Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Android Community

Android Community


Galaxy S II on Vodafone up next for Ice Cream Sandwich

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 10:59 AM PDT

Those with a Galaxy S II that are still patiently (or impatiently) awaiting the update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich we have some good news. After a few reports that the Vodafone UK SGSII would be getting the update soon, Vodafone themselves have confirmed the update has been approved and all systems are a go, the update will be available this week.

Starting on April 12th the Vodafone Galaxy S II can update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as usual by accepting the over the air (OTA) update on their handsets. I’d be checking tomorrow at midnight if I were you. As usual the update will be pushed and available online using Samsung Kies for those opting to take that route.

Vodafone announced the update today, yet mentions this is a provisional date that could change at any time, but with the OTA set to start in just two days most likely everything will move forward as planned. The update to ICS brings all the new changes to Android but has the standard Samsung TouchWiz user interface overlay to keep things familiar, and simple for Samsung users. Enjoy the update and let us know if you have any issues come April 12th.

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 PocketDroid]


Asphalt 6 updated with new cars and improved visuals

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 10:31 AM PDT

Who’s ready for some more high speed action packed racing? The popular game Asphalt 6 has surprisingly been updated today in the Google Play Store from the folks at Gameloft. They produce some awesome games, but aren’t too big on updates so I’m excited to see one of the best racing games on Android getting an update. The new Audi is awesome too.

Most of Gameloft’s games are extremely polished and work great, sadly they don’t all appear on the market and are pretty device specific at times. Asphalt 6 (one of my favorites) comes pre-loaded on multiple phones and is highly popular. The update today should solve some of those exit and freezing issues, as well as some other unknown bugs.

Today’s update adds an awesome new vehicle to race. The Audi RS 3 sportscar. Sadly I wish they’d have introduced more than one car in the update, but we’ll take what we can get. Gameloft has also improved on the graphics, as well as the visual effects. Hitting the NOS or turbo button you’ll now see better visuals, as well as more life-like wrecks and physics during gameplay. The slight changes makes this game look even better on my Galaxy Nexus, I’m loving it all over again.

If you’ve not tried Asphalt 6 yet we’d highly recommend it. Get the update available now, or hit the link below and buy it today.

Asphalt 6 Link

Screenshot_2012-04-10-09-52-05 Screenshot_2012-04-10-10-07-53 unnamed


United States carriers and the FCC unite to battle cell phone theft

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 10:12 AM PDT

The Justice League. The Avengers. Voltron. Those annoying kids who always ran around for twenty minutes until Captain Planet showed up. Now you can add the four largest cellular service providers in the United States to the list of teams dedicated to fighting evil – or at least petty theft. Bloomberg reports that Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and the Now Network have united with the Federal Communications Commission to create a nationwide database of stolen cellphones, and implement a system to keep the ill-gotten goods from being reactivated and/or resold.

Normally when a phone gets stolen, the carrier deactivates the SIM card associated with the victim’s account and sends them a new phone and card combo. But GSM phones can still be used – all the thief needs is another SIM card. Alternately they can quickly sell the phone without a card, “unlocked” as it were, and make a tidy profit. Cell phones’ ubiquitous nature, combined with high demand and relatively anonymous turnaround, have made them a lucrative target for thieves. (In the case of CDMA networks, the phone itself is disabled.)

The new system will keep track of a customer’s phone, instead of just the SIM via its unique identifier code. On GSM phones this is the IMEI number, while CDMA phones generally get the similar MEID or older ESN. The new joint system will allow a reportedly stolen phone from any manufacturer and/or carrier to be remotely disabled – though there’s no telling if this means the phone is totally disabled (“bricked”) or just barred from accessing any cellular networks. Presumably the system would work on tablets with 3G and LTE radios as well.

There’s at least one cause for concern, however: the carriers and the FCC are working with Congress on legislation that would make tampering wit these remote disabling systems illegal on a federal level. That’s fine in theory, but it’s a short leap to “messing with your phone? you mist be a thief!” In any case, the efforts of the carriers and the FCC is much appreciated with the cost of the latest high-end smartphones pushing ever higher – not that having any cell phone stolen is ever a good experience. The new system should be in place within six months.

[via TmoNews]


LG Optimus 4X HD gets benchmarked

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 09:20 AM PDT

LG’s newest flagship the Optimus 4X HD is still a few weeks out, but that hasn’t stopped a few industrious geeks from giving the phone the benchmark treatment. Greek site TechBlog.gr put the quad-core phone through its paces and posted the results for gadget hounds everywhere. The conclusions aren’t that surprising – they’re right in line with our own tests of the HTC One X, the first phone to sport NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor – but any speed demons out there will be wanting to compare and contrast the numbers.

For the standard Quadrant benchmark test, the Optimus 4X HD scored 4,512 – just a bit better than the HTC One X. For the AnTuTu benchmark (which seems to favor multi-core processors) the phone got a score of 11,147, just under 10% better than the One X. Both phones use 1GB of RAM, so the discrepancy on the tests is likely due to some of the extra software involved in HTC’s Sense 4.0. LG also has a custom skin on Android, but it’s far less intensive. Both phones are running Android 4.0. Remember that there’s a considerable margin on error in both apps.

There’s something of a performance war going on in the Android world right now, between NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 platform and Qualcomm’s dual-core Snapdragon S4. Performance wise, both are excellent, though finding a clear winner is somewhat problematic – the S4 does better in some benchmarks (like Quadrant) but the Tegra 3 does better in others, likely due to the latter’s multi-core optimization. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the Tegra 3 is currently incompatible with LTE phones. That’s why AT&T’s HTC One X goes with Qualcomm. It’s also presumably why the recently rumored LG D1L, which seems to be identical to the Optimus 4X HD with the addition of an LTE connection, went with the Snapdragon S4 as well.


DROID RAZR ICS training video leaks – still no update in sight

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 08:40 AM PDT

Motorola has made liking the DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX pretty hard over the last few weeks. Leak after leak seemed to indicate that the long-awaited Ice Cream Sandwich update, or a test, or a beta, or something, was just around the corner. Each time we’ve been thoroughly disappointed when the update either failed to materialize or was immediately denied. Ready for one more glimmer of hope, Motorola owners? Video walkthroughs of the DROID RAZR ROM have made their way to YouTube, complete with the new Ice Cream Sandwich interface.

The videos themselves are pretty routine, designed for those without any sort of familiarity with smartphones. Motorola’s been including them on their support website and even on devices themselves for some time. There’s no insight to be gleaned here beyond what we already know – the ICS ROM was previously leaked, after all – but the fact that these videos have been produced and appear ready for prime time is promising. We’ve mirrored the first video just in case Motorola or Verizon send a take-down notice to YouTube, but you can see all five videos (for the time being) in YouTube user Revowii’s channel.

There’s still no official word form either Motorola or Verizon on when we can expect to see Ice Cream Sandwich for the flagship DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX, aside from the fact that it’s coming sometime in the nebulous future. We’re coming up on six months since the DROID RAZR was released, and almost the same amount of time since the source code for Android 4.0 was made available. With ASUS, Samsung, HTC and others already providing updates for some high-end phones, needless to say, Motorola owners are becoming increasingly angry at their outdated software.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : DROID RAZR
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : November 03, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.3 Inch
  • Resolution :
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Advanced qHD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.15 Inch
  • Width : 2.71 Inch
  • Depth : 0.27 Inch
  • Weight : 127 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1780 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 8.9 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4430
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 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
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1700
  • 1900
  • 2100
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 Droid-Life]


Qualcomm invests in BlueStacks Android player

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 07:27 AM PDT

Have you tried out BlueStacks? If you’re reading this on a Windows PC, you really should – it’s an impressively simple way to get Android apps onto your full-sized computer, and ever since the software’s beta update, it’s only gotten better. BlueStacks’ success has not gone unnoticed: TechCrunch reports are surfacing that chip maker Qualcomm (you know, the Snapdragon people) has invested in the company after an unusually strong showing this month. The amount of dollars changing hands isn’t clear, but sources say it’s in the millions.

The BlueStacks beta was downloaded a whopping one million times in just ten days after its release – an incredible showing for software that’s still very much experimental. What does Qualcomm, a company whose interests are overwhelmingly mobile, want with BlueStacks? Who knows – maybe it’s the same thing that AMD wants, or any of BlueStacks other investors, now totaling resources of $15 million. The software has already gotten attention from hardware vendors like ViewSonic, and as Windows 8 tablets start appearing later this year or in 2013, the lure of ready-made touch apps may be hard to resist.

BlueStacks is a free download, and anyone can use it to try out a variety of apps synced from their Android smartphone. Even if you don’t use an Android phone, the latest beta includes several third-party app stores for built-in access to hundreds of thousands of apps. If even that isn’t enough and you’re handy with a registry editor, you can try your hand at installing the Google Play Store or rooting the BlueStacks player – yup, there’s nothing that Android modders won’t try. Planned updates to BlueStacks include a premium version and an OS X port.

[via SlashGear]


Updated Chrome OS looks a lot like Windows

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 07:07 AM PDT

Let’s step back from Android for a moment and take a look at Google’s other OS. With no major updates since the Chromebooks launched last year, Chrome OS (the x86 self-contained Linux OS based on the desktop Chrome browser) is looking like the red-headed stepchild of the Google family. But it’s finally getting some long-overdue love with the unveiling of a new “Aura” window manager and user interface. Those of you who use a certain Redmond product may notice a few… fleeting similarities.

Yup, the newly updated Chrome OS bears a striking resemblance to Windows 7, with independent browser windows, and shortcuts and settings controls in a taskbar shelf. Previously Chrome OS was more or less a single Chrome window that handled everything – you could have as many tabs and extensions as you liked, but they were always limited to the primary Chrome frame. The updated Chrome OS still does everything in the browser (all the shortcuts are basically fancy links, or as Chrome calls them, “web apps”) but now you can manage multiple windows and switch between them with the shelf.

Conceptually, this is something of a step backwards for Chrome OS. The original project was supposed to focus on simplicity – offer a browser and nothing more, with all the tools users were used to residing in the cloud (and hopefully on Google services). And for regular Chrome users, it did work pretty well: log in to Google and all your extensions and bookmarks are right there in front of you. No files, no settings, no windows. Just the web.

The problem came when non-technical people tried to use Chrome OS, often on something that looked indistinguishable from a “normal” laptop. Instead of the familiar (if aesthetically displeasing) setup of a wallpapered desktop and some kind of control bar, it was browser through and through. Simplifying the web experience may have actually alienated the very users Google was trying to woo, who don’t handle change well no matter what the benefits. The more technically complicated UI in the updated Chrome OS is, in a roundabout but very real way, more friendly than a basic web interface.

In addition to the overhauled UI, the latest version of Chrome includes multi-monitor support and better handling of compressed files. You can download the latest Chromium build to compile the OS yourself – it should roll out to the various Chromebook models in the next few weeks.

[via TechCrunch]


Toshiba unveils 7.7, 10 and 13-inch Excite tablets running ICS

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 06:31 AM PDT

Watch out, Samsung: there’s a new manufacturer looking to cover all the tablet bases. Toshiba’s Excite line, previously restricted to a single 10-inch model, grows by three today. The company pulled the curtain off three new entries in the line, with screens sized 7.7, 10 and a massive 13.3-inches, all of them running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with NVIDIA Tegra 3 processors. The Excite 10 goes on sale next month, with the Excite 7.7 and Excite 13 following in June.

The Excite 7.7 is pretty much a direct competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, thanks to its identical 7.7-inch 1280×800 AMOLED screen panel. Inside you get a Tegra 3 quad-core processor an a full gigabyte of RAM, plus 5MP rear and 2MP front cameras. The smallest of the tablets fits into a case 7.6mm thick and just 13.5 ounces, with a standard MicroUSB data port and MicroSD card slot. At 16GB the Excite 7.7 comes in at $499.99, then goes up to $579.99 for the 32GB model.

The more pedestrian 10-inch Excite is pretty similar to the current Excite X10, with the addition of Ice Cream Sandwich and the Tegra 3. Specs and capabilities are pretty much identical to the 7.7, with the addition of a full-sized SD card slot and a MicroHDMI port. The 10-inch LCD panel is 1280×800, which has become something of a standard among 10-inch Android tablets. Toshiba claims a battery life of 10 hours on the 1.32-pound tablet, and prices start at $449.99 for the 16GB model, then rise to $529.99 and $649.99 for 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively. If you’re wondering why the smaller tablet is more expensive, it’s because of the pricey screen panel.

Finally the big daddy Excite 13. The 13.3-inch LCD screen bumps up the resolution to 1600×900 (an odd 16:9 aspect ratio for a tablet) in a case that’s 10.1 millimeters thick and 2.2 pounds heavy. In addition to all the specs, ports and features of the Excite 10, it gets four SRS-certified speakers and comes with a free tablet stand. Pricing for the Excite 13 start at a whopping $649.99 for 32GB and goes up to $749.99 for 64GB – and remember that all three tablets are WiFi-only, at least at this point.

As far as software goes, it looks like Toshiba has admirably chosen to stick with stock Ice Cream Sandwich – there’s no major changes to the interface visible in the press shots. There will be some pack-in apps including an e-book reader and media streamer, plus Netflix and Zinio. Of course, if you ever get tired of them, ICS includes an app disable function. So, who wants more AMOLED tablet options, or a ginormous 13-inch monster? Sound off in the comments section.

excite 10 front excite 10 side excite 13 back excite 13 front Excite 77 front excite 77 side


Motorola may (or may not) start DROID RAZR ICS soak test soon

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 05:48 PM PDT

Moto, Moto, Moto. You aren’t making any friends, least of all among owners of the DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX. When news broke out of Best Buy that the flagship phones would be getting the long overdue Ice Cream Sandwich update last Wednesday, then preliminary registration for the soak test on Motorola’s support forums began, customers were elated: after six long months of waiting, their superphones would be up to date. Sadly, Best Buy seems t have been completely full of it, and the soak test was just a Gingerbread update. Now word comes out od the official forum that Moto is skipping the Gingerbread update altogether and going straight for Ice Cream Sandwich… or not.

A clarifying post from a Moto administrator said that the soak test would be replaced with the real, honest-to-goodness Ice Cream Sandwich ROM. Then his post was unceremoniously removed. It would seem that Motorola’s left hand doesn’t know what its right hand is doing. We know that the software is coming – heck, plenty of people are running it right now thanks to a leaked version of the official ROM. But neither Motorola nor Verizon have given any sort of schedule for the actual update, beyond the fact that it’s coming… which they’ve been saying since the DROID RAZR was announced in October.

International RAZR owners have it a little easier, though not much. At least they know that the update will come in the second quarter (i.e. “the end of June at the latest, pinkie swear”) and due to their identical software, owners of the new RAZR MAXX should get the update at the same time. International RAZR owners also get a little more leeway than US citizens when it comes to custom ROMs, thanks to an unlockable bootloader, a luxury Motorola and Verizon have not seen fit to bless us with.

So, when’s Ice Cream Sandwich coming? At this point, we’re not prepared to guess. But frankly, tomorrow wouldn’t be soon enough.

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : DROID RAZR
    Manufactuer : Motorola
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : October 18, 2011
    Release Date : November 03, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.3 Inch
  • Resolution :
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Advanced qHD
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.15 Inch
  • Width : 2.71 Inch
  • Depth : 0.27 Inch
  • Weight : 127 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1780 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 8.9 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.3.x
    Audio Playback:
  • AAC
  • AAC+
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : OMAP 4430
    CPU Clock Speed : 1200 Mhz
    Core : 2
    Ram : 1000 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
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 850
  • 900
  • 1700
  • 1900
  • 2100
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 Droid-Life]


HTC shows off the design behind the EVO 4G LTE in new video

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 05:23 PM PDT

The HTC EVO 4G LTE, the CDMA version of the One X, landed with a splash last week. We’ll have to wait until May at least to get our hands on the final version, but in the meantime, HTC has taken to YouTube to show off some of the design work that went into the unique metal housing and kickstand. The nearly five-minute video gives a pretty good insight into the process of designing a new smartphone, so if you’ve ever wonder why this seam is here, or that notch is there, it’s a worthy watch. Also: kickstands. Hooray for kickstands!

One of the more interesting bits in the video is the work that went into creating the soft-touch texture on the EVO 4G LTE. Apparently different from the Micro Arc Oxidation technique used on other members of the One family (as seen in yet another video), they’ve use a method of sanding and scraping the frame on a microscopic level to give it a smooth finish. THere’s also quite a bit of work that’s gone into giving the edge a different  finish and avoiding unnecessary seams – despite the fact that the Now Network’s version of the phone has noticeably more plastic than others.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE gets the same Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor that the AT&T version of the One X gets, but there are a few key differences. The EVO has a smaller 16GB capacity, but makes up for it with a MicroSD card slot. Plus it’s got a kickstand. (Did we mention the kickstand?) The 4.7-inch 720p screen, 8MP camera, 1GB of RAM and Ice Cream Sandwich/Sense 4.0 will remain intact. Pre-orders for the EVO 4G LTE begin on May 7th, and the phone will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract.

Kickstands are awesome.

 


N64 emulator ripped off, then kicked out of the Play Store by copycat

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 04:00 PM PDT

The great thing about open source software is that anybody can use it. The not-so-great thing about open source software… is that anybody can use it. Such was the case with two N64 emulators battling it out on the Google Play Store. According to a massive Reddit thread, the original game emulator was called “Mupen64Plus Android Edition”, developed by Paul Lamb and based off of the open-source emulator Mupen64Plus. Under the General Public License, anyone can use the Mupen code for any project they like (including charging for it) as long as proper attribution is given. Paul put up his app on the Google Play Store, and for a while, all was right with the world.

Until a little app called “N64 Player” came along. According to the thread, this app misappropriated his open-source code without attribution, slapped some ads over it and sold it in the Google Play Store as an original app (citing the GPL code from the original Mupen project). Then the unscrupulous developer filed a copyright claim against Mupen64Plus AE, claiming that Paul Lamb had in fact stolen the original code – which was freely available under a GPL open source license. And Google, apparently without checking to see if the claim was valid, booted Paul’s app off the Play Store instead. The developer, one “Brad Geng”, appears to have been trying to knock out his competition on the Google Play Store.

There’s more going on here than the antics of a scumbag – Google’s copyright reporting system has failed on several levels. One, there was apparently no research made on the copycat’s claims, and Mupen64Plus AE was given the boot without warning. Two, claiming actual copyright infringement on an open-source project is notoriously difficult – if both developers cited the original Mupen emulator code, any claims made by either would essentially become a he said-she said argument, something that probably couldn’t be solved by whoever’s policing the Google Play Store. Third, one would hope that an administrator of the Google Play Store would at least have a passing knowledge of the way that open source software works, though that appears to be too much to hope for in this case.

At this point, both apps have disappeared, likely following reports on N64 Player made by hundreds of angry open-source advocates. You can still find Paul Lamb’s Mupen64Plus AE here, and we won’t link to the other app. Hopefully the real McCoy will be restored to the Google Play Store soon – and the Big G will be a little more wary when it comes to quick-draw copyright claims.

[via Reddit]


India’s Aakash 2 tablet to get Android 4.0 upgrade

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 03:15 PM PDT

Here’s something we never expected to see: the Aakash tablet (AKA the Ubislate) will be getting a software upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, according to Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of Canadian electronics manufacturer Datawind. Tuli says that after the slightly upgraded Aakash 2 launches in two to three weeks, users will get an Ice Cream Sandwich software upgrade six to eight weeks later. Tuli didn’t say if it would be delivered over-the-air or as a separate PC download, the latter of which would be difficult for many Indian students at which the device is aimed.

The original Aakash made headlines when the Indian government announced plans to purchase the low-powered Android tablets en masse, and subsidize their prices down to the equivalent of $35 for students and teachers. The Aakash 2 (Ubislate 7+) is a significant update, though hardware-wise it still compares with lower end Android smartphones. It’s equipped with a single-core 800mhz processor, though it keeps the 256MB of memory and 2GB of storage space. Plans continue for a dual-core version later this year, and there are already talks of trial programs in American schools in Philadelphia.

Datawind’s promise seems enthusiastic to say the least. The Aakash 2 doesn’t meet the recommended specifications for the much more strenuous Ice Cream Sandwich – not by a long shot. 256MB of RAM has been known to make Android 2.2 Froyo chug along, and even Google wouldn’t upgrade its Nexus One developer phone (1Ghz processor, 512MB of RAM) to the latest version of Android. Datawind can compile and distribute the update based on Android’s open-source code, but if they manage to actually install it on the low-end tablet, it’s hard to imagine that it would run well. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

[via PC World]


Google’s Android Emulator improves with better CPU performance

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 02:37 PM PDT

It wasn’t that long ago that Google introduced Ice Cream Sandwich support for the emulator in the official Android SDK, but with the update to Android 4.0.4, they’ve taken it one step further. After a series of tweaks and enhancements in the way that the emulator runs ARM-based software on x86 or x64 PC hardware, the Android development team says that the new version should utilize the computer’s CPU with double the efficiency. The end result? A faster emulator – something that anyone who’s actually tried it out will appreciate.

The more strenuous requirements of Android Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich haven’t been kind to the SDK emulator – even with moderately powerful desktop computers, it tends to chug along and hang on simple tasks. With the added efficiency in the new version, powerful computers will run the emulator faster and – it is to be hoped – less powerful computer that couldn’t run it before will get the privilege. For those with some serious hardware muscle, the 4.0.4 version can also simulate ARM-based GPUs. Observe:

In addition to better efficiency, the emulator is getting some added capability via tethered devices. You could already tether an Android device in ADB mode and use the camera with an emulated app, but now you can use a multi-touch display panel and various additional sensors. Unfortunately, there’s still no way to download the emulator separately - you’ll have to download the SDK package, then select which modules you want (including the emulator) and wait on Google’s overburdened download servers to deliver it to you.

 


Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 Unboxing and Hands-on

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 01:42 PM PDT

The new breed of Samsung’s line of wifi-only handheld smart devices is here with the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6, a much thinner and moderately sized version of what we saw several months ago in the Galaxy Player 5.0. This device works with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, has a single-core Cortex A8 1GHz processor, and has Bluetooth 3.0. This device is meant to work with you offline for the most part when you’re out and about, then via wifi for awesome media connectedness when you’re at home.

The screen on this device is a very basic 3.65 HVGA TFT display, that being 480 x 320 with some pretty obvious pixels to be seen right out of the box. This device does have 8GB of storage inside and has a microSD card slot so you can expand your memory by an additional 32GB if such a thing strikes your fancy. The single-core 1GHz processor isn’t going to light your fire for some of the highest-powered apps and games on the market, but it’ll get the job done for music and movies on the go.

There are two cameras on this device, one VGA on the front for low-res video chat, another 2 megapixel camera on the back for photos and video. You’ll be working with Samsung’s full summer explosion of media sharing and streaming apps including Samsung Smart View, AllShare, and SmartView to connect to your HD Samsung Smart TV. Basically expect this device to wow you as the media controller you’ve always wanted outside the smartphone world.

The device feels solid and hard enough that you wont have the same “this seems fragile” feeling as we did with the Galaxy Player 5.0. Play DivX, WMV, MPEG4, H.264, MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg, and FLAC. THis device will cost you $149.99 if you pick one up from your local electronics store or online this week – and that’s without a contract. For those of you so used to purchasing mobile phones that you forgot that you don’t have to pay for some gadgets month-by-month: it’s inexpensive as possible!

Stay tuned for our full review of this device this week!

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Chrysler adds wireless charging to the 2013 Dodge Dart

Posted: 09 Apr 2012 12:06 PM PDT

Wireless charging is still something that hasn’t fully caught on in the mobile market. While the idea and technology is impressive, still being required to have a set destination for the device is where the problem is. While I wait for a truly wireless charging solution for my Android phone, Chrysler is bringing the current options to their 2013 line-up.

Essentially Chrysler will be bringing the Powermat to their cars. Allowing users to simply charge their smartphones or small tablets by placing them on the dedicated charging mat conveniently located in the car’s center console. The technology behind it will be slightly different, but the idea remains the same.

The image above we see an iDevice, but the announcement from Chrysler details that this technology and option will work with "a variety of smartphones" and be available in Q2 of this year starting with the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart. One key difference especially while in a moving vehicle is the device wont need to be aligned perfectly for charging to take place, just toss it on the mat and you’re good to go.

Would you be interested in wireless charging for your car or truck even if the starting price appears to be around $199 out of the gate? Not including the price for accessories or the required custom case or battery door?

[via SlashGear]


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