With the first of this year's leading Android phones launching in the next month or so, last year's models are starting to show up online with significantly-discounted prices. Yesterday we saw the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S on sale for under £200, and now the price of the HTC EVO 3D has been lowered to around the same level by one retailer. Asda Direct, which was previously selling the EVO for £250 and £230, is today offering it for a mere £209.
That's still a fair amount of cash, but it's less than half what you'll likely pay for the privilege of owning something like the HTC One X later this year. It's also around £350 less than the initial asking price for the GSM EVO 3D when it launched last August.
Despite its discounted price, the EVO still packs some impressive specs. There's a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 chip inside, a 4.3-inch qHD 3D display, dual 5-megapixel 3D cameras, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and HTC Sense 3. And as we mentioned in our review, the GSM version boasts excellent battery life. Like many other leading HTC handsets, it's due an update to Ice Cream Sandwich later this year, too. If you're not planning on holding out for the next wave of high-end Android phones, we can certainly think of worse ways of spending 200 quid.
Google's just released the Android platform version statistics for the two weeks ending March 5. As a reminder, these are representative of the entire Android ecosystem and comprise devices that have accessed the Android Market within the last 14 days, so these would be "active" devices. Here's the breakdown:
Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.x): Up a little more than half a percentage point to 1.6 percent. That encompasses Android 4.0 through Android 4.0.3.
Gingerbread (Android 2.3): Saw some decent growth, actually, from 58.6 percent in February to 62 percent today.
Froyo (Android 2.2): Falls a couple of percentage points to 25.3 percent.
Eclair (Android 2.1): Fell a percentage point to 6.6 percent.
Donut (Android 1.6) and Cupcake (Android 1.5): Combine for 1.2 percent of active devices. Who's still using these?
And here's a full look at last month's numbers. We'd imagine Ice Cream Sandwich percentage will start trending up now that we've got a new crop of phones on the way, but there's no denying that upgrades are taking entirely too long.
One X and S headed to all five major carriers; O2 and Three will range the entry-level HTC One V
If you're hoping to get your hands on an HTC One series phone in the UK, it looks like you'll be spoiled for choice -- O2, Three, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile have all indicated that they'll carry the One X and One S. For the price-conscious, the HTC One V will also be available on O2 and Three. O2 and T-Mobile are listing an April launch date for the One series, while others simply say it's "coming soon."
The One X is HTC's flagship device for 2012, with a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, a 4.7-inch 720p screen, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a brand new version of HTC Sense. The One S takes a small step back from the bleeding edge of tech, with its Snapdragon S4 dual-core chip and a 4.3-inch qHD display. Across the entire HTC One range, the manufacturer's delivering Beats Audio support and some fancy new camera technology. In the U.S., AT&T will get an LTE-toting version of the One X with a Snapdragon S4 chip instead of Tegra 3, while T-Mobile USA will range the One S.
In the UK, though, it's a far cry from last year's situation, in which Vodafone had a one-month lead on other networks with the HTC Sensation. Given that all five networks will be vying for our attention with such a highly-anticipated series of phones, the result should be better deals for consumers. If you're considering picking up one of HTC's shiny new toys, shout out in the comments. And if you haven't already, check out our hands-on coverage of the One X, One S and One V from Mobile World Congress.
Because it's been at least six days since Samsung announced its last Android smartphone, here's the Galaxy Pocket -- an entry-level device in an extremely compact form factor, sporting a tiny 2.8-inch display. The Pocket runs on an 800MHz processor, just like the Galaxy Mini 2, though due to its diminutive size, screen resolution is limited to a stomach-churning 320x240 (QVGA). It's also got a 2MP rear camera, 3GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card), and a 1200mAh battery. The presence of HSPA support on 900MHz and 2100MHz only suggests the Galaxy Pocket won't be venturing too far outside of Europe.
On the software side, you get the standard blend of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Samsung's TouchWiz UX layer. You probably won't want to hold your breath for an Ice Cream Sandwich update any time soon.
So it's very much an entry-level handset, and we'd expect that to be reflected in the price when this device launches later this year. Samsung has so far only confirmed that the Galaxy Pocket will be available in the UK, but we wouldn't be too surprised to see a wider European launch either.
Head past the break for today's press release in full.
The HTC Vivid should be seeing Ice Cream Sandwich shortly, and if you're the brave type there's a leak out in the wild you can flash today. When HTC and AT&T announced the HTC One X was coming to AT&T, there was a small part in the press release about the Vivid and it's ICS update, and that's been reinforced today in a press release for a new Beats Audio wireless speaker system exclusive for AT&T. The paragraph reads as follows:
Additionally, an enhanced audio experience will soon be available to HTC Vivid™ customers in the coming weeks. Sound engineers at Beats Dr. Dre and software engineers at HTC have teamed up to bring an improved audio experience to the HTC Vivid through an upcoming software update that will provide Android 4.0, an updated HTC Sense experience and Beats By Dr. Dre audio profiles.
While "coming weeks" is a pretty vague term, it may be closer that anyone expects. A Vivid user was presented with an OTA update to Ice Cream Sandwich, and had the foresight to capture the file and hand it over to the hacking community. It's been converted to a flashable form, but there's a great big warning attached as it requires a different hboot with no reliable way to get back. Between the few reports of bricked devices, most people say the update is decent, bringing the Vivid to Android 4.0.3 and Sense to 3.6.
If you're the type who has to try things, be sure to read very carefully lest you have a shiny black HTC Vivid to add to the Android bone pile. If you're the more cautious type or haven't rooted your $600 phone (we don't blame you), hopefully you'll be seeing an update soon. In either case, follow along at the links below.
There's been rumors running rampant lately about the next Nexus phone, and just who might be making it. While it's a bit early to guess, we all have a preference, and it's always OK to wish -- just don't expect any predictions. OEMs showed us a lot to like during MWC 2012, and some of the new designs surely turned some heads (that HTC One S looks like a real winner to this blogger) and we can't help but wish for a Nexus phone with some of the style we've seen so far in 2012.
So what say you, savvy Android users that you are? Do you want a throwback to the original Nexus with a unibody design from HTC? Or want a Motorola unit with bulletproof cell radio and voice quality? Personally, I've always wanted to see some LG hardware with stock Android right from Google on-board, but I'd be just as happy to see another Super AMOLED model from Samsung -- I'm a sucker for a pretty face.
Tell us all who you would pick for the next Nexus partner -- someone has to be right!
When Adobe said they wouldn't be developing Flash Player for Android to work with any new versions, they also promised to keep the current version up-to-date with critical fixes and security patches. Once again, they show us that they really mean what they say, and there's another update for Flash in the Android Market. The fixes include events for handling a crash would could lead to code execution, which means potential is there for someone to hijack your system. Adobe is usually pretty good about patching these things before the get exploited, and there are no known instances in the wild of attackers using these methods to compromise Android devices.
Grab your Android phones, head into the kitchen or out to your favorite resturant and show us some delicious eats. The prize this week is a vehicle mount for your phone (or a universal model) from ShopAndroid.com. Perfect for heading out to the grocery store or eatery to feed yourself, and maybe listening to some tunes or trying a new route with Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation on the way.
The rules, as always:
You gotta use an Android phone or tablet.
One picture per person.
You need to tell us the name of the device used to take the pic, any special photo app used, and your name (or psudeonym) so we can give proper credit.
Send the picture (as an attachment) and info to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday evening your local time to qualify.
We'll pick the best and announce the winner Sunday on the blog. Good luck everyone!
Anyone doing development for Android (or any software platform) knows that good tools are the most important part of the whole process. We've seen that the Android team has been hard at work to improve development and debugging tools, and they're still at it. The ADT plugin for Eclipse and the SDK tools/platform-tools have a major upgrade underway, and are at the third beta preview. Developers will enjoy the changes, which includes big things like a new version of ProGuard (more info here), as well as minor changes like being able to export a screenshot from the layout editor. We've got the full list of changes after the break, and if you're developing any sort of application for Android with Eclipse, you should give it a look.
But there's one big change that is going to be uber-helpful to the average Android hacker/modder -- detailed network usage of any application. The new DDMS tool will give data for network traffic, both in and out, on any device running Android 4.0.3 or higher. The graph updates in real-time, and in addition to being a great way for app developers to see how their app is utilizing network sockets, it will be able to help debug just what apps on your phone are eating up your data. No more guessing which app is stuck and constantly uploading, just plug your phone in and use the new DDMS tool to find out exactly what is going on. Knowing is half the battle.
If you want to try the new tools, you won't be able to download them via the SDK manager, but manual installation is easy enough, and you'll find full instructions at the source link below.
LG's answer to the Galaxy Note, the LG Optimus Vu, is now available in South Korea on the SK Telecom and LG U+ networks. The Optimus Vu combines a 5-inch 1024x768 IPS display with capacitive pen input and a thin chassis design reminiscent of the LG Prada 3.0. It's also got a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm chip inside, along with 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and an 8MP camera. You also get the usual combination of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and LG's own UI layer, and during our time with the Vu at Mobile World Congress, we found its software to be a little uninspiring compared to Samsung's competing device.
LG is hoping to tempt early adopters with a free case and extra battery for the first 20,000 people to pick up the Optimus Vu on both LG U+ and SK Telecom.
No information is available as to when (or even if) the Optimus Vu will see any kind of broader international release, but Koreans can pick it up now for 999,900 won (~$890). We're going to go ahead and assume that's the unsubsidized price.