Nokia Lumia Icon

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Brands keep pushing the limit on audio and video as we start to record more and more of our lives. Nokia’s new Lumia Icon has some impressive features, like four microphones to boost sound quality along with full 1080p HD, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and unpixelated zoom. Now we’ll see if this phone can make a dent in the market share for Apple and Samsung.

Samsung’s New Tablet Hybrid May be The Most Exciting Tablet in Years

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With their Galaxy line, Samsung became one of the few, if not only, companies to truly give Apple a run for their money in terms of popularity and performance in the smartphone market.

However, the tablet market is a different story.

Sure, Apple’s iPad Mini might not be top of the line, but the full size tablet game still belongs to the iPad, as no company has really been able to produce a worthy technological challenger, despite some fine efforts.

Samsung might just have thrown their hat in the ring in a big way though with their unveiling of the ATIV Q. While actually a tablet/laptop hybrid (a design with a shaky history of past successes), ignore the pull out keyboard, and you’ve got a tablet that not only sports one of the clearest screens available thanks to a 3,200 x 1,800 resolution, but also has an i5 processor under the hood that insures it backs down to no one when it comes to pure power.

Of course since looks and ability oddly don’t mean everything when it comes to purchasing a tablet, the ATIV Q has an ace up its sleeve in the form of its dual OS capabilities.

Running off of both Windows 8 and Android, you are able to switch between the two at will, or allow them to run at the same time since they are designed to work together and share files, information, and the general workload. The idea behind this unique approach is that the presence of both systems will turn the tablet into a true all in one machine capable of performing the best that both have to offer, while using the advantages of one to compensate for the weaknesses of the other.

Or, most likely, a Windows laptop when you need it, and an Android tablet otherwise.

Sadly for the moment, that is an idea not much more than hypothetical, though, as Samsung has yet to set a release date or price for this hybrid, and few have had the chance to test it extensively enough to see if it stands the test of time to emerge as a true all weather machine.

In the meantime then we all just have to wait and see if Samsung really can breathe new life in the tablet wars.

New Galaxy Line to Bend, Not Break

 

The Galaxy S3 proved to be a hard phone not to love, as Samsung managed to take everything they did right , and learn from the things they did wrong, with their previous releases and craft a smartphone so sleek and versatile it caused not only onlookers, but longer term users as well to consistently say “whoa” in its presence.

Of course, since it more than had the sales figures to match its technical accomplishments, there was never any doubt that Samsung would be hard at work on an S4 for 2013. Now though, the rumors that are starting to pile up about the S4 are making it increasingly apparent that the only thing obvious about the next generation phone, is its eventual release.

A few of the news bits coming out like the rumored better camera and bigger screen (5 inches is the theory), suspected April or May release date, and faster processor are all unconfirmed, but seem inevitable. The more interesting theories are actually the ones leaking from Samsung’s camp, including the idea that thanks to the use of OLED panels, the display on the S4 might be unbreakable. The more plastic based OLED panel would allow for an incredibly durable alternative to the traditional glass set up and, while it may be the bane of cell phone repair centers, would be a welcome feature to consumers that can’t seem to stop spiking their phones, and end up living with a cracked screen.

Even more intriguing is word that the use of OLED panels might also allow Samsung to create a truly flexible cell phone display that will allow the user to bend, twist, fold, and roll their phone with ease. Not that the S3 was ever a burden (that would be the Galaxy Note), but the thought of being able to contort your phone to any position is not only exciting, but in combination with the unbreakable screen also sets up what could be the most reliable piece of hardware every released in the field.

These are both just rumors still, and might not even come into play until the S5, but it’s looking like Samsung is working under the motivation that in the smartphone world, 2nd is no place at all.

Everything You Wanted to Know About the iPhone 5 But Were Too Afraid to Ask

With the first reviews pouring in today for everyone’s soon to be most bragged about toy, the iPhone 5, it’s time to take a step back and look at everything we know about the new iPhone, to date.

The Look

It’s thinner (the thinnest smartphone in the world according to Apple), it’s taller (a half an inch taller to be exact), it comes in black and white (though that doesn’t matter according to the late Michael Jackson), and of course it’s pretty sleek. Apple has had more than enough time in this business to know what works and what doesn’t and they aren’t messing with the formula now. The iPhone 5 looks like an iPhone, just better.

The Features

For the most part, all of the usual upgrades apply. The sound is better, the video is clearer, and everything is supposed to be faster. Of particular note, though, are the new 4G capabilities and Siri functions. The 4G is supposedly as quick as you need it to be, Siri is better than ever, and can perform an array of new tricks from pulling up apps on request, to providing sports scores. Also, the camera is supposed to work better in lowlight, and the battery life is cited as working up to 12-14 hours in some cases with normal usage, which would mean a great improvement over the previous models.  However, if you’re looking for the real new feature of the iPhone 5, you have to turn to the new iO6.

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The biggest upgrade to i06 is the new Apple Maps features which opposes the popular Google Maps program. Reviews aren’t particularly flattering for the new app, as reviewers cite trouble using it practically in urban environments ,along with being generally behind Google Maps, but with things like Yelp integration, and Siri enabled GPS, a few updates could put the system on the right track. Otherwise, the new operating system is offering up increased Facebook functionality, Facetime compatibility, and a great all in one travelling app called Passbook that also works with some of your payment methods to help create a virtual wallet. Nice.

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OLED TV Buzz

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These new TVs are pretty amazing:

The biggest buzz so far at the Consumer Electronics Show comes from the new OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) televisions from the giant South Korean manufacturer Samsung.

Production costs had previously limited the size of OLED screens, which is why consumers mostly found them in cellular phones, and the only commercially available OLED television model had been the Sony XEL-1, an 11-inch model that debuted at the 2007 CES with a price of $2,500.

Samsung’s new televisions feature a 55-inch screen, an absurd 0.6-inch width, and a richness of color never before seen in commercial displays.

Check out the video and see for yourself. 3D TVs were a huge bust, but now these new super-thin TVs should generate some serious buzz.

Samsung announces the $1,000 luxury Galaxy tablet

Galaxy Tablet.I spent a solid 18 or so of my last 72 hours traveling and I was shocked to see how many tablets are out there. I knew that tablets were likely doing well, but in every airport it seemed there was always one in my field of vision. Tablets, for the most part, are fairly affordable devices, but Samsung wants to offer something for the people with deeper pockets.

At the Millionaire Fair (a concept so deplorable I could puke), Samsung announced that it would offer a Luxury Edition of its Galaxy tablet that would run roughly $1,000. Now, a grand isn’t all that bad for a piece of tech, but it is still a tablet, and it’s still running Android, which doesn’t charge for licensure. I suppose if you have piles of money to swim in, a $1,000 tablet doesn’t seem so bad. The Luxury Edition will be limited, available only until the end of January.

The device is expected to launch on Wednesday.

Samsung Galaxy S reaches 3 million shipped

Samsung Galaxy S.There’s one thing I can gather from news that the Samsung Galaxy S has shipped three million units to the US: Americans love big things. That’s really no surprise, and it’s sort of a joke, because the Galaxy S is a pretty badass litt…er…gigantic phone.

“We’re in a situation where we wish we had more supply,” Chief Marketing Officer Paul Golden told Reuters. That’s a good place to be, but also a bit of a scary place, too. Supply shortages often get extended over a period of months, months during which the company could be moving more handsets.

The tech that’s holding up production is, as with most phones these days, the screen. Samsung’s AMOLED is super-bright, but also takes a while to fabricate. In the end, though, I say good on Samsung for pushing a cool product to market with enough supply to last us a little while. Once the iPhone is on the major American carriers, I’d bet Samsung will find itself with plenty of handsets.

Image: Reuters

Samsung Wave: The phone that should run Android

Samsung Wave.Samsung has always impressed me as a hardware manufacturer. Their phones are usually decent looking, easy to use and personally I’ve experienced minimal hardware failures. The same holds true for the Samsung Wave, which, if anything, is their most impressive handset to date.

Just unveiled at a Valentine’s Day press conference, the Wave is Samsung’s entrant into the upper tier of the smartphone market. It runs a 1 GHz processor and boasts 802.11n, an 800 x 480 AMOLED, Bluetooth 3.0, a 5MP camera, 2GB or 8GB internal storage with a microSD slot for expansion, and codec support for WMV, DivX, XviD, MP3 and 720p decoding and recording. The spec sheet is incredible, until you get to one little detail.

Bada. Samsung dropped its brand-new OS on this phone – yes, it’s the operating system that’s meant to make feature phones all fun and featurey. I tried to be understanding when Samsung launched Bada, but with a phone this fantastic there is no reason to run anything but Android.

The phone launches in April. Prices remain unannounced.

The Google Phone is coming

Google logo.Yesterday I wrote a post about the Android explosion and the problems facing developers because there are so many different Android phones. Basically there is so much different hardware out there that developers have to spend time debugging instead of creating new features/apps. Today brings news of the one phone to rule them all, one phone to find them, one phone to bring them all, and crush their pathetic features under the full weight of Google R&D.

I’m talking about the Google phone, a phone that has been rumored for months. Really, Android has been waiting for a flagship device. I thought the Droid was it at first, but pointless features like that crap keyboard made me think otherwise. Michael Arrington and the crew at TechCrunch seem to have the inside scoop on the phone, and they’ve been kind enough to share.

The phone is basically Google’s vision of the perfect Android phone. As for features, there’s really not much to say other than that. From the sound of things it’s coming soon – think early 2010 – and will be sold both directly and through retailers. From the sound of things, it’ll be built by either Samsung or LG, though Arrington thinks it’ll be LG because Samsung already makes parts for the iPhone.

The phone would bring up the issue of competing with customers for Google. Making its own phone means other manufacturers will be going head-to-head with the company that makes the software. A recent update suggests the Google phone might be designed for data-only voice connections, which might assuage some of those concerns. It would still require a carrier – TechCrunch’s source says Google is considering AT&T for now – but calls would only be made over a data connection.

If nothing else, I’d be interested to see what Google considers the ideal Android phone. The Droid was good, but too many features felt like an afterthought.

Source: TechCrunch (first article / second article)

Samsung announces yet another mobile OS

samsung-badaToday Samsung announced that it was entering the open mobile operating system business with a service called “bada.” It’s still unclear as to the plan for the system, but we at least know that it’s not for smartphones. Yes, Samsung has designed a feature phone OS with its own SDK to lure in developers. And by “lure” I mean attract so few developers that the plan is scrapped for a stripped-down version of Android in the next year or two.

There are precious few details about the operating system. The press release tells us that the word bada means “ocean” in Korean, which “was chosen to convey the limitless variety of potential applications which can be created using the new platform.” Awww, your optimism is so adorable, Samsung. Really, that’s about all we know. The rest is coming in December, which is when Samsung will release the SDK. Wait – an SDK release just a month after the OS is announced? Are you watching this, Palm? Hmm?