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  • The cold case of what Apple has been up to has possibly been cracked. Photos, shown above and leaked over the weekend, appear to show what could be the next new phone from Apple. Branded with the name "iPhone 5C", and knowledge that Apple's next phone is supposedly low budget, will prompt jokes of the iPhone 5Cheap, but we have reason to believe that the C will in fact stand for something else.



    The C in iPhone 5C could stand for colour. It is believed that the new iPhone, which will be a budget phone in terms of hardware, will borrow from the iPhone line and introduce a wide range of colours in terms of casing. The phone itself is expected to come in at a mid-tier price despite its potentially low grade hardware, making it appear that the apple won't fall too far from the tree.


    As for a launch window, nothing is set in stone. It is expected to launch side-by-side with Apple's new flagship phone, whether that be the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6. That timing hasn't exactly been nailed down, but some say it could be as early as September. The iPhone 5S or 6 is expected to be something more akin to what we are used to with Apple, a new top of the line smartphone that is sure to shake up the mobile landscape. In terms of what the 5C is expected to be, think BlackBerry Q5. A clearly inferior, yet more financially palatable version of the BlackBerry Q10. Apple has been experiencing sales issues over the past year and a surge in competition from brands like Samsung and HTC, making their status as the top phone somewhat cloudy. With a new line of phones, including a variety of options, it wouldn't be surprising to see Apple propel itself far above the competition with its new phones.



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  • Better late than never for Google as they finally unveiled their new update for the Android Operating System, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. While it is no Key Lime Pie, the next big update coming to Android soon, this stepping stone does repair some of the qualms that users may have had with prior Android versions. Let's take a look at some of the new features of Google's new operating system and what you should expect on your Samsung, Sony, or Nexus phone.


    Android 4.3 features Multi-User Restricted Profiles. What this does is also a person to control which apps are used by certain users of the device. While less prudent on a phone, this app would be extremely useful at the tablet level as more tablets are considered shared devices amongst family and friends. This is a boost from the original system which allowed for the creation of profiles but did not allow for the creation of restrictions on said profiles. This feature also marks a step up on IOS machines, as devices like the iPad and iPad Mini have yet to develop a system that enables the creation of users.


    In what in considered a big step for Android gamers, the new operating system will feature Open GL ES 3.0. What is that you ask? It essentially is a software upgrade that allows programs to run more efficiently, and frankly, just plain better. This will improve gaming on every level on Android devices which is sure to please the both old and new Android gamers alike.


    Ultimately, most of the improvements to Android's flagship operating system would best be described as under the hood. While there are no new sexy features to discuss, the jump to 4.3 will makes things run easier for gamers, and introduce some profile management tools. While Jelly Bean will still satisfy an Android users sweet tooth, the table is now set for Key Lime Pie.



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  • Another day, another shot fired between the boats of Apple and Samsung, and this time it's in favour of the Galaxy S3 and S4 maker. Last week it was announced that Samsung had surpassed Apple in terms of profitability, becoming the most profitable phone maker in the world. This means the end of Apple's four year reign at the top, beginning with the rise of the iPhone. Samsung now has its own powerhouse in the Samsung Galaxy S3, and the recently released Samsung Galaxy S4. But how exactly did they, being Samsung, do it?


    It came down to last quarter. Apple posted $4.6 Billion in profit in the second quarter this. A handsome chunk of change for sure. Samsung managed to top that though, bringing in $5.6 Billion dollars in profit in the second quarter. The recipe to their success? strong volumes, high wholesale prices, and tight cost controls. Those factors combined pushed Samsung into the mobile profits lead, knocking the giant, apple, out of top spot for the first time in 4 years. But why did Apple sink? Apple has failed to deliver a wide variety of phones at lower price points, something they are now under a tremendous amount of pressure to do.


    So what's next? Well, Samsung is here to stay. While a lot of this has to do with Apple falling, Samsung has also risen up to take control of their share of the market. With that being said, I believe Apple is just one announcement away from regaining their post at the top. Why? Because no matter what Samsung does it will never be as cool as Apple. Plain and simple. The only problem with Apple right now is that they have gone too long between devices, but people will forget that when they roll out their next iPhone or iPhones later this year.



    This post was posted in Apple, General, News and PR, Samsung

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  • They may have just launched the HTC One and HTC One Mini, but HTC has started to stumble. The company is slowly but surely starting to separate itself Samsung and Apple, and not in a positive way. Even though their phone, the HTC One, is thought to be the best phone available on the market today, the company as a whole is starting to become something of a third wheel next to the giants of mobile technology. HTC is now looking to get their horse back in the race with their new Emerging Devices department, a department hell-bent on innovation.


    HTC's new department's main task is obvious. Find a way to make themselves the top phone builder. This would of course be done by making the most innovative products. In addition to creating new phones, the division also has the slightly vaguer task of working on "global distribution strategies".


    While there are no whispers of any new phones creeping out just yet, what is apparent is that there is a pretty major shakeup going on at HTC. Numerous people have come and gone over the past little while. This is a sign of the company's dissatisfaction of with mediocrity.


    The question is why does a company who builds the consensus best phone on the market need a shake up? Well, that vaguer part of the "Emerging Devices" department's mandate might play a role. To me it seems HTC has an image problem. Their name isn't as well known as Samsungs, and isn't as cool as Apples. It's a tough spot considering that the HTC One is such a good phone. While good products tend to sell themselves, HTC is up against the king of cool and the king of tech. This means they need to find a new way to breakthrough and get noticed in an oversaturated phone market and one built on being cool. While being good at something is usually good enough, HTC needs to work on doing it good, and looking good in the process. Something they have yet to master.



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  • Verizon has introduced a new plan to get you using newer phones faster. It's called Verizon Edge and it makes upgrading your phone early a breeze with an option to do so every six months. The plan, which comes into effect on August 25th, spreads payments on your next phone over 24 months and lets you upgrade every six months if 50% of the new phone's retail price has been covered.


    While the idea of getting a new phone every six months if you choose is pretty cool, it is worth noting that this plan is downright nasty when you get down to the basics of it. Essentially this plan gets you paying for the phone you have, and a phone you don't, before you even have it. The new monthly payment associated with this plan essentially breaks down as one part subsidy for your current phone, and one part payment for something you don't have. While this plan is worth it to some when used early and often, it is downright terrible for those who choose not to upgrade in the first year.


    For example, take a $650 Samsung Galaxy S4. At the end of your two year plan you will have fulfilled your $650 obligation to Verizon and paid off your phone. In addition to that you will have forked over $480 so you would have the opportunity to give Verizon even more of your money.


    What Verizon, and other companies adopting similar plans, are doing is taking advantage of the consumer's desire to buy new phones and keep up with technology. This plan, and others like it, take advantage of people who just want to stay current. What these companies need to do is offer a plan that treats their customers with integrity and come up with a plan that allows consumers to spend their money, but have something to show for it.



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  •  


    The Motorola X is coming soon, but facts are still pretty scant as the phone has been spotted in the wild and in the hands of some pretty powerful industry people. Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, was spotted with what many suspect is the Motorola X recently. But what exactly do we know about this device and when should be expect it to hit the market?


    Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, sporting the Motorola X

    First things first, all signs point towards this phone being something closer to a budget phone. This isn't the next HTC One, iPhone 5, or Samsung Galaxy S4. This doesn't mean it's a slouch though. It is rumoured to feature 4.7 inch 720p display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a 10 megapixel rear-facing camera, LTE, and run on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. What should make this device stand out is the name. Motorola is a veteran of the mobile phone industry. Secondly, this phone is expected to be streamlined. No bloated software, just a simple, clean interface that will appeal to casual phone users who want quality, but don't need the best specs. These less than high end specs will also reflect in this phone's pricing. Expect this to be a serious value phone.


    As for a release date, it is rumoured that this phone isn't too far off. Based on the fact that one of Google's top executives is flaunting it out in public means that this phone is coming close to hitting the market. Otherwise, why would the Executive Chairman of Google be using a less than high end phone? Google is the kind of company that does everything for a reason, and this blog and countless others are proving it. The date on the horizon is speculated to be August 23rd based on leaked documents from Verizon.



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  •  


    Microsoft has decided to cut the price of its flagship Surface tablet, leading to speculation that the company is worried about low sales or is possibly clearing stock in anticipation of a new line of tablets. The devices will now cost $350 for the 32GB model or $450 for the 64GB version. With a Touch Cover these prices increase by $100 to $450 for the 32GB model and $550 for the 64GB model.


    The Microsoft Surface Tablet with Smart Cover

    This represents a significant undercut on other premium tablets on the market. In fact, the Microsoft Surface retails at $250 less than the 32GB iPad and $80 less than the iPad Mini. They don't just tackle Apple with this price cut though. The Microsoft Surface also undercuts the Nexus 10 by $150 at retail. With the cuts, Microsoft will be competing directly with smaller and lower cost alternatives like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.


    While sales numbers regarding the Microsoft Surface remain scarce, it is believed that the tablet isn't performing as strong as Microsoft had hoped or expected. The cut in prices could in response to that or it could also be something else altogether. Some are speculating that Microsoft is preparing to refresh their line of tablets. Just last week at their Worldwide Partner Conference Microsoft teased the idea of launching new versions of their Surface and Surface Pro tablets. It is believed that the surface would be in line to receive an upgraded Haswell Chip. The Surface Pro would possibly be outfitted with a Snapdragon 800 processor.


    Whatever Microsoft decides to do, the damage appears to have been done when it comes to their Surface experiment. The price cut comes across to me as white flag. The interesting part will be to see what Microsoft does next. It isn't enough to make a comparable tablet to the iPad, they need to blow it out of the water. If Microsoft is able to release a tablet that does that, maybe then we'll see someone finally take a chunk out of Apple as of yet impenetrable armour.



    This post was posted in General, News and PR, Tablets

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  • It may only be a couple of months old, but the HTC One will soon be getting an update or two. Rumours are running rampant that not only will the powerhouse smartphone receive an upgrade before 2014, but that an entirely new and improved HTC One (The HTC One Two?) will be coming in 2014. In addition to these new phones, their may also be a new low cost version of the One coming. This is, of course, not out of the blue for HTC, who released The One X and quickly followed that up with The One X+ in 2012. We'll take a look at all these new models (names not confirmed) right now.


    The original HTC One in all its glory

    The HTC One


    A new version of the massively popular HTC One is very likely on its way. This phone will be a near copy of the HTC One outside of one glaring omission. The new version is said to do away with the solid aluminum body of the One in favour of a cheaper plastic chassis.


     


    The HTC One.5


    The new version of the HTC One, which is said to be coming out later this year, would also be similar to the HTC One, but would feature some improvements on the highly rated phone. One such improvement would be the introduction of the Snapdragon 800 chipset. The HTC One ships with that chips predecessor, the Snapdragon 600. This would of course represent a boost in speed for the device which is already considered amongst the fastest available.


     


    The HTC M8


    Not much is known about this phone outside of its spy-like codename. It is believed that prototype M8s have been used to test a new version of the Android operating system, Android 4.3., and that it will be coming out sometime in 2014.



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  •  


    News outlets across the United States opened their inboxes this week to find an invitation from AT&T to an event to discuss “what’s next in wireless”. While speculation could range from phone offerings, to internet services, to any other product, you can bet your bottom dollar that AT&T is calling the media together to discuss the future of LTE and the introduction of their new super-high speed network, LTE-Advanced.



    AT&T is keeping very quiet on what exactly they plan to talk about at this event. But like any secret in the twitter-age, the cat is pretty much out of the bag for AT&T at this point. The announcement, if it is the announcement we are expecting, should be met with good feelings as most people would welcome a boost to their mobile browsing speeds. AT&T currently run LTE networks in 300 different cities, lagging behind rival Verizon by almost 200 cities.


    LTE-Advanced should nearly double the speed of traditional LTE upon its launch. This is accomplished by combining cellular radio channels to increase download speeds. This process is called cellular aggregation.


    If AT&T is planning to introduce this beefier LTE network, it will be a direct challenge to Verizon who currently have and maintain the nation’s largest LTE network. Verizon runs high-speed networks using LTE in just about 500 cities but their coverage is considered widely to be about quantity over quality as AT&T’s network is already considered the faster network. The addition of LTE-Advanced would significantly increase that divide between the two mega rivals.


    No matter what AT&T announces, you can expect to get coverage on PureMobile’s insider blog. Check out PureMobile now to see if we can outfit your phone with the latest in accessories for your Apple, Samsung, HTC, Sony, or BlackBerry phone.



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  •  


    Last week, both HTC and Samsung released less than inspiring quarterly numbers raising the question, has the smartphone market become over-saturated? With smartphone makers releasing new phones regularly, it raises the debate that maybe the bubble is about to burst when it comes to smartphone sales. What is going wrong? What do companies need to do to sustain smartphone growth?


    This of course all starts with the news that HTC and Samsung’s stock fell last week after not meeting sales or market expectations. In the case of Samsung it is particularly interesting. Samsung actually managed a 47% increase in profit and is viewed to be selling a large number of its new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones. But still, the market spoke, and stock prices fell. In fact, Samsung’s stock has dropped almost 17% this year. But why? This is because Samsung warned investors that it didn’t think it would be able to grow sales as well they had in the past.


    Now the obvious question. Why can’t companies grow sales? What has happened to the smartphone market? Well, to start, I can’t remember the last time I was wowed. I didn’t adopt the iPhone until the 4S came along, but you can bet I remember the keynotes from Steve Jobs telling me about a phone that would ultimately grow to take over the mobile phone market. Since then, what killer feature or insanely popular piece of tech has captured the audience and truly wowed it? Lots of people enjoyed Sony dunking its phone in a tank of water, but gimmicks aside, we are still waiting for the new iPhone. Since 2007 we have been waiting for the next great smartphone, and six years is a lifetime in the world of tech.


    The Original iPhone from Apple launched in 2007.

    But I don’t need to say anything. Smartphone makers have been giving out subtle signs that they know the road is getting rougher. As mentioned, Samsung told its investors about their fears, but even Apple is concerned. The smartphone giant is reported to have cuts its production of new iPhones from 40 million to 25 million. These companies are obviously paying attention to world statistics, as it is expected by 2014 that the number of cellphones will exceed the number of people on earth. Clearly these companies need to innovate or risk being added to the pile of cast-off phones.



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