Oh HTC. You’ve produced one of the finest Android smartphones ever (seriously, just look at all these reviews), but you’ve faced more than your share of challenges when it came to actually pumping your top-tier One smartphone. As it happens, that may all soon change.
FocusTaiwan reported earlier today that HTC is preparing to pump out more of its wonderful Ones in short order — Jack Tong, the company’s North Asia president, noted that this month’s production capacity for the flagship device is twice that of April, and that surge will only continue into June.
Sounds pretty yawn-worthy, right? Normally I would spend too much time dwelling on the finer points of production capacity, but here’s a device that was launched to widespread praise by an underdog smartphone company some people have written off, and HTC has basically been getting screwed thanks to part shortages for the One’s Ultrapixel camera and a brief injunction due to the HDR microphone it uses. It’s like a perfect storm of headaches for a company that really, really doesn’t need it — one look at its Q1 financials and it’s clear that HTC needed this launch to go as smoothly as possible. It didn’t.
For what it’s worth, HTC hasn’t disclosed how many Ones it’s shipped since it launched earlier this year. Meanwhile, rival Samsung’s Galaxy S4 has become the Korean electronics giant’s fastest moving smartphone — Samsung shipped 6 million units in just over two weeks, and it hopes to cross the 10 million unit threshold by the end of this month. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Google’s Hugo Barra showed off a version of the S4 at the company’s I/O developer conference that runs a version of Android that’s unfettered by the software bloat that many a reviewer took umbrage at. Company representatives were careful not to call it a Nexus — even though it seems to harbor many of the advantages inherent to the Nexus line like a clean Android build and access to frequent software updates.
As I noted towards the end of my HTC One review, the wireless industry isn’t a meritocracy — the well-executed device doesn’t always wind up saving the day. Hopefully now that some of these production woes have been ironed out we’ll see HTC live to fight another day, but that’s still far from a given.
We saw all the 2013 HDTVs debut last month at CES and the first few new models are starting to reach shelves. One of the more interesting sets arriving is LG’s 55-inch OLED HDTV, the first of its kind at this large size. Shipments are starting Monday for the 11 million won ($ 10k~) television, and according to a press release, LG has notched about 100 pre-orders so far in its home country. For comparison, LG announced it sold 300 of its 84-inch, $ 20k Ultra HDTV in Korea as of last month. LG also mentioned it plans to sell as many as 15 percent more HDTVs in 2013 than it did in 2012, as it continues to push its Smart and 3D features. We’re still waiting for Samsung to release its own OLED HDTVs, while this one is still slated to ship in the US in March for $ 11,999.
If the regular ol’ S-Pen that arrived inside your Galaxy Note 10.1′s packaging just isn’t cutting it, Wacom is looking lend a hand with its latest offering. The outfit has announced the Bamboo Stylus feel that touts performance similar to a ball-point pen (or S-Pen) for Windows 8 and Android slates outfitted with the company’s “feel IT” pen tech. Of course, this means that these styli make use of electromagnetic signals to interact with devices, differing from their capacitive Bamboo siblings that we’ve seen. Two options are set to arrive on January 7th with replacement nibs in tow and carrying price tags of $ 39.95 and $ 79.95, respectively. The full PR resides just beyond the break should you need a few more particulars before deciding.
Filed under: Peripherals
- Bamboo|Tech Meets Blog
Americans who likes the Sony Xperia go’s approach to lifeproof smartphone design won’t have to live vicariously through their overseas friends anymore. Keeping up its recent habit of selling unlocked versions of niche devices, Sony is selling the toughened smartphone in the US as the Xperia advance. The 3.5-inch handset won’t initially be a surprise to those who’ve had a peek at an international version, right through to the out-of-the-box Android 2.3 installation — you’ll be sitting in line for a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean like everyone else. For most, the advantage will rest in a dust- and water-resistant phone that can wield its 3G on AT&T or Straight Talk while being free to use at least basic GSM calling abroad. Be sure to shop around before committing to an Xperia advance, though. While Newegg’s $ 250 price makes a reasonable case, the $ 300 official cost has our minds wandering to the much more powerful (if more fragile) Nexus 4.
Samsung’s experiment with a Ghost Recon SSD bundle must have been a hit with gamers, since it’s coming back for a second round the very same year. The upgrade-minded buying 128GB, 256GB or 512GB versions of the SSD 840 Pro can get a free downloadable copy of Assassin’s Creed III for a “limited time” to take advantage of those 540MB/s peak read speeds while they skew the fate of the American Revolutionary War. The bundle comes not-so-coincidentally as Samsung has shipped and priced the wider SSD 840 line itself: while we knew the Pro line’s impact on our wallets, the regular models are now ready to sell at prices between $ 140 for a 120GB drive to $ 700 for a 500GB model. That’s a $ 50 to $ 190 savings over the Pro models, but we’ll leave it to you to decide whether faster write speeds, slightly more capacity and Connor’s secret fight with the Templars are worth the premium.
IK Multimedia’s iRig STOMP pedal interface for iOS is now officially available.
I should also mention that approaching this official launch, I’ve been playing with the iRig STOMP for a week or so, (coupled with the iPad version of AmpliTube Slash), and the pedal is a real gas. It’s a really great little piece of hardware.
It’s been nearly a year since the pedal was announced at CES 2012. I saw it at the mega trade-show and was smitten, I can’t lie. Why? It promised to deliver something that was sorely missing from the native app/amp simulator ecosystem — a way to make native app mobile amp software really behave like and work with real guitar amplifiers. What was missing? Bypass. Gain. The tactile interaction of a real stompbox. Does the iRig STOMP deliver on these missing behaviors? I think it does.
The Positives I already mentioned 3 things: Bypass, gain and tactile interaction.
Bypass Part of the problem with using native apps and mobile devices as live effects processors for real amplifiers is that it can be tricky to truly bypass the apps and just hear the raw sound of your amp. It can be done, but it’s not always easy nor hassle free. It sounds silly, but one of the great things this pedal does is simply let you NOT use any effects. It lets you accomplish this with a click of your foot instead of noodling with a bunch of virtual knobs on a touch screen. That’s important.
Gain It has a built in gain boost. This really adds strength to the signal you are sending to your amp.
Tactile Interaction If it feels like a regular guitar pedal and you can hit it as hard as you would a regular pedal…it must be a real pedal right? Yes, I think it is a real guitar pedal and not a toy. As real as any A/B box or distortion pedal I’ve ever used (well, it’s still no Sovtek Big Muff, but you get what I’m saying here).
The Negatives Honestly, I can’t think of any. It’s a great interface between iOS apps and real amplifiers. It’s $ 59.99 and it works as advertised (pretty much like all the other IK Multimedia products I’ve tried). I have yet to be disappointed by any of their hardware or apps.
But Could You Really Use This At A Gig? I Mean, Really? I think you could. I was able to make my Mesa Boogie Walkabout bass amp sound like a crushingly loud Marshall JCM (again coupled with IK’s AmpliTube Slash iPad app). I don’t have a decent guitar amp these days, and I’m tempted to give this a whirl.
I’m sure purists could scoff at the idea of using a pedal to control an iPad that controls an amplifier, and honestly, I’m usually a bit squeamish about “software solutions” for guitars and basses in live situations, but this setup seems like it might actually work for my rhythm guitar aspirations.
Although I should note that in the setup I put together, I am not really able to easily simulate going from a distorted rhythm channel to a distorted lead without adding some other kind of boost pedal in the signal chain. But for switching back and forth between clean and affected tones, it was pretty great.Related Posts:
Love the look of Razer’s Battlefield 3-branded BlackShark headset that we laid our peepers on back at E3? Don’t want to commit yourself exclusively to one title? Good news: the West Coast outfit has just announced a variant that lacks any game specifics and is clothed in the signature black and green hues. You can expect a unit that wears the same, aviator-inspired stylings as the original — right down to the leatherette-sealed earcups, detachable boom microphone and splitter adapter cable. Sound good? Well, the unit will arrive sometime in September ready to dock your wallet $ 119.99. For a closer look or a bit more info, consult the gallery below and full PR after the break.
Gallery: Razer BlackShark gaming headset
If you’re in the market for a battery-powered speaker and are willing to splurge a bit, then you’d be wise to check out the 1Q from Vers. The diminutive, 3-inch cube-shaped music system is said to provide some impressive tunes all by its lonesome, but it can also be paired with another 1Q to provide true stereo sound. Also, thanks to a 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth connectivity, the little guy is sure to work with any number of devices. Naturally, much of the 1Q’s allure is due to its hand-crafted wooden enclosure, which is available in walnut and bamboo varieties. The Vers 1Q has eight days left in its Kickstarter funding phase, but it’s not like the project will need your help across the finish line: it’s already surpassed the goal nine times over. Fortunately for you, this provides an opportunity to snag a 1Q for just $ 95; when it hits the market in November, the speaker will retail for $ 120. For even more details, be sure to hit up the PR after the break.
Huawei had said it would deliver the Ascend Q in August, and it didn’t waste a moment — Cricket is selling the Android 2.3 messager as of today for $ 140 on its prepaid smartphone plans. While the OS, 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch display and fixed-focus 3.2-megapixel camera won’t knock any socks off, we found the Ascend Q a solid phone for compulsive chatters when we tried it last month. There’s also a 4GB microSD card in the box to get the ball rolling. One minor surprise: Muve Music is getting a minor boost through DTS audio processing that reportedly fills out the sound. As long as there’s no expectations of a media extravaganza, Huawei’s new hardware could be one of the better bargains in Cricket’s stable.
Filed under: Cellphones
And just like that it’s back. Following a yesterday’s temporary stay of the ban on Google’s HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus by Judge Koh, the soon-to-be Jelly Bean-loaded device is again up for sale at the Play store — and a bit early than expected. If you’ll recall, Google notes that Android 4.1 apparently mitigates the issues brought up within the dispute by Apple, which has until July 12th to issue a response on the matter. Orders are slated to ship in “two to three weeks,” so we’d suggest you grab one quick while its fresh and tasty to ensure your taste buds get the latest Android sugar fix.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]