The folks at Lexar sent over a 128GB 1800x-series microSDXC card for me to test out with an Android smartphone that’s capable of shooting 4K video. Lexar notes in its press materials that its professional 1800x line can max out at 270MB/s write speed, which is certainly more than enough for 4K video. Although the statistics are true, there are some things to consider, especially when taking into account the price ($200) of such a card. Expand Expanding Close
Although Marshmallow doesn’t come with any major user interface changes, it does come with a bunch of useful under-the-hood features that made the platform a little more versatile and customizable. One of those changes includes the ability to use an external MicroSD card as internal storage. Adoptable storage gives users the potential to use a memory card as internal memory, which comes as a huge bonus to anyone without enough built-in storage. If you have an 8GB or 16GB phone, or you’re using a Samsung device (jokes, sort-of) with Marshmallow you can follow a simple process to adopt external storage and use it for installing apps, or storing app data…
The capacity of flash storage devices just keeps climbing at an exponential rate, and now we’re hearing (via CNET) that California-based Microdia plans to introduce a 512 GB—yes, five hundred twelve gigabyte—microSD card later this summer. Expand Expanding Close
One major barrier to adoption of new hardware and software solutions in the workplace is a top-down requirement that all communications are encrypted, secured from the prying eyes of today’s brazen hackers. It’s the reason why there are still thousands of businesses out there shockingly still issuing Blackberry phones. With more and more consumers and companies alike clamoring for a bring-your-own-device future, how can employees ensure their devices are as secure as chief information officer’s would like? Google has an idea.
Project Vault, shown off today at Google’s I/O conference, is a microSD card with full operating system, ARM-based processor, NFC chip, and antenna packed inside of it. Oh, and 4GB of storage. While that’s pretty incredible in and of itself, what really makes this microSD card special is that the OS it runs is known as a Real Time Operating System (RTOS), and is packed with a suite of cryptographic solutions for keeping data secure and messaging with others using Project Vault microSD cards encrypted. An RTOS is different from the operating systems most of us are used to (i.e. Unix) that can’t run every process we throw at them simultaneously but switch between tasks rapidly, ensuring at the very least that the computer is still responsive to its user (i.e. doesn’t freeze). Real-time operating systems have stricter deadlines to complete the tasks that are thrown at them.
The main function of Project Vault will be super-secure messaging so hackers, or the NSA, cannot snoop (which also explains why Vault uses an RTOS – all resources are dedicated to encrypting and sending/receiving messages quickly). The encryption only works when both the sender and the receiver are using Project Vault SD cards, however, but it’ll work on any device with a microSD slot – so laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. are supported. Google says the microSD card can also be used to encrypt video and as an alternative to passwords (where the card could generate cryptographic key pairs and store them securely). The company has an SDK up on Github for it that developers can use to build applications for the new project. Maybe the next Snowden will send confidential documents to journalists using his smartphone?
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone runs a custom variant of Android, which allows the company to include features not on other Android phones including Google’s own Nexus phones, but the feature-heavy OS comes at the cost of using half the capacity on a 16GB device.
I am a big fan of this phone because of the low, no contract pricing starting at $35/month for unlimited text/data and the relatively untouched Android 2.2 experience. There are Android 2.3 ROMs floating around for the somewhat adventurous, though frankly Virgin should get their act together and update this phone themselves. Even with 2.2, you get voice actions, a very capable GPS and free unlimited 3G tethering if you know what you are doing.
This is also one of the smallest Android devices you can find with a 3.2-inch 320×480 screen and nice physical buttons. Expand Expanding Close
The Samsung Galaxy 5 player is probably exactly what you think it is: a big-ass Galaxy S phone without the “phone part”. That is, it doesn’t have a 3G radio for voice and data, instead relying on Wifi to connect to the Internet. If you are like me, however, you spend 90+ percent of your day around Wifi and during that 90% of the time, it is as good as any 3G or 4G mobile device – the reviewers agree.
As you’d expect, the screen is huge, especially compared to typical phones. I have a white one and it looks like a comically large white iPhone 3G from afar. The screen also has the standard Samsung 480×800 pixel count, though with the larger screen the fonts aren’t as crisp as a 4-incher. Having gotten my hands on the Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus, I can tell you that this screen isn’t even close to as crisp. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful, especially for playing Netflix or Youtube content.
This is generally the first Android device that goes up against Apple’s iPod Touch franchise and I believe it does have some compelling differentiators, besides the much larger, but not “Retina crisp” display. I’ll break these down below:
The 3MP backside Camera is actually good for taking pictures. If you’ve tried to take a picture with the iPod Touch’s backside camera, you know it is barely passable. Samsung’s on the other hand takes decent pictures – think iPhone 3GS-type quality. It also has a Flash for those times you are in the dark and want to cast a flashlight type shadow on your subject.
Removable Storage: The Galaxy Player has a Micro SD card slot that instantly bumps your Player capacity up to 40GB with $40 worth of card. With an iPod, that costs $100. It’s also nice for quickly moving storage around.
Sound: The Galaxy Player stereo speakers blows away the iPod touch mono. To make matters better/worse, Samsung includes a very nice pair of in-ear headphones with the Player, while Apple’s White earbuds are…what they are.
FM Radio: The Galaxy Player has an FM Radio which is nice when you run out of Wifi. FM Radio is also helpful if there is an emergency but it only annoyingly works with headphones in.
GPS: If you are navigating off of a 3G hotspot or some cached maps, you’ll get a way better location than with just Wifi triangulation.
Google Voice plus Skype (or other VoIP app) turns this into a great phone. Samsung left the mic and sfrom speaker in the right spots so it makes a fantastic, if not a little large, phone.
Price. Street Price of $199 and $239 for the 4 inch screen and 5 inch screen Player varieties respectively compare well to Apple’s iPods. When considering bumping up to larger capacities is just a MicroSD card away, it is that much more compelling an offer. Expand Expanding Close
Cheap Android devices aren’t just for the Third World. The ZTE X500 Score, a prepaid handset available on Cricket, has become available for purchase on Amazon for $69.88 without a contract.
The Score packs a 3.5-inch display, 3.2-megapixel camera, 4GB of storage, and Android 2.3, Gingerbread. While we haven’t experienced Cricket firsthand, it is a subsidiary of Sprint so you should see some good speeds. This device seems ideal for youngsters or a new smartphone user with that low price tag and cheaper prepaid plan through Cricket. Or maybe you want to pick up a VoIP app and use that Wifi zone that you spend 98% of your life inside anyway.
Now available on Amazon, Samsung’s personal media players the Galaxy Player 4 and Galaxy Player 5 have hit the U.S. The Galaxy Player 4 rocks a 4-inch screen and is available for $229, while the Galaxy Player 5 rocks a 5-inch screen and is available for $269. Both devices are sure to make the perfect Android alternative to the iPod touch. The devices don’t come with a microSD card however, so you better be sure to pick one of those up too.
Wondering why that Virgin Optimus V is being marked down to $99 at Best Buy? Having a little look at their inventory system shows the answer. The 4 oz. Virgin Optimus Slider, a physical keyboard-enabled version of the Optimus V phone is coming soon to Virgin Mobile. The Slider is the roughly same phone as the Verizon LG Enlighten which went on sale for $79 with a two year plan.
The specs (below fold) look largely the same as the Optimus V with the edition of Android 2.3 and obviously a physical Keyboard (shown above).
We’ve separately heard that Virgin has a Gingerbread update for the Optimus V in the works and at half the price, we could so without the sliding keyboard –but to each, their own. Expect this to be formally announced in the coming weeks and in stores shortly (before or ) after. Expand Expanding Close
With activation of a new line of service, Amazon offers the Motorola DROID X2 Android 3G Smartphone for Verizon Wireless bundled with a $50 Amazon Gift Card for 1 cent with free shipping. Even if you don’t use the credit, that’s still $100 under our June mention and the lowest total price we’ve seen by $50. Features include a 4.3″ 540×960 color touchscreen, virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype, 8-megapixel camera with dual flash, 720p video capture, HDMI output, microSD slot, WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, Android 2.2 OS, up to six hours of talk time, and more.
Lenovo announced on stage at IFA today the IdeaPad A1 — which rings in at just $199. The devices specs are nothing revolutionary, as expected with the price: 7 -inch 1024×600 display, 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, 18GB, 16GB, or 32GB storage options, SD and microsD reader, 3-megapixel shooter, VGA front-facing camera, and Android 2.3.
The 8GB version will be available for $199, but has no plans of making its way to the United States. The 16GB and 32GB versions do however, ringing in at $249 and $299 respectively. Do these specs look close to the Galaxy Tab from last fall..by any chance? But hey, we’ll take the price. (via AndroidPolice) Expand Expanding Close
While it wasn’t announced on stage at IFA this morning, Samsung has just announced the Galaxy S Wi-Fi this afternoon. The Galaxy S Wi-Fi is packing Android 2.3 on a 3.6-inch screen HVGA display, 1GHz OMAP processor (why not Sammy’s own?), 8GB or 16GB of storage, microSD card slot, GPS, mic for VoIP calls, 2-megapixel shooter, and VGA front-facing camera. As of now, the 3.6-inch is confirmed to go on sale in the U.S. for $229 in early October, but if you’re in the U.S., check out the 4-inch version…but hold up.
We’re hearing reports that Samsung will be announcing the similar 5-inch device before the Holidays this year. We expect the specs to be pretty similar, but obviously a slightly bigger screen.
This morning, Acer announced the Iconia A100 Tab A100. The 7″ Android 3.2 tablet is the first to run Honeycomb at that size. The screen is a Galazy Tab-like 1024×600 16:10 TFT with a 75-degree viewing angle. The body is a bit on the beefy side for a 7-incher at .5-inches thick and .92lbs.
All of that heft doesn’t get you as much battery life as you might expect. The battery is a very cellphone-like 1520mA and is rated for around 5 hours of web surfing and slightly less for HD Video. It also runs Adobe Flash 10.3 which will tax its speedy 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor.
On the backside is a big 5MP shooter with Flash. The front side has a 2MP video conferencing camera as well.
It also has a home button which seems to indicate that Acer didn’t get Andy Rubin’s message about “no buttons”. That’s OK, some people like buttons.
The biggie here is the price. With a retail target of $329, this product will likely be aimed at consumers who don’t feel comfortable spending $500 and up for a tablet. As with the Iconia A500 tablet before it, that price will likely get discounted so we’ll be looking at a mid range Honeycomb product in the mid $200 range.
This will compete well with Barnes and Noble’s Nook, the HTC Flyer and the original Samsung Galaxy Tab. It also appears to be aimed at moms who can throw this in a purse and hold it in one hand and while on the go.
That little marvel above means the Acer iConia Tab is $299 after coupon, the ASUS EeePad Transformer is $299 as well and the Dell Streak 7 drops to a paltry $199. The Motorola Xoom drops to $399. Not bad for folks who have a Staples nearby.
Motorola’s answer to the rugged business phone is the Motorola Titanium, announced with the Xpert over two months ago. We never heard an official release date from Sprint, but SprintFeed is reporting that the Titanium will launch July 24th on Sprint’s network, for $149. The body style of the Titanium reminds us of the Droid Pro, packing a full QWERTY keyboard. Other features include a 5-megapixel camera, 2GB microSD, Wi-Fi, and..
WTF..That’s Original Droid two year old vintage software people!
In the flyer above it says the device meets “Military Specifications 810G”, being able to withstand dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, and low pressure (and recent Android updates).
A feature that we believe could be a great selling point is Nextel’s push-to-talk. The service industry relied on push-to-talk on Nextel’s older phones, and the Titanium could bring it back. We look forward to seeing how this device will work in the field.
As far as AT&T is concerned, the Atrix is about the best Android Smartphone you’ll find (no disrespect to the monsters Infuse and Inspire). In my February Fortune Review I called it the new”King of the Androids” for its qHD display and dual core processor while still being smaller than a Galaxy S. A lot has happened since then
With activation of a new 2-year contract, Amazon Wireless offers the Motorola Atrix 4G Smartphone for AT&T Wireless for 1 cent with free shipping. That’s $50 under our April mention and the lowest total price we’ve seen for this phone. (It’s also a current price low by $100.) Sales tax is added where applicable. Features include a 4″ 960×540 color touchscreen, 1GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel camera, 720p video capture, microSD card slot, 16GB internal memory, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, Adobe Flash 10, USB 2.0 connectivity, and Android 2.2 OS (FroYo). A $36 activation fee applies.
The T-Mobile G1 weighs 5.6-oz. and features a 480×320 touchscreen LCD, 3.2-megapixel digital camera, QWERTY-style keyboard, 3G support, Wi-Fi, One-Touch Google Search, Bluetooth 1.2, microSD slot, USB connectivity, and Android OS.
A new G1 in the box could also make a keepsake for the nostalgic Android fan.
MacMall via eBay Daily Deal offers the 1.69-lb. Acer Iconia A500-10S16u NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz 10.1″ Widescreen Android Table PC, model no. XE.H60PN.002, for $379.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $61. Features include an NVIDIA Tegra 2 250 1GHz dual-core processor, 10.1″ 1280×800 widescreen touchscreen LCD, 1GB RAM, built-in 16GB flash storage, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, microSD card slot, 5-megapixel rear facing camera, 2-megapixel front facing camera, miniHDMI output, 2-cell battery, and Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
Today only, until 4 pm ET, MacMall via eBay Daily Deal offers the Motorola Xoom 32GB WiFi Tablet with Google Android 3.0, model no. 00001NARGNLX, for $499.99 with free shipping. That’s $73 under our mention from two weeks ago and the lowest total price we’ve ever seen for this tablet by $31. (It’s also a current price low by $73.) This 0.51″-thick tablet weighs 1.6 lbs. and features an NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor, 10.1″ 1200×800 touchscreen LCD display, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, front and rear cameras, accelerometer, gyroscope, microSD card slot, up to 10 hours of battery life, micro USB and HDMI connectivity, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and more.
If you want a solid, unlocked Android phone that is sure to get the latest updates, Ebay has a deal for you today. Heights Deals is offering a new in the box Nexus One with Radios for 3G on T-Mobile and EDGE on AT&T for just $260 without a plan and free shipping. The Nexus One was the original Google phone and is still among the first to get the latest builds from Google. This one comes with 4GB of internal storage (Expandable+32GB via MicroSD), 3.7-inch AMOLED display at 480x800px and a 5-megapixel camera.
Since it is new in the box, it comes with Android 2.1 but is immediately upgradable to Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. Expand Expanding Close