smartphones

HTC Sensation Live: Hands-On [Video]

We've grown used to HTC rolling out solid, compelling Android smartphones, but the HTC Sensation threatens to take things to another level. A slick unibody design that's both narrower and thinner than the HTC Desire HD yet still manages to accommodate a 4.3-inch qHD display and 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the Sensation promises both speed and usability in spades. Read on for the Android Community first-impressions. HTC's metal stylings have grown increasingly refined over the past few years, and the Sensation is no different. Smooth edges nestling neatly into the hand, the slightly concave touchscreen is easy to use and responsive, and indeed the whole Gingerbread OS whips along nicely. There are no shortage of bells & whistles to the UI, either, with various new 3D effects as you slide between homescreen panes, an updated weather app with richer animations, and menus that generally open and transition with zero lag. The core apps have had a sprinkle of magic dust too, so you get the option of body-text previews in the HTC Mail app (either 2, 3 or 5 lines along with the sender and subject) and a Video Trimming function to pare down 1080p HD stereo clips recorded with the 8-megapixel camera. The display is bright and vivid, with the S-LCD screen technology being color-saturated and crisp. That - along with the 16:9 aspect ratio - makes it ideal for watching movies, and of course there's HTC Watch to satisfy that. The new rental/purchase store will offer either carrier billing or credit card payments, depending on your choice of operator, and supports 3G/WiFi trailer previews, optimized downloads of full content (over WiFi only) that start playing within 10s thanks to some smart buffering, and the ability to access content rented or purchased on up to five HTC devices. Unfortunately, you can't watch the same content on your PC or Mac, thanks to DRM limitations, which leaves you reliant on the HDMI connectivity for putting clips on a bigger display. HTC won't be bundling the HDMI dongle in the box with the Sensation, at least initially, but it will be offering two versions: one powered by the Sensation itself, and another with a separate USB port for powering it and recharging the phone. A dock is also in the works, and the HDMI offers not only video playback but general screen mirroring, useful for browsing on your HDTV or even using a remote log-in app and taking charge of your PC desktop from afar. Unfortunately there's no OnLive gaming, nor the HTC Video Chat app shown on the Flyer at MWC 2011. The former may eventually make an appearance, when HTC has ironed out licensing issues in all territories, but the latter is still being held up by cautious carriers and HTC has no timescale for its release. Still, Skype and other generic video calling apps will be able to use the Sensation's front-facing camera. While the HTC Sensation will break with tradition and see a global launch - in the US with T-Mobile as the HSPA+ toting HTC Sensation 4G, in Europe with, initially, exclusivity to Vodafone, and on unspecified Asian carriers - there won't be a single SKU with 3G/4G bands for all territories. Instead, somewhat annoyingly, there will be different models for each. HTC tells us it's a compromise to help keep the Sensation slim, as is the combination microUSB/HDMI port and absence of a physical camera shortcut. Nonetheless, we can't help but come away impressed by the HTC Sensation. As a device to take on the Motorola ATRIX 4G or Samsung Galaxy S II it's everything we hoped it would be from the pre-announce rumors, and the combination of slick design, optimized software and HTC's useful online suite of services (including remote access, sync and tracking) add up to a compelling package at the top end of Android devices. [vms a2b4e80506f582af3676] [gallery]

HTC Sensation official with 4.3″ qHD display, 1.2GHz dual-core CPU

As expected, HTC has unveiled the HTC Sensation, the company's new dual-core flagship, at its London event today. The phone previously known as the HTC Pyramid is headed for a global launch in May/June 2011 - with Vodafone as lead European carrier, T-Mobile USA (as the HTC Sensation 4G with, as the name suggests, HSPA+ connectivity) in the US, and on various Asian carriers (tbc). The Sensation has a Desire HD scale 4.3-inch touchscreen only running at qHD 540 x 960 resolution. That's paired with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM 8260 processor, 768MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, a microSD card slot and a slick unibody aluminum chassis. Finished in a subtle three-tone on the back - three shades of either gray or subdued purple - and with a Gorilla Glass toughened fascia with slightly concave edges (to lift the screen off the table and avoid scratches, as well as to give the finger some physical feedback during scrolling) the Sensation measures in at 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm and weighs 148g with the standard 1,520 mAh battery. Connectivity includes HSPA/WCDMA, quadband GSM, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, a 3.5mm headphone socket and a microUSB port with MHL support for HDMI output (using a special dongle). There'll also be GPS/AGPS, a gyro, G-sensor, digital compass, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor, along with an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and a dual-LED flash on the back, and a VGA front-facing camera for video calls above the display. OS is Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with the latest iteration of HTC Sense on top. That gets a new, infinitely-scrolling homescreen carousel as on the HTC Flyer, together with a new Smart Lockscreen. The latter adds four user-assignable shortcuts to the lockscreen, which can be activated by dragging them to a Launcher Ring at the bottom of the screen; that automatically unlocks the phone and opens the relevant app. Various presets are on offer, ranging from a 3D clock or weather display, through social networking updates from Friend Stream or images pulled from Flickr (dragging either of which to the Launcher Ring automatically opens them in the relevant app), to stocks/shares which rise or fall up the display according to the movement of the markets. The Sensation will also be the first HTC smartphone to offer HTC Watch, the company's movie/TV show rental and purchase store. Supporting carrier billing (with certain carriers) or credit card payments, HTC Watch offers 600+ titles at launch from major studios. Trailers can be previewed over WiFi or 3G, while full purchases must be downloaded over WiFi; thanks to some smart buffering playback of the latter starts in just 10s. Up to five HTC devices - though not PCs, Macs or anything else - can be registered to a single HTC Watch account (you can add/remove one device per 30 day period) with access to the Digital Locker cloud store of bought or rented content. The 8-megapixel camera supports 1080p Full HD video capture complete with stereo sound, and the Sensation can use the same microphone array for active noise cancellation during calls. A Video Trimmer app will allow for minor edits before sharing. HTC has also spent some time fettling the camera app to load quicker and take photos more swiftly, so as to reduce the number of missed opportunities, and there's touch focus support as well. Full specs in the gallery below. We'll have our hands-on report with the HTC Sensation very soon! [gallery] Press Release:
HTC UNVEILS MULTIMEDIA SUPERPHONE, THE HTC SENSATION™ HTC continues to introduce advanced entertainment capabilities with the introduction of HTC Watch on the HTC Sensation LONDON – April 12, 2011 – HTC Corporation, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today introduced the HTC Sensation, a smartphone that shines a spotlight on entertainment with HTC’s new HTC Watch™ video service. Crafted with premium design elements, the HTC Sensation features the company’s latest HTC Sense™ experience that puts people at the center by making their smartphones work in a more simple and natural way. “Smartphones have evolved into pocket-sized entertainment centers that enable people to take their favorite content with them wherever they go,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “The HTC Sensation takes this even further by combining the great new HTC Watch entertainment experience with the latest HTC Sense experience to deliver a powerful, evolved multimedia smartphone to our customers.” “The HTC Sensation integrates multimedia content with relevant, thoughtful features, bringing an exciting new dimension to Vodafone’s smartphone range. The HTC Sensation will be available first in key Vodafone markets from Q2,” said Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Terminals Director. “The strength of Vodafone and HTC’s partnership is a marker of our commitment to offer our customers truly compelling and market-leading mobile experiences.” Premium Design and Materials Tapping into HTC’s trademark design language, the HTC Sensation’s premium look and feel is enhanced by its rounded edges, aluminum unibody construction and the touch screen surface is protected by a contoured screen that feels more natural as a finger is glided across it. The 4.3-inch qHD display delivers high-resolution widescreen viewing and gives the HTC Sensation slender proportions that feel natural in a person’s hand. At the heart of the HTC Sensation beats a powerful, 1.2-gigahertz dual-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, which enables gorgeous graphics and all-around fast performance. HTC Sense Complementing the HTC Sensation’s premium design is the latest HTC Sense experience that boasts a host of new features and enhancements, helping people to have more fun and get more done. For instance, HTC Sense introduces a customizable active lockscreen experience that transforms the lockscreen into a real-time window to the most important information and content, such as social updates, photos, weather or stock updates that are viewed by simply turning on the display. In addition, the new active lockscreen becomes a customizable gateway that lets people quickly jump to the most used features, like making a phone call, sending an email, taking a picture or anything else with the same quick gesture usually used to unlock the phone. For instance, the camera can be launched right from the lock screen with a single motion, saving precious seconds when you’re trying to capture the action. Sharper graphics, vibrant animations and new widgets make HTC Sense look better than ever and, by continuing to focus on all of the aspects, both large and small, that make HTC Sense special, HTC introduces a more cinematic and immersive weather experience with stunning imagery and audible weather effects. HTC Sense also makes it easy to have fun by enabling people to capture and share special moments. The HTC Sensation’s 8-megapixel camera doesn’t just shoot gorgeous photos but, with the new instant capture feature, lets people capture the moments they want without worrying about missing or keeping up with the action. The HTC Sensation also shoots full HD video in 1080p resolution, with full stereo sound, at up to 30 frames a second, giving you smooth video that is better than many other phones. With the new Video Trimmer tool, people can crop their clips to the perfect size for easy sharing with friends and family. HTC Watch The HTC Sensation is a smartphone that is built from the ground up for a sophisticated, evolved multimedia experience. The 4.3” widescreen display means that users can watch movies like they were meant to be seen – in their full cinematic glory, with no cropping or letterboxing. The HTC Sensation is also the first smartphone to feature HTC Watch – an application and service that puts an entire library of the latest, premium movies and TV shows right at your fingertips, letting people discover the latest video content in an easy and visually engaging way. HTC Watch uses progressive download technology that makes it possible to watch videos without waiting for a huge file to finish downloading. HTC Watch offers the choice of renting or buying videos, and if purchased, lets you watch them on up to five different HTC devices. Availability The HTC Sensation will be broadly available through Vodafone across major European markets. It will also be available in Asian markets in Q2 2011.

Vodafone confirms HTC Sensation: 1.2GHz dual-core and qHD display

Vodafone UK has prematurely announced the HTC Sensation, the device formerly known by its codename of HTC Pyramid, and not expected to make its official debut until HTC's event later on today. Confirmed is the 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch 540 x 960 touchscreen and 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and dual-LED flash. There's also a front-facing webcam, 3G, WiFi b/g/n and GPS, along with a unibody-style chassis. We can spy a microUSB port too, and Vodafone says there'll be 4GB of internal storage and an 8GB microSD card bundled in the box. No word on pricing or availability - all Vodafone say on that point is that the HTC Sensation is "coming soon" - but we expect to hear more later on today at the event-proper.

UK launch for Samsung Galaxy S II inked in as May 1

Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S II will arrive in the UK on May 1, going on sale across "all major networks." Announced back at MWC 2011 in February, the dual-core Galaxy S II GT-I9100 will have a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, run Android 2.3 Gingerbread and offer WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. There's also a sizable Super AMOLED Plus display, the latest iteration of Samsung's screen technology. On the back is a 1080p HD video capable 8-megapixel camera, with clips able to be squirted via WiFi over Samsung's AllShare technology. No word on pricing at this stage, at least not officially, though we've seen at least one UK retailer offer pre-orders on the Galaxy S II for £528 including VAT. We'd expect to see the handset offered free with new agreements via carrier subsidies, however. Press Release:
SAMSUNG ANNOUNCES UK AVAILABILITY OF THE GALAXY S II Samsung's most powerful smartphone yet set to hit UK shores on 1st May 11th April 2011, London, UK – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., today announces that its slimmest and lightest smartphone yet, the Samsung Galaxy S II (Model: GT-I9100), will be available in UK shops on 1st May 2011. The Galaxy S II is the first handset to offer Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus screen technology, the largest, brightest and most colourful screen available in Samsung's portfolio of devices. Super slim (8.49mm) and lightweight (116g) Samsung's Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and is super-fast thanks to its dual-core 1.2GHz processor. The device's exceptionally bright screen makes it perfect for watching movies and TV or playing games and looking at apps, with its ground-breaking 'organic' LED technology, Super AMOLED Plus also saving energy so you can enjoy watching content without affecting the battery life. The Galaxy S II is built for multi-tasking, its dual-core processor makes switching between applications and loading web pages such as Google, Yahoo and YouTube quick, whilst superior 3D hardware means games and videos can be loaded and played with ease. What's more, there's immediate access to content and services such as catch up TV and movie downloads, thanks to super-fast connectivity and WiFi, with speeds up to 21Mbps which provides increased download speeds, and Bluetooth 3.0+HS which reduces data transfer times significantly. Simon Stanford, Managing Director, Mobile, Samsung UK and Ireland said: "From the moment it was revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona there has been a huge buzz about the Galaxy S II, so we're pleased to announce that it will be available for UK customers to buy from 1st May. Our slimmest, lightest, fastest smartphone is our first device to offer of Super AMOLED Plus screen technology, alongside the most advanced technical specifications including the latest Android OS and a dual core processor. We're confident it's a great package for anyone wanting a superior smartphone experience." The Galaxy S II also features an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording and playback, Samsung's patented AllShare technology so you can share pictures, movies, and music with other devices and Samsung's new Kies Air which lets people manage their smartphone contents from their PC via local WiFi connections. A new 'Live Panel' feature on the Galaxy S II allows aggregation of live web, social networking and application contents to a single customisable home-screen, whilst it's possible to place all the important parts of your life onto three adjacent home screens which you can switch between simply by pressing and holding on the screen. As with all the Samsung Galaxy family, the Galaxy S II features Samsung Hubs, providing a huge range of entertainment content, advanced mobile games and the ability to manage social networking accounts. The Samsung Galaxy S II will be available in the UK across all major networks and retailers.

Samsung Nexus S 4G clears FCC

Spring has sprung and a ton of smartphones have made their way through FCC testing, including the Samsung Nexus S 4G. Listed as model SPH-D720, the Nexus S 4G has been cleared for WiMax channels, pointing towards a Sprint release. Sprint has already hinted of a Spring release, but other that that, mums the word. Originally, we reported that Best Buy was going to launch it April 6th. But as of this writing, that hadn't happened, probably waiting to clear the FCC before launching a full court press. There's plenty of time left in Spring, however, so no need to panic yet.

Most Students suffer from Smartphone Withdrawl Study Finds

According to a recent study, students who have had their smartphones taken away from them for even a few hours will begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms that may rival those of smokers or even drug addicts. The study, which focused on young people aged 17-23 in ten countries around the world found that 79 per cent of students who volunteered for a complete media blackout from cellphones, computers and the internet, social networks and even television experienced reactions ranging from distress to confusion and isolation. Students were allowed to use the phone, read, and even have one on one conversations, but found it difficult initially due to feelings of withdrawal.

IOIO for Android detailed: Project samples from USB breakout board [Video]

We mentioned SparkFun's brilliant new IOIO for Android earlier this week, a USB I/O breakout board for Android smartphones which turns your handset into a super-Arduino of sorts. Now the brains behind the board, Ytai, has spilled the beans on the project, including some sample code and a handful of ideas that you can use IOIO to create. For instance, there's the Retroid, a smart alarm clock which can be told to make different ringing patterns and show various LEDs depending on incoming calls, messages and other events on the handset. Or the Visual Charger, a huge multi-segment LED power indicator which gives an at-a-glance idea of what percentage the smartphone's battery is at. [youtube 8sAvXCfEj3s] We prefer the Wall Printer, though, which uses seven Sharpie-style market pens hooked up to servos for an old-school printer effect controlled by an Android phone. Definitely worth considering if you're into Android and electronics; you can pre-order the IOIO for Android here, for $49.95. [youtube aYUMYyXBaF0] [via Twitter]

HTC hosting London Pyramid Party… and you’re invited!

HTC's last meet-up gave Android fans a chance for an early play with the Desire HD and Desire Z, and it went so well the company is planning another gathering next week. Open to all - as long as you're able to get to London - the HTC get-together is straight after the company's mysterious press event next Tuesday, April 12. That's when we're expecting to see the HTC Sensation - aka the HTC Pyramid - make its official debut; HTC even teases that with a mention of the event being "a sensory experience". If so, it'll be a chance to get hands-on with the new dual-core Android smartphone well in advance of it arriving in stores. There's everything we know and expect from the Pyramid in our rumor roundup to whet your appetite, and more information at HTC's Facebook page. Let us know if you'll be headed over in the comments!
London, we thought it was high time we had another get-together. We had so much fun with you all last time. We hope all of you can drop by, chill-out and have a chat with us. We will have food and drink, and we'll also have an exclusive set by a pioneering UK DJ. But most excitingly, we have some exciting news to share with you! It is guaranteed to be a sensory experience. Make sure your friends don’t miss out – bring them along with you. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP by clicking “I’m attending” at the top of this page. Just remember that it’s an event for people over 18 and it’s on a first come first served basis. PS. For those of you that aren't in London – never fear – we have plans to come see you soon. We’ll let you know details closer to the time. Click here and read Terms and Conditions: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=207389835957172

Android courts Enterprise with remote-tracking, encryption & more

Google has announced a renewed focus on enterprise use of Android devices, with a range of new features centered around security and collaborative working. Available to all Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers, the functionality includes remote tracking and locking support via the My Devices dashboard. It's now possible to locating a lost Android 2.2+ handset on a map, ring the device, and reset its PIN or password remotely. There's also a new "Encrypt Data on Device" feature, which will now include requiring encrypted storage on Android 3.0 tablets. Finally, there's a new Google Apps Lookup feature which promises to make locating enterprise business details more straightforward. More information on the changes here.

T-Mobile G2x finally gets release date and pricing

T-Mobile USA has confirmed an April 20 release for the LG G2x, the carriers' version of the LG Optimus 2X. Priced at $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, the G2x will require a new, two-year agreement (and likely a mandatory data plan). Your money gets you a 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, NVIDIA's Tegra Zone preloaded, and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. There's also HDMI connectivity and a sizable 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen. The G2x arrives in-store on the same day as the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G, in fact, but unlike the messaging-centric phone will also be available from April 15 online via the carrier's online store. More details in our hands-on with the smartphone.