Samsung Galaxy Grand

Did you think that just because it was winter and all the major phone announcements had died down that Samsung was done releasing things? NOPE. Today, the Korean manufacturer released info on the brand new Galaxy Grand. Where “brand new” means “looks so much like the Note II that Samsung is probably suing itself for trade dress infringement.” The phone will carry a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 5″ 800×480 display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on board storage (expandable with a microSD card slot), a 2,100 mAh battery, and it ships with Jelly Bean (4.1.2)


Full specs in list form, for those who prefer it that way:

  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 5″ 800×480 TFT LCD display
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB storage (expandable to 64GB via microSD
  • 2,100 mAh battery
  • HSPA+
  • Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean
  • Single- or dual-SIM models

On the spec sheet, it looks like a mid-range phone at best. Of course, you wouldn’t know that by its appearance, since it looks like the dang Note II. The 5″ display may be pandering a bit to the phablet crowd by offering a larger display without the stylus. The handset will also come in both single- and dual-SIM variants. The latter implies that this is probably to end up in a lot of EMEA/SEA markets, probably for a lower, unsubsidized price.

It’s unclear at this point just where this will end up. For all we know, this won’t ever make it to the U.S. (or most of the English-speaking countries where people can read this site), but hey, just in case it does, did I mention that this thing looks a whole friggin’ lot like the Note II? So, you know, don’t buy it by mistake!

Source: Samsung


RIM begins BlackBerry 10 tests

Research In Motion Ltd said on Monday that it had begun a “beta testing” program that allows 120 companies and government departments to try out its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones before their global launch on January 30.

The Canadian company, which is trying to reverse a sharp decline in market share for the BlackBerry, said the program would enable so-called enterprise customers in business and government to size up the BB10.

Features of the BB10 include the ability to separate personal and business information so that the user can store both without compromising security.

RIM has struggled in recent years to hold on to its base of enterprise customers, which typically pay a higher subscription fee than consumers, as their employees push to use devices such as Apple Inc’s iPhone for business as well as personal communications.

“This is a crucial step for us in getting our large enterprise customers ready to support BlackBerry 10 at the point of launch date, as opposed to post-launch date,” Bryan Lee, senior director for enterprise accounts, said in a phone interview.

RIM is providing the software and handsets at no charge, and the companies do not have to buy anything once the trial is finished.

The company plans to release its quarterly results on Thursday, and analysts expect it to report its third straight loss as it struggles to sell its older devices.

BlackBerry 10 smartphones

BlackBerry 10 smartphones

RIM made its name selling mobile email devices to bankers, lawyers and other professionals before expanding to sell phones to consumers.

The company said the BB10 testers were from financial, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, media, and distribution industries and include 64 Fortune 500 companies, as well as government departments.

Lee would not identify any of the entities, beyond Integris Health and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which have both said they are testing the new devices.

The customers have installed test versions of RIM’s new server software, which manages iPhones and devices using Google Inc’s Android software as well as BlackBerrys, and will each receive two preproduction BlackBerry 10 handsets later this week.

RIM shares were down 2.1 percent at C$13.59 in morning Toronto Stock Exchange trading.

The stock has rallied from September’s multiyear lows around C$6.50 on a wave of optimism over the new devices, but the share price is still far below mid-2008 highs of around C$150.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Top 10 gadgets of 2012 according to Time

The end of the year is time for reflection and top 10 lists from the world’s tech publications, and Time is no different.

Time’s list is fairly consumer focused, with only the Raspberry Pi making it to the top 10 as an enthusiast device that requires somewhat advanced technical skill to use.

Interestingly, Apple’s latest iPad didn’t make the list while the new MacBook Pro with its ultra high resolution Retina display did.

The tablet PC that made the list was Microsoft’s ARM-based Surface running Windows RT.

The top 10 list of gadgets according to Time magazine is as follows:

10. Simple.TV



Simple.TV is a personal digital video recorder that streams live and recorded TV programs to web-connected devices like the iPad, Roku media streamer, and PCs and Macs. It includes a single HDTV tuner that records to an external USB-connected hard drive.

9. Nest

Nest thermostat

Nest thermostat

A learning thermostat. Yes, Time chose a thermostat for its number nine gadget of 2012. It must be one helluva thermostat.

8. Samsung Galaxy Note II

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 S Pen

The second iteration of Samsung’s “phablet”. Or perhaps “tablone”?

7. Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

Microsoft Surface with kickstand deployed and touch cover attached

Microsoft Surface with kickstand deployed and touch cover attached

6. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display

15-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display

Are Apple’s new MacBook Pros with Retina displays ultrabooks? Thin, light, no optical drive, and solid-state storage seems to fit the bill. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, the selling point of these notebooks are their ultra high resolution displays.

5. Lytro

Lytro publicity shot

Lytro publicity shot

A “light field” camera that promises “pictures worth exploring”.

4. Raspberry Pi Model B

Raspberry Pi Model B

The $35 PC (excl. VAT, $42 including according to the RS Electronics website), complete with USB ports, Ethernet port, SD card slot, and 3.5mm audio jack, powered by micro USB.

3. Sony Cybershot RX100

Sony Cybershot RX100

The pocket-sized DSC-RX100 features the world’s first 1.0 type CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm) with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels and F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 3.6x optical zoom lens.

2. Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo has continued their knack for innovation in the home console arena by introducing their new Wii U console which features a 6-inch touchscreen GamePad for another level of interaction with video games. The Wii U also supports the previous generation of games and controls to make for one of the most well-rounded gaming consoles currently available.

1. iPhone 5

iPhone 5 white

iPhone 5 white

The iPhone 5 boasts a thinner profile than the iPhone 4S, and at 7.6mm thick Apple claimed that new device is 18% thinner than its predecessor. At 112 grams is is also 20% lighter than the iPhone 4S.

Apple’s iPhone 5 features a larger 4-inch display running at a resolution of 1136×640, changing the aspect ratio of the display to 16:9.

Mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE have also been added.