Author Archives: Chris Davies


XOOM 2 and XOOM 2 Media Edition tablets confirmed

Motorola's much-rumored new tablets have been made official, in the UK at least, with the 10.1-inch Motorola XOOM 2 and 8.2-inch Motorola XOOM 2 Media Edition both being confirmed today. Each packing a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, splash-resilience and a pair of cameras - 1.3-megapixels upfront, 5-megapixels on the back - the only real disappointment is that they run Android 3.2 Honeycomb rather than 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Inside, each packs 1GB of RAM along with 16GB of storage. There are various preloaded business apps on the bigger tablet, while the Media Edition gets Motorola's music/video streaming app preloaded. The Media Edition also boasts 178-degree viewing angles. The XOOM 2 is 253.9 mm x 173.6 mm x 8.8 mm and 599g, 100g less than its first-gen predecessor, while the XOOM 2 Media Edition is 139 mm x 216 mm x 8.99 mm and 386g. Both have Gorilla Glass. No word on pricing, but they'll each arrive in the UK midway through November. [youtube x16LUdsMPqw] [gallery] [via SlashGear]

HTC Sensation XL hands-on [Video]

The HTC Sensation XL has been officially revealed, the company's first Android smartphone to be built with Beats Audio in from the ground up, and toting a super-sized 4.7-inch Super LCD along for the ride. A 1.5GHz single-core MSM8255 handset with 768MB of RAM, all in a 9.9mm thick unibody-style chassis, the Sensation XL does make a few compromises: not least the WVGA resolution display. We caught up with HTC for some hands-on time and to ask a few spec decision questions.

HTC promises OTA privacy patch in pipeline

HTC has confirmed that a fix for the recently uncovered security vulnerability in its Android smartphones is in the pipeline, addressing what some security experts suggested was a "massive" privacy issue. "In our ongoing investigation into this recent claim," the company told Engadget, "we have concluded that while this HTC software itself does no harm to customers' data, there is a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by a malicious third-party application" However, HTC also insists that it has seen no reports of the loophole actually being taken advantage of, with the potential for harm seemingly more theoretical than practical at this stage. Nonetheless, a security update is being worked on now, and which - after some carrier testing - will be delivered OTA to HTC Android phones. There's no timeline for its release - HTC says the carrier testing period will be "short" though that's presumably up to the networks themselves to deliver on - so until then the company points out that people should "use caution when downloading, using, installing and updating applications from untrusted sources." That's pretty sensible advice no matter what the situation. Full HTC Statement:
HTC takes claims related to the security of our products very seriously. In our ongoing investigation into this recent claim, we have concluded that while this HTC software itself does no harm to customers' data, there is a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by a malicious third-party application. A third party malware app exploiting this or any other vulnerability would potentially be acting in violation of civil and criminal laws. So far, we have not learned of any customers being affected in this way and would like to prevent it by making sure all customers are aware of this potential vulnerability. HTC is working very diligently to quickly release a security update that will resolve the issue on affected devices. Following a short testing period by our carrier partners, the patch will be sent over-the-air to customers, who will be notified to download and install it. We urge all users to install the update promptly. During this time, as always, we strongly urge customers to use caution when downloading, using, installing and updating applications from untrusted sources.

LG Optimus LTE delivers dual-core 4G

LG has officially announced the LG Optimus LTE, the handset previously known as the LU6200, packing a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display and 4G LTE connectivity. The high-speed smartphone - set to go on sale on South Korea's SK Telecom tomorrow, October 5 - has an 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash and HD video recording. There's also DLNA support and an HDMI output, for getting your multimedia off the smartphone either wired or wirelessly. LG is hoping you'll watch some of it on the Optimus LTE's display itself, however: the phone uses one of the company's "IPS True HD" panels which, it claims, will beat the Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE to the market and be the first such resolution panel on offer. 326ppi is not to be sniffed at, after all. What's still up in the air is availability outside of South Korea. After all, LG knows there are LTE networks in the US and elsewhere, and so we wouldn't be surprised to see broader sales after the initial roll-out this week. [via SlashGear]

Samsung intros Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus 7-inch tablet

Samsung has revealed a new 7-inch Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, seemingly targeting a cheaper price point than the recent Galaxy Tab 7.7. Packing a 7-inch LCD IPS display running at 1024 x 600 resolution (rather than the Tab 7.7's Super AMOLED HD 1280 x 800 panel), the Tab 7.0 Plus also offers triband HSPA+, WiFi a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz) and twin cameras. On the back there's a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash, while a 2-megapixel camera is on the front for video calling. Inside there's Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi Direct and WiFi Channel bonding support, USB 2.0 and USB Host, and a microSD card slot to augment the 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage. It's 193.65 x 122.37 x 9.96 mm and weighs 345g. Power is courtesy of an unspecified 1.2GHz dual-core processor, paired with 1GB of RAM, and there are the usual proximity, accelerometer, digital compass, gyro and ambient light sensors. On top of Honeycomb, Samsung's TouchWiz interface delivers its media, social, ereading and other hubs, together with some custom widgets and software like Kies Air. No word, at this stage, on exactly how much the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will cost. The company says it will land in Indonesia and Austria first, at the end of October, before seeing a progressive roll-out globally including Southeast and Southwest Asia, US, Europe, CIS, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Japan and China. [gallery] [via SlashGear]

Skype v2.5 adds video calls to Galaxy Tab 10.1, more

Skype has updated its Android app to add video calling to more  smartphones and tablets, with v2.5 adding support for 14 more models. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Google Nexus One and Motorola DROID 3 are notable models, though the ATRIX and LG Optimus 3D also make an appearance. In addition to the new devices, Skype has also added the ability to switch between portrait and landscape orientations while within a call, as well as zooming by tapping the display. Bluetooth headset support has been improved, and the app as a whole should be more bug-free and faster.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • HTC Nexus One
  • HTC Shooter
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Live with Walkman
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
  • LG Optimus Black
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • LG Optimus 2x
  • Motorola Photon
  • Motorola Droid 3
  • Motorola Bionic
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Motorola Atrix
  • Acer Iconia
On the downside, Skype has introduced advertising with this release, just as on the desktop versions for PC and Mac. You can bypass the adds if you have some Skype credit, however. Skype for Android v2.5 is a free download from the Android Market.

Samsung’s Exynos 4212 1.5GHz SoC promises 3D prowess

Samsung has outed its latest mobile processor, the Exynos 4212, a dual-core chip based on 32nm build processes and running at a hefty 1.5GHz. The successor to the much-loved 1.2GHz SoC inside the Galaxy S II, the new Exynos 4212 has apparently been designed with 3D graphics as its focus, with developers Gameloft onboard with some custom titles to demonstrate its merit. Samsung hasn't said which devices the 4212 will appear in first, but it's worth noting that the two LTE smartphones it announced last week for South Korea both use 1.5GHz chips. The Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy S II HD LTE promise an extra jolt of performance to keep up with the high-speed 4G connection. However, with a Samsung event announced for October 11, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Exynos 4212 turn up in the rumored Samsung Nexus Prime. We'll know for sure when we head over to see what Samsung and Google have up their collective sleeves in a couple of weeks time. [via SlashGear]

HTC Explorer delivers Android on a budget

HTC has announced its latest Android smartphone, the HTC Explorer, targeted at entry-level users hoping to step up from their featurephone. Replacing the altogether underwhelming HTC Smart, only with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC Sense 3.5 this time rather than BREW, the Explorer packs a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen, 600MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. Connectivity includes 3G, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0, while there's a microUSB port and a microSD card slot to augment the minimal 483MB ROM. The 1,230 mAh battery is hidden behind a soft-touch, rubberized rear cover, initially available in black or blue though HTC tells us they'll have alternative colors soon. The camera is a mere 3-megapixel unit, further example of what HTC told us was a "focus on device expectations, not specifications" but what's really more likely to be the result of building to a strict budget. Pre-pay users and cash-short students are the expected audience, with HTC adding a "data monitor" app which can keep track of how much data, SMS and calls you've used. Unfortunately - for the user, at least, not the carrier - the app won't actually pop up and warn you when a limit is about to run out, you're expected to check it manually, and there's no homescreen widget at this stage. Otherwise the only app of note in the updated Sense 3.5 is "Best Deals", HTC's interpretation of the local deals market. Unfortunately we weren't able to test that in our pre-briefing with the Explorer. The HTC Explorer is expected to go on sale in Europe and Asia from October 2011. Pricing will depend on market. Update: Vodafone UK tells us they'll be offering the Explorer, though still no word on how much. [gallery]  

Huawei Honor official: 1.4GHz 4-inch Android on a budget

We've known the Huawei Honor (aka Glory) was going to be impressive from the early spec suggestions, but the company's latest Android phone has been made official and it could well shine. Packing a 1.4GHz single-core processor, 8-megapixel camera and a 4-inch WVGA display, the Honor promises Android 2.3.5 performance at an affordable level. The main camera has autofocus and takes HDR images, while the front-facing camera runs to 2-megapixels. There's triband UMTS/HSPA+ (900/AWS/2100) along with quadband GSM/EDGE, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, as well as GPS/A-GPS, an FM radio, all the usual sensors and DLNA support. One minor shortcoming is the RAM, which comes in at 512MB where we'd liked to have seen 1GB. 4GB of ROM and a microSD card slot are available for user-storage, and the 10.9mm thick chassis has a microUSB port and dual microphones. Huawei will throw in 160GB of cloud storage, too, while the battery is a 1,900mAh pack. Huawei isn't talking pricing today, but originally there were mutterings of $300 unlocked and SIM-free. That would be an impressive figure when the Honor drops in China, Russia and the Middle East in Q4 2011 this year.