HTC Rezound ad pays Verizon stores an early visit, soonish launch likely

The above image isn’t a leak — it’s a dye-in-the-wool, true-blue LTE poster that a few Verizon stores have preemptively hung up. We’re pretty sure these adverts aren’t supposed to be displayed for our eyes to see since they feature the HTC Rezound, a forthcoming 4G device that hasn’t even been announced yet. Oops. Additionally, the handset — featured front and center on the ad — shows off a pair of Beats headphones dangling out of its 3.5mm jack. Are there any naysayers that still think the Rezound won’t get its official outing at HTC’s event this week? Count us amongst the believers.

HTC Rezound ad pays Verizon stores an early visit, soonish launch likely originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Panasonic GFX Photos Leaked: GF1 Successor At Last

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Panasonic may be on the cusp of launching a true pro-level successor to its excellent GF1, according to leaked photos.

Ever since Panasonic started watering down its GF range of Micro Four Thirds cameras after the first model, curmudgeon’s (like me) have been griping. While Panasonic chased the point-and-shoot crowd with the GF2 and GF3, people who like knobs and dials on their cameras (like me) were left considering a move over to the Olympus Pen range.

Now 17 leaked shots (since removed) at the Chinese Mobile01 forum show the GX1, which looks a lot more the GF1 than anything since. The layout of the buttons on the rear panel has changed, and the dedicated trash/DOF-preview button has been replaced by a programmable function button. Up top, the mode dial has lost the video mode, and the top plate gains an iA button for enabling Intelligent Auto. And rumors have it that the camera will have a touch screen.

There are also a pair of stereo mics, and the lens, with its motorized zoom, also looks geared towards video.

Inside, I’d expect the 12MP sensor found in all the other GF cameras to be updated, and video will likely be 1080p. We won’t have to wait long. These same rumor mongers have the product announcement date as early as November 8th.

Meet the Panasonic GX1 [MU-43]

See Also:

How Apple Would Reinvent Your Big-Screen TV

Apple currently offers a set-top box called Apple TV, but it could have a television set in the works as well.

An Apple-branded big-screen TV: It’s the rumor that refuses to die.

The latest noise, fueled by a Bloomberg Businessweek article, is that former iTunes lead Jeff Robbin is heading up an Apple television project. This speculation is somewhat legitimized by a statement Steve Jobs shared with his official biographer, Walter Isaacson. Jobs said, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

But this is just the latest hubbub over a big-screen, living-room-dominating Apple TV. Since 2009, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has been speculating that Apple has a full-fledged TV in the works. Another analyst, Forrester’s James McQuivey, also strongly believes that Apple has directed resources toward TV development.

In a phone interview this September, he told, “I’m 100 percent convinced that the Apple TV rumor is true. I’m also convinced Apple may never bring this product to market. If we don’t see one, it’s because Apple is convinced it’s too broken a market to enter into.”

iSuppli principal analyst Randy Lawson basically agrees. He told us he thinks it’s likely that Apple has a television in the works, but it’s a long-term goal, and we probably won’t see it within the next 12 months.

But for now, let’s not worry about Apple’s practical hurdles. Let’s accept that a big-screen Apple TV is inevitable, and consider what Apple may deliver to the “connected TV” landscape, were it brave enough to accept the challenge.

Industry watchers see three key areas of innovation:

Integration With iCloud, iTunes and Other Apple Gear
iCloud seamlessly syncs content so that you can share it among your Apple devices, from iPhones to iPads to Apple computers. Currently, iCloud can be used to store TV shows, photographs and other media, but it’s not farfetched to imagine the service being used for movie storage in the future. iTunes could be enlisted as a purchasing platform, providing a new flow of revenue for Apple — always important when launching a new hardware product, particularly one that has a long shelf life, like a big-screen TV.

“The most important feature of an Apple-branded TV would be seamless integration and connection with other Apple products in the home,” DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon says. Such integration would allow users to push content from one device to another. To this end, iPad mirroring (a feature made available with iPad 2), as well as AirPlay music or video streaming, would likely be an option with the TV set, as well.

“I think there are a lot of people with mobile devices who have content they want to watch on a big screen. So far, the process to get that on a larger television screen is convoluted,” Gagnon says. But using iTunes to access content, and iCloud to store it, would be a dead-easy solution — especially if Apple could partner with content providers to make movies and live content available.

“While a solution for live TV combined with previously aired shows ‘recorded’ in the cloud remains a significant hurdle, perhaps this code is precisely what Jobs believed he has ‘cracked.’” So wrote Piper Jaffray’s Munster in a note to clients this Monday.

A User-Friendly Interface — Care of Siri and Touch Control
“One clear frustration point that users have with TV sets is the huge, bulky, multi-keyed, IR-based, always-lost-can’t-find-it remote control, and the clunky, page- and table-based user guides that requires [you] to scroll through reams of pages just to find what they’re looking for,” iSuppli analyst Randy Lawson says.

Apple, of course, already has several tools in place to address Lawson’s user-experience nightmares. The first is Siri, which could drastically simplify content search and selection, thanks to its smart voice-recognition technology. You could toss that heinous remote in the trash, and instead direct your TV experience using voice commands:

“Siri, resume playing TRON: Legacy.”

“Siri, download the latest episode of Community.”

“Siri, pause YouTube and get me a beer.” (OK, that last one may not be entirely realistic.)

For those uncomfortable with barking commands at Siri, the iPhone and iPad could be used as elegant remote controllers. Virtual keyboards wouldn’t be too burdensome for content searches — we already use them every day — and Apple’s handheld devices could also be used as controllers for onscreen games (assuming the Apple TV runs iOS and provides access to the App Store). And perhaps the gyroscopes and accelerometers within iOS devices could be used for navigation, allowing us to tilt to scroll through menus or fast-forward through movie credits.

Currently, the app and game offerings on connected TVs and set-top boxes are quite meager. With iOS compatibility, App Store access and an improved user experience, we may actually want to use apps and games on our TVs. Because, you know, they wouldn’t suck.

A Unique Form Factor, Improved Audio and FaceTime
Would Apple’s smart TV look like every other set on the market? “I think it’d be shockingly different in terms of form factor,” Gagnon says. In general, Gagnon says, the TV would be high quality: LED backlit, with a high refresh rate and possibly Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry believes that an Apple television set would be very similar to the Bose VideoWave HDTV, but even more simple. It would have a “spartan but elegant design sensibility,” he says, and would use a single cable (the VideoWave needs three). Chowdhry expects an Apple TV would be ultra thin, and would sport at least 16 speakers.

Lawson thinks audio quality would be an Apple TV trump card. In recent years, display quality has improved for most big-screen TVs, but because TVs are getting thinner, audio quality has suffered — or has at least remained stagnant. Lawson isn’t sure what solution Apple would come up with, but says “a robust audio solution would be a clear differentiating factor” for the company.

Lawson also thinks it’s likely that an Apple TV would include a camera for FaceTime video chatting. And that’s just the beginning of what Apple might do with a built-in camera. For example, a system that analyzes physical gestures, much like the Microsoft Kinect, would add another convenient way to interface with the TV.

Taming the Last ‘Untamed’ Room
The living room is the last “untamed” room in the home, Gagnon says. We can carry our laptops, iPhones and iPads to work and back, and from room to room, but our TV stays where it is, and for most of us, it’s only used in a very passive way.

But an Apple-branded TV could very well revitalize the way we “watch” TV and relax with our friends and family. A big-screen Apple TV would also be the next logical step for Apple in its quest to control our entertainment and content-consumption experiences. With a home entertainment ecosystem comprised entirely of Apple gear — a phone, tablet, computer, cloud network, and, yes, a TV — every device works seamlessly together, and looks good doing so.

LG DoublePlay likely to see single release for T-Mobile on October 26th

What phone has a second screen and split keyboard and is likely to make its debut on October 26th? Why yes, it’s the LG DoublePlay, one of T-Mobile’s latest oddballs. Of course, this is just a screenshot that likely indicates a release later this week (with retail outlets receiving units on November 2nd), so we can’t say with an absolute certainty — though this date would coincide perfectly with the beginning of the National Texting Championship. No word yet on its pricing, and its unique form factor and functionality keeps us from taking any wild guesses. Hopefully we’ll know in less than 48 hours.

LG DoublePlay likely to see single release for T-Mobile on October 26th originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 14:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MetroPCS may be top contender for AT&T’s post-acquisition assets

The likelihood of a successful acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T may largely depend on what the latter is willing to give up. The largest GSM carrier in the US may need to throw a few assets overboard in order to satisfy the Department of Justice, and has reportedly been Rethinking Possible by engaging in discussions with several parties interested in scooping up the leftovers. According to Bloomberg, MetroPCS appears to be the frontrunner in the talks, and plans to meet with the Justice Department (alongside AT&T, of course) in the next two weeks to determine if the strategy will appease the regulating body. No guarantees here, of course: it seems like a lot of assets would have to change hands for MetroPCS — a regional carrier with roughly nine million subscribers — to be considered a large enough competitor to assuage the government’s concerns here. We can’t imagine the Feds would be satisfied with any small offering, considering the Department’s filed a lawsuit against Ma Bell to block the merger. We have a feeling this saga is just starting to get real interesting, so stay tuned.

MetroPCS may be top contender for AT&T’s post-acquisition assets originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 20 Oct 2011 19:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nokia Sabre brandished ahead of launch, expected to unveil its Mango of steel next week?

Andy Lees mentioned at AsiaD that Nokia would be launching more than one Windows Phone at its London-based event next week, and there’s a chance that the prototype you see above could be unveiled alongside the Nokia 800 Sea Ray. Pocketnow is referring to the Mr. Blurrycam-produced image as the Sabre, said to be running on a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 3.5-inch WVGA display and a 5MP rear camera. The alleged price won’t stab your wallet, as the source claims it’ll cost somewhere between $410 and $480. Of course, there’s less than a week before Nokia World begins and the speculation ends, and we’ll be there to deliver the blow-by-blow action as it happens.

Update: Commenters have made the connection between this mysterious device and the recently-announced Nokia 603, a Symbian Belle handset, with the hardware buttons simply whited out at the bottom. And we’re definitely seeing the resemblance — in fact, if you look closely enough at the Metro UI it appears slightly crooked, as if the stack of tiles is leaning to the right. We’d say the chances of this image being a fake are quite high.

Continue reading Nokia Sabre brandished ahead of launch, expected to unveil its Mango of steel next week?

Nokia Sabre brandished ahead of launch, expected to unveil its Mango of steel next week? originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 20 Oct 2011 12:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why Apple Isn’t Going to Release a 7-inch iPad

A 9.7-inch iPad next to the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab. Photo: Jon Snyder/

Fresh rumors are suggesting that Apple could be working on a small form factor tablet to share shelf space with the iPad and iPad 2. Specifically, a Taiwanese website called the United Daily News reported Tuesday that Apple has received samples of 7.85-inch displays based on the iPad’s 1024 x 768 resolution.

This latest rumor follows a wave of speculation fueled by Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. Last week, in a statement positing that Apple is working on a lower-priced iPad, the analyst wrote, “Essentially, this ‘iPad mini’ will also fend off the recently announced Amazon Kindle Fire that addresses the low-end tablet market with a $199 price tag.”

White was careful to add that this “iPad mini” may only be “mini” in terms of its $199 price tag, but at that point a new iPad mini meme had been released into the wilderness, and rumor mongers couldn’t resist the bait. Just do a search for iPad mini, and you’ll find story after story using White’s loosey-goosey language as substantiating evidence in support of a 7-inch iPad release.

And now for the reality check: Although the release of a small form factor iPad is possible — and come on, just about anything is possible — conventional wisdom very strongly suggests that a small form factor iPad is not the “Apple way.”

“We expect Apple to maintain its premium price point on tablets,” wrote Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps in an e-mail. “Apple will not allow Amazon to dictate the terms of competition — Apple makes its own rules.”

Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD, also believes a 7-inch iPad isn’t in the cards: “Based on Apple’s past comments, it is unlikely that we will see a 7-inch tablet from Apple, which has decried the screen size as too small. The company is enjoying strong sales with the iPad, and it could be difficult for developers to make their iPad-optimized apps look at home.”

Chasing Amazon’s Fire

Bloggers were speculating on the possibility of a small form factor iPad in late 2010, almost immediately after it became apparent that the iPad was a transformational device. But the latest wave of speculation keys into anticipation for Amazon’s Kindle Fire, a 7-inch device that has renewed interest in the mini-tablet form factor, which had largely been abandoned by Apple competitors in the wake of the 9.7-inch iPad’s runaway success. Because the Kindle Fire is being celebrated as the first tablet with the goods to seriously challenge the iPad, it’s spurred a lot of talk that Apple could break into — and quickly overwhelm — the smaller tablet arena.

“The Amazon Kindle Fire is catching consumers’ attention and pre-selling well because it is priced very competitively, not because it is just smaller,” says Desiree Davis of Resolve Market Research. Indeed, according to a recent Resolve study, only 9 percent of consumers are looking for a 7-inch tablet, while two-thirds want a 10-inch device.

Davis has it right: The 7-inch form factor just isn’t that appealing to consumers. Screen real estate does make a difference in the mobile space, and a 9.7-inch iPad will always provide a more luxurious experience than a 7-inch Fire. But there are also three other reasons why chasing a 7-inch tablet doesn’t make sense for Apple.

First, developing a product just to upend a competitor is not in Apple’s DNA. Apple strives to create new markets (or at least new product tiers) that it can own in dominant fashion. Just look at the iPod, iPhone, the MacBook Air, and of course, the iPad. No, none of these items were the “first” in their respective areas, but Apple innovated products so unique and with so much style, it almost seemed like these devices were entirely new inventions.

Desktops, traditional notebooks and monitors are computing staples, yes, and Apple makes those too. But in recent years, the iPod, iPhone, Air and iPad lines have been Apple’s shining stars, carving out new niche segments that leave competitors playing catch-up. Bottom line: Apple has more to gain by creating new product spaces than chasing Amazon into the unproven territory of 7-inch screen real estate.

One Size Never Fits All

Second, Apple has a carefully curated app store stocked with software specifically designed for the 3.5-inch display of the iPhone and iPod touch, and the 9.7-inch display of the iPad. Adding a 7-inch display to the lineup would create problems for app developers. Even though a 7- or 8-inch display could comfortably clock in at 1024 x 768, existing iPad apps may not look good (or be user friendly, or feel quite as natural) on these smaller screen sizes.

“There would be a lot of interface changes,” said indie iOS developer Zac Witte with respect to converting an iPhone or iPad app to a 7-inch screen size. “I don’t think Apple would ever do that. They wouldn’t want to create noise. That’s a very Android thing to do.”

Just ask Android app developers about the difficulties of accomodating all the various screen sizes in the Android line-up, which includes a 3-inch mini phone, 4.5-inch uberphones, and tablets at 5, 7, 8.9 and 10.1 inches. Apple has avoided this “screen fragmentation” problem by offering only two screen sizes for iOS devices. A third size, care of a 7-inch tablet, would require app creators to explore a third track of development to reconfigure U.I. and other visual elements.

“There’s a big difference between building apps for the iPad and for the iPhone. A 7-inch device would have its own set of activities and applications, [and be] more gaming and utility focused,” iOS developer Brian Fino said.

Sure, iPhone apps could be ported to a 7-inch iPad, as has been done in the past with popular apps (like Facebook) that lacked an iPad-only option. But this approach isn’t graceful, and wouldn’t leverage any unique benefits of a miniature iPad form factor.

Steve Said Nuh-Uh

Third, the iPad already has a solid, ostensibly intractable foothold in the tablet space. The iPad basically is the tablet market. People want an iPad, not just any tablet, and competitors are resorting to dire price-slashing measures to carve out a slice of the tablet space.

Oh, and here’s a bonus fourth reason why Apple won’t develop an iPad mini: Steve Jobs emphatically stated that 7-inch tablets are too small for a pleasant touchscreen experience.

I think that if Apple does reach out to the budget market, it would use a similar approach to its iPhone strategy. It would dramatically reduce the price of the original iPad (maybe down to $200), slightly reduce the price of the iPad 2, and then offer a full-priced iPad 3. That’s just fanciful what-ifing, though. Sales of both the iPad and iPad 2 are still going strong at full price. Apple would only reduce their prices if it looked like user adoption would skyrocket thanks to bargain prices.

Photo: Jim Merithew/

Ice Cream Sandwich may have a built-in photo editor to help your pictures turn out halfway decent

If you envision Ice Cream Sandwich — the latest iteration of Android — as a revolutionary update that satisfies every single one of your geeky lusts, we sure hope you’ve been aching for a photo editor. It appears that AndroidPolice has hunted down a variety of icons and logos presumed to be associated with the feature, but it’s not certain if these will actually appear in the final build. The icons hint at a smattering of image editing tools: crop, sharpen, flip, rotate and a selection of 19 possible photo effects are among the options. Again, this is highly speculative, and rumors such as these will likely ramp up as we approach the official announcement. ‘Course, we won’t scoff at the idea of a native photo editor in Ice Cream Sandwich, but we’re sincerely hoping this won’t be the coolest thing about the new OS at Tuesday’s announcement in Hong Kong.

[Thanks, Paul]

Ice Cream Sandwich may have a built-in photo editor to help your pictures turn out halfway decent originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 17 Oct 2011 08:53:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Details on the Samsung Galaxy S III leak out: 1.8GHz dual-core CPU and 12MP camera? (Update: wrong terminology)

We’re still awaiting the release of the Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile this week, and yet it’s already starting to look like yesterday’s half-eaten breakfast. That’s because some fuzzy details are now leaking out about its inevitable successor, the mystical Galaxy S III. The leaked presentation slide above, uncovered by Phandroid, shows a phone that’s packing a 1.8GHz dual-core Exynos 4212 CPU with 2GB of RAM and a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera. Oh, and a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED Plus HD display isn’t too shabby either. If this ends up being true, we’re a bit puzzled by the inclusion of four buttons on the bottom — a departure from the first two Galaxy S devices — and why the slide refers to the original Galaxy S as running on an Exynos processor, rather than Hummingbird. Color us a shade of skeptic since we’re still a few months out from CES and MWC, but it’s never too early to start getting excited over an upcoming device, right?

Update: One other piece of evidence that leads us to believe this is fake is the fact that the term “Super AMOLED Plus HD” is used; if this were real, Samsung would likely use its proper terminology, which is HD Super AMOLED.

Details on the Samsung Galaxy S III leak out: 1.8GHz dual-core CPU and 12MP camera? (Update: wrong terminology) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 10 Oct 2011 14:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ASUS Ultrabooks are actually Zenbooks?

ASUS has a big event next week in the Big Apple, where the super slim UX21 and UX31 will be revealed. Granted, the company said it’ll be showing off “the real Ultrabook,” on October 11th, but the eagle-eyed folks at Notebook Italia spied some evidence that the laptops in question will be called Zenbooks instead. Proof of the new moniker was found in the title of the information request form on the ASUS UX countdown site, but it was gone when we looked for ourselves. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether the newest thin and light laptops are, indeed, PCs possessing inner peace.

ASUS Ultrabooks are actually Zenbooks? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 04:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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