Headlines

3 years ago

Android 'fragmentation' -- why it really matters to you and me

51

It's fun to say Android is fragmented on the Internet.  All the cool kids and blogs do it, they even make fancy misleading charts about it.  While there's more than one side to the argument -- choice versus fragmentation -- only the most rabid fanboy would say that it doesn't exist.  I tend to think the whole issue is living with the choice you make.  If you want the "Android" experience, buy a Nexus phone.  If you prefer the experience an OEM offers, buy one of their phones.  Both are the right choice.  But there's an underlying issue that gets forgotten when we talk about updates and versions -- security patches.

The diversity of Android gives us a chance to have this user experience regardless of the platform version it's built from.  That doesn't make the want for the new software any less, but it a fair trade for most people.  Ice Cream Sandwich looks a whole helluva lot like TouchWiz 4.  Security issues are another matter entirely.  HTC had a recent issue about user privacy, have a read if you aren't familiar (be sure to read HTC's response as well).  They caused it.  They quickly pushed out a patch to at least one carrier to address it.  All security issues need to be addressed this way.  If HTC, or, Samsung, or LG, or Motorola -- whomever -- builds the OS and sells it to the carrier, they need to follow up with security patches in a timely manner -- either by updating their base to the latest Android version and building their OS with it, or patching the issue themselves with the current code base.  Users deserve the benefit that patches to the bootloader, or browser, or whatever, much faster than companies and carriers get them rolled out.  Yes, that responsibility is shared by the carrier as well.  While they aren't the people responsible for updating the code and building the operating system, they are the people that accept your money for the device.  Carriers and OEMs need to work together to keep the phone secure for the life of the product, even if they don't work to keep the software version current.

On the enterprise side of things (something that OEMs are starting to take more seriously), this becomes critical.  Companies simply can't sit back and ignore the fact they aren't getting security patches, because their money is on the line.  Documents, contacts, and communications need to be secure as possible, and when cracks in the armor are found, the patches need to come quickly.  They don't, and this is a problem. 

I know that making sure your phone isn't susceptible to the latest bootloader hack isn't near as glamorous as getting Ice Cream Sandwich, or even Gingerbread.  These few words can't make that happen.  But I think we need to be pointing out the right issues -- not having a phone that is secure for the life of its contract is one of them.

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Samsung Skyrocket hands-on and initial review

28

More in the Samsung Skyrocket forums

The Samsung Skyrocket is the AT&T LTE version of the Galaxy S II.  Built with slightly different hardware, and at a bit bigger size, and (the best part for many) the addition of an AT&T LTE radio for their blossoming LTE 4G network.  When a package from Dallas arrived, I know it could only be one thing, and we've got one of these beauties to put through the wringer and see what we think of it.

Jump past the break for a quick hands-on look, some first impressions, a smattering of pictures and some specs of one of AT&T's first LTE smartphones.

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

LG Nitro HD looks to be heading to AT&T, LTE bands intact

13

With LG having announced the Optimus LTE for the Korean market not long ago, and then having a variation the device arrive on Bell Mobility in Canada the question of whteher or not it would see any US carrier launches arose. While we won't take a simple image as fact -- clearly the idea of the Android 2.3 powered device making its way to AT&T has been bounced around and if and it arrives it will comes as the LG Nitro HD.

If it does land there, you'll be looking at a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 1830 mAh battery as well as an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 1.3MP shooter up front. A full 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 16GB microSD card. And let's not forget that "True HD IPS" display and of course support for AT&T's LTE as well as their 21Mbs HSDPA network.

Source: Pocketnow

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Best Buy's Black Friday sale has Samsung Stratosphere in white (and others), free with contract

10

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.

Thanks, Shawheim!

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Notre Dame Sprint ID pack now available

8

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.

Source: Sprint

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Droid RAZR rooted, but do so with care

11

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!

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

iFixit cracks open the Droid RAZR, finds Droid RAZR parts inside

15

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.

Source: iFixit

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Firefox for Android getting an overhaul to use native Java widgets and UI, will bring better performance

15

  

before                                                          after

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.

Source: Dknite's blog

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Homerun Battle 3D, root access, and poor communication leads to knee-jerk reactions

19

image credit umpire.org

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.

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Verizon LTE coming to Roanoke on Nov. 17; Indiana, Penn., in December

23

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.

More: Verizon; MarketWatch

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note review

62

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.

Inside this review

More info

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Key meets Kevlar on Droid RAZR

36

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.

Read our complete Droid RAZR review!

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

HD Widgets expanded for phones and 7-inch tablets

6

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 SandwichJosh 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.

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

Gingerbread update coming to O2-branded Xperia X10s in the next week

1

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.

Source: O2 Blog

Read more and comment

 
3 years ago

HTC Sensation XE headed to Orange UK

0

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.

Source: Orange UK

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages