The latest numbers from Android’s Current Distribution page reveal somewhat exciting results for the folks in Mountain View. Android 4.1 – 4.2 Jelly Bean has now crossed the 10 percent threshold for all Android devices on the market. It now sits at 10.2-percent. Additionally, Gingerbread has dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time in over a year, as Ice Cream Sandwich made gains to get close to 29.1-percent total share. Maybe this is how things should have always been. But, at any rate, sales from the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, and more seem to be paying off.
Sometimes it is fun to take a break from reviewing the newest high-end Android phones out there to see what the other end of the spectrum has to offer. Virgin announced its new low-end phone, the PCD Chaser, which is just $79.99 without signing up for a plan.
Virgin offers unlimited data 3G plans starting at $35 a month. So, you are looking at just under $500 for a year of this phone with unlimited data. That is an incredible deal for an Android 2.3 device that does not totally suck. The Chaser comes with many of the same specs as the previous Virgin-base model, the Optimus V, including a 3-megapixel camera, 800MHz processor, 3.2-inch display, and hardware buttons. The Chaser adds the new, lower $80 price tag and Android 2.3, which the low-cost folks will welcome. However, those who want to see Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean on their devices will lament (Virgin never updated the Optimus V, so do not expect this one to get an upgrade either).
It is still a remarkable little device that once retailed for $149 (but lately it is often on-sale for much less). The Optimus included a 2GB Micro-USB card, but the Chaser does not, which frankly is pretty petty. Although the phone has a low-end camera, you cannot take videos or still images until you buy a Micro-SD card. Lame. I was able to take some borderline decent pictures and movies once I popped in an SD Card. Therefore, this might actually be a step down from the Optimus V.
Otherwise, this fine Android device will be a good step up for feature phone users. Some notes:
HTC plans to push Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to its popular line of One smartphones. HTC Global Online Communications Manager Jeff Gordon issued the following statement to The Verge:
“We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android. At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean. Please stay tuned for more updates regarding device upgrades, timing and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”
It is worth noting the One V is missing from the company’s update list.
With the rollout of Jelly Bean to a number of new devices just around the corner, Google updated its platform statistics today on the Android Developers website. After having been released for nine months, Ice Cream Sandwich was able to post an increase. However, it remains at just under 11 percent of total Android devices. That is an increase of approximately 3.8-percent for ICS 4.0 and 4.0.4, and it definitely highlights the fragmentation issues Android continues to face. Jelly Bean is not included in the platform stats, because it has not launched on any devices available to consumers.
Google also released updated information about the number of devices currently utilizing a particular screen configuration. The graph below shows the majority of Android devices are still running what Google classified as “Normal/hdpi,” which is a configuration that includes devices roughly 3.5-inches to 4.5-inches with at least 470dp-by-320dp:
In its bi-monthly report, Google posted some impressive numbers on Ice Cream Sandwich and bragged its latest mobile operating system was installed on 7.1-percent of all Android handsets. Ice Cream Sandwich was released on the Galaxy Nexus last fall, and the Roboto-filled OS now seems to be making some headway on the charts. Google’s second oldest version of Android, Gingerbread, still leads the way, however, with 65 percent of Android’s user base. It is worth noting that Gingerbread also saw a bit of growth during the last few weeks. We cannot wait to see where Ice Cream Sandwich heads before the release of Jelly Bean. Hopefully, we will hear more information on Jelly Bean at this year’s Google I/O happening from June 27 to June 29. In the mean time, you can check out the graphs after the break for the full breakdown.
The Verge’s Vlad Savov just completed an extensive breakdown of the Samsung Galaxy S III that unveiled in London earlier this month. The review is fully-equipped with video, imagery, and hordes of information. One such video is above, while a snippet of its wrap-up and a grading chart are below:
[...] the Galaxy S III is a technological triumph. Not at first sight, perhaps, but Samsung has done the overwhelming majority of things right. The camera is easily the best I’ve used on an Android device, the processor claims the title of benchmarking champion, and the customizations layered on top of Ice Cream Sandwich are mostly unobtrusive and sometimes even helpful. They never really gel into one coherent user experience, meaning you’ll have to learn what each new feature does individually rather than intuiting it from the phone’s general behavior, however that’s a trifling complaint when compared to our usual disappointments with Android OEM skins. TouchWiz may still have its illogicalities, but it’s been cleaned up and streamlined sufficiently to make it an adequate alternative to Google’s stock experience. While neither the display nor the construction materials on the Galaxy S III are the best possible, both represent acceptable compromises that help Samsung balance out the rest of its class-leading spec sheet.
The extra-large size of this phone, even with its great ergonomics, may prove to be a stumbling block for those who can’t comfortably fit a 4.8-inch handset into their daily routine. Still, the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown that phone buyers are willing to look to more exotic form factors in their pursuit of novelty and extra functionality — and the Galaxy S III suffers no shortage of either.
Links to 9to5Google’s coverage of the S III launch event are after the break.
Motorola just tweaked its Android Software Upgrade timetable for Ice Cream Sandwich updates, and it looks like both the United States-based Droid Razr and Razr Maxx are getting Android 4.0 in the second quarter.
The Xoom 3G model is also eyeing an ICS rollout in the same quarter, while the 8.2-inch and 10.1-inch Xyboard, Droid Bionic, and the Droid 4 are upgrading to the latest and current Android OS in Q3 2012. These devices were once listed under “Evaluation & Planning” when Motorola last altered the timetable in February.
It is worth noting the rollout dates could change once Google’s buyout of Motorola completes. Check out the manufacturer’s Motorola Android Software Upgrade News website for a full chart of slated ICS promotions.
The leaked device goes by model number GT-I9300. Pictures and video indicate the mysterious smartphone packs Ice Cream Sandwich OS, a 4.6-inch display at 720-by-1184-pixel resolution, a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, and a 2,050mAh battery.
More pictures and a video are below.
An HTC Golf press image surfaced this afternoon and reaffirms the smartphone-maker has yet to finish dabbling in the low-end spectrum.
HTC has been struggling since the second-half of last year and disappointing Q4 2011 earnings (PDF) even inspired a new handset strategy. The manufacturer previously announced it would no longer clutter the smartphone market with a sea of generic Android devices and would instead focus on the One line of high-end Android smartphones.
PocketNow dug up today’s press leak, however, which seems to contradict HTC’s claims. The website also spilled the goods as to what the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich-powered device is packing, but keep in mind that it is currently codenamed and might end up as the “Wildfire C.”
Nexus S 4G owners, we are pleased to announce that Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is now available - bit.ly/HT5kxC—
Sprint (@sprint) April 05, 2012
It looks like Google and Sprint finally got around to updating the NExus S 4G to Ice Cream Sandwich. The update, certainly expected for awhile, is detailled below.
Nexus S Software Update – IMM76D (Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich)
Enhancements/Fixes: Read more
Google just rolled out updates to a few of its Android apps, the biggest of which brings a ton of new features to “Gmail for Android” 3.2 (Honeycomb) users. Previously, only Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich users had access to features like swiping between conversations, custom notifications for labels, and the ability to sync messages for the last 30 days. All of those features and the rest of the Ice Cream Sandwich Gmail experience are now being implemented for Honeycomb users. The updated app is available on Google Play now, and a full list of the features is below: