Google I/O registration opens 7 a.m. PDT March 27, last year it took less than an hour to sell out

Google opens its registration for its annual I/O conference on March 27. Remember, tickets sold out last year in under an hour so set your alarms!

The conference also moved from May to June this year where Google will debut many new technologies, including some Glasses hopefully. While we do not have official word on the Glasses “Project WingFront,” we were told by a Google employee that this year’s I/O was going to be “totally insane.” Perhaps so insane that Google moved from a two-day format to three days this year.

 

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Google also updated its I/O website with some fun and games. Read more

Samsung announces Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for GALAXY S II

Through Facebook, no less:

Samsung offers Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for GALAXY S II

We’re thrilled to announce that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be served to GALAXY S II users in the European countries including Poland, Hungary and Sweden, as well as Korea today, and gradually roll out to other markets.

ICS for GALAXY Note, GALAXY S II LTE, GALAXY Tab 8.9 and 10.1 will follow soon.

In addition, we’ll also offer Android 2.3 Gingerbread firmware upgrades for GALAXY S, GALAXY Tab 7″, GALAXY S Plus, GALAXY S SCL (Super Clear LCD) and GALAXY W from end March. The firmware upgrades for GALAXY S, for example, include Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor, and others.

The availability and scheduling of the software update and specific models upgradeable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers’ requirements.

That last sentence is the killer. How long until the carriers get around to upgrading their phones? Verizon just upgraded the Samsung Continuum to Android 2.2 last month. It is nice is that we now have a four-horse race on our hands to determine which carrier is the fastest. My money is on Sprint.
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Any Sprint Android phone, including Galaxy SII or EVO are now free with a plan at Amazon’s Spring Sale

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If there is ever a time to upgrade to a Sprint Android phone, now is a good time—and Amazon is the place. All Sprint phones are a penny with free activations for new customers. Amazon had the penny-pincher sale across all lines for Black Friday last year.

Live stream all NCAA March Madness games with official Android app

With March Madness kicking off March 13, Android users now have an official app to follow as the 67 games take place between now and April 2. That free app released by Turner Sports Interactive packs a ton of features, including live radio of all games, social media streams for teams, a channel guide for TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV, and the ability to track the live updated bracket during the tournament. You can also fill out an official NCAA Bracket Challenge bracket from within the app.

You can grab the free NCAA March Madness Live app from Google Play now. Turner is also offering a $3.99 in-app upgrade that will get you a live stream of all games, Final Four practices, and much more. Here’s what’s included in the upgraded version with a list of supported devices:

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Instagram coming to Android soon: ‘In some ways, it’s better than our iOS app’

Cofounder of the leading iOS photo-sharing app “Instagram” Kevin Systrom recently announced at SXSW (via TechCrunch) that the app has now reached over 27 million registered users. He also briefly teased the highly anticipated Android version of Instagramwhich Systrom had an early build of running on his device at the show. The good news is, while we do not have a solid release date, Systrom said the company is taking its time to make sure the Android version is not just a scaled port of the iOS app:

“I don’t think it took us so long. We just had priorities. Had we tried to be both on Android and iPhone at the same time, it would’ve been tough to innovate in the way that we have”

Systrom also said the Android app is, “In some ways, it’s better than our iOS app. It’s crazy.” TechCrunch reported Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger said the Android team is “pretty impressed” with the app’s ability to differentiate itself from the iOS version. Unfortunately, the executives said the current build of the app was not ready for a full demo, which means we are likely still a few months out. We will keep you posted.
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AT&T’s LTE network rolling out to 12 new areas starting next month

AT&T made things official this morning for 12 new locations getting access to its LTE network starting in April. The press release does not give specifics for each location, but it said Cleveland would get access “soon” with the rollout for the other cities starting next month and stretching into the summer. Check out the full list of locations and AT&T’s press release after the break.
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Sprint announces $19.99 ZTE Fury for March 11

Today, Sprint announced the “ZTE Fury,” which is by all accounts a great Android alternative to the iPhone 3GS, and debuts for $20 on contract (after rebate) on March 11. The device is clearly an entry-level Android handset, but it packs some pretty decent specs with a 3.5-inch display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 4G of onboard memory, 5-megapixel camera with flash, and up to 8 hours talk time with a 1500 mAh battery. It can also act as a 3G hotspot and is marketed as a family-friendly device due to the press release mentioning Sprint’s Family Locator, Mobile Controls, and Drive First app. However, those services will each cost extra. For example: The Drive First service allows you to redirect incoming calls to voicemail when driving over 10 MPH for just $2 per month.

Sprint’s full press release is after the break.

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Sony’s Music Unlimited Android app updated with offline playback

In addition to the rollout of the paid streaming music service on its own PlayStation Vita handheld today, Sony also updated the Music Unlimited mobile app on Google Play. The update only brings one new feature: The ability to download and listen to playlists offline. To enable the new feature, “Go to My Library, choose Playlists, and press the options button (+) for the playlist you want to make available offline.” You can find the updated app on Google Play here. The separate tablet app has not received an update yet.
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These Verizon phones will get Ice Cream Sandwich updates

There are not many huge surprises on the list, but Verizon made things official for users wondering if their device will be getting an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, Verizon did not provide any specific dates for when the updates might be rolling out. If you are still in the dark about your device, head past the break to see if it made the cut.

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Apple seeking to settle for up to $15 per Android device in patent disputes

Following a report from Bloomberg in December featuring advice from analysts, we asked you if Apple should settle for up to a $10 royalty per Android device and not keep paying its lawyers to fight patent disputes. Today, Dow Jones Newswires reports that Apple is interested in seeking settlements. According to the report, Apple “indicated a willingness to cut deals with competitors,” including Motorola and Samsung:
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Previously-searched places now available on Android, iPhone

Google rolled out a handy new feature yesterday to its mobile search page on Android and iPhone smartphones that provides access to the list of past places-related search queries. According to a post over at the official Google Mobile blog, the new Recent icon “shows information about places you have recently searched for on any of your devices.” You must be logged in to your Google Account when searching for places (such as the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco). Web History must also be enabled. Users can swipe to the right to see more icons for other categories of places.

Next time you are heading to a place you have recently searched for, no need to worry if you can’t remember the address or phone number. Just go to Google.com on your smartphone and tap on the “Recent” icon.

This improvement also allows you to research places of interest on your desktop and view them later while on the go— without having to bookmark or email places’ URLs to yourself. One thing to keep in mind: This information about your previously searched places will be available under the Recent icon for about a day, Google said. This handy new feature is the first in a series of enhancements aimed at unifying search experience across devices.

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Samsung unveils Galaxy Pocket smartphone

Samsung today announced its latest addition to the Galaxy device lineup, the Galaxy Pocket smartphone seen on the right. As the name suggests, this Android 2.3 Gingerbread device easily fits into your pocket as it is just 12mm thin and weighs only 97 grams.

The diminutive phone packs a 2.8-inch QVGA 240-by-320 pixel resolution display, 832MHz processor, 3GB user memory (expandable to 32 gigs via MicroSD cards), built-in FM radio, and runs Samsung’s upgraded TouchWiz user interface. On the connectivity front, the Galaxy Pocket supports Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi wireless networks, and 3G HSDPA 3.6Mbps cellular networks.

The included social features cover Samsung’s Social Hub and the downloadable ChatON cross-platform communication service. The Galaxy Pocket will be available in Italy starting from March and will gradually roll out to Europe, CIS, Latin America, Southeast and Southwest Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and China. No price points, model numbers, or United States availability information were released at press time.

Spec sheet is above the fold.

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