Black Friday looks to be full of free Android phones at Best Buy, including the Samsung Stratosphere in white. While a store offering "free" phones after you sign a two-year contract is nothing new, this years selection at Best Buy looks like some great hardware if you're not the kind who has to have the latest new and shiny Android phone. Sprint customers can get a EVO Shift 4G free with their contract, Verizon customers can choose from a Droid Incredible 2 or a Samsung Stratosphere (both in white or black), and AT&T subscribers can choose from a Thrill 4G, an Atrix 2, or (if your a masochist) the BlackBerry Torch 9810.
Of course free is never really free, and if you're signing up for a new two year agreement you're certainly spending quite the chunk of cash. But phones like these might prove to be a better choice that some of the entry-level Android handsets, and that white Stratosphere looks hawt.
The Univerisity of Notre Dame Sprint ID pack is now available for download on a handful of the carrier's Android devices. Sprint ID packs are customized themes for your smartphone that feature widgets and customized social media links and can be downloaded through the Sprint ID link on your enabled device. The Notre Dame ID pack comes preloaded with university web cams, dining hall menus, a lab locator, news, calendars, and of course sports updates. Hit the source link for Sprint's presser.
If you've picked up a shiny new Motorola Droid RAZR today -- be sure to read our full review -- and can't wait to get it rooted, well, you don't have to wait to get it rooted. Wicked over at Droidforums has dropped in a handy tool to do the deed. It's Windows-only for now, and we've yet to see a custom recovery or SBF file. So if you bork things up, there's no way back just yet.
Source: DroidForums; thanks to everyone who sent this in!
And here we have the Motorola Droid RAZR splayed across a table for all to see, courtesy of those crazy cracker-openers, iFixit. No real surprises inside -- it's got smartphone parts. But you get a great look at the uber-thin non-removable battery -- complete with a "remove battery" tab. Go figure.
Mozilla has decided to change the tools used to build the Firefox for Android client front end, and changes are in store. In it's current iteration, Firefox uses XUL (a cross-platform toolkit used to design widgets and user interface elements), but will be switching to native Android elements written in Java. This will bring more than just changes to the look and feel -- expect much faster load times and better performance, at the cost of some of the more complicated menus and options that are currently offered. As you can see in the pictures above (ignore the custom font on the rooted device used by Mozilla for testing -- go root!), this will bring a UI that looks more like we're used to on Android apps, and will fit in much better once Ice Cream Sandwich rolls along. Of coruse, the performance improvements are the big bonus, as well as (hopefully) a smaller file size. All in all, it looks like the right way to go here from the user perspective. Too many options can be a bad thing, and performance improvements are always welcome. With Flash getting killed off, the Gecko rendering engine will start to look like a great option in the near future.
They will begin open Alpha testing tomorrow, we'll be sure to have a look.
Com2Us are the distributors and developers on a semi-popular game in the Android Market -- Homerun Battle 3D. Recently, in order to try to kill the rampant cheating that goes on in the multi-player online games, they made a huge mistake. Com2Us sent out an update that blocked anyone who had rooted their phone from playing. As you can imagine, the uproar from people who had already spent $5 to buy the game (it's pretty well done, and this issue notwithstanding, probably worth the 5 bucks) and no longer could was instant, and loud. We started getting reports about the issue, and started poking around to see what was up.
Verizon LTE will be coming soon to a couple new locations -- Roanoke, Virginia and Indiana Pennsylvania. On November 17 they flip the switch in Roanoke, which will bring wireless broadband to downtown, Smith Mountain Lake, Christiansburg, Radford City, Buena Vista City, Lexington City and Rockbridge. While it's a fairly large population center by southern Virginia standards (about 300,000 people), it's a pretty isolated metro area, and blanketing the whole community (as well as nearby Virginia Tech and the town of Blacksburg last September) is quite a trick. Well done Verizon.
Not far behind their counterparts to the south, Indiana Pennsylvania (another fairly small college town -- do we see a trend?) will get the LTE treatment on December 15, covering Indiana, White Township, the Indiana University of PA campus, Homer City and Blairsville. Again we see high speed mobile broadband being brought to places we would have never imagined having it two or three years ago. Remember the next time you're paying that expensive Verizon bill -- they are actively investing that money back into their network, so your shiny Galaxy Nexus stays fast as hell in more places. Can't fault anyone for that type of business strategy.
As 2011 draws to a close, we’ve started to see a convergence of Android phones and tablets. Honeycomb-powered tablets are available in more form factors than ever before, and smartphones are growing larger still, with 4.3- to 4.7-inch devices quickly becoming the norm. Combine that with the phone and tablet software lines being reunited in Ice Cream Sandwich, and you start to see a landscape in which there’s very little separating a large Android smartphone from a small Android tablet.
The Galaxy Note is a device which Samsung is positioning between the traditional smartphone and tablet spaces. You can make calls on it, but you’ve also got a beastly dual-core Exynos chip inside, along with Sammy’s bleeding-edge HD SuperAMOLED display tech. The manufacturer’s also included a capacitive, pressure-sensitive stylus, dubbed the “S Pen”, with optimizations for pen input throughout the software. But despite the wealth of high-end tech, is there room in the market (and your pocket) for a 5.3-inch smartphone? Read on to find out what we thought of the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Extremely fast smartphone with a beautiful screen, and a thin, light chassis considering the screen size. Pen input works well.
A 5.3-inch device will be too big for most. Note-taking focus could limit it to a niche market.
If you can get over (or even embrace) the Note's size, you'll find it's a powerful device with some unique functionality that you won't find on any other smartphone.
Kevlar, as law enforcement and military personnnel have known for quite some time, is a hell of a thing, stopping bullets and saving lives. So what's it doing on the back of a smartphone? In the case of the Motorola Droid RAZR, it's serving as a pretty cool spec, and it looks darn good, too.
No, we're not going to shoot the RAZR. Pretty sure it'll lose that battle. And while it's not completely scratch-proof, it does stand up to a pretty decent amount of pressure.
Check out our complete unscientific video after the break.
The folks behind HD Widgets have expanded their sexy widget collection, and now include support for phones and 7-inch tablets. On the phone side, support is now available for hdpi phones (like the Samsung Nexus S pictured above) and mdpi phones (like the LG Optimus One, also pictured). Everything you love about HD Widgets for your Honeycomb tablet still remains -- tons of customization options, colorful backgrounds, in-depth weather forecasts, and a bevy of widget sizes and configurations -- things have just been scaled for the smaller screen. Having put them through the ringer on an assortment of devices ranging from the mundane to the exotic, the folks at Cloud.TV have done a great job. Everything works as expected, looks great, and lets me know if I need to take an umbrella with me -- even on crazy SDK ports of Ice Cream Sandwich. Josh is hard at work with a worthy review of the new build, in the meantime you can grab it from the Android Market (devices running Android 2.1 and higher) for a measly $1.99 at the link after the break.
Owners of SIM-free Sony Ericsson Xperia X10s have been enjoying Android 2.3 Gingerbread for the past few months, but so far the upgrade has been absent from some branded handsets, including those bought through O2 UK.
In a recent blog posting, O2's Head of Device-Customer Experience, Stuart Hibberd, let the network's customers know what's been holding things up. Specifically, it seems there were a few problems with getting the new camera app to function properly on O2 X10s, making it "virtually unusable". Hibberd says the issues have now been taken care of, though, and the update should be available from Sony Ericsson's website within the next week. Eagle eyed readers may notice that the post incorrectly refers to the upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread -- in fact, the X10 never received Froyo, and the last official update is based on Android 2.1 Eclair.
Like the unbranded X10 Gingerbread patch, the O2 version is an optional (and irreversible) upgrade, and O2 warns that it may make your phone "work slower than you're used to". For more information on exactly what you'll be getting if you choose to update, check out our original report from back in July.
It looks like Orange UK will soon be offering the HTC Sensation XE for sale on its network, as the device has just appeared on Orange's "coming soon" page. The Sensation XE is refreshed version of the original Sensation, and sports Beats Audio support, along with a faster 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and a larger battery.
Until now O2 has been the only British network directly selling the Sensation XE, so hopefully an Orange launch should offer consumers a bit more choice in pricing and tarrifs. Orange doesn't currently have an estimated launch date for the device, but you can check the source link for more details, or hit up our Sensation XE device page.
Until now, Sony's PlayStation certification has been limited to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Sony Tablet S, but that may be about to change. According to a recent annoncement by Sony Ericsson Japan, Japanese Xperia Arcs will soon be receiving PlayStation certification through an official software update, as will the Xperia Acro, the Arc's Japan-only sibling.
The update should allow Arc and Acro to owners enjoy the same catalog of PlayStation games that are currently available on the Xperia Play, which includes titles like Crash Bandicoot, WipEout and Syphon Filter. There's no word on when this update will be rolling out to Arcs in Europe and the US, but given Sony's renewed effort to build momentum behind its PS certified platform, we'd expect it to hit sooner rather than later.
It's been a while since we talked about the Samsung Illusion, but a friendly ninja just dropped off a screencap of the Verizon Infocenter page for the entry-level handset in our inbox. Imagine a smaller version of the Nexus S, minus the vanilla Gingerbread build and plus an SD card slot, and you'll have a pretty good picture of what to expect. The 1GHz Hummingbird and 512MB of RAM should make for a pretty damn speedy experience with the smaller resolution, though the tiny 3MP camera and TFT display clearly mark this one with the budget or entry-level tag. With a 3.5-inch display and a curved design, it should be a pleasure to carry and use for talking, but the HVGA (480x320) resolution isn't going to win many points for you gamers out there.
All in all, it looks like one of the best beginner phones we've ever seen, with decent specs that hopefully will mean a low price point. We've no idea about price or release, other than rumors that say "this month". The page in the Infocenter went live today, so Verizon is getting prepped. When we know more, we'll tell you.
Not quite sure exactly what we're looking at here, but according to the latest version of the internal Sprint Playbook, it's the Express, it's running Android 2.3, and it's coming Nov. 18 via direct shipping. In addition to the obvious BlackBerry-esque keyboard, it's got a 2.6-inch touchscreen, a 600 MHz processor, Sprint ID, a 3.2MP camera and 1500 mAh battery. It'll go for just $19.99 after two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate.
Update: Pocketnow notes it looks to be the Huawei Boulder.
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