I like to call HP the most unpredictable company in tech. One minute they’re acquiring Palm for $1.2 billion, then the next they’re discontinuing all webOS products and throwing TouchPads out of the door for less than £100 a pop. There is literally no way of telling what wacky thing they’ll do next, and at MWC they proved this by announcing the Slate 7, a £129 Nexus 7 competitor with near-stock Android and Beats Audio. While there was absolutely no reason to buy one over a Nexus 7, it still suggested that HP had an interest in good value Android machines with unmodified software. Now it seems that theory is correct, as the company has unveiled the SlateBook x2.
If you’ve ever seen HP’s Windows 8-powered Envy x2, then the SlateBook x2 should instantly feel familiar. It’s smaller, at 10.2″ compared to 11.6″ for the Envy x2, but it follows the same basic concept of a slate being paired with a detachable battery-equipped keyboard to make a notebook form factor. The slate itself is powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 chip, has a 1920 x 1200 IPS display and 64GB of storage which is expandable via microSD and, in the keyboard dock, a full size SD. The software is also pretty much stock Jelly Bean with HP’s only additions being printing stuff and some document editing/file management capabilities. Best of all the whole keyboard and 64GB tablet package will only set you back $479.99, so less than a 16GB 9.7″ iPad, meaning that it’ll probably end up at around £390 in the UK. If Android tablet app offerings were more compelling, I’d be seriously tempted.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9EcgzjT7e8]
The Galaxy S4 is a phone from Samsung. Blue is a colour. If you combine the two, then you get a blue Samsung Galaxy S4, and that’s just what Japanese consumers will be able to snag today. NTT DoCoMo, also known as the network that gets all the cool things that Europe never sees, including Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z, is going to be the first network in the world to market this variant, named Blue Arctic, while the rest of the world is forced to stick with the Black Mist and White Frost models, although this probably won’t remain the case for long. Like the others and the Galaxy S III before it, however, the blue model is insanely reflective thanks to Samsung’s Hyperglaze coating that acts more as a fingerprint magnet and magpie attractor than anything else. There’s no sign of some of Samsung’s Galaxy S III colours such as Titanium Grey, Amber Brown and Garnet Red coming to the latest phone yet, but keep your eyes peeled and you may well see those – and a special Google edition with stock Android – in the not too distant future.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11O-zaWXzoc]
Via Android Beat
It’s very fair to say that the official launch event for Samsung’s Galaxy S4 didn’t go down that well with, well, anyone remotely sane. We spoke about all the crap surrounding the phone’s unveiling (and the phone itself) in a special episode of the podcast, but it seems that Reliance Digital, a leading Indian tech retailer, has managed to do things even more horribly at a star-studded launch event. Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh was dragged onto stage and, over 7 months after it blew up and at a point where even PSY has moved on, performed a parody of Gangnam Style that was all about, you guessed it, the Galaxy S4. I would pick out a few of the most dreadful lyrics, but I feel it my duty to present you the whole ordeal in its entirety without any spoilers.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJs7N3aM75Y]
Horrible, wasn’t it?
Over the past couple of days, I’ve seen numerous sites pick up on the story spread by a Carphone Warehouse press release that interest for Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 is so high that pre-registrations for it are 446% higher than with last year’s Galaxy S III. Many blogs, most notably VentureBeat and Pocket-lint, have sprung upon the opportunity to say that this is a sign that Apple is dying and Samsung is king and all that regurgitated nonsense, but they fail to point out any facts in these articles. The big one that is being ignored is that you can’t even pre-order the phone yet at Carphone Warehouse. The press release in question, published below, refers to pre-registrations, not pre-orders. With Samsung yet to confirm pricing for the phone, no retailer worth their bacon should be letting consumers order it yet, with Carphone Warehouse cleverly taking £29 deposits from interested parties or, for those less inclined to splash their cash, and crucially what they are most likely referring to when they give this figure of interest, email updates. Even if they were referring to deposits, these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, and you should not trust any figures you see regarding the popularity and sales of the S4 until Samsung themselves give solid evidence.
Graham Stapleton comments on the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4
Graham Stapleton, Chief Operating Officer at Carphone Warehouse, says, “The Samsung Galaxy S4 is huge news for anyone who already uses or is interested in getting a smartphone.
“Samsung has the timing spot-on with a late April launch, 4G coming to more UK networks this summer means that interest in new devices will be building considerably. We’re anticipating a massive amount of customer interest in this handset and are expecting our stores to be busier than at the height of the Christmas period. We are planning to extend opening hours at our larger sites to cope with the increased demand.
“The record breaking launch of the Galaxy SIII last year was always going to be a tough one to beat, but Samsung have pulled out all the stops with a dazzling new device that’s sure to inspire many people to make the switch to Android from other operating systems.”
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available from Carphone Warehouse on all major networks from 25th April. To register your interest, visit http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/new-samsung-galaxy-phone.
Kellex over at Droid-Life has obtained what is purported to be build 4.0.16 of the Google Play Store for Android, and this gives us our best hint yet of how Matias Duarte and company are planning to take Android’s design with the expected release of Android 5.0, codenamed Key Lime Pie, at Google I/O. In the 6 minute video below, Kellex shows off the functional parts of the new store (with many pages such as the home page not yet working with the new design) but what is evident is that the new version of the Holo design language is set to be a lot lighter and colourful than the black and blue introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2011, with italicised Roboto Light being used in headings for the first time. Contrary to Google Keep, a note-taking service that the company officially launched today with an overdose of yellow, responses to the new look seem overwhelmingly positive, and we will wait with baited breath to see what further UI overhauls Google may announce for Android, now under the reigns of Chrome and Apps head Sundar Pichai, at I/O in May.
After the literal madness that was Samsung’s press event to unveil it, Rowan, Henry and I sat down and began to talk about the new Galaxy S 4 that should be winging its way to British shores in April. As things progressed, we didn’t really talk about anything else, so prepare for a nightmare thrillride through everything that Samsung had to show us, from lack of S Pebble to cornucopia of processing cores and how HTC may have emerged the biggest winners of Samsung’s hypocritical evening.
Image Credit CNET