Last month, Apple began selling its iPhone 5. The new phone is bigger, but thinner than previous models and works with faster cellular networks known as 4G.
_ PHONE RIVAL
Apple’s leading rival, Samsung Electronics Co., came out with a new version of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S III, months ago. But Samsung is known for releasing products throughout the year, each targeted at a different base of consumers.
For those who like to work with a stylus, the Galaxy Note II smartphone came out this week. T-Mobile and Sprint are selling it now. U.S. Cellular will carry it starting Friday. Verizon and AT&T are taking advance orders for shipments in the coming weeks.
The Note comes on the heels of Samsung’s campaign touting its Galaxy S III phone as its “next big thing.” The Note is even bigger, with a 5.5 inch screen, compared with the S III’s 4.8 inches and the iPhone 5’s 4 inches, all measured diagonally.
The Note runs the latest version of Google’s Android system, Jelly Bean.
_ TABLET RIVALS
Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire is one of the smaller tablets with decent sales. Last month, it started shipping an updated version with a faster processor, more memory and longer battery life. It also cut the price to $159, from $199, making it far cheaper than the iPad, which starts at $399.
Amazon is also releasing higher-end models under the Kindle Fire HD line. A 7-inch one goes for $199 and an 8.9-inch one for $299. There’s also a $499 model that can use the 4G cellular networks that phone companies have been building. A data plan will cost an extra $50 a year. The smaller HD model is already available, while the larger ones will be available Nov. 20.
Barnes and Noble Inc. is also updating its Nook tablets. The new Nook HD will come in two sizes, one at 7 inches (starting at $199) and one at 9 inches (starting at $269). They will be out next Thursday.
In addition to the new HD screen and a lighter body, Barnes & Noble is increasing the services the Nook offers. It’s adding a video purchase and rental service, allowing users to maintain different profiles and making it easier to browse titles in its book and magazine stores.
Google has an event in New York next week. All the company is saying is that it has to do with its Android operating system for mobile devices. Google started selling the Nexus 7 over the summer and could use the event to announce an update.
Toys R Us, meanwhile, is making a 7-inch tablet aimed at children. The Tabeo went on sale this week for $149.99.
_ CALLING ON WINDOWS
Microsoft Corp. will release a new version of the Windows operating system on Friday, one that’s designed to work on both traditional computers and tablet devices.