Tag Archives: smartphones

Recipe for a successful Android phone

26 Apr

A glance at the history of Android phones will reveal the immense wave of Android handsets in recent years. In just 2011 alone, at least 13 new Android phones were released in the U.S., and it’s not even May. With these many phones on the market, it’s no wonder that Android adoption is on the rise.

The problem with there being so many Android phones electronic gadgets, however, is that it’s difficult for any one phone to stand out. Consumers have a hard enough time deciding which handset to get in the first place; imagine if they are choosing between phones that are practically identical. Even for seasoned reviewers like me, the phones tend to blend together after a while.

However, there are the occasional shining stars that stand out from the crowd. The T-Mobile G2x, for example, won an Editors’ Choice Award recently because of its top-notch features and performance, and the Motorola Atrix 4G won our admiration at CES with its innovative laptop dock. We’ve learned that there are a few important components that go into a successful Android phone, and we’ve decided to share our views here.

Great design
We’re not suggesting that manufacturers cover up their phones in Swarovski crystals to get us to notice them, but a good design is nevertheless important; it shouldn’t feel like a cheap throwaway phone you bought at a drug store. The handset should have a nice solid feel in the hand; this is a sign that it’s made out of good-quality materials. Glass displays are always welcome, and a capacitive touch screen is an absolute must. The technology behind the display is important, too; we’re usually impressed with Super AMOLED screens, as well as IPS and qHD displays that provide bright and vibrant colors. Smartphones electronic gadgets are increasingly used for watching movies and playing games, so the more vivid the display, the better. We also tend to favor larger screens because of this, though anything bigger than 4.3 inches may prove to be too much.

If manufacturers decide to add additional components like a slide-out keyboard, those should be well-made, too. The keyboard shouldn’t be too flat or slippery, and the sliding mechanism should snap into place when open. While we’re not entirely sold on the idea that thinner is better, an overly bulky phone is not desirable, either. On the whole, we want a phone that looks and feels great in the hand while not weighing down our pockets.

Simplify, simplify
I’m not averse to manufacturers and carriers putting their own spin on Android with their own skins and overlays, but I really do prefer it when less is done to mess with the native Android interface. The stock Android experience is simply faster and cleaner. Some manufacturers do come up with acceptable skins that help differentiate the phones, like HTC’s Sense UI and Samsung’s less intrusive TouchWiz interface. But we’re often less than pleased with more intrusive overlays, like Motorola’s Motoblur and Sony Ericsson’s Timescape electronic gadgets. They tend to bog down the phone and clutter the screen. Of course, software upgrades arrive much earlier for native Android phones, too.

High-tech features
Even though Google doesn’t require Android phones to have the best hardware out there, we do think it’s important for manufacturers to incorporate the latest technology if they want a successful Android phone. Recently, that has meant faster processors and improved graphic chipsets, which are increasingly important for consumers who want to watch HD video or play processor-intensive games.

But it’s not just about speed; all the other features need to be improved, too. We definitely want the basics like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, but also the ability to have a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot. The latest phones also have multimedia-friendly features like HDMI mirroring and DLNA support.

As for the camera, an 8-megapixel camera seems to be the standard for premium handsets, but the photo quality isn’t necessarily better. It would be more prudent for companies to focus on making a better sensor and improving the software. While we’re not sure video chat is something everyone will use, a front-facing camera is a nice bonus feature to have as well.

As 4G becomes more widespread, we also feel that the most successful Android phones will be able to take advantage of a 4G network, whether it be Sprint’s WiMax, Verizon’s LTE, T-Mobile’s HSPA+, or AT&T’s HSPA+ (and possible upcoming LTE network). Of course, it would be nice if the carriers offered a reliable and fast network as well.

Battery life
The biggest complaint about powerful Android smartphones like the Atrix 4G is that the battery life isn’t so great. If you can’t last a day without having to charge it, then the phone’s many features are worthless. This is especially a concern with the aforementioned dual-core phones with 4G speeds. However, this isn’t a pipe dream–we enjoyed decent battery life with the G2x, for example. Hopefully more manufacturers will find a way to marry high-tech features with better battery life.

It goes without saying that the more affordable a phone is, the more successful it’ll be. A standard price tends to be around the $200 range for a premium phone that requires a two-year contract. We’ve also seen really great phones like the HTC Evo Shift 4G electronic gadgets sell for even less than that. Anything more than that tends to require a lot more justification.

Source from CNET

Sony Ericsson slaps Walkman logo on X8, renames it W8

22 Apr

Take one Xperia X8, add a dash of color, paint a “W” on it and, voilà, you have the first Walkman phone running Android — the W8 electronic gadgets. We’re not seeing it on the US Sony Ericsson site yet, but a quick visit to the company’s German page reveals the decidedly low-end specs:

a 3-inch, 320 x 480 touchscreen, a 600MHz processor, 168MB of RAM and Android 2.1. The W8 may not recapture the luster the Walkman brand enjoyed in its TPS-L2 heyday, but at least it’ll update your Twitter status. Gallery below.

Source from Engadget

T-Mobile Sidekick 4G (purple) Reviews

19 Apr

The good: The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G impresses with the addition of a touch screen and the Android operating system. The handheld also offers enhanced messaging features, great call quality, and a good camera.

The bad: The user interface won’t appeal to everyone. The smartphone can occasionally be sluggish.

The bottom line: The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G continues the Sidekick’s legacy as an excellent messaging device and also serves as a great entry-level smartphone.

T-Mobile Sidekick users were probably a bit stunned when it was announced that data service for the popular messaging handheld would cease on May 31. Though the interruption of service is certainly inconvenient, it doesn’t mean the end of the Sidekick–quite the opposite, actually. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G electronic gadgets, which will be available April 20 for $99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, pumps new life into the Sidekick line with the addition of the Android operating system, a touch screen, and enhanced messaging features, among other things. As with the previous models, the Sidekick 4G won’t be for everyone, but we found a lot to like about it. Read on to find out if it’s right for you.

Though Samsung has taken the reins from Sharp, the company wisely kept a lot of the design elements that made the Sidekick a Sidekick. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G still has the landscape-oriented slab form factor and it’s about the same size (2.4 inches wide by 5 inches long by 0.6 inch thick) as the Sidekick LX 2009, but it’s a bit more streamlined since there aren’t as many gaps or protruding buttons. As a result, the phone feels smoother and slips into a pants pocket more easily.

The Sidekick 4G has a plastic construction and feels relatively lightweight but solid. We miss the soft-touch finish found on the previous Sidekick, but you do get a textured surface on back along the left and right side, making it easier to grip the device when you’re using the keyboard.

Another aspect taken from the old Sidekicks are the four navigation controls that occupy each corner of the handset. Gone are the dedicated Talk and End buttons, but you still get the home, menu, back, and jump keys. The jump key will bring up a view of your most recently used applications. There’s also an optical joystick that doubles as an OK button as well. However, it’s rather small, so we found it difficult to use for scrolling through lists.

Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on the joystick for all your navigating needs because the Sidekick 4G electronic gadgets have a 3.5-inch touch screen–a first for a Sidekick. The addition of the touch screen makes it easy to launch apps and scroll through the various home screens and menus. You can also quickly zoom in on Web pages and pictures, thanks to the pinch-to-zoom support. In general, images and text looked sharp on the 480×800-pixel display. That said, videos looked a bit murkier compared with some of today’s higher-resolution screens.

Of course, two hallmark features of all the Sidekick models were the moving screen and the keyboard. The Sidekick 4G has both, but with regard to the former, the smartphone goes more the way of the Sidekick Slide with a slider design. It’s a bit different in that you don’t need to slide the screen all the way up. Instead, with one good push, the screen pops up and sits at a slight angle. It’s a pretty smooth action, and the “pop-tilt” hinge feels quite sturdy, so we don’t have any major concerns about long-term durability.

Once open, you have access to the five-row QWERTY keyboard, and as we’ve come to expect from Sidekicks, the keyboard is excellent. There’s ample spacing between the bulbous buttons and they provide a nice tactile feedback, so we were able to type quickly and with very few mistakes. We also appreciate the presence of the number row and dedicated keys for emoticons, the @ symbol, and voice commands. You can also create shortcuts using the combination of the jump key and a letter. Some are already preset–for example, pressing the jump key and the M key will launch the music player–but you’re free to create more. If you don’t need to write a long message, the Sidekick 4G electronic gadgets also offer the Swype virtual keyboard.

Rounding out the device are a 3.5mm headphone jack, a volume rocker, and a power button on the left side (when held in portrait mode) and a Micro-USB port and camera button on the right. We found the placement of some of these buttons to be troublesome. Most notably, when trying to capture an image using the camera button, our palm would often hit the power button and thus lock the phone before we could snap the picture, which got to be quite annoying. The 5-megapixel camera lens is located on back sans flash, and you’ll find the microSD expansion slot behind the battery door.

The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a preinstalled 2GB microSD card, and reference material, and you can purchase the smartphone in either matte black or pearl magenta.

User interface and software
Recognizing the need to replace the older devices and come up with something that fits into today’s market, Microsoft and Danger made a joint decision to shut down the Danger service and transition to a new mobile platform. As a result, the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G electronic gadgets now run on the Android operating system, more specifically Android 2.2.1.

Sitting on top of Froyo is Samsung and T-Mobile’s custom Kick UX interface. It’s different from anything on other Android phones and caters more to the Sidekick’s younger target audience. You can customize the seven homescreen panels with various themes and wallpaper that are slightly flashier than most.

Source from CNET

Flip UltraHD

11 Apr

The Flip range of pocket video cameras has long been a PC Pro favorite, marrying ease of use with excellent video quality at a reasonable price. The third-gen Flip UltraHD electronic gadgets add a couple of major new features to the armory: image stabilization and 50fps video recording.

There’s still no upgrade to 1080p, but it’s the first time we’ve seen image stabilization on any pocket video camera, and it combines with the new, super-high frame rate to spectacular effect. High frame rates smooth out panning and action shots beautifully, and the stabilization works effectively to eliminate camera shake.

We clamped the old and new Flip UltraHD together and shot a scene while walking along the street to get an idea of how much of an improvement had been made – and were blown away by the difference. That isn’t the only change. The new UltraHD is slimmer than before, and thus more pocket able. The electronic gadgets still comes with a rechargeable battery and the option to replace that with standard alkaline or lithium cells in an emergency, but this time you’ll need three AAAs instead of two AAs.

Image quality is a different story, however, and here Flip has made some odd choices. With the extra frames we’d expected to see a higher bit rate, but in fact there’s very little difference between the two cameras. The new UltraHD still hovers around 9Mbits/sec, and the result is that some details are lost to its aggressive compression. There’s a touch more noise in low-light situations, and colors look oversaturate ted.

Realistically, though, the improvements outweigh this small backwards shuffle. Image quality in all conditions matches or surpasses any other pocket video camera on the market, and its ease of use is as peerless as ever. The price might be a touch high, but if you want the best, it’s worth paying the premium.

HTC Touch 3G

1 Apr

HTC Touch 3G is the 3G version of HTC Touch. It has a CPU which gives 528 MHz CPU speed, 192 MB RAM, and 256 MB ROM. The cellphone is one of the earliest 3G cellphone with dedicated processor launched by any company. It offers various features and has become a pioneer in 3G cellphones. These electronic gadgets have a 3.15 megapixel camera and 2.8 inch TFT resistive touch screen. The touch screen has TouchFLO finger swipe navigation, handwriting recognition and 5 way navigation technologies. It is one of the primal Windows based smartphones. The cellphone is definitely a benchmark for 21st century people.