Google had become rather predictable at introducing new major Android releases, announcing two a year, when we most expected them -- around late-June and October. But this changed in 2014. Lollipop stood alone. What's more, the first major update that followed -- version 5.1, which came earlier this year -- arrived completely unannounced. There wasn't even a blog post about it, as we confirmed its existence based on reports from folks who discovered it on their Android One smartphones, and a mention in passing on the Android One site.
Weeks after Android 5.1 was revealed to exist we are still waiting for Google to tell us more -- well, something -- about it, including when we should expect to see it available in the Android Open Source Project. Luckily, we may now know this important detail thanks to an HTC VP.
At the end of 2014, the Windows Phone landscape is dominated by low-end smartphones. Of the ten most popular devices that the platform has to offer, just two are high-end handsets -- however, neither is a current-day flagship. If it is not clear enough by now, Windows Phone is nothing more than a low-end affair, after more than four years down the road. Is that a bad thing?
Nokia Lumia 520 is the most-successful Windows Phone around, accounting for a whopping 25.4 percent of Windows Phones in use. Put differently, it is as popular as the following nine most popular Windows Phones put together. Altogether, the top ten makes up 67.2 percent share in this market, according to information revealed by AdDuplex.
In the USA, the holidays are almost here for many people. This Thursday, Thanksgiving, officially kicks off the festivities of both spending time with family and shopping. We eat turkey and spend time with our loved-ones until late Thursday night, but then the following day -- known as Black Friday -- kicks off a month-long shopping extravaganza. Up until December 25th, Christmas Day, retailers will be trying to bait shoppers with rock-bottom prices and interest-free payment plans.
Unfortunately, not all advertised sales are as good as they seem. In other words, what looks like a great deal, may be average at best. HTC is getting into the Black Friday game, and it is offering a truly great deal; 50 percent off the all-new RE Camera. It is normally $199, but you can score it for a super-low $99!
As you may know, HTC One (M8) launched as a Verizon-exclusive in late-August. Shortly after its introduction, both AT&T and T-Mobile revealed that they would too carry the Windows Phone, but at a later date. The former was the first to get it, last week, but now you can also buy it from the magenta carrier.
While things were pretty clear about the cost of buying One (M8) for Windows from AT&T, T-Mobile left this information for the day when it is actually available through its stores. Luckily, if you have waited this long, you will not be disappointed.
It will not be long before AT&T and T-Mobile customers will also be able to get their hands on HTC One (M8) for Windows, as both US mobile operators are now listing the Windows Phone as "coming soon" to their stores.
One (M8) for Windows launched in August as a Verizon-exclusive version of One (M8) running Android. The smartphone, which costs $99.99 on a two-year contract with big red, is the first to ship with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 out-of-the-box.
With Android 5.0 Lollipop yet to be released, some manufacturers have already revealed their upgrade plans for the latest version of the mobile operating system, effectively setting a high bar for the rest of the pack. You can thank HTC, Motorola and Sony for doing so last week. In fact, HTC and Motorola consistently rank among the first in this regard, and when it comes to rolling out those software updates to their customers' devices as well.
Not to be outdone by its far-distant competition, top maker Samsung wants us to know that it too has some upgrade plans for Android 5.0 Lollipop. But, instead of actually showing them, it has posted a rather lame teaser on Twitter, regarding Galaxy Note 4. Pundits have fallen for it, writing that the much-awaited software update is fast-approaching. Really?
HTC knows how to make a great smartphone. The HTC One M7 and M8 are very popular for having solid build quality and best in class speakers. Unfortunately, while the phones are great, the camera has been lackluster. Don't get me wrong, the photo quality is passable but has lacked compared to other flagships, such as Apple's iPhone and the Galaxy S5.
Today, HTC takes the smartphone world by storm with the selfie-focused HTC Desire Eye and a dedicated action camera, called "Re". Believe it or not, the manufacturer is actually releasing a standalone camera that can interact with both Android and iOS devices. Unfortunately, the Nexus 9 that the Android community has been waiting for was a no-show.
Apple has finally conceded that big screens are better, as its new iPhones offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. It has also finally conceded that a mobile operating system is better when it's more open, as iOS 8 supports third-party keyboards and inter-app communication. It's almost like Apple is saying that Steve Jobs was wrong while rival Android manufacturers and Google were right all along. Oh, the horror. How will Apple fanbois be able to explain this?
But, even as Apple is doing all these things, that some of us have already been enjoying for too many years to count, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still outclassed by rival Android flagships. In fact, the new iPhones are not much different than Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 3, and, as you may know, neither of the two is the latest incarnation in their respective series. Ouch!
Premium devices got most of the attention at IFA 2014, thanks to their cutting edge software and hardware. But there are some other interesting new products announced at the trade show which warrant a look. One of them is HTC's mid-range Android smartphone, Desire 820.
Desire 820 may not be as exciting as, for instance, Galaxy Note Edge is with its curved edge display, but it gives us a sense of what the future of Android hardware looks like. I'll give you a hint -- it's not 32-bit. Desire 820 is among the first smartphones of 2014 to be unveiled with a 64-bit processor, Qualcomm's powerful Snapdragon 615.
There's no question about it -- carrier exclusives are a bad idea. They hurt consumer choice, limit the chances of a device reaching its full market potential, and have a negative impact on the market shares of the vendor and the platform, just to name a few of the main negatives. This especially holds true for Windows Phone. After all, when did anything good come out out of a carrier-exclusive smartphone running the tiled operating system? Every time one comes out, many platforms fans, as well as reviewers, express their disappointed.
So when HTC One (M8) for Windows only turned up at Verizon at launch, it looked like the Taiwanese maker was setting itself and its new smartphone up for failure. Fortunately, that is not the case, as the Windows Phone 8.1 device will also be available at AT&T and T-Mobile, the latter of which just announced the upcoming availability. That's the good news. Now here comes the disappointing part.
Apple started the 64-bit smartphone craze in September 2013 with iPhone 5s. It was the first 64-bit device of its kind to reach store shelves and, even now, it continues to be unrivaled in this regard by competing flagships. That's because other vendors could only use 32-bit high-end processors from major chip makers like Qualcomm and Nvidia.
While that has yet to change, other 64-bit smartphones, targeting a less demanding crowd, are on their way as, today, Taiwanese maker HTC announces its first 64-bit smartphone, touted to bring "super-fast LTE connectivity at an affordable price point". It's called Desire 510.
Earlier today the first pictures of HTC One (M8) running Windows Phone 8.1 appeared on the web. The leaked images looked genuine, but we were waiting for official confirmation of the device before sharing the news, and the Taiwanese firm has just provided that.
The HTC One (M8) is one of the best -- if not the best -- Android phones available and the Windows Phone variant keeps everything that’s good about it, including the all-metal unibody design, tapered edges, and curved back, 5-inch 1080 by 1920 display, 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and Duo Camera setup.
All Windows Phone 8 devices are supposed to be compatible with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, but it looks like one of them, namely HTC's inconspicuous Windows Phone 8S, will be stuck running Windows Phone 8.1 going forward. That's a shame.
Due to what appear to be hardware incompatibilities, HTC has announced that the first major update for Windows Phone 8.1 will not be offered to its Windows Phone 8S users. The Windows Phone 8X flagship, which it introduced in late-2012, will, however, receive Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.
Today, HTC introduces a new smartphone in its premium Android lineup. Called J butterfly, the device features similar specs to the One (M8) flagship, but without making use of the latter's 4 MP UltraPixel main camera, employing a 13 MP unit instead. Pixel fans, rejoice!
That said, J butterfly retains the Duo Camera technology HTC baked in One (M8). It allows the smartphone to capture depth information to achieve a bokeh effect in photos, which is typical of DSLRs. On the front, there is a 5 MP camera, that is also taken from One (M8), designed for selfie-lovers. So far, J butterfly is shaping up to be what some had hoped One (M8) would be.
In a matter of months, a rumbling schism has developed in the Android camp. On one side sits HTC, churning out gleaming handsets of jaw-dropping design ingenuity. On the other sits Samsung, which seems content to slather everything in plastic, too busy beefing up its smartphones' specs to turn its attentions to ground-breaking design.
LG occupies the hallowed middle ground between the two, having packed impressive specs into a well-crafted handset. The LG G3 is the flagship weapon gunning for the Android top spot against Samsung and HTC -- and we have to say it's putting up quite the fight.