Huawei, the phone manufacturer behind the scenes (like HTC before HTC turned HTC, get it?), has already developed an Android phone and has plans for many more:
T-Mobile Pulse Passes FCC But Doesn't Support T-Mobile 3G Bands
The T-Mobile Pulse, as it's known in the UK, has cleared the FCC which paves way for a North American release. The problem? The T-Mobile Pulse won't launch on T-Mobile because its 3G bands are 850 / 1900 MHz which pegs it towards either AT&T in the US or Rogers, Bell, Telus, or Fido in Canada. We're pretty much certain it won't launch on AT&T considering it's a middling Android phone that's no where near the high end device that AT&T would launch Android with. So that leaves the Canadian carriers to duke it out for dibs. So, for our neighbors to the north, which carrier would you like to see the Pulse on? [engadget]
Huawei Planning Series of Android Phones
In an unsurprising announcement, Huawei has said that they'll build multiple phones that'll run Android. Since they're a member of the Open Handset Alliance, this behavior is almost expected. What's interesting is that since Huawei is a behind-the-scenes type company, they'll likely have their phones rebranded under carriers a la T-Mobile G1 or myTouch 3G. Currently, they only have plans to release devices for the European, Latin American and Asia Pacific markets but if Android takes off like we all expect it to, they'll eventually pop up stateside.
We're keeping an eye on Huawei because they remind us of HTC before HTC became a household name. If they continue to build quality handsets, there may come a time where we're looking for the next Huawei device not just the next re-branded Android device. [pcworld]
Let's get you guys caught up with the latest Samsung Behold II news! The Samsung Behold II is Samsung's first official Android handset available in the US and packs a AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera, and runs Samsung's own Touchwiz UI.
Samsung Behold II to Launch with Android 1.5
In a mind boggling decision, the Samsung Behold II will launch with Android 1.5 and eventually update to Android 2.0. With Android 1.6 already widely available to T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G users and Android 2.0 looking pretty on the Motorola DROID, it just makes no sense to have a new Android device release with an OS that's three updates behind. How can you excite customers who are keen on the benefits of Android 1.6 and 2.0?
It looks like the Behold II won't update to 2.0 until 2010 which begs the conspiracy theory that Google and Verizon cooked up a deal to leave the Motorola DROID as the only Android 2.0 device for 2009. What do you guys think? [via tmonews]
Touchwiz UI Shown Off on Video
If you're interested in what the Touchwiz UI on the Samsung Behold II is all about, check out the video after the jump. It basically consists of a cube with application 'faces' that makes it extremely easy to jump to your most used applications. Spin and move the cube around and tap on the face to open up the application--easy enough, right? We love the novelty of Touchwiz but are unsure of how it'll work in real life usage. We'll be sure to follow up our thoughts on Touchwiz when we get our hands on the Behold II! [via tmonews]
Droid Day has come and gone but there's still a lot of DROID news to catch up on, here's the latest:
Wirefly Selling DROID for $129.99 & DROID Eris for $29.99
We don't think you can find a better deal for the DROID than Wirefly's current DROID for $129.99 and DROID Eris for $29.99. It's only been three days since launch so to find it for 40% off is a complete steal. If you haven't bought your DROID yet and were planning on it, the best deal is at Wirefly. [wirefly via androinica]
Was the DROID Launch Successful?
There hasn't been too many reported lines for the DROID Launch and some people had pointed that as proof of an unsuccessful launch of the DROID. Obviously, that logic is flawed considering online orders are ignored and different areas have different demands. Overall, it looks like the launch of the DROID has been successful. TechCrunch reports that some Verizon outlets were already onto their next shipment of DROIDs after selling out their initial shipment, accessories are in high demand too. And it looks like everyone is using their DROIDs as well, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad tweeted:
“Just saw Pandora’s Android install numbers for the day. Wow! There may not be lines, but Droids are very much among us – and running Pandora”
According to TechCrunch, Pandora's download rate has tripled since the launch of DROID--pretty successful in our opinion. Did you guys see lines for the DROID?
One of the features we were most looking forward in the DROID was the 5-megapixel autofocus camera. After having middling experiences with previous Android smartphone cameras, we were very hopeful that the DROID would buck the disappointing trend. But even using Android 2.0's updated camera interface to push out 5-megapixel pictures, the results were, well, a mixed bag.
We decided to let you guys compare a few shots we took with the Motorola DROID and Sprint HTC Hero to show you the differences in performance. Since both pack 5-megapixel cameras, it's a fairly even playing field. The results are interesting, to say the least. The camera on the DROID performs pretty well in good conditions--outside, under perfect weather and perfect lighting conditions it can actually deliver some awesome shots. However, the story is completely different when taken indoors, it seems like the DROID simply manages light poorly and focuses on the wrong image leaving indoor shots looking hazy and blurry. Funnily enough, the Sprint HTC Hero is the exact opposite. Read on for more!
Check out Android Central's Motorola DROID camera test after the jump!
Sincerely, we like the understated looks of the Eris. Plain and simple isn't always plain, if you catch our drift. Plus: there are subtle white flecks on the matted-black, soft-touch paint here. Don't worry, it's not Edward-the-sparkly-vampire level sparkle. As we said: it's subtle, we like it.
More photos after the break, including some head-to-head shots with the Droid.
Good news for Droid lovers: Droid loads and renders pages slightly faster than the Eris - so the extra $100 is well-spent
Bad news for Droid lovers: the iPhone 3GS beat the heck out of the Droid in the above test. Other tests taken after the video weren't quite as dramatic as what you're seeing here, but facts is facts: the iPhone 3GS does load and render pages faster than the Droid.
Good news for Droid lovers: Verizon > AT&T in most areas, so you can always hold out hope that when you're running a speed test in a bar with your iPhone-owning friends, you can hold out hope that they won't have data access to begin with. Yeah, we said it.
We all know Google is as minimalist as they come when it comes to their homepage. Google.com rarely displays anything else other than the Search Bar and occasional artwork celebrating a holiday. So when something new is added, it's a pretty big deal. Today is a pretty big deal.
Droid Day officially gets Google approval with a text ad saying 'New! The DROID is on sale now. Learn more.'. Sure we would have loved an Android-specific graphic on the Google logo but Sesame Street is pretty tough competition. It's good to see Google endorse the DROID and interesting to note that they spelled it 'Droid' and not Motorola's preferred 'DROID'.
It's pretty amazing to think how far Android has come in just one year. Just 12 months ago we were getting all excited about the T-Mobile G1 and the promises that Android 1.0 held. Fast forward 365 days and we're looking at all that potential realized--the Motorola DROID is simply a fantastic device and Android 2.0 makes it all the more amazing. The DROID is our faith in Android, re-affirmed.
But obviously, there's more to the DROID than just realizing Android's potential. How does it all come together? How good is the touchscreen? How sturdy is the build? How good is it as a phone? Read on to find out in our full review of the Motorola DROID!
Hit the jump to read Android Central's full review of the Verizon Motorola DROID!
*we've decided to split our Motorola DROID Review in two--one review for the hardware and one review for Android 2.0. The hardware review is today and the review of Android 2.0 will come over the weekend!*
Sure, most of the attention is going to the Motorola Droid (and deservedly so, we suppose), but HTC's little Droid Eris is a worthy phone in its own right -- especially at $99. If you're a widget-fanatic, HTC's Sense UI on the Eris is really slick, but otherwise we have to say advantage Droid.
Still, we like the Droid. The styling is conservative, sure, but it's great to have a trackball on the face of the phone.
Anybody out there choosing the Eris over the Droid?
Wondering if the Droid Multimedia Station / Dock is worth it? If you're the sort that likes to make your phone double as a nightstand alarm clock, the answer is clearly yes. Motorola does us a solid by including wall charger and cable (we've seen plenty of other docks omit them).
Then again, if you're hoping to focus more on the "multimedia" than the "dock" part of it, you'll be disappointed to know that the only port on this thing is the USB charging plug, no audio or video-out.
If you're looking to save a buck or two, Wal-Mart is offering the DROID for $188 with new 2-year contract. And as you already know, Best Buy and Verizon Retail stores are selling the DROID today as well. Go get yours!
We've got some good news, some bad news and some really awful news. If you didn't know, the DROID Eris is also releasing today. Verizon just posted a tutorial video on the DROID Eris, which is basically Verizon's version of the HTC Hero. If you want to get familiar with the DROID Eris, we suggest you watch the video above. And remember, as awesome as the DROID Eris is, it only costs $99!
For the bad news, it looks like Verizon is going to be charging users who tether their DROID $30 a month. That really makes no sense to us considering we're already paying for 'unlimited' data that we should be able to use however we see fit. We're pretty sure most of you guys will pass on the added $30/month for tethering since that effectively doubles the cost of your monthly smartphone plan. [gizmodo]
And for the awful news, it looks like Verizon is hiking up the Early Termination Fee to $350. Yeah, $350. The ETF goes down $10 every month of your contract but seriously, $350!? Heck, we thought the original $175 was already bad at $350 we're not even going to think about breaking contract. [wmexperts]
Update: Thanks to everyone who commented, the contest has ended and the winners have been contacted! Congrats tclaer, BigTex71, and nighthawk700!
Love music? Good thing because Slacker just announced that they'll be releasing Slacker Radio to Android Market! Slacker Radio is a great streaming radio application that'll surely find a place in many music lovers' Android phones. Slacker Radio for Android offers:
Free music library featuring millions of songs
High-quality stereo playback from any wireless connection
Create custom artist stations based on artists or songs
Over 100 professionally programmed genre stations
View artist biographies and photos
View album art and read reviews
"Peek Ahead" artist and album preview
Multi-tasking – listen to music while using other applications
Rate songs as favorites
Ban songs and artis ts you don’t like
Vertical and Horizontal modes
The Slacker Radio app for Android is free in Android Market but if you want the benefits of Slacker Radio Plus which offers unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, and no audio or banner ads, Slacker was kind enough to offer three 1-year subscriptions to Android Central readers! Simply comment below and we'll randomly draw names over the weekend. Contest ends Sunday November 8th 2009. You can only be entered once so multiple comments won't count as multiple entries.
We need a way to contact you guys so please leave information of some sort (if you're logged in, you're fine). Also, winners will need to sign up for a free Slacker account in order to get their account upgraded! Good luck!
Verizon has officially made the DROID Eris, Verizon's version of the HTC Hero, well, official. Like previous reports, the DROID Eris will release on November 6th for the low, low price of $99 (after rebate, with 2 year contract). We're unsure of why Verizon decided to wait until the day before to announce this puppy but the pricing is absolutely on point. It feels like Verizon is the only carrier who "gets" it when it comes to pricing.
The DROID Eris Specs are pretty much exactly like the Sprint HTC Hero--5MP camera, 528MHz Qualcomm processor, 3.2-inch multitouch screen, and Android 1.5--but the battery is now only 1300mAh compared to 1500 mAh on the Sprint HTC Hero. The four Android harware buttons are replaced by touch-sensitive buttons similar to the DROID.
The DROID Eris offers a great alternative to the DROID and a completely different experience. And make no mistake, this isn't some budget phone, this is still the same phone we deemed the best Android phone on the market only a month ago.
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