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ZTE nubia 5S mini arrives in the US, unlocked and with LTE

Posted by wicked August - 21 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

ZTE is bringing yet another of its rare smartphones to the US, this time offering it without any carrier support or subsidy. The nubia 5S mini’s 13 megapixel camera and focus on digital photography features, however, might make it a more interesting pick compared to the manufacturer’s previous devices, even or especially those limited edition marketing gimmicks.

The nubia 5S mini LTE, a name that is likely to cause some confusion, is, for all intents and purposes, a mid-range device. It runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32 GB via a microSD card. The 4.7-inch 1280×720 display might not sound impressive, but ZTE boasts that it has applied Sharp’s power-saving IGZO technology. It is powered by a 2,000 mAh battery and is compatible with US LTE networks. Unfortunately, it only uses Android 4.3 instead of the latest KitKat.

While the specs may sound mediocre or decent at best, ZTE is selling this device more as a camera-centric smartphone than an Android powerhouse. The 13-megapixel rear camera comes with a BSI sensor and an F2.2 aperture, is made up of five pieces of precision optical lens and protected by sapphire glass. The front piece is no underdog either with a 5 megapixel sensor. Of course, there are various software features designed to take advantage of that hardware, including different camera modes for different needs, editing and filter effects, as well as a “smile trigger” for easier selfies. ZTE is claiming to offer a DSLR-like photography experience with controls and photo editing capabilities.

ZTE will be selling the nubia 5S mini LTE unlocked through Amazon. The company claims that this shows its confidence in its product, meaning that they’re confident users will buy them without the help of US carriers. The smartphone costs $279.99 and comes in only one color configuration of white with black front bezels. The nubia 5S mini LTE will officially launch on August 27 but is already available today for pre-order from Amazon.

zte-nubia-5s-mini-1
zte-nubia-5s-mini-2
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SOURCE: ZTE

LG announces LTE version of the LG G Pad 8.0

Posted by wicked August - 14 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

lg_g_pad_8_pr

LG announced today that they are expanding their tablet offerings by adding a 4G LTE enabled version of the LG G Pad 8.0. The 8-inch version of the G Pad series of tablets was announced back in the spring as part of a trio of tablets from LG. According to LG’s president Dr. Jong-seok Park,

“LG is setting a higher standard for connectivity in emerging 4G markets. Today’s on-the-go consumers demand speed and convenience wherever they are, at any time. If a 4G LTE infrastructure is in place, we want LG products to be first to take advantage of the fast network.”

Along with the 4G LTE connectivity options that will be available for users of the tablet, LG is also shipping them with their QPair 2.0 technology that will let consumers pair the tablet to a smartphone using Bluetooth. Users can then answer phone calls, receive notifications and send text messages from the tablet.

LG did not indicate what pricing will be like for the device. However, it is expected to ship to markets in Europe, Central America, South America, Asia and CIS countries in the coming weeks. The LG G Pad 8.0 will be available in black, white, luminous orange and luminous blue.

source: LG

Come comment on this article: LG announces LTE version of the LG G Pad 8.0

LG G Pad 8.0 gets an LTE makeover

Posted by wicked August - 14 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Trying to make headway in markets that tote LTE connectivity in every street and corner, LG is announcing a new LTE variant of the middle child of its new G Pad series. This G Pad 8.0 still carries the same goodness, or maybe lack thereof, of its vanilla counterpart, except now your Internet connection won’t have to go away even if your WiFi does.

For all intents and purposes, this it the exact same G Pad 8.0, which means you get a 1280×800 8.0-inch IPS display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. There’s also a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front shooter. The 4,200 mAh battery might be enough to get you through the day on the WiFi-only model, but the addition of LTE network support naturally translates to even more battery drain and a shorter time away from that wall socket.

lg-g-pad-8.0-lte-2

That said, you also get the same software features found on LG’s G Pad series, some useful and some just icing on top. You have Knock Code unlocking gestures and Smart Keyboard input. QPair is definitely an interesting way to make and take calls as well as messages on the tablet itself, without having to pick up your phone. For the more frivolous uses of the tablet’s cameras, you have Gesture Shot, which lets you activate a 3-second timer just by opening and clenching your fist, and Touch & Shot, which combines tap to focus and tap to shoot in one single tap.

lg-g-pad-8.0-lte-3

The LTE G Pad 8.0 will be available in black, white, luminous orange, and luminous blue flavors. The tablet will go live in key European markets next week, followed by Central and South America, Asia, and CIS territories in the coming weeks. No word on pricing yet or on availability in the US. That said, the LTE G Pad 7.0 landed on AT&T early this month and the older G Pad 8.3 also came by way of Verizon, so there is a good chance that this variant could also make its way to the country some time in the future.

SOURCE: LG

American smartphone buyers prioritize LTE and screen size – what do you want in your phone?

Posted by wicked August - 13 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

sony xperia z1 samsung galaxy note 3 z1 ultra smartphones aa 7

A sound smartphone adviser will tell you there is no “perfect” phone. Personal preferences play the most important role in choosing the right device, but this doesn’t mean we don’t collectively tend to prefer certain features or factors over others.

A new study by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech is shedding some light on what American new smartphone buyers tend to look for. Americans are all about speed, so it’s obvious most users will prefer a device that has 4G LTE compatibility. This does include most devices nowadays, but this doesn’t yet make it less of a factor. We all want that LTE!

lte

Another important variable is screen size. The display is the window into the smartphone experience, so it makes sense that users put this specification in high priority. I prefer larger displays, which offer ease to your typing. Some may want a smaller screen, which usually makes devices easier to hold.

Research and influences

There is a process we all follow when purchasing a new product. You may look for friendly advice or professional reviews, habits this study also happens to dig into. Kantar states iPhone buyers tend to do the least research before buying a phone. This makes sense, considering Apple has its reputation and a huge following that will say wonders about Apple’s gadgets.

This study reveals that about 25% of new smartphone buyers turn to friends for advice, while nearly 25% uses the carrier’s website. The next most popular advice would come from other websites (like us). We would also be wrong if we thought the internet is now taking over the world, as 64% of purchases are made in traditional brick & mortar stores… 24% of smartphone sales are done online.

Samsung-store-vancouver Vancouver Sun

It seems stores are full of Samsung fans. A whopping 64% of users are recommended Samsung devices by in-store representatives, while only 30% are recommended an Apple smartphone. A bit over half of do buy a Galaxy device, while the rest go for an iPhone or another Android device.

Oddly enough, the above-mentioned specs are usually among the first I ask friends about when they seek for my advice. Size preferences, price ranges and design are crucial, so keep that in mind next time you need to help someone out.


Via: Phone Arena;
Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech;

ZTE – Past, present & future

Posted by wicked August - 13 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

ZTE MWC 2013 -2

ZTE, as we know them today, is a Chinese telecommunications company that began operations in China in 1985. For many of us, ZTE is just that feature phone manufacturer whose devices we find in the pre-paid burner-phone category at our local phone store. It may come as surprise then to learn that ZTE has consistently ranked as high as the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer for global volume and device shipments, and is a major contributor to the 3G and LTE (4G) standards that we enjoy today.

Continuing that tradition and those industry relationships, ZTE is currently a leader in the development of the 5G standards that promise to drastically enhance our connectivity and computing in the future.

ZTE Logo aa 600px

ZTE’s roots

ZTE began in China, their primary goal was to provide affordable telecommunications equipment to the undeveloped regions of China. Success in this endeavor led to an expansion into the urban markets of China and eventually to the rest of the globe.

As far as a quick timeline goes, ZTE dove into CDMA in 1999, 3G in 2006 and 4G in 2010. Operations in the U.S. began in 1996, with ZTE signing its first carrier deal in 2007. Further carrier deals came along leading to new handset shipments of ten million units in 2012.

ZTE’s movement into Canada was a little different. Although ZTE was seeing success with feature phones and Android powered smartphones alike, the Canadian market was primarily limited to feature phones, wireless home phones and 3G/4G mobile hotspot routers.

ZTE

On the business development and operations side of the business, ZTE landed themselves on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 1997, followed by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2004. Contributing to global outreach, ZTE branched out, establishing research and development facilities in Europe and North America.

ZTE became one of the main contributors to the SAE/LTE standards with their work through the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP.) Aside from their involvement in international organizations, ZTE contributed a sizable number of LTE standards proposals and holds more than 800 essential LTE patents.

ZTE today

You may be sifting through all of the figures above, let me tell you what it all means. ZTE today is a global company with offices around the globe. ZTE currently works with more than 500 cell phone operators in more than 140 countries, and are the world’s fifth largest handset manufacturer, sixth largest smartphone manufacturer, based on device shipments in 2013.

North American competition is a little bit different, seeing ZTE as the 4th largest handset manufacturer, holding 4.3 percent market share for first quarter of 2014.

ZTE celebrated their 500 millionth handset delivery in 2013.

Research and Development is spread across 18 facilities. Five buildings in the United States, two in Europe – France and Sweden, to be specific – the remaining at home in China. Beyond R&D, ZTE’s U.S. operations include 6 sales division offices, 11 sales offices and one distribution center. Canada has a Sales office too.

ZTE Grand S aa 600 5

In addition to ZTE’s successes with mobile devices, they have proven themselves a powerfully innovative company. The World Intellectual Properties Organization ranked ZTE as the number two company for patent applications in 2013, a drop from the number one spot they held for the two years previous. In total, ZTE has filed for more than 50,000 patents globally, and have successfully been granted more then 16,000 of them.

ZTE WIPO 2013 patents

4G

It is exciting to see a manufacturer that believes in the 4G LTE standards as ZTE does. Looking back on their involvement in this technology, ZTE has more than 70 membership seats in international organizations on the standard. More than thirty leadership seats in the LTE standards organizations are held by ZTE, not to mention their 13% hold on LTE related patents.

If nothing else, with more than two thousand of ZTE’s 25,000+ LTE standards proposals accepted, they have proven themselves deserving of our thanks for helping make 4G LTE possible. But what is next?

5G and the future

5G LTE

With more and more of us putting more and more devices online every day, the next generation of mobile network connectivity will require many new approaches to the technology. I think we can all agree that 4G LTE provides for some super fast speeds when conditions are right, but we are still subject to dropped calls when we head into crowds, parking garages or down the highway.

Businesses and industries, in addition to the general public, will embrace 5G services, which will be carried on networks with greater intelligence, user-friendliness and versatility, combining the best characteristics of cellular and wireless local networks.
ZTE

Thanks to ZTE’s involvement and experience with the 4G standards, they are in a unique position to be leaders in the next generation of connectivity, 5G. ZTE believes that 5G will go beyond simply providing higher connection speeds, expecting innovation in all walks of life. In addition to the benefits to us as individuals, ZTE envisions empowered services for everything from education and healthcare through to transportation and government.

Plainly put, ZTE is committing major resources toward 5G technology, helping to shape the next stage of our mobile connected world.

ZTE hardware

ZTE is not just a cell phone manufacturer with a big heart for 5G technology, they currently offer a good selection of self branded and carrier branded routers, USB wireless sticks and more, they even still offer PCI Express cards. If you haven’t heard of it yet, be sure to take a look at the Sprint LivePro mobile hotspot/projector all in one.

Sprint ZTE livepro

Markets like Canada are the reason some of us may only know ZTE as a feature phone and mobile hotspot manufacturer. Of the eight available devices available in Canada, four are feature phones and the remaining include the Tablet Lite from Rogers, a mobile hotspot and a wireless home phone.

Unlike Canada, the U.S. market has many more devices available. The first quarter of 2014 alone added eight new devices to the U.S. market, and five of those were Android phones, including the ZTE Concord II, Sprint Optik 2 and the Boost Max.

ZTE has 52 active SKUs in the United States.

As of May 20, 2014, ZTE is reporting having 52 available units selling in the U.S., 40 of which are Android smartphones or tablets. The vast majority of these devices are best categorized as budget devices, but nearly half of those are LTE capable, with at least one unit on each of the big four carriers.

ZTE finally ‘gets it’

The recent launch of the ZTE Grand X and, more significantly, the Grand S Pro are a window into where ZTE may be headed in the future. Thanks to a major influx of highly capable mid to high-end devices with very friendly price tags this year, ZTE’s budget class devices are proving severely underwhelming to consumers. We, the consumer, have ever growing demands of our purchases, no matter the price, and devices like the Moto G selling for as low as $50 seriously put the viability of other budget devices into question.

ZTE Grand S Pro

ZTE has responded appropriately with updates to their Grand line of devices. Perhaps the majority of the line is still in budget-to-mid range territory, but the Grand S Pro is a serious step in the right direction. A 5-inch display, 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm SoC, 2GB of RAM, 13MP camera and microSD card supporting device doesn’t sound too bad. Sure, the display is just 720p and it only comes with Android 4.3 Jellybean, but it has all the other trimmings like NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and even Dolby Digital Pro audio technology.

ZTE Grand S Pro Press shots

If the ZTE Grand S Pro still sounds a little weak to you, it is important to remember that ZTE has built much of its company through OEM devices for cell carriers. For a manufacturer that spends half, if not more, of its time building carrier branded devices, it represents to me that ZTE finally ‘gets it’ by taking a self-branded device and kicking it up a notch. If they can keep price in check, ZTE is in a powerful position to launch a modern flagship caliber device and find some success with it.

Perhaps one of the smartest moves ZTE is taking is that all new Android 4.4+ devices will ship with the Google Now Launcher. This does not mean a stock Android experience, you should still expect to see ‘value added’ services installed, but a launcher with a consistent and familiar look and feel is a great start.

Google Now Launcher Setup

Where do they go next?

ZTE, as you now know, has some major brand power around the globe, and a major stake in the 4G and 5G technologies that we use, and will use, to connect our favorite mobile devices.

I believe the only thing standing between ZTE and an elite level flagship device is their choice of parts and perhaps the decision to sell this mythical device at, or below, cost, in order to at least be competitive with devices like the Nexus 5 and the Moto X.

Perhaps I am even late in saying this, as the ZTE Nubia Z7, which we haven’t been able to touch yet ourselves, is rocking a Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch QHD display, 13 MP camera, 32GB of storage space and, as must be expected, LTE antennae. Preparing and delivering this third tier of high-end device, complimenting their line-up of low and mid-range devices, would truly take ZTE beyond just being a powerful force in the market, into being a true leader in the market.

If nothing else, the experiences gained from all of the unique OEM requirements that ZTE supports, lend heavily toward ZTE’s understanding of what exactly we need of our hardware and connectivity. It is this understanding that I expect we will see represented in the innovations and standards of the upcoming 5G technology, and all of the new devices ZTE builds to utilize it. Really, what’s not to love?

AT&T Lights Up Six New 4G LTE Markets

Posted by Tim-o-tato August - 13 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

AT&T is making a few more customers happy this morning, launching six new 4G LTE markets across this great country of ours. The markets, spanning from Oregon to North Carolina, bring AT&T’s grand total of LTE market offerings, at least to my calculations, to 600+.

With that, AT&T is easily ahead of the other top three carriers in the US, including Verizon. However, Verizon has already stated they intend to launch an LTE-only device in the first half of 2016, which should be an interesting time for US consumers in the smartphone ecosystem.

For a look at the newest LTE markets from AT&T, look below. 

  • Hinesville, GA
  • Decatur, IN
  • Hutchinson, KS
  • Easton, MD
  • Rockingham, NC
  • Grants Pass, OR

Does this light up affect any of you fine folks?

Via: AT&T

AT&T Lights Up Six New 4G LTE Markets is a post from: Droid Life

Verizon CFO: First LTE-Only Phone Arriving First Half of 2016

Posted by Kellex August - 12 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Verizon CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo sat down for the opening of the Oppenheimer Internet and Communication Conference this morning to discuss the state of his company’s affairs. These conversations typically revolve around areas that Big Red can continue to to grow in to make more money, since that’s all investors really care about. But when speaking of new money-making arenas, we tend to learn about Verizon timelines for new products or services, like 4G LTE rollouts or Multicast or the introduction of everyone’s favorite, tiered data plans.

This morning, when discussing the company’s upcoming VoLTE launch, Shammo was asked when we would see the first phone from Verizon that would be LTE-only, lacking a 3G-CDMA chip. The answer, surprisingly (to me at least), was to not expect a device without a 3G chip until the first half of 2016. In case you forgot how to read a calendar, that’s at least a year and a half away from now, but could be more like two years.

The last we had heard on LTE-only phones arriving was in June of 2013, where Verizon CNO Nicki Palmer said that we could see LTE-only phones by the end of 2014. Clearly, things have changed.

Of course, in order for this to happen, Verizon needs to make sure that their VoLTE setup is rock solid, so that it can deliver the same experience that their customers currently get over 3G. At this point, Verizon has plans to push a nationwide VoLTE rollout within the next few months, though Shammo would only mention that they want to get it right before launching. The sooner the better for those of us who want a phone that runs on LTE-only. LTE-only phones, in theory, could open up a world where unlocked LTE-only phones can be taken from carrier to carrier with ease.

Via:  Oppenheimer Conference

Verizon CFO: First LTE-Only Phone Arriving First Half of 2016 is a post from: Droid Life

Sprint adds the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 with support for Sprint Spark to catalog

Posted by wicked August - 11 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Galaxy-Tab4-7.0

Sprint has announced that they will start selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 on August 15th. Buyers can grab the 7-inch tablet for no money down if they sign up for a two year data plan and make 24 monthly payments of $12.50. To help sweeten the deal, Sprint is offering a $10 monthly credit for 24 months on qualifying data plans. Sprint indicates their version of the Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 is not only compatible with their 4G LTE network, it can handle the faster speeds of their new Sprint Spark network as well. This is the first tablet device in their portfolio that will work with Sprint Spark. Sprint will offer the device in both black and white.

source: Sprint

Come comment on this article: Sprint adds the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 with support for Sprint Spark to catalog

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G adds LTE, keeps the same price tag

Posted by wicked August - 6 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Xiaomi‘s devices may sell like crazy, but not all of its smartphones, like the relatively new Redmi Note, have completely desirable traits. Now the Chinese manufacturer is ready to push that phablet to into the LTE age by announcing its sibling, the Redmi Note 4G, toting LTE connectivity without bumping up the price.

The “Note” part of the name might be a bit misleading, but Xiaomi’s device doesn’t wield a stylus like Samsung’s Galaxy Note or even NVIDIA’s Tegra Note 7. It is, however, Note-like in size, bearing a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen. Practically nothing has changed in this variant of the Redmi Note. You still get the same 1.6 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400, for one, and the ample 3,100 mAh battery for another. Even the cameras are the same, at 13 megapixels and 5 megapixels for back and front, respectively.

There are, of course, some changes. Unlike the previous Redmi Note, this variant only comes in one configuration, and that’s with the aforementioned processor and 2 GB of RAM. The star of the show, however, is the 4G LTE, compatible with China’s TDD-LTE bands. Xiaomi advertises that this gives users a theoretical download speed of up to 132 Mbps. Of course, that is only during ideal conditions.

The best news of all, at least for those still planning on buying this, is that there is no price change at all, at least compared to the higher-end Redmi Note. This new Redmi Note 4G will only cost 999 RMB, roughly $160 today. That’s the exact same price tag of the non-LTE variant that has the same specs. This is by all means great news for those who still don’t have one, but for those who may have already invested in the original 2 GB Redmi Note variant, this might come as a rather disappointing news.

SOURCE: Xiaomi (1), (2)

BLU Has a 4G LTE-capable Smartphone Finally, the Studio 5.0 LTE

Posted by Tim-o-tato August - 5 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

We have talked about BLU devices a few times, but one of the main pain points we have with the company’s phones is that they never feature 4G LTE. Sure, they rock HSPA+, but for someone who is used to the speeds that LTE delivers, going back to HSPA+ is quite hard.

Finally, BLU has a 4G LTE capable device, the Studio 5.0 LTE. While the device does bring LTE speeds to users (only available on T-Mobile and metroPCS’ LTE networks), the rest of the phone could have used some work. 

While the phone won’t overly impress with its spec sheet, at the price of only $200, BLU should be able to push a few more units here in the US. Full spec list can be seen below.

Specs

  • 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5″ display (540 x 960)
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • 4GB of internal storage, upgradable to 32GB
  • 4G LTE connectivity (T-Mobile and metroPCS)
  • HSPA+ connectivity (T-Mobile and AT&T)
  • Android 4.3+ upgradable to Android 4.4+ Kit Kat
  • $205

While the specs may frighten most hardcore Android enthusiasts, anyone looking for a budget device with 4G LTE connectivity now has another choice in the market. Choice is good.

The Studio 5.0 LTE is available on Amazon right now.

Studio_5_0_LTE

Via: BLU

BLU Has a 4G LTE-capable Smartphone Finally, the Studio 5.0 LTE is a post from: Droid Life