Headlines

2 years ago

Hands-on with Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus S

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You didn't think we would stop playing with the Ice Cream Sandwich AOSP ROM for the Nexus S so soon did you?  Trust me when I tell you it's almost 100 percent, and well worth the time to flash and try it out.  We've been having a go with it for a good while now, and decided to fire up the camera and let everyone have a look.  Catch the video after the break, then hit the download link to give Ice Cream Sandwich a try yourself -- you'll be glad you did.

Download at XDA

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2 years ago

Orange San Francisco II coming soon

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There have been leaks and mentions of the follow up to Orange UK's San Francisco, but it's now officially official that the San Francisco II is heading to market. 

Under the Orange branding, the San Francisco II is actually a ZTE Crescent. While the Orange website is yet to show any pricing details for the device the press video shows it the same as it's predecessor which was available on Pay As You Go for £99. It wouldn't be a bad guess to assume the same price point for the new one. 

Orange's own brand smartphones are quickly becoming the alternative to a feature phone, but what does your £99 actually get you? Well it isn't a spec fest, but on top of the 800mhz processor is Android 2.3.5. Impressive. You also get a 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen, an FM radio, and a 5MP camera. On board storage is only 512mb, but it has a microSD card slot, so it's not all bad news. As with pretty much all Orange phones, there's a selection of their own apps which take up frankly too much of the slim on board storage, but some will be of interest. Signal boost allows you to boost your phone signal using wifi, and the Orange Wednesdays app is a must have for customers of the network.

The main point about this phone though - much like it's predecessor and it's big brother the Monte Carlo - is that at this price point it will capture a lot of casual phone buyers who will be taking their first steps in the world of the smartphone. And if those first steps are into the Android world, it's no bad thing surely? 

Check out Orange UK's hands on video after the jump. 

Source: Orange UK

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2 years ago

Ice Cream Sandwich source builds surface for Nexus S, ready for flashing

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Here's why we love open-source software folks.  With the release of the Ice Cream Sandwich trunk of the Android Open Source Project code came the ability to build it yourself instead of waiting for it to come from your phone's manufacturer or Google.  We've seen several good beginnings, on phones as varied as the LG Optimus 3D or the Samsung Fascinate, but now we've got one that's good enough to use every day for the Nexus S (both GSM and Sprint flavors). 

It's a neat mix and match of new source code, binary files from Gingerbread, bits from the Galaxy Nexus, and custom code from other developers.  Android dev kwiboo has done an excellent job getting things going, and even facial unlock is working -- as long as you don't have a big bushy beard, that is.  As someone who has also been fooling around with the code and flashing my own Nexus S at least a jillion times, my hat's off to him -- I'll say it again, he's done an excellent job.  Hit the source link to see for yourself.

Source: XDA-Developers. Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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2 years ago

Original Galaxy S 2.3.5 update reportedly pushing in the UK

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Still using the original Samsung Galaxy S? We bet that there's quite a few of you out there still carrying around this venerable device, and in the UK at least Samsung have reportedly started pushing out an Android 2.3.5 update.

The changelog promises a whole batch of bug fixes, along with the usual performance improvements you might expect from an OS update, better battery life, and enhancements to the messaging app and to the camera. 

GSMarena is reporting though that this update could wipe your apps and your data, which sounds pretty messed up for a minor OS update. But take heed and make sure everything is backed up just in case. If you've seen the update hit us up in the comments and let us know how it went.

Source: GSMarena

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Transform Ultra

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Are you a Sprint customer looking for a new device but would rather not kill your savings on it? Well meet the Samsung Transform Ultra, a nice mid range sliding QWERTY device that is available for only $70 after rebate. Recently we have seen a huge amount of Samsung devices launch into the market, each of them rating rather well, and the Samsung Transform Ultra should not be left out of the positive recognition.

Touting a 3.5-inch display it may not be the largest in the fleet, but it size isn't everything, is it? The 1GHz processor does a great job powering this Gingerbread powered device, and included is 512MB of RAM and 2GB of internal memory, more than enough for most users. The back features a 3MP camera accompanied by a front facing VGA camera, all of which is powered by a 1500mAh battery which should give about 7 hours of continuous talk time. If you are in the market for a new mid-range QWERTY slider, be sure to hit the break and check out a hands-on video and some more images.

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2 years ago

The Woz gets his Galaxy Nexus (and a t-shirt) a bit early from Google

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Steve Wozniak, considered by many to be the real brains behind Apple's early success in the desktop computer business and an all-around cool fellow, is seen leaving some mysterious Google campus building today.  Word is he received a Galaxy Nexus and an Ice Cream Sandwich T-shirt from the boys and girls in Mountain View, and it looks like he's ready to defend them from fans and press with a short right hook to the chin if need be.   Woz is Woz, so we'll know soon how much he likes his new toy.  I'm betting he gives it a big nerdly thumbs-up.  One more pic of the proud papa after the break.

Source: +Kirill Grouchnikov

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2 years ago

Courtroom roundup: Moto v Apple, B&N v Microsoft, Samsung's new Tab, and more software patents

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What would a week in the mobile arena without legal drama be like?  We have no idea, and probably never will.  Today there's so much that we're just going to round it all up in one easy spot, then take a couple aspirin and chase the headache away.  Without further adieu:

Motorola v Apple

Motorola will likely win another injunction against Apple in Germany.  This time, it's a method describing how a mobile device synchronizes data with a server, and Moto seems pretty confident that iCloud and MobileMe violate their patents.  This time the patents in question aren't covered under a FRAND defense, so Apple and Moto may have to fight this one out -- a move which Apple feels will cost over 2.7 billion (with a B) dollars.  Read more at Phone Arena

BN v Microsoft

Barnes & Noble have filed more than 45 pages worth of links to prior art in their defense against Microsoft.  Things ranging from Mosaic, Netscape, Unix man pages, and even work shown by Microsoft themselves.  All these examples pre-date the patents Microsoft is using in their suit, and it looks like B&N is pretty damn serious about fighting back.  Take a few aspirin of your own and check out Groklaw for the full details.

Samsung's redesigned German Galaxy Tab

Samsung has skirted their way around the ban of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany.  A slight redesign where the metal bezel now wraps around the front of the device and is visible was all the German courts needed to allow the tablet to be sold.  Personally, I would have redesigned it with rotating spikes designed to maim and cripple competitors (yes, I just watched Mad Max again), but there's a reason I'm not in charge of anything.  I wonder how many millions were wasted on this one?  See PCMag for more details.

Google's unlock patent

Google was granted a patent on the pattern unlock method they use for Android smartphones.  And patents of ideas are still just as wrong as they ever were, even when it's Google getting them.  In addition, Google was granted a patent on the method to use lockscreen based gestures to control other phone functions (think gesture based app launching).  Could this mean Google has plans to add some new features to the lockscreen?  Hurry up Android 5.0!  Read more at 9 to 5 Google.

Is it happy hour yet?  Thanks everyone who tipped us about these!

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2 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Nexus hands-on video and initial review

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After months of speculation and hype, we finally have the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first device to ship with the brand new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The phone recently went on sale in the UK, and we’re hoping to hear something (anything) out of Verizon about the Nexus’s US availability over the next week or so. We’ve already given you a first look at the device based on pre-release units at the recent Samsung Galaxy Note World Tour, but today we can bring you our initial thoughts on the GSM retail version that’s slowly becoming available across Europe.

We’ll have a full review in due course, but here’s a little spoiler: this is a phone we think you’ll want to buy. Read on to find out why.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the Samsung Exhibit II 4G

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A few weeks ago T-Mobile announced their first no-contract 4G device, the Samsung Exhibit II 4G which is an upgrade of the not so old Samsung Exhibit 4G. T-Mobile took to some pretty agressive pricing to help move this device pricing it at only $199 without a contract, or $29 if you wished to sign a contract for some odd reason. Most of the time we associate a low cost device with a low quality device, but Samsung has done an exceptional job with this device.

The overall build quality is extremely nice, the device has a 3.7-inch WVGA display which is rather vibrant and displays colors beautifully. On the back you have a 3MP camera so if you were looking to replace your point and shoot, this may not do it for you, but it also includes a front facing camera which is great for video chatting with the family. Powered by a 1GHz processor the device moves fluently, and the TouchWiz that is running over Android 2.3.5 gives you the most current Gingerbread version, even on a device with such a low price point.

Pair this low cost device with a low cost monthly plan and you could have yourself a beautiful piece of Samsung hardware running a recent version of Android. Hit the break for a quick hands on video as well as some more shots of the device.

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2 years ago

Hands-on with the Motorola Admiral

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Sure looks extremely similar to a BlackBerry device, doesn't it? Well, the Motorola Admiral is far from a BlackBerry device, in fact it is an Android 2.3.4 powered device that offers a 3.1-inch display and a physical QWERTY on the bottom. For someone like myself who began their smartphone days with a BlackBerry device the form factor is very comforting, and the keyboard is the best I have felt to date on any Android device. Very similar in size and shape to the Motorola Droid Pro, the biggest difference on this one is the display.

Unlike the Droid Pro, this 3.1-inch display offers a 640x480 resolution, making the display a lot crisper, and worth using. While 3.1-inch is small in comparison to most of the 4-inch displays we are used to seeing, the combination of this sized display and the keyboard makes for a near perfect (to me atleast) form factor.

Software wise this is running Android 2.3.4 with the usual PhilBlur on top of it, but the 1.2GHz processor allows the software to move quite smoothly. The 5MP camera on the back also supports video capture of up to 720P, which is more than enough for a camera on your cell phone.

Priced at only $99 on a new contract, if you are looking to replace your old BlackBerry device with something new, or looking to regain that form factor, the Motorola Admiral is something you won't want to pass up. Hit the break for a video tour, and some additional pictures!

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