HTC announces event for Sept. 19 hoping not to get caught in iPhone tidal wave


If you are anywhere near electricity, you probably know Apple formally announced its Sept. 12 event today. Not even an hour later, HTC announced that it would hold an event a week later.

At least it is not opening for Apple like others.

Speaking of which…we will be at the Motorola Droid RAZR HD event tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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New LTE-enabled Pantech Flex spotlights ‘Easy Experience’ ICS mode [Video]

Pantech and AT&T are exclusively offering a simplified Android handset, dubbed “the Pantech Flex,” starting Sept. 16 for $49.99 with a two-year agreement.

The 4G LTE-enabled Flex runs on Android 4.0, but it also includes a new Easy Experience mode that “prioritizes customers’ apps on the home screen in a clearly organized and easy-to-read format.” Users can toggle between a traditional mode and the easy mode.

The smartphone further boasts a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video recording, and a two-megapixel front-facing camera.

Get the full details in the video above or presser below. 

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Verizon’s free LTE Samsung Galaxy Stellar with Android 4.0 set to hit Sept. 6

Verizon Wireless and Samsung just announced they would exclusively offer the 4G LTE- enabled Samsung Galaxy Stellar starting Sept. 6.

The Ice Cream Sandwich-powered Stellar features a 4-inch WVGA display with an 800-by-480 pixel resolution, as well as a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera for video chat, 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto focus, and a 1.2 dual-core GHz Snapdragon processor. It also comes with a microSD card slot with up to 32 GB support, Wi-Fi Connectivity, Google Play access, Google Mobile support, and a suite of popular Amazon apps.

The compact design further boasts a dual-interface that highlights either Starter Mode or Standard Mode. The first option gives customers a pared-down home screen display with preset widgets and a quick dialer icon, while the Standard Mode offers a more conventional layout with an included Help app so customers can learn the device more effectively.

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Report: Google seeks help selling Motorola Mobility’s set-top box division, bypasses chance to integrate Google TV?

Google is looking to sell the set-top box division of its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, and has allegedly enlisted the help of Barclays Plc.

According to Bloomberg, which cited “two people familiar with the situation,” Barclays will find buyers for the unit that could fetch up to $2 billion. The publication’s sources further noted sale talks are still in early stages.

Bloomberg continued:

Google, based in Mountain View, California, is shifting Motorola’s focus toward high-end smartphones as it competes with Apple Inc. (AAPL) This month Google announced it would cut 4,000 Motorola staff and close about a third of its 90 facilities as part of a plan to restore the hardware firm’s leadership in the mobile market. Google completed the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in May in its biggest takeover.

Light Reading Cable reported on Aug. 6 that Google was considering a sale of the Home Business unit. Motorola tried to sell the unit in 2009 for more than $4 billion, people close to the situation said at the time.

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Report: Nexus 7 with 3G just 6 weeks away as Wi-Fi models hit Taiwan

Google’s popular Nexus 7 tablet, if you believe Paul O’Brien at MoDaC,  will get a 3G update sometime in mid-October just in time for the holidays. O’Brien specifically said 3G, but it would not be surprising to see 4G radios in there. In fact…it would be a huge mistake not to include at least HSPA+ radios, especially with Apple’s iPad mini on the horizon likely including a LTE option.

It would be interesting to see Google throw together a Chromebook-type plan from Verizon and other carriers in the U.S. and abroad. Google and Verizon offer users 100mb free each month for the first year on Chromebooks, but the deal probably hinges on Verizon exclusivity, which would be bad.

Meanwhile, three different carriers in Taiwan began taking pre-orders for the Nexus 7, which is made by Taiwanese-based maker ASUS.

That is a bad mockup, obviously. ->

Google honors Maria Montessori, whose teaching methods were used to educate both Google founders

Today’s Google Doodle is a special one that honors the 142nd birthday of Maria Montessori:

Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.

In a Wired article, called “An Unconventional CEO“, Steven Levy interviews former Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, who commented on Montessori.

“You can’t understand Google unless you know that both Larry and Sergey were Montessori kid,” Levy explained. “She’s referring to schools based on the education philosophy of Maria Montessori, an Italian physician born in 1870 who believed that children should be allowed the freedom to pursue their interests.”

“In a Montessori school, you go paint because you have something to express or you just want to do it that afternoon, not because the teacher said so,” articulated Mayer. “This is baked into how Larry and Sergey approach problems. They’re always asking, why should it be like that? It’s the way their brains were programmed early on.”

ICS-powered Kyocera Rise lands on Virgin Mobile for $99 without contract

Virgin Mobile USA now offers the Ice Cream Sandwich-powered Kyocera Rise for $99 without a contract.

The handset notably boasts Google Play access, and it features a touch slider with a QWERTY keyboard, 3.5-inch HVGA LCD touchscreen, 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, 500 mAh Li-Ion Battery, 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash and video capture, 2GB SD card and microSD card slot with up to 32GB support, and Wi-Fi and Stereo Bluetooth connectivity.

Check it out: Kyocera Rise

The Rise is compatible with Virgin’s prepaid unlimited data and messaging Beyond Talk plans starting at $35 per month, and it is available at select retailers, online, and in Virgin Mobile stores. It will also roll out across national retail outlets starting in late September.

Not a bad price for a prepaid Android device equipped with ICS, eh?

A gallery is below.

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Reuters: Larry Page and Apple’s Tim Cook are communicating on patents

Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook are reportedly in talks regarding mobile patent disputes between the companies.

According to Reuters, which cited “people familiar with the matter,” both chiefs spoke on the phone last week while more discussions between “lower-level officials” are also underway:

Page and Cook are expected to talk again in the coming weeks, though no firm date has been set, the sources said. One source told Reuters that a meeting was scheduled for this Friday, but had been delayed for reasons that were unclear.

The two companies are keeping the lines of communication open at a high level against the backdrop of Apple’s decisive legal victory in a patent infringement case against Samsung, which uses Google’s Android software.

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Too bad to be fake: Amazon’s new Kindle Fire spotted? [Photo]

The Verge just posted a purported image of the new Kindle Fire:

We’re being told that a “pair” of Fires is likely — a 7- and a 10-incher — though it remains unclear whether both models will be introduced at the same time.

Amazon revealed earlier today that it “sold out” of the popular Kindle Fire eReader, which runs on a forked version of the Android OS, with additional news about the device supposedly capturing 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales. Amazon also recently announced a press conference for Sept. 6 in Los Angeles. The company typically holds media events for hardware launches, so many expected new Kindles, including an iPad-sized version or maybe even an Amazon phone, to come down the pipeline.

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Amazon’s Appstore for Android launches in Europe as Kindle Fire sells out claiming 22 percent of US tablet sales

Amazon has a bit of exciting Android-related news today: The mega online retailer announced the launch of its Appstore for Android in Europe and revealed its Android-powered Kindle Fire is currently sold out after gobbling up nearly one-fourth of United States tablet sales.

The Appstore opened in Germany, France, Italy and Spain for access to Android apps. Amazon also opened key features to European customers, such as: localized content and store for each country, popular Amazon benefits like “Free App of the Day, personalized recommendations, and one-click payments.

“Amazon has spent years developing innovative features that help customers find and discover the products that are right for them and have applied that know-how to the Amazon Appstore. We’re delighted to extend that experience to our European customers,” said Vice President of Amazon Appstore Jim Adkins in a press release.

As for the Android-powered Kindle Fire—it is the “most successful product launch in the history of” after capturing 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. With that said, Amazon recently announced a press conference for Sept. 6 in Los Angeles. The company typically holds media events for hardware launches, so we expect new Kindles, such as an iPad-sized version, or maybe even an Amazon phone, to come down the pipeline.

“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made Kindle Fire the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon,” said Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release. “Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”

The Kindle Fire debuted less than one year ago with a huge catalog of multimedia content including 22 million movies, games, books and more.

Check out the full press releases below.

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Google looks to sell Motorola’s set-top box business for as much as $2B

It was rumored earlier this year that Google looked to sell Motorola’s set-top box and television equipment business. Google is continuing its plans to sell, as Bloomberg reported this afternoon. The Mountain View-based company has hired firm Barclays to look for buyers. Google is said to be looking for up to $2 billion in the deal, but the sale is in its very early stages so the exact terms are not clear.

Since Google and Motorola’s $12.5 billion deal went official this summer, Motorola has gone through several changes company-wide. The most notable change was when up to 4,000 employees were laid off…on top of 30 of Motorola’s 90 facilities worldwide being shut down. Furthermore, there have been several executive changes as the company looks to get back into creating some serious mobile devices. Selling off their television business may help them reach that goal with extra cash in hand. [BloombergRead more

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera unveiled: Everything you love about Android in a point-and-shoot camera (hands-on!)

With Nikon and Polaroid getting ready to launch their Android-powered cameras as early as September, Samsung officially unveiled its entrance into the market today in Berlin with its first dedicated point-and-shoot running Android. While recent rumors pointed to the possibility of a device with specs close to those announced for Nikon’s Coolpix S800c, Samsung unveiled a 4.8-inch device with specs closer to its own Galaxy S III.

We were able to get some hands-on time with the device and were quite impressed…to say the least. Put simply, the Galaxy Camera is everything you love about an Android device in a quality point-and-shoot camera (minus voice calling). It includes full Google Play access, Wi-Fi/3G/4G (HSPA+), and voice control on a full-sized display like the Galaxy S III.

More specs below and hands-on BELOW:

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