November 17, 2012

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We pretty much knew what to expect going into the Droid DNA event this week. The 5-inch “don’t call it a phablet” phone had been leaked in various forms, although its specs and specifically its 5-inch, 1080p 441PPI display seemed a little “too good” to be true.

It wasn’t. Pretty much from the second we picked up this monster of a phone, reality set in in a big way.  While the phone is large  —mostly just a wrapper for the 5-inch display— it is also much lighter than you’d expect, especially if you are coming from last year’s hand-grenade of a Verizon HTC flagship phone, the Rezound.  The rubbery-plastic back that is becoming popular with Android phones, and red-plastic ‘race car’ accents shave a lot of weight from the device, but it still feels plenty solid. The back picks up oils from hands and seems to scratch fairly easily, although with that screen on the other side, you probably won’t spend much time looking at the back.

It is important to say here…HTC and Verizon are positioning the DNA as a phone and not a ‘phablet’, and they can make that claim for two reasons: the DNA is much narrower than the Note/2, and it is much, much lighter. In fact it is 42 grams lighter.

NOTE 2: 5.94″ x 3.17″ x 0.37″ (151 x 81 x 9 mm)6.34 oz (180 g)

DNA: 5.55″ x 2.78″ x 0.38″ (141 x 70.5 x 9.73 mm) 4.87 oz (138 g)

The narrow body lets you do one-handed typing, and the weight is actually a lot less than the 4.5-inch phones released over the last two years.

The speaker, also located on the back, didn’t impress me as much as a ‘Beats’ device with a dedicated amplifier probably should have. Still, I’d rate it as very good for a smartphone. However, when it is laid on its back, the sound is muffled. There is some room for improvement here. Also, on the back near the camera, an indicator light flashes when you have a notification. HTC could probably have been a bit more creative here and used the camera’s flash.

Speaking of the camera, this is one of the best I’ve ever used on a smartphone. HTC continues to lead on a hardware front with its F2.0 8-megapixel-backside camera and perhaps the best front-side camera I’ve used: an F2.0 2.2MP 1080p front-facing camera. Both are top-notch for both stills and 1080p video.

Then there is the screen.

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August 13, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi gets official ICS update in US

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi just received an update to Android 4.0.4 in the United States.

According to SamMobile:

  • Some details about this firmware
  • This firmware is specially for USA (Android 4.0.4)
  • Build date August
  • Changelist: 818980
  • PDA: P7510UELPL
  • CSC: p7510XABLPL

Many U.S.-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi owners allegedly woke up to Ice Cream Sandwich this morning, as seen in AndroidCentral’s Forums (below). Rumors circulated heavily that the tablet would get the push sometime this summer, and it now seems like those reports are panning out. Some users have noted the flavor is missing for them, however, so the rollout appears to be gradual.

The update is available via Samsung KIES or OTA.

August 3, 2012

After releasing its unaudited results just over a week ago, HTC is out this morning with audited Q2 2012 financial earnings. The Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer posted a 58 percent year-over-year profit loss for the quarter at roughly $248 million USD, while revenues for the company amounted to roughly $3.04 billion USD. Furthermore, HTC posted its outlook for Q3. It said revenue would be 41- to 48 percent lower than the year-over-year quarter.

HTC has been in a fight with both Apple and Samsung for market share over the last few years. According to numbers released earlier this week by research firm ComScore, HTC is No. 5 in market share in the U.S.— behind Motorola. Despite the HTC One series being considered the best smartphones on the market at one point, sales do not look to be groundbreaking for the company.

Last month, HTC announced that it was selling its 50.1-percent stake in the company Beats. According to several reports, HTC was not meeting Beats’ financial obligations, despite the audio’s brand being embedded in numerous smartphones released (including the One series). This year looks to be a pretty rough for Peter Chou and his team.

 [AP]

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August 2, 2012

HTC Rezound on Verizon gets Ice Cream Sandwich starting today

[tweet https://twitter.com/vzwnews/status/231024543119052800]

The HTC Rezound is the latest smartphone to be upgraded to the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwichoperating system. The software upgrade will begin being pushed to customers in phases starting August 2.

Ice Cream Sandwich features upgraded functionality and new features, such as Face Unlock. By looking directly at the screen, the smartphone recognizes its owner and automatically unlocks the device.

The upgrade also includes speech-to-text technology and the ability to dismiss individual notifications by swiping a finger over the item even while the phone is locked. For easy multitasking, switch between apps using the Recent Apps feature and even close unused ones by just swiping them with a finger.

The HTC Rezound joins the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung, DROID RAZR by Motorola and the DROID RAZR MAXX as devices that have the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Additional information on the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade can be found on the HTC Rezound support page.

We already received reports of the v3.14.605.12 hitting phones.

July 5, 2012

TL;DR: Pass.

This phone is exactly what you think it is: a throwback to last year when HTC made thick phones, while Verizon loaded phones with crapware (O.K., that’s still happening). I have to wonder what happened behind the scenes with the HTC-VZ relationship. Did HTC say to Verizon, “You want to do WHAT with our One phones? Errr, here—have this instead of the One.”

I mean, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T each released the next generation of thin, svelte One series smartphones with big, beautiful displays. They are critically acclaimed! The Incredible 4G’s 4-inch display would have been passable, if it had a body like the HTC One S, which I am still in love with. This phone is so thick (.46 inches) that you almost expect it to have a slide out keyboard (Droid 4 with a keyboard is only microns thicker).

This…this is like the Rezound Jr., which is not entirely bad…for a 2011 grenade phone.

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November 7, 2011

HTC Rezound, one of the devices that will be upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Taiwanese handset maker HTC published on its Facebook pagea list of eight devices that will get the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in early 2012:. The following phones will be upgradeable to Google’s new software: The Vivid (which went on sale last week via AT&T), Sensation, Sensation XL, Sensation XE, Rezound, EVO 3D, EVO Design 4G and Amaze 4G. This is just the first wave of devices as the company takes another look at its product portfolio to determine other devices that could be eligible for the Ice Cream Sandwich treatment. It’s a welcome change seeing Google, carriers and handset vendors are working together to address the fundamental problem with Android fragmentation. At the very least, people who purchase a high-end Android devices should have confidence that it will be supported throughout the lifetime of their 24-month service agreement.

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