Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed including a possible rugged Galaxy S4, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet in the UK, and Apple’s WWDC event selling out in minutes.
1. Samsung Planning Rugged Version of the Galaxy S4?
A Samsung executive, speaking at the Galaxy S4′s launch in Dubai, dropped a hint the company is working on a rugged, waterproof version of its highly anticipated smartphone. In what could be a response to the success of the waterproof Sony Xperia Z, the executive said the device would be out in the coming months.
2. Motorola X Phone Appears in Benchmarking Test
Despite rumours the X Phone won’t be one of the major releases at Google I/O next month, the unofficial Motorola superphone has appeared in a benchmarking test. It showed up with the name Google X, and runs Android 5.0.1, the version number we expect to be attached to Key Lime Pie. It uses a processor with a clock speed of 1.5GHz, although the make is unknown. Google I/O begins on 15 May.
3. Surface Pro Tablet Headed to the UK
Microsft is preparing to launch its Surface Pro tablet in the UK very soon. The Pro uses the full version of Windows 8, rather than Windows RT found on the standard Microsoft Surface tablet, and will go on sale before the end of May. The UK joins a host of other new locations, including Australia, France, Germany and Ireland, but a price has yet to be revealed.
4. WWDC Sells Out in Minutes
Every year, Apple’s WWDC event proves to be incredibly popular, and the tickets always go quickly. This year is no exception, but last year’s two-hour sell out was eclipsed by an astonishing two-minute sell out. Apple’s checkout system was so swamped, the company has given developers who managed to place tickets into their basket, but not to pay for them, a second chance to buy; something it has never done in the past.
5. Three Million Microsoft Tablets Sold
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft has sold three million of its Surface Windows tablets this year, and now controls 7.5% of the global tablet market. As Microsoft didn’t produce any tablets before October last year, this is a significant achievement; however it still has some way to go before it can match Apple, which has sold 19.5 million iPad tablets already this year.
6. Acer Announces the Liquid E2
Acer has a new smartphone headed for the UK. The Liquid E2 has a 4.5-inch screen, but with a slightly disappointing 960 x 540 pixel resolution, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and an 8 megapixel rear camera. The operating system is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, while the phone also has stereo speakers and DTS audio enhancements. It’s coming in May and has been given a price of €230, which is around £200.
7. Swype Out of Beta, Now Available in Google Play Store
The Swype keyboard works by allowing Android users to swipe their finger across an onscreen keyboard to type, instead of picking out individual keys. It takes a moment to get used to, but it’s very effective once you have. Having been in Beta for some time, it has now appeared as a fully-fledged app inside the Google Play store. It’s priced at 65p, and well worth a try. See it in action in the promo video here.
8. Oppo R809T Official
Chinese manufacturer Oppo has launched a new phone. Named the R809T, it’s another super-slim offering from the firm, this time measuring 6.93mm thick. It has a 4.7-inch, 720p screen, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an 8 megapixel camera and it runs Android 4.2. There’s no word on price, and we’d be very surprised to see it launch in the UK.
9. Samsung Galaxy Core Leaked
Another Galaxy phone is on its way from Samsung. A leak has shown a device named the Galaxy Core, which will apparently have a 4.3-inch screen, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 5 megapixel camera and Android 4.1. It’s said to be a mid-range phone with a dual-SIM option, and supposedly will be launched in selected markets before the end of May.
10. EE Claims More Than 300,000 4G Subscribers
EE operates the UK’s only 4G LTE mobile network, and has recently revealed it has attracted 318,000 subscribers, despite its prices being regarded as too high for the data packages the tariffs include. EE says it’s, “Firmly on target,” to gain one million subscribers before the end of the year. O2, Vodafone and Three have yet to confirm when they’ll launch competing 4G networks.