Groupon is no stranger to having some pretty sweet deals every now and then, but who would’ve guessed it would offer what some of us thought was hands-down the best phone for 2012? That’s right gang— Groupon is offering an unlocked variant of the HTC One X smartphone last year for a reasonable $349.99. Unlike the traditional unlocked version that features a Tegra 3 chip plus HSPA+ radio, it appears that this unlocked model (HTC-PJ83100) will “only” sport a dual-core Snapdragon clocked at 1.5GHz and Ice Cream Sandwich (ugh!). Fortunately, this model will have the same 4.7-inch 720p display, the sweet 8MP camera and oh yes— a built-in 4G LTE radio… though it’s probably likely it will only be made for AT&T bands should you choose to take advantage of the capability. Otherwise, the HSPA+ bands should be compatible for both AT&T and T-Mobile.
Naturally there are other $349.99 options out there like the Nexus 4, but keep this in mind: the Nexus 4 doesn’t feature LTE and an unlocked One X model is more than developer-friendly, meaning that there’s plenty of potential for you tinkerers out there. Nonetheless, interested parties will want to act soon— as of now, there’s only 8 days left for the awesome deal.
In other not-so-surprising news, Android is the dominant platform in most major markets worldwide. According to Kantar Worldpanel, Android-based devices are away and by far the dominant devices in Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France and Germany— countries which account for over 70% of the European market. Oh and don’t think Android’s dominance is limited to just Europe either— Kantar Worldpanel indicates that over 70% of all Chinese smartphones run Android, also placing Android head and shoulders above iOS and Windows Phone devices. The perceived culprits for the explosive growth? In Europe, it’s Samsung as it is responsible for almost half of all smartphones sold in the top-5 countries; in China, it’s probable that the likes of ZTE and Huawei help to spark the growth of the Android platform.
While Android has a healthy lead outside the States, it is still worth noting that the other platforms are still alive and kicking as well. Kantar highlights iOS-based devices currently hold a 41.9% market share in the U.S., an increase of 3.5% over the same period last quarter. Conversely, Android saw its existing market share lead grow only marginally, from 51.9% to 52.0% over the same period last year. Oh and despite Windows Phone’s lack of popularity out here in the States, it too is experiencing significant growth in Europe as it saw its market share grow an average of 2.5 percent points in the measured top-5 European countries.
Skype announced today that they have passed through the 100M install mark on Android devices and at the same time, announced the release of Skype for Android 4.0. The new version of Skype was rebuilt from the ground up to improve stability, performance and load times to go with the new features and interface for Android devices.
According to Skype, much of the inspiration for the redesign came from the work the team did on the Windows Phone version of the app. Skype wanted to bring the same conversation-centric focus to Android users. Along with the improvements to the interface, Skype says the app increasingly has a common look and feel across platforms which will be welcome news to users who access Skype on more than just their Android device.
The new version of the app opens to a list of recent conversations. From there, users can quickly send free text messages within the app or launch instant messaging, audio calls, or video chats. Skype indicates they will be rolling out more changes and improvements in the coming months.
If you want to grab a copy of Skype or need to upgrade, hit one of the download links below the video showing some of the new features and interface elements.
XDA Senior Member bitstra has developed “Bubble Launcher,” a home-screen launcher that’s pretty refreshing and unique in terms of navigation and design. Though it’s very similar to a sidebar application, as it docks itself to the side of your screen, it still has much of the functionality of any other launcher.
The launcher is navigated through the action of swiping— swiping down lets you view all of your apps in a list format, and swiping outwards or towards the middle of the screen will allow you to use a bubble-like knob, which can be spun so that you can find the app of your choice. Swiping upwards shows the settings, which give you the option to set the launcher’s activation spot, toggle animations, and change the size of app icons.
This is certainly a really nice concept, especially the bubble-knob— it may not be for everyone because of the “bubbly” interface, but it’s definitely worth checking out. The app available for devices on Android 2.3 or newer. You can find the Google Play links after the break, as well as the APK file.
Another LG device was spotted in AnTuTu Benchmarks, and the speculation is that it could be the Nexus 5. It has a model number of LG-F320 and scored 32,000 points with its 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU. I know a lot of people are hoping for a Nexus 5, but this is probably a G2 variant for Korea.
Remember, LG confirmed they aren’t working on a Nexus 5. Of course, shortly after, it was reported that they produced a prototype, but there are a lot of prototypes that never hit the market. I am still on record as saying there won’t be a Nexus phone this year, and instead, it’s going to be just Google Edition and Motorola phones from here on.
We’ve been seeing an awful lot of Galaxy Note 3 news lately, so it’s only fitting that we hear more about the upcoming device’s imminent release date. If you recall, we previously indicated to you that the phablet would be released at IFA 2013, which is sometime in September. Well according to the gang at Android Geeks, we won’t see the Galaxy Note 3 at IFA 2013. Instead, the Galaxy Note 3 will be unveiled on September 4th at a Samsung Unpacked event, slightly ahead of IFA 2013. Considering Apple will also unveil its iPhone 5S around that time, Samsung will roll the dice and hope its upcoming device will be the phone to beat for the Fall and holiday seasons.
So yes friends, it’s looking like the mouthwatering Android 4.3 Android 4.2.2 phablet will be seen in only 2 months’ time. You folks getting warm and fuzzy yet?
Ever had a question about a device on Google Play and couldn’t seem to find answers? Then you’ll be happy to know that they’re adding a live chat feature for questions on device purchasing. Before this, the only options to get help were to call support or email them— this new option will most definitely make the process more efficient by eliminating waiting time and allowing you to take care of business without leaving the computer screen.
The chat feature is surprisingly very similar to the layout of Hangouts, which is definitely refreshing and a change in the way of doing things. When your chat is over, the entire conversation will be found in your Gmail inbox— if you don’t want the whole thing recorded in your chat history, however, there is an option to go “off the record.”
Recently, some images surfaced for Sony’s latest and greatest, the “Honami’, but we now have more information about the device thanks to a system dump from the Canadian version with a model number of C6906. It looks like they will reveal a brand new UI that will feature a new launcher and app tray. There will also be new apps for the clock, album, conversations, phonebook, settings, calendar, and Walkman. That’s not all as it appears they have some sort of augmented reality app and a new app called Info-eye. Info-eye is a visual search app based on kooaba, which is a leading image recognition platform. It will give you more information about places and landmarks around you. This app was revealed in the latest press render that we showed you over the weekend.
The system dump also revealed some of the specs, which isn’t anything different from what we have heard. It will sport a Snapdragon 800 CPU and sport a 20MP camera. Something we haven’t heard is the ability to record 4K (4000 x 2000) video with an aspect ration of 2:1. They will also be adding Timeshift burst, which is some sort of burst shooting that lets you shift back and forth in time.
The ‘Honami” sounds like a serious contender, but is it going to be just another Sony device that doesn’t make its way to the U.S.? Hit the beak for some images, but you will find a lot more at the source link.
At this point we’ve gotten pretty used to Verizon slapping their logo all over the phones that they carry, seemingly not even caring about aesthetics, found in the most awkward places on some devices.
This time, things might be a little different. Evleaks has tweeted out a picture of Verizon’s variant of the HTC One, and guess what— no Verizon logo to be found on the front of the device! (We are sure that this is Verizon’s variant because of the “4G LTE” icon in the status bar.)
Although it wouldn’t be a surprise if Verizon’s logo were to be found on the back of the device, this certainly marks a change in the carrier’s way of doing things. Launch date and pricing are pretty much anyone’s guess as Verizon hasn’t released any further information about the device.
Since the Android 4.3 leak a few days ago, every nook and cranny of the software has been under some serious scrutiny for changes and improvements. One new, noticeable improvement in the latest version of Android is the font. It’s still Roboto, but it’s seen some very minor tweaks and subtle changes, as you can see in the picture above. The red lines indicate new Roboto fonts, and the black shows old Roboto fonts. It’s clearly not a major difference, but it’s been refined and cleaned up a bit.
The curves of many letters, especially in lowercase letters, have been refined and trimmed up, and punctuation has seen some big improvements, especially the comma. Overall, I think it’s definitely a nice improvement, and it’s good to see Google paying attention to details with Android. If you want a great, very detailed full teardown of the new font, hit the Android Police source below. If you want a more hands on approach, you can grab the fonts from the download links.
We had another busy week at TalkAndroid so here’s a recap of all the top stories. Sony made a splash this week with the announcement of the Xperia Z Ultra and a much improved SmartWatch 2. Gamers rejoiced and cried at the same time. The OUYA hit retail stores, but the NVIDIA SHIELD was delayed. All reports indicate the DROID brand isn’t dead just yet as we might see another edition of the DROID RAZR line by year’s end. The HTC First is officially dead and can someone please tell me what the screen size of the Galaxy Note III will really be? It’s time to get caught up and get ready for another exciting week.
Once Samsung announced their Galaxy S 4 Zoom earlier this month, questions immediately arose of when and for how much it would be available. It looks like a UK release could be coming very soon. UK retailer Clove has begun to take pre-orders for the S4 Zoom, with shipments going out beginning July 8. The price for the camera-based phone is currently £369, which is about $561.40 in the US. We don’t yet have a US release date yet, but hopefully it will be soon.
As a reminder, the S4 Zoom has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) Super AMOLED display, with a pixel density of 256 PPI, a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWi, 8GB of internal storage with a microSD slot for expandability (up to 64GB), and a 2330 mAh battery. Camera features include a 16-megapixel camera with 10x Optical Zoom and an Xenon Flash on the back, and a 1.9-megapixel camera on the front of the device.
Later this week Sony is expected to unveil its newest flagship device, codenamed Honami, at a press event in Paris on July 4th, so it seems in order that some new images would leak. The latest find supposedly came from a system dump of the system, so they are being described as “official” renders of the device.
Android phone users who enjoy automating smartphone functions using features like NFC with tags or IFTTT or Tasker for Android for applications have a new option thanks to XDA Developer member Akshay (Aky), who released Cover Algorithm to the Google Play Store. Cover Algorithm uses a smartphone’s sensors as the input to trigger the lock and unlock functions of a device. According to Akshay (Aky) the app can use any of a device’s sensors – light, proximity, accelerometer, magnetic field – to trigger an action. For the trial version that was released, only three actions are available, lock, unlock, and lock/unlock.
When most people buy a new smartphone, part of the equation that helps make it affordable to put a small computer in their pocket is the subsidy provided by the carrier. A new analysis of device subsidies by ABI Research shows that Samsung was the highest in terms of percentage when compared to HTC and Apple. Clocking in at 84%, Samsung topped HTC’s implied rate of 80% and Apple’s 74%. This may be surprising to some who have heard carriers are not especially enamored with Apple’s devices due to the squeeze Apple puts on their profits. While Samsung and HTC are worse for carriers from a percentage standpoint, Apple still leads the way with a higher $110 average subsidy cost in actual value.