Saturday, 28 January 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Android Community Weekly: January 28, 2012

Posted: 28 Jan 2012 08:09 AM PST

We’re here with this week’s wrap-up to bring a those of you that may have missed a few days back up to speed! Monday, some analytics displayed that an overwhelming amount of US Android users prefer Samsung over any other carrier. It isn’t too hard to believe that Samsung is currently the most preferred smartphone brand, as their Galaxy S II line has dominated since it launched. Early on that same day, we saw that Asian cellphone carrier KDDI had incorporated pushed ads into Android’s notification bar. I’m sure you will all agree, this clearly crosses the line.

Gameloft and Verizon wireless partnered this week to help bring in-game chat to Android over 4G LTE . It should prove to be very successful, and the first game to offer it will be the popular title Asphalt 6. It’s kind of odd to see them implement voice chat in an auto game when it may have helped even more in a FPS like Modern Combat 3. Either way, if it’s successful we should see it implemented there too. Later that night, were any of you able to catch President Obama in a Google+ hangout after his State of the Union interview?

A few HTC Primo specs recently leaked, and they bring Android 4.0 and Beats Audio to the table for a relatively cheap price. It’s not the powerhouse we’ve been used to seeing, but for a midrange device it should do well. Another Siri clone was released this week called Evi, and has more potential than many others we have seen. If you plan on trying it out, there’s a good chance you won’t be disappointed.

It’s amazing what individuals have been able to use the Kinect for when paired with other devices. Using a Galaxy Nexus, Kinect, and projector – Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) was scaled to a wall, and even operable straight from the surface. This is simply awesome. Tuesday, Michael Crider had some hands-on time with the LG Spectrum. It looks to be LG’s best device yet, and the screen produces a great picture.

Wednesday, Google updated their privacy policies and terms of service. You’ve undoubtedly seen the update cue from any one of Google’s websites; what they actually did is condense the long pages of lawyer-talk from over 60 services, and created a universal ‘easy-to-read’ revision. I’m certainly not opposed to it, and it looks great.

Finally, we just got in a DROID RAZR Maxx unit to review – but until then check out our hands-on. It runs the exact same software as the current DROID RAZR, so you won’t see much of a difference. However, the real beauty of this device lies within the huge 3500mAh battery, and you can be sure we’ll be putting it to the test.

Samsung could unveil 2GHz tablet at MWC 2012

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 09:44 PM PST

Could this be what we have been waiting for? We had heard that Samsung may release the 2GHz Exynos 5250 processor sometime during Q2 of this year, but could it also be flaunted at this Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month? It makes perfect sense that it would, because it still follows the chip’s estimated public release date.

A 2GHz chip could change everything, especially when it is said to nearly double the performance of the current ones out there. Even more, the graphical rendering could improve by up to 4X!. NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor is a powerhouse, but something in me is saying this one will put it to shame.

The tablet is said to have a display larger than the standard 10.1-inchers out there, and considering how the Exynos 5250 supports pixel resolutions of up to 2560×1600 – it makes perfect sense. It’s hard to tell what kind of battery life a tablet with such a large display will have, especially while clocked at 2GHz.

[via AusDroid]

ASUS Transformer Prime ‘lock-up’ problem to be fixed in February

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 08:48 PM PST

When will these Transformer Prime owners get a break? Earlier on we saw severe GPS issues, and now the community is very aware of the random lock-ups so many seem to get after the Android 4.0 update. We haven’t seen any issues with our own models, but that doesn’t disprove the hundreds of posts over in an XDA Developers thread claiming the same obvious problem.

ASUS has responded via Gary Key, technical manager, that a fix will be out sometime at the beginning of February. To top it off, Bluetooth and WiFi are having issues functioning simultaneously as well. Hopefully, the fixes come batched together.

If the Transformer Prime wasn’t so amazingly awesome, then I’d say they were building a poor name for themselves. But you have to take a few factors into consideration; this is the first Tegra 3 quad-core device on the market. There are bound to be a few obstacles the manufacturer isn’t used to working with.

If any owners find a fix for their devices locking up, you’ll be able to find it fastest if you follow this thread. However, we will still be keeping an eye out for a remedy so check back with us every so often.

[via TalkAndroid]

LG Optimus 3D to be succeeded by the 3D Max

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 08:09 PM PST

LG’s Optimus 3D had two rear shooters capable of taking 3D video, and now the company plans on offering a successor some time in the near future. As of now, it will be called the LG 3D Max. As you can see, ‘Optimus’ has now been removed. The new device should not only sport a couple better rear shooters, but other upgrades as well.

The Optimus 3D only ran a 1GHz TI OMAP, whereas the new 3D Max is predicted to be clocked at 1.2GHz. The display will remain at 4.3 inches, but will certainly support a better resolution than the former 480×800. It will undoubtedly have the LG 3D UI, or even an updated version.

While official specs are still kinda fuzzy, we’ll have some more concrete information at Mobile World Congress next month. As much as some manufacturers want, it’s hard to imagine ’3D’ recording and displays ever taking off. Buyers seem much more interested in other features like extended battery life and form factor.

[via SlashGear]

Sony’s Ericsson buyout approved by the EU

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 02:24 PM PST

We’ve previously reported on Sony’s intention to buy out its long-standing partner Ericsson, and absorb the joint company Sony Ericsson into its main business unit. Reuters reports that yesterday the European Commission approved the move, so Sony’s plans to integrate mobile with the rest of its hardware production later in 2012 can continue. Once absorbed, new phones will use only the “Sony” branding, as Sony’s tablets and mobile audio players already do.

The deal will mark the end of a partnership that’s been going for ten years – but hasn’t been going all that strong lately. Sony Ericsson’s smartphones have seen only limited success in Europe and Asia, and are rare in the United States. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play is probably the company’s most well-known Android handset, thanks to its PlayStation integration. And the forthcoming XPERIA Ion, a local variant of the international XPERIA S, is the only high-profile Sony Ericsson product to find a home on an American carrier in months. The company announced losses of $318 million in their 4th quarter 2011 earnings report.

The XPERIA Ion and XPERIA S are likely to be the last flagship devices produced under the Sony Ericsson label, as the re-branding and absorption process is expected to be complete by late summer. Impressively, Sony has committed to updating every Xperia phone produced in 2011 to Ice Cream Sandwich, and even laid out late Spring timetables for the various models. That’s a good way to start building more brand loyalty. Sony announced an ambitious cloud directive for all of its consumer products at CES, covering mobile, gaming, HDTV (including Google TV) and PCs. Expect to hear a lot about integration across their various platforms as the acquisition is finalized.

[via SlashGear]

Symantec: millions of Android devices infected from Market downloads

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 01:51 PM PST

If you’re waiting for a wake-up call when it comes to Android malware, this might be it. Security software vendor Symantec has published a report claiming that anywhere from one to five million Android phones and tablets may be infected with the Android.Counterclank spyware. The infections spread from thirteen identified apps across three developers, some of which have already been removed from the Android Market, presumably by Google. Most were blatant copies of popular games or vaguely naughty apps.

The Android.Counterclank malware is technically a trojan: it can receive remote commands and send back personal information. It’s a serious risk for anyone who has it installed on their hardware. Exact download numbers aren’t known, but looking briefly at some of the estimated downloads in the web version of the Android Market, Symantec could very well be correct. This is the largest documented security breach for Android so far, and it doesn’t help that the apps are still available for download.

If you’ve downloaded any of the apps listed below, remove them immediately.You should also change any passwords you have stored on your Android device and check any vital accounts for illicit access.

  • Counter Elite Force
  • Counter Strike Ground Force
  • CounterStrike Hit Enemy
  • Heart Live Wallpaper
  • Hit Counter Terrorist
  • Stripper Touch girl
  • Balloon Game
  • Deal & Be Millionaire
  • Wild Man
  • Pretty women lingerie puzzle
  • Sexy Girls Photo Game
  • Sexy Girls Puzzle
  • Sexy Women Puzzle

Calling this a huge problem is putting things mildly. Some of these apps have been available for months. As great a tool as the relatively open Android Market is, the continual discovery of spyware and malware in widely available apps is a black eye on the Market and Android as a whole. We await Google’s reesponse to Symantec’s findings with interest.

[via AndroidGuys]

Lumigon T1 render revealed as manufacturer counts down to Mobile World Congress

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 01:03 PM PST

The Lumigon T1 has been a long time coming. First unveiled way back in 2010, the little device hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year… but that may change very soon. Lumigon revealed a new render via the company’s Facebook page, and a countdown has appeared on their webpage. Counting down to what? Mobile World Congress, of course – the clock hits zero smack dab in the middle of the trade show in Barcelona.

If you don’t know what’s exciting about Lumigon’s vaporous hardware, this story might jog your memory. The phone is designed in partnership with legendary high-end speaker company Bang & Olufson, and promises super-high-end audio. Indeed, the render above shows some fancy-pants earbuds for good measure – but of course, they’re just renderings. No further information is being offered at the moment; even the website has been scraped clean of photos.

Back in 2010, the Lumigon T1′s specifications were listed thus: a 3.5-inch screen, HDMI out, 5MP camera (with flash!) and a 1Ghz processor. An FM radio tuner doubled as a transmitter, making the phone instantly compatible with older audio equipment. As of January 2011, the phone was supposed to run Gingerbread. Of course, if Lumigon wants to establish the “premium” vibe the Scandinavian company is so keen to broadcast, they’ll need to update some of their hardware -by now even the screen size might have changed. We will be on hand at MWC to see what develops.

New Nook Tablet root method requires just a MicroSD card and a reboot

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 12:36 PM PST

The Nook Tablet has become notoriously difficult to mod, thanks in no small part to Barnes & Noble’s decision to ship it with a locked bootloader. Various software updates have closed root methods already in use, making it more and more difficult for modders to do what they wish with they hardware they bought. Thankfully, XDA member Indirect has combined a series of hacks to create a root method that launches directly from a MicroSD card, which boots directly into ClockworkMod Recovery.

The process brings back memories of the original Nook Color, which was a breeze to modify thanks to relatively open software and a boot priority that looked to the SD card storage first. All you have to do to get the custom recovery files to boot is copy the files provided to a card, insert it into the tablet and reboot. (You don’t even have to format the card, unlike some Nook Color methods.) Once inside ClockworkMod Recovery, you can flash custom software or use another hack to get ADB file pushing from your computer. Flash the root ZIP file and you’re done.

This method works on Nook Tablet software versions 1.4.1 and previous, according to the XDA post. IT doesn’t do anything about the locked bootloader, so basic modifications of the stock software are still the best you’re going to get on the Nook Tablet, while the Nook Color enjoys ports and ROMs galore. Recent mod chip-style hardware modifications may lead to a breakthorough on the bootloader front, but that will require time, skill and – the tough one – patience.

[via Liliputing]

Motorola shipped just 1 million tablets in 2011

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 12:06 PM PST

It’s quarterly earnings season in the technology world, also known as the most breathlessly exciting time in a tech blogger’s existence. Amid reports of an $80 million loss that the company attributes to expenses for the upcoming Google acquisition, Motorola noted that they sold just 200,000 XOOM tablets in the fourth quarter of 2011. Combined with the first three quarters and (low) early sales of the DROID XYBOARD tablets on Verizon, that makes for a rough figure of about 1 million tablets shipped.

Let’s put a little perspective on that: sorry to go to the competition, but Apple sold 15 million iPads – and that’s just from October through December of 2011. Estimates put the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet at between 1 and 3 million units each, and they only went on sale in November. All Android tablets combined were about 10.5 million in the fourth quarter, with perhaps 20-25 million selling over all of 2011. (My own estimate here.) That puts Motorola, the third-largest Android OEM and the seller of the original Honeycomb developer hardware, at about 4-6% of total Android sales.

There’s no two ways about it: that’s a pretty pathetic figure, especially for the company that’s expected to become Google’s unnoficial manufacturing arm in 2012. Motorola didn’t havy any new tablet hardware to show at CES earlier this month, and the WiFi versions of the XYBOARD (the XOOM 2 in Europe) are getting a lujewarm reception, thanks to decent but not spectacular specs combined with a high price tag. We haven’t heard of any new hardware coming in the next few months, either, while Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, Asus and just about everybody else are gearing up for big spring or summer releases.

Hello, Moto. Wake up and smell the roses. Consumers don’t want warmed-over hardware, and they sure don’t want to spend iPad-level money on it. Take a cue from the Asus MeMO 370T, the breakout tablet from CES: combine big specs with low price, and you’ll get people’s attention.

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