HTC Reveals Beats Phone

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HTC announces its first smartphone featuring Beats audio technology-- the Rezound, previously known as the Vigor. 

RezoundIt has a 4.3" 1280 x 720 resolution display and uses Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable to a further 16GB via microSD card), wifi and Bluetooh 3.0. 

The only feature making Rezound stand out from all other Android handsets the Beats technology-- which users can enjoy using the pair of headphones (complete with built-in microphone and on-cable remote) HTC includes in the package. 

Is this the real reason why HTC paid $300M for 51% of the Dr. Dre owned company back in August?

Go HTC Smartphones

Nokia Shows Off Windows Phone Goods

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Nokia presents a hopeful face at Nokia World 2011, unveiling not one but two Windows Phone 7 devices-- flagship model Lumia 800 and the "colourful and affordable" Lumia 710.

Lumia 800The company describes the Lumia 800 as "the first real Windows Phone"-- a sleek handset sharing industrial design with the stillborn Meego-powered N9, using the same 12.1mm thick polycarbonate plastic casing and 3.7" AMOLED curved display.

Inside is a 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of internal storage, a camera using Carl Zeiss optics and the latest Windows Phone version (7.5 aka Mango), complete with WP7-optimised versions of familiar Nokia apps and 25GB of free SkyDrive storage.

It will be available in 3 colours (cyan, magenta, black) from November 2011.

Meanwhile the Lumia 710 is the "no-nonsense" option, with a chunkier plastic design, 3.7" display and the same 1.4GHz processor as the Lumia 800. It will ship in either black or white (together with a number of replaceable back covers) in European markets from "early 2012."

Thanks to a deal with Beats headphone maker Monster, Nokia also offers a pair of co-branded on-ear and in-ear headsets.

Also unveiled at Nokia World is a new Symbian feature phone family-- "Asha," from the Hindi word for "hope" (maybe they should have used "hamphi," Hindi for "gasp"?). The new series has x4 affordable models in total (Asha 303, 300, 200 and 201) and will be available from Q1 2012.

Go Nokia Showcases New Phone Portfolio at Nokia World 2011

The Razr Returns

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The most successful Motorola mobile phone returns, as the company announces an Android-powered take on the ultra-thin Razr series-- the Droid Razr, bearing the tagline claiming it is "TOO POWERFUL TO FALL IN THE WRONG HANDS."

Droid RazrMotorola says the Droid Razr is the thinnest 4G LTE smartphone around, with a 7.1mm-thick body and a 4.3" Super AMOLED 960x540 touchscreen. Inside is a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8MP rear-facing camera capturing video at 1080p resolution. 

Construction is in Kevlar fibre and Gorilla Glass, while a mysterious "force shield of water-repellent nanoparticles" supposedly protects the device from water-based attacks. 

It runs Android 2.3.5, with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich more than likely (Google owns Motorola, after all) and is also compatible with Atrix-designed peripherals-- complete with the Linux-based Webtop app. 

Go Motorola Droid Razr

The iPhone 4 Gets an "S" (For Effort?)

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Like the rumour-based oracles predicted, Apple unveils the 2011 iPhone model at Let's Talk iPhone-- only not the "iPhone 5," but the iPhone 4S, a hardware upgrade on the previous model.

The revelation proved disappointing for the Apple disciples expecting something entirely new (as if Apple would reinvent the wheel), 4G (lacking) or an improved display (the iPhone4 Retina Display remains).

iPhone 4SInside is the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, which Apple says improves on both graphics and iOS performance. Cameras also get an improvement-- iPhoneographers will be able to play with an 8MP camera handling 1080p video, complete with hybrid IR filter, real-time image stablisation and temporal noise reduction.

Connections come through HSPA+, with GSM and CDMA antennas making it an "international" smartphone.

What's new is "Siri"-- the voice-controlled virtual assistant that speaks back, Hal 9000-style (only in a soothing female voice). In a very non-Apple (but very Google) move, Siri will actually launch in beta alongside the iPhone 4S.

A bullish Tim Cook took to the stage like a duck takes to water-- if not a low-key Steve Jobs, opening his appearance with "I love Apple!" before rattling out hyperbole and statistics. Other Apple executives also took the stage (including Scott Forstall, Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller), in a move only pointing out the elephant in the room that was the absence of Jobs.

The main question-- how will the iPhone 4S fare against the increasingly confident Android competition? Will such a simple upgrade fuel sales? TrendForce at least believes so, saying "a strong market demand remains" and predicting WW 2012 iPhone 4S shipments may reach 100M (resulting in a boon for the NAND flash market as it could cause flash undersupply, triggering a price increase).

Meanwhile iSuppli predicts Apple will remain on top of the smartphone pecking order, leading the general smartphone category to reach global shipments of over 1 billion units by 2015.

Technology-wise, the iPhone 4S races neck to neck against the latest Androids, while windows Phone remains something of a dark horse (with the promise of both "Mango" and WP7-powered Nokia handsets).

The iPhone 4S will be launch in the US on October 14, with other territories to follow soon-- or maybe later, if Apple wants international versions of Siri available.

Go iPhone 4S

Go TrendForce: iPhone 4S Sales Expected to Exceed 100M

Go IHS iSuppli Fast Facts on Apple's New iPhone Introduction

iPhone 5 Gets Announcement Date

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Here's the date Apple disciples are waiting for-- October 4th, the very probable date for the next iPhone's announcement as revealed in a somewhat cryptic image.

iPhone 5 InviteThe image shows the announcement date (Tuesday 4th October), time (10:00am California time), the number "1" (will Apple only reveal 1 device?) and the address to the Apple Cupertino HQ.

What can one expect from the Apple event? One thing for sure-- a lack of Steve Jobs, alongside his famous "reality distortion field" superpower. Most likely to take his place on stage is no other than new CEO Tim Cook.

Wild iPhone 5 feature rumours have been flying around since the iPhone 4 launched last year. The more realistic include an NFC chip, voice-activated "assistant" feature, improved cameras and the same dual-core A5 processor as the iPad 2.

Plus it surely won't look too different from the iPhone 4-- noone expects Apple to reinvent the iWheel by this point (even if it would be a pleasant surprise).

We'll learn whether an Apple announcement will capture the imagination sans-Jobs next week, then.

Go iPhone 5 Event Invites are Out (Business Insider SAI)

Go iPhone 5, Minus the Master (