CES ushered in a new era of smartphones and tablets. Dual-core Tegra 2 processors. LTE broadband data connections. Honeycomb on tablets (for starters). Laptop companions. Docks that turn your smartphone into a mini computer. Creme brulee-coated smartphones drowning in syrup and melted butter. Wait. That was breakfast.
But one thing that was nowhere to be found in the major smartphone releases? Near-field communication. The feature trumpeted in Android 2.3 Gingerbread (see our hands-on with NFC on the Nexus S) was nary to be seen in any of the smartphones announced at CES. Not in the Motorola Atrix. Not in the Droid Bionic. Not in the LG Revolution. Not in the HTC Thunderbolt. Or the Samsung 4G LTE Smartphone (we just love typing that, by the way) or any of the others.
That's not to say we won't see new phones with NFC in the coming months. Mobile World Congress is a month away. CTIA is a month after that. And carriers can release phones any damn time they want. So NFC isn't DOA, it was just MIA at CES. OK?
You've got to feel for Xperia X10 owners. They spent most of 2010 stuck on Android 1.6, and so far 2011 has brought the news that the device will never get an official update to Android 2.2 Froyo.
Some good news has emerged recently, however, with the publication of some new source code for the X10, X10 Mini and X8 on Sony Ericsson's Developer World site. The code for the unreleased version 2.1.A.0.390, based on Android 2.1, includes an updated multi-touch driver allowing for dual-touch support, according to the resourceful people at xda-developers. This would be a first for the X10 series, as current touchscreen drivers for these phones only support pinch-to-zoom rather than full multi-touch.
Unfortunately, since the X10's bootloader is locked, X10 owners will have to wait for Sony (and possibly their carrier) to approve this update before they can get it on their phones. Despite months of effort, the Android community has not yet succeeded in getting custom firmware loaded onto the X10. [xda-developers]
Monsoon has announced two new boxes, Volkano Flow and Volkano Blast along with apps to let you transport ("sling") your home TV to your Android Phone. Flow is $99 and is barebones slinging. Blast is $199 and added DVR, schedule recordings, web video like YouTube, and mobile video recording (you pick your mobile device and it will record a TV show specifically for that format). Volkano Blast also offers DLNA support so you can beam media from your Android device right back to the box as well.
We got the live demo at CES 2010, so watch along and let us know if you're interested in the new, cheap Volkanos. [Monsoon]
We broke this news to you way back in October, and Sprint this morning officially announced the Motorola i886, a horizontal sliding keyboard device with Nextel Direct Connect that meets military 810G specs for ruggedness. It's got a 2.2-inch display at 240x320, 2MP camera with digital zoom, GPS, Blueooth 2.1+EDR, comes with a 2GB microSD card, a 1380mAh battery and weighs 4.98 ounces.
The phone runs an unannounced version of Android and of course has the usual Android-style buttons tucked away on its front keypad.
The i886 has full access to the web and e-mail, including POP3, IMAP and Exchange ActiveSync protocols. SMS in on board, of course, and you get all of the Nextel Direct Connect features, including group messaging.
The Motorola i886 is available for $79.99 after $50 rebate and two-year contract. Full presser's after the break.
Sony's Xperia Play can't stay out of the news. It's always being caught on pictures or videos and it hasn't even been officially announced yet. A new video shows the device running PS1 games Resident Evil 2 and Rage Racer.
As pointed out in the source link, the games appear to be played via an emulator, which may suggest that the Xperia Play comes with a PS1 emulator built-in. Nothing can be confirmed now though until we hear something official from Sony. Until then, we'll keep enjoying these videos of the device in the wild. Enjoy the video after the break! [Edge via Engadget]
T-Mobile has sent word that users of both the MyTouch 3G 3.5 Jack and the MyTouch Fender LE will see Froyo start hitting their devices starting Jan. 12. The update is OTA (over-the-air) and will be pushed in waves. T-Mobile is aiming to get everyone updated by Feb. 1 so users won't have to wait too long. Both phones are slightly tweaked versions of the ole' MyTouch 3G, which got its Froyo update a couple months back. [T-Mobile] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
CES 2011 has wound down, and if you're an Android fan you're likely either in a sort of heaven that only gadget geeks can enter, or suffering a shaky overload from all the news. Either way is good. It seemed like you couldn't shake a stick anywhere in Sin City without hitting something Android related, and kudos to our guys on the floor in Vegas -- while it was loads of fun it was a lot of work as well. So nurse your sore feet and enjoy a cold beverage while you relax boys, because all this stuff will soon be coming to market and we get to be busy all over again!
All of us here, even the smart unlucky ones who stayed home to keep the Android Central machine running have a whole mess of stuff to ponder, so we locked ourselves in seclusion and deliberated to decide what our "Best of CES 2011" list would look like. OK, we really did it via email while watching football, eating chips, and drinking fizzy drinks -- but it's all good. Hit the break to see our list, and be sure to cast your own vote in the Android Central forums!
If you're new to Android (or even an old pro) and are looking for some even more collections off how-tos, tips and tricks, we've got a couple books you should check out (in addition to Android Central, natch).
Droids Made Simple (Apress), by Gary Mazo, Martin Trautschold and Marziah Karch, is written for owners of the Droid, Droid 2/Global and Droid X and is full of screenshots and step-by-step instructions. It's available in eBook format for $17.49 or in hardcopy from Amazon for $24.99.
Android Fully Loaded (Wiley), by Rob Huddleston, is an instructional book for the entire Android platform, from camera use to music to e-mail. It's available for $24.99.
Full disclosure: Droids Made Simple and Android Fully Loaded were tech edited by our own Phil Nickinson, who also is Huddleston's long lost cousin. They're all still talking to Phil even after working with him.
What happens when you pile a bunch of people into a room and tell them to play with a just-announced Android device? Some folks will play with it and then quickly move along while others, will be bound and determined to test it out to the max and see what kind of limits can be reached.
The Motorola Droid Bionic shown above got put through its paces when tested via Quadrant installed on it sometime before or after our own hands on with it. While the Quadrant test isn't exactly the be all, end all of testing, the Droid Bionic did give off an impressive score of 2284 without Quadrant even being optimized as of yet to run on the device. You can hit the break and see a video of it running the test yourself. Thanks, lsramair, for sending this in!
According to the Korean-language Samsung website Samsung Tomorrow, Samsung is proudly announcing two things (as of Jan. 10). They have sold over 10 million Galaxy S phones world wide, and they will be announcing a successor to the Galaxy S line this February at Mobile World Congress.
The 10 million-sold figure makes Samsung the single most successful Android smartphone manufacturer to date, and they expect next year to be even better with a huge goal of 60 million smartphones. Problems with translation prevent me from giving the full breakdown by continent, but the 10 million figure is plain as day, and we all expected this based on third-quarter sales and predictions. Congratulations, Samsung!
A bit more interesting, is the Galaxy S successor, as Samsung is saying it will ship with Gingerbread, and be a dual core device. This mirrors earlier leaks and rumors about the mystery HSPA+ flagship phone from last November. We'll be on the ground at the next MWC just as we were at CES 2011, and it's only about a month away -- stay tuned! [Samsung Tomorrow (Korean)] Thanks Andy!
Looks like some folks out there just aren't ready to say goodbye to the Samsung Behold II. Just a few days ago we reported that Samsung had released the Android 1.6 source code for the device and now, we hear of folks building custom ROMs for the Behold II based off of Android 2.2.1. While it seems most things may still be broken within, the fact that it even boots is rather impressive in its own way. Long live the Samsung Behold II. Thanks Conan! [EBP]
Back in December when the Gingerbread SDK was released, some folks found an interesting file hidden deep within. While we still don't claim to understand this level of artistic genius, at least we know why it was there. Now if we only knew why it was there. Check out the video and play along if you have the hardware. [XDA-Developers] Thanks James!
Ever since the rumor mill first began surrounding Motorola's much anticipated Honeycomb tablet, we've been patiently impatiently waiting for it's release. Alas, this will be making a lot of you Xoom fans who don't want to be tied to a Verizon data plan happy. Motorola's Latin America GM told Argentinian-based Infobae that a WiFi only version of Motorola's Xoom Honeycomb-based tablet exists, and that we should expect it sometime in April. Now, keep in mind that this was confirmed by the Latin American division of Motorola, so we're hoping that this doesn't mean it'll only be available in Argentina in April, but it's good to hear that a WiFi only version is out there and Motorola intends on releasing it. [Infobae via Engaget]
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