The Motorola Droid is, by far, an industrial-type phone. Solid in the hand, it just feels tough. And that's not by accident. While any glass screen can be cracked, the Droid's is less susceptible to scratches, thanks to its special "Gorilla Glass." We'll leave the science to the scientists. But it has something to do with ions. Here's how it was broken down to SmartPlanet:
Like many glasses used in these kinds of applications, Gorilla glass chemically strengthened. Glass is a brittle material. Brittle materials are extremely strong under compression but extremely weak under tension. When you chemically temper a glass, you immerse it in a salt bath and you stuff larger ions in all the surfaces and put them all under compression.
What’s unique about Gorilla Glass is that because of its inherent composition, it can allow those larger ions to penetrate the surface more deeply to increase the compression tolerance and tolerate deeper scratches.
Maybe you are one of the many who does not have Google Navigation, or perhaps you simply want an alternative. SygicMobile Maps may be just what you are looking for. It is a polished turn-by-turn GPS application that has some nice features.
Text-to-speech – voice guidance announcing the name of the next street or road.
Choose addresses straight from your contacts.
Music playback fades out smoothly so you can better hear the voice instructions.
Improved GPS lock.
Smooth position display as you follow your route.
Increased font size of street names and information bars for improved readability.
Voice guided gps navigation software and maps.
Easy installation process.
This is an application you need to install on your SD card, and it must be purchased directly from Sygic's website. The biggest negative is its price -- a hefty $90.
If you can get past that, you'll have yourself a pretty decent turn-by-turn GPS application for your Android device.
Looking for yet another way to sync with your desktop or laptop computer? SugarSync is a longtime player in that department, and version 2.1 was just released, and it brings the ability to stream media from your desktop. Streaming music isn't limited to WiFi, either, but it will help the buffer rate.
SugarSync has a free 2GB option, and pricing starts at $4.99 a month/$49.99 a year for 30GB of storage, up to $24.99 a month/$249.99 a year for 250GB. Download the update in the Market, and hit up the Web site for the accompanying desktop software. [SugarSync]
Manufacturer General Mobile has unleashed the DSTL1 Imaginary, an Android 2.0-powered phone with a little trick up its sleeve. You might remember the DSTL1 when we spotted it at Mobile World Congress in February, running Specs of the phone are:
Android 2.0 Eclair (upgraded from 1.5)
A Marvell PXA 310 processor running at 624 MHz
4gigs of storage, 256MB ROM/128MB RAM, storage card up to 16GB
GSM 900/1800/1900 GPRS/EDGE
240x400 WQVGA touchscreen
Bluetooth 2.0 (with stereo support)
Weight: 135 grams
5MP camera with autofocus and flash
1200 mAh battery
And that little trick? Dual SIM cards. It's hardly the first phone to have such, but it's one of the first Android devices to sport the feature. Bad news is we don't expect to see these in the U.S. anytime soon, and there's no 3G on board. Otherwise, a solid middle-of-the-road Android 2.0 phone.
Google has an infamous saying, "Don't Be Evil" which is incredibly simple yet loaded with layers of meaning. Obviously, it's a dig at other companies who only make profit-based decisions. It's also a company motto that makes common consumers believe that Google is an all-giving, all-good type of company. And for some, the very basis of reminding yourself to not be evil means you're inherently evil. The slogan can mean so many things to so many different people and perspectives.
Android plays a pretty big role in that "Don't Be Evil" campaign, it's a desktop class smartphone OS that is open source. In fact, one of the most attractive aspects of Android is obviously its open source nature. Companies such as HTC or Motorola can tinker with Android's open source and layer a completely fresh UI on top of it with no argument from Google.
When we open source our code we use standard, open Apache 2.0 licensing, which means we don't control the code. Others can take our open source code, modify it, close it up and ship it as their own. Android is a classic example of this, as several OEMs have already taken the code and done great things with it. There are risks to this approach, however, as the software can fragment into different branches which don't work well together (remember how Unix for workstations devolved into various flavors — Apollo, Sun, HP, etc.). This is something we are working hard to avoid with Android.
It's nice to see that while Google is focused on remaining open source for Android, they're still conscious of the fact that the software may fragment and are taking steps to prevent it from happening. The fragmentation of Android is easily our biggest concern for Android in 2010 and we're hopeful that Google will deliver.
What do you guys think? Can Google be truly 'open' about Android and keep Android from fragmenting?
We'll be honest here, we have Google Wave but we have no idea how to use it. Luckily, more talented folks have gotten a handle on Google Wave and have decided to summarize the year 2009 by using one of Google's more ambitious applications. We get all the highlights, from Obama to Balloon Boy, to the people we happily ridiculed and sadly said goodbye to--2009 was simply a momentous and unforgettable year.
But if we can take anything from this year in review video, it's "dang that was so cool, let's figure out how to use this thing for 2010!". And we guess, that's the way Google would want it. 2010 is going to be huge for Google and of course, for Android. We can't wait.
It'd been a little while, and I guess we were due. So here are a few more pictures of the Nexus One, aka Google phone. And along for the ride this time is a brief video. Peep that after the break. [@djrobrob via TechCrunch]
To start the second week of the Smartphone Round Robin, we're taking a look at Palm's new webOS by way of the Pre and the Pixi. If you're unfamiliar with the story of Palm here's my quick summary: they were once dying, the Pre & webOS saved them, and they now have a good chance of surviving and maybe even thriving.
If you want to profess your love for the best open source smartphone OS on the market, what better way to do it than by wearing an Official Android T-Shirt? There are currently two styles: the one above with the cute Android robot walking a dog (don't question why, it's just awesome) and another with a side-printed Android logo. They're both fairly affordable, $13.95 and $10.75 respectively, and are available at the Official Google Store. If you're into matching your headgear, there's also a side-printed Android hat available.
We know we can't be the only one geeky enough to buy this. Who else is getting it? Hit the link to check out all the styles!
The Barnes & Noble Nook just received a software update that brings the firmware version up to 1.1. Basically, reboot your Nook to get the download to start or you can manually install it. Since the Nook has already been rooted, it's a little surprising that 1.1 didn't break root access, we guess the cat and mouse game has yet to start. According to nookdevs, it is safe to update your Nook to 1.1, you'll still have root access and still can root the Nook at 1.1.
Engadget says that the Nook is faster and basically improved all around. Page turning, the navigation screen, and entire experience is speedier. After using the Nook, the one thing that disappointed us was the speed, hopefully 1.1 really does fix that.
What's that, you say? There's another Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 at the FCC? And this one sports the proper 3G bands for AT&T, Bell, Telus and Rogers? (Not to mention EDGE coverage.) Sho' 'nuff.
This isn't that surprising. When SE released the Windows Mobile-based Xperia X1, it did so in two versions: The X1 (outside the U.S.) and X1a (U.S.-only). And what do the X1 and X1a still have in common? Neither was picked up by a U.S. carrier, leaving the hard-core (and deep-pocketed) shelling out $800 for a nice piece of hardware with a so-so UI.
Will that happen with the X10? Or will it wind up on, say, T-Mobile? Stay tuned, folks.
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It should really come as no surprise to anyone that Motorola is reportedly buying advertising time for the 2010 Super Bowl, given the gigantic TV push of late. And it's a pretty good guess we'll see more of the Droid, even though the content of the ad is not yet known. Stay tuned on Feb. 7 in Miami, people. [via Electronista]
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