The feature that gets most users riled up in their smartphones is the quality of the keyboard. Whether if it's a soft virtual keyboard or a hardware QWERTY, it seems to be one of the biggest factors/dividers in buying a smartphone. Obviously no keyboard is perfect for everyone, but there is a new technology called Swype on the way that may change the way we type on our mobile devices.
The video above showcases Swype and what's unique about it is that though all the keys are laid out in the familiar QWERTY format, you don't 'press' multiple letters to form a word, rather you drag your fingers to touch the letters and trust the system to figure out the rest. The video pits a Samsung Omnia II vs an iPhone in a test of 25 words. The Swype system handedly defeats the iPhone but given it's a Swype-created video, it may be a wee bit biased.
Even though Swype looks great, we're not sure if we could ever completely abandon QWERTY keyboards. There will always be a need for them. Swype is planning on porting the technology over to Android in early 2010.
What do you guys think about Swype? What's your favorite keyboard option on Android? G1 keyboard? HTC soft keyboard? Virtual Android keyboard? Let us know in the comments!
As always, we keep our eyes and ears close to the ground to stay updated with the latest cities to receive T-Mobile 3G. Considering that T-Mobile is seriously lagging behind in their 3G network (when compared to Sprint and Verizon) and that the other networks are offering amazing Android devices to boot, it's safe to assume that T-Mobile is doing everything in their power to get their 3G network on par with its competitors. Here's the latest:
Enjoy your T-Mobile 3G! For those without it, it has to come sooner than later, right?
If you're looking for a great deal on Android devices, this coming week is probably your best bet to take the plunge. Wal-Mart is currently selling the Verizon Droid Eris for $30 with new 2-year contract (via phandroid). Thirty dollars! That's 70% off the listed price for a pretty amazing device on the "world's most reliable network". Unless you find it for free, it's probably the best deal available. This is exactly the type of pricing that we could fall in love with--daring and oh so, inviting.
AdMob just released some statistics detailing the mobile web space detailing usage, device market share, and other data that shines a rather flattering light on the Android platform. Considering it's been only a year since the T-Mobile G1 first launched and considering again that most of that year was spent with only one device, it's rather impressive how quickly Android has shot up the statistics. According to AdMob, 20% of US mobile web traffic comes from Android devices, which is a solid second in overall rankings. Imagine how much it'll be when recent Android devices like the DROID and Hero actually are available for longer than a month.
In another graphic (after the jump), it provides a breakdown of web traffic among all Android devices. Here's the nuts and bolts:
HTC Dream - 36%
Motorola DROID - 24%
HTC Magic - 21%
HTC Hero - 8%
Motorola CLIQ - 6%
Other - 5%
Considering that the DROID has only been available for a few weeks, the fact that it's already gained so much ground on the other, more entrenched Android devices is simply stunning. These numbers continue to prove that the DROID is an out and out success that will undoubtedly change the entire landscape.
And though the numbers already look great for Android right now, we're expecting them to be dramatically different in the next couple of months. Android is already driving a considerable amount of mobile web traffic and it's only going to grow.
Dell's first Android smartphone, the Dell Mini 3i, is set to launch in China on China Mobile and some details have finally come to light. According to China Mobile, the Dell Mini 3i packs:
Dimensions: 58.35 x 122 x 11.7
Weight: < 105g (grams)
Display: 3.5” nHD, 640×360
Bluetooth, GPS, Micro SD (up to 32GB)
No word on the processor or other internals so we're going to assume that the Mini 3i packs the run-of-the-mill 528MHz processor that's been in most Android devices. The Mini 3i runs the China Mobile Ophone platform which pretty much changes the entire skin of Android to give the device an iPhone-like UI. We're eager to see how Dell does in China and hopeful they'll eventually bring a handset to the US.
If you're rocking an Android 1.6 device like the T-Mobile G1 or myTouch 3G you'll be happy to know that you can now download Google Maps Navigation in Android Market. Yep, after drooling over the screenshots of Google Maps Navigation in Android 2.0, Google has decided to extend this killer app over to Android 1.6 (and above) devices. According to Google:
If you have a phone running Android 1.6, you can download an updated version of Google Maps from Android Market to use Navigation today. Google Maps Navigation is in beta and is currently available in the United States. Some features of Android 2.0 are not available on Android 1.6, for example, the ability to use the "navigate to" voice command as shown in our demo video.
We're getting this onto our T-Mobile G1 as we speak and will report back on how it compares to Google Maps Navigation on the Motorola DROID. Go and get it now!
If you're a sucker for rare electronics, love prototype devices, or prefer silver trim over gold trim, it looks like you're in luck. A Motorola DROID Prototype has popped up on eBay and can be yours if you want (current bid is $510). According to the seller, this Motorola DROID is one of five devices made specifically for Motorola Engineers. The difference from your 'run of the mill' Verizon Motorola DROID is that it styles a chrome bezel instead of black, silver buttons instead of gold, and has enhanced LED lights on the touchscreen buttons. The seller promises that it'll work perfectly and comes with a clean ESN, ready for activation.
We prefer the look of the gold-accented, available to everyone Motorola DROID but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What do you guys think?
Since Android is now on Sprint and Verizon and both networks have expansive 3G networks, the rather adolescent 3G coverage on T-Mobile becomes even more magnified. Luckily, like they have been doing, T-Mobile is tirelessly working on rolling out and expanding their 3G network to cover more Magenta users. Here's the latest:
Considering we've never even heard of these cities (apologies to said cities residents), it looks like the T-Mobile 3G rollout is reaching more obscure areas of the country (relatively speaking, of course). We'd love to know which cities are still without T-Mobile 3G, so please let us know in the comments!
If you think we're only living in a Motorola DROID or Sprint HTC Hero world now, think again. T-Mobile wants to remind you about the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and continues to stress the personalization, available apps, and all around fun factor of the phone through familiar celebrity faces. These commercials are fun to watch if only for the famous faces goofing off with the still lovable myTouch 3G.
The spot above is titled 'Music' and features Wycleaf Jean, Avril Lavigne, and Brad Paisley. The soundtrack is a Wyclef Jean remix to the Cat Stevens song that's been heard in the previous T-Mobile myTouch 3G commercial. The commercial after the jump is entitled, 'Comics', and it features Chevy Chase, Molly Shannon, Dana Carvey, and Darrell Hammond comically (natch) interacting with the myTouch 3G.
Maybe AT&T will acknowledge Android after all. According to the specs page of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10, the American version of the XPERIA X10 packs 3G bands that fit with AT&T and not T-Mobile. To quote:
UMTS HSPA 800/850/1900 only available for phones sold in Americas (except Brazil) and Australia. UMTS HSPA 900/1700 not available for phones sold in Americas. UMTS HSPA 1900/2100 available worldwide.
Obviously having the XPERIA X10 head to AT&T is in no way confirmed, especially considering the fact that AT&T has publicly ignored Android. We also have to consider the fact that our friendly neighbors to the north, Canada, also has carriers (Rogers, Fido, Telus) that operate 3G with those same bands, so there's a possibility that it may land in Canada and never officially make its way to the States. One thing we can discern from the snippet above, however, is that it doesn't look like T-Mobile US will get the XPERIA X10. Sorry Magenta fans.
Yikes. We knew apps in Android Market weren't exactly selling like hotcakes but with newfound buzz and interest in Android from the recent releases of the DROID, DROID Eris, HTC Hero, etc. we figured developers would continue to plug in and eventually reap the benefits. Unfortunately, Gameloft thinks differently. They've chosen to cut back on Android development due to the 'weakness' of Android Market. To quote:
We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like … many others. [The Android Market] is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products. On Android nobody is making significant revenue.”
According to Gameloft, one of the biggest mobile game publishers around, they're selling '400 times more games on iPhone than on Android'. That's an astounding difference but could probably be explained. Perhaps Android users aren't purchasing apps because of the relatively miniscule available memory for apps on Android devices. Or maybe looking at 400x sales isn't fair considering Android phones have yet to take off like the iPhone has (but in time, surely will). Either way, we think there's still a lot more to be said about the success of Android Apps than what Gameloft is saying. Cutting back investment in Android right now may be a little too rash.
If you're an avid reader of Google News, you might have noticed a mobile facelift of the news aggregator on your Android devices. That's because Google just released the new Google News for Mobile (Android, iPhone, Palm Pre) and as Google explains it:
This new version provides the same richness and personalization on your phone as Google News provides on desktop. Our new homepage displays more stories, sources, and images while keeping a familiar look and feel. Also, you can now reach your favorite sections, discover new ones, find articles and play videos in fewer clicks. If you are an existing Google News reader on desktop, you will find that all of your personalizations are honored in this mobile version too.
We think it's a pretty good translation for the Android screen but then again, we're not hardcore Google News users. What do you guys think?
Android finally has options when it comes to Twitter applications. Seesmic just announced their Android application and after our first go around with it, it works and looks great. It has 4 large, easy-to-press tabs for quick navigation (timeline, replies, messages, and profile) that make for a very smooth user experience. Seesmic also allows users to link your bit.ly account, choose which photo and video service to use, and share your location, among other Twitter-specific actions.
One downside is that Seesmic doesn't currently support multiple accounts nor does it offer a widget for Android. But other than those missing features, we're sure that Seesmic will find a following in the Android community. Twidroid watch out!
So what you guys think? Seesmic or Twidroid or something else?
If you're interested in getting to know Google Chrome OS, Google's latest development in re-creating how we use computers, the videos after the jump are a great start. The funny thing about Google Chrome OS is that it's ambitious in what it's trying to do but relatively tame in its execution. The idea of Google Chrome OS centers around creating a browser as the Operating System, which makes some sense for a lot of users. Since what we do on a computer is often just access the internet through the browser already, the extra weight and fluff of an OS doesn't apply as much anymore.
So Google Chrome OS is basically a browser. Your applications are fueled by either pre-existing web apps like Gmail, Google Docs, etc. or forthcoming ones that'll be developed according to web standards but more powerful (has access similar to what native apps have in other OS's). It looks pretty much exactly like what the browser Chrome looks like just with a few more tabs. It also supports little things to extend usability like 'virtual desktops', the ability to place smaller windows of apps on top of everything, and running different processes for each tab, so it's a bit more powerful than your run of the mill browser.
So what kind of hardware will Chrome OS run on? And how does it relate to Android? Hit the jump!
Read more about Android Central's thoughts on Google Chrome OS after the jump!
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