Thursday, September 29, 2011

Video: Amazon Kindle Fire

We hear a lot about "iPad killers".. but at the last glance, the iPad was still going strong. The Amazon Kindle Fire isn't an iPad killer either, but it could be the first serious competition that Apple have.

The hardware isn't very exciting - it's some sort of 7" Android tablet, the software is more interesting with a custom front end and a new browser called Amazon Silk that works together with Amazon's cloud service to make browsing much quicker. The key thing is that you can download content directly from the Kindle store with the minimum of fuss, much in the same say that iTunes works on the iPad.

It's a lot, lot cheaper than the iPad or indeed any other big name tablet. Amazon are probably taking a loss on each unit in order to get customers hooked into the Kindle store. No doubt modders will be looking at a way of unshackling it.

The Kindle Fire will be out before thanksgiving in the US, sometime next year for the rest of Europe. At those prices it looks like a steal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Video: Motorola Milestone 3

I hate on-screen keyboards and would much sooner have a real keyboard instead for anything other than a few words. Motorola's Milestone and Milestone 2 were two handsets that had a large QWERTY keyboard, and yet in Europe they didn't sell very well.

Motorola are probably guessing that Androids with keyboards aren't popular, but I suspect that the truth is that most customers don't even know about them. The original Milestone didn't sell very well.. but then hardly any carriers picked it up and marketing was minimal. Remember that Motorola had vanished as far as most carriers were concerned, so the Motorola brand wasn't exactly going to sell itself. The Milestone 2 suffered a similar fate, but now Motorola is beginning to pick up again in Europe on the back of the ATRIX and DEFY, so perhaps it would be the time to launch the Milestone 3?

At the moment, the Milestone 3 seems to be definitely NOT coming to Europe, and that's a shame. There's nothing worth having in the full-QWERTY Android range at the moment. Perhaps HTC or Samsung will see that there's a gap in the market for an up-to-date QWERTY Android?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Video: HTC Rhyme

There seems to be a bit of an argument as to whether or not this is a "girlie" phone. Well, obviously the flashing charm works better poking out of a handbag than your trousers, but we think that this is a stylish number which would suit those who can carry it off. Not every bloke looks good in an Italian suit or Alfa Romeo. If you're into monster trucks then you could always get a Motorola DEFY+..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Video: HTC Sensation XE

There have been a few occasions recently where manufacturers have given a mid-life upgrade to their handset. In the case of the already powerful HTC Sensation XE, HTC have possibly made the most powerful smartphone on the market (it's either that or the Samsung Galaxy II LTE). It's due out later this month, although it won't be cheap..

Monday, September 5, 2011

BBC: Samsung's Galaxy tablet computer pulled from show

It looks like Apple just won't stop with their vendetta against Samsung, this time forcing the Korean company to withdraw the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA show in Berlin, according to the BBC.

Tablets have been around for years of course, long before the iPad ever came along. Sadly, Apple's lawyers seem to have the ears of the German judiciary on this.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Video: Samsung Galaxy R

The Samsung Galaxy R is an elusive high-end smartphone positioned just below the Galaxy S II. And apparently you can buy it now. But where? So far it seems to be Russia and some Nordic countries, but speculation (and really it is just that) is that the Galaxy R might get a wider audience because of Apple's legal battles over the Galaxy S II.

Samsung Galaxy Note.. Galaxy BEAST more like.

Screen sizes are definitely creeping up on phones, and it's not uncommon to see panels of 4" or more. Well, the people who designed the Samsung Galaxy Note obviously thought that this still wasn't enough, so have stuck a massive 5.3" panel on this particular Android device and have combined it the with seriously grunty dual-core underpinnings.

To be blunt - this is a beast of a phone. It's about 50% bigger than the Galaxy S II, itself a big phone. Samsung say that the Note will easily fit in a pocket.. I suspect that must have damned big pockets in South Korea.

One other odd feature is the stylus. We haven't seen one of those in a phone for a long time, we're not convinced that it will actually be that useful, but perhaps in a smaller device it might be.

We don't know when it will be available, and it's likely to be restricted to Europe and Asia only when it does come. And it is likely to be very, very expensive..

Via [1] [2]

Tablets, tablet, tablets

It's the big IFA show in Berlin this week. IFA is normally pretty quiet when it comes to new smartphones and tablets, but this week has been mental with more devices than you can safely shake a stick at. Here's a look at just some of the tablets being touted at IFA.

Sony Tablet P and Tablet S
There's just one brand that I can think of that rivals Apple in the gadget market, and that is Sony. So naturally when Sony announced it was making Android tablets then it stirred some interest.. but I don't think anybody would have predicted the two concepts they showed in April which included a tablet with a hinge down it.

Well the Sony Tablet P and Tablet S really are coming, and they look just like the concepts that Sony showed earlier in the year. The Tablet P looks mental with the hinge down the middle.. but the Nintendo DS is a similar idea. The Tablet S looks like a normal tablet from the front, but it's actually a sort of wedge shape to make it easier to hold and use when on a table. There's some real innovation in these devices that we haven't seen before. They're quite expensive though, around the same price as the iPad.. but then Sony is one brand that people are prepared to pay a premium for.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
Cast your mind back a year to the launch of the original "iPad killing" Galaxy Tab. Samsung got masses of press for the release of this device, and although the hardware was quite nice it really felt just like an oversized smartphone and not a tablet.. plus it was very expensive. The original Tab desperately needed Android 3, and here it is in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 which looks like a very nice bit of kit indeed, if Samsung can price it sensibly that is.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE
Does Samsung really need a tablet mid-way between their 10 inch and 7 inch ones? They seem to think so, but the expensive Galaxy Tab 8.9 hasn't appealed to customers much and sales have been very low compared to other tablets.

However, the LTE version adds 4G and gives a significant speed boost, making this a very powerful tablet, and crucially one that isn't covered by (yet) by Apple's many lawsuits against Samsung. You don't need LTE to use it, it will work just fine with normal 3G networks as well.

Toshiba AT200
Toshiba recently pulled out of the mobile phone industry completely, but they are a leading manufacturer of laptops so it seems sensible that they are still fighting it out for a slice of the tablet market.

The Toshiba AT200 is relatively thin and light, and it comes with the reassurance of the Toshiba name on the back. Whether or not Tosh can use their prominent position in the laptop market to see tablets is questionable though.

Via [1] [2] [3] [4]