Android August 19

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After sharing this morning a render of the slide-out keyboard on what is ostensibly an Android-powered BlackBerry Venice, a device which the Ontario-based company has teased but made no mention of what OS its powered by, respected leaker Evan Blass is back with more goodies for the BB faithful. This time he has tweeted out a short video that shows off a render of the smartphone from all angles, with dramatic transitions and animations in tow.

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Update: Project Ara has just tweeted that the strength of the magnetic forces holding together the Ara phone modules is not, in fact, a problem — apparently that was a joke. We’ve since heard that the strength of the magnetic fields produced by the magnets being used is approximately 30 Newton-meters, more than enough strength to hold a 30 gram electronic module in place. The comments about building a better attachment/detachment solution still seem to be true, however, with the tweet also saying that, “We have been configuring a new solution. It’s better too.” The team is also working on improved camera and battery modules.

Google’s Project Ara, the name of the modular smartphone system the company is building that would enable anyone to put together a phone on their own, has run into problems that have impacted its public test roll-out. The team behind it has been cheeky and somewhat coy in explaining why it has delayed a test launch of the unique system, but a concise message posted to Twitter today might at least partly explain the delay.

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Vice president of market research firm IDC Bryan Ma speaking to CNBC last week after Samsung’s unveiling of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+:

If you look at the rest of the Android space, admittedly even the stuff they announced last night, it kinda just blends in with the rest of the market. I don’t know if there was that much that differentiated it from the rest of the pack aside from some minor features. And that’s what’s hitting other players like HTC… It’s really just the case where a lot of these products are becoming a lot of the same thing.

I’m not trying to be a negative nancy here, but to prove Ma’s statements here look no further than the “leak” of a purported new HTC phone that spread around the blogosphere this morning (mockup turned out to be one that popular leaker @evleaks created back in 2013). 6-inch display, 4GB RAM, 3,500mAh battery capacity, water-resistance, extremely thin bezel, similar rear design to every other flagship HTC smartphone from the past few years — nothing outlandish, nothing hard to believe.

And that’s kind of the point. It’s so easy to make up a spec sheet like this out of thin air, and there wouldn’t be many around to doubt that HTC might make another phone with just marginal changes. I could have made up a spec sheet in real-time as I wrote the post about it and mine would’ve been similar to the one that spread around this morning.

Not that this lack of annual user-facing revolutionary hardware changes is a bad thing…. expand full story


Google finally announced the name to its upcoming mobile operating system a couple of days back. Android 6.0 will officially be dubbed ‘Marshmallow‘, and the developer preview is available to download for developers with Nexus phones. If you don’t have a Nexus phone, you’ll be glad to know you can still get a small taster of what it’s like to use Marshmallow by downloading the Google Now Launcher used in the latest beta software.

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