It didn't take long for HTC to go official with the Desire 600. Interestingly, it picks up on several of the new Sense 5 features revealed alongside the HTC One, including its fingertip-baiting BlinkFeed for social network and news updates. BoomSound and the ability to craft video highlights from your photos and clips also make the transition, although apparently not the burst-capture Zoe mode. Hardware-wise, there's a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor, with a 4.5-inch Super LCD2 display (at 960 x 540 resolution), an 8-megapixel primary camera capable of up to 720p video capture and a front-facing 1.6-megapixel shooter. The Desire 600 picks up the same dual front-facing speaker setup of the One, although rather than a global appearance, it's currently headed to Russia, Ukraine and the Middle-East for now, landing early this June in white and black options. However, we've already spotted a China-bound version for China Unicom's WCDMA network, the Desire 606w, and if we're honest, we'd probably be happier to see the rumored M4 make an official showing. Now, where's that Desire 200?
HTC's Desire line of mid-range Android smartphones have typically used the alphabet to denote different models, but the company is now switching to numerals. At least according to a Taiwanese certification page, we can expect a Desire 200. Some leaked benchmark results also indicate that a Desire 600 will head to market.
We don't know much about the Desire 200 apart from its name. It's listed as the HTC 102e on the certification page, and there's plenty of speculation that this handset is the G2 we heard about earlier this year. It's a different story for the Desire 600: the benchmark results indicate this device sports a 960 x 540 (qHD) display with an unspecified 1.2GHz chip. The benchmark sheet also reveals this is a dual-SIM model destined for Europe. That's it for now, but more details are sure to follow shortly.
Come next month, NTT DoCoMo users won't be the only ones to benefit from a water-resistant version of the Optimus G. Similar to the L-01E for Japan, LG has introduced the Optimus GJ for Taiwan, which carries IPX7 certification that allows for worry-free immersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. The Optimus GJ also carries IPX5 certification for protection against dust particles. Dubbed the E975W, the smartphone is by and large a thicker version of the Optimus G (E975). This means you'll find a 4.7-inch, 1,280 x 720 True HD IPS display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, a 13MP primary / 1.3MP front-facing camera setup, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and Android 4.1.2. Unlike the original Optimus G, the Optimus GJ wields a larger 2,280mAh battery and a red backing, but also lacks NFC functionality. You can expect it to hit the market next month in Taiwan, where it'll sell for NT$17,990 ($600). Hit up the source link to find additional views of the of the Optimus G -- it seems that LG has thrown a bit of a pool party to celebrate its announcement.
Just as CEO JK Shin predicted, Samsung has announced its new Galaxy S 4 topped 10 million units sold in record time. That beats the 50 days it took the Galaxy S III to sell that many, a mark it took 5 months for the Galaxy S II to pass and 7 months for the original Galaxy S. Samsung has been able to crank up production and speed up worldwide rollouts for its increasingly popular flagship models, contributing to the rapidly increasing pace of sales. To help keep the sales channels flowing, Samsung also announced a few new colors on the way. Joining the existing White Mist and Black Forest models this summer are Blue Arctic and Red Aurora, followed later by Purple Mirage and Brown Autumn editions. Of course, the model many will covet is the one with stock Android announced at Google I/O, but that may depend on whether you want your customizations inside or outside.
We've come across a number of GPS-based tracking devices over the years but most are rather bulky and difficult to setup. eTrak's attempting to remedy this here at CTIA 2013 with GPS+, a fob-like product that combines WiFi, cellular and GPS tracking in a small, light and easy-to-use package. The device, which is about the size and weight of a box of licorice-flavored Tic Tacs, features a panic button, multicolor status LED and charging contacts. It's meant to be attached to a keyring, and comes with a matching charging base which includes a standard micro-USB connector. Battery life is about 5 days per charge -- not too shabby for a product that packs WiFi, cellular and GPS radios. Speaking of which, eTrak's partnering with Verizon Wireless for CDMA-based network positioning. The company provides a web-based interface which supports geo-fencing with SMS and email notifications, along with iOS and Android-compatible apps. GPS+ will retail for $129 and be available soon (production's been under way since May 1st). Two plans will be available: $10 per month with a one-year subscription and $15 per month commitment-free. Want to know more? Don't miss our gallery below and follow the source link for more info.
Last week, Microsoft's YouTube app for Windows Phone came under fire for not adhering to some of Google's requirements. The result was an ultimatum from Mountain View, requesting that Microsoft make the necessary tweaks by May 22nd or pull the app entirely. Today, which just so happens to be that aforementioned date, Microsoft has released a new version of its YouTube app for Windows Phone. This time around, video downloads are disabled -- users who already have the app won't retain this functionality, either -- but one important feature is still missing: ads. It's unclear whether Google approved of this update, though that does seem unlikely, but we've reached out to Microsoft for comment. In the meantime, WP users can nab the new app via the Windows Phone store.
Update: Microsoft responded with the same line it gave to other news outlets such as ZDNet. It doesn't exactly address our questions, but it's proof that Redmond is in damage-control mode. Head past the break for the full statement.
Foursquare knows that there's a lot more to a night on the town than a good search keyword. Accordingly, it just updated its Android and iOS apps with location search filters that narrow the results based on familiarity and price. At times, the terms can get very specific: if you want to try an expensive Korean barbecue that only your friends have visited so far, you can. While there isn't much more to the update than that, those prone to cravings (or just curiosity) should get their fill at the source links.
It was only a matter of time before Google got around to cleaning up the clumsy 3D interface of its Play Magazines app. With both Books and Music already sporting a spiffy new design, we're happy to report that its periodicals portal is now just as flat and user-friendly. Like its recently updated brethren, Play Magazines makes itself easily identifiable through color alone -- in this case a robust purple. If you're looking for some exciting new features, however, you're bound to be disappointed. Play Magazines is still pretty barebones. There's no bookmarking, highlighting, copy and pasting... basically all you can do is download an issue and read it, either as plain text or in its original layout. But hey, at least selecting which magazine to read is easier and less offensive to our aesthetic sensibilities.
Today at CTIA 2013, Verizon announced an exclusive partnership with Jennifer Lopez to create a mobile company catered to the Latino market. Called Viva Movil, the new entity will be headed by Lopez and boasts Big Red, Brightstar and Moorehead Communications as partners. The idea behind this venture is to offer an enriched customer retail experience with specialized stores that feature device demos, dedicated play areas for children, bilingual staff and online options will be available on the company's site, which went live today. Since Verizon is the exclusive wireless partner, it's a safe bet that we'll see devices that are branded to the carrier, albeit with a different marketing approach. As majority stakeholder and "kind of the Chief Creative Officer," J Lo has a large amount of interest in the company's success; in fact, the A-list celeb is sweetening the launch with her own exclusive line of smartphone accessories. The first store is slated to open mid-June, with more coming before the end of the year in other densely-populated Latino areas.
Cards, cards, cards... that's the refrain around the Google campus these days. Everything is getting turned into cards. That now includes your documents stored on Drive, too. The Google Drive app for Android was updated today with a whole new UI that moves towards the refined Holo design of the Play Music app and displays your uploaded files as "cards," though, you can always revert to a tweaked list view. The cards offer a thumbnail preview along with the file name and an icon indicating the type of document. The ability to snap photos and have the results turned into a OCR-processed PDF has also been updated slightly. The feature is now called "scan" and it automatically crops photos to contain only the document you need to upload. Lastly, you can finally tweak text settings in sheets, delivering a much more robust mobile formatting experience. Just hit up the Play Store to get your update now.
Looks like Pandora isn't quite done making announcements this week. Hot on the heels of the introduction of its Premieres music strategy, the streaming service is now releasing a feature perfectly fitted for Facebook users. Starting today, folks will be able to easily share more of their Pandora activities (what you're listening to, the artists you like, etc.) directly to the Timeline and newly minted music section. However, given the auto-share nature of the feature, Pandora is allowing you to tweak the privacy options -- you know, in case you're not interested in letting friends know you're
jamming out quietly listening to Justin Bieber's Baby. Pandora's one-click-share-to-Facebook is now available via the web and Android / iOS apps -- and, because we know you're going to inquire, there's no word on when we can expect it to hit Windows Phone 8.
Since the Galaxy S4's launch, Samsung's been eager to make security one of the device's stronger selling points. Through its partnership with Absolute Software, makers of LoJack for Laptops, Samsung will soon embed a theft recovery system right into the the phone's firmware. LoJack for Android smartphones, launching exclusively on the Galaxy S4, joins SAFE for Knox in Samsung's quest to develop "the most comprehensive mobile security solution" on the market. While there are plenty of apps that can locate misplaced phones via GPS and wipe their contents, the hope of retrieving a stolen phone is slim to none. In addition to content-clearing software, LoJack will offer a service in which "recovery specialists" attempt to return lost phones to their owners. There's no guarantee that said recovery specialists will be able to successfully track down thieves and reclaim stolen devices, but it's nice to dream. Subscriptions for LoJack for Android will start at $29.99 a year, though there's no official word yet on a release date.
The Galaxy S 4 is now readily available in the US, but it hasn't had much sway with the prepaid crowd so far. Cricket should be addressing that deficit soon, as it just narrowed down its launch of the Samsung flagship to June 7th. The contract-free carrier is making up for being late to the party with a low up front price: customers can plunk down $55 to start an installment plan rather than pay the GS4's full $600 cost in one shot. Would-be adopters will need to live in one of Cricket's LTE coverage areas to pick up a GS4, but those who do may get a rare discount on a (mostly) fresh device.
Turbulent times at HTC, it seems. Earlier today, we reported a pair of high-profile exits from the company -- one rumored and one confirmed -- and now we're looking at another. According to CNET, the CEO of HTC Asia Lennard Hoornik has also abandoned his post, with regional CFO Chia-Lin Chang taking the reins until a formal replacement is named. Hoornik, who joined HTC from Sony Ericsson, allegedly left the Taiwanese handset maker after a two-month period of absence. Did he jump, or was he pushed? And, are these exec departures linked in any way or mere coincidence? We've reached out to HTC for confirmation and comment, so let's hope there's someone still working there to answer us.
Update: We have received the following confirmation from HTC:
"HTC can confirm that Lennard Hoornik has left HTC to pursue other interests. We appreciate his contributions to our South Asia efforts over the past year and wish him all the best. HTC's CFO, Chialin Chang will provide interim leadership in this strategic region while we work to find a permanent solution."
Update 2: According to a source of ours, Head of Global Digital Service Elizabeth Griffin will also be leaving HTC later this week to join Nintendo.