It's officially official, folks. The long-awaited HTC ThunderBolt will be available on Verizon on March 17 -- this Thursday. Whatever kinks Verizon's been working on since the phone's announcement at CES in January presumably have been worked out, and you'll soon have that 4.3-inch slab of LTE 4G goodness in your fat little hands. It'll cost you $249 with a two-year contract. An unlimited LTE plan will run $29.99 a month.
There's no sign of the new Skype, unfortunately. But along with that large screen you'll have Android 2.2, the new version of the HTC Sense user interface, an 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing shooter, all powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor.
Although we've seen plenty of the Droid X 2 so far to get a handle on in, some other devices have now appeared and are ready to be judged off the little information provided for them. First up, the above pictured Motorola Targa -- codename of course likely to change at launch -- is suggested to be packing LTE and most certainly headed to Verizon.
If you jump on past the break, you'll get a new look at the Droid X 2 as well as what is suggested to be the Motorola Droid 3. Again, aside from the images we don't have much to go off of but we expect to hear a lot more about each of these devices over the next little while. [Howard Forums (2), (3) via Phone Arena]
We all knew it was coming, but T-Mobile has just announced the Sidekick 4G, the successor to the insanely popular Sidekick. This time around it's made by Samsung, has a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, powered by the Hummingbird CPU and Android 2.2. Add in a front facing camera, HSPA + network speeds up to 21 Mb/second, and a pretty faithful reproduction of the OG Sidekick's great five-row keyboard, and now it doesn't seem quite so tweeny.
On the software side T-Mobile is offering up two new messaging applications -- "Group Text" and "Cloud Text", Samsung's MediaHub, and a DriveSmart app which is designed to stop texting while driving. The addition of a dedicated app switching key, appropriately called the "jump key" looks pretty interesting as well. We have the full press release after the break, and the Sidekick 4G forums are open for business!
We'd love to say this comes as a complete surprise to us but really it doesn't. The HTC ThunderBolt has once again appeared on the Verizon website. This time -- it's not buried under a bunch of other news. No sir, this time-- it's up front for all to see. The page just takes you to the email sign up page that pretty much everyone waiting for the Thunderbolt has already signed up for but the fact it's there now and being headlined means the wait is almost over. [Verizon via Android Central Forums]
Another weekend is now over but that means we're a few more days closer to CTIA, and certainly closer to seeing some more new devices announced. While we wait -- be sure to check out the Android Central forums. Also, if you're working on ROMs for any devices we certainly invite you to post those as well. We're starting to do plenty of ROM reviews so if it's posted in the forums, we can highlight it on the blogs. Hop on in and join us folks.
Why's everybody look so shocked to hear the HTC ThunderBolt's coming out on March 17? We totally had complete faith in that e-mail we showed you on Friday. (Any hedging in our post surely was coincidental.) Anyhoo, the evidence is mounting, with this morning's tweet and voicemail, and now the listing in Verizon's inventory system. And retailer Wirefly's getting into the game, saying it's opening up pre-orders tonight for a March 17 shipping date. All that's left is for Verizon to actually officially announce things. (Our guess: about 5 minutes after a certain Android Central editor goes to bed.) [Wirefly, Engadget]
Late last week we got word of an update for theMotorola Xoom rolling out, and while the main purpose that we saw for the update was the upcoming flash compatibility, the update appears to have done more then just this. Android Central forums member wnrussel3 noticed that after the update to HRI66, from the previous version of HRI39, Quadrant benchmarks on the device improved by 28 percent, jumping from 1775 to 2283. It's not necessarily indicative of an overall experience, but nobody wants lower benchmark scores. [Android Central Forums]
Security researcher Ian Robertson has built an Android application that can be used to bypass security on the popular Cardkey door control systems. Using his Droid Incredible, he is able to brute-force past any PIN, and issue commands across the Internet to the IP-based systems that will unlock all doors, grant 30 seconds to open them, then relock the doors -- all with a push of a button. Who says you need to be a registered guest to use that Holiday Inn jacuzzi?
This demonstrates not only the really poor security on these systems, but a level of 1337 that we haven't seen on Android as of yet. Hat's off to you Ian, and hopefully you can persuade a few people that they need to ramp security up a notch. [CyberSecurityGuy]
AppBrain, which is a well-known curator and recommendation engine for Android apps, has launched a new service dedicated to providing the community with useful statistics. Simply called AppBrain Android Stats, it will allow users to view intriguing statistics about the number of apps in the Market, how many are available by category, which device is used most often and much more.
As you can see from the graphic above, the Android Market currently offers about 150,000 applications and has grown immensely since last year. AppBrain also has a filter that will detect what they deem as "low-quality" apps, which puts the current total at right around 60,000.
The most popular device used to access AppBrain is the Samsung Galaxy S at 14.5 percent, followed by the HTC EVO with 9.7 percent.
Many wondered what AppBrain would do after the web-based Android Market was announced, but a collection of statistics such as these are wildly useful and will only be more so with continued growth. [AppBrain]
We recently brought you the news via a leaked e-mail that the HTC ThunderBolt may finally see release on Verizon on Thursday, and more clues are supporting that. First up is a Verizon retailer that joined Twitter on March 11 and this morning, for just its second tweet, dropped what you see above. We're willing to be they read Android Central, so maybe they're just repeating the news we broke.
But add to that a voicemail AC reader Julio just sent us, and new threads in the Android Central forums, and Thursday's starting to look a little more solid. [@YourLocalVZW, Android Central Forums]
Been holding out for the Exynos 4210, super AMOLED plus powerhouse that is the Samsung Galaxy S II? Having spent some time with the FCC we're pretty sure this device won't be far off now. Some curious things were found out about the devices radio components during its inspection. It does come pre-loaded with 850MHz and 1900MHz GSM frequencies giving it the option to be made available on AT&T should AT&T decide to pick it up -- since you know, T-Mobile says they don't have any details as of yet. [FCC via Engadget]
A post on Samsung Mobile Romania's Facebook page seems to suggest that Romanian Galaxy S phones (and presumably other European models) may see an official update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread by the end of March.
Translated into English and cleaned up a little, the post reads:
"The update to version 2.2.1 for Galaxy S will be available until 20 March, and Gingerbread (2.3) until the end of the month."
Our Romanian is a little rusty, but we think it's safe to assume the last part of that statement means either "it'll arrive by the end of the month", or "it won't arrive until the end of the month". Either way, it looks like the European Galaxy S could soon claim bragging rights as the first non-Nexus phone to get an official Gingerbread update. HTC has announced that Gingerbread will be coming to some of its older phones, but these updates aren't due until sometime in the second quarter.
Samsung Romania also adds that two of its budget phones, the i5500 Galaxy 5 and i5800 Galaxy 3, will be updated to Froyo by Mar. 20 and Mar. 31 respectively. [Samsung Romania Facebook via Crave]
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