Monday, 20 February 2012

Android Community

Android Community

Sony Xperia S promo video leaks teasing new UI changes

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 10:54 AM PST

Sony is aiming for a big year in 2012 with Android and today we have a brand new promo video that has leaked. It shows us plenty of what we’ll be seeing with their new phones. Xperiablog got their hands on a promo video highlighting key new features of the Sony user interface that shows off a some beautiful new widgets, and even calls the UI “UXP NXT”.

We got an early hands-on with the ion and Xperia S at CES but this video shows a few things that weren’t present last month. The video highlights several key features including all new home screen, lock screen, FM radio, music player, gallery and widgets like you see at the beginning. Check it out, they even show some awesome 3D-type SPB shell stuff at the end. If you liked Sony’s Timescape UI before, you’ll love what is coming next.

Thoughts? Looks beautiful doesn’t it? Sony hasn’t been extremely popular here in the states but other regions have seen strong sales. With Sony looking to gain an edge in the mobile landscape and buying out Ericsson’s half we are hoping for some strong phones and awesome devices to follow. With a sharp UI and impressive widget effects like those shown on video — they are well on their way. It’s safe to assume many of the 2011 Sony Ericsson devices will be updated with this new UI but we can’t say for sure.

Blockbuster On Demand coming to Samsung phones and tablets

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 10:34 AM PST

Today Samsung has landed a deal with Blockbuster and their On-Demand services, and will soon be offering full On-Demand access and streaming to Samsung smartphones and tablets. Not to mention their wide array or TV’s and another electronics. According to Smarthouse the service will hit devices in the US, UK, and parts of Europe during the next few months. Then head to Australia in the second half of 2012.

Samsung has just inked the deal with Blockbuster so many details are still unknown. With many streaming and media alternatives already available we are hopeful that Samsung will try and deliver something unique to add value to their products. No pricing or details are available at this time but we are expecting movie rental type services to be priced along the same lines of similar offerings. $1.99 movie rentals and more, but we’ll have additional details soon.

Another aspect is how Samsung will handle rentals and On-Demand media with multiple devices. We are assuming it will all be tied together with one Samsung Blockbuster account and users will be able to start and stop access and streaming from multiple devices. Start a movie in you living room, finish it on the subway with your mobile device. Verizon already offers Blockbuster services with their devices so we can look to that for an idea of what to expect from Samsung. Once they announce more details we’ll be sure to update.

[via SlashGear]

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean could include WebTop-style desktop mode

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 09:36 AM PST

And now, let us commence months of speculation on Android 5.0! Just a week after suppliers claimed that Android 5.0 “Jelly Bean” (which, by the way, has not been confirmed as a code name) would be popping up this summer, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin claims that Google will be including a dockable desktop mode in the next version of Android. That’s not too far from a reality right now – most Android phones can output their video via HDMI in some form, and Motorola’s high-end phones can connect to LapDocks to use the packaged WebTop OS. But instead of a completely different OS, Android would simply adjust its user interface for desktop mode.

The fact that Google is in the closing stages of its Motorola acquisition lends a little credence to this rumor – and let’s be clear, it is just a rumor. (Murtzin is the same guy who brought us this stupendously fake Samsung phone.) As we’ve seen Asus’s Transformers in a few demonstrations, using Android as a desktop operating system is possible right now, albeit with some extra equipment. Combine a Honeycomb/ICS tablet interface with a WiDi/DLNA wireless display, and you’ve got a pretty awesome desktop in your pocket.

If, and we stress if, Google was to announce major changes to Android’s core functionality any time soon, it would be at the yearly Google I/O conference in June. The prospect of them actually releasing new software at that point seems remote, since they’re shifting to a once-yearly release schedule now that Android’s smartphone and tablet code bases have been integrated. We’d certainly like to see this feature added to Android (and after ICS, there needs to be a headline feature to differentiate it) but we don’t expect to see it until late fall, at the very least.

[via UnwiredView]

Angry Birds Space blasts off with NASA and Nat Geo in tow

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 09:07 AM PST

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on some zero gravity avian destruction, you won’t have too long to wait. Angry Birds Space is scheduled for release on all mobile platforms on March 22nd, but The Guardian reports that it won’t be just mindless fun: the game will include content from both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Geographic, with the aim of educating you while you annoy everyone around you with sounds of chirping, snorting and crashing timber.

“Science and education are very important to us,” said Rovio’s North American gneral manager Andrew Stalbow. “we’re very excited to have NASA and National Geographic as launch partners on Angry Birds Space.” The new game is a completely different title from the original, making it a sequel instead of the various updates and Season expansions so far. It will include new gameplay elements that use zero gravity and other physics as a condition of completing the levels. This seems like a prime opportunity for some space-based education.

There still hasn’t been any official screenshots or game footage from Angry Birds Space – as Rovio’s primary money-maker and licensing property, they’re keeping this one locked down tight. But odds are pretty good that they’ll either keep their free-to-play model on Android or keep the price at least as low as its iOS counterpart. You can check the teaser website for updates. Personally, I’m hoping for a Xenomorph bird option: in the silence of space, no one can hear you squawk.

Cloud Music Sniper gives third-party apps access to Google Music

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 08:43 AM PST

Google Music is pretty awesome – as an integrated service on Android, it’s hard to beat. But there’s just one issue with music stored on Google’s servers, whether it’s purchased from the Android Market or uploaded from your collection: it’s only accessible from Android using the official Google Music app. With developer R2DoesInc’s Cloud Music Sniper, that’s no longer the case: this Market app allows any application to access locally stored songs from Google Music, so long as they’ve been downloaded to your phone/tablet’s internal storage or SD card.

The app is surprisingly simple: just load it up, and it starts saving and “sniping” songs saved from Google Music. All it’s really doing is moving some local files around and tagging them for third-party app access. (Sadly, the app can’t “snipe” your music directly off of Google’s servers – you have to download local copies through the Google Music app.) It’ll preserve the song information (title/artist/album, et cetera) assuming that it’s there. And the best part: it doesn’t need root. Any device that has access to Google Music should be able to run the app.

Cloud Music Sniper costs $1.99 in the Android Market – a fair price considering the functionality you gain. Anyone who’s a fan of music apps like PowerAMP, WinAMP or DoubleTwist (or just doesn’t like the rather spartan Google Music app) should find a lot of utility here. Hopefully this functionality will be included in a future Google Music update, but we kind of doubt it. If you’re adamant about saving a couple of bucks, remember that you can download your music on a desktop computer and transfer it to your phone the old-fashioned way.

[via RootzWiki]

DROID RAZR ICS leak shows a Blurry new UI

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 08:03 AM PST

Wondering how Motorola is dealing with Google’s new user interface requirements for access to the Android Market? Wonder no more. A user on the DROIR RAZR forum showed off screenshots that appear to be the Ice Cream Sandwich update for Motorola’s flagship, combining elements of their “don’t-call-it-Blur” custom user interface and the standard Holo theme. There’s no new information on when we can expect the update to hit (hint: settle in for a long wait) but they do show an interesting progression between Blur and Ice Cream Sandwich. This is a considerably different build than the one we saw for the international RAZR.

The biggest change is the launcher, which seems – at least at this point – to be using the stock Trebuchet application. Other than a couple of options in the app drawer, there’s not much to distinguish it from the Galaxy Nexus’ home screen. That’s a huge shift from Motorola’s standard of replacing just about every user-facing app in the phone. We can hope that this means the RAZR and RAZR MAXX will get a more pure experience, but honestly, I’m betting that these images are leaked from an early build of the update, and Moto simply hasn’t migrated all of their custom code to ICS yet.

Since the dialer, camera, and Settings app are all using Motorola’s color scheme and icons, we can conclude that Motorola has no interest in a “clean” ROM, though a lot of the bloatware in the leaked screenshots can be laid squarely at Verizon’s feet. Though some critical features are missing (like WebTop) Moto is using Android 4.0.3, the latest public release, so at least they don’t intend to be far behind when the RAZR and RAZR MAXX get their updates. There’s no official word from Motorola or Verizon on when that’ll happen. Note that technically these could be elaborately faked screenshots, but we kind of doubt it.

razr_ics_about razr_ics_appsdrawer razr_ics_appsdrawer_groups razr_ics_camera razr_ics_desktop razr_ics_gmail razr_ics_in_call razr_ics_incoming_call razr_ics_screenlock razr_ics_settings razr_ics_widgets_drawer razr_ics_dialer

[via Droid-Life]

Sony Xperia U shows up next to big brother Xperia S

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 07:42 AM PST

Exciting news if you’re a fan of Sony’s Xperia designs, but not the huge displays that seem to permeate the mobile world these days: the Sony Xperia U (also known as the Kumquat/st25i) has been spotted in its first set of leaked photos. It’s getting comfy with Sony’s new international flagship, the Xperia S, in a series of shots found by Android HD Blog (Italian). Both phones share a lot of design DNA, but it looks like the Xperia U is much smaller, with a screen somewhere in the ballpark of 3.2 inches. Like the S, the Xperia U is still running Gingerbread.

The similarities between the S and the U don’t end at the manufacturer label – in fact, they don’t even start there, since the U is using the now outdated “Sony Ericsson” label. It’s got the same attractively blocky shape as the Xperia S and the same see-through capacitive navigation area – a fetching feature that didn’t make it into the Xperia S’s US cousin, the Xperia Ion for AT&T. It keeps the slightly beveled back basic button layout, with a black plastic shell oposite the Xperia S’s white – both phones will probably come in both colors. A removable 1290mAh battery hangs out in the back compartment.

What you’re looking at is probably prototype hardware, though it seems complete enough that this is likely a near-production design. There’s not much information on the specifications beyond the previously-leaked 1Ghz dual-core processor. Note the side-loading SIM card slot, similar to a DROID RAZR or HTC Legend. It’s almost certain that we’ll see the Xperia U at Mobile World Congress next week, so keep an eye on Android Community’s MWC 2012 portal for all the juicy details.

xperiau_2 xperiau_6 xperiau_7 xperiau_9 xperiau_12 xperiau_14

What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2012

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 07:00 AM PST

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last three months, the biggest mobile-themed trade show of the season starts next week in Barcelona, Spain. Mobile World Congress brings together manufacturers, partners and media from all over the world to sample the latest and hopefully greatest in phone and tablet hardware. It’s at least as big a deal as CES for those of us who focus on the mobile side of the tech world, so Android Community will be there live to cover it all. But before we leave on a jet plane, we’re counting down all the things you should be expecting at the show. Here’s a preview of MWC:

HTC will make a splash…

HTC didn’t have a good second half of 2011. They’ve admitted as much themselves, and have committed to a new direction in 2012 to win back both customers and shareholders. Their strategy centers around releasing fewer devices in a “hero” configuration, and that’ll start at their pre-MWC press conference on February 26th. The HTC One X (AKA Edge/Endeavor) will be their flagship for the first half of the year, with the One V (Ville) being a workhorse model similar to the Sensation.

…and Samsung won’t

As much as HTC is betting on MWC, their biggest competitor doesn’t seem to think it’s worth their time. Oh, Samsung will be in attendance, but they’ve stated flat out that the Galaxy S III won’t (the Galaxy S II was unveiled at the conference last year) and they won’t even be putting on the obligatory press conference. Instead, they’re saving the big iron for their own events sometime later in the year, starting with a French event in March – which still isn’t going to have the GSIII. Expect a small showing from Samsung: if any new phones or tablets are shown, they’ll be small and mostly unimportant updates to existing models. OF course, there’s always that rumored Galaxy Note 10.1…

Motorola continues to stagnate 

With the exception of the Motorola DROID RAZR (and in some respects the DROID RAZR MAXX) Motorola hasn’t shown much game-changing hardware since the original XOOM. And with a continuing policy of locked bootloaders on some carriers, not to mention software upgrades that seem to be falling further and further behind, they’re not making any friends in the Android enthusiast community. All this from a company that will shortly be wholly owned by Google itself. We haven’t heard of any big MWC Moto announcements, so you can expect this sad trend to continue into the second quarter.

7-inch tablets are all the rage

A certain American company is expected to reverse its thinking on the 7-inch form factor in the next few months, and that’s leading to increased excitement from manufacturers elsewhere in the market. 7-inch tablets are big anyway, thanks to the Nook and Kindle lines, but with models like Asus’ MeMO 370T, manufacturers are starting to cram top-tier components into the “reader” space. Samsung already has the Galaxy Tab 7.7, so expect Acer, Motorola, Lenovo and/or Sony to announce more powerful models in the traditionally budget space.

Nvidia comes into its own

Best known for high-powered desktop graphics cards, Nvidia has doubled down on the mobile market, and it’s worked out well for them so far. They’ve become a solid SoC provider partnering with some of the biggest names in the industry. But with the release of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime packing the Tegra 3, they partnered for promotion as well as hardware, and you can expect that trend to continue. They’ve got their own press conference at MWC, and may even be introducing brand new hardware at their own conference/booth.

Ice Cream Sandwich finally hits its stride…

ICS was released as open-source code back in November, and a surprising number of companies have already begun to update their products, or at least have started development. The combination of next-gen features and a combined development platform for tablets and smartphones is hard to resist. Asus quickly bumped the Transformer Prime up, followed by Huawei’s Honor and some of Acer’s Iconia tablets. Pretty much every major Android device announced at MWC will be running Android 4.0, and those that aren’t will be getting an upgrade commitment.

…but can’t shake manufacturer UI skins

Manufacturer skins (along with carrier additions and delays) are the bane of the Android world, and they aren’t going anywhere fast. Despite Google’s attempts to consolidate the Android user interface and subtly force manufacturers to take it easy, we’ve seen Android 4.0 updates to both HTC’s SenseUI and Samsung’s TouchWiz even before the devices are officially announced. It’s a cryin’ shame that manufacturers can’t seem to differentiate enough on hardware, and still feel the need to modify Android’s software with (mostly) useless layers, but it’s unlikely to change this year, if ever.

Everyone’s terrified of iPad 3

Let’s not beat around the bush here: the iPad rules the tablet market, even as the iPhone is falling to Android’s advances on the smartphone side of the market. Android tablets are making inroads: 40% of sales in Q4 2011, for example. But it’s an unfortunate truth that the patent litigation machine known as Apple (they make hardware sometimes, too) is everyone’s target for the time being. The iPad 3 is expected to be announced in early March, and it’ll be first and foremost in the minds of manufacturers, investors, and press… with the notable exception of the humble site you’re reading at the moment.

Mobile World Congress begins on February 27th and runs through March 1st, with pre-show events beginning on Sunday, February 26th. For our North American readers, remember that Barcelona is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and ten hours ahead of Pacific – there’s going to be lots of hardware unveiled in the wee hours of the morning, by your clocks. Check out our Mobile World Congress 2012 portal for all the latest updates.

Android King Kong doodle above comes from Dion Biggs.

Huawei Ascend D1 Q press photos leak

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 07:00 AM PST

We’ve known that Huawei had something special planned for Mobile World Congress, and this would appear to be it. The first entry in Huawei’s Diamond line is the Ascend D1 Q, and got their hands on some leaked press shots prior to Huawei’s conference. The renders show a typical high-end Android phone that’s clearly of the large screen variety – probably with a 4.3-inch or larger display. The device’s red-on-black color scheme is reminiscent of the HTC Rezound, though the shape looks more like a Galaxy-class smartphone.

What you can’t see from the PR renders is an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU hiding inside, though that’s certainly expected to be revealed along with the D1 Q at Mobile World Congress. The chip is where the Ascend gets its “Q” designation. That would put the Huawei flagship right up there with HTC’s One X (Edge) as far as performance goes. Sonce the Chinese OEM is already making strides in Ice Cream Sandwich support, expect the Ascend D1 Q to launch with Android 4.0 in the company’s mostly unmodified fashion.

We’ve been expecting at least two “Diamond” phones from Huawei at MWC, but the D1 Q’s surruptitios brother is so far a no-show. Also anticipated is a ten-inch version of Huawei’s MediaPad tablet, probably with hardware and software upgrades to match its bigger screen. Naturally pricing and availability is nil, but considering the relatively fast launch of the Ascend P1, a release before summer and a competitive price tag are likely.

Android Community will be on hand at Mobile World Congress next week – check our MWC 2012 portal for all the news.

Huawei-Ascend-D1-Q-leak Huawei-Ascend-D1-Q-leak-1 Huawei-Ascend-D1-Q-leak-2 Huawei-Ascend-D1-Q-leak-3 Huawei-Ascend-D1-Q-leak-4

[Thanks, Alfred!]

Panasonic shows off Eluga smartphone for Europe

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 05:47 AM PST

Ready for a new entry in the manufacturer wars, Europe? Electronics giant Panasonic just announced that they’d be bringing their Eluga smartphone to the Eurozone sometime in 2012, making it the company’s first high-end Android phone to debut outside of Japan. They’re playing it close to the chest when it comes to specifications, but we do know the phone will be semi-ruggedized, and features a qHD display and NFC capability. Like some of Samsung’s late tablets, it’ll work as a remote control for Panasonic’s TV line.

Panasonic wasn’t even ready to divulge which version of Android the Beluga Eluga is running – though given the presence of a capacitive Menu button, our money’s on Gingerbread. If the final hardware looks anything like the spiffy renders, that screen is at least 4.3 inches. The design is sleek, if a little bland – an OLED display allows for tiny a tiny side bezel, and the front fascia’s sharp angles contrast nicely with the beveled sides going towards the back. Panasonic assures us that  it’s a slim, light phone, weighing in at 103 grams (3.6 ounces), and is resistant to water and dust.

Wit hardware and software info in short supply, pricing and availability is a mystery, beyond the fact that the phone is headed to Europe. With Mobile World Congress 2012 kicking off in exactly one week, it’s just about certain thet we’ll be seeing this baby in attendance. For now feast your eyes upon the gallery below for some Eluga renders, which may or may not be the final design of the phone.

Panasonic Eluga prototype_black_01 prototype_black_02 prototype_black_03 prototype_black_04 prototype_silver_01 prototype_silver_02 prototype_silver_03 prototype_silver_04

[via SlashGear]

LG swipes at NFC with Optimus LTE Tag

Posted: 20 Feb 2012 01:59 AM PST

LG’s second new Android smartphone for Mobile World Congress is the LG Optimus LTE Tag, and the company is hoping you’ll get into the habit of tapping it against your dashboard. A 4.3-inch 1.2GHz dual-core handset – that looks, almost ridiculously so – like Samsung’s Galaxy S II – the Optimus LTE Tag includes both 4G LTE support and a few sheets of sticky NFC labels that can be used to switch the smartphone between various modes.

So, stick the Car Mode tag – which LG calls LG Tag+ – to your dashboard, and when you hold the Optimus LTE Tag against it, it’ll automatically load up the in-car UI. When you’re going to bed, a silence mode tag on your nightstand can automatically shut off the ringer and any other alerts, so that you won’t be disturbed.

All of the Tag+ actions can be customized, and some of the stickers are seemingly left “blank” for users to program their own macros. Other hardware details of the Optimus LTE Tag are left mysterious, though it has a front-facing camera and unfortunately runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread rather than Ice Cream Sandwich. Unlike the Optimus Vu, LG hasn’t given a definitive upgrade window for Android 4.0 on the Optimus LTE Tag either.

LG will likely tell us more at MWC 2012 next week, so join us for all the details on the company’s new range when we hit the Barcelona show!

ms__id63_wiz20120220100422 ms__id63_wiz20120220100418 ms__id63_wiz20120220100413

[via SlashGear]

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 4G LTE available now

Posted: 19 Feb 2012 11:34 AM PST

After all the waiting and seeing the international version be available for months the AT&T branded Samsung Galaxy Note is finally available now for those interested. Powered by AT&T 4G LTE and a huge, vibrant 5.3″ AMOLED HD screen this oversized phablet can be all yours for just $299 in carbon blue, or ceramic white.

If this smartphone is any interest to you then you’ve probably already read all the details and know everything about its large stature. The 5.3″ display is gorgeous and the WACOM digitizer makes the included S-Pen stylus support the best we’ve seen yet for Android. With a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, huge screen, 16GB of internal storage and an impressive camera around back it has all the tools you need for business — or pleasure.

With built-in screenshot support and stylus-style gestures you’ll be flipping away with your fingers or the S-Pen in no time. Operating on Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread and AT&T 4G LTE the phone flies and will soon get some frozen Ice Cream Sandwich to makes things even better.

If you’re still up in the air on if this is the device for you check out our full review, and all our previous coverage from the links below. Then head to AT&T with the links provided and get your own today for just $299.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : GALAXY Note LTE
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : January 09, 2012
    Release Date : February 19, 2012
    Also Known As :
  • Screen Size : 5.3 Inch
  • Resolution : 1280x800
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.78 Inch
  • Width : 3.27 Inch
  • Depth : 0.38 Inch
  • Weight : 183 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 2500 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 250 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)
  • SMS
  • MMS
    CPU : MSM8660
    CPU Clock Speed : 1500 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 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
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via AT&T]

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