Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Android Community

Android Community


Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Amazon UK, ships November 2nd

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 11:07 AM PDT

Who is ready for some Galaxy Nexus action? Apparently the folks from Amazon UK are ready to start the party because they’ve already posted up pre-orders for the Galaxy Nexus. We saw some order pages go up earlier this week but I get a better feeling ordering from Amazon than some smaller sites, not to mention they have a release date of November 2nd.

Yup, in case you missed that, Amazon UK is listing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as due to be released on November 2nd. One small problem is the price though, Amazon is asking £730.15 for the new superphone. I might not be great at math but if my currency conversion skills are accurate that is well over $1100 USD. Wow, at that price put me down for three. At least shipping is free right?

According to our tipsters (thanks guys) the Amazon UK page went live last night and the device was being offered for just £540 and was listed as in stock November 7th. That actually still hasn’t changed and third party retailers on Amazon are listing the phone at the much lower £540 price tag. You may have to wait a few more days but will save a bundle.

In case anyone missed it, here is all of our Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich coverage, plus the hands-on video below for your enjoyment.

Galaxy Nexus hands-on



Ice Cream Sandwich hands-on

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 135 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1750 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
    CDMA Band:
  • 900
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via Amazon UK]

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Spotify adds Android Preview app with Facebook sign-in and sharing

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 10:14 AM PDT

Now that United States citizens have been welcomed with open arms, Spotify’s Android app is getting some much-needed love. The new version is available as a non-Market download from Spotify’s blog, showing off some new social features. Users can now log in with either their original Spotify credentials or by connecting to Facebook – you don’t even have to create a new account if you opt for the latter.

Sharing options have been updated as well, again, via Facebook. There was some controversy over the company’s recent decision to allow new users only through Facebook, and apparently, that is still the case with the new app. For those times when you’ve just got to get your Shania Twain on, a Private Listening mode has been added. Testers note that local file playback is still problematic, and there’s no support for browsing via folders – apparently a big deal for some commenters. I tried the local playback myself, and on CyanogenMod 7.1 at least, I haven’t experienced any crashes.

Spotify is specifically asking for user feedback with the beta app, and if you’re a loyal Spotify customer (as so many are) it might be a good time to voice some of your concerns and suggestions. You can download the APK here (the experimental version isn’t available on the Market) and leave feedback on Spotify’s community forum. If you want some input on the way Spotify’s Android app progresses, it might not be a bad idea.

[via TheNextWeb]

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Qualcomm’s Skifta app streams video and manages your DLNA devices

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 09:49 AM PDT

Qualcomm-Atheros is making a cloud push in a big way with their new Skifta service and app. Skifta is a system for DLNA-certified devices that allows streaming media by way of your phone from either your phone or your home computer, giving you options that previously required separate apps. Built-in free content from the likes of Picasa, Revision 3 and TED Talks rounds out the package.

Basically, Skifta (man, it’s hard to find good non-copyrighted names these days) aims to be a one-stop-shop for all of your media, streaming easily to connected televisions, computers and speaker systems. Video, audio and photos are currently supported. Skifta works on DLNA and UPnP-compatible devices, including Windows 7 computers and the PlayStation 3. The promotional video lays it all out:

Skifta’s a free download from the Android Market, and no, you don’t need a Qualcomm processor inside your phone or tablet to use it. The software is in its 1.0 release, so there may very well be some compatibility or stability issues. But hey, it’s free – what have you got to lose? This may be a good indication of similar systems from OEMs, like Motorola’s upcoming MotoCast.

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Today only: OfficeSuite Pro 5 is free on the Amazon Appstore

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 09:12 AM PDT

Google Docs not quite cutting it for your mobile document editing needs? Is that free version of QuickOffice that came with your phone a little long in the tooth? Then today’s a great day to try out the Amazon Appstore. The third-party store features a free download of one paid app every day, and today, it’s OfficeSuite Pro 5, normally a full $15.

OfficeSuite Pro 5 is your standard document editor, featuring support for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF files, though the last two are read-only, according to the app’s Amazon listing. An integrated file browser and Google Docs connection help round out the software, and happily, it handles the tricky .docx, .xlsx and ppsx extensions without complaining. You can get OfficeSuite for free until 3 AM Eastern Time, and considering how many of you have already pre-ordered the Amazon Kindle Fire, you may want to do so whether or not you intend to use it on your current smartphone or tablet.

If you’re new to the Amazon Appstore, don’t worry – downloading and installing it is a simple process. Just head on over to the Get Started page and enter your email address. Download the app to your phone or tablet, then install it via the standard non-Market method (you’ll need to allow the “unknown sources” option in the Application settings menu). Once a free app is “purchased,” it’s connected to your Amazon account, and you can download it on any device with the Appstore installed.

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No official Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus One

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 08:46 AM PDT

Well, it looks like the venerable Nexus One has finally reached the end of its software cycle – officially, at least. When asked whether or not the original Nexus would be seeing an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google responded that the phone’s hardware was simply too old to handle the update. The oldest developer phone to get Ice Cream Sandwich will be the Nexus S, released twelve months after the original Nexus One.

Of course, Google itself is hardly the last word when it comes to Android. Versions of Ice Cream Sandwich have already appeared on the Nexus One via the recently-released SDK, and while this isn’t an ideal solution, it’s a pretty good indication that running the software on comparable hardware is far from impossible. Once the official Ice Cream Sandwich source code is released (currently expected a few weeks after the November launch of the Galaxy Nexus) you can bet that a multitude of ROM developers will have Android 4.0 running on the Nexus One in a jiffy.

The more disturbing implication of Google’s announcement is the basic hardware requirement for Ice Cream Sandwich, which has yet to be outlined. Recent mid-range phones like the HTC Rhyme run on hardware that’s almost identical to the original Nexus and HTC Desire, and there’s plenty of low-end phones being introduced on even less powerful hardware. What of these devices, some of which are only weeks old on the market?  Will customers who bought a $200 phone this summer be denied an official update just a few months later? Motorola and HTC have committed to bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to current phones, but in most cases have not outlined which precise models will be updated.

Check out our hands-on looks at the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich below:

Galaxy Nexus Hands-on

Ice Cream Sandwich Hands-on

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Nexus One
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : AT&T T-Mobile
    Announced Date : December 15, 2009
    Release Date : January 05, 2010
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 3.7 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.69 Inch
  • Width : 2.35 Inch
  • Depth : 0.45 Inch
  • Weight : 130 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1400 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 290 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 512 MB
    Internal Storage : .512 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via SlashGear]

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DROID RAZR pre-orders start tomorrow, ship out November 10th

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 08:12 AM PDT

Done and done. Rumors of the Motorola DROID RAZR‘s November 10th launch date seem to be right on the money, as Verizon has updates its DROID DOES mailing list with the happy news. Pre-orders will begin tomorrow, October 27th at 8 AM Eastern, and the note says that the phones themselves will begin shipping “no later than” the 10th of next month. No mention of retail availability was made, but you can bet that RAZRs will begin showing up in Verizon and partner stores shortly thereafter.

The $299 DROID RAZR is an undoubtedly drool-worthy device, with its 7.7 millimeter profile and Kevlar construction. The 1.2GHz processor and a full gigabyte of RAM should allow Gingerbread to fly on the device, and the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD screen will mean it looks good doing it. A host of Motorola customizations might even help U.S. customers forget the non-removable battery and locked bootloader.

What might be of even more interest to prospective Verizon customers is what they haven’t mentioned, namely the Galaxy Nexus and HTC Rezound. Both superphones have been seen in the company of the RAZR in Verizon’s internal documents slated for the same November 10th release date. You already know all about the Galaxy Nexus (and if you don’t, make sure to check out our hands-on), and the Rezound is likely getting a big reveal at HTC’s event on November 3rd. Considering the pomp and circumstance surrounding the RAZR, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Galaxy Nexus and Rezound pushed back a week or two to give everyone a little breathing room. We shall see.

Check out our hands-on of the Motorola DROID RAZR:

Motorola DROID RAZR hands-on:

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : DROID RAZR
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : November 03, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.3 Inch
  • Resolution :
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Advanced qHD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : Inch
  • Width : Inch
  • Depth : 0.27 Inch
  • Weight : Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 8.9 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 16.384 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1700
  • 1900
  • 2100
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via Droid-Life]

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Winamp update adds Mac support, $5 Pro version

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 07:48 AM PDT

We’re no fans of animal cruelty around here, but in at least one case, we’re in favor of whipping the llama. Classic media player Winamp has released version 1.2 for Android, bringing a host of improvements, most notably the ability to natively sync with Macs and iTunes. The feature is in beta, but you can try it out now – here’s the Android Market link.

Mac syncing uses the new Winamp for Mac Sync Beta, allowing wired and Wifi transfers of individual songs and playlists. Android users who have not yet torn themselves away from the scourge of iTunes can enable their bad habits by syncing iTunes libraries and playlists automatically. The software is in beta, so there may be some early issues, but considering that it’s a free download there’s no harm in trying.

Winamp is also releasing a Pro version, which (regrettably) requires a non-Market upgrade. Winamp for Android Pro includes a full equalizer, crossfade and other goodies, bringing it in line with the current favorite commercial app among audiophiles, PowerAMP. Other advanced features include full FLAC support, gapless playback, and personalized ShoutCast recommendations, not to mention an absence of mobile ads. The Pro version is a $4.99 upgrade, and you can reach the purchase page via the app’s internal menu.

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PSX4Droid returns to the Android Market with a new developer

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 07:20 AM PDT

Classic emulation keeps coming back again and again on Android, despite Google’s attempts to forestall it. PSX4Droid, a PlayStation One emulator originally banned from the Android Market back in March of this year, is now once again available. The app comes form a new developer, “SnootyKing”, who has been working on the app since it went open-source after the initial ban. You can buy it now for $4.99 USD.

You may want to hold off, however. Initial responses imply that this version is having some teething trouble, sending at least a few users right back to the Market without starting the app itself. Given the complexity of emulation in general and the PlayStation app in particular, this isn’t exactly surprising. Since PSX4Droid is relatively young in its latest incarnation, expect updates to come quickly. Remember that you can always track down the original version, which has been published on various third-party app sites and stores for free.

Google’s review policy kicks in after an app has been published, so there’s nothing to say that they won’t boot PSX4Droid right back off the market within a day or two. It seems to be standard operating procedure with all emulators (at least if they become notable) despite the fact that they aren’t technically illegal. If you’ve got a Sony XPERIA phone, you might be able to use the PlayStation Suite already to play a few select PSX titles, and Sony may have plans to extend the platform to other hardware makers in the future.

[via Droid Gamers]

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Impression 7 tablet runs Froyo, but it’s cheap

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 07:19 AM PDT

I know what you are going to say when you read the specs of the Impression 7 tablet or i7. OMG, that thing runs Froyo?! Yeah it runs Froyo, but if you are in the market for a cheap Android tablet that you can use for someone just starting or a kid, the i7 might be just the ticket. It’s cheaper than the Kindle Fire by $20 with a price of $179.

It packs in a 7-inch TFT resistive screen with a resolution of 800 x 480. It has a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and runs Android 2.2 as mentioned. It packs in WiFi, 4GB of storage, and a G-sensor along with a pair of USB ports. It also has a microSD card slot with up to 16GB support. The camera is only 0.3MP, presumably a front camera.

If you want something larger you can get a 10-inch version for $349, but that will be a harder sell if it packs similar hardware inside. Availability is set for early November so they should land very near the Kindle Fire. I think I would pay the extra $20 and go with the Fire. What about you, which tablet would you rather have?

[via BGR]

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SoundHound offers usage metrics for the first time

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 06:59 AM PDT

Last month SoundHound launched a new update for its Android app that brought the app some fixes and a nice new feature. The new feature was the inclusion of LiveLyrics to the mix. At the time, I wondered how many people actually used SoundHound and the company has now offered up some usage stats. This is the first time that SoundHound has offered any insight into how used its app is on the iPhone and Android platform.

According to SoundHound’s figures, the app handled over 4 million searches each day. The company has recorded over 1,000 hits per second showing impressive user engagement. In the two years since the app has been on Android and iOS it has a user base of 50 million people globally. These stats make SoundHound the most used mobile music search and discovery app in the world according to the company.

The company points the apps unique features as the reason for its success. Since the company added live lyrics to the app, it has recorded 25 to 35 million hits per day for the 30 days ending October 20. Peak traffic was over 2 million hits per hour. Usage has grown by a factor of ten since it launched in 2010.

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HTC ThunderBolt Gingerbread update rolls out again, with security fix

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 06:57 AM PDT

It’s been a rocky road to Gingerbread for the HTC ThunderBolt, but it appears that Verizon is once again pushing out the long-awaited update. The original 2.3 over-the-air update began back in late September, but serious bugs and glitches led the Verizon to suspend updates just a couple of days later. The new and presumably corrected update also includes HTC’s fix for the massive security flaws discovered on all Sense phone earlier.

It’s taken many months and more than a few delays for the latest version of Android Gingerbread to make it to Verizon’s first LTE smartphone. The ThunderBolt was originally launched in March, a full three months after the Nexus S debuted with Gingerbread. Those without the inclination to root or tinker have been running Android 2.2 Froyo on the ThunderBolt ever since, meaning that until today, it was using an operating system more than ten months out of date. HTC has already committed to providing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to “as many devices as possible“, but given HTC and Verizon’s handling of the flagship phone, who knows when it will actually arrive.

According to Verizon, the latest update includes a new Download Manager app, Google Books, new power management options, and an enhanced interface for the desktop dock. Other various back-end improvements are improved security features and data connectivity, a fix for a bug that sent text messages to the wrong contacts ,and other various fixes and updates. As always, to manually check for an update on a stock ThunderBolt, Go to the Settings Menu and tap Software Update, then Check New.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : ThunderBolt
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : January 06, 2011
    Release Date : March 17, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : TFT
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.75 Inch
  • Width : 2.44 Inch
  • Depth : 0.56 Inch
  • Weight : 177 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1400 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 330 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • 3GP
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 768 MB
    Internal Storage : 8.192 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

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T-Mobile Samsung Exhibit II 4G lands with no contract pricing

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 02:40 AM PDT

It’s only been a few days since we talked about the Samsung Galaxy W smartphone that surfaced on a video demo showing off its gaming chops and more. We knew at the time that the smartphone would be sold as the Samsung Exhibit II 4G. The device has now gone official on T-Mobile with launch dates and pricing in tow.

The smartphone will be the first 4G offering to be sold in Walmart stores that can be had without a contract according to T-Mobile. Granted the smartphone connects to the HSPA+ 4G network not a real LTE network. Folks shopping for a no contract Android device should like the Exhibit II 4G well enough. The smartphone will land in Walmart stores sans contract on October 27. If you like the idea of the device, but want a contact for some reason you can get that too.

The phone has a 3.7-inch WVGA TFT touchscreen and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It will be able to access the Android Market, T-Mobile TV and the Samsung Media Hub. The device has WiFi and while Bluetooth isn’t mentioned in the press release, I would assume that it is included as well. The phone comes in blue only and has a 3MP rear camera that has flash and video recording capability. The no contract price for the smartphone will be $199.99 and the 2-year contract price will be $29.99 after a $50 MIR.

[via SlashGear]

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A week with CyanogenMod on the HP TouchPad [Video]

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 07:27 PM PDT

Like many out there, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on an HP TouchPad during its initial $99 fire sale specifically for the purpose of running Android on it. It’s a very similar motive for when I bought a Barnes & Noble Nook Color, though in this case, I got a whole lot more tablet for the money. Like the Nook Color, the best (but not the first) option for running a full version of Android is the venerated CyanogenMod, now on its seventh version. I’ve spent the last week or so installing, customizing and generally playing with the one-two hardware and software combination – here are my impressions.


For those of you who were hoping for a full-on competitor to the XOOM or Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a single C-note plus shipping and handling, lower your expectations now. The TouchPad was made to the standard of the original iPad, and as such, is a little behind the times, with just 16GB of on-board memory (no SD card) and a relatively low-res 1024 x 768 screen. What’s more, since Google has declined to open-source Honeycomb, the best that the CyanogenMod team can do is the latest version of Gingerbread, a useful and stable OS that is nonetheless designed for a much smaller screen.

All that said, there’s definitely a lot of fun and utility to be squeezed out of Android on the TouchPad. In my experience just about all of my standard apps work without a hitch, and the small number of issues I have had are nags at worst. For example, the YouTube app cannot display video in portrait mode, but the more desirable landscape mode works just fine. There are some formatting issues stemming from the TouchPad’s resolution, which is a rarity for Android phones and tablets – a few apps scrunched up to smartphone dimensions, leaving huge areas of blank space on the 10-inch screen. But in most cases it, dare I say, just works.

Tablets were made for information consumption, and on that score CyanogenMod and the TouchPad are a wonderful combination. Using Dolphin Browser HD I had a web browsing experience that’s the rival of any Honeycomb tablet, and apps like Kindle or Pulse were a joy to use on such a large screen. The hardware itself helps here – the TouchPad’s screen is an IPS LCD, making for decent reading even in outdoor light at the brightest setting. Video from Netflix and HBO GO was equally impressive, though Flash videos could not properly display full-screen.  With a little adjustment using Thumb Keyboard, I was typing even faster than I do on my smartphone.

With a few notable exceptions, Cyanogen works wonderfully on the hardware. Audio, Bluetooth, even the TouchPad’s vibration feature all work without complaint. Basic functions like the face button (which defaults to a Home button) and power and volume keys behave just as you’d expect them to. Even the notification light and light sensor are working, along with the camera, though the later is so poor you probably won’t make use of it. It’s a shame that the voice recognition is too muddled to be of any use, but the only practical exception is Wifi – more on that later.

Ever since it was ported to the Nook Color, CyanogenMod has included a section in its menu called “Tablet Tweaks,” and they are indeed quite useful. The most important addition is moving the notification bar to the bottom of the screen and adding the standard menu/back/home/search buttons, which would be tricky on the TouchPad’s spartan button layout. The effect is definitely reminiscent of Honeycomb, if not quite so pretty. The notification bar is permanent by default, but can be hidden and returned for full-screen video or games.

Performance is good, not great. There’s noticeable slowdown in the transitions between screens, but strangely, videos and live wallpapers seem to do just fine. A great part of the TouchPad’s hardware is the Beats-certified speaker that points directly out from the screen, turning the tablet into a connected boombox in a pinch. It’s louder and clearer than any smartphone speaker, and listening to Pandora or Google Music is a satisfying experience.

It’s not all sunshine and roses. There are some serious Wifi connection issues present, usually resolved by a reboot, and the battery lasts only about half as long as it does on the TouchPad’s native WebOS. It’s a good thing, then, that the complicated install process leaves WebOS intact – you can choose between Android and WebOS every time you boot up. While this isn’t as elegant as some of the virtualized solutions proposed, it allows you to take advantage of the rock-solid and beautiful interface of WebOS while still having access to the Android apps you’ve grown accustomed to.

CyanogenMod for the TuochPad is still in early alpha 2.1, and given their reputation, I fully expect the dev team to iron out the Wifi and power issues eventually. Though the install process is not for the faint of heart (command lines – ugh) it shouldn’t present a major challenge to anyone who can install a custom ROM on a standard Android phone.

What’s really exciting is the prospect of an open-sourced Ice Cream Sandwich, which I have no doubt will make it onto the TouchPad eventually via the CyanogenMod team or someone else. For those lucky enough to get in on the early sales and skilled enough to install it, that means a mid-range Ice Cream Sandwich tablet for just a hundred dollars. Keep your eyes peeled for the inevitable TouchPad ports after the AOSP Ice Cream Sandwich source code drops.

Check out CyanogenMod 7.1 in action on the HP TouchPad below:

IMG_0548 screenshot-1319212544482 screenshot-1319562617531 screenshot-1319562635233 screenshot-1319562658391 screenshot-1319562673030 screenshot-1319562780905 screenshot-1319562817561 screenshot-1319562849663 screenshot-1319562894157 screenshot-1319562942098 screenshot-1319563082540 screenshot-1319563121154 screenshot-1319563238056 screenshot-1319563305070 screenshot-1319563820462 screenshot-1319563889356 screenshot-1319563972540 )


Motorola ATRIX 2 hands-on [Video]

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 05:58 PM PDT

The original Motorola ATRIX was a top-end phone and a curiosity, mostly stemming form the novel addition of the laptop dock and its almost-desktop experience. The ATRIX 2 adds a few improvements, most notably a bigger 4.3-inch screen. Elsewhere the phone is mostly unchanged: same 1GHZ processor and 1GB RAM, same camera, even the same screen resolution. There are a few stylistic differences – the battery cover no longer has a faux carbon fiber look, for example – so let’s explore them now.

The 4.3-inch qHD screen dominates the front of the ATRIX 2, sparing just enough space for capacitive navigation buttons, a front-facing camera and of course, an AT&T logo. The screen is bright and crisp, the 960 x 540 resolution being put to good use on the large size. The phone itself is a little thick at 10.1 millimeters, but the curved back makes it comfortable enough.

On the right side of the phone you get Motorola’s standard mini-HDMI and USB ports, while the right side has volume up/down and – YES! – a camera button. Around the back you see an exposed speaker poking through the battery cover and the 8-megapixel, 1080p camera. The battery cover pops off when levered by a thumbnail from the bottom of the phone, and coves the entire back and top and bottom sides. This makes it a devil to get off, but once it’s on there’s absolutely no danger of it coming loose, which I feel is an acceptable trade-off.

The ATRIX 2 comes with a measly 2GB MicroSD card, a poor inclusion on a top-end phone, especially since the internal storage has been halved to 8GB from the original ATRIX’s 16. Inside you’ll find Motorola’s standard subtle Blur customizations running over Gingerbread, and the experience is a lot smoother than some other Moto phones I’ve seen, even on high-end hardware. The bloatware factor is unfortunately high: an AT&T-branded QR scanner, navigation, two specialized Market links, Live TV, a branded music store, and the Yellow Pages app. Other inclusions are the ubiquitous Let’s Golf 2, ZumoCast, Qik, and QuickOffice.

Motorola sent along a bevvy of accessories: the new universal Lapdock 100, desktop and car docks, an extended external battery and various cables to take advantage of them all, none of which are included in the retail packaging. All you get in the AT&T box is the phone, a charger wall ward and a USB cable. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the available accessories during the review.The ATRIX 2 is, currently and paradoxically, the same price as the ATRIX 4G at $99.

Check out the hands-on video below. Note that I made an error in narration – the original ATRIX did not have a kickstand, that was the Motorola Photon.

IMG_0553 IMG_0562 IMG_0571 IMG_0587 IMG_0590 IMG_0595
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : ATRIX 2
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : October 11, 2011
    Release Date : October 16, 2011
    Also Known As : Motorola Edison, Motorola MB 865
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.3 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : NA
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.96 Inch
  • Width : 2.59 Inch
  • Depth : 0.40 Inch
  • Weight : 147 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1785 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 382 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • 3GP
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Tegra 2
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 2.048 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

)


Widget Locker update brings ICS to your phone and tablet lockscreen

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 04:50 PM PDT

For everyone that loves the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich lockscreen found on the Galaxy Nexus I have a treat for you today. The popular lockscreen replacement application Widget Locker has just received a huge update that brings many new features, the biggest being a new Ice Cream Sandwich unlock option. It works great on phones and tablets both so check it out.

That isn’t all we have either — this update also brings new Sense 3.0 and Honeycomb unlock options, hardware acceleration and full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich support. Once devices hit the market if you are one of the few that doesn’t like the new lockscreen, simply use Widget Locker to go back to something more original.

If you are unfamiliar with Widget Locker the image above should give you a good idea. You have the standard ICS unlock option, but right on that screen you can slide to unlock and instantly access anything you’d like. Everything is customizable and we can have camera, text, browser, email, market and more all added to your homescreen as sliders. Then instantly head to any application you choose right from the unlock screen. It really is an awesome application and you should check it out if you like customizing your Android or want to make it feel new again. Another nice new feature with the latest update is Unlock-With-WiFi compatibility.

For those wanting to try some Ice Cream Sandwich on your own lockscreen or any of the many awesome features you can get Widget Locker right now in the Android Market for just $2.99

We’ve already spent time with the real deal so check out our Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich hands-on below.

Galaxy Nexus hands-on

Ice Cream Sandwich hands-on

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HTC Explorer passes by the FCC while staying on a budget

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 04:02 PM PDT

For those on a budget the HTC Explorer might be exactly what you need. We’ve seen the Explorer a few times and it was officially announced by HTC back near the end of September but today it just got a bit more official now that it has passed the FCC. Originally codenamed the Pico, the HTC Explorer should now be on its way to store shelves soon.

The HTC Explorer is about as entry level as it gets, but should make plenty of users happy. We have a 3.2″ display, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a 600 MHz single-core processor. It also comes with a 3 megapixel camera that HTC says is a lot better than the 3 MP rating suggests, as well as HTC Sense 3.5 UI changes.

HTC has not formally announced a release date or official pricing for the new HTC Explorer but with specs similar to the HTC Wildfire S it should come in at a great price and possibly even be offered free with a new 2-year contract from carriers. As a little bonus, HTC recently partnered with Dropbox so users that get a new HTC device will get 5GB of free cloud storage to one of the best options available — Dropbox. As soon as we hear more details regarding this cute little entry level smartphone we will be sure to update with all the information. You can sift through the files from the FCC yourself by clicking here.

Bonus video: HTC Explorer first look

)


Samsung Galaxy Nexus official dock accessories appear online

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 03:36 PM PDT

We already know the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus is coming this November and with those 3 dock connectors on the side we all had a pretty good idea some fancy docks were on their way too. Today they’ve showed up online at a few retailers as “official Samsung accessories” although sadly we don’t get any pictures to do us justice or make us drool — yet. I have a feeling some pretty awesome car and desktop multimedia docks are in the works from Samsung and Google.

I guess we can’t really say these have “appeared” online but they’ve made an entrance into our minds and we’ll be on the lookout for full details and pictures as soon as they’re available. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus multimedia dock will be $69 and is listed as shipping November 21st, then the car dock and mount will be $50 according to theaccessoryking.com

One little thing I found interesting is the image at the top was pulled right from the official Google live feed of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich announcement, but it appears they have things a bit backwards because the 3 dock connectors are actually on the same side as the power button and not on the other side as the image above suggests, see our picture below and you’ll know what I mean. Either their dock is magical, or someone made a boo-boo. I’m not concerned with that and would just like to see these docks already.

While this isn’t technically clarification that we will be seeing docks and accessories, most likely they are on their way and will be launched at the same time. Why would they go through the trouble of adding the 3 dock pins otherwise? That and these “official accessories” have product numbers that closely match that of other Samsung parts. Take this as a grain of salt but it appears they are coming, and theaccessorykings might have jumped the gun with their listing. We’ll update once we see or hear more.

In case you missed it check out all of our Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich coverage, and then enjoy the hands-on below.

Galaxy Nexus hands-on

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Nexus
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As : Nexus Prime
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.65 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x720
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.33 Inch
  • Width : 2.67 Inch
  • Depth : 0.35 Inch
  • Weight : 135 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1750 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : NA
Software
    Android OS:
  • 4.0.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4460
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 32 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :5 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
    CDMA Band:
  • 900
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via Wireless Goodness]

)


Samsung Galaxy Note and all its glory caught on camera [Video]

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 02:30 PM PDT

Who loved what they saw in the Samsung Galaxy Note but were hoping for a more in-depth look? Well today is your lucky day and we have just that — A full out 10 minute video overview in 720p HD to cure any Note cravings users might still have. The Galaxy Note is a 5.3″ beast of a phone/tablet and it was unveiled back at IFA this year so feel free to look over our hands-on video & coverage.

Now that the Samsung Galaxy Note is for sale in a few places like the Netherlands and soon throughout the UK we are starting to hear a little more chatter about this 5.3″ Super AMOLED HD packing phone with its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and note taking capabilities. Below, thanks to our friends at newgadgets.de we have an awesome in-depth video for you guys to check out while we await its arrival here in the US. — Thanks Johannes

Galaxy Note 10 minute video review

As I said above we’ve covered the Galaxy Note in depth and you can see all our coverage in the Galaxy Note Portal. Samsung recently released the Note source code and now developers can dive in head first and see what this tabletphone is all about, as well as letting the modding and tweaking begin. It was recently spotted at the FCC with AT&T bands so we are still hopeful for a US launch sometime soon, although we still have no guarantees. One more time, here is our Galaxy Note hands-on and even a video comparison between the Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy S II.

Galaxy Note Hands-on

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Galaxy Note
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier :
    Announced Date : September 01, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 5.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 800x1280
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.78 Inch
  • Width : 3.27 Inch
  • Depth : 0.38 Inch
  • Weight : 178 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 2500 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 390 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1400 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 32.768 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

)


More trouble for Android, Apple granted Slide to Unlock patent

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 01:58 PM PDT

Today we have more news regarding some of those Apple patents. This morning after being filed way back in December of 2005, The US Patent & Trademark Office issued a patent grant to Apple regarding their familiar Slide to Unlock gesture. This has actually been officially granted to Apple, no longer is this pending, the deed is done.

We have seen plenty of news regarding Apple and patents already and this could be another major patent that we will be seeing lawsuits stem from in the near future. Apple’s lawyers have been busy, especially with Samsung phones and tablets, but things could get a bit more interesting now they’ve finally been granted a patent on this revolutionary “feature”.

Remember, this was a new feature and while unveiling the new iPhone to the world this is what we heard:

To unlock the phone, I just take my finger and slide it across. Wanna see that again? We wanted something you couldn't do by accident in your pocket. Just slide it across – BOOM.", Steve Jobs

For now we don’t really know what to expect from this grant, or what Apple will do with it but I have a feeling it wont be pretty. Android has a very very similar slide-to-unlock manor now, it’s still similar yet slightly changed in Ice Cream Sandwich but I’m not sure that will be enough to save it from a possible lawsuit. The course this will take on Android is unknown, but we will probably be hearing plenty here soon. For more information regarding the patents head to USPTO.gov search engine and look up patent number 7657849.

[via SlashGear]

)


Sony Ericsson Xperia ray hands-on [Video]

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 01:03 PM PDT

For Sony Ericsson fans or those with small fingers in the world, I have a phone for you. Just arriving at the Android Community labs today is the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray. This little smartphone may be tiny but it definitely packs a punch. Below we have some details and photos for you to check out. Plus, I’ve compared this small and sleek phone to something with a size more in line with most phones for a comparison and to show just how small it really is, so check out the video after the break.

Under the hood of the Xperia ray you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.0 Ghz single-core processor, 512MB of ram, and a 4GB micro-SD card. While that may not be a dual-core powerhouse listing we do have an amazingly awesome display and an equally stunning camera. The Xperia ray only has a 3.3″ LED display but we have a high 854 x 480 resolution instead of the lower res many phones have in the smaller display market. Add in the slightly higher 854 resolution and Sony’s Bravia screen technology the ray actually looks quite gorgeous. The small screen and higher resolution actually makes images and icons on-screen almost too small, but they are bright, crisp and look excellent.

One of the show stoppers here is that even though we have a slim 9.3mm chassis Sony has still added a large 8.1 megapixel camera as well as a 1.3 MP front for chatting. The camera around back should be of high quality like most things from Sony and is said to take some exceptional images. We’ll give the camera a good testing in our review so if that interests you be sure to check back soon.

Along with those impressive specs above all crammed into a small and thin frame we also have Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and Sony’s Timescape UI improvements. With deep Facebook integration and the usual suite of Sony apps such as Video and Music Unlimited we actually have some good content out of the box without heading to the Android Market. Sony provided us with a gold colored device, almost like a fine white wine. They also are offering the Xperia ray in White, Gold, Red (pinkish) and Black but lets see that video shall we.

Sony Ericsson Xperia ray hands-on

For more details you can see the Sony announcement from late September stating the ray is unlocked and available now across the US. This device is fully unlocked and while we have an AT&T SIM on board, it will also work with other GSM carriers such as T-Mobile. Could this be a truly small smartphone for those that don’t like all the huge phones we are seeing now days, while still being powerful and up to date? Be sure to check back shortly for our full review. Below you’ll find a cool bonus video thanks to Sony Ericsson and then a few more photos in the gallery below.

Bonus video: Xperia ray

P1070846-1 P1070847-1 P1070848-1 P1070849-1 P1070850-1 P1070851 P1070852-1 P1070853-1
Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Xperia Ray
    Manufactuer : Sony
    Carrier :
    Announced Date : June 22, 2011
    Release Date : September 01, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 3.3 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x854
  • Screen Type : NA
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.37 Inch
  • Width : 2.09 Inch
  • Depth : 0.37 Inch
  • Weight : 100 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1500 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 430 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
Hardware
    CPU :
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 512 MB
    Internal Storage : .3 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution :8.1 MP
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

)


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