News Update :







Nokia C2-00 Dual SIM Phone

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nokia is set to drop another dual SIM phone ‘C2-00′ into the market. Coming in a candybar form factor, the handset packs a 1.8-inch 128 x 160 display, a VGA camera, dual SIM card slots, a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), an FM radio, Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headset jack and runs on Series 40 operating system. The C2-00 will go on sale this quarter in India, China, South-East Asia/Pacific region, Middle East and Africa, Eurasia and Brazil for 45 Euro (about $63). [Nokia Conversations]

Verizon Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Retails For Only $99.99

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is currently available for pre-order via Amazon. The smartphone is priced at just $99.99 for those who are new to Verizon or $149.99 for existing customers who want to upgrade. What makes the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play special is that it has a side-sliding gamepad. The phone comes pre-loaded with several games such as Madden NFL, The Sims 3, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, Star Battalion, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Crash Bandicoot, and Tetris preinstalled. The Xperia Play features a 1GHz single-core processor, a 512MB of RAM, a 400MB of internal storage, which is expandable via a microSD card slot. Other specs include a 4-inch (854×480) capacitive touchscreen, a 5MP AutoFocus camera with LED flash and WVGA video capture, 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. [Amazon]

More Info About Nokia Oro

Nokia has unveiled more details about the Nokia Oro. It is a premium brand product that incorporates pentaband radio connectivity, a 18-carat gold plating, a sapphire crystal and leather from one of Scotland’s finest Caledonian herds. The phone features 3G and Wi-Fi support, a 3.5-inch AMOLED display and an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording capability. The Nokia Oro will start selling in selected countries across the Europe, Eastern Europe, China and the Middle East in Q3 2011 for EUR 800 ($1,132) upwards.

Bell Canada To Sell HTC Wildfire S For $249.95

According to Baka Wireless (a Bell authorized dealer), Bell Canada will sell the the new HTC Wildfire S for 249.95 outright starting on June 1st. Just a quick reminder, the HTC Wildfire S packs a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, a 600MHz processor, a 5.0-megapixel autofocus camera, HTC’s Sense Custom Interface, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headset jack and run on Android 2.3 OS. [Unwiredview]

Verizon’s LG Revolution Retails For $250 On Contract

Verizon has officially released the LG Revolution, which is known as the network carrier’s third 4G LTE smartphone. In case you didn’t know, the Revolution is the first Android smartphone preloaded with the Neflix application, allowing Netflix subscribers access to movies and television shows. It is powered by the Google Android 2.2 OS (upgradeable to Android 2.3 Gingerbread), Wi-Fi, Mobile Hotspot capability, GPS, Bing Search, Bing Maps, Dolby Mobile sound, HDMI-out, a 5MP digital camera with 720p video recording capabilities, a 1.3MP front-facing camera and a 1GHz single-core processor. The LG Revolution is priced at $249.99 on contract. [Press Release]

Public Mobile Canada Releases ZTE C76 Entry-Level Candybar Phone

Public Mobile Canada has just released another entry-level candybar phone on their network namely the ZTE C76. Priced at only $65, the handset sports a 2.0-inch display, email support, WAP 2.0 support, a speakerphone and Bluetooth connectivity. [Public Mobile]

PowerSkin Battery Case For Motorola Droid X And Droid X2

The PowerSkin battery case for Motorola Droid X and Droid X2 are made out of soft silicone rubber, which is impact-resistant. These cases adopt the patented Power battery technology and a 1500mAh battery that offers up to 390-minute of additional talk time or up to 180-hour of standby time. Priced at $59.99 each, the PowerSkin battery case for Motorola Droid X and Droid X2 are rechargeable and 100% recyclable (except for the battery and internal components). [Product Page]

Nokia E6 Available For Pre-order In The UK

Here is good news for those who are living in the UK. The Nokia E6 is now available for pre-order in the UK. Priced at £349 ($573) SIM free, the smartphone is expected to ship in June 2011. FYI, the Nokia E6 comes jam packed with a 2.46-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, a QWERTY keyboard, a built-in 8GB of storage space, a microSD card slot and a 1500mAh battery. Other specifications include an 8-megapixel full focus (EDOF) camera, a dual LED flash, 2x digital zoom and HD video recording capabilities. [Nokia]

Pantech Vega No. 5 Specs Unveiled

Pantech has recently unveiled a new dual-core Snapdragon phone that will be released this month in South Korea. Known as the Pantech Vega No. 5, the smartphone a 5-inch (480 x 800) touchscreen display, an overclocked dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 processor, a 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 16GB of internal memory, an 8-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and 14.4Mbps HSPA+ connectivity.

Fly E185 Dual SIM Phone

Fly hits back with a new dual SIM phone for the Russian market, the E185. Specs-wise, the handset sports a 3.2-inch 240 x 400 resistive touchscreen display, a 3.0-megapixel camera, dual SIM card slots, a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), an FM radio, Bluetooth, a microUSB port, a 3.5mm headset jack and supports for GSM/EDGE network. The E185 will go on sale in Russia starting next month for 3,600 Rubles (about $128). [Fly]

US Cellular Releases Samsung Chrono Budget Flip Phone

US Cellular has rolled out the Samsung Chrono affordable flip phone. Available in dark gray, the Samsung Chrono comes jam packed with a 2-inch QVGA (240×320) internal display, a VGA camera, Bluetooth and a 512MB of internal storage. The handset is priced at just $19.99 on a pre-paid plan from US Cellular, or you can get it for free if you agree to sign a new two-year service agreement. [MobileBurn]

HTC Droid Incredible might get Android 2.3 Gingerbread in late Q2

Friday, May 27, 2011

It looks like the HTC Thunderbolt isn't Verizon's only smartphone that will be upgraded to Android 2.3 Gingerbread in the second quarter of this year.

According to Droid-life, an HTC rep confirmed via e-mail that the Droid Incredible would also get Android Gingerbread before the end of Q2 - thus in June the latest.

Needless to say, this is not an official confirmation, so delays may occur.

The Droid Incredible gadget is almost one year old now, but you can still buy it at Verizon – it costs $99.99 with a new contract agreement. The handset was launched with Android 2.1 in April, and received an update to Android 2.2 Froyo several months later.


HTC France Confirms EVO 3D Will Come to Europe

Last week we saw the freshly announced HTC EVO 3D for Sprint’s CDMA network show up on HTC’s website with unannounced GSM radios, suggesting a European release could be in its future. Today, HTC France is confirming the phone will make its way to Europe, though no release date has been decided.

It seems the dual-core Android handset with a 4.3-inch qHD glasses-less 3D display will retain its EVO 3D name when it lands in France, making it the first device to use the name outside of the US. We recently saw a similar move with the HTC Incredible S gadget


HTC Arrive Comes To The US Via Sprint

The new Windows Phone 7 smartphone HTC Arrive is now in the US via Sprint. It is one of those newer smartphones that run on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS. Although it may be considered as a new entry in the smartphone market, it stands to provide stiff competition to the more familiar Android smartphones and the ever popular Apple iPhones.

The HTC Arrive comes with a 1GHz processor, a 16GB internal memory, 5MP Camera and a 3.6 inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch capability. It also is designed with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and enabled with GPS navigation. It also provides users with access to the popular Microsoft Office Applications as well as SharePoint and OneNote, valuable for those who still need to be productive even while on the go. Users may also be able to access to the Windows Live SkyDrive for an additional 25GB of storage space on the cloud. The new HTC Arrive gadget is now available at Sprint for US$200 on a 2-year Sprint service plan.


HTC Thunderbolt

HTC has recently come up with several new smartphones available for the interested masses. One of their recent offerings is the HTC Thunderbolt. It is a new Android smartphone that sports new features that include 4G support.

The HTC Thunderbolt features a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and runs on the Android 2.2 OS. It sports an 8GB RAM and with a pre-installed 32GB MicroSD card. It also features a 4.3″ WVGA TFT capacitive touch screen display. The HTC Thunderbolt also comes with an 8MP rear facing camera with auto focus and LED flash. There’s also a 1.3MP front facing camera installed, much like most smartphones today.

With these features, the HTC Thunderbolt has more than enough to even support 4G networks this time. It also offers Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity as well as provides GPS support. Other features include dual mics with noise cancellation, a G-sensor, proximity sensor, and LTE SIM slot and a Surround Sound feature. The HTC Thunderbolt gadget is available for Verizon customers for $250 for a 2-year service plan. For those who aren’t, it is available for the full price of US$600.


HTC Desire S now available in the UK SIM-free for £409.99

As we've heard will happen, the HTC Desire S has become available in the UK in March, earlier than previously expected and only a few days after first being spotted in Europe. Well-known third-party online retailer Expansys seems to have one-upped UK mobile network operators such as Vodafone, that has only started taking pre-orders for the device and won't ship it until April 8.

The HTC Desire S can be purchased from Expansys for £409.99 SIM-free and unlocked. They even throw in a free car charger worth £9.99. Shipping is either free, if you're willing to wait 3-4 days, or costs £6.90 for next day delivery. At the time of writing, 28 Desire S smartphones were in stock.

The HTC Desire S is the successor to the original Desire launched last year, yet unlike that device which was high-end for its time, the Desire S occupies the upper-midrange of the smartphone space, and even its price is a clear indicator of that.

The HTC Desire S gadget has a 1 GHz single-core second-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 768 MB of RAM and 1.1 GB of ROM, a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a 5 MP camera with autofocus, LED flash, and 720p HD video recording, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, and a microSD card slot. The Desire S runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread.


Playstation 1 Games Now in Android Market, Restricted to Sony Ericsson Xperia Play; Emulator Removed From Market

Sony Ericsson is getting ready to unleash their Playstation-certified Android handset – the Xperia Play – and is getting the games catalog up and ready to go for when the device finally does launch. A number of PSX (Playstation 1) titles are now in the Android market but you won't be able to do anything but look on in jealousy as most of the smartphone-toting world won't be able to download and play them.

It shouldn't be long before it's launched in Europe, though, and we hear Verizon's going to be releasing their version in the middle of April. Now excuse me while I go drool over the thought of playing Syphon Filter on my phone.[via Droid Gamers]

In directly related news, it appears Sony has gotten that PSX emulator removed from the Android market. It's a predictable move but one I can't really be mad at Sony for even if emulators themselves aren't exactly illegal. The folks at PSXDroid have apparently found no ill will toward Sony because of the decision.


Sony Ericcson Xperia Play and Xperia Arc Up for Pre-Order at Rogers

We practically just heard a little rumor that Rogers would be getting the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Xperia Arc in late April, but the two devices are now up for pre-order. You can reserve yours for the expected price of $99.99 if you can sign away the next three years of your mobile life. The timing of the pre-order aligns with the late April release we are hearing, though no confirmation is given to that end. An offer expiration date of May 2nd may provide a better clue as to when we could be seeing this one.


Full Lineup of Xperia Play Games Unveiled, Global Launch Imminent

Xperia Play Games
Today, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play launches in 11 markets, except the US. With the PlayStation smartphone comes 60 games and six classic PlayStation 1 games available for purchase on the Android Market app store. If you live in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Hong Kong and Taiwan and have been holding out for this sexy Sony Ericsson smartphone, then hurry up and head over to your local cellphone shop now! The Xperia Play is expected to roll out in other regions over the next two weeks. US owners will have to hold out for that mid-April release on Verizon. If you're worried about good games, don't, big franchise games including Assasin's Creed, Need for Speed, N.O.V.A.2 and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell are available from the start. For the full list of games, hit the jump.

Appendix: Games available within the first week of launch:
Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior from Digital Legends (pre-installed)
FIFA 2010 from EA Mobile (pre-installed**)
Sims 3 from EA Mobile (pre-installed**)
Star Battalion from Gameloft (pre-installed**)
Tetris from EA mobile (pre-installed**)
Asphalt 6 from Gameloft (free to download)
Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave from Trendy Entertainment
Galaxy on Fire 2 from Fishlabs
Assassins Creed from Gameloft
Need for Speed SHIFT from EA Mobile
Worms from EA Mobile
Nova 2 from Gameloft
Modern Combat Black Pegasus from Gameloft
Guns n Glory from Handygames
Reckless Racing from Polarbit
Real Football 2011from Gameloft
Gun Bros from Glu Mobile
Racer Luma from Arcade/Unity
Cordy from SilverTree Media
Aporkalypse from Handygames
Brothers in Arms Global Front from Gameloft
Guerrilla Bob from Angry Mob Games/Unity
Let's Golf 2 from Gameloft
Zenonia 2 from Gamevil
Cyberlords from Handygames
Guitar Hero™ Warriors of Rock Mobile from Glu Mobile
Age of Zombies from Halfbrick Studios
Spectral Souls from HyperDevBox Japan
Splinter Cell Conviction from Gameloft
Air Attack from Art in Games/Unity
Armageddon Squadron from Polarbit
Uno from Gameloft
InfeCCt from Handygames
Spiderman total Mayhem from Gameloft
Millionaire City from Digital Chocolate
Avatar from Gameloft
Raging Thunder 2from Polarbit
Homerun Battle 3D from Com2us Games
Aftermath XHD from Jakyl
I Must Run from GameLion
Baseball Superstars 2011from Gamevil
Ground Effect Pro from Jakyl
ZeNonia from Gamevil
Super KO Boxing 2 from Glu Mobile
Farm Story from Team Lava
Wave Blazer from Polarbit
Soccer Superstars from Gamevil
Battle Bears from Skyvu
Tower Blocks New York from Digital Chocolate
Super Dynamite Fishing from Handygames
Iron Sight from Polarbit
Toonwarz from Polarbit
Restaurant Story from Team Lava
Escape from AMA
Raving Babies from AMA
Bakery Story from Team Lava
Denki Blocks! Deluxe from Jakyl
Rollercoaster Rush from Digital Chocolate
PlayStation original games:
Crash Bandicoot® from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Cool Boarders 2 from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Destruction Derby from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Jumping Jack Flash from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
MediEvil™ from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Syphon Filter™ from Sony Computer Entertainment


Unnamed Sony Ericsson QWERTY Android phone spotted

A new batch of photos showing a larger X10 Mini Pro lookalike with a 3″ screen have emerged, with the new, unnamed Sony Ericsson phone now running Android 2.3 with the same corner-based user interface the company put on its X10 Mini, Mini Pro and Xperia X8.

The larger 3″ screen has allowed the designers to space out the keys a little more, resulting in a QWERTY that looks rather usable.

The phone currently refers to itself as the SK17i or “Mango”. We'd call it the Xperia X8 Pro if asked to think up an official name.


Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo Headed for Canada

Sony Ericsson's looking to introduce the less exciting of new generation Xperia devices in Canada, it seems, as Sony Ericsson Canada has put up a coming soon page for it. No word was said on who would be getting it and when, but we know Rogers has a nice selection of Xperia devices headed to their subscribers soon and the Neo could join its cousins.


Samsung Nexus S 4G Passes the FCC

Although Best Buy got everyone’s hopes up for a Nexus S 4G launch last week, it appears we’re as close to its launch as we’re going to be. The device has just hit the FCC which gives Samsung, Google, Best Buy, and whoever else is involved the go-ahead to sell this thing to consumers. As for the phone itself, you already know its deal – it’s landing on Sprint and will be compatible with their 4G network. Is that worth the price of admission for some of you?


Samsung Galaxy S II Will be available on May 1st in the UK

Samsung has just delivered a most welcome (and concrete) bit of news for British smartphone lovers. Its next do-it-all Android superphone will be available on May 1st in the United Kingdom. The Galaxy S II will emulate its predecessor by being made available “across all major networks and retailers.” The press release promises a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which indicates we're looking at the Exynos 4210 variant of this handset. We'll try to track down availability information for the rest of Europe, but at least Brits can now stop fretting about the delay / non-delay of this marquee phone's launch.



New NFC-ready Samsung Bada phones coming soon. Wave 575 Hello Kitty launched in France

Samsung is readying the launch of three new Bada handsets this year, all of which will feature NFC capabilities.

The first one is the Samsung Wave 578, a phone announced in February. It should be released in June, featuring Bada 1.1, a 3.2 inch WQVGA display, HSDPA (3.2Mbps), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and a 3MP camera.

The other two new Bada phones don't have names yet. One of them should be out in September, featuring a 3.65 inch HVGA display, HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Wi-Fi,Bluetooth 3.0, 5MP camera, and VGA front-facing camera. The second one will be released in November, coming with a 3.14 inch QVGA display.

In other Bada news, Samsung has recently launched a Hello Kitty edition of the Wave 575 in France.


Samsung To Launch Star II Duos C6712 Dual SIM Phone In Russia

Samsung is about to launch another dual SIM phone in Russia called the Star II Duos C6712. The handset will sport a 3.2-inch WQVGA capacitive touchscreen display, a 3.2MP camera, dual SIM card slots, Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 UI, Social Hub, QuickType T9 Trace keyboard, WiFi, Bluetooth and a 1200mAh battery. The Star II Duos C6712 will hit Russia in May for 6,990 Rubles (about $249).


Sony Ericsson Xperia Play launched in 11 countries, more than 60 games for it are available

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play, the first PlayStation-certified mobile phone in the world, is available for purchase starting today - not only in the UK, where SE plans to spend millions of pounds to market it, but also in other 10 countries around the globe.

The 10 countries are: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, and Taiwan. Sony Ericsson will introduce the new smartphone in other 6 markets in the next couple of weeks, including India and Portugal.

Unlocked, the Xperia Play costs slightly over €500 ($707), depending on where you're getting it from.

There are more than 60 games currently available for the Xperia Play, including Assassins Creed Altair's Chronicles HD, Need for Speed, Dungeon Defenders Second Wave, Galaxy on Fire 2, and Worms.

According to SE, "the games are downloadable via the Xperia PLAY launcher, an application that is activated by sliding open the gamepad."


CDMA Xperia Play (Verizon) Hits the FCC With SIM Card Slot

We're getting closer and closer to Verizon's launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (it was originally rumored to be here at the middle of this month) and we've inched even further with this weekend's FCC appearance. It's not your ordinary FCC ordeal, either.

Shots of the device's innards tell of a SIM card slot not unlike the ones Verizon use for their 4G LTE devices and phones. It's unlikely that this is a 4G phone, though, otherwise Verizon would've been advertising that from the get-go. Verizon could announce availability of the device with quiet mention of it being a world phone like a few of their DROID offerings as of late


Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc review

Like all good things Sony Ericsson, the Xperia Arc didn't wait for an official announcement to make itself known. First appearing on a set of teasing posters at CES in January, it confounded us with a ridiculously thin (8.7mm / 0.3in) profile and an unorthodox concave rear, whose sighting was followed up with the revelation of a potent mix of internal components as well. The same 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and Adreno 205 graphics that you'll find on brandmate Xperia Play are present within the Arc, and are backed by 512MB of RAM (320MB available to apps), 8GB of MicroSD storage, an 8 megapixel Exmor R image sensor, an HDMI output, and a 1500mAh battery. That tightly packed interior is then topped off with a 4.2-inch Reality Display capable of accommodating 854 x 480 pixels. Throw the latest mobile build of Android, Gingerbread, into the mix and you've got yourself a compelling list of reasons for riding aboard this Arc. Nonetheless, spec sheets tell only half the story and we're here for the full disclosure -- what's the Arc like to use on a daily basis, how are its talents harnessed by Sony Ericsson's tweaked UI, and, most importantly, do people think better of us for carrying such a stylish phone? Keep reading to find out.
Xperia Arc review


The Xperia Arc's physical design is very clearly targeted at fashion-conscious buyers. It's not ergonomically broken by it, but form has clearly led the way ahead of function (as illustrated by the camera lens being attached at the very top of the handset, its thickest point), but you know what, we don't really mind that. It's about time we admitted to ourselves that we buy phones as much for what they look like as for what they do, and we laud Sony Ericsson for having the audacity to pursue its target demographic with a highly distinctive design. Few things curb our enthusiasm as much as overly generic phones that try to be all things to all people and the Arc is commendably distant from that group.

Another important decision taken by Sony Ericsson is to equip this new Xperia with a 4.2-inch display, marking it out as the company's biggest Android handset to date and solidifying its credentials as an entertainment device. We generally enjoyed our time handling and using the Arc, which manages to fit within nearly the same dimensions as HTC's 4-inch Incredible S, but there is one significant flaw to its design we must point out: the back's curvature is going the wrong way. The Arc moniker wouldn't really make sense without the audacious concave shape, but there's good reason why the Xperia X10, Play, Pro, and Neo all have convex rear ends and it's that they simply fit better in the (human) hand. That's arguably the only concession Sony Ericsson has made in its pursuit of an aesthetically unique handset, but it does hold the Xperia Arc back from being one of the easiest-handling smartphones in the 4-inch-plus division. As it stands, it's merely very good, with neat curves wrapping around the sides and the aforementioned thinness and light weight (117g / 4.1oz) making it a pleasure to tote around.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc detailed hands-on

Contributing to the diversity of Android key configurations, Sony Ericsson has opted for a trifecta of physical buttons on the Xperia Arc (the Back and Menu keys have swapped positions from the X10 arrangement), which are thankfully wide, easily identifiable, and highly intuitive to use. Aside from the good clicky responsiveness of each button, that's in large part down to the omission of the Search key, which we can't say we missed at all. Its absence paves the way for SE to center the Home button (a good thing) and generally simplifies a user control scheme that hardly needed to be quite so complex to begin with. The only downside to the Arc's buttonry is one we spotted with the Xperia Play as well -- there's no illumination for the key labels in the dark. You get a pair of lights marking the division between each key, but their purpose is basically indecipherable when the phone's used in the dark. An easily forgivable little foible, we'd say, on what is a very satisfying keypad.

The rest of the Arc's exterior is mostly uneventful, consisting of flowing, pretty lines, broken up by a volume rocker and MicroUSB port on its top left shoulder, a 3.5mm headphone jack directly opposite on the right, and an HDMI output and a rather tiny power / lock key at the top. There is a physical shutter button here, but it's positioned at the extreme bottom right of the handset, almost at the corner, which leads to awkward operation at times. Overall build quality feels robust and durable, though we're again under the impression that Sony Ericsson wasn't spending too richly in obtaining the construction materials. Nothing wrong with that for the most part, we don't begrudge manufacturers making savings where they don't cost the end product, but we did manage to induce a little creaking from the frame, particularly around the volume rocker.


You should be familiar with Qualcomm's hardware inside the Xperia Arc by now. The current 8255 Snapdragon and its Adreno 205 graphics buddy have already appeared in the myTouch 4G, Desire HD (and its US cousin the Inspire 4G), Incredible S, Desire S, and the rest of Sony Ericsson's 2011 Xperia line. The second-gen chip combo's characterized by distinctly improved power efficiency relative to the original Snapdragon and somewhere in the region of 15 percent better overall performance. 720p video playback is no problem and our Xperia Play testing showed all Android games will work flawlessly too. Today they will, anyhow. The same proviso that applies to the Play is valid here. This summer will be an extremely active time in terms of manufacturers upgrading their smartphone lines with dual-core processors and juicier GPUs, meaning that come fall, there could well be things and games your humble 1GHz Snapdragon core is no longer perfectly capable of handling. The 1500mAh battery inside the Arc doesn't quite match the Play's endurance, but will still give you a solid day's worth of regular use (and not much more). The slight gap between Sony Ericsson's two phones can be easily explained by the fact the Arc's powering a screen that's five percent larger and a great bit brighter than the Play's.


The first thing you'll notice about the Arc's 4.2-inch display, necessarily before you've turned it on, is just how black it is. There's a dark border framing the LCD, but as you can see above, there's almost no telling the two apart. This compares extremely favorably with most other handsets on the market presently, whose screens tend to be a dark shade of grey rather than properly noir, and gives the inactive Arc a thoroughly gorgeous and futuristic appearance. Sadly, that doesn't carry over once you switch the handset on, as the Xperia Arc can't maintain such black levels in operation -- it isn't, after all, an AMOLED panel -- and also suffers from narrow viewing angles, meaning you'll be seeing colors wash out relatively quickly as you move off-center. When viewed head-on, the Arc's display is actually above average in terms of contrast and color saturation, but we found ourselves getting annoyed with its dull appearance while looking at it lying on our desk. Viewing comfort at oblique angles hasn't tended to be a pain point for smartphones so far, but as they grow increasingly larger and fancier, it's becoming more important.

Of course, Sony Ericsson has a panacea for all our display worries with the inclusion of its Mobile Bravia Engine inside the Arc, leading it to describe the phone's 854 x 480 screen as a Reality Display. The Bravia voodoo embedded within basically does a host of image optimization to give you a sharp and eye-pleasing result, and we must agree with SE, it really succeeds at its task. The visual improvements are relatively subtle, but very much tangible in practice. The only fly in the Reality ointment is that the MBE only kicks in when you're looking at pictures or video and will do nothing to improve your general UI or browser experience. Still, the things you'll truly care to see in most detail will indeed be multimedia items, so the Bravia Engine is an appreciated addition. A further commendation is earned by the outdoor performance of the Arc's screen -- it impressed with its visibility in direct sunlight, though we couldn't conclusively determine how much the Bravia magic was helping with that. It certainly wasn't making things any worse.


Xperia Arc camera samples

Let's get the big news out of the way first, the Xperia Arc takes some really beautiful and detailed shots. It's able to focus quickly even under challenging conditions (in our side-by-side testing, the Arc managed to focus in a low-light situation where the Play could not) and its biggest antagonist is color noise when there's not enough light around. Sharpness is retained very well by the Exmor R sensor and there's no reason to fear noise reduction software will blast away the tender detail in your images. If there's one thing to bear in mind with the Arc's output, it is that SE is doing a little bit of its own post-processing to boost colors on every shot, resulting in occasionally oversaturated pics. We understand the reasoning behind this, as it most often improves images by making them appear more vibrant and less drab, but we would have liked the option to toggle this function off.

Though actual performance gave us little cause for concern, Sony Ericsson's custom camera software is more of a hit and miss affair. The hits are a pair of neat slideout menus, which are accessed in much the same way as Android's window-shade. Looking at the phone in landscape mode, you have one on your right, containing a gallery of the photographs you've taken, and one on your left filled out with camera options and adjustments you can make. The latter displeased us a little with its scant array of available tweaks, which curiously enough doesn't even allow you to toggle the Arc's Macro mode on and off. You have to set the camera to automatic scene recognition and it throws the macro on when it decides it's needed. This isn't unheard of, as other handsets such as Motorola's Droid X do the same, and is arguably not a huge deal for a consumer-centric phone; we'd certainly prefer to have auto-macro than none at all. In a less excusable turn of events, the camera software did freeze up on us a couple of times while processing images, and you'll see an example of it freezing a video recording for a couple of seconds in the sample below.

There's plenty of softness in that video, in spite of the almost ideal lighting circumstances of a rare sunny London afternoon. Ironically, whereas stills are handled with little noise reduction by the Arc's software, there's clearly a very aggressive noise suppression algorithms at work when it comes to video. It's used in an effort to make the picture appear "smooth" -- something we saw with the Xperia Play as well -- but it leads to the unsatisfying outcome of killing fine detail and replacing it with a smeared appearance. This could again be excused by the fact the Arc's intended for a casual audience (and the videos do indeed look quite spectacular on the phone's own display), but there's an HDTV-loving HDMI output among this phone's ports and you won't be best pleased with the results once you decide to look at them on an actual big screen television. Wind noise also figured its way into the equation, but that's mostly owing to an unfortunate angling of the phone that allowed wind to channel its way to the mic; we've yet to encounter a phone that's not susceptible to that issue.


Xperia Arc software

There's little on the Xperia Arc that we haven't already discussed in our Xperia Play review. It features Android's finest mobile build to date, skinned with Sony Ericsson's mostly successful aesthetic tweaks and performing smoothly and responsively. For the most part. As highlighted in the camera section above, the Arc benefits from a customized camera app, which is certainly an improvement over the default in terms of functionality, but managed to crash on us a couple of times. Moreover, the Timescape widget can be a real spoiler with all its resource consumption, forcing the occasional stutter in UI navigation, however given that it's merely an optional extra you can remove within seconds of turning the phone on, we can't bemoan it too much. The onscreen keyboard, particularly in portrait mode, would've been better left in its stock Gingerbread form, though we really like Sony Ericsson's changes in the messaging, contacts, and applications subsections. All three work spectacularly, with nary a hint of lag, and look splendid. Additional, though entirely superficial, marks are earned for the neat ghosting animation you're treated to when tapping the unlock or mute sliders on the lock screen.

Browser performance is a little unconvincing, as neither scrolling nor zooming is on the same level as what the finest Android, Windows phone 7 or iOS devices can do. That said, the Arc can chew through web-based Flash video like a champ, which is likely to be a lot more important to users than the amount of butter their scrollwheel's been greased up with. Beyond those Sony Ericsson peculiarities, you're really looking at your standard Android user experience. You get access to a truly vast array of applications, games and content, backed by the knowledge that the insatiable growth of the platform will only attract further development efforts. Amazon has just delivered an Appstore and a music cloud storage service tailored specifically to Android, while RIM has made its PlayBook tablet compatible with Android apps -- it's an OS with a truly bright future ahead of it. Having version 2.3 preloaded on the Arc also means you're starting at the highest possible entry point and won't have to fret about upgrades for a good few months at least. Additionally, if you're a big Gmail and / or Gtalk user, there's no better phone OS than Google's own to make use of those services on the move.


Sony Ericsson could've called this the Xperia Art and no one would have been surprised. Its 4.2-incher is one of the most photogenic smartphones we've come across yet and its design exhibits an artistry and a flamboyance we rarely get to see. Construction materials might have been better, but then the Arc comes in at a very reasonable £425 ($680) price off contract -- placing it at the lower end of the Android smartphone pricing scale in the UK -- so some tradeoffs have to be expected. Where we can't hide our disappointment is in seeing poor video recording attached to a strong camera sensor. It just feels like a missed opportunity for Sony Ericsson to not match the hardware's capabilities with suitably strong software and thereby tie this up as a comprehensive multimedia standout. We also can't help but be vexed by the Arc's shallow viewing angles, though they were admittedly offset by strong performances in video playback using the Mobile Bravia Engine. The UI tweaks on top of Android, while pretty to look at, do look to be more resource-intensive than the stock stuff and Sony Ericsson's input does seem to have led to a tiny bit less stability and responsiveness all round.

All that said, we liked the Arc and we think it has a lot to offer to the right sort of buyer. If you're obsessive about display technologies and vanilla Google software like we are, we'd advise looking at the tried and tested Nexus S. But if you just fancy an uncomplicated, big-screened phone to enjoy movies on during your daily commute, the Xperia Arc might just be your perfect candidate. It doesn't really lack anything on the feature front, but it's Sony Ericsson's execution and occasionally odd design choices that hold it back from being a triumph.


Media Speaker Stand MS430 from Sony Ericsson [Hands on Review]

Sony Ericsson has recently introduced the Media Speaker Stand MS430, which is a portable accessory for music enthsiasts that is easy to carry, use and enjoy.

As soon as we got our hands on the MS430 Speaker Stand, we were awed by its miniature size and looks. It is a sleek looking silver cylinder that is easy to carry around, extremely portable, and does not get in the way, takes up much space or makes it a hassle to bring an external speaker with you. With the minimal size, the Sony Ericsson MS430 is also not difficult to hook up. Within seconds, you could be listening to your music (or movies) from your smartphone.

sony ericsson ms430 media speaker stand

To begin, you pull out the cylinder within its own tube to see the section for batteries to be inserted. Moreover, if held at the correct spot, you also divulge a 3.5mm jack which is to hook the speaker to your phone or portable media player. As you twist it on its spot, the jack now is moved to the front and when a smartphone is plugged in, also works as a portable stand.

As you play music and other media, you immediately realize the great sound coming out of this portable speaker. It is not a professional dock and one must still remember its extremely portable size, but for what its worth, it delivers to your needs. You may be using it within your tent, on a desktop, to bring along for a car ride or other close needs. It will not powerup your weekend party, but there are other solutions for such desires.

There were a few spots we wish were a bit better. One is the batteries. It requires 3 AAA batteries to power up, and it would have been a godsent if it could be charged through the speaker by a mini USB plug or other means. It simply means that if you do end up using this for what its intentions are: portable size and sound, you would probably end up eating up the batteries rather quick. Secondly was the durability of the ‘inner’ tube. The inner cylinder opens up pretty easily without even needing to be pulled. It could have been the review unit we received, but it should have some form of locking mechanism on it to maintain being closed when not in use, so it won’t open up when in your bag or pocket.

Still, We were highly impressed with the sound, portability and practicality of the MS430. It sounded great, transformed to a stand to hold your phone when used, and is extremely portable and practical to carry with you around.


Research Firm: Thunderbolt Outselling iPhone at 28% of Polled Verizon Wireless Stores

This is interesting. Research firm BTIG polled 150 different Verizon Wireless stores in 22 cities and came up with the following statistic: the HTC Thunderbolt is outselling Apple’s iPhone 4 at 28% of the locations polled. (And we’re sure they own a lot more stores than 150.)

We can’t put too much stock into their findings, though, as there are many other different ways to buy phones from Verizon Wireless. 61% of stores polled said that the two phones were neck and neck, while a measley 11 noted that the iPhone 4 was selling faster.

Even with the meager sample size, this is good news for Verizon. They’ve tested the waters and are seeing if there is room for high-end devices from these direct competitors on the same network. If these results are even a tiny bit indicative of what’s really going on then I’d immediately call the HTC Thunderbolt gadget a success.

HTC Pyramid appears in SFR catalog, should be launched in late May

Just yesterday, we saw the HTC Pyramid in some live photos, which confirmed its existence.

Now the smartphone has appeared in a SFR catalogue, standing next to other new Android 2.3 Gingerbread handsets like the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, and Sony Ericsson Xperia Play.

SFR is the second-largest French mobile carrier and, if FrAndroid's source is to be believed, it plans to launch the HTC Pyramid gadget in late May.

Of course, for this to happen, HTC must first announce the smartphone - and it could certainly do it during the April 12 event announced earlier today.

HTC Desire Android 2.3 Gingerbread update will arrive in the UK in April

UK mobile network operator Three has announced earlier, via Twitter, that the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the original HTC Desire will become available for smartphones it sold sometime near the end of April, or perhaps the beginning of May at the latest.

Judging by the fact that carriers usually release such updates for their branded smartphones after unlocked devices have already received them, it's probably safe to assume that HTC Desire handsets bought in the UK SIM-free and unlocked will notify their owners that the update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread is available sometime during the month of April.

Also, we've previously heard that the HTC Desire, Desire HD, and Desire Z would get updated to Gingerbread after the Desire S had begun shipping. With thatalready happening, these tidbits of info line up nicely. As they do with the one claiming that the Desire HD will get updated in April. No word yet on the Desire Z specifically, though it seems pretty okay to assume that it too will start receiving the update sometime around April or May.

As for owners of the original HTC Desire gadget, in a few weeks your phones will receive a new lease of life, so rejoice.

A simple trick to force the NoDo update on the T-Mobile HTC HD7

Waiting around for an update notification can be one of the most frustrating things we can think of. Microsoft has started sending out OTA notifications to T-Mobile's HTC HD7 owners, letting them know that the NoDo update is available through Zune. The only catch is that you have to receive the notification before you can download and install the update. If you've an owner of a T-Mobile HTC HD7 gadget, we may have a tip that could force the update process. Simply follow the steps below and you may be able to trick Zune into think that your handset has received the OTA update notification.

We've heard from a few of our readers that this trick seems to work. Hopefully this exploit will also come in handy when Microsoft rolls out the NoDo update to other Windows Phone 7 HTC handsets.

HTC Thunderbolt outsells the iPhone 4 on Verizon?

According to some reports online, it looks like Verizon is doing pretty well with the HTC ThunderBolt gadget. The first ever 4G LTE phone on the network has been said to be outselling the iPhone 4. A technology research firm, BTIG, contacted 150 Verizon Wireless retail stores over 22 major cities in the US and asked the sales representatives whether they were selling more ThunderBolts or iPhones over the past week. Their results: 61% said they sold an equal amount of both phones, 11% said they sold more iPhones and 28% said they sold more ThunderBolts. But can these results be conclusive to how well the phone is actually doing?

Firstly, the ThunderBolt has only been on the market for a few weeks, as opposed to the Verizon iPhone which has been available since February, and the original iPhone has been out since mid last year - when it comes to technology, nobody really wants a phone that's not as fresh. And let's not forget there are rumors of a new iPhone arriving later this year, so folks who are interested in getting an iPhone are probably holding out on their purchases instead of getting the current iPhone or the ThunderBolt. So while the ThunderBolt is a hot-selling phone at the moment, whether it can keep up its momentum throughout the rest of the year is another story and with no official sales figures from Verizon, it's impossible to say. What do you think of the ThunderBolt? Make sure you don't forget to check out our iPhone 4 review and our ThunderBolt review if you haven't already.



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