Huawei MediaPad lands on AT&T 4G tomorrow at ‘varying price points’

AT&T announced through a press release that it would get the already announced Huawei MediaPad on its 4G network tomorrow. The carrier would not give any specific details on pricing, only that it will be available for “varying price points.” As a refresher, the MediaPad boasts a 7-inch multi-touch display, Android 3.2, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel rear-camera, 1.3-megapixel front-camera, and Wi-Fi. The device should also be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, soon. The full press release is available after the break.

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Droid 4 reportedly launching Feb. 10 for $199

There are two new reports today regarding the upcoming availability of the sleek Droid 4. Droid-Life, who is usually on-par, reported that Verizon Wireless’s latest QWERTY offering will launch for $199 on two-year contract and $549 full price, which has been confirmed in Verizon’s system (seen in the screenshot below). This certainly makes for one of the cheapest LTE offerings out there. Droid-Life also posted a second screenshot of Verizon’s internal system that reveals the Droid 4 will launch on Feb. 10 in all markets. Why Feb. 10, you may ask? It is the same day Star Wars in 3D hits theaters. As a reminder, the Droid 4 boasts a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 4-inch qHD display, 1GB of RAM, and dual-cameras. We will keep you updated as Verizon goes official with its launch date.

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Google rolling out Android 3.2 to Google TVs, making way for Ice Cream Sandwich soon

Google is continuing its push on Google TV by rolling out Android 3.2 to Sony’s Google TV while the update to the Logitech Revue is on its way, GigaOm pointed out. The 3.2 update is not too major, but it does bring some nice updates, such as: Google TVs now boast hardware acceleration, HTTP live streaming that helps with HTML 5 live video, changes to the way Google TV identifies channels to make it easier for developers, and lastly a few user interface changes to Google Chrome.

That is all fine and dandy, of course, but what we really want is Ice Cream Sandwich to roll out to Google TVs soon. Android 3.2 will be the last major update before Ice Cream Sandwich operating system lands, but smaller updates will obviously ensue. We should be seeing ICS land by the end of the year, hopefully. Perhaps Google will give us a little more info at their Google I/O conference, so stay tuned!

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comScore: Android market share still expanding, approaching 50 percent of US smartphone use

Research firm comScore is out with its latest numbers for the month of December, giving us a glimpse at the current United States mobile market. The report indicates that mobile sales are up-and-rising for the holiday month. comScore found that Google’s Android is leading with a 47.3-percent OS market share (rising 2.5 points), which brings the company close to a notable 50 percent. Perhaps we will see the feat reached in February or March. On the other hand, Apple’s iOS is in second with a 29.6-percent market share (rising 2.2 points).

When it comes to device market share for both smartphones and non-smartphones on the OEM side, Samsung tops the charts with a 25.3-percent market share, which did not change from the previous month. LG and Motorola place second and third, both losing a small amount of market share during December. All three manufacturers play a crucial role in selling Android devices, which gives Android a large lead. Apple comes in fourth in market share, and now boasts 12.4-percent of total mobile subscribers (rising 2.2 points).

The U.S. still ranks in as one of the world’s most important places for smartphones, with 97.9 million people owning smartphones during Q4 2011. When it comes to worldwide sales, Research Firm IDC  yesterday released its estimates for December. They found that Apple passed LG to become the third-largest smartphone manufacturer worldwide, with an 8.7-percent market share in Q4 2011, and a 6 percent market share in 2011 as a whole. Nokia remains in the top spot with 26.6-percent, followed by Samsung who has 22.8-percent. You can check out the graphs after the break for the full run-down:

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Google unveils malware detection service for Android Market, codenamed ‘Bouncer’

In a blog post on the Google Mobile Blog, Google today unveiled a new service, codenamed “Bouncer,” that will automatically scan the Android Market for potential malware. It does this “without disrupting the user experience” and without developers having to go through an app review process. Google explained Bouncer would apply not only to newly submitted apps, but also to existing Android Market apps. As a method of stopping repeat offenders, Google will also scan for malicious apps in developer’s accounts. Here is how it works:

…once an application is uploaded, the service immediately starts analyzing it for known malware, spyware and trojans. It also looks for behaviors that indicate an application might be misbehaving, and compares it against previously analyzed apps to detect possible red flags. We actually run every application on Google’s cloud infrastructure and simulate how it will run on an Android device to look for hidden, malicious behavior.

Despite the rollout of the new tool, the blog post also noted that the Android Market witnessed a 40 percent decrease in the number of malicious downloads during 2011 and discussed Sandboxing, Permissions, and Malware removal features built into Android to “make mobile malware less disruptive.”

Vice President of Engineering on the Android team Hiroshi Lockheimer talked to Cnet about the service this morning who noted Google has been testing Bouncer for a “number of months”:

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Google TV adds ‘Funny Or Die’ content with new app

Google announced on the Google TV blog today that Google TV users would now be able to access original content from online comedy portal “Funny Or Die” through a new app. The announcement noted “Funny Or Die” currently has more than 12 million viewers a month and was founded by Gary Sanchez Productions consisting of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy, with Hollywood comedy producer Judd Apatow as partner. You can access the new app through the Google TV Spotlight folder under “All Apps.”

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Sprint’s $100 ZTE Optik 7-inch Android tablet launches Feb. 5

Sprint announced today it will make the budget-friendly 7-inch ZTE Optik 3G tablet available starting Feb. 5 from Sprint Stores and online for $99.99 with the usual two-year agreement. You will also be able to grab the Android 3.2-powered tablet without a contract for $350.

If you are not familiar with the ZTE Optik, expect a 7-inch capacitive WXGA 1280-by-800 resolution display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), and 16 GB of onboard storage. It also packs in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR, a microSD slot, a 5-megapixel main camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 4000 mAh Lithium-ion battery. The full press release from Sprint is available after the break:

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‘Mind the Gap!’ encourages women to join tech; Lack of female talent spurs ‘Booth Babe’ controversy

The technology world is abuzz with great minds, great innovators, and great…men?

According to an official Google blog post from this morning, women hold less than one third of the world’s engineering gigs, despite the female sex making up more than half of the global population. Moreover, fewer than 15 percent of United States female students take Advanced Placement computer science tests. The same rule goes for high-tech regions of the world, such as Israel.

The breach between males and females in the technology industry leaves room for controversy, and such dissension reared its head at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The annual event featured scantily clad “booth babes” hired by some companies to promote their —well— booths. The practice led many to wonder if it is an effective marketing strategy or a reflection on gender gaps in technology.

The hot issue further propelled when ZDNet posted a picture of a female developer at CES 2012, but the publication referred to her as “The Saddest Booth Babe In The World” due to her somewhat emotionless face during the moment the photograph was snapped. Critics lambasted the photo caption because the woman looked nothing like a typical show booth babe, but rather a bored developer with no one around for presenting.

A female group of engineers at Google in Israel is determined to resolve this widespread setback in the industry by encouraging women to enter the technology realm. Google initiated the “Mind the Gap!” program in 2008 with the Israeli National Center for Computer Science Teachers to embolden girls with technology, science, and math-centric education. The program establishes monthly school visits to the Google’s Israel office and tech conferences at various universities to help the girls learn technology, computer science, and its applications…

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New Samsung Android 4.0 device to be unveiled at MWC?

The image above of a mystery Android 4.0 device was posted by @eldarmurtazin (via BGR) with no details other than “Barcelona. Samsung. Press photo leaked.” We are obviously assuming Barcelona is pointing to the Mobile World Congress set to kick off later this month. While we would normally speculate this is Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S III, the company already confirmed that device will not be unveiled at MWC.

The device is clearly an evolution of the Galaxy S II design, and it could possibly be the S III. We will have to wait until Samsung’s press conference at MWC from Feb. 27 to March 1.

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Spyshot depicts Samsung Galaxy S III with flexible display

We are unsure whether the above spy shot leaked by Ubergizmo is authentic, but we are aware of some promising rumors involving a Galaxy smartphone with a flexible display. Be advised this could simply be an early prototype that might not see the light of day. Moreover, Samsung and Corning teamed for a joint venture in Korea focused on supplying Samsung Mobile Display with the latter’s new Lotus Glass technology said to be more resilient than other glass substrates.

Nevertheless, Samsung did confirm plans to market phones and tablets with flexible displays later this year. Also indicative, the South Korean conglomerate delayed a planned late-February introduction of the Galaxy S III until later this year, allegedly until iPhone demand cools off. Another reasonable explanation for the delay:

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Nearly three in 10 Kindle Fire owners say they’ll up their spending at Amazon

ChangeWave Research published an interesting survey today proving that people are really loving their Kindle Fire tablet, with more than half of the respondents (54 percent) being “Very Satisfied” with Amazon’s Android-driven tablet versus 74 percent for Apple’s iPad and 49 percent for other tablets. Whilst Amazon is believed to be selling the $199 tablet at a loss, content spending among the Fire owner benefits the online retailer over time.

Specifically, post-purchase spending at Amazon.com is up, with nearly one-third of respondents (29 percent) claiming they will spend more at Amazon in the next 90 days versus just 19 percent for non-Kindle owners. ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, included a look at the reaction of Kindle Fire owners to their gizmo. Price was the determining factor for a whopping 59 percent of owners, followed by its color screen at 31 percent, ease of use at 27 percent and selection of e-reading material at 20 percent…

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Sprint offering up to a $100 discount to select upgrade eligible customers

Sprint is showing its loyal customers some appreciation in the coming weeks with SprintFeed informing us that starting Feb. 5 select customers will receive a discount up to $100. The discounts will come in $25, $50, and $100 and will be offered to select “upgrade eligible customers that are at high risk of leaving Sprint” through email and snail mail. So the deal does apply to eligible upgrades, but it will require a new two-year commitment. Yes, this is a great way to get you sorted with a less expensive iPhone.

The promotion is running from Feb. 5 to March 18, so you might want to check if your account is flagged for the discount.

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