Ice Cream Sandwich ported to Kindle Fire in pre-alpha build

The fine folks over at the XDA-Developer Forums are at it again, with a pre-alpha release of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to the Kindle Fire, that is based off CyanogenMod 9. The port is stated to be buggy, but as you can see in the video it really isn’t that bad. The process for flashing the pre-alpha software is pretty difficult. If you’re up for the task check it out after the break.

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USPTO rejects Oracle’s patent claim on Google Android

The United States Patent and Trademark office delivered a final rejection to Google at the expense of Oracle.

According to Groklaw, the USPTO issued the rejection Dec. 20 in the reexamination of Oracle’s U.S. Patent No. 6,192,476. Each claim of the patent was subject to reexamination, including Claim 14, which was the only claim asserted by Oracle in the litigation.

The USPTO rejected 17 of the 21 claims in the patent of discussion, including seven of the patent’s independent claims. Any response by Oracle seeking an appeal or reconsideration of this action is due Feb. 20.

Continue reading past the break for more background information on the Oracle vs. Google patent claims.

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MotoACTV rooted with Honeycomb, makes for Android Market on a wristwatch

The MotoACTV was announced in the fall and is flaunted as the ultimate sports watch for those who are active. It ships with Android 2.3 and a custom skin on top, and one would not think the wristwatch could ever be rooted. However, like every other Android device out on the market, the MotoACTV was rooted with Revolutionary’s zergRush exploit. The root enables full Android 2.3 on the wristwatch. As you can see above with the Angry Birds start screen, users can even access the Android Market with the help of CyanogenMod. (via The Verge)

While we do not know if this is exactly useful, it is cool -nonetheless- seeing a tablet user interface run on a 1.6-inch display. The MotoACTV 8GB version is available for $209 on Amazon, and the 16GB version is available for $299. Check it out in action after the break:

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Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket with LTE review: one of the best Android phones you can buy

I have been an iPhone user since 2007 and have used every iPhone since the original. My current phone is the 4S…until I had the chance to start reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket with LTE (currently 70 percent off at Amazon). I have used many Android phones in the past, and the Skyrocket (as I’ll call it for the rest of the review) is one amazing product. The iPhone 4S is currently widely regarded as the “phone to beat,” so parts of this review will focus on comparing the two devices. Since the Skyrocket is a phone with several features and components, we are going to break it down into categories: design and performance, display, battery life, LTE, hotspot, and cameras. Read past the break for the full review:

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Plex expected to launch on Nook Color and Nook Tablet soon

Plex, the very popular streaming media application, is on its way to the Nook Color and Nook Tablet’s Store, reports GigaOm. For those unfamiliar with Plex, it is a popular application available on iOS and Android that lets users manage their home’s media content through a custom server.

Plex’s wide variety of supported media formats, available plug-ins, and the Windows and Mac application make it arguably the best solution for controlling media across the household. The Barnes and Noble review team approved Plex, so it should see its way onto the Nook Store in the coming days.

The Nook’s Plex app will be very close to the Android app, but it will have an added layer of approval process for software titles, GigaOm reports.

The Nook Color and Nook Tablet’s popular competitor, the Kindle Fire, also has Plex. The addition of Plex to the Nook Store will give customers the ability to better manage their media — something that customers love to do with their cheaper tablets.

Meet Hug-chan, Samsung’s Android-driven humanoid robot that hugs people

If you happen to be in Tokyo this holiday season, you may want to drop by the Samsung Galaxy Café on the second floor of Hillside zone of Roppongi Hills for an opportunity to meet Samsung’s cool new bot in person. Heck, it may even give you a little holiday hug! They call it Hug-chan (“chan” is a term of endearment normally attached to the names of girls in Japan). It couples advanced robotics with Google’s Android software and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone and tablet.

A Galaxy S smartphone issues commands to a Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE tablet that provides computer vision through its front and back cameras. It also controls the robot’s arms, legs and other moving parts. It doubles as Hug-chan’s charming head with eyes and other facial expressions rendered on the tablet’s display. In addition to the tablet camera, Hug-chan has a few cameras to detect and interact with users. Samsung even set up a website that lets people watch a live video stream from Hug-chan’s cameras.

A little background and a behind-the-scenes video is right below the fold…

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Google’s Christmas Doodle leaks

Google’s holiday-themed Google Doodle is about to go live any moment on the homepage, and the above image is what it should look like, according to Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz. Funny thing is…we thought Schwartz only leaked gadgets these days. You can check out a full gallery representing 11 years of Google Doodles here. The website was recently revamped with the familiar Google+ look.

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Samsung says ‘no’ to Ice Cream Sandwich on the original Galaxy smartphone and tablet

Samsung confirmed in a blog post yesterday that the original Galaxy S smartphone and its 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet would not receive the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software update due to complications stemming from the custom TouchWiz user interface skin found on the two gadgets.

The problem is based upon both ICS and TouchWiz being hungry for computing resources, and neither the Galaxy S phone nor the Galaxy Tab tablet sport sufficient RAM and ROM to run TouchWiz alongside the demanding Android 4.0 operating system. The argument may come as a surprise to some, considering the Nexus S that is getting an ICS update runs the same 1GHz Hummingbird processor/RAM as the Galaxy S handset.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S does have to accommodate for an additional custom software offering versus the stock Android experience on the Nexus S device. Samsung, on Tuesday, published a list of devices eligible for Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade, and it includes the Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII LTE, Galaxy Note, Galaxy R, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.

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Google allegedly tripled minimum Firefox search revenue guarantee to $1B

It looks like Google tripled its spending to keep its search engine the default choice in Mozilla’s Firefox browser. The usually well-connected Kara Swisher reportedt on the AllThingsD blog that Google had to up its spending, because the other contenders, namely Microsoft and Yahoo, were looking to replace the default choice in Firefox with their own search products.

It is worth noting that Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Microsoft’s technology. Furthermore, although Chrome recently surpassed Firefox as the second most frequently used browser in key markets, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer remains the leading web browser. The Windows maker also teamed with Mozilla on the “Firefox with Bing” initiative a few months ago. It is reasonable to assume that all those factors combined have led Google to outspend its rivals to keep its search engine the default choice in the Firefox browser.

According to Swisher:

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Dropbox releases v2.0 Android app with ICS support; Offers whopping 500MB more space to students

(Image via The Dropbox Blog.)

The Dropbox Blog announced version 2.0 of its Android application Thursday. The free service lets users bring photographs, documents, and videos anywhere and share them easily, and now it completely redesigned its Android app while including many new features.

“Want to make sure a file is always on your phone?” asked Dropbox in a statement on its blog, regarding the service’s new Favorites feature. “Star it for quick offline access.”

Bulk upload is another highlight in the newly updated app. Users can “select multiple photos and videos to be uploaded in the background,” according to the service’s press release.

File renaming allows  -like it sounds- users to rename files and folders. Single-tap access lets users access any file or folder with a single tap. Moreover,  improved gallery view and exportation from local storage and stability improvements were all revealed as new features within the update.

The app also showcases Ice Cream Sandwich support, as it is “optimized for the newest and tastiest Android release yet.” Numerous bugs were also corrected in the second version.

Continue reading for more information on how to obtain complimentary storage space as a student. 

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Interview: Google Enterprise VP Amit Singh on expansion, social and numbers

We sat down with Google Enterprise Vice President Amit Singh in his Mountain View office this week to discuss the direction and plans of the Google Enterprise team.  While he did not share the all-important revenue numbers with us, he did shine a light on Google Apps’ impressive growth across all of its markets.

Singh was a two-decade alumnus of Oracle when he came with many, many others to the GooglePlex last March to help Dave Girouard and the Enterprise Team sell to big business.  Oracle announced this week very disappointing earnings that has thrown the stock price off almost 15 percent.  Meanwhile, Google Apps is growing like gangbusters; Perhaps Singh’s timing is good.

9to5Google: Hi, Amit. I assume we’re here to talk about your big GM announcement.

Singh: We have no big announcements today but look forward to a whole assortment of announcements in mid-January.  We tend to announce new customers after implementation rather than after sign up. Here’s a hint: we’re growing very big in South America…and Asia, where we’re building three monster data centers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore that should all be online in the next 12-18 months.

9to5Google: Speaking on that, Apps has had a pretty solid year.  It seems like you have a big announcement almost every week and new features added to Google Docs every day.

Singh: It has been incredible across the board. We are seeing double the daily signups and about 5,000 organizations per day vs. 3,000 per day at the beginning of the year [those numbers also seems to point to bigger signups] and a lot of those are paying users.

9to5Google: You mentioned the new Hong Kong data center and it appears that Google’s plan for China is to deal with Hong Kong’s system.  But what about users in China? Certainly international organizations have to be wary of Google’s relationship with greater China.

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Sprint offers early upgrades to good customers on all CDMA phones

Leading up to the New Year, Sprint is running a limited time promotion that allows customers of the soon-to-be discontinued Premier service to access an early upgrade, according to internal documents obtained by SprintFeed.

The promotion is not advertised, but according to the report – all Sprint CDMA devices are eligible. Sprint will apparently check to make sure your account is in good standing, and this will of course replace your next available upgrade. The promotion is already available now through Sprint brick-and-mortar stores and will expire before the end of the year on Dec. 31.

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