The original phone’s sleek design helped make it a smash hit when it debuted in 2003.
Mobile phones have come a long way in the last decade, moving from a mix of modest clamshell and candy-bar designs to widescreen smartphone powerhouses. And while huge lists of advanced features are all the rage these days, many still look back on the phones of yore with fond eyes. One of the most popular handsets of yesteryear was the Motorola RAZR, and now, 5 years since the company ceased production of the iconic flip phone, they are reviving the name. The new Android-powered device is called the Droid RAZR, and while it’s nearly unrecognizable compared to its older brother, it just may be what smartphone fans are looking for.
The svelte new smartphone sports a dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of 1080p video recording, and 4G LTE support. The RAZR’s massive 4.3″ Super AMOLED touchscreen looks dazzling, and is encased in Gorilla Glass for added protection. The device is splash resistant, with Motorola promising that even the phone’s internals are meant to survive a bit of water.
One of the biggest selling points of the original RAZR was its thin form factor. The Droid RAZR continues that trend, measuring a laughably-narrow 7.1mm — making it the world’s thinnest smartphone. By comparison, the recently-released Droid Bionic measures 10.9mm, and the iPhone 4S checks in at 9.3mm. The back of the new phone is made of woven Kevlar, in case it ever gets caught in a Hollywood-style shootout. It will run Android version 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box.
The original Motorola RAZR debuted in 2003 and in just three short years it racked up over 50 million units sold, largely due to its super-thin profile and flashy appearance. But as smartphones began to grow in popularity, the modest features of the RAZR sent it straight to the bargain bin. But with that kind of name recognition, the new RAZR — which boasts a much more powerful OS and huge list of features — may be able to capture some of the old phone’s magic, which is something many Android devices seem to be lacking as of late.
The Droid RAZR will be release in November as a Verizon exclusive and will cost $299 with a new 2-year contract. A suite of accessories will also be poised for a launch-day release, including keyboard and laptop docks that will expand the phone’s capabilities to a larger screen. If you want to experience the rebirth of the RAZR line, you can pre-order the device starting on October 27.
Motorola’s powerful, 4G-capable Xoom is a formidable rival to Apple’s device, a reviewer says.
It’s an old design now. Phase 1: Apple introduced several new gadgets. Bloggers and industry tell us why it will fail. Phase 2: It may be for sale. The audience goes nuts for her. Phase 3: Each company and his brother gets to work on an imitation.
It came with the iMac and iPhone. Now, IPAD is entering Phase 3. Apple sold 15 million iPads in nine months, so you can bet that 2011 will be the Year of the Clone iPad.
Starting Thursday, you’ll be able to buy one of the most anticipated rivals iPad: Xoom Motorola. Like most aspiring iPad, it works with Google’s Android software – but the Xoom is the first that runs on Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb), which Google designed for tablets instead of phones.
The series continues Xoom recent Motorola gadgets attractive, compact and well built. Unless you inspect the rear (rubber, plastic instead of aluminum for money), you may not be able to say that touch-screen panel of IPAD.
There are some differences, however. The first is price: the cost Xoom a stunning $ 800, $ 70 more than the equivalent IPAD 32-gigabyte (WiFi and 3G cellular). You can get the Xoom for $ 600 if you’re willing to engage in a two-year Verizon contract. That means paying $ 20 a month to get online using the cellular network from Verizon (if you can get by on just 1 GB of data), instead of access points Wi-Fi hot.
The Xoom also offers a dual-core processor, which, according to Motorola, means smoother animation game And he has cameras. On the back there is a 5-megapixel camera that can also record high definition video. On the front, it is a low-resolution video camera for video chat. The new Android software includes a camera module reinforced-up, which highlights the effects bizarre gadget you never use, like Solarize, Sepia and polarize.
Clearly, a camera is useful on a shelf, and will remain a huge competitive advantage for Xoom – at least until the 2 iPad released next month (if Apple sticks to its model of development to usual annual day, that is). If the new IPAD is not a camera or two, I’ll eat a shelf.
The screen has a resolution of Xoom slightly higher than that of the IPAD, and it gives the tablet a slightly different – more like a business envelope with a greeting-card envelope. The screen shape is a better match for video hi-definition, but the worst for photos and maps.
The Xoom has stereo speakers instead of mono, a good battery for 10 hours of video playback and a power button on the rear panel. Motorola said that later this year, a software update will allow the Xoom enjoy Verizon 4G cellular networks, which means a better download speed in a few cities lucky.
A very cool feature: The Xoom has an HDMI, which means a single cable can send both audio and video hi-def TV. It is an ideal proposal for the roving presenter PowerPoint.
doctor dock Motorola is working overtime, too. You can buy either a speaker dock or a loading dock that is automatically activated Slideshow Xoom or alarm mode. If the material of Xoom were the whole story, it would not be much more than an anecdote. The physical improvements are not enough to knock the iPad iPad especially the 2 – to its pedestal, especially given the price increase.
No, the biggest story here is the honeycomb, the tablet software Google. IPad is the real competitor; tablets honeycomb in every size, shape and price range will soon arrive in stores.
So how is honeycomb? Four words: more powerful, more complicated. The screen is now two bands of small icons. In theory, the numbers above refer to the program you are using, and those in the bottom look like the system tray in Windows status icons and pop-up menus for various settings.
But these icons are darned cryptic, it looks like they were designed by foreigners. Google seems to have forgotten a huge disadvantage of unlabeled icons on a touch screen computer: there is no way to see their names or their office before opening them. There are no pop-up bubbles, for example. All you can do is to activate a touch, see what happens and learn from the experience boring.
New bands are not always make sense, either. Why, for example, never touching the clock icon to display your list of notifications (completed downloads, incoming text messages and so on)? Why do you get to some settings by pressing an icon on the lower band, and the rest of the settings by pressing an icon in the top band? Android not want to be when he grows up Windows?
Some changes in the nests of bees are cool. There is a pop-up menu from the list of recently opened applications – not just their names, but the miniature screens that show you exactly what you did when you left. Widgets (small windows that display the most recent data from, say, Gmail or Twitter accounts) are now more flexible, for example, you can scroll through their contents without opening an application greater whole. You can drag messages into folders individual e-mail.
In the miscellaneous category, Google has blessed the Web browser with tabbed windows and an “incognito” mode (where you let the cookies, history or other avenues that could allow someone to see what you ‘ve been up to). When you use Google Maps to display a large city like San Francisco or New York, you can turn with your fingers to reveal the three dimensional contours of actual buildings. (Useful if you’re the pilot of an ultralight aircraft, I guess.)
Other improvements could be better marked, “lovingly ripped off from IPAD.” Take the new applications and Gmail e-mail, for example (still no word on why we need separate applications for Gmail and other account types). They have been redesigned to mimic perfectly the IPAD mail app. In other words, when the tablet is upright, the message fills the screen when it is horizontal, the list of messages appears on the side left with the message selected in the main window. The Contacts application is also similar.
There is an app that mimics Books under IPAD iBooks, even in the animation three-dimensional page-turner. (It accesses Google attractive new store e-book.)
All other Android goodies are still there, such as voice recognition and impressive navigation GPS. Motorola says the download will come to the Xoom play Flash videos online – something IPAD can not do.
Currently, few applications are designed for screen tablets Android ‘more. However, there are 60,000 applications available specifically for the IPAD (not counting the 290,000 iPhone applications that run on it also, at lower resolution). But this is a temporary exception, the library Android is growing at a white-hot pace.
If you are interested in a tablet, it would be wise to wait a few months. You’ll want to consider what Apple has up its sleeve for the second coming, of course, but also the IPAD research in business-oriented playbook Motion BlackBerry and Hewlett-Packard tablet juicy looking TouchPad, which runs the software webOS ( originally designed by former Apple engineers for the smartphone Palm Pre).
It is not clear at this point why the world needs all these competing tablets, each with different operating systems and app store. There is no sufficient differentiation to justify the assault coming models, most of these companies seem freed tablets just so they can say: “We have a thingie iPad, too!”
Galaxy Tab Has Smaller Screen, Similar Features to Apple’s Device; Likely Cost Is $200-$300.
Samsung Electronics on Thursday unveiled the Galaxy Tab, its take on Apple’s iPad, as more technology companies trickle into the nascent tablet market. Tablets represent a potential new source of revenue for Samsung, which is making up for lost ground in the intensely competitive smartphone business.
Rather than sell it directly to consumers, Samsung will rely on its carrier partners to sell the Galaxy Tab, which runs on Google’s Android software, comes with a cellular connection, and features a seven-inch screen. The tablet will debut in Italy, moving to other markets as Samsung locks in more carrier deals.
Vodafone Group, the world’s biggest mobile operator, said it would start selling the Galaxy Tab in most of its European markets and a number of its other markets worldwide in October.
It is expected to launch in the U.S. over the next few months, but the company would only say it was in talks with multiple carriers. The Galaxy Tab is essentially an enlarged version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S smartphone, which was originally available through AT&T and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile, and more recently Sprint Nextel Corp.
While a price hasn’t been set, Samsung product executive Hankil Yoon said in an interview that it would likely retail for between $200 and $300, although the final price would vary depending on different carrier subsidies.
Mr. Yoon expects to ship 10 million units and take a third of the global tablet market next year.
But it’s unclear if any tablet beyond the iPad will prove to be a hit. Samsung follows Dell which launched its Streak through AT&T last month. More tablets are expected for the holiday selling season.
While many companies are devoting resources toward building a worthy iPad competitor, history shows that Apple often enjoys a lengthy lead with its products, said Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at iSuppli.
The iPad, which sold 3 million units after 80 days in the market, is expected to control three-quarters of the tablet market this year, with its share only slipping to 62% by 2012, according to iSuppli.
Like the iPad, the Galaxy Tab customizes core applications, such as email and contacts, to take advantage of the larger screen, offers Wi-Fi capabilities, and provides a hub for reading magazines, books and newspapers. It also lacks a removable battery and requires a proprietary dock to connect to a PC.
The Tab sets itself apart on size. The 7-inch screen allows for a slimmer profile than the iPad, which packs a 9.7-inch screen. Also, the Samsung device supports the latest version of Adobe Flash–something the iPad doesn’t do–enabling the Tab to show more video found on the Internet.
It features a camera on each side of the device, as well as a slot for expandable memory. It also has the capability to make phone calls, but carriers will decide whether that capability will be offered. Mr. Yoon said Samsung plans to support the device with two major software updates a year.
The Tab will run on Android 2.2, the latest version, and will have access to the Android Marketplace for a number of applications. But Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said she was concerned about how many apps will be designed specifically for the device. The iPad already benefits from a number of third-party apps that utilize its larger screen.
Samsung is exploring the possibility of a tablet with a 10-inch or 6-inch screen, and Mr. Yoon said the company plans to eventually launch a family of Galaxy Tab devices. Samsung has invested $200 million in advertising the Galaxy S phone around the world. The company plans to spend less promoting the Galaxy Tab, because it feels the product appeals to more of a niche audience than the more mainstream smartphone, said Samsung mobile marketing executive Younghee Lee.
The second 4G-ready Android smartphone for Sprint boasts a slide-out QWERTY keypad and a front-facing camera for video chat, but it lacks the latest version of Android; also, expect to pay a little more for Samsung’s new Epic 4G than you would for last June’s HTC Evo 4G.
Set to go on sale August 31, the Epic 4G (which marks the first of Samsung’s Galaxy S-class Android phones with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard) will arrive with a $249 price tag, and that’s after signing a two-year Sprint contract and receiving your $100 mail-in rebate.
The QWERTY-less HTC Evo 4G, on the other hand, costs just $199 with a two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate (assuming you can find one in stock, that is; the red-hot phone’s still sold out on Sprint’s website). Indeed, most of the major smartphones we’ve seen this summer have come with $199 two-year-contract price tags.
So, what are we talking about in terms of specs? First, the basics, starting with the Epic’s 4-inch Super AMOLED screen (same as on Samsung’s other Galaxy S handsets, like the Captivate and the Vibrant). In back, you’ll find a five-megapixel camera with autofocus, a flash, 720p video recording — and yes, video-chat fans, there’s a front-facing VGA for two-way video calls.
Under the hood, the 5.5-ounce, 0.56-inch-thick Epic (blame the slide-out QWERTY for the extra bulk) has a speedy 1GHz “Hummingbird” processor plus 512MB of system RAM for multitasking. Out of the box, the Epic will be running Android 2.1 — a bit disappointing, given that the just-released Motorola Droid 2 is shipping with Android 2.2 (good for features like Flash support, a souped-up Web browser, and improved Exchange support) already installed. Sprint says the Epic 4G will get an over-the-air update for Android 2.2 in the “coming months.”
Back on the plus side, the Epic boasts the same mobile hotspot features we’ve been seeing on the latest and greatest Android phones, good for sharing the handset’s data connection with up to five nearby Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets. Nice, but bear in mind that Sprint will charge you $30 a month extra for mobile hotspot privileges, and it’s also worth noting that the competing HTC Evo 4G will wirelessly share its data with up to eight Wi-Fi devices, rather than just five.
Speaking of data, the Epic 4G is (as its name implies) is the second smartphone to support Sprint’s budding, next-generation 4G WiMax data network, which delivers data speeds that peak at about 10Mbps — several times faster than what you’d typically get over a standard 3G data network, even when you consider that average, real-world 4G speeds hover around 4Mbps or so.