Verizon has announced that they will be turning on the LTE switch in 26 new areas come Sep 15 (that's tomorrow!), as well as expanding the footprint in three metro areas. The new markets are:
Fort Smith and Jonesboro, Ark.
San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, Calif.
Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Rockford and Springfield, Ill.
Quad Cities, Ill./Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Kalamazoo and Saginaw, Mich.
Las Cruces, N.M.
Canton, Lima and Mansfield, Ohio
Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Wichita Falls and El Paso, Texas.
The existing LTE footprint in San Francisco, Calif., Indianapolis Ind., and Cleveland/Akron Ohio is also slated to see a "major expansion". As you can see in our Droid Bionic review, LTE is fast data re-defined. The footprint keeps expanding, and each new LTE device brings a little better performance than the last, and everyone is loving it. Keep it up Big Red! We've got the (very long) full press release after the break.
British retailer Phones4U has announced that it'll be the first to carry HTC's new flagship smartphone, the Sensation XE, with a release slated for October 1. Phones4U says it'll have a "lead to market" on the device, which will become the fastest HTC smartphone available when it launches. In related news, Clove, which sells SIM-free smartphones, says it'll stock the Sensation XE from October 7, priced at £492 (~$780).
In addition to everything that made the original Sensation such a great phone, the Sensation XE boasts a slightly faster 1.5GHz CPU, along with Beats Audio support and bundled Beats earphones. Hit up our announcement post from earlier today for all the details.
Phones4U adds that it'll also be carrying an exclusive white version of the original Sensation, which it'll launch alongside the Sensation XE on October 1. The white Sensation will apparently be offered for free on contracts of £31 or more per month, while if it's the Sensation XE you're after, you'll need to spend £36 per month to get the phone for free.
Join us after the jump for more details in the official presser.
And there you have it. The T-Mobile version of the Samsung Galaxy S II will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 1.5GHz dual-core CPU instead of the Exynos processor the rest of the series has. People who go gaga over the benchmark numbers will be disappointed, as will people wanting that 42Mbps HSPA+ speed that was rumored for a while, as the product brief for the MSM8X60/APQ8060 lists its max speed at 14Mbps.
Who won't be disappointed? A whole bunch of folks who will be picking this one up when it launches that have no idea what's under the hood (and don't really care), and those that want the most out of their battery life. Android geeks will just have to second guess why the decision was made -- if it turns out to be true. We've seen Twitter fail us much too often to put all our faith into 140 characters.
Remember the end of last month when we saw the source code for theLG Optimus S Gingerbread update appear, but no word of the update? Well the update has finally been detailed for us, and it will begin rolling out today. The update, which is slated to roll out to all users within 10 days will bring a whole bunch of improvements, such as
Volume adjustment from handset when backlight is off and in a Bluetooth call
Initiation of a 3-way call in certain markets
Updated color scheme (includes darker notification bar and black-based menus)
New on-screen keyboard (supports multi-touch input and a smart auto-correction function)
Improved cut-paste functionality
New integrated download application for ease in accessing downloaded files
In some not so unexpected but still slightly surprising news, recent figures suggest that HTC accounts for just over half of all Android smartphones in use in the UK.
A recent Comscore study revealed that 50.9 per cent of the 6.3million UK Android phones belong to the Taiwanese manufacturer. In comparison, second place went to Samsung with 21.6 per cent, and Sony Ericsson rounding out the podium in third with 14.2 per cent.
I'll admit to first recognizing Android through HTC, in particular Sense, but to see the brand so far out front from Samsung especially with the mighty Galaxy S 2 doing the rounds still surprises a little. Maybe Sense UI really does make a difference.
Vodafone UK has announced that it's just launched the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray (check out our hands-on feature) in gold on its network. The Ray, which has much the same internals as the Xperia Arc, packs a 3.3-inch Sony "Reality Display" inside a slim aluminum chassis -- a pleasant change from the plastic used in most SE phones.
Vodafone is offering the Xperia Ray for free on 24-month contracts of £26 or more per month. At that price, you'll get a monthly allowance of 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB data to play with. Hit the source link for more details.
A slew of specifications for two upcoming Gingerbread-powered HTC phones -- the Bliss and the Runnymede -- have leaked out onto the web, along with fresh promotional shots of the latter. The spec list, which appears on This Is My Next, shows the European version of the HTC Bliss as being a 3.7-inch device with a WVGA display. Other nuts and bolts include a 1GHz Qualcomm CPU, 5MP rear camera and VGA front-facing camera. So far, on par with the Desire S.
The stand-out feature for the Bliss seems to be the "charm indicator", which is said to be an attachment to the device designed to hang out of a handbag and flash when the phone needs your attention. This would certainly fit with all the rumors about the Bliss being targeted specifically at women. Unfortunately, though, there's nothing on the spec sheets about the re-tooled version of Sense that looks to be on its way to the Bliss.
The HTC Runnymede is a little more interesting. According to the leaked specs, it's confirmed as a massive 4.7-inch device, similar to HTC's Windows-powered Titan. Like that device, it's just 9.9mm thick and includes a 1.5GHz single-core Qualcomm CPU along with an 8MP rear camera capable of 720p video recording. No word yet on whether it's the same much-hyped f/2.2 lens found in the Titan, but our fingers are firmly crossed. Beats Audio is also said to be included in the Runnymede, following HTC's recent partnership with Beats by Dre, though apparently not all Runnymede SKUs will ship with Beats support.
Finally, an early promotional shot of the HTC Runnymede has emerged on Chinese site ePrice, showing the device in all its glory, with the Beats Audio logo clearly on display. Eagle-eyed readers will also note a small design change in HTC's Sense UI -- note the larger, shinier, translucent dock near the bottom.
Tempted by either of these new HTC devices? Let us know what you think in the comments.
The Motorola Droid Bionic is a hell of a phone — but can it possibly live up to the months and months of hype?
Finally, Verizon combines LTE data with a dual-core processor in a familiar and stylish form factor. It's fast, well-built with a large screen.
What took this phone so long to get to market? It's found itself in a precarious place, with a new version of Android imminent, along with new hardware. Then there's the Pentile display and continued LTE battery suck, plus a suspect camera.
This should have been Verizon's Droid X2. Or maybe it was supposed to be the Droid X3. Regardless, it's the best LTE device available today.
Word on the streets -- and in our Droid 2 forums -- is that the R2-D2 version of the Droid 2 is getting its Android 2.3 Gingerbread update today, just shy of the anniversary of its launch. Dunno how many more updates we can expect to get out of this thing, and that's a shame, be cause it really is in first-class condition. We've worked with him before.
In the slide you see above from Nvidia's presentation at the 2011 Citi Technology Conference, we get a look at Nvidia's SoC (System on Chip) roadmap for 2012 and 2013. What piques our interest the most, are the two new chips and how they may be used. We've been hearing news and waiting for the Kal-El for a bit now, and the Wayne chip has been thrown around, but what exactly are the Kal-El+ and the Grey?
Forgive us for a bit of speculation here, but there are a few logical progressions that we can make. The Kal-El+ coming in mid-2012 would be an excellent way to introduce a minor spec bump to the Kal-El quad core Tegra we expect to see late this year -- timed just right for Windows 8 ARM devices. A Windows 8 tablet is likely going to include business and productivity tools from the desktop, and would surely benefit from new tech even if it falls in the middle of a release cycle. The good news for us is that those improved specs will surely work their way into Android devices, making the Kal-El better performing and more battery friendly. We certainly won't be complaining about either.
Maybe even more interesting is the Grey. If rumors are to be believed, the Grey will incorporate the 28nm manufacturing process, with its own radio on-board -- in 2G, 3G, and 4G flavors. This would put the new Nvidia SoC's in direct competition with Qualcomm's offerings, and will again be a major player on the Windows Phone 7 side of things. We're not too surprised, as Nvidia acquired Icera (and their ultra-low power software modems) last May, and surely knows the market better than most of us. If Nvidia can pull off an integrated single chip solution that delivers GeForce graphics as well as great power management, it may be the first step towards the long-lasting battery life devices we've all been waiting for.
You might recall the Motorola Electrify from the US Cellular roadmap we broke last month. It's now officially official, coming to the regional carrier later this month for $199 on contract and after $100 rebate.
The Motorola Electrify basically is USCC's version of Sprint's Photon 4G (read our full review), with a 4.3-inch screen at a qHD, dual-core 1GHz processor, HDMI out and the other sundry smartphone options.
After a week or so of teasers, unofficial builds of CyanogenMod 7 are now available for the HTC Sensation and HTC EVO 3D. You won't find these n the source tree just yet, and there's no word on when they will be merged and join the nightlies so many love to flash, but if you're up for an Alpha sneak-peek of CM7 on your new 4.3-inch HTC beauty, now is your chance.
Installing these builds is the same as what we're used to, root and unlock, flash ClockworkMod recovery for your device, backup, then wipe and flash. You can grab the downloads at the source links, as well as read what others have to say about the new builds -- from what I have read they seem pretty stable. Great way to start the week isn't it?
It's been another week filled to the brim with Android news, device announcements, and killer new apps. We should be used to it now, but it still can be difficult to catch it all. You can catch the Podcast each Thursday, follow us on Twitter, even add us to your RSS reader and still miss some -- so here's a list of the week's highlights, in handy bullet point form:
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