Thursday, 23 October 2014

Google's Galaxy Nexus by SamsungThe wait is finally over as Google and Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Nexus (not Nexus Prime as most people thought it would be called) today in Hong Kong.

The Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to come with the latest Android operating system ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ as well as a plethora of delicious features including a giant 4.65-inch HD touchscreen (720 x 1280), 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, NFC chip for wireless payments and mighty 1750 mAh battery. Network-wise there’ll be support for HSPA+ while an LTE version will be available depending on region.

The Galaxy Nexus is expected to be available across major global markets in November but outright/unlocked pricing has not yet been announced. There’s also yet to be any mention of an Australian release date but with the strong Aussie dollar there’s no doubt many will be looking to take advantage of that and grab one outright from an International online retailer.

Specifications

  • OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Screen type: 4.65-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Processor: Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, TI OMAP 4460 chipset
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Internal memory: 16 or 32 GB flash memory
  • Expandable memory: None
  • Camera/s: 5 megapixel rear, 1.3 megapixel front, LED flash and 1080p video recording
  • Location services: A-GPS and digital compass
  • Radio: FM radio with RDS
  • Sensors: NFC support, accelerometer, barometer, proximity and three-axis gyroscope
  • Connectivity:
    – WiFi (802.11 b/g/n), DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
    – 3.0 with A2DP
    – microUSB 2.0
    – 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Networks:
    – 2G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
    – 3G: 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
    – LTE (region specific)
  • Dimensions: 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight: 135 g
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1750 mAh

Motorola XoomAt the 2011 CES in Las Vegas Motorola officially unveiled the Xoom tablet. The impressively spec’d tablet took the show by storm and was also voted Best of Show by CNET.

The Motorola Xoom is the first device to debut with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google’s first version of Android to cater for tablets. Other notable features include a 10.1-inch screen, dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB on board storage, 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and 4G LTE support which will be available after an update in Q2. Battery life on the device is rated to be capable of supporting 10 hours of video playback.

The Xoom will be available in Q1 on contract through Verizon in the U.S. So far only a CDMA version has been announced although a GSM version of the device is likely to follow shortly after. Official pricing details are not yet available although Hantec in the UK did have the device listed for pre-order on their website for £719.99 (including 20% VAT) but this appears to have since been removed.

Specifications

  • OS: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
  • Screen type: 10.1-inch capacitive TFT touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Processor: 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Internal memory: 32 GB flash memory
  • Expandable memory: microSDHC card slot supporting up to 32 GB (not included)
  • Camera/s: 5 megapixel main, 2 megapixel secondary, dual LED flash, auto focus and 720p video recording
  • Location services: Simultaneous GPS and digital compass
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, gyroscope and ambient light sensor
  • Connectivity:
    – WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
    – Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + HID
    – microUSB 2.0
    – HDMI 1.4
    – 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Supported audio: AAC, AAC+, AMR NB, AMR WB, MP3, XMF
  • Supported video: H.263, H.264, MPEG4
  • Networks:
    – CDMA: 1900/2100 MHz
    – Data: cdmaOne, CDMA2000 1xRTT, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rel. 0, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A
  • Dimensions: 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm
  • Weight: 730 g

Creative ZiiO 7-inch Android TabletCreative have recently launched the 7-inch ZiiO tablet along with a 10-inch model both running Android 2.1. The devices target the lower to mid end of the tablet market with the 7-inch model having comparable specifications to the Augen Gentouch78 and Telstra’s T-Touch Tab.

The Creative ZiiO 7-inch features a resistive touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 480, ZiiLABS ZMS-08 processor (clock speed unknown), 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD slot (supporting cards up to 32 GB) a front-facing VGA camera and 720p video output capabilities. The device doesn’t have the Android Market installed which is a big shame but Creative do have their own ZiiStore installed for access to additional apps.

The 7-inch ZiiO is priced at AUD$299.95 for the 8 GB model or AUD$329.95 for the 16 GB model from Creative’s online store which ships direct from Singapore. Free shipping is currently offered for Australian and New Zealand customers on purchases over $129 making the tablets a little more attractive.

Specifications

  • OS: Android 2.1
  • Screen type: 7-inch resistive TFT touchscreen
  • Screen resolution: 480 x 800 (WVGA)
  • Processor: ZiiLABS ZMS-08 processor (clock speed unknown)
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Internal memory: 8 GB or 16 GB flash memory
  • Expandable memory: microSD slot supporting cards up to 32 GB (not included)
  • Camera: Front-facing VGA camera
  • Sensors: Accelerometer
  • Connectivity:
    – WiFi (802.11 b/g)
    – Bluetooth 2.1 with apt-X and A2DP
    – Mini-USB
    – HDMI port
    – 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Supported audio: MP3, AAC, WMA9, FLAC, OGG, MIDI, WAV, Audible Format
  • Supported video: H.264, MPEG4, WMV9, MOV, AVI, MKV
  • Dimensions: 207.4 x 133 x 13.7 mm
  • Weight: 400 g

Google Nexus SGoogle has officially unveiled the Nexus S, the spiritual successor to the Nexus One via the Official Google Blog. Unlike the Nexus One which was made by HTC, the Nexus S is from Samsung.

Specifications wise the Nexus S is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S. Apart from the obvious cosmetic differences the Nexus S has a few notable features of its own including a 4-inch Contour Display which is supposedly a first of its kind in a smartphone, Near Field Communications (NFC) so the phone can be used to make payments much like some of the newer credit cards, a three-axis gyroscope for added control in gaming and an anti-fingerprint coating on the display. The Nexus S will also be the first phone to run the latest version of the Android OS, 2.3 aka Gingerbread.

One unusual thing about the Nexus S is that it doesn’t have a microSD card slot which is commonplace in Android phones. I guess Google and Samsung don’t see this as a big deal since the phone does come with 16GB of internal memory. No doubt there will be some who won’t be happy with this omission though, especially those who like to load their phones with music and full length films.

The Nexus S is scheduled for release in the U.S. on 16 December and will be available unlocked or with a T-Mobile service plan through Best Buy. In the UK the phone will be available after 20 December through Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy. Unfortunately, there is no word yet as to when the phone will land in Australia.

Specifications

  • OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • Screen type: 4-inch Super AMOLED curved glass Contour Display with anti-fingerprint coating
  • Screen resolution: 480 x 800 (WVGA)
  • Processor: 1 GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird)
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Internal memory: 16 GB iNAND flash memory
  • Expandable memory: none
  • Camera: Back-facing 5 megapixel camera with flash, 720p video recording and front-facing VGA camera
  • Location services: A-GPS and digital compass
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor and three-axis gyroscope
  • Connectivity:
    – WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
    – Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
    – microUSB 2.0
    – 3.5 mm audio jack
    – Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Supported audio: MP3, AAC, eAAC, AAC+, AMR
  • Supported video: H.263, H.264, MPEG-4
  • Battery: Li-Ion 1500mAh
  • Networks:
    – GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    – UMTS/HSPA: 900/2100/1700 MHz (a Next G compatible 850 MHz version has not yet been announced)
  • Dimensions: 63 x 123.9 x 10.88 mm
  • Weight: 129 g

Nexus One with Google Maps Navigation for AustraliaAfter a long wait Google Maps Navigation has finally arrived in Australia and New Zealand. This app alone will no doubt make a lot more people in Australia consider Android for their next phone.

Based on my own tests I’ve found the navigation software to be very accurate. Searching and finding an address is fast and precise. The only thing I don’t like about the software is the annoying voice that provides the directions. It sounds way too high pitched and robot like for my ears. Hopefully Google changes this soon or at least provides an alternative.

Google Maps Navigation also supports voice search allowing you to spend less time physically interacting with the phone. I don’t know if it’s just me but I find the voice search feature not accurate enough to be useful. I’m sure this will improve with future updates though.

All in all Google Maps Navigation a great piece of software, even if it wasn’t free. It’s certainly going to hurt the sales of paid navigation apps such as CoPilot Live, Aura GPS Navigation and Destinator.

This latest version of Google Maps Navigation, 4.7, supports smartphones running Android 1.6 or higher. To download or update search for Google Maps in the Android Market on your phone.