Posts Tagged ‘Xperia’

LG launched its G2 smartphone in India today, bringing yet another powerful handset to the already burgeoning Indian smartphone market. This device is a powerful competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 925.

It has all the makings of a champion, from a powerful chipset, gorgeous screen, unique software, and a great camera. No doubt, LG G2 has us intrigued, especially when it comes to design. The company has done away with hardware keys altogether, placing the power and volume keys at the back instead of left or right side as it happens in conventional design.

We were not sure if this new positioning for the keys will make smartphone usage easier, or if it will make it much too difficult to hold the phone, let alone operate it with one hand. We played with the device for some time at the launch event to see what the LG G2 is all about. Here is what we experienced ..

LG G2 looks much too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 despite a minor difference between screen size (5.2-inch for G2 vs 5-inch for S4). However, a closer look reveals that the new LG phone bears some differences compared to the now six-months-old S4, such as on-screen keys, no hardware buttons on the sides and overall a bigger device.

The screen of LG G2 is as good as it gets, with beautiful and vibrant colours and crisp text and videos. Around the screen are very thin bezels, helping the phone keep dimensions to a minimum.

Coming to the buttons on the back. Below the camera you will find here keys – Volume Up, Power/Lock and Volume Down, in that order. After using the phone for about 15 minutes straight, it stopped feeling outlandish as we could get a hang of the keys and using them to do common tasks. More on what these keys do below.

Overall, we like the design and look of the G2. The only grouse? Plastic does not feel fantastic, especially after having used the glass-bodied Optimus G earlier.

While you can press the power key on the back to turn on the phone, another option is to tap on the touchscreen twice quickly. This is same as the functionality we have seen in some of the newer Nokia and Samsung phones.

Inside, the software is similar to the Optimus UI we have seen in previous LG phones. However, this time it looks a little less childish, which is the only issue we had with the Android skin.

The phone seems extremely fast, a result of the combination of the light Optimus UI and powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset. All tasks we performed in quick succession went off without a hitch, showing exactly how powerful the chipset is.

We checked out some of the software features of LG G2. Many we had seen in previous phones (placing phone next to the ear to answer calls without pressing any keys in Samsung Galaxy S3 and supersensitive touchscreen in Nokia Lumia 920).

One feature that caught our eye was Slide Aside, where you can use a three-finger swipe from right to left to push a running app to the sidelines. This feature allows users to move or retrieve a maximum of three running apps from the sides. Though not as good as Samsung’s multi app view, it is still worth checking out.

Using G2 for a little more time gave us an idea of how to use its rear-positioned keys for doing more. While the volume and power/lock functions were quite expected, we also used it to access QuickMemo app and turn on the camera when the phone’s screen was turned off. However, you cannot take screenshots with the handset without using both your hands, something we can easily do with a single hand in other Android phones. During our short time with the G2, we found it to be a very capable smartphone that can stand neck-and-neck with any top-end smartphone in the market. Its unconventional design is quite good and does not hinder functionality, even though it does not add much value to the usage.

Advertisements

Panasonic will pull out of the smartphone market in Japan and pare its smartphone operations to outsourced production in emerging markets like India, the company’s president said.

The Japanese electronics company, which has suffered $15 billion in losses over its latest two financial years, is staking its turnaround on a transformation from a consumer gadget maker to a supplier for other businesses.

The architect of this turnaround plan, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga, has warned he would weed out any division that fails to meet a 5 percent operating margin goal within three years.

Tsuga told Reuters in an interview that the company’s mobile division was likely to lose more than the 1.1 billion yen ($11.02 million) targeted loss for the financial year ending next March. Panasonic’s mobile division posted an 8.1 billion yen loss last year.

“It’s not acceptable for the company to be bleeding red ink like this, so we have to think about ways to develop assets that we do have in a more effective direction,” Tsuga said.

While the company is stepping back from the consumer smartphone market, it has said it is developing smartphones for business use that would be similar to its popular “Toughbook” notebook PC series.

Panasonic is one of several handset makers caught out by the meteoric rise of the two dominant smartphone makers – Apple Inc and Samsung Electronic – which have upended the traditional hierarchy of mobile players.

Microsoft this week agreed to buy Nokia’s phone business, which once dominated the global market but has slipped drastically in recent years.

Japanese consumers, once partial to highly customized feature phones made by Panasonic, NEC and Fujitsu, have since moved in large numbers to Apple’s popular iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy series.

In 2001, Panasonic was the second-largest handset maker in Japan, after NEC, with more than 19% of the market. Last year, it barely had a 7% share, far behind Apple’s 25 percent lead.

Tsuga said Panasonic did not need to manufacture and sell its own smartphones under a vertically integrated business model, but will instead use the company’s brand to sell phones made by other manufacturers as it does already in India.

The knockout blow to its business came when NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile carrier and a loyal distributor for Japanese-made handsets, announced it would promote only Sony’s flagship Xperia smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy during its summer campaign. NEC announced in July that it would pull out of smartphones after discussions to sell its handset business to Lenovo Group fell through, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Z1 handset with the QX100 lens attached weighs 349g (12.3oz)

Sony has confirmed plans to sell two stand-alone lenses that connect to smartphones by wi-fi, allowing them to take higher-quality photos.

The devices are compatible with Android and iOS handsets and mark the creation of a new product category.

The Japanese company announced the products alongside a new smartphone which features a 20.7 megapixel camera and a larger-than-normal image sensor.

The launches should help the firm challenge Nokia’s top-end handset.

The Finnish company – which is in the process of being taken over by Microsoft – unveiled the Lumia 1020 in July. Reviews have suggested that it has the best smartphone camera on the market, but were critical of its price,

Sony told the BBC it would target its Z1 handset at a wider audience than what it called the Lumia 1020’s “super-premium category”.

It confirmed details of the devices at the Ifa consumer tech show in Berlin – much of the information had already leaked via tech news sites.

One analyst suggested the lenses in particular would struggle to find buyers.

“The concept is interesting, but when you think about using it, will users want to carry them around?” asked Francisco Jeronimo, mobile devices research manager at tech consultancy IDC.

“The problem is that for those wanting top-quality photographs, the experience of having a DSLR [digital single lens reflex] offers a better experience than a phone with an add-on camera.

“Meanwhile having the lens attached to a phone makes it feel quite bulky compared to a compact camera or stand-alone handset.

“If the lenses were priced under £100, then I could see photography geeks buying it, or operators bundling it with the phone, but these lenses will be quite expensive.”

Sony itself acknowledged that it did not know how strong demand would be.

“Always we’re discussing: ‘How many pieces should we prepare,'” Yosuke Aoki, a digital imaging spokesman for the firm, told the BBC.

“We’re waiting for after the Ifa announcement to see what the feedback will be to the models.”

Making a statement

Sony is bundling movies and games with the Z1 to help it compete

The QX10 lens offers a 10x optical zoom and 18.2MP resolution which Sony says makes it ideal for taking shots of distant landmarks or close-ups of people. It will cost about £170,

The QX100 features a smaller 3.6x zoom but a bigger sensor with a resolution of 20.2MP. Its aperture goes as wide as f1.8 – allowing more light in – meaning it should be more adept at taking photos in low light or with a very shallow focus. It also offers manual focus as an option which is not possible on the other lens. It will cost about £380.

Once fitted with a battery and memory stick, the QX10 weighs 105g (3.7oz) and the QX100 179g (6.3oz).

Both devices:

  • include technology that compensates for shaky hands
  • activate a link-up to a phone or tablet if it has an NFC (near field communication) chip
  • can attach to different-sized handsets via an extendable clip, or – in the case of the Z1 – using a special case
  • can be operated while a short distance away from the smart device

Neither:

  • has a built-in screen.

Sony Mobile’s head of sales and marketing said they were intended to send a message to consumers, including those who would never buy them.

“It’s a statement as one piece of many things that are starting to come together under the umbrella of Sony,” said Dennis van Schie.

“The PlayStation 4 is coming out. In 4K [ultra-high resolution] TVs, we’re the leader – from the formats to the cameras to recording capabilities [that will appear] quite soon in mobile.

“Now we’re the first ones to dare to create a lens-type camera with a new kind of user interface. It contributes to what Sony is standing for.”

Sony posted a 3.5bn yen ($35m, £23m) profit in the April-to-June quarter, reversing a 24.6bn yen loss the previous year.

Stronger sales of smartphones helped achieve the turnaround.

However, IDC says the firm still only had a 4.1% share of global smartphone shipments over the three months, putting it behind Samsung, Apple, LG, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.

Additional value

Nokia has boasted that its Lumia 1020 with a 41MP sensor is the best smartphone camera on the market

Sony is hoping the new water-resistant Z1 handset will help it boost that figure.

It says the device features an exclusive sensor which is the same size as that found in its Cybershot cameras.

It also features new software including the ability to provide live video streams to Facebook, and Info-eye – an app that provides information about books, wine and landmarks among other objects the phone is pointed at.

The company is also taking advantage of its other assets to help the device stand out from the Android crowd. UK shoppers are promised five Sony movie downloads and a selection of free PlayStation mobile games.

“They’ve done quite a good job of differentiating the phone,” said Mr Jeronimo.

“That’s what operators want – to be able to provide additional value from what Sony offers.”That’s why they are looking at Sony as a better prospect for the future than other vendors like Blackberry and HTC.”