Apple sued by the US, Android tablets announced, Nokia Lumia 610 has NFC: Mobile Headlines This Week
Welcome to our weekly roundup of the week's mobile and tablet headlines. Let's get into the stories, including several new Android tablets and handsets, loads of news on Nokia's Lumia family, and the massive antitrust lawsuit filed against Apple by the US Department of Justice.
This week was a good one for Android tablets - both Lenovo and Toshiba announced new slates. The Lenovo entry is the IdeaTab S2109, an iPad 2 specification tablet that includes the same 9.7" 1024 x 768 display. The 8.9 mm unibody shell also includes four speakers, micro HDMI out and a micro SD card slot - not too bad. The Android 4.0 tablet is expected to last for about 10 hours under battery life, although its internal specifications haven't yet been confirmed.
Toshiba announced three new slates - the Excite 13, Excite 10, and Excite 7.7. With those numbers corresponding to the size in inches of the tablet's screen, the Excite 13 is by far the biggest tablet I can remember. Its 1600 x 900 display is comically tall in portrait mode, and should prove brilliant for movies and games. All of the tablets run Ice Cream Sandwich and Tegra 3 quad-core processors, so they should be competitive when they come out on May 6th (Excite 10) and June 10th (Excite 13 & 7.7) in the United States.
In handset news, A Motorola engineer may have just leaked a new Android mobile - the Droid Razr HD. The well reviewed and incredibly slim handset was only really criticised for its qHD display and Gingerbread operating system, and it seems that both of these may be rectified in the new handset. A 720p display and Ice Cream Sandwich could make this one of the most desirable phones available, so keep a look out for news of the Droid Razr HD in the weeks ahead.
Here in the UK, we'll soon be seeing the final member of HTC's One family of smartphones. The One V will begin shipping on April 23rd, according to retailers like Carphone Warehouse and Amazon. The One V has been well reviewed, and should offer a pretty solid mid-range option, including Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0 for around £250 unlocked or free on contract.
Other HTC One series phones have been in the headlines too. The One X apparently includes a bug in the shipped retail version, where an essential power management app is misplaced in the wrong directory. When this app is placed in the correct location, users have reported a 10 to 20% increase in battery life. You can either download the fix yourself, or wait for the fix to be included in a phone update. The HTC One S has also been in the headlines due to a chipping issue that has afflicted some handsets. HTC has announced that if your One S has unexplained chipping damage, then you can send it to them to be replaced for free.
Another smartphone heading soon to the UK is the Panasonic Eluga. The IP57 certified phone packs a qHD screen, dual core 1 GHz processor and 7.8 mm waterproof chassis. While the phone launches with Gingerbread, it should be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich by this summer. There's also the option of the Panasonic Eluga Power, which comes with a Snapdragon S4 chip and Ice Cream Sandwich, and should arrive later this month.
The final entry in our lineup of UK-bound phones is the Huawei Ascend D quad. The self-proclaimed "world's fastest phone" will be arriving sometime this year, likely in the summer. The phone uses a custom K3V2 processor clocked at 1.2/1.5 GHz and runs Ice Cream Sandwich, a combination which has led it to back up its claims through benchmark results so far. The Ascend P1 S ("world's slimmest smartphone") and Ascend P1 are also coming to the UK, potentially as early as July.
We've also heard the rumour that Huawei will be the buyers of another top mobile manufacter - Motorola. After Google bought the company, it seems they were most interested in their patents and don't really care about the actual phones produced by Motorola, so such a move does seem viable. Huawei are fast-encroaching on the big players like Samsung, HTC and LG, so such an acquisition would definitely allow them to challenge these players more quickly.
It's been all go for Windows Phones this week, particularly those from Nokia.
We started the week with an announcement that the low price Nokia Lumia 610 will launch with NFC included on some operators. One of those is Orange in the UK, where the discount-priced Nokia phone will be available with a number of NFC-enabled applications. One of these is similar to Sony's SmartTags system, where system settings are changed when an NFC tag is touched. The phone will be released in the third quarter of this year, although pricing is still unconfirmed at this point.
We've also received interesting news that some Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 were shipped with unlocked Qualcomm bootloaders instead of the standard locked Nokia bootloaders. If you're one of the lucky few, when connected to a Linux computer a Qualcomm storage device shows up, which allows for full NAND reads and writes. That gives you the ability to install custom roms - or brick your device!
It's hard to gauge how successful the Nokia Lumia 900 has been in the US. While the Windows Phone flagship has seen a lot of the spotlight in relation to Microsoft's Smoked By Windows Phone challenges (which have recently been exported to Korea!) and anecdotal reports of store sell-outs, Nokia have also posted disappointing financial numbers and aren't bullish on the future. Still, there may be a good sign - AT&T have called the Nokia effort "pretty bold" and have said that sales of the Lumia 900 have exceeded expectations. The Lumia 900 is available for pre-order in the UK, so if you're looking for the top Windows Phone handset definitely have a look for that one!
Of course, Windows Phone 8 (codename Apollo) is coming soon. Many partners have already stated that they'll be coming up with new phones, but Samsung's remained quiet - until now. In an interview, a representative of the company confirmed that they'd have a host of Windows Phone 8 devices coming between October and the end of the year.
Perhaps the biggest news this week for Apple was that they were being filed against by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ's complaint was that Apple had colluded with e-book publishers in order to inflate prices and end Amazon's dominance of the book space. The suit, which names Apple as well as Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin and Macmillan - the biggest names in the business. It's going to be an interesting trial, as Apple as well as Penguin and Macmillan have refused to settle and will take the case to court. Look for more news on this front in the future!
The biggest new iPad app these days is called Paper, and like Draw Something it's making a stylus an essential accessory. Paper isn't a game like Draw Something; instead it's more like Instagram - a very limited toolset that allows you to focus on making nice looking sketches easily. 1.5 million people have downloaded the app over the last two weeks, so I'd definitely recommend checking it out.
Speaking of Instagram, it's been a busy week for them. After being bought by Facebook, they've now announced that they've got 40 million users, including more than five million in less than a week after bringing Android into the fold.
And that's it for the headlines this week - not too bad, huh? Please feel free to leave your questions or comments in the comments section below, and if you found the post helpful then hit that 'Kudos' button to give me some sweet sweet internet karma. Thanks for reading as always!
This article was written by William Judd, a freelance tech journalist and copywriter.
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