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  • Sony's Xperia Z, one of two new phones the company just unveiled at CES 2013

     


    Last week, on Pure Mobile's Canadian blog, we reported on a leaked picture of two yet to be unveiled smartphones that prematurely popped up on Sony's website. The devices in question were quite clearly the newest additions to Sony's Xperia line, but we expected to have to wait until this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to get some real idea of their specs.


    And now as expected, Sony has brought the Android-powered Xperia Z and Xperia ZL to CES 2013 in Las Vegas, where attendees got to have the first real hands-on with the new phones, both of which are "worth getting excited about," according to Gizmodo.


    According to reports, both phones have just about the same internal specs. Each sports a 5-inch,1080p TFT Reality display and a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. And both are LTE-capable, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.


    Even the 13MP cameras are the same and both can capture HDR video, except that the Xperia ZL's is rear-facing and the Xperia Z's is front-facing.


    Sony's Xperia ZL

     


    So far, the reviews are mostly raves, with Gizmodo calling them "the best phones Sony has ever made, by a huge margin," and with Engadget claiming "Sony may have a bonafide hit on its hands with the Xperia ZL."


    So what's really so great about them? Well, for starters, the sleek, glassy surface of the Xperia Z is totally waterproof for up to 30 minutes at up to 3 feet. Meanwhile, the ZL, which isn't waterproof, works as a universal remote. Both phones also boast an awesome Battery Stamina Mode feature, that turns your data stream off when your phone is idle, so your standby time will be increased by up to 400 percent.


    For a while now, Sony phones have sort of been taking a backseat to other Android devices. But if the reception at this year's CES is any indication, their newest phones may just have them poised to take a much more aggressive position once the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL launch sometime around March.




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  • Griffin just unveiled its latest accessories, like the PowerDock 5, at CES in Las Vegas

    We're smack in the middle of the Consumer Electronics Show, which is a pretty big deal for us at Pure Mobile. That's because the annual CES event is basically the biggest event around for anyone interested in the newest and best in mobile technologies, like the latest in phones and accessories.


    It's where most of the major names in mobile, like Samsung, Nokia and HTC choose to reveal new smartphones and other gadgets, and where it's we get the scoop on the best new accessories.


    This year's CES is still going on in in Las Vegas, and already we've seen some cool stuff for from one of our favorite accessories makers, Griffin. The company's already well known for its iPhone, iPad and iPod accessories, like tough cases and the like. And CES 2013 has seen the launch of even more Apple accessories from the company.


    Among Griffin's newest offerings is the PowerDock 5, a USB docking station for iPhone, iPad and iPod that works on what Engadget calls a "toast-rack" design and can charge multiple devices at once with a capacity of up to 5 iPads at once. Pretty cool for households with more than a couple of people, or for really geared up techies.


    But Griffin has as just as big of a reputation for audio, and they're living up to it this year with the launch of new audio accessories like an updated Lightning version of their iPad StudioConnect, as well as a new Mic Stand Mount "that works like a traditional microphone performance stand," says 9to5Mac, but for iPad. Oh yeah, and they've also introduced a new studio-quality XLR to 3.5mm recording mic for iPhone and iPad, but it won't be available til June




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  • Among the rumors is one that the iPhone 5S will come in a range of colors

     


    No doubt about it, Apple's huge. Even so, analysts say its been, well, less huge than usual in the past few months. But nevertheless, they're expecting great things from the iPhone maker in the coming year.


    If Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White is to be believed, that's because Apple is already planning the launch of its next generation iPhone, the iPhone 5S. As cited by BGR, White explained that the release of the next iPhone is expected to make up for Apple's recent 25% stock drop and that the new device is partly responsible for the fact that "Apple is our top overall pick for 2013."


    We know it seems like just yesterday that we were scrambling for cases to fit our newly resized iPhone 5. But Apple didn't get to where it is by resting on its laurels, and a follow up to the iPhone 5 is only to be expected.


    According to White, we can expect the next generation sooner rather than later, with a tentative launch date between May and June. There are also musings that "the next iPhone will have more choices for customers," which may entail "an expansion in both the color patterns and screen sizes." If that's true, says BGR, this would be "the first time Apple has released one phone with multiple display size options."


    So what can we then expect from accessories for the newest iPhone? Maybe open-front clear cases that show off the iPhone 5S' bright new colors and fit the different screen options? That's just a guess, so we'll have to wait til summer, if the rumors are true, to really find out.




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  • Design concept from earlier this year for an iSiri Smartwatch from Frederico Ciccarese

     


    This wouldn't be the first time – remember Frederico Ciccarese's design concept for an iSiri smartwatch? – but rumors have been circulating about the possibility of an Apple-branded smartwatch in the coming months.


    A report (via Chinese news portal 163.com) has been making the rounds on Mashable and 9to5Mac, among others, claiming that Apple and Intel are working together on a Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch that could be released as early as the first quarter of 2013.


    Now, there are already quite a few smartwatches on the market, and good ones at that. This year, Sony released their SmartWatch, a hands-free device that syncs with your smartphone to keep you discreetly updated.


    The rumored iWatch may work like Sony Mobile's SmartWatch, which syncs with your smartphone and keeps you discreetly updated

     


    Then, there are watch-style cases from accessories makers like Lunatik and Griffin that turn devices you already own, like an iPod nano, into a wrist-wearable smart device.


    So, how would an Apple-sanctioned smartwatch differ from any of these? According to the report's sources on the Chinese supply chain, the iWatch would share some elements of other smartwatches. like Sony's device, it would be Bluteooth-enabled and sync to your smartphone, as long as it's an iPhone that is.


    It would also be fairly dainty, roughly the size of an iPod nano with an 1.5" OLED display. Such a device, argues 9to5Mac, "could make sense for a future, Bluetooth 4.0-enabled iPod nano. Though they also note that its unlikely would choose to partner with Intel on a such a "low-powered, mobile product."




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  • Last time we checked in with Beats by Dre, the high-end headphones were all the rage among equally high-profile names. Everyone, from Gwen Stefani to Lil Wayne, and even the Biebs was sporting a pair, making them one of the hottest brands of its kind on the market.


    But the top of the line headphones are about to get down and dirty, extreme sports style, in a new collaboration with Swedish company POC, a maker of protective sports gear. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the new Receptor BUG Helmet.



    This brand spanking new snowboarding helmet comes with a pair of Beats by Dre built right into the neckroll.


    "With the remote control, compatible with most smart phones, you can take calls and switch songs and adjust volume right from the cord. No more fumbling with gloves to find your cell phone or music player," says POC.


    Of course you also get the Beats promise of sound clarity and quality that they make with all their heaphones and earbuds.


    Of course, this is by no means the first ski or snowboard helmet to incorporate headphones for listening while you ride the slopes. But it's an interesting, though not really surprising, collaboration for the Beats brand, which has already caught on in the world of pro sports. (Lebron James already has a pair.)


    But now we may start seeing Beats by Dre become as popular with extreme sports enthusiasts they are with recording artists, maybe even picking up a famous pro snowboarder to promote the brand along the way.




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  • We at puer Mobile couldn't be more excited for the official launch of BB10 or for the two new BlackBerry handsets that'll be the OS' flagship smartphones.


    But for many longtime BlackBerry users, change is scary. It isn't that a new device will mean learning a new OS, or even that users will have to get all new BlackBerry accessories (shopping for cool new cases is actually fun.)


    It's that, for so many, the draw of BlackBerry is its signature Qwerty keypad, something RIM has done away with in their upcoming all-touch device – or have they?


    Actually, judging from a new hands-on video detailing the new BB10 touch keyboard, and according to Gizmodo, the "BlackBerry 10 touch screen keys could rival even its traditional keyboards."


    For starters, RIM's made the transition from physical keyboards to all touch keys pretty seamless. As Blackberry's Head of Software Portfolio Vivek Bhardwaj explains in the demo video, the keypad of the new L-Series device has stayed true to the look of traditional BlackBerry keyboards, right down to the signature "frets." So it looks and feels like the blackBerry devices you're used to.


    Where it does differ from the original is that the new touch keyboard is more intuitive and intelligent than its predecessor. It automatically separates words when you forget to hit the space bar, it understands context, learns your personal vocabulary, and knows when to switch between languages.


    The video below should put your mind at ease about making the upgrade to BlackBerry's first ever all-touch smartphone. So let the accessorizing begin!





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  • A Vietnamese site has leaked the clearest images and most detailed video of BlackBerry's latest smartphone

     


    A couple of days ago, we posted a teaser image released by RIM of the upcoming BlackBerry 10 all-touch device on Pure Mobile's Canadian blog. At the time, it seemed exciting, the first real glimpse of the L-Series, not just some bogus leak. And it confirmed that images of the device leaked previously weren't really the real deal.


    But what a difference two days make. Thanks to super detailed pictures and a lengthy video leaked by Vietnamese site Tinhte.ve, the RIM-sanctioned teaser pic of the L-Series now looks "lame" by comparison, to quote TechCrunch.


    While the teaser pic had left us wanting more, the Tihnte.ve leak gave us pretty much a full showing of BlackBerry newest, and perhaps sexiest, smartphone. Of course, that's assuming the handset shown off in their 5-minute video and high-res pics is the final design, but we have very good reason to believe that's the case.


    The device shown in the leak sports the same textured back as the the L-Series does in RIM's official teaser pic

     


    First off, it's got the same mesh-textured backing we saw in the L-Series the teaser pic, and which was lacking from BlackBerry devices in previous leaks. Meanwhile, says TechCrunch, if it isn't the final design, it's at least "very recent," since the handset is equipped with "the recently-renamed BlackBerry World App."


    So what's the scoop? We couldn't help but notice – and these feelings were confirmed by Gizmodo – that the device looks a heck of a lot like the iPhone 5 in some shots, though it's perhaps a little bit slimmer, proportionally. Though its rounded rectangular shape is also not unlike the BlackBerry London pics we started seeing over a year ago.


    But it's also not far off from the BlackBerry Dev Alpha B smartphone handed out to developers last year, in that the placement of its front-facing camera, front speaker, microphone, and BlackBerry logo are more or less the same. With the removable back panel off, it reveals an 1,800 mAh battery, and microUSB, micro-HDMI, and microSD slots.


    Opinions on BlackBerry's latest and greatest, though perhaps premature, are certainly abundant, ranging from ravingly enthusiastic to underwhelmed. "This is going to blow the iPhone out of the water," "Go home Blackberry, you're drunk and dead in the water, it's an Android and iOS world now," are just a sampling of the responses found in the comments for the Tinhte video.


    Likewise, tech sites seem to differ. "It looks kind of wonderful," spouted Gizmodo, while TechCrunch was resigned to saying "Overall, the device doesn’t look too bad."


    For our part, we're waiting to get more details on the real guts of the device, and to see how it works with the new BB10 OS when BlackBerry officially unveils it on January 30. But in the meantime, we're giving it the benefit of the doubt and hoping it'll be the best smartphone BlackBerry's made in years, or at least good enough to pull RIM out of its recent troubles.





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  • No, you don't have to feel bad about having just bought a new case for your Samsung Galaxy S III. In fact, go ahead and get all the accessories you want, because your trusty old S III should be around for some time yet.


    Despite what the rumor mill would have you believe, the unveiling of the Galaxy S IV is not imminent. A couple of days ago, we reported that Samsung had released a teaser video, telling us to "get ready" because "the world awaits [...] something new" January 8 to 11, 2013.


    Those are of course the dates for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a huge annual event for the consumer electronics industry, where, in the past, big players in mobile have unveiled new devices and accessories.


    Needless to say, Samsung's promise of new and exciting developments started a whole whack load of speculation as to whether or not we might see the smartphone maker unveil a successor to the Galaxy S III – the Galaxy S IV.


    Aside from the fact that the teaser video cited the dates of a major event where smartphone makers, including Samsung, have traditionally introduced their new hardware, we actually know that the company is preparing a new handset.


    But alas, CNET has confirmed that Samsung will mostly be pushing smart TVs at this year's CES, and that the company most certainly will not be unveiling the Galaxy S IV. So for the time being, owners of the year's best selling smartphone can sit back and enjoy their Galaxy S III, brand new case and all.




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  • With its Premium Suite upgrade, Samsung brings multi-window multitasking to the or Galaxy S III

     


    You may already have received the new Jelly Bean update for your Samsung Galaxy S III, but there may be something even better on the way for your smartphone, reports Slashgear.


    Along with their Android software upgrade, Galaxy S III users in Poland, India, the UK, France, Sweden, Italy, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Algeria have also been introduced to something Samsung is calling Premium Suite. The upgrade brings some of Samsung's newer features, designed for the more recent Galaxy Note II, to the Galaxy S III.



    That includes features like screen splitting, which allows you to use different apps in separate windows at the same time. Meanwhile, other new features of the Premium Suite upgrade fall in to the "contextual awareness," category, says Slashgear.


    The most notable among those is the predictive "Page Buddy" feature, designed to intuit the appropriate response to your actions, like "launching the music player when headphones are plugged in," says Slashgear.


    Though the Premium Suite upgrade has so far only been released to Galaxy S III users outside of the North American Continent, there's no reason to assume it won't be heading to the U.S. at some point soon, even if you've already received your Jelly Bean update.


    Oh, and as a bit of an aside, Premium Suite is hardly the last trick Samsung's got up its sleeve for the near future. Rather, the company has already been teasing in pictures and video, telling us to "get ready" as "something new" is coming in 2013.


    Still from a Samsung teaser video promising "something new" in 2013

     


    The general opinion is that Samsung will reveal their big surprise at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But though the event has traditionally been a venue for new product launches, Mobile Syrup warns us not the get too excited over the possibility of a new Galaxy device, as "we probably won’t see the Galaxy S IV announced at CES."


    Still, as you can imagine, the rumor mill is already turning, big-time.




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  • Sony's latest addition to the Xperia line, the XPeria E is designed with cost-efficiency in mind

     


    This just in (we love it when we get to say that), Sony has just officially announced the next smartphone in its Xperia line, the Xperia E.


    It may seem that the XPeria T – branded as the official James Bond smartphone and featured in the movie Skyfall – has barely hit store shelves. But Sony's already looking to launch this latest addition to the XPeria family as early as the first quarter of 2013, or in other words, by the end of March at the latest.


    But the Bond phone has no real reason to fear the Xperia E. Though they'll be part of the same line, the two smartphones are entirely different beasts, built for different purposes and a different audience for certain.


    For starters, the Xperia E seems to have been designed with cost efficiency in mind. Not only is the phone itself an affordable, entry-level device, but it's also built to help you save money when using it.


    The XPeria E will be available in a dual SIM model, the XPeria Edual, "so that consumers can easily switch between tariffs with just one touch to stay on the most cost effective plan," says Sony.


    Meanwhile, the Xperia E also boasts features to let you save on data and battery. Users can set it up to automatically disconnect from Wi-fi and data once the screen has been inactive for a few minutes. And Sony claims that its extended battery standby mode "increases the standby time up to 4 times" what you normally get from other devices.


    For sure, this is an economy-focused phone. But just because it doesn't boast the flashiness of the Bond-approved Xperia T, doesn't mean we should disregard it as merely a cheap device. As Sony's Director of Xperia Marketing Calum MacDougall explains:


    "Consumers looking to take their first steps into the world of Xperia smartphones would be well advised to look at Xperia E or Xperia E dual. They are perfect for those seeking affordable access to the quality and functionality more traditionally associated with high-end Android smartphones."


    Aside from more or less entry-level specs – it's got a Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1GHz single-core processor, a  3.5" display with a 480 x 320 resolution, and 4GB of internal memory – it does have a few fancy features. Among them, says PocketLint, is HD voice, which allows for much clearer talk.


    Over all, if you're looking for a no-nonsense Android phone without Bond's bells and whistles, the XPeria E and Xperia Edual are probably the going to be a good bet. But we'll have to wait for their release early next year to really know how they perform.




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