Today, we take the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for a spin, round up a few of our favorite phones, learn about transparent solar panels, and more! Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
It’s sure been a long time since Sharp shipped a smartphone to American consumers. And, let’s be honest with ourselves, the FX Plus wasn’t exactly taking the market by storm. The Sidekick-esque slider was dated even by 2011 standards. But the company is hoping its AQUOS Crystal will have better fortunes. The (almost) bezel-less device offers high-end looks with decidedly mid-range internals. The 1.2GHz chip inside isn’t going to set land-speed records, but it should be enough for most folks. The most important feature, though, is the edge-to-edge 5-inch display. While Sharp’s description of it as a “groundbreaking” device might be a little over the top, we must admit it’s quite a stunning panel — especially for being five inches and only 720p.
While we’ve seen plenty of devices before that claim to be free of bezel, the AQUOS Crystal comes the closest to actually fulfilling that claim. There’s only the tiniest sliver of silver around the edges. In fact, it felt much smaller in the hand than many 4.7-inch phones. Even my tiny hands were easily able to reach across the display (a feat that’s a bit of a stretch on my aging Galaxy Nexus). Sharp’s expertise in building LCDs is obvious when you look at the phone. The screen is bright; the blacks are deep; colors are vibrant; and the viewing angles are solid (though just short of what we’d call impressive). Really the only complaint is that the high-gloss coating produced a ton of reflection and glare in even moderately lit environments.
Fans of the OG Nexus 7 will love the dimpled plastic back. It’s not a soft-touch plastic, but the little indents look nice and offer a good amount of grip. You’ll appreciate every little bit of traction since this thing is so light you could forget you’re holding it. Thankfully, even though it’s primarily plastic and weighs about as much as a small bundle of feathers, it still manages to avoid feeling cheap. We wouldn’t quite call it “premium,” but it certainly doesn’t feel like Sharp cut too many corners on the construction. And that’s important since this is the company’s big reintroduction to American smartphone consumers.
Sharp and Sprint also go easy on the customization, which is nice. There’s minimal bloatware and only minor UI tweaks. Otherwise this is the KitKat you’ve come to know and love. What few changes there are here are actually welcome additions to the Android UI. For instance, swiping diagonally from the top-left corner will take a screenshot and save it to a clipboard along with a related URL for quick and easy sharing. You’ll also find Harman’s Clari-Fi inside, which is designed to improve the audio quality of compressed audio tracks, like those you’d stream from Spotify. Perhaps most importantly though, it works on Sprint’s speedy Spark network.
The AQUOS Crystal will hit Sprint and its prepaid sub-brands soon, though we don’t have an exact date just yet. If you pick it up on Sprint, it’ll cost you $10 a month with a service plan, or you can get it for $150 from Boost or Virgin.
Sharp’s AQUOS Crystal Android powered smartphone is certainly a stunning looking device with its ultra thin bezels.Sprint has officially announced today that they will indeed be the launch partner for this exceptionally interesting phone. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first Sharp created Android device to officially grace U.S. soil through a carrier.
The Sharp AQUOS Crystal sports a 5-inch 720p HD screen, a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage, SD car slot, 8MP rear camera and a 1.2MP front shooter. It will launch with Android 4.4.2 and carry a 2,040mAh battery to power it all. None of those specs are ‘mind blowing’ by any means, but it is a solid mid-range contender. The AQUOS offers up a few extras that make it a little more interesting. For instance, the camera software offers up a Framing Advisor that helps you in your quest for better photos by helping you with composition and framing of your shots.
There is also an interesting approach to screenshots as well with what Sharp calls Clip Now. They mention that you can take a screenshot with ‘one swipe’ which makes me thing on the Galaxy S4 and the palm swipe gesture. However, the image is saved with an embedded URL for easier sharing. We will have to play with that if we get the chance to see how it really works out.
In addition, AQUOS Crystal boasts Harman’s Clari-Fi™ technology with the ability to restore and “rebuild” music fidelity lost during audio compression. Clari-Fi yields richer, deeper and clearer sound quality for compressed digital music (like MP3 downloads or streaming services such as Spotify®). The Clari-Fi experience includes low and high frequency extension, improved realism and fidelity, and wider sound stage.
The post Sharp AQUOS Crystal confirmed for Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
It’s been a long, long time since Sharp shipped a phone in the United States (remember this thing?) but it looks like that drought may soon be over. The Japanese electronics giant just pulled back the curtain on a pair of smartphones that barely have bezels, and one of them is slated to land here sooner or later. Sharp’s Aquos Crystal X is the more impressive of the two — aside from the fact that there’s hardly any material running around its 5.5-inch 1080p display, there’s a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 ticking away inside its 10mm thick chassis. Alas, it’s the less-powerful Aquos Crystal that’s expected find its way stateside. There still aren’t any bezels to speak of, but it packs a comparatively paltry 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 and a 5-inch 720p display — expect the price tag to reflect those decidedly mid-range ambitions.
It’s surprising enough to see Sharp gearing up to re-enter the crowded US smartphone market, but what’s really surprising is that we’re not getting some random one-off gadget like the Sharp FX this time. It may not be the most impressive of the two, but the Aquos Crystal still seems like an interesting choice for a company that hasn’t always put its best foot forward around these parts. Sprint hasn’t officially confirmed it’ll offer the Crystal, but it looks an awful lot like a lock at this point. Case in point: the carrier is holding a press conference in New York tomorrow night, and its invitation is rife with crystalline symbolism and a tag line that jibes with the Aquos’ bezel-less screen.
Filed under: Mobile
Via: Engadget Japanese
If you thought your phone has thin bezels, the Sharp Aquos Crystal puts that and all other competition to shame. Sharp isn’t typically a company that you might associate with sexy smartphone design, but it looks like they’ve done it with their latest line of devices, including the Aquos Crystal and Aquos Crystal X. It’s been suggested today that at least one of these devices, the Aquos Crystal, will definitely be coming to America via Sprint, to be announced tomorrow at a Sprint event in New York City. Following this event, it’s alleged the device will be available for pre-order tomorrow, becoming available on August 29th.
The Aquos Crystal is the more mid-range of the two devices, rocking a 5-inch 720p display, a LTE-capable Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB storage, 2,040mAh battery and Android 4.4.2; it looks well equipped to take on the Motorola Moto G, depending on the price. The Aquos Crystal X, on the other hand, is a bit more premium boasting a 5.5-inch 1080p display and Snapdragon 800. Pricing and exact availability of the devices has not been specified, but hopefully more details will be specified in the coming days.
What do you think about the Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphones? Let us know your thoughts about these truly bezel-less devices.
The post Hnnngh: The beautiful Sharp Aquos Crystal smartphones may be arriving at Sprint tomorrow appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Google isn’t giving up on TVs yet. While its new Android TV flavor of Android L will hit the streets in set-top boxes aimed at game consoles and media streamers, it announced that next year smart TVs from Sony (all of its 4K and smart TVs), Sharp and TP Vision / Philips will ship with the OS. It’s also working with some familiar TV providers overseas like LG U+ in Korea (not LG Electronics TVs, which are moving to webOS) and SFR in France, as well as the chipmakers that build the components for smart TVs and boxes as seen in the slide above. The difference from the original Google TV approach is that the company isn’t treating Android TV as an entirely separate platform from mobile, and everything needed to handle video from HDMI,TV tuners or IPTV receivers is now natively included in Android L. We’ll probably have to wait until CES 2015 to find out if it’s having any success convincing more TV manufacturers to join in (again), but these are a start.
Android TV: Google Cast, voice search and tailored content. Visit http://t.co/H3lQNHUvcn for a preview and look for devices this fall.
- Android (@Android) June 25, 2014
Source: Android TV
When Motorola unveiled its snappy Moto 360 smartwatch, the first thing we thought was “how do you make a round display?” Sharp has one answer with its new IGZO-based “Free-Form” LCD prototype that can be sculpted into any shape. The company’s current IGZO tech only works with rectangular displays, where the circuits that drive the LCD live on the perimeter of the screen. Sharp managed to bake those chips into the display itself, allowing for not only a shrunken bezel but nearly any display format you might want. That’ll let designers create much more compact car dashboards, new digital signage, unusually shaped monitors and yes, wearables like smartwatches. That likely won’t include the Moto 360, though, since it’s rumored to have an OLED display. Also, Sharp says that the Free-Form display is nearly ready for mass production, but isn’t quite there yet.
Filed under: Displays
Even though CES 2014 is long gone, some of the stuff announced there is just now starting to become available for purchase. Case in point: Sharp’s Quattron+ lineup, a series of 2014 AQUOS televisions featuring the latest and greatest, including a revamped SmartCentral platform. But that’s not what’s interesting here. Instead, it’s the Quattron+ technology, one that Sharp describes as being able to “accept a 4K signal and play it back at near-4K resolution, with an effective resolution of 3,840 x 2,160.”
The company says this is possible thanks to its Revelation Upscaler, which takes HD content and “optimizes it for the higher resolution screen, so that it’s sharper and more vivid.” By building Q+ TVs on 1080p panels, Sharp claims it’s then capable of pricing these lower than some of its would-be competitors. Now, is that enough to get you to buy into it? If so, you’ll have quite a few options to choose from — they’re up for grabs now in 60-, 70- and 80-inch flavors, with prices ranging from $2,500 all the way to a cool $6,000.
Sharp’s AQUOS Serie mini phone has a Full HD IGZO display, bright colors, limited stateside availability
With phone specifications often reaching a terminal velocity before the next new technology or trend, giving your hardware a differentiator can be hard. Sharp’s new AQUOS Serie mini SHL24, however, is having a stab at a couple. Firstly, the TV-maker is leveraging its IGZO screen tech, and spicing it up by cramming a full (1080p) HD display into the 4.5-inch panel — that’s almost 490 PPI. Secondly, in what it’s calling an “EDGEST” design, the AQUOS Serie mini SHL24 seems to have some of the thinnest bezels we’ve seen for some time (bar the bottom one where the buttons are) making that screen really take pride of place. Thirdly? Colors of course! As for the rest of the specification, well it’s not too shabby either. First up it’s running Android Jellybean (4.2), sports a 13-megapixel camera, 16GB of storage (with an SD card slot) and a Snapdragon (MSM8974) quad-core processor — clocked at around 2.2 GHz. Oh, and it’s even waterproofed to IPX57 standards. That’s quite a few boxes ticked. But, sadly there’s one biggie that currently remains empty — as far as we can see right now, this is a Japan-only device. Sorry.
Via: Phone Arena
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Motorola’s Moto G is the latest phone to get made over with stock Android. And starting at just $180 for the 8GB model, it’s the cheapest Play edition available. Click on through for more details.
In the midst of Microsoft’s massive internal restructuring, Variety reports that Blair Westlake has resigned from his position as VP of Microsoft’s Media and Entertainment Group. Follow the link for more information.
What you’re looking at is Jawbone’s second-generation Era Bluetooth headset. This $100 device packs a 10-hour battery and is 42 percent smaller than the previous model. Click through for our hands-on photos.
Spotify removed all stipulations from its desktop app, allowing users to listen to whatever they want without a subscription. Click the link for details.
Filed under: Misc