Another weekend is now over but that means we're a few more days closer to CTIA, and certainly closer to seeing some more new devices announced. While we wait -- be sure to check out the Android Central forums. Also, if you're working on ROMs for any devices we certainly invite you to post those as well. We're starting to do plenty of ROM reviews so if it's posted in the forums, we can highlight it on the blogs. Hop on in and join us folks.
Why's everybody look so shocked to hear the HTC ThunderBolt's coming out on March 17? We totally had complete faith in that e-mail we showed you on Friday. (Any hedging in our post surely was coincidental.) Anyhoo, the evidence is mounting, with this morning's tweet and voicemail, and now the listing in Verizon's inventory system. And retailer Wirefly's getting into the game, saying it's opening up pre-orders tonight for a March 17 shipping date. All that's left is for Verizon to actually officially announce things. (Our guess: about 5 minutes after a certain Android Central editor goes to bed.) [Wirefly, Engadget]
Late last week we got word of an update for theMotorola Xoom rolling out, and while the main purpose that we saw for the update was the upcoming flash compatibility, the update appears to have done more then just this. Android Central forums member wnrussel3 noticed that after the update to HRI66, from the previous version of HRI39, Quadrant benchmarks on the device improved by 28 percent, jumping from 1775 to 2283. It's not necessarily indicative of an overall experience, but nobody wants lower benchmark scores. [Android Central Forums]
Security researcher Ian Robertson has built an Android application that can be used to bypass security on the popular Cardkey door control systems. Using his Droid Incredible, he is able to brute-force past any PIN, and issue commands across the Internet to the IP-based systems that will unlock all doors, grant 30 seconds to open them, then relock the doors -- all with a push of a button. Who says you need to be a registered guest to use that Holiday Inn jacuzzi?
This demonstrates not only the really poor security on these systems, but a level of 1337 that we haven't seen on Android as of yet. Hat's off to you Ian, and hopefully you can persuade a few people that they need to ramp security up a notch. [CyberSecurityGuy]
AppBrain, which is a well-known curator and recommendation engine for Android apps, has launched a new service dedicated to providing the community with useful statistics. Simply called AppBrain Android Stats, it will allow users to view intriguing statistics about the number of apps in the Market, how many are available by category, which device is used most often and much more.
As you can see from the graphic above, the Android Market currently offers about 150,000 applications and has grown immensely since last year. AppBrain also has a filter that will detect what they deem as "low-quality" apps, which puts the current total at right around 60,000.
The most popular device used to access AppBrain is the Samsung Galaxy S at 14.5 percent, followed by the HTC EVO with 9.7 percent.
Many wondered what AppBrain would do after the web-based Android Market was announced, but a collection of statistics such as these are wildly useful and will only be more so with continued growth. [AppBrain]
We recently brought you the news via a leaked e-mail that the HTC ThunderBolt may finally see release on Verizon on Thursday, and more clues are supporting that. First up is a Verizon retailer that joined Twitter on March 11 and this morning, for just its second tweet, dropped what you see above. We're willing to be they read Android Central, so maybe they're just repeating the news we broke.
But add to that a voicemail AC reader Julio just sent us, and new threads in the Android Central forums, and Thursday's starting to look a little more solid. [@YourLocalVZW, Android Central Forums]
Been holding out for the Exynos 4210, super AMOLED plus powerhouse that is the Samsung Galaxy S II? Having spent some time with the FCC we're pretty sure this device won't be far off now. Some curious things were found out about the devices radio components during its inspection. It does come pre-loaded with 850MHz and 1900MHz GSM frequencies giving it the option to be made available on AT&T should AT&T decide to pick it up -- since you know, T-Mobile says they don't have any details as of yet. [FCC via Engadget]
A post on Samsung Mobile Romania's Facebook page seems to suggest that Romanian Galaxy S phones (and presumably other European models) may see an official update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread by the end of March.
Translated into English and cleaned up a little, the post reads:
"The update to version 2.2.1 for Galaxy S will be available until 20 March, and Gingerbread (2.3) until the end of the month."
Our Romanian is a little rusty, but we think it's safe to assume the last part of that statement means either "it'll arrive by the end of the month", or "it won't arrive until the end of the month". Either way, it looks like the European Galaxy S could soon claim bragging rights as the first non-Nexus phone to get an official Gingerbread update. HTC has announced that Gingerbread will be coming to some of its older phones, but these updates aren't due until sometime in the second quarter.
Samsung Romania also adds that two of its budget phones, the i5500 Galaxy 5 and i5800 Galaxy 3, will be updated to Froyo by Mar. 20 and Mar. 31 respectively. [Samsung Romania Facebook via Crave]
If you've watched the creepy Xperia Play "Android thumbs ad" and wondered about the backstory of the thumbs in question, then you'll be relieved to hear that Sony Ericsson has provided you with the answers you crave in a brand new commercial.
The ad, entitled "The Donor", tells the chilling story of a man brutally robbed of his opposable digits by Sony Ericsson just so you can play Tekken on your phone. Check it out for yourself after the jump. The Xperia Play is due out in Europe later this month -- check out our hands (and thumbs)-on video coverage to find out more.
Our pals over at PreCentral have found themselves in possession of what apparently is a release schedule from "a major U.S. retailer," and it's got a number of Android tablets listed, including a few new ones. Let's break it down:
March 17: Motorola 10-inch tablet, $649, first 10-inch tablet with Android Honeycomb. Obviously, the Motorola Xoom.
End of March: Dell 7-inch, $449, March launch with Android 2.2 Froyo. OK, it's the Dell Streak 7.
End of March: Samsung 7-inch, $499, March launch with Android 2.2 Froyo. Sounds like the Galaxy Tab to us.
April: Acer 7-inch, $399, first 7-inch tablet with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Acer 7-inch tablet. Check.
The big question -- after we again say "A 10-inch tablet from HTC!" -- is which "major retailer" we're talking about. If this all pans out, CTIA could indeed be busy here in a couple weeks. [PreCentral]
Ad-free versions of original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons will be available on Amazon, too
Angry Birds publisher Rovio this morning announced that the upcoming Angry Birds Rio will launch on Android exclusively in the upcoming Amazon App Store. That's a huge coup for Amazon, which has had many rolling their eyes at the prospect of another app store, even one with the weight of a company like Amazon behind it.
More good news: Android will be getting ad-free versions of the original versions of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, which also will be exclusively in the Amazon App Store.
No specific dates were mentioned, but recall that Angry Birds Rio originally was said to be coming in March 2011. So if everything's still on schedule, we could see it -- and the Amazon App Store -- light up in the next couple of weeks. [Rovio]
The U.S.'s number three carrier, Sprint, is making it a bit easier to stomach those huge early termination fees (ETFs) that carriers will typically charge you for getting out of your contract early. Smartphone buyers signing up for a new two year contract will get $125 in "service credit" while non-smartphone buyers will get $50. The deal expires on April 14 so jump on it soon if you are interested in getting your WiMax on. [Sprint via Engadget]