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.
We don't know how many times we've searched far and wide for the TV remote and wish that we could just use our Droid as a remote control. We're talking about hundreds of times here. Luckily, Verizon is looking to save the day and eliminate that scenario forever. Verizon just announced the FiOS Mobile Remote App for the Motorola Droid which will allow you to control your Verizon FiOS TV just like the standard remote control. We have one word: Reallyfreakingawesome.
Starting this week, the FiOS Mobile Remote App will be available for the Motorola Droid (and HTC Imagio) and works anywhere in your home via your Wi-Fi network. The Remote App will give the same functions as the standard FiOS remote: change channels, pause, rewind, fast forward, and record. And also adds the ability to transfer photos from your Droid to the TV. It'll even mute your TV when you get a phone call!
We're DirecTV subscribers ourselves (for the sports) but we've been tempted to switch over to Verizon FiOS TV before. This might push us over the edge. Though only currently available for the Droid and Imagio, Verizon is looking to add more devices in the future.
Any Verizon FiOS & Motorola Droid users insanely excited? Tell us how it works!
Hit the jump to see a video of Verizon FiOS Mobile Remote App!
After spending some time with the Palm Pre in the Smartphone Round Robin, we became quite smitten with the form factor. The vertical slider is rather unique in the smartphone industry and it's surprising that out of all the Android form factors available, no one has put out a Pre-like device. Well, no more. Say hello to the ZTE Smooth which is as close to a rip off design of the Palm Pre as possible, except it doesn't manage to capture any of that Pre magic.
The ZTE Smooth is a lower end Android phone--runs Android 1.6 on a 2.8-inch QVGA screen and comes with your typical slew of connectivity options, it's expected to release in August (assumedly in China) but will probably never hit stateside. We still think a Pre-styled device is worth exploring but we'd rather have HTC or Motorola try to tackle it than ZTE. Nice try though.
Google just announced a new Android application: Google Shopper. It basically combines Google Googles and voice search to deliver a neat little shopping tool in a Googlefied way. You can choose whether to scan barcodes or simply snap a photo through the app and it'll display the results. Yep, it's kind of like ShopSavvy, kind of like the Amazon app, and really, kind of like a lot of things that already exist in the Market. To quote Google:
Shopper lets you find product information quickly by using your phone's camera. It can recognize cover art of books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, along with most barcodes. You can also speak the name of the product you're looking for. Use Shopper to make smart decisions about what to buy, what price to pay, and where to buy it.
Go get it in the Android Market and tell us what you think! And hit the jump if you want to see how Google Shopper works on video.
Garmin-Asus was showing off the nuvifone A50 at Mobile World Congress, and we took it out for a spin. It's a 3.5-inch (320x480) device running Android 1.6 but is completely skinned. It's being billed as the "No-excuses navigation smartphone," and it certainly is. Nav is first and foremost, and it it was easy to follow in our demo.
Despite being a GPS unit on steroids, it has all the expected hooks into the Google ecosystem and will handle whatever e-mail you can throw at it. Android is Android, never mind everything that's been put on top of it. Video after the break.
It looks like Sprint is planning on launching their first WiMAX equipped phone by this summer. Speaking with Forbes, Sprint said that they're launching a WiMAX device in the first half of this year. Remember, WiMAX is 4G and Sprint's WiMAX network has been rolling out for some time now. A device to take advantage of Sprint's WiMAX network was bound to be released, this new timeframe is just a few months earlier than expected.
But what device could it be? Forbes cites the HTC Supersonic, which we've seen multiple times at Android Central in renders and product roadmaps and it would make a lot of sense. HTC has a good relationship with Sprint (it was the first carrier of the HTC Hero) and typically dabbles in top-of-the-line technology (Snapdragon, HD2) and plus, the name Supersonic could not be more fitting.
Looks like T-Mobile is starting to push out a minor update to both the Motorola Cliq and the Samsung Behold 2. Motorola had previously confirmed that an update would be coming to the Cliq this week, so it's not the biggest of surprises but it's always nice to have companies follow on their word. The Cliq update started to roll out yesterday, February 18th, so check your system update to see if you got it. The Samsung Behold 2's update should fall between February 18th and February 25th, so be on the look out!
Hit the jump to see what the updates fix. Let us know if you see any performance upgrades after the update!
If you're into packing all sorts of things into tiny spaces, this little bit of news is right up your alley. SK Telecom showed off a prototype called Android SIM that would combine a processor, memory, internal storage, and our favorite Android OS on a single SIM card. You know, a SIM card, those floppy things you put in your T-Mobile or AT&T phones to get things in working order.
The idea is nothing short of amazing, an Android SIM card would carry everything you need to power a phone. SK Telecom envisions popping out the SIM and swapping phones on the go, all your applications and user data would follow and phones would just pretty much become skeletons. It's obviously far off in the future, but we could see a market for it, especially in dumbphones. The SIM becomes the heart, soul, and brain of the phone.
Feel free to hit up Engadget to see SK Telecom's so-crazy-of-an-idea-that-it-just-might-work in action!
Google Voice is awesome, we can tell you that much. We'll leave it to Google to fully explain what Google Voice is. So if you ever wanted to know what exactly Google Voice is, Google just released a series of videos explaining what it is, what it does, what it can do, and so on. It's styled in that typical Google-sketch and is easy to watch and just as easy to understand. Google has even set up a YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure.
The Google Voice integration on Android is Android's trump card. No other platform offers a better Google Voice experience. Get to know Google Voice today!
We guess we can kind of, sort of understand why Sony Ericsson didn't want to build the Nexus One, especially if their end goal is to push their own UI over Android. If they want a consistent model for their phone lineup, building one for Google wouldn't have fulfilled that. But even with that explanation, it's very shortsighted to not want to partner up with Google for Google's Android on Google's phone. The Nexus One clearly has a leg up on the competition (it runs Android 2.1), who wouldn't want to make that phone now?
We're actually more surprised that Google asked Sony Ericsson in the first place. HTC had been such a wonderful partner for Google and Android and was fully capable of building a stellar device (as proven by the actual Nexus One itself), that it's almost shocking that Google would approach another phone manufacturer. To us, HTC exemplifies what we want in a handset. It was a no brainer for HTC to build the Nexus One and we're happy it ended up that way.
And maybe Sony Ericsson could build a device as awesome as HTC built the Nexus One, but then it probably wouldn't be available until April. What do you guys think about Sony Ericsson turning down Google?
A few days ago, Best Buy started taking pre-orders for the Motorola Devour without announcing how much it'll exactly cost. Now we know. According to the Best Buy price tag above, the Devour will run for $149.99 with new 2-year contract on Verizon Wireless. It'll run for $549.99 without contract, if that's your thing.
The $149 price point is a solid starting point for the Devour, it's a decidedly mid-end device for Motorola. With the Droid being the high-end Android handset and the Cliq and Backflip targeting the lower-end, the Devour just fits right in the portfolio. We're excited to see if this puppy can take off.
AT&T just announced what we already expected, that the Motorola Backflip will become the first Android device on the AT&T network. The Backflip will be available in AT&T stores and online beginning March 7th for $99.99 after $100 mail-in-rebate. Great news all around!
It's interesting that AT&T chose an oddball device (we like the Backflip but it's still an oddball) to be the first Android phone on their network. Plus, since the Backflip runs Motoblur, it's not as "Android-y" as say a Droid or Nexus One. But perhaps people will fall in love with the interesting form factor and unique touchpad, we became quite smitten when we played with it at CES. It doesn't hurt that it's at a great price point either. We'll definitely take this over the Cliq any day of the week.
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