaks showed some images of an alleged "HTC Desire Eye," a phone that embraces the selfie craze (ugh) in a big way.
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
Everyone's favorite novelty camera app that hasn't been bought for a billion dollars, Paper Camera, saw an update to version 3 today. Among the new features, the app has added support for the front-facing camera, the ability to share to a variety of sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The app also allows users to buy extra controls via an in-app purchase that add even more customization controls to the already impressive filters.
The previous version of Paper Camera added support for video recording, so this rounds out a rather ample set of features. While it may not be enough to take Instagram down, this will certainly be worth it for users of the app.
Not much was known for a fact about the next crown jewel in the Droid line of Android phones that played a such a crucial part in the growth of the OS in the past 2 years. We had a suspicion that it would have a 4" screen, lose "the lip," and gain a dual-core CPU and a front-facing camera, all while bearing the name Droid 3, but no concrete proof of any of those.
A series of Droid 3 training videos surfaced today, well ahead of the device's release, which is rumored to be sometime this summer. The videos clearly show and confirm a larger form factor with curvier lines (4" sounds about right now), an 8MP HD camera that is capable of 1080P video recording, an updated version of MOTOBLUR (just look at that lock screen), a 5-row keyboard with a dedicated number row, and an HDMI output.
The reincarnation of the Sidekick brand didn't quite come as a complete surprise after T-Mobile teased its return back in January, followed by a nice photo leak that showed the latest thumb-killer, this time made by Samsung, in its full glory. However, it's always nice to get official confirmations and specs from the carrier itself, and that's exactly what T-Mobile is gracing us with today.
The new Sidekick comes with a 3.5" touchscreen display, a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, HSPA+21 4G capabilities, a front-facing VGA camera, and, of course, a signature "pop-tilt" 5-row QWERTY keyboard.
CES hasn't even started yet, but we're already getting word of a newly announced Android tablet - as well as a handset - from television manufacturer Vizio. The specs are nothing to scoff at, either, as the VIA Phone can certainly hold its own against any phone on the market today:
4.0" high-resolution display
5 megapixel rear camera capable of HD video
1 GHz processor
microSD card slot
The VIA Tablet, on the other hand, while definitely not underpowered, might be disappointing to those who are awaiting a dual core tablet:
8.0" high-resolution display
1 GHz processor
Three speakers for video conferencing
The devices are also running a custom UI called VIA Plus, which Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer at Vizio assures us will be found on any future smartphones, tablets, and TVs from the company.
Unfortunately, Engadget's tipster didn't say much about this Verizon-bound device other than that it would be high-end, which in itself would be quite a departure from LG's other Android phone, the Ally. Luckily, there's a collection of logos awaiting us on the battery cover, including one that, thrillingly enough, represents LTE (it's right above the LG logo). Also present:
a logo that appears to be there on behalf of DLNA
two other logos that haven't been discerned yet - feel free to squint away and try to make them out for yourself
an HD camera with an unknown megapixel count
a huge screen - just look at that bad boy
what looks to be a front-facing camera (right above the display)
sexy styling - is this baby made of aluminum or what?
Front facing camera for video calling over Wi-Fi and 3G
3.8" WVGA screen
Android 2.2 (possibly with Espresso UI)
Unfortunately, despite the awesome specs we have available, there's no word on pricing, and the only information we have on a release date is "in time for the holidays." But, right now, the only question on my mind is: when can I pre-order this beast?