Today Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 Mini, a smaller take on its flagship Galaxy S4 Android smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Mini isn't really that "mini," though, since it ships with a 4.3-inch display that is larger than that of the iPhone 5--we'd say this is more of a mid-range display size, but, hey, to each their own. Additionally, it's not as powerful as the full-sized S4, as the Mini has a 1.7GHz dual-core processor and 1.5GB RAM. An 8-megapixel rear camera is paired with a 1.9-megapixel front shooter, and on the inside you get 8GB of storage (which you can expand with a microSD card.) Once nicety is that the Galaxy S4 Mini ships with Android 4.2.2, which means you get the latest and greatest right out of the gate. Pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but we're that that we'll find out next month. In the meantime, let us know if you're going for this one in the comments.
Read More | Samsung
AT&T will finally be lifting its almost 3-year ban on FaceTime (and other pre-installed video chat services like Google Hangouts on ANdroid) for its customers on grandfathered unlimited data plans. Over time, AT&T has made stock video chat apps available on its cellular network only to customers on tiered data plans, or its newer Mobile Share plans, while unlimited users looked on in disappointment. That all changes starting next month, when customers with LTE devices get access to pre-installed video chat services:
For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.
So if you've got an iPhone 5, you're in luck. If you are on an older iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, you have a bit more of a wait ahead of you. In fact, it appears that even if you have a current LTE device that isn't made by Apple, BlackBerry, or Samsung, you've got a wait ahead of you. Recent buyer of the awesome HTC One? Sorry:
Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.
We've been getting reports that some AT&T customers with unlimited plans and LTE devices are already seeing FaceTime over Cellular enabled.
Read More | The Verge
Google has announced a new version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 during the opening day Google I/O keynote, which runs the latest stock version of Android Jelly Bean. This means that the specialized smartphone sports the Nexus experience. It's compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile LTE networks, completely unlocked. The bootloader is unlocked as well, and the device sports 16GB of on-board storage, expandable with a microSD card. One major benefit is the promise of immediate system updates to newer Android versions, thanks to the stock Android being used. Since the phone has no contract, it won't be cheap. The stock Android Jelly Bean version of the Galaxy S 4 will go on sale on Google Play on June 26th for $649.
Read More | YouTube
Facebook Home is now available for download on Google Play, as promised last week at the Facebook Home announcement event. If you're the owner of an HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, or Samsung Galaxy Note II, you are good to go and can download and apply Facebook's launcher right away. You can also pick up the HTC First, which ships with Facebook Home built right in. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will also be capable of running Facebook Home.
As a reminder, Facebook Home is a replacement lock screen, home screen, and chat experience for compatible Android smartphones, bringing pictures feeds to the forefront, and the new Chat Heads feature that will allow you to stay manage Facebook messages in a much more efficient way.
Read More | Facebook Home
Samsung has released its new Series 9 Premium Ultrabook, which you can now purchase. This is a 13.3-inch Ultrabook running a 2 GHz Intel Core i7 chip with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage on the SSD. You get a 1080p display, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 embedded, along with a 1.3 megapixel webcam thrown in as well. Naturally, the Series 9 Ultrabook runs Windows 8 (but doesn't sport a touchscreen.)
The notebook itself weighs 2.56 pounds, and starts at $1,399.99. You can pick up the Series 9 Premium Ultrabook now.
Read More | Samsung Series 9 Premium Ultrabook
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
This morning Facebook revealed a new Android-based mobile initiative called Facebook Home. Mark Zuckerberg was on hand to talk about what would happen if your phone was made to be about "people, not apps," and the result is Facebook Home.
While many assumed that Facebook would be releasing its own hardware device (despite our assurance that it wouldn't!), Home is, instead, a suite of Facebook apps that work together to put Facebook front and center across your entire Android device, making it feel like a "Facebook Phone." For example, in the Coverfeed app, it takes over both the Android homescreen and lock screen, and then provides a regular stream of updates from your friends--all without you tapping a Facebook app icon or even swiping to unlock. From the home screen you can even comment and like the updates that flow across your display.
We review the Samsung Galaxy Camera in this episode, the Android-powered point-and-shoot that joins the Galaxy line. Being a full-featured Android device, the Galaxy Camera functions both as a smartphone (without the phone part, so maybe, a really small tablet) and a full-fledged point-and-shoot camera. We like the form factor when taking images, and the display is large, bright, crisp, and clear at 4.77-inches Super Clear Touch. You can pick up the Galaxy Camera on Amazon.
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There's weird and then there's Samsung weird. Watch all the theatrics unfold as Samsung unveils its latest phone: the Samsung Galaxy S 4. The event took place in New York in grand broadway style motif at Radio City Music Hall. Full video after the break.
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