Enjoy our round-up of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week including the new TAG Heuer Racer phone, an Angry Birds-sponsored F1 driver and more iPad Mini rumours.
1. Samsung Official Supposedly Confirms iPad Mini
One of the most enduring Apple rumours is the potential for a smaller iPad model, probably using a 7.85-inch screen, often dubbed the iPad Mini. An unnamed Samsung official has now been quoted as saying such a device will be coming near the end of the year, and that it will be supplying the screens to Apple. The late Steve Jobs famously disliked tablets with smaller screens, and considered the 9.7-inch iPad to be perfect for handheld use.
2. High Sales Expected for Nokia’s Lumia 610
According to Compal, the manufacturers of the Lumia 610, it’s expected that four million Lumia 610 phones will ship during the next quarter. The budget phone was announced during Mobile World Congress and is aimed at both growing markets and the PAYG sector. Add this impressive sales projection to sales of Nokia’s other Lumia phones, and the company could see total sales of up to 7 million over the coming three months.
3. TAG Heuer Unveil the Racer
TAG Heuer is the latest brand to jump on the luxury smartphone wagon with the Racer, a carbon-fibre and titanium device ‘inspired by GT racing cars.’ It does actually look good, and at least comes with Android and a ‘high-speed’ processor, which is more than many of these form-over-function phones can boast. The price? Its yours for around £2,335. Watching the elaborate trailer video won’t cost you anything though.
4. Prototype Sony Ericsson Windows Phone Auctioned on eBay
Sony Ericsson never released a phone running Windows Phone 7, but there were rumours of such a device, and sure enough, a prototype has recently been put up for auction on eBay. The device, codenamed Julie, was subsequently removed before the auction ended, but not before it reached $3000 in bids.
5. Instagram Coming to Android Soon
The Android version of hit iOS photo-sharing app Instagram is currently being beta-tested, and should be ready for release soon. Revealed during SXSW in Texas this week, it was also announced the iPhone version has been downloaded in excess of 27 million times.
6. Rovio Sponsors F1 Driver Heikki Kovalainen
If you’re going to be watching the season-opening F1 race from Australia this weekend, look out for Caterham driver Heikki Kovalainen, as he has been sponsored by Angry Birds creator Rovio. Sporting an excellent Red Bird design on his crash helmet, along with matching text, it really looks the part, but it’s unlikely a catapult will be used to launch him off the line!
7. Lazer Bird Revealed
To make sure we’re as excited as possible for the upcoming launch of Angry Birds Space, Rovio has released another teaser video for the game, this time featuring one of the new birds. Looking suspiciously like a costumed yellow bird, the new character has been named Lazer Bird, and is described as ‘one of the fastest objects in the universe.’ See him in action in this video.
8. New iPad Has 1GB of RAM
Although it wasn’t mentioned during the launch event, a series of benchmark figures have revealed the new Retina Display-equipped iPad has 1GB of RAM instead of the 512MB seen in the iPad 2. This upgrade joins the new A5X processor, which shares the same clock speed as the A5, but has a quad-core GPU. The new iPad goes on sale today.
9. Sony Xperia S Gets PlayStation Store Access
Like the Xperia Play, the recently launched Sony Xperia S is a PlayStation certified device, and as such deserves entrance into the PlayStation store, just like its cousin. While this wasn’t possible at first, Sony has now granted the Xperia S access to the store, and many of the titles previously only available for the Xperia Play can be downloaded to the Xperia S too.
10. The Geode iPhone Case Will Replace Your Wallet
The iCache Geode is a special iPhone case that can display barcodes input into the accompanying app, so you’ll never need to carry those store cards around any longer. Also, a credit card can be registered with iCache, then the magnetic strip on the case replicates it, allowing you to pay as you would with the card. A fingerprint scanner protects all your data too. Currently being funded via Kickstarter, the Geode should go on sale later this year for around $200. No UK release has been stated as yet.