Jolla's self-titled and first smartphone launched in partnership with Finnish carrier DNA this week, with a few hundred handsets finding their way to early pre-orderers. Today, a couple of familiar faces from the company stopped off in London to let us play with the final hardware and get to grips with Jolla's Sailfish OS, which is based somewhat on Nokia's old MeeGo platform. If you caught our tour of the Jolla prototype earlier this year then you've got a good idea of what the handset looks like. In fact, the only differences we can see aesthetically are slightly smaller bezels above and below the screen, and that the rear camera has moved from right flank to center stage. Internally, the core specs are: A 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 (MSM8930), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space (expandable), a 4.5-inch, 960x540 (qHD) IPS LCD display, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel shooter on the front. We only had a few hours to probe Jolla's first device, but head past the break for our initial impressions.
Microsoft wants to not only make life a little easier for Windows Phone devs but encourage more of them to come into the fold as well, and a new addition to its development program known as the Windows Phone Developer Preview may help nudge a few third parties (not to mention dedicated enthusiasts) in the right direction. The Preview program gives registered developers early access to the latest OS updates -- for right now, that means GDR3 -- before it begins rolling out to the eager public. To take advantage of the preview, you'll need either a Dev Center account, an App Studio account or a phone that's registered and unlocked to developers; you also run the risk of bricking your device if you don't do things exactly right. The program will become available tomorrow, so if you're one of the interested folks but don't meet the criteria, you'll want to make sure you get your ducks in a row today.
Update: It looks like the Developer Preview is now live.
CES 2013 was a decidedly sleepy show by most accounts, but this year's IFA is shaping up to be anything but. Devices set for a reveal are still under proverbial lock and key, but chatter, teases and leaks have painted a fairly full picture of what we can expect to see in Germany: smartwatches and wearables, Haswell hardware and phones with 4K shooters. Join us past the break to get up to speed on what Berlin might dish out this week.
You may have already read our Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on last week, but since then we've also been able to spend a tiny bit more time with a pre-production unit (with firmware build 14.1.B.1.277). Instead of going over again how hilariously large this 6.4-inch, pen-friendly phone is, this time we'll focus on some early benchmark results, camera performance and Sony's very own UX features.
As you'll see after the break, many of the benchmark scores aren't too far off from what we saw on the MDP phone with the same Snapdragon 800 SoC, and the final units should be optimized with higher numbers. While we didn't manage to get CF-Bench and Quadrant running on the phone, the higher-than-before 3DMark score did cheer us up, meaning either Sony or Qualcomm's managed to fine tune the latter's new Adreno 330 GPU.
Following the likes of Meizu and Xiaomi, another star is born in the Chinese smartphone market. In fact, some may already know the man behind this new Android-based Smartisan OS: Luo Yonghao, a self-taught ex-English teacher (and later becoming the principal of his own English school until last August), as well as the founder of influential blogging platform Bullog.cn (now Bullogger.com) and the chairman of Chinese font studio Redesign. Luo is also a relentless consumer advocate, with his most notable act being his fridge-smashing protest outside Siemens' Beijing headquarters in November 2011, in order to highlight the company's refusal to acknowledge their faulty fridge doors (all explained in the "More Coverage" link at the bottom).
Already a bit of a legend in China, the 40-year-old serial entrepreneur announced last April that he had formed Smartisan Co., Ltd. to work on a smartphone OS, and that it would shame all manufacturers with its revolutionary user experience. Having missed the December target that he promised, Luo eventually stood in front of some 3,000 people -- many bought tickets -- in Beijing last week to spend well over three hours going through the thought process behind his Smartisan OS, so bear with us here.
Update: Smartisan has now provided a subtitled video of the event. Check it out at the bottom of this article.
Canonical's preview of a smartphone- and tablet-friendly flavor of Ubuntu has finally arrived for folks willing to flash a Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 or a Nexus tablet. Shuttleworth and friends stress that the release is intended for developers and enthusiasts -- not those eyeing it as a daily driver, mind you -- and that it's not yet kitted out with its complete functionality. As of now, the Ubuntu touch dev preview contains the shell, core applications, WiFi networking, support for front- and rear-facing cameras and Android Developer Bridge tool connectivity. In addition, the operating system allows Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 handsets to connect to a GSM network, make phone calls and send texts. Along with the sneak peak, the Ubuntu SDK has been badged with the alpha moniker since it's flaunting a host of new features, including the ability to deploy and execute apps straight from the IDE. Ready to download the OS image and development kit? Hit the neighboring source link to get cracking.
Ubuntu's Touch Developer Preview was originally put forward as something for "enthusiasts" as well as developers. Well, having been hands-on with the code that will be made public tomorrow, we'd say it requires enthusiasm a-plenty -- perhaps even amateur coder quantities of the stuff. That's because a lot of core functionality is still missing from the OS, such as the ability to play music files or import real-life contacts, and there's a long way to go if it's to be signed off as "code complete" in October.
On the other hand, this is really just a statement of the obvious. Canonical has been pretty clear that the main purpose of this early release is to lure in developers and get them to contribute to the fundamental stages of the project. Furthermore, the video after the break shows that there are many aspects of the OS which work fine -- such as the gallery and video apps, the "side stage" and HUD features, and also general performance on the Nexus 10's hardware. The UI merges some Kindle- and Windows 8-esque features with things that are totally original -- like responsive design which allows the exact same OS and apps to run on a phone, tablet, TV or desktop. We certainly hope it generates interest -- not only among developers but also among device manufacturers who want to do more than just talk about differentiation.
It's not like we didn't have ample warning, so by now anyone wanting to try out the new Ubuntu smartphone OS should have gotten hold of a Galaxy Nexus to be their test device. Still don't have one? Then you'll be pleased to know that a Nexus 4 will actually serve just as well, and you have six days to get equipped. The Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview will be made public on February 21st alongside the open source code and all the tools necessary to flash those two devices.
The official aim is to help devs and enthusiasts learn the platform and start building software for it, whether for core functions or for when a full third-party app store eventually goes live. The bigger picture is that, by the time Ubuntu 13.10 launches in October, an app written in this platform's Qt/QML lingo should be able to run on any Ubuntu device -- whether it be a PC, TV, tablet or smartphone -- with no porting required. Rest assured that we have a couple of Nexii at the ready and we fully intend to give this newcomer a thorough hazing / write-up as soon as possible.
After a week off to take advantage of the holidays, the Distro crew is back in action. In the latest issue of our tablet mag, we run down all of the major categories with a preview of what our editors expect to see -- or not see -- when CES cranks up in a few days. On top of that, Eyes-On has a look at a Lomography panoramic camera, Hands-On offers impressions on some of the latest gadgetry and tech writer Taylor Hatmaker drops by for the Q&A. Once the annual Las Vegas tech madness gets started next week, we'll be publishing daily issues of this e-publication beginning Tuesday, January 8th to keep you up to speed with all of the happenings in the desert. Arriving just in time for the events, our Windows 8 Distro app is now available and can be procured like its Android and iOS counterparts, via the download links below.
With CES looming like an electrically charged storm of news and announcements, it's time for us to give you our best bets on what you'll see come January. During the month of December, we'll bring you a series of CES preview posts, forecasting what you can expect when the news deluge begins. For more of what's to come, check out our hub.
It goes without saying that smartphones are now an integral part of the consumer electronics industry, and each January plenty of them are exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. While many companies are understandably silent about their plans for the massive trade show, we've been able to gather a pretty solid idea of what we can expect to see as the show descends upon us. Join us after the break as we tell you what types of products will delight or depress us at next month's event.
The sudden rush of device announcements and hands-on posts that come with the advent of each CES can feel a bit overwhelming if you don't know what to expect. And while we can't predict what's to come with unfailing precision, we're more than happy to give you an idea of what's on our radar this time around. During the month of December, we'll bring you a series of CES preview posts, forecasting what you can expect when the news deluge begins. The road to CES 2013 starts here, so go on and click the available category links after the break and stay tuned for more.
With the release of Windows 8 just around the corner, the arrivals of tablets and hybrids that are decked out with the aforementioned OS are also imminent. Sure, we've already seen a number of these, but up until now, we've yet to spend any quality time with the announced hardware. In this week's edition of our tablet magazine, though, we finally get to take one back to Engadget HQ for a detailed preview. We offer our thoughts on Acer's Iconia W510 -- a laptop / tablet hybrid that sets its sights on the premium end of the Windows 8 gadget spectrum. On the regular review front, we put the Canon EOS M and the Samsung Galaxy Note II through their paces before serving up in-depth analysis of each. Eyes-On climbs aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Visualized gets electrified and Nest's Matt Rogers tells all in the Q&A. The weekend won't last forever, so jump down below to snag the latest issue before settling in for a little weekend R&R.
Well, it's finally here. Sort of. It's been a long and winding road for BlackBerry 10, and as has been RIM's way, the company continues to out new BB10 details just a bit at a time. As you may recall, we got a good look at RIM's original Dev Alpha hardware back in May, and were able to swipe our way through a good bit of BB10 a month later. It's BlackBerry Jam time now, though, and RIM gave us a more thorough look at the OS than ever before, and we got to see it running on a new Dev Alpha B handset. We couldn't pry loose any details about the hardware inside the new dev phone (other than it's got a BB10-standard 1280x768 screen), but we did get a few fresh facts about the software running on it. Once again, RIM reminded us that the software we saw was not the final version, but that shouldn't deter you from reading on past the break and seeing a video of BB10 in action.
Like Jelly Beans, custom Android ROMs tend to have different flavors -- and CyanogenMod happens to be a fan favorite. Good thing then, that the CM10 team is now serving nightly builds of its Jelly Bean-based custom ROM update. According to the CyanogenMod Google+ page, CM10 nightlies are now available for the US Samsung Galaxy S III variants, the original Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II (i9100g), the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus S and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (P3), Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (P5), Nexus 7, Transformer and Transformer Prime tablets. The list will fill out with more devices when they are ready, the team says, and will continue to have CM9 updates (now weekly, rather then nightly) at their disposal.