It’s safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones — they’ve become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn’t happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most important examples — head on over to our gallery see how enormous became the new normal.
Austin, Seattle and Boston welcomed our Engadget Live tour this year with open arms and before we gear up for Engadget Expand, we’re heading to one more city: Los Angeles. Grab your free tickets and join us at the Belasco Theater on October 3rd at 7PM.
L.A.’s tech scene is “having a moment,” which was well illustrated through Re/Code’s recent spotlight on “Silicon Beach.” We’re not talking about the Snapchat or Tinder dudes; established companies and new innovators like Oculus VR, Maker Studios, Beats by Dre all claim SoCal as home.
What tech innovators will rub elbows with gadget lovers at arguably the hottest party in the City of Angels that night? Flip through the gallery below to find out and then get your free tickets.
Filed under: Meta
Cellular providers and phone makers don’t always have the best relationships, but things are getting particularly sour between T-Mobile USA and Huawei. The UnCarrier is suing Huawei for trying not just to copy its phone testing robot technology, but to steal it. The phone maker’s staffers reportedly took illegal photos of the testing gear, and then swiped components; they even tried to break in when banned from the premises. T-Mobile insists that it spent “tens of millions” of dollars to switch to other phones as part of the breaches, and that Huawei may have earned “hundreds of millions” in ill-gotten profit.
You would expect many companies to fight such allegations tooth and nail, but Huawei isn’t. It agrees that there’s at least some merit to claims that its workers were “acting inappropriately,” and notes that the employees involved were fired. While it’s planning to protect itself in court, it “respects” T-Mobile’s right to sue over the thefts and plans to cooperate. Those kind words probably aren’t going to placate Magenta’s lawyers, but they suggest that the two telecom giants won’t be fighting to the bitter end.
Source: Seattle Times
Although HTC may have pulled out of the smartwatch race, it looks as though Huawei will join the smartwatch party in the near future. In an interview at IFA 2014, Huawei CEO, Richard Yu, said that the company is readying a device for release next year and confirmed that it would be running the Android Wear operating system. Yu didn’t say much more than that on the device, but said it would be “innovative and beautiful”. He also mentioned it would be “more beautiful” that Samsung’s recently announced Gear S, however that being decidedly the black sheep of the smartwatches announced at IFA 2014, we would say that isn’t a terribly difficult feat.
Huawei’s previous wearable ventures only include the TalkBand B1, a device that is more closely reminiscent of a fitness device than full-blown smartwatch. We’d expect any future devices to resemble a more traditional watch form factor, but we’ve yet to see anybody focus on fitness with Android Wear. Also, we’d question Huawei’s plan to release next year when all the manufacturers will already have a foothold in this market, but it does give them a chance to correct any potential mistakes other smartwatches have. Whatever the case, we’ll likely be hearing more about the device the closer its release date comes.
What do you think of a Huawei Android Wear smartwatch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The post Huawei will join the smartwatch party with Android Wear device of their own appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Huawei’s super-sized flagship may’ve taken center stage at the company’s IFA press conference, but there was still plenty of love in reserve for another new addition to its product range: the Ascend G7. It also caters to those who like their screens big, and the spec sheet is nothing to shrug at. Build quality has been awarded particular priority, with most of the phone constructed from a single piece of metal, and the imaging experience has been carefully considered too. It’s not exactly cheap at €299 (almost $390 converted), however, which may leave some wondering where exactly the G7 fits in.
The G7 doesn’t command as large of a footprint as Huawei’s new Ascend Mate 7, but it’s not far behind with a 5.5-inch, 720p display. At that size, you’d usually expect a full HD panel, but it’s one of several compromises for the sake of using more premium components elsewhere. Although the G7 doesn’t have quite the asking price of a flagship, Huawei wanted it to look like a flagship. Aside from two panels around the camera lens and speaker grille on the back of the handset, everything but the face is made from one piece of metal.
The problem is that the quality of material isn’t backed up by any kind of inspired design like, say, HTC’s One and One M8. To reuse the old adage, it’s just a square with rounded corners. The panel around the display sports a subtle dotted effect (similar to the ceramic back of the Ascend P7 Sapphire Edition), but that pleasant touch still doesn’t push the overall look of the device above average. It comes in three styles: one has a white face, silver metal and white detailing around the camera and speaker; the others both have black faces, with either solid charcoal or golden backs. I might have warmed to the metal unibody a little more, if it wasn’t so uncomfortable in the hand.
The edges of the device are sharp — painfully sharp. At 7.6mm thick and weighing 165g, I expected it to be relatively hand-friendly despite the large screen. When you get up to that almost awkward size, though, you need to apply slightly more pressure to your grip than you would with a smaller phone. This exacerbated the problem, and when I was done taking pictures of the G7, I was happy to put it down after handling it for all of five minutes.
Thus, I’m not sure using a solid metal block was the right choice here, even if it looks high-end. The money you’d spend on a G7 does go towards other things, though, like the 13-megapixel main camera with a Sony BSI sensor and 28mm lens. There are all kinds of imaging tricks the G7 can do, like after-the-shot refocusing and live ‘beautification’ when recording video. Selfie addicts will also appreciate the 5-megapixel front-facing camera with 88-degree, wide-angle lens.
The camera experience is clearly one of the handset’s strong points, but there’s also Cat4 LTE (up to 150 Mbps download speeds), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and a sizable 3,000mAh battery. The only other blip on the spec sheet, aside from the 720p display, is the 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm chipset, but it’ll likely do the trick for everyone but the most demanding. The Ascend G7 is positioned as a sub-flagship phone, remember, and I’d be way more worried about how comfortable it is to use than the clock speed of the processor.
The handset is launching this month for a recommended price of €299 in several European countries (Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Norway), as well as Turkey, South Africa and Mexico. It’s also due to hit other regions in the future, though it’s not clear exactly where or when.
Having built up a consumer-facing business over recent years with smartphones and tablets, Huawei made its first move into wearables this year with a fitness tracker-cum-smartwatch (pictured above). The company is far from finished in this burgeoning product category, though, as Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu has told us the company’s prepping another wearable that’ll launch next year — this time running Android Wear. He wouldn’t reveal too much more during an interview at IFA, but said it’ll be both “innovative and beautiful.”
Yu’s tight-lipped about what form factor the watch will take, but did say it’ll be “more beautiful” than Samsung’s latest effort, the Gear S. Huawei’ll have plenty of competition, of course — although perhaps none from HTC, which’s allegedly ditched its wearable plans for now. The likes of LG, Motorola, ASUS and Sony already have smartwatches running Google’s wearable platform, and there’ll likely be several more players and products by the time Huawei comes to market. Given the firm’s current smartband doubles as a Bluetooth headset, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if its smartwatch also had some kooky features to make it stand out from the crowd.
Filed under: Wearables
Huawei’s a smartphone manufacturer that likes to stay very much on trend. At IFA this year, it unveiled the latest device in its large-screen Ascend Mate series, which includes a fingerprint sensor akin to that of the HTC One Max and iPhone 5s. While that handset was very much the star of the show, Huawei also brought the new Ascend P7 Sapphire Edition along for the world’s press to check out, and it’s the first time we’ve seen it in the flesh since hearing about it late last month. Sapphire glass looks set to become the new buzzwordy feature of next-generation phones, and Huawei’s making sure it’s quick out of the gate. We know full well what’s inside the new P7 edition and how it’s likely to perform, which left us plenty of time to drool over the new premium look that’ll turn heads and take a serious beating.
Huawei’s given the Sapphire Edition almost a complete makeover. For starters, the glass on the front (if you haven’t cottoned on by now) is made from super-strong sapphire. We already know how much punishment sapphire glass can laugh off with no visible damage, but we gave the P7 a brief thrashing regardless. Luckily, Huawei had tethered a few small penknives to the demo area for just this purpose (they were also handy for keeping other rabid journalists from getting snatchy). The glass shrugged off every attack easily, though we didn’t expect much else — you wouldn’t exactly include knives in the demo area if you weren’t 100 percent sure your device could handle them.
It’s not just the front that’s been toughened up, either, as the back panel is no longer bog-standard glass, but ceramic. Not only is the material more durable, but its bubble-like patterning adds some extra, pleasing detail. The aluminum band that runs around the top and sides of the device has also been re-skinned in a soft rose gold color. It’s almost too decadent given the phone would be just as happy in a toolbox as a jean pocket, but it looks great against the deep black of the rest of the handset.
So, not only has the P7 been treated to more premium materials on the front and back, but the whole package looks like a much superior version of the original. The only thing that gives away the smartphone’s roots is the bare, curved plastic on the bottom edge of the handset. It doesn’t do much to taint its overall appeal, however. Huawei’s releasing a limited quantity of Sapphire Edition devices in China later this month, and while the exact price remains a mystery, it’ll definitely be more expensive than standard P7 (duh!). The firm’s CEO Richard Yu told us discussions with global distribution partners are ongoing, so it is possible we could see a wider rollout in the future, but that scenario is still far from a lock.
Rumors of the next-gen iPhone donning a scratch-proof sapphire screen have been going around since the Apple sapphire plant announcement, and it appears that Huawei wants in on the hype, as it prepares for the launch of a sapphire edition Ascend P7. While no price has been announced just yet (it’ll naturally be more expensive, of course), a Huawei rep told us that said phone will be available in its Chinese online store in limited quantity, with the first batch due in September, followed by another lot in November. If all goes well, Huawei will become the first Chinese brand to sell a smartphone with a sapphire screen, but it’ll have to act fast as local rivals Xiaomi and Vivo are also rumored to be mulling sapphire devices.
The scarcity of the special edition P7 casts doubt on the feasibility of making large sapphire screens more mainstream: It’s very costly, plus the hard material becomes more brittle when scaled up, as our own Brad Molen established from multiple interviews. Having said that, the sapphire-encased Kyocera Brigadier is already available stateside for a mere $400 off-contract, so it’s just a matter of time before everyone else gets their hands on the same screen supplier.
Fans of mobile operating systems not called “Android” or ‘iOS” might be sad to hear what Huawei’s head honcho just told the Wall Street Journal. In an interview, Richard Yu spoke about the company’s plans regarding Tizen, Windows Phone and a long-rumored homegrown OS, and basically said they were all doomed.
According to the executive, unnamed mobile networks had asked Huawei to make Tizen smartphones, but Yu feels that the platform has “no chance to be successful.” It’s a bit of a u-turn, since the company has previously had a research unit looking into the Samsung-made software, but Yu said that he shut it down.
On the subject of Windows Phone, Yu conceded that Huawei had spent two years losing money on its W series handsets, saying “it has been difficult to persuade customers to buy a Windows phone.” That’s why, at least for now, a follow-up to the promising, yet flawed W1 and W2 is off the table.
That leaves the company with Android as the only thing its handsets can run, and when asked about this potential over-reliance on Google, Yu admitted that he’s concerned, but has “no choice.” On the upside, he did emphasize that he has a “good collaboration” with the search engine, before swiftly moving on to other matters, like writing off any plans for a homegrown operating system of its own. In his own words, Yu feels that “it’s easy to design a new OS, but the problem is building the ecosystem around it.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
Love LTE data speeds, but fear the bane of network congestion? Researchers at NTT Docomo and Huawei may have a solution. The two firms just announced that it has successfully broadcast LTE service on the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum — a frequency typically used for WiFi. Potentially, the 5GHz band could be used to enhance LTE service in high-use areas, a practice researchers are calling License-Assisted Access (LAA). LAA isn’t an official standard yet, but Huawei and NTT Docomo plan to continue working together to support it. The specifics are a little granular, sure, but we’re not about to scoff at getting better reception. Check out the duo’s official statement at the source link below.
Source: NTT Docomo