Details of Motorola’s upcoming DROID3 smartphone have been leaked, courtesy of some premature benchmarking of what’s assumed to be a prototype device. According to the stats at Nenamark, spotted by Blog of Mobile, the Verizon Android smartphone will have a qHD 960 x 540 display, just like the Motorola ATRIX, as well as use Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX 540 GPU.
That clears up one lingering question about the DROID3, namely which chipset it would use. Unlike the ATRIX, which is based on NVIDIA’s Tegra 2, it seems Motorola has used the 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP4430, an alternative dual-core processor.
OS is Gingerbread, at least at time of testing, and the phone scored 45.7 (though, since we’re guessing the firmware isn’t final at this stage, that should probably be taken with a pinch of salt). Other expected specs include a 4-inch display and a front-facing camera for video calls; still unclear is when, exactly, Motorola and Verizon will announce the new QWERTY slider.
Rumors are always just rumors, but a current one flying around the Internet has an unnamed HTC sales manager outing a 4.3-inch successor to the HTC Sensation, with NFC capabilities, to hit in the third quarter of 2011. Yes, a new phone will be better than an old phone — shocker — even though this particular old phone hasn’t even hit the shelves yet.
So far the only Android phone to have NFC on-board is the Nexus S, and that’s because Google wanted it available for developers. NFC technology is something Nokia’s been doing forever, yet still hasn’t caught on for most of the world. Maybe a bigger push from Google will have the same result that putting a front facing camera on the HTC Evo 4G did, and bring it mainstream. Or maybe not — consumers, especially us American ones, are pretty fickle.
Finally, there’s been a bit of speculation that this will be the next Nexus phone. While that’s possible, and the time frame fits, I think it’s way to early for anyone to be jumping to those conclusions. But if it is, and has a similar curvaceous unibody design, tell me who to throw my money at now please.
RIM may be closer to releasing BlackBerry 7, its new mobile OS, sooner than we thought, though it’s not quite the software revolution we were hoping for. According to CrackBerry‘s sources, RIM intends to launch BlackBerry 6 at its BlackBerry World 2011 event next week; however, rather than being the QNX-based smartphone platform rumored before, it’s expected to be a more straightforward rebrand of what has, until now, been known as BlackBerry 6.1.
BlackBerry 6.1 had been expected to make its debut on devices like the BlackBerry Touch and the Torch 2, offering functionality like mobile hotspot, visual voicemail and NFC. BlackBerry 7, meanwhile, was to be the company’s transition to QNX, as runs on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
What the name change means is still unclear. It’s speculated that RIM is looking to make more of a splash with the OS alongside whatever new hardware it brings to the show next week, and thought BB7 sounded better than BB6.1. Alternatively, it could be looking to better distinguish between the new devices and older handsets, potentially meaning owners of existing BlackBerry phones might not get BlackBerry 7. Whatever RIM has decided, SlashGear will be at BlackBerry World next week to bring back all the details.
A new explanation for the ongoing Sony PlayStation Network downtime has been suggested, with claims that Sony has taken the service offline so as to close a loophole that had been responsible for “extreme piracy of PSN content.” PSX-Scene‘s “Chesh” took to Reddit to outline how a new PlayStation 3 custom firmware called Rebug was used by hackers to gain access to the PSN’s developer networks. From there, it was possible to input fake credit card information and buy content without ever paying for it.
The security glitch, it’s suggested, is because Sony was not validating credit card information since the users were on its trusted private developer network. Sony allegedly responded by pulling the plug on the network completely; the “additional security” Sony representatives have admitted is being installed is apparently to combat this sort of hacking.
Chesh admits that the explanation is speculation pieced together from information throughout the PlayStation hacking community, however sources with access to the SCE devnet servers have apparently confirmed that Sony is telling developers that, moving forward, only 3.60+ debug firmware will be allowed onto the network. If developers want to retain their access then they not only need to upgrade, it’s claimed, but contact Sony too.
Rebug’s developers are not responsible for the credit card hack, though whether Sony will look kindly on them anyway remains to be seen. However, user credit card information is believed to be secure still.
Details of two 10-inch Dell tablets, one based on Intel’s Oak Trail and the other on NVIDIA’s incoming Tegra T25, have emerged. According to the tablet roadmap, acquired by Android Central, the Dell Latitude ST is expected to arrive in October running Windows 7 on a 1.5GHz Oak Trail chip, while the Dell Streak Pro will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Tegra T25 and land in June. The leak comes amid Dell CEO Michael Dell admitting that he “didn’t completely” predict the “rapid rise of the tablet” and predicted that Android would squash Apple’s iPad.
Asked whether he thought Android tablets would end up outpacing Apple’s iPad – something analysts don’t expect to take place for several years – Dell was confident the Google platform would eventually dominate the market. “Not tomorrow. Not the next day.” he said, “But again, if you look at 18 months ago, Android phones were like, “What is that? And now there are more Android phones than iPhones. I don’t see any reason why the same won’t occur with Android tablets.”
The Dell Latitude ST has a 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. There are dual cameras – 3-megapixels and 1.3-megapixels – along with GPS, an accelerometer, 1080p output and an 8hr battery. Dell is also toting the “active pen support” which sounds a lot like the active digitizer on the ASUS Eee Slate EP121, only paired with longer battery life thanks to the power-sipping Intel CPU.
As for the Dell Streak Pro – previously codenamed Gallo and tipped for a Q2 release – it will have a 1280 x 800 display, a modular – presumably GSM or CDMA – data-only modem, twin cameras and microphones, and an “Enterprise application stack” along with Dell’s Stage 1.5 UI. The latter is presumably the sync-enabled update Dell recently told us was incoming. According to the document’s source, Dell is also considering both USB Host and USB Client support, along with an ethernet-equipped dock, both of which would be useful for the enterprise market.
The iPhone 5 rumors continue, with the latest leaks suggesting that Apple will begin production of the fifth-generation smartphone in July this year. Reuter‘s trio of anonymous sources – all supposedly “familiar with the matter” – claim the Apple iPhone 5 will begin shipping in September, as well as throwing out a few tidbits about the specifications.
The new iOS handset, they reckon, will “look largely similar” to the existing iPhone 4, rather than mark a significant change in design direction. However it will have a faster processor.
That’s presumably the dual-core 1GHz Apple A5 chip found inside the iPad 2, which we’ve expected to form the heart of the iPhone 5 for some time now. As for the similar aesthetic, last we heard Apple was looking at replacing the iPhone 4′s glass back panel with a more durable metal panel.
Nokia’s Windows Phone ambitions have been prematurely previewed, with rumored details of four handsets supposedly in development being leaked. The company has apparently bypassed the so-called “chassis 1″ format – the tightly spec-constrained handsets we’ve seen so-far – and, according to Mobile-review, dived straight into developing “chassis 2″ prototypes which will allow Nokia greater flexibility in the design and components it can use. The initial four designs reportedly consist of X7 and N8 variants running Windows Phone, along with a QWERTY touchscreen candybar device similar to the E6 and a “cheap” all-touch device for the entry-level price point.
The Windows Phone X7 – which Mobile-review calls the Nokia W7, though it’s unclear if that name will stick – supposedly has a WVGA display and Qualcomm QSD8250 chipset. The chassis is the same, angular casing as we played with last week, with an 8-megapixel camera paired with autofocus and a flash. The screen is not reportedly AMOLED, though that could change, and Nokia apparently intends to push the W7 out to the market first: as early as fall 2011, if the company can get its act together.
As for the N8 variant, that will apparently carry over the Symbian handset’s imaging capabilities with a 12-megapixel camera or similar. It will also be targeting the high-end market, with a dual-core Qualcomm CPU and Adreno 320 GPU, and a final design that will apparently look relatively different from the N8. It’s expected to drop in late Q1 or early Q2 2012, and is still for the most part in very early developmental stages.
The final two devices will probably be based on existing Symbian prototype hardware. The QWERTY handset will supposedly come with a Nokia-developed enterprise-focused service of some sort, though details are still scant, while the “cheap” phone is tipped to be based on the W7 design but with cheaper materials, an EDOF full-focus camera and an early 2011 release date.
In fact, these are just four of a total of 12 Windows Phone handsets Nokia is tipped to be working on for 2012. Among the second wave will reportedly be a new flagship, along with another high-end camera phone. Interestingly, the Finns are also supposedly continuing their Android evaluation, with everything supposedly depending on Windows Phone sales in the first half of next year.
With it looking unlikely that Apple will be bringing the iPhone 5 to WWDC 2011 in early June, speculation has returned to circling how the company’s hardware plans may shape up for the rest of the year. Rather than a June launch, there are suggestions that Apple will release the white iPhone 4 later in the spring and use that to prolong the handset’s shelf-life until a Q4 2011 refresh. That later date might allow for the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity, in an attempt to better take on what’s expected to be a growing number of LTE-equipped Android devices.
According to Macotakara, Apple is yet to order components for the iPhone 5, and sources claim the fifth-generation smartphone will not contribute to the company’s fiscal 2011; that period ends on September 24. Their sources also claim an early 2012 release for the new phone, though AppleInsider joins several sites in suggesting Apple would be unlikely to bypass the 2011 holiday shopping season.
Meanwhile, as for iOS 5.0, TechCrunch claims that Apple has been hard at work integrating Siri technology into the new version, with the team brought over to Apple following the “virtual personal assistant” startup’s acquisition busy polishing the WWDC demos. It’s also suggested that Apple may open up the voice-control system to third-party developers. Last week an analyst suggested that Apple might use its new data center to run Siri-powered search, LBS and mapping services. Assuming a familiarity period following WWDC to allow developers to ready iOS 5.0 compatible apps and services, that could well mean that the iPhone 5 would launch simultaneously with the updated platform.
Finally, a Q4 2011 iPhone 5 release might allow Apple more flexibility in including LTE functionality, with Qualcomm’s newer-generation 4G chipsets available by that point. Apple claimed that the compromises inherent in first-gen LTE radios led them to bypass the technology in the Verizon iPhone 4; however, Verizon has also been vocal that it was its LTE network that attracted Apple’s attention, and has since said that Apple LTE devices are indeed in the pipeline.
Apple expects shipments of up to 12m iPad 2 tablets in Q2 2011, likely clearing any initial bottleneck for the new slate. According to DigiTimes‘ channel sources, Apple expects shipments of 2-3m iPad 2 this month, contrary to earlier reports that indicated numbers could be significantly lower.
Still, it’s possible that strong demand for the faster, thinner and lighter iPad might still see demand exceeding supply, especially given Apple’s ambitious launch plans this time around. The company plans to launch the iPad 2 in the US on March 11, and then follow up with a 25 country release on March 25.
Stock shortages of the first-gen iPad are being cited as evidence that Apple is readying the second-gen model for imminent release. UK retailer Carphone Warehouse is out of stock of all 3G-enabled models, as well as the 64GB WiFi version, while carriers in the country have already started throwing further subsidies at the Apple tablet, potentially to clear out final supplies.
Orange UK is now offering the iPad 3G from £99 ($160), half price compared to its regular subsidy, as long as buyers take out a 24-month data agreement. Meanwhile, reports of stock shortages have also been reported at European distributor Ingram Micro, with no remaining supplies of of the 16GB and 64GB WiFi-only iPads or of the 64GB 3G iPad, and “very low” supplies of the other versions. Canadian retailers are also believed to be affected.
Apple is expected to announce the iPad 2 imminently, with the tablet believed to have the same size and resolution of display but use a new, improved IPS panel with reduced reflections and better outdoor visibility. Slimmer and flatter than the first-gen iPad, the iPad 2 is also expected to add in twin cameras for Face Time support.
[via 9 to 5 Mac]