May 10, 2011

The next Android release this year will be code-named Ice Cream Sandwich. Available by the fourth quarter of this year, its main goal is to bring a unified set of features to all devices. It’s Google’s attempt to solve the OS fragmentation issue. The company shared little details, but did note that the software will support standard USB peripherals, enabling any Ice Cream Sandwich-compliant device to work out-of-the-box with the stuff like keyboards, mice, trackpads, joysticks, game controllers and more.

Android Icecream Sandwich users will also enjoy all Honeycomb 3.1 enhancements, like holographics UI, multitasking UI, richer widgets and more. The new code will be available on an open-source basis, Google said. Another cool feature is virtual camera operator that can determine who is speaking to automatically zoom in on the right person in video chats. Ice Cream Sandwich will also ship with the new movies app designed for downloading and watching movie rentals from Android Market.

You can either stream or download movies to the device, with standard 24-hour viewing window and 30-day rental period. The Movies app will be part of the next Honeeycomb 3.1 software update, available now to Motorola Xoom 3G users via Verizon Wireless and on other tablets soon. The app will also roll out to Anroid 2.2 devices in the next couple of weeks, Google said.

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If you missed big announcements from today’s Google I/O 2011 keynote, don’t sweat – here’s your recap of key takeaways. Google executives first touted 100 million Android activations so far and about 400,000 new devices being activated each day. Other mind-boggling stats include 200,000 free and paid applications on Android Market and 4.5 billion downloads since Android’s launch less than three years ago. That was just a warm-up for big announcements, though…

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July 27, 2011

Motorola’s Xoom will get the promised 4G LTE modem upgrade in September, per corporate communication from Verizon Wireless sent to registered users, published by the Droid Life blog. The free of charge update promises a tenfold increase in network speeds, available to more than 110 million people in select markets where the carrier rolled out its 4G LTE network, with “coverage expanding every day”. The email notice reads:

Be on the lookout at the end of summer for an email with information about how to upgrade your Motorola XOOM to speeds up to 10X faster than 3G. In the meantime, learn more about what you can do to prepare for the 4G LTE upgrade to your Motorola XOOM by backing up data, encrypting, or resetting your Motorola Xoom tablet.

On a somewhat related note, T-Mobile and Sony Ericsson also began rolling out Gingerbread updates to the Xperia X10 and G2x

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December 13, 2011

Skype today updated its Android client with the ability to share videos and images over 3G cellular networks or WiFi hotspots. According to a blog postannouncing Skype for Android version 2.6, the company also improved battery life while the owners of devices using Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Xoom and Acer Iconia Tablet, will notice better video quality on a bigger canvas. Additionally, the app now supports video calling on new devices, including the HTC Amaze 4G, Motorola Droid 4 and Motorola Droid Razr. Skype 2.6 for Android is a free download from Android Market.

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May 18, 2012

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 XyboardDroid 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.

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April 26, 2012

It is apparent over the last few months that Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire has been making rapid gains in Android tablet market. However, we did not think it was an all out domination. According to research firm ComScore, the Kindle Fire now makes up 54.4 percent of the total Android Market (as of the end of the month) after just six months on the market. Following behind is the Samsung Galaxy Tab series at 15.4-percent, Motorola Xoom at 7 percent, and Asus Transformer come at 6.3-percent.

The Kindle Fire has been selling very well on Amazon’s online store and at various retail stores. Priced at $199 and built on a custom version of Android 2.3, the Kindle Fire offers a tablet on the cheap for those looking to consume content. Of course, today’s news sounds a little better for Amazon than Google, as there is really no hint to the average consumer eye that the Kindle Fire is running Android. We are hoping Amazon will announce how many have been sold some day, but it hasn’t yet.

In further Amazon news this afternoon, the company just reported its Q1 2012 earnings. The Seattle-based company is reporting $13.18 billion in revenue for the first quarter, compared to $9.86 billion YOY, which blows out analysts’ expectations for the online marketplace. However, Amazon’s net income was down 35 percent to $130 million. You can read the full announcement after the break.

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