Monday, 16 January 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Samsung Galaxy Note headed to Verizon as the Galaxy Journal

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 10:47 AM PST

Last week at CES Samsung pulled the wraps off of their 5.3″ Galaxy Note and informed the world it was headed to AT&T. After the initial announcement we saw many comments regarding whether or not this phone-tablet hybrid smartphone would hit other carriers in the US. While nothing has been confirmed yet we are now hearing reports that it will land on Verizon, and maybe even follow the Galaxy Nexus over on the Now Network and their new 4G LTE rolling out this year.

With no announcement from Samsung or any other carriers other than AT&T we don’t have any clear details as to if we’ll see this device land elsewhere. We have however seen a few similar models appear in some Bluetooth and WiFi certification documents suggesting more models are incoming to the states. Today the Examiner is reporting a highly trusted industry analyst has confirmed that Verizon will definetaly be getting the Note — possible called the Samsung Galaxy Journal.

According to these statements the 3 major carriers that are, or will be offering 4G LTE in the USA this year will all get a variant of the 5.3″ Super AMOLED HD packing Galaxy Note device. So basically everyone but T-Mobile according to this analyst, but anything is possible. Not only is the device incoming, but it should be here within the first half of the year.

The name “Galaxy Journal” actually makes a lot of sense — I like it.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Galaxy Note
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier :
    Announced Date : September 01, 2011
    Release Date : TBA
    Also Known As :
  • 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
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
  • SMS
  • MMS
    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
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

– Thanks JaJa and everyone who sent this in!

SteelSeries Ion is the Android game controller you’ve been waiting for

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 10:07 AM PST

Android gamers get it rough sometimes: since the early days of using WiiMotes and bulky add-ons to replicate a console experience, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play has been the only real solution for those who crave hardware controls. But the dearth of physical controls may be at an end, thanks to gaming accessory company SteelSeries. Known for their mice, mousepads and keyboards, the company is branching out into Android with its Ion Bluetooth controller. A few others have tried, but the Ion looks like the best option yet for serious gaming.

The diminutive hunk of plastic uses the same layout as the PlayStation Dual Shock, and should be familiar enough for anyone who’s played a console game in the last few years. Double joysticks, four face buttons, start, select and two shoulder buttons should be enough for almost everyone, though controlling games through OnLive may get a little tricky. The controller is sized to fit in a pocket. The mock-up in SteelSeries’ photo looks just a little smaller than a Galaxy Nexus. It appears that the controller recharges through the same MicroUSB port as most Android phones – a smart choice.

An Android app will allow players to customize controls for each game, and combined with Ice Cream Sandwich’s built-in support for controllers, should allow almost any button-based game to work. SteelSeries claims that the Ion’s Bluetooth interface makes it compatible with multiple platforms, including PCs. The company hasn’t offered a price yet, but it’s aiming for a second or third quarter 2012 release. Razer, the ball’s in your court.

ion_heroshot_001-01 ion_introscreen_003 ion_introscreen_004-1

[via DroidGamers]

Microsoft is a sore winner: pokes fun at Google over LG licensing deal

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 09:27 AM PST

steve ballmer microsoft ceo

If you bought an Android smartphone or tablet in the last six months, odds are surprisingly good that you paid a considerable chunk of the purchase price to Microsoft. The dinosaur of the software world has successfully sued and/or negotiated with most of the major Android OEMs, including Samsung, HTC, and lately LG. Microsoft claims that over 70% of the Android hardware sold in the US includes licensing fees paid to the company – a disturbing statistic for an open-source operating system.

Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how much it’s making off of its Android-related patents, though estimates put the amount in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Tellingly, they’ve stayed away from Google itself and recent acquisition Motorola. Not content with their ill-gotten gains, Microsoft took to Twitter to boast about the agreements. Using the hashtag #anotherandroidlicense, Microsoft’s head of Corporate Communications sent messages like “we are the 70%” and continued the company line that Android is neither open nor free. This seems like something of a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point.

Does anyone else find it off that Microsoft is revelling in the relatively small amount of money it’s pulling by sabotaging a competing product, while its own Windows Phone 7 platform languishes in almost every market? At last count, WP7 had a 2% worldwide market share; that’s just slightly behind the former Windows Mobile, which hasn’t been placed on any new hardware in years. Compare that to a 53% market share for Android in the same NPD report, and Microsoft’s victory dance seems pretty hollow.

You stay classy, Redmond.

[via Beta News]

Pirated books show up in Android Market, Google quickly removes them

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 08:36 AM PST

Casual piracy is an unfortunate problem in the Android Market, and it looks like it’s only growing with Android’s popularity. According to Paid Content, popular novels like the Harry Potter and Vampire Diaries, as well as titles from Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell. Google promptly removed the books after being alerted, but not before thousands of illicit copies were downloaded. The apps were free from a publisher calling itself “UKER”, and presumably hoped to make money off of advertising.

The apps in question included the full text of the popular novels, in an admittedly basic and barely functional reader UI. The stolen books aren’t the only piracy issue that Google’s had to face in the Market: ripped-off games, illegal music downloads (some of which are still available as “search tools”) and straight-up malware masquerading as popular apps have all appeared ,as the number of active Android users grows by the millions.  The considerable number of security breaches is bringing Google’s more relaxed approach to app approvals into question.

Therein lies the problem: one of Android’s greatest strengths is that almost anyone can develop an app and get it into the Market almost immediately. Look hard enough, and you’ll find test apps from students and developers just starting out on Android. But that also means that there’s a low barrier of entry to less scrupulous developers, who are intent on using ill-gotten IP for a quick cash infusion. Even a security turnaround of a couple of days is enough for their efforts to be worthwhile, if enough people download the app before Google catches wise. All this, and free, stolen versions of media undercuts Google’s legal sales in the Movies, Music and Books sections of the Market.

What’s the solution? It’s hard to say. A more strict approval process would bring the Android Market in line with iTunes and the Windows Phone Store, but that brings its own problems: it’s hard enough to convince developers to create Android versions of popular apps without waiting weeks or months for approval. For the time being, Google will have to stay vigilant – and Android users will have to stay wary.

Polaroid stays relevant with Android-powered WiFi camera

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 08:03 AM PST

Last week we saw Android in a bunch of places we didn’t necessarily expect it, but Polaroid may have the most surprising one of all: a point-and-shoot camera that uses Android for web sharing capabilities. CNN Money got a look at the Polaroid SC1630 Smart Camera, their newest product for 2012. What makes the Smart Camera better than a smartphone? Aside from some photo-specific hardware, not a lot.

The good news first: the Smart Camera features a 3x optical zoom and a 16-megapixel digital sensor, specs that can’t be matched by any smartphone (Android or otherwise) at the moment. The Android-based software runs on a 3.2-inch touchscreen, and it’s focused on sharing, which Polaroid claims is the new central focus for its struggling brand. Instant posting to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other places is implemented via  a WiFi connection, with Bluetooth thrown in for good measure. The Bluetooth connection may be used for a direct connection to compatible printers.

Now for the harsh question: who wants this? Sure, a little extra glass and a large sensor can beat the average smartphone, but people who take photos with their phones aren’t necessarily looking for amazing picture quality – Facebook is full of examples of bad mobile photography, and no one seems to have a problem with it. Even for those that do, cameras on Android and iPhone models are so good lately that they meet or even beat some point-and-shoot models. Why would anyone spend hundreds of dollars on a gadget that replicates functionality of something you already have (albeit in a slightly better way) but is limited to short-range networks?

Polaroid didn’t annuonce prising or availability information at CES. But the camera was presented by Lady Gaga. So there’s that.

HP TouchPad gets an Ice Cream Sandwich port via CyanogenMod

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 07:28 AM PST

Everybody’ favorate cheap, hackable tablet still has considerable modder momentum behind it, and the CyanogenMod team is a big part of that. Now they’ve released a video of CyanogenMod 9 (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) running on HP’s abandoned TouchPad hardware. The port isn’t complete yet, with a few hardware issues keeping it out of the hands of eager ROM flashers, but the developers say they’ll be releasing the ICS version along with CyanogenMod 9′s general debut soon.

The two primary problems with the TouchPad version of CyanogenMod 9 are the front-facing camera and video playback, neither of which are functional at the moment. The CyanogenMod team are noted perfectionists, and won’t release the code until all features are at least somewhat working. Other than those issues, the software seems quick and stable, even on the TouchPad’s relatively outdated hardware. Important and tricky functions like WiFi and Bluetooth seem to be working perfectly, and like previous versions of CyanogenMod on the TouchPad, a pre-boot environment lets you choose between Android and the native WebOS.

CM9 code is already available for modders of more established Android hardware, particularly the Nexus line and its close cousins. The “official” release of CyanogenMod 9 has yet to come, but it’s expected any day now. Not all phones will be immediately supported – it takes time to roll out the updates for the dozens of official ports. Tablets are becoming an increasing presence in the CyanogenMod community, with the Nook Color, HP TouchPad and soon the Galaxy Tab 10.1 joining the ranks of supported devices.

There’s no ETA for an official CM9 TouchPad download, but you can still use the Gingerbread-based CyanogenMod 7. Check out our video hands-on for a look at how well it runs.

[via SlashGear]

Coby Kyros Ice Cream Sandwich tablet hands-on

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 07:01 AM PST

We told you so. CES 2012 was flooded with more cheap tablets than you could shake a dev kit at, most of which we neglected to report on for obvious reasons. But Coby has been steadily building a reputation for affordable (if not desirable) hardware for years, and they’re jumping into Ice Cream Sandwich in a big way. A representative was kind enough to show us an early hardware version of the tablet on the show floor. The “MID9742-8″, just one of nine tablets coming from the company in the next few months, is on the higher end of their Kyros product line.

The hardware we tried out wasn’t full baked (for example, the manufacturer still isn’t sure whether they’ll be including a rear camera) but the software seemed almost ready to go – the tablet was running a surprisingly solid version of Android 4.0.1. Unlike most of the more expensive models, not to mention other offerings from Coby itself, this tablet has a 4:3 1024×768 screen, and at 9.7 inches it’s almost exactly the same size and resolution as the HP TouchPad and iPad.

Under the hood you get a rather pokey 1Ghz single-core Cortex processor, but a generous 1GB of RAM. Internal memory is capped at 8GB, but a MicroSD card should allow for media junkies to add as much  storage as they can use. Standard hardware like an accelerometer, microphone and B/G/N WiFi should make for an Android experience that’s at least comparable to more expensive slates, though you’ll have to rely on GetJar for apps. A Coby representative said that the company is well aware that many of its users add Google Apps and the Android Market via various hacks, and doesn’t really have a problem with it.

The 9.7-inch Kyros is intended for a Q2 release at under $200. Various other models with smaller screens and less powerful hardware will be even cheaper, though a 16:10 models of the 10-inch tablet will have better resolution. Coby is trying to hit every conceivable part of the cheap tablet market, and good for them – with heavier players like Asus preparing entry-level models like the $250 quad-core MeMO, they’ll need every edge they can get.

IMG_3214 IMG_3217 IMG_3223 IMG_3226 IMG_3230 IMG_3208

Sony Slate concept tablet “grows” a kickstand

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 06:36 AM PST

Kickstands are awesome. No arguing: a built-in angled prop is the perfect companion for a large-screen, video-friendly device. But one of the (admittedly numerous) problems with implementing them is that they mess up the smooth fascia of a device’s back – while Archos and HTC are willing to have an “ugly” element turn the back of their device into a utilitarian eyesore, more style-conscious manufacturers aren’t. Sony may have found a way to have its cake and eat it too. A concept device shown under glass at CES includes a metallic cloth back with an expanding kickstand that simply “grows” out of the back of the device. They call the concept Slate.

Before the rumor mill runs wild, let me say that this is absolutely, positively a concept device – they didn’t even have a working example of the primary mechanism. The idea of a device that changes itself to suit particular usage cases is nothing new, even if it’s currently a little less dramatic. These kinds of materials and processes have been shown in automotive concepts before, and expanding their sphere of influence to gadgets isn’t that far out when manufacturers are desperate for hardware differentiation.

That said, there are already a few problems with the idea. Whatever process goes into that flexible back, it almost certainly isn’t as tough as plastic, metal or even tempered glass – a careless toss of your car keys seems like it could tear or fray the material. And more moving parts in a gadget, especially one as comparatively simple as a tablet, means more points of possible failure. (Rest in peace, Palm Tungsten T3.) But the fact that more companies are considering user-friendly additions like a kickstand, especially those as obsessed with clean design as Sony, is promising.

IMG_3141 IMG_3144 IMG_3126 IMG_3130 IMG_3133 IMG_3134

Notion Ink Adam gets Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 Alpha ROM

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 02:42 AM PST

Notion Ink has released a new alpha ROM of Ice Cream Sandwich for its Adam tablets, building on its previous release in December and making Android 4.0.3 far more usable on the slate. The latest iteration now means WiFi and Bluetooth are supported, along with hardware acceleration and GPS.

The capacitive buttons are also working, together with the back buttons, and it’s now possible to mount an SD card. Audio is functional – though the HDMI output only delivers video, not sound, at present – and the various sensors (including the digital compass) work.

However a sleep bug remains, preventing the Adam tablet to come out of sleep mode unless a tweak is made to the WiFi settings, and the tablet’s rotating camera is also non-functional. USB isn’t working – either for mass-storage, flash drives or other purposes – and 3G won’t work either. The light sensor remains obstinate, and HQ-quality YouTube videos don’t access hardware acceleration.

Notion Ink has also decided to play a lower profile in the media, perhaps stung by negative feedback to the original Adam after its launch. The company promises a news update on the next-gen hardware next week.

You can download the ICS alpha here.

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