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Apple Files Patent for iPhone's Swappable Lenses

clock June 19, 2012 00:16 by author Jeremy

As if smartphones weren't encroaching on the camera industry's turf enough, Apple's latest plans may sway a few more loyal customers to their cause. It's common to see phones with up to 12-megapixel cameras attached to them, which certainly makes digital cameras lose their appeal - after all, who wants to lug around an extra electronic when your cell phone can handle it all?

Apple seems to be thinking along the same lines, and recently filed a patent to have an iPhone with swappable lenses. Digital camera fans beware, since basic point-and-shoot cameras normally don't even have the option to change lenses.

For Apple, this could mean gaining a few consumers from the opposition, as Android phones don't have swappable lenses just yet. Meanwhile, for the digital camera industry, this is just another obstacle to overcome as they struggle with their hold on the market.

However, better pictures on your smartphone doesn't come without its quirks. While no official information has been released yet (such as, say, whether this is even going to be a feature in the next iPhone), one can only imagine what kind of an effect all the picture-taking and lens-swapping will have on your battery life.

Sources: appleinsider, pcmag



HTC Releases List of Phones Receiving Android 4.0

clock May 24, 2012 01:15 by author Jeremy

HTC has released a list of cell phones that will be receiving the latest Android 4.0 OS, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. A majority of these devices will receive their update between June and July, with some updates having already been rolled out, or will be rolled out in May. Along with Ice Cream Sandwich, the operating system will be accompanied by HTC's Android overlay, Sense 3.6.

This update to Android 4.0 doesn't apply to HTC's tablets, such as the HTC Flyer and HTC Jetstream. Many phones that have less than 512 MB memory will also not receive the update.

Device Schedule
DROID Incredible 2 by HTC To be determined (by the end of August)
HTC Amaze 4G May-June
HTC Desire S June-July
HTC Desire HD July-August
HTC EVO 3D June-July
HTC EVO 4G+ May-June
HTC EVO Design 4G June-July
HTC Incredible S June-July
HTC Sensation March-June
HTC Sensation 4G March-June
HTC Sensation XE March-June
HTC Sensation XL April-Jun
HTC Rezound June-July
HTC Rhyme June-July
HTC Thunderbolt July-August
HTC Velocity 4G March-June
HTC Vivid March-June

Source: HTC



HTC Phones Stuck at Customs Due to ITC Ruling

clock May 19, 2012 01:01 by author Jeremy

A ruling made by the U.S. International Trade Commission back in Dec. 2011, has resulted in a ban of importing and selling HTC phones. This issue was initially addressed due to Apple filing a complaint that HTC phones violated one of its patents regarding how data is stored and interacted with.

That same ban, which started on April 19, has now proposed a problem for the release of HTC's latest phones, the One X and EVO 4G LTE. Some units of the One X were shipped before the ban occurred, but now extra stock can't pass customs. HTC released a response on the matter:

"The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order. We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval. The HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE have been received enthusiastically by customers and we appreciate their patience as we work to get thesep roducts into their hands as soon as possible."

The EVO 4G LTE was supposed to launch today, but HTC (and several customers, including one of our own staff members who had pre-ordered a unit) has confirmed that the phone will not be available for purchase in stores today, while pre-orders have also been placed on hold.

Sources: thedailybeast, blackmediascoop, engadget (1), engadget (2)

 



Samsung "Mobile Unpacked" Event Reveals New Galaxy S III

clock May 4, 2012 01:12 by author Jeremy

The Galaxy line of phones from Samsung have been nothing short of spectacular. Each new iteration brings something new to the table, and the latest Galaxy S III doesn't disappoint. While it may share a few similarities with it's recent cousin, the Galaxy Nexus, the S III still has a lot of brand new software features to offer.

First off, the hardware. Samsung is showing off it's latest Exynos 4 quad-core processor, rated at 1.4GHz. Along with 1 GB of RAM to help processing speeds, this phone is more than capable of tackling the multitasking that its users will likely ask of it. The phone will come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, with a microSD slot as well for the media-attuned. The camera isn't exactly out-of-this-world, but still shows off with its 8 megapixels, along with a front-camera boasting 1.9 megapixels. There's zero shutter lag and it takes less than a second to boot up. The camera also offers a burst feature, capturing 20 shots at a rate of 3.3 per second. Lastly, the replaceable battery measures at 2,100 mAh, which is a bit more powerful than other flagship phones (such as the HTC One X).

Samsung seems to have placed a lot of effort into the S III's software. While TouchWiz (Samsung's custom UI) is still around, it actually offers quite a bit on top of Android 4.0.

Smart Stay: The phone utilizes its camera and facial recognition features to watch you through the front camera. As long as you stick around, the phone won't "sleep" and the screen won't shut off.

Smart Alert: Once your phone wakes up (or when you wake up), the phone will inform you of any activity that's occured since sleeping.

S Voice: The phone will "wake up" when you chat to it. You can have up to 5 personalized commands.

S Beam: Similar to Android Beam, the S Beam is an intuitive way of sharing that makes use of WiFi and NFC. By pressing your Galaxy S III against another S III, you can wireless transfer files such as videos and music.

Besides interesting new software, the Galaxy S III has it's own array of gestures that control the phone, but we may have to wait for the official release to see all of them for ourselves.

Sources/Pictures: engadget, cnet



Google I/O 2011

clock May 11, 2011 01:11 by author Jeremy

Google's I/O event was held today, impressing the world with the fresh updates and new implementations they've got up their sleeves.

To start off, Google announced that Android 3.1 would be released to Verizon Xoom customers starting today. The update will include customizable widgets, and will allow users to have their device act as a "host" for other devices: for example, connecting a digital camera to your tablet will allow you to import all of your photos, while connecting USB devices like an XBox 360 controller will let you play specific games using the remote. By summer, Android 3.1 will be getting another update to include Google TV, which will have its own section in the Android Market as well.

Speaking of new Android versions, Google's released the official name (but not software number) of their next OS: Ice Cream Sandwich (seen above). They're hoping that this will be the universal OS applied to all devices, including your phone and tablet. While not officially stated, general word amongst fan-droids is that this should help battle fragmentation.

Also new to Android versions: Google has struck a deal with a large list of carriers and OEM's to make sure that all phones released will receive updates for a minimum period of 18 months. While this doesn't explain how often the updates will occur, it's still a start in the right direction. One of Apple's main strengths over Android phones was their stability brought through regular updates; meanwhile, Android owners struggle to get minor fixes corrected within just a few months. See the picture below for just a few of the major OEMs and carriers involved.

Google's also announced two new software services (though this first one was pretty much all but "officially" confirmed): Music Beta and instant movie streaming. Music beta will hold up to 20,000 songs in the cloud and is free (for now - very important note there). Like iTunes and many other media players, you can create playlists, see lists of recently played and play counts, and even offers "Instant Mix" (like iTunes' Genius). Also, once playlists are made, they'll be available on each Android device you own - no need for wires anymore).

Instant movie streaming will have varied pricing, starting at $1.99 for regular movies and $4.99 for HD selections. Upon renting a movie, you have 30 days to start it; once started, you have 24 hours to finish. The real question is how this will play out against other major movie streaming cmopanies such as Netflix.

Music Beta is available now for everyone to tinker with (remember, it's only free while in Beta). The movie streaming app will come with the Honeycomb 3.1 update and will hit phones "in a few weeks" (2.2 and above required, though).

The last two announcements really drove Google's point home - quite literally, too. Android at Home is one of them, which will allow your Android devices to control large appliances and devices throughout the house. This includes dishwashers, thermostats, even lamps. Google realizes that these machines won't have wifi or USB docks, so they're accepting developers to come work with them to make this a relaity. They've already started working on a few examples, such as controlling lights with your tablet.

The other announcement is one welcoming everyone to test and create for ADK, Google's new hardware design. It currently incorporates USB integration, but hopefully will include Bluetooth later. With the ADK, users will be able to control any number of products with their Android devices, assuming it gets a big enough kick-start from hardware designers and developers. At I/O, Google's example was a wooden labyrinth which was controlled by a Xoom via USB.

All in all, lots of exciting things at I/O today. Probably the most famous of these was the promised updates to phones from carriers/OEMs. We've still yet to hear what software number Ice Cream Sandwich OS will be, but we're sure it'll come out in due time. For now, we have Music Beta, instant movie streaming, and soon Google TV to hold us off.

Source/Pictures: engadget.com



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