Thursday, 15 July 2010

Android Community

Android Community

HTC Desire HD (aka HTC Ace) specs tipped for October launch

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 08:15 AM PDT

Last we heard of the HTC Ace, it was featuring on a leaked UK carrier roadmap and tipped for a release in October 2010.  Now there are some specs pieced together by SuperEtrader, and while we recommend liberal pinches of salt there’s still plenty to get excited about.  According to the retailer, the HTC Ace will launch as the HTC Desire HD, and have a 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera, 1GHz Qualcomm processor and Android 2.2.

They’ve also tipped 720p HD video recording, Xvid playback and SRS surround sound support, together with automatic face tracking for the camera, Flash 10 and a relatively low 4GB of internal storage.  No word on what it might look like physically, aside from having a “unibody aluminium design” which sounds a lot like what HTC has done with the Legend (and, for that matter, what we saw in the HTC 1 concept earlier this week).  Fitting successor to the HTC Desire?  You tell us.

  • 4.3 inch WVGA Touch Screen
  • 8 Mega Pixel Camera
  • 1 GHZ Qualcomm Processor
  • Android 2.2 OS
  • HD 720p Video Capture
  • Xvid Video Playback
  • SRS Surround Sound
  • Automatic Face Tracking
  • Adobe Flash 10 Support
  • 4GB Internal Memory (up to 32GB)
  • E-book Reader Feature
  • Uni-Body Aluminium Design

[via Twitter]


Motorola bootloader could brick ROM-tampered phones

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 06:18 AM PDT

When we wrote yesterday about Motorola’s confirmation that the DROID X, DROID 2 and – most likely – all future Android handsets from the company would come with a locked bootloader and thus make hacking pretty difficult, we didn’t realise quite how difficult it would actually be.  According to MyDroidWorld, Motorola’s locking system uses a so-called eFuse chip that verifies the handset’s firmware (i.e. the ROM), the kernel and the bootloader version.  If it detects that a non-Motorola ROM has been loaded, then that’s when the problem starts.

If any of those three elements have been modified unofficially, the eFuse “blows” and the handset is bricked to the user.  Now, the eFuse can be reset but that can apparently only be done with specialist hardware that Motorola themselves had; in other words, you’ll have to test quite how happy the company is with you loading third-party ROMs and then trying to claim under their warranty.  Considering yesterday’s information, we’re guessing Not Happy At All is the answer.


App Inventor gets early developer thumbs-up

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 05:28 AM PDT

Google’s App Inventor software for quickly creating Android smartphone apps is already pulling in positive reviews, and early concerns about the flexibility and general capabilities of the development kit look to have been relatively unfounded.  Robert Oschler has been in touch to describe his experience with App Inventor: he put together a chat-bot style text to speech app with Twitter integration, and it took him little over a day of tinkering.

AppEliza is a free ELIZA style therapist chat-bot for Android phones.  You talk to it and tell it your problems, and it responds via Text To Speech.  It can also echo your conversation to a Twitter account.  AppEliza incorporates Google’s speech recognition web service and the Eyes-Free Text To Speech package, the former is part of every Android phone and the later is a free download from the Android Marketplace.

The excitement here isn’t the app since AppEliza is a simple pattern based chat-bot that reacts to trigger words and phrases, mainly those dealing with feelings and family, and uses the power of ambiguity to “fake it” the rest of the time.  The excitement is due to AppInventor, the tool that was used to create AppEliza in a single day, except for the Twitter support that I added to it this morning and that took a little over an hour.

Hyperbole is a huge problem on the web but I feel confident as a veteran developer to call AppInventor one of the best rapid development tools I have ever used and I am astonished at how fast I am able to create Android applications.

Not yet in the Android Market, you can download the AppEliza .apk file here and check out the sort of Twitter integration that’s possible here.  If you’ve tried App Inventor we’d be interested to hear from you; let us know in the comments.


Samsung Road SMS for Galaxy S hands-on [Video]

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 02:58 AM PDT

We’ve a soft spot for augmented reality (AR) apps and a dislike of walking into lampposts, so Samsung’s new Road SMS app for the Galaxy S satisfies both our hunger for gimmicks and personal safety.  Available exclusively through the Samsung Apps download store on the Galaxy S – and, we’re guessing, on the Vibrant, Captivate and any other Galaxy S variant the company pushes out – the Road SMS app basically overlays a QWERTY keyboard on top of a live view from the phone’s camera.

That means you can strut along the street, texting away to your hearts content, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for open manhole covers, angry dogs or stray celebrities.  Unfortunately the app itself is pretty basic: all you have is a keyboard, a shortcut to choose the message recipient and a character counter (which seems to want to limit messages to 80 rather than the more usual 160 characters); there’s no way to browse incoming messages or indeed take a photo for an MMS.

Still, as a free gimmick it’s pretty neat, and we imagine someone will soon rip it from the Samsung ROM and offer it on other custom installs for rival handsets.  Full demo in the video below.

Samsung Road SMS on the Galaxy S:


T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant goes on sale

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 02:16 AM PDT

Keen for a new Android smartphone today but not feeling the DROID X?  T-Mobile USA may have the device for you, in the shape of the Samsung Vibrant, their version of the Galaxy S, freshly on sale for $199.99 after various instant and mail-in discounts.

That gets you a 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA display, 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, 5-megapixel camera and 16GB of storage.  The Vibrant runs Android 2.1 with the Samsung TouchWiz 3.0 UI on top.

We’ve got the Samsung Vibrant in for review at the moment, and are working through its various features and foibles, but if you’re looking for a snapshot then check out our full Galaxy S review over at SlashGear – despite a few differences, the phones are basically identical.


Motorola DROID X goes on sale

Posted: 15 Jul 2010 01:18 AM PDT

Motorola’s DROID X has finally gone up for sale, hitting Verizon Wireless’ site for $199.99 after a $100 online discount (and with a new, two-year agreement).  Your money gets you an 8-megapixel camera, huge 4.3-inch 854 x 480 touchscreen, EVDO Rev.A connectivity – complete with a 3G mobile hotspot app to share it via WiFi – and Android 2.1 with Motorola’s updated MOTOBLUR social networking integration.

Still undecided about the DROID X?  Check out our full review over at SlashGear.


Samsung Fascinate Still Coming to Verizon, Just Not Soon

Posted: 14 Jul 2010 03:21 PM PDT

So, the Motorola Droid X is launching tomorrow. And, to be honest, we were actually just about ready to put up a post trying to determine which device all of you were more excited about. Which device you were going to slap your hard earned money down for. But then this happened. And well, considering the news we think we may already know the answer. Though, feel free to voice your opinion anyway (Droid X or Fascinate). According to Verizon, it doesn’t look like the largest wireless company in the United States knows when they’re launching the highly anticipated Super AMOLED handset.

We showed you a Verizon Summer catalog yesterday, and while the focus was on the Droid X and Droid 2 (which is all well and good, in of itself), there was one device missing from the summer releases: the Fascinate. So, obviously some folks got pretty curious. After getting in touch with the company, Android and Me has shed some light on the situation. According to the representative they spoke with, Verizon has every intention of launching the handset, but they just don’t know when that’s going to happen.

No date determined for the launch, while every other major carrier is hard at work getting their own out (in fact, one of them launches tomorrow). What’s worse, is that Verizon apparently is planning for “late Summer or early Fall.” And, well, “late” Summer is still the Summer, and so we’re going to go ahead and assume that it’s going to be some time in the Fall. And if you’re anything like us, you hate waiting. We’re hoping Verizon clarifies this sooner than later — we want our hands on this handset.

[via Android and Me]


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