In a bid to improve its marketing strategy, HTC has decided to retire its “Quietly Brilliant” tag line and instead shift to a “bolder” approach and tagline.
HTC’s latest Marketing Officer, Benjamin Ho, says that the company has “a lot of innovations but we haven’t been loud enough.” Benjamin Ho is HTC’s third Chief Marketing Officer inside two years, and has a lot of work laid out in front of him especially now that the Galaxy S4 and HTC One are going to hit the United States in around the same time.
Ho aims to increase HTC’s digital marketing budget by a whopping 250%, while increasing the traditional marketing budget by 100%.
Regarding the delay of the HTC One, he said that “there is some shortage, because the phone’s camera was designed specifically for us, and production cannot be ramped up so quickly.”
HTC has had a rough two years, and the company is betting all its hope on its latest flagship — the HTC One — to change its fortunes this year.
Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, has given his first impression on the Galaxy S4, and has also announced that he is no longer working for Samsung.
Like the Galaxy S3, Steve’s impression on the Galaxy S4 is mostly positive with near instant GPS lock, its hovering touch screen, the IR blaster, the blazing fast performance (40K score in Quadrant), and the decent cameras.
Regarding TouchWIZ, this is what Steve had to say -:
TouchWiz has become a bit more consistent with the latest upgrade. There are no more jarring mismatches in different parts of the OS, and it’s been lightened up a bit and has a clean “flat” feel. Unfortunately, it feels like it has been sent a few years back in time to the Froyo days. Say goodbye to all of the nice touch-friendly ViewPagers and say hello again to a fully tabbed UI. You’ll also enjoy the seemingly endless onslaught of popup windows and modal “Loading…” dialogs. UI performance is average. It’s better and worse at the same time, depending on your viewpoint I suppose.
On the features side, it’s absolutely loaded with stuff. Some of the new features are very useful like the “hover” preview where you can just point at an email message without touching the screen and it shows a preview of the message. The multi-window feature is present here, and is nice to have around when you need it. The camera app has seen some significant upgrades too, with live previews of the postprocessing effects and a new UI. My least favorite new feature is “Smart Scroll” which is supposed to scroll based on face detection + tilt, but it mostly serves to anger me into disabling it.
You can read Steve’s detailed impression on the Galaxy S4 over at his Google+ page.
Steve did not explicitly say as to why he has left Samsung or where he is current employed, except that he will reveal his new employer in a couple of months.
ASUS has started rolling out the Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for the first-generation Padfone, which the company had unveiled at last year’s Mobile World Congress.
The Jelly Bean update for the original Padfone will bring with it Project Butter, Google Now, enhanced voice recognition with offline voice-to-text support, and minor UI improvements. ASUS has also taken this opportunity to tweak the camera performance and application, and bundled in an improved File Manager and support for NTFS and FAT formatted microSD cards.
ASUS is not really known for rolling out software updates to its devices via OTA, and the hefty Android 4.1.1 JB update for the original Padfone needs to be downloaded from the Taiwanese marker’s website.
It was only last month that ASUS had unveiled the PadFone Infinity at MWC in Barcelona. While the Padfone coupled with its docking accessory, now known as the FonePad, is really a nice idea, ASUS has consistently failed to execute it properly with limited availability of the handset(s) and extremely high prices.
Today, HTC has released an official statement regarding the availability of the One in major markets and its delay. The company states that it “has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One” and will be making the handset available in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week. Other major markets including Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific will get the One “before the end of April.”
“HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers’ patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait.”
When HTC had unveiled the One back in Feb, it had hoped to make the handset available in most markets by March. However, things have not really gone as the Taiwanese maker had planned with delays due to shortage of supplies of the handset’s camera components.
By the time the HTC One will be available in nearly all the major markets, the Samsung Galaxy S4 would have also hit shelves in the major markets, which will definitely make things tough for the Taiwanese maker. While the HTC One may have a better in-hand feel and other nice features compared to the Galaxy S4, it lacks the marketing and brand presence that Samsung’s Galaxy S series enjoy nowadays.
Google has recently released some excellent commercials for its Nexus products and Google Now. Continuing this tradition, the company today released a new advert promoting its Nexus 10 tablet. The advertisement is so good, that it made me feel like buying the tablet at that very instant, even though I own an iPad.
The advertisement is about a couple who are expecting a baby, and how they use their Nexus 10 with its multi-user feature support to share their happiness with the world.
Google has done an excellent job with this commercial, and I cannot imagine Samsung coming up with such a brilliant commercial like this, even though they technically make the Nexus 10.
Apple has been known to come up with brilliant advertisements, and slowly and steadily, Google is also reaching that level with its Nexus series of commercials.
Google has finally updated the Gmail app for Android to add something that has been requested for such a long time from all Android 4.1 Jelly Bean users — the ability to reply, delete or archive an email right from the notification bar. Up until today, the Gmail app only showed you a preview of the email, but today’s update will add the functionality to Archive or Reply to it.
While the option may not seem a biggie to some people, it will definitely be appreciated by all those people who like to keep their inbox clutter free all the time, and archive or reply to an email as soon as it arrives. The update also contains some under-the-hood optimizations and bug-fixes. Google has also changed the font used in the Email headers to a different variant of Roboto, which makes text a bit clear and sharp. The update is already live in the Play Store and can be downloaded from here.
The folks over at SamMobile have received a list of devices that Samsung will be upgrading to Android 4.2.2, post which they will reach their EOL (End of Life). The Korean giant will be updating the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note, its flagship devices for 2011, to Android 4.2.2 sometime this year.
Samsung added a lot of new features to the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note when it rolled out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update for the devices. It was assumed that with this is going to be the last software update for these handsets, since they were pretty old anyway. However, Samsung thinks otherwise and will be bringing Android 4.2.2 to them, even though Android 4.2 does not really bring anything major to the table.
Other devices that Samsung will be bringing Android 4.2.2 to include the Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy S III Mini, Galaxy Beam, Galaxy Express , Galaxy Grand DUOS and the Galaxy Grand.
Samsung will also be updating the Galaxy S III and its various variants, along with the Note 2 and Galaxy Note 8/10.1 to Android 5.0, when Google launches it later this year at Google I/O. Keep in mind that this list is not final, and Samsung can change its decision anytime they want, so don’t get your hopes too high.
Along with the Xperia L, Sony also released an upper mid-range Xperia handset, the Xperia SP. The Xperia SP had leaked earlier as well, suggesting that its launch was imminent. The Xperia SP sports a 4.6-inch BRAVIA HD Reality Display with 720p resolution. It also features Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 that automatically boosts the contrasts, color reproduction level and saturation level while viewing photos and videos.
Internally, the Xperia SP is powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8960 (S4) processor that is clocked at 1.7GHz, and is coupled with an Adreno 225 GPU. Other specs include 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, and the other usual bunch of features. The handset is made of co-moulded aluminium frame, and will come with a beefy 2370mAh battery.
At the back of the Xperia SP is an 8MP Exmor RS camera with an LED flash. Like the Xperia L, the SP will also be running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, with Sony’s OEM skin on top of it. The device arrives in Q2 of this year in White, Red and Black.
Sony, today, released a new budget-oriented Xperia handset – the Xperia L. The Xperia L packs in a bunch for a budget handset, and sports a 4.3-inch FWVGA display.
Internally, the handset packs in a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 (MSM8230), 8GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot and a 1700mAh battery. The usual bunch of connectivity features like Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and sensors are also present.
Sony has laid key emphasis on the Xperia L’s imaging department by including an 8MP Exmor R sensor at its back aided by an LED flash. It also packs in HDR stills and video – a first for budget Android handsets. The company has also included its signature Power Key as seen on the Xperia Z.
On the software side, Sony has blessed the Xperia L with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and its own OEM skin – that is pretty light and includes its beautiful Media suite of applications. The Xperia L will hit the markets sometime in Q2 of this year at an unknown price in three colors — White, Black and Red.
Earlier today when Samsung announced the Galaxy S4, it did not mention anything about the inbuilt SwiftKey like keyboard. Rumors had suggested that Samsung has got the SwiftKey keyboard inbuilt on its latest Galaxy S flagship, but the lack of any word from Samsung on this matter left a doubt on everyone’s mind.
SwiftKey has now gone ahead and made the news official with a press release. This is the first time that SwiftKey will come integrated in a smartphone. In the words of SwiftKey’s CTO, “Samsung has chosen SwiftKey’s innovative keyboard technology to be at the heart of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. This is fantastic progress for our vision of bringing the best touchscreen typing experience to as many people as possible.”
However, the company does state that while Samsung does use SwiftKey’s prediction engine, the keyboard has been customized by Samsung and is not exactly the same version of the keyboard that is available on the Play Store.