Sony Xperia UL Announced In Japan

Sony has announced yet another Android smartphone, the Xperia UL. The design of this handset is somewhat similar to the company’s flagship Xperia Z smartphone. This device will be exclusively available for the KDDI and NTT Docomo subscribers in Japan. As expected, Sony will ship the Xperia UL smartphone with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Sony Xperia UL is also a water and dust resistant smartphone.


Sony Xperia UL features a 5 inch full HD TFT Reality display, sporting a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 13 megapixel Fast Capture camera with Exmor RS for mobile, HDR video, Superior Auto and Noise Reduction, Full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 3.1 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and much more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality and a 2300 mAh battery.

Sony Xperia UL will be available in black, white and pink colors. The price and release date of this handset will be announced in the coming days. Stay tuned!

Another Massive Earthquake Hits Japan; Tsunami Warning Sounded

Japan got hit by yet another earthquake early today morning at about 8:31 UTC. The magnitude of the quake is 7.4 on the Richter scale and a tsunami warning has been issued.

The USGS reported the magnitude of the quake as 7.4 on the Richter Scale band also reported an aftershock measuring a massive 6.2 following the quake. The depth of the epicenter is 33 km and the epicenter lies 333 km from Sendai.

Location of the epicenter (Courtesy: USGS)

Even Tokyo felt the tremors, but there has been no reports of any damage of death. The 1-m high tsunami warning is still on for the Miyagi prefecture, which was badly damaged in the 2011 tsunami. The devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered no further damages. The quake wasn’t strong enough to create a pacific wide tsunami.

Japan lies near the fault of four massive plates – the Pacific plate, the North American plate, the Eurasian plate and the Phillipine Sea plate. This makes it particularly susceptible to the strike-slip earthquakes, in which the plates just slip against one another. Massive tectonic forces operating at these faults can cause huge earthquakes.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) has more:

HTC J Butterfly Announced In Japan; Comes With 5 Inch Display, S4 Pro, Android 4.1 OS

It was already rumored that the Taiwanese mobile phone maker is planning to launch a 5 inch phablet, similar to the Samsung’s Galaxy Note family of smartphones. Today, HTC finally went ahead and announced the new HTC J Butterfly smartphone in Japan. As expected, this device comes with a large 5 inch 1080p display along with 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM and a disappointing battery.

HTC J Butterfly will be exclusively available for the KKDI subscribers in Japan. You will have to wait for a couple of months to get your hands-on this device since HTC is planning to release the company’s first phone-tablet hybrid device at the end of this year. HTC is also expected to launch a similar smartphone in other major markets.

HTC J Butterfly features a 5 inch Super LCD 3 display, sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm S4 Pro processor, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) Operating System, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 3.5 mm headset jack, Google Play Store, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 4G LTE connectivity, NFC (Near Field Communication), HDMI-out, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA and 2020 mAh battery. This handset measures 143 x 71 x 9.1 mm and weighs 140g.

HTC J Butterfly is also a dust-proof and waterproof smartphone. This handset will be available in red, black and white colors. The price of this device will be announced in the coming weeks,

iPhone 5 to Make Inroads in Japan

Macotakara, a Japanese tech blog reports that the iPhone 5 will make debut in Japan. It is the same blog that predicted the launch of the 5th generation of the iPhone last year. A year ago, the same blog reported that the iPhone 4S and the iPad would launch in October 2011. Effectively and partially, the report had substance in its rumors. It was in mid-October last year that Apple Inc. launched the iPhone 4S. However, the iPad 3 launched a couple of months later, in March 2012. It was stated in an earlier post that the iPhone 5 is likely to have a bigger screen. Macotakara confirms these speculations, however differently. It reports that the back panel of the iPhone 5 could be toned with glass and aluminum.

Rumors Persist About the iPhone 5 illustrates in a video what the new iPhone 5 could hold. Take a look at it here.

Now, once you have peeked into the video and witnessed some speculative features of the next generation of iPhone, would you think it would pose a severe challenge for the kindle? And how will it affect the market share of Samsung’s Galaxy SIII?

More news will follow.

Sony Unveils The Xperia GX and NX For Japan

Sony has just unveiled two new Android powered handsets for its home market (Japan) – the Xperia GX and Xperia SX. The Xperia GX is the bigger and better of the two, and sports a 4.6-inch HD display with 720p HD resolution and Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine. It will also sport a whopping 13MP camera at its back aided by an LED flash. The handset has a pretty slim profile, and looks similar to the Xperia Arc/Arc S.

The Xperia SX will sport a much smaller 3.7-inch Braiva Reality Display with qHD (960×640) resolution. Sony also claims that the NX is the lightest LTE handset around in the market. Internally, both the handsets are powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 processor, an Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory. At the back of the handset is an 8MP Exmor R sensor aided by an LED flash.

The handsets run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Sony’s custom UI on top of it, and also use on-screen navigation buttons like the Galaxy Nexus. Some Japan specific features like Mobile Wallet, Infrared and Mobile TV will also be present, along with support for LTE networks. The handsets should hit the retail market of Japan sometime this summer.

The Xperia NX and GX are way better than the Xperia NXT line-up of handsets that are available from Sony all over the world. Sadly, these handsets will not be available outside Japan for some strange reason known only to Sony. It looks like Sony is intentionally killing itself by not releasing outstanding phones outside of Japan.

Via – Se-Nse

Dell Streak Pro 101DL Android Smartphone Announced

Dell recently announced a new smartphone – the Dell Streak Pro 101DL. This handset runs on the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. It is the company’s third Android device after the previously launched Dell Mini 3i and Dell Venue. This handset comes with pretty impressive specs. The Dell Streak Pro 101DL will be exclusively available for the customers of wireless carrier Softbank in Japan.

dell streak pro 101dl

Dell Streak Pro 101DL specs:

  • 4.3 inch super AMOLED display
  • 540 × 960 pixels resolution
  • 1.5 GHz MSM8260 dual-core processor
  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS
  • Gorilla Glass
  • Dell Stage 2.0 pre-installed
  • 8 megapixel rear camera
  • 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • 3G Connectivity
  • SyncUp compatible
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • Multimedia player
  • GPS
  • microSDHC card slot
  • 32 GB expandable memory
  • Up to 300 hours stand-by time
  • Up to 390 minutes talk-time

The Dell Streak Pro 101DL will be available for purchase in Japan from January 2012. The price of this handset has not been announced yet. You will also get 2GB of free SyncUP cloud storage to automatically synchronize media files in the cloud. This handset will be available only in Black color. Dell Streak Pro 101DL is expected to launch worldwide early next year.

Sharp Unveils The First Ice Cream Sandwich Phone – AQUOS 104SH

Sharp recently announced its latest smartphone – the Sharp AQUOS 104SH. It is officially the first device which runs on the latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating System. You heard it right! Most of us were expecting that the Google Nexus Prime will be the first device with Android ICS, but unfortunately, it will be the second device running on the latest Android OS.

Some notable specs of this device includes the 4.5 inch HD touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Sharp AQUOS 104SH is powered by the same 1.5 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 dual-core processor, which has been used in the upcoming Google Nexus Prime smartphone. On the back of the device, you will find a 12.1 megapixel camera with full HD (1080) video recording capabilities. On the front-side, you will find a 3 megapixel camera for video calls.

sharp android ics

Other features include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 2 GB MicroSDHC card bundled, Bluetooth 3.0, 3.5 mm headset jack, FM Radio, etc. The Sharp AQUOS 104SH is a dustproof and waterproof smartphone.

The Sharp AQUOS 104SH will be exclusively available for the customers of the wireless carrier Softbank in Japan. The price and complete specs of this device has not been announced yet. This handset will release next year sometime around February-March. The specs of this device might get refreshed before the actual launch. It is also expected to come with a custom UI, on top of the Ice Cream Sandwich, similar to the HTC Sense 3.5 UI.

Are you planning to buy this device? Or waiting for the official announcement of Google Nexus Prime? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

Typhoon Roke Hits Japan, Moving Towards Fukushima And Tokyo

Typhoon Roke has just hit Japan! The first few news reports and photos are just coming out.  Typhoon Roke made landfall at Hamamatsu, just south east of the industrial city of Aichi, and this is its current location. It is on course for Fukushima, the city housing the troubled Daichi nuclear power plant. Tokyo might be hit too. Roke is expected to reach Fukushima in another two days time. The wind speed is 100 mph.  

We had warned about the approach of this storm in a previous post here.

Landfall and destruction

Unlike Irene, which fizzled out as it made landfall, Roke did not die. It has caused heavy rains on the coastal region. High speed winds have caused enough destruction on their own. All operations at sea have been discontinued for the coming days.

Sea surge caused due to Typhoon Roke (Courtesy: The Telegraph, Associated Press)

Initial reports indicate that at least 4 people have died in this initial spell of rain. This number, no doubt, will rise as more is known of the storm’s devastation. Aichi has been largely evacuated. The overflowing of the river that flows over Aichi has caused widespread flooding in the city.

Photos from the first few hours:
The current position of the eye of Typhoon Roke, just south of the main island of Honshu. (Courtesy: The Weather Channel)

Fukushima and the Nuclear Worry

The biggest worry is Fukushima and the damaged nuclear power plant. Radioactive material will over flow into the sea and the surrounding areas due to the heavy downpour. Officials had begun preparations for the approach of the storm a few days back and are continuing to reinforce the defences of the nuclear power plant. Cables have been tied down and maximum effort is being put to ensure that no radioactive water leaks onto the habitable areas.

Dai’chi Plant Was Dumping Radioactive Waste Into Sea:
Measuring Radiation: How Much Radiation is Too Much? :

The Japanese Meteorological Department has advised the highest level of caution to be used due to heavy rains, strong winds and high waves. Very heavy rains are expected in the coming days with as much as 5 cm in one hour!

These are just initial reports. We’ll continue tracking the storm, as it makes its way towards Fukushima with no expected loss in intensity.

We wish our beloved Japan the very best. It has been through worse in history, and it could fight back every single time. We know that this will be no exception.

Link to a previous post:

Typhoon Roke To Hit Japan; Millions To Be Evacuated, Fukushima To Be Hit

Panic grips already-ravaged Japan as Typhoon Roke nears. The city of Aichi, one of the largest cities of Japan, has ordered an immediate evacuation of 1.1 million. The city of Nagoya was also issued notices to evacuate the city as soon as possible. Heavy rains have already started in the city. The eye of Typhoon Roke is at about 200 km (or 125 miles) southeast of southern Japan, on Tuesday, 20th September. It is moving northwards, on a collision course with the island nation. Fukushima is also on its path.

UPDATE: Typhoon Roke Strikes Japan:
The location of Roke. (Screenshot courtesy: The Weather Channel)

Typhoon Roke

Roke is moving northwards at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour and the wind speed is 200 kilometers per hour.

For Japan, which is still reeling from the devastating tsunami earlier this year, this is more bad news. A few days back, tropical storm Talas left about 100 people dead or missing. Roke is much bigger.

The worst fear is that of Fukushima. The typhoon is almost certain to hit Fukushima in another 48 hours. Restoration work is being carried out at the Dai-chi plant and, at the very least, this will delay and hinder that process. The more realistic fear is that the radioactive water will overflow into the surrounding areas and into the sea.

The storm will make landfall on September 23rd.

We will bring more updates on this tragedy and will be closely tracking the fate of Fukushima.

Japan’s Nuclear Problem Update: How Radiation From Fukushima Affects America’s West Coast

The reach of atmospheric winds is long. The latest demonstration of this comes from the ruined Japanese power plant Fukushima. Sea water around Fukushima, rich in neutrons from the nuclear matter, was causing a spike in the amount of atmospheric sulfur over the Californian coast. Sulfur is a toxic element in itself and forms oxides which are just as toxic. It is also a major contributor of acid rain.

Fukushima after the disaster

What happened?

This is what was happening at Fukushima. On 13th March, 2011, two days after the deadly tsunami wrecked Fukushima, engineers began pumping seawater into the power plant, so as to keep the nuclear core cool, since the cooling system was not functioning due to loss of power. Lightly radioactive seawater was drained out of the power plant. Neutrons streamed out of the water, knocking against chlorine atoms, converting them into a radioactive isotope of sulfur. The sulfur combined with oxygen in seawater, especially since the warm water provided enough thermal energy for the chemical reaction. A part of this sulfur dioxide bubbled through the water and entered the atmosphere as a gas and another part dissolved in the sea water. Further, when the water hit the hot core, it instantly vaporized, again releasing large amounts of hot elemental sulfur into the atmosphere. Both air currents and ocean currents carried the sulfur rich air or water to the western shores of America.

The observed data and extrapolation

The sulphur peak in the atmosphere was noticed on March 28, 2011, 15 days after the pumping started. According to a study conducted by chemists at the University of California, San Diego, – the first quantitative study of the disaster – about 400 billion neutrons were released per square meter of the cooling pools of liquid in the power plant. This rate stayed constant from 13th March to 20th March. The mechanism of producing radioactive sulphur is well understood from cosmic ray studies, but this is the first time such a process is being noticed near the surface. The study measured 1501 atoms of radioactive sulfur in sulfate particles per cubic meter of air, much much higher than normal levels.

For the levels of sulphur noticed at California to be correctly correlated with sulphur levels over Fukushima, the team calculated that the levels of sulfur ought to be 365 times that over California.

As always, even disasters provide opportunity for science to study different processes. Thiemens, the Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego, says

We’ve really used the injection of a radioactive element to an environment to be a tracer of a very important process in nature for which there are some big gaps in understanding.

Maybe in this case, it’s just too inhumane to say that every cloud has a silver lining.

News via UCSanDiego