LG Nitro HD owners have a good reason to smile these days, as the handset's Android Ice Cream Sandwich update is finally coming their way. Starting this coming Tuesday, July 31st, AT&T will begin seeding the long awaited release of the Google OS.
Along with the typical for Android ICS functionality, the LG Nitro HD will get updated to the company's latest Optimus 3.0 UI. This will bring its software in line with what we saw in the quad-core LG Optimus 4X HD.
In case you are an LG Nitro HD owner, you can find out all about the update over here.
Samsung's full report of its Q2 performance is out (there was a preliminary report earlier this month) and gives us a more detailed picture of how the tech giant did in the second quarter. Sales for the company as a whole reached $41.8 billion (up 21% year on year), operating profit was $5.9 billion (up 72% YoY) and net profit was $4.6 billion (a 48% increase YoY).
Just the handset division of Samsung accounted for $18 billion in sales, a 75% increase from the sales from Q2 last year. IT & Mobile communications (of which the handset division is a part of) reports $21.1 billion in sales and an operating profit of $3.7 billion - a massive 145% jump up year on year.
During Q2 of this year, Samsung shipped an estimated 50 million smartphones, compared to Apple's 26 million iPhones. According to Reuters, Samsung broke a smartphone sales record in Q2.
Demand for Samsung's smartphones increased QoQ by a "low single digit %", while feature phone sales cooled off. The newly launched Galaxy S III flagship and strong sales of the Galaxy Note phoneblet along with higher demand for other high-end Samsung smartphones are behind the increased profit. The Average Selling Price also went up.
Samsung predicts better smartphone sales in Q3 and expects feature phones to bounce back. There will be new "products with diverse price ranges" and tablet competition will continue with "new product launches" (we'll see what they deliver on August 15).
Samsung, of course, makes a lot more than just phones. You can read their report for all the details, but here's a quick summary. Sales of LTE network equipment decreased quarter-on-quarter. TV sales increased a bit and now over 60% are LED TVs (up from mid 50%), 3D displays are also in demand. Mobile/server DRAM is selling better than desktop DRAM, NAND demand improved due to new mobile product launches.
Every time Google announces a new version of its Android mobile OS, every droid user out there starts asking - will my smartphone get it? Well, we have some bad news for Sony Ericsson phones regarding Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and worse still - LG cancelled the ICS update for two of its phones.
Sony (actually, Sony Ericsson at the time) made sure to announce early on that its 2011 Xperia lineup will be updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (even if the company wasn't so quick to actually deliver the updates). And now is has revealed that the Xperia arc S and Xperia mini pro won't be getting Jelly Bean.
This is coming from John Cooper, UK Product Manager for Sony Mobile, and while he didn’t say anything about other models, they all use the same chipset (with the arc S using an overclocked version). This means it's more than likely that the entire 2011 lineup will be missing out on the Android 4.1 JB fun.
As for the 2012 Xperia phones, Cooper says they're still reviewing which handsets are "the best for the Jelly Bean update" and promised Sony will announce its decision on Facebook once it figures it out.
No Jelly Bean sounds rough, but LG Canada had some worse news for some of its users - no Ice Cream Sandwich update for the LG Optimus 2X and Optimus Black. The LG Optimus 2X was expected to get Ice Cream Sandwich in Q2 but got delayed to Q3 and the Optimus Black was originally scheduled for Q3.
Now it turns out that the ICS update for both phones has been canceled - in Canada, at least. The statement doesn't make it entirely clear if this is a country-specific thing or if all Optimus 2X and Black phones will remain stuck on Gingerbread.
And the juicy details keep flowing in. Like we mentioned in our previous article about leaked iPhone prototype designs, the Apple vs. Samsung legal battle is resulting in a lot of never before seen information reaching the public through legal documents.
The latest bit of info comes regarding Samsung and how it was repeatedly warned against Apple's designs. One of the warnings came from Google themselves back in 2010, who noticed that Samsung's tablets ‘P1’ (Galaxy Tab) and ‘P3’ (Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.” Google even asked Samsung to make the tablets noticeably different, starting from the front side.
Another interesting things is that Samsung's own Product Design Group also noted in 2011 that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to the older iPhone models.
Also interesting is the fact that famous designers as part of a Samsung sponsored evaluation said that the Galaxy S “looked like it copied the iPhone too much” and that “innovation is needed.” They felt that the design resembles the iPhone's design too closely so that the buyer would confuse between the two and that all you have to do is cover up the logo and there won't be any difference between them.
The Verge is also reporting that Samsung was so hell bent on beating Apple, they made it their official internal goal for 2012. Earlier documents also reveal that Samsung specifically requested to have features like the iOS' bounce effect while scrolling be implemented in their browser.
One of 2011's notes also say that Samsung diverted their attention away from Nokia and towards Apple as it was their main competitor and that Samsung's UX compared to Apple was like “that of Heaven and Earth”.
One last and rather damning piece of evidence against Samsung is a document that says that in seven out of the thirty Best Buy stores that Samsung surveyed, the main reason for returning Samsung's tablets was that people bought them thinking they were iPads, thus proving Apple's original point for suing Samsung.
There is a lot more to find in the source links below. One thing's for sure, if you thought Samsung was innocent all this time, you could not have been more wrong.
The legal battle between Apple and Samsung may have become tiring to some but you can't deny the juiciness of some of the secrets that have been uncovered through internal documents since the two started going at each other.
Case in point being the latest Apple's internal documents that have been filed by Samsung in court that show some of the early iPhone 3D design models before the first iPhone hit the market.
One of these has been designed by Apple designer Shin Nishibori back in the day. Steve Jobs was a great admirer of Sony designs, which is why when the iPhone was being designed, the first thought was to do what Sony would do.
The resultant product is what you see in the pictures above. Apple designers even put a Sony logo on the renders to make it look like Sony designed it, except for the one image above that has the letters ‘S’ replaced with a ‘J’ to make it Jony (for Jonathan Ive).
It's important to note here that this design is not based on any actual Sony product but a mere result of Apple designers putting themselves in the shoes of Sony's designers and making something Sony's designers would. Sony themselves never made a product that looked like this.
Needless to say, it did not make it to the final stage as the first iPhone looked significantly different. However, this particular design does bear resemblance to the iPhone 4/4S design.
The other design is something that looks like an iPod Mini, with the same curved sides, but with a large display instead of a click wheel. We also see the famous Home button making an appearance here, which was missing in the previous renders.
The last one has an octagonal design with tapered edges. Other than the edges, this model looks identical to the iPhone 3G and the 3GS.
Now the point of all these images is that Samsung wants to use them to prove in the court that Apple too used inspiration in designing their products. But if that's the argument they are going to make then it must be said it's a weak one. Unlike Apple's design that weren't based on any actual product and never actually shipped, Samsung has been accused of selling products that copy the designs of actual Apple products that are on sale right now.
We'll see how the court proceedings go and in whose favor the court rules. Whichever way it goes, we will let you know about it.
You will find some more images in the source link below.
Yesterday, Samsung released a firmware update for the Galaxy S III that removed the ability to use the universal search tool for looking into local data (contacts, media files, apps, etc.).
The patch came after Samsung removed the same functionality from Sprint and AT&T’s Galaxy S III models in the USA, due to the violation of a patent ruled in US courts as belonging to Apple.
There is still no lawsuit for the international Galaxy S III, but it was thought that Samsung is preparing for it with the most recent update. This, as it turns out, is not the case.
TechRadar contacted Samsung for more information on the update and here’s the official statement:
"The most recent software upgrade for the Galaxy S III in the UK included the inadvertent removal of the universal search function. Samsung will provide the correct software upgrade within the next few days."
So, we are getting the local search back. It seems Samsung is not doing damage control and we hope these patent wars stop affecting end users in such ways.
The upcoming Sony LT30p Mint from Sony did a few rounds a couple of weeks ago, when some camera samples leaked alongside a specs sheet that had flagship written all over it.
Today, it seems that Mobile-Review has not only gotten their hands on the Mint, but managed to snap so many pictures of the smartphone and its interface, that it's safe to say we've got a preview on our hands, and all of that before the device is even officially announced by Sony.
What we see today confirms the specs leak from earlier this month:
4.3" display of 720p resolution
Qualcomm MSM8960 dual-core Krait processor
16GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
13MP camera with HD front-facing
The Mint next to the Samsung Galaxy S III
As expected, the software is the Sony-skinned Ice Cream Sandwich, which is a relief, frankly – it would have been ridiculous to see yet another new phone Sony running Gingerbread out of the box. The stock hardware keys have thus been replaced with the on-screen ones, and, according to the preview, the (beta) interface is very responsive, but still has its share of bugs to be smoothed out.
The Ice Cream Sandwich UI
Seeing as how the device is not official yet, it's possible that Sony may even be able to put Jelly Bean on it by the release date, but that's probably just us being too optimistic.
Speaking of release date, the Mint is expected to be out by September, so we're probably looking at the official announcement coming at the Sony press conference on August 29. The expected retail price is €560, which may be a bit steep for a device which cannot readily compete (according to benchmarks) with the current upper-echelon smartphones on the market, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X. Time will tell if that will continue to be the case when the device hits shelves in a couple of months.
Meanwhile, check out the full preview in the source link below.
The new exclusive luxury phone from Gresso might get some heads turning with its $1,700 price tag, but it definitely won't be winning many fans with its specs sheet.
The Cruiser Air Black will be sporting a 2 inch, 240x320 pixel display capable of showing 256K colors, and 2MP camera alongside 30MB of onboard storage expandable via microSD slot (limited to 2 GB). The unit runs on Series S40, and works on a triple-band GSM network with class 32 GPRS and EDGE support.
No, we just checked the calendar too, and it's not 2005 again.
So what makes the device worth $1,700? Each device is crafted from a single piece of aluminum alloy, claimed to be highly durable yet extremely lightweight. Furthermore, the metal is hand-polished by a craftsman for several hours after milling, at which point it is anodized for additional protection.
The steel keys (also hand-polished) are surrounded by glossy front and back glass panels, which are tempered at 800°С for extra durability.
Essentially, the Cruiser Air Black is a piece of jewelry, that doubles as a featurephone. Gresso has also been kind enough to ensure that it's durable enough so if anyone makes fun of its meager specifications, you can club them to death with it.
So far, AT&T has been enjoying exclusivity of the HTC One X in the US (theirs is a renamed Krait-powered One XL), but now a rumor based on a leaked shot of T-Mobile's inventory shows that the carrier will be getting the "HTC One X+".
So, what's the difference between One X and One X+? Apparently, the plus version will use a Tegra 3+ chipset. The updated version of the Nvidia SoC will have its quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz (instead of 1.5GHz like in the international One X) and a GPU that's 25% faster.
According to the leaked shot, the HTC One X+ for T-Mobile USA will arrive in late September. Of course, this is based on hearsay, so take it with a pinch of salt. Also, whether or not the X+ will go international is an interesting question, but unfortunately one that can't be answered just yet.
The first attempts at a projector phone didn't quite work out for Samsung. For many that would be enough to call it a day, but not the Koreans. You don't become the world's number 1 phone manufacturer by giving up easily, so Samsung chose to take a step back, learn from mistakes and give it another go.
The Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam takes a completely different approach to making a projector phone and a smartphone work together. Last time around, with the original Beam, Samsung took a high-end device and slapped a rather advanced projector on its back, effectively ending up with something very thick and expensive, which was nearly impossible to sell. Thicker devices lack the high-end vibe one normally associates with smartphones in that price range, so it never really managed to get going.
Samsung I8350 Galaxy Beam official photos
The I8530 Galaxy Beam on the other hand aims far lower - it's based on a mid-range phone and throws in a projector that's good enough for casual use. Serious, corporate use is out of the question here, but that was never in the requirements, and you get a more compact and reasonably priced package instead. Now add the NovaThor chipset and its dual-core CPU and you get a deal that's definitely worth a second look.
Quad-band GSM /GPRS/EDGE support
3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
4" 16M-color capacitive LED-backlit PLS TFT touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels), Scratch-resistant glass
Built-in DLP nHD projector
Android OS v2.3.7 Gingerbread, planned Android 4.0 ICS update
5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging, Multi Angle shot
720p video recording @ 30fps
VGA front-facing camera
Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS
8GB built-in storage expandable through the microSD card slot
microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
Stereo FM radio with RDS
Rich retail package
Adobe Flash 11 support
Accelerometer and proximity sensor
No Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box
All plastic construction
NovaThor U8500 is the least powerful of the dual-core offerings on the market
Thicker and heavier than mid-range competition
So, the Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam is basically a Galaxy S Advance with an extra DLP projector and a different screen. The lack of character in the overcrowded mid-range was the main thing wrong with the Samsung mid-range flagship, and it seems like the Beam made easy work of adding some.
Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam at ours
However, for all its sensible, down-to-earth approach, the Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam still ends up priced notably higher than smartphones using the same screens and based on the same chipsets. So it will have to try and convince us that it's really offering something extra.
Good build quality would be a nice start - follow us on the next page where the hardware checkup begins.
Rich retail package
The retail package that the Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam comes in had a couple of nice surprises in store. The first thing is a stand that lets you place the Beam on a table or bedside cabinet. Sadly, the angle it's propped up at makes it useless for video watching, unless the ceiling is your screen.
A cool side feature of the said stand though is that it's able to charge the spare battery, which is also supplied in the retail package. With the power-hungry projector at hand, the Galaxy Beam is likely to make good use of the extra juice.
The Galaxy Beam battery charger
The other items in the bundle are a pair of headphones with some spare earbuds, a charger and a microUSB data cable. Those last three items are usually all you get with mid-range and upper mid-range devices, so it's really great treatment you are getting here.
The retail package is one of the richest around
Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam 360-degree spin
The I8530 Samsung Galaxy Beam is genuinely trying to improve on the ergonomics its predecessor. Not that you should expect a phone with a built-in projector to be ultra-compact. At 124 x 64.2 x 12.5 the new Beam is slightly taller but a good 2.4 mm slimmer and more than 10g lighter.
The I8530 Galaxy Beam has a bigger screen than the original, but the resolution stays the same and it's a garden variety LCD and not a Super AMOLED.
Design and build quality
Place the Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam down on a table and you'll hardly be able to tell it apart from a Samsung Galaxy R or an S Advance. A side view exposes its thicker waistline which takes away some of the device's appeal.
The smartphone has an all plastic construction but, considering the weight of 145g, other materials were probably never really an option. The plastic used is of pretty decent quality, so it's not really all bad.
There's a secondary camera above the display, as well as proximity and ambient light sensors. Moving below the display you'll find the usual hardware Home button with two capacitive controls on the sides: Menu and Back.
Above and below the display
The projector lens is placed at the top, deeply inset under a big piece of protective glass. It stays out of the way most of the time and only slightly protrudes at the back.
The top of the Galaxy Beam
More than once during our test, it felt the lens would've made sense on one of the sides of the smartphone, given the projector's default orientation is landscape but more on that later.
The projector lens
The projector can be used as a flashlight as well, and it's quite suited to the job too, if you don't mind the relatively small lit surface. Its placement certainly feels more natural than a LED on the back.
The projector doubles as a flashlight
On the right side of the handset, closest to the top, is the dedicated projector key. A little further down is the usual power/lock button. We did mix those two up at first, hitting the projector button instead of the unlock button. However, it doesn't take too long to get used to the arrangement. The last thing to note on the right is a hot-swappable microSD card slot hidden under a small lid.
The right-hand side
The volume rocker is on the left, where we were surprised to find an external SIM slot as well. It's quite out of the ordinary for the SIM compartment to be placed on the outside but the phone's inner body is almost entirely sealed. It's actually bolted to the front, making the smartphone more dust-resistant than usual.
The left side of the Galaxy Beam
The bottom of the Galaxy Beam features the mouthpiece and a microUSB port for charging and data connections.
The battery cover of the Galaxy Beam is entirely made of plastic but benefits from a nice anti-slip rubbery finish. There's a slight bulge at the top to accommodate the projector. The 5 MP camera lens is centrally placed right below that bulge, with a single LED flash at its side.
In the bottom left corner is the loudspeaker grille.
The rubberized back panel and under the hood
Removing the back panel reveals the 2,000 mAh Li-Ion battery. It is said to last for up to 760h of stand-by or 9h 40 min of talk time on a 3G network . If you stick to 2G you get the same stand-by endurance but the maximum achievable talk time jumps to up to 20h.
One of the important differences between the two generations of projector phones by Samsung is the screen size and technology. The original Beam had a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen. The one we're reviewing has grown to 4 inches but is a regular LCD unit.
The WVGA (480 x 800) resolution works out to a pixel density of around 233 ppi. It's a pretty good display, even if some way off the best on the market. Contrast is good and colors are OK for an LCD, while the viewing angles are surprisingly good.
The Galaxy Beam screen
We put the Samsung Galaxy Beam through our usual display tests and we are now giving you its results. You can find more about the testing procedures here.
Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
HTC Desire C
HTC One X
Sony Xperia U
Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus
Samsung Galaxy Pocket
The sunlight legibility is the Galaxy Beam's screen Achilles’ heel. As you can see from our measurements the Galaxy Beam is one of the worse performers we have subjected to this test.