For the past three months, I have been using an LG Optimus 4X along with my Samsung Galaxy S3. To be honest, I came to LG with a lot of reticence and excitement. After all, when you consider the spec sheet, they always seem to have winner devices on their hands but somehow this fails to translate into real blockbusters. Part of it is probably due to their Android skin: while you might find a few people who love HTC’s Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz / Nature UI, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’ll blatantly tell you that they favor LG’s Optimus UI.
I’m here to debunk that myth. Three months in, I’ll easily proclaim that if I were to run a non-stock Android device as is, without any mods, I’d pick LG over any other OEM. Actually, if it weren’t for custom ROMs like FoxHound, the S3 would be unusable for me. By comparison, I use the Optimus 4X as it came out of the box and I love it. Below are five reasons why.
It’s another week, and another series of updates in our beloved ecosystem. This week saw fourth quarter earnings from Google, the release of the sequel to fan-favourite Temple Run and the news that Siri was very nearly an exclusive features of Android phones running on Verizon. Let’s take a look. (more…)
This week saw the Consumer Electronics Show — or CES — take place in Las Vegas, an annual gathering of the technology industry to show off the latest and greatest. As with recent years, a big focus has been on Android and the evolving smartphone and tablet landscape. In this special edition of This Week In Android, we’re going to take a look at some of the show’s big announcements and call out a few of our favourites.
We don’t usually like to indulge in rumors on Android.Appstorm, especially the “very out-there” kind, but this particular rumor has been spreading lately and it got everyone a little intrigued to say the least.
SamMobile, a notable source of everything Samsung, has shared a tip that the next flagship device from the Korean manufacturer will have the GT-I9500 product code. Given that previous information had Samsung’s first Tizen device as the GT-I9500, everyone went in a frenzy deducing that the Galaxy S4 would run Tizen, the open-source MeeGo successor OS that Samsung is developing with Intel.
Now, to be honest with you, I’m rather amused by wild predictions like that making the rounds of every tech and phone website. First, no matter how much we speculate, there’s really no way to know for sure. Second, and most importantly, do you believe Samsung would cut off Android on its flagship for an untested and unsupported OS, jeopardizing its current standing as lead smartphone manufacturer? I don’t think so. Well, to be honest, I’m only 99% certain.
Everyone knows that Samsung plans to detach itself from Google’s reign over Android, and start a more independent venture with Tizen and Intel. It’s even confirmed that Samsung Tizen devices are coming in 2013. However, given the lack of apps — it’s all about app store numbers now, isn’t it? — for this new OS, it’d be rather silly to bet a flagship’s success over it. The S5 or S6 may run Tizen, but the S4 is a long, long shot. Just imagine the debacle if people bought it assuming they’d get all their apps, then ended up with no Whatsapp, no Instagram and no Angry Birds or Cut The Rope. There would be blood shed.
However, the rumor mill being what it is, this will continue spreading until we get an official word from Samsung or until the S4′s actual announcement. And it got us interested here. Suppose there’s an alternate universe where Samsung would seriously consider Tizen to be ready for the Galaxy S4, would you actually buy it? Or in other words, are you more interested in the Galaxy S brand than the OS, or is it all about Android for you?
Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the Android community, there was actually quite a lot going on. As one might expect, one of the final weeks before the end of the year and less than a month before CES 2013 did not bring a plethora of new device announcements but we did see a few app updates and plans to upgrade a number of phones to more recent versions of the OS.
Android has had yet another big week with a bevy of app updates making their way onto the platform, some new device announcements thrown into the mix and interesting developments with Android’s main competitors. In our This Week in Android roundup for the past 7 days, we’ll take a quick look at all of this. (more…)
Samsung has just announced its Galaxy S3 Mini device in an event in Germany. The new phone sports the same signature design as its bigger sibling, the Galaxy S3, but drops all the specs to fit in a significantly more compact device.
With a smaller 4″ screen at 800×400 pixels, a slower dual-core 1.2GHz processor, a less impressive 5MP camera, and a smaller 1700mAh battery, the S3 Mini seems to shed a lot of power and keep the only features that made the S3 so iconic: its design and its human and nature inspired themes.
This isn’t however the first time that a “Mini” equivalent of a popular smartphone is released. The Galaxy S2 Mini comes to mind, and the practice was even tried in 2009 when Nokia announced the N97 Mini, a smaller version of its flagship N97. Obviously, companies want to build on their success stories and milk the cash cow as much as they could. A “Mini” version appeals, as it sports the same name and hence the same halo effect as the original device, all while giving access to a smaller price category and providing a brand entry point to a new category of customers.
Personally, I believe that even though this will prove to be a popular choice for Samsung, it isn’t a smart decision for someone to buy this particular Mini iteration. It’s not the “Mini” naming that turns me down, but the fact that the specs fail to impress, even for a mid-level smartphone, and don’t offer any significant change or advantage over the sibling. By comparison, when I got the N97 Mini back in 2009, it had more internal storage and more RAM than the N97 and had fixed a few other problems, making it a worthy investment. With the S3 Mini, you don’t get the HD screen or the great camera that the S3 offer, so you’re eventually buying the same specs as any smartphone circa 2010-2011 and only paying for the brand instead of the device itself.
September has been a fairly big month for Android announcements, with a number of phone and tablet makers taking the stage to announce new products. From the unveiling of a new line of Kindle Fires to Google and Motorola’s Droids, in this article we’ll take a look at some of the new gear.
Last month, Nathaniel Mott told us why manufacturer’s custom skins should disappear. I and many others were quite excited for the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, hoping to catch a glimpse of the next generation of Android handsets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but collectively, I think we were disappointed. Why? Certainly not because of the specs, or even the design, but because of the skins.
If we take a look at the HTC One X, it’s not an incredibly ugly phone when it comes to user interface, but it’s nowhere near as well designed as stock Ice Cream Sandwich. It seems that the phone makers have taken Android’s open, versatile nature to mean it is there for them to mess up.
The Consumer Electronics Show showed off many different Android devices, including a handful of new phones and new tablets. However, while those devices headlined Android’s appearance at the show, hardware manufactures also introduced new uses of the operating system on devices including watches and webcams.
Let’s take a look at those devices…