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ASUS K009 tablet appears at Bluetooth SIG and FCC, includes ‘nexus’ brand name Jun 14th 2013, 17:25
ASUS K009 Nexus tablet Bluetooth SIGThe Nexus 7 is fast approaching its first birthday, and in the mobile world that typically means that it’s about time for a refresh. Google hasn’t said anything official about an updated Nexus 7 yet, but newly-discovered filings from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group and Federal Communications Commission may have spilled some of the details of a new model.

A listing for a new ASUS-made tablet featuring the model number K009 has been spotted on the Bluetooth SIG’s website, complete with a photo of the device with its screen off. It’s difficult to discern much of anything from the small photo that’s included with the entry, but the Bluetooth SIG’s description of the K009 says that it packs a 7-inch display and quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor.

Meanwhile, an FCC listing for the K009 offers up a few more details on the device. The entry includes both “ASUS” and “nexus” as the device’s brands and lists the K009 as having both front and rear cameras, a 4,000mAh battery and LTE support. Interestingly, the FCC also says that the K009 features a Qualcomm APQ-8064 processor, which would be a Snapdragon S4 Pro and not the Snapdragon 600 that the Bluetooth SIG claims is included with the K009.

Despite the fact that Google hasn’t made any official announcements regarding a new Nexus tablet, many believe that the company is working on an updated model to follow the widely-adopted Nexus 7. We’ll have to wait until this K009 is actually introduced before we know exactly what makes it tick, but if the device does indeed end up as the next Nexus tablet, it sounds like Google and ASUS will have addressed some of the most widespread complaints about the original Nexus 7 by adding a rear camera and LTE support. Would you be interested in a new Nexus 7 that includes front and rear cameras as well as LTE connectivity?

Via Android Police, Bluetooth SIG, FCC

ASUS K009 Nexus tablet FCC

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AT&T launching new GoPhone prepaid plans, adding Galaxy Express to GoPhone lineup on June 21 Jun 14th 2013, 15:20
AT&T GoPhone logoAT&T said earlier this month that it would soon be axing some of its existing GoPhone plans and replacing them with new offerings, and just as promised, today the big blue carrier announced new GoPhone prepaid plans. The new GoPhone smartphone prepaid plans will be available starting on June 21 and offer varying amounts of minutes and data, ranging from 250 minutes and no data to unlimited minutes and 2GB of data use. Here’s how the new GoPhone prepaid smartphone plans break down:

  • $25 per month for 250 minutes and unlimited messaging, 50MB data add-on available for $5 per month
  • $40 per month for 500 minutes, unlimited messaging and 200MB of data, with additional data available at a rate of $5 per 100MB
  • $50 per month for unlimited talk and text, Wi-Fi data only
  • $60 per month for unlimited minutes and messaging as well as 2GB of data, with extra data available at a rate of $10 per 1GB

Customers that’d prefer a quick messaging or basic phone will have their own set of prepaid plans to choose from. One such offering includes 500 minutes along with unlimited messaging and data for $35 per month.

While AT&T’s new GoPhone plans don’t appear to offer quite the same flexibility as the old ones, which let consumers select a base plan and then add one of three different data buckets, the new plans do offer several options for folks looking to make the prepaid jump on AT&T. One of the most notable aspects of the new plans is that AT&T has bumped up the the data allotment on its top-end GoPhone smartphone plan from 1GB to 2GB, making it a more enticing option for smartphone users. Finally, it’s worth noting that GoPhone now supports HSPA+ and 4G LTE connectivity, meaning that consumers can bring their own smartphone onto GoPhone and gain access to AT&T’s growing LTE network.

In addition to its new GoPhone plans, AT&T today announced that its also adding the Samsung Galaxy Express (shown below) to its prepaid lineup on June 21. Originally launched on AT&T back in November 2012, the Galaxy Express features a 4.5-inch 800×480 Super AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel rear and 1.3-megapixel front cameras, 4G LTE and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The GoPhone version of the Galaxy Express is available for $249.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Express

Via AT&T

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I have been waiting so long for notification sync Jun 14th 2013, 14:40
When we start using services on our mobile devices that we’ve already been using on our laptop or desktop, especially things like Google+ or Facebook or Twitter, then one of the things you’ll notice right away is that you get a lot of repeated notifications. It’s like these services are yelling at you every chance they get. Your phone makes a noise. You may get an email. If you’re logged into the service on your computer at the time, you’ll see a notification there, too.

For most of these services, especially when we start dealing with the mobile side of things, you can alter the way you receive notifications. You can turn them off altogether if that’s your thing, or you can only receive some notifications. Depending on the service, and how frequently you use it, or even how you use it in general, the amount of notifications you get probably varies greatly.

For me, on a personal scope, my notifications are set up more frequently for Facebook, so that I can interact with old school friends and family members easily enough. When someone interacts with me on Facebook, I get notifications from several different devices at once. It started off well enough, but it’s since grown sort of tiresome. But not because of the initial notification.

The issue is that dismissing a notification on one device, or even one platform, doesn’t dismiss the notification on the others. So if I check Facebook on my phone after receiving a pop-up, dismiss the notification, and then log into Facebook on my laptop, that notification is still there. A red number, just yelling at me right there at the top-right corner.

Basically, it’s telling me that nothing’s changed. I still have notifications. Consider me notified . . . Again.

The most annoying? Apple’s iMessage. This service is just all over the place. It seems to work just fine if you have only one device attached to the service, but from my experience it all breaks down once you start throwing in more devices. At one point in time or another, I’ve had a MacBook, iPad, and iPhone all running the same iMessage accounts (because of the Apple ID), and the notifications just never made any sense.

I’d get an iMessage from a friend using an iPhone, and sometimes the notification would appear just on the iPad. And there were more times than I can count where that would happen, I’d reply on the iPhone anyway (after the conversation eventually synced), and then the reply from the friend would come in on the MacBook — and no other device.

One of the worst parts is that notifications sometimes don’t sync at all, much like those aforementioned social networks. So no matter how many times I reply on my phone, sometimes iMessages on the MacBook will just keep telling me I’ve got a new message.

That’s why when Apple announced that iOS 7 would feature notification sync, and that all our notifications would sync across other iOS 7-based devices, I got all excited. “Finally!” I may, or may not have, said aloud.

I did the same thing when Google announced yesterday that they were bringing notification sync to Google+, so that all your notifications are kept in tune from device to device. Something that’s amazing for anyone who checks these things from different devices on any given day.

This feature, this notification sync, is one of those features that you just can’t help but ask, “Why didn’t they add this earlier?” If you’re like me at all, you hate seeing a notification pop up that you’ve already dismissed. Especially after you may or may not have gotten all excited for some new interaction, and it turns out to be something you’ve already seen. While it may be late across the board, it’s good that it’s finally here. Better late than never, right? Now I just have to hope everyone else catches on.

So tell me how often you deal with notifications across platforms and devices, and how much you’re looking forward to notification sync. Do you think it’s a welcomed addition to iOS 7 in general, as well as other things like Google+? Or do you not care in the slightest? Let me know!

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Sprint updates contract terms with details on customer options for end of WiMAX service Jun 14th 2013, 14:00
HTC EVO 4G Sprint rearLong before Sprint launched its 4G LTE network, the carrier was focused on its 4G WiMAX network that it eventually rolled out to a total of 71 markets. Sprint released a number of different WiMAX-capable phones during that rollout, including the EVO 4G and Epic 4G, before announcing in March 2012 that it would not be launching any new WiMAX products. We haven’t heard much about Sprint’s WiMAX plans since then, but it’s been discovered that the carrier recently added a new paragraph to its terms and conditions that explains what options contract customers will have once the WiMAX network shuts down.

The paragraph, which is said to have been added on May 22, says that Sprint has the right to migrate a customer’s service from WiMAX to LTE at any time during his or her contract term. Sprint says that it will give notice when it plans to do so, adding that customers will have a few different options for their future once the carrier decides to make that move. Consumers affected by the change will be able to continue using their WiMAX hardware without any WiMAX connectivity, deactivate service without incurring an early termination fee or transition from WiMAX to LTE. Customers that select the transition option will be given a “free standard Sprint LTE-capable device” and will be allowed to continue using their existing service plan.

Sprint hasn’t said exactly how long it plans to continue offering WiMAX service, but the carrier has an agreement with Clearwire that gives it access to the WiMAX network through at least 2015. Interestingly, Sprint is still selling several pre-owned WiMAX phones on its website for free on contract, including the EVO 4G and Epic 4G. While picking up one of those phones may not be the best decision ever, at least Sprint has now revealed what options its customers with WiMAX hardware will have should the WiMAX network get shutdown during their commitment term. The new contract terms related to Sprint’s WiMAX service can be found below.

“New Agreements on the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network: Your Service on a device activated on the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network may require a new one or two-year Agreement per line. Sprint expressly reserves the right to migrate your Service during this Agreement term from the Sprint 4G (WiMAX) Network to the Sprint 4G LTE network to complete your Agreement term. Reasonable advance notice of the Service change will be provided to impacted customers, who can then select one of the following options: (a) Choose to complete the Agreement term using your existing device without 4G (WiMAX) capability (b) Elect to complete the Agreement term by contacting us after receiving notice from Sprint to transition to the Sprint 4G LTE network with no additional term commitment required (Transition Option)(c) Deactivate service. Deactivations because of this Service change will not result in an Early Termination Fee (ETF). Transition Option: If you select the Transition Option, you will receive a free standard Sprint LTE capable device and can maintain your existing Service plan, if available. During the Agreement term, Sprint may provide other offers that are separate from the Transition Option, and these offers will be subject to a new two-year Agreement per line.”

Via Engadget, PCWorld, Sprint

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LG Optimus F3 to Sprint Jun 14th 2013, 13:00
The LG Optimus F3 can be your new Android smartphone if you stop by the Sprint store today.Release Date – Friday June 14, 2013
Carrier: Sprint
Price: $29.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate
Hot Features: 5MP camera, 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcom processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), WiFi, 4GB internal memory

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ZTE Vital to Sprint Jun 14th 2013, 13:00
Also arriving at Sprint this Friday June 14, 2013, the ZTE Vital.Release Date – Friday June 14, 2013
Carrier: Sprint
Price: $99.99 with a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate
Hot Features: 5″ IPS touchscreen display, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), 13MP camrea, and 1.5GHz dual-core processor

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Office Mobile for Office 365 app now available for iPhone Jun 14th 2013, 12:35
Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers iPhone officialAfter being the subject of multiple leaks and rumors, Microsoft has finally rolled out an Office app for iOS. Dubbed “Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers” (just rolls off the tongue, no?), the free app quietly launched today in the U.S. App Store. It’s currently only available for iPhones and the fifth generation iPod touch running iOS 6.1 or higher, and as the name suggests, users will need an Office 365 subscription ($9.99 per month, $99.99 per year) to actually do anything with the app.

Once the requirements have been met and the app is installed, Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers will allow users to view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, as well as create new Word and Excel docs. Microsoft says that it’s worked to make Office documents look good on the iPhone’s screen by optimizing Word, Excel and PowerPoint and also including support for charts, animations, SmartArt Graphics and shapes.

Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers allows access to documents that are stored in SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint, as well as any Office documents that are attached to emails. Users can also access any docs that they’ve recently viewed on a computer using the app. Offline editing support is included as well, allowing users to make changes to a document that will be saved once a connection to the Internet has been reestablished.

Considering all of the rumors and speculation concerning a version of Office for iOS that we’ve encountered in recent months, it’s good to see Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers finally hit the App Store. The app definitely has some limitations, such as a lack of iPad support and a required Office 365 subscription, but I’m sure that anyone that’s signed up for Microsoft’s cloud-based Office service will be pleased to see that they can finally get some document editing done while on their iPhone. The app can be found by hitting up the iTunes link below.

Via The Next Web, iTunes: Office Mobile for Office 365 Subscribers

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Do you want the same experience on every device? Jun 14th 2013, 06:35
Nokia is busy launching Windows Phones, and for the most part they seem to be doing a pretty good job of providing the camera that people want. Wait, what? Isn’t it supposed to be about Windows Phone? That’s what it used to be about, maybe. More recently, though, I can’t help but notice that the mobile operating system that Nokia has on its newest smartphones seems to be just an afterthought, while the hardware itself and related features are supposed to sell the show.

Which isn’t surprising, actually. After all, Nokia is a hardware manufacturer. They’re supposed to be trying to sell the hardware. Microsoft, on the other hand, is supposed to be working diligently to get you to want the software, so that by the time Nokia shows you a new device like the Lumia 928 or Lumia 925, you’re blown away by everything as it comes together in a nice little (big?) package.

As Anna put it, Windows Phone needs apps, and not necessarily such a big focus on the camera. But, again, this is a Nokia thing. Their ads that I’ve seen are all about the hardware, or the camera, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. It should be left up to Microsoft to be pushing for more application support on its mobile platform.

After all, people want apps. Still.

Anyway, I don’t want to keep preaching that Windows Phone needs apps. Instead, I want to look at the platform in general, and how it connects to the whole Microsoft family of devices. I want to do this because I just saw a commercial a little while ago that has a major focus on the “experience,” and the fact that you get the same experience from one device to another.

Whether that’s on your Xbox, your Windows 8 desktop or laptop, or even your Windows Phone 8-based handset, the experience is the same. You’re looking at the same Tiles, or Live Tiles in most cases, and you’re heavily rooted in the Microsoft-branded ecosystem. Essentially, you’re looking at the same thing, from your TV, to your computer, to your phone.

When Microsoft was initially outlining this idea way back in the day, I thought it was a great idea. The possibilities that Microsoft outlined, as I’ve said in the past, seemed truly unlimited and grandiose, and I wanted to just throw myself into it. I’ve tried twice now to drop everything, both phone and tablet and computer, to wade my way back into the Microsoft ecosystem, but both times had the same result:

I went back to what I was using before. Or, just switched away from one of those devices, to pick something else.

I still think Microsoft has a great idea with the plan that you’ll be able to pause a game on your console, or Windows 8 machine, and pick it up to play on your Windows Phone. They’ve got it in the works with a Halo-inspired title, so I’m sure it will move some copies, and sell some devices.

However, it isn’t all about that feature, or experience. No, it’s all about the main experience, the one that you see more often than not. That Start screen, from one device to another. The same look and feel, from your phone, to your computer, all the way up to the Xbox (more or less now, and definitely once the Xbox One launches later this year).

The truth is, I just got bored. I got bored having no differentiation between my phone, computer and video game console. I was literally looking at the same thing way too often, on different devices. And considering I have to look at those things a lot every single day, I just need a change of pace here and there. Having the same experiences across devices is a great idea, and I’m sure a lot of people love it, but it’s definitely not for me.

But I want you to tell me why that is something you look to, or why you skip it entirely. I want to know what you think of Microsoft’s “united experience” across all of their major devices and platforms. Do you think it’s a great idea? Or do you prefer to have some spice in your life, and have different platforms and user experiences on different devices? Let me know!

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Nokia schedules Zoom. Reinvented event for July 11 Jun 13th 2013, 17:15
Nokia Zoom Reinvented July 11 event invitationGrab your calendars, Windows Phone fans, because Nokia has announced that it’s holding an event on July 11. The shindig will take place in New York City, and while the company isn’t saying exactly what it’s got planned, the invitation’s magnifying glass and the tagline that reads “Zoom. Reinvented” suggests that we could see something camera related.

So what might Nokia have up its sleeve? The most obvious candidate is the Nokia EOS, a Windows Phone-powered smartphone that’s rumored to feature a 41-megapixel “true” PureView camera. That device has been popping up in photo leaks left and right recently, and a recent report claimed that Nokia is planning to officially introduce the EOS at an event in July. The Nokia EOS is rumored to be headed to AT&T in the U.S., so if you’re on the big blue carrier and have been jonesing for a new Windows Phone product after the recent Lumia 925 and Lumia 928 announcements, it may not be a bad idea to start getting your pennies together.

Via Engadget

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I don’t think a kill switch is the answer to increased phone thefts Jun 13th 2013, 16:35
Phones are scary. Yes, these little computer-like devices that we use to communicate to one another with are scary. Why? Because a lot of people in this world don’t see smartphones as just a convenient way to send texts to your buddy in the next town over, or to FaceTime your daughter while she’s away at college; they see them as an easy way to make a quick buck as long as they can distract you long enough to steal it away from you.

It’s a scary thought knowing that there are people in the world that are just hanging around town waiting for the opportune moment to steal these devices that contain so much of our personal information. It’s even scarier when it actually happens to you and somewhere in the world there is somebody who may know a lot more about you than you might want them to know – but likely just wants to sell your shiny piece of expensive equipment to somebody for fast cash. Either way, it’s just a nerve-racking thought.

But theft is a natural part of life that we risk no matter what type of stuff we have – expensive or not. But when it comes to our smartphones, some think that the technology used in them could actually give us an advantage to stopping the thieves from ever wanting to steal the phones in the first place. There is a new initiative forming; the purpose of it is to try and stop the rise of phone thefts by implementing a “kill switch” feature in stolen phones, rendering the stolen phones useless.

According to a news report today from CNet, New York General Attorney Eric Shneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon held a press conference today to try and urge manufacturers and consumers to push for this kill switch technology in smartphones by next year. The officials reportedly call the program “Secure Our Smartphones”.

While I would never argue that smartphones are indeed becoming a prime target for thefts during robberies, I’m not sure that I feel entirely comfortable with a “kill switch” idea once my phone becomes stolen.

My first thought was that this kill switch could be a gold mine for carriers – a huge amount of income is generated every year from people who have had lost or stolen devices (especially if no insurance covering such inconveniences was ever added). By adding a kill switch, the phone presumably becomes unusable. Should the user report the phone as “stolen” and it actually just ends up just falling between the seats in your car, would the owner be SOL? Would the phone be rendered useless regardless? My hope is that, if this comes to fruition, carriers will be able to unbrick the phone as well once the owner can prove that they’re truly who they say they are.

But even that doesn’t cover all of the bases. Many shady businesses still operate in such a way that they’ll take any type of phone, bricked or not, and trade it in for a monetary value. I would be willing to bet that these types of businesses would only benefit from the influx of bricked devices that would flood in should this act take effect, and would likely not slow down phone thefts.

Another major question to ask is this: Would the kill switch be a mandatory requirement to own the phone, or would be an opt-in service? By not creating an opt-in service, felons have a 50/50 chance of scoring a device that decided not to opt-in, therefore also likely not slowing down the amount of phone thefts today. However, by making it mandatory the result could be that people see this as a ploy for carriers to have more control over their devices than necessary.

Security is an important feature to have in our smartphones – we know that. But the security methods on our phones are primarily put in place to help keep our information safe from outside eyes. This new method seems like it’s primarily used to keep people safer from robberies – but it should be noted that many robberies only include the theft of a phone, not that it was the only thing stolen. While there are still isolated incidents where yes, the phone is the only thing stolen, I have a bad feeling that there is no foolproof way to ensure that thieves do not commit robberies. If it’s not for one thing, it will be for another. I don’t think the kill switch is the solution we’re looking for.

But that’s just my take on this whole ordeal. Now it’s your turn, readers: What is your opinion on the Save Our Smartphones initiative? Would you be interested in participating in the program? Share your thoughts about it with me in the comments below!

Images via CNet, Life Hacker

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HTC Butterfly S purportedly spied in the wild, BoomSound speakers in tow Jun 13th 2013, 16:30
HTC Butterfly S BoomSound leakThe HTC One may be the metal-clad flagship of the Taiwanese manufacturer’s smartphone lineup, but that doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t have some other high-end hardware in the works. According to a new leak posted by Chinese site VR-Zone, one higher-end product that we’ll soon see from HTC is the Butterfly S.

As its name suggests, the Butterfly S is the follow-up to the Butterfly, which appeared in Japan as the J Butterfly and came to U.S. shelves as the DROID DNA. The leaked images posted by VR-Zone show a handset that looks fairly similar to the original Butterfly, including the same 5-inch 1080p display and trio of capacitive Android navigation keys. However, one big feature that the Butterfly S will reportedly gain is a set of front-facing BoomSound speakers, similar to those found on the One. The Butterfly S is also expected to feature HTC’s new Sense 5 overlay with BlinkFeed.

While the Butterfly S may not look like much of a upgrade over the original Butterfly, the fact that the first model boasted high-end features like a 5-inch 1080p display and quad-core processor means that the sequel doesn’t need a huge overhaul. The addition of BoomSound speakers on the Butterfly S would make it a nice step-up over the Butterfly, though, and while it’s not yet clear if HTC will also be bringing the One’s UltraPixel camera over to the Butterfly S as well, doing so would make it an even more interesting option for smartphone shoppers. HTC is slated to announce the Butterfly S at an event in Taiwan on June 19, so it won’t be long before we find out exactly how much of the One that HTC has transplanted into its new Butterfly. Stay tuned.

Via Engadget, VR-Zone

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Samsung Galaxy Mega Snapshot Review Jun 13th 2013, 14:20
It’s time for a PhoneDog Snapshot Review, where we take our typical two-part review and condense it down into a tiny little video that’s loaded with information! Today, the Samsung Galaxy Mega.

Is this new model better than the last?

The Samsung Galaxy Mega makes the Galaxy Note II look small. With a 6.3-inch display, it’s just under full tablet size, giving the impression that you’re always happy to see everyone you meet. It’s near-impossible to manage with one hand, though it offers a wealth of screen real estate for those that enjoy browsing the web, viewing pictures, and more.

What changes were made?

Don’t confuse the Galaxy Mega with the Galaxy Note series, which is one of the company’s iconic brands. The Galaxy Mega, while larger, offers a different feature set that is mid-range in comparison to the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note II. Otherwise, the Mega brings a few of the Galaxy S 4’s features along for the ride, including the latest version of Android and TouchWiz.

How’s the hardware?

Packing a 1.7 GHz dual-core CPU, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 isn’t the company’s fastest smartphone – in fact, it’s decidedly mid-range. But it brings a solid feature set, including 1.5 GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 3,200 mAh battery, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz. The hardware design resembles that of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S series, with a physical home button and two capacitive buttons on both sides.

How’s the software?

Running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 looks and feels a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S 4. It includes many of the popular software goodies like S Beam, Air View, and Smart Stay, though it’s missing some of the hallmark flagship features like Smart Scroll and Smart Pause. Overall, it’s very fluid, thanks to the dual-core processor and 1.5 GB of RAM.

What’s great about the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3?

While it’s going to be way too big for many, choice is a good thing, and to that end, it’s nice to see the Galaxy Mega filling a gap between the 5.5-inch Note II and the 7-inch tablet options that Samsung offers. 1.5 GB of RAM is a nice touch for a mid-range unit, and the camera takes a solid picture.

What should be changed?

To have such a gigantic display, it would have been nice to have included a higher-resolution display. Offering 233 ppi, Galaxy Mega 6.3’s display is a bit of an eyesore after working with 1080p HD displays like those found on the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. The highlight of this phone is the gargantuan display, and it should be the feature that truly shines. I would have preferred to see the Galaxy Mega as the Galaxy Note Mega, because I find the S Pen to be a great feature. And who wouldn’t want an S Pen to go along with that big display?

What’s the real verdict?

The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is absolutely gigantic, and it makes me wonder how big we can actually go before we’re all talking on tablets. While the Note II is large, it’s still manageable. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is certainly pushing it. That said, user trends change with time (hey, 3.5-inch displays were the norm at one point!) and within a few years, I could certainly see this becoming a mainstream item. Up the display resolution, and this could be a high-end smartphone on any carrier.

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How many different screen sizes do you use every day? Jun 13th 2013, 09:10
Finding that perfect device can be tricky. Choosing the right one, for the right time, is part of the equation. You look for a phone that fits a particular need when you’re shopping for it. Maybe you’ve reached a point in your life where the camera makes the most sense, versus any other feature. Or, maybe you can’t stand a phone that doesn’t have a 1080p display. Want a phone with the best battery possible, even if it means it’s a little heavier? These are all the questions that have to be answered while we’re gearing up to buy our next phone.

In a lot of conversations I have with people about their next phone, one of the most common features I hear brought up is screen size. Despite everything else a phone might feature, the size of the display always seems to play a big role in the purchase decision. That works both positively and negatively.

Just last night I was talking with a friend of mine, and he told me that he liked what he saw with iOS 7. That, after so many years of seeing the same thing, this was a nice change. So, after he told me that, obviously I had to ask if he planned on getting an iPhone 5S when it launched later this year. You know, since he loved the new iOS so much.

He told me no, and blamed it on the screen size. He carries a Galaxy Note II as his daily driver right now, and tells me that it would be hard to go to any phone that had a smaller display, but that 4-inches is just way too small. (He liked the size of the HTC One, for what it’s worth.)

So, despite the fact that he likes the look of iOS 7, and is excited that Apple has finally changed their mobile operating system at face value, he’s going to skip it simply because the iPhone 5S’s display will probably be too small.

Of course, he isn’t the first person I’ve heard say that, and he certainly won’t be the last.

I saw a graph earlier today showing the varying sizes of displays that Samsung offers. They range from anywhere around 3-inches all the way up to 10. Over the years, we’ve seen Samsung fill just about every screen size niche there is, and I’m sure if Samsung could figure out a way to get into even more spaces, they’d do it. For now, though, if you’re looking for a device with a particular screen size, Samsung has you covered.

HTC is reportedly working for the same goal with their new One series. We already have the HTC One and it’s 4.7-inch display. Rumors suggest they’ve got the T6 with a 5.3-inch display, and the One Mini with a 4.3-inch display. That’s a nice, small family of devices.

Now, throw in tablets for good measure, and some companies have you covered in just about every way imaginable when it comes to mobile devices. Which got me thinking.

Are we at a point where we’ve just come to expect to have more than one device with us at any particular moment, to achieve a specific goal? Are you a person that carries around your phone and a tablet, for the specific purpose of not needing to browse the Internet on your phone? Or, for any other number of reasons why you might use a bigger display rather than a smaller, or even vice versa.

Whether you’re at home or somewhere else, having a device that fits a particular need at any given moment has never been easier. And while there are some people out there who would say Samsung’s saturation of the market is a bad thing, I can’t help but wonder if Samsung is just trying its best to make it easier for those who want those specific devices to get them. And, of course, at the same time get as many chances at making money in the process.

So I want to hear from you. I want to know how many different screen sizes you use every day, and for what purpose. Do you switch from a phone to a tablet every day? Do you have devices that fill particular roles, in the house or while you’re out? Or did you buy a particular handset because you didn’t want to buy multiple devices? Let me know!

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Samsung Galaxy NX camera and lenses shown off in press image leak Jun 13th 2013, 07:35
Samsung Galaxy NX leak rear touchscreenLooks like we don’t have to wait until June 20 to get a peek at Samsung’s next Galaxy Camera. Images of the new Samsung Galaxy NX have been posted to Vietnamese site Tinhte that show a black camera with interchangeable lenses. We can see both Samsung and Galaxy NX branding on the camera’s face, and around back is a large screen with a TouchWiz-ed version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

In terms of specs, we’re told to expect a 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor on the Galaxy NX along with an ISO range of up to 25,600 and the ability to capture 1080p video. The touchscreen on the Galaxy NX is said to measure 4.3 inches.

Thanks to its DSLR-like body and interchangeable lenses, this new Galaxy NX camera looks to be a higher-end offering than the original point-and-shoot Galaxy Camera. Samsung also recently took the wraps off of the camera-focused Galaxy S 4 Zoom, but that device is also more like a point-and-shoot camera and is unlikely to appeal to the same market that the Galaxy NX is going after. While there’s no word yet on when the Galaxy NX might launch or how much it’ll cost when it does, Samsung co-CEO J.K. Shin has confirmed that his company will debut a Galaxy Camera successor at an event on June 20, so it may not be long before more Galaxy NX details are spilled.

Via SlashGear, Tinhte

Samsung Galaxy NX leak lenses

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Aaron Asks: Will you switch to iOS 7? Jun 13th 2013, 07:35
WWDC is over, and after Tim Cook and his colleagues left the stage, we were left with a lot of exciting announcements – including iOS 7. It brings a completely new design to Apple’s OS from what we’ve seen in the past from the Cupertino-based company. My question to you is pretty simple: after looking at iOS 7 and its new features, would you consider switching from your current platform to iOS? What are you most excited about in iOS 7? I’d love to hear from you. We’ll have plenty of iOS 7 coverage in the coming days, but let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter @PhoneDog_Aaron!

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Google+ gaining notification sync, Android app update brings additional improvements Jun 13th 2013, 06:50
Google+ for Android notification syncLess than a month after Google rolled out a version 4.0 update for its Google+ for Android app, the company today announced that it’s adding even more new features to its social network. Google employees Vic Gundotra and Balaji Srinivasan have revealed that Google+ notifications will updated to support syncing across mobile and desktop, meaning that viewing or dismissing a G+ notification on one device will do the same thing on a user’s other hardware. Google is also adding a bell icon to alert the user to any new notifications, as well as an updated notification tray that separates unread and previously-viewed items.

These new notifications will be rolling out to Android and the web first, and Gundotra says that they’ll be coming to iOS shortly. In addition to the new notifications, Android users can download a v4.01 update to the Google+ for Android app that adds in the ability to delete images from the Photo view, the option of viewing +1’s, comments and reshares by tapping on a post, a new left-hand menu design that brings the design of the app in line with Google’s other apps and other performance improvements. The Google+ for Android v4.01 update is now available in the Google Play Store.

Google+ is getting close to its second birthday, having opened its virtual doors to the world in late June 2011. Since then, Google has steadily been tweaking and improving both the social network itself and its mobile apps, and today’s addition of notification sync is something that I’m sure will please many users of the service. If you count yourself among that crowd and you use the Android app to get your +1-ing and circling done on the go, you can hit up the Google Play link below to download the piping hot v4.01 update.

Via Android Police, +Vic Gundotra, Google Play: Google+ for Android

Google+ for Android notification tray

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Could the world use an Apple iPhablet? Jun 13th 2013, 06:25
The recent announcement of iOS 7 during the keynote of WWDC 2013 certainly hasn’t slowed down speculation in the rumor mill as talks of cheap, colorful, and larger iPhones continue. With iOS 7 being the first major change to come to iOS since its release in 2007, could speculation really be that far off base? Is iOS 7 the first step to Apple branching out its options?

According to a report at Reuters, Apple is laying a lot of options on the table for possible iPhones in the future: a cheaper model, more color options, and a larger screen size to potentially compete with phablets on the market. Fellow PhoneDog Contributing Editor Evan Selleck talked about his support for iPhones that would come in multiple colors. In previous articles I’ve touched based on my thoughts about cheaper iPhones. Today I want to talk about the possibilities that a potential “iPhablet” could hold.

Why do people like the so-called ‘phablet’? A phablet is an appropriately named smartphone because it’s a phone that’s cutting very close in size to our small tablets. Although there’s no official definition on what a phablet is, if you trust Wikipedia as a valid source it’s described as a “smartphone class featuring screen sizes from 5.0 to 6.9 inches”. We’ve seen an increase in demand for phones of larger sizes since Samsung shook the world with its Galaxy Note device, which may not have been the first phablet to be introduced to the industry, but it has certainly become one of the most iconic. Samsung continues to push the envelope they themselves have created by making even larger devices than the original Galaxy Note (5.3-inches), such as the Galaxy Note II (5.5-inches) and more recently the Samsung Galaxy Mega (6.3-inches). If you want to get technical, the largest ‘phone’ Samsung has actually comes in the form of an 8-inch tablet – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (International).

Other notable manufacturers are also in direct competition with these devices by creating their own phablets, such as the Sony Xperia Z, the rumored HTC T6, LG Optimus G Pro, and more.

But not everybody has seemed interested in participating in this phablet “fad”. One particular company, despite the popularity the Note has sparked throughout the industry, has decided not to participate in the race to see who can create the biggest, baddest phone: Apple. At least, they’ve decided not to participate so far.

But what if the rumors are true about Apple wanting to create a larger phone? Phablets are nothing new anymore, so why would Apple suddenly be interested in creating a phablet, if at all?

Perhaps because phablets aren’t as much of a “fad” anymore. Many people claimed that phablets are simply a fad. I myself have questioned how the sometimes ridiculously gigantic devices have gained so much popularity and attention; however, the more I compare the benefits between using my 3.5-inch iPhone to a larger device, the more I realize that having such a large screen isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. Many functions of a smartphone nowadays can greatly benefit from having larger screens. That being said, smaller smartphones aren’t completely useless either.

And that’s where Apple could benefit from releasing a phablet of their own. The iPhone has notoriously been sized at 3.5-inches for years until the most recent generation of the iPhone, the iPhone 5, emerged with a 4-inch screen – which is still an inch smaller than it “needs” to be in order to fit the Wikipedia definition of a phablet. Apple seemed to be testing the waters with the iPhone 5 to see how crowds reacted to the larger size. For those of us who like smaller phones, the .5-inch increase wasn’t a bad move – but those who prefer larger devices probably thought the slight increase was a laughable offense.

So what do you do when you have two types of consumers to cater to when it comes to smartphones?

The easiest solution is to make two types of smartphones.

Apple seems to be more open about branching out lately, and I feel that if they were to ever release a larger sized smartphone the time to do so would be soon. With a brand new revamped version of iOS rolling out in the fall, it’s the perfect time to revamp how we see the hardware aspect of the iPhone as well. Make two different sizes, and add different colors. It’s time to give the overall look and feel of the iPhone a breath of fresh air – maybe two breaths, if you’re interested in extending your consumer base to those who now prefer larger smartphones.

Simply put, creating two different sizes of iPhones on the market may be the only true way to cater to the demands of the consumers. Trying to find that perfect “sweet spot” between phablet and smaller smartphones is a nearly impossible feat. I feel like Apple creating a larger iPhone would be perfectly acceptable given the popularity phablets have generated. As long as they don’t pull a Samsung and release every size and possible gimmick there is to offer in a device, I feel like they’re on safe grounds to branch out a little bit and offer more sizes and colors. I would welcome the change, anyway.

Readers, what are your thoughts on a potential iPhablet? Would you be interested in such a device? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Image via Orange County Register

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