Now that X-mas is over, and you probably have some cash or gift cards to spend on the tech goodies that Santa was unable to bring you, you are probably wondering what the Nexus stock situation is, right? Still not good, unfortunately.
If you want a Nexus 4 or Nexus 10 in either size, you are out of luck. Both are listed as “Sold Out” in big, bold, red print. There is no telling when these two will return.
The Nexus 7 is in stock though, at least in both 32GB variants. Both the WiFi-only and HSPA+ 32GB versions are shipping in “less than one week.”
Via: Google Play
Google UK’s managing director has made a fulsome apology to would-be buyers of the new Nexus 4 smartphone, blaming “scarce and erratic” supplies from manufacturer LG, but admitting that “our communication has been flawed” with both sides.
Dan Cobley, the managing director for the UK, put the apology on his Google+ page following widespread criticism in user forums of erratic and perverse delivery schedules, in which people who ordered the phones online from Google earlier saw shipping dates long after those who made subsequent orders.
The Nexus 4, made by LG to Google’s specifications, runs a “pure Google” version of Android without any handset maker’s alterations. The comparatively low UK price of £239 for the 8GB model of the high-specification handset – which offers a 4.7in, 320ppi screen, 8 megapixel camera, HSPA+ connectivity and NFC – attracted a significant number of buyers seeking to use it for a sim-only contract with a carrier.
But Google hit a series of supply chain problems because demand ran ahead of supply. Google has repeatedly declined to say how many were ordered worldwide, but has been overwhelmed with demand each time it has offered stock through its site, beginning in November.
Cobley said in a comment on one of his own posts told would-be buyers and those who had ordered that “I know what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve the issue”. He offered an “unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process”, adding that he realised that “the people who ordered the Nexus 4 so early are among our most committed and loyal users”.
People who ordered the phones earlier in the month complained that after being told it would be shipped in “3-5 days”, that they then received no further notification from the company, and saw other people who had ordered later receiving shipping notifications. The problems have caused il feeling with a number of buyers.
“I don’t mind (well, I’m a bit miffed) that my phone is late,” wrote one would-be owner, Ben Stewart, on Cobley’s page. “I do mind that first in, first out isn’t being obeyed.” That, together with the lack of communication, “are what’s really annoying”, he said.
The hassles over delivery and shipping have left a number of purchasers dissatisfied over Google’s handling of the provision of phones. The Nexus 4, made by LG, is the fourth “pure Google” Android phone, following the Nexus One made bt HTC, and the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus made by Samsung.
Although the Nexus line of phones has been high-profile online, actual sales figures have been comparatively low, with figures released by Samsung during its patent trial with Apple in California over the summer showing that the Nexus S sold around 500,000 units in the year from the second quarter of 2011, when it went on sale there, compared to Samsung’s total phones sales of around 14.5m in the US for the same period.
The Nexus 4 has attracted widespread attention because of the low price at which Google is offering it – equivalent to that for a lower-spec smartphone, rather than the Nokia Lumia, Samsung Galaxy S 3 or iPhone 5 with which it might be compared.
One irked commenter at product-reviews remarked: “Google needs to just buy a company that knows how to manage this process of selling physical items on line and shipping them. What they have now is a joke, If you call their device support, the people are clueless. Their ability to provide tech support for my Nexus 7 [tablet], or order status for my Nexus 4 is nil.”
Google owns the loss-making mobile phone manufacturer Motorola Mobility (MMI). But MMI is in the midst of a retreat from a number of manufacturing and sales positions outside the US, selling off factories in China, India and Brazil and closing offices in South Korea and Taiwan. It is also not set up to deal directly with customer sales, because it is structured as a phone manufacturer which deals with carriers, rather than selling direct.
The text of Cobley’s apology reads:
I know that what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue. Supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic, and our communication has been flawed. I can offer an unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process.
For those that originally received a 3-5 days shipping estimate, your orders are now in process for fulfillment. You can expect an email notification early this week which will include tracking information. Although you will be initially charged in full, you will receive a credit for the shipping charge soon after.
For others that received pre-Christmas shipping estimates, we anticipate processing your orders for fulfillment this week.
I realise that the people who ordered the Nexus 4 so early are among our most committed and loyal users and we are doing all we can to put things right.
This is the first week I can remember where a single Android phone is reportedly outselling Apple’s iPhone at one carrier. According to a research note from William Blair, that’s exactly what’s happening at Verizon stores. A check of inventory and sales indicated Motorola’s Droid Razr is topping the iPhone 4S, which is good news for Motorola and its new owner, Google.
It’s possible that Verizon’s LTE network is part of this surge for the Android-powered Razr: Without an LTE iPhone on any carrier, the Razr — and other Android phones — can deliver mobile broadband speeds topping 20 Mbps or more; as fast as wired broadband at home. The iPhone 4S holds its own against LTE on HSPA+ networks, but falls far shorter on Verizon and Sprint, where speeds generally average 1.5 Mbps with occasional 3 Mbps bursts. Razr sales could see their own burst as CNet noted this week that Android 4.0 was coming soon to the smartphone.
Android 4.0 is already included with Acer’s new slate: The company this week introduced its A700 tablet with the latest Google software. Pre-sales have begin in the U.S. and Canada at $449 for this 10.1-inch tablet boasting a 1900 x 1200 display with 178-degree viewing angles. I haven’t had the opportunity to try the A700 yet, but it looks good on paper.
Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 powers the A700 which also has one gigabyte of memory and 32 GB of storage, which can be expanded with the microSD card slot. The slate is Wi-Fi only — no 3G/4G radio — but includes Bluetooth, an e-compass and GPS. Acer added Dolby Mobile 3 and 5.1-channel surround sound support and a battery life claim of 8 hours for web surfing or 10.5 hours of video watching; not bad if accurate.
This week I enjoyed reading a review of the Orange San Diego handset. Why? This device, available in Europe, is based on Intel’s smartphone reference design for Android. We’ve waited a long time for Intel to truly get in the smartphone game and the San Diego shows promise for Intel’s Medfield solution.
The Verge wrote the detailed review finding that Intel may not have surpassed ARM-based chips, but in many ways, has at least caught up. I’m not too surprised because the Medfield chip demos on Android devices I saw in January impressed me enough to say that Intel’s time may have arrived.
The San Diego shines in most performance scenarios and has good stand-by time, but software is the current downfall here; particularly in the camera application. Still, the San Diego is still worth a look as it provides a glimpse into future Android smartphones carrying the “Intel Inside” sticker.
Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
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Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular will all receive variations of the Galaxy S III this month, but Samsung isn’t sharing the exact pricing and release date for each carrier just yet. What we do know is that $200 is the lowest price of the bunch.
What’s incredibly interesting (and what CNET had predicted) is that the U.S.-based version, like its HTC One X rival, will carry a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor as opposed to the 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s used in the global release.
The “downgrade” is likely due to a current incompatibility between the quad-core chip and LTE data networks, just as with the HTC One X, which forewent the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that was used in the global version of its hero device.
If you’re tempted to get huffy over your quad-core loss, keep in mind that Qualcomm’s dual-core chip is plenty fast, and that quad-core performance claims aren’t always what they seem.
The Galaxy S III is a slim handset with a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display. It supports 4G LTE and HSPA+ 42 speeds, has an 8-megapixel camera (hands on) with 1080p HD video capture and playback, and a bevy of software features to complement and enhance Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.
Samsung has also given the Galaxy S III 2GB of RAM and a very large, removable 2100mAh battery. There will be support for 16GB or 32GB of expandable memory, depending on the carrier, it seems.
It’s all kicking off at the low end of the smartphone market. Next week sees the release in the UK not only of the Nokia Lumia 610 (my review here), but the Orange San Diego – continuing Orange’s tradition of giving their own-branded phones – usually solid lowish-end models such as the ZTEBlade – the telephonic equivalent of names usually claimed by professional gamblers or exotic dancers.
The San Diego was codenamed “Santa Clara”, from which one can discern the most interesting thing about it – this is the first phone most western users will see running on an Intel chip. In global terms, it follows on the heels of the India’s Lava Xolo 900 and the Lenovo LePhone 800 in China. The San Diego and the Xolo 900 are based on the Intel reference model, so look similar and have similar internals: a 1.6 GHz Atom “Medfield” Z2460 processor (single core), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of non-expandable internal storage and a 4.03 inch screen with 1024×600 resolution. The camera offers 8MP, as is by now traditional, and shoots 1080p video, which can be exported to larger screens through a mini HDMI port. There is also a 1.3MP front-facing camera; one can confidently assume that Skype compatibility, unlike the Lumia 610, is unlikely to be an issue. The phone also supports not just NFC short-range data exchange but also HSPA+ high speed data access, which we will eventually probably give up on telling marketeers not to call 4G.
Cheap as chips?
The attention-grabbing part is the price: Orange will be offering the San Diego for just under £200 (roughly $300, although phone pricing doesn’t really exchange like that) as a pay-as-you-go phone, throwing in 250MB of data per month for the first year, and free on monhtly plans starting from £15.50. This sounds like terrible news for Nokia, in particular, which is launching a thicker, less aesthetically iPhone-litelike, smaller-screened low-end smartphone at about the same time. What will prevent the San Diego from crushing all it surveys?
Most visibly, it will ship with Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) – an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich is promised, but not until October – and, honestly, any timescale a mobile operator provides for an Android upgrade should be treated with a soupcon of the salty stuff. So, users should resign themselves to a good spell of late 2010′s hottest operating system.
[I'm just going to pretend that I didn't hear you use "range" as a verb meaning "include in our range", Jules from Orange. Cool? Cool.]
Orange promise to arrange the San Diego. In neat rows. On its shelves.
Further, the Atom processor in phones is something of an unknown quantity. According to Orange, 70% of apps in the Google Play store will play nicely with Android on x86 architecture – which means that 30%, representing over 150,000 apps, will not. As Intel low-power chips appear in more devices, more app producers will optimize for them, and the big players (who make the most desirable apps) are likely to catch up quickly. However, a phone not being able to run the app you need is a real issue, and may give some buyers pause. Also, the chip’s real-world performance remains a largely unknown quantity. Intel have traditionally wrestled with the power consumption of their architecture in tablets and other small devices: the promised fortnight of standby time for the San Diego sounds impressive, but for most users whether it gets through a day without a charge will be of more concern. Finally, the hardware in the San Diego is a level of modernity ahead of the Lumia 610 – not just the novel system-on-a-chip, but the higher-end camera, higher-resolution screen and larger RAM and storage. It should keep its value higher for longer – good for eBay sellers, not so good for market penetration over time.
It also, not to put too fine a point on it, needs to overcome the reputation of carrier-branded phones as low-end, cheap alternatives. Despite promising specs, description of the hardware is lightweight and “plasticky” may be cause for concern – although at the price a little corner-cutting is inevitable, and better a thin plastic back than a mayfly battery.
The Orange San Diego launches on the 6 June in the UK, with a two-day promotional event in London’s South Bank. Technology watchers will no doubt be following Intel’s first foray inside the mobile phone market of the Western market with interest.
Consumers who want to be among the first in the U.S. to own Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone on June 1 will pay a steep price. Amazon is now taking U.S. pre-orders for the flagship Android device and bitter iPhone rival for $800 unlocked, but the price tag is not the only thing you should be weary of.
Samsung and U.S. wireless carriers are yet to announce their versions of the Galaxy S III, which usually vary from one another both internally and externally. So what you will be getting for $800 is the 16GB SIM-free international version of the S III (blue or white), also known as GT-i9300, with a huge 4.8-inch display, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera, and Android 4.0 with a lot of Samsung software goodies.
However, using the Samsung Galaxy S III GT-i9300 in the U.S. means you will have to accept some compromises. The model does not have 4G LTE connectivity, unlike many Android phones currently sold by carriers. Thus, the GT-i9300 can only connect to ATT’s HSPA+ network. On T-Mobile the phone would be able to make calls, but won’t be able to connect to high-speed data as the GT-i9300 lacks support for T-Mobile’s 1700MHz band. Needless to say, the phone won’t work on Verizon and Sprint.
What you do get for the $800 price tag with the S III though is the quad-core 1.4 GHz Exynos processor. It’s not known whether the processor will make it to U.S. versions of the phone; there is no 4G LTE version of the processor, so the carrier-customized Galaxy S IIIs are expected to use a dual-core chip instead, like the Snapdragon S4, which has LTE support.
So unless you don’t mind not having 4G LTE connectivity, using ATT’s network, and you have $800 to shell out, the Galaxy S III should be with you in a couple of weeks. But you would be better off waiting for the U.S. carrier-customized versions of the device, which although they won’t have the same processor, they’ll likely cost you at least $500 less upfront with a contract, and they can blaze at 4G LTE speeds.
Samsung executives claim that their new Galaxy S III was “enhanced with nature and human emotion.” While we can’t exactly verify that claim, we can take a look at some of the specifications and features on Samsung’s latest smartphone. (See also “Samsung Galaxy S III: A Visual Tour.”)
ANALYSIS: Android 4.0: A rundown of key features
In no particular order, here are four things you should know about the Samsung Galaxy S III:
It has killer hardware. As expected, the Galaxy S III comes complete with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor that is top-of-the-line for smartphone hardware. Other key hardware features include an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP front-facing camera, a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display screen with a resolution of 1,280×720 pixels, and a 2,100mAh battery. And for good measure, the phone’s design is both light and thin, as it weighs 133 grams and is just 8.6 millimeters thick. In all, the new Galaxy’s hardware is about as cutting-edge as you can get right now.
It comes with software that “knows you.” One of the more innovative features of the new Galaxy phone is its ability to actually watch, listen and respond to you through its camera and voice software. For instance, the device’s camera can see when you’re looking at it and will respond by keeping the screen lit up so you don’t have to periodically touch it to keep it from blacking out. Similarly, the new Galaxy’s “S Voice” voice recognition software is a Siri-like feature that lets you give your phone commands without touching it. In other words, if your phone alarm goes off, you can just shout out “snooze” to get it to shut its yap rather than fumbling around trying to press the “off” button. Similarly, you can use S Voice to write emails, check the weather, take pictures, etc.
It will not initially support LTE. Quad-core processors are pretty fast, but they’re also pretty large and Samsung apparently couldn’t fit an LTE chipset in with its super-speedy CPU. So when the device hits the shelves in Europe this month and in the U.S. next month, it will have HSPA+ connectivity and standard Wi-Fi options, but no LTE. For U.S. consumers this means that the initial version of the device will likely be available on ATT and T-Mobile, both of whom have nationwide HSPA+ networks, but not on Verizon and Sprint, which both rely on the CDMA-based EV-DO Rev. A for their 3G technology.
Samsung has said it will release an LTE-capable version of the device sometime this summer so you might want to hold off on buying it if you absolutely must have the fastest mobile broadband technology available.
Yes, it runs on the latest version of Android. Like all the new Android devices hitting the market, the Galaxy S III runs on Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”) that has been designed to deliver the same user experience across different smartphones and tablets. Among other things, the newest version of Android features a home screen that can unlock using facial recognition software; Android Beam, technology that lets users send contact information, directions, Web pages and more via near-field communications by tapping their phones together; and integration with the Google+ social network that lets users host online video chats among their circles of friends.
Read more about anti-malware in Network World’s Anti-malware section.
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Intel silicon has shipped in mobile devices before, but the Xolo X900 from India’s Lava is a new breed of mobile device for Intel to tackle. It’s an Android smartphone, one that aims to tackle the middle- to high-end of the Indian smartphone market. It’s also a new beginning for the world’s most well-known maker of chips.
The Xolo X900 is based on Intel’s Z2460 system-on-a-chip, which will provide a 1.6-GHz Atom engine in addition to a 400-MHz graphics chip. Thanks to the Z2460′s 32-nm process, it’s power efficient as well as zippy. The X900 boasts a 4-inch LCD display, in addition to an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of built-in storage space, and HSPA+ 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and HDMI.
The X900 will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Lava says Android 4.0 is coming soon. Lava and Intel say the X900 can surf the Web for five hours and support eight hours worth of voice calls.
The device goes on sale April 23 through the Indian retailer Chroma. It will cost about $420.
[ Mobility has produced some of the most sweeping changes ever in how we work, live, and play. Don't Be Late For The Mobile Revolution. ]
Intel’s partnership with Lava was first announced at CES, and then expanded at Mobile World Congress, where France-based network operator Orange said it will sell smartphones based on Intel’s Atom family of processors. Lava and ZTE said they plan to bring Intel-based smartphones to the market and Lava’s X900 managed to be the first out the door. Intel announced a similar product partnership with Motorola earlier this year. These partnerships give Intel three hardware partners and one operator partner.
It’s a start, but Intel has a lot of ground to make up.
Qualcomm and other chip makers have a solid lead in the mobile space with their ARM-based chips, with sales in the hundreds of millions of devices. That success came about through good partnerships among platform providers (in this case, Google), handset makers, and carriers, not because of the silicon inside them.
Intel needs its partners Motorola and ZTE to design compelling handsets that carriers–especially those in the United States–will want to sell. Motorola has had a bumpy ride with Android sales in the last year, and ZTE is barely a blip in the U.S. market (though admittedly it is much larger in Asian markets).
Intel and Motorola were expected to unveil a new Atom-based Android smartphone two months ago. There’s no word on what’s causing the delay, but Intel needs to get its chips into as many handsets and onto as many retail shelves as possible.
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