Monday, 5 March 2012

Android Community

Android Community


DROID Incredible 4G and Galaxy Nexus 16GB leak on Verizon for April

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 10:05 AM PST

Have you been holding off on a Galaxy Nexus purchase because you can’t handle the responsibility of 32GB of storage? Reaching the end of your two-year contract on the original HTC DROID Incredible? Then we’ve got good news for you: according to leaked documents found by Droid-Life, a new version of the Incredible going by either the “Incredible 3″, “Incredible 4G” or (sigh) “Incredible 3 4G” will be released on April 26th. A 16GB Samsung Galaxy Nexus  will be out on April the 5th.

The newest DROID Incredible would obviously include access to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and may in fact be the device we saw about a month ago. If that’s the case, it’ll include HTC’s Sense 4.0 running over Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor and a screen somewhere in the 4.0-4.3 inch range. There’s no definitive evidence that this is the case – it could just be the DROID Incredible 2 with a new radio. But we’re pretty sure the mystery phone is the one in the leaked documents.

A Galaxy Nexus with half the storage capacity would certainly be priced lower than the currently $300 model, probably at $199, mirroring the cheaper Motorola DROID RAZR that comes without a MicroSD card. This cheaper model may or may not come in white, as had been previously rumored. Keep in mind that the Galaxy Nexus has no MicroSD card slot – if you go for the cheaper model with less storage, it’s all you’re going to get. Verizon has a bad habit of changing its release plans at the last minute: while we’d love to see both of these next month, nothing’s set in stone.


ZTE “Optimus Barcelona” is certifiably baffling

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 09:36 AM PST

You’ve read these stories before: a previously unknown Android phone has been revealed from its certification listings. This time it’s both the WiFi and Bluetooth certification authorities, and the company asking for its papers is Chinese manufacturer ZTE. There’s just one puzzling thing about this phone: it’s been given the official moniker “ZTE Optimus Barcelona”. Say what?

If you’re wondering why that’s puzzling, let us break it down for you: “Optimus” is the family name given to pretty much every single Android device from LG, one of ZTE’s rivals form South Korea. Every Android-powered phone we’ve seen from LG, with the notable exception of those devices produced in partnership with PRADA, have used “Optimus” somewhere in the title. They appear to be big fans of the Autobots over at LG.

To say that LG would have a problem with ZTE producing a phone with Optimus in the name would be an understatement. It would be the same story for anyone but Samsung making a phone or tablet with “Galaxy” in the name, or anyone but Apple starting a product with the letter “i”. (Or making a tablet that’s vaguely rectangular. Or using anything remotely resembling a lockscreen. Or selling more than a handful of smartphones. Apple’s litigious, is what I’m saying here.) The “Barcelona” moniker is also strange, since we definitely didn’t see this phone at Mobile World Congress. It may indicate a rebranded release on Orange in the UK.

Using a code name for a phone while it’s still in development is pretty common, and we’d be shocked if this particular device made it to market with its current title. But not half as shocked as ZTE’s lawyers about ten minutes later.

[via Unwired View]


Google Wallet now displays warnings for rooted phones

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 09:07 AM PST

Oh boy. After taking considerable heat from the privacy and security community over cracks in Google Wallet, the company updated the NFC payment app to close a security loophole. That apparently didn’t do anything to close the vulnerability for rooted devices, discovered in February. Instead of address the problem for rooted phones, Google seems to be sticking by its recommendation the rooted users not install Google Wallet. In a fit of expediency, they’re making sure that root users know their position: Google Wallet now displays an “unsupported device” warning message when run on a rooted phone.

Tap the link in the warning message, and you get a brief explanation of the root vulnerability and Google’s strong admonition that you avoid using the app on your phone. It’s pretty good advice, too: given a set of admittedly unlikely circumstances, it’s possible that a thief could gain access to all of the funds stored in your Google Wallet account. Granted, said thief would have to know that you had the app, understand the nature of rooted Android and then find and execute the exploit, but hey – better safe than sorry.

Some may take exception with Google’s approach, insisting that they have a responsibility to support all Android users. We respectfully disagree. When you root your Android phone or tablet, you’re taking control of the software away from Google, the manufacturer and the carrier – at that point, you take the responsibility as well. Though Android doesn’t come with any explicit or implicit warranty, and neither does Google Wallet, you can consider yourself warned at this point. If you don’t feel safe using Google Wallet, pull out your real one and pay the old-fashioned way.

[via Droid-Life]


MIT revives the Android App Inventor

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 08:10 AM PST

If you’ve got a great idea for an Android app but are somewhat lacking in the coding skills requires to create one, Google’s Android App Inventor is a great way to get your hands dirty. At least it was, until Google pulled the plug on the service last year, giving registered users time to download their projects before hand. In a fit of charity, they posted the open source code for the web and desktop software to let anyone host and run their own clone of the service – a challenge which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has heartily embraced.

Prospective inventors can hop over to MIT to try the revived App Inventor. It even uses your familiar Google login to authenticate, though of course any projects previously stored on Google’s servers are long gone. It’s a great idea for a technology institution to implement for its students, but making it open for everyone is a downright public service – good on ya, Beavers.

If you’re unfamiliar with the App Inventor, it allows users to create self-contained APK files with a “what you see is what you get” interface, creating a (relatively) user-friendly way to make basic applications. Completed apps can even be posted to the Android Market. Built-in API calls allow even novices to implement advanced behaviors using available hardware, though the possibilities are nowhere near as complex or optimized as native development.

[via Phandroid]


Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich update tipped for March 15th

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 07:43 AM PST

The Ides of March bring many things: the overthrow of brutal dictators, the return of spring to more northern climates, and quickly-forgotten George Clooney movies. But according to a recent leak out of Samsung Israel, it could also bring the much-anticipated Ice Cream Sandwich update to the Samsung Galaxy S II. The localized Samsung office posted on its Facebook page that updates for in-country phones would begin on March 15th. The post was quickly removed – either due to the fact that the international arm doesn’t want the rest of us to know, or there’s been some kind of delay already.

Samsung words, roughly translated, were:

We promised we were working on it. You waited patiently. And on 15 March it’ll arrive: Android version 4, ICS, to tens of thousands of GALAXY S II devices purchased from cellular companies in the country or directly from us. We are very excited for the launch, hope you are too.

We know Samsung’s been working on the Ice Cream Sandwich update (plus it’s ever-present TouchWiz interface) for months. No less than three official ROMs have been leaked, and the company has confirmed that almost all of its mid-range and high-end devices will be upgraded eventually. At  the time they gave a vague “Q1″ as a time frame, but we all know that’s not exactly set in stone – a rumored March 1st update obviously didn’t pan out.

US readers, keep in mind that Samsung Israel was almost certainly referring to the international GSM version of the phone. Because of the way US carriers work as a middleman for software development and updates, official over-the-air upgrades to AT&T, T-Mobile and other devices would likely come months later than the international update – whenever that might be. Of course, rooted users have been enjoying Ice Cream Sandwich (in both stock and TouchWiz flavors) for months now.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Galaxy S II
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : AT&T
    Announced Date : February 13, 2011
    Release Date : April 28, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.27 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Plus
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.93 Inch
  • Width : 2.6 Inch
  • Depth : .33 Inch
  • Weight : 116 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1650 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 710 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • h.264 / AVC
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Exynos
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 MB
    Internal Storage : 16 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via android central]


European Commission VP eyes Android for privacy violations

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 07:09 AM PST

Data privacy has been in the headlines a lot lately, and thanks to the latest bit of news concerning its photo system, Android is right there with it. The increased attention has brought a flurry of media coverage, and even political types (who, for better or worse, are usually a step or two behind) are getting in on the action. The Vice President of the European Commission recently told Channel 4 News that Android’s potentially harmful privacy policies are concerning… and may actually be illegal, at least by European Union common law.

“This really concerns me, and this is against the law because nobody has the right to get your personal data without you agreeing to this,” said EU VP Viviane Reding. “They are spotting you, they are following you, they are getting information about your friends, about your whereabouts about your preferences… That is certainly not what you thought you bought into when you downloaded a free-of-charge app. That’s exactly what we have to change.”

Reding didn’t cite any specific apps when voicing her concerns, nor did she mention Android’s extensive permission system, which informs users of an app’s capabilities before it’s downloaded or installed. While this is a comforting way for user to keep informed on software capabilities, it’s often ignored, taken as non-explicit agreement of mild privacy invasion, or circumvented altogether.

The comments above don’t amount to an official investigation, and there’s no indication that this is in the works. That said, privacy violation is taken rather more seriously in many European countries than it is in the United States, and Google has been in this kind of hot water before, when it accidentally gathered WiFi information while taking photos for Google Maps’ Street View. EU politicians have little reason to be well-disposed towards Google when it comes to privacy, and trouble may be looming ahead.


Samsung Galaxy Player 70 Plus updates the 5-inch PMP

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 06:41 AM PST

Another day, another Android announcement from Samsung. This time it’s another entry in their Galaxy Player line of connected personal media players, now in its third generation. To Compliment the Galaxy S WiFi 4.2, they’re bringing out the Galaxy Player 70, a 5.0-inch refresh of their somewhat more accurately named Galaxy Player 5.0 from last year. The biggest upgrade is a dual-core 1Ghz processor, which makes it the first device in the “media player” category wit a dual-core chip.

Otherwise, the device is a lot like its previous incarnation: 5.0 inches of LCD, probably using the familiar 800×480 resolution. 16 and 32 GB versions will be made available, both of which can be further expanded with a MicroSD card. The rather disappointing camera from previous versions has been upgraded to 5 megapixels – not quite as good as most high-end smartphones, but much more effective than the 3.2MP version on previous hardware. The software is indisputably (sigh) Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a TouchWiz topping. Full access to Google apps and the Android Market is included.

Currently the device is only set for release in South Korea, where the 16 and 32GB versions will sell for 399,000 win and 469,000 won. That’s about $350 and $420 US dollars, respectively. It’s possible that the Galaxy Player 70 Plus could spread to other markets (perhaps as the Galaxy Player 5.0 Plus) but there’s no guarantee – by all accounts, the line hasn’t been a hit outside of Samsung’s home country.

[via SammyHub]


Rumor: Asus to make the Google Play or Nexus tablet

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 06:02 AM PST

Hardcore Android fans love the Nexus line, but there hasn’t been any tablet equivalent of the pure Google experience since the original Motorola XOOM came out almost a year ago. However, Asus’ well-received Transformer tablets have come close, with nearly stock versions of Honeycomb (and now Ice Cream Sandwich on the Transformer Prime and the new tablets from Mobile World Congress). That being the case, rumors out of AndroidandMe that Asus will build the Nexus tablet, AKA the “Google Play”, are encouraging.

Everything we know about the Nexus tablet (and considering that it’s still very much a rumor, that isn’t much) says that it will be a seven-inch Kindle Fire competitor in the $199 range. That said, the source claims that Asus is planning to include a quad-core processor, probably the same Nvidia Tegra 3 that’s in the upcoming MeMO 370T. Since that tablet is seven inches, 720p and runs Ice Cream Sandwich at a price of just $250, all the pieces are there to make this a possibility. Considering that Google literally gave laptops away to seed Chrome OS, there’s nothing stopping them from subsidizing the cost of a tablet and selling it at a loss.

Keep in mind that this is all chasing after the wind. The only confirmed information we’re running on is Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s passing comment that the company is preparing a “tablet of the highest quality” sometime this year. That certainly sounds like a Nexus tablet, but it could be a much more loose association between Google and an OEM, as existed for the original Motorola DROID. Since even further rumors suggest the tablet will begin production in April in time for an unveil at Google IO a couple of months later, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.


Android “Key Lime Pie” may be next version after Jelly Bean

Posted: 05 Mar 2012 05:34 AM PST

And now, for your morning dose of wild rumor and speculation. An anonymous source has tipped The Verge that the version following Android “Jelly Bean” (which, remember, has still not yet been confirmed by Google) will be christened “Key Lime Pie”, following in the company’s alphabetically sequenced dessert theme. There’s no telling what version number this would translate to, since Google has been inconsistent in its full numeral or decimal updates.

It goes without saying that this is unconfirmed, and should be treated as mere rumor at this point. Jelly Bean seems like a lock after what we saw at Mobile World Congress. That being said, Key Lime Pie seems as likely a name as any other, since there aren’t that many desserts starting with the letter K. (There aren’t that many for J either, unless you get region-specific and go for “jelly baby”.) Google’s the kind of company that thinks these things out in advance, so it’s certainly possible that they’ve got several names lined up for future releases. Take this all with a grain of salt, or in this case, sugar.

More interesting is how the version number of Android will progress in “Jelly Bean” and beyond. Google tends to save full numerical updates for major overhauls, for which both 3.0 Honeycomb and 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Compare these to 2.1 Eclair, 2.2 Froyo and 2.3 Gingerbread, all of which were evolutionary updates. Even if Google decides to incrementally improve the solid base that Ice Cream Sandwich has established, since Android 3.1 and 3.2 came and went without formal codenames.

[via SlashGear]


Virtuous S4X brings ICS and Sense 4.0 to HTC EVO 3D and Sensation

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 04:05 PM PST

Whatever else they might be, custom ROM developers are speedy. Barely three weeks after the first official ROM for the Endeavor (now officially revealed as the HTC One X) leaked, an industrious group of devs have released a series of ROMs based on the leaked code. The Virtuous S4X series of ROMs isn’t the first family of custom ROMs to bring Ice Cream Sandwich to HTC’s devices, but it is the first to bring the ubiquitous Sense along for the ride in its fourth incarnation.

At present only the GSM version of the HTC EVO 3D and the HTC Sensation are supported, and the ROMs themselves are in beta form and their first release at that – don’t expect daily driver performance. Work from the developers includes resizing and recalibrating ROMs to work on qHD (960×540) screens, smaller both physically virtually tan the HTC One X’s 720p panel. In the best tradition of custom ROMs, they’ve also made a few speedy tweaks and removed bloatware that isn’t strictly necessary.

HTC has committed to bringing Ice Cream Sandwich (and probably Sense 4.0) to both the EVO 3D and the Sensation, but it might be months before the updates materialize. If you can’t wait, download the files, reboot into a custom recovery and get crackin’. Both will require a full wipe (even from a stock ROM) so make sure and back up your data with Nandroid. It’ll still be a few weeks at the very least before the HTC One X is released, so it’ll be a while before the developers can upgrade their source files.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Sensation 4G
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : T-Mobile
    Announced Date : April 12, 2011
    Release Date : May 19, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : qHD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 4.96 Inch
  • Width : 2.57 Inch
  • Depth : 0.44 Inch
  • Weight : 148 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1520 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 350 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AMR
  • MID
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • 3GP
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
  • WMV
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 768 MB
    Internal Storage : 4 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 1080p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • GSM
    GSM Band:
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : EVO 3D
    Manufactuer : HTC
    Carrier : Unknown
    Announced Date : March 22, 2011
    Release Date : June 24, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 540x960
  • Screen Type : S-LCD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.00 Inch
  • Width : 2.60 Inch
  • Depth : 0.47 Inch
  • Weight : 170 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1730 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 355 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • h.263
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Snapdragon
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1024 MB
    Internal Storage : 4.096 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 5 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :

[via XDA]


Sony Tablet P hands-on and unboxing

Posted: 04 Mar 2012 11:55 AM PST

After months of waiting and no small amount of whining from yours truly, Sony has finally seen fit to grace the United States with the presence of its oddball folding tablet, the Tablet P. For better or worse it’s only available on AT&T’s wireless network. Sony fans and those looking for a little something different have been waiting a long time for the Tablet P. Does the unique folding screen mechanism make for a better tablet, or yet another Android oddity? Let’s find out.

The folding 10-inch clamshell is undeniably striking: we can say without exaggeration that there’s nothing quite like it on the market. The Tablet P uses two identical 1024×480 screens, which can operate compatible apps independently or combine them for a full 1024×960 screen, nearly a full square. The experience takes some getting used to, even if you’re used to Android’s tablet interface, but after a few minutes any technically-minded person should be able to get around with minimal difficulty.

The Tablet P’s curved sides make maximum use of its internal space, cramming a Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 3,080mAh battery into the casing. It’s an attractive design made all the more interesting from a lack of boxy edges, and will slide into a (large) pocket or bag better than any 9 or 10-inch tablet currently on the market. The processor and RAM are more than enough to make Honeycomb zip, though it’s not the smoothest experience we’ve seen. This may be due to some “enhancements” to Android 3.2 on Sony’s part.

Unfortunately there’s no room for more than 4GB of storage space (though you do get a 2GB MicroSD card gratis) or 4G LTE – you’ll have to make due with HSPA+ “4G”, something of a penance considering the $399 on-contract price tag. Sony has already committed to an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade, but between the manufacturer and the carrier it could be quite some time before it materializes.

If you live in Sony’s entertainment world, you’ll appreciate the various included software: the PlayStation store for access to converted PSX titles and other games, plus Sony’s music and movie stores. Of course with access to Google apps and the Android Market, there’s no reason to limit yourself, either. And speaking of software, Sony says that more than 40 third-party apps take advantage of the Tablet P’s unique dual-screen design, including Evernote and News 360.

Build quality is rock-solid and typical of Sony. Those worrying about the moving parts in the hinge needn’t bother. The screen is surprisingly glossy, though; while LCDs are generally better than AMOLED screens at blocking reflection, the coating on the inside of the tablet seems to reflect a lot more light than most. The volume and power buttons on the side of the tablet are tricky, and we wish that it had a MicroUSB charging port instead of the proprietary one sitting on the side, begging you to bring along a second adapter.

You can pick up the Sony Tablet P today from AT&T for $399.99, on a two-year contract or extension. We’ll have a full review up later this week, but check out the unboxing video below in the meantime.

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