The gift-giving season is winding down to a close, and we're all enjoying the time with our loved ones, warm holiday comfort foods, and maybe some cool Android goodies. Did you get a new Android phone? Or a tablet? Maybe you got a Google TV unit of some sort or another, or your stocking was full of accessories. Sound off and share with us (we're like your extended Android family) to let everyone know what great stuff you got this year.
Because of the Samsung Nexus S' VGA front camera, face unlock was left out of the official and AOSP builds of last year's reference phone. You know where this is going -- the files have been yanked out of the Galaxy Nexus and face unlock is working in all it's gimmicky goodness. It's even working with a beard and glasses.
It goes along great with a pair of AOSP builds and a few tweaks for the Nexus S twins, which are available as well. This is why we love Android, open-source, and Nexus phones. Ice Cream Sandwich is running better than most expected on year-old hardware, and we're having a blast playing with things. We have the phones, we have the code, let's tear the roof off this mother.
Be sure to grab the right version for the right phone below.
One of the best things about toting around an Android phone is the way you can make it yours. Wallpapers, widgets, icon sets, even system apps can all be customized just about any darn way you please, and Christmas is a great time to do it! We dug around and found a few things you could use to get your Android phone into the Christmas spirit, check 'em out after the break.
Now you know how I hate to burst anyone's bubble, especially this close to Christmas. But -- oh, who am I kidding. I love to do that. Especially this close to Christmas.
This is not the Samsung Galaxy S III. It's not a leaked render. It is, however, a nicely done concept render, and it managed to fool a few people today, judging from the amount of tips in our inbox. But, no, folks, it's not the Samsung Galaxy S III, which has not been announced, has not been leaked, and is not seen in the picture above.
Repeat: That is not the Samsung Galaxy S III.
We all straight now? It's a fan render that was posted to some Russian "Samsung Phone Owners' Club" group, then reposted on a couple other sites and picked up before Concept-Phones published an update. Whoopsie. Again, not real. Move on.
And so begins the long list of Android devices that won't officially be updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung's "Samsung Tomorrow" blog, in Korean, has explained why two of 2010's top devices, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, won't be getting official updates to ICS. The short version: older hardware and a slew of customizations, including Samsung's own TouchWiz.
C Spire Wireless, the former Ceullar South that you're seeing in a smattering of TV commericials now, just announced availabilty of the Motorola Milestone X2. That's the same as the Motorola Droid X2 on Verizon that we reviewed back in the summer. Same 4.3-inch display, same 1GHz dual-core processor, same 8MP camera, no Droid branding. It's running Android 2.3 and has Swype on baord. C Spire's offering it up for $99 (after $50 rebate) on two-year contract.
We've seen leak after leak of the Sony Ericsson Nozomi (aka Xperia Arc HD) over the past couple of months, but now it seems we may have some early details of the device's American cousin, the as yet nameless LT28at. A Bluetooth SIG listing for the phone, spotted by XperiaBlog, suggests that it'll sport an impressive list of specifications. Apparently the LT28at will ship with a 4.55-inch 720p Sony Reality Display, a stonking 13 MP back-illuminated camera and LTE support, presumably on AT&T.
The Bluetooth listing doesn't mention AT&T by name, but Sony Ericsson has historically added the "at" suffix to its AT&T devices, so we think it's safe to assume this one will be headed to AT&T's LTE network rather than Verizon's. Equally, no CPU is listed, but given the way SE likes to streamline things across its product line, our money would be on the LT28at using a 1.5GHz dual-core chip, like the Nozomi.
However, the most unique thing about this phone is its purported camera setup -- 13MP is just insane for a smartphone camera. Sure, megapixels aren't everything, but SE has a great track record with its Exmor R sensors on devices like the Arc and the Ray. XperiaBlog managed to dig up a few example shots from the LT28at on Picasa (check the source link), and even after compression the pictures are pretty impressive.
Here's hoping we'll get to see more of the LT28at in the flesh at CES in just a few weeks time.
The largest newspaper publisher in the United States has decided on the mobile tech its reporters will carry -- and it's not good for Android. Gannett newspaper division president Bob Dickey, in an internal memo published by the independent Gannett Blog, announced that the company had purchased thousands of iPad 2s and iPhone 4Ss, which will reach newsrooms in January.
What's that have to do with Android, you ask? When I left the employ (yes, voluntarily) of Gannett a little more than two years ago -- well, let's just say the sites I write for now were better equipped to cover news on the run back then than a honest-to-goodness "real" newsroom. In late 2010 or early 2011 (can't remember which), my former editor decided to get everyone who wanted one a Motorola Droid X. That was done at the local level though, on a pretty small scale. The purchase of thousands of iPads and iPhones on a national scale is a pretty big deal, and pretty disappointing to this newsroom survivor who makes his living off Android now.
Update coming that will make signal appear to be better
It's not every day that smartphone users want to be lied to. But in the case of signal strength, we'll apparently make an exception. Verizon has told Computer World that in the case of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, the LTE signal is being received and reported accurately. Too accurately, actually. So accurately, in fact, that if you appear to have a worse signal and more 3G/4G bouncing with the Galaxy Nexus, it's probably because your other LTE phones weren't as accuate as the Galaxy Nexus.
So, as Verizon told Computer World, it will make the Galaxy Nexus report signal strength a little less accurately as to ease our minds and be more in line with its other LTE devices. And so long as the phone at least appears to have a better connection, we're apparently OK with it.
This isn't an unprecedented move -- Apple did pretty much the same thing with the iPhone 4. While we're not disputing that things have appeared to be a bit off -- our own Verizon review unit definitely has appeared to be more wonky than our other 4G devices -- there's probably a little bit of the internet microscope at work here, too. Verizon (and every other carrier) is always working on improving connection, even after a phone is released. It's why we see new radios in updates all the time.
Anybody want to put money on what the next bug of the week is going to be?
A final notice everyone -- if you have some projects sitting around in App Inventor, and would like to keep them, either for some crazy time-capsule experiment or in the hopes of migrating them to MIT's App Inventor project, you've only got a handful of days left. Come December 31, Google will be taking the whole kit and caboodle offline, and projects that haven't been downloaded are lost forever.
Getting them is easy, just log into appinventorbeta.com and hit the "Download All Projects" button as shown above. Keep them safe, and when MIT gets things back up and running in 2012, you're ready to go. For more information about MIT's implementation, have a look at their Learning Center.
Are you an HTC Sensation owner looking to get a taste of some Ice Cream Sandwich? RCTeam over at XDA Developers released a Sense based ICS ROM, giving us a glimpse of what we can expect from Sense ICS builds. Featuring some UI changes, it appears as though the Sense dock some of us have grown to love is no longer there, it has been replaced with a more standard looking dock. The lockscreen now features the ability to launch into folders instead of just single applications, as well as face unlock and more.
Looking for something new to play around with on your Sensation? Be sure to hit the source link and let us know how it works out for you!
Toward the end of March or early April, the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray will be the first to get Ice Cream Sandwich. The Xperia Arc, Xperia Play, Xperia Neo, Xperia Mini and Mini Pro, Xperia Active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman will start getting updates in late April/early May.
That's still some months away, of course, but kudos to Sony Ericsson for being so transparent about the process.
Chinese smartphone and tablet manufacturer just hit us up to tease some new kit in 2012, promising we'll see "our smartest, fastest and most high-performing smartphone yet, taking a leap into the future of mobile communications." The announcement will come on the eve of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Huawei has yet to really break into the U.S. market, though it does manufacture the uninspiring T-Mobile Springboard tablet. And while MWC isn't a U.S.-centric show, it is a high-profile show. And with Android Central in attendance yet again, you can bet we'll have plenty of American eyes pointed that way.
Microsoft has won a partial victory in their dispute with Motorola over patents, but it's far from the outcome they would have liked. The International Trade Commission has ruled that some Motorola products infringe on one of Microsoft’s patents. The same judge found no infringement of the six other Microsoft patents. This is just like the outcome of the Apple v. HTC mess that was decided just yesterday, and while on the surface it looks bad for Moto, in reality it invalidates 6 of Microsoft's patent claims. Claims that others, such as Samsung, are currently licensing for their products to avoid. This initial ruling is still subject to the final determination by the ITC, expected to happen before April 20, 2012.
In their press release, which you'll find after the break, Motorola makes it clear that they still plan to pursue their claims against Microsoft:
Microsoft continues to infringe Motorola Mobility’s substantial patent portfolio and Motorola Mobility has active patent infringement litigation and proceedings against Microsoft in a number of jurisdictions, including the ITC. Motorola Mobility remains confident in its position and will continue to move forward with its complaints.
Like all the other legal battles, in the end it's just a matter of money changing hands. Starting with more from your hand as devices get more expensive.
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