Viewsonic Unveils the ViewPad 7X and the ViewPad 10Pro at Computex 2011

Today, at Computex 2011, Viewsonic unveiled the ViewPad 7X, an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet. It will have the distinction of being the first 7 inch Honeycomb tablet.

It comes with a 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and is powered by a dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, presumably clocked at 1 GHz. It also offers HSPA+ connectivity and a set of cameras. It weighs only 380 gms, exactly the same as the Galaxy Tab.

Viewsonic  ViewPad 7X

Besides the ViewPad 7X, it also showcased the ViewPad 10Pro, which is one of the 10 Intel tablets we mentioned in an earlier post.

It has a 10.1 inch display and comes with a 1.5 GHz Intel Oak Trail processor. It comes with Windows 7 Pro and Android 2.2 with fast switching, which allows you to switch between the 2 OSes without rebooting. It has 32 GB internal storage and a 3500 mAh battery.

Viewsonic ViewPad 10 Pro

Launch dates and pricing details should be revealed soon.

via Engadget

Samsung to Launch the Galaxy S 3 in 2012

The Samsung Galaxy S 2, the best Android smartphone of the year, has been selling like hot cakes. It just broke records by selling over 1 million units in South Korea in the first month.

It will launch soon in many other countries, including India, and is expected to be the best selling smartphone of the year, at least until the iPhone 5 launches. Carrier specific versions of the Galaxy S 2 will be launched in the US this summer.

Today, J. K. Shin, President, Samsung Mobile, stated in an interview with WSJ, that Samsung was planning to launch a 4G version of the Galaxy Tab, after the launch of the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1.

He also said that Samsung will be launching the successor to the Galaxy S 2, the Galaxy S 3 in the first half of 2012. I suppose they will preview it either at CES or MWC 2012.

“Understanding that the market is changing very quickly and being able to embrace market trends quickly is one of Samsung’s biggest challenges in the mobile communications business. We believe that as time progresses, the tablet market will stabilize. There are a lot of players jumping into the market but it’s important to offer a device that customers can relate to and feel it’s a necessity in their daily lives” Mr. Shin said.

He also commented on Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung. “We didn’t copy Apple’s design” he stated.

Samsung has a very good chance at dominating the Android tablet space, though it’s still way behind the Apple iPad in terms of sales.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 vs HTC Sensation: Battle of the Droids

In my post about the Best Android Phones of 2011, the first two phones were the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the HTC Sensation. While the Samsung Galaxy S 2 has been reviewed by many, the HTC Sensation is still relatively new. In the last few days though, some reviews of the HTC Sensation have been cropping up as well. The Galaxy S 2 has received awesome reviews so far, but the HTC Sensation also doesn’t seem to be far behind. It has also been recognized as an excellent device.

In this post, I will compare the HTC Sensation with the Samsung Galaxy S 2. Both the phones have similar hardware specifications and run Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. Both of them have 8 MP cameras and come with a 4.3 inch display.

Samsung Galaxy S 2 vs HTC Sensation

Samsung Galaxy S 2 vs HTC Sensation: Comparison

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is the slimmest Android smartphone yet – with dimensions of 125.3 mm x 66.1 mm x 8.5 mm. The HTC Sensation is a bit thicker with dimensions of 126.1 mm x 65.4 mm x 11.3 mm. The Galaxy S 2 (116 gms) is also much lighter than the Sensation (148 gms).

Both the phones have a great design and excellent build quality.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 comes with a 4.3 inch SuperAMOLED Plus display which is probably the best mobile display ever, in terms of display quality, brightness, contrast etc. It has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels.

The HTC Sensation has a 4.3 inch S-LCD display with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. It’s an excellent display, but relatively not as good as the SuperAMOLED Plus display of the Galaxy S 2. It does have a higher display resolution though, so it’s a tradeoff between resolution and the display quality.

User Interface

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the TouchWiz 4.0 interface, while the HTC Sensation comes with the same OS and the Sense 3.0 UI. While I personally prefer TouchWiz, I know many people who love the Sense UI, so this is very subjective.

Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 comes with a 1.2 GHz dual core Exynos processor and the very powerful Mali 400MP GPU. It has 1 GB RAM and comes with 16 GB internal storage.

The HTC Sensation comes with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor as well – the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8260 – and the Adreno 220 GPU. It has 768 MB RAM and comes with 1 GB internal storage.

While both phones are almost equal in terms of processing and graphics, the Galaxy S 2 has more RAM and more internal storage. Most reviews also point that the Galaxy S 2 is marginally better in performance, and more responsive.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S 2 has an 8 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, and a secondary 2 MP camera too. It offers brilliant image capture quality, and can also record 1080p videos at 30 FPS.

The HTC Sensation comes with an 8 MP camera too and it captures excellent images as well. It also has autofocus, dual LED flash with stereo sound recording, and can record 1080p videos at 30 FPS too.

You will have to wait for some time for a comprehensive camera comparison, but they are most likely equals in this case.

Connectivity

While both the devices offer all the basic connectivity options – EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and GPS with A-GPS, the Samsung Galaxy S 2 has one feature that the HTC Sensation doesn’t – NFC. With so many NFC based apps and services coming along, HTC shouldn’t have missed that one.

The Verdict

Both the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the HTC Sensation are excellent smartphones. They are undoubtedly the best Android smartphones money can buy. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 will be launched in a couple of days (it has already been launched in some countries), while the HTC Sensation still has a couple of weeks to go.

I personally prefer the Samsung Galaxy S 2 – it is the best smartphone of all time – but even the HTC Sensation is a great device. Both the phones have received superb reviews, so it really boils down to two things:

1. Whether you can wait for the HTC Sensation, resisting the urge to buy the Galaxy S 2 when it launches.

2. Whether you prefer TouchWiz or Sense.

I’m going with the Samsung Galaxy S 2, BTW.

Asus PadFone Images Leaked

When the rumors of the new Asus PadFone first started circulating, the first thought that came to my mind was how weird the name was – PadFone? Seriously?

But now it all makes sense. Today, Pocketnow leaked some images of the rumored Asus PadFone which will probably be launched at Computex 2011.

It is a very interesting concept – an Android smartphone which can be docked in a tablet. The phone seems to have a standard touchscreen design and can be docked within a tablet. The tablet will be powered by the phone and will also have an opening to use the phone’s camera.

It should be powered by a 1 GHz dual core Tegra 2 processor and have 1 GB RAM, like the Asus EEEPad transformer. It will likely run Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the tablet, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the phone. This device would be the perfect launchpad for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but the possibility is quite remote.

Again, it’s a very interesting form factor, and if priced well, it should sell like hot cakes. Asus has made a great comeback with the Asus EEEPad Transformer, and even the Asus PadFone seems to be a great device. We should see more details as Computex 2011 starts. Stay tuned.

Asus PadFone

Asus PadFone

Asus PadFone

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Gets A Firmware Update

Along with the Xperia Arc and Play, Sony Ericsson has started rolling out a new firmware update for the older generation Xperia branded handsets the X10. Apparently, the update is also being rolled out to the Xperia X10 Mini, Mini Pro and the X8.

The new firmware update does not bring any major changes, and nor is it the anticipated Android 2.3 update for the X10. The update is basically aimed at improving the general system performance and stability.

clip_image001

X10 users over at XDA who have updated their phone to the latest firmware (2.1.B.0.1) report performance improvements, smoother operation, and improvements in camera image quality as well. The Timescape app is also much smoother now. The firmware update also includes a new baseband, so users should expect an increase in network reception along with higher data transfer speeds.

The new firmware is also root able, so users don’t need to worry about losing root access to the system partitions. At the moment, the firmware update is being rolled out only in Germany. Expect this firmware update to roll out in more regions of the world beginning from tomorrow.

(Source)

Samsung Asks Apple to Turn Over the iPhone 5 and iPad 3

We already know about Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung about the Galaxy Android devices, as well as Samsung’s counter lawsuit in retaliation, but here’s the most interesting part.

As part of Apple’s lawsuit, Samsung was ordered to hand over pre-production samples of the Samsung Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 2, Droid Charge, Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 over to Apple, so that Apple could decide if those products were also a part of the lawsuit and seek an injunction against their release.

On Friday, Samsung filed a motion asking Apple to turn over final samples of the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2, along with the retail packaging. It claims that it needs to examine those devices in order to check for any similarities with the Galaxy S 2 or the Galaxy Tab 10.1, so that it can prepare for any potential legal action by Apple.

The problem is, while most of the Samsung products have either launched or have been revealed, Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad 3 are strictly under wraps. It’s highly improbable that Apple will agree to the request, but it’s a very bold move by Samsung. This lawsuit is definitely getting interesting.

Samsung vs Apple Lawsuit

via ThisIsMyNext

Google Nexus 3 Prototype Pictures Leak

The folks over at TechHog have managed to get their hands on the pictures of the upcoming Nexus branded device from Google.

At Google I/O this year, it was confirmed that Google is already working on the next Nexus handset with Ice Cream Sandwich, which should be released sometime during the holiday season this year.

Nexus_3

The leaked picture shows a touch-screen slab handset, with no capacitive buttons. It is very well possible, that the capacitive buttons are hidden, and glow only when the phone is switched on. TechHog says that the manufacturer of this handset is HTC, and it is only a prototype. This means that it is very well possible that the next Nexus handset may not look anything as shown in this leaked picture.

The site also claims that Google is testing a GSM version as well as a CDMA Sprint version of the handset. This means that unlike the Nexus S, Sprint would get the next Nexus branded handset right when it is launched. This definitely makes sense since Google new found love to Sprint with Google Voice integration, and Google Wallet service.

It is still too early to say that the next version of Nexus handset will be manufactured by HTC. Nevertheless, expect more leaks of the next Nexus handset as time passes by.

Lodsys Attacks Android Developers over In-App Purchasing

Lodsys first came in the limelight a few weeks back when it started sending patent infringement notices to iPhone and iPad app developers who used in-app purchasing in their apps. Though it didn’t respond initially, Apple did publicly back its developers and stated that it had licensed that patent, which covered its developers as well.

Whether or not the license is valid only for Apple or for its developers as well is still unclear, but today, Lodsys has made a move against some Android developers as well, over the same in-app purchasing patent.

An Android developer posted this in the Android Discuss Google group:

If you’ve been following tech news lately, you may have read about a company named Lodsys that is threatening to sue iOS app developers (many of them small shops) for infringing on patents relating to in-app purchases. We recently implemented in-app purchases for our Android application and several weeks later we received a letter from Lodsys, claiming that we infringed on their patents.

Have any other Android developers out there been sent a letter? Has Google taken any action on this issue yet? Has Google given direction to any developers that have been hit by this? We are obviously a small shop and are not financially capable of defending ourselves over a litigation.

We would appreciate any helpful responses (especially from the Android team).

It’s very likely that Google will respond to this claim by Lodsys and fight it on behalf of its developers, much like Apple. Stay tuned for more updates.

Microsoft gets $5 for Every Android Phone by HTC

When I ask you this question: ‘When HTC sells an Android smartphone, who profits?’, the most common logical answer would be HTC, and probably Google, which also benefits indirectly when phone buyers use the Android OS.

Surprisingly, one more company makes a neat profit for every Android phone that is sold by HTC. It’s Microsoft. Thanks to a patent infringement lawsuit settlement with HTC, Microsoft gets $5 for every HTC phone which runs Android.

According to Walter Pritchard, the Citi analyst who revealed this information in his report, Microsoft is also planning to go after other Android device partners, looking for up to $12.50 per device.

While its own mobile division is bleeding money, Microsoft is actually planning to make money from the sales of its biggest competitor – Android.

If every Android manufacturer has to pay a fee for using the Android OS, the OS is not actually ‘free’. This may push manufacturers to skip Android (which is unlikely, but not impossible), and go with Windows Phone 7, to avoid litigation fees and stop paying patent fees to Microsoft.

Steve Ballmer
This is what I would do too, if I was him

Via Image Source

HTC Will NOT Be Locking Bootloaders On Their Devices From Now

HTC’s smartphone sales and profits have risen up sharply, with the growth of Android. Last year, HTC Android phones were among the most popular ones among the consumers as well as developers. Developers used to buy a HTC based Android phones, since it was easy to get root access and flash custom ROMs on their phones.

However, since the beginning of this year HTC changed their agenda and started shipping Android phones with encrypted boot loader. This meant that rooting and flashing custom ROMs on HTC phones became nearly impossible. The company received a lot criticism on their move of encrypting the boot loaders on their handset.

Many people who had previously thought of buying the HTC Sensation went ahead and got the Samsung Galaxy S II, just because the SGS II does not have a locked down boot loader.

image

A few days ago HTC said that they are reviewing their policy on locked down boot loaders. Today, HTC’s CEO Peter Chou announced that HTC has listened to its customer feedback, and they will no longer be locking down boot loaders on their devices.

This definitely is music to my ears, and as well as every developer out there. This move from HTC clearly proves that ignoring the developer community can lead to negative PR and lot of criticism (Psst Motorola).

However, HTC has not mentioned anything whether their current devices with locked boot loaders like the Sensation, Incredible S will be unlocked or not.

First Sony Ericsson, then Samsung and LG and now HTC all have realized that they are adversely going to affect the sales of their handsets by locking down its boot loader. Now, only if Motorola could realize this!