Sony Xperia Z Goes On Sale For $630 Unlocked

sony_xperia_zSony has just began selling the unlocked variant of the Xperia Z to its customers in the United States of America. The device retails for $630 on the Sony Online Store and is available in three color options: black, white, and purple. As of now, the SIM unlocked version of the Xperia Z is compatible with AT&T’s HSPA+ network and is not compatible with LTE bands.

The Xperia Z is a very powerful Android device that runs on a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm CPU and 2GB of RAM. The device is powered by Android Jelly Bean and features NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Out of the box, the device includes 16GB of on-board storage, its Micro SD card slot can be used to add another 64GB of storage to the device. As far as the screen goes, the Xperia Z features 5-inches of 1080p screen real-estate with a pixel density of 441 pixels-per-inch.

This is the first time that American smartphone users have been able to officially purchase the Xperia Z without the need to import it. However, rumors have been swirling for quite sometime that the device will make an appearance on both AT&T and T-Mobile officially with respective LTE bands.

Via: Phandroid

Galaxy Note II (US Cellular) From An iPhone User’s Perspective

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As a long time iOS user, I’ve always been a bit turned off by larger screened smartphones, or as some say, the ‘Phablet’. These devices are hybrids between tablets and smartphones, with screens usually ranging between 5″ – 5.5″. And up until recently, I hadn’t had the chance to play around with one of these devices on a day-to-day basis. However, this all changed recently when I received a Samsung Galaxy Note II on the US Cellular network to play around with for a couple of months. Below, I’ve compiled my thoughts on the Android experience on such a large device from an iPhone user’s perspective.

Note: I’ve been an iPhone user for quite sometime. Back in 2009 I got my hands on an iPhone 3GS after switching from Windows Mobile 6.5. Before the 3GS, I was the owner of a first and second-generation iPod touch, so I’ve had quite some time with iOS throughout my life. Day-to-day, I use an iPhone 5, iPad mini and a third-generation iPad with Retina Display. I’ve had experience with Android in the past and have tried out many devices like the Galaxy S III  and the Droid Incredible 4G LTE.

Since the Galaxy Note II’s flagship feature is its enormous screen, I feel obligated to cover it first. During my time with the device, I found that the screen was great for watching movies and drawing with the S-pen (more on that later), but was unnecessary during regular use. Also, because of the Note’s giant screen, it’s next to impossible to use the device with one hand. When taking calls, the Galaxy Note II feels awkward and unnatural due to its screen size. However, though the screen is enormous, it’s very clear and is on-par with my iPhone 5 and iPad with Retina Display. This is due to the device’s 1,280 x 720 Super AMOLED display that looks fabulous in low-light and high-light situations.

As far as performance goes, the Note II is by far the smoothest Android device I’ve used. The device is responsive for the most part and graphic intensive games seem to run flawlessly. This stellar performance is due to the fact that the smartphone is running Android 4.1 and is powered by a quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and 2GB of RAM. This gives the phone all the power needed to run the latest cutting edge Android games.

While the Galaxy Note II’s specs may look better than the iPhone 5 on paper, there’s just something about Android and the Galaxy Note II that feels a bit off. For instance, when using the Note II’s web browser, I often find the device over-scrolling. I’ve also found the Galaxy Note II to be overly snappy when performing system transitions and animations, giving the user interface an unnatural feeling.

The Note II also includes an S Pen, or as I like to say, a glorified stylus. You can use the pen to control the device like you would with your finger, but it can also be used to draw and jot handwritten notes with the S Note application. In theory, this would work well due to the Note II’s massive screen, right? Wrong. Taking handwritten notes with the S Pen feels quite awkward due to the short length of the S Pen itself. The Note II also doesn’t have enough room on the its screen to allow me to comfortably rest my hand when jotting notes. Because of these two factors, I often found my hand slipping off of the Note’s screen, sending my S Pen falling to the floor.

Even though I think the Galaxy Note II is a well performing Android device, it won’t switch me from my good ol’ iPhone. This is mainly due to the fact that the Note II’s screen size and Android OS still seem a bit unnatural to me, though I did throughly enjoy using the device for streaming Netflix videos. However, if you’re a fan of large mobile phone screens and enjoy having the customizability of Android, you’ll probably love the device.

All in all, the Galaxy Note II is a great phone if you’re on the US Cellular network. If you wish to purchase one for yourself, expect to pay $299.99 upfront for a 16GB model on a two-year contract. If you’d prefer to go contract free on US Cellular, the Note II will run you a whopping $799.99.

AT&T HTC One X Users Now Recieving Jelly Bean Update

HTC One X users on AT&T are finally receiving the long awaited Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Users can download this update by heading into the Settings app on their HTC One X and tapping on the ‘About phone’ option and then tapping on the ‘Check for updates’ button. After following these steps, you should be able to download the Android 4.1 update.

Android Jelly Bean brings a whole slew of new features to the HTC One X on AT&T. The update brings the addition of Google’s new Siri-competitor, Google Now. Google Now can be used for voice commands and other types of information delivery. The update also brings Google’s new ‘Project Butter’ to the One X and  is reported to speed up all transitions and animations on the smartphone.

AT&T has also thrown a few new and updated apps into the One X’s Jelly Bean update as well. Once you’ve updated your One X, you’ll notice that AT&T Messenger, AT&T DriveMode and AT&T Locker have all been added to your smartphone. AT&T Messenger allows you to sync texts, calls and voicemail messages across your smartphone, tablet and computer. AT&T DriveMode is an app that is supposed to help stop texting and driving. When enabled, your smartphone will send auto-reply SMS messages to people attempting to message you telling them that you’re unable to respond. Finally, AT&T Locker is a cloud storage service by AT&T that lets you save photos and other documents to the cloud.

Source: Android Guys

500,000 Google Readers Users Have Switched To Feedly

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Over 500,000 ex-Google Reader users have switched to Feedly, a web-based RSS reader. Feedly announced this statistic on its blog and has stated that its highest priority as a company is keeping its servers up and running during this massive influx of new users. Because of this, the company has increased its bandwidth ten-fold and has added new servers. During this time, the company’s iOS app rose to the number-one most downloaded free app on Apple’s App Store. The company also promised to bring new features to the service every week.

The reason for such a high influx of new Feedly users is due to the fact that Google announced last week that it will be shutting down Google Reader on July 1st, 2013. This announcement was met with outrage as over 100,000 Google Reader users signed a petition to keep the service alive. Google Reader is a web-based RSS reader that allows Google users to read content from various news sources in an easy to read feed. The service was originally launched as a Google Labs project in 2005 and graduated to a full-fledged Google project in 2007.

Source: Feedly Blog

Sprint LTE Tests Spotted In Durham, North Carolina

A writer at TalkAndroid has caught Sprint testing its 4G LTE network in the city of Durham, North Carolina. The journalist was reportedly using his Samsung Galaxy Note II in the city when he noticed that the 4G indicator on his smartphone was on. This is a strange occurrence in the Durham area for Sprint users as the town isn’t officially covered by Sprint’s 4G LTE network that launched last year. After taking speed tests of the network, the writer, Jeff Causey, noted speeds of 8.49mbps download and 1.66mbps upload with a ping time of 71ms.

Sprint has been playing a lot of “catch-up” with its 4G LTE network since its launch during the summer of 2012. Other mobile carriers in the United States like AT&T and Verizon have had 4G LTE networks running as early as late-2010 and have already covered most large markets. Sprint has attempted to compensate customers for this slow rollout by offering unlimited data plans at low prices and by offering mobile tethering free of charge. However, the upcoming LTE rollout in Durham does show that Sprint is catching with the competition quickly.

Source: TalkAndroid

Redbox And Verizon Launch Redbox Instant

Redbox and Verizon have joined together to officially launch Redbox Instant. This service is set to take-on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video as it allows subscribers to instantly stream video content such as TV shows and movies. The service already has thousands of titles available for instant streaming. When subscribing to the service, you’ll also get four free DVD rentals per month. These DVD rentals can be used at any Redbox kiosk and can be checked-out for one day at a time.

Redbox Instant content can be streamed to any Mac or PC using an up-to-date web-browser. However, the service also has apps available for both iOS and Android tablets and phones as well as the Xbox 360. Some Samsung TVs and Blu-Ray players also support the service.

Redbox Instant is currently $8 per month, the same price as a Netflix Streaming plan. In my opinion, Redbox Instant is a much better deal than Netflix due to the fact that Redbox offers four free DVD rentals per month with a paid subscription. However, I won’t be switching to Redbox Instant any time soon due to the fact that it is still incompatible with my Apple TV and Roku devices. If you’d like to try Redbox Instant for yourself, a free one-month trial is available via Redbox’s website.

Source: GadgetBeats

XOLO X1000 Launches In India, 2GHz Intel CPU For $369

XOLO has launched the Intel-powered X1000 in India for approximately $369. This low-priced smartphone features very high-end specs with a 2GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. In terms of display, the XOLO X1000 will offer 4.7-inches of 720p screen real-estate with a pixel-density of 312 pixels-per-inch. In terms of a camera, the smartphone offer will a 5 mega-pixel rear-facing camera with burst mode. Out of the box, the X1000 will offer 8GB of internal storage but can be upgraded to 32GB using MicroSD cards. The phone will feature HSPA+ 3G technology.

The only disappointing part about the X1000 is the fact that it’s only running Android 4.0.4, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich. As of now, we’re not sure how close the phone is to being upgraded to Android Jelly Bean, but for such a new device, we’re hoping that the update arrives soon.

If you’re located in India and would like to purchase an XOLO X1000 for yourself, you can order one now via FlipKart for Rs. 19999. If you order your X1000 now, expect it to arrive in 7-8 days.

Source: TalkAndroid

Specs For HTC’s Next Facebook Phone Confirmed

Specifications for HTC’s next “Facebook phone” have been confirmed. The device will go under the name ‘HTC Mystic’ and will offer a set of mid-range specifications. The smartphone will feature a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory. The device will not allow users to use SD cards for expansion. As far as the display goes, the device will offer 4.3-inches of 720p screen real-estate at 320 pixels-per-inch. The Mystic’s cameras will offer resolutions of 5 and 1.7-megapixels for the rear and front facing cameras respectively. Finally, the device will offer LTE, HSPA, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and will be powered by Android 4.2.1.

UnwiredView has stated that this information comes from a “reliable source” and that it matches earlier leaked information from last month. The publication has also stated that the device should ship sometime this spring and will be pre-loaded with a plethora of Facebook applications like Messenger and Instagram as well as the official Facebook Android app. However, we’re still not sure if the device will offer a dedicated Facebook button like what was offered with the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa, HTC’s previous attempts at a Facebook phone.

Source: UnwiredView via TalkAndroid
Image Source: takechi and UnwiredView

The Neo N003 Will Be The Lowest Priced 1080p Smartphone

Gizchina has confirmed that the Neo N003 will be the world’s lowest priced smartphone with a full 1080p display. The device will retail for a low price of only $145, or 899 Yuan. The phone is SIM unlocked and features a quad-core CPU. The display itself measures in at 5-inches and has a design similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S III. The front of the phone features three capacitive buttons and a front-facing camera. We’re still unsure of the forward and rear facing camera resolutions.

Neo hasn’t announced a release date for the N003, but we should see it being released in the near future in order to compete with the iOcean X7 ‘Youth’, another 1080p smartphone with a low price-tag of $160 USD. The N003 is meant to replace the aging N002 that is reportedly still “selling like hotcakes.” The N002 is another relatively low-priced smartphone produced by Neo. The device features 1GB of RAM, a 4.7″ display with a resolution of 960×540 and a dual-core CPU. The Neo N002 offers a design similar to that of the HTC One X. 

Source: Gizchina

Nexus 7 Charging Dock Arrives On Google Play

Today, Google’s long awaited Nexus 7 Charging Dock has finally appeared for sale on the Google Play store. The Nexus 7 Charging Dock allows Nexus 7 owners to dock their tablets for easy charging and angled video viewing. The device itself weighs 280 grams and features a black exterior with a grippy rubber base. This rubber base ensures that your Nexus 7 won’t go flying off your desk if accidentally bumped or jolted. The dock features a MicroUSB connection for charging and a 3.5mm audio jack for audio output to a stereo. The dock connects to the Nexus 7 tablet using the pogo-pin connector found on the side of the tablet.

If you’d like to purchase a Nexus 7 Charging Dock for your Nexus 7, expect to pay $29.99 for the accessory via the Google Play Store in the United States. If you order your dock now, expect to wait 1-2 weeks for your accessory to arrive. If you live in the UK or another EU country, the dock will cost you 24.99 Pounds or 29,99 Euros respectively.

Update: The dock now appears to be sold out on the Google Play store in the United States.

Source: TalkAndroid