You guys know how much I hate headlines with question marks, but that's pretty much where we stand on the above photo. Above you see the Motorola Droid keyboard at top, and what purportedly is the Droid 2 keyboard beneath it. The perspective's a tad off, but the keys look to be noticeably bigger (and they damn well better be if the leftmost keys -- tab, ALT lock, shift/caps lock and ALT -- are going to be that huge). Also of note is that the golden D-pad has given way to four arrow keys and an OK button.
This likely would be an improvement -- we won't really know until it's (a) real and (b) in our hands. But, really, just about anything would be an improvement over the current Droid keyboard. [Howard Fourms via Engadget]
The Boost Mobile Motorola i1 popped up on Best Buy recently and it looks like it'll be priced a bit higher than any of us wanted and/or expected: $349.99. On one hand, the Motorola i1 is a pre-paid device that comes with no commitments or contracts. Not to mention that you could use Boost Mobile's $50/month all inclusive plan to save even more money down the road. But for a device that is decidedly mid-level--3.1-inch screen, Android 1.5, etc--it's tough to pay that initial premium when better Android devices can be had for half the price.
Meanwhile, it the i1 now appears slated for Sprint release starting June 6 with direct shipping, and everywhere else on July 11. It still isn't likely to do much for most consumers. But for the iDEN crowd, well, chop the price down to $149 and things get interesting. Leave it at $349 and the i1 stays in a niche market. [bestbuy via engadget]
A Skype PR rep confirmed to SkatterTech today that an Android app is coming to the Android Market, never mind that it's currently exclusive to Verizon. In an e-mail, the rep wrote:
"We will be bringing a direct to consumer app to the Android marketplace later this year. This application will be available for all consumers globally to download regardless of carriers. (i.e. similar to how we offer the iPhone app today)."
None too soon, and it might get even better, as this Skype "consumer app" (as opposed to ...?) may feature video chat -- though the rep backed off that claim, apparently. Either way, it's another reason to avoid last-minute surprise fees from other video chat apps that you thought were going to be free. [SkatterTech] Thanks, Jeremy.
Just to ease your fears or maybe tease you even more, Motorola has just updated their official Android update page and timeframes are thankfully getting a little more specific. Leading the way, of course, is the Droid which has completed its Android 2.1 update and the Milestone which is currently rolling out its own update in different parts of the world. Compared to the previous update, the Backflip now has Android 2.1 planned for Q3 and the Cliq and Cliq XT has 2.1 planned for Q2. Unfortunately the Devour's upgrade is still "under evaluation". It's very nice of Motorola to keep us updated on their Android 2.1 plans but we wonder if they've heard that Android 2.2 Froyo is out and about now.. [Motorola]
Good news for you folks running Froyo who are sorely missing your favorite paid applications from the new and improved Android Market. A fix has actually been around at XDA Developers for a couple of days, and it's as simple as pushing over a new build.prop file that spoofs the Market into thinking you're running an older version of Android (Eclair really is ancient, ya know?) while keeping your Froyo goodness intact. There's really not too much hackery involved, though you'll likely want to run a nandroid backup first, just in case. And if you somehow have Froyo but still have no idea what we're talking about, better to just leave this one alone. [XDA Developers]
Note: Make sure the file you push back to your phone is, in fact, named build.prop and not something else.
And here's a look at the LG Optimus -- aka the GT540 -- which we previously toyed with at CES in January. Nothing's really changed since then. Same 3-inch HVGA touchscreen (no keyboard on this one), same Android 1.6, same 3.1-megapixel camera. We know LG's capable of making some above-average devices -- we've just yet to see any here in the states.
Finally, for those of us waiting patiently for Sirius XM to bring satellite radio to Android, our day has come. The same satellite radio you've come to know and love in your car (it's a life-saver) and on your desktop is now available on your Android phone.
For those of you new to satellite radio, it's a subscription server that has channel after channel of music as well as sports, entertainment, family and heath, comedy, news, pure talk radio, religion -- just about anything and everything you could think of.
The app itself is easy to use and hangs out in your notification tray, so you can access it easily while you're off doing other things. About our only complaint is that it doesn't work in landscape mode, and the app itself is named "Online," which makes it tricky to find in your app drawer at first.
The Sirius XM app itself is free (download the app directly from Sirius here), but the service itself has a monthly fee (there are a number of packages available), though you can try it for 30 days free. More at SiriusXM.com, and more screen shots after the break. Thanks, Jay!
The power widget you see here isn't really new in Android 2.2, but it's been tweaked for Froyo. The screen brightness selector now includes an auto brightness setting (using the ambient light sensor) in addition to the three static settings (low, medium and high). It's a nice little addition for those of us who prefer to let the phone determine the screen brightness.
(Thanks, Philip! Find a cool new feature in Froyo and want to tell the world about it? E-mail us here and we'll make you famous!)
Time to get the pitchforks out, people. We slept on it in hopes it was all a nightmare, but the ugly rumor that began yesterday (first by Android Guys and later confirmed by Engadget) is true: Video chat on Qik on the Evo 4G is going to cost an extra $4.99 a month, payable by Paypal.
According to Samsung, the Behold II is not upgradable beyond Android 1.6. To sweeten the blow a little bit, Samsung says they will also offer the Swype keyboard, an improved media player, improved bluetooth capabilities, and the Android core apps (the apps like Gmail, Maps, or Talk) would be getting an upgrade. We don't like it any more than you do, but this is how legacies are built. [Phone Scoop]
It's a brave new world with the addition of video chat on the Sprint HTC Evo 4G. And what better way to break in Fring's new free video calling service than with one of our deepest darkest competitors dear friends in this Android world. In the video above, we chat it up with Taylor from Android and Me -- both of us on the Evo 4G. It wasn't the smoothest connection in the world -- though I was on WiFi and Taylor's in a 4G town -- but it's video calling, and we're glad to see it.
Have you ever wanted to share your new Doodle Jump high score with all your friends only to realize that the game lacked the ability to publish your score to Facebook? The Official Facebook SDK for Android developers was released today, allowing communication between native Android apps and the Facebook social network. One feature that the Android edition of the SDK has that the iPhones version lacks is the Graph API that was displayed at Facebook’s f8 developer’s conference last month. The Android SDK also includes the latest installment of OAuth authentication, version 2.0, which enables the user to publish stories to Facebook via Feed forms.
With more than 100 million people accessing Facebook on their mobile phones every month, this SDK will give Android developers even more room to develop and explore. When it comes down to it, it’s the developers that define where an SDK goes and what it’s ultimately capable of and with Android being one of the fastest growing mobile platforms, it's apparent that there's nowhere but up. [Facebook]
Not sure which one of these we wan to see released more -- the Evo 4G, or Sling Player. Regardless, here they are together. That's right, Sling Player on the Evo 4G. It's still in private beta and said to be "coming soon," so you'll have to make do with this teaser for now. Go ahead and watch it again. It'll last longer. Thanks, George!
Back in February when Google released Buzz for mobile, only folks with Android 2.0 or higher and the iPhone could use it. Today the Google Mobile Blog announced that the Buzz website has been re-written, and now any mobile browser that can read and render XHTML. Open your browser and surf to buzz.google.com and sign in with your Google account. Not sure if this is enough to make Buzz more popular, but it certainly can't hurt. To check it out, I was forced to fire up the browser on my venerable Blackberry 8830 WE. As you can see above, it's not too shabby -- but like everything else, looks much better on the Android browser. Nice work Google [Google Mobile Blog]
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