Image courtesy of General Motors and Wieck Media Services
General Motors wants you to use your phone in the car. No, really. And it's got a way for you to do so more easily. With the addition of MyLink system, using your Android smartphone in a vehicle has never been better -- and that means safer, as well.
A little background: We spent a couple quality days several weeks ago at GM's proving grounds in Milford, Mich. (Full disclosure: We were there on GM's dime.) On the agenda: A look at the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and, more important, its new Chevy MyLink "infotainment" system, which integrates damn near perfectly with Android. Plus, more from OnStar, and some eye candy in GM's wind tunnel and a quick spin around a test track, plus a test drive of a Chevy Volt.
But it was the 2013 Malibu and MyLink -- and the apps -- that were the stars of the show. Yes, the apps. Apps in the car, and apps on your phone. We explain after the break.
Another update to the Android Market is pushing out to your smartphone, and we're liking what we're seeing. There are a couple of new features you need to know about. The first is that you can now +1 apps from within the market on your phone. That's a good thing, and you should practice on this one. The other is that you can now set a PIN lock on market purchases. That means you'll have to enter a code any time you want to buy an app -- but it'll also keep someone else for charging things for you, too.
Now here's a conundrum. This Samsung Droid Charge lookalike apparently will be known as the Samsung Impulse 4G on AT&T. And BGR's opining that it could be AT&T's first LTE smartphone. And that could be. AT&T's first LTE modems just went on sale this week, and smartphones are next -- but we don't yet have a date.
AT&T's going to find itself in a pickle with this naming convention, though. You've got the likes of the Samsung Infuse 4G and Motorola Atrix 4G and HTC Inspire 4G -- all of which use that special little brand of "4G" that requires mentioning "HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul" whenever it's uttered. So what are we going to call AT&T's 4G phones when LTE devices finally do hit? How about 4G+? Or we could revert some to 4G-, we suppose. It makes the brain hurt.
You might have heard of this thing called the iPhone 5 that's "coming soon.". It's going to crush Android, just like the iPhone 4 was supposed to, or the iPhone on Verizon. At least that's what the fruit flavored portions of the Internet keep telling me. They even have a study to back it up -- earlier this month industry analyst Gene Munster surveyed a whopping 216 people in Minneapolis and found that 42 percent of Android users were planning to buy an iPhone.
Now, Mr. Munster doesn't say where he polled all these people, it could have been at an Apple store or a Hot Topic right next to the Starbucks at the mall (same difference?). Rather than guess at what these results mean we decided to run a poll of our own, at a place where we know there are lots and lots of Android users -- right here at Android Central. The question is simple -- what OS will be on the next phone you buy. Not a tablet. Not an mp3 player. Not a set top box. Just your phone. I'm betting our results will be a bit different than Mr. Munster's.
Look at the list of Motorola smartphones that Microsoft has dragged out before the International Trade Commission in hopes of blocking future imports, and you can't help but chuckle. Oh, there are a couple of high-enders there -- the Droid X and Droid 2 -- but everything else is an also-ran -- the Charm, Cliq XT, Backflip and Devour. And considering most of them either have gone the way of the dinosaurs or have been replaced by sequels, well, let's just say they won't be missed.
At issue are patents covering functions "essential to the smartphone user experience." We'd argue that there was little on the likes of the Devour or Backflip that was ever essential to any experience (at least not a good one), but that's not quite the point, is it. Chances are Microsoft's looking to set a little precedent with this one.
Set your calendars for Nov. 4, folks, when we'll get some initial findings from the administrative law judge. And start prepping for March 5, 2012, when the investigation is set to conclude. We're on the edge of our seats.
It's big, it's thin, and it's coming to the United States (finally). It is, of course, the Samsung Galaxy S II. We've got less than a week before the big event in New York (we'll be there, of course), where we should find out all the little tweaks the U.S. carriers have done this time.
Update: Looks like the video unsurprisingly got TOS'd overnight. Hope you caught it while it was still up.
If you've been fortunate to catch the sneak peeks of the Motorola Droid Bionic of Verizon's website lately, you've likely seen the "Rule All Machines" tag line. And that sort of robot domination is continued into Verizon's upcoming commercial for the Droid Bionic. A sneak peek just found its way into our inbox, which we now present to you here.
There are a couple of things to note here. One is the September window, of course, and the other is a QR code that shows up for just a few frames around the 33-second mark. We've been trying (to no avail) to scan the damn thing. If any of you get it to work, sing out in the comments.
It's been a while since we heard any Gingerbread news for the Droid 2 Global, as Motorola seems to have slowed things down after finding some issues with Gingerbread. But thanks to Android developer aceoyame, we now have a leaked build to play with. It's not yet rooted, and there seems to be some confusion about it unlocking the D2G bootloader (spoiler: it doesn't), but it is Android 2.3.3 and software version 4.5.606 with some new Blur and all the other Gingerbread perks.
Installing it seems to be a bit tricky, you need to be sure you are at a 100 percent stock .330 build, with no recovery or bootstrap installed. Aceoyame suggests flashing back to .330 with a clean wipe before attempting this update. As for rolling back, several say you should be able to SBF back to .330, but I've yet to find anyone who can confirm -- so you're going forward at your own risk. For more information, links, and installation details, hit the source link. Be sure to sing out in the Droid 2 forums if you give this one a spin!
Buried at the bottom of a recent press release from Three UK is this rather interesting little morsel -- the carrier's planning on extending its HSPA+ coverage to 80% of the UK by the end of this year, with the rest of the country following "soon afterwards". Right now Three's HSPA+ network, which offers download speeds up to 21.1 Mbps and uploads of up to 5.76 Mbps, is only available on a handful of phones, tablets and mobile broadband dongles. Three's also keeping quiet about exactly how much of the UK is currently covered, though we'd assume major cities like London would have already been upgraded.
If Three manages to pull off its target of 80% coverage by the end of 2011, then it could put them at an advantage over larger competitors like O2 and Vodafone. Right now HSPA+ coverage on all networks that offer it can be patchy at the best of times.
The Sony Walkman has been reincarnated yet again -- this time on Android. The Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman, aside being quite the mouthful, is a 3.2-inch Android 2.3 smartphone with some seriously deep music integration (nothing new for SE phones), as well as deep integration with Facebook.
Hardware-wise, you're looking at a relatively small device -- it weighs 115 grams and measures in at 56.5 x 106 x 14.2 mm. It sports a 1GHz processor, pushing Gingerbread and SE's custom UI on that 3.2-inch display, which only sports a 320x480 resolution. (Hey, it is just 3.2 inches.) It's got 320MB of on-board storage, and comes with a 2GB microSD card. There's a 5MP camera on the back that will record video in 720p, and its 1200 mAh battery is rated at up to 17.5 hours of music listening time.
And speaking of music, this thing's loaded. It's got a dedicated hardware Walkman button, and you might remember the "infinite button" from the previous iterations of its Mediascape UI. The infinite button is back, sending you deep inside the Qriocity music service. It's also got xLoud, which is said to enhance the sound coming out of the phone's speakers, and TrackID, to, well, ID what you're listening to.
No word on specific markets just yet, but look for the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman in the fourth quarter this year. More pics and a full presser are after the break.
LG this evening announced the Optimus Sol (aka the LG -E730). And this things packed with a number of standout features. First off, it's running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, as well it should. It's boasting a 3.8-inch "Ultra AMOLED" display at 480x800 resolution, which LG says "has a two-fold advanced reflection rate compared to standard AMOLED displays," leading to better clarity outdoors, and a reduction in image quality degradation.
It's also got a new power-management system, which LG says will boost battery life by 20 percent to 30 percent.
While we still aren't sure exactly when the LG Thrill 4G will be showing up for sale, or the reason for the delays, we know it will cost 80 dollars if you pick it up from Target on a new line or have a qualifying update available, or a healthy $550 if you buy it outright. If you haven't been paying attention, the Thrill 4G runs Froyo on an OMAP4 dual-core CPU, has dual channel RAM and a dual channel board configuration, nifty stereoscopic glasses free 3D, and if AT&T hasn't pulled any shenanigans, is a sure bet for inclusion in CyanogenMod's stable of devices.
We've handled the thing numerous times, and we all know it's coming. What it being in the coming week's Target advertisement means is anyone's guess.
Press shots for the LG Optimus Sol have leaked out, and while it's not going to be a groundbreaking device in the specs department, LG is delivering some very clean lines and a nice looking Android handset with this one. Rumored to have a 1GHz single core CPU, front and rear cameras, Wifi direct, and LG's first AMOLED display checking in at 3.8 inches, it should be a solid performer. After seeing these press photos, it looks like LG is following the trend they began with the Optimus Black, and offering a phone that looks as good as it runs. No unsightly bumps or bulges, no NASCAR-esque labels and graphics plastered all over the back, and no big protruding buttons.
While there's no word on when or where we may be seeing this one, it will certainly appeal to those who are looking for Android power in a sexy shell.
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