Samsung Unpacked 5 event highlights

Samsung released this year’s edition of its top of the line smartphone — the Galaxy S5 — as well as a slew of wearables at the company’s Unpacked 5 event earlier today.

Samsung Galaxy S5 hands-on and initial review | Android Central

Let’s start with the basic Galaxy S5 specs:

  • 5.1-inch display. Android 4.4 KitKat.
  • 16-megapixel rear camera.
  • 2 gigabytes of RAM.
  • Storage options of 16 or 32 gigabytes.
  • MicroSD card storage.
  • Waterproofing with a IP67 rating.
  • 802.11 ac Wifi, with MIMIO (2x2).
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • USB 3.0.
  • NFC.
  • IR port.
  • 2,800 mAh (removable) battery.

All high-end phones should have some kind of water-resistance.

Meet Samsung’s new smartwatch family: the Gear 2, Neo and Fit | Engadget

Samsung’s new crop of Gear smartwatches are no longer card-carrying members of its Android Galaxy. That’s because Tizen, the company’s open-sourced OS, has taken over the reins for the line begot by the barely five-month-old Galaxy Gear. And, in typical Samsung fashion, the company hasn’t released just one new Gear, but three with very specific areas of focus: the fashionable Gear 2, the functional Gear Neo and fitness-focused Gear Fit. 

This is Nokia X: Android and Windows Phone collide | The Verge

It’s official, the Nokia X Android phone is here. Microsoft might be buying Nokia’s phone business shortly, but the Finnish smartphone maker is still pushing ahead with the a launch of three Android-powered handsets today
Using the X can be quite frustrating, however, as the entire interface is prone to slow response and a lot of lag. Closing or switching between apps on the X takes far longer than other, even entry-level, smartphones, and browsing the web will quickly test your patience. The third-party apps we saw on the X, such as Facebook, looked as they do on other Android smartphones, but they too suffered from poor performance.

It’s common for manufacturer’s first venture into Android and especially into forked Android to result in rather laggy devices with performance issues. But most others did it in 2008 - 2011. Nokia might get the X family to run smoother before the release, but strategically, I’m still having a hard time understanding this project. Microsoft, which will own Nokia in a couple of weeks, just introduced Windows Phone 8.1 with better support for lower-end hardware, such as the hardware found in the Nokia X family.
The Nokia X is the device family Nokia should have released in 2009, one year before the original Samsung Galaxy S was released. Nokia’s smartphone strategy since 2008 is just mindboggling. The company’s Windows Phone’s are not the problem, but betting (and losing) the company on producing only Window’s Phones clearly was ill-fated. Now, when the Finns have sold the company to Microsoft, the Windows-Phone-only-strategy finally makes sense. So the timing of Nokia’s first Android devices is almost comically strange.

This is Nokia X: Android and Windows Phone collide | The Verge

It’s official, the Nokia X Android phone is here. Microsoft might be buying Nokia’s phone business shortly, but the Finnish smartphone maker is still pushing ahead with the a launch of three Android-powered handsets today

Using the X can be quite frustrating, however, as the entire interface is prone to slow response and a lot of lag. Closing or switching between apps on the X takes far longer than other, even entry-level, smartphones, and browsing the web will quickly test your patience. The third-party apps we saw on the X, such as Facebook, looked as they do on other Android smartphones, but they too suffered from poor performance.

It’s common for manufacturer’s first venture into Android and especially into forked Android to result in rather laggy devices with performance issues. But most others did it in 2008 - 2011. Nokia might get the X family to run smoother before the release, but strategically, I’m still having a hard time understanding this project. Microsoft, which will own Nokia in a couple of weeks, just introduced Windows Phone 8.1 with better support for lower-end hardware, such as the hardware found in the Nokia X family.

The Nokia X is the device family Nokia should have released in 2009, one year before the original Samsung Galaxy S was released. Nokia’s smartphone strategy since 2008 is just mindboggling. The company’s Windows Phone’s are not the problem, but betting (and losing) the company on producing only Window’s Phones clearly was ill-fated. Now, when the Finns have sold the company to Microsoft, the Windows-Phone-only-strategy finally makes sense. So the timing of Nokia’s first Android devices is almost comically strange.

Project Tango | Google

Project Tango is an exploration into giving mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.

What if you never found yourself lost in a new building again? What if directions to a new location didn’t stop at the street address? Imagine playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favorite game character. Imagine competing against a friend for control over physical space with your own miniature army.

Google is once again experimenting in public. Cool!

One more thing: The standard Garageband made background music that is in every new semi-professional corporate/kickstarter web-video just gotta go away. If you have something to say — say it. Don’t drown it in 2-stroke violins.

The Nokia X looks increasingly likely for Mobile World Congress | Android Central

If Nokia isn’t about to launch some kind of environmentally friendly “green” line of phones, the company actually looks as it will release the Android based Nokia X, formerly known as the Normandy, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. The phone will be heavily skinned and won’t feature any of Google’s services (Google Maps, Play Store etc) and instead rely on services from Microsoft and Nokia such as Bing, Outlook, HERE Maps and Skype.

It certainly looks as the Nokia X is on its way, but I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Nokia, soon to be Microsoft, is about to release an Android handset. Nokia’s current low-end Asha smartphones could really use some Android magic, but still. The new X phone would mean that there will be yet another OS to support for Microsoft developers. The same company said just a few months ago that it will reduce its range of consumer operating systems. Now it adds one more. From Google. The rumored specs for the Nokia X include a 4” display, a 5MP camera, dual-SIM options and a dual core Snapdragon 200 chipset.

HP to Re-Enter Smartphone Market With “Phablets” in India | Re/code

HP’s plans call for releasing two devices, a six-inch and seven-inch voice-enabled tablet under the brand names Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab.

VoiceTab. Voice tablets. Sounds better than phablets. HP says that consumers are looking for a way to consolidate devices. I believe that’s true for many of us, not just in India. Even though I’m not floored by these particular devices.

HP to Re-Enter Smartphone Market With “Phablets” in India | Re/code

HP’s plans call for releasing two devices, a six-inch and seven-inch voice-enabled tablet under the brand names Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab.

VoiceTab. Voice tablets. Sounds better than phablets. HP says that consumers are looking for a way to consolidate devices. I believe that’s true for many of us, not just in India. Even though I’m not floored by these particular devices.

This is Nokia’s Android phone | The Verge

Codenamed Normandy, and known internally at Nokia under a number of other names, the handset is designed as the next step in low-end phones from the Finnish smartphone maker.

Apt codename, but with Microsoft as the new owner of Nokia’s phone business, I won’t hold my breath for the Normandy to reach the market. Even though Nokia’s low end Asha “smartphones” really could use some Android flavour.
Photo: @evleaks 

This is Nokia’s Android phone | The Verge

Codenamed Normandy, and known internally at Nokia under a number of other names, the handset is designed as the next step in low-end phones from the Finnish smartphone maker.

Apt codename, but with Microsoft as the new owner of Nokia’s phone business, I won’t hold my breath for the Normandy to reach the market. Even though Nokia’s low end Asha “smartphones” really could use some Android flavour.

Photo: @evleaks 

The Moto G sets a new standard for budget smartphones
Starting at $179 without a contract, The Moto G is an affordable but still very capable smartphone which should be able to put real pressure on other Android vendors such as Samsung, LG and Huawei to improve their budget smartphones — which often have lower res screens, older Android versions and slower chipsets than the Moto G.
I know of few other*, if any, handsets in this price range that comes with a 720p 4.5” screen, a speedy chipset as the Qualcomm snapdragon 400 and a pretty recent and clean version of Android. The affordable Nokia Lumia 520, 620 and 625 offer a pretty good Windows Phone 8 experience, but they are stuck with 480 x 800 pixel screens. We will of course have to wait for the reviews to know for sure, but it looks as if Google’s and Motorola’s Moto G just set a new standard for sub $ 200 smartphones.
Motorola Moto G specifications:
Operating system: Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
Tech: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 GPU and 1 GB RAM
Storage: 8 GB standard or 16 GB. Two years 50 GB storage free on Google Drive
Dimensions: H 129.9 mm x W 65.9 mm x D 6.0-11.6 mm (curved)
Weight: 143 grams
Display: 4.5”, 1280 x 720 HD, 329 ppi
Battery: 2070 mAh
Camera: Rear — 5 MP, front — 1.3 MP
Video: 720p HD video (front and rear), 30 fps (MPEG4, H.264)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GLONASS
Networks: GSM Model — GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps, CDMA Model — CDMA/EVDO Rev A,
Price: USD$179 for 8GB and USD$199 for 16GB
Availability: Available this week in Brazil and parts of Europe and will be available within the next few weeks throughout Latin America, Europe, Canada and parts of Asia. It will be available in the US, India, the Middle East and more of Asia in early January.
* There are other options such as for example chinese knock offs of the HTC One and Samsung S4 that come close in terms of both price and specs, but the quality of these devices are questionable with lesser known chipsets, worse build quality and hard to reach customer service. Network compatibility is also often complicated with such devices.

The Moto G sets a new standard for budget smartphones

Starting at $179 without a contract, The Moto G is an affordable but still very capable smartphone which should be able to put real pressure on other Android vendors such as Samsung, LG and Huawei to improve their budget smartphones — which often have lower res screens, older Android versions and slower chipsets than the Moto G.

I know of few other*, if any, handsets in this price range that comes with a 720p 4.5” screen, a speedy chipset as the Qualcomm snapdragon 400 and a pretty recent and clean version of Android. The affordable Nokia Lumia 520, 620 and 625 offer a pretty good Windows Phone 8 experience, but they are stuck with 480 x 800 pixel screens. We will of course have to wait for the reviews to know for sure, but it looks as if Google’s and Motorola’s Moto G just set a new standard for sub $ 200 smartphones.

Motorola Moto G specifications:

  • Operating system: Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • Tech: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 GPU and 1 GB RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB standard or 16 GB. Two years 50 GB storage free on Google Drive
  • Dimensions: H 129.9 mm x W 65.9 mm x D 6.0-11.6 mm (curved)
  • Weight: 143 grams
  • Display: 4.5”, 1280 x 720 HD, 329 ppi
  • Battery: 2070 mAh
  • Camera: Rear — 5 MP, front — 1.3 MP
  • Video: 720p HD video (front and rear), 30 fps (MPEG4, H.264)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GLONASS
  • Networks: GSM Model — GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+ up to 21 Mbps, CDMA Model — CDMA/EVDO Rev A,
  • Price: USD$179 for 8GB and USD$199 for 16GB
  • Availability: Available this week in Brazil and parts of Europe and will be available within the next few weeks throughout Latin America, Europe, Canada and parts of Asia. It will be available in the US, India, the Middle East and more of Asia in early January.

* There are other options such as for example chinese knock offs of the HTC One and Samsung S4 that come close in terms of both price and specs, but the quality of these devices are questionable with lesser known chipsets, worse build quality and hard to reach customer service. Network compatibility is also often complicated with such devices.

Geographic variation of Facebook smartphone users | Ben Evans
I guess it’s “Android first” for most mobile developers targeting India right? Even if not all mobile users are equally monetarily valuable, Android’s massive lead in some regions must make up for most of such differences.
Make sure to check out Ben Evans updated version of his "Mobile is eating the world" presentation. It’s 73 pages of very interesting information and insights.

Geographic variation of Facebook smartphone users | Ben Evans

I guess it’s “Android first” for most mobile developers targeting India right? Even if not all mobile users are equally monetarily valuable, Android’s massive lead in some regions must make up for most of such differences.

Make sure to check out Ben Evans updated version of his "Mobile is eating the world" presentation. It’s 73 pages of very interesting information and insights.

Cheaper than most, better than all: the 2013 Nexus 7 reviewed | Ars Technica

Looks very promising. The high resolution screen in a lightweight 7 inch form factor should make the new Nexus 7 a great devise for web browsing, gaming, reading and watching videos.

Cheaper than most, better than all: the 2013 Nexus 7 reviewed | Ars Technica

Looks very promising. The high resolution screen in a lightweight 7 inch form factor should make the new Nexus 7 a great devise for web browsing, gaming, reading and watching videos.

The Samsung Galaxy NX is the world’s first LTE Android camera with interchangeable lenses | cnet

Bold move of Samsung to release this Android driven and LTE connected beast. But, with the DSLR look and big size, the Galaxy NX is clearly targeting photo enthusiasts and they are often not the most forward looking audience in the world. And usually they have very little patience with cameras with too few physical controls. For good reasons. But the Galaxy NX is a very cool effort and I hope it proves to handle brilliantly and shoot beautiful images.