We’re live at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where things are just starting to get under way. As a warm up to the main event we were at ShowStoppers last night where we had a chance to check out the Lenovo K900. You might remember the K900 from CES, where it was shown off for the first time (but only under glass). Lenovo is showing off a more complete build of the K900 here at the show and we had the pleasure to get a hands-on look.
The K900 is built up around two core hardware elements: a 5.5-inch 1080p display and Intels’s Clover Trail+ Atom processor for mobile. It’s the first phone to feature the dual-core 2GHz chipset, and it runs plenty fast. Don’t let the number of cores fool you.
The build quality of the K900 is beyond anything we have seen from Lenovo before. It features a metal chassis and slim design (6.9mm) and feels sturdy in hand (though not overly bulky). It’s still a large phone (comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in size), but Lenovo has done their best to reduce its overall footprint. At CES we saw several different casing options ranging from brushed aluminum to something more akin to diamond plate, but we only had a chance to see the more basic finish at MWC.
There currently are no plans to bring the K900 to the US market, which is a bit of a shame. Not many companies are doing much with Intel’s mobile SoCs and Android, and Lenovo has done a good job bringing the two together in their latest handset. The phone will go on sale in China this April.
We already showed you the LG Optimus G Pro, arguably LG’s highest-of-end devices and while spending a little time in their booth here at Mobile World Congress 2013, we got ourselves acquainted with their upcoming mid-tier device line up: the LG Optimus F5 and LG Optimus F7.
Officially announced just before last weekend, the 4G LTE equipped LG Optimus F5 and F7 tout higher than usual capacity batteries — 2,150mAh and 2,540, respectively — and last year’s high-end specs, meaning both of these devices are more than fully capable little Androids. Here’s a quick spec refresher:
Optimus F5 Specs:
- Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual-Core
- Display: 4.3-inch IPS (256 ppi)
- Size: 126.0 x 64.5 x 9.3mm
- Memory: 8 GB / 1 GB RAM / microSD (up to 32GB)
- Camera: 5.0 MP AF / 1.3 MP
- Battery: 2,150mAh
Optimus F7 Specs:
- Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
- Processor: 1.5 GHz Dual-Core
- Display: 4.7-inch True HD IPS (312 ppi)
- Size: 131.7 x 68.2 x 9.6mm
- Memory: 8 GB / 2 GB RAM /microSD (up to 32GB)
- Camera: 8.0 MP AF / 1.3 MP
- Battery: 2,540mAh
We still don’t have a launch schedule for these devices here in the states, but with sleek looks, solid specs and all day battery life, the LG Optimus F5 and F7 are sure to be real crowd pleasers once they do launch. I happen to have my eye on that F7, or “LG Optimus G Lite” as I like to call it. Anyone impressed with LG’s showing this year at MWC 2013?
Acer is showing off a couple of new Jelly Bean handsets at Mobile World Congress. Entries to their Liquid range of smartphones, the Acer Liquid Z2 and Acer Liquid E1 are designed with pricing in mind. The Z2 will run for 99 euro unsubsidized. The E1 is priced at 199 euro, again unsubsidized with VAT included. Talk about affordable.
But you trade off some high-end specs to get that pricing. The E1, the more substantial of the pair, offers a 4.5-inch qHD IPS display, runs a dual-core 1GHz processor, and carries 1GB of RAM. The Z2 sports a 3.5-inch display, single-core 1GHz processor, and 512MB RAM.
The software experience remains relatively stock, but the Z2 offers a rather unique feature for first-time smartphone users. A transitional experience, the handset can be switched into “feature phone” mode, blocking out the deeper Android experience for something more akin to what dumb phone users are familiar with. It’s a novel concept, if not a little pointless.
The Liquid Z2 and Liquid E1 are poised to ship globally any day now. They should be popping up around Europe this week. For US buyers, there are currently no plans to bring the devices Stateside.
LG’s L Series is one of the company’s best selling lines, combining style with affordability and offering consumers with a decent choice between screen size and specs. It’s no surprise, then, that we are seeing a second generation of Optimus L devices at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
The Optimus L3 II, Optimus L5 II, and Optimus L7 II were all on display and we had a chance to check them out. The L3 offers an entry-level experience with a 3.2-inch display. Approaching the Optimus L7 we move up to a 4.3-inch screen and dual-core processing.
The phones are designed to appear a bit pricier than they will eventually retail for, but the looks are betrayed a bit by the feeling in hand. For those looking for a cheap entry point to Android, an L Series device is definitely serviceable, however.
Samsung announced their latest Note just in time for MWC, and we went hands-on with what might be considered the biggest phablet yet. Yes, let’s get it out of the way. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has full phone functionality (the international model, at least).
It’s not just the biggest phone you have ever held to your face, though. This 8-inch slate features a full compliment of S Pen-driven apps and brings the Note experience to a new form factor. More portable than the Note 10.1 and providing more screen real estate than the Note 2, the Note 8.0 hits a sweet spot between form and function.
In terms of hardware and software, the tablet tweaks the hardware of the Galaxy Note 2 and sticks it in a slightly bigger frame. You get the same ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor (though clocked slightly higher at 1.6GHz), 2GB RAM, a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing shooter, and Android 4.1.2. The Note 8.0 features a a 4,600mAh battery and will ship in 16GB and 32GB storage options. There isn’t much new with the S Pen, but fans of the stylus will be happy to learn that it can now operate the tablet’s capacitive ‘menu’ and ‘back’ buttons.
You don’t get much in the way of an altered software experience, with the Note 8.0 being based on the same version of TouchWiz as the Note 10.1 and Note 2. This means you get such features as AirView, multi-window apps, Smart Stay. A few new apps are packaged within, including Awesome Note (exclusively available on the slate), an updated FlipBoard app with AirView capabilities for quick previewing of articles, and a smart remote suite that pairs with the slate’s built-in IR blaster.
The Note 8.0 will be launching later this year globally. A North American version is planned, though exact details on its release have not been revealed.
The folks at Samsung have taken it upon themselves to officially announce the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. The tablet is a continuation of the original tablet side of this line which started with a 10 inch variant. It’s quite the perfect intermediate device to go between the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 — a phone — and the aforementioned larger slate. So what, exactly, can we expect from this bad boy?
It obviously has an 8 inch 1280×800 Wacom-enabled display that can take input from Samsung’s S Pen, a 1.6GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 2GB of RAM, between 16 and 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion up to 64GB, a 5 megapixel on the rear accompanied by a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front, a 4,600mAh battery, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz, and more.
The usual Samsung bits will be injected, including multi-view for using two different apps at once, Samsung’s AllShare media software, Samsung’s various hubs for entertainment and education, and more. The S Pen will enable the use of AirView, a technology that allows you to hover the pen over the display to get a quick preview of what’s inside certain menu items, list items, notifications, or galleries. S Note, S Planner, Paper Artist, Page Buddy and more all around out the experience.
It’s not the most groundbreaking release by now, but Samsung’s Note strategy has been working quite nicely since 2012 and this new 8-inch variant will only help by giving users a more portable option over the 10-inch slate. The device is expected to launch starting Q2 in Europe, Korea, North America, China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Latin America, and there will be a cellular model available. Read on for full press details.
INTRODUCING THE GALAXY NOTE 8.0,
A NEW ERA OF PORTABILITY AND EVERYDAY PRODUCTIVITY
SEOUL, Korea [February 24, 2011] – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and
digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of the 8 inch tablet, the GALAXY Note 8.0; a
new era of intelligent Note technology set to re-ignite the mid-size tablet category that Samsung established
in 2010. Providing unrivalled multimedia performance within a compact one-hand-grip screen, the GALAXY
Note 8.0 has the power and advanced technology to evolve the tablet experience and ensure you achieve
new levels of efficient multi-tasking while benefitting from superb voice call functionality*. Furthermore, the
intelligent S Pen brings together the latest innovation and the ease of using a traditional pen and paper;
creating a sophisticated mobile experience that will enhance life on the go.
“Back in 2010 the launch of the first Samsung GALAXY Tab with 7 inch screen opened a new chapter in
the mobile industry. Now almost three years later, Samsung continues to evolve the sector that meets the
demands of modern life.” said JK Shin, President of the IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung
“The GALAXY Note 8.0 breaths fresh life into the category as it delivers the perfect fusion of portability and
everyday productivity – the result is a pioneering, pocket-sized solution that enhances and enriches our
everyday lives, whether at work or play,” added Shin.
At the core of the GALAXY Note 8.0’s innovative solutions are beneficial functions, including multi-window
options to split the portable 8inch screen and allow optimal access to a number of live applications; a new
generation of Samsung’s intelligent S Pen with advanced usability; access to a suite of S Note templates and
tools that allow you to create, edit, manage and share everyday documents; the Samsung “reading mode”
technology to enjoy e books with optimized resolution, video and voice calls*. In addition, a suite of exciting
new content and services are pre-loaded for users at no additional cost including, for the very first time on
Samsung GALAXY tablet, the innovative Flipboard, and Awesome Note.
A smart diary for life on the go
Slim and compact enough to become the perfect on-the-go work and play companion, the GALAXY Note 8.0
brings powerful performance and functionality to support even the most demanding of lifestyles. Designed
to store and manage your personal and professional data efficiently, the new era device gives users the
perfect pocket-sized hands-on organizational tool. Practical S Note templates and S Planner feature help
to manage everyday tasks, including meeting notes, to-do lists and even personal diary entries. All content
can be entered and updated with the finest of detail thanks to the evolution of the intelligent Samsung S Pen.
Enhanced precision is offered with Handwriting-to-Text conversion and advanced Productivity Tools that
support formula and shape recognition are now available at the touch of your S Pen.
New content and services
GALAXY Note 8.0 is packed with pre-loaded content and apps specifically for the value maximizing,
mass multimedia consumer. Upgraded Chat-On provides easy instant messaging and group chatting in
multiple formats – images, video, voice, contacts – for simple, enjoyable communication. Awesome Note,
an integrated application that is introduced in android tablet for the first time with NOTE 8.0, is capable of
unlimited note-taking uses including Memo, Diary and Must-remember lists. With Flipboard, your news,
social network and other feeds come together in one stylish, flippable format so you can enjoy all your
news and life’s great moments in one place. Flipboard developed a customized version of its application
exclusively for Samsung that allows users to take the S Pen’s hover feature and preview article headers
beneath Flipboard’s main screen tiles. Finally, Smart Remote, gives you a universal remote control and
electronic programming guide allowing you to manage TV and video watching seamlessly.
A new age of S Pen intelligence
Optimized to aid personalized creativity, the Samsung S Pen has evolved to increase everyday usability
and enhance creation expression. Embedded within the tablet, the S Pen is an extension of the GALAXY
Note 8.0. Removing the S Pen from the device will automatically launch innovative features such as Pen
Detection that will suggest adapted menus that it thinks you’ll need and Page Buddy, a feature that will
intuitively activate your most recently adapted S Note home screen.
S Pen technology is now so advanced that it doesn’t even have to touch the screen. With Air View, the S
Pen needs only to hover over the screen to see previews of videos, emails, photos and appointments on
SPlanner without opening the file or application in full. S Pen Gesture allows images and content to be easily
edited and cropped, whilst Paper Artist and Photo Note allow photos to be artistically personalized.
In addition, for the very first time in GALAXY NOTE category, you can use S Pen to control the physical
menu/back buttons on the device with WACOM technology.
Maximizing mass multimedia consumption
Creative multi-tasking with the GALAXY Note 8.0 is effortless due to innovative Dual View feature, two
multi window options that seamlessly allow you to facilitate multi-screen usage. Dual View’s split screen
accommodates optimal operation of different apps, such as launching the S Note on the web browser screen
and allowing content to be resized, dragged and dropped as required.
Multi-tasking is extended to phone calls*. Pop Up Note allows you to access S Note at any time to keep track
of key actions and Pop Up Video ensures you can keep surfing the web whilst chatting – content windows
can be easily resized by pinching to enlarge or reduce.
Perfect info-tainment partner
Packed with features to engage, entertain and excite, the GALAXY Note 8.0 supports your practical
everyday needs. Reading Mode transforms the GALAXY Note 8.0 into an e-Book reader, provides the
optimal reading conditions to ensure you can curl up and enjoy a good book. You can even turn it into a
universal remote control with Smart Remote, to seamlessly manage TVs, set-up boxes, DVD & Blu-ray
For further information, please visit www.samsungmobilepress.com.
For ChatOn Vr 2.0, please visit http://youtu.be/jjRmbglgUWA
Notes to Editors
The GALAXY Note 8.0 will be available from 2Q of 2013 worldwide (EUR, KOR, NA, SEA, SWA, MEA, CHN,
GALAXY Note 8.0 Product Specifications
HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
1.6GHz A9 quad-core processor
8” WXGA (1280×800, 189 ppi) TFT
Android 4.1.2 (Jellybean)
Main(Rear): 5 Megapixel Camera
Sub(Front): 1.3 Megapixel Camera
S Pen Optimized
Content Features &
Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX, (1080p Full HD video @
Codec: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, AC3, FLAC3.5mm Ear Jack,
S Pen Experience
- S Note, S Planner, Email with hand-writing integration
- Quick Command, Easy Clip, Photo Note, Paper Artist
Popup Note, Popup Video
Shape Match, Formula Match, Idea Sketch
Samsung AllShare Play
Samsung AllShare Cast(WiFi Display) – Mirroring & Extension
Samsung AllShare Framework
Samsung Kies /Samsung Kies Air
Samsung TouchWiz / Samsung L!ve Panel
- Game Hub
-Learning Hub / Readers Hub / Music Hub / Video Hub/ Media Hub(US
Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service (version 2.0)
Smart Stay, Direct Call
Page Buddy/ Tag Buddy/ Word Buddy
Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude
Google Play Store, Google Play Books, Google Play Movies
Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk,
Google Places, Google Navigation, Google Downloads
A-GPS + GLONASS (3G Version)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, AllShareCast, BT4.0,
Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity
2GB (RAM), 16/32GB
microSD (up to 64GB)
210.8 X 135.9mm, 338g (3G Version)
Standard battery, Li-ion 4,600mAh
*The availability of voice call function may differ by country
*The availability of each Samsung Hubs and Google service may differ by country.
*All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the
benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice or
*Android, Google, Android Beam, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude, Google Play Store, Google Play Books,
Google Play Movies, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Places, Google Navigation, and Google Downloads are trademarks
of Google Inc.
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people
everywhere. Through relentless innovation and discovery, we are transforming the worlds of televisions,
smartphones, personal computers, printers, cameras, home appliances, LTE systems, medical devices,
semiconductors and LED solutions. We employ 236,000 people across 79 countries with annual sales
exceeding KRW 201 trillion. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.
Report: Google Glass to get general consumer release by end of this year (and one user’s take on it from personal experience)
It’s been a good month for Google Glass, it seems. Following seemingly successful rounds of developer workshops (the results of which are being protected under strict non-disclosure agreements), Google confirmed it would be expanding the Glass Explorer program to give lucky (and rich) users a chance to get the device in its early stages for $1,500. While most of us probably won’t be crazy enough to spend that much on it, new information suggests we’ll all have a crack at the device for a cheaper price much sooner.
CNet has heard it from a source that Google would carry out a consumer launch of Google Glass by the end of 2013. The original timeline was early-mid 2014 so this is even better than we expected. The device will apparently come to us for less than $1,500, though price has yet to be pinpointed just yet. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t be in the range of thousands of dollars.
Other information gleaned from the source suggests Google Glass will be able to interface with both Android devices and iPhone devices, and will do so via Bluetooth. The device won’t have its own cellular radios so it’ll leverage the WiFi connection or cellular data from whichever phone or tablet it’s connected to. This makes a lot of sense, and to be quite honest we never expected Google Glass to be made with the idea that it could be used 100% independent of other devices.
In other news, The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky has had a go with the smart glasses for himself. As far as we know, this is the first user account of Google Glass out there, and it gives us a good idea of what to expect from a consumer standpoint before they officially hit store shelves.
Topolsky discusses design, potential, and his thoughts on whether or not Google Glass has what it takes to be the next big innovation in computing — long story short, he says it’s a matter of “when,” not “if.” Find that delicious story here, and let us know if you’re going to be in line for a pair of these if they do, in fact, drop by the end of this year.
YouTube for Android has gotten even better with its brand new upgrade in the Google Play Store. With this latest version, users can now use their Google+ profiles within the app to +1 videos. Other forms of integration weren’t immediately obvious but we’re still poking around. Users can also look forward to new notification controls for TV playback.
You’ll be able to pause and skip to the next video in a queue without having to be within the YouTube app, a feature I personally wished for just yesterday as I watched SimCity Beta videos on my Xbox 360 while I was checking Twitter on my phone.
Finally, a bug fix for issues with full-screen playback has been issued. This is a pretty quick upgrade so get to it whenever you can. If, for whatever reason, you don’t have YouTube on your Android smartphone or tablet you can find it here in the Google Play Store.
If you’re a T-Mobile customer who’s looking for a new smartphone and doesn’t mind being tethered to a two-year commitment, then one awesome deal has sprung up that will last for this weekend only. Magenta is offering the Nexus 4 for free after instant discounts and a $50 mail-in rebate card. If you anticipate being with T-Mobile for the next two years and don’t think you’ll need a new phone within that time then you’d be a fool to pass this one up.
Still, some folks might find it more economical to grab the device from the Google Play Store instead, where El Goog is selling it for a minimum of $300 unlocked. That’s a great price for a phone of this magnitude that doesn’t come with any contractual obligations. Head here if you’d rather take that particular route, but if T-Mobile’s current offer is fine for you then make no delay in ordering one here.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]
Samsung Galaxy S4: case leaks give rough idea of phone’s shape, TouchWiz camera getting Photo Sphere-esque feature
It’s been tough to get an early look at Samsung’s Galaxy S4 ahead of its official unveiling, but we might have some new information courtesy of accessory retailer MobileFun. According to a “trusted” Chinese accessory maker, the images you see below are cut-out to fit Samsung’s as-yet announced flagship device. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here — it’s rectangular and has cut-outs for speakers, cameras, ports, and other odds and ends.
It’s hard to judge the shape of the nonexistent phone without actually seeing it, but these cases tell us to expect a device that’s a bit bigger than the Galaxy S3, with edges that are just a bit more sharp and pointed. Of course, the bigger size would come from the 5-inch 1080p display that is rumored to be going inside the thing. These cases would also seem to confirm recent rumors that the Galaxy S4 won’t be getting an S Pen, though that isn’t too surprising.
Going a bit further than that, the cutouts for the rear camera seem a tad bit larger than we’re normally used to. We’re not sure if this means we can expect a bigger camera sensor or just a bigger area surrounding it, but the cutout is rather consistent across the two different designs seen above and below. The cutout to the left of that is likely the flash as the cutout on the right of one of the cases is separated by a plastic bar, a design which indicates the presence of a speaker grill there.
There’s not much else to take from these photos so enjoy them however you can. In related news, Samsung is rumored to be bringing a feature to its TouchWiz camera called Orb. This feature can be likened to the Photo Sphere feature that was introduced with Android 4.2, which gives you the ability to take 360-degree photos of your surroundings using a quick, easy and intuitive process.
Even more frustrating than not having an early look at the device is that we don’t even have a clear idea of when Samsung is looking to unveil this thing. The latest rumors peg March 14th in New York City, while an earlier, independent rumor said we would see it March 15th in the same city.
Since those two dates are in close proximity to each other we have a pretty light circle surrounding that stretch of time on our calendars. Let’s get through Mobile World Congress first, and then we’ll see if Samsung starts hyping up the next Next Big Thing soon after.