It’s summer blockbuster time for mobile news, as this week was jam-packed with hot scoops and big deals. Apple giving away free iPhone 4 bumper cases was the big story today, but we also saw the launch of the Motorola Droid X on Verizon, the Samsung Galaxy S phones hit the wild and we put together some cool pieces about the history of Android and gave you the skinny on the best superphones. Without further ado, let’s dive into this week in mobile news.
Apple offers mea culpa, free cases
In a hastily-assembled press conference Friday, Apple addressed the growing concern over the iPhone 4 antenna reception issues. The company said that the “Antennagate” issue was being blown out of proportion by the media but it nonetheless offered customers free bumper cases.
After the Apple iPhone 4 launched, users reported demonstrable signal drops when you held the device in a certain manner. Most believe this is due to the external antenna on the new iPhone. But Apple, somewhat defensively, said this is a problem with all modern smartphones and it even launched a web page showing the same “Death Grip” on other devices.
Apple also said the controversy is largely media-driven, as less than 1% of its users have complained about this specific issue. It also noted that return rates are extremely low and that the Apple iPhone 4 is dropping calls at a lower rate than the 3GS. The company did offer free bumper cases until the end of September in order to appease frustrated customers.
So, we received an apology from Apple and free cases but the company never said it was working on a fix. Instead, it insisted that this is a problem with all smartphones and that the external antenna on the iPhone 4 was not particularly to blame. Will this be enough to satisfy users?
Motorola Droid X launches, sells out
The Motorola Droid X launched on Verizon Thursday and the Android handset appears to be a big hit. It sports a 4.3-inch screen, Android 2.1 (with 2.2. coming shortly), WiFi, Mobile Hotspot capabilities, 3G, GPS, Bluetooth and an 8-megapixel camera that can record HD video. The smartphone costs about $200 after a mail-in rebate and a new two-year contract.
How is the phone?
If you’re on Verizon and are eligible for an upgrade this year, there’s no reason to not buy the Droid X when it comes out July 15, even if you’re a fan of physical keyboards (the virtual one is just that good). It’s even good enough to lure Apple iPhone owners over to the dark side.
You may have some trouble getting this thing immediately though, as it’s already sold out online and there were plenty of long lines on launch day. Hopefully, there will be enough units available soon for everyone who wants it.
Samsung Galaxy S phones hit the scene
Apple, HTC and Motorola have been the major players in the high-end smartphone space but Samsung is making a huge push with its Galaxy S lineup. T-Mobile launched the Vibrant Thursday and we got a hold of the AT&T Captivate, and both Android devices are pretty darn good.
Both rock the downright gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, Android 2.1 with some UI tweaks, a 5-megapixel camera that can record HD video and all the connectivity goodies you’d expect from a device like this. Again, I have to mention how much I love that screen because it’s incredibly crisp and vibrant. This and the iPhone 4’s Retina Display are hands-down the best screens on smartphones today.
You’ll be able to get the Vibrant for under $200 with a new two-year contract with T-Mobile and the Captivate is expected to launch this Sunday for a similar price tag on AT&T’s network.
By now, you should know that we love to film these phones, so check out the unboxing video of the Captivate and a brief UI walk through.
An Android retrospective
Oh Android. I remember when that little green robot first hit the streets on the T-Mobile G1 and I remember that it showed promise but was ultimately kind of cruddy.
Android has certainly come a long way, baby, and we took a look at this evolution in an incredibly detailed post by our resident Android head, Blake. He traced the growth from Donut on to the upcoming Gingerbread and it’s a must-read for any smartphone fan.
You can be sure that we’ll update the post as more information comes out about Gingerbread. We’ll also keep you informed about future versions throughout the years, so you can look forward to IntoMobile giving you the dirt on Pineapple upside down cake, Tiramisu and whatever other deliciousness Google delivers.
Superphone Shootout, Round 2
With the Apple iPhone 4, Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible and EVO 4G, and Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup, it’s getting tough to tell what can be the right phone for you. Luckily, we’ve thrown all these devices in our Superphone Shootout.
When you’re talking about devices of this caliber, it’s extremely tough to determine a true winner. In fact, we specifically didn’t want to do that because each device offers great capabilities, as well some drawbacks. We break down the hardware and software features of each superphone, as well as give you our take.
The bottom line is that there is now a stellar superphone on all four major carriers and that’s a great thing for consumers. Check out how the Droid X stacks up against the EVO 4G and look forward to more comparison videos shortly.
Peace out, friends
Wow. This was a busy week and I didn’t even get to talk about my time at MobileBeat 2010 on Monday and Tuesday. I’m going to get ready to watch Inception but the IntoMobile team will continue to update throughout the weekend, so keep it tuned here.
Be safe, friends, there are a lot of crazy people out there.