We had plenty of travel time en route to Mobile World Congress and spent a good chunk of it playing with the various keyboards available for Android phones. Of course, one of the front-runners is Better Keyboard, which just got a major update to Version 5.0. What's new:
Redesigned speech input feature. No longer have to long-press the button.
Speech input remains on until you hit cancel, which is great for dictating entire paragraphs. This can be toggled in the settings.
Speech engine understands punctuation for proper dictation.
Slacker Radio today released Version 2.0.40, bringing with it the much-anticipated station caching. In other words, it's all the same Slacker Radio you've always enjoyed for free, no-Internet connectivity needed.
What you will need, however, is a subscription to Slacker Radio Plus, and that's a paid subscription. But we've got you covered. In conjunction with Slacker, we're giving away 10 subscriptions -- seven 3-month deals, and three 1-year deals. Here's what you need to do:
Download Slacker Radio on your Android phone, natch.
Make sure you're actually signed up with Slacker.
Head over to Twitter and tweet why you love Slacker and AndroidCentral. Make sure to include @androidcentral and @slackerradio in the tweet, otherwise we won't see it.
That's it. Simple, really. We'll pick 10 winners at random and DM them with the details. Contest ends at midnight Wednesday. Get to it!
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Good news for Nexus One owners looking for Sense UI as it can be run (unofficially) with the Desire ROM. For more information be sure to check out the following thread: Desires ROM ported to Nexus One.
When HTC used Mobile World Congress to announce a pair of new Android phones, it also took the opportunity to unveil the all-new Sense user interface. The new Sense is rolling out first to the European Legend and Desire, and CEO Peter Chou said the Hero line of devices -- which should include the Sprint Hero and Droid Eris -- will see updates.
A leaked HTC Desire ROM is up and running on the Nexus One, which is a very close cousin. (Check out Redmond Pie's excellent installation instructions here.) Remember that this is an unofficial build, there are bugs, and that what we end up seeing officially in the United States may vary some. (At the very least, the clock wouldn't default to 24-hour time, we'd see temperature listed in Fahrenheit, and the date would be listed as month-day-year.) But we think this ROM gives us a pretty good feel for what's in store. If you haven't already, check out our video hands-on. Then join us after the break as we take a deeper look at the new version of HTC's Sense user interface.
The Motorola Devour is slated to release this week so to whet your appetite, Motorola has just posted a video demo of this Android-powered, Motoblur-running device. A lot of the stuff we see in the demo is fairly familiar but one thing that sticks out to us is that the Devour looks to be amazingly well-built. The materials chosen, the small touches--we're very impressed with what Motorola has done with it. It remains to be seen how successful the Devour will be considering many users may find the Droid a clearly superior device but Motoblur does have its own following. Oh, and having Megan Fox on your side doesn't hurt.
The WSJ is reporting that Motorola is looking to add Motoblur, its custom UI for Android, onto Motorola set-top boxes, better known as DVRs. Considering that many set-top boxes have been looking to add new social networking features to expand its utility, it makes a lot of sense for Motorola to run with a UI that's notoriously social networking heavy. Motoblur is currently used on the Cliq, Devour, and Backflip.
Though we're not sure how exactly Motoblur would translate on a 50-inch HDTV, having a synergic platform between mobile devices and set-top boxes could prove successful. According to CEO Sanjay Jha, Motorola "wants handsets and set-top boxes to have a common platform so they can share media and features." We're definitely interested in seeing this in action but it may take some time--if you think dealing with wireless carriers is rough, cable companies are downright draconian.
In any case, DVRs and set-top boxes are in definite need for a re-imagination or at least an upgrade. Maybe Motoblur can be that change.
If you're into the latest location-based, social-networking check-in styled type 'game', you're in luck. Gowalla has just finished a beta app for Android and is asking you, our faithful readers, to give it a whirl. Previously, you could use Gowalla through a serviceable mobile app but we all know that native apps are the way to go. Gowalla has delivered a great experience for Android (some would say it even trumps the iPhone) but it currently lacks Gowalla Trips and doesn't do any image caching, so there's still a little bit left to go.
If you want to get the Gowalla Beta App for Android, point your Android browser to this link: http://static.gowalla.com/gowalla-android-20100212.apk. Make sure you can install non-Market applications by going through Menu > Settings > Applications and checking off "Unknown Sources".
The just announced Acer Liquid e, which is really just an original Liquid with Android 2.1, has found a home in Canada. Rogers has just announced that they'll be bringing the Acer Liquid e to their customers sometime this Spring which would make it the first Android 2.1 device available in Canada. There's been no official pricing or exact date set yet but we'll definitely keep our eye on this sure to be great Android phone.
Oh and yes, when the time is right, you can also unlock the Acer Liquid e and use it with AT&T 3G.
When Google announced the Nexus One last month, it also showed off Google Earth for Android for the first time. And now, it's finally available. Looks like it's an Android 2.1 app (it doesn't show up in the Market on my 2.0.1 Droid), and pinch-to-zoom is fully enabled.
There are a number of layers available for Google Earth, including Places, Businesses, Panoramio, Wikipedia, Roads, Borders and Labels, and Terrain.
Google Earth is a hefty app, taking up about 22.5 megabytes of space of your phone's storage. You can download by scanning or clicking the QR code to the left.
Update: And now we have video of the Google Earth app after the break.
We're back from Mobile World Congress 2010 battered but excited for the upcoming year in smartphones. We had coverage from the show at all six sites. If the above isn't enough to whet your appetite for Mobile World Congress news, we've helpfully collated a list of all our coverage up to this point after the break. There are still a few more posts to come as we empty our memory cards and ponder what we held in out hands out in Barcelona - so stay tuned!
One of the biggest complaints from those migrating over from a Blackberry to an Android device has got to be e-mail. We get used to doing things a certain way, and feel lost when things change. Even if you’re not used to Blackberry’s push mail this is a great method to not only get things more organized, but save some battery as well. Join us after the break!
The rumors are true. Flash 10.1 is in the ROM that was ported from the HTC Desire to the Nexus One. And it works ... OK, it's not great. But remember that this is an unofficial ROM, and things are likely to change by the time we get Flash (and the new version of Sense) on U.S. phones.
A full run-down of the new version of HTC's Sense is coming. In the meantime, here's a quick video look at what's been ported over. Have at it.
Update: OK, so it looks like this is an implementation of Flash Lite, and not full-on Flash 10.1. Whatever. It's still more Flash than you've had before. :-/
Here we go, folks. The first round of a new day in the life of HTC's Sense user interface. In Part 1 of our review, we take a look at setting up your phone for the first time, including the new "Friend Stream" service, which integrates some of your favorite social networks.
Do note that the ROM we're looking at was taken from the HTC Desire and is running on the Nexus One. This is far from official, there are bugs, and so we're not holding anybody but ourselves accountable here. Also, as the Desire currently is a European/Asian product, things are likely to change before the new Sense officially hits the United States. So with that in mind, check in after the break for our first look at setting up the new Sense UI.
When HTC announced the Desire last week at Mobile World Congress, it basically was billed as the Nexus One, with Sense (and a track pad to boot). But those of us with Nexus Ones knew it would only be a matter of time before we'd get to play, and that day is here.
Paul from MoDaCo has been a key player in the Android ROM community, and he's got a version of the Desire's ROM up and running on the Nexus One. If you're not squeamish about rooting and hacking and all that jazz, head here, read the instructions, and give it a shot. We'll be poring over this ROM for a little while and sharing our impressions. So stay tuned, everybody. (And thanks to everyone who sent this in.)
Here's another one from (not so) deep in our Mobile World Congress stash -- video of the Motorola Cliq XT (aka the Quench outside the United States).
Like we said in our first hands-on: If you're looking for a phone with MotoBLUR but don't want to be bothered with a phyical keyboard (or a weird flip-around keyboard), then this is something you're going to want to check out once it hits T-Mobile in the coming weeks.
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