Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ Review: There isn’t a lot to complain about here

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Tomorrow, or tonight, is the big US Verizon launch of the Galaxy Nexus LTE so I figured I’d better get my HSPA+ review up already.  The short version: The HSPA+ version is the best Android device on the market today.  Buy it.  You’ll be ahead of everyone else software-wise for the next year or so.

The long version:

I’ve been using the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ version with both AT&T and T-Mobile SIMs and here are my takeaways.

  1. In my particular neck of the woods (Westchester just north of  NYC), AT&T is faster and has better coverage.  However, when I train into the city, T-Mobile has better coverage and is significantly faster as a broad generalization.  Both SIM phone numbers are tied to Google Voice so the change is pretty smooth otherwise.  What’s nice is the Google Nexus HSPA+ isn’t a BSer – it tells you when you have regular 3G or when you have HSPA+.  Most phones I’ve tested tell you you have 4G whenever you have a connection at all.
  2. The 720P 4.65 inch pentile screen is the best in the business, bar none.  I realize that the Rezound has a IPS LCD true 720P display and just about everyone is producing some sort of 720P display but Samsung’s is the best I’ve yet seen.  The only display I liked more?  Samsung Galaxy Note’s 720P 5.3″ display but that is a freakishly big “phone”.  With limited bezel, the 4.65 inch display “works” for the GN.  I still think the Droid RAZR is the coolest looking phone and won’t fault anyone for picking one up, especially at the significantly discounted price it was on offer for a few weeks ago.
  3. The GPS, like all Samsung Android  devices, is still behind HTC and Motorola as far as accuracy.  Samsung has been improving since the Captivate and Vibrant debuted over a year ago but they aren’t there yet and it sometimes takes 30 seconds for the phone to kick into navigation.  On the up side, you can use a normal charger and actually charge your phone while using GPS.  On the HTC Rezound, I actually lost charge while the device was plugged in and used GPS (and Pandora and Tethering).  So upside is low power GPS.  Downside is low power GPS.
  4. ICS is fast, feature-packed and a pleasure to use.  Android, like iOS, had gotten boring but there are a lot of cool new hooks inside Android 4.0.  Favorites include the new social contacts lists, screenshots, rapid fire camera shooting, dictation, and the improved CHROME browser.
  5. The Google Wallet omission thing is lame.  I understand Verizon blocking it.  But why can’t I use it on the International unlocked version? Read more

Verizon Confirms: Galaxy Nexus launches tomorrow, $299 w/ 2 year plan

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After all the wait, we’ve finally gotten definitive word from Verizon: The LTE Galaxy Nexus, which will be the first ICS phone sold in the US, will go on sale tomorrow for $299 with a two year service plan from Verizon.

Furthermore, the hold up was in fact the 4.0.2 update which we told you about hours ago.

Full press release follows: Read more

Is this 4.0.2 ICS update what Verizon’s been waiting for?

As we inch closer to the US release of the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, update 4.0.2 of ICS has been pushed to those lucky enough to already get their hands on the device. A Droid-Life reader took the above shot revealing the build number ICL53F. For now it looks like the update is just bug fixes. Is this the update Verizon was looking for to launch the Galaxy Nexus?

Also adding more fuel to the fire, a mysterious package from Verizon is on the way to our reviewer and will arrive Friday. They won’t say what it is, but you obviously know what we’re hoping for. We’ll keep you posted on the latest.
Update: Verizon has confirmed that the Galaxy Nexus lands tomorrow.

Google Cloud Print rolls out to more users with new features

Google rolled out a nice little update for Google Cloud Print support today. While mentioning a number of new features added to the service such as the ability to control printer access, save to Google Docs, and a new tablet-friendly UI for the management page, they also announced site owners can now add the print button element for smartphones and tablets to their sites.

Other new additions to Google Cloud Print– those using the latest release of Chrome on Mac, Windows, or Linux can print any webpage, and Chromebook users will now have access to print preview. Google also notes they look forward to rolling out the service across products and platforms.

These features continue the rollout of GCP, which has connected more than 6 million printers since launch, and added a number of new supported products from companies like HP, Epson, and Kodak. You can get a full list of supported products here, and check out Chrome extensions and apps that currently have access to the service.
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Droidrage: Exploiting Android malware hysteria, Microsoft does Windows Phone giveaway on Twitter

Always the first to exploit competitors’ real or perceived weaknesses, Microsoft this morning posted an interesting message on Twitter in an attempt to exploit the Android malware issue that has been in the headlines over the past couple of days.

The message points to a Twitter profile belonging to the Windows Phone evangelist and Windows Team blog contributor Ben Rudolph, inviting owners of Android handsets to explain their #droidrage on Twitter.

The message reads:

That @BenThePCGuy…always causing trouble. Now he’s giving away free Windows Phones to people with #droidrage. See his feed for details.

While the Windows maker is seeking to sooth Android-malware-angsted users with Windows Phone giveaway (Rudolph is giving five free Windows Phones to posters with the worst malware horror stories), the Twitter backlash ensued.

One user wrote:

Criticizing your competitors rather than extolling your own virtues is always a sign of failure.

Another one joked:

One time I was walking through the desert on Tatooine, talking on my mobile when R2D2 mugged me. #DroidRage Do I get my free phone now?

What do you think, is Microsoft wrong to invite people to diss about Android on Twitter? Meet us in comments.

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Utah K-12 schools adopting Google Apps across the whole state

Google has announced today that Utah’s State School Board has approved to use Google Apps for all of their K-12 schools in the entire state. Google Apps will offer the 42 school districts tools like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Chat and more to help not only teachers, but also students, to work in a more efficient manner. It has been estimated that the switch to Google Apps will save at least one school district $100,000.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the Utah State Board of Education has decided to begin offering support for Google Apps for Education to K-12 schools and districts across the state. The decision has the full support of the Utah Technology Coordinators Council (TCC), a group of IT professionals from Utah’s 42 school districts and other organizations that regularly advises the State Office of Education and Utah public schools on technology issues.

Utah isn’t the first state to adopt Google Apps in its schools. Colorado,IowaMarylandMissouriNew YorkOregonRhode Island, and Wisconsin have also made the switch, that arguably has saved them a lot of money.

In order to get teachers trained on switching to the new technology, Utah Education Network will be holding a professional development session to any school across the state that would like to receive training on Google Apps.

Today’s 10 cent apps: Tank Riders, Swiftkey X, and more

Google continues their 10 cent app promotion for hitting 10 billion app downloads, and today is day 9. Most of the other apps from Day 123, 4, 5, 67, and 8 are still on sale for 10 cents as well. Check out all of today’s deals here, or grab direct links to each below.

Tank Riders
Swiftkey X
Sleepy Jack
ezPDF Reader
Guns N Glory
IceBreaker

Continue after the break.

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Android wears Prada: LG announces the Prada 3.0

At a press event in Germany, LG has announced their newest addition to their Android line up — the Prada 3.0. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this device will see a US landing, but it’s good-looking nonetheless. The Prada 3.0 has a 4.3″ NOVA display at 480×800 resolution, TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor at 1GHz, Android 2.3.7 w/ custom skin, 8GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel camera. There’s no word on pricing or availability.

Check out the rear after the break:

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Google+ updates: Hangout on any post, initiate Hangouts from your phone (Bonus: Raindeer faces)

Google’s Vic Gundotra just announced on his Google+ page a host of new Hangouts features meant to “go beyond the status update”. In short, you can now hangout on any post (an invitation will be added to the comments), call any phone number in the world and conference in anyone (free outbound calls to US and Canada, international calling rates are “super, super low”) and initiate a hangout session from the official Google+ app for Android or iPhone by tapping the new hangout icon.

The executive also shared an interesting milestone for Hangouts on Air, saying “hundreds of people” whitelisted as part of their trial now have the ability to broadcast their hangouts to the world. “Our goal is to enable this for everyone on the planet”, Gundotra noted. Initiating a Hangout session from your phone requires a new Google+ app, which will be available in Android Market within a few days, Google said (“coming soon” to the App Store).

The official Google blog has more information.

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Verizon confirms Galaxy Nexus still launching this year

Verizon hasn’t been saying much about the release date of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. There seems like there has been too many rumored dates to count, and as time ticks by we’re starting to think the Galaxy Nexus launch in the US is going to happen next year — but luckily that’s not the case. In an official statement, Verizon confirmed with Android and Me that the Galaxy Nexus is still on track to launch this year.

The Galaxy Nexus is still on track to launch this year. We will definitely send a press release to announce availability. Feel free to visit http://www.verizonwireless.com/galaxynexus to sign up for email alerts to be one of the first to know.

Also adding more fuel to the fire, a mysterious package from Verizon is on the way to our reviewer and will arrive Friday. They won’t say what it is, but you obviously know what we’re hoping for. We’ll keep you posted on the latest.

T-Mobile USA updating Samsung Galaxy SII software with battery, WiFi and Caller ID enhancements

A software update for T-Mobile’s Galaxy SII is dropping today, bringing several enhancements pertaining to the handset’s battery performance, wireless network issues and Caller ID problems. According to a support page over at the T-Mobile USA web site, an over-the-air firmware update will upgrade the device to Android 2.3.5 (build T989VUVKL1).

The software update will also be available via Kies mini and is not required so you can opt out of the upgrade and continue using the previous software version. The company also tweeted that the white version of the Galaxy SII smartphone is available today via their online store.

According to their Facebook page, “a new white color option that will be available for T-Mobile customers just in time for the holidays”. The carrier also reiterated in the post comments that “we do not have any new information regarding the iPhone coming to T-Mobile”, instead pointing folks to their September 26 blog post on the prospect of T-Mobile iPhone.

The carrier also aired an interesting commercial pitting Apple’s iPhone 4S against HTC’s Amaze 4G in an arcade fight.

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