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.
As we all know, social networking has become a huge part of many people's lives, and with this they want to keep as up to date as possible. Boxcar, which currently is only available on the iPhone, allows you to do just this with its push notifications. Some of the big complaints about the Android platform is that no third-party applications really offer this push style support, where if someone mentions your Twitter name, or messages you on Facebook you get a rather instant notification of it without having to refresh the application. It appears as though Boxcar looks to have their Android application out within the next 90 days, so for all you iPhone converts that miss it, the wait is almost over. [via TechCrunch]
So you think you can Swype? Many of you remember the video of Swype on the Samsung Omnia II where the Guinness World Record for fastest text was broken, and this seems to have sparked some inspiration amongst many. There are quite a few videos, where many come close to breaking this record themselves, only to miss by a few seconds, or a minor spelling error to get in the way. One of the most impressive videos, is this speed deamon typing this rather intricate phrase on his Motorola Droid, and completing it 4 seconds faster then the previous record. Think you got what it takes to beat this record? We would love to see it, as would Samsung on their YouTube page, so be sure to check out the details of this contest here. For those unsure, the phrase for this contest is:
The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.
Be sure to check out this sweet video after the jump.
The headline is pretty clear, Netflix has posted a job opening seeking an Android Video Playback Expert, which can only mean that it is looking to finally venture into the Android market. Netflix is nothing new in the world of smartphones. Heck, our friends over at WMExperts have been covering Netflix for WindowsMobile for a while now, and over at TiPB they have been boasting about Netflix for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad now. It's long overdue for an Android application for such a vastly popular service, but hey, better late then never right? While we have no real information, as its rather clear development is in the earlier stages from the job opening shown, we can hope development is quick and easy, and we see the Netflix for Android application show up in the marketplace soon! [via Engadget]
Adobe launched CS5 this morning, which has a bevy of features that can help create mobile content. And what phone/platform did they use to show off the end results? Well, it sure ain't Apple the iPhone. Thanks, David!
Far be it from us to scoff at that hideously square Motorola Android phone -- possibly called the Twist -- that made the rounds over the weekend, but, well, it was pretty bad. But just because it's bad doesn't mean it might not exist, and Android France snagged what appears to be specs of the blockish Motoblur device. Size is listed at 67x67mm, and just less than 16mm thick, with a 2.8-inch screen at 320x240 pixels. Quad-band EDGE and dual-band HSPA is listed (with North American 3G freqs, to boot). There's also a 3MP camera, 512MB ROM/256MB RAM, WiFi b/g, aGPS, a TI OMAP 3410 processor at 700MHz ... and a mere 940 mAh battery.
Real or not, that's a tiny phone, and a tiny battery. And it's square. (And it has Motoblur.) Really, people, is this something you'd want in your pocket? [Android-France.fr]
Might Google be working on an Android-based tablet? The New York Times says yes (and there's really no reason for anybody to think that Google doesn't have a host of new products being tested underground somewhere), reporting that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was blabbing about it recently.
[Schmidt] told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.
With the advent of the Nexus One, there's no doubt that Google's capable of launching and growing its own product. (OK, headaches included.) Is some sort of slate/tablet/e-reader on the horizon? No reason why there couldn't be. [NYT] Thanks to everybody who sent this in.