Whether you love them or hate them, you have to be happy to see Sprint working on their 4G network. Today they announced that the Clear WiMax network is scheduled for expansion into “many” additional markets (their words not mine). This expansion will make 4G mobile broadband capability available to approximately 120 million people in the US by the end of 2010. Here's a breakdown of where Sprint's 4G is currently in operation, and where they have announced expansion:
The cities they have announced for 4G rollout this year so far are:
San Francisco, CA
Kansas City, MO
New York, NY
On a more personal note, I’ve had occasion to use Sprint’s 4G pretty extensively in Baltimore Maryland with both an Aircard and the new Overdrive mobile hotspot. It’s fast. Not just cellphone fast, but WiFi fast. In lab tests the hypothetical top speed is 40 Mb/sec, and I have seen it as fast as the advertised 10 Mb/sec in the real-world. Average speeds on the go are pretty darn good as well. A trip around Baltimore will average about 4.5-5 Mb/sec. That’s more than enough speed for mobile computing. I can only hope that if and when this technology finally makes it’s debut on a cellphone, it’s speed and reliability is comparable.
Combined with the rumor mill cranking out info about the HTC SuperSonic, this might be a big hint that 4G phones are just around the corner. [Sprint]
We've watched with interest as enterprising coders have found ways to make Google Voice even smarter by including location with the service. Basically, it knows where you are and knows not to ring, say, your home phone (yeah, some people still have those) if you're not actually near your house. But one of the more recent examples has involved a bit of work (plus personal server space), and that's a hassle.
But Google Voice Locations promises to do all that in one easy-to-use app. Load it up, tell it where you are, and tell it which phones to ring when you're in a given location -- and which phones not to ring when you're not there. Once you connect it to your Google Voice account, it runs in the background as a service, using the cell towers to determine your location. (GPS is promised in a future update).
Go ahead and give it a shot, and let us know what you think. More screen shots after the break.
There's little doubt that the HTC Incredible was at least being tested on Verizon -- we've already seen it with Verizon branding as it booted up. Now it's appeared in Verizon's inventory system, meaning a launch should be imminent. The two SKU numbers above apparently point to the launch kit (top) and the phone itself. Stay tuned, Big Red fans. [BerryScoop] Thanks, Jason!
We've seen facial recognition before on Android, but this is borderline ridiculous. In a prototype app from The Astonishing Tribe -- the behind-the-scenes maker of some of the coolest UIs out there -- you basically can snap a picture of someone and if they're in the database, be linked up to all of their social media accounts. Imagine snapping shots of random people on the street and instantly seeing what they've been up to. OK, that's a bit out there. But not really. No word if it'll recognize you with a tinfoil hat on. Video after the break. [Dvice via Geeky-Gadgets]
It's no secret that Google and China are having some differences. The crux of the disagreement is China's notoriously stringent censorship of the web and we definitely applaud Google for refusing to continue censoring search results that may cause Google to pull their search engine from China entirely (especially given the massive potential profit they could be making).
The relationship has become so sour that Google has reportedly pulled a planned Nexus One developer event in Beijing. The event was to showcase the latest and greatest Android handset and presumably get folks excited. And certainly, there's a ton of excitement for Android in China but we guess even big companies try to adhere to some sort of principle. The event is going to go off without a hitch in Hong Kong and Taiwan, so this is very likely Google sticking it to China (however effective that may be in the long run).
Everybody loves free apps. We definitely don't mind paying for premium, high-quality applications (the developers deserve it!) but there are few things that beat a wide selection of quality, free applications. Luckily, Android has free apps in droves. According to Distimo, Android Market has the highest concentration of free applications with respect to the total amount of applications available. Basically with 57% of applications being free, Android Market has the highest percentage of free applications of any app store.
To be fair, Android Market only allows paid applications in 11 countries (compared to the iPhone App Store's 77) so there's a bit of uneven playing field going here but compared to the rest of the app stores, Android Market is far and away the leader in free applications. Add that to the thousands of reasons why we love Android.
It's always fun to have smart people hack away at old phones, sometimes cool things can happen. Case in point: the folks at xda-developers have gotten Android 2.1 (yeah, that's 2.1) onto 4 old Windows Mobile phones. The HTC Kaiser (aka AT&T Tilt), Vogue, Niki, and Polaris have all been hacked to run the elusive Android 2.1. This is especially amazing since so many real Android phones have yet to be updated to 2.1. Seriously, if a Windows Mobile HTC Kaiser can do it, can't Motorola get the Droid on 2.1 already?
There are, of course, kinks to be worked out--the camera doesn't work, bluetooth is wonky--but from the sounds of it, everything else is just dandy. If you happen to have those old WinMo phones laying around, it could be a fun weekend experiment. And it should go without saying, but you kind of have to know what you're doing.
In short, it's a great idea, a video calling phone pairs with Verizon and Skype to deliver the full Skype experience on a mobile device but digging deeper, there's definitely questions abound. Why would Verizon choose to work with an unknown manufacturer like Saygus to be their first device with Skype capabilities? Earlier reports had suggested that Verizon wasn't even lending support to the Vphone.
We're sure those questions will be answered soon so in the mean time, we can dream about the perfect Verizon Skype device. The Saygus Vphone also got a bump in processor speed, jumping to 800 MHz from 628 MHz, which we hope equates in better performance. Other notable specs: 3.5 inch 800x480 screen, 5-megapixel camera, and your usual slew of connectivity options. Sadly, it still runs Android 1.6.
Let's hope that the Saygus Vphone can be the Verizon Skype phone we all want!
There's been absolutely no doubt that Android's usage share has skyrocketed in the last year, and here's another example. Gartner released figures today that show a 3.4 percentage point climb over 2008. That said, it's the 2009-2010 numbers that we're really going to want to look at, as the first Android device (the HTC Dream or T-Mobile G1) wasn't even available until late October of that year. Anyhoo, here are the OS numbers as given by Gartner:
Symbian: 46.9 percent, down from 52.4 percent in 2008.
RIM: 19.9 percent, up from 16.6 percent
iPhone OS: 14.4 percent, up from 8.2 percent.
Windows Mobile: 8.7 percent, down from 11.8 percent.
Linux: 4.7 percent, down from 7.6 percent.
Android: 3.9 percent, up from 0.5 percent.
webOS: 0.7 percent. Did not exist in 2008.
Other: 0.6 percent, down from 2.9 percent.
Symbian obviously still dominates the world market. But for Android to see the percentage growth that it did, we know it's doing something right. Can it keep that momentum? Ask us again in a year. [Gartner]
Of course all that is unofficial and subject to change. But it's far from out of the realm of possibility, and it doesn't take a betting man to know that HTC has great stuff in store for the United States this year.
We had plenty of travel time en route to Mobile World Congress and spent a good chunk of it playing with the various keyboards available for Android phones. Of course, one of the front-runners is Better Keyboard, which just got a major update to Version 5.0. What's new:
Redesigned speech input feature. No longer have to long-press the button.
Speech input remains on until you hit cancel, which is great for dictating entire paragraphs. This can be toggled in the settings.
Speech engine understands punctuation for proper dictation.
Slacker Radio today released Version 2.0.40, bringing with it the much-anticipated station caching. In other words, it's all the same Slacker Radio you've always enjoyed for free, no-Internet connectivity needed.
What you will need, however, is a subscription to Slacker Radio Plus, and that's a paid subscription. But we've got you covered. In conjunction with Slacker, we're giving away 10 subscriptions -- seven 3-month deals, and three 1-year deals. Here's what you need to do:
Download Slacker Radio on your Android phone, natch.
Make sure you're actually signed up with Slacker.
Head over to Twitter and tweet why you love Slacker and AndroidCentral. Make sure to include @androidcentral and @slackerradio in the tweet, otherwise we won't see it.
That's it. Simple, really. We'll pick 10 winners at random and DM them with the details. Contest ends at midnight Wednesday. Get to it!
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Good news for Nexus One owners looking for Sense UI as it can be run (unofficially) with the Desire ROM. For more information be sure to check out the following thread: Desires ROM ported to Nexus One.
When HTC used Mobile World Congress to announce a pair of new Android phones, it also took the opportunity to unveil the all-new Sense user interface. The new Sense is rolling out first to the European Legend and Desire, and CEO Peter Chou said the Hero line of devices -- which should include the Sprint Hero and Droid Eris -- will see updates.
A leaked HTC Desire ROM is up and running on the Nexus One, which is a very close cousin. (Check out Redmond Pie's excellent installation instructions here.) Remember that this is an unofficial build, there are bugs, and that what we end up seeing officially in the United States may vary some. (At the very least, the clock wouldn't default to 24-hour time, we'd see temperature listed in Fahrenheit, and the date would be listed as month-day-year.) But we think this ROM gives us a pretty good feel for what's in store. If you haven't already, check out our video hands-on. Then join us after the break as we take a deeper look at the new version of HTC's Sense user interface.
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