Motorola has come clean about the eFUSE questions, and we're all relieved to hear the Droid X won't blow up if you try to hack it. I can imagine that my questions were just a drop in the bucket and Moto had a stack of e-mail that they couldn't ignore. They reached out to Engadget with the following, saying (among other things):
"The Droid X and a majority of Android consumer devices on the market today have a secured bootloader. In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed."
The good news is that your shiny new Droid X won't go boom if you try to hack it. The bad news is that Motorola has placed another layer of security in an attempt to thwart people from customizing or modifying their Android phone. One that I'm sure has a big old target on it now -- the biggest challenge draws the brightest people :) I hope Moto's new trick doesn't work, and that they change their ways in the future, but I'm not expecting it. In the end, all I really wanted was an official statement from Motorola, and they delivered. Now it's up to us to show them the error of their ways. Check out the source for the full quote. [Engadget]
Old-school Palm OS fans (we know a few of you came over from PreCentral.net) will be pleased to know that Access (we won't go into the whole Access-Palm thing) has brought over the popular app Graffiti to Android. [Market link | App Brain]
Graffiti allows users to use gestures rather than a keyboard (kind of like Swype without letters). To enable this app, like other keyboard replacements, first download from the Market. Then go into Settings, then Language & Keyboard. Select Graffiti, and then hold down any text box to select Input Method. Make sure Graffiti is selected and you're good to go!
This is Graffiti version 1.02, which is the original from Palm OS. Expect to see more functionality in the future. It's nice to see some of the functions that stood out for Palm are being brought over to Android. [PalmInfoCenter]
If you're still on the fence about buying a Nexus One, you need to pull the trigger pretty soon. (Get it at Google.com/phone.) Google says it's taken its final shipment of phones from HTC, and that's likely to be it for the phone, since it's closing its web store.
Earlier this year, we announced that we will be closing the Nexus One web store. This week we received our last shipment of Nexus One phones. Once we sell these devices, the Nexus One will no longer be available online from Google. Customer support will still be available for current Nexus One customers. And Nexus One will continue to be sold by partners including Vodafone in Europe, KT in Korea, and possibly others based on local market conditions.
Hate to see a great phone die like that, but them's the breaks. Google says it will still offer the N1 for sale to registered developers. [Google Nexus One blog]
Apple CEO Steve Jobs led a news conference today to explain what he's now dubbed "Antennagate" -- and he called out a couple of other smartphones to show that the iPhone 4 isn't the only one to drop signal strength when held. On the Android side, Apple chose the HTC Droid Eris, which has since been replaced by the HTC Droid Incredible.
We get it. A whole lot of people have had their eyes opened to the wonderful world of RF engineering, and suddenly we're all amateur EEs and are going to be watching our "bars" -- the little lines that approximate signal strength. Fine. And there's chatter going on that the new Samsung Galaxy S phones have the same sort of "death grip."
Fact is, you're likely to see signal attenuation on any phone. And if you want to stare at your bars all day, be our guest. Where we start to worry is when calls are dropped. And that's always going to be a marriage between hardware design and network capability.
Our suggestion: Everybody relax a tad. This iPhone thing might well be blown out of proportion. Or it might well be bigger than we think. Frankly, we're not going to let it drag us down. While Apple fans have a single phone on which to focus, Android has more phones than we know what to do with. We'll judge call quality the same way we always have -- by using the phone and making calls.
We've got the launches of the Droid X on Verizon and Samsung Vibrant on T-Mobile, the saga of the locked bootloader, who's not getting Froyo this week, the Fring-Skype feud -- and we even gave out a free phone -- congrats, Kevin! Plus, a bunch of your e-mails and voicemail. Listen in!
Perhaps you remember this picture of the Motorola Devour. (Take your time. You'll find it.) This was just six months ago, when the mid-range Android phone was released on Verizon and even garnered its own Super Bowl ad. Today, it appears that the Devour and the original Droid -- which isn't even a year old -- are headed for the big smartphone meetup in the sky, with Verizon listing them as being "End of life."
Now, that doesn't mean your Droid sucks, or that it won't be supported. In fact, in the document leaked on DroidForums, it clearly lists the two phones under "Current devices with limited or no remaining shipments from the vendor." In the case of the Droid, that's hardly surprising, as we're expecting its sequel anytime now.
And while the Devour hardly was a head-turner (read our full review if you want to know how we really feel about it), it's a stark reminder of how short a lifespan phones can have. Hell, think about how many phones we've seen announced and/or released in the last month. Anyhoo, if you still want a Droid or Devour, better get 'em while you still can. Or, you know, you can wait a tad and get something newer and better. [DroidForums via DroidLife]
(Oh, and just because we can, check out the Devour ad after the break.)
If you have been keeping up with news in the tech world lately, you might have noticed something of a debate concerning signal strength. Antennas looks to do away with the simplistic "bars" measure of signal strength by letting Android users know what towers they are connected to, and roughly where they are. The app uses your phone's GPS along with data collected from the antenna and puts both up against Google's antenna database.
CDMA users (That's you, Verizon and Sprint) will have less succes, as the Android OS prevents connecting to more than one tower. This causes only one tower, the strongest, to be shown and requires Android 2.x to work. Everyone else in the world on GSM will have the best results by turning 3G off and allowing the app to run on EDGE/2G. [Panix via LifeHacker | AppBrain]
The Droid Incredible was a tough nut to crack, but cracked it was, though the method for rooting was a bit, shall we say, difficult. But the Unrevoked team has updated its one-click method for the Dinc, and it's a new day in America, folks. Fear not, and get your root on. [Unrevoked via Twitter] Thanks to everyone, and we mean everyone, who sent this in.
Seeing all this Droid X scavenger hunt news, but feeling a little left out because you use AT&T? Well if you're anywhere close to the Jordan Creek Mall in Des Moines, Iowa (or feel up for a road trip) the AT&T store has a treat this upcoming Saturday. Starting at 1:30 PM the Passport for Prizes contest kicks off and prizes include LCD televisions, gift certificates, and best of all, HTC Aria phones.
Be sure to drop by the Jordan Creek Mall AT&T store, or see the Facebook page for more information. Good luck, and be sure to let us know if you win, lose, or just have a good time!
If you know anything about customizing Android, then you know about Cyanogen. They were the first group to actually root and customize the G1 back in its hayday, and since then they have become the authority on “unlocking and hacking” the Android platform. Cyanogen 6 – the latest version of the software – is based on Froyo (Android 2.2), and will be bringing some interesting new treats to the Evo. For one, both the front and the rear camera are rumored to be fully functional in their new release – something that’s unheard of in present Froyo ROM builds. Furthermore, the group has developed HID support, which stands for Human Interface Device. This allows a bluetooth mouse or keyboard to be connected as well as the use of a cursor. Cyanogen released an unofficial statement on XDA forums earlier this week:
The goal is BT HID + full HDMI out. That turns your phone into a real computer.
Apparently, the idea is to hook your phone up to a monitor via the HDMI cable, and then use a mouse or keyboard to access it like a desktop workstation. The quality isn't great, but check out the video of him demonstrating bluetooth HID after the break. And keep your eyes peeled! [via XDA Developers]