The HTC T-Mobile MyTouch 4G is available today and we hurried on out to pick one up. Our first impressions? The hardware is great - it has a very solid feel, that's 5.6 ounces of solid, and we're big fans of the metal battery door. The plastics, buttons, and 3.8" glass front are all top-notch, though we think the earpiece speaker-grille is perhaps just a little overdesigned. Dieter (that's me!) is also especially happy to not only see a subtle classic Android Chin on the bottom, but also to see that HTC and T-Mobile kept a small, square optical trackpad for easier text-selection.
The 1GHz snapdragon processor drives the very beautiful WVGA touchscreen with no problems, though rendering time on loading web pages didn't quite feel as blazing fast as we expected - though whether we can pin that on the processor or a little bombast in T-Mobile's 4G claims will require a bit more testing.
The skin on top of Android 2.2 is the standard T-Mobile iteration of HTC's sense UI, complete with MyFaves and that Genius button replacing the standard Search button. It launches the Dragon Mobile / Nuance voice search / dictation app for both finding stuff and starting messages. It will take a bit more time before we can tell you how we feel about it, though, because right now the idea of using an Android device without a dedicated search button is causing more cognitive dissonance than we expected.
We'll have a full review soon, but in the meantime check a quick video featuring some details on how T-Mobile has customized the setup process. There are some photos too, because that's how we do.
Single sign-on is at the heart of today's Facebook announcement, and Zynga Poker is first on board -- and is coming to Android. You can see in the blurry screen shot above that there's a big "Login with Facebook" button. And that's how it'll work. You'll be logged into Facebook on your phone, then just tap that button in other apps. And in addition to Zynga Poker, these apps were announced as early adopters:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this morning announced that the Android Facebook app is getting a refresh. Places and Groups are coming in the update -- they've currently only been available on the iPhone. Facebook's location API is opening up, and they're making it so businesses can offer deals to Facebook users nearby. Sound a little familiar? (Foursquare says hi.)
There's also single sign-on now, meaning, you'll sign in once and any other app that uses the Facebook APIs will already know you're logged in. Facebook's Erick Tseng (the former Android lead) used this example: You're logged into Facebook, and say you want to log into Groupon. All you have to do is tap the "Sign on with Facebook" button, and you're good to go.
Zuckerberg reiterated that Facebook is not planning on developing its own phone. Repeat: No Android-based Facebok phone.
There are 200 million people using Facebook on mobile products, Zuckerberg said, so "This give us kind of a good base for developers to build social apps on top of."
Facebook's iPhone app got a bit of a refresh, with improved tagging.
Remember how Google Maps got an update a couple of days ago that brought some changes to search results? Looks like it also got prepped for Gingerbread. What you see above are two phones, both with Android 2.2 Froyo. But the Nexus One on the left has had its build.prop file changed to API Level 9, while the Droid X on the right remains on API Level 8, which is Froyo. OK, so it's just a little UI tweak. But we're expecting a bunch of them with Gingerbread, so this is likely just a drop in the bucket. [via Android Police]
Got a T-Mobile G2 and don;t feel like waiting for the OTA? Don't blame ya one bit, neither do I. Good news is that T-Mobile or HTC doesn't have some sneakiness at play to prevent us from manually updating the G2, just like any other Android phone, and here's how to do it:
Download the update from Google's servers here. Make sure it's named update.zip. Not update.zip.zip, or anything else but update.zip Check Google to see how to view file extensions for your computer operating system if necessary.
Shut off your G2, and power back on while holding volume down. When you see the white screen, choose recovery and hit the power button. When you see the picture of the G2 with the red triangle, hold volume up and power to see your menu.
From the menu, choose Apply sdcard:update.zip, and let it do it's thing.
The Android Developers Cookbook is a great tool to walk you through beginning Android development, and the publishers have sent us five copies to give away to our readers (That's you!). The authors, James Steele and Nelson To, have experience in programming, are accomplished Android developers, and make the book easy to understand. Anyone from an absolute beginner to the seasoned veteran can take something useful away after reading, and I'm going through the process from start to finish myself, so look for a review and discussion in the development forums as I work through the chapters.
We mentioned five copies to give away? Head into this forum thread, let us know you're interested, and we'll pick five winners at random.
Remember how about a month ago a few people reported their G2s had been updated for Wifi calling? And remember how T-Mobile said there was no such update? Well, now there is. It's official folks, the update is under way, and here's what you'll get:
Wi-Fi Calling for Android
Resolves device freeze and unexpected power-off issues
Improves data connection reliability
Optimizes radio recovery
Of course, it doesn't address the one we thing we know you want it to -- the whole rooting situation. We'll just have to keep waiting and hoping on that one. [T-Mobile]
Android has enjoyed a massive increase in market share since its ascent to the smartphone scene and the most recent comScore numbers only show its share growing.
ComScore has released numbers that display the share of smartphone subscribers for June and September, followed by the percentage change. RIM remains on top with 37.3 percent of subscribers in September, but that number is actually a decline of 2.5 percent from June. Apple holds second place at 24.3 percent, which is the exact same percentage as June; Apple neither grew nor diminished since June, which is interesting because that's when the iPhone 4 was announced.
Android is a close third with 21.4 percent, which is up from 14.9% share in June.
Microsoft and Palm represent fourth and fifth places and each lost subscribers between these months. Microsoft's share looks to increase with the release of Windows Phone 7; Palm is hoping to turn heads with the Palm Pre 2.
Android's market share ascent continues as supporting numbers continue to show Google's OS flying past the others.
Do you see this growth continuing at this pace? How long do you think it will be before Android overtakes iOS? RIM? [Press release]
Samsung is going all-out to promote the Galaxy Tab as it hits the major U.S. carriers, and they have announced a new contest via YouTube that will hand out 100 of the 7-inch tablets at the end of the month. All you need to do to enter is record a video of yourself talking about what freedom means to you and submit it to them via their official YouTube page. The winners will be chosen on Nov. 29. We can't help but wonder what current events inspired the contest. Check it out after the break.
The HTC Desire Z has come to Canadian users by the way of Bell, which becomes the first carrier to start selling the Android landscape slider. The phone will run you $129 (Canadian) on a new 3-year contract or $499 with no contract. Interestingly, Bell will charge you $449 if you choose to go with a 2-year contract, so if you want a contract shorter than three years, it probably makes sense to just go for the contract-free pricing. Order one of your own past the link. [Bell] Thanks to Matt for the tip!
LG didn't just send us an Optimus One because they think we're awesome. They want us to show it off, especially its not-so-entry-level specs and speed. (Maybe they think we're awesome as well.) LG calls the Optimus line "transitional smartphones," meaning that they're perfect for those transitioning from a feature or messaging phone to a modern smartphone. I think they have surpassed that. The Optimus One is a solid phone -- in build quality, hardware, and as you'll see after the break, benchmarks.
Of course, your phone may get higher benchmarks. And if it's top-shelf, it should, as it's probably twice the price, and made for the first-adopter types like us, who need unicorn tears and shiny. The Optimus One is not the Droid X, or the T-Mobile G2, but as LG points out it's the Volkswagen Beetle of the Android world.
I'm still in the process of playing evaluating the Optimus One, but if what I've experienced so far is typical, I'm ready to recommend it to any first-time smartphone buyer, and hope its US counterparts are comparable. Benchmarking video after the break.
Last we heard, LG was halting plans for a tablet until they were able to incorporate a better fit for tablets version of Android OS. A quote from a senior official at LG suggests that the device may be on its way in Q1 2011, Honeycomb and all.
The tablet, named the LG Pad by the official, will reportedly be shipped with a dual-core Tegra 2 chip and also an 8.9-inch screen.
We'd be lying if we said we weren't intrigued by the sound of this device, especially that dual-core Tegra 2 chip. The prospect of Honeycomb shipping in Q1 is also interesting, considering the fact that we haven't received an official announcement about Gingerbread, the iteration before Honeycomb. That would be a quick spotlight for Gingerbread to enjoy; not that we'd complain if Honeycomb came earlier than expected. [MK News via Engadget]
Hey, look at that. There's another mention of the as-yet-unannounced Droid 2 Global, in a print ad that graces the last page of the December edition of Men's Fitness magazine (for those of you wondering, Phil and I both subscribe). Also note the insane image of World of Warcraft on the screen, possibly teasing us of gaming goodness of Christmas yet to come.
If you're listening, Santa, I know what I want. I'm pretty sure it will fit just fine, too. Thanks, Austin!
There's the T-Mobile myTouch 4G, and it's officially available in stores today. But if you pick one up, you're not going to be able to crow that you have the first T-Mobile 4G phone. No, those bragging rights now go to the G2, now that T-Mobile's officially dubbed its HSPA+ data as 4G. But no matter. If it's speed you want, it's speed you'll get. And you'll get it in four colors, for a cool $199 after contract and rebate. [T-Mobile]
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