As Android reviewers and the hacking faithful are finding out this week, the Motorola Backflip on AT&T has been locked down a bit. Namely, you can't load apps from outside of the Android market. It's not just that the option is turned off, as it is by default on most (if not all) Android phones. It's that the option isn't even there on the backflip. [via MobileCrunch]
And so what?
The Backflip is a Motoblur device. That is, it's got an operating system that's heavily skinned for social network aggregation and isn't really meant to be a phone nerd's dream device. And if AT&T wants to take out an option that could potentially open up the phone to trouble, then so be it. I'm willing to bet that 95 percent of the people who buy the Backflip don't even know what sideloading is, let alone care to do it. So what if they can't load beta apps. You think they care about using the PDANet app that MobileCrunch uses as an example? If you're buying this phone, you're doing so because you want easy access to Twitter, Facebook and the like, and you want that crazy keyboard, and Android, and that's it.
So, yeah, AT&T took out some functionality. It's allowed to. (Oh, and by the way, it has nothing to do with the iPhone. At all.) If you need to sideload that badly, chances are you're not going to be buying this phone in the first place.
We never like seeing a carrier or manufacturer strip functionality from the phone. But to the typical Backflip (and Motoblur) user, it's a non-issue in this case.
Update: OK, except for when you take into account Engadget's interview with AT&T exec Ralph de la Vega a year ago. Oopsie, pal.
Update 2: Android and Me points out that you can sideload over ADB. Which proves our point even more.
If you're interested in unique, Android-powered e-readers, the Entourage Edge is a great place to start. It's a dualbook meaning it has an e-ink screen on one side and a LCD on the other. We briefly saw the Entourage Edge at CES but as it was in non-working order, we couldn't really get a feel for the dual-screen device. Luckily, Laptop Magazine has reviewed the Edge and comes away decently impressed (but not without reservation). Here are the highlights:
It's heavy and when open, can get hot
You can fold the screens back to back
You can highlight and mark notes on the e-ink screen with included stylus
Page turns are slow
Runs Android 1.6 but has no access to Android Market
It seems like the Entourage Edge is a solid start, it'll soon get better if updates that'll add Android 2.0, Flash lite, webcam functionality, an app store, and bluetooth connectivity are delivered as promised. We're excited to see if the Edge can succeed. What do you guys think? Hit the link for the full review
If you're new to Skype and the whole Voice over IP (Internet Protocol) thing, Verizon's worked up a handy cartoon (after the break) to explain what all this is about. What it doesn't answer: Exactly when we're going to see it. And color us paranoid, but we're still waiting to be nickled-and-dimed somehow. There must be charges at some point, right? Anyhoo, check out the video, and stay tuned for the Android app to come. [Verizon Wireless]
From the Forums is a great way for you, our readers, to see the hottest topics being discussed. But you must be a registered member and becoming a member is a simple process. So if you have not already already done so, head on over and register now!
We've seen leaked pictures of the Motorola Opus One, and now we know it as the Motorola i1. Wish we could give you more about the specs, other then it's an iDEN device (get the name now?) running on Android 1.5 (is this a bad joke?) and a 3-megapixal camera, and will most likely have Motoblur.
For those not familiar with Motoblur, it's Motorola bringing all your social Web sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and the like straight to your home screen, so you don't have to go through each one individually to update your every move. [via Engadget]
We've had discussion of the ESE53 build of the Android 2.1 update for the Motorola Droid (yeah, say all that 10 times fast) for a number of days, but now there's video to go along with all that talk. And the buzz is that live wallpapers are included and run just fine. There are only three homescreens, though that's easily fixed, isn't it. Peep the whole video after the break. [Droid-Life via AndroidCentral Forums]
Twitter clients are nearly as ubiquitous as Android phones these days. There's Seesmic, Twidroid, Tweetcaster, HTC's Peep, HootSuite, Touiteur, Twicca and Swift, to name but a scant few. And then there's always the mobile Web site. And it seems that new clients are being introduced every day.
And so, we want to hear from you. Head on into the forums and tell us what you use for your daily Twitter client. We'll pick one lucky winner at random to win a free 16-gigabyte MicroSD card from the AndroidCentral Store. We'll take entries through Wednesday, and announce your two Twitter client pics later this week. Good luck!
Update: Good news, everyone. Because of the overwhelming response, we're upping the prizes. We're now giving away a 16GB microSD card and two 8GB cards. Posts count through Wednesday.
The Backflip -- which sports the Motoblur social networking interface -- has a unique fold-over keyboard and 5-megapixel camera, along with a 3.1-inch touchscreen (at 320x480 pixels), comes with 512MB of storage memory and 256MB of RAM, and its microSD card can handle up to 32GB.
The Backflip is available starting today for $99 along with the usual 2-year contract and $100 "promotion card" rebate, or you can buy it outright for $349.99 (which isn't a bad price, actually). [AT&T]
Hey everybody! Jerry here again for our weekly get-together. I hope everyone survived another crazy week of things like data outages and Eris leaks. And Droid users, don't fret – your time is coming soon, I'll bet.
This week let's talk about apps! Everyone loves apps, and they're one of the biggest draws of the Android platform. The Android Market is growing by leaps and bounds, and I for one am loving it. But there's a whole internet full of stuff beyond the Market, and we're gonna explore it.
The HTC Legend -- you'll remember it from our hands-on at Mobile World Congress last month -- at this point remains a European-only phone, and as such it's starting to get into European journalists' hands for review. Don't worry, we fully expect to see a version of it in the States sooner rather than later, and you can already get a taste of the new Sense UI, if you want. In the meantime, here are a few unboxings, if you're into that sort of thing:
So CNET UK had a Nexus One whose screen mysteriously cracked and turned purple while merely charging on a desk. At Google's urging, they handed it over to HTC for further study. The results:
"Putting a phone in a tight pair of jeans and sitting down would usually cause the kind of damage," suggested our support guy. He agreed that it's possible that a small crack could spread over time, like a ding in a car window.
Words to live by, we suppose. But the question remains: What happened to Crave's Nexus One screen? Maybe it cracked under the weight of not knowing what's wrong with its multitouch? (Self-flagellation zinger there, folks.) [Crave.CNet.co.uk]
Did you hear that Apple is suing the pants off of HTC?Of course you did. And though the lawsuit will likely all be settled with millions of dollars exchanging hands and business will go on as usual...what if it doesn't? What if Apple has its way with HTC Android phones? Wired examines this potential horror story. The phone and Android UI above is what we'd likely be getting. To quote:
Picture an HTC Google phone whose desktop shows a grid of icons with gaps. Arrows on the screen help you navigate your windows. A physical unlock button on the phone gets you past the lock screen. Battery life could potentially be poor in sleep mode, which could be addressed with a free battery extender — or even better, a hand-crank charger — as shown in the illustration above.
Eek. Obviously, some of the items have been dramatized for effect but boy, that would be a clunker of a phone to use. Let's hope we never go down that path. Hit the link for full descriptions of what features would have to be replaced and with what.
The Swype keyboard has been incredibly popular, despite not being openly (or legally, for that matter) available for download for Android. But Swype just opened up a beta program for our beloved platform. Here's what you need to know:
Portions of this page are modifications based on work created and shared by the Android Open Source Project
and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License. AndroidCentral is an independent site
that is not affiliated with or endorsed by Google.