HTC CEO Peter Chou recently spoke with the GSMA (those are the folks who put on Mobile World Congress) and talked a tad about LTE phones. They're definitely on the way, though not before sometime next year (that's a surprise to no one), and the U.S. is likely to get them first because (to the surprise of everyone) we're actually ahead of the game on LTE. Said Chou:
"We are working on an LTE device for next year, 2011. We think that the U.S. mobile operator will be taking some lead and pushing 4G in the U.S. market. But, however, we are seeing the rest of the world will be deploying LTE networks in 2011. Could be the second half of 2011."
One of those phones is likely to be the HTC Mecha (possibly to be the Incredible HD on Verizon), which you see above. Chou also mentioned that HTC phones will incorporate NFC (near-field communications) mobile payment systems. Again, an expected feature, which we're seeing first in the Samsung Nexus S.
A handful of Google engineers, students from UC Santa Cruz and seven styrofoam beer coolers each packed with a Nexus S sure sound like a lot of geek fun. Start attaching weather balloons and talk about sending the phones to the edge of outer space, and it just got serious. That's exactly what happened as this team set out to test the Nexus S sensors in the cold, harsh conditions of high altitude flight, using apps like Google Maps and Google Sky Map.
After three hours or so, the balloons popped and the phones (and their coolers!) came back to earth, chock full of useful data that Google plans to use with a UK satellite manufacturer to build small "commodity" satellites using core Nexus S technologies. According to Zi Wang, a product manager for the Nexus S, "The phone is powerful enough." And to think the hardest task I'll ever give to my Android phone is to remind me where I parked. There's a video you don't want to miss after the break. [NewScientist via tecca; Engadget]
Quite honestly, we've never heard of Trak Electronics out of Poland until now but they are the latest to offer up an Android powered tablet / mobile internet device. And well, it actually looks pretty nice. On top of looking good it has a nice price to go with it. The specs aren't exactly where we would like them to be but they are pretty sufficient depending on your intended usage.
800×400 (WVGA) Resistive touch display
Telechips TCC8902 (ARM11) 800 MHz processor
256 MB of internal RAM
4GB Flash Memory built in
Android 2.1 / Android Market enabled
Micro SD/SDHC support up to 32 GB
1080 p HD video playback with HDMI output
Mini USB-OTG adapter
3.5 mm Headphone jack
Lithium-polymer battery, 3500mAh
Support for USB 3G Modem For GPRS / 3G
We've not had the pleasure of giving the $299 tablet a run through but we did get sent a nice video of it in action. You can hit the break for a video of it in action. Tip: Turn down your volume before watching, music gets kind of loud. [Tablet Online]
While we still don't have a definite date, Googler Jean-Baptiste Queru lets us know that we'll be seeing Gingerbread in the AOSP tree soon after the Nexus S ships. My geeky side is all tingly, as this means we can expect it on our Nexus One at any time after. Oh and that means these guys you might have heard of, that work on this thing called CyanogenMod, can get their groove on. Say it with me guys ... giggity. [@jbqueru via @morrildl]
Swiftkey, one of our favorite keyboards for Android -- just got a pretty major update. The already stellar key design is now even better, with an HD skin and better fonts. Five languages have been added, as well as five new keyboard layouts. There have been a fair amount of bugfixes, and the trial version of the keyboard (the full version is $3.99) has been increased to 31 days as a holiday promotion.
Swiftkey might not be your favorite keyboard, but it definitely warrants a look. We've got download links after the break, and you can find the full release notes at the source. [Swiftkey]
Google has just posted the 2.6.35 Linux kernel source for the Nexus S to its git repository. Not only is this Step 1 in the release path for the phone itself, but it gives developers (and developers-in-training) a head start to hacking away at the device.
By now we're all aware of how the Nexus S is going to be sold. Come Dec. 16, buy it online or on-site at Best Buy in the U.S., or at Carphone Warehouse across the pond in Europe. Looks like someone at Carphone Warehouse didn't read the news, as the Nexus S is listed as in stock and ready for ordering at their website. Maybe you folks in Europe have to pay about 50 percent more, but it looks like you may be able to get it a day early. Or this could just be a slip-up, which Lord knows we see enough of around here. too. Either way, if you end up ordering one of these, let us know what happens! [Carphone Warehouse via Engadget]
As promised, All Things Digital has posted their interview with Android's lead-man, Andy Rubin. In the video from last week's Dive Into Mobile conference, you'll see Rubin tear up the stage with some sweet Honeycomb action -- running it all on the highly anticipated, Tegra 2 Motorola tablet. And even though the Nexus S is officially coming out Thursday at your local Best Buy, here is where it was officially announced for the first time. Oh yeah, Mr. Rubin also shows off the new Google Maps update for Android. [All Things Digital via Engadget]
Long live the HTC Magic. For some out there, the HTC Magic may have been your first leap into the Android platform and many are still making use of the device today. Vodafone UK is well aware of that fact and as such, have started pushing out the Android 2.2.1 update for it. As noted on the Vodafone UK forums:
Android 2.2.1 will give customers a number of improvements including: latest Gmail and Android Market clients; ability to save applications directly onto an SD card; support for USB tethering so the phone can be used as a modem; improved support for Active Sync Exchange (email, contacts and calendar sync); enhancements to Bluetooth; and enhancements to the camera. The update also includes the latest Google security patches.
HTC Magic users should be getting the automatic notifications on their devices advising to update although, it is mentioned that it is a gradual roll out so if you're not seeing yet you'll just have to wait a little bit longer. [Vodafone UK via CoolSmartPhone]
This is one you guys have been wanting for a while -- Android's Facebook app finally has proper Facebook chat. And push notifications. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus. You can get the Version 1.5.0 update now in the Android Market, and we've got download links after the break. Now excuse us while we pester some Facebook friends.
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