Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Galaxy Nexus accessories delayed, Expansys offers car dock January 29th

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 11:21 AM PST

Ever since the popular Samsung Galaxy Nexus launched we’ve been waiting for a few awesome accessories from Google and Samsung. We saw a great desktop dock in Hong Kong during the official Nexus unveil, and an impressive car dock that I’d love to buy but sadly none are available. Popular online shop Clove UK has recently updated their blog stating that accessories have been delayed. They aren’t the only ones pushing back dates either but we do have some good news after the break.

Other online retailers such as Expansys USA have also pushed back availability dates for almost all of their Galaxy Nexus accessories with the exception of one — that awesome car dock. This is the dock we’ve all seen that features the 3 pin connectors for the side of the Galaxy Nexus, not to mention it has audio out and micro-USB ports on the side. This is not the version being offered by Verizon — but the official Galaxy Nexus dock from Samsung.

Expansys USA has the car dock in stock and will begin shipping January 29th. Being one of the first to offer this accessory for the Galaxy Nexus in the USA. They do specifically mention that compatibility with the slightly thicker Verizon LTE Galaxy Nexus is unknown but I have a feeling it just might fit, but don’t take my word for it. Head down to the via and see what they have to offer.

samsung-google-galaxy-nexus-vehicle samsung nexus dock

[via Expansys]

BLU Studio 5.3-inch Android 2.3 smartphone available now for $260

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 11:00 AM PST

For those that love the thought of a 5.3″ Android smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Note but don’t want to wait for it to hit AT&T or pay the outrageous price the international version is selling for, BLU Studio has you covered. Available now is their Note-challenging 5.3″ Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered smartphone with a huge 2,500 mAh battery. The rest of the specs might not match the Note — but the price doesn’t either.

Wo don’t know a whole lot about this phone or BLU but they’ve released a few phones in the past. The BLU 5.3″ is nothing compared to the Galaxy Note other than it has the same size screen and battery. The BLUE comes with a single-core 800 MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB internal storage, Micro-SD slot and a 5 megapixel camera on the rear. They do offer that huge 2,500 mAh battery and a VGA front camera too, but that is where the good news ends. The 5.3″ capacitive touch display is only 800 x 480 so resolution isn’t a strong point here either.

This smartphone is available today from the popular online retailer Expansys-USA and will run you only $259 with free shipping. Its a GSM unlocked smartphone with support for dual-sim cards. This smartphone tablet hybrid runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread but that is all we know. The press images seem to show some HTC Sense UI style icons but that is about it. Head down to the source link if this interests you but proceed with caution as we don’t know much about this India-made smartphone.

blu-studio-5.3 blu-studio-5-3

[via Expansys-USA]

Sony “Dot Switch” video teases universal remote control app

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 10:17 AM PST

Sony Japan has recently released a teaser video showing what they are calling “Dot Switch”. The video is just a simple tease and shows us what appears to be some sort of home automation application or universal remote control. It is weird, and a little confusing so hopefully we’ll learn more before the unveiling in February.

The teaser video seriously doesn’t reveal much other than some sort of universal infrared or other powered remote control system — being demoed on a Sony Ericsson Xperia handset shown in the image above. This appears to be a very simple application that will power on and control things like TV’s, music players, an old gramophone and more but they show it off in a different light then you’d expect. Check out the video so you can be as confused as I am.

You can see they aim the Xperia handset towards each device making us believe this is a Infrared type system but it really could be anything. The user interface appears to only be a “dot” on the screen for simple on/off toggle or switching these devices on but that is about all it reveals. According to the splash at the end this “new entertainment” will be announced on February 21st — a day before the Sony PS Vita. IR isn’t too popular on US handsets but many of Sony’s other markets have the feature so we aren’t fully sure what to expect — but will be sure to follow along for more details.

[via SlashGear]

Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 released in South Korea

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 09:54 AM PST

After launching a larger Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0 last year in South Korea and eventually other markets Samsung is back and have just launched a new size in their homeland. This is the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 personal music player. If you thought PMP’s were dead now that everyone uses smartphones think again — because the iPod is still selling well and Samsung has done pretty good with these too.

The details aren’t quite in English but you can get all the information from the Samsung press release. Just like the larger models this 3.65″ display rocking media player has almost all the functions of a smartphone, only it can’t make calls. They do offer Bluetooth and WiFi calling though so that is a plus. We have Android 2.3 Gingerbread as the OS and a single-core 1.0 GHz Hummingbird processor.

Basically this is the original Samsung Galaxy S smartphone without the phone internals and a different screen size — all geared for music and content consumption. This media player also offers a 3 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 VGA front, and 8 or 16GB models available to purchase. Samsung eventually brought their larger versions to the US and they are available now (see our review below) so most likely this smaller sibling should make its way here too. The Galaxy Player 3.6 is currently on sale in South Korea for around $175 USD.

[via Sammy Hub]

Asus Transformer Prime ICS update failing on some tablets

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 09:39 AM PST

Asus has worked commendably fast on bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to its flagship tablet, the Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Just two months after the open source code for Android 4.0 was available, an official update is ready for any who want to download it. But apparently not everyone is tasting the ice cream just yet: several XDA members report that their tablets are displaying a serial number error when applying the update, and keeping the software from installing.

Asus says that it has identified and replicated the serial number issue, and is working on a fix. Demonstrating remarkable customer communication, Asus’ Technical Marketing Manager Gary Key responded to the thread directly, working with individuals and coordinating with the engineering department to develop a fix. While a permanent solution is forthcoming, Key recommends performing a factory data reset, then leaving the Transformer Prime connected to a WiFi network and waiting for the update alert to appear.

Unfortunately, the serial number issue isn’t the only one to crop up. Some users are also reporting that after the update their screen locks up, essentially making the tablet unusable. Key advises that Asus is aware of this problem as well and is trying to replicate it, with a fix coming soon. These problems are unfortunately rather typical for OS updates, and at the moment seem to be isolated to a small number of users. The much-anticipated bootloader unlock should come sometime next month.

[via Cnet]

HTC removing Carrier IQ from CDMA phones starting in January

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 09:03 AM PST

After the public relations disaster that was the Carrier IQ scandal, HTC and its carrier partners can’t get the software off of their phones fast enough. In the case of phones on The Now Network, customers don’t have to wait much longer: the next update should remove the controversial software, according to The Verge. HTC is removing Carrier IQ from all its affected phones, starting with its CDMA models – Verizon customers can breathe a sigh of relief, since they don’t use the service.

According to an HTC representative, updates will begin this month for The Now Network, though specific models and timeframes were not mentioned. Since the HTC EVO 3D is one phone known to use Carrier IQ, and a relatively recent one at that, expect it to get a timely update. All of the relevant phones will have a security update, which may include various other bugfixes as well. All told, 26 million CDMA customers (including HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Palm and other manufacturers) are affected by Carrier IQ, though the wireless provider says that it has ceased using the software’s functions.

To be fair, Carrier IQ almost certainly isn’t intended to be used as spyware. Its primary function is technical logging that helps carriers hunt down bugs and improve their networks. But the wide range of access that the software has, including visited websites, call logs, location and other data. Carrier IQ didn’t help matters when it threatened legal action against a security researcher who exposed the software’s potential breaches. The rest, as they say, is history – and a lesson to any public relations manager who doesn’t want to tempt the wrath of the Internet.

[via SlashGear]

Apple up to its old tricks: calls for a ban on 10 Samsung phones in Germany

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 08:37 AM PST

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. After battling nearly every major Android OEM for the better part of 2011, Apple seems to be wasting no time in bringing its litigious streak into 2012. Bloomberg reports that it’s petitioning German courts for an outright sales ban on 10 Samsung smartphones, including the popular Galaxy S II. Apple’s objections have to do with its design patents, which won it an injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 last year.

Some of us had hoped that without Steve Jobs fueling a vendetta from the top down, Apple might try to improve its own products instead of crying to various world governments about the competition. Aparently not. Despite setbacks in Australia, where Apple’s case against Samsung was thrown out entirely, the United States, where they were denied an injunction, and Germany itself, where their objections to the revised Galaxy Tab 10.1N fell on deaf ears, Apple appears to be taking the same stubborn approach. Initial hearings on the new case should be brought before the court in Dusseldorf sometime this spring.

If you’re tired of reading about Apple’s worldwide temper tantrum, imagine how tired we are of writing about it. If Cupertino can’t win in the market (and from the latest market share numbers, they can’t) they’re determined to win in the courts, despite being shot down as often as they find victories. Even when they win, their competitors simply design around their overly vague patents – see the case against HTC from late last year. Remember, Apple, good artists copy and great artists steal – try to remember who said that when you’re suing the next Android OEM for implementing your patented iFace unlock technology in 2013.

[via Phandroid]

NSA releases ultra-secure open source Android derivative

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 08:08 AM PST

Rejoice, paranoid security fanatics! There’s finally a version of Android that enables your obsessive need to lock and control each and every file on your mobile device. There’s just one catch: you’ve got to trust the National Security Agency to use it. The NSA has released its security-enhanced version of Android, named SE Android… because G-men have slightly less imagination than your average sea sponge. You can download the source code now and compile it on any operating system you want, so long as you want to compile it on Fedora Linux. Other operating systems should work, but haven’t been tested.

To build SE Android, you’ll need to download and compile the latest code from the Android Open Source Project, then applying the custom SE Android code on top of it. So what do the extra bells and whistles do? Basically every single file and folder that Android has access to can be locked down tight, with considerable encryption and put in place to protect them. Network security is enhanced on both WiFi and mobile networks, and the already considerable app permission system is enhanced with multi-level security.

Currently SE Android is only intended for emulators and the Nexus S, and son’t expect much support if you intend to expand its horizons. The project wiki assumes that you’re already familiar and comfortable with building Android from source, and know your way around Linux/Unix-based systems. Tin foil hats are sold separately.

[via H-Online]

TurboTax app updated in time to pay Uncle Sam

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 07:28 AM PST

There’s only three sure things in life: death, taxes, and the fact that your trusted politician of choice will eventually turn out to be just as slimy as the next one. TurboTax aims to help with one of the three, and you don’t get any points for guessing which. The mobile version of TurboTax SnapTax has been updated for 2012 United States tax returns, and you can download the app for free in the Android Market.

As dull and boring (and frustrating) as taxes can be, SnapTax actually has some pretty cool features. Use your Android phone’s camera to snap a photo of your simple W2 tax return, answer the relevant questions presented, and you’re done. Of course, accountants don’t work for free, even when they’re the tiny ones that live inside your phone: you’ll need to pony up $20 to complete the filing of your federal and state taxes. That price is good up until March 24th, and includes E-filing. That’s not a bad asking price, considering the headache-inducing chore that doing it yourself represents. You can set up a direct deposit to your bank account, and all data sent to TurboTax is encrypted.

There’s only so much an app can do with the United States’ convoluted tax code, so developer Intuit doesn’t recommend using the SnapTax app if you’ve got children or other dependents, use tax forms other than a W-2, or make more than $100,000 a year. Still, if you’ve got a relatively simple tax return and want to spend a little to save a lot of time, it’s well worth the small fee. Even if you don’t actually file, you can see how much you owe or how big your tax return will be without paying a cent.

Google Search app updated, ICS features for all

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 07:08 AM PST

Naturally, the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich spurred Google to update most of its Android Market apps in sympathy. Last week they included the standard Search app, which has been available as a separate Market download for some time. The update brings features found in the ICS app on the Galaxy Nexus (though not exclusive to Ice Cream Sandwich) to all phones and tablets running Android 2.2 or greater, assuming they can access the Market.

Included in the update are general user interface and speed tweaks which should make for a faster and more stable experience for most users, especially those on older hardware. The interface has been altered slightly to bring it into line with Google’s outlined parameters to Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as grouping instant search results into relevant sections – web suggestions, bookmarks and contacts in the universal search now “stick” to one another for easier list browsing.

At least one major privacy feature has found its way into the new app: you can quickly clear individual search items by long-pressing them, just like pressing the “backspace” button in some desktop web browsers. The app is available in the Android Market now, though depending upon your auto-update settings you may have already downloaded it without realizing. No major issues with the update have been reported, so get to downloading.

[via 3G.co.uk]

Steve Wozniak really likes Android, still uses iPhone

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 06:52 AM PST

In the geeky culture surrounding computers and technology, Steve Wozniak is as close to a god as they come. And not the angry, wrathful kind that shoots litigation lightning bolts from high atop Mount Cupertino – a more gentle, understanding god, whose new testament of finding joy in tech agnosticism rings true for nerds everywhere. The point is that when Wozniak makes sweeping statements about the state of the mobile industry, as he did to The Daily Beast, the tech world sits up and takes notice, if only for the comfortable knowledge that Woz’s opinions are usually free of any real bias or allegiance.

Consider his thoughts on the eternal debate between Android and iOS. Asked which he uses more often, Wozniak replied, “My primary phone is the iPhone. I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do.” He also said that the navigation (natch) and voice control on Android are superior to their iOS counterparts, with a surprisingly particular jab at Siri:

I have a lower success rate with Siri than I do with the voice built into the Android, and that bothers me. I’ll be saying, over and over again in my car, ‘Call the Lark Creek Steak House,’ and I can’t get it done. Then I pick up my Android, say the same thing, and it’s done.

While admitting that Android is harder to use than the iPhone, Woz reiterated the talking points of many a forum and comment thread: for those who know what they’re doing, Android does more. “If you’re willing to do the work to understand it a little bit, well I hate to say it, but there’s more available in some ways.” He went on to say that those who are “scared of complexity” should stick to iOS, presumably leaving Android to those who aren’t.

Woz isn’t just whistlin’ Dixie here. The Apple co-founder has been known to carry multiple phones at all times (among other things – watch out for those lasers!) to try out all options. He was one of the first non-Googlers to receive a Galaxy Nexus in the United States, apparently out of the kindness of unnamed fans at Mountain View. So the next time you’re caught in an epic flame war with those on the other side of the smartphone divide, just remind them of Woz’s words: it’s OK to use an iPhone. There’s nothing wrong with being scared of technology – though they might consider cutting out the middle man and reactivating their StarTac.

[via PocketGamer]

CM9 Music Player app revealed with shake & flip support

Posted: 17 Jan 2012 03:10 AM PST

A new Android Music app for CyanogenMod 9 (CM9) has been revealed, complete with gesture- and motion-controlled playback, custom lockscreen integration and downloadable themes. The handiwork of Andrew Neal, the new app is intended to replace Android’s native – and little loved – Music app, supporting a high degree of customization per user.

The “theme engine” is the root of that customization support, meaning “every drawable (images, backgrounds, etc), all text views, and each seek bars can be themed.” The native theme resembles Google’s own app.

However, unlike Google’s version, this new app supports play/pause control by flipping the phone face down on the table, as well as shaking it to perform custom actions (such as randomizing playback). Both flipping and shaking are supported while the Music app is running in the background, too. There are new homescreen widgets, fully integrated search, social sharing and more.

The app – which will be renamed before release – is expected to drop in a the next few weeks. It will be included as part of a future CM9 build, but will also be released via the Android Market.

cm9_music_app_3 cm9_music_app_2 cm9_music_app_1

And then all Android devices were waterproof

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 09:36 PM PST

I bet you didn’t see this coming. Sure, on the CES floor we saw plenty of ways companies such as HzO waterproof devices – but when would we see these treatments be incorporated into our devices prior to purchase? Apparently, Samsung’s future line of phones will see the new tech implemented by summer of 2012. A hydrophobic treatment is not only applied on the exterior casing, but also inside over the speaker and other internals.

But will Samsung be fast enough to scoop up patents or will Apple come in and decide the technology is now theirs for the taking? Either way, we’re going to see some phones – Android or iOS – manufactured with it soon. I actually had some hands-on time with a treated iPhone and paper towel during CES. It worked extremely well, and it was obvious it was ready for prime-time.

Apparently, your phone won’t be ‘completely’ waterproof, and still have some limitations. First, it shouldn’t be left below water for over an hour. And second, it shouldn’t be left more than a meter deep underwater. All in all, accidentally getting your phone wet around the house shouldn’t adversely effect future electronic devices. Something extremely cool to look forward to.

[via LA Times]

Android could benefit from Apple’s leap in eBooks for education

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 08:38 PM PST

When a PDF is made from a large document for compatibility on our devices, it isn’t just available on an Apple or Android product – but is universal between platforms. Apple recently announced tools will be available for developers to easily convert their texts to ‘standard-compliant’ eBooks. At first glance, this seems to only benefit the iOS adopters out there. But when considering the tech world as a whole, why can’t publishers take their conversions where they please?

My best guess is, major educational companies will sign on with Apple to offer ‘exclusive’ textbook titles to the their ebook collection. But after time, these same publishers will be able to expand beyond the iOS landscape and reach Android shores. There are no doubt billions of dollars to be made from eBooks – especially with how quickly new editions of college textbooks are available (and required).

I myself always search for eBook availability before actual text; it’s easy to store, index for particular text, and use on every one of my devices. Many classes already offer an e-text with their hardcopy, but an Internet connection is usually required. Knowing that I could take a tablet around campus and skip lugging a heavy bookbag around with me would be the best news of the semester.

ASUS Transformer Prime not receiving 3G in Q1

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 07:36 PM PST

ASUS has said that a 3G version of its extremely popular Transformer Prime will not be coming into production by the end of Q1 – if at all. Actually, they even said “no such product exists on its current roadmap”. For some, 3G capabilities within a device is their highest selling point – particularly to those who are always on the move and have no time for a dedicated WiFi connection.

The Transformer Prime is likely the best Android tablet available for purchase, so this news will undoubtedly negatively effect many looking to purchase a 3G model. The updated version – TF700T – may be a more probably candidate for 3G connectivity, but after seeing how nicely 4G plays with the DROID XYBOARD, maybe we could see it with LTE instead.

Official reports from ASUS have changed quickly, and especially concerning the Transformer Prime. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see a 3G-ready version leak. But for now, those of you that were waiting for a more official announcement – now you have one. You’ll have to go out and purchase a WiFi only model, or settle with 3G/4G on many of the other available tablets.

[via The Verge]

Pantech falls to Microsoft’s patent trolling, negotiates license fees

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 06:01 PM PST

Last week Microsoft couldn’t resist taunting Google over its licensing deal with LG, and it looks like the patent gravy train isn’t set to stop rolling any time soon. Accroding to Korean news outlet Yonhap, Pantech is currently in negotiations with the American software giant to pay indeterminate licensing fees for the priveledge of running Android (a free and open-source operating system) on its phones. Along with LG and a handful of other major manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, Microsoft now claims it collects fees for more than 70% of Android phones sold in the United States.

Motorola and Barnes & Noble are the only notable companies that have stood up to Microsoft’s heavy-handed tactics. The later will almost certainly fight it out thanks to backing from recent buyer Google, which has still not been directly sued by Microsoft. Barnes & Noble seems to be resisting Microsoft’s civil suite out of sheer determination, protecting its forward-looking business model built on the Nook series of Android-powered ereaders. The bookseller published Microsoft’s Android-related patents in detail for the first time back in November.

As opposed to Apple, which has so far gone with an all or nothing approach to its legal bullying, Microsoft seems intent on making actual revenue out of its existing patents. Estimates of licensing fees are in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year… which is still far less than Microsoft might be making if its paid Windows Phone 7 operating system could get more than 2% market share. Many speculate that the real motive behind the lawsuits and settlements is to force manufacturers into making and selling Windows phones, which seems appropriate in the case of Samsung, HTC and others.

Google isn’t happy about Microsoft’s Android tax, but there isn’t much they can do about it. Since Microsoft has so far refused to sue Google directly over the software, instead aiming for smaller and ostensibly weaker manufacturers, its patents are unlikely to be overturned in the United States. Oh well – if you can’t innovate, litigate.

[via SlashGear]

HTC Ville headed for T-Mobile, says rumor

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 05:43 PM PST

If you’ve been drooling over the leaked renders of the HTC Ville, you’d better have a T-Mobile account, or be willing to get one soon enough. According to PocketNow, the next-generation superphone will make its way to the magenta network in the United States sometime this spring. The Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone is one of HTC’s premiere devices for 2012, and expected to raise the bar for its price point. PocketNow did not reveal where they got their information.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping up on the HTC rumor mill, the Ville is expected to run on a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor with a 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) screen, using a much sought-after AMOLED panel. An 8 megapixel camera (possibly the same excellent model already in the HTC Amaze 4G) will adorn the back with a front-facing cam to boot. All that is crammed into a body less than 8mm thin, giving Samsung’s best a run for its money. The Ville is expected to be the workhorse of HTC’s 2012 line, filling the same role that the Sensation did last year without upstaging the quad-core HTC Edge. You can bet HTC will be using it to show off the latest version of its Sense UI as well. Expect to see a formal reveal at Mobile World Congress.

A new service from HTC was also uncovered with the new information. HTC Family will function as a sort of mini social network for families, with a wall (sort of a digital refrigerator whiteboard) and Google Latitude-style location tracking. It sounds usefull enough for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids – providing, of course, that they’re all using phones with a later version of HTC Sense. Expect it to be integrated into HTC’s suite as Ice Cream Sandwich updates roll out to current phones.

Run modded Hulu Plus on any Android device

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 05:26 PM PST

Hulu’s support for Android has left more than a few people underwhelmed: in addition to coming out considerably later than the iOS version, it still only works on select devices. Thanks to the folks over at XDA, specifically one callming his or herself “Vgeezy”, has found away around that. The modified Hulu Plus APK should work on almost any Android device. According to further comments, systems as diverse as the Galaxy Nexus Motorola XOOM, DROID X2, and original Transformer are working.

This is not to be confused with the web version of Hulu, which is still blocked on Android and other mobile devices despite Flash working fine on most phones and tablets. Hulu doesn’t have permission from its masters at Fox, NBC and Disney to stream video to mobile platforms – at least without getting some cold hard cash for it. You’ll still need a Hulu Plus subscription and login to use the app, which currently costs $7.99 a month. The app doesn’t circumvent this (nor should it) but it simply allows those who pay for Hulu to access it where they previously couldn’t.

Installation is via the standard non-Market method. It appears that the modified app works fine even on phones and tablets that haven’t been rooted – feel free to throw this one onto friends’ and family’s devices, if you know what you’re doing. The developer has also included a modified landscape version for tablets and Google TV boxes, though there’s no report on whether this one actually works or not. Click the source link above to download the APK for yourself, and happy watching.

[via KnowYourCell]

CES 2012 Android Wrap-Up

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 04:02 PM PST

The Consumer Electronics Show is the grandaddy of ‘em all when it comes to technology conferences, and with Android’s rise to the top of the mobile world, that means there was plenty of phones and tablets on hand. For consumers, the big guns at Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Asus were out in full force. most of the devices seen at the 2012 show will be appearing on shelves in the next six months or so. Here are the ones you’ll want to look forward to (be sure to check our CES 2012 portal for all the stories):

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note LTE

In the United States we’ve had to wait a long, long time for the Galaxy Note to come to officially launch on a carrier, but the wait is almost over. AT&T announced at its press conference that the much-anticipated flagship phone would launch exclusively on Ma Bell in the US, which Samsung confirmed in its own conference hours later. There are a couple of important distinctions between the international version and AT&T’s flavor: one, it’ll work on the new LTE network, which in AT&T’s case is playing catch-up to Verizon. And two, the US version will shift from Samsung’s preferred 3-button layout to the four standard Android capacitive buttons, which we don’t have a problem with. Though there’s no news on a price or release date, we’re just glad to hear that it will be coming our way soon.

Asus MeMO 370T

Asus announced a slew of new tablets at CES, including a 1080p refresh of the Transformer Prime. But what we’re really impressed with is the MeMO 370T, a 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich running on Nvidia’s Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip. The kicker: it’ll go for a song at $250. That’s fighting for market share with the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, both of which have significantly weaker hardware and non-standard software. The cheaper side on Android tablets is the quickest-growing section, and it looks like Asus intends to right smack-dab in the middle of it. The MeMo 370T will be out sometime in the second quarter.

Asus Padfone refresh

The MeMO impresses via a combination of high-end features and a low price, but for real innovation, you’ve got to check out the Padfone. The concept has been refined since we saw it last year, but the hardware is still a long way from ready – the combination of phyisical and virtual buttons in Ice Cream Sandwich is a dead give-away. That said, it’s still a great idea (depending upon who you ask): instantly upgrading your smartphone to a tablet, with an extra battery and access to all your apps and data without syncing. The refreshed hardware takes advantage of Ice Cream Sandwich’s dual identity. If the idea catches on, this could become a brand new product category – and do away with at least some of wireless carriers’ insistence that people pay twice for data. Expect to see more complete hardware and software around Mobile World Congress.

Sony Xperia SmarWatch

Yes, the Nozomi was revealed to be the Xperia Ion (or the Xperia S, depending upon where you live) but we’re more excited to see a return to the LiveView concept, which we feel didn’t get a fair shake the first time around. The new Sony Ericsson SmartWatch is a new Android-based watch which has a full touchscreen (as opposed to just the sides like the original) and a collection of mini-apps pre-loaded. The SmartWatch can pair with a standard phone via Bluetooth, but it can also function well enough on its own. Like the Motorola MOTOACTV, Sony is putting a focus on exercising, plus the usual call/text/social alerts. Most impressively, it’ll get apps from the Android Market, and the rated battery life is 2-4 days depending on use. Sony expects the SmartWatch to go on sale in the next two months for $149.99.


If you bought the DROID RAZR on the first day it was released back in November, best to avert your eyes now. In addition to finally confirming the DROID 4, Motorola and Verizon announced the DROID RAZR MAXX, which stays the same as its predecessor except for a slightly larger profile and a massive 3,300mAh battery. That’s much larger than most extended batteries on sale, though the battery in the MAXX is still non-removable. According to Motorola, it should last for an impressive 21 hours with regular use. While we would have liked to have seen Ice Cream Sandwich or a 720p display on new hardware, such extensive changes probably would have made current RAZR owners pretty upset – or at least ,more upset than they are now. The DROID RAZR MAXX is expected to hit stores soon with a $300 price tag.

Lenovo Racer-A 

Easily the most important step forward for Android smartphones was Lenovo’s Racer-A, also known as the K800. There’s nothing particularly incredible about its specifications – Gingerbread runs on 1GB of RAM with a 4.5-inch 720p display and Lenovo’s familiar interface. What’s noteworthy about the Racer-A is the 1.6Ghz processor: there’s Intel inside. The phone is the very first to run Intel’s Medfeild system-on-a-chip, and represents the chip maker’s return to the mobile market, which it hasn’t seriously competed in since the days of the old Xscale processors. The Racer-A is unlikely to make it to American shores since Lenovo’s smartphone business isn’t currently active in North America, but if the phone is a hit in Asia, expect more Intel-based designs to show up in the United States in late 2012 or early 2013.

So, which is the most important? We’re partial to Asus’ MeMO ourselves – with the tablet market exploding, a solid Ice Cream Sandwich machine at a near impulse buy price could change the landscape for good. Even if Asus can’t pump out the sheer numbers to compete with Apple, expect Samsung and others to answer the call and drive Android tablet adoption to new heights. We’re looking forward to bringing you hands-on and reviews of as many of these smartphones and tablets as we can grab in the next few months. Expect Mobile World Congress in February to be even more chock-full of Android goodness.

Motorola DROID 3 now only $99 from Verizon

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 03:31 PM PST

Motorola and Verizon have been on a role as of late and while this is an awesome deal, I have a feeling a few recent buyers might not be too happy about the new pricing. With the new DROID 4 just announced Verizon looks ready to start clearing the shelves of the older 3G version because they are now offering it at a great price.

The Motorola DROID 3 can now be yours for the low low price of just $99 with a new 2-year contract. Sure beats the $199 price they were asking before. That will get you a 4″ display, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a dual-core processor and that QWERTY slide-out keyboard. For those that love a keyboard on their smartphone but don’t need or require those next-gen 4G LTE speeds now would be the perfect time to pick one up.

We’ve recently reported that the DROID 3 was already reaching EOL (End of Life) at Verizon and now that they are putting it on sale for such a great price, almost firesale style, we suspect that its days are truly numbered. This is an online exclusive and not available in stores. For those looking for an awesome new smartphone and wouldn’t mind the DROID 3 feel free to get it for $99 by clicking here. Enjoy!

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Droid 3
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : July 07, 2011
    Release Date : July 07, 2011
    Also Known As :
  • Screen Size : 4 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : qHD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.90 Inch
  • Width : 2.50 Inch
  • Depth : 0.50 Inch
  • Weight : 184 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1540 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 300 hours
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
  • SMS
  • MMS
    CPU : OMAP4
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 512 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
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 2.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

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