Headlines

3 years ago

Acer Iconia A100 mini-review

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Here's our long overdue look at the Acer Iconia a100, a 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet. On one hand, it's a blessedly simple device. Take Honeycomb and the usual internals that we've come to know in Honeycomb devices, and scale it down.

Acer steps things up a bit on the hardware side by throwing in a bunch of ports -- you've got microUSB, microHDMI, a docking port, and a proprietary charger. There are dual speakers on one edge, which tends to make the audio output a little more directional than we'd like. There's also a capacitive home button that, in addition to taking you back to the home screen, lights up on notifications. (There's also a light in the power button.) A screen lock toggle switch rounds things out.

On the storage side, you've got around 6GB of internal memory, and the a100 will accept a microSD card for additional storage.

The hardware's nicely done, but the screen's been a bit of a deal-breaker for us, with a pretty horrendous viewing angle. As you'll see in the video after the break, it's as if the screen's being lit from one edge only -- turn it even just a tiny bit, and an entire section loses all color. It's pretty rough.

That major caveat aside, there's definitely a market for these smaller -- and less expensive -- Honeycomb tablets. And the a100 is just the beginning.

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3 years ago

Motorola Xoom Family Edition packs Zoodles kid-friendly software

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Motorola might just be on to something here with the yet to be announced Motorola Xoom Family Edition. Aside from the notably different retail packaging, this Motorola Xoom found in a big box eleectronics shop has some slight modifications when it comes to software.

While it still has Honeycomb loaded onto it, it's also noted to have the Zoodles application loaded onto it. Zoodles offers a "kid mode" option that is reccomended for kids 8 and under but also offers access to games, videos all in a same environment seperate from other functions of your device. No telling when Motorola will announce this new version to the masses but it can't be that far off.

Question is, will it be priced more affordably for families as well? We hope so but if not -- you can always download the Zoodles application from the Android Market right now. It's available for free and you'll find the video for it past the break so that you get a better idea of what, exactly it does.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

US Cellular's HTC Flyer available Oct. 7 for as low as $399

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US Celluar has announced that its HTC Flyer, a 7-inch Android tablet, will be available Oct. 7 -- that's tomorrow. You've got a couple choices on pricing. You can get it for $399.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate) if you sign up for a 5GB, $54-a-month data plan. Or you can get it for $599.99 (after the same rebate) if you opt for a 20MB, $14.99 data plan.

Full presser's after the break.

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3 years ago

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet now available for your ordering pleasure

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We have taken a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet in the past, and the forums have been building up in anticipation of its arrival, and that time appears to be now. Lenovo has made the IdeaPad A1, the little brother to the IdeaPad K1, available for order on their site starting at $199 for the 2GB model, and $249 for one with 16GB of storage. Is the $199 price tag enough to make you overlook the fact that it runs Gingerbread, or will you be passing in favor a Honeycomb tablet?

Source: Lenovo; Thanks, Dan!

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3 years ago

Amazon updates Appstore Developer Portal FAQ for Kindle Fire

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Amazon has added their developer FAQ with a section specific for the Kindle Fire, covering requirements and the submission process for those who are getting ready for Novembers big launch.  For the most part, it's a pretty standard read -- an overview of the process, the device specific requirements (they even tell developers how to set up the Android SDK emulator -- 600x1024 px display, 169 LCD density, API 10 and 512MB RAM), and content guidelines.  If you have any plans to develop and submit apps to Amazon for the Fire, you should hit the source link and have a read.

For the rest of us, let's have a look at a couple highlights from the "infamous" Amazon developer agreement's Q&A about the Fire:

Amazon will be reviewing each app in the appstore for compatibility with the Kindle Fire.  This will be done automatically, and if any issues are found during the testing, developers will be contacted with more information.  They say app approval for new apps will "generally take a week", but some apps will take longer.

The have a list of no-nos, which your application can't require (as in, need for correct operation) to run.  This list includes a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro-SD.  In addition, if your app uses Google's mobile services, like cloud to device messaging, they need to be removed "gracefully".  Amazon gives us an example of graceful as "an error message such as "This feature is not currently available on this device".  There's also a notice that Google's in app billing won't be supported, but they're working on their own solution.

There's also two interesting notes about content in addition to their normal guidelines.  No themes or wallpaper apps will be allowed, or any app "that manipulates the user interface of the device", and that the "Kindle Fire does not support apps that require root access".  The former, while a little surprising, makes a lot of sense -- they want Amazon content to be front and center.  The latter is a bit less clear, as there are already apps on the Amazon appstore that require root access.  These may be blocked from the Fire, or it may just be confusing wording.  We'll have to wait and see.

Here's the part where I start bitching about open -- but not this time.  Amazon makes no bones about what they are, which is a for profit business.  They don't claim to be anything else (at least not at the retail level) so I'm good with these decisions.  They can, and should, curate their user's experience any way they see fit, and a lot of people will benefit from it.  Tight control will guarantee a level of consistency that a whole lot of people want.  They should be allowed to have it.

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

Phillips and Company launch Blue Marble -- transform your roof into a giant QR code

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PR firm Phillips & Company has unveiled Blue Marble, a new service that will allow you to mark your roof with a giant QR code, snapping an aerial picture, then integrating it into Google Maps or Google Earth.

Hot damn.

Space is not just a destination – it is a platform for applications and services. Our use of satellite imagery in day-to-day applications is proof that our ‘big blue marble’ called Earth is one global market accessible through the Internet, mobile phones and GPS devices. By using QR code technology, we are taking dynamic marketing to literally the next level – low-earth orbit. But the benefits are to any company on Earth that wants to optimize their real estate investment and build a marketing program that can take advantage of today’s mobile revolution.

Says Phillips & Company President Rich Phillips.  And he's probably right, because he knows marketing and trends.  All I know is that this is a very cool idea, and can't wait to see how it gets abused used in fun ways by companies (like Google or Apple) that have a sense of humor.  I'd do it myself, if the cost weren't so prohibitive -- it starts at $8,500, with a recurring $200 support fee.  That's providing you can keep to Blue Marble's schedule, as costs for a special event outside of said schedule is an additional $49,500.  Wowza.  Looks like my giant QR code for Jerry's tasty porch-cooked ribs and chicken will have to wait until I hit the lottery.  Hit the break for the full press release.

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3 years ago

Sony to buy out Ericsson in their mobile division, says WSJ

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According to the Wall Street Journal and sources "familiar with the matter", Sony Corp is near finalizing a deal that will buy out Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson's holdings in the mobile division.  This would make Sony the sole owner of Sony Ericsson, the world's sixth-largest cell phone manufacturer, and set them up for a future in the mobile industry.

"Sony aims to integrate its smartphone operation with its businesses in tablets, hand-held game machines, and personal computers to save on costs and better synchronize development of mobile devices" says the WSJ's source, and that sounds like a very solid strategy.  The new Sony tablets have been well received by the media, and Sony is a name everyone recognizes.  We can only hope their penchant for DRM and control doesn't nullify the strides Sony Ericsson has taken in respect to open-hardware and community developer support should the buyout happen as planned.

Source: Wall Street Journal (paid content)

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3 years ago

A $99 HTC Flyer at Best Buy? Maybe not

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Update: Here's the official word from Best Buy.

"It was a momentary pricing error. The correct price is $299.99."

We've got word into Best Buy corporate to help clear things up, but we're willing to bet this is what happened. AC reader @boomstickah points us to this shot snapped by @nutzareus of a correction notice at his Best Buy store, saying the Best Buy website incorrectly listed the HTC Flyer at $99. That makes a little more sense, no?

Source: @nutzareus via @boomstickah

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3 years ago

Amazon working on in-app purchasing for the Kindle Fire

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Amazon's had quite the learning curve over the past 10 months, first with the Amazon Appstore (remember when AT&T phones couldn't use it?), and now it's taking another giant leap forward with the Kindle Fire tablet. We already know it won't have the Android Market on board. That makes sense. But what about in-app purchases? That's one of the more important features Google rolled out this year.

Never fear, as Amazon's working on it and indeed is planning on allowing in-app purchases. With the "Amazon Appstore for Android In-App Purchasing Beta Request Form," developers can sign up for the in-app purchasing beta SDK. It's invite-only, for now, and you have to answer a few questions, including:

  • Name and e-mail (natch), plus a company name.
  • Whether you're a current member of the Amazon Appstore Developer Program. And if so, how many apps you've submitted.
  • Whether you've used Google Checkout, PayPal, iOS or some other form of in-app billing.
  • The current number of apps you have that include in-app billing.
  • The kinds of in-app content you currently offer.
  • What kinds of apps you develop.
  • What kinds of devices you offer. (Interestingly, there are three choices -- handsets, tablets and Kindle Fire. That shows how Amazon's treating its product, no?)

Point is this: We're pretty sure Amazon has Google's attention now with the Kindle Fire. (Not that it didn't before, but still.) And it really presents an interesting conundrum. On one had, Amazon's doing exactly what Google wants to be done with Android -- using it as an embedded OS. On the other hand, it's quite the end run around the established Android ecosystem. And maybe that's just the -- ahem -- fire Google needs to have lit under it.

Source: Amazon; More: Kindle Fire Forums

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3 years ago

Best Buy slashes the HTC Flyer pricing again, now just $99

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Update: Yeah, not so much.

Earlier this week we saw the price of the HTC Flyer (read our review) get dropped from $499 down to $299 at Best Buy -- a pretty sweet deal. But they have one upped themselves, dropping the price yet again, after only 5 days, to just $99. No, you are not dreaming, I just said $99. Insanity. So, if you have been looking for a great Android tablet that didn't break your bank, act quick. Odds are this deal will sell these puppies out pretty quickly.

Source: Best Buy

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3 years ago

Android 101: How to set your e-mail signature

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3 years ago

Google Docs updated for Android tablets

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Google Docs just got itself a nice little update. The big one for us is that it's now optimized for tablets -- and that makes a big difference for how much time we're willing to spend looking at a spreadsheet on a smaller screen. Here's the full changelog:

  • Optimized experience for tablet users, Honeycomb (Android 3.0+)
  • New 3-panel interface for improved browsing
  • Details panel showing a thumbnail and sharing information
  • Improved sharing experience with autocomplete system
  • Landscape or portrait mode
  • Improved video playback

Snag it in the market, or with the links after the break.

Source: Google Docs blog; Thanks, @RickBosch, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Android running on the HP TouchPad a different way

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

If you bought a TouchPad during the fire sale, and decided that you like using webOS while waiting for hackers to get a full Android port up and running, news in the Pre Central forums might get you a little excited.  Android's not the only Linux based OS that people love to hack, and an enterprising young fellow in China has figured out how to get Android running inside a card like a normal webOS app.  Looking at it, it appears to either be an virtual machine or a variant of the Android SDK emulator running, so expect a lot of functionality but at a slower pace because of the emulation layer.  With some further tweaking, many of the software issues can be ironed out, and maybe even a bit more support for the hardware can be found -- those webOS hackers are a crafty bunch.

Until a good (read final) dual boot solution for Android and webOS is found for the TouchPad, this looks like it might be the ticket if you're finding the Palm HP App Catalog a bit lacking, but don't want to give up the TouchPad's great web browser.  And heck, most of you guys bought the TouchPad solely to hack the hell out of it, right?  Here's your chance.

Source: Pre Central
More: Pre Central forums

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3 years ago

Editorial: Now we know why Apple went after Samsung in the courtroom

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If you live in a cave and missed the "big" announcement of the iPhone 5 iPhone 4S, you need to have a peek for reference before we start.  Jump over to TiPb, where Allyson has a summary and links so you can watch the whole thing (if you can be bothered to install a proprietary QuickTime plugin, that is).  If you came back a bit underwhelmed, you're not alone, and it looks like more than a few iPhone die-hards will be skipping this update altogether

OK, we're done with the links and news about the iP4S -- promise.  I just wanted to be sure you all had a chance to see just what Apple took 16 months to release, and have an idea how it was received.  Now compare it to the reaction the Internet, folks in our forums, and people in general had to the Samsung Galaxy S II. 

Apple no longer sets the bar that others are measured against.

This goes beyond the Galaxy S II.  Samsung is releasing some amazing products, listening to user feedback, and delivering what consumers want.  I don't like Touchwiz.  Not even a tiny bit.  But, damn, it is smooth and fluid on the latest Samsung hardware, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1.  It's also functional, bringing things to the table that users haven't even thought to ask for yet.  Techie types are falling in love with Samsung's new products, and we all know where non-techy types look for advice.  No longer will the non-fanboy instantly say the word iSomething when asked what the best smartphone is, because until Apple can show something new, with features users have been asking for, the iProduct isn't it.

We tend to think in terms of smartphone here (we are a Mobile Nation of Smartphone Experts after all) but Samsung, like LG, sells an amazing amount of phones every year.  Numbers that dwarf any manufacturer's smartphone sales.  They are in the Prime position (see what we just did there?) to put out the product that sets the tone for the next generation of smartphones, likely running Android.  Apple can't risk that, because they have a giant cash cow they need to protect.

That's iTunes.

For all the polish and thought that goes into Apple's mobile products, they are just a front end for iTunes.  The fellows in Cupertino know that they can create buzz on a brand (and they do a marvelous job at it), but can they compete when another product comes on the scene that is simply better?  That's a risk that Apple is too smart to take.  If Samsung is able to build and sell something to make the average user want it enough to leave the iTunes universe, Apple's revenue will be hit -- hard.  Apple knows how to sell content and build mindshare.  Samsung knows how to sell a whole lot of electronic devices.  The two had to butt heads eventually, and as Android matures, that day isn't far off.  NVIDIA shows us what can be done with powerful hardware on a mobile device.  The Galaxy S II line shows us that hardware has reached a point where even less-than-optimized software can look and feel awful damn good.  When the two meet (Ice Cream Sandwich?  Maybe.), the chance to really shake up Apple's ecosystem is there.

I'm no fancy paid analyst -- I'm a middle aged father of three who happens to be a big nerd.  I have a theory that if I can see the big picture, real analysts and businessmen can as well.  Samsung is in the position to de-throne Apple, and spending the last six months worrying about legislation instead of innovation makes perfect sense to me after the recent iPhone announcement.

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3 years ago

World of Goo coming to Android as GooDroid!

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If you've never heard of the World of Goo, we have a feeling that will be changing soon. The folks behind the World of Goo, 2D Boy -- have announced they will be bringing their physics-based puzzle game to the Android platform.

Similar to Angry Birds gameplay, the obeject is to move goo around from pipe-to-pipe in an effort to get it where it needs to go. You'll be facing plenty of structures in your way though such as hills, spikes, and cliffs and you have to maintain as much goo as possible.

No pricing or launch date was announced for the game but 2D Boy states they are currently working on some of the machinery for GooDroid, as it will be called when released so with that in mind -- we're guessing launch cannot be that far off.

Source: 2D Boy

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