Samsung evokes memories of 2003 with leaked Galaxy Folder

Samsung Galaxy Folder Side

You thought Samsung didn’t make enough bizarre phones already? Well, thanks to All About Samsung, we have a couple of images of the Galaxy Folder, which takes design cues from the Motorola RAZR (no, not the Android one) and shoves a second 3.7″ WVGA AMOLED panel on the rear of the standard clamshell design so it doesn’t look totally ancient when you try and use the thing like a conventional smartphone. Inside, it’s said to include a 1.7GHz dual core Snapdragon 400, 2GB RAM, LTE and an 1820mAh battery. Remember when clamshells would last a week on a single charge? Yeah, those days are long gone. Continue reading →

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Intel and Safaricom announce Yolo, a Lexington-powered phone for Kenya

Intel Yolo Lexington

Intel’s march into the mobile market hasn’t been as successful as they would have desired, with devices powered by the Medfield family of Atom chips such as the XOLO X900 and Orange San Diego struggling for traction, although things began to look up with the release and heavy marketing of Motorola’s RAZR i late last year. With its second wave of phone chips, codenamed Lexington, the company has decided to target emerging markets, and the first Lexington phone has now been announced in conjunction with Safaricom, one of Kenya’s largest carriers.

Intel Yolo

The Yolo (yep, YOLO) is essentially a consumer version of the Intel Smartphone Reference Design shown off at CES, and its Atom Z2420 chip clocks in at 1.2GHz, which Engadget notes makes the phone feel like 2009, and its 5MP rear camera is capable of 1080p video and a 7 shot-per-second burst mode. The Yolo will also have a 3.5″ touchscreen of as-yet-unknown resolution, and an HSPA+ modem will be responsible for connectivity. The Yolo will be available in Safaricom stores with 500MB of data for Kshs. 10,999 (£79.57) and will almost certainly make its way to Europe with alternative branding later this year.

Update: @tazersky tipped us of to Techweez’s review of the Yolo, complete with images and more spec information.

Via TechCrunch
Source Intel Newsroom
Image Credit Techweez

Delayed Samsung Ativ Odyssey Windows Phone will hit Verizon shelves on January 24th

Samsung Ativ Odyssey Verizon Windows Phone

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch event was headlined by the appearance of Jessica Alba, but otherwise very little unknown information surfaced about the operating system or the devices it would appear upon. One smidgen of news that did emerge, however, was that a Samsung device, depicted by a lonely silhouette and named the Ativ Odyssey, was in the pipeline for a December release on Verizon in the US. Of course December came and went without a release, but CES gave Samsung the opportunity to show the 4″ Windows Phone 8 device to the world. Now, a press release has stated that the phone will be available sooner rather than later, with stores set to receive the Ativ Odyssey and Valentine’s Day editions of the Nokia Lumia 822 and Motorola Droid Razr M tomorrow (January 24th).

The Odyssey joins the Lumia 822 and HTC 8X in Verizon’s lineup of LTE Windows Phones, and its microSD slot and 2100mAh battery should win it some fans, although the 800 x 480 screen resolution and 5MP camera show that it is pitched towards the lower end of the market. As with almost all other Windows Phone 8 devices, the package comes powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip accompanied by 1GB of RAM, and it will be available for $49.99 with a new 2 year contract, while whispers of a European launch remain unconfirmed but not impossible.

Via Engadget
Source Verizon Wireless

Motorola set to unveil Droid Razr HD at New York event: Stream it live at 2PM EDT/6PM GMT/7PM BST/8PM CEST

In what is supposedly the day’s main event, Motorola and Verizon have a big announcement planned. We expect to see the Droid Razr HD tonight, but Motorola’s stream page promises a few surprises. If you want to see things happen, tune in below at 2PM EDT/6PM GMT/7PM BST/8PM CEST or whatever time it will be for you. Can the Google subsidiary live up to their showstopping promises?

Via The Verge Forums

Qualcomm shows off cool Snapdragon chips by melting butter on smartphones

People love a benchmark, and Qualcomm has invented a new one that appears to favour their series of Snapdragon processors. In a video posted on their YouTube channel, Vidyasagar Rao, a staff engineer at the company, pits an HTC One S with a Snapdragon S4 MSM8260A chip against a Motorola Razr Maxx with a TI OMAP4430 and Samsung Galaxy S II sporting a Samsung Exynos 4 Dual chip in their new Butter benchmark test. It’s quite simple really. Butter melts at 35°C, so whichever phone runs coolest will keep the block of butter intact for the longest. We doubt this will catch on, but you can see the results by watching the video below.

The sorry state of Android updates

With Samsung’s announcement that Galaxy S II owners will not in fact be getting their Ice Cream Sandwich updates today as previously stated by one of their websites, the age-old discussion regarding Android updates, skinning and fragmentation has returned to the fore. Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich and referred to as ICS, was confirmed on way back on October 15th of last year, the same day that this very website launched, yet now, almost 5 months later, only a small handful of devices from major manufacturers have either launched with or been updated to Google’s latest and greatest operating system. Why is this the case, and what can be done to help the situation?

Take a look at this graphic, taken from the Android website, which shows the versions of Android which have accessed the Android Market Google Play in the two weeks leading up to March 5th.

Just 1.6% of Android devices are running the latest version of the software. A comprehensive list of devices that have either shipped with or been officially updated to Ice Cream Sandwich is below. Please note that this does not include devices that have been announced but not shipped.

  • Archos G9
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer
  • Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime
  • HTC Sensation
  • HTC Sensation XE
  • Motorola Xoom
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Samsung Nexus S

Firstly, some of the blame has to be placed on Google. The OEMs do not get access to the source code until it is publicly released, with the exemption of the partner making the flagship Nexus device, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, announced alongside Ice Cream Sandwich at a press conference in Hong Kong last year. While Google should want the Nexus phones to succeed and have an advantage over other handsets on the market at the time of release, I believe that major manufacturers such as HTC, Sony, Samsung and Google’s own subsidiary Motorola should get early access to the source code, so that handsets and devices can get the latest software promptly after it is unleashed upon the world. It is wrong to go into a store at this stage and see just one device, the Galaxy Nexus, sporting up-to-date software.

We must never forget the manufacturers themselves, as they too delay updates for a number of reasons. Firstly, they already have your money and, as such, there is little benefit to them if they spend time and money preparing software updates for phones. This raises a whole load of questions regarding the state of customer service in the 21st century, but those are for another day. An example of this kind of neglect is Samsung, with the Galaxy S. Late last year, the Korean company confirmed that they would not update the phone, the second biggest selling Android device of all time, to Ice Cream Sandwich. Their excuse? TouchWiz and Ice Cream Sandwich can’t live together on the ROM. Why not just get rid of the crappy skin which users hate?

Of course, manufacturers feel that they have to stick their bloated skins on top of Android, and updates get delayed to ensure that this is the case. Take LG for example. At Mobile World Congress 2 weeks ago, they unveiled a host of new Android devices – the Optimus L3, Optimus L5, Optimus L7, Optimus 3D Max, Optimus 4X HD and the Optimus Vu phablet. Of these, half are scheduled to launch with Gingerbread, and only the L7, L5 and 4X HD are guaranteed to have Ice Cream Sandwich. As for the rest, LG issued a vague timeframe for updates of later this year. Considering that they have no plans to update their existing phones until Q2 or even Q3 at the earliest, I wouldn’t hold out much hope of this ever happening. If such an update actually does come, the community will probably have Jelly Bean stable on the handsets. LG’s excuse? A combination of the skin and the fact that they seemingly don’t care about consumers – a statement that can be applied to almost all Android manufacturers. This infographic, made last year by Michael DeGusta of The Understatement, shows just how slow these updates can be, especially compared to iOS.

Across the internet, I have seen people complaining about the update situation, only to be told to buy a Nexus phone and have all their problems solved, but this argument is ridiculously stupid. The beauty of Android is the wide variety of handsets, tailored to suit every need. To be told that, in order to be certain to get the latest software officially, you have to buy a certain device, takes away this beauty. If I wanted that kind of situation, where I no choice in form factor in exchange for a guarantee to get updates, I’d buy an iPhone. Take the Galaxy Nexus, for instance. At 4.65″, it is way too big for me. I think the design is horrible in comparison to some other smartphones, the rear camera is, for such a high-end device, sub-par for the course, and Samsung’s incessant use of flimsy plastics mean that I would never even consider buying one. If I want to get an Android phone with almost a guarantee of an update however, I have no other choice. This is not on.

Even if I were to jump on the Nexus bandwagon, I still wouldn’t be 100% certain of updates. Certain Nexus S owners are still waiting for Google and carriers to push the ICS update to their devices, even though most GSM variants of the phone got the update to 4.0 back in December. We must not forget the Nexus One either. The HTC device was Google’s first flagship and, despite the fact that the Android community can do it, Google has announced that they do not plan to push an ICS update to the handset which is still less than 2 years old.

So, until the day comes where updates are prompt and ensured, I will not buy an Android phone or tablet. I know that there are other ways of getting updates, but manufacturers and carriers should have a duty to ensure that devices are kept up-to-date for at least the standard contract length of 24 months. And finally, before you dismiss this whole post as pure trolling of Android, I am an Android user and I am still waiting for Gingerbread. If HTC doesn’t care about an 18 month old phone, why should I?

Casio announce G-Shock phone: running Android and looking hideous

Pictures of Casio’s new phone with G-Shock branding appeared during CES, clearly showing a rugged and chunky Android device. In the style of G-Shock watches, many extraneous plastic lumps protect the device and house the buttons which, unlike most Android devices, are around the edge and not on the base. We know nothing about the hardware specifications yet, but the phone appears to be running Gingerbread and will be able to withstand a whole tonne of pressure. It will also be shock-resistant to 10 feet and waterproof to 1 bar, meaning that it’s no RAZR. What do you think? A rugged dream or design nightmare?