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3 years ago

Thinking of buying a Motorola Xoom? Here's what you need to know

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The first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet hits stores Thursday
for $600 -- and missing a couple of popular features

The Motorola Xoom (or XOOM for you brand-conscious folks) is the first of the next generation of Android tablets to hit the market. It runs the new Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" version of the operating system, which was tailor-made for larger screens.

If you're just catching up, here's the deal: The Motorola Xoom goes on sale tomorrow, Feb. 24. It's a 10.1-inch Android tablet with a 1280x800 resolution display, powered by the new Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. And it's a dual-core processor at that, much like what you'd find in many laptops today. That means it can do more things at once -- like rendering graphics or outputting video -- and not have to work as hard to do it. And that means better battery life.

Other hardware specs you need to know are 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, a 5MP camera on the back and a 2MP camera on the front for video calling. The rear camera will record in 720p high-definition, and the Xoom can connect to your television and output movies in full 1080p.

And the Xoom is pretty darn good, too. We first got a look at it at CES in January, got some more time with it at Google's Honeycomb event earlier this month, and again (in silver!) at MWC in Spain. It's a fine piece of hardware -- albeit a tad heavy at 26 ounces -- and it's going to be plenty snappy on Verizon's 3G network.

But the Xoom also will eventually be able to take advantage of Verizon's new 4G LTE network, with really fast data speeds. It's not launching with 4G (though it does have 802.11 b/g/n Wifi for when you're near a hotspot), but it'll be upgradeable in about three months, according to an unofficial screen shot. The really bad news is that you'll have to physically send your Xoom to Motorola to be upgraded -- it's not just a software thing. That's pretty much unheard of for any smartphone or tablet, and  we've got our fingers crossed that it doesn't become a logistical nightmare.

To hear Verizon talk (erm, Tweet) about it, that the Motorola Xoom tablet will have to be taken into the shop (for free!) to be upgraded to LTE is a feature waiting to happen, not a feature missing at launch. Maybe our glass is half empty, but we're not exactly looking forward to handing over new our $600 (or $800 off contract) tablet for a week's worth of work. On the other hand, it is free, and we're very much fans of Verizon's LTE data speeds thus far.

And speaking of features we really expected the Xoom to have -- Adobe Flash is missing, but it should be available in a few short weeks.

That's not to say the Xoom is a disappointment -- far from it. The LTE upgrade's going to be a hassle, but it's coming. And Flash will be here in short order. Other than that, we've been very impressed with the Xoom.

But at this point, the same old tablet question remains: For $600 (or $800) do you really need that form factor? And does the prospect of having to physically send away your Xoom for an LTE upgrade make you want to hold off? We'll find out this week as they finally go on sale nationwide.

Are you buying a Motorola Xoom yet?customer surveys

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3 years ago

Firefox 4 Beta 5 for Android now available

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While I often bounce back and forth between browsers on my device, I always like to check in on Firefox and see how their beta is doing. As of beta 4 I wasn't prepared to make it my default browser yet but the latest build, beta 5 is now out for everyone to test out. Some improvements have been made to the overall workings of this build so I'm going to give it a good go. Check it out the improvements:

  • Increased responsiveness to panning and zooming
  • Increased JavaScript performance
  • Faster start up and page load times
  • Major stability improvements

The new beta 5 version is available in the Android Market right now; you'll find the download just right after the break. Leave some comments on whether or not this build is working better for you. Curious to see how many of you all out there are putting it to the test.

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3 years ago

Minor Gmail update hits the Market, improves labels, copy/paste in Gingerbead

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A minor update to Android's Gmail app has hit the Market that fixes custom labels and improves copy/paste in Gingerbread. If you have custom labels in Gmail with custom colors, they wouldn't properly sync. With this update, that should be fixed. Also updated is the ability to long-press to copy text with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). 

Here is the full update log:

  • Enable long press to copy text on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) devices
  • Sync custom label colors
  • Bug fixes

The Market link for the Gmail app is available after the break. 

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3 years ago

Android activations visualized from October '08 to January '11

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A new video on the official Android Developers' YouTube channel offers a fascinating look at the rise of Android since the release of the first handsets running the OS. The data spans the entire globe and shows spikes coinciding with the launch of popular phones like the Motorola Droid in the U.S. and Samsung Galaxy S worldwide. Be sure to check it out above -- it's a staggering reminder of just how far Android has come in a relatively short amount of time. [Android Developer on YouTube]

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3 years ago

HTC Inspire 4G review

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The U.S. gets it first taste of the new HTC Sense
and AT&T's 4G network

The HTC Inspire 4G is AT&T's first foray into 4G data, and the carrier picked a very nice package for the debut.  The Inspire is beautifully constructed with high-grade materials, and it shows the world that the Captivate wasn't just a fluke -- AT&T is seeing the light and getting on board with Android in a big way.

But like everything else, it's not perfect.  Hit the break and see my impressions of the HTC Inspire 4G after using it for a week, and decide if you like what you're seeing.

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3 years ago

Motorola's Atrix 4G help videos make learning your new phone a breeze

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Motorola really went overboard with this one. Moto has posted thirty videos online that outline all the features of the highly anticipated, Motorola Atrix 4G. The videos cover everything from entertainment, importing contacts, using webtop to print, setting up corporate email, etc.

If you've been itching to see the Atrix in action, but don't want to leave your computer, you'll want to check out all the videos after the break.

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3 years ago

MapQuest for Android brings free turn-by-turn navigation

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Although most of us love our Google Maps Navigation, it never hurts to have a second option. MapQuest has unveiled their Android app, which brings free turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance for both walking and driving, voice search, and live traffic updates. It also brings along OpenStreetMap, which allows users to make changes and updates to the map on the fly virtually anywhere. It's available for all phones running at least Android 1.6, so head on over to the Android Market to get your download on. Direct download link after the break. [MapQuest]

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3 years ago

'The Daily' making it way to Android tablets in Q2

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After a highly promoted launch on the iPad earlier this month, News Corp's The Daily digital newpaper is heading to Android tablets in the second quarter of this year according to All Things Digital. During the announcement event (read our sister site TiPB's coverage) it was noted in Q&A that the paper would make the jump to other platforms, but that "this year, next year belong to Apple." 

Even so, it is encouraging to see such a prominent app making its way to Android tablets so soon after its initial launch. Head on over into the Android Central Forums and let us know if you intend to check it out. [All Things Digital]

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3 years ago

Dell now rolling out Froyo to AT&T and Rogers Streak devices

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It's time for all you carrier-locked Dell Streak owners to celebrate -- you're getting Froyo. As was announced on the Dell community blogs today, you all should start seeing Froyo on your next reboot if you are using either Rogers or AT&T. Once alerted, you can simply follow the on-screen instructions and you will be well on your way to some Froyo goodness. Rather interesting what Dell chose as highlights of the update:

  • Flash support: Sure, down the road, HTML 5 will play a heavier role in mobile browsing, but the fact is that many sites on the web still use Flash.
  •  Twitter: Simply put, the recently-updated version 2.0 of the native Twitter client rocks.
  • Skype: Video calling may not be an option yet, but if you use the app on your desktop or notebook it's a no-brainer to use it on Android. Plus, it's a useful option for cost-effective global calls. 
  • All kinds of browser options: Dolphin HD is great if you like to browse with several tabs open. Skyfire 3.2 is a great option if you like to share a lot of content. Mozilla's Firefox for Android which is in beta now also look to be a promising option. Most of these higher-end browser options require Android 2.0 or later.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give your device a reboot to see if it's ready for you. You can check out the source link for further details and instructions of you need to. [Dell] Thanks, Brodie!

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3 years ago

Wait -- Apple has a Thunderbolt, too?

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Now this is getting downright confusing. We're expecting the Verizon ThundertBolt Android smartphone to launch any day now, and here comes Apple with Thunderbolt, too? Say what?

Word on the street is that "Thunderbolt" is what Apple's calling the new LightPeak -- as in fast, fast, FAST 10Gbps -- port on an upcoming MacBook Pro refresh. It's a port on a laptop -- not a smartphone.

But if Apple starts throwing around the world "Thunderbolt" on Thursday -- the same day we might finally see the Verizon smartphone be released -- well, it's bound to be repeated by just about anyone who's at Steve Jobs' beck and call. So things could get a little interesting. [Fscklog via MacRumors, TiPb]

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