Google was asked about the "patent situation" during Thursday's second-quarter earnings call. The "situation," of course, is that Google recently lost a bid for a major bunch of patents -- and lost to a consortium including many of its main competitors in the mobile space. Meanwhile, developers are having to fight (or pay off) patent trolls, and we're seeing more licensing deals being made between Android OEMs and Google competitors.
Here's what Page had to say:
"Android's really on a tear. I mentioned there are over 550,000 new Android activations. There's over 400 such devices. Thirty-nine OEMs. Two-hundred-and-thirty-one carriers in 123 countries, and over 78 Open Handset Allience partners, and that velocity's only increasing.
"Now, of course, despite the efforts of some of our competitors, there hasn't been any slowdown in any of those things. And, you know, partners and developers are continuing to expand the Android ecosystem.
"And I should say, of course, we're really committed to Android and continue to support that platform and ecosystem, and do it in a cost-effective manner."
If you've got an HTC ThunderBolt on Verizon, chances are you spend a lot of time charging the thing. I will never again be plugging in my ThunderBolt, however. Picked up Verizon's wireless charging battery cover for it recently and paired it up with an inductive charging pad -- it uses that newfangled Qi charging system -- and couldn't be happier.
Here's how it works: You pop the wireless charging cover onto the ThunderBolt. It looks nearly identical to the stock cover -- same soft-touch coating and HTC logo, though it is just a tad bigger. Not nearly as big as the ThunderBolt's extended battery, but you will notice a very slight bulge.
Then there's the Energizer Inductive Charging Pad. It's just as simple. Plug the AC adapter into the wall, then put the phone on top of it. It's that easy. But probably the best thing about it are the Qi logos, which help you properly position the phones for charging. You really don't have to think about it at all. And as an added bonus, there's a USB port on the back of the pad, so you can plug in a third device without taking up an extra wall plug. Nice.
We're using the ThunderBolt here, but Verizon has wireless charging backs for the Droid 3, Revolution and Droid Charge as well, and there are third-party backs for some other devices, too.
We've got video and a couple more pictures after the break.
The Google+ app has just received a pretty major update that brings bug fixes, some UI changes, and new features to Googles new social media venture. From the changelog in the Android Market:
Customize the main stream view to show streams from individual circles
Fixed some issues encountered by users with the Swype keyboard
Set permissions for who can start a huddle with you (Anyone, Your Circles, Extended Circles)
If someone you've never huddled with before invites you to a group huddle, you can now dismiss the invitation
New UI allows adding multiple people or entire circles to a huddle
Set photo as wallpaper
Performance improvements and bug fixes throughout the app
This addresses the biggest gripes I've been hearing about the mobile app -- a way to add entire circles to a huddle, and a way to customize which circles are visible in your main stream. I'm sure the Google+ team is still hard at work and things will only get better. If you don't have your Google+ invitation yet, be sure to hit the forums and sing out -- invites seem to be wide open. Download links for the Market are after the break.
If you don't have an Android phone, you don't have a Google+ app.
Having been rumored for a while, Bell today has finally made the news official. They will indeed be bringing the Motorola XT860 4G to Canada. Most will know the device from its more commonly used name -- the Motorola Droid 3 but since Verizon has a lock on the Droid name, it can't be used. No pricing details have been revealed and the only time frame given is "this summer" however -- previous rumors suggest an August launch date for the device.
Here she be, folks. The Motorola Droid 3 on Verizon. We're knee deep into this sucker right now. But our initial thoughts are that this is a pretty worth upgrade to the Droid 2, even if nobody seems to be making a big deal out of it. Fast with a dual-core 1GHz processor. A larger, 4-inch display at qHD (960x540) resolution. And Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread -- egads, the most recent version of Android! -- on there to boot.
Other specs to note:
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
5-row keyboard with dedicated number row
Display: 4-inch qHD (960x540)
Processor: Dual core TI OMAP at 1 GHz
Storage: 16GB internal, support for up to 32GB microSD card
Front camera: VGA
Rear camera: 8MP with LED flash
Dimensions: 2.5 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 6.49 ounces
Cellular data: CDMA/Quadband GSM/Triband UMTS
Battery: 1540 mAh (up to 550 minutes talk time, 300 hours standby time)
3.5mm headphone jack
USB 2.0, HDMI, DLNA
Video: 1080p video capture (up to 30 fps), 1080p output via HDMI
We've got lots more on the way. For now, feast your eyes on the quick hands-on video above.
Still holding onto that beloved Motorola Droid, hoping and praying that updates will continue to roll through for it? Peter Alfonso, a name that most of us OG Droid owners know has released his GPA16 build, which is not an official from Motorola and Verizon, but one that would replicate it.
He has been supporting the device for as long as we can remember, and his purpose of these releases are to continue what users would have hoped to see in the updates, keeping a clean stock appearance, with a few extra tweaks throughout. If you're still rocking out with the Droid, be sure to download and install this build, as you are sure to be happy with it. Full change log to come and be available on Pete's site soon.
Just last week Verizon made the Motorola Droid 3official, and a few days after that we started to see some devices arriving at the homes of people who placed their orders early, and today it is available for anyone who wants to walk in and grab one. If you have been waiting for this 4inch, Gingerbread running, 1GHz powered big brother to the Droid 2, your time has finally arrived. Be sure to head into your local Verizon store today, and pick one up for yourself. And hey, if you do, be sure to let us know what you think about it in our forums, will ya?
Take just about every feature from every streaming music service available, and you you get Spotify. But until today, those of us in the United States were left on the sidelines. No more. Spotify's now live. Create playlists, share music, search from millions of songs, play offline. And, most important, play on your Android phone.
Free invites are going out fast and furious this morning, and there are deals that can get you bumped up to the premium levels pretty quickly. Or if you don't mind paying monthly, $4.99 a month gets you the basic service, sans advertising. For $9.99 a month "premium" (and this is the one most of you will be shooting for), you gain full Spotify access on your Android smartphone, offline mode, and better streaming quality.
We're right in the middle of deep-diving this thing, but so far, Spotify's living up to its expectations.
Swiftkey X -- the latest generation in what has proven to be an excellent predictive-type keyboard for Android -- exits public beta status this morning and enters the Android Market as a full-fledged paid app.
Available for 48 hours at $1.99 (it'll increase to $3.99 thereafter), Swiftkey X is the phone version of TouchType's venerable keyboard app. It combines the two major facets of an on-screen keyboard -- predictive typing and the skinning of the keys themselves -- for what has quickly become (yet again) one of our favorite third-party Android keyboards.
Also available today is Swiftkey Tablet X, designed for Honeycomb tablets and their larger screens. It's available for 48 hours for $1.99 as well, and increases to $4.99 thereafter. With Swiftkey Tablet X, you have the option to type in a typical keyboard design, or you can switch to the thumb layout (seen above).
If you've previously purchased Swiftkey, you'll be upgraded to the full version of Swiftkey X for free.
We've been using Swiftkey X in its various beta builds for the past several months. The key to its success lies in its Fluency 2.0 engine, which learns the way you type and adapts to better predict your next word. You also have the option (it's opt-in) to connect Swiftkey X to your Facebook, Gmail and Twitter accounts, where it can better learn your typing habits. Are you particular in your hunting and pecking? Or do you just kind of go for it, and rely on autocorrect to get your message across? Swiftkey X can work with both.
Other features: Swiftkey X now supports 22 languages and can interpret as many as three simultaneous for you tri-lingual typers out there. Look and feel are also greatly improved, and the long-press timing is as good as we've seen. And Swiftkey X now has three themes from which to choose -- dark, light and neon.
Check out videos of Swiftkey in action after the break.
Following up on their successful launch of the Original Huawei Ascend, Cricket has announced the availability of the Huawei Ascend II, which also is slated to hit US Cellular in the fall. This time around there is no trackball to be found on the device and it comes pre-loaded with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
This value-priced Android comes with a 3.5" HVGA touch-screen with virtual keyboard, Wi-Fi capability and 3G Real Web Browsing. The Ascend II has lots of great smartphone features packed into an affordable package. Cricket's fifth Android smartphone also includes great features like a 5 MP camera/camcorder and a MP3 player/microSD slot. The Ascend II features the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and a 600 MHz processor.
That value-price equates to $179.99 at Cricket retailers but you'll also nee to sign on for Cricket's all-inclusive $55 Android plan, which provides users with unlimited talk, text, 411 information, international text, unlimited and video picture messages with unlimited data included.
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