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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

New phones galore: Samsung S5, HTC Desire, Sony Z2 and more

If you’re considering a new phone, you suddenly have a lot more choices.

Here’s a quick look at the batch of new phones announced today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, starting with the likely best-seller — Samsung’s Galaxy S5:

 Samsung image

Samsung image

The latest version of Samsung’s flagship phone will go on sale in April at AT&T, T-Mobile and other carriers.

Highlights include a high-def, 5.1-inch display (up from the s4’s 5-inch display); improved battery, with up to 21 hours of talk time; and a 16 megapixel camera that can capture video at 4K resolution. It runs Android KitKat on a 2.5 gigahertz, quad-core processor. The S5 also works with the latest versions of LTE — with speeds up 150 megabits per second — and can “bond” LTE and available Wi-Fi service to boost download performance.

Samsung added a heart sensor to the device — which comes with Samsung’s digital health app — and a fingerprint sensor. Like the latest iPhone, it also comes in a gold tone:

Samsung image

Samsung image

If the S5 is too mainstream, consider the new ZTE phones based on the Firefox OS. The colorful ZTE Open C,  shown below in orange, will debut in the second quarter, starting in Venezuela and Uruguay. U.S. customers are being offered an updated version of the ZTE Open, which has been sold here via eBay since 2013.

ZTE image

ZTE image

You’ll also have to travel overseas to buy one of Nokia’s nifty new Android-based, quasi-Windows phones announced in Barcelona. The Nokia X, X+ and XL run an open version of Android with a Windows-like tiled interface and come preloaded with Microsoft services, such as Skype, OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) and They also come in a rainbow of colored plastic bodies, similar to Nokia’s higher-end, Lumia Windows phones.

The phones were presented at the conference by Nokia executive Stephen Elop, who could wear sneakers since he’s no longer a candidate for Microsoft chief executive:

Nokia image

Nokia image

The Nokia X, with a 4-inch touchscreen and a 3 megapixel camera, is listed at 89 Euros and available in just about every market other than North America. The X+ has more memory and storage and the XL has a 5-inch display, 5 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera. The X+ and XL will sell for 99 to 109 Euros when they go on sale overseas in the second quarter.

I wonder if the XL chassis will be repurposed as an entry level Windows phone to replace the popular but aging Lumia 520 and 521 models.

Nokia XL, Nokia image

Nokia XL, Nokia image

Sony announced the Xperia Z2, an upgraded version of its waterproof Android phone with a 5.2-inch display. The Z2 has a 20.7 megapixel camera that can capture 4K video.

Drawing on its video expertise, Sony gave the Z2 apps, such as “timeshift video,” which lets users shoot 120 frames per second then slow playback speeds for slow motion effects. Inside the phone has 2.3 gigahertz quad-core processor.

Sony image of Xperia Z2

Sony image of Xperia Z2

The company also announced a Z2 tablet, a fitness-tracking wristband and the mid-range Xperia M2 smartphone with an 8 megapixel camera, 4.8-inch display and 1.2 gigahertz quad-core processor.  The M2 goes on sale in March. Both of Sony’s new phones will come preloaded with Sony movies, including “Captain Phillips” on the Z2.

Sony image of the Xperia M2

Sony image of the Xperia M2

HTC unveiled its follow up to the HTC One. Called the Desire 816, it has the One’s dual-front speakers and frame design but comes in a range of colors and has a bigger screen (5.5 inches) and better camera (13 megapixel). The Desire 816 will be available this spring.

HTC image

HTC image

Samsung also announced a new version of its Gear smartwatch with a more powerful processor, integrated heart monitor, slimmer case and a camera that fits into the watch instead of on the band like the original Gear, which went on sale last fall.

The Gear 2 is a bit less tethered to the user’s phone. It includes a standalone music player and fitness apps that don’t require a phone nearby. It can also be used as a TV remote control with a new Samsung app.


Samsung image

Samsung image


Samsung also switched from Android to the Tizen operating system for its Gear 2, which goes on sale in April.

Samsung also announced the Gear Fit fitness wristband that syncs with smartphones and also goes on sale in April.

Samsung image

Samsung image

Here are the specs for Samsung’s S5:


LTE Cat.4 (150/50Mbps)


5.1” FHD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080)


2.5GHz Quad core application processor


Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat)


16MP (rear), 2.0MP (front)


UHD@30fps, HDR, video stabilizationVideo Codec : H.263, H.264(AVC), MPEG4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark, MP43, WMV7, WMV8, VP8Video Format: MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM





HDR (Rich tone), Selective Focus, Virtual Tour Shot, Shot&More



IP67 Dust and water Resistant

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Download Booster

S Health 3.0

Quick Connect

Private Mode

Kids Mode

Google Mobile Services Chrome, Drive, Photos, Gmail, Google, Google+, Google Settings, Hangouts, Maps, Play Books, Play Games, Play Newsstand, Play Movie & TV, Play Music, Play Store, Voice Search, YouTube


WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac HT80, MIMO(2×2)

Bluetooth®: 4.0 BLE / ANT+

USB: USB 3.0


IR Remote


Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, Hall, RGB ambient light, Gesture(IR), Finger Scanner, Heart rate sensor



Internal Memory: 16/32GB 

microSD slot upto 64GB


142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm, 145g



Standby time: 390 hrs / Talk time: 21 hrs

Comments | Topics: Android, gadgets and products, Google


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