Loyal reader Tom Cochrane reminded us on Twitter that Motorola has a status board for its Android 2.1 roll-out. And above is where we stand as of today. If you're rocking the Milestone, updates are either in progress or should be coming in the few months or so. Same goes in the U.S. for the Backflip, Cliq and Cliq XT. Hang in there, folks. [Motorola] (And thanks, Tom.)
For those who are bent out of shape about not being able to get Skype on their T-Mobile or AT&T Nexus One and Backflip phones to make long distance calls, Vonage has come to save the day. Vonage works to make VoIP calls over Wifi or 3G networks. You can either pay per use, or use your monthly plab to make domestic and international calls. Vonage is a free app [Market Link] [vonage]
What's black and white and red all over? The new myTouch Slide, of course! Semi-official (hey, it hasn't been announced yet) pictures have come out showing the next step in the line of T-Mobile HTC Android phones in Technicolor. By offering color options and adding some form of HTC's Sense to the phone, it looks like they're really pushing the customization of the myTouch series of phones. Hopefully they'll drop those bubbles, though ...
We're not sure if we still care about mediocre Dell Android phones that are headed to China but it looks like Dell is popping off with another 'Ophone' (aka China's Android) powered device. This time it's the Dell Mini 3Ti, a dual-mode TD-SCDMA and GSM phone that has HSDPA support and a 2 megapixel camera along with another front facing camera. The design is inoffensive and nicely packed in a tight little package. Sadly, that tiny screen makes it tough to get excited for. So enjoy your mediocre Dell Android phones China, if Dell wants to make a dent in the US, they'll definitely have to step it up a notch. And no, the Dell Aero doesn't count. [engadget]
The Barnes & Noble Nook, the Android powered e-reader soon will be hitting a bigger audience. Barnes & Noble and Best Buy just announced a partnership that'll allow Best Buy to sell the Nook in their stores. Previously, the Nook was only available online or through Barnes & Noble retail stores--that sort of limited distribution severely hindered the potential growth of a rather powerful e-reader. Now with the Nook at 1,070 Best Buy stores across the nation and online at bestbuy.com, we can see if the Nook can really take off.
Gotta say, you guys are getting weirder and weirder. And no women want a Nexus One? C'mon! Anyhoo, second batch of contest entries (here's the first batch) is after the break for your viewing pleasure. Reminder: Comment all you want, but we're going to officially vote at a later date. And there's still time to enter. Here's what you need to know.
For a fleeting second -- but not much more than that -- I was worried. Here's Microsoft, unveiling its new "Kin" (or KIN, if you ask them) dumber-than-a-smartphone, smarter-than-a-dumbphone pair of devices for Verizon and Vodafone. And here's me, imagining the following conversation:
MOM: OK, All I want is to get my daughter something that can take pictures, text, post to her Facebook and maybe that Twitter thing.
VERIZON DUDE: Sure thing, ma'am. Here's the Kin One. It's new. It's hip. It's perfect for someone your daughter's age. Facebook? No problem. Surf the Web Sure thing. She texts a lot? Well, this one (Kin Two) has a bigger keyboard, and a better camera, with a whopping 8 megapixels. Couple of swipes, and she's sharing with all her friends.
MOM: Sounds great! And it can download apps, right?
VERIZON DUDE: Oh.
And therein lies the problem. Taking the operating system out of the equation -- be it Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, whatever -- is fine. HTC's Sense does a pretty good job of that with Android (and a really good job in Windows Mobile). Motoblur we're not nearly as smitten with, but the principle's the same. Same with Samsung's Touchwiz 3.0. Make the phone do the social networking work for you.
But take the heart out of a platform -- and these days, easily downloadable applications are the heart of any smartphone experience -- and you're left with a less-than-capable platform. Kin One and Kin Two might well be priced less than every Android phone available on Verizon. But they also will be capable ofless, and that will be their downfall.
Some more pictures of the T-Mobile myTouch Slide have emerged, showing the horizontal slider running Android 2.1 and the some hybrid form of the new Sense UI. (You can see the "Leap" feature above, which also shows that there will be five home screens.) It actually looks like the earlier version of Sense, combined with some of the newer elements like Friendstream. As to when we'll see the myTouch Slide, well, stay tuned. [TMoNews]
OK, so the Sprint Evo 4G doesn't really cost $5,555. As you should all well know, it's common for carriers and retailers to assign outrages prices to a phone when it's first put into inventory. And as the Evo 4G isn't expected to be sold for another couple of months or so, it's a pretty good bet that Sprint doesn't even know what the price is yet. That said, it is the Evo 4G we see here in this inventory shot, so it's another step forward. You're all waiting patiently, right? [Engadget]
Android 2.1+ Along with the update to Android 2.1 comes enhanced Exchange ActiveSync support. This is great news for business users, especially the enhanced security features. There is one thing that was bothering me about it, though, and even caused me to take my work e-mail off of my phone: the Exchange lock screen. On my Sprint HTC Hero with 2.1, having my work e-mail on my phone means that instead of a pattern unlock I had to use an alphanumeric password. This quickly got annoying, especially considering the phone locks when the screen goes off.
Then I found Lockpicker [market link]. It allows you to set your unlock pattern, add your Exchange e-mail account, and then enable Lockpicker. From the developer:
I just whipped an app together that disables the Exchange lock screen as soon as the server has enforced its policy by using a background service and an observer on the system setting. This requires no polling, scripting, etc. and survives reboots/enforcements.
So there you have it. That's all you do and the app does the rest. This has made my life just that much easier. There is also a donate version [market link] if you would like to help support the developer. Note: Your IT department might not be too happy with you if you use this. Don't say we didn't warn you.