Smartphones

Sony-Branded Smartphones at MWC 2012

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Sony has its first "solo" Mobile World Conference appearance this year, with new Sony branded smartphones-- the Xperia NXT series S, P and U.

Sony XperiaPreviously seen at CES 2012, the Xperia S is the higher end model. It has a 4.3" 720p display using "WhiteMagic" technology (supposedly making the display more power efficient and readable in sunlight), together with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. It runs on Sony-themed Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and has a sleek form factor reminiscent of the Bravia TV line.

The Xperia P is the "middle" model, packing a 4" WhiteMagic display inside an aluminium unibody. It also has an 8MP camera and a dual-core processor, and runs on the same Sony-themed Android version as the Xperia S.

On the other hand the Xperia U appears ideal for media use, with xLoud and Sony 3D surround sound and DLNA-powered wireless music streaming.

All 3 models integrate with Sony Entertainment Network and carry NFC and HDMI connectivity. A separate SmartDock accessory allows display mirroring on HDTVs, as well as the connection of either mouse or keyboard.

The Xperia S ships now, while the P and U should be available by Q2 2012.

Go Sony Xperia

Smartphones Turn into Desktops via Linux

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Canonical plans to provide Android smartphones with a desktop-style OS with Ubuntu for Android-- a hardware dock and software combination aiming at first-PC customers and enterprise use.

Ubuntu for AndroidThe idea is similar to the Motorola Atrix, which used the Motorla Webtop OS and the hardware Lapdock. However Canonical pushes the concept even further by having the phone switch to a different OS (ARM Linux) when docked via HDMI and USB ports.

Canonical says it will take advantage of current smartphones (with multi-core processors and fast 4G connections). The Ubuntu OS will share kernel with Android, meaning it will run the same apps and access the same data (such as contact lists) inside the phone.

The dock also connects to a monitor, keyboard and mouse-- but no details are yet available on who is manufacturing compatible docks, or eventual costs.

The project is still in its infancy, as Canonical says phone manufacturers need to pre-load Ubuntu for Android in their phones-- devices Canonical says will be available by late 2012 (with no mention of models or manufacturers either). Still the idea has a lot of potential, especially with companies like Citrix, VMWare and Adobe already supporting Ubuntu.

Go Ubuntu for Android

LG Launches Take on Pad-Phone

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LG previews what it will show at Mobile World Congress 2012 and announcing the Optimus Vu-- a smartphone-tablet hybrid with a 5" touchscreen, similar to the Dell Streak and the Galaxy Note.

Optimus VuThe unusual IPS LCD display uses a 4:3 aspect ratio (1024x768 resolution) and is stylus-friendly. The device itself is not too thick (8.5mm) and carries a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB DDR2 RAM and 32GB of internal memory. It also has x2 cameras (8MP rear-, 1.3MP front-facing)

The OS however is outdated, being Android 2.3 (aka Gingerbread) but LG already promises Ice Cream Sandwich updates.

Like the Note, it features a stylus-- one LG calls the "Rubberdium pen."

Will customers warm up to LG take on the pad-phone/"phablet" format? We will know once the Optimus Vu hits the market on March 2012.

Go LG Optimus Vu

Panasonic Unveils European Smartphone Entry

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Panasonic ElugaPanasonic reveals the first details of its re-entry in the European mobile market with the Eluga-- a 4.3" Android smartphone revealed at the Panasonic Convention 2012.

The company says the phone is not only be light (weighing 103g) but also water and dust proof. The display has 960x540 resolution, with no mention of whether it is LCD or OLED.

Very few details are currently available, but Panasonic says Eluga users will be able to transfer images and videos to Panasonic TVs using the "swipe" Smart Viera app.

The phone should launch on March 2012, and we should have more details before then.

Go Panasonic Eluga Announcement (Twitter)

Polaroid Gives Birth to the Smartcamera?

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Is it an Android phone with a Polaroid camera module, or a Polaroid camera with an Android phone inside? CES 2012 attendees were left with that dilemma when Polaroid revealed the SC1630 Android HD Smart Camera.

Polaroid In simple words, the SC1630 is the fusion of digital camera and Android smartphone-- a 16MP point-and-shooter carrying a micro SIM slot and 850/1900/2100MHz WCDMA and 850/900/1800/1900 GSM radios, together with wifi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM radio connectivity.

The camera has F3.1-F5.6 aperture, 3X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom, as well as max shutter speed of 1/1400 and max ISO of 3200. It also has anti-shake support, geotagging options and shoots 720p video.

A 800x400 3.2" touchscreen and Android OS provides control, while inside are 512MB of built-in storage (expandable to 32GB via microSD card), 512MB of RAM, proximity and G-sensors and 2.5mm headphone jack.

Analysts have been long saying the digital camera industry depends on connectivity and innovation if it wants to survive in the current smartphone dominated market. Polaroid seems to be listening such advice to heart-- we'll gauge the SC1630's success once it hits the market on Q2 2012.

Go Polaroid SC1630 Android HD Smart Camera