Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Android Community

Android Community

SlashGear Hands-on with Marvell Android Tablet ARMADA 628

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 11:37 AM PST

This ARMADA 600-based Android tablet reference design by Marvell is being showed off in order to make way for a bunch of Marvell branded products capable of using 1080p chipsets that’ll be launched at CES 2011. The demo pad our man Chris Davies has his hands on has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 720 capacitive touchscreen and it runs Android 2.2 (Froyo.) Chris notes that this device was up and running only only its own display, but an external HDTV over HDMI as well!

As he spoke with Marvell, Chris said they weren’t noting any specific chipsets, but they did display this ARMADA 628 as it’s lead tablet. Inside, a tri-core chip capable of 3D graphics, 1080p video encode/decide, hi-fi audio, advanced crypography, and digital photo data processing. Also inside the 628 are a pair of 1.5Ghz cores for processing plus a 623MHz core to be used for apps with tinier power reqs.

The specifications you’ll end up looking at when you end up purchasing one of these bad boys will depend heavily on OEM choice, leaving it up to manufacturers to choose things like the amount of memory to fit inside, what cameras will work, what sort of display to slap on the front, and more. Check out this video demo, courtesy of Chris on SG:

marvell-android-reference-design-3-SlashGear marvell-android-reference-design-2-SlashGear marvell-android-reference-design-1-SlashGear

[Via SlashGear]


OpenFeint brings 8 new titles to Android

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 11:02 AM PST

Ever since its launch, OpenFeint has become extremely popular. With support for well over 100 games, and 8 million downloads of supported titles, it’s becoming the top social gaming platform for Android devices. Continuing on its launch streak, OpenFeint is bringing in 8 new games to Android today.

  • Jet Car Stunts (True Axis)
  • MUST.EAT.BIRDS (Mediatonic)
  • Solipskier (Mikengreg)
  • Frogger (Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Bomberman Dojo (Hudson)
  • aTilt 3D Labyrinth FridgeCat Software
  • Word Mix (Greenrift Software LLC)
  • Kilgamore Castle (Hyperbees Ltd)

Eros Resmini, Vice President of Marketing and Developer Relations at OpenFeint also made a statement on his impressions of the service so far, and where he sees it going.

"We love the reception OpenFeint is getting from the Android community. And we're just getting started; we have over 300 games in development for Android."

So expect to see a lot more OpenFeint enabled games hitting the Android market!

[Via Techweet]


Android takes top popularity spot from Symbian in Asia

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 10:40 AM PST

Just a month after the Android domination in the US, Android has now taken the top spot from Symbian in Asia. According to the market research company GfK, Android based handsets have just passed Symbian as a result of a steep incline.

Symbian use has been on decline in China and Japan while Android has seen a steep growth within these markets ultimately making it surpass Symbian in all of Asia, for the first time. The market over in Asia is quite different than in the US. In Asia, Android is competing mainly with Symbian and iOS, where in the US it’s competing with iOS and Blackberry.

This marks yet another country our favorite operating system can claim the top mobile operating system in, we will definitely see more here soon.

[Via UnwiredReview]


T-Mobile 4G Now Available in 8 More cities

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 10:29 AM PST

T-Mobile is taking it’s 4G expansion very seriously. Being one of the first carriers to launch an HSPA+ Network in the US and already having 2 devices that support the network, they are considered to be in the lead of the 4G race. Today they have launched the network in 8 more markets.

The new markets are as follows:

  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Harlingen, Texas
  • Lafayette, Indiana
  • South Bend, Indiana
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Youngstown, Ohio

Currently the T-Mobile network sees real world “4G” speeds around 5-12Mbps. However, next year the carrier plans to dual-carrier HSPA+ which will boast speeds of 42Mbps.

[Via WirelessWeek]


DEFY to get Android 2.2 Quarter 2 2011

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 10:19 AM PST

Motorola confirms today that the lovely, the wonderful, the affordable Motorola DEFY will be getting Android 2.2 in Europe, the Middle East and Asia! Not until next year though, somewhere around the second quarter of next year. On the other hand, the Milestone XT720 will be staying behind on Android 2.1 looking like a sad little mouse. But remember, everyone, no matter what version of Android you’re using, you’re still using Android, and that means a lot! Dunk your phone in the pool and rejoice!

The announcement send by Motorola read thusly:

Today we can confirm that in EMEA we plan to upgrade Motorola DEFY to Android 2.2 (FroYo) in the second quarter of next year and that Milestone XT720 will remain on Android 2.1. Anyone looking for information about this and updates for other regions should go to our forum.

Their forum is [here] and has a big fat extended list of current statuses and projected upgrades for Motorola phones. Very handy!


Skyfire 3.0 launches with Facebook Connect

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 09:00 AM PST

Skyfire 3.0 has just launched and if you are a big fan of the original app, the new one has a few new features you will really like. This is the app that was so popular with iPhone users for bringing Flash support. Android users already had Flash so that wasn’t a big deal.

Skyfire’s browser has now been updated to version 3.0. The new version has some cool features with the most important being integration with Facebook connect. The new feature gives users single button access to their Facebook profile.

It has a universal browser based “Like Button” that can be used on any webpage even if the Facebook Like button is not on the page. You can also run a simple search across all sorts of web sites and search engines like Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook. That will make it easy to find details on things you want to buy or learn about. You can download the new version of the app today.

Click here to view the embedded video.


Acer Android Smartphone Unveiled, Evolves Acer UI

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 08:57 AM PST

While Acer was busy showing off their new tablet line-up, featuring an unknown version of Android under the hood, they took some time out of their busy announcement schedule to show off a brand new Android-based smartphone, too. The new phone, which still doesn’t have a name quite yet, has plenty of features, both on the hardware front and the software inside, and it could indeed be one of the high-end devices that you look forward to next year.

The unknown smartphone features an unknown version of Android, but considering the device won’t launch until 2011, we can imagine that at least Gingerbread will be powering the show. As far as features go, the device will boast a 4.8-inch display, with a resolution of 1024 x 480, and it also featured LED edge lighting.

There’s a 1.3MP camera on the front, and an 8MP camera on the back. The camera on the back will be able to record 720p HD video, and features an LED flash. The device also features 6-axis motion sensing. Whatever this device gets named, we should expect to see it for purchase some time in the first half of 2011.

Acer-smartphone Acer Smartphone2

Press Release:

Acer next generation smartphone

100% Smartphone, 100% Tablet:

New York, November 23rd 2010 – The new Acer smartphone with the soul of a tablet perfectly combines the capabilities of a smartphone with a tablet-like format: a huge 4.8" widescreen with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a super cool chassis.

Its revolutionary design , characterized by a stretched out, thin and slightly curved shape, makes it a fascinating device that will not go unnoticed. Its full metal body, enriched by subtle wavy patterns, conveys a sense of timeless elegance. What's more, it offers a perfect fit in your hand thanks to its smoothly curved back and minimal width (64mm).
The front is entirely dominated by the extraordinary, multi-touch, high resolution 4.8″ screen, with 4 keys: Home, Search, Back, and Menu. While on the back there is an 8MP camera, complete with LED Flash.

This truly innovative device is perfect for fashion addicts or tech savvy people looking for the latest and cutting edge technology available ensuring superior browsing and excellent multimedia entertainment.

This latest Android smartphone is extremely powerful, guaranteeing long-lasting fun. It will also be able to wirelessly control all the multimedia content of your home environment, thanks to the integrated clear.fi media sharing system.

• No limit in assessing any web sites with the same user experience as using a traditional PC, so web sites don't need to be resized and adjusted, thanks to its exceptional resolution of 1024×480 and a very large 4.8″ screen (12.2cm diagonal), there is no need to zoom in on web pages, or to scroll left & right. The only thing you need to do is scroll up & down, just like on your PC.
• Fast and fully featured, the Android browser offers: multi-touch, Java script optimization, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support, and multiple page opening.
• Ultra-fast high-speed connectivity via HSDPA @ 14.4 and WiFi N for data connection.
• Bluetooth 3.0

On the 21:9 screen you can watch a movie in its original format, for an engrossing cinema-like experience. What's more the LED backlit display uses the same technology as TV showing super bright and vivid images; to top it off, Dolby Mobile technology delivers vibrant, immersive sound. Not enough for you yet? Thanks to DLNA technology or the HDMI cable, you can connect it to your TV to view your content on an even bigger screen!

Inside the product beats the powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which, in addition to the large screen, turns this smartphone into a perfect game console. Together with 6-axis motion sensing (Gyroscope + accelerometer), this smartphone will exceed any gaming expectation.
Equipped with an 8MP camera and LED flash, and a 2MP front camera for high quality IP video calling.
With a screen resolution of 1024×480, more content can be displayed on screen, in all regular apps, such as, Contacts, Google Maps, Email, Instant Messaging conversations, etc.

100% Smartphone, 100% Tablet: a revolutionary experience for people who want it all!


Acer Reveals 10.1-inch Android Tablet

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 08:45 AM PST

Today at Acer’s Global Press Event they’ve revealed a 10.1-inch Android tablet. It will launch April 2011, have a 1GHz processor and Flash 10.1. They say it’ll run “Google Android Tablet OS” and have an Acer user interface version 4.5. It’ll have a 4 megapixel rear-facing camera and HDMI output (720p) with 1280 x 800 resolution.

Acer_Android Tablet_detail_02 Acer_Android Tablet_detail_01 Acer_Android Tablet_03 Acer_Android Tablet_02 Acer_Android Tablet_01

Press Release:

Live and interact in total mobility

Tablets according to Acer

New York, November 23rd 2010 – Acer enters the tablet arena with a very clear objective in mind: complete its range of products in support of its goal to simplify content consumption – a strategy which began with the development of Acer's multimedia sharing system, Clear.fi.

Acer's strategy is based on the concept of sharing multimedia content and enjoying it across any device, and Tablets are ideal devices for this purpose.
With close to 19 million tablets sold worldwide in 2010, 54.8 million units expected to be sold in 2011, and 208 million units forecasted for 2014, the market seems to confirm this idea.

Mobility, which has always been part of Acer's DNA, finds a new form of expression in the range of tablets on offer, which feature various display sizes and models designed to fit different kinds of usage scenarios.

Weight and display size have a huge impact on the user experience. While devices with bigger screens are used to share and enjoy content, smaller devices are often used to create content – taking photos, recording videos or sending messages.

A 10.1" Android tablet for a superb mobile and home entertainment experience
Sleek, smart and full of innovative features, the 10.1" full capacitive touch screen tablet with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity ensures an optimal on-screen experience from every angle. Aluminum casing provides a cool look and feel, while its high gloss finish decorated with engraved patterns creates a subtle sophistication. And despite being just 13.3mm thick, it's powerful enough to guarantee fun and productivity whether you need it .

Designed for HD entertainment, this tablet comes with a high resolution, high color contrast display, allowing you to play or share HD video with your friends wherever you are. Complete with a built-in HDMI port and 1080p capability, you can also use it to enjoy multimedia content in Full HD on your big screen TV.
But the best of all is that on this tablet you will be able to run and play premium HD arcade games and complex online 3D games, thanks to the 10 point multitouch and gyro meter control, that guarantees an entertainment experience on par with the best game consoles.

Available April 2011
7" Android Tablet: the epitome of mobility
Don't be fooled by its ultra-compact size: the 7" tablet is fully featured and takes your mobile experience to the next level. On the 7" (1280×800) 16:10 aspect ratio full touch screen, you can enjoy games, photos, videos while keeping up with your emails or your favourite social networks. Video chat or record a video with the front-facing HD camera. With HDMI support, hooking it up for a big screen video experience is easyier than ever!

The 7" inch tablet will feature a dual core processor with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support for the fastest HD Web experience and multimedia playback anywhere. And for a truly amazing sound experience, it will come with Dolby Mobile Technology. Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity allow fast and easy connection to available networks, while DLNA support makes sharing your multimedia on other devices easier than ever.

Available April 2011

10.1" Windows Tablet: Versatility in a tablet form factor
Acer's range of tablets also includes a 10.1-inch device offering an extremely innovative solution that combines touch screen user-friendliness with the comfortable experience of a physical keyboard. In fact, the tablet comes with a docking device that includes a full-size keyboard and more connectivity options to enhance the user experience.

Thanks to this simple solution, this tablet will provide optimal ergonomics and ease of use both on the go and at your desk. Thin and light (only 15 mm and less than 1kg), and with a 10.1", high resolution display, it's easy to carry around and really unobtrusive. This tablet ensures outstanding entertainment and a superior touch experience.

The tablet will run on the next-generation AMD platform and will be equipped with two 1.3MP cameras, one rear and one front-facing, allowing you to take pictures, record video, chat and videoconference. Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity lets you keep in touch with your world at all times.

Available February 2011

Technological developments are changing the way we interact with devices. No longer a single product but a multitude of instruments with diverse form factors and display sizes designed to meet the specific connection need of that particular moment, allowing the digital individual to stay connected and interact with his world, anytime, anywhere.

Social networks, music, email, instant messages, photos, videos, chat and the web have become essential in everyday life. The content we produce, and the availability and accessibility to it at all times is what drives us towards new instruments.

Interaction, connecting, sharing and mobility. Welcome to the Acer tablet.


Multiple Devices Revealed at Acer’s Global Press Conference [LIVEBLOGGING]

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 08:32 AM PST

The stage today at the Acer live Global Event was a bit weird, a catwalk int he middle of the room, speakers standing in the center of everyone in a strange display. First out is an Acer executive that explains the catwalk with some talk about “beautiful people in beautiful clothes” (a fashion event?) and a wish that “hopefully today will be happy.” Then it’s time for the man, Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci, who says “Today we are here to see what we want to do in terms of digital convergence.” Epic stuff. Device announcements below!

Lanci mentions that Acer is number one in PC, nearly number one in mobile. That’s pretty hardcore. He mentions that he thinks “we will see the future a variety of form factors and devices.” Lots of products to be announced? More than likely a tablet, yes? Then he speaks on a “new generation of store” – that’ll work on any Acer device. Then Lanci leaves, trading up for Jim Wong, senior corp VP of Acer and President of ITGO and introduces a touch lineup – starting with ICONIA – a dual-screen notebook with Windows 7. Inside you’ll find multi-finger touch responses including an Acer menu that pops up wherever you place five fingers at once.

On this double screen monster you’ll be able to manage your media below and watch it above. BUT they sort of act together, the top screen bleeding down into the bottom. Wong lets us know that all touch gestures are generated by Acer on top of W7, the SDK being sent out at the beginning of December (THIS December.)

Next, a 10.1-inch converting tablet to come out February of next year. This is also a Windows 7 machine with 2 cameras, 1.3 megapixels each, and an AMD dual core processor. HDMI output with a 10.1 inch WXGA screen at 1280 x 800 resolution playing 720p video.

Then ANDROID hooray! A 10.1-inch Android tablet is next. It will launch April 2011, have a 1GHz processor and Flash 10.1. They say it’ll run “Google Android Tablet OS” and have an Acer user interface version 4.5. It’ll have a 4 megapixel rear-facing camera and HDMI output (720p) with 1280 x 800 resolution.

Also shown is a 7-inch Android-based tablet with a Qualcomm dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the same Acer User Interface as the larger 10.1-inch version, and full Flash 10.1 support. This one is also slated for April 2011. More on the tablets here.

Acer went on to announce a 4.8-inch Android smartphone which you can read about on Android Community or SlashGear, software by the name of Clear.fi for media sharing, and their new Acer Alive “Next Generation Store.”

acerliveevent Clear.Fi_Video Clear.Fi_Video_PublishTo Clear.Fi_Video_fromLiquid Clear.Fi_Video_devices Clear.Fi_Player Clear.Fi_photo Clear.Fi_photo_2 Clear.Fi_Photo Folder Clear.Fi_music Clear.Fi_music_2 Alive_Sub_Category Alive_Homepage Alive_Feed_2 detail_page Acer_Window7 Tablet_03 Acer_Window7 Tablet_02 Acer_Window7 Tablet_01 Acer Smartphone_4.8inches_02 Acer Smartphone_4.8inches_01 Acer_Android Tablet_detail_02 Acer_Android Tablet_detail_01 Acer_Android Tablet_03 Acer_Android Tablet_02 Acer_Android Tablet_01 Acer Iconia_wallpaper1

[Via SlashGear]


Unlocked Dell Streak now on sale direct from Dell

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 06:42 AM PST

If you’ve been holding off buying an unlocked Dell Streak out of a sense of loyalty to Dell rather than AT&T, the day of credit card flexing is upon you. Dell is now offering the Streak direct, complete with Android 2.2 Froyo pre-loaded, priced at $549.99 with a bundled 16GB microSD card.

Unfortunately, while a T-Mobile USA SIM will be recognized, and voice and EDGE data supported, the Streak still only supports AT&T 3G bands and so they’re your only option in the US if you want high speed mobile data. Meanwhile it’s still available for $299.99 with a new, two-year agreement from the carrier.

[via StreakSmart]


Wrapsol offers deals on protective film for Cyber Monday

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 03:56 AM PST

If you have a new Android device of any sort, odds are Wrapsol has a film that will protect your device from scratches. The company has custom cut films that are easy to apply and are clear keep those scratches at bay. Some of the films the firm offers will even reduce glare and keep smudges away too.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, odds are you might be getting a new Android device or giving a new Android device. If you want to be sure that the new gadget will stay pristine, you should give some sort of protective film too. Wrapsol has announced a special discount code for Cyber Monday that will save you a lot of cash on the protective films.

On Monday November 29, all you need to do is hop over to the Wrapsol site, pick any film for any device and head to checkout. Once you get there, you can enter the discount code “Cyber” and get 30% off your order. The discount code is good until 11:50 p.m. on Cyber Monday.


Withings Wiscale gets Android support

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 03:13 AM PST

You may not have heard about the Withings Wiscale. The thing looks like a normal bathroom scale that those on a diet might use. It is all glass on top and the scale has integrated WiFi. It can do all sorts of things like Tweet your weight if you want it to.

The Wiscale offers the user more than just their weight with readings for body mass and more. When the scale launched it was only compatible with the iPhone using an app that let the scale send weight to the iPhone app along with body mass and other details so the user had a log of their daily weights to compare.

Withings has announced that the Wiscale now has an Android app for users of Android devices to grab. The new app allows the Android device to track the user’s weight and do all of that cool stuff. The scale itself sells for $159 and can be had in black or white colors and the Android app is free.


Motorola’s Tegra 2 Olympus leaks?

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 02:35 AM PST

Photos purported to show Motorola’s upcoming NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered Android smartphone, the Motorola Olympus, have leaked. The pictures – sent to Engadget among other sites – show a device with a strong resemblance to the Motorola DEFY, but with different side controls and what looks to be a front-facing camera in the top bezel.

The Olympus is believed to have dual-band WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR support, but beyond that and NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 chipset, specifications are unknown. Previous rumors have tipped AT&T availability first.


Binatone HomeSurf 8 tablet clears FCC

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 02:14 AM PST

Binatone’s 8-inch Android tablet, the HomeSurf 8, has cleared the FCC. The slate has an 800 x 600 SVGA touchscreen, WiFi b/g and 2GB of onboard storage, and comes with a docking station for recharging.

Unfortunately there’s no sign of pricing or availability, and neither is Binatone saying exactly which version of Android the HomeSurf 8 will run.

binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_1 binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_2 binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_3 binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_4 binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_5 binatone_homesurf_8_tablet_fcc_6

[via The Digital Reader]


TweetDeck 1.0.3 officially available in the Android Market

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 10:59 PM PST

We first saw build 1.0.3 of TweetDeck last week when it was released as a test build. For those holding off for an official release, your time has come. Bringing in many new features, some of the most notable are the new landscape UI, Twitpic integration, and bit.ly URL shortening.

Other changes include:

  • Allow for dismissing Places notification
  • Fix faving tweets on 3g in France
  • Allow old style RTs for protected users
  • Support FB Single Sign On
  • Allow users to delete DMs that are sent to them
  • Likes and comments on FB photos should stay in app
  • Several bug fixes and performance improvements

This update is available now in the Android Market.


Sony Reader Coming to Android in December

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 10:31 PM PST

Reading on your mobile device is becoming more and more popular as we enter the digital age. Currently there are many eReader options available for Android devices but Sony is now going to enter the eBook market with their “Reader” application.

Nothing revolutionary here but another option for eBooks is always welcome. You can make bookmarks, notes and adjust font size as you read and new books will be purchased through the Reader Store.

Looks like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and the countless other eReader apps just got another source of competition.

[Via Sony]


2.2.1 Update coming to the Original DROID soon?

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 09:35 PM PST

In a recent email sent out to Motorola Feedback Network members, Motorola states that it’s currently looking for users to test an upcoming software release before it launches. This could be the simple 2.2.1 update that we have heard is coming, or it may be something bigger – Gingerbread anyone?

The full email to potential testers is as follows:

Thanks for joining the Motorola Feedback Network. We value your input!

We recently learned of an opportunity to test new software for the original Droid in advance of wide release. These pre-launch "soak" tests are becoming increasingly common for Android phones. Naturally, we want to get as many Motorola Feedback Members involved as possible.

If you are interested in taking part, please re-register for the Motorola Feedback
Network using this link. The new registration process is much shorter than the older one. If you register and provide the required information and permissions, you will be invited to take part in the upcoming test for Droid. We will contact you about the test when the time is right.

If you are now using a different Motorola phone, please re-register as well, so we can include you in projects for your current phone. (If you click the link above and find you don't end up on the survey, but on a forum page entitled "Thanks for registering for the Motorola Feedback Network!" please read that page for an explanation.)

Please respond as soon as possible. There is a limit to how many Motorola Feedback Network members we can include, and we will work on a first come, first served basis.


- Matt
Motorola Owners' Forums
Motorola Feedback Network

Very interesting indeed. We can certainly hope this is a major release and that Gingerbread is already in testing on the device, but chances are this is just a minimal update to 2.2.1.

[Via DroidLife]


Bell launching Novatel Wireless U547 Data Stick, HSPA+ Speeds up to 42 Mbps

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 09:09 PM PST

As the 4G wars heat up in the US, Bell Mobility is set to launch their Novatel Wireless U547 data stick in Canada on November 23rd. Bringing in real world speeds of 7-14Mbps and being able to work in the Toronto market which will boast up to 42Mbps, the Novatel U547 is the first HSPA+ device of its kind in Canada.

The stick will cost $199.95 retail but there has been no word yet on if subsidizing will be available. There will also be a $10 per month charge if you want blazing fast speeds, users who do not pay the extra premium will have their devices topping off at 21Mbps.

This is a good taste of how fast the T-Mobile 4G network will get as time progresses and we enter 2011. However, no word from T-Mobile has been said if they’re planning on charging a premium to access faster speeds like Bell has done.

[Via BGR]


Verizon Demos Global Calling and many other features of the Droid 2 Global [Video]

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 08:41 PM PST

The main difference between the DROID 2 and the DROID 2 Global is that the Global has built in GSM/CDMA radios and can be used around the globe (if you pay for service). Well many users may have the phone and not even know how to enter these modes. Verizon now has you covered with their series of YouTube videos demoing just how to switch network modes, dial a number, and place a call.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Verizon's YouTube channel was also updated with how to videos on the following topics:

Viewing Attachments on the Droid 2 Global

Click here to view the embedded video.

Adding Email Accounts on the Droid 2 Global

Click here to view the embedded video.

Setting Up Corporate Email on the Droid 2 Global

Click here to view the embedded video.

Viewing Messages on the Droid 2 Global

Click here to view the embedded video.

[Via Verizon YouTube]


Motorola Defy Review

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 08:24 PM PST

Not all rugged phones have to look like miniature earthmovers. The Motorola DEFY may stand up to drops and getting dunked in water – we gave it a swim right after unboxing it – but it also manages to look like a regular touchscreen smartphone, too. Does T-Mobile’s new Android phone offer the best of both worlds? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.


With a 3.7-inch screen, the DEFY slots into the mainstream of Android sizes; however the ruggedized casing means, at 59 x 107 x 13.4 mm, it’s a little chunkier in the hand. A slightly rubberized finish and two-tone plastics leave it looking somewhat retro, but the 854 x 480 display – as on the DROID 2 – is right up to date and a pleasure to use. A sheet of Gorilla Glass (video demo) keeps it safe from drops or cracks.

Ports include a microUSB and 3.5mm headphones jack, each covered with a protective rubber flap, while there are power and volume buttons but no camera shortcut. The battery cover – underneath which hides the SIM card slot and microSD card slot – is held shut with a latch that keeps it tightly fixed. Unlike the Motorola i1, the DEFY isn’t fully military-spec certified, but it’s water-resistant and rustproof.

Connectivity includes quadband GSM and triband (850/1700/2100) WCDMA, along with WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; unlike some of T-Mobile’s other recent devices, there’s no HSPA+ support. There’s also A-GPS, a digital compass, DLNA support, an ambient light sensor and an accelerometer. No 1GHz processor – instead the DEFY’s Texas Instruments OMAP 3610 chip runs at 800MHz and is paired with 512MB of RAM – but you do get 2GB of storage. On the back is a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash.


Disappointingly, the DEFY ships with Android 2.1 Eclair rather than the newer Froyo, complete with the latest iteration of MOTOBLUR. Motorola’s social networking integration is solid, but we’d still prefer to see a pure Android 2.2 install and timely updates to newer versions of the platform. As we’ve seen on other recent MOTOBLUR devices, there’s Facebook, MySpace and Twitter support, along with Photobucket and Picasa photo sharing, and Motorola provide plenty of widgets for the seven-homescreen panes.

Android 2.1 lacks the speed boost of its successor, but is still solid and usable. There’s Exchange support and the ability to use multiple Google accounts simultaneously, a universal inbox and text-to-speech, and Motorola have thrown in an FM radio as well. Amazon’s Kindle ereader app, Blockbuster OnDemand and the Swype keyboard are preloaded, and there’s TeleNav GPS support if you’re not happy with Google Maps Navigation. We had no problems with speed, either, the DEFY whipping between its homescreen panes neatly and apps loading quickly.

Camera & Multimedia

The DEFY’s 5-megapixel camera obviously isn’t the highest resolution Android snapper, but it’s a solid example. There’s a few seconds delay for the autofocus to kick in, which can lead to a few missed or blurry shots, but outdoor images are crisp and clear with good color balance and decent saturation. Indoor and low-light pictures, however, are less impressive; the LED flash is, like most of its type, only really effective within a particularly narrow range.

Sample video of Defy going for a swim

720p HD video recording has become all-but-standard in recent months, so it’s disappointing to find the DEFY’s video tops out at 640 x 480 resolution. Thanks to a 30fps frame rate the resulting clips are smooth, though there’s no in-video autofocus. It’s not bad for VGA, but it definitely falls short of what we’ve seen rivals deliver.

As for media playback, Motorola has changed the standard gallery and music apps for versions of its own, and they’re serviceable if not particularly outstanding. Like previous Motorola devices, there’s TuneWiki integration for optionally showing track lyrics on recognized files. Audio quality via the headphone socket is good, and the speaker is loud if unrefined.

The video app, meanwhile, supports H.264 and MPEG4 clips at up to 30fps, and we were impressed by the smoothness of playback. Unfortunately there’s no HDMI or other video output for hooking up an HDTV or external display.

Phone & Battery

Motorola has used its CrystalTalk PLUS audio DSP technology in the DEFY, and it shows its strengths in voice calls. Incoming and outgoing audio was clear with very little static, and the robotic effect some DSP can have was absent. Similarly the speakerphone was loud and clear, useful for the outdoor environments the DEFY is likely to be used in.

The DEFY is one of the first Android devices to support T-Mobile’s WiFi calling, though we had patchy results with the system. Audio quality was less impressive than with regular calls, though it could be useful to avoid excess roaming fees while abroad. There’s no WiFi/cellular handover, however, so if you move out of WiFi range the call will drop. Unfortunately there’s no front-facing camera for video calls.

Motorola estimate up to 400 minutes talktime from the DEFY’s 1,540 mAh battery or up to 400 hours standby. In normal use, with push-email turned on, we managed a full day of use with some browsing, calls and messaging.


As the first rugged, water-resistant smartphone that manages to also be compact and fuss-free, the Motorola DEFY leaves us surprisingly impressed. Battery life and performance are solid, though we wish Motorola had opted for Android 2.2 Froyo, and while the camera is only average it’ll produce reasonable results in the sort of outdoor environments the DEFY seems intended for.

At $100 on T-Mobile with a new, two-year agreement, it’s half the price of some other 3.7-inch Android phones but offers above-average durability and the guaranteed party trick of surviving a dunk in the pool. For many that ruggedness is overkill, but if you expect more from your smartphone and don’t like cases, the DEFY is a sensible choice.

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