Just as you are getting content with Google’s latest Android offering Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, there are more rumors tonight on Google’s next version of Android. The sometimes-accurateDigitimes reported that Google might launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean this summer.
This new version of Android will reportedly have a focus on tablet PCs, but hopefully not like the tablet exclusive Honeycomb. Ice Cream Sandwich hoped to pick up on Honeycomb’s mistakes by unifying both the handset and tablet platforms.
Digitimes said Android 5.0 would have a unique feature, because it will have a dual operating system approach. It will reportedly be able to boot into both Android and Chrome without having to shutdown. Perhaps Chrome will be part of the experience like it did with the launch of the browser as an app.
We will most likely hear more at Google I/O in June where Google does many of its big announcements.
Sprint announced today it will make the budget-friendly 7-inch ZTE Optik 3G tablet available starting Feb. 5 from Sprint Stores and online for $99.99 with the usual two-year agreement. You will also be able to grab the Android 3.2-powered tablet without a contract for $350.
If you are not familiar with the ZTE Optik, expect a 7-inch capacitive WXGA 1280-by-800 resolution display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), and 16 GB of onboard storage. It also packs in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR, a microSD slot, a 5-megapixel main camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 4000 mAh Lithium-ion battery. The full press release from Sprint is available after the break:
Sprint just announced that HTC EVO View 4G users would be able to access a manual Honeycomb update today. The update is available now and full instructions on how to install it are posted below.
Sprint warns that your home screen setup and widgets will return to default, but that is expected due to Honeycomb’s unique layout. Sprint also announced that the update will be available over-the-air sometime in 2012. In addition to Honeycomb, the change log mentions “a new virtual and holographic user interface.” Read below the break for full instructions on how to install the manual update.
When the original Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 was introduced, it was hardly proof the iPad had much to worry about from the 7-inch Android market. Not because of the its 7-inch display, however, which actually turned out to be a much nicer experience than cheerleaders of Apple’s view would have you believe. If the new Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus accomplishes one task successfully, it’s proving once again a 7-inch slate is an undeniably ideal size for the majority of everyday, on-the-go tasks, and with Honeycomb 3.2 and beefed up insides, Samsung’s new 7-inch experience could be your next tablet.
Right out the gate it’s clear this is the best Android tablet I’ve used– While pretty much the same experience on the slightly scaled up Galaxy Tab 10.1 feels inferior to the iPad, the 7.0 Plus seems to stand on its own. It’s also never been more clear how much Apple needs a product in the 7-inch category, and that’s saying a lot for the short amount of time I’ve spent with the device.
Android Honeycomb, which was Duarte’s first big Google project following his departure from Palm after the company was acquired by HP, was a lot like “emergency landing”, he said. It’s a platform which has “a flexibility designed into it that you don’t have to worry about when you’re doing a completely integrated device”. And why Google refused to open-source Honeycomb? “On Honeycomb we cheated, we cut the corner of all that smaller device support”, adding this:
Honeycomb was like: we need to get tablet support out there. We need to build not just the product, but even more than the product, the building blocks so that people stop doing silly things like taking a phone UI and stretching it out to a 10-inch tablet.
People are fed up with “two decades of windows, and cursors, and little folder icons”, he says. The search company actually visited “shadow” users at their homes and workplaces to figure out how they interacted with mobile devices. What they found out was surprising: Android lacked emotional connection with its users who deemed the operating system overly complex. So they set out to build a wonderland of sorts, improving on Android’s typography by creating in-house a clean typeface for Ice Cream Sandwich dubbed Roboto. He then took a jab at Apple, calling the iOS design “juvenile” and likening it to web pages with “cartoony things hanging off a page”.
Google has posted more information on their Android Developers Blog this afternoon shedding more light on prepping Honeycomb apps for the release of Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich is due out in the coming months, as confirmed by Eric Schmidt. Google outlines the main problem that needs to be addressed is that Honeycomb apps are set to be on a larger screen, and since Ice Cream Sandwich will be on smaller screens there needs to be changes.
So, if you’ve developed a tablet app on Honeycomb, it’s important that your app do one of two things: prevent installation on smaller screens or (preferably) support smaller screens with the same APK.
Obviously, you could choose to only have your app run on a larger screen, but in most cases we’d imagine you’d want it compatible on both a small or big screen. We’ll save you from getting the code from us, so we’ll direct you to Google’s full post.
BGR is reporting that Samsung will begin pre-orders through Best Buy in the US for their Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet that was originally announced back in March.
Pre-orders will start at $469.99 for the 16GB model and an extra hundred at $569.99 for the 32GB model. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb, and includes a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, built-in WiFi, and a 1280 x 600 8.9-inch display. Of course the 8.9-inch model lands between Samsung’s 7-inch tab and iPad-like Galaxy Tab 10.1. The current models listed on Best Buy are WiFi only.
There is no word on exactly when the devices will ship, but rumor has it sometime before the end of the month with in-store pick ups available around the same time. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Expand Expanding Close
The official announcement by Google regarding Honeycomb for Google TV is just around the corner, and more and more leaks of the OS running on Google TVs are popping up. Today’s leak (seen in the video above) even includes video of the Netflix app optimized for the big screen — score!
You’ll also notice that besides Netflix, other Honeycomb optimized apps are appearing on the Market. A search in the Market for Google TV will return results like, “Fox News for Google TV”.
If you’re feeling adventurous, instructions for installing this latest build on a Logitech Revue are posted over at GTVHacker, but please be aware that this could brick your device. But at $69, it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal. The official announcement should be coming any day now..
Looks like Mozilla has taken a cue from Android for their latest work in progress Firefox for Tablets web browser. A blog post accompanied by some shots of the app explains how the company is “working tirelessly to make Firefox awesome on tablets” and also sheds light on how the app takes inspiration from “Honeycomb’s minimalist design language”.
On most fronts Firefox for tablets appears to be much the same as their mobile app for iPhone, but with some obvious enhancements to take advantage of the larger screen. Landscape mode gets a left sidebar for thumbnail tabs, allowing you to swipe through “tabs with your left thumb, and scroll through web content with your right”.
Portrait view puts tabs in a drop down menu tucked way in the toolbar, like many of the other elements which allows for an “unrestricted browsing” experience. This will definitely be a competitor for the many third-party browsers making their way to iOS. More shots of the app’s Awesomebar and tabbed browsing in action after the break. Expand Expanding Close
It looks like Samsung isn’t the only one set on launching an Android-powered tablet at this year’s IFA. According to a translation of a Notebook Italia story, Toshiba is planning on introducing a refreshed version of their 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet known as ‘Thrive’.
As you can see from the image above, the new refreshed Thrive is expected to be super thin upgrade that will more than likely do away with the full-size USB port, SD card slot, and HDMI (opting for mini USB, HDMI, and micro SD ports). The translation also notes the device is “dominated by the screen edge to edge and brushed-metal finish on the cover. The tablet is completely surrounded by a chrome frame crossed by a central groove.”
Toshiba’s Thrive tablet launched to less than stellar reviews after having gone up for U.S. pre-orders in June. The Thrive’s specs weren’t the issue (it currently packs a Tegra 2 chipset, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 5MP back and 2MP front camera, and ranges from 8GB to 32 GB in storage). The real problem is the Thrive chunky design (0.66 inches thick) which has been described as “huge” and “bulky”. The current Thrive line up weighs in at 1.6 pounds (comparable to the first-gen iPad which has been considerably slimmed down for the iPad 2). Expand Expanding Close
Google has announced the release of the Android SDK add-on for Google TV. This SDK will allow developers to begin to build/optimize their apps for larger displayes, and more importantly emulate Google TV to see how the apps look on the big screen. As seen above, Honeycomb has already been ported to the Logitech Revue — making us very excited.
Along with the SDK add-on, Google has released a few UI Guidelines. Google says some apps will work, while some might need tweaking:
Depending on the design and use case, an existing Android app may work well on Google TV as is, or it may require fixes. With the add-on you can test your apps to determine if they would be a good fit for TV and whether any tweaks are required.
There’s no word on when Honeycomb will hit Google TV, but this SDK release and the I/O promise of “late sumer” sure makes it sound like it will be soon. Google says the initial number of app available on Google TV will be small, but we’re certainly looking forward to it nonetheless.
If you we’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of those $99 HP TouchPad‘s this weekend, you’ll probably want to stay up to date with the “Touchdroid” project. Over at RootzWiki, the Touchdroid team is apparently hard at work on getting Android (2.3 Gingerbread to be exact) ported to the device that’s currently running the soon to be extinct WebOS.
The project is still in its infancy, to say the least. However, the timing couldn’t be more perfect with a ton of new Touchpad users undoubtedly itching to shed that ugly, outdated WebOS. The wiki also notes a Honeycomb port will follow only if Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t released in the meantime. Swing by the RootzWiki forum if you’re interested in contributing or just keeping up to date on the project. We’ll keep you updated as the guys get closer to a stable beta. Expand Expanding Close
It’s official, we’re running out of names for mobile devices…We told you back in July that HTC was planning on dropping a shiny new tablet dubbed “Puccini” in report accompanied by what we believed to be a couple high quality images (viaBGR) of the device. Now, a new report from BGR claims AT&T and HTC are preparing to launch the 10.1-inch Honeycomb-powered tablet as the “HTC Jetstream”.
Some of the rumoured specs for the Jetstream include an eight-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, microphone and stereo speakers, 1.5GHz processor, and a reported 4G LTE modem. Oh, and a stylus…which is definitely one feature its competition lacks…
HTC’s Winston Yung pretty much confirmed the device was slated for a late third or early fourth quarter release, which translates to September or October. However, that timeframe seems a little unrealistic to us if the Jetstream is in fact a 4G LTE device and still expected to run on AT&T. This is considering AT&T’s 4G LTE network is just being rolled out this summer with plans to roll out to just 15 markets by the end of the year, as pointed out by BGR. This makes it highly unlikely that their 4G network will be ready to support the launch of a new tablet by October. Either way, we’re hoping to get a better look at the Jetstream at HTC’s “see what’s next” event in September. Expand Expanding Close
Telefonino.nettoday leaked (viaBGR) a bunch of upcoming Samsung devices. The mega-leak includes seven Android-driven phones and two tablets and three phones powered by Samsung’s own Bada operating system. Heck, the company is even working on their inaugural Windows Phone ‘Mango’ handset.
Starting off with tablets, the P6200 looks like the original Galaxy Tab successor. This seven-inch Honeycomb slate boasts a 1024-by-600 pixel Super AMOLED display plus front and back cameras for capturing video and conducting video calls. It will come in both WiFi-only and 3G HSDPA version.
As for the phones, Samsung appears to be going all out on the hardware front. Take the I9220, for example. This Gingerbreak phone runs a 1.4GHz processor, has an eight-megapixel camera and packs in a spacious, juicy 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display sporting a 1280-by-720 pixel resolution display, meaning it can render HD 720p video natively, without rescaling.
Then there is the I9210, another Gingerbread phone with a slightly larger 4.5-inch SuperAMOLED display, 4G connectivity and an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash. The sickest of them all has to be the I9250 superphone. Probably your next handset, it rocks a monstrous 4.65-inch SuperAMOLED display with native 720p resolution (1280-by-720 pixels), the obligatory five megapixel camera (what, no eight-megapixels?) and Android Ice Cream, the latest and greatest version of Android due for release in the fourth quarter of 2011. But wait, that’s not all – six more phones after the break. Expand Expanding Close
We previously told you that HTC is gearing up to launch a tablet with a stylus later this year. They are calling it the Puccini and it’s said to include a 10.1-inch display plus a 1.5GHz processor, 4G LTE modem and HTC’s Sense interface on top of Honeycomb software. Today, their finance chief Winston Yung indicated that the device might launch at the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter, reportsDigiTimes, quoting the Chinese-language Liberty Times. It’s the first official confirmation we’ve gotten concerning the Puccini launch date and with a fourfold sales increase in China, the Puccini should be off to a nice start.
The company should also benefit from an increase of sales outlets in the country from 650 to about 2,000 by the end of the year. HTC is embroiled in a legal spat with Apple over an alleged patent infringement involving the iPhone. Today, HTC countersued Apple, Reutersreported, charging that Macs and all iOS devices infringe upon their patents, a day following Google’s stunning $12.5 billion takeover bid for Motorola Mobility. Per latest Nielsen survey, HTC is America’s #2 smartphone maker and the nation’s leading Android vendor accounting for a 14 percent of all Android smartphones sold. The company shipped 12.1 million phones in the second quarter for a 104 percent revenue growth year-over-year.
Of course speculation that Kore may be the successor to the Xoom, which recently received a price cut, at this point is just that.We told you about a leaked Verizon document that suggests Motorola is still planning on launching the LTE Xoom in early September despite less than spectacular sales, so we aren’t holding our breath for a new tablet before then.
Rumor has it the Kore device will have a 4:3 aspect ratio, but that is pretty much a given if it plans to take on its competition. There is still always the possibility the Kore could be a new smartphone, rather than a tablet.
We brought you our 5-minute video walkthrough of the new TouchWiz UX update for Samsung’s Honeycomb-powered Galaxy Tab 10.1, and now the somewhat underwhelming 188mb firmware refresh is available as an over-the-air update.
Some of the more notable features include a new dock-like application launcher, the Swype for tablets app, and mobile printing. You may, however, want to wait this one out, as Samsung’s Gavin Kim confirms to the WSJ the OTA update will not be reversible:
Users, who will receive the over-the-air download for their WiFi devices beginning Friday, won’t be able to remove the Samsung features even if they desire to return to the standard Android platform, Mr. Kim said.
If you’re having trouble getting the update, make sure you’ve set up a Samsung account on your Galaxy Tab. Full list of features from the official press release below, if you’re interested. Expand Expanding Close
Last week we told you about the boys over at GTVhacker porting Honeycomb to the $99 Logitech Revue. Forum member cj-000 has now posted instructions for the recently released beta, which, be forewarned, is said to be full of bugs and “not meant to be widely used”.
Here it is everyone, Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) BETA On the Logitech Revue.This is BETA, it is not meant to be widely used and has bugs. If that’s something you don’t care about and would like to risk it anyway, install the update. Also, If you want to help Logitech and Google out buy another Revue ( preferably from logitech.com ), at $99 its worth every penny.
Installing the beta isn’t for the easily frustrated, involving copying the update to an external USB drive, connecting it to your Revue, and following a number of key presses to access the device’s recovery menu. Forum poster cj-000 also warns you may “notice some crashes”.
Original GTV poster Zenofex notes you may want to try the secondary USB slot on the back of the Revue if you are having issues with your initial installation attempt. You should also keep in mind forum posters who have attempted the update warn certain USB drives seem to cause errors during installation. Expand Expanding Close
Research firm Strategy Analytics discovers that shipments of Android-driven tablets are finally beginning to make a meaningful impact on the overall tablet market. Yes, Android slates are making their presence known, even though iPad is still king of the hill. According to the research firm’s survey, June quarter tablet shipments topped 15.1 million units, a material increase over the 3.5 million units from the year-ago period. Apple seized the #1 slot with 9.25 million iPads the company reported for the June quarter, representing a 61.3 percent share of the tablet market overall.
At the same time, Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011, a surprising 27.2 percentage points increase based on sales of 4.55 million units. In the year-ago quarter Apple enjoyed a 94 percent share, so iPad’s 33 percentage points drop is substantial no matter how you look at it. GSM Arenaobserves that “in terms of market share, the iOS lead in the past quarter is nearly three times smaller than it was in the same period of last year”.
Lenovo announced two new Honeycomb 3.1 tablets: The consumer-focused IdeaPad K1 and the ThinkPad, which is being pitched as a tablet for business pros. Both devices come preloaded with the Netflix app that streams Hollywood entertainment, a first for Honeycomb tablets, in addition to Lenovo’s Launch Zone Android 3.1 skin, a bunch of enterprise apps and other software such as Zinio, Kindle and mSpot programs.
The business-focused ThinkPad tablet sports a 10.1-inch display with a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution and IPS, a premium display technology for wide viewing angles. The device is 0.55-inch thick and weighs in at 1.6 pound versus 1.24 pound for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It runs a 1GHz Tegra 2 chip from Nvidia, features WiFi and 3G options and has a 24.1Wh battery, mini-HDMI, full-size USB 2.0, micro USB ports, SIM tray and SD card slots. The 16GB ThinkPad will retail for $499, or $30 more with the digitizer pen included. A 3G version will be offered “at a later date”, says LG.
The IdeaPad K1 rocks the same display (sans IPS) and processor as its business counterpart, but in a slightly slimmer package due to the use of mini ports. Priced at $499, the 32GB IdeaPad will be available in the US beginning July 20 on Lenovo’s online store and through select business partners and retail stores nationwide. General availability in the US is pinpointed for August 2011 and worldwide during the third quarter 2011. This is my next has more details plus this nice video below.
According to “industry sources” who spoke to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Google is about to release Android Honeycomb 3.2 to select tablet makers at the end of July or early August:
Google is expected to release its Android 3.2 OS to production partners at the end of July or early August, according to industry sources. Asustek has indicated it will launch Android 3.2-based tablets soon, while Huawei Technologies also said it will roll out a 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, CNETconfirms that Google is already pushing out the Honeycomb 3.2 update to the Motorola Xoom, hoping to bring the software to other tablets “in the near future”.
Android 3.2 is a minor update that will improve hardware acceleration and bring optimization for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors that power many top-selling Android smartphones and tablets. The software update will also bring improvements in Google-created apps, including Movie Studio, Movies, Music and Widget. It will also have a new compatibility mode for apps called zoom-to-fill. “Imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200 percent,” Google explains on the Android Developers blog. And as we explained earlier, this Honeycomb version also takes into account the popular seven-inch tablet form factor, which continues to be in abundance…
On Monday, 9to5Googletold you about some of the new features of the forthcoming software update for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Following-up, Samsung yesterday released a twelve-minute promotional footage laying out the new stuff in greater detail. If you don’t have the time to sit through the entire clip, here’s what you need to know. First, you’ll notice subtle user interface tweaks that streamline the user experience and tone down a bit Honeycomb’s appearance with the larger and easier-to-grasp pictograms for the back, menu and home buttons. The calendar app has gotten a face-lift and the clock app also sports a cleaner look with crisper fonts.
The biggie is the resizeable widget capability, courtesy of Honeycomb 3.1). You can now resize clock, calendar, weather and picture widgets, which is nice. Samsung has built on top of stock Honeycomb 3.1 experience with custom apps – such as their own contact manager – plus a new version of TouchWiz with Quick Panel access to device settings, wireless and cellular networks, brightness and volume adjustments and so forth. You can also invoke a pull-up gesture from the bottom of the screen to display a list of the commonly used apps. You can also run some apps in multiple windows, usually the ones that don’t require the whole screen, which is a first for Android. Liliputing has the full breakdown of other interesting tidbits and nice-to-haves.
This is my next reports that Google will update Honeycomb to version 3.2 with support for tablets with seven-inch screens, in addition to Qualcomm processors and Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip. They also heard that the software update will contain the obligatory bug fixes and better hardware acceleration plus updated widgets and apps such as Movie Studio, Movies and Music. Motorola’s Xoom will apparently get the update in the “next few weeks”. Three independent sources have confirmed these tidbits, telling the publication:
Android 3.2 will be the last Honeycomb point upgrade before Google opens up the Ice Cream Sandwich freezer, and it will indeed run on a “range” of screen sizes, meaning that proper 7-inch Android tablets are about to become a reality.