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9Nov/11Off

Samsung Focus Flash Review

The new Samsung Focus Flash may not be the most impressive device we’ve seen lately, but it does offer an overall decent value and comes in at a fair price. Announced back in September and available now the Focus Flash has a lot to offer like its bigger brother in the Focus S, but can it deliver with that small screen and mediocre camera? Find out below and enjoy some photos while you’re at it.

We’ll keep this short and sweet just like the phone itself, not to mention most Windows Phone devices have all been pretty similar thus far, especially those from Samsung. The Focus Flash may not be a top of the line device but it does offer a 3.7″ AMOLED display and a speedy 1.4 GHz single-core processor. First off lets look at my hands-on and unboxing then well get started.

Samsung Focus Flash WP7 hands-on and unboxing

Hardware

Like we mentioned above the hardware isn’t really anything special or new, but then neither is the software with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. We’ve seen it before but it does come in a decent package that is at least somewhat impressive when considering the price it’ll be — just $49 with a new 2-year contract. We have a 3.7″ Super AMOLED display (no plus), a 1.4 GHz single-core Qualcomm processor, 512MB of RAM, along with a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash around back and a 1.3 front for video chat. Sadly we only have 8GB of internal storage and no micro-SD slot, 6GB is all that is available to the user and will probably pose a few problems for the media heavy user.

It’s not the thinnest device we’ve seen but certainly not the fattest. The overall design is a lightweight black plastic with a small area of brushed aluminum on the back that gives it a quality feel. It comes in around 0.40″ thick so still quite decent in that regard and the rounded edges on the back give this phone a comfortable feel in the hands — even though the front has a very squared design.

All four sides have a port or button of some sort but that shouldn’t concern most users. We have the power button and dedicated camera buttons dressed in black on the right side, the micro-USB port for sync and charging on bottom along with the microphone pinhole as shown above. Then around to the left and top we have the volume up/down rocker and the usual 3.5mm headphone jack. A very standard design, but one that users will be both familiar and comfortable with.

While the display isn’t as large as some we’ve seen, or the Focus S launched at the same time. We do have 3.7″ of Super AMOLED beauty and the 800 x 480 resolution looks just fine with the bright and crisp Samsung display. We have no complaints with the hardware although we wouldn’t mind a slightly bigger screen, not to mention maybe a louder speaker around back. Then again, you can’t really complain for $49 can you?

Software

If you’ve been following along with WP7 you should be well aware of the software here. Running on the latest Windows Phone 7.5 Mango the Metro UI is smooth, stable, and very fluid. Many might argue the fact that we only have a single-core processor here, but things are plenty quick with what’s on board on the Focus Flash. We won’t focus on the software much as you probably already know what to expect, if not here is our comprehensive WP7.5 Mango review. Everything is exactly the same here and runs great. Here’s a video tour of WP 7.5 Mango on the original Samsung Focus.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Review (on Samsung Focus):

Sliding around and customizing tiles on your homescreen remains a bit touchy and the quickest of movement can throw it off. Being able to customize everything is a nice touch that users of WP7 have been enjoying since its release. I wont hammer this point too hard but the obvious weak point here is the WP7 marketplace still. Although we have some popular games such as Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and many others it just can’t complete with iOS or Android.

AT&T Radio worked well on the 4G (HSPA+) signal in my area and while its no Spotify you do have some great choices for music and radio stations.

Camera & Battery Life

The Focus Flash comes equipped with a 5 megapixel camera on the rear with an LED flash. We didn’t get an 8 MP shooter here but the camera does quite well for what Samsung is offering in this mid-range smartphone. It is capable of shooting 720p video like most these days and was fairly average. The dedicated button was a bit tough to press down and gave enough resistance to actually help photos become out of focus, but you’ll get the hang of it. We quickly snapped a few photos with the 5 megapixel camera and were pleasantly surprised with the overall quality when held still. I’ve seen much worse for this price point — below are some samples.

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We have a mediocre 1,500 mAh battery included but it was able to get me through an entire day of moderate usage. Any day of heavy usage you’ll probably need a charge near the end of your evening but that is to be expected with smartphones. In the WP7 battery bench test it lasted almost 4 hours, better than many WP7 handsets we’ve seen lately including the Nokia Lumia 800. Expect to charge it daily if you use your phone as much as me. Light users may be able to squeeze two days from this petite little Mango powered device.

Wrap Up

The Samsung Focus Flash may not be the best WP7 device on the block, but it doesn’t try to be either. You get a great overall phone for what you pay for — if Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is your sort of thing. The specs wont have people benchmarking and comparing this phone but it has enough power to keep the masses plenty happy during daily use. It may not be the biggest, fastest, prettiest, or the best but for just $49 it should capture a few hearts from the budget crowd.

If you’re on AT&T and have been eying a budget Android handset or maybe an old iPhone 3GS consider trying the Samsung Focus Flash. The few letdowns like the weak market and short list of apps may run some users away. If you are just looking for a budget smartphone that is easy to use and will let you check the occasional email and update your Facebook, this might just be for you.

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Samsung Focus Flash Review is written by Cory Gunther & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

iPhone 4S’ proximity sensor is designed for Siri

Thanks to the iPhone 4S teardown at iFixit, there may now be an explanation for why Apple restricts the Siri intelligent assistant feature to the iPhone 4S. Apparently, it is indeed a hardware related issue, or at least partly, as the iPhone 4S uses a new infrared LED proximity sensor specifically designed to work with Siri.

Since Apple launched Siri last month as an iPhone 4S exclusive, many have been questioning the motivations behind that restriction. It didn’t help that hackers were able to tinker around to get Siri working to some degree on both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. But now, there’s at least one good hardware reason why Apple would not want Siri on older devices.

The iPhone 4S uses a new proximity sensor that seems to be constantly active. In contrast, the proximity sensors on older iPhones only switched on during calls. This may have something to do with Siri’s “Raise to Speak” feature that lets you raise your device towards your face to initiate Siri queries. This would require the proximity sensor to be active almost all the time to constantly attempt to detect the phones distance to your face.


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iPhone 4S’ proximity sensor is designed for Siri is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

Adobe slammed by former Adobe executive over Mobile Flash cut, stock plunges

Today there was a rather important announcement made by Adobe regarding the amount of Flash that’ll be found on mobile devices in the future: zero – and now that the public and the former leaders of Adobe have gotten full wind, the results aren’t good. Of course it’s been a point of contention whether or not flash should be on mobile devices for just about as long as there’s been a concept of a smartphone, so the markets were bound to react to any sort of big change in the waters here in this situation, and it appears that Adobe really couldn’t have gotten much worse of a reaction from stockholders.

In addition to the generally negative set of comments found around the web today, former Adobe executive Calos Icaza let the world know through Read Write Web’s Dan Rowinski that he’d been pushing for Adobe to focus on flash for touchscreen displays since all the way back in 1997, and is now feeling a bit like he had the right idea. The situation back then eventually lead to him leaving the company, and now he’s talking up how back then even though half the mobile Flash team at Adobe carried the Apple iPhone in 2007, they said it was a niche. Three years later and flash is on Android, one year after that, Adobe cancels Flash for mobile altogether.

“They dragged it on for months and months and three years down the line they finally kill it. It became too much of a tangle. At the end of the day the focus on what was important was lost and what is important are the developers.” – Icaza

Icaza noted that Adobe’s focus hit the more popular feature phone market through the launch of the iPhone and the rest of the smartphone market, and it was, again, three YEARS until Flash was offered on Android. Reception has been generally lukewarm, and because Flash has taken a backseat in Adobe’s business model to development tools, Flash is done for mobile. Developers, consumers, and Adobe investors have reacted negatively in the face of the move. Take a peek at this chart of the stock price today and feel the heat:

[via Android Community]


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Adobe slammed by former Adobe executive over Mobile Flash cut, stock plunges is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

Nissan Pivo 3 EV concept gets closer to reality

Nissan will be showing off its latest electric vehicle concept called the Pivo 3 at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show. But ahead of the major event, the company has released some photos and videos this week of the third-generation Pivo and it’s looking much closer to a realistic production vehicle than ever before.

The Pivo 3 zero-emission three-seater has evolved quite a bit in design from the Pivo 1 and 2, which resembled cartoonish bubbles on wheels. But it still retains many of its quirky features, including the driver’s seat being located at the center position rather than towards the left or right side of the vehicle.

It’s wheels no longer turn completely sideways, but still maintain a large range of rotation, allowing for a tiny two-meter turning radius that makes the vehicle extremely easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Parking the vehicle is further simplified with an Automated Valet Parking system that lets the Pivo 3 park and recharge itself in specially equipped parking slots.

[via Engadget]


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Nissan Pivo 3 EV concept gets closer to reality is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

Will you buy a Galaxy Nexus? Our poll says YES, you will!

We’ve had a poll up on the front page of SlashGear since the official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in Hong Kong on the 18th of October, and from what the 16,700+ of you voters have said, it looks like this device is going to be a big seller! Of course the second in line option for this poll was “No, I don’t like Android,” this leading us to believe that you iPhone users out there aren’t about to switch over to the other platform, even IF it’s the next-generation hero for both Google and Samsung. The rest of you participants have got your reservations, seeking one of four options as far as why you’ve either got no Nexus in your future or need a bit more information on the release.

While it’s important to note that this poll is only so accurate as the real-life people participating in it, the results show quite clearly that more than HALF of the participants have one strong opinion on the device or essentially the opposite, though as it’s 31% of the full total what says “Definitely, it looks amazing!” while the next largest result at 21% says they wont simply because they do no like Android at all! Of course then the next place is the “maybe” response with an added “I’ll wait to see the first reviews.” We can help with that – soon, soon!

Next there’s the price issue at 11%, surprisingly, along with the notion that the voter wants a different Android phone or has a phone for which they’ll simply wait to have Ice Cream Sandwich loaded on. So here’s the thing: you voters don’t care about the price, you just want the phone that you want, and more than likely that’s the Galaxy Nexus. Voters seemed to either be ready to keep rolling with Android in one way or another OR preferred a different mobileOS – but take note, as most of the options assumed the person answering already had a mind for the Android landscape, I’d bet only those madly against Android responded that they did not want the device because they did not like Android.

Imagine that.

The poll will remain open until a bit later this week, at which time we’ll be switching it up for something else – stay tuned to find out what!

Also note that we’ve got plenty of hands-on time with the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich prepared for you from the Hong Kong event as well as a London event for the Galaxy Note in which they had a few Galaxy Nexus units on hand for more peeks, see it all here, live and in motion! Also stick with us here on SlashGear for the full review of the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich soon!

Galaxy Nexus hands-on with Ice Cream Sandwich

Galaxy Nexus vs Galaxy Note hands-on


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Will you buy a Galaxy Nexus? Our poll says YES, you will! is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

Android, iOS overtake Sony PSP, Nintendo DS in US portable game revenue

According to new data from mobile analytics firm Flurry, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices have now taken command of the US portable gaming market. Together, they control 58 percent of the industry’s revenue in 2011. That’s a huge jump from just two years ago when the Nintendo DS held 70 percent of portable gaming revenue.

Gaming on mobile devices has been on the rise, but this is the first time that gaming revenue from iPhones and Android smartphones have overtaken dedicated portable gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

“We see, for the first time, that smartphone revenue in the U.S. has leap-frogged portable game revenue,” said Flurry’s vice president of marketing Peter Fargo. “The disruption has been downright brutal.”

With ever faster mobile processors as we’ve seen with the recently launched iPhone 4S and the upcoming Tegra 3 chips for Android tablets, smartphones will increasingly be able to play console-quality games, making the future even more bleak for dedicated portable game machines.

Nintendo reported its first loss in profit this year since 1982, caused by a decline in game and console sales, losing $925 million in the six-month period that ended in September. Its Nintendo 3DS was considered a flop and now it’s attempting to turn things around with a whole new game console concept with the Wii U.

Sony’s PlayStation Portable has likewise been slipping, waiting for its next iteration in the form of the PS Vita. However, reception to the PS Vita has thus far been lukewarm and the device won’t arrive in most parts of the world until early next year.

[via AppleInsider]


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Android, iOS overtake Sony PSP, Nintendo DS in US portable game revenue is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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9Nov/11Off

Google Reaffirms Support For Android Partners In Asia – Offers To Defend OEM’s From Apple

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Today, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, reaffirmed Google’s support for Asian OEM’s involved (or soon to be involved) in legal disputes with Apple. The support comes in the form of information sharing, industry and most importantly — Google’s newly acquired patents. Schmidt told reporters,

“We tell our partners, including the ones here in Taiwan, we will support them. For example we have been supporting HTC in its dispute with Apple because we think that the Apple thing is not correct.”

It’s said the purpose of Schmidt’s visit was two-fold. One, to reassure their alliances that Google will offer aid in the event of a legal dispute and two — to calm Asian manufacturers’ concerns that Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola would mean favoritism and a new key rival for current Android OEM’s.

Mr. Schmidt was wrapping up his three city tour in Taipei, even throwing out an olive branch to China, whom Google has had a rocky relationship with in the past. According to Schmidt, Google still has a “growing and profitable business in China.”

[Via Reuters]


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9Nov/11Off

Zombie Driver HD Coming Soon To Nvidia Tegra 2 Devices – Optimized Tegra 3 Version Also In The Works

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Zombie games are a dime a dozen. Now, zombie driving games… well, that’s an entirely different story. Exor Studios, developers of the hit game Zombie HD, have recently announced that their zombie-hit-and-run title will be coming soon to Nvidia Tegra 2 devices.

What’s more, according to DroidGamers, there will also be a Tegra 3 version of the title, optimized to take advantage of all the extra horse power the quad-core Tegra 3 can dish out. While no specific time frame was given for the Tegra 3 version, you can expect the version for the Tegra 2 before the end of the year. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the PC/Steam, Xbox Live, PSN title below.

Looks like a bloody, good time to me. What did you guys think? I can’t wait to plow through some zombie hordes while drinking eggnog, all cozy in my Snuggie.

[Exor Studios via DroidGamers]


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9Nov/11Off

Apps Of The Day: Sim City Deluxe & Writepad

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Every day we peruse the Android Market looking for the best, worst, interesting, and most unique apps in an effort to sift out a few gems. We call it Apps of the Day. We can’t guarantee that every app featured below is a real winner, but each is worth at least a quick look. It’s all in an effort to help you, our faithful readers, get the most out of your Android handsets. Read on to see what we found today!

Writepad - The company behind handwriting recognition app WritePad just updated their app and it now supports print, cursive, or mixed writing on phones, tablets, and stylus-enabled Android devices in addition to improving their overall recognition capabilities. I can see where this might come in handy on a tablet, especially within the framework of specific apps or tasks, but I’m not so sure I want to be writing on a phone. Anyone with me? Of course I’m not a Swype fan either… [Market Link]

Sim City Deluxe - Sim City on my Android phone? It’s more likely than you think. EA released this mobile edition of the popular city-building franchise today. It isn’t as full-fledged as its PC counterpart, but the same basic concepts still apply as you build and manipulate your city. The game plays out in scenarios that see you taking the reigns of several pre-established cities. You can further grow the city and add your own touch with real-life landmarks. Just go easy on the earthquakes and alien invasions. [Market Link]


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9Nov/11Off

Mobile Gaming Revenue Surpasses that of Nintendo, Sony

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When the first Gameboy hit shelves back in 1989, few could have imagined how handheld gaming would transform over the next two decades. Even fewer could have imagined that one day we would have devices that merged both a portable telephone and portable gaming device in a package far smaller than that first effort from Nintendo. Since those early days, other companies such as Sony have jumped into the market, and in of 2009 the two gaming giants held a 81 percent share of handheld revenue. Android and iOS shared the rest at 19 percent. This was when smartphone gaming was still young and industry experts first began wondering if the emerging technology would emerge as a top platform for game distribution.

Sine 2009 Android and iOS have begun to take a larger hold of the handheld gaming space. Angry Birds has emerged as a cultural icon and near-console quality titles have appeared in the wake of dual-core processors and advanced screen technology becoming standard. And for the first time ever Android and iOS gaming has overtaken traditional handheld gaming with a 58 percent revenue share, according to Flurry Analytics.

Nintendo has taken the stand that they won’t soon enter into smartphone gaming. Sony has taken a different approach with the release of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and the Playstation Suite. Given the latest figures, perhaps it is time for Nintendo to reconsider their position.

[via Android and Me]

 


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