Good evening, giffgaff! This weekly roundup of the world’s top smartphone and tablet news gives you all the big headlines in one place, whether you’re a fan of Apple, Android or even Windows Phone.
This week, we’ve got further leaks on the Apple iPad 3 (including a photograph of a real iPad 3), a plethora of new high-powered Android phones and tablets, and a few new Nokia Windows Phone handsets. It’s definitely been a good one, so let’s get right into it – starting with rumour-machine extraordinaire, Apple.
Apple made the headlines several times this week, but the biggest object of speculation remains the iPad 3. I detailed the latest news in full yesterday here on giffgaff, but the main points were that the iPad 3 may be everything we’ve hoped: A powerful quad core ARM A6 processor and a 10” Retina display running at 2048 x 1536 (double that of the iPad 2). LTE / 4G support is even on the cards.
Just minutes ago though, we got word that the iPad 3 has been spotted in the wild by a Hong Kong publication. They’ve detailed the new camera (which looks to be the same 8 megapixel backlit model as the iPhone 4S) and rather more tapered edges, giving the new iPad an even slimmer look. It does look genuine and is the most feature-complete iPad 3 pictured to date.
It’s not all about the iPad, however. iOS 5.1, which is rumoured to launch with the iPad 3 on March 7th, has been leaked showing two new features: a different motion to access the lock screen camera and a Japanese version of Siri. Apple also announced the upcoming update to their desktop OS X operating system, which drops the ‘Mac’ name and includes many iOS apps and features.
It’s certainly been a great week for Apple fans – but now, onto the other side of the OS aisle.
LG – Optimus Vu & LG X3
We’ll start off our Android news this week by looking at South Korean manufacturer LG, who formally announced a new phone: The LG Optimus Vu. The 5” Vu is a competitor to the stylus-using Samsung Galaxy Note, but comes with a much squarer 4:3 aspect ratio screen (think your old LCD at work) running at 1024 x 768 pixels. It’ll be powered by a dual-core processor running at 1.5 GHz and will support an 8 megpixel camera and LTE.
That makes it one of LG’s most powerful handsets, but it will soon be surpassed by another new release: The LG X3. This quad-core Tegra 3 handset had benchmarks released this week, showing performance more than twice as good as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The processor will run at 1.5 GHz on one core mode, and 1.4 GHz on two to four cores. The flagship phone will also include a 4.7” 720p display, Android 4.0 and an 8 megapixel camera on the back.
HTC – One X, One S, One V, One XL
HTC weren’t the only ones to have some details leak about their flagship phone for 2012. HTC also got into the action, with additional details leaking about the HTC Endeavor: It’ll use an S-LCD panel for its 4.7” 720 display and will come with a back-lit sensor for the 8 megapixel camera. The flagship phone will also have 32 GB of internal storage, an FM radio and Beats branded in-ear headphones.
It sounds good, but a name change may be on the cards for the Endeavor. HTC’s 2012 line is apparently due to be rebranded under the ‘One’ moniker, with the HTC Endeavor becoming the HTC One X. Other upcoming phones are also being rebranded, with the HTC Primo (that’s the HTC Rhyme with Beats branding) being called the HTC One V and the HTC Ville (a rather thin mid-range phone) becoming the HTC One S. There’s also a rumoured HTC One XL – but no word on that phone would be… perhaps even a tablet?
I must admit I’m not a fan of the name change. It’s always difficult to keep track of phones that are coming out, and when you reduce their names down to a single letter attached to the brand (e.g. Xperia, Galaxy and now One) it’s much harder than the rather more descriptive code names. Thankfully, HTC are trying to get back in my good graces with rumoured support for PlayStation certification for some of their 2012 devices. Awesome.
Samsung – Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Note 10.1
Of course the world’s biggest Android handset manufacturer wasn’t resting on its laurels either. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 was announced at the beginning of the week, a small upgrade over the original Galaxy Tab that was released a year and a half ago and would not be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich. The Galaxy Tab 2 will come with ICS installed and will also sport a dual-core processor.
Samsung also may have accidentally leaked a new product – the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. While it could be a typo, the apparent product would be a full-sized tablet version of the Samsung Galaxy Note, offering that phone’s well reviewed S Pen stylus. The new tablet would be announced at the Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.
The Best Of The Rest – Huawei Diamond Series, Motorola Medfield, Swype & Android 5.0
Other brands have been getting in the MWC act as well. Huawei has been rumoured to released a quad-core smartphone as a part of their Diamond Series, a big step up for the traditionally budget-level company. Motorola have also released details of their first Intel Medfield powered phone, which offers an instant-on, 15 FPS camera powered by that powerful Intel chip and whose design is inspired by the Motorola Razr.
New software for Android is also on the way, including popular keyboard replacement software Swype. Swype now supports Ice Cream Sandwich, and is available for download in beta form. The biggest news of them all may be that Android 5.0 may be coming out sooner than you’d think – this summer. The new OS, called Jellybean, is reportedly a response to Microsoft’s Windows 8 and will be offered with that OS in a dual-boot environment on some tablets. Interesting stuff – but not quite likely.
Windows Phone Headlines
It’s been a quiet week for Windows Phone. The only real bit of news is that the Indonesian version of the FCC has revealed two new Nokia handsets, the Nokia 305 and Nokia 610. According to rumour, the 305 will be part of the low-cost Asha line, where the 610 will be the cheapest Windows Phone yet and will run the upcoming Windows Phone Tango OS.
That’s All, Folks
So on that fairly unimpressive Windows Phone news, we come to the end of this weekly gadget news round-up – thanks for reading! If you found the article helpful, then please hit that Kudos button – it makes me feel good inside.
I’ll be posting again next week, so please leave a comment to let me know what you think of the format – should it be shorter, longer, or is it just right? Should I cover more stories in less detail, or less stories in more detail? Whatever your comment or question, I’d be happy to read it.
William Judd is a copywriter and technology blogger based in Bristol. If you'd like to hire me or just say hello, feel free to visit my website at williamjudd.com or chat with me on Twitter.