What a way to enter the holiday season. Verizon Wireless has suddenly found itself with arguably three of the hottest Android smartphones of the year, just as the holiday shopping season begins. There’s the just-announced HTC Rezound, the “Pure Google” Samsung Galaxy Nexus and what brings us together today -- the Motorola Droid RAZR.
Yes, the RAZR -- the flip phone that became as cliche as it was once iconic -- has been reborn in the smartphone era. And it should surprise no one that Android is at the heart of its reincarnation.
And Motorola, which led the march toward thinner, lighter and bigger smartphones more than a year ago with the Droid X, has changed things up again with the RAZR. But the Droid RAZR’s eccentricities may also be its undoing. Read on to find out why in our complete Droid RAZR review.
It's fast, it's thin, it's got a gorgeous high-resolution display, and it's running the most recent version of Android available (at least for a few more weeks). Motorola has already promised an update to Ice Cream Sandwich. Good camera, and has Verizon 4G LTE data.
May be too large for some; is about the widest phone we've used. Battery can't be removed. Full of preloaded apps that you might or might not actually want.
Yet another "best-of" phone for Verizon. But the Droid RAZR's size could be a bit much for some, and we've got real concerns about not being able to swap out the battery for a fresh one when needed.
Want to stroll through the Motorola Droid RAZR software without being bothered with all those words and things? We gotcha covered. Here's a quick look at a lot of what Motorola's packed into the Droid RAZR.
You've got the same Philblur UI that's evolved over the past year or so. Five home screens, a customizable dock, and a horizontal scrolling app drawer. That's the bread and butter, but where Motorola's really impressing is with the little things. Automatic reminders for Wifi (and automatically turning it on when you're near a trusted network). A new music app. MOTOACTV. MOTOPRINT. Plus more pre-loaded applications than we know what to do with.
Take a gander at the video above for a walkthrough, then hit the full review for all the dirt details.
Good news for anyone involved with tinkering around with software for the venerable HTC Desire. In accordance with open source rules, HTC has just released the kernel source code for the device's Gingerbread update, which was offered as an optional RUU for GSM Desires back in August. The move follows the release of a slew of other source code for more recent devices over the weekend, and should help out anyone involved with the lively Desire custom ROM scene.
Remember, as ever, that this code is for developers only, and won't be of much use to the average user (or even the average ROM flasher). If you're after the Gingerbread update itself, you can find out more over here.
Thanks to the talent and hard work of our very own AC Developer Beezy, we've been playing with Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus S for a while now. One of the cool things that caught our eye recently was the native themeing of the stock Android keyboard. Built into ICS is a keyboard theme engine and six native themes. Granted, the "stock" themes aren't exactly mind-blowing, but they do offer high contrast options for those of us on that downward spiral past 30. More importantly, a native theme engine opens up the possibility of third party themes, maybe even downloadable from the Android Market. We're all waiting for the source and official builds of ICS to roll out, but in the meantime hit the jump and have a look at the themes. And if you're rocking your Nexus S and need a change, hit Beezy's thread in the forums and give a bit of ICS a try yourself.
It's been a couple dates since the last rumored Galaxy Nexus launch date surfaced. But a couple of things have changed since then. First, we've heard through our sources that Verizon's finally picked a launch date. (Remember that the Nov. 11 memo we saw was a "work in progress.") Secondly, this one makes a little more sense.
And, finally, we have the Galaxy Nexus, with a date of Nov. 21. That's still unofficial, mind you, and it's not yet known if you'll actually be able to walk out of a store with a phone, or if it'll be direct fulfill (aka ship it to you) instead.
Almost makes you miss the old Best Buy exclusive or Google Phone Store days, no? Anyhoo, we're one day closer to whenever this damn thing's going to launch.
It looks to be a very nice Q4 if you're a Verizon customer and an Android fan. Three hot new phones are coming out, and if you're due for an upgrade (or finagle things around so you can get a new phone -- I've been there!) you'll have a choice to make. Do you choose the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and its Nexusy goodness, the Motorola Droid RAZR and its industrial design, or the HTC Rezound with Sense and Beats by Dre?
It's a tough call for many reasons. We can't help you when it comes to your personal preference -- there's great reasons to want a Nexus, the Droid line, or HTC's latest sexy -- and on one level or another every choice is the right one. But we can offer you up some tech specs, which we've done after the break. Read the charts, read the news, and read the forums and you'll be better armed to make the right decision when it's time to buy.
AT&T's first pair of LTE-capable smartphones -- the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and HTC Vivid -- are available for purchase today for $249 and $199 $149 and $99 (AT&T apparently lowered the price since the announcement) respectively. While both phones will function fine on AT&T's existing HSPA+ network, the cities where you can actually get LTE data are still pretty limited. As of today, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Athens, Ga.
The Skyrocket pairs alongside the Galaxy S II already in AT&T's stable, but it ups the Super AMOLED Plus display (at 480x800) to 4.5 inches. It's also got a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8MP rear-facing camer with LED flash, 2MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording, 16GB of on-board stoarge, and a microSD card slot.
The HTC Vivid has a 4.5-inch qHD display at 540x960 resolution. It's got a 1.2 GHz processor, 8MP rear camera with 1080p video recording, 16GB of on-board storage and a microSD card slot.
Because we know some in the Android community (and elsewhere) like to get worked up over things like the PenTile matrix used Samsung's new HD SuperAMOLED displays, we decided to snap some close-ups of the tech in all its high-def (1280x800) glory on a shiny new Galaxy Note. If you're a regular around here, you'll know that the same technology is used on the Galaxy Nexus's 720p display too.
Take a look at the pics below -- we think it's safe to say you don't have anything to worry about when it comes to image quality. HD resolutions on a hand-held SuperAMOLED device look just as gorgeous as you'd expect, even when viewed up-close. The extra pixel density more than makes up for the fact that it's PenTile, not RGB.
Everyone is getting into the 720p display game it seems, and Sony Ericsson is no exception. The Xperia Arc HD (formerly known by it's Nozomi code name) has finally shown up on camera, and it's a stunner. We don't know the specifications just yet, but the juicy bits have been revealed -- 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB RAM, front facing camera, Android 2.3.5, and of course the 4.3-inch 720p HD display @320dpi. There's a couple more pictures after the break (including a respectable 1800 Quadrant score if you're in to that sort of thing). SE, please bring this one to the states for us, OK?
Looks like Costco's gearing up to sell the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, according to this inventory screen we just received. Price is slated at $289.99. But like anything else of this nature, it ain't official until it's official. But we would note that only a Verizon version is listed here -- we're still unsure if there's going to be an HSPA version available in the U.S. anytime soon. But importing will always be an option.
If our calculations are correct, HTC just dropped more source code than we've got time for all weekend. To wit: we're now seeing kernel source and Gingerbread updates for the HTC Rhyme, myTouch 4G, Jetstream, Sensation XE, EVO 4G+ (which launched in South Korea), Sensation XL and the HTC ThunderBolt, along with the proprietary binaries for ADP1.
Not bad for a Saturday. Remember that this is straight code, and not flashable updates, so for most of us they're useless. But for developers, they're gold. You can check it all out at the link below.
Courts in Germany have found in favor of Motorola in two cases of patent infringement by Apple. These are the same types of proceedings that Apple has used to get Samsung products pulled from shelves and show floors in the past, and the current documents from Germany look to affect all Apple mobile products, and have enabled damages that go back to April 2003. But let's not get too excited, because I doubt that Motorola will ask for Apple products to be banned from sale in Germany, even though the courts have said they can do so.
Of the two patents in question (EP 1010336 (B1) and EP 0847654 (B1)), Motorola has already declared that one (the US version -- U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898) is "essential to ETSI standards (GSM, UMTS, 3G)". There's a very good chance the other patent will be essential to use as well. These are not patents on ideas, they are methods to use specific hardware. Motorola did invent the cell phone, after all. It's speculated that Apple "allowed" this ruling to happen so they stand a stronger chance during the appeals process, but that sounds very un-Appley and I doubt anyone in Cupertino is happy about the situation. In addition, Motorola has communicated to Engadget the following:
As media and mobility continue to converge, Motorola Mobility's patented technologies are increasingly important for innovation within the wireless and communications industries, for which Motorola Mobility has developed an industry leading intellectual property portfolio. We will continue to assert ourselves in the protection of these assets, while also ensuring that our technologies are widely available to end-users. We hope that we are able to resolve this matter, so we can focus on creating great innovations that benefit the industry.
It certainly sounds like Motorola wants to license these patents out versus force Apple to stop selling their 3G devices in Germany, and I applaud them for it.
It's worth noting that Apple has tried and failed to negotiate a better price for network technology patents in the past against Nokia, and while these patents are not the same, the premise is -- without them, you can't make a cell phone. It's mandated all over the world that fair license fees are charged for these types of patents, and anyone using them has to pay the owner -- even Apple. Fees will be paid, agreements will be reached, and iPhones will stay on the shelves in Germany. The full court judgment (in German) is after the break.
Gentlemen, start your engines! Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is now available in the Android Market. No longer an exclusive for the Xperia Play, the latest in the Need for Speed series, Hot pursuit promises racing action from the perspective of both sides -- the pursuer and the pursued. Play as a scofflaw in one of the exotic super cars like the Pagani Zonda Cinque, or be Johnny Law in your high speed police interceptor (the Lamborghini Reventon makes for a hell of a cop car!). If you love racing games, this looks like a real treat.
The game is available in both U.S and international versions (links below) and you'll need to be running Android 2.0 or higher -- also don't expect stellar performance without a beefy piece of hardware. The Market download is about 7.5MB, and you'll need to download an additional 291MB of content on the first run.
US Cellular this afternoon announced that it's launching a 4G LTE network in the first quarter of 2012, with select cities in six states getting the nod.
The markets that will initially have the LTE data, which is being provided in conjunction with King Street Wireless, are:
Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Madison and Racine
Iowa: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport
Maine: Portland and Bangor
North Carolina: Greenville.
Oklahoma and Texas will see some 4G LTE coverage as well, but USCC didn't specify which cities. Specific devices were not announced, either, but we're more than willing to bet we'll see some Android fare. Check out the full press release after the break.
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