ICS Stories July 16, 2012

Sony announced this morning that it is bringing its Xperia NXT Series to the United States with all three devices, including the Xperia S, Xperia P, and Xperia U, now available unlocked through Sony stores across the country and sony.com/NXTNewegg.com, and various other online retailers. While we do not get LTE with any of these devices like AT&T’s Xperia Ion, they are compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks. The lineup of devices originally unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

The flagship model of the series is the $560 Xperia S with a 4.3-inch 1,280-by-720 display, 12 megapixel main cam, 1GB of RAM, a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Dual Core processor, and it is available in black and white.

As for the Xperia P: $480 will get you a 4 inch, 960-by-540 display, 8 megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM, and a 1GHz dual core processor. The Xperia P is available in the silver, red, and black models that can be seen in the videos above and below. Xperia U is $300 (black or white), and it provides decent specs for the price point with a 3.5-inch 854-by-480 display, 5-megapixel camera, 512MB of RAM, and a 1Ghz dual core processor.

The entire NXT lineup comes with Android 2.3, but it is already upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich. The two high-end models, Xperia S and P, also have built-in NFC, HDMI with BRAVIA Sync, as well as Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA Engine display technology.

Sony’s full press release and intro videos for the NXT lineup are below:

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ICS Stories July 10, 2012

AT&T made things official this morning for Samsung Galaxy Note users by announcing the availability of an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update and Premium Suite from Samsung. While most of us know what to expect with ICS, the Premium Suite will give you access to a number of apps and new features including: the S Note app, which is a widget for quick access to S Memo features, and an app for creating customized notes and greeting cards with S Pen called “My Story”. AT&T also confirmed ICS for the Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

The update is a little hairier than most with the requirement that you connect your device to your Mac or PC and the Kies application. From there, you are hard resetting your device and will lose stuff like Bluetooth devices, Music playlists and apps folders.

The update is available now from Samsung, while a description of the new S Pen capabilities thanks to S Note is below in the full press release:

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ICS Stories May 4, 2012

Samsung Open Sources Galaxy Tab 2 ICS software

Samsung announced some less-important news last night, compared to the announcements made earlier yesterday. However, this might be exciting for the developer community: Samsung has open-sourced the code that runs both the 7-inch and 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2 models. Samsung posted the code over at its open source page.

With the open source code, developers can now put their own spin on the version of Ice Cream Sandwich that Samsung makes available on the Tab 2. The Tab 2 does not feature an outright version of Android 4.0, because it has Samsung’s custom TouchWiz UI layer on-top. TouchWiz adds various UI enhancements and apps to ICS, some of which are actually pretty useful.

Do you think you are up for a little code tinkering? Try it! You can check out the model numbers for the Tab 2 after the break.

ICS Stories March 27, 2012

Just in case you had not heard that Samsung pushed its Galaxy Note Ice Cream Sandwich update from Q1 2012 to Q2 2012, here is a reminder on Samsung’s Mobile USA Facebook page. Perhaps as a bonus, this build of ICS appears to be extremely light on TouchWiz. Is there any chance Samsung is dumping its overlay?

Thanks Allegrotechie!

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ICS Stories March 20, 2012

Sony unveiled the Xperia neo L MT25i in China today as its first smartphone to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The Neo successor packs a 4-inch 480-by-854-pixel display, 1GHz single-core Snapdragon MSM8255 processor with Adreno 205 graphics, 512MB RAM, 1GB of internal memory, MicroSD support, 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and LED flash, VGA front-facing camera, and a 1,500 mAh battery.

More information is available below.

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ICS Stories March 19, 2012

Engadget shows us something it pulled from Chinese language forums:

What you see on the right is called the Droid RAZR “Fighter,” and it has a 4.6-inch 720P display much like HTC’s 4.7-inch One and the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus.

You will note that it does not have physical capacitive buttons, instead opting for the ICS-y soft buttons. That allows Motorola to push the screen further toward the edges, which is something we complained about in our review.

The smaller bezel and lack of physical buttons allows Motorola to break out a much bigger screen without increasing the footprint…much.

Other probabilities: LTE on board, lots more graphics power, and Ice Cream Sandwich.

Hopefully the Google buyout of Motorola cuts through the blur, but as with all Verizon phones, you will expect that Verizon will have its way with ICS.

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ICS Stories March 2, 2012

French electronics manufacturer Archos announced today a 7-inch Android tablet for kids.

The “Child Pad” features a lightweight design, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, 1GHz processor, and 1GB of RAM. This slate is kid-friendly because children can access the Kids App Store powered by AppsLib. It is essentially a filtered Android Market with 10,000 apps in 14 categories covering games, communication, multimedia, entertainment, books, comics, and sports.

Children will enjoy the user interface due to its brightly colored icons and home screen folders with direct access to apps. The top 28 children’s apps also come pre-loaded, such as Angry Birds Pig Rush and Flight Frenzy…

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ICS Stories February 16, 2012

Your favorite custom keyboard for Android, Swype Beta, just updated with Ice Cream Sandwich compatibility (via Android Central). Sadly, this update still does not make Swype available on the Android Market, but you can download it from the Swype website. For those of you unfamiliar: Swype is a custom keyboard preloaded on a few phones that lets you drag a finger across the keyboard to type. It is very intuitive and definitely worth a try.

Besides seeing ICS compatibility, Swype Beta also saw an upgrade for improved word accuracy, new downloadable languages, and add-ons with DragonGo.

You can download the new Swype Beta from Swype’s website.

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ICS Stories February 10, 2012

Social check-in network Foursquare updated its Android app to encompass Android Beam and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich support.

NFC support on Android products, dubbed the “Android Beam” P2P service, allows devices to exchange data through a small tap/wave gesture over short distances. Foursquare’s upgrade subsequently gives users with Android 4 smartphones the ability to share social discovery information by tapping any two NFC-enabled devices together, and the app embraces NFC tag-reading capabilities for check in’s. NFC is available on Foursquare’s Venue, Lists and Me pages.

“The user experience is great. You just hold your phone against the tap [point]. The check-in screen automatically pops up with the right venue. You’re basically shaving very valuable seconds off the check-in process,” said Foursquare’s Vice President of Mobile International Holger Luedorf during a recent Untether.tv audio interview

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ICS Stories January 19, 2012

AnandTech does its typical thorough job of reviewing the Galaxy Nexus and, as you can see above, there is an in-depth analysis of the mobile landscape.  The conclusion was not much different from ours, however.  Spoiler:

As far as Ice Cream Sandwich is concerned, it really is Android perfected. Everything is smoother, faster and nearly all of our issues with the OS have been addressed. ICS brings Android into 2012 and gives Google a great platform to begin to introduce new features going forward. Android is now very close to UI performance parity with iOS, which eliminates a major tradeoff you had to make in the past. If you were hoping for ICS to be iOS with a Google logo on it, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However if you’re a fan of Android and just wished it were smoother and more polished, Ice Cream Sandwich is what you’ve been waiting for.

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ICS Stories January 18, 2012

If you are after an Ice Cream Sandwich tablet you now have exactly two options: the ASUS Transformer Prime which got the update last week, or the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi that just got ICS, according to Motorola.

Note that only the Wi-Fi version gets ICS.  The 3G/LTE versions are coming shortly —we are assuming— due to radio issues.

It is still impressive of ASUS/embarrassing for Google/MOT that ASUS beat the Android tablet reference design to ICS.  The press release is available below…

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ICS Stories January 13, 2012

Chipmaker Texas Instruments placed its OMAP 4 application processors in many smartphone, tablet and e-reader devices last year, but the company debuted the first reference design demo running its latest OMAP 5 chip and Android 4.0 at CES 2012, and Texas Instruments’ Vice President said it is “way ahead of Apple.”

The device is a chunky reference design, but its responsiveness while swiping through the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is impressive (as seen in the video below). The demo’s video playback is fluid, and Texas Instruments said the OMAP 5 could push 1080P content at 60 frames per second or more.

Read below for more information.

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ICS Stories January 4, 2012

The latest Android platform versions distributions chart was announced yesterday after the Android Developers’ website collected data for two weeks, and the share results reaped a few surprising figures.

Gingerbread gobbled 55 percent of the share, and Froyo landed at second place with 30 percent. However, according to last month’s results, Gingerbread increased from 50.6-percent while Froyo decreased from 35.3-percent. The statistical difference may be due to Froyo smartphones receiving an upgrade or Gingerbread smartphones seeing an increase in activations over the holiday season. Google recently announced it added 3.7 million devices on Christmas.

Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is making the biggest amount of noise with these latest results. Ice Cream Sandwich devices -only the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S for now- account for just .6-percent of the share of all of the devices that have called the Android market in the last two weeks.  If that total is near the 200 million that Google announced in November, that means over a million Galaxy Nexus Devices have been activated in the few weeks since release.

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ICS Stories January 3, 2012

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime to get FOTA Ice Cream Sandwich update Jan. 12

ASUS announced on its Facebook today that the Transformer Prime would receive a firmware over-the-air Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update starting Jan. 12. Somehow this is even before the Motorola XOOM, Google’s reference tablet? Perhaps this will ignite a war among Tablet makers to get their devices up to Ice Cream Sandwich first. Bring […]

ICS Stories December 8, 2011

Right after rumors of Apple’s next-gen iPad landing in February with a Retina display, a report from BGR claims Samsung might beat them to it with their own 11.6-inch tablet. A “trusted source” tells them the yet to be unveiled device will have a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It will also apparently run Ice Cream Sandwich and pack in a 2GHz dual-core Exynos 5250 processor. This tablet will more than likely be aimed at the same market as a next-gen iPad, much like Samsung’s current Galaxy Tab family competes with iPad 2. The report also notes the 11.6-inch device will be almost the same size as the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab thanks to a thinner bezel. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. expand full story

ICS Stories December 7, 2011

Google’s Eric Schmidt recently took the stage alongside Android Product Management Director, Hugo Barra, at Le Web conference in Paris to talk Ice Cream Sandwich and the future of Android. Most of the interview and demo consisted of showing off some of the new flagship features of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich like face unlock, but the Google chairman also took some time to talk competition (via Cnet). While noting that Android is now ahead of iPhone by unit volume, price points, and number of vendors, Schmidt shared his thoughts on why he thinks developers will perfer Android to iOS in the near future:

Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally. Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.

When asked about iOS apps beating the Android versions of apps to market, he had high hopes that would change with Ice Cream Sandwich:

My prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite.

As for the future of Android: expand full story

ICS Stories December 5, 2011

There is no shortage of cheap Android tablets from Chinese manufacturers that can be found for under $200 online, most of which are running an older version of Android and don’t have Google’s blessing (meaning no Google services and Market). MIPS Technologies and Ingenic Semiconductor announced today availability of the world’s first Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0-powered tablet, and it just so happens to a $99 budget-friendly tab with decent specs.

The tablet will pack in a 1GHz MIPS-based ‘XBurst” CPU, 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, microSD, HDMI 1.3, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, 2-megapixel main cam, front-facing cam, and bluetooth. Ainovo, the company offering up the tablet to the Chinese market, is promising 30 hours standby and 8 hours video playback for battery.

The Novo7 will become available to the US market (likely with different branding) through other companies including OMG Electronics Ltd. and Leader International Inc. at a later date. There will also be 8 and 9-inch variants released in the future, mostly likely depending on the success of the 7-inch model. You might have to pay a little more than the US $99 price tag to get it shipped from a Chinese supplier before it lands stateside, but it will probably be your first chance to get your hands on an ICS tablet if you do.

Google’s Andy Rubin had this to say about the launch of new MIPS-based ICS tablets like the Novo7: expand full story

ICS Stories November 28, 2011

LG published on their official Facebook page a list of handsets that will get a firmware update with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software. Initially, high-end LG smartphones will be eligible for upgrade to Google’s latest Android release, including the Optimus 2X, the Optimus Black, the Optimus 3D and the Optimus LTE. The company did not say when Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive for the aforementioned handsets, noting it will update customers via Facebook in December. As for their other devices:

We are also continuing to evaluate the ICS OS to determine whether it is compatible with the functionality, features and performance of other LG smartphones to make the ICS OS available on as many LG smartphones as possible.

Google’s been serious about requiring phone vendors and carrier partners to support high-end handsets with Android software updates for up to 24 months since the purchase date. Phone vendors recently began announcing lists of devices eligible for Ice Cream Sandwich, including Sony Ericsson and HTC.

Google on its part confirmed that the Nexus S will get an Ice Cream Sandwich firmware update “within weeks”, but not owners of the older Nexus One smartphone. Samsung refrained thus far from public comments, but their flagship Galaxy SII is certain to get the new software and we have no doubt in our mind that the South Korean manufacturer will soon detail an ICS upgrade path concerning their Android devices.

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ICS Stories November 22, 2011

It looks like the first quad-core Tegra 3 tablet is getting one step closer to a final release with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime officially going up for pre-order on Amazon today. We knew it would be landing for $499 sometime in December, but today it’s listed at a slight discount for $492.20 for the entry-level 32GB model ($584.22 for 64GB).

Asus also today officially listed the device on their website with full specs, however we don’t learn much more than we already found out last month. Some new pieces of information– ‘SonicMaster’ audio tech brings the “most precise processing protocols and codecs, superior speaker construction and large resonance chambers”, and a power saving mode which according to SlashGear lets you switch off three of the CPU’s four cores. Asus notes their battery life estimates are measured using the powering saving mode.

We also learn there will be a bunch of preloaded apps including the SuperNote note taking app, MyCloud for cloud storage and remote access, MyNet for streaming over home networks, and My Library which stores all downloaded publications in one convenient location. There will also be the Asus launcher, Asus sync app, and TegraZone, and a full list of accessories can be found here.

The page confirms an Ice Cream Sandwich update will be coming, while Nvidia (via TheVerge) gives us our first look at Android 4.0 ICS running on the Transformer Prime in the video above. expand full story

ICS Stories November 16, 2011

Following a lengthy interview in October where he gave us insight into the future of Android and Google’s view on iOS and Windows, Android’s head of user experience Matias Duarte sat down with The Verge to discuss his work on Android and more specifically, Ice Cream Sandwich. During the interview Duarte elaborated on his competitor’s design choices, where he says iOS looks cartoonish and explains if it were “put on a website or magazine, you’d laugh at it, it would look childish”. Host Joshua Topolsky also calls him out for saying Windows Phone looks like “bathroom signage in an airport”, to which he didn’t comment.

Matias gave a few demos using a Galaxy Nexus, including one of live video chat effects like blurs and warps that alter your face in real-time. He also explained his view on photography features calling traditional features of point and shoot cameras such as white balance “crap”, saying “if it’s not immediately obvious, it’s something the machine should be taking care of for you”.

Duarte also defended Google’s choice to create the new Roboto font for ICS, which he also recently explained in a blog post, as well as addressed the controversy of ICS’s Face Unlock feature (which was recently tricked using a photo). expand full story

ICS Stories November 13, 2011

In an update on the official Notion Ink blog, Notion Ink’s CEO, Rohan Shravan, shared his thoughts on when Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code would become publicly available.

17th is when we are expecting ICS to be finally out with the source, and then you will see whole community (aka TabletRoms) and NI pushing in ROMs with different flavors.

AndroidCentral points out that Rohan has a track record worth taking a look at. It shows that he had successfully predicted the Gingerbread source code release date, something that doesn’t happen by coincidence. The prediction couldn’t have been made without reference. Samsung’s announcement of November 17th availability of the Galaxy Nexus in Europe might just be his reference for this go around.

[Notion Ink via AndroidCentral] expand full story

ICS Stories October 18, 2011

While it’s not exactly a flagship feature, lack of native screenshot support on Android has been an annoyance for some (especially those who don’t use select Sammy and HTC devices that build the feature in).

The guys over Android Police are reporting two binaries, “Screenshot” and “Screencap”, provide hints that screenshot functionality will be baked into Android natively. The feature is enabled by pressing “VolDn+Power” and returns the “Sreenshot saved to Gallery” prompt seen below. They note that the feature could be easily stripped out before a public release, but if not it would allow all Android users running ICS or above to snap screenshots without third-party apps, root, or carrier specific implementations. expand full story

ICS Stories September 19, 2011

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.

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