If you happen to live in Europe, today may be a great day for you if you’re an owner of a Playstation-certified device. Eurogamer has discovered that while Sony has not yet made a formal announcement, its web-based store is officially live. When account holders log in, they will be treated to a full allotment of premium games such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2013 or Tokyo Jungle available and ready for immediate download. All users will need to do is purchase a selected title and the title will be available in a download queue— which can be used on any certified device. Naturally there are some bugs and kinks to work out, but if you’re willing to overlook the minor quirks, give the new service a try. After all— Crash Bandicoot isn’t going to play itself if you’re sitting idle and all.
In some not-so-surprising news, Huawei has finally come out and confirmed it is indeed working on a Samsung Galaxy Note II competitor. While speaking on the Chinese social networking page Weibo (China’s equivalent to Twitter), Huawei Senior VP Yu Chengdong took some time to tout up his company’s next beast of a smartphone. The device (which is speculated to be the Ascend Mate) will have a 6.1-inch full HD 1080p display and feature an in-house 1.8GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM– all the while having a “cooler” design than the current Galaxy Note II.
Unfortunately, the Huawei executive decided to leave the Android world collectively guessing and speculating what else could be found in the unique device, but at least we won’t have to wait long. The device is expected to be formally revealed at CES 2013 in January— which is only a month away.
Try to contain your excitement in the meantime folks.
So you own a Galaxy S III, but haven’t gotten that coveted Jelly Bean update yet— but are itching to get an idea of what to look forward to in the imminent update? Well great you’re in luck as Samsung recently posted a video highlighting its Premium Suite upgrade found in a special update. Similar to what is seen on other Samsung devices, Galaxy S III owners who are likely to be due for the update can look forward to items such as Contextual Awareness actions like Page Buddy which allows your Galaxy S III to predict your intentions based off your actions (think of when you plug in your earphones, the device automatically opens the music player) or Enhanced Features like the coveted Multi-Window multitasking feature.
While it is cool to get an idea of what users could potentially look forward to– unfortunately Samsung highlights the Premium Suite “availability and timing will vary depending on the country and mobile carrier”, so it’s uncertain of if most Galaxy S III owners will see the update. However, we’re holding out hope that most (if not all) Galaxy S III users will get to utilize all the cool features. Hit the break to get an idea of what the Premium Suite entails exactly.
T-Mobile has always been a strong proponent for Android. It teamed up with Google to launch the very first Android phone (the HTC G1) back in 2008 and is currently the only carrier to offer the new Nexus 4 on contract. In its smartphone line-up you could always find a plethora of strong Android based contenders, with one infamous smartphone (the one that shall not be named) interestingly absent. Well, all that is set to change in 2013. In an interview today, T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere informed the press that they will begin selling Apple products in 2013, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and the rest of the gang. What’s more interesting is that T-Mobile will be selling these (and all other) devices completely unsubsidized from now on. This is a dramatic move for a carrier, and the first of its kind for one of the big four. Typically carriers sell phones at significantly reduced costs to buyers and make up the money by charging more for monthly service fees over the two-year contract. T-Mobile is bucking the system and plans to sell phones at the full retail price (phones can be as pricey as $800!) while offering a lower monthly service fee. The strange thing about this plan is that you’ll still need to sign the dotted line and commit to a two-year contract. Personally, if I were planning on buying an unsubsidized phone, I’d go with a no-contract plan like Straight Talk’s $45 unlimited plan (month to month).
Are any of you willing to sign a two year contract if your monthly rates are lower? Or would you just go with Straight Talk and other no-contract service providers?
While this story isn’t totally Android related, we’re always scoping the competition. The world is a funny place, especially when marketing is involved. Take Euro-Disney for example: Who would’ve ever thought Disney would fail anywhere in the world? Similarly, Apple is nearly having the same fate in China. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration. Regardless, things could be better for Apple in China. Research firm IDC has reported that Apple Inc has fallen to sixth place in China’s smartphone market. Turns out that the Chinese are a loyal group and like sticking to their own brands. Not surprisingly, Samsung nailed down the top spot.
Since HTC and Apple reached an agreement to cross-license patents and end their litigation, many have wondered just what kind of deal was made. One party that was particularly interested is Samsung, who argues the agreement shows injunctions are not needed as a value for patent infringements can be determined. Samsung went so far as to request one of the courts hearing one of the many Samsung v. Apple disputes to force Apple and HTC to reveal the details of the agreement. As a result of that request, which the court approved, a heavily redacted version of the agreement has surfaced in the public court filings. Read more
Google’s Nexus 4 has certainly proven itself to be golden for Google and Android fans. The mania is not confined to the device itself. Those lucky enough to have one of the devices despite the severe shortage may be looking for some lightweight protection for the smartphone. Google is ready with a solution in the form of some black bumpers to wrap the Nexus 4. The bumpers have been available on the Google Play Store and were shipping to lucky buyers, but are now sold out. If you are interested in grabbing one, you will now have to play the refresh and wait game using the Google Play Store link below.
Google Play Link
It’s surprising that more Android manufacturers and carriers haven’t jumped on the Google Wallet bandwagon, considering the rate at which the service continues to gain traction in the mobile payment space. While carriers like AT&T may rather opt for an in-house alternative, many anxious subscribers would rather utilize Google’s service. Thankfully, the Galaxy Note II has received an unofficial workaround for installing the mobile wallet software, thanks to recognized XDA developer ogdobber. Read more
While NFC may not be catching on as quickly as the mobile industry had hoped, Qualcomm isn’t letting that slow their role. The San Diego-based semiconductor manufacturer announced the redesigned QCA1990 NFC chip today in partnership with subsidiary Atheros.
Offering significantly improved battery life and a 50% size reduction, Qualcomm is touting its chip as the most efficient NFC processor yet. Moreover, the chip is compatible with the company’s latest Snapdragon SoCs, meaning we could see it integrated into handsets as early as Q3 2013. For the full run-down, you can read the company’s official PR after the break.
Finally, some official news has come out of the Google/LG camp regarding the stock status of the hot Nexus 4, albeit not groundbreaking news. Per LG, the massive shortage of the hottest device this year is due to – huge demand. Wow LG, you don’t say. I assume, however, that how you categorize that ‘demand’ is another story.
As we know, the original batch sold out in under 30 minutes, most likely due to legit demand. However, as soon as the public got wind of this hot device this close to the shopping season, it in turn opened up the market of the re-sellers exacerbating the shortage. Andy Coughlin, the head of mobile at LG UK, added, “We are working closely with Google to ensure that those who wish to purchase a handset are able to do so.”
So far, from what we know and can deduce, all signs point toward Google missing on their forecast when originally placing their orders directly through LG’s headquarters in Seoul. Hey, it happens. It’s not like Google had any past history to gauge demand using this model and price-point. It’s easy for us to play “Monday Morning quarterback,” but in the business world you’re most likely not going to hit forecasts directly on the head, especially in this case. You’re either going to come in higher than planned or lower. And, frankly, the situation they’re in now is much better than the alternative. The last thing you want is to be stuck with inventory in this economy. Google will learn from this, and should be prepared next go around. So, everyone take a deep breath. It’s going to be alright.