[Rumor]Samsung Galaxy S IV to be announced in April with "unbreakable" screen

It’s the slow season for smartphone news, so that means the rumor mill is in full force.  The rumor of the day is that the Samsung Galaxy S IV will be announced in April and will feature an “unbreakable” screen.  Presumably this would be some version of the flexible display that Samsung showed off at CES back in 2011.

While it’s possible the Galaxy S IV will have some version of a flexible display, I’m not holding my breath.  The same rumors surfaced right before the Galaxy Note II was announced with a conventional display earlier this year.

[News] Report indicates tablet demand greater than expected

Who knew?  Analysts with IDC are predicting that sales numbers for popular Android and Apple tablets will be greater than previously thought, with an estimated 122.3 million devices sold worldwide (up from the previously estimated 117.1 million).  These trends are expected to continue though the next few years, with forecast numbers published through 2016.  Market share is expected to be largely dominated by Apple products, with Android devices coming in 2nd place, and Windows devices a (very) distant 3rd.  A whopping 282.7 million devices will be in the hands of consumers by 2016 – a number that is mind boggling to me right now.  But if folks are getting as much enjoyment as I am out of my tablet, perhaps this isn’t such a huge surprise after all.

Mobile computing and web content consumption is on the rise, especially in the global market, and tablets (as well as smartphones) are an alternative to get this content at a much more cost effective price point than a traditional home PC or laptop.  Google’s $249 Chromebook notwithstanding, most people have to have a mobile phone for a host of other reasons, and when it comes to spending discretionary cash, a lot of folks are going to choose what they need first.  And that means that the mobile phone (or smartphone) comes before a laptop or PC.  And it looks like the tablet is quickly growing into the “need” category from the “want” category.

*Source:  BGR

[News]First pictures of the iPhone 5S case leak out

This morning purported images of the iPhone 5S case leaked out.  They look remarkably similar to the iPhone 5 except for some minor changes inside.

It’s probably safe to say that the iPhone 5S will be virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone 5 from the outside.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as the iPhone 5 design is fantastic.  Quite frankly I’m much more interested in the Jony Ives iOS7 makeover than the new hardware. I’m expecting a pretty major refresh and think iOS fans are in for a treat.  We’ll find out soon enough.

[Rumor] Samsung prepares new phones, tablet for 2013

Coming soon…?

So it would seem that having the Galaxy S3 be a huge hit wasn’t enough to make Samsung sit back and rest on their laurels…some rumors coming out of Korea are hinting at the Galaxy S4 (possibly codenamed “Project J”) as well as a successor to the Galaxy Note 2, and even (possibly) a giant 13.3 inch tablet (along with a keyboard dock) to compete in the new space that Microsoft is looking to dominate with their Surface line of devices.

After seeing the Galaxy Note 2, and the Galaxy S3 for that matter – I’m pretty excited for what Samsung has coming down the pipe.  Anyone else feel the way I do?

*Source:  Droid-Life

[Op-Ed]Why can’t anyone but Motorola put a big battery in a smartphone?

With the recent release of both the LG Nexus 4 and the HTC Droid DNA, one thing jumped out at me right away with these devices:  whats the deal with the small batteries?  I think that most people would agree the #1 complaint about modern smartphones is the battery life, especially now that 4G LTE is on board most devices.  One company has managed to solve this problem quite well (and has begun to advertise as such on TV lately).  So why can’t any of the other hardware manufacturers put some thought behind answering this consumer gripe as well?  Perhaps it’s because it would make the phone too bulky or heavy to the point of being undesirable?  Perhaps it’s simply not possible with current battery tech?  Maybe another reason entirely?  Let’s take a closer look at the new phones and one of Motorola’s flagship devices and see if we can find out what’s really going on. 

Submitted for your consideration…the specs on the HTC Droid DNA, the LG Nexus 4, and the Motorola Razr Maxx HD:

Length/Width/Height (mm) 141 x 70.5 x 9.73
Weight (grams) 138g
Screen size (inches) 5in Super LCD 3
Battery capacity (mAh) 2020mAh

LG Nexus 4
LG Nexus 4
Length/Width/Height (mm) 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1
Weight (grams) 139g
Screen size (inches) 4.7in WXGA IPS
Battery capacity (mAh) 2100mAh
Motorola Razr Maxx HD
Moto Razr Maxx HD
Length/Width/Height (mm) 132 x 68 x 9.3
Weight (grams) 157g
Screen size (inches) 4.7 Super AMOLED
Battery capacity (mAh) 3300mAh

As you can see from both the renders of the devices and the physical specs, each of these phones is very similar in overall size, as well as form factor.  The Razr Maxx HD weighs in at a hefty 18 grams more than the Nexus 4, the next heaviest of the three.  However, I think what’s significant is that weight often translates to a feeling of solidity, with respect to build quality (unless you’re the iPhone of course, but I digress).  Since 18 grams of weight is roughly the equivalent of 4 nickels, I highly doubt anyone is going around complaining that the Razr Maxx HD is a heavy brick of a phone.
The Razr Maxx HD is the shortest of the bunch (and sports a smaller screen than the Droid DNA, so no surprise there) and is thinner in width than both the Nexus and Droid DNA.  It also comes in at a svelte 9.3mm thick, which is only 0.2mm thicker the Nexus 4 and a whopping 0.43mm thinner than the DNA.  And yet it sports a 3300mAh battery, the largest (by far) of either of the other two smartphones – 1200mAh more than the Nexus and 1280mAh more than the Droid DNA.  Regardless of the processor powering each of these devices, more battery juice translates to longer battery life, plain and simple.  The S4 Pro in the Droid DNA might sip at the battery, but replace that 2020mAh with the 3300mAh in the Razr Maxx HD, and you’ll go longer and do more on a single charge, period.
So let’s revisit my earlier questions – does the bigger capacity battery in the Razr Maxx HD make it more bulky than other devices?  I think the specs clearly show the Razr is very competitive in terms of size to both of these newer phones (the Razr Maxx HD was available on Verizon on October 18th) and is even thinner than the Droid DNA.  Is it heavy to the point of making it undesirable?  I can’t imagine anyone would genuinely notice the difference that four nickels weight might make to a phone, especially when distributed over the whole of the phone.  And as I mentioned earlier…more heft in a phone isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  So I am confident in saying the answer to both these questions is a “no.”

Is it simply not possible with current battery tech to put a larger capacity battery in a modern smartphone?  Motorola has obviously blown this theory out of the water, and then some.  We’re not talking about a small difference: the Razr Maxx HD’s battery represents more than a 60% increase in power – that’s significant.  Add back in the potential for reduced power consumption of the newer processors and I think you’d have a consumer who is seriously happy with their battery life.  So what we are really left with is the fact that it must be something else entirely that prevents manufacturers like LG and HTC from putting larger capacity batteries in their devices, because it’s clearly possible.  I just can’t for the life of me think of what that reason is.