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Samsung Galaxy S 4 Zoom leaks continue with alleged photos of the device in the wild Jun 8th 2013, 15:10
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Zoom in the wild leak

In the hierarchy of mobile hardware leaks, most folks would probably agree that renders of a device are on the bottom rung, followed by “in the wild” photos and then video showing a product in action. Yesterday a render of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S 4 Zoom surfaced, and now it appears that the unannounced handset is making its way up a step in the hierarchy of leaks with a set of images that purportedly show the real hardware.

Posted by TechTastic, the photos show a device that looks fairly similar to the Galaxy S 4 Zoom render that surfaced yesterday. The front of the unit looks very Galaxy S 4 mini-like, packing a physical home key, earpiece and sensors, while the sides of the cameraphone sport a possible tripod mount as well as shutter button for taking photos with the Galaxy S 4 Zoom’s rumored 16-megapixel camera.

According to yesterday’s leak, the Galaxy S 4 Zoom’s spec sheet will include a 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED, 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 8GB internal storage, microSD card slot and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean beneath Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay. As I noted before, that makes it sound like a mashup of a Galaxy S 4 mini and Galaxy Camera, which is a description that seems to line up with the handset’s overall design as well.

With its purported 16-megapixel camera that features an optical zoom, the Galaxy S 4 Zoom is a device that’s obviously meant for folks that want a smartphone that functions as a camera first and a phone second. The S 4 Zoom’s spec sheet may not be anything to write home about, but as long as the phone can take good photos, the target audience will likely be pleased.

Samsung has scheduled an event for June 20 at which it will show some new Galaxy products, and so it’s possible that we’ll see the S 4 Zoom there. Considering how Samsung’s been announcing new Galaxy hardware ahead of the event, like the S 4 mini and Active, it’s also possible that we could see an S 4 Zoom announcement in the days leading up to that event. Whenever this thing ends up getting its formal introduction, you can bet that I’ll bring you all of the details. What do you think of the device in these leaked images? Would you buy a smartphone that features a 4.3-inch qHD display but also has a 16-megapixel camera with optical zoom?

Via Engadget, TechTastic

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Leak of internal Windows Phone software shows notification center and other new features Jun 8th 2013, 14:15
Windows Phone 8 notification center leak

Brace yourselves, Windows Phone fans, because a new leak may have just given us a glimpse at some big changes that Microsoft has in store for its mobile platform. Reddit user “chinaman28” claims that a Nokia Lumia 920 that he recently purchased off of eBay is running what looks to be some internal Microsoft test firmware.

The user has posted a number of screenshots to Flickr that show new, unannounced Windows Phone features. One of the major additions is a notification center, which can be accessed by tapping the small Live Tile to the right of the Phone app in the left screenshot above. Other new goodies include a weekly view in the calendar app, the option of sorting apps alphabetically by app name and the ability to close apps while in the multitasking view. The phone is running software version “12084.WPMAIN(wpbldlab).20130509-1407,” suggesting that it was compiled on May 9, and is also sporting a number of test applications that start with the letter “z.”

A notification center is one of the most highly-requested features for Windows Phone, and it appears that Microsoft may finally be planning to answer fulfill that wish. The other new features shown in this leak, while not totally groundbreaking, do appear to be small tweaks that will add up to help make Windows Phone a better overall platform.

As with most leaks, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether or not these screenshots are legit (at least not without Microsoft coming out and saying so), but faking all of these images would take quite a bit of effort. It’s also worth mentioning that since this software is likely early and meant for developers’ eyes only, some of the stuff shown in the screenshots could be changed or cleaned up by the time a consumer release happens. The source of the screenshots says that he may post a video of the software soon, so stay tuned and I’ll update you if anything else comes up. What do you think of the features shown in this leak? Are you happy to finally see a Windows Phone notification center?

Windows Phone 8 new calendar, multitasking leak

Via The Verge, Reddit, Flickr

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Are you tempted by the Google Edition Sony Xperia Z? Jun 7th 2013, 16:35

Lately mobile news has been producing quite a buzz over the introduction of “Google Edition” devices; first we see the GE Samsung Galaxy S 4, and shortly after we discover the GE HTC One. For the most part, we’ve seen mainly positive reactions regarding these devices (exceptions included). Good news comes today in the form of another Google Edition flagship device, and this time it’s from our friends at Sony with a GE Xperia Z.

Although the device has been confirmed by a few trusted websites, Sony themselves haven’t actually come out with a public statement confirming this addition to the Google Edition family.

The Sony Xperia Z was one of my favorite devices that I was looking forward to seeing this year, although it seemed that any sort of hype for the device was largely overshadowed by other flagships like the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Here in the U.S., it’s probably due largely in part that we still don’t have the original device available on any of our carriers yet. Perhaps with a Google Edition release of the device it can generate some more interest.

As we’ve discussed before, Google Editions is largely a competition of hardware features rather than software features, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. On the one hand the phone loses all of the features that made the phone unique – and not only that, AOSP strips these phones of any camera software that it may have been banking on to create a clearer, crisper image. On the other hand, you get these flagship devices with a clean slate to really do what you want with it, plus the added bonus of being able to get “timely updates” straight from Google, giving you a pseudo-Nexus experience.

When it comes to Google Editions, what exactly does the Xperia Z have to offer compared to other Google Edition models?

The actual specs of the device are nearly on-par with its competitors: a 5-inch 1080p HD display, quad-core S4 Snapdragon Pro processor, 2 GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and 16 GB of internal memory with microSD slot that can support up to 64 GB of external memory.

Most notably, the Sony Xperia Z offers a tempting hardware feature that’s been highly praised by many, and that’s the fact that it’s a waterproof phone. Liquid damage is one of the most terrifying things that can happen to any type of electronic. If it happens to one of yours, you might as well start making funeral arrangements because it’s only a matter of time before the water seeps into the more important components of the device. But not if you have the Sony Xperia Z! Well, maybe you just have a better chance of it surviving in certain water conditions as the ports in the device have to be plugged up, not to mention it’s only mentioned to work in freshwater which means a day longboarding at the beach should probably not be in your Xperia Z’s itinerary during vacation. Regardless, extended effort to make the phone more waterproof than any other device certainly gives the Xperia Z somewhat of a boost over its other Google Edition competitors (as the GE Galaxy S 4 is a reincarnation of the original Galaxy S 4, not the dust-proof, waterproof Galaxy S 4 Active).

Another reason why the Xperia Z might out-Nexus its competitors is simply by the fact that Sony already utilizes on-screen buttons, which might make this the next best thing compared to a real Nexus device. The HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 both have capacitive buttons, which for some really takes away from the true Nexus-like experience (which to me just sounds like they should wait for the next Nexus to arrive) but at least the Sony Xperia Z kind of gives people who are wanting an alternative to the real Nexus but would rather have on-screen buttons another option in the market.

The only thing I see really holding the Xperia back is the fact that underneath that pretty little device it’s still using a slightly outdated processor compared to its competitors. Considering the GE Sony Xperia Z is set to sell for around $650 (again, not entirely confirmed) which is the same price as the GE Galaxy S 4, you basically have to choose between waterproofing or a more powerful processor for that price. Nonetheless, the Xperia Z is still able to bring some new features to the table when it comes to choosing a Google Edition device even without the updated processor.

So readers, now I ask you: Does a Google Edition Sony Xperia Z tempt you to break into this new Google Edition fad? If not, which Google Edition device would you rather have?

Images via Clove, YourGadgetGuide

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Enough with the cameras, WP8; we need official apps Jun 7th 2013, 15:00

I never thought I would be saying that we need to slow it up on the camera progression in order to fix other things necessary for a successful platform, but Windows Phone 8 leaves me no choice as rumors of the next Nokia device presumably features an insane 41-megapixel camera.

I don’t know if there’s some huge, secret demand from photographers that need huge canvasses for photos, but if there is then I suppose that the 41-megapixel camera that’s rumored to emerge from Nokia is somewhat justified. But since I feel like that’s not the case, I feel like Windows Phone 8 should throw manufacturers a bone and work harder to attain what’s really needed in order to make the mobile platform flourish – official apps.

Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 devices already have arguably the best camera technology that you can find in mobile devices. They might not have the highest megapixel count, but we’re also starting to learn that just because a device can offer you higher megapixel count doesn’t necessarily mean that your photos will magically turn out better. We see through devices like the Nokia Lumia line and even the HTC One that improving other elements of the camera are what truly make a camera great. The HTC One’s Ultrapixel camera isn’t what I would consider the best, but it’s far from being the worst and its ability to take good pictures in low-lit situations is pretty awesome. Nokia attributes their Lumia camera’s success to “… advanced camera algorithms, great engineering, and our partnership with Carl Zeiss” , and even prove through examples how the Nokia Lumia 925’s camera can out-quality the Galaxy S 4’s 13-megapixel camera and even the HTC One – at least in that particular low-light situation.

But at some point enough is enough with the camera business. I’ve been impressed by Nokia’s PureView cameras on the Lumia line so far, and I have no doubt in my mind that the great quality it displays for a camera on a mobile phone is in part what is causing me to lean towards purchasing a Windows Phone 8 device. However, one thing that is causing me to really think twice about the purchase is the fact that official, first-party apps really seem to be lacking support in Windows Phone 8.

Lately there have been rumors of popular apps like Vine and Instagram coming to Windows Phone 8. While I no longer use Instagram as an app personally, you can’t deny that the service is widely popular among Android and iOS users. As for Vine, the app is still growing in popularity but the 6-second snippet clips are growing in numbers as people become more fascinated with the idea behind the short, creative, and looping videos that make up a Vine video.

However, as it turns out neither of these applications are officially going to be released for Windows Phone any time in the near future. Instead you get enjoy third-party apps like ‘Viner’ which allow you to view videos created on Vine but cannot make them, and ‘Instance’ which is an Instagram-ish third-party app that used to by the name ‘Itsdagram’ (yayuhh, boiiii!) While these third party applications are only trying to help the Windows Phone 8 community by providing stand-ins that are as close to the real thing as possible, you can’t deny that having the real, fully-supported application directly from the company would be a better option.

Since I used Instagram as an example, it is worth noting that Nokia has gone on record to say that they plan to have Instagram available at some point in the future for their Windows Phone 8 devices.

Customers who are looking into different platforms often perform extensive research to make sure that it’s the right phone for them. After all, most of us plan on keeping these phones for at least a couple of years – you want to make sure you get it right the first time if you can help it. But it’s discouraging when you perform a search like, say, “Windows Phone 8 YouTube” and the first result says something along the lines of “Microsoft withdraws YouTube App for Windows Phone 8” or, to bring up an old subject, “Windows Phone 8 Instagram” and you get “It’s not here yet, but here’s a few alternatives for you!” Not everybody wants to spend time looking for alternatives almost every time.

Nokia is doing a service for Windows Phone 8 by providing exceptional mobile phone cameras for the platform. People hardly talk about the Windows Phone 8X anymore, which even outperforms the Nokia Lumia 920 in some reviews, simply because it doesn’t have anything truly noteworthy about it (aside from Beats Audio, but you can get Beats Audio integration with a few HTC Androids as well). It just seems to me that Microsoft should be trying a little harder to provide official applications like Vine, Instagram, Hulu Plus, etc. to bring in more customers instead of depending solely on its developer community to convince new costumers otherwise.

I kind of view it like Android and iOS have these huge factories to mass produce these awesome applications at an alarming rate, and Windows Phone still owns that “Mom and Pop” corner shop and hand-stitches all of their applications with love. It’s kind of charming, but at the same time not a lot of people appreciate hand-stitched goods anymore.

The point of all this is that I appreciate a good smartphone camera as much as the next person does, but Windows Phone 8 can’t keep banking on Nokia’s hardware components to win customers over every time. If a fantastic rooty-tooty-point-and-shooty is the only feature you want in a phone, you might be surprised to find that digital cameras actually come in standalone form and can do you one better. However, I figure that most people can agree that there’s definitely more to a great device than just having a decent camera. Something’s got to give within the platform itself, and I feel like the best way for Windows Phone 8 is to try to make nice with companies who develop popular applications.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think that Windows Phone 8 should include more first-party apps, or would you rather have the third-party apps that developers have been working on? Does the camera alone sell you on Windows Phone 8? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Images via CNet, The Tech Block

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Have you ever had a phone stolen? Jun 7th 2013, 13:10

A couple of days ago, I was seated at a small table in a coffee shop, typing away. My phone was next to the computer, sitting idle. An older gentleman sat down at a table next to me, and I noticed that he kept taking quick glances over at me. Well, not at me, but at my phone. He’d wait a few minutes while he looked over the newspaper he had purchased with his coffee, and then glance at the phone again. As if he were making sure it was still there.

It was around the fourth or fifth time that I picked up the phone and put it on the other side of my computer. I didn’t expect this guy to just get up and snatch my phone from the table, but it was definitely a strange situation. So I made sure that my computer, and me, were between him and my phone.

One of my biggest fears is losing my phone. I know it sounds weird, but it’s the truth. I get a lot of things done on my phone, and my device serves a purpose in my every day life. Whether it’s letting my daughters play games, taking pictures of them, or just having conversations with people I don’t get to see on a regular basis, my phone is a pretty important part of my life.

So, the phone went on the other side of the laptop, and I went on my way typing words. After a few minutes the old guy walked over to my table and asked me, point blank, if I had ever had a phone stolen from me.

I asked him why, of course, and he went on to tell me that a few days before he had had his phone stolen from him, right off the table, while he was digging through his bag. It had happened so quickly that the man told me he could barely comprehend what had happened; and by the time he figured it out, whoever had taken it was long gone.

He told me that he had been looking at my phone because he couldn’t believe I’d just leave it there for the whole world to see. Along with a pair of sunglasses and my watch. He though I was crazy for just attracting so much attention to these things, and then he walked away while I stared awkwardly at his back.

Sometimes, some people just want to have weird conversations with you. You just have to go with the flow.

But it did get me thinking. I’ve never personally had a phone taken from me, at least not that I can remember, but I know plenty of people who have. Whether they left the phone in their car by accident and then the vehicle was vandalized, or they forgot it in a restaurant and someone took advantage of the situation, there is always a moment long enough for someone who wants to, to take your phone.

My fear of having my phone go missing is one reason why I depend on the cloud so much. It isn’t that I have a prejudice against microSD cards or anything. No, it’s just that I’d rather have an external, (mostly) always accessible way to get to my important content, whenever I may need it. It’s also because it’s a safe way to make sure that stuff stays accessible, even if you do manage to get the device you took those images or wrote those documents with stolen, or you permanently misplace it.

It’s also one reason why, if there’s an option for it, I’ll turn on the means to locate my phone from a computer. Sure, it’s not the most fool-proof way to make sure that your stuff stays your stuff, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. It feels good to have another layer of security in place, especially immediately after the fact.

I want to know what type of security you have on your phone, if you have any. Do you use location tracking services for your device to make sure you’re able to find it at some later point, once it’s already been removed from your side, or your pocket? But, I also want you to share your story about your stolen phone, if that has happened to you. How did it occur? And were you able to get your device back? Let me know!

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U.S. Department of Justice finishes review of SoftBank-Sprint deal, says it has ‘no objection’ Jun 7th 2013, 12:30
SoftBank and Sprint logos

It looks like SoftBank and Sprint’s weekend just got a little bit better, as the transaction involving the two companies has been cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier this year, the DOJ asked the Federal Communications Commission to defer its review of the SoftBank-Sprint deal so that the DOJ, FBI and Department of Homeland Security could analyze the agreement for any potential threats to national security or law enforcement. Now the DOJ has sent a letter to the FCC saying that after its analysis, it has no objection to the proposed deal and that it is officially withdrawing its deferral request.

The SoftBank-Sprint transaction has already gotten the green light from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment, and gaining the DOJ’s approval means that it’s cleared yet another hurdle on its way to completion. The deal must still be looked over by the FCC, but Sprint isn’t worried about that review, telling PhoneScoop that it “[looks] forward to the Commission’s prompt completion of its public interest review.”

SoftBank and Sprint announced late last year that SoftBank planned to invest $20.1 billion into Sprint for a 70 percent stake in the No. 3 wireless carrier. The deal has been working its way toward completion since then, but Dish Network recently threw a wrench into the two companies’ plans by making its own $25.5 billion bid for Sprint. SoftBank is confident that it will win out, though, saying that it believes that it’s got the better offer and that it expects its transaction with Sprint to close by July 1. We’ll just have to wait and see whether or not that actually happens, but getting the DOJ’s stamp of approval has certainly improved its odds. Now that the Justice Department has OK’d the deal, do you think that the SoftBank and Sprint transaction will actually happen?

Via FCC, PhoneScoop

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Dogfight Part 2 Jun 7th 2013, 12:20

Once known as the top dog in the smartphone space, Apple’s iPhone 5 has come under intense scrutiny lately thanks to Samsung’s rapid rise to the top. Once struggling to maintain mindshare, Android is a powerhouse that can’t be stopped. In the ring today, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Apple iPhone 5.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4’s specifications include a 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 5-inch 1080p HD display, 13-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 2,600 mAh battery, 4G LTE, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz. The iPhone 5 offers an Apple A6 CPU (rumored to be dual-core and around 1.02 GHz), a 4-inch Retina Display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 4G LTE, and more.

They both have pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s about the best bang for the buck. Which one wins the gold medal? Part 2 of 2.

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 vs. Apple iPhone 5 Dogfight Part 1 Jun 7th 2013, 12:15

Once the undisputed industry leader, Apple’s iPhone 5 has come under intense scrutiny lately thanks to Samsung’s rapid rise to the top. After years of struggling, Android is a powerhouse that can’t be stopped. Up today, a dogfight battle between the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Apple iPhone 5. Galaxy S 4 specs include a 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU, 5-inch 1080p HD display, 13-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 2,600 mAh battery, 4G LTE, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz. The iPhone 5 packs an Apple A6 CPU (rumored to be dual-core and around 1.02 GHz), a 4-inch Retina Display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 4G LTE, and more.

They both have pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s about the best bang for the buck. Which one wins the gold medal? Part 1 of 2.

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Some final thoughts on iOS 7 before we find out the true details Jun 7th 2013, 10:45

As many are eagerly waiting for Monday to arrive (as well as not eagerly awaiting for Monday to arrive… is the weekend ever truly long enough?) to see what Apple has to share with us at WWDC 2013, we still have the weekend ahead of us to jam in some last minute speculations.

Of course, there’s only so far you can run with the idea given that the next version of iOS has been described as “simple” and “flat”. I mean, that’s about as boring as boring can get for such a vague description.

For iOS I feel that any change is probably a good change at this point. Just change something. Give iOS users something different to look at, something different to experience. In a world where Android seems to be changing things up every year or so it would be nice for iOS users to get a taste of that change too. Even BlackBerry and Windows Phone have experienced change from BlackBerry OS to BlackBerry 10 and Windows Mobile to Windows Phone. Everybody needs a little refresher at some point to keep the motivation going, right?

I’m on-the-fence on what to expect from iOS 7. I had been mentally preparing myself for disappointment since I heard that iOS 7 was to be flat and simplified just mere days after I had set my expectations way higher than they probably should have been. At the same time I’m still kind of holding on to that glimmer of hope that maybe having this minimalist inspired change come to iOS won’t be so bad after all. After all, there have been some hints from insiders saying that the renders and predictions we’ve been seeing across the internet might not be as accurate as one might think. Then again, depending on what type of sources you deem credible really makes it hard to know exactly what to expect until we actually see it.

I’m mostly excited because I just want to get it out of the way. As a person who had every intention to ditch iOS and move to another platform, I just want to be absolutely sure before I move ahead in my plans to switch platforms. If iOS 7 is really no different than iOS 6, which was hardly any different than iOS 5, which was entirely too similar to iOS 4, and so and so forth, I’ll definitely be outs. But until then, iOS and the next iPhone still have a toe in the door when it comes to making a decision on my next personal phone.

I think what’s most exciting about this event is that iOS 7 will be Apple’s first real redesign since the iPhone first came out back in 2007. This same design has been reused over and over again for the past 6 years. The design has had an impressively long run without any real signs of needing to pull a Windows Phone, but with Apple slipping from the top down to second place it might be best to attempt a redesign while people still have their eyes and ears programmed to listen any time iOS is mentioned. As we can see with the results so far with BlackBerry’s BlackBerry 10, it is quite possible to redesign something a little too late.

I’ve bounced back and forth on my thoughts of iOS 7. At first I wasn’t happy about it, but it was likely because I set myself up by posting that ever-so-hopeful article just days before the “flat” and “simplified descriptions came to light. Now that I’ve had time to think it over the idea doesn’t seem as awful; still boring in theory, but not as awful as I might have painted it to be at first. I mostly just hope that this won’t turn around to slap Apple in the face.

I’m going to go into Monday with an open mind and hope for the best. Either way it goes, whenever iOS 7 is released I will be losing my jailbreak to experience it first-hand.

Readers, what are some of your thoughts before the official release of iOS 7? Do you think the simplistic design of the banner raised today offers any insight as to what we can expect? Are you excited about the announcement? Let me know your thoughts!

Images via ReadWrite, The Next Web

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Samsung Galaxy S 4 Zoom purportedly revealed in leaked image Jun 7th 2013, 10:10
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Zoom leak

Samsung has been cranking out the Galaxy S 4 variants lately, with both the original flagship, the Galaxy S 4 mini and Galaxy S 4 Active. Today we’re getting a peek at may be another variant of the Galaxy S 4, dubbed the Galaxy S 4 Zoom.

The image comes to us from SamMobile, a site that’s been a fairly accurate source of Samsung leaks in the past. The leaked render shows a device that looks a bit like a mashup of the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Camera. On the front there’s an earpiece, the usual array of sensors and a physical home button, as well as what SamMobile claims is a 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED display. On the side of the device we can see a power/lock button, volume rocker and round shutter key. Finally, there looks to be an optical zoom lens jutting out of the unit’s backside.

Besides its 4.3-inch display, the Galaxy S 4 Zoom is said to feature a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 8GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and Android 4.2.2 beneath Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. The rear camera is said to be of the 16-megapixel variety, and as the name of the device suggests, it’ll feature an optical zoom lens.

The Galaxy S 4 Zoom isn’t Samsung’s first attempt at mashing together Android with an optical zoom, as the company launched its Jelly Bean-powered Galaxy Camera last year. This new S 4 Zoom looks to be more of a smartphone/camera mashup rather than a straight-up Android-powered camera, though, meaning that users would be able to make calls and perform other phone-related functions with it.

If the Galaxy S 4 Zoom’s rumored spec list holds true, it looks like it’ll be a Galaxy S 4 mini with a beefy camera slapped onto its backside. That may not appeal to the spec hounds out there, but the S 4 Zoom could be a good option for someone whose top priority when shopping for a new phone is the camera. Of course, we’ll have to wait until Samsung makes the S 4 Zoom official before we’ll know just how nice of a camera it actually is. The good news is that with a Samsung Galaxy event scheduled for June 20, it may not be long before an announcement is made. What do you make of this leaked Galaxy S 4 Zoom? Would you consider buying one if it came to your carrier of choice?

Via SamMobile

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SoftBank said to be in talks for possible T-Mobile deal as backup to Sprint transaction Jun 7th 2013, 09:30
T-Mobile logo CTIA

Japanese carrier SoftBank entered into an agreement with Sprint late last year in which it would drop $20.1 billion for a 70 percent stake in the U.S. operator. The situation has gotten a bit muddier since then, though, with Dish Network entering the fray with its own $25.5 billion bid for Sprint. SoftBank has publicly said that it’s confident that it will still get its deal with Sprint done, but according to a new report, the Japanese operator is getting a “Plan B” ready in case the Sprint transaction falls through.

Sources have told Reuters that SoftBank is currently in talks with Deutsche Telekom about a deal for T-Mobile US. It’s said that SoftBank and Deutsche Telekom have actually been having discussions about T-Mobile since last year, but that those talks have grown more intense lately thanks to Dish’s attempt to acquire Sprint. The tipsters say that SoftBank would prefer the Sprint deal, which makes sense considering that it’s already got quite a bit of time invested in it, and that its negotiations for T-Mobile are only meant as a backup for the Sprint transaction.

Despite Dish’s efforts to snag Sprint, SoftBank has said that it’s still confident that it’ll get a deal done with Sprint by July 1. SoftBank and Sprint are getting pretty far along in the process of completing their agreement, recently gaining approval from both the SEC and Committee on Foreign Investment. Still, Dish has shown that it’s pretty determined to strike a deal with someone (such as Clearwire or Sprint) in order to get some help in its efforts to enter the wireless industry. That’s why it may not be a bad idea for SoftBank to have a backup plan in case its agreement with Sprint falls through. T-Mobile is an especially attractive acquisition target considering that it recently merged with MetroPCS and gained quite a bit of spectrum to use for its LTE network as a result.

Via Reuters

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Nokia Lumia 920 Challenge, Day 10: Answering your questions Jun 7th 2013, 07:20

In this update to the Nokia Lumia 920 challenge series, I’m answering your questions from Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been working with the phone for 10 days, and overall, I’ve been pleased. It’s certainly a different experience, but I can see some benefits already, such as tight integration with Microsoft Office and XBOX Live.

AT&T’s flagship Nokia device is big and bulky, but it’s easy to hold in the hand. In comparing apps between Windows Phone and more established platforms like iOS and Android, you can see the difference in many cases. Take the American app, for example. It’s not nearly as robust as the Android/iOS versions, and it’s not Nokia’s fault. Microsoft needs to work hard to court developers – and make sure that the apps they create (and eventually update) are up to par with other OSes.

As always, let me know what you want to see in the Lumia 920 challenge series!

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Expert Spotlight – Stefan Etienne – 6-7-13 Jun 7th 2013, 06:46
As the summer heats up, the HTC One is still on fire and refuses to give up the #1 spot on the Official Smartphone Rankings. Stefan of laptopmemo.com agrees! Check out his expert picks for the week below in our Expert Spotlight.

Stefan Etienne – Founder & Head Editor for Laptopmemo.com. Follow him on twitter @stefanetienne and @laptopmemo