Headlines

4 years ago

Google bids for Nortel's patent portfolio in hopes of helping Android and Chrome

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Nortel

Google has announced today via its blog that it has bid for Nortel's patent portfolio. They begin their blog post by chastising companies that use patents to stifle innovation and the current patent system in general. 

Here is the next paragraph:

But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.

Nortel is a communications giant that dates back to the 1800s, thus their patent portfolio must be enormous. Google's current bid was labeled as the "stalking-horse bid," which means that others wanting to bid for the portfolio will have to use its bid as the starting point. 

Google also mentioned the Android and Chrome projects specifically towards the end of its  post, citing the need to protect them as a main reason for bidding. 

Ideally, the patent system would undergo much needed reforms; until then, moves like this are the best defense against an onslaught of lawsuits. [Google blog]

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4 years ago

Android Central Forums member snags HTC Merge early in Alltel retail store

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HTC Merge on Alltel

The HTC Merge is still officially only available for pre-order on Alltel. But Android Central Forums member jtowndawg scoped out his local store in Georgia and, sure enough, was able to take one home already. And even better, he's given us a nice little photo gallery of his bounty. And for that, he'll be rewarded.

The HTC Merge, as you undoubtedly remember from our exclusive hands-on way back last fall, and in more recent sit-downs, is a 3.8-inch Android 2.2 phone with an excellent sliding keyboard and 5MP camera that all but disappeared for a few months. And now it's on Alltel, and it's also headed to Cellular South. What we don't know is if it's ever going to see release on Verizon, as it was initially intended. There remain hints to that fact -- some new, some old -- but nothing official.

But if you're on Alltel and are dying for the Merge, it'd behoove you to swing by your local store. Tell 'em Android Central sent ya. And check out more pics of jtowdawg's new Merge in the forums. [HTC Merge in Alltel stores now, HTC Merge forums]

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4 years ago

Beautiful Widgets tablet beta hands-on

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Beautiful Widgets tablet beta

Widgets are a big part of Android, providing information at a glance without having to go through the steps of opening an application.  Beautiful Widgets has been a long time favorite of both fan and Android Central staff alike, and when we heard that Levelup Studio had released a public beta of a tablet version, we had to go hands-on.  It's not perfect -- beta software never is -- but it's stable, and lives up to the beautiful part of the app name.  Having said that, the toggle widgets aren't 100 percent just yet, but the clocks, weather, and battery widgets work like a champ.

Hit the break to see a quick video of them in action on the Xoom, as well as a download link for both the public beta and the full, paid Market version (Android 1.5 and up) and a link to the wallpaper before you even have to ask.  [Android Central forums]

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4 years ago

Experimental Honeycomb ROM now available for Samsung Galaxy Tab

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The unofficial Android 3.0 Honeycomb port for the Samsung Galaxy Tab that we reported a couple of weeks ago has made some pretty impressive progress in a relatively short space of time. Now ROM chef spacemoose1 has made some initial alpha builds available for download, giving the CDMA Galaxy Tab its first taste of Honeycomb. The ROM is based on the Honeycomb SDK build, and although it's (mostly) functional, it's still in the early stages of development and as such is unstable, slow and prone to crashing. Check out the video above to see exactly what we mean.

So it's something you can play around with, but definitely nowhere near stable enough to use as your main ROM. Still, if you have a spare CDMA Galaxy Tab and are feeling adventurous, you can hit the source link to find out more. [XDA] Thanks for the tip, Dan!

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4 years ago

Zipcar Android app in the works

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zipcar

Zipcar, the popular metro-based car loaner company, has let slip via its Twitter account that there is finally an Android app in the works. Fun the uninitiated, Zipcar's an easier alternative to buying or even traditionally renting a car. There has been a very nice app on the iOS side which allows users to reserve cars on-the-go, unlock them and much more. 

No time frame for when the app is expected to be released, but knowing it's on the way is great news for heavy Zipcar users. [Twitter] Thanks, BSG75!

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4 years ago

Sony Honeycomb tablet in U.S. 'by end of summer', says Nikkei

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 Sony + Honeycomb Bee

Sony will release an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet by the end of summer, according to Bloomberg, which cites Japanese newspaper Nikkei. Nikkei's report is apparently based on information from Sony CEO Howard Stringer, and says Sony will launch its tablet to the U.S. market first.

These reports add considerable weight to earlier rumors that Sony is working on a 9.4-inch Honeycomb tablet based around its PlayStation Suite and Qriocity service. The tablet, codenamed "S1", was said to be powered by a Tegra 2 processor, and due for a September release at a price point around $600.

Early concept drawings of the S1 showed an interesting design with a bulge at one end to make it easier to hold and prop up. If Sony can combine this design with a compelling software package then they could be onto a winner. We'll keep you posted in the months ahead as more info emerges. [Bloomberg]

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Ace used to shoot slow-motion hipster stunt

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Oh, hipsters. You give them a couple free Samsung Galaxy Aces and what do you know, they run out and take a video of themselves doing some crazy public stunt using said phones. While the video itself is pretty standard fare -- hip soundtrack, 20-somethings, annoyed older bystanders -- the video quality is quite good and shows that the mid-range Ace is a perfectly capable device. [YouTube] Thanks, Vincenzo

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4 years ago

T-Mobile G2X retail packaging revealed

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 T-Mobile G2X packaging

The first photo of the retail box for the T-Mobile G2X, T-Mo's unskinned version of the LG Optimus 2X, has emerged. The image obtained by TmoNews shows a box similar to that of its keyboard-toting cousin, the G2 -- there's the standard picture of the phone on a patterned white background. This isn't really much to write home about, but the fact that retail packaging has started to leak suggests that a release probably isn't far off at this point. T-Mobile hasn't confirmed a release date yet, but rumors suggest the device may launch as soon as April 20.

Be sure to check out our hands-on coverage of the T-Mobile G2X from CTIA to find out what's inside the box. [TmoNews]

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4 years ago

FullHDMI updated for use with non-rooted devices

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Back in February we got our first look at FullHDMI, an application for your HTC EVO 4G that mirrors your phones display on a television set. Upon initial release the application was only supported on rooted devices, which did not allow for use by everyone, but the developer has updated the application as previously promised. The application, which is now found in the Android market, will work on any out of the box EVO, as well as rooted users who are on a Sense or AOSP  ROM. Be sure to head to the market and pick a copy up for yourself for only $2.99, and be sure to hop in the forums for more information.

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4 years ago

The Week in Android News

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recap

Another week comes to an end, and for those of us who didn't keep our eyes glued to the site, it's quite possible that you missed something. With lots of news ranging from Gingerbread leaks to the Samsung Droid Charge to winning a tablet of your choice. Be sure to check below for what you may have missed, and be sure you are following us on Twitter for all the latest news!

General News

Hardware News

Tablet News

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4 years ago

Asus Eee Pad Transformer website now live

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Asus has made their web page for the Eee Pad Transformer (that's the one that docks in a keyboard) live, with specs and details.  They list no dates when it becomes available, or prices, but they do tell us a few things we hadn't heard before.  The Eee Pad Transformer will come complete with Polaris Office 3.0 to allow viewing and editing of .doc, .xls, and .ppt files, have Asus' own launcher on top of Honeycomb, and include unlimited cloud storage via the Asus MyCloud application free for one year.

They also mention an OTA update scheduled for "mid-April", which makes us think that we should be seeing it soon -- maybe even sooner than the May 7 date we saw from Amazon earlier.  If the rumors of sub $400 pricing for the 16 GB model hold true, it's a viable alternative to the Motorola Xoom for the Honeycomb tablet experience.  We'll have more as it develops.  [Asus via NotebookItalia (Italian)] Thanks, Marco, for the tip!

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4 years ago

Apparent AT&T-friendly Nexus S appears on Samsung support site

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Samsung Nexus S ATT

The rumors of a version of the Nexus S that's friendly to the 850 and 1900MHz bands that AT&T uses -- and that will be released in the United States and not require importing -- have circulated for a while. We found it tipped in code in late February. Looks like we might be closer to an actual release, as the GT-9020A is on Samsung's support site, with some AT&T markings on the page to boot.

Still no word on any release date or pricing, but we'd image it'd be along the lines of the T-Mobile version of the Nexus S, at $529 off-contract at Best Buy. [Samsung via Pocketnow]

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4 years ago

Bell HTC Incredible S pricing confirmed

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Bell HTC Incredible S pricing confirmed

By now, the only ones hiding the fact that the HTC Incredible S is coming to Canada are  some of the carriers that are going to be offering it. We've seen leak after leak happen since shortly after the device was announced and now The Source has confirmed one of the final pieces left in the puzzle -- the price. The off contract price was noted to be $499 from a previous Bell internal document and from the image above taken from The Source flyer looks like the 3-year contract pricing will be $99.95 while the 1-year is $474.95; 2-year is $449.95. Right now though, if you head on over to The Source website you'll still see the $499 3-year contract pricing listed there. [The Source via MobileSyrup]

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4 years ago

It's (far past) time for AT&T to allow non-Market apps on its phones

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AT&T non-market lockdown

I'm on the bandwagon. I'm on the boat. I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. I've gotten with the program. I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel. ('Bout time, eh?)

It's far past time for AT&T to allow non-market applications on its Android smartphones.

A little context, for those of you not on AT&T: If you go to Settings>Applications on any Android phone (save for those on AT&T), you'll see a setting for "Unknown sources" that will let "allow installation of non-Market applications." It's a safety feature, really, meaning that you can't install an app if it's not from the Android Market. And presumably, if an app is installed from the Android Market, it's warm and cuddly and safe. But we know that's not the case 100 percent of the time, and on rare occasions a "bad app" slips in. (These are, however, very rare cases given the scope of the Market.)

But then there's AT&T, which in its infinite wisdom decided that its users shouldn't be allowed to install non-market applications. This, after it took many moons to actually get an Android smartphone in the first place (and even then we got the Backflip).

It's time for AT&T to flip the switch. We're big boys and girls. We can take responsibility for our downloads.

But at this point it's bigger than that. The Amazon Appstore has quickly gained traction -- much faster than we expected, thanks to some high-profile exclusive releases and a free-app-a-day program. (And then there's that newfangled Music Cloud thingy.) But if you're using an AT&T phone that can't install non-Market apps, you're SOL.

We should mention the Sideload Wonder Machine, created by our own Jerry Hildenbrand. It lets you install non-Market apps on AT&T phones via ADB and the command line via a sexy Windows/Mac/Linux user interface. You technically can install the free apps (or at least the non-DRM apps) from the Amazon Appstore through this method (or traditional sideloading via ADB) if you pull the from the Amazon Appstore cache on your phone and ... and ... and ...

Yeah. It's ridiculous. And it's doubly ridiculous that we brought up this issue to Amazon just before the Appstore was announced, and nobody had an answer for it, and it's still an issue today, though reportedly AT&T and Amazon will figure it out.

They shouldn't have had to. AT&T overstepped, and it's time to make it right. Allow non-Market apps on your phones, AT&T. Your users will thank you for it. And we will, too.

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