Headlines

4 years ago

Modders cry shenanigans, say T-Mobile G2 'backup' is a sham

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buggy features

The big guns in the Android development/mod community (these guys are more than mere hackers) have had a week to look at the T-Mobile G2, and study the is-it-a-rootkit-or-not mess -- and one of Android's most respected and beloved developers has spoken.  The problem with getting (and keeping) the G2 rooted correctly is because of a bug.  According to Cyanogen (aka Steve Kondik), there is no fail-safe to reload the system, there never was such a fail-safe, and in his own colorful way claims we were lied to all along.  He lays it all out in technical terms right here, but I'll try to break it down a bit. 

The controller that writes files to the "disk" really isn't writing anything to the disk, but reports that is has done so.  The NAND (that's what I'm calling a disk here) is locked the same way as every other HTC phone is, and no new system to protect the end user is in place.  This is the exact opposite of what T-Mobile has told us.  Whom to believe?  Well I think you all know my answer to that one.  [via @Cyanogen]

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4 years ago

Froyo on the Dell Streak

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Froyo on the Dell Streak

That's not any sort of optical illusion -- Android developer DJ_Steve has ported Froyo to the Dell Streak, and has made the files available for download.  Be warned, this is no easy process, and there are some known issues, but it appears that most of the early adopters are having a successful (and fun) time with Android 2.2 on that big 5 inch screen.  It's pure vanilla for the time being, but Steve is the head developer for the Streak port of CyanogenMod, so that's on the horizon.  Hit the source for the download link and instructions, and there's a video after the break.  [Modaco via StreakSmart] Thanks @SooGoh!

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4 years ago

Desire HD Hands On

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 HTC Desire HD

The Desire HD. File this one under "things we'd love to see in the United States," which is another way of saying "We'd like to see AT&T offer some seriously high-end Android smartphones not called Samsung Captivate." You probably heard of the Desire HD as the "EVO 4G for Europe" and while that's not far from the truth, the addition of the Sense 2.0 Cloud features as well as the subtle updates throughout Sense (like a most-recently-used list of apps in the notification dropdown) add up to a new package that surpasses the EVO 4G experience by a slim margin.

Also surpassing the EVO 4G by a slim margin: the overall design and feel of the Sense HD. It feels just a bit more solid and the subtle touches on the back of the phone show that HTC often does a better job presenting a unique package before they make deals with carriers.

In any case, while the FCC has approved the Desire HD for US shores, the lack of US-compatible 3G makes it hard to justify the import. US Citizens have to settle for looking forward to this kind of hardware and software design in the future - assuming of course that if the Sprint ID, carrier-based skin strategy for Android doesn't take over.

Grab a few more photos after the break!

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4 years ago

T-Mobile on G2 modification, and the community's response to it

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T-Mobile has released its official response to the G2 "rootkit" controversy with a very short press release.  It doesn't really say anything the development community hasn't already figured out -- the G2 was built in a way that provides a safety rollback in case the system gets corrupted.  The response does state that it's a software issue, and the buck was passed along to HTC.  You can read the mini-presser after the break, but one question I feel a need to ask -- if the "subset of highly technical users who may want to modify and re-engineer their devices at the code level" is so small, why spend the money to prevent them from owning the hardware they paid $499.99 plus taxes for? 

In the interest of being fair and balanced (and a little smarmy) I'll also present the response of one highly respected member of the Android development community:

Seriously, @HTC @TMobile your little G2 "omg no hackers" thing is a joke, we're very close. Just need kernel source, GPL ring a bell?

The G2 is a great phone.  In fact, I think it's the best Android phone I've ever used.  T-Mobile customer care went above and beyond to help me get everything switched over.   Don't make me regret buying it. [T-Mobile, @ChrisSoyars]

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4 years ago

Motorola Bravo Hands On [Video]

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 Motorola Bravo

Of the set of new phones Motorola announced for AT&T, the Motorola Bravo is probably the best. The Bravo's specs are basically the new de-facto standard for mid-range Android phones: Android 2.1 device running the MotoBlur interface tied to an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM with a 3.7" screen and Motorola's favorite 'don't-call-it-non-standard-cause-it's-on-the-droid' resolution of 480x854. The camera is sadly only 3 megapixels, however.

At $129.99 after contract (and 'before the holidays'), that's the kind of phone we pretty much expect. It's a solid phone with some nice curves, but truth be told we'd probably still rather have a Samsung Captivate - at least it has a dedicated search button on the bottom, a supremely curious omission on the Bravo given that it has no physical keyboard on which to place said search button - as on its Flipside and Flipout siblings.

Maybe the ovoid shape has you smitten, however. If so, be sure to see the photos and demo video spotlighting some MotoBlur features after the break!

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4 years ago

Titanium Backup Pro now available on the Market

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Titanium Backup Pro

Now that Google has enabled the full Market for quite a few more countries, some great applications that were previously only available through third party sources have shown up for sale.  Titanium Backup Pro is one of them.  If you're any type of hacker, ROM junkie, or just prudent and want to keep your own backup, you've heard of (and probably used) Titanium Backup.

It's a great tool that has saved my bacon more than once, and I know I'm not alone.  I didn't have any problem buying the Pro license via PayPal, but there's a lot of you that for one reason or another weren't comfortable with that, or just couldn't do it.  Now's your chance to support the developer, and unlock all the great extras that come with the pro version -- dropbox sync support, batch one-click restore, and more.  It will be the best six bucks you've spent on the Market.  Download link after the break!

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4 years ago

Sanyo Zio Hands On, Updated with Video

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 Sanyo Zio

You can call the Sanyo Zio low-end, you can call it a remarkably good phone for $99, you can call it retro what with the trackball ...just don't call it Zay-Oh or Zee-Oh. It's pronounced Zai-Oh, most Sprint reps pronounce it Zee-Oh, but we've also heard Zai-Oh on occasion. Obviously we'll be all over this very very important vowel issue in the coming days and months. 

The Zio is light (almost too light) with a nice curve around the back and a matted finish surrounding that 3.2 megapixel camera. It's sporting Sprint's ID interface - which if you didn't hear is essentially Sprint's own custom Android skin that easily switches between branded experiences of your choice - from ESPN to Disney to your own small business if they're feeling ambitious.

More photos after the break - Update: check out the quick video demo after the break, which features the Lo2yo Latino Sprint ID screen. Update 2: video fixed. Mac Haters: feel free to mock iMovie.

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4 years ago

Samsung Transform Hands On & Sprint iD Walkthrough [Video]

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 Samsung Transform

The top of Sprint's three CTIA Sprint ID phones is most definitely the Samsung Transform. For us it's sort of the spiritual successor to the Samsung Moment, but don't let that association mar your feelings for the Transform.

What you've got here is a large 3.5" HVGA display attached to a horizontal slider form factor that naturally looks a bit like the Epic 4G but with a slightly squarer look. We're still not fond of Samsung's penchant for putting the microUSB port on the top of the phone, but other than that niggle the hardware is not a source of complaints from us. The slider mechanism is springy and maybe a little overfirm and the materials are simple plastics that may not ooze luxury but will hold up to wear and tear. The keyboard is similarly utilitarian: well spaced buttons, decent action, and even arrow keys to make up for the lack of a touchpad.

We aren't as offended by Sprint ID as we worried we might be - it's essentially stock Android 2.1 with the ability to switch between profiles - some of which may be corporate-sponsored, sure, but it turns out that some corporations can actually provide some useful content. The good news with Sprint ID is that you can customize up each ID as much as you like - so what it really boils down to is a system for switching between up to 5 different homescreen profiles sitting on Android 2.1. Sprint says 2.2 is coming and that they don't expect it to take as long to update as, say, HTC does because Sprint ID is so close to vanilla Android it shouldn't be hard to fix up.

The 800MHz processor gives us a laggy bit here and there, especially when trying to grab a quick snap from the 3.2 MP camera on the back. 

Video and plenty more photos after the break!

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4 years ago

LG Optimus T on T-Mobile Hands On

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LG Optimus T 

The LG Optimus T is coming to T-Mobile for the holidays to provide featurephone users reason to upgrade. We have something very similar to Sprint's LG Optimus S here, though with T-Mobile you get a slightly different button layout and LG's take on the Android homescreen instead of Sprint's iD. The 3.2" HVGA capacitive screen does its job and things seem responsive enough to keep you from grinding your teeth, no doubt because it's running Android 2.2 under that thin LG skin.

We like the matted finish and color options - black and burgundy, but we wouldn't have minded if they saw fit to include a dedicated camera button for the 3.2-megapixel sensor round back. WiFi calling is definitely onboard but we couldn't get it to work on the demo unit despite hooking it up to a couple of viable WiFi networks - which is more likely a sign that our unit wasn't set up properly than a knock on T-Mo's WiFi calling feature.

More photos after the break.

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4 years ago

Motorola Flipout and Flipside Hands On [Video]

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You can think of the Motorola Flipout and Motorola Flipside as companion devices for AT&T - both are aimed squarely at upgrading featurephone users into Android-land by wooing them with QWERTY keyboards and MotoBlur.

Of the two, the horizontal-sliding Flipside specs are obviously the more powerful: a 720MHz processor with 512mb of ROM, a 320x480 screen, and a touchpad that's not embarrassed to be gigantic to make moving your cursor around that much easier. We've no gripes about the keyboard or, well about the Flipside in general. It's a capable low-to-mid range MotoBlur device and if that's the thing for you or yours, we don't judge.

The Flipout, meanwhile, tries to win on charm. It's a cute little square with a colored back that comes with two colors in the box (Red and Green to you, Rose and Saffron to AT&T). The screen itself flips up rotationally to reveal a super-tall portrait keyboard with a nigh-useless 5-way dpad in the lower lefthand corner. Naturally, as this size, the Flipout's specs are on the low-end. Of most concern is the 320x240 screen which not only raises concerns with app compatibility but just plain didn't look well-thought-out to us. Android may have 320x240 in their spec, but it needs work to ...work at this size and Moto didn't even put in enough to anti-alias the text on the menus. Finally, this phone's main draw - the keyboard - feels awkward and unfriendly. 

We'll leave the 'flip' puns as an exercise to the reader, instead just telling you, as usual, that you can find more photos and a demo video of both devices after the break!

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4 years ago

Motorola Defy Hands On [Video]

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 Motorola Defy

The Motorola Defy is a semi-ruggedized Android smartphone that is the latest in a long line of Oprah-giveaways. What you've got is a 3.1" touchscreen behind scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass attached to a form factor that's water and dust-resistant - down to the oversized rubber covers for the USB and headphone ports.

We dig the white-on-black looks and the exposed screws around the edges. We don't quite dig that it's sporting Android 2.1 instead of 2.2, but for a phone in this range it's not a deal-breaker. It's got a 5-megapixel camera to snap photos of your Australian adventures and DLNA to display those photos on your television. You'll access it all through the MotoBlur skin, which didn't appear to slow the device down too much, but even so - T-Mobile G2 this ain't.

More photos and a demo video (which, yes, veers a little towards the pitchy) after the break!

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4 years ago

Hands-on with the Motorola Droid Pro [video]; Update: More video, more features

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 Motorola Droid Pro

We high-tailed it over to the Motorola Booth and grabbed ahold of the first untethered Motorola Droid Pro we could find. First things first: the keyboard is above average. There's not a ton of movement on the keys, but they're well-ridged in a style that's more than reminiscent of the BlackBerry Bold. While typing, it's a little top-heavy by dint of that 3.1-inch, portrait HVGA screen, but it's not completely offensive by any means.

Also, and we mean this from the bottom of our hearts, it's lovely to "just start typing" on the Android home screen to initiate a search.

We're looking at the Motoblur-lite you've come to know on the Droid X. Speed-wise, it certainly kept up with our scrolling and zooming in the browser -- a virtue of the 1GHz processor, we're sure. The official word on the Droid Pro is still "Q4," but the man at Motorola suggested that November would be the month to watch.

Grab a huge helping of photos after the break along with a super quick hands-on video, then head on over to the Motorola Droid Pro Forums and let us know what you think!

Update: We wranged a Moto rep to take the Droid Pro through its paces for us, including showing off the profile switching and the Enterprise features - which include remotely wiping the SD card via the standard Exchange device management interface on the IT side. We also grabbed a quick hands-on and a couple photos of the extended battery and, well, it's not much thicker, not much heavier, and we are having a hard time understanding why it's not the default. Catch it all after the break, at the very bottom.

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4 years ago

Motorola Citrus Hands-On [Video]

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 Motorola Citrus

Take a gander at the Motorola Citrus, Verizon and Moto's plan for the aspirational, new-to-smartphones user. It has a small, almost cute form-factor that more than a few people have likened to the Palm Pre without the slide-out keyboard. We think we could do without the big old 'Backtrack' touchpad on the back, but to each his own. We also found it curious that the physical Send and End keys do little more than make and end calls, the End key doesn't even take you to the home screen.

Software-wise, as you'd expect, it's running Motoblur and (sadly) 2.1 and, yes, Bing. Performance is also as you'd expect: slightly better than the current crop of mid-level Blur phones, but not a speedster. That's ok, though, while you wait you can pat yourself on the back for buying a phone made form 25% recycled plastic.

More photos and a demo video after the break!

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4 years ago

LG Optimus S Hands On

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 LG Optimus S

The LG Optimus S is the cheapest of the new Sprint ID phones, clocking in at a price usually reserved for blowout: $49.99 after rebate. For that price you're looking at Android 2.2, 3G mobile hotspot, a 3.2 megapixel camera, and a "I-can't-believe-it's-only-fifty-bucks" level of responsiveness on the 320x480 screen - which is to say it's passible but nowhere near Incredible.

The LG Optimus S isn't going to blow the doors off anything, but for a budget Android phone we're not complaining. Grab a few more shots of it after the break.

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4 years ago

T-Mobile G2 rooting, rootkits and other things that may or may not be true

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All over the interwebs this morning there's scuttlebutt about some mysterious rootkit in the T-Mobile G2.  Is the sky falling? Will this be the most locked down phone since the Motorola Droid X (which, by the way, has been "software" cracked)? 

Let's discuss a little bit after the break.

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