Fall’s Hottest Smartphones: A Buyer’s Guide

With Apple's latest iPhone widely expected next month, anyone shopping for a new phone right now has a lot to consider. USA TODAY's Nancy Blair and Edward C. Baig offer a roundup of fall's hottest handsets, in no particular order, keeping in mind that pricing and availability may change:


How to choose? Android fans have a shelf full of offerings to consider from every major Android maker. Google-owned Motorola just unveiled the Moto X, the first flagship phone under the Google umbrella. This month also brought the unveiling of LG's G2, which will be coming to U.S. carriers sometime later this summer or early fall. And for Android purists, the Google Play store now offers stock Android versions of the Samsung Galaxy line's popular S4 and the HTC One.


HTC's thin and stylish HTC One reached U.S. consumers this spring on every major wireless carrier except for Verizon, where the release date has been pushed back several times.

With sleek unibody construction and premium feel, the HTC One offers an excellent screen display, some slick photo features and a unique BlinkFeed interface that pushes your content front and center. Rather than typical icons, you can get a stream of your photos, news and more.

This is a knockout phone. It has great-sounding speakers. And it can capture a few seconds of video and still images through a feature called "Zoe." But it's not without flaws. The Zoe software isn't very intuitive, and the phone's on-screen home button is in an odd place.

Pricing: $199.99 for a 32GB version ($299 for 64GB) at AT&T and Sprint with two-year service contracts. At T-Mobile: $99.99 down payment and $20 monthly payments over 24 months.

Key specs: HTC UltraPixel Camera, 1080p HD video capture and playback, Beats Audio, quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.


The first phone produced from scratch...

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Lenovo Mobile Sales Drive Profit Growth

Lenovo Group says it is evolving quickly into a supplier of wireless computing, driven by booming sales of smartphones and tablets as consumers shift away from desktop computers.

Sales of wireless devices rose 105 percent in the three months ended June 30, driving a 23 percent rise in profit to $174 million, Lenovo announced Thursday. Total revenue rose 10 percent to $8.8 billion.

Lenovo was declared the No. 1 personal computer maker in the latest quarter by research firms Gartner and IDC. But that came as global PC shipments fell for a fifth straight quarter, highlighting the rapid consumer shift to mobile.

"We actually sold more smartphones and tablets than PCs in this quarter for the first time ever," said CFO Wong Wai Ming in a conference call with reporters.

PC shipments were flat and their share of total revenue fell to 28 percent. Laptop sales, which account for 52 percent of revenue, rose 4.7 percent. Mobile devices supplied 14 percent of revenue.

"We are impressed by Lenovo's strong execution," said Barclay's analysts in a report. "It is the only Asia PC company that is able to deliver market expectation results, facing strong headwinds from concerns about global PC and smartphone demand, as well as a slowdown of China's economy."

Lenovo, with headquarters in Beijing and in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, broke into the wireless market with the 2010 launch of its first smartphone.

It has since released more phones and Web-linked tablets to compete with Apple Inc., South Korea's Samsung Electronics Corp. and Taiwan's HTC Corp.

An update of its Thinkpad laptop released last year was designed to appeal to tablet users with features that mimic the quick startup and response times of mobile devices.

Other traditional technology leaders are also scrambling to shift emphasis to mobile products and to diversify into services as well as hardware.


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When Carl Icahn Tweets, People Listen

Billionaire financier Carl Icahn's use of Twitter to disclose his position in Apple is going to be used as a blueprint by companies, investors and Wall Street firms for the rest of this decade, if not longer.

Here's why: Apart from the fact that it boosted Apple's market value by about $20 billion -- making it one of the most-profitable tweets yet -- the Icahn approach to Twitter toed the line on U.S. securities laws.

He first filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday via his investment vehicle, Icahn Enterprises, which is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker "IEP."

In the filing, Icahn stated that he might use Twitter to release information that could be considered "material."

He also released the same information on his Web site the same day, a day before he tweeted his position in Apple and made one thing clear: Twitter has become not only a nascent news medium, but the Internet version of a new financial news wire.

The business of providing to Wall Street traders and big investment houses information which can move a stock is today worth billions of dollars in annual revenue.

It's been dominated for the last decade by Bloomberg, the Reuters news unit of Thomson and Dow Jones Newswires.

That means if Twitter is planning an IPO soon -- and USA TODAY has found that two of the job positions the company has listed for hire indicate that Twitter is preparing a filing -- its revenue stream might be more diverse than just selling ads.

If Twitter becomes a de facto news wire -- with any investor or company able to use it to distribute material information -- it will have the capacity to take future revenue away from those three huge news operations.

Twitter may one day do to business and technology news...

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Review: Jobs Is About Apple More Than the Man

A better title for this film might have been "The History of Apple Computers." "Jobs" aims to be the first biopic about tech giant Steve Jobs (Sony's Aaron Sorkin project is next), but instead of offering insight into the man, it's a chronology of Apple and the advent of personal computers.

Ashton Kutcher plays Jobs convincingly enough. The "Two and a Half Men" star looks uncannily like the Apple co-founder, right down to the lumbering gait, and there's no trace of Kutcher's kooky-character past here. But with a script by first-time screenwriter Matt Whitely that focuses more on corporate events than characters, there's no chance to look deeper into the man behind the Mac.

Directed by Joshua Michael Stern ("Swing Vote"), "Jobs" opens with the Apple chief introducing the first iPod in 2001. Then it jumps back almost 30 years, when Jobs was a scruffy, barefoot, Reed College dropout on campus just for kicks. (James Woods appears briefly as a concerned school administrator, but is never seen again.) Jobs hallucinates in a field, travels to India, and suddenly it's 1976, and he's struggling in his job at Atari. Prone to outbursts and, apparently, body odor, he turns to his friend, Steve "Woz" Wozniak (Josh Gad), for help. Jobs discovers a computer prototype Woz built, and a few months later, Apple Computers is born.

Gad is the heart of the film. Though his character, like the others, is weakly developed, Gad's vulnerability as Wozniak makes him the most relatable. There's also heart in the soundtrack, a romp through the 1960s and 70s that includes songs by Cat Stevens, Joe Walsh and Bob Dylan.

Jobs, on the other hand, could be a real jerk. He dismisses his pregnant girlfriend (Ahna O'Reilly) and denies paternity of their daughter. He withholds stock benefits from founding members of his...

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