The week opened with news from South Korea. Like Larry Page before him, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg visited the home of Samsung and LG. The goal of the visit, sources said, was to coax Samsung into making a “Facebook phone”, similar to the unsuccessful HTC First. Facebook apparently realized that, for the Home project to stand any chance of success, it needs a major partner behind it.
Will Samsung give Facebook a helping hand? Probably not – the same well-informed sources claimed that the Korean mammoth has no interest whatsoever in putting out a Facebook Home device. Well, tough luck, Mark.
The constant rat race that is the quest to make the slimmest smartphone in the world has a new leader. Huawei unveiled on Tuesday the thoroughly teased Ascend P6, which at, 6.18 millimeters, is officially the world’s new thinnest phone.
We have to say it, Huawei did a heck of a job designing the P6, although those inclined to nitpicking will point out the design cues that the phones takes from Apple’s iPhone.
With a 720p display and a Huawei-made quad-core processor, the Ascend P6 looks intriguing. And, unlike other devices in the past, Huawei seems decided this time to make the gorgeous Ascend P6 available in a timely manner.
On Wednesday, HTC did something it rarely does – announce a phone that puts battery life ahead of a thin profile. The HTC Butterfly s is the successor to the 2012 Butterfly (and to its American cousin, the Droid DNA), and is, in several ways, better even than the HTC One.
The phone comes with a 5-inch full HD display, a processor that is slightly faster than the One’s, a microSD card, and lo and behold, a 3200 mAh battery. That’s 900 mAh more than the One’s and in line with the Galaxy Note 2 and other leaders in battery life. On top of that, the Butterfly s also brings the goodies that HTC introduced on the One, such as Sense 5 with BlinkFeed, the BoomSound speakers, and the UltraPixel camera. Sweet!
We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know how hard it would beat its competitors. The Snapdragon 800 was put through its paces by various tech sites this week, and the results paint the picture of a winner. The new Qualcomm chip handily beats most competing SoCs, with only the Tegra 4 processor (which isn’t likely to equip many devices) holding its ground in some tests.
Especially in the graphics benchmarks, the Snapdragon 800 leaves competitors in the dust, and even comes close to matching the performance of some PC processors. The SoC is pegged to power a variety of devices in the second half of the year, from the LG Optimus G2 and the Sony Xperia ZU, to the HTC One Max tablet, and the LTE Advanced variant of the Galaxy S4. Prepare for a new level of performance, Android fans!
Our jaws dropped when we saw what Samsung did with the Ativ Q, a convertible tablet that runs Windows 8 and Android, all while maintaining a sexy silhouette. Unveiled at Samsung’s Premiere event in London, the Ativ Q runs primarily Windows 8, but it virtualizes Android 4.2 and makes it possible to instantly switch between the two operating systems with a tap of a button. It even lets users pin Android apps on the Windows 8 start screen, for easy access.
The device can be used as a tablet, but underneath the 3200 x 1800 display there’s a QWERTY keyboard for all of you, productive types. There’s an S Pen thrown in for good measure, and the magnesium alloy device is powered by a Haswell chip from Intel, for extra-long battery life. We just hope the price of the Ativ Q won’t be prohibitive… Right, Samsung? Right?
On a related note, Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy NX, a mirrorless camera powered by Android.
It was widely reported at the beginning of the year that CEO Peter Chou would resign if the One would fail to bring a much awaited turnaround for HTC. Those reports were apparently inaccurate, and moreover, Mr. Chou is resolved to turn the ship around, whatever it takes.
Peter Chou told shareholders that the ultimate goal of HTC is to get back to the 10 percent market share it used to have in 2011, and even go as high as 15 percent. The beleaguered manufacturer dropped to four percent in 2012, and many analysts maintain grim predictions for their performance in 2013. One thing’s for sure, HTC is a valuable part of the Android ecosystem, and we root for their comeback. Perhaps Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. will help.
In your opinion, what were the most important news this week, and why?