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Why Nokia's N9 Smartphone Is Set Up for Failure

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nokia has finally announced the long-anticipated N9 handset, the culmination of Nokia's five-step plan to deliver a mainstream Linux-based smartphone. The N9 is an impressively engineered device that is matched with a sophisticated touch-oriented interface and a powerful software stack with open source underpinnings. It's a worthy successor of the developer-centric N900, but it provides a user experience that is tailored for a mainstream audience.

The N9 is the first truly modern smartphone that Nokia has unveiled since the start of finger-friendly interface revolution. Although it's a significant technical achievement, it's sadly a pyrrhic victory for Nokia - the device has arrived a year too late. The Finnish phone giant has already abandoned its Linux platform in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system.

The N9 has a 1GHz TI OMAP Cortex A8 CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 3.9-inch AMOLED capacitive display, and an 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics. The hardware specifications aren't industry-leading, but are still respectable - especially when you consider the fact that much of the software is native code, not hampered by the resource overhead of a managed code runtime. The industrial engineering is outstanding, featuring a curved glass screen and slender polycarbonate body.

The front of the N9 has no buttons, a design decision that was made possible by the software's gesture-based interaction model. The N9 user interface, which is largely built with the open source Qt development toolkit, has a completely new look and feel. Aside from the rounded icons, it looks very different from Symbian and the Maemo interface of the N900. Nokia is calling the new user experience layer “Swipe” in reference to its emphasis on the swiping gesture. It has a very fresh and distinctive style.

There is some confusion about the exact configuration of the N9 software stack. Nokia's official marketing and PR material cite MeeGo 1.2 as the software platform, but it's actually a hybrid that is largely built on Harmattan, the legacy Maemo 6 code base that Nokia shuttered when it committed to MeeGo.

It seems sort of dubious on the surface to call the software MeeGo when it's really still Maemo, but the hybrid is apparently designed in such a way that it has full API compatibility with MeeGo 1.2. What this means is that the distinction will be little more than an implementation detail as far as users and application developers are concerned.

A closer inspection of Nokia's MeeGo strategy shows that this hybrid approach is entirely consistent with the roadmap that Espoo was espousing earlier this year.

Another major point of confusion is the relationship between the new N9 and a leaked prototype with the same name that showed up on the radar last year. The original MeeGo-based N9 prototype had a slide-out physical keyboard and was thought to be scheduled for a Q1 2011 launch. That design, which was known internally as N9-00, was dropped. The release date got pushed back as Nokia started a new keyboardless design called the N9-01, codenamed Lankku, which was likely the basis for the N9 that Nokia unveiled this week. Based on some odd images that Engadget spotted, it looks like N950 - a special developer variant of the N9 that will only be available to select third-party developers - might be based on the original slide-out keyboard design.

Will it blend?

Although it appears to have a lot to offer, the N9 unfortunately won't get an opportunity to shine. Nokia's schizophrenic platform strategy and lack of long-term commitment make the device a non-starter. The new phone is a bit like the Titanic: a masterpiece of quality engineering and luxury craftsmanship that is doomed to sink on its maiden voyage. The ambiguity of MeeGo's role in Nokia's future product lineup and the company's frustrating mixed messages to third-party software developers have already set up the N9 for failure.

When the rumors first started to emerge about the possibility of Nokia adopting Windows Phone 7, I was highly skeptical. As I pointed out at the time, Nokia's MeeGo efforts were very close to producing the kind of platform that Nokia needs to be competitive. The company had effectively bet its future on MeeGo - meaning that any change at such a late stage would be borderline suicidal.

When new CEO Stephen Elop issued his now-infamous “burning platform” memo, my advice to the company was to go all-in on MeeGo and avoid the distraction of a transition to another operating system. Elop, however, had other ideas. His opinion was that MeeGo would simply take too long to deliver, whereas adopting WP7 would allow them to get a product to market with a modern operating system right away.

The fact that a compelling MeeGo device will likely launch first raises the question of whether Elop misjudged the Linux-based platform and its suitability for consumers. It's worth noting, however, that Nokia is also on track to launch its first WP7 device this year. Elop was not wrong in his contention that Microsoft's platform offered Nokia a quicker path to the market.

It's likely that Elop viewed the long-term challenges of doing proper MeeGo maintenance and integration (vs. the quick-and-dirty hybrid model of the N9) as an untenable challenge for a company in Nokia's position. The decision to adopt WP7 was an exit that allowed Nokia to avoid the difficulty of advancing its own platform. The downside is that dependence on WP7 will relegate Nokia to the role of a mere hardware manufacturer. In choosing WP7, Nokia is sacrificing the kind of platform autonomy and opportunity to control its own ecosystem that it would have had with MeeGo.

Elop has said on several occasions in the past that MeeGo will remain in the background at Nokia as a research platform for future innovation, albeit with significantly reduced investment. It's not really clear what this means, but it seems fairly obvious that MeeGo doesn't have a strong strategic relevance at Nokia anymore due to the switch to Windows Phone 7. Without more clarity about the extent to which Nokia will support the platform and consumers who buy the N9, it's hard to imagine it attracting a serious mainstream audience. If Nokia doesn't treat MeeGo as a serious platform, then the N9 is simply not going to get enough traction to make it viable, especially when it comes to third-party software.

The sad part is that Nokia once had a large audience of third-party developers who were eager to support a MeeGo device. Companies like Rovio and Qik already had Qt-based ports of their applications under development specifically for Nokia's MeeGo devices. The new platform strategy has thrown the company's existing third-party developer community under a bus and has made it impractical for them to continue supporting the company's products.

If Nokia ported its open source Qt toolkit - which is supported today on MeeGo and Symbian - to WP7, it would open the door for building applications that target all three of the company's major operating systems. Unfortunately, that's just not going to happen. Elop himself rejected the possibility of Qt on WP7.

Nokia's attitude about Qt through this platform transition has been agonizingly inconsistent. During the presentation at which the N9 was unveiled, Qt was repeatedly highlighted as a critical part of Nokia's vision for mobile development. From where I'm standing, it's not at all clear how Qt can continue to be defining part of Nokia's mobile strategy when it's not even going to be supported on the company's flagship WP7 devices.

Nokia can tout the large Symbian install base as a target that makes Qt relevant in the mobile space, but that's a dead end - Sybmian will be phased out in 2014. It's not even clear now if Qt 5, scheduled for release in 2012, will even officially support Symbian. Qt is still one of the best tools available for cross-platform desktop development (and thanks to a permissive license and diverse community, the toolkit's survival is ensured in the long run irrespective of what Nokia does), but it's not officially supported today on any mainstream mobile operating system.

When I think of Nokia and its place in the market today, I'm reminded of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is often depicted as a being with two faces pointed in opposite directions. At times, it seems like Nokia is still looking back at MeeGo as if it lies ahead and at other times the company is seemingly aimed at an unwavering path towards WP7.

The mixed messages and inconsistencies in the platform strategy are not helpful. By creating confusion about what development tools and platforms Nokia is really going to stand behind in the long-term, the company is making it impossible to have any confidence in its future plans. This is especially problematic for its first - and possibly only - MeeGo device, a compelling product with little future ahead of it.
source: Gadget Lab

Sprint Q3 roadmap leaked: Samsung Epic 2, BlackBerry Bold Touch, ‘full touch' 4G Samsung on the way

From time to time, we find out about carriers' plans for the future (plans regarding new device launches) via leaks of their roadmaps. Today is the day when yet another roadmap has leaked, this time from Sprint. This is my next heard about Sprint's plans for the third quarter of this year (that's July to September), and the carrier certainly has some interesting handsets up its sleeves.

Let's dive right in. First of all, a successor to the Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint's version of the Galaxy S) will be released, and it will be called (not surprisingly at all) Epic 2. And while this will be succeeding the Epic 4G, it won't be entirely different. The 4-inch touchscreen is still there, and so is the side-sliding QWERTY keyboard. The processor has been upgraded a bit and will be a 1.2 GHz affair, although interestingly single-core in what is quickly becoming a dual-core Android world. Anyway, the Epic 2 will also feature an 8-megapixel camera (as opposed to the Epic 4G's 5 MP).

Next up is a ‘full touch' 4G smartphone from Samsung (which probably means one without a physical QWERTY keyboard like the aforementioned Epic 2). There are no details about this device as of yet, but considering previous rumors talking about a release of the Galaxy S II on Sprint – this may just be it. And it will be presumably use the words Within, 4G, and/or Galaxy in some random order to form its name.

Sprint will also launch the BlackBerry Bold Touch and Monaco, although they may be sold under any other names, since retail branding for RIM's newest devices is still reportedly ‘up in the air'. Both RIM smartphones will come with ‘global roaming' capabilities built in, meaning that they will have both CDMA radios for operation on Sprint, as well as GSM/HSPA radios for use pretty much everywhere in the world. It's really nice to see US carriers adopt these ‘world phones' more and more, and customers of CDMA networks such as Verizon and Sprint are surely happy about their availability, especially those who travel internationally a lot.

A new push-to-talk BlackBerry will also be in Sprint's lineup, as will be a couple of Kyocera/Sanyo models in the works to solidify Sprint's switch from iDEN to CDMA for push-to-talk. Businesses that rely on (and love?) PTT will surely be happy about this.

That's about it for now. As the third quarter is fast approaching, expect leaks about all the devices mentioned above to intensify, providing us images, as well as full details about pricing, specs, and exact release dates eventually. After that, Sprint will announce each and every device, then they will finally hit the streets.
source: Unwired View

Samsung Galaxy S II set to outsell Motorola DROID BIONIC, study finds [infographic]

There are countless methods research firms use in an attempt to amass useful data for their analyses, and perhaps one of the most underutilized sources of sentiment at this point in time is social chatter. Several progressive firms have emerged recently, however, and they see the value in scouring the social web for freely-available data, and that data can be extremely valuable to researchers and businesses alike. Case in point: using online social mentions and opinion between April 1st and June 21st as a gauge, social media listening firm Mashwork has determined that the Samsung Galaxy S II is the more highly anticipated upcoming Android superphone compared to the Motorola DROID BIONIC. Data from 14,838 users across Facebook, Twitter and other social networking services shows that 68% of prospective buyers are interested in purchasing the Galaxy S II while 32% are interested in the DROID BIONIC. More specifically, 39% of of the unsolicited opinions gathered stated that they will purchase the Galaxy S II and 29% expressed interest in buying the phone. Meanwhile, 19% said they would be purchasing the DROID BIONIC and 13% simply expressed interest. In terms of trends, interest in the Galaxy S II is on the rise leading up to the smartphone's launch while interest in the DROID BIONIC has decreased over the past two months. Mashwork's infographic detailing social opinions on the two phones follows below.
source: Boy Genius Report

Rogers Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Android 2.3.3 update now available with Facebook inside

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, the company's current non-gaming focused Android-powered flagship smartphone, has been available in Canada from Rogers for a couple of months already. While the Xperia Arc did launch running Android Gingerbread out of the gate, it was version 2.3.2. The latest right now is 2.3.4, which incorporates Google Talk video chat, but for some reason no non-Nexus devices have this OS version available yet. Manufacturers seem to be taking their time with it.

However, if you own a Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc bought from Rogers, there is an update for your phone available. It will make your Arc run Android 2.3.3, which is a step in the right direction undoubtedly. The Android 2.3.3 update for the Xperia Arc most notably introduces the Facebook inside Xperia concept to the device. This represents pervasive Facebook integration throughout the UI, allowing you to share the music you love, see all your photos together in one place, sync Facebook events with your phone's calendar, sync Facebook contacts, and more. Full details about Facebook inside Xperia are available here courtesy of Sony Ericsson.

The Android 2.3.3 update for the Rogers Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc also brings better battery performance, better HD video recording, and stability improvements for Wi-Fi connections. You can also expect increased overall stability in operation.

The update is of the over-the-air variety, so your phone should notify you that the update is available. Once that happens, you can easily download and install it. Of course you should back up your data first, and ensure that the device isn't about to run out of battery before starting the update. As usual in the case of OTA updates, it may take a while until the update reaches your particular device, so don't panic. It's on the way.
source: Unwired View

UK: T-Mobile Motorola Defy Android 2.2 Froyo update comes at the beginning of July

While we all like to dream about Android Ice Cream Sandwich, there are those who have in their possession Android phones which still run version 2.1 of the operating system unfortunately. Such is the case with the Motorola Defy, or used to be the case. Customers of T-Mobile USA have started receiving an update to Android 2.2 Froyo (which, of course, still isn't the latest version, but at least it's miles ahead of the positively ancient 2.1) back in April.

Last week, those who got their Defy in the UK started receiving the update as well, with one exception apparently: customers of T-Mobile UK. Those who got their devices from TMo's UK arm are still stuck on Android 2.1.

Luckily, the operator has taken to Twitter today to announce that that won't be the case for long. It will be pushing out the Android 2.2 Froyo update to Motorola Defy smartphones it sold in the UK at the beginning of July.

Since the literal beginning of July is in a week from now, that means that owners of TMo-branded Defy handsets in the UK only have a bit more waiting to do before they step into 2010, with their OS version at least.
source: Unwired View

Verizon Motorola Droid 3 may be launching on July 14

The Motorola Droid 3 has been leaked, and leaked, and then leaked some more. It's certainly been one of the most leaked handsets in recent history. How all that pre-launch attention will translate (or not) into sales remains to be seen, of course, but for now, let's talk about another leak regarding the successor to the successor to the well-loved original Droid.

The Droid 3 looks like it's set for a July 14 release, at least if the screengrab you can see below can be believed. The image represents a quick shot of Best Buy's inventory system, apparently.

As you can see, the Droid 3 is clearly stated to arrive at the retailer on July 13. That means that the phone can theoretically be released as early as the next day – in this case, July 14. And conveniently July 14 is a Thursday, and it's well known that Verizon likes to launch smartphones on that day of the week and that day alone (for some reason).

Whether this will turn out to be true or not, we'll have to wait and see. But we probably won't have to wait until July 14 is here, since regardless of whether that will be the actual release date, we're going to see more leaks about this. And more leaks about the Droid 3 in general, probably. After all, judging from how many leaks we've already seen about the Droid 3, that should be the case.
source: Unwired View

Nokia X6 gets a software update to version 32

The Nokia X6 has received a software update, taking it to v32. For those of you unfamiliar with Nokia's conventions, that doesn't mean that this phone has already received 30 updates (although it has received some). 32 is equivalent to 3.2, in a way.

Anyway, one thing you really can't say about Nokia is that it doesn't support its Symbian phones with minor updates. The X6 was announced in September of 2009, and here it is getting updated in June of 2011. Granted, the update doesn't bring any earth-shattering new features.

It does, however, update the phone's built-in applications, improves overall performance, and makes the X6 more stable by “minimizing errors and lags”. In other words, many bugs have been squashed, some performance tweaks have been made, and minor new app versions were added.

Not a bad deal for X6 owners. To get the update, go to Settings > Tools > Software update or just dial *#0000#, hit Options > Check for update, and go from there.
source: Unwired View

LG Optimus 2X and Huawei U6150 now available from Wind in Canada

In Canada, Wind Mobile has launched two new phones today. We've known that both the LG Optimus 2X as well as the Huawei U6150 were headed to Wind, and now they're finally available to buy.

The LG Optimus 2X can be yours for $445 outright, or $295 on the WindTab. The LG Optimus 2X has a 4-inch 480×800 capacitive touchscreen with Gorilla Glass, a dual-core 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, an 8 MP autofocus rear camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video recording, a secondary front-facing 1.3 MP camera, 8 GB of internal storage space, microSD card support, 512 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, and a 1500 mAh battery.

The Huawei U6150 on the other hand is not high-end or anything even close. It is however a cheap text-focused phone that may just end up selling very well. It can be bought from Wind for $98 outright, and it's free on the WindTab.

The Huawei U6150 runs Qualcomm's BREW platform, and has a 2.4-inch 320x240 screen, GPS, microSD card support, a 2 MP camera with video recording capability, Bluetooth, and a music player.
source: Unwired View

Best Buy Will Launch Virgin Mobile's Motorola Triumph

Best Buy has started taking pre-orders for Virgin Mobile's Motorola Triumph. The handset comes jam packed with a 1GHz processor, a 4.1-inch WVGA display, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a front facing VGA camera, an HDMI output and an SD card slot that supports up to 32GB of storage. Additionally, the Triumph offers the Google experience and Virgin Mobile Live 2.0 for a Virgin Mobile branded music stream. The Android smartphone is listed for $299.99 without a contract. [Best Buy]

Sony Experia Active Smartphone

Smartphones are no longer known for the sensitive devices that they are. Most of today's new smartphones now have that higher level of toughness that makes them more ideal for day to day use. Sony may have just gone the similar path by introducing its new Sony Experia Active Smartphone.

The Sony Experia Active smartphone is designed to be water and dust-resistant. Users no longer have to worry about getting their smartphones wet while answering a phone in the rain or accidentally spill water on it. It also features a unique wet-finger tracking that makes the touch screen fully functional even when your fingers are wet. Other features announced for the new Sony Experia Active is that it will be an Android smartphone running on a 1GHz processor, 5MP camera with 8x digital zoom, 720p HD Video recording, 512MB RAM with 1GB internal phone storage and support for an additional 32GB microSD card. The Sony Experia Active will be made available in the market by the 3rd quarter of this year.
source: Gadget.com

Motorola Defy Android 2.2. update for T-Mobile at the “start of July”

Following the exciting release of Android 2.2 for the impressive Motorola Defy Android phone a couple of weeks ago, UK network T-Mobile has announced it'll be bringing the update to users who bought branded versions of the mobile through its network. The update will be ready in July.

It's even pinned down the bit of July to the “start” of the month. Good to see.

The Motorola Defy's another phone we're planning to buy, just for fun, once it enters its end-of-life, crazy-discount price bracket. Link via SoMobile.

Telus HTC Desire HD Android 2.3 Gingerbread update now rolling out

It's a happy day if you own an HTC Desire HD, are in Canada, and your carrier of choice is Telus. And you got that Desire HD of yours from Telus. If all of the above describes you, then you should know that your beloved Android-powered smartphone is finally receiving an update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, after months and months of waiting.

The update will reach your phone over-the-air, and the handset will notify you when it's available. It's a 99.68 MB affair, so if your mobile data plan is capped, you should probably make sure you're downloading it via Wi-Fi.

If you have rooted your Desire HD and/or are running custom ROMs on it, the update notification probably won't make it to your device. Then again, if you are using a custom ROM, it's probably been based on Gingerbread for quite a while now (since unlocked and unbranded HTC Desire HD smartphones have been getting the update for more than a month).

This update will not bring the Sense 3.0 (a.k.a. Sense 3D) UI, as seen on the HTC Sensation, to the Desire HD. It will however make your smartphone run the latest version of Android, and that should be good enough for most.
source: Unwired View

Nokia Android prototype leaks - see what could have been

Lots of people, us included, are still wondering what could have been if Nokia had gone for Android rather than WP7 as their main platform. Well thanks to a leaked prototype today we have the chance to get a glimpse of that alternative universe, where Nokia likes its smartphones full of green droids.

The prototype resembles the recently announced N9 and the Nokia WP7 prototype that we saw yesterday. It is running on a stock version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but judging by the size of those icons its resolution might be higher than WVGA.

Now there's always the chance that the images could be fake. Yet they come from the same source that brought us Nokia's first WP7 device back in May, which turned out real yesterday we feel we can trust him on this one too. In the end, we will never know what it could have been, so this leak could be as much a closure as we are going to get.

Source

Swype now available for Windows Phone 7

In the Android realm, Swype has been life-changing for many; of course, reverting back to the messaging ways of old has been a must when jumping ship to WP7. Now, gesture tracing crosses the aisle, and it's hopping over to Microsoft's turf courtesy of Invoke IT's Sliding Keyboard. With the look of the regular ol' WP7 keyboard, this set of arm floaties records the user tracing out text, just like ex-Android fans are accustomed to. The company goes a bit further by offering a pair of goggles — in the form of Bing search, text messaging and email options along the bottom of the app. Sure, it's seeing its fair share of first-revision bugs (word recognition seems a bit poor based on early reviews), but at a cool $1.29 (and a free trial preceding that), it's a good bit bargain, right?
source: 2DayBlog.com

Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt coming on June 30?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back in April, we told you that the HTC Thunderbolt 4G would get Android 2.3 Gingerbread before the end of June, and it looks like this is indeed going to happen.

According to Android and Me and a Verizon insider, there's a software update scheduled for June 30, which will bring not only Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, but also Sense UI 2.1, Skype and gTalk video functionality, pre-installed Amazon Appstore, enhanced aGPS functionality, and enhanced Microsoft Exchange extensions.

The update should also fix the issues appeared after the previous software update was rolled-out.
source: Unwired View

Sony Ericsson reveals Xperia Ray – Android 2.3 on a high-res 3.3″ screen

Sony Ericsson has just announced a new Android phone at CommunicAsia – the Xperia Ray. The Ray is the same phone as the previously-leaked “Urushi”, coming with a 3.3″ screen running at a 854×480 resolution. With the same BRAVIA Engine display technology as the amazing Xperia Arc inside it, that ought to look brilliant at this resolution.

Inside the Xperia Ray is a single-core 1GHz processor, with an 8megapixel Exmor R sensor around the back. It's the classy mid-range option, launching globally in Q3.

There's a video of the Xperia Ray here – and the full press release and tech spec sheet below:

Sony Ericsson stuns with Xperia Ray

Sleek, beautiful smartphone with stylish aluminium frame

Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine with 8.1mp camera and Exmor R™ for mobile

Latest Android platform for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3) with Facebook inside Xperia™

22 June 2011, Singapore – Sony Ericsson today announced Xperia™ ray – a stunning new smartphone alongside CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore. With a 3.3” screen and running the latest Android platform for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3), the phone packs in a powerful 1Ghz processor, Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine, a 8.1mp camera with Exmor R™ for mobile and HD video functionality. At only 9.4mm thin, Xperia™ ray incorporates market leading design for which Sony Ericsson has become known.

To add to a full set of specifications, the phone incorporates a front facing camera and a scratch resistant screen with excellent resolution and brightness and integrated touch keys. Sony Ericsson’s unique integration of Facebook inside Xperia™ delivers a unique consumer experience for greater social interaction. In combination with the Google services, as well as access to over 200,000 Apps via the Android Market™, it provides a solid and entertaining smartphone foundation.

Daniel Sandblom, Global Product Marketing Manager, Sony Ericsson said: “We expect Xperia™ ray to appeal to consumers who are looking for a combination of beautiful design and a rich feature set. We are able to uniquely deliver this with a combination of premium materials and multimedia features provided by Sony.”

Sony Ericsson Xperia™ ray will be available globally in selected markets, including Japan, from Q3 2011.

Sony Ericsson Xperia™ ray at a glance.

*Please note that all services mentioned below may not be available in every market.

Colours Black

Gold White

Pink Facts

Operating system: Google™ Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Size: 111 x 53 x 9.4mm

Weight: 100 grams

Camera 8.1mp camera

16x digital zoom

Aperture f/2.4

Auto focus

Face detection

Face recognition

Photo light

Front-facing camera (VGA)

Geo tagging

HD video recording (720p)

Image stabiliser

Scene detection

Self-timer Send to web

Smile detection

Sony Exmor R™ CMOS sensor

Touch capture

Touch focus

Video light

Video recording

Video stabiliser

Music Album art

Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)

Music tones (MP3/AAC)

PlayNow™ service

SensMe™ Sony Ericsson Music Player

TrackID™ music recognition application

xLOUD™ Experience

Internet Android Market™

Bookmarks Google™ search

Google Voice Search

NeoReader™ barcode scanner

Pan & zoom

Web browser (WebKit)

Communication Call list

Conference calls

Facebook™ application

Google Talk™

Noise Shield

Polyphonic ringtones

Sony Ericsson Timescape™

Speakerphone Twitter™ (Timescape™ integration)

Vibrating alert

Video chat ready

Messaging Conversations

Email Google Mail™

Instant messaging

Picture messaging (MMS)

Predictive text input

Text messaging (SMS)

Design Auto rotate

Keyboard (on-screen, 12 key)

Keyboard (on-screen, QWERTY)

Picture wallpaper

Reality display with Sony Mobile

BRAVIA® Engine

Touch screen

Wallpaper animation

Entertainment 3D games

Media browser

Motion gaming

Radio (FM radio with RDS)

Video streaming

YouTube™ Organiser

Alarm clock

Calculator Calendar

Document editors

Document readers

E-Manual Flight mode

Google Calendar™

Google Gallery 3D™

Infinite button

Phone book

Setup Wizard

Widget manager

Connectivity 3.5 mm audio jack

aGPS Bluetooth™ technology

DLNA Certified™

Google Latitude™

Google Maps™ with Street View

Media Transfer Protocol support

Micro USB support

Modem Native USB tethering

Synchronisation via Facebook™

Synchronisation via Google™ Sync

Synchronisation via Sony Ericsson Sync

Synchronisation with computer

Synchronisation via Exchange ActiveSync®

USB High speed 2.0 support

USB mass storage

Wi-Fi® Wi-Fi® Hotspot functionality

Wisepilot™ turn-by-turn navigation

Display Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine

16,777,216 colour TFT

Capacitive touchscreen (multi-touch)

3.3 inches

854 x 480 pixels

Scratch-resistant mineral glass

Memory Phone memory (user-free): Up to 300MB

Memory card support: microSD™, up to 32GB

Memory card included: 4GB microSD™

Battery life

Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 6 hrs 50 min*

Standby time GSM/GPRS: Up to 430 hrs*

Talk time UMTS: Up to 7 hrs*

Standby time UMTS: Up to 440 hrs*

Music listening time: Up to 36 hrs

Video playback time: Up to 6 hrs 45 min

*According to GSM Association Battery Life Measurement Technique. Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configurations, and phone usage.

Networks UMTS HSPA 900, 2100

GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

UMTS HSPA 850, 1900, 2100

GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

In the kit

1500mAh battery,

Stereo portable handsfree

4GB microSD™ memory card

Charger Micro USB cable for charging

Synchronisation and file transfer

User documentation

(LiveSound™ in selected markets)

Smart Extras™ appropriate for Xperia™ ray:

LiveSound™: Available as part of the package with Xperia™ ray in selected markets, this provides consumers with the best possible audio experience combined with a stylish, tangle-free design. The headphones also allow consumers to remotely access applications from the phone through LiveKey™ control, which gives consumers direct access to their applications with a simple push of a button.

LiveDock™ gives consumers the ability to seamlessly integrate their Sony Ericsson smartphone into their home. By simply connecting their smartphone to the docking station, consumers will be able to easily launch applications from
source: Eurodroid

UK: HTC Sensation now available SIM-free and unlocked for £498

The HTC Sensation is finally available in the UK in SIM-free, unbranded and unlocked form. This comes after the highly sought-after handset has been sold exclusively by Vodafone for a few weeks, since the Sensation launched actually.

Those of you in the UK who are not or don't want to become Vodafone customers can now finally get your hands on HTC's flagship smartphone. The Sensation is now confirmed as being in stock at well known independent online retailer Clove.

The price being asked is rather on the steep side at £498, but it is a high-end smartphone you are getting after all. For that price, you obviously get an unlocked, unbranded, SIM-free device.

Amazon UK also has the Sensation listed, and for cheaper even (£464.99), but it will only have the smartphone in stock on June 29. So if you just can't wait a few more days or the price difference is irrelevant to you, perhaps you should go to Clove now and place an order.

If you'd rather get the Sensation from an operator other than Vodafone, Three will start shipping the HTC devices on June 24 – that's this Friday, and a few days earlier than we thought it would back when pre-orders started. So perhaps you may want to go over to Three and check out their tariffs for the superphone.
source: Unwired View

Sony Ericsson Xperia Active – Android 2.3 in a water resistant case

Another demographic is about to be satisfied by Sony Ericsson later this year, with the company announcing the Xperia Active – a 3″ Android phone in a dust and water resistant case. This will be accompanied by advertisements in which attractive people document their extreme sporting leisure activities or, if we're lucky, photos of ladies working out in a gym.

The Xperia Active is less technically impressive than the Xperia Ray that was also announced today, featuring a 3″ Reality Display screen running at the mid-range 320×480 resolution. But it's all about the robust orange case and metal eye for safely attaching it to your various extreme sport harnesses…

Android 2.3 is the Xperia Active's OS, plus there's a 5megapixel camera around the back capable of capturing 720p video footage. Here's the press release and full tech spec sheet:

Get fit with Sony Ericsson Xperia Active

Dust proof and water resistant smartphone powered by Android™

Scratch resistant multi touch screen with wet finger tracking

All the applications for your active life, including on-screen heart rate monitoring through ANT+

22 June 2011, Singapore –Sony Ericsson today announced Xperia™ active, a compact smartphone targeting consumers with an active lifestyle, in conjunction with CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore. With a 3” screen and running the latest Android platform for smartphones (Gingerbread 2.3), the phone packs Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine, a 5mp camera with HD video functionality, and a powerful 1Ghz processor. Xperia™ active is dust proof and water resistant* and uniquely incorporates wet finger tracking, to ensure the phone works perfectly when either the screen or a user’s fingers are wet.

The phone comes pre-loaded with sports apps that enable consumers to easily track their fitness levels. Users can set their ideal training route using the built-in GPS, Barometer and Compass. On-screen heart rate and pulse can be monitored in realtime (enabled by ANT+ wireless networking technology), while the iMapMyFitness app can monitor day to day performance. Additionally, Facebook inside Xperia™ allows consumers to share their progress and experiences with friends.

Fredrik Månsson, Global Product Marketing Manager, Sony Ericsson said: “Xperia™ active is the ultimate smartphone for an active life. Not only is it packed with all the features and applications consumers need for a worry free mobile life, it also comes with a set of accessories that make it fun and easy for them to take it everywhere, whatever their daily plans are.”

Maria Sharapova, a three time grand slam winning tennis player added: “I love this smartphone because it perfectly fits both my professional and personal needs. It keeps me in touch with my friends as I travel the world on the pro tour and tracks my fitness both on and off the court.”

Extras included in the box to further build the consumer experience:

One extra exchangeable soft touch back cover

Detachable ear hooks for the portable handsfree active headset

Wrist strap to keep the phone close at all times

An arm case for use during a workout

2GB memory card to save all your special moments

Micro USB cable for charging and computer data transfer

*Water resistant – the phone can be kept under 1m of water for 30 mins.

Sony Ericsson Xperia™ active will be available globally in selected markets from Q3 2011.

Sony Ericsson Xperia active at a glance.

*Please note that all services mentioned below may not be available in every market.

Colours Orange band with black back cover – white extra cover in the kit

White band with black back cover – white extra cover in the kit

Facts Operating system: Google™ Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Size: 55 x 92 x 16.5mm

Weight: 110.8 grams

Camera 5 megapixel camera

8x digital zoom

Auto focus

Aperture f/2.6

Face detection

Face recognition

Flash/Photo light

Flash/LED Geo tagging

HD video recording (720p)

Image stabiliser

Red-eye reduction

Scene detection

Self-timer Send to web

Smile detection

Touch capture

Touch focus

Video light

Video recording

Music Album art

Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)

Media player

Music tones (MP3/AAC)

PlayNow™ service*

Sony Ericsson Music Player

TrackID™ music recognition*

xLOUD™ Internet

Android Market™*

Bookmarks Google™ search

Google Voice Search*

NeoReader™ barcode scanner

Pan & zoom

Web browser (WebKit)

Communication Call list

Conference calls

Facebook™ application*

Google Talk™

Noise Shield

Polyphonic ringtones

Skype™** Sony Ericsson Timescape™

Speakerphone Twitter™ (Timescape™ integration)*

Vibrating alert

Messaging Conversations

Email Google Mail™*

Instant messaging

Multimedia messaging (MMS)

Predictive text input

Sound recorder

Text messaging (SMS)

Design Auto rotation

Four-corner Home screen

Keyboard (on-screen, 12 key)

Picture wallpaper

Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine

Touch screen

Live wallpaper

Dust and water resistant

Wet finger tracking

Entertainment 3D games

Health mate

Media browser

Motion gaming

Radio (FM radio with RDS)

Radio (FM)

Video streaming

Video viewing

Walk Mate

YouTube™* Organiser

Alarm clock

Calculator Calendar

Document readers

eCompass™ E-Manual

Flight mode

Google Calendar™

Google Gallery 3D™*

Infinite button

iMapMyFitness Phonebook

Setup guide

Stopwatch** Tasks**

Timer** Torch functionality

Widget manager

Connectivity 3.5 mm audio jack

aGPS* Bluetooth™ technology

DLNA™ Certified

Google Latitude™*

Google Maps™ for Mobile

Google Maps™ with Street View*

Media Transfer Protocol support

Micro USB support

Modem Native USB tethering

Pressure sensor***

Synchronisation via Facebook™*

Synchronisation via Google Sync™*

Synchronisation via Sony Ericsson Sync

Synchronisation with computer

Synchronisation via Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync®

USB mass storage

USB High speed 2.0 support

USB support

Wi-Fi® Wi-Fi® Hotspot functionality

Wisepilot™ turn-by-turn navigation*

Display Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine

16,777,216 colour TFT

Capacitive touchscreen (multi-touch) with wet finger tracking

3 inches

320 x 480 pixels

Scratch-resistant mineral glass

Memory Phone memory (user-free): Up to 320MB

Memory card support: microSD™, up to 32GB

Memory card included: 2GB microSD™

Battery life

Talk time GSM/GPRS: Up to 4 hrs 53 min*

Standby time GSM/GPRS: Up to 351 hrs*

Talk time UMTS: Up to 5 hrs 31 min*

Standby time UMTS: Up to 335 hrs*

Music listening time: Up to 25 hrs

Video playback time: Up to 8 hrs 30 min

*According to GSM Association Battery Life Measurement Technique. Battery performance may vary depending on network conditions and configurations, and phone usage.

Networks UMTS HSPA 900, 2100

GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

UMTS HSPA 800, 1900, 2100

GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

In the kit

Xperia™ active

1200mah removable battery

Sport stereo headset

Arm case

Wrist strap

2GB microsd™ memory card

Exchangeable cover

Charger Micro USB cable for charging

Synchronisation and file transfer, and user documentation

* This service is not available in all markets.

** This feature is not pre-installed.

*** Enhance your GPS navigation by for example measuring the height levels or to be used as barometer to provide you your local weather forecast.

Legal
source: Eurodroid

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play gets price cut to £390 in the UK

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play was supposed to be this revolutionary device that would be the first gaming-focused smartphone to actually be successful. Yet whether or not Sony Ericsson's dreams about it have made it to reality is certainly up for debate, with the phone seeing price cut after price cut (which may signal that sales aren't going all that well).

First, it was the US of A, and now the Xperia Play has become cheaper in the UK as well. Not as cheap as on contract in the US, but still a lot cheaper than what it went for during pre-order season. Eurodroid reports that Play.com, a well known online retailer of unlocked, unbranded, SIM-free mobile phones will now sell you a Sony Ericsson Xperia Play for £399.99, with free shipping. You can also get 10% off if you buy a microSD card with the phone.

Clove is another of the established independent phone retailers in the UK, and it has the Xperia Play up for grabs for just £390, yet without free shipping. So, shipping included, the final price you'll have to pay will probably be similar regardless of which retailer you choose to purchase from.
source: Unwired View

HTC Evo 4G+ (Rider) leaks on its way to Korea

Last month we first heard about the existence of the HTC Rider, a smartphone that was supposedly headed to KT in Korea, and we even saw a rendered image of it. And today we get more details about it, alongside another image that kind of looks like the first one, but kind of doesn't.

Anyway, the HTC Rider will be sold in Korea under the name Evo 4G+ (because “4G” just isn't enough anymore, it seems), as Rider was just its codename. The Evo 4G+ will basically be an Evo 3D without the 3D – so just one camera instead of two, and a plain old 2D display.

It will also support Korea's flavor of WiMax, called WiBro, 14.4 Mbps HSPA, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The Evo 4G+ will have a 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) capacitive touchscreen, a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 8 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video recording, and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera. The 2D/3D toggle seen in the Evo 3D has been repurposed to be a photo/video toggle for the camera.

There are no details about a release date or pricing, but we expect those to come pretty soon, so stay tuned.
source: Unwired View

Motorola reassures us that Verizon's Droid Bionic is coming this summer

There's been no official word from Motorola regarding its Droid Bionic since April, when the company stated that the smartphone would be released by Verizon in the summer, with an improved form factor, and enhanced features.

Now - not long after we've seen what the new Droid Bionic may look like (check out the photo below) - Motorola is reassuring users on Twitter that the handset is "slated for summer release."

The Droid Bionic will almost certainly come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Other features will include a qHD display, dual-core processor, LTE connectivity, 8MP autofocus camera, and HD video recording.
source: Unwired View

HTC Evo 3D (Shooter) and Samsung Galaxy S Plus to be launched by Telstra soon?

Here's some good news for Android lovers over in Australia: Telstra, the country's largest mobile carrier, is getting ready to launch two new high-end Android handsets (both running Gingerbread).

Firstly, Ausdroid reports that Telstra is secretly testing the so-called HTC Shooter, which seems to be that GSM edition of Sprint's Evo 3D that we've been hearing about in the last few months.

The launch of the Shooter / Evo 3D via Telstra isn't confirmed yet, but Australian customers would surely want to have this handset, since it comes with a qHD 3D display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and a 5MP camera with 3D video recording.

The second new Android smartphone that's reportedly headed to Telstra is the Samsung Galaxy S Plus i9001 – yes, the improved version (1.4GHz processor, 1650 mAh battery) of the Galaxy S i9000 that was released last year.
source: Unwired View

Sony Ericsson txt Candybar QWERTY Phone

Sony Ericsson has announced a new candybar QWERTY phone to its range with the introduction of the Sony Ericsson txt. This BlackBerry-styled candybar phone sports a 2.6-inch QVGA display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keyboard, a microSD card slot, an SMS shortcut key, Facebook and Twitter access and WiFi connectivity. The Sony Ericsson txt will hit stores in Q3 for unannounced price yet. [Sony Ericsson]

AT&T Motorola Atrix 4G will get Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread in July

The Motorola Atrix 4G for AT&T may be one top of the line smartphone, but it has one weakness – it runs Android 2.2 Froyo, an operating system version that's been around for a year. And, in the Android world, that's a lot. So a newer version of the OS has already become available for more than six months, and that is, of course, Android Gingerbread.

According to the folks over at BriefMobile, the Atrix 4G is going to be finally updated to Gingerbread sometime in July. There's no exact date yet, as software versions are still being tested by Motorola and AT&T. However, based on one of those tested versions, a release should happen quite soon, since there don't appear to be many bugs or things to be ironed out left.

That's certainly good news for Atrix 4G owners, who've been craving the update ever since the phone was announced. The update will bring such nice features as sideloading (as per AT&T's new policy on the matter) permitted, overscroll glow, app grouping, a download manager, improved camera app, better power management, a new keyboard, and new animations.
source: Unwired View

HTC EVO 3D to receive update before phone is officially released

Now here is an interesting tidbit – how many phones do you know there are out there which has an update rolled out for it before it is even released to the market? The HTC EVO 3D is one of them, where it is not available on an official basis at the moment, but will already be on the receiving end of an update that will nudge the software version up to 1.13.651.7. Just what does this software update bring? For starters, how about fixing the bug that affects the calendar application?

Said bug will force close the Calendar application whenever you try to edit a particular event, and it is definitely commendable to get that fixed before the phone actually rolls out to the market. Strangely enough, to fix a seemingly simple bug (to me anyways), the update does seem to weigh in at a rather hefty 26.59MB, making me wonder whether there is more than that which meets the eye.

It is only a few more days before the HTC EVO 3D is officially launched, so with news like this, you can't help but feel that your new purchase will be complete right from the get go.
source: Ubergizmo

HTC Sensation, ChaCha, and Salsa arrives on our shores

HTC organized a rather lavish launch party on Tuesday night to launch three new phones in our country. The three new phones are the mighty Sensation, and the two Facebook phones Salsa and ChaCha.

Crafted in a solid aluminium unibody style, the HTC Sensation sits right at the top of the roost, undoubtedly one of the handsets in their “premium” segment. The Sensation sports a 4.3Inch qHD display that gives high-resolution widescreen viewing that will make multimedia tasks a pleasure. Powered by a 1.2GHz dual core processor, and 768MB RAM, the Sensation will be up to heavy usage like recurring and playing back 1080p video on its 8MP camera.

The HTC Sensation will be available for RM 2,299 before subsidies. Of course, DiGi and Maxis also carries this phone with a subsidized data plan package.

The other 2 phones released were the HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa. First seen at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the standout feature of both the ChaCha and Salsa is the tiny, seemingly misplaced Facebook Button which allows for one-touch Facebook access, letting you upload pictures, videos and status updates all with the greatest of ease. You can even use Facebook chat right from the widget on the home screen.

The HTC Salsa features an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM as well as a 5MP camera built-in and Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread built in. The Salsa will be retailing for RM 1,499 before subsidies from the carriers. The HTC ChaCha features a decentl QWERTY keyboard that makes keeping in touch with your social networks that much easier than with a touchscreen.Rocking the same 800MHz processor, 512MB RAM and the 5MP camera as the Salsa, the ChaCha is retailing for RM 1,099. Currently there are no news of any subsidized call plan from any carriers.
source: 2DayBlog.com

AT&T Motorola Atrix 4G To Receive Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread Update

The AT&T Motorola Atrix 4G will receive the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread update next month. The update will bring several new features such as overscroll glow, application grouping, re-built main applications, downloads management, an improved camera, better power management, a re-done keyboard, and new animations. Stay tuned for more updates. [BriefMobile]

LG Optimus 3D to be launched in the UK on July 7

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

LG may have officially launched the Optimus 3D in Europe last week, but that doesn't mean you can buy the smartphone right now in, say, the UK. In fact, it looks like you won't be able to do it at all this month, as the handset will only hit the UK on July 7.

According to Mobile Today, the Optimus 3D will be exclusively offered by The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy starting this date.

The Carphone Warehouse even lets you pre-order the handset (see here - it's free on plans starting at £35 per month).

As you may already know, the LG Optimus 3D will be launched running Android 2.2 Froyo, with an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread scheduled to arrive later this year.
source: Unwired View

Nokia N9 specs and UI shown off

The Nokia N9 was released earlier today, but not many technical details were revealed. For those of you who are curious about the internals of the phone, Nokia has officially revealed the technical specifications of the phone, along with a UI hands-on demonstration video for those of us who can't be at Singapore to get a hands-on experience with the phone. So far the device looks really sleek, and the UI chugs along smoothly, even with multiple apps running at the same time.

Hit the break to check out the specs and the video of the Nokia N9:

Networks: Pentaband WCDMA 850, 900, 1900, 1700, 2100, Quad band GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

Speed: HSDPA Cat10: 14.4Mbps, HSUPA: Cat6 5.76Mbps

Display: 3.9" WVGA (854x480) AMOLED display with curved Gorilla glass, no air gap, anti-glare polarizer

OS: MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan

Memory: 1024MB RAM, 16GB/64GB storage

Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus Carl Zeiss, wide-angle lens, 2x LED flash, Video capturing MPEG-4 SP 720p @ 30fps, 2nd camera for video calls

Size / Weight: 116.45 mm x 61.2 mm x 7.6-12.1 mm (L x W x T) / 76 cm3x135 g

Connectivity: BT 2.1, GPS, A-GPS, WLAN 802.11abgn, NFC, 3.5mm AV connector, micro USB connector, USB charging

Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 1 Ghz, PowerVR SGX530

Audio: MP3 player, Audio jack: 3.5mm, Supported codecs: mp3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC.

Battery: 1450 mAh

Operating Times

Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 11 h / up to 7 hours

Standby time: Up to 450 hours (WCDMA), up to 380 hours (GSM)

Video playback (720P): up to 4.5 hours

Music playback: up to 50 hours
source: Ubergizmo

myTouch 4G Slide seen in its clear glory

Those who are looking out for the myTouch 4G Slide might want to check out the clearest images of said smartphone so far – which would definitely offer you a much better picture (pun intended) on what the real deal looks like on the outside. The person who took the clearest images is quite certain that said handset runs on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system complete with HTC Sense, which is similar to the Sensation albeit accompanied by several specific myTouch features.

The keyboard is a huge plus point according to the same source, and the handset is rather fast to boot. Needless to say, you cannot escape from the obvious and necessary comparison to the G2 keyboard, and it was touted to be rather similar in terms of feel. For those who are used to light handsets, this might be deemed to be rather hefty according to feeling, but we suppose we do not mind having a little bit of extra weight in our pockets.

Will you be picking up the myTouch 4G Slide when it hits the market after taking a look at the gorgeous shot above?
source: Ubergizmo

Nokia Introduces N9 Smartphone In Singapore

Nokia today introduced the new N9 pure touch smartphone at the Nokia Connection event in Singapore. Available in black, cyan and magenta, the Nokia N9 packs a 3.9-inch AMOLED display, a polycarbonate body and a choice of 16GB or 64GB internal storage capacity. The phone also has an 8-megapixel AutoFocus camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash, a super wide 28mm lens, and supports HD video recording and true 16:9 resolution photos. Other specs include NFC capabilities, Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS navigation.
source: TechFresh

Nokia C2 trio of feature phones is officially announced

icely looking, 118g package which costs a very affordable 77 before any taxes and subsidies. While the features may not sound like much, it is important to note that Nokia will target mainly the developing markets with the C2-03, where having an unlimited data plan and a smartphone to use it on is an expensive pleasure. Having a Nokia C2-03 will enable people to get a taste of premium phone services without the high price tag.

The Nokia C2-03 will have two additional flavors. For those who don't need the dual-SIM functionality, there will be the previously leaked Nokia C2-02. The phone looks the exact same but supports only one SIM card.

There is also the Nokia C2-06 with a range of bright colors available and, again, the same set of functions. This one, we have seen before as well.

Source

Verizon makes the HTC Droid Incredible 2 $50 cheaper, but you can get it for free elsewhere

Remember the story about the Motorola Droid 3 and Xoom LTE being listed in Verizon's MAP (minimum advertised price) system from earlier? Well, in that same leaked screenshot one could read something about the Droid Incredible 2 having a change of MAP today. And, indeed, it has happened.

Verizon now sells the HTC Droid Incredible 2 for $50 cheaper than before, which means that if you want to get a Droid Incredible 2 from Big Red itself, you now have to shell out just $149.99 (if you go with a two-year contract, of course). That is a good deal, but there are better ones out there.

The Droid Incredible 2 for Verizon is in fact free at Wirefly, and goes for a mere cent ($0.01) at Amazon. So if you really want a Droid Incredible 2, the smart thing to do is not get it from Verizon directly. Both online retailers require that you sign the exact same new two-year contract that Verizon demands anyway, but getting a high-end smartphone for free instead of paying $149.99 for it? That's what we call a great deal.

So if you're convinced just head on over to Wirefly or Amazon and place your order.

The HTC Droid Incredible 2 has a 4-inch 480x800 capacitive touchscreen with Gorilla Glass, a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor, an 8 MP rear autofocus camera with dual-LED flash and 720p HD video recording, a front-facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls, 768 MB of RAM, 1.1 GB of ROM, microSD card support, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 1450 mAh battery. The Droid Incredible 2 runs Android 2.2 Froyo.
source: Unwired View

Verizon LG Revolution 4G LTE Android smartphone now only $99.99 at Wirefly

The LG Revolution is one of the first batch of Verizon Android smartphones that can connect to Big Red's 4G LTE data network, alongside other well known devices such as the Samsung Droid Charge or the HTC Thunderbolt.

Where the Revolution has the upper hand, at least today, is in price, as Wirefly has decided to massively discount it. So the LG Revolution is now available from the well known online retailer for just $99.99. That's precisely $150 less than what Verizon asks for the Revolution even today. A great deal, therefore. And you'll also receive $25 to use in the Android Market to buy apps.

If you want a top of the line smartphone that can also use one of America's fastest data networks, then the Revolution may be for you. Of course, the same could be said for the Droid Charge or Thunderbolt, but they don't cost a mere hundred bucks. Not yet, at least. So if you want to get an LG Revolution on Verizon for $99.99, just go to Wirefly and order yours.

Obviously, you'll need to commit to a new two-year service agreement in order to do so, but you probably knew that already.
source: Unwired View

ChevronWP7 Labs to release Microsoft-approved jailbreaking tool for Windows Phone 7

ChevronWP7 Labs, in collaboration with Microsoft, will release a Windows Phone solution for independent developers to "unlock" or "jailbreak" Windows Phone 7.

A recent blog post on chevronwp7.com claims they will "soon be launching" an approved Windows Phone unlocking service. The post says the service will require a "small" fee (via PayPal) but claims it will be cheaper than the App Hub, the current solution for developers to submit apps and games. App Hub currently carries a $99/year subscription fee–similar to the iOS Developer Program - and also provides access to the Xbox live marketplace.

ChevronWP7's Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng first developed a homebrew solution for Windows Phone late last year, but a phone call from Microsoft's Brandon Watson resulted in the quick removal of the app from their site.

Rather than threaten legal action, Watson - the Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7 - chose to embrace the developers, citing a "mutual understanding" over the ultimate intention of such a solution. Rather than to create a solution for pirated software, both Watson and the ChevronWP7 team's goal was a reliable tool to "sideload" homebrew (a.k.a. not officially supported) apps onto Windows Phones. Once the two sides came to agreement, the app was pulled and collaborative work on a Microsoft-supported tool began.

The move to embrace homebrew developers rather than oppose them seems like a wise one for Microsoft. By working with ChevronWP7, they were able to get them to kill their original app, which would have allowed software pirates to sideload pirated applications onto WP7 devices. In addition, they develop goodwill with independent developers, allowing them to act as a laboratory for mobile software without actually supporting it. And when a homebrew application becomes successful, they can always integrate its function into their OS, just like Apple.
source: Unwired View

Motorola DROID 3 benchmarks spotted online

The Motorola DROID 3 is not available in its GSM iteration just yet, but that doesn't mean it isn't coming as Verizon Wireless is tipped to release the DROID 3 this coming July 7th, while we have also managed to spot several GLBenchmark 2.0 online results for the smartphone which might just whet your appetite to bring this puppy home. It must be said that with qHD resolution on the DROID 3, it will definitely be the better performer compared to QVGA resolution even when the score is the same – simply because to maintain a similar framerate with more pixels naturally requires additional graphical firepower.

The demanding hardware oriented Egypt test of GL Benchmark 2.0 saw the Motorola DROID 3 come behind the LG Optimus 3D in second place, which is quite impressive. With a TI dual-core OMAP 4430 1GHz processor running inside, it seems to work well with the PowerVR SGX 540 GPU. This places the DROID 3 in a better position compared to the HTC Sensation, the HTC EVO 3D and of course, its sibling, the Motorola DROID X2.

This seems to be an above average smartphone for those who do not yet need 4G or LTE connectivity in their lives, and if you happen to pick it up, it will last you some time before you start sniffing out for other smartphone deals.
source: Ubergizmo

Sony Ericsson W8 Walkman Android Smartphone Hits India

Sony Ericsson has just announced the availability of their new W8 Walkman Android Smartphone in India. Available via Flipkart online shop, the handset is currently being sold for Rs. 10,950 (about $244). In case you didn't know, the W8 offers a 3.0-inch 320 x 480 capacitive touchscreen display, a 600MHz processor, a 168MB RAM, a 128MB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, a 3.2-megapixel camera with video recording, 3G, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 1200mAh battery and runs on Android 2.1 OS.
source: TechFresh

HTC Sensation Review

The HTC Sensation is currently the newest smartphone available on T-Mobile's network. When compared to recent Android phones across all carriers, the HTC Sensation 4G has a superior screen resolution and a dual-core system of a chip (SoC) that provides enough muscles to power a smooth user experience, entertainment and video games. But how does T-Mobile's best fares against what's available with other carriers, and how does it feel to use the HTC Sensation 4G in the real world? In this review, I'll tell you about the pro and the cons, without fanboism or politics. Ready?

We all use smartphones in different ways, so it's important that I tell you what I do with my phone: I check my email quite often (with Microsoft Exchange), and I reply only moderately because a virtual keyboard are not as productive as physical ones. I browse the web several times a day to check on news sites, but I rarely watch movies or play music. I don't call much - maybe 10mn a day. On the "apps" side, I have a couple of social networks, but I rarely play games - even Angry Birds. This usage pattern will affect battery life and the perception of what features are useful.

Technical Highlights

4.3-inch (109 mm) wide screen

qHD 540 x 960 resolution

1.2-GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon 2 dual-core processor

Internal phone storage: 1 GB + microSD slot

Android™ 2.3 with HTC Sense

T-Mobile 4G: HSPA+, up to 14.4Mbps (download), up to 5.76 Mbps (upload)

Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth® 3.0

8-megapixel color back camera Autofocus and dual LED flash

1080p HD video capture and sharing

VGA fixed-focus color front camera

Height: 4.96×2.57×0.44 inches (126.1×65.4×11.3 mm)

Weight: 5.22 ounces (148 grams)

Rechargeable 1520 mAh lithium-ion battery

External Design

The HTC Sensation 4G design is a more modern version of what I call the "classic" HTC look. Unlike the Droid Incredible 2 (that I find greatly designed), the Sensation 4G doesn't aim for and "edgy" look. Instead, it keeps a shape that would remind one of the Desire S, and other HTC phones before it. By the way, the HTC and T-Mobile logos are relatively discreet. Overall, It looks better than the HTC EVO Shift 4G and the HTC Thunderbolt in my opinion, but maybe it would have been nice if it were all black. Anyhow, you can decide for yourself.

On the functional side, the HTC Sensation 4G works well. It fits nicely in my hand (I hold it with my left hand), and the volume and power buttons land right on the thumb and index. Unlike many other phones, the Power button is very easy to find and to push. I believe that this is important because I use it a gazillion times a day, and so do you.

I also appreciate that the four Android buttons down there are visible at all times (even when the phone display is off). On some handsets they become invisible, to make the phone "look better" and to save on backlight power consumption, but this is very annoying because not every Android phone have the same button layout. In fact, manufacturers have probably managed to try out all possible combinations!

The USB charge/sync port is on the side. Unfortunately, I typically prefer to have it at the top or bottom so that I can use the phone -while in charge- without having the cable get in the way.

The only "functional" design feature that got to me was the curvature of the backside. It's great when holding the phone in the hand, but when I put the phone on a table, a tap on either side of the screen would tilt the phone. It's not big deal, but I sometime do that when I play games or want to type something while at my desk.

Display The display is beautiful

Out of the box, the display is simply beautiful. It didn't hurt that HTC has preloaded the Sensation 4G with cool wallpapers and all. The 960×540 qHD resolution (like the Atrix) makes everything very legible and smooth. In terms of pure pixel density, the Retina display from the iPhone 4 is still the king of the hill, but honestly, it doesn't matter at this level as most people can't tell. At least, I don't mind at all, and I'm someone who cares a lot about imaging and displays.

Difficult lighting conditions, for everyone

Indoors, the image quality is great. The contrast and saturation aren't as good as they are with AMOLED, but on the other hand, colors are much more accurate than AMOLED. Outdoors, things are a bit more challenging. The display used by HTC tends to reflect a lot of light. It's not as reflective as the EVO 4G, but reading the display outdoor can be difficult on a sunny day, and it does not help that I live in California…

To make things a little better, I would advise using a bright wall paper (like the one above) or background color. This will help tremendously with direct sunlight usage. And unlike AMOLED, the TFT display does not consume more electricity when displaying a white image (versus a black one). That said, LG's IPS does better, and their NOVA displays simply dwarfs every other LCD in direct sunlight.

HTC Sense

One of the thing that keeps HTC users coming to this brand is HTC Sense. Sense is a collection of software improvements that HTC has done on top of Android. Not every single thing in HTC Sense is super-useful, but overall it adds enough value to give the company a significant edge in terms of user interface and user experience. Here are a few features that I really like:

You can open an app and unlock your phone by dragging an icon into the ring

Quick-access lock screen: the Sensation 4G is the first HTC phone that I have tried that comes with this new lock screen. You can either unlock the phone by moving the central ring at the bottom, or you can drag one of those app icons to the central ring to unlock and launch the app. This is just great, and quite frankly, this is something that Apple had to go after in their iOS 5. They will have a similar feature. Expect everyone to copy this. I use it all the time when I check emails, or when I want to snap a quick photo.

It gets better: HTC has several types of lock screens available. Each include different types of data that shows up in the background (weather, stocks, messages etc…), but you can even choose which apps will appear in one of the 4 shortcuts available.

Copy/Paste: although Android 2.3 has largely fixed the copy paste problem, it's important to know that many 2.2 and prior phones still don't have a proper copy/paste functionality. For a long time, HTC Sense has "fixed" this feature while waiting for Google to finally implement one that works. Android 2.3 was introduced with the Nexus S.

Virtual Keyboard: I'm a fan of keyboards that are plain and readable, however there are a large number of users who prefer the HTC keyboard because it displays alternate letters that can be activated by pressing and holding for a second or so.

Swype-like keyboard: if you haven't heard of Swype, you've got to check it out. It's a company that has invented what HTC calls "trace keyboard". The idea is simple: instead of tapping one letter after another, you can swipe your finger from letter to letter. This is effective because your finger stays on the surface at all times. This effectively reduces typo rates (for me). This option is also included in the HTC Sensation 4G.

HTC Sense has a bunch of other features, but these do make a difference in my daily life. Check out the HTC Sense site to see them all.

Basics Dialing: No problem there, a number can be entered with the numeric pad, a contact card, or better yet, a "direct dial" shortcut on the phone's main screen. If you have less than 10 people that you call all the time, the direct dial shortcut will do wonders as you can't get any faster than that. If not, searching someone with their name should be pretty quick too.

Call audio quality: the sound quality is good, and I have had any issues with it. If I was to compare it to the Nexus S, which has the overall best sound quality of all, I would say that the Sensation 4G sound is a bit muffled, but the sound quality and volume has always been consistent during calls.

Wireless Reception: T-Mobile has the reputation of being a (relatively) small carrier, but in many instances, I found the coverage to be better than AT&T (we're in San Francisco). I'll never say that enough: it doesn't matter what *my* network conditions are, as yours will be different. Try asking friends and family to see how their network is where you hang out.

Web browsing works just fine

In-Browser Flash Support: HTML pages display just fine. But Flash support is something that more and more users want, or expect. The good news is that in-browser Flash support is here. As a test, I went to a few Flash sites, one of which is wechoosethemoon.org. It works perfectly, and most of the plain-vanilla Flash sites (small business, restaurants...) should work just fine.

A Flash website, in all its glory

Flash games are a different story. Some will work fine, but remember that most have been designed for desktop computers, so they might simply require too much processing power -or memory- to run smoothly on a phone.

Photo and Video Capture (very good)

This photo was shot with the HTC Sensation

If you had to remember only one thing about the photo capabilities of this phone, it is this: as you tap on the screen to take a photo, it will capture it way faster than most Android phones. It's *almost* instantaneous.

The continuous auto-focus and the overall speed isn't as good as the iPhone 4 yet, but this is very, very close. I heard that Qualcomm has worked hard on making this possible on their new chip. When it comes to photography, most people think about the sensor and the megapixel numbers, but there is *a lot* of software involved in all this. Without it, the raw data coming from the sensor is pretty much "garbage". This is where each handset maker has an opportunity to add a lot of value.

The HTC Sensation 4G has very good photo and video capture abilities, especially outdoors. On a sunny day, the photos will look very good. However, when the lighting conditions get more difficult, things can blur fairly quickly. From my experience, even then, photos are nice as long as you use them for *web purposes* (shrunk to 800×600 or below). I typically upload photos on Facebook, so this is not a big deal to me. If you want to print them, make sure that the lighting is good.

I wish that HTC had been a bit more aggressive with low-light photography, because I take a lot of pictures indoors. For handsets, this is really the new holy grail. Many smartphone can capture good images of a bright outdoor scene. Sony Ericsson and Apple have understood this. I'm not sure that Samsung or HTC did, yet.

The video capture is pretty good too. In DVD-like quality (960×544) things are fluid and that is typically what I would use. It replays best on the Sensation 4G display, and it is light enough to copy/upload. If you want, it's possible to capture in 1080p as well. There are more pixels, but I found that the image was not really sharper. Smartphones are typically not very good at recording close-up video (macro-mode), so I recommend filming somehting that is at least a couple of feet away. I personally think of the 1080p mode as a bullet-point on the specs sheet rather than a practical thing.

For more photo and video sample(s), head to our Flickr ubergizmo page.

Video Chat

There are many ways to use video chat on Android, but Tango has become a favorite, as it runs on Android and iOS.

Work The Sensation 4G has one of the best email user experience on Android

Microsoft Exchange: A lot of professionals care about Microsoft Exchange, and I do too because we're using Microsoft's hosted email system at work. Android has long supported Exchange, but every handset manufacturers come up with a variant of their own email app.

The HTC Sensation 4G offers good support for Exchange. The email app is very clean, and i really like the fact that we have a direct access to multiple items selection and flags right from the email list (note: flags don't sync with Exchange). The white background makes the emails very readable (many phones have black email backgrounds) and the productivity is about as high as it will get on current Android phones. I think that only Windows Phone 7 has better exchange support. Also their typography rocks.

The one thing that I did notice is that although I'm getting email notifications, when I go to the email app, it can takes additional time (5-10 seconds) for the email app to actually download the most recent items and display them. This may be a good battery-saving tactic, but I would prefer to have the emails downloaded in the background so that I can reply right away.

GMail: Android being a Google product, it is almost a given that GMail would get a special treatment, and it does: it has its own email application that lets Google users "star" a message or labels use labels to categorize it. GMail also supports push-email, which means that messages arrive practically in real-time without requiring you to hit a "send/receive" button, which is called "pull-email". Push is also more battery efficient than pull.

Other Email accounts: Most popular web email services are easy to setup, but if you host your email on your own domain, chances are that you have POP3 access. The Droid Incredible 2 can handle those as well obviously, but you would have to forget about push-email. Fortunately, hosted exchange or GMail pro can give you push-email with your own domain.

Google Docs: Back in the days, Google Docs was not editable on smartphones, but Google has fixed this a while back. If you wonder, Google Docs are accessible and editable on this unit. By the way, there is a free Google Docs app now. If you want something more "MS Office" friendly, try looking at DocumentsToGo.

Play As they get more powerful, smartphones are becoming entertainment devices. Of course, they won't -yet- replace a Nintendo 3DS or a Sony PSP, but if you have 5 minutes to kill, there are some fun options now, and things are bound to get a whole lot better down the road. Today, you can watch DVD-quality videos, listen to music and find casual games.

Video Playback: like most modern smartphones, the Sensation 4G is very capable of playing videos from the local storage, or over the web. If you want maximum quality (DVD level), storing a file to your phone is always the best option. I have played DVD-quality .mp4 files without any problems, and the videos from my PSP collection also work (it's not true for all Android phones). Over WIFI, YouTube quality is very good too, although not "excellent". The extra resolution of the Sensation 4G qHD display does make things a little better.

Gaming: I tried Raging Thunder 2 Lite, and on the Sensation 4G, the game was very fluid. I wish that the developer had added an FPS counter, but I eyeball the framerate at 45 to 55 frames per second (FPS). This is not the fastest gaming phone out there, but its polygonal 3D performance is very decent. In any case, gaming is much more fluid than the recently reviewed Samsung Infuse 4G. The conclusion is that the HTC Sensation 4G can play.

Music: Music is one area where Android users have a lot of choices. There are a number of web services from which to buy, or rent, music files, and a host of free digital radio stations to tune into. If you want to purchase music, Amazon MP3 is a place that comes to mind. For music subscription/rental, Rhapsody is the first one that pops in my head. Really there are much more than that and I recommend you to read Eliane Fiolet's article titled “The Best of Mobile Music” .

The internal music player is very easy and efficient, but there are also many streaming players out there such as Amazon Cloud Player, or Google Music Beta. Overall, I would say that "music" is more or less a "solved problem", even if making it easier for novice users would be even better.

Speaker quality (average): The HTC Sensation 4G is using the same rear-speaker design than HTC had on the Droid Incredible 2 and others. Unfortunately, it's not the most optimum design. The sound can be sufficiently loud, but it gets saturated quickly if you crank it near maximum levels. I've definitely heard better speaker sound coming out of a smartphone: the Motorola Atrix, for example, does have an excellent speaker sound quality.

Data Synchronization

The HTC Sensation 4G, just like other Android phones, can be mounted as a USB disk on your computer. That makes it extremely easy to copy files, and it is fair to assume that the large majority of computer users know to copy files from disk to disk. If you don't have a lot of files to move around, this is actually much easier to deal with than Apple's iTunes. Want to copy some photos? Connect the phone in "disk mode" and copy from/to. Really, it's a no-brainer.

If you have tons of media files and music that constantly change, it's a bit more complicated as this is a typical case where a data management application, like iTunes, is handy. The thing is: people who tend to have large collections of media files are probably savvy enough to figure things out.

These days, you also have the option to upload your content to an online storage and streaming service like Amazon Cloud Player. It works quite efficiently, but requires you to have an Internet connection. Winamp from AOL can also be used to manage large quantities of music files. In the end, you'll have to poke around and see what works for you, but I think that the large majority of users will do just fine with copying their media files manually over USB.

Contacts, Emails: out of the box, Android is built for synchronizing everything over the Internet. However, some vendors add utilities to synchronize contacts and media files. Desktop email however is not an option (you might be able to find an app for that). Even Microsoft does not provide an email synchronization software with its Windows Phone 7, so in this smartphone world, you're clearly better off with an online service.

For contacts, HTC provides a software that will sync contacts from Microsoft outlook to your Droid Incredible 2 phone. If you want to know all the little details, here's the support page on HTC's website:

Internet Sharing

Mobile Hotspot is easy to use, but depletes the battery faster

Mobile hotspot: this is the easiest way to share your Internet connection. You simply need to go in the settings, enable the Mobile Hotspot feature, eventually setup a password, and that's it - you can connect to it from your laptop. This is great if you need to go online in a pinch, but most people definitely can't replace an Internet home connection with it - unless you have very basic Internet needs. The one downside of the Mobile Hotspot: it depletes the phone's battery faster (but you can USB charge the phone at the same time).

USB modem: I usually never use this, but one could argue that it is slightly more secure, and recently, I have found that in places where there are a large number of WIFI devices (think E3 press conference), the WiFi communications between the mobile hotspot and the computer can actually break down. To use the HTC Sensation as a USB modem, you will need to install drivers before using your phone as a modem. It's a good fallback to have if you don't have WIFI handy in your computer.

"4G" Network speed: although T-Mobile calls its HSPA+ net "4G", it doesn't exhibit the raw speed of the 4G LTE network currently deployed by Verizon and soon to be deployed by AT&T. However, it's fair to say that 4G LTE devices do have huge battery life challenges that makes them unpractical for many people. If you want to know more, I wrote an article on that topic on MyLifescooop titled "4G Networks: Where Are We At?"

In our Droid Charge and HTC Thunderbolt reviews, we found that both 4G LTE smartphones did have a much (much!) shorter battery life than 3G, or HSPA+ competitor. In the end, T-Mobile might be losing the "pure network performance" battle, but it can deploy a network that is less expensive, slightly better than 3G and ship phones that have a better battery life. It's not a bad deal for many end-users.

As I used the HTC Sensation phone in the SF Bay Area, it felt like using a 3G phone. There was nothing really "out of this world" about T-Mobile's "4G" network, but it did work well, and I did not hot any coverage "black holes".

WIFI Calling (excellent)

One upon a time, T-Mobile had a feature called UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access). If you are not familiar with the idea, this means that the phone can use an Internet WiFi connection to communicate with T-Mobile's voice network. Think of your WiFi router as your personal cell tower. When calling via WIFI, the voice data is transported over the Internet to the T-Mobile network, that then uses its normal cellular network to transport it to the final destination (the person that you are calling). Not only UMA gets you a very good reception, it may also let you call for a lower cost.

I have not looked at the WiFi calling plans at T-Mobile, but when I was a customer (a couple of years ago), I paid a $10 monthly extra to get unlimited calls over WIFI. The best thing for me was that it worked during my international travels too (yes!). Warning: T-Mobile might be able to detect a foreign IP and charge you for international calls, even over WIFI. You'll have to check with them in order to avoid a "bill shock".

International readers: this function is not available in non T-Mobile USA versions, I'm told.

System Performance (very good)

The HTC Sensation uses a Qualcomm's MSM8X60 system on a chip (SoC). This is a 3rd generation SnapDragon chip, and it has two central processing cores (CPU), a graphics processor (GPU) and a host of other co-processors.

When talking about the performance of a consumer electronics device, I always try to separate the "measured" and "perceived" performance. Measured metrics are obtained by running synthetic (not always life-like) benchmarks to stress specific parts of the system.

On the other hand, "perceived" performance is the user observation and perception of performance. Although they should correlate, I would always place perceived performance as being the most important thing. After all, what is performance good for if you can't tell?

Measured performance (average to good)

To measure performance, we run a number of tests that show how the HTC Sensation measures against other popular smartphones.

BrowserMark, SunSpider: BrowserMark and SunSpider are two tests that measure the speed of Javascript, a key component for interactivity in websites. To be clear, this does not measure "how fast" pages are loading. Instead this look at how fast scripting code can execute. Javascript is used in modern websites for user interface or even complete applications/games.

The HTC Sensation 4G gets a relatively average score here. I'm not sure why that is, actually. I was expecting the dual-core chip to shine, but that's not the case. Instead, it scores closer to the Nexus S, which is powered by a single-core Samsung SoC. This is a bit strange, so I'll run a CPU test later. Keep in mind that this test was running on Android 2.3, while the others ran on 2.2. That said, I don't think that Google had experienced any performance regression with Gingerbread (Android 2.3).

GUIMark 2 Flash graph test: This test measure the Adobe Flash performance. Flash is a widely used multimedia platform and you can find it virtually everywhere as advertisement, video or other forms of interactive web page module.

To put things in context, there are plenty of phones that don't support Flash at all, so the mere fact that it works is already a good thing. Now, the Droid Incredible 2 scores in the 12-15 frames per second (FPS) ballpark, which is respectable. However, other phones that have hardware acceleration for Flash are almost twice as fast.

At the Flash test, the HTC Sensation 4G gets a better-than-average score, but is still far behind phones powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2. Again, I'm surprised because the graphics processor on the Qualcomm MSM8X60 is very good. However, achieving full Flash acceleration also requires a ton of software work.

The CPU Benchmark also shows a relatively average score for a dual-core SoC. That explain why the Javascript benchmarks also showed average scores. It's not the Javascrip runtime, it's the CPU. Note that we are still struggling to find benchmark that provide a truly accurate performance profile, however, they are still good indicators.

Interestingly enough, the NeoCore graphics benchmark yields a higher score than on the Tegra-2 powered Motorola Atrix. This confirms that the HTC Sensation can play. Note that NeoCore was originally developed by Qualcomm to show their graphics performance. Also, it doesn't use the latest OpenGL 2.0 features – but most Android games don't use them either. Also, only the Atrix is shown next to the HTC Sensation, because it is the only other qHD-resolution phone that we have reviewed. Resolution does influence the framerate.

Perceived Performance (very good)

The synthetic numbers are very interesting, but the real-world experience is actually better than those numbers would hint. First of all, the HTC Sensation 4G feels incredibly responsive. I would consider the Samsung Focus (WP7) to be the only phone with a clearly much faster user-interface. In the Android world, the HTC Sensation 4G is among the best.

Gaming performance is very decent. Although the Neocore benchmark showed that the HTC Sensation was faster than the Atrix, I had the feeling that in real-world gamed, the Atrix had an edge. Again, without FPS counter in the game, it's very hard to tell. In any case, both phones are close enough from each other that I believe that the end-user would have a comparable experience.

Overvall, the perceived performance is very good.

Plan / Pricing

I usually don't talk much about data plans, but in hard economic times, it is worth noting that T-Mobile has the lowest-priced plan with unlimited nation-wide calls, data, SMS+MMS. You should do your own homework and read the fine prints, but on the paper the T-Mobile plan can save you quite a bit of money over the 2-years plan.

You should also know that "unlimited data" means 2GB "high speed" data. Once you go above this quota, T-Mobile will slow down the speed at which you can access the internet. I've seen carriers do that in Europe do this, and it works fairly well. At least, you won't have to worry billing.

Battery Life (excellent)

22hrs battery depletion test: I had unplugged the HTC Sensation 22 hours ago, carried it with me for a late brunch, shot and shared a couple of photos on Facebook, then check a few emails over the day, but the phone mostly sat down, checking for push-email (Exchange+Gmail) and Facebook notification. I did disconnect WIFI while I was out, and forgot to turn it on again later. HSPA+ was ON (T-mo's "4G"), however. 22 hours later, I have 61% of battery life left. Very good, right?

Apps depletion test: The above test did not do anything stressful for the battery life, so I've run some typical applications for 30mn, and gathered some battery life data. Here are the raw numbers:

30mn of will cost you (50% display, no sound):

Gaming: 13% of battery life (Raging Thunder 2 lite)
3G Web Browsing: 13% of battery life (random popular site browsing, automated)
WIFI Youtube Video: 21% of battery life (mobile HQ)

The power consumption with those apps is higher than what I saw on the Droid Incredible 2. However, the gaming performance seemed to be better as well. In terms of relative battery life (in %), the HTC Sensation does use more power than Droid Incredible 2, which used only 10% for browsing and 10% for YouTube video playback.

Yet, this does not mean that the phone is using more juice at all times. Typically, smartphone chips have a very low stand-by power consumption, and the good news is that most of the time, your phone sits in your pocket or purse, doing nothing (or very very little).

With moderate usage (see "context" paragraph), I can get about 1.5 to 2 days of battery life (with Push email and Facebook updates in the background). I typically don't worry about running out of battery in at the end of the day. Obviously, this can vary depending on your own usage, but this is one of the best battery life among the phones that I have tested in the real world.

Tip: if you want to extend the battery life, I found that disabling the "Account Sync" feature helps tremendously. I've seen this phone go beyond 48 hrs if I don't synchronize my email/Facebook data. Also, I've compiled a list of things that you can do to extend your android battery life.

Conclusion (very good)

The HTC Sensation is a very good phone

The T-Mobile HTC Sensation 4G is a very good phone, and it not only is the best smartphone that you can get with T-Mobile today, it is also one of the best Android smartphones available with any carrier. The typical problem with smaller carriers is often that they don't have the cool phones as they can't compete with the bigger players when it comes to playing for exclusive rights/development. However, T-Mobile has managed to snatch one of HTC's best design.

The HTC Sensation 4G comes with the latest incarnation of Android 2.x, and comes loaded with an updated HTC Sense that accelerates things that you use dozens of time a day like the lock-screen, email access etc… if your usage pattern is different, you can even customize it to feature your favorite apps.

Finally, the WIFI calling feature not only helps having a perfect reception at home or at work, it *could* also save you a load of money abroad. This is a feature that only T-Mobile, and frankly, the HTC Sensation 4G is the phone that makes me want to come back to T-mo.

Links Android Smartphone Reviews: Nexus S Review, Droid Incredible 2 Review, Droid Charge Review, LG Optimus 2X Review, HTC EVO Shift 4G Review,

Android Tablet Reviews: Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review, Motorola Xoom Review

Apple: iPhone 4 Review, iPad 2 Review

Windows Phone 7: HTC HD7 Review, Samsung Focus Review, HTC Surround Review

Official HTC Sensation homepage

source: Ubergizmo

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