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3 years ago

Latest Android version numbers released, Gingerbread is on the rise

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Google has released the latest breakdown of the platform version numbers, and they show Gingerbread growing in a big way.  These numbers are a snapshot of the phones and tablets that have visited the Android Market up to October 3, 2011, so it's a pretty good breakdown of just what's out there in the wild. 

As noted, Gingerbread saw a big jump of almost 8 percentage points, and almost all of it came from the Froyo column.  This means OEMs are getting their phones upgraded to the latest platform version, bringing welcome security and bug fixes along for the ride.  On the other end of the spectrum, not much has changed for phones still using version 1.5 and 1.6, they still clock in at just 2.5 percent of the total.  Honeycomb has seen a slight bump from 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent of the total, and Android 2.1 has dropped a couple tenths to 11.7 percent.

It's about what anyone would have expected, some phones are going to be stuck on older versions, and phones that can be upgraded are being upgraded, albeit slower than many would care for.  The numbers are quite favorable, with 97.5 percent of all Android devices on the 2.X codebase.  Of course, this won't look quite so good when we move to Ice Cream Sandwich, and go through the waiting game all over again.  We'll visit that one next month, hopefully.

Source: Android Developers

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3 years ago

Specs: iPhone 4S versus the world

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One last iPhone post, and then we return you to your regularly scheduled Android domination. Our pals at TiPb asked us which phone we wanted to put head-to-head with the iPhone 4S. Had to be the Galaxy S II, right? Ease on past the break for the breakdown.

And for everything iPhone 4S, head on over to TiPb.

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3 years ago

iPhone 4S announced today [the competition]

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(Ed. note: Rex Manning Day is still in effect. But now that the iPhone's coming to Sprint, we need to care about it a little.)

Today was the big day if you are an Apple fan.  The folks in Cupertino unveiled the latest version, leaving many disappointed and many elated.  If you were waiting for a big screen, or 4G in any shape or form (and a lot of Apple users have been) that didn't happen, but the new iPhone did get a healthy spec bump over the old.  The A5 chip currently in the iPad 2 is now in the phone version, and that should give better graphics performance, and the camera has been beefed up to an 8MP version with 1080p capture.

The "big news" with the iPhone 4S is Siri, a voice command and reader application, the Cards app to print and order cards direct from your phone, location sharing with the Family and Friends app, and of course that the new model will be coming to Sprint.  Combined with iOS 5, it sounds like an excellent phone for a lot of users, and will sell "a billion" according to Seth at TiPb.  While a billion may be a bit high, the iPhone 4S will sell well, and it should -- it has some great features we've seen on Android for a while to help push it forward. 

On the hardware front, Apple didn't mention the clock speed of the iPhone's A5 chip, but it will match well with the new dual-core devices we're seeing in Android phones as of late.  While there is still no support for removable storage, they have bumped things up to 64GB for everyone that found 32 just wasn't enough.  And the camera, well, let's face it -- Apple uses quality cameras and fans will be pleased.  Rene Ritchie lays out the new specs as:

  • Apple A5 chipset, dual core Cortex A9 for 7 times faster graphics. This is basically the iPad 2 chip but probably not clocked as fast.
  • Longer batter life – 8 hrs talk time on 3G, 9 hours browsing on Wi-Fi, 10 hours video, 40 hours music.
  • New intelligent switching between antennas
  • HSPA+ 14.4 (no 21?)
  • CDMA + GSM World phone
  • 8mp rear-facing camera, CMOS backside illuminated sensor, 73% more photons! High end IR filter. Wide f2.4.

Siri, which was the highlight of the entire announcement, is basically Google voice actions combined with talkback -- you speak to your phone, and it speaks back to you.  This comes to the iPhone 4S as a beta (which is pretty un-Appley).  It's a cool feature, one I use it on my Android phones (while nobody is looking anyway), and if implemented well can be a nice selling point.

Seemingly glanced over was the news much of the Internet was waiting for -- the iPhone 4S will be available on Sprint.  At the very end of the event when pricing was announced they snuck it in with little fanfare. 

What does this mean for Android?  In my humble opinion, not a damn thing.  It's clear that Apple is waiting until next time to bring any big hardware changes, and it's going to be a tough choice at the store between a new iPhone or a Galaxy S II or new HTC phone.  The new changes are nice, don't get me wrong, but don't offer a compelling reason to buy an iPhone over an Android or Windows phone.  I think the "one more thing" everyone was waiting for will happen on October 11.

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray review

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The past year has seen Sony Ericsson releasing a slew of Android phones to fit just about every conceivable niche. First to arrive was the Xperia Arc, a great all-rounder with a striking, slim design. Since then we’ve seen the same basic hardware powering a range of SE devices in a host of different form factors, including the gaming-focused Xperia Play, and the cheap and cheerful Xperia Neo.

The Xperia Ray continues this trend, bringing the tried-and-true combination of a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512MB RAM and Android 2.3 Gingerbread to more compact device. With a screen measuring just 3.3 inches, the Ray may be small, but it packs the same performance as its larger siblings. So how does a tiny phone like the Xperia Ray stack up against competition from larger Androids? Join us after the jump to find out.


Small, light and powerful with a high-resolution display. A small form factor phone that doesn't compromise on specs.


Could be too small for some users, the 3.3-inch screen isn't ideal for text entry or video content.



It's the best 3.3-inch Android smartphone you can buy. The Ray is just as capable as the Arc and Neo, despite its small size. If you're after a smaller smartphone, this is a device that's worth your consideration.

Inside this review

More info

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3 years ago

Android Smartphone Buyer's Guide: Fall 2011

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As we inch closer towards the end of the year, more and more spectacular Android smartphones are lining up on each carrier.  But what is it that sets one apart from the other? Maybe it's a QWERTY keyboard you're after, or looking to stay within a particular budget, or maybe you just want the best-damn Android that money can buy for your carrier.  Any way you look at it, shopping for the perfect device is not always that simple.  There are many key factors that come in play when you're making that final decision between Android's-- and this guide is designed to give you the know-how that will ease the process of choosing the perfect smartphone for you.

We'll be taking a look at specific Android's on each major US carrier, as well as Bell Canada that meet the requirements of best overall device, budget phones ($150 and under), best Android with a QWERTY keyboard, and finally our very own reader's choice selection.  Check past the break to dive into this edition of the Android Smartphone Buyer's Guide.

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3 years ago

First 'Nexus Prime' photo leak shows buttonless device with 720p display

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Who said it was iPhone day? Here we have what looks like the first leaked photo of the next Nexus device, the Samsung 'Nexus Prime', powered by the next version of Android, codename Ice Cream Sandwich. The shot, obtained by GSMArena, appears to confirm rumors of a device with Honeycomb-style software buttons in place of the traditional hardware keys used by current Android phones.

The leaked photo would also seem to back up reports of the Prime shipping with a 720p (1280x720) display, apparently in a 4.6-inch chassis, according to GSMArena. As you'll see in the image, that makes for an ample DPI of 320, all but matching the iPhone 4's Retina Display, which manages 326 DPI.

That's about all we can tell for sure given the small size of the image. If we were to speculate further, we might say the trim around the chassis seems more metallic than that of the Nexus S. Perhaps it'll ship with a metal or plastic chrome back, or maybe it's just a trick of the light. Only one thing's for certain -- all will be revealed at Samsung's Unpacked event next week at CTIA.

Source: GSMArena

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3 years ago

Samsung Stratosphere case shows up at Best Buy

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With rumors flying about an imminent release, renders showing up at retailer sites, and Verizon promotional materials already made up we know the Samsung Stratosphere is "coming soon."  Now we know that Best Buy is also getting ready for the release, with cases appearing at some stores.  Touted as a mid-level phone with specs that blew our doors off just a few months ago (1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, front camera, Gingerbread, Super AMOLED display) many people have been waiting for an LTE qwerty slider on Big Red.  We all know that Verizon only releases phones when it's time, (*cough* Droid Bionic), but we can be sure that you'll be able to buy a case for it shortly. 

Thanks, Anon!

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3 years ago

HTC: Fix is on the way for security flaw

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Well, that was quick. Just a couple days after a so-called "massive security vulnerability" was discovered in a few HTC phones, the Taiwanese manufacturer says a fix is on the way. Telling Phonescoop:

"HTC takes claims related to the security of our products very seriously. In our ongoing investigation into this recent claim, we have concluded that while this HTC software itself does no harm to customers' data, there is a vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by a malicious third-party application. A third party malware app exploiting this or any other vulnerability would potentially be acting in violation of civil and criminal laws. So far, we have not learned of any customers being affected in this way and would like to prevent it by making sure all customers are aware of this potential vulnerability."

That's pretty much exactly how our own Jerry Hildenbrand explained this on Sunday. It's a fairly big gaffe (and likely an embarassing one for some coders somewhere), and it's good that it was brought to light. But the sky really isn't falling, no personal data is oozing out the microUSB port of your phone, and nobody was scaling any walls.

HTC says the patch will be pushed out over the air after carrier testing.

Source: Phonescoop

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3 years ago

LG announces the Optimus LTE with HD display for Korean market

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Cast a long look at your friends in Korea, folks, as they're about to get one of the first HD smartphones. LG's announced the Optimus LTE, a 4.5-inch Android 2.3 smartphone with what it's calling a True HD IPS display -- at a whopping 1280x720 resolution. That's as much as some tablets, folks, and at 322 pixels per inch, it's just shy of the iPhone 4's fabled "retina display" -- which comes with a much smaller screen. (And, you know, isn't Android.)

This is LG's second LTE smartphone, alongside Verizon's LG Revolution. The Optimus LTE sports a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has an 1830 mAh battery and weighs 135 grams. It measures 132.9 x 67.9 x 10.4 mm and has an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 1.3MP shooter up front. It's got a full 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 16GB microSD card. For media, it's got HDMI and DLNA capabilities.

Wowzers. No word yet on if or when we'll see this guy outside of Korea, but chances are LG won't leave it locked up forever. The full press release is after the break.

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3 years ago

Adobe releases AIR 3 for Android, grab it in the Market

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Abode Flash Player wasn't the only thing to get an update tonight -- Adobe AIR has also been updated to version 3, and it's again full of performance enhancements and improvements.  ActionScript developers will appreciate support for native extensions, and users will love front facing camera support (we want a Zombie Booth AIR version please!).  There's also support for speaker control and more color depth, as well as better file compression support and more secure streaming to keep Hollywood and the record labels happy.  AIR is deeply integrated into Stage 3D, and the games should be incredible once the new features are finished rolling out.  Get your update from the Market, or hit the install link after the break.

More: Adobe

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3 years ago

Adobe Flash Player 11 available now in the Android Market

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Adobe has released Flash Player 11 right on schedule and you can now grab them  from the Market.  The changelog is pretty spares, noting only "performance improvements and bug fixes related to security and stability," but the power of the internet (and a handy link from Adobe) points us to the release notes.  Support for new compression methods, better support for high resolution pictures, protected streaming improvements (will help with DRM issues), and many other small fixes -- which all add up to better performance.  These improvements are the first step towards Stage 3D, which quite frankly looks amazing.  If you already have Flash installed, grab the update from the Market, if not, the link is after the break.

More: Adobe

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3 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Note arriving in the UK November 17

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Samsung has announced that its beastly Galaxy Note smartphone will be hitting British stores from November 17. The Note, which was announced around a month ago at Sammy's Unpacked event at IFA, is the most impressive Samsung phone to appear on European shores. It sports a dual-core Exynos CPU at 1.4GHz (up from the 1.2GHz chip in the Galaxy S II), along with a full gigabyte of RAM and a massive 5.3-inch, 1280x800 SuperAMOLED HD display. Samsung's promoting the phone as the ultimate note-taking device for business professionals, as it also comes with a pressure-sensitive stylus that can be used anywhere within the UI.

No word on price points just yet, and none of the UK networks have announced any deals to carry the device, either. That said, you can probably expect to have to part with £500 or more to get your hands on this monstrous piece of technology. Join us after the jump for Samsung's full press release.

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3 years ago

Chromium web browser gets files that support a build for Android

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Chromium, the open-source version of Google's Chrome web browser, got an interesting bit of code checked in a few days ago -- files and scripts that support a build for Android.  While normally we wouldn't get too excited seeing an upstream check-in about Android in an open-source project, this time the submission is from a Google employee.  Google took extra time to let everyone at Google I/O 2011 know that Android and Chrome were two separate entities, and everyone got the impression that the two would never meet.  We sure did, and discussed it ourselves over a beer or two.

Of course, things change -- maybe Google has decided that a merger of the Android browser code and the Chrome browser code would benefit everyone, and the open-source version would be the best place to do it.  Or maybe these are just files for the DIY'ers out there to build their own version of Chromium for Android.  Either way, the full Chrome browser on my Galaxy Tab is something I've been wanting.  Maybe, just maybe, this is the first step.

Source: Chromium via Conceivably Tech

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3 years ago

Google Apps have a new download location -- GetJar?

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They say seeing is believing, but I'm still not sure what to make of this one.  Google's closed applications -- the ones they keep a tight rein on and not allow just anybody to use -- apparently are available through the third-party market GetJar.  Not just Gmail that you see pictured above, but Google TV remote, Maps, Search, Books -- they're all there.  We're assuming that this is legitimate and not a mistake (GetJar is a reputable site), but we're baffled at how this came to be -- especially since Google's apps also need additions to the Android system framework to actually run.  I can tell you that they work (I tested with Google Music and YouTube -- can't afford to wipe out my Gmail app just yet), but I can't tell you why.  Hit the link and give it a try yourself.

Source: GetJar

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3 years ago

Hacks bring Google Wallet to all Nexus S phones

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NFC may or may not be the future of on-the-go banking, but for most Android fans it's pretty damn cool.  That's why there was a whole lot of disappointment when Google decided to go exclusive with Sprint and the Nexus S 4G on the Google Wallet app for Android, leaving the majority of Nexus S users out of the picture.  This likely has something to do with money (it always does), Isis mobile payment, and competition, but we don't really care about any of that -- we just want to play with our NFC chip.

Now we can, thanks to hacks.  Users have found that the files included in the Sprint version of the Nexus S 4G work just fine on other Nexus S phones -- both stock and with custom ROMs.  Installation is easy enough (though you do need to be rooted and/or running a custom recovery), just flash a package or move a few files.

There's a big caveat here, however. While it's cool that we're able to circumvent the restrictions of exactly who gets to use this, we're not so sure Google and MasterCard will be happy with the $10 credits people who aren't eligible are getting.  If you want to try it for yourself, though, check out the links below.

Source: XDA; (custom ROMs), (stock ROMs)

Thanks, John!

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