Microsoft on Sunday -- you know, day press releases are typically sent out -- announced it had reached a patent licensing agreement with Compal over its tablets, phones, e-readers and any other devices using Android or Chrome. Microsoft will receive royalties, though neither company said how much cash is changing hands.
Android is more than smartphones. With the release of the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, Android has moved into the big screen arena, and it's slowly picking up steam. There are some very nice bits of hardware out there running Android and we all are getting antsy about when the one we're using might see some Ice Cream Sandwich love.
That's where we come into play. We are surrounded by phones and tablets, and we're going to use a little bit of insight to make a prediction or two about when we'll be seeing OS updates for them. Hit the break, and read along.
We already knew that Sprint was killing off unlimited data for the hotspot plan, but today's news makes everything all official. Starting in November, users with a mobile broadband plan (that would be a tablet, netbook, USB card, connection card or mobile hotspot device) as well as folks using the mobile hotspot plan on their smartphone will no longer have unlimited data. Depending on your existing plan, you'll be placed in a tier that goes between 3GB and 10GB of data, with a $0.05 per MB overage in-network, and a $0.25 per MB overage while roaming.
Note thatthis does not affect unlimited data for smartphones. Your Epic 4G Touch or EVO 3D will still have unlimited data. It's still a direction we hate to see yet another carrier travel, though. Resist the temptation Dan. Don't kill your unlimited smartphone plans.
Samsung has announced that the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus -- its 7-inch Honeycomb tablet -- will be available Nov. 13 for $399. It'll be available at Best Buy, Amazon, Tiger Direct, Fry's and other retailers. Preorders start Oct. 23.
In addition to having Android 3.2 Honeycomb, The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 3MP rear camera and 2MP front camera and Samsung's TouchWiz UI on the 7-inch, 1024x600 display. It'll come in either 16GB or 32GB flavors, with a 4,000 mAh battery, and weigh 345 grams. It's also got the Peel Smart Remote TV application.
So, who's lining up? Full presser's after the break.
ASUS hit a bit of a home run earlier this year with the Eee Pad Transformer, a relatively typical Android Honeycomb tablet with an excellent detachable keyboard dock. But what if you take the keyboard and attach it to the Transformer? That's basically what you've got with the ASUS Eee Pad Slider.
At it's heart, it's a 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablet with the usual Tegra 2 innards. Nothing surprising there, and overall experience, software-wise is the same as the Transformer. Lightly skinned, fast. Honeycomb, right?
So the big differentiator here is in the keyboard. The slider mechanism is excellent. Just stiff enough. The chicklet keys are decent enough, with just enough travel. But the overall size of the keyboard is pretty cramped. And one of the best parts of Transformer that really turned nit into an Android laptop -- the trackpad -- is missing. But you do have a full-size USB port, so you can plug in a mouse and use it if you want.
Will this replace a latop? Not if you need a full Windows or Mac laptop. And you can get the Transformer and keyboard dock for about the same price, and have a connected trackpad while keeping the portability of a thinner and lighter tablet when that's all you need.
But it's great to see ASUS continuing to do something different. And with the upcoming Transformer Prime and the likelihood of more to come in 2012, more's in store.
If like me, you're a UK based Android user we have some good news to get you started. As of this morning you may be seeing this shot in your Market application - that's right folks, Google Movies has landed in the UK.
Up until now the service has been exclusive to the US and Canada, but hot on the heels of Google Books, the UK is gradually receiving more love from Google.
If you're in the UK, and have tried it out, hit us up in the comments.
So we didn't see any updates to Google Music this week like so many of us had hoped there would be. But Andy Rubin has said that Google is "close" to being able to offer a bona fide MP3 store.
Speaking at the AsiaD conference, he recognised the lack of such content as a key "missing ingredient" in the attempts to lure people away from the Apple and iTunes ecosystem. He also said that Google would not be following "the 99-cent model" but that their pricing would "have a little twist - it will have a little Google in it." Let's hope for some subscriptions, eh?
Not much detail to go on, but it looks as though Google could be about to turn a corner. They're said to have inked a deal with EMI, with negotiations continuing with Universal, Sony Music and Warner Music.
Johnny Shih, chairman at ASUS, had a few things to say of interest to Android fans about the popular ASUS Transformer tablets at the AsiaD conference in Hong Kong this morning. When asked about the next generation Transformer (check out the teaser video here), Shih said to expect the formal announcement on November 9, and tonight was a sneak peek of what he dubbed the "Transformer Prime". He went on to mention the quad-core NVIDIA chipset, a 10-inch display, USB and mini-HDMI ports, SD card slot, and the Transformer Prime's 8.3mm thickness. He also let the cat out of the bag for the original Transformer and any Ice Cream Sandwich plans, when asked if ASUS would have it by the end of the year he replied "Maybe earlier than that". Finally, he talked about the Padfone -- a combination tablet and phone that should come around early next year after carrier testing. That's all great news, let's hope it works out that way. In the meantime, we're all waiting patiently for a couple weeks until the Transformer 2, err Prime, gets official.
In a post on the Android-building Google group, Dan Morrill announced that the AOSP tree (the "Master" and "Gingerbread" branches) are once again available online. Because of problems with the kernel.org servers, the source has been MIA for a while, and in the downtime Google ramped up work for their own git hosting on Google's servers.
For now, only the code is available. Google is working hard to get the Gerrit code review site back in operation, then gitweb afterwards. Dan also reiterates that the Ice Cream Sandwich source code will be available as soon as devices running it are delivered.
With new servers comes new download and building instructions, which Dan outlines in his message at Google groups. Be sure to have a look and get your new repository set-up -- you can find all the information at the source link.
So the world has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of NVIDIA's latest mobile offering, the quad-core Tegra 3 (Kal-El). While the actual goods are still not out in the wild, a short teaser video has been leaked to keep our interest in the meantime.
While not revealing anything about any devices the Tegra 3 may be appearing in, the emphasis is as expected on performance. Although, a clear bezel on a tablet could be pretty cool.
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