On Thursday, little under a month after the smartphone's global launch, the Galaxy S4 finally arrives at US mobile operator Verizon. The handset is available now at big red for $199.99, alongside a two-year contract, in either Black Mist or White Frost.
Today, rival mobile operator AT&T revealed that the Aurora Red Galaxy S4 comes exclusively through its online and brick and mortar stores (pre-orders start tomorrow). Tough luck for Verizon customers looking to grab the smartphone in the red trim, which is a tad ironic considering the carrier's logo (yes, it's red).
Yesterday, French consumer electronics company Archos unveiled a new 8-inch Android tablet called Xenon 80. The fondleslab runs the first Jelly Bean iteration and will cost $199.99 -- which is in line with Google's Nexus 7 pricing -- once it arrives in stores next month.
The Xenon 80 features support for 3G cellular connectivity and is SIM-unlocked, meaning that it can be used with any mobile operator in the world (as long as the network runs on the 2100 MHz band). The hardware specifications reflect the budget-oriented approach of the tablet.
Today, alongside the Windows 8-based Split x2 which I detailed earlier, HP also announced the Slatebook x2 hybrid. The US maker touts it as "the first Android detachable device with the Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor". The SlateBook x2 shares some hardware and design traits with the ASUS Transformer tablet lineup.
The SlateBook x2 ships with the latest version of the green droid operating system available today, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and sports a 10.1-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 by 1200. The device comes with 64 GB of internal storage. But the biggest highlight is the keyboard dock.
On Monday, Sony unveiled a new smartphone called the Xperia ZR. The handset shares some of its underpinnings with the company's current flagship, the Xperia Z, but according to the Japanese electronics giant it features "the highest level of water-resistance for capturing photos and Full HD videos underwater".
The Xperia ZR can be used to record 1080p videos and shoot stills in up to 1.5 meters of "fresh water" for up to half an hour. The smartphone is also dust-resistant and meets the IP55 and IP58 protection standards. This means that the Xperia ZR can survive the usual water encounters, including a drop in the toilet (as long as it doesn't crack at impact) and a coffee spill, as well as keep dust away from its insides.
After many nightlies and a couple of stable monthly builds, the team of developers behind CyanogenMod, one of the most popular custom green droid distributions, announced the first release candidate for CyanogenMod 10.1. The latest stable build is based on Android 4.2 and arrives just under six months after Google rolled out the second Jelly Bean iteration.
"The 10.1 branch is quickly approaching the point where a 'final' build is due", says the team of developers responsible for the project. "This will be one of (if not the last) milestone releases before a 10.1.0 is pushed out. These builds will appear as they complete the build process".
Little over a month ago, AT&T announced that on a two-year contract the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 32GB storage trim will be available for $249.99. In the meantime the 16GB version hit the mobile operator's stores for $50 less, but even today the 32GB Galaxy S4 is still nowhere to be seen.
On its Twitter account, AT&T sheds some light on the matter and reveals that the 32GB Galaxy S4 is available starting this Friday, May 10. In just a couple of days prospective customers will be able to purchase the smartphone for $249.99 alongside a two-year contract and qualifying plans.
US mobile operator AT&T has officially announced that starting tomorrow, May 3, the Optimus G Pro is available for pre-order from its online store. The smartphone, which was unveiled in mid-February, will go on sale a week after, from May 10, exclusively from AT&T.
The price of the Optimus G Pro falls in line with that of its fierce competition. On a two-year contract LG's Android smartphone flagship runs for $199.99, on par with Apple's iPhone 5, BlackBerry's Z10, HTC's One and Samsung's Galaxy S4. By contrast, the similarly-sized Galaxy Note II is available for $299.99 on a two-year contract.
Last month Google altered the method of collecting data for its Android distribution charts, now measuring the popularity of the operating system iterations by visits to the app store instead of check-ins to the company's servers as before. The move significantly changed the results compared to the previous month, but is there a noticeable difference that is felt in the Android distribution charts for May?
Based on the number of devices visiting Google Play during the 14 days ending May 1, Jelly Bean now ranks as the most popular Android sweet, after Gingerbread. With a combined distribution level of 29.4 percent, for Android 4.1 and Android 4.2, Jelly Bean surpassed Ice Cream Sandwich, which now runs on 27.5 percent of all droids.
On Monday, South Korean manufacturer LG announced a new Android flagship smartphone called the Optimus GK. The handset shares its underpinnings with the previously-introduced Optimus G Pro that is designed for the Japanese market.
The Optimus GK comes with a 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a 440 ppi (pixels per inch) density, similar to other devices like the Sony Xperia Z. There is a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor inside, backed by 2GB of RAM and a large 3,100 mAh battery. So far, so good, but what about the rest of the specs?
You can still buy phones running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), even though Google released the last distribution, version 2.3.7, in September, 2011. In the meantime, numerous security flaws have been discovered in Gingerbread and users are vulnerable to them.
For this, the ACLU blames AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. The logic in their plea to the FTC is so shoddy that I have to suspect an ulterior motive. In whose interests is the ACLU operating here?
Be prepared to invest in some larger pants. Samsung announced two new smartphones today, part of the company's Android lineup. Both devices bear the Galaxy Mega moniker, but one comes with a fairly generous 6.3-inch display while the other features a smaller 5.8-inch screen.
There are other differences as well. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 (yes, that's its real name) comes with a 6.3-inch TFT display with a resolution of 720 by 1280, while the Galaxy Mega 5.8 sports a 5.8-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 540 by 960. Also, the former is powered by a 1.7 GHz dual-core "AP" processor while the latter is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core "AP" processor.
On Thursday, LG announced that the Optimus G Pro, the company's Android flagship smartphone, is now available at Japanese carrier NTT DOCOMO. In mid-January, NTT DOCOMO was the first to reveal the handset, a number of important specifications and its release date -- April 2013.
Unlike its international sibling which sports a 5.5-inch panel, the NTT DOCOMO variant of the Optimus G Pro comes with a smaller 5.0-inch IPS display. The resolution is the same -- 1080 by 1920 but the density is higher -- 440 ppi (pixels per inch). NTT DOCOMO originally revealed that the Optimus G Pro will ship with a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, but today LG said that in fact the newer and faster, still Qualcomm-made, 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragn 600 processor is used instead.
One month after the company updated the Transformer Pad TF300 to Android 4.2, ASUS has announced that the Transformer Pad Infinity is also poised to receive the second Jelly Bean iteration.
On its Facebook page, ASUS posted a picture which lists the Android 4.2 update as coming to the Infinity, with the roll-out started yesterday. So what do you get from the upgrade?
Jelly Bean may be the newest sweet in the family, but it is steadily gaining ground against its older brothers. Combined, Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 reached a 25 percent distribution level in the green droid realm, based on the number of devices accessing Google Play during the 14 days ending April 2.
Starting this month, Google has decided to alter how the data is collected. Google says: "Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers". Why? Because the company considers the new collection method to be more accurate and that it best represents "users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem".
On Tuesday, U.S. mobile operators AT&T and Sprint revealed important details concerning the availability of the HTC One. Starting Thursday, April 4, the device is offered for pre-order on AT&T, while Sprint subscribers have to wait another day. At both carriers sales start April 19.
Pricing is conservative, as on a two-year contract the HTC One in 32GB trim runs for $199.99 at both AT&T and Sprint, similar to the BlackBerry Z10 (on AT&T) or the 16GB Apple iPhone 5 -- both of which come with half the storage capacity. Available colors for the HTC One include black and silver. On AT&T, customers that pre-order the device also get an HTC Media Link HD wireless HDMI adaptor for free.