The G Stylo is focused on bringing phablet productivity at a lower price point. Did LG have to compromise camera quality to reach that price? Let’s take a look!
Asus is relative new to the smartphone market. They’re a brand really well known for their tablets and laptops. While their Zenfone 2 has been available in select countries for a couple months now, Asus took the stage in New York City to announce their plans to sell the phone here in the United States.
Zenfone 2 marks some interesting hardware choices. Instead of turnign to Qualcomm or Mediatek for the processor, Asus is using Intel’s Atom, a chipset more commonly found in Windows tablets. The higher end ZenFone will also be the first smartphone to sport 4GB of RAM.
The rest of the hardware is nipping at the heels of the flagship market, with a 5.5″ 1080p display, a 13MP camera utilizing pixel merging and software stabilization, a 3000mAh battery, and MicroSD card storage expansion. Fast charging will provide a 60% charge in up to 40 minutes.
Asus has already built up a small ecosystem of accessories inculding a flip case, an LED flash which plugs into the headset jack, a Xenon flash which approaches proper camera flashes, a 10,050mAh small form factor powerbank and a pair of high quality ear buds.
Asus is looking to compete by busting up flagship pricing. The faster Intel Quad-core paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will sell for $299, while the slower Quad-core, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage will sell for $199. Really exciting price points to bring what looks like capable hardware to the North American market.
Lastly, also interesting, Asus looks to be side-stepping carrier partnerships. No word on if ZenFone will be sold in carrier stores, but starting tomorrow, the phone will be available directly to consumers via online retailers Amazon, NewEgg, and B&H.
Rumors have been swirling that Google would launch their own phone service, and today we have official confirmation on their plans.
Instead of building their own towers, Google will lease their connection on partner networks, Sprint and T-Mobile at launch. This makes Google an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), and brings them the advantage of not having to build out a competing network. The trick to Project Fi will be in delivering consumers a seamless transition between data and calls over Wi-Fi and on partner networks.
In subscribing to Fi, you will automatically be connected to the best possible network in your area. If Sprint has the best connection, your phone will connect to that network. Move to an area that’s rich for T-Mobile, you’ll jump ship to the UnCarrier. The consumer no longer has to mess with coverage maps or swapping SIM cards.
Pricing seems reasonable for an MVNO. There’s a base $20 a month fee for unlimited Talk and Text, with coverage for 120+ countries. Data costs $10 per GB. Want 4GB of LTE data, that will cost you $40. As the service moves between different carriers, it’s not very easy to do rollover data, instead Google is opting for cash back. If you pay for 4GB, but only use 2GB, you will receive a bill credit for $20.
Project Fi will start as an invite only service, and will only be compatible with the Nexus 6 at launch. It’s unclear how Google will move forward with other handset manufacturers, or what the certifications process for Fi compatible handsets will resemble.
You can request an invite at https://fi.google.com/about/
The unlocked phone market is going to get a little more exciting.
This is Moto’s first serious stab at the global market under Google’s ownership. The Moto G aims for the same developing markets targeted by Nokia with their Asha devices and the formidable $100 Lumia 520. Moto G is more expensive, but carries better specs and the Android app ecosystem certainly doesn’t hurt.
Getting into those better specs, a 4.5″ 720p LCD display is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It’s lower power per individual core than phones like the HTC One, but it’s twice as many cores as a handset in this price range typically receives. 1GB of RAM should keep plenty of apps running simultaneously, and there are options for 8GB at $179 or 16GB of storage for $199.
A 1.3MP front facing camera should be plenty fine for video chat, and a 5MP shooter is bolted onto the back. Lastly a 2,070 mAh battery should give the G decent staying power. Provided the quad-core doesn’t run to hard, that’s a larger battery than most entry level phones receive. There wont be a removeable battery, there’s no LTE, nor the ability to add more storage as Moto G lacks MicroSD. Obvious concessions at this price point.
This is also the second phone from Motorola to carry this design aesthetic. Sculpted modeled polycarb, organic rounded lines, the G looks very similar to the Moto X, which is a good thing. It’s a compact and attractive handset. It’s unlikely that there will be the same customization options available for the Moto G as there are for Moto X (especially with the recent opening of MotoMaker for all carriers), but there is a removeable backplate. Moto G will launch with a handful of colors blue, teal, red, yellow, purple, white, and black. Expect to see additional full body covers and a rugged case option after launch.
Maybe most exciting, this phone is launching with Android 4.3 JellyBean, but will soon be updated to Android 4.4. KitKat’s focus is on low power hardware, improving the Android experience for devices in that sub $200 price range. Those phones usually end up getting single processors, 512MB of RAM, and they have to run Android 2.3. The Moto G could be one of the first phones to really showcase the benefits of KitKat’s optimizations while presenting it on more current and powerful hardware at an accessible price. This demonstrates a higher tier of software support than most expect at this tier.
Motorola has struggled to move Moto X as it had to compete against iPhones and Galaxies, but while in Google’s pocket (and with access to Google’s checkbook) disrupting the entry level market could be Motorola’s path to better mindshare.
Moto G is available in Brazil and a handful of European markets today. We should see it launch in Latin America and Canada in the coming weeks. We’re expecting USA availability in January of next year. Watch Motorola’s announcement for more info and demos after the jump!