Android smartphones Stories October 3, 2018

Today’s presidential alert test: what, when, where, how and why

Anyone who hasn’t heard about today’s presidential alert test is going to be startled by a loud noise on their phone this afternoon. Here are all the details on FEMA’s emergency alert tests that you’ll be seeing soon.

Android smartphones Stories September 27, 2011

A Localytics study issued today helps understand why Verizon Wireless recently sided with Samsung in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung legal saga. Per Localytics’ data, 4G is one of Android’s key differentiators: More than one in three Android phones in the United States take advantage of fourth-generation cellular networks. In the third quarter of this year, some 36.6 percent of Android handsets in the United States were 4G-ready, a notable increase over the 22.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

This number is increasing rapidly – since the beginning of the year, the percentage of Android devices that are 4G-capable has grown by over 50 percent, culminating at a full third of the Android ecosystem. It will be interesting to see whether the iPhone 5 supports any type of 4G network. The drawbacks – bulkier antenna and a much shorter battery life – may outweigh the benefits in speed. Regardless, with the growth in 4G-capable handsets Android has seen, it appears that smartphone users are buying into the value of speed. We’ll see how this continues. 

The nation’s most popular 4G handsets in the third quarter were the HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon), the HTC Evo 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Droid Charge (Verizon), the myTouch 4G (T-Mobile USA) and the Motorola Atrix (AT&T). A few caveats and the full list of most popular 4G devices in the country right below the fold…

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The second day of a two-day hearing between Apple and Samsung has brought resolution to a user interface-related patent claim by the iPhone maker. Webwerld editor Andreas Udo de Haes, who covers the hearing from a Dutch court room, wrote on Twitter that carriers are currently testing a firmware update for Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. It is said to tweak the user interface of the photo gallery program so it doesn’t infringe anymore:

Meanwhile, Samsung can get around this with an update for Android that changes the UI of the photo gallery, so is doesn’t infringe anymore

Some people are reporting that today’s 2.3.4 firmware update lost the bounce effect on whole Android and replaced it with the blue fading effect. For more intricacies of the legalities, knock yourself out here.

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Android smartphones Stories September 22, 2011

It is no secret that HTC is doubling down on software. One example: Recently, their chairwoman Cher Wang contemplated an operating system of their own. HTC also has Sense, an Android user interface skin, and the company has expanded into a cloud-based delivery service for music, television shows and Hollywood entertainment on the go. The latest addition to their arsenal includes cloud-storage service Dropbox, which teamed up with the Taiwanese handset maker to offer folks with select HTC smartphones a bonus three gigabytes of free storage. This is on top of the two gigabytes free storage Dropbox has always had in store for new sign-ups, resulting in five gigabytes of free storage for HTC handset owners. Plus, convincing five friends to sign up for a Dropbox account raises the free limit to a maximum of ten gigabytes of free cloud storage.

Given Dropbox’s popularity, many people will no doubt take advantage of this promotion. Using Dropbox, users can effortlessly sync their files across desktop and mobile devices, regardless of the platform. The service takes care of file system differences between the platforms, resolving conflicts and keeping platform-specific file meta data intact. This promotion is valid from October, Pocket-lint reports. It requires a new HTC handset with the Sense 3.5 software or later, which currently includes only the Rhyme and Sensation XE smartphones.

As of April 2011, more than 25 million people saved a cool 200 million files daily on Dropbox. Eagle-eyed readers could observe that computer maker Hewlett-Packard used to bundle its PlayBook tablet with a 50GB of free cloud storage on Box.net, until they shuttered webOS.

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Android smartphones Stories September 21, 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWTJvjLbPEc]

HTC at a New York presser yesterday introduced the Rhyme smartphone, a Verizon network exclusive in the United States and coming next month to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. This Android phone sports a 3.7-inch WVGA display and a five-megapixel camera with auto focus, power LED flash, face detection, action burst scene, panoramic mode and other image-taking features. The Rhyme being the ladies’ phone means one thing – accessories. These include a docking station, sports armband, headphone, Bluetooth headset and car speaker. The high point? The HTC Charm, a tiny pager-like accessory designed to alerts you of incoming calls or messages. Check it out in a promo video above and notice the luxury Apple-like packaging.

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Android smartphones Stories August 26, 2011

So now we have a pretty good idea about that “big thing” Samsung recently promised. SammyHub reports that the Korean consumer electronics maker will demo a new Galaxy S II smartphone at the IFA trade show scheduled to run September 2-7, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. It’ll feature 4G connectivity and Samsung intends to pitch it as the first true world phone capable of connecting to LTE, GSM and WCDMA cellular networks.

The device will also sport slightly revised specs, including a bigger 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth, eight-megapixel camera with flash and a 1850mAh battery. The 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab tablet will also get LTE and a 1.5GHz processor, in addition to a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution display and a three-megapixel camera. The company should reveal US launch plans August 29 at a major product announcement to take place in New York City.

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Android smartphones Stories July 12, 2011

Amazon, the king of sweet deals, is running an interesting promotion designed to boost both sales of Android phones on their site and app downloads through its Appstore for Android. You can now get any Android smartphone or tablet sold through their site between July 11 and through October 11 and the company will put a $15 credit into your account that can be redeemed against app purchases on the Amazon Appstore for Android. You can also buy music on the Amazon MP3 store and e-books on the Kindle Store, if you want.

The credit will be in your account once your Android phone ships, with the expiry date set to November 12. More about the terms of this promotion here. Amazon Wireless offers a decent selection of phones, including the latest models such as HTC’s Thunderbolt 4G, LG’s Revolution and Motorola’s Droid X2. The $15 credit is split between the three stores, with each getting a $5 credit. This should be enough to buy you a cheap or discounted Kindle book, a couple of 99-cent games or apps and a few songs or even a whole album.

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Android smartphones Stories July 7, 2011

Motorola’s Droid 3 has been specc’d and benchmarked well before its June 17 China debut. Three weeks later, Verizon Wireless brings the latest and greatest Droid smartphone to America. A quick reminder: The Droid 3 runs the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread version, has a four-inch qHD display at 960-by-540 pixel resolution, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture and a speedy dual-core 1GHz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments. Key thing: It’s available both with the usual two-year wireless contract for $200 and without a contract for $460, direct from Verizon Wireless here. And don’t forget that Verizon no longer offers unlimited data plans. Full release below.

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Android smartphones Stories July 6, 2011

It’s interesting how Microsoft is becoming an intellectual property vendor these days. This is all thanks to Google’s Linux-based Android operating system which incorporate Microsoft’s many patents, allowing the Redmond firm to seek royalties from handset vendors. Microsoft first forced HTC to pony up five bucks in royalties per each handset sold. The revelation has prompted pundits to note that the HTC deal earns Microsoft more money then licensing fees collected from Windows Phone partners.

Microsoft has signed a similar pact with General Dynamics Itronix and their licensing division took cash from component maker Wistron Corp., in addition to Android backers Veloicty Micro and Onkyo Corp. And now, we learn that Microsoft’s legal rottweilers are after Samsung, the leading Android handset maker, reports Reuters based on local media. Note that Microsoft already has licensing agreements in place with Samsung and LG.

Microsoft Corp has demanded that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd pay $15 for each smartphone handset it makes based on Google Inc’s Android operating system as the software giant has a wide range of patents used in the mobile platform, local media reported on Wednesday. Samsung would likely seek to lower the payment to about $10 in exchange for a deeper alliance with Microsoft for the U.S. company’s Windows platform, the Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials as saying.

Let’s put it this way: Microsoft is set to make $30 million in Galaxy S 2 royalties alone based on sales of three million Galaxy S II smartphones. That’s a run-rate of twenty million handsets a year, meaning the Samsung deal could be potentially worth a cool $200 million in annual licensing fees on the Galaxy S II smartphone alone. And what happens if an Android vendor does not sign with Microsoft for patent protection?

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Android smartphones Stories June 28, 2011

An image leaked yesterday by The Pop Herald suggests a possible successor to the Motorola Droid Pro, which Sprint marketed as the XPRT. In a nod at business users, the yet-to-be-named device packs in a physical QWERTY keyboard, in addition to both capacitive touchscreen and buttons, a possible Sprint 4G WiMax network connectivity and Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box:

According to the tipster, the next QWERTY Motorola smartphone is curvier compared to the Motorola XPRT. The tipster added that the physical QWERTY keyboard of the unannounced phone was slightly modified, now with a “smile pattern,” compared to XPRT’s “ruler pattern.”

Considering that Sprint began offering the business-centric XPRT on June 5 of this year, full six months following its November 18, 2010 debut on the Verizon network, here’s to hoping we won’t have to wait that long for this handset.

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Android smartphones Stories June 27, 2011

Our European readers will be delighted to learn that HTC’s Evo 3D “will be broadly available in Europe from July”. We reviewed the handset on the Sprint network in the US and walked away pretty impressed with its glasses-free 3D display and 3D cameras which, however, compromise battery life, among other things. You may also like the big camera shutter button, a 4.3-inch display with a 540-by-960 pixel resolution and two five megapixel cameras with auto focus on the back for snapping 3D shots. The device is powered by a decent 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip and runs the latest Android 2.3 Gibgerbread release for smartphones. Full release below.

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Android smartphones Stories June 22, 2011

At CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore, Sony Ericsson launched a new compact smartphone that runs Gingerbread, the newest Android 2.3 release available for phones. Just 55mm wide, 92mm tall, 16.5mm deep and weighing in at 110 grams, it easily slips into your back pocket. The “It’s the ultimate phone for your active life” tagline is not without its merits: The device features dust-proof and water-resistant design with scratch-proof multitouch display that accepts touch input even when either the screen or your fingers are wet.

And you gotta love this line from the promo clip (below the fold) coming from the mouths of tennis player Maria Sharapova who endorsed the Xperia active while trashing Apple’s handset indirectly by alluding to Antennagate:

I don’t feel I have to be TOO SAFE with my phone, almost be a little rough and I know I’ll be able to take it and throw it in my bag, can get water on it, dust antyhing – and I know that I’ll be able to make a phone call.

Additionally, it comes preloaded with sports apps, has built-in GPS, barometer and compass and can monitor your heart rate and pulse in real time using ANT+ wireless networking. The impressive hardware (given its size) includes a three-inch display 320-by-480 display with Mobile Bravia Engine, a 1GHz processor and a five-megapixel back camera that shots 720p clips and has a bunch of intelligent features.

Plus, it ships with two interchangeable covers and a bunch of sports accessories, including an arm case, wrist strap, sport stereo headset. soft touch back cover and detachable ear hooks for the handsfree active headset. The Xperia active should hit select global markets by the third quarter of this year. More juicy press shots, full release and the Maria Sharapova clip right below. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t05991f5WlY] expand full story

Android smartphones Stories June 21, 2011

While we’re at it, check out the sharp decline of RIM’s once powerful BlackBerry platform.

It’s always a good idea to take whatever analysts are predicting with a healthy dose of skepticism. That said,  Needham’s Charlie Wolf cites IDC data that portrays Android as losing ground to iOS in America. Android, of course, is the country’s leading smartphone platform which in the first quarter grabbed a whopping 49.5 percent of the smartphone market while Apple’s iPhone had 29.5 percent. The momentum cannot continue forever so it’s little surprise then that Android controlled 52.4 percent of the market in the quarter-ago period. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt calls this Android’s “first sequential loss ever in any region of the world”, quoting Wolf’s Monday note to clients:

In our opinion, this is just the beginning of Android’s share loss in the US. The migration of subscribers to the iPhone on the Verizon network should accelerate this fall when Apple coordinates the launch of iPhone 5 on the GSM and CDMA networks. The iPhone could also launch on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks.

It looks like ol’ Charlie’s trying to offload some AAPL shares. He argues that… expand full story

Sony Ericsson yesterday confirmed that its Xperia X10 will be getting the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update in early August. In addition to a detailed feature list from March, Gingerbread software will keep the original camera interface as in the Eclair version and enable Facebook integration that the company rolled out to 2011 handsets, sans this caveat:

With regards to the roll-out plan, as said back in March, this will first and foremost be made available to generic trade kits. Even if there will be some operator kits getting this upgrade, as said before – some of you will not be able to upgrade your customized version of Xperia X10.

Also, DLNA functionality won’t be supported at this time. With bad news out of the way, here’s more features to be excited about plus a nice video of Gingerbread on the Xperia X10 in action…

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Android smartphones Stories June 17, 2011

Chinese-language forum IT68.com claims some knowledge pertaining to Sony Ericsson’s upcoming smartphone, said to be the company’s first-ever foray into the dual-core game. Relayed by Phone Arena, the word on the street is that Sony Ericsson will market the product under the Xperia Duo moniker, signifying the importance of a dual-core processor. If a blurry photo is anything to go by, the phone will sport ay least a  4.3-inch display with edge-to-edge design, which is also rumored to be one of the tricks of an upcoming fifth-generation iPhone. That’s about all the news the rumor mill spelled out about the Duo. We’ll keep you posted…

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Motorola’s Droid, the successful smartphone family which put Android on the map, this year enters its third-generation incarnation with the anticipated Droid 3. Surprisingly, Motorola Mobility chose to launch the handset in China under the Milestone 3 moniker, which is a non-US name for the Droid.

Per Motorola’s press release, the handset known as the XT883 will be carried by China Telecom, the country’s CDMA wireless operator. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread device runs on China Telecom’s Surfing 3G cellular network and WiFi networks and supports Android World Phone capabilities in more than 200 countries. The innards are quite beefy…

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Apple is applying more oomph to copycat claims against its key supplier Samsung. Just days after it wrote in court documents that Samsung was “harassing us”, Apple yesterday amended the filing with more intellectual property rights against more products – even re-phrasing accusations more strongly. The legal maneuver comes on the eve of today’s court hearing where the judge will decide about granting each party access to the other’s unreleased products. FOSS Patents spotted the updated complaint:

The original complaint specifically accused the following products of infringement: “the Samsung Captivate, Continuum, Vibrant, Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, Indulge, Mesmerize, Showcase, Fascinate, Nexus S, Gem, Transform, Intercept, and Acclaim smart phones and the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet.”

The amended complaint accuses all of the above plus the Droid Charge, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S (i9000), Gravity, Infuse 4G, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, Sidekick, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S II (aka Galaxy S 2). It also specifies the accusation against “Showcase” products, naming the Showcase i500 and Showcase Galaxy S.

Per rephrased wording, Samsung “has been even bolder” than other companies by putting out “products that blatantly imitate the appearance of Apple’s products to capitalize on Apple’s success”. The company claims that the F700 released in 2007 was the first Samsung phone to “copy the clean flat clear surface of the Apple iPhone Trade Dress and the Apple iPhone/iPhone 3G/iPhone 4 Trade Dress”. Apple also points out that its products and brand have been featured in credible newspapers and magazines and even points out the #1 position it took in the BrandZ index. In Apple’s words, this is why iPhone is an iconic product:

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Android smartphones Stories June 15, 2011

This is my next reports HTC has changed its mind and will bring Android 2.3 Gingerbread to the Desire after all. HTC’s UK office posted on their Facebook page two hours ago:

Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire

Just a day ago, HTC argued via Facebook that the Desire wouldn’t be getting Gingerbread because they “can’t shovel Sense on it as well” due to constrained RAM. Interesting how they fixed that limitation just 24 hours later. HTC also announced last month it would unlock all of its phones’ bootloaders.

HTC London Meetup in April of 2011: You know, Apple fans aren’t the only ones lining up for product launches

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Android smartphones Stories June 14, 2011

T-Mobile’s G2 with Google, a successor to the wildly popular G1, an inaugural Android smartphone, has been discontinued after short eight months on the market. TmoNews spotted a change in T-Mobile’s inventory system which lists the device as “discontinued” – that is, no longer available for replenishment – since June 6. Released in October of 2010, the G2 featured stock Android experience, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and HSPA+ modem enabling T-Mobile USA to market the phone as 4G-capable.

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Android smartphones Stories June 13, 2011

With an IDC-estimated 10.8 million units shipped during the first quarter of this year, Samsung files as the world’s fourth-largest smartphone vendor, behind Nokia, Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. However, the rising popularity of Samsung’s feature phones and dumb handsets powered by their own operating system called Bada has helped the Korean phone maker capture the #2 slot in terms of all handset units shipped globally.

Samsung was outdone only by Nokia in the first quarter. According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, Samsung shipped 70 million handset units during the first quarter of this year versus the 108.5 million Nokia phones. With 18.7 million iPhones Apple came in fourth, behind LG Electronics which shipped 24.5 million handsets. That was last quarter…

The global handset landscape is going to alter rapidly by the June quarter’s end, predicts Japanese research firm Nomura. Their analyst was quoted as saying that “Nokia looks set to relinquish its smartphone crown (in unit terms) to Samsung and Apple”. This means, their analyst argues, that Nokia will be #3, with Samsung and Apple taking the #1 and #2 slots, respectively. Mind you, Nokia has been the world’s top handset maker since 1996…

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Android smartphones Stories June 9, 2011

At a Sprint press conference which took place half an hour ago, Motorola pledged to launch more than ten new wireless gizmos this year, including the flagship Motorola Photon 3G and Motorola Triumph smartphones. The Photon 4G files as Motorola’s first 4G device and the Triumph is their first Virgin Mobile USA device.

The Photon 4G, pictured above and available this summer, sports a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 chip from Nvidia, a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual cameras and a kickstand. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, features international GSM capabilities and has the Motorola webtop application that lets you access desktop-class applications while hooked up with a Motorola accessory dock. Go past the break for the Triumph info and official specs.

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Android smartphones Stories June 6, 2011

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtXZXhTpywY?rel=0]

Motorola’s upcoming handsets are leaking all over the web. The latest? How about three guided tour videos showing off the various features of the upcoming Droid 3 smartphone? The Droid brand has done very well reviving Motorola’s ailing phone business while putting Android on the map and Motorola Mobility recently refreshed the brand with the Droid X2 launch on the Verizon Network. With the third incarnation of the smartphone that started the Android craze Motorola is hoping to woe consumers with more oomph, a continuation of the strategy which has served them well thus far. Check out two more Droid 3 videos below the fold…

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Android smartphones Stories June 1, 2011

Motorola Mobility is in the middle of a website redesign that might have inadvertently (or intentionally) leaked five new Android devices. PocketNow discovered images and references to a Dick Tracy watchphone that looks like an Android-powered remote watch Sony Ericsson was working on, later released as the LiveView. Website graphics refers to a Motorola watchphone as the Tracy XL. The tagline pitches it as a gizmo “Dick Tracy never saw coming”. The device apparently sports a front-facing eight-megapixel camera that captures full HD video in 1080p.

The remaining leaks include a second-generation Xoom, a phone called Pearl and two really hot-looking slim handsets code-named Slimline and Zaha. The fact that the images have been removed “at the request of Motorola Mobility, Inc.” (but not before AndroidCommunity got a chance to re-post them) is usually a tell-tale indication of the leaks being the real deal. Check out the phone hotness and two more images below the fold.

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Android smartphones Stories May 20, 2011

Color us blue (no pun intended), but this has got to be one of the best AT&T television commercials yet. Dubbed “Spider”, it sports the new Samsung Infuse 4G said to have colors “so real that it’s almost unreal”. Why “Spider”, you ask. Just watch…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcr2uWkJkzI&w=670&h=411] Notice how he simply grabs his shoe magically from under the table?

Android smartphones Stories May 9, 2011

According to many, Samsung Galaxy S II is the best mainstream Android phone currently available on the market. It appears the company has a hit on their hands as Electronista reports they sold an astounding three million pre-orders around the world as of Sunday night. The figure puts Samsung on track to beat its own goal of ten million Galaxy S II units in 2011. The dual-core phone sold about 120,000 units in the first few days of availability in South Korea. The Galaxy S II features a monstrous 4.3-inch display with the latest Super AMOLED Plus display technology.

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