Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Huawei MediaPad up next for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 10:00 AM PST

We know the first official tablet to be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be the Transformer Prime, and more will be following shortly especially after all of them we are seeing at this year’s CES. Today Huawei has announced their popular MediaPad Honeycomb tablet will be joining the small crowds and is now all set for Android 4.0

The Huawei MediaPad formally known as the T-Mobile Springboard in the US will now be coming with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box — just not the T-Mobile model. This only applies to the standard Huawei MediaPad at this time and sadly there wasn’t any information on the T-Mobile variant but an update is hopefully in the pipelines.

The MediaPad is a 7″ Android tablet rocking a 1280 x 800 IPS display, and a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz dual-core processor all priced for the budget crowd. With amazing hardware for the price and now having ICS this will be another tablet to consider for those needing portability. See our Springboard review below, as well as any and all MediaPad news.

Huawei mentions that while new buyers will have ICS out of the box, current owners can expect an over the air update to come sometime in Q1 of 2012, although I can’t imagine them taking too long if they are shipping them to resellers with Ice Cream on board already.

[via SlashGear]

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G packs 42Mbps HSPA+

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 05:58 AM PST

T-Mobile USA has revealed the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, the company’s latest Android smartphone and the newest iteration of the long-lived Galaxy S II series of phones. Powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 chip, the Blaze 4G has a Super AMOLED touchscreen and up to 42Mbps HSPA+ connectivity.

Aesthetically there are a few new changes to the Galaxy S II style, mainly amounting to rounded off corners and some extra swoop up at the top rear panel. Samsung and T-Mobile are being coy with the full specs, however, though we’re guessing on an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording, a front facing camera for video calls and the usual mixture of WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Pricing and availability are also unknown, with T-Mobile saying the Galaxy S Blaze 4G will be “coming soon this year.” Our guess is somewhere around the $200 mark with a new, two-year agreement.

[via SlashGear]

Sony Xperia SmartWatch hands-on

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 03:17 AM PST

Sony isn’t content to put Android in your pocket with its new Xperia ion and Xperia S phones; it also wants to put the Google OS on your wrist with the new Xperia SmartWatch. Packing a compact multitouch color OLED display, the SmartWatch hooks up to your smartphone via Bluetooth 3.0 and can show incoming call details, Facebook and Twitter updates, messages, calendar alerts and more.

Sony Xperia SmartWatch:

Battery life is said to be between a day and a week, depend on how heavy your usage is. Control is via various gestures and swipes, and thanks to the watch being Android-based this time – unlike its LiveView predecessor – there should be more flexibility as to what functionality can be added along the line.

Sony expects the SmartWatch to go on sale near the end of Q1, priced at $149.99. It should work with non-Sony/Sony Ericsson devices too, and comes bundled with a clip and a wrist-strap for a choice of how you wear it.

More details in our Xperia SmartWatch hands-on at SlashGear.

Sony Xperia ion and Xperia S Hands-on

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 03:08 AM PST

Sony has dropped the “Ericsson” and outed a pair of highly-desirable smartphones at CES 2012 this week, the LTE-toting Xperia ion for AT&T’s 4G network, and its Euro sibling, the HSPA+ Xperia S. Both have a squared-off aesthetic and a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 HD display, running Gingerbread on a  1.5GHz dual-core processor with an ICS upgrade tipped for Q2.


Both have NFC, HDMI outputs capable of 1080p Full HD video, and 12-megapixel main cameras that can record Full HD too. Front-facing 1.3-megapixel cameras are used for video calls and vanity shots, and there’s the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS along with Sony’s Timescape interface.

Sony Xperia ion hands-on:

Sony also revealed some compact NFC tags, which can be used to launch apps or to instantly switch the Xperia handsets into different preset modes; you could have one on your nightstand, for instance, and automatically toggle the smartphone into silent mode before bed. The Xperia ion will arrive on AT&T sometime in Q2, while the Xperia S will arrive in the same quarter on various carriers. No pricing as yet.

More information in our full Xperia ion hands-on and Xperia S hands-on over at SlashGear.

DROID 4 and DROID RAZR MAXX Official: Hands-on

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 02:54 AM PST

Motorola and Verizon have officially launched the DROID 4 and DROID RAZR MAXX at CES this week, and we’ve got hands-on with both Android smartphones. As expected, the DROID 4 packs a slide-out five row QWERTY keyboard, while the RAZR MAXX takes the original styling of the DROID RAZR, makes it a little chunkier at 8.9mm thick, and uses that extra space to slot in a 3,300 mAh battery.

That extra-large power pack should address two of the most common criticisms of the original DROID RAZR: that its battery life is too short, and can’t be extended by swapping in a bigger alternative. It’s still non-removable, but now at least should hold up to some serious LTE hammering. Verizon says buyers of the $299.99 smartphone can expect over 21hrs of talktime on a single charge.


As for the DROID 4, that has a 4-inch qHD display, dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera, along with that all-important physical keyboard for messaging addicts. It will run Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread initially, with an ICS upgrade in the near future according to Motorola, and has LTE and a mystery price tag.

DROID 4 hands-on:

More details over at SlashGear in our DROID 4 hands-on and DROID RAZR MAXX hands-on.

Google Maps Android app gets power & location improvements; Maps Game incoming

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 02:18 AM PST

Google Maps for Android has seen another update, adding to the Las Vegas indoor floorplans released earlier in the week with a new set of plans as submitted from the Floor Plans tool. The Google LatLong Blog also reveals that the company has a new Google Maps for Google+ game incoming, seemingly turning the PND service into a real-world Pac-Man of sorts.

Full details on the Google Maps game haven’t been revealed, but it looks like the floorplan data is used to track users as they move around and collect points. We’ve seen location-based gaming before, but Google’s heft and the huge number of Android devices in the wild could mean it finally takes hold in the mainstream.

As for the current Google Maps app, that also has new battery improvements that reduce power consumption for Latitude users, while the Transit Navigation beta can now use vehicle speed to figure out positioning if the GPS fix is lost. There are also more public transport route options shown by default.

Google Maps is a free download for Android devices.

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[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Lenovo Racer-A Intel Midfield hands-on

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 10:29 PM PST

Here at ShowStoppers CES 2012, Intel showed off the new Lenovo Racer-A smartphone making use of Intel’s Midfield chip. Until now, we haven’t seen Intel’s processor in a production smartphone. It is currently clocked at 1.6GHz running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). This particular phone is running over AT&T bands – absent of 4G LTE.

Most noticeable is their heavily skinned Android OS. Everything about it is completely unique to other cellphones, from the lockscreen all the way down to the widgets. Some aspects look much like Lenovo’s current tablets. Specifications of the device include an 8MP rear facing camera and 4.5 inch 720p display.

This was definitely the biggest surprise here tonight, and we can’t wait to see more of what this phone has to offer – particularly in terms of battery life. A consistent issue with many Android devices is the fact that they can’t last an entire day on a single charge, and for some – battery life is their top selling point.

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ASUS Padfone 2012 refresh eyes-on

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 05:14 PM PST

In case you didn’t notice, we were able to get up close and personal with all of the tablets coming from ASUS in the next few months. One of those that I’m sure many of you are as excited about as me is the ASUS Padfone — The phone inside a tablet. This 10″ Android tablet saves a spot for the new ASUS smartphone to fit snug inside and act as the internals and operate the tablet. Now with Ice Cream Sandwich unifying both Honeycomb and ICS this will be better than ever.

We’ve seen this before in more than a few different iterations but today at the ASUS hall we got another look. The tablet and smartphone both have been refined and updated with the latest and greatest for 2012. Being under glass, and a lock and key we only have a few short details. The smartphone appears to be a 4.3″ AMOLED display and has been updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich rather than Gingerbread. The rear is rocking an 8 MP camera and dual-LED flash.

ASUS is touting this as a device that will allow you to "enlarge your screen size on the go". Your SIM, storage, processor and more is all inside the phone. Since it was sadly hidden behind a large bullet-proof glass we were unable to look for ports and options on the tablet. Check out our pictures below and see if you can spot anything.

We will be seeing more of the Padfone at MWC 2012, and we’ll be their live to capture that too.

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ASUS Transformer Prime 700 series hands-on

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 03:00 PM PST

Just when we all were happy that the ASUS Transformer Prime was finally starting to reach our doorsteps and resellers were getting stock ASUS goes and announces another one — but I’m not complaining. This is the Transformer Prime 1920 x 1200 display full 1080p version and they are calling it the ASUS Transformer 700 series.

We all know plenty about the Transformer Prime (see our review below) and it’s specs so we don’t need to go into details and will keep this short and sweet so you can see the hands-on pictures and our Shadowgun in 1080p on a tablet demo below. Yes this is almost exactly the same as the original only it has been upgraded with an enhanced IPS display with a massive 1920 x 1200 resolution. Gaming looks simply stunning to say the least, more on that below.

the key differences are in the display, and on the rear of the device. As you can see below gone is the radial-spun aluminum and instead they’ve replaced the entire top with a hard plastic. This should help all those nagging issues with GPS and WiFi that we’ve been hearing plenty of reports about. This should fix all those problems as the aluminum design was causing the signals to suffer in the original Prime.

Enough about those small changes, check out the extremely impressive hands-on video of us playing the popular Tegra 2/3 shooter called Shadowgun. This Tegra 3 enhanced version ran at the full native 1920 x 1200 resolution and is truly what you’d call HD mobile gaming. The image was as HD as I’ve seen and it was incredible.

The new ASUS Transformer 700 series will be available in early Q2 and will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will be priced at $599 for the 32GB and $699 for the 64GB flavor. After watching that video who wants one?

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ASUS MeMo 171 7-inch Honeycomb tablet hands-on

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 02:10 PM PST

We’ve heard plenty regarding this next tablet that we spotted over at the ASUS while wandering the halls at CES. This is the ASUS Eee Pad Memo 171 although we’ve seen a few names in the past. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of it but now it’s in the US we quickly grabbed some pictures. It’s currently set to hit Europe soon and we have all the details.

The ASUS MeMO 171 features a 7″ 1280 x 800 IPS display with great viewing angles and exceptionally great colors and brightness. Unlike it’s recently unveiled brother this model doesn’t have the quad-core, instead it will be offered with the Qualcomm 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM.

Again, this 7″ tablet isn’t as thin as the popular Transformer Prime but they’ve packed all that power into a smaller package so that is one thing to consider. The MeMO 171 has micro-USB, micro-HDMI and even micro-SD for extra storage. For those unfamiliar it also has a stylus hiding in the bezel below that doubles as a great handle while using in landscape mode. Around back is a 5 megapixel camera and they’ve tossed a 1.2 MP front for video calling.

ASUS has added an integrated MeMic bluetooth headset for superior audio quality and hands-free calling — yes hands-free calling. Currently only slated for a Europe debut this tablet features GSM radios and was actually rocking a T-Mobile SIM (as seen below). According to ASUS they have no immediate plans to bring this to the US but that could change at any moment. They also state it will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich “soon”. Enjoy the hands-on video and pictures below.

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ASUS MeMO 370T 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich quad-core tablet hands-on

Posted: 10 Jan 2012 01:33 PM PST

Here at CES ASUS has a few different tablets on display and we’ve been giving them a quick look. Sadly the ASUS Padfone is under a lock and key and we were only able to get a small glance. The brand new Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich quad-core tablet announced yesterday in a 7″ form factor was out in public though. Check out our hands-on below.

Just announced yesterday by ASUS is the MeMO 370T although it may see a different name at launch. This 7-inch 1280 x 800 resolution slate features everything you’d want in a tablet. Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, the ultra-fast NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, front and rear cameras as well as full Android Market access and Google support. This is the first official 7″ ICS tablet. It may not be as thin as its larger brother in the Prime, but the size is the only thing making us call it the “little brother”.

The most important thing here is the price — and that is $249. We’d expect the slate to be slightly lower than the Prime in the camera department to meet that price but it actually still has that impressive 8 MP camera on back. The Prime has one of the best tablet cameras around so hopefully this wont disappoint.

The brushed aluminum has been replaced by a hard plastic with the same radial-spun design as the Prime and overall I was extremely happy with the feel and performance. Obviously with the Tegra 3 the tablet is blazing fast so I don’t even need to go there — although this is the first slate I’ve handled with a fully stable build of ICS. ASUS made clear that this was still under development but things felt ready for the green light to me. In case you didn’t catch that before — this is running on Android 4.0.3 ICS.

You can see in the image above the new 7-inch slate from ASUS will have micro-usb, micro-hdmi, and also a micro-SD slot for expanded storage — something many tablets lately have been leaving out. Offering this entire package and performance for the low price of $249 has just set the bar for portable and ultra-powerful tablets. Those high priced Samsung Galaxy Tab’s should be worried right about now. Expect to see this new quad-core tablets early Q2 2012.

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