Manufacturer's looking for 500 beta testers this week
Just because the Motorola Charm isn't going to be updated to Android 2.2. Froyo doesn't mean it's going to be left to die. Motorola's actually prepping an update that's expected to start pushing soon. Here's what you can expect:
Added Wifi calling
Added SlackerRadio and NAB
Improved phone stability
Improved calendar performance
Added Google security patches
Songs purchased from Amazon MP3 store now visible in Connected Music Player
Improved touchscreen response
Last text message now shown instead of the first
Improved audio quality through speaker
And Motorola's looking for 500 testers before the update's pushing out to the masses. You have to take a short survey (by 10 p.m. EST March 10), and that's it. Can't be too big a pool to pull from, right? [Best test survey, Motorola via Android Central Forums]
After two years, 7.5 million members and some 500 million check-ins, Foursquare is turning 3. Version 3.0 that is, and it brings new features for users and merchants. For those of us doing the checking-in, there's a new way to discover venues using the "Explore" and "Me" tabs. For businesses, there are new analytics, and new ways to reward customers for their check-in loyalty. And Foursquare says there's more in store. Check it all out in their most recent blog posts, and we've got download links after the break. [Foursquare, 2]
So it's pretty much a forgone conclusion that Samsung's going to drop an 8.9-inch tablet on us at CTIA in a couple weeks. And judging by this new teaser picture posted on Facebook, it's going to slim. As in, even slimmer than the Galaxy S II, which is only 8.49 mm. Take a look at that picture again, and note the 3.5mm headphone jack. There's a reason it's called a 3.5mm headphone jack, right? So, this thing's gonna be thin. And it's going to be here in 13 days. [Facebook]
If there was any doubt that 2010 was the year of Android, then the latest set of European smartphone shipment data compiled by analysis firm IDC should pretty much seal the deal. According to IDC's latest Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Android platform saw massive year-on-year growth of 1,580 percent in Europe between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010.
In the fourth quarter of 2010 Europeans snapped up 7.9 million Android-powered phones, compared to 470,000 during the final quarter of 2009. This places Android comfortably ahead of both Apple and RIM, who shipped 5.2 million and 4.8 million phones respectively.
IDC research manager Francisco Jeronimo predicts that Android will continue to go from strength to strength and maintain its position as the European market leader.
"The last quarter of 2010 clearly shows the trends for the coming years in Western Europe. The Western European mobile phone market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be the king of the hill, Android surged from 4% to 31% market share in less than a year to become the market leader in 4Q10 and the fastest growing operating system ever."
Jeronimo also expects Android growth to continue to outpace that of iOS and other platforms over the next four years, as more and more Europeans turn towards smartphones as opposed to cheaper feature phones. [IDC]
If you weren't lucky enough (and able to survive the server crush) to register for Google I/O 2011 before all the tickets sold out, Google VP of engineering Vic Gundotra has announced that Google will be handing out 100 free tickets to winners of a mini-developers challenge. The contest starts March 16, spans 10 days, and 10 winners will be selected each day. Sure sounds better than eBay auctions. Here aer the gritty details:
"We will announce a new challenge on the contest site on select dates at either 9am or 4pm PDT, that will last for 24 hours each. There will be 10 days of challenges with 10 winners on each day, spanning the following developer products:
March 16 - Android, 9:00 am
March 17 - Chrome, 9:00 am
March 18 - App Engine, 9:00 am
March 21 - YouTube APIs, 9:00 am
March 22 - Game Developers, 9:00 am
March 23 - Google Maps / Geo, 4:00 pm
March 24 - Commerce, 9:00 am
March 25 - Developer Tools / GWT, 9:00 am
March 28 - Accessibility, 4:00 pm
March 29 - Google Apps / Enterprise, 4:00 pm
Each of the challenges will focus on one of our developer products and has two rounds. Plan to be in front of your computers for the first half-hour that the challenge starts to complete a series of questions for Round I, which will qualify you for the main coding challenge in Round II. You will have a little over 20hrs to complete Round II. "
The contest is valid to residents of all 50 United States, and the District of Columbia. Winners will be announced April 4. Check the source link for more information and links. [Google Code blog]
Again and again we see Android modders and hackers take a good thing and make it better -- this time around it's the Sprint Epic 4G. We're not surprised by the amount of love the Samsung Galaxy S phones get from Android developers. They have great hardware, but often the software leaves a bit to be desired, so they are just begging for the custom ROM treatment. Android Central forums adviser Paul627g has done just that with the leaked, then official, then removed EB13 Froyo build for the Epic 4G. With tricks like a deodexed system, bloat removed, and full ext4 compliance this one looks like a real treat, and the fellas seem to have fixed any random issues that were present in the official version. And we're a sucker for the custom wallpapers by Android Central forums member scodoublet (check out some of his other wallpapers here. They're fantastic.)
To top things off there's also a huge list of mods, tweaks, a kernel, and other add-ons to be used with the ACE ROM. If you're rocking the Epic and have went down the path of root, you really need to have a look. [Android Central forums] Thanks for the heads-up Casey!
One of the joys of being an Android user is the multitude of devices available to choose from. One question that often comes up is "What device should I get?" There is no right or wrong answer for that. (OK, there might be a couple wrong ones.) No one can really pick out a device for you based on their usage-- others can only share their opinions on the devices they have used. If you've tried a device that didn't meet your needs but found another that did, let us know in the forums.
Ever wonder how big the CyanogenMod world is? Let's break it down: CyanogenMod 7 RC2 (that's the second release candidate of the Gingerbread track of CM) went live last night. And in less than 24 hours, it's been downloaded more than 150,000 times. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at.
So if you're wondering what all the fuss is about, we suggest you dive into the Android Central Forums and ask your friends. Then root that black slab sitting in your pocket, CM it up and enjoy. [CyanogenMod]
Seems as though the Gingerbread love is being spread rather nicely. While a Gingerbread ROM leaked for the HTC Desire HD earlier, ROM cookers have already started building it in to their now updated releases. Personally, I'd stick to one that was pre-rooted rather then downloading the original leaked ROM but for testing purposes that is what you are all seeing in the screenshot -- the base leaked version.
Either way, if you're looking to check out Gingerbread on your Desire HD hit up the source link for more details. Just remember, it is rather buggy as it is not a final release but it'll give you a taste of Gingerbread and HTC Sense v2.1. Here's to hoping we see an official rollout sooner rather than later. [XDA]
Well, it looks like that unnamed Samsung LTE phone we saw back at CES has a name, and it is the Samsung Stealth. Recent FCC filings would seem to confirm this as well. TechnoBuffalo got their hands on the picture you see above as well as a possible launch date sometime in April. Their tipster also reported getting a full day's use out of the stock 1500 mAh battery, so that should reassure some of us about LTE utterly destroying battery life. Couple more pics are at the source link, and be sure to check out our video preview of this phone from CES past the break. [TechnoBuffalo]
Spacetime Studios, the company behind the popular mobile MMO Pocket Legends, has released some surprising numbers showing that the Android version of their game has been pulling in more money than its iOS counterpart. The game gets about 9,000 daily downloads on Android compared to some 4,000 on iOS. In addition, the developer noticed that Android gamers would spend about three times more time within the game than iOS users.
What is even more impressive is that Pocket Legends makes most of its money using in-app purchases - the actual game is free. This means that even without Google having implemented their in-app purchasing system yet (Apple has had it implemented for some time), Android users are buying more than iOS users. Spacetime has also bought ad space for their game inside other mobile apps and has seen about three times the interest from Android users compared to iOS users. Because of these numbers, CEO Gary Gattis said:
"This led us to stop advertising on Apple and throw all of our marketing dollars onto Android. It really just makes sense from a financial point of view."
Stories like this aren't just great news for the particular developer, they are great news for the Android platform as a whole. With hundreds of thousands of apps, it is increasingly hard for developers to get noticed and stand out in Apple's App Store and many are frustrated by Apple's vague App Store rejection policies. For many, it would seem that Android is still an untapped market and don't be surprised if you see iOS gamescoming to Androidin droves this year. [Computer World]
One of the great things about Android is the ability to install emulators and ROMS that allow you to play your favorite games from past consoles. The latest to hit the market is N64 Emulator, which plays such popular games as Goldeneye and Super Smash Brothers.
After playing the NES, SNES and N64 emulators, the N64 version is more playable thus far, though by a small margin. I think what makes the difference is the joystick, which is extremely functional and works a lot better than I expected it to.
If you’re not familiar with emulators, they create a virtual controller on your screen. An interesting part of N64 is that there is an important button, Z, on the bottom of the controller. Obviously there is nothing comparable on your mobile device, so they have positioned it in the top left corner of the screen. The joystick is on the bottom left, A + B are bottom right, the yellow C buttons are above A + B, and R is top right.
The layout is solid, but difficult for some games, like Goldeneye, that require the use of all of the controls. This is a difficult predicament to overcome and smooth gameplay will only come with practice or heavy configuration of the controls.
Some of the best games to play on this app are racing games, due to the fact that they require less buttons. I’ve played MarioKart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing and both have played very well. I assume this will mean games like F-Zero X and Wave Racer 64 will play just as well.
I have also spent some time with Madden, NHL, Mario Golf and Super Smash Brothers. The sports games worked fine while Smash Brothers was a bit more difficult due to the amount you depend on the C Buttons.
Keep in mind that I’m playing all of these games on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and that on a smaller screen where the buttons are closer together, you may get better results.
Overall I am very pleased with N64 Emulator. It’s amazing that we can get these games to work well on our mobile devices. To have Goldeneye and Perfect Dark available in my pocket at all times is unbelievable.
The app is $5.99 and is available from the Android Market. While the price seems high, it’s worth it in my opinion. Just to have the ability to play any N64 game you want at anytime is worth it to me. Check out a video, more pictures and download links after the break.
At the Android Developer Conference in San Francisco today, Immersion has released the MOTIV SDK -- bringing the ability to completely customize haptic feedback on Android devices to both OEM's and application developers. The MOTIV SDK brings hundreds of pre-designed haptic effects along with code samples that allow developers to quickly and easily give their applications an extra layer of realism through feel. Examples include things like a first person shooter giving different feedback for a pistol than it would a machine gun, to more subtle things like each string vibrating at a different frequency in a guitar app. These enhancements are available for all Android phones running Android 2.1 or higher.
Immersion says that small details like this make for better apps, and I'm thinking they are right. You can try out a demo of the available pre-built haptic feedback schemes on your own device with Immersion's UHL Effect Preview app (download link after the break), and the whole concept seems pretty ingenious. The full press release, as well as a video demo are after the break as well. [Immersion]
Google has added Instant Previews for search results on mobile devices, including Android phones. If you do a search on Google, and click the magnifying glass next to a search result, it will bring up a visual preview of the results that is easily scrollable. This makes it much easier to find something if you know you're looking for a specific type of content or graphic.
For Android, Instant Preview is compatible with devices sporting Android 2.2 and up and is available in 38 different languages.. If you have Froyo and above, just go to Google.com in the browser and do a search. You should be able to see the magnifying glass that will allow the Instant Previews. [Google Mobile Blog]
Back in November we were told the dual-booting Windows 7 / Android tablet would be shipping come Q1 2011 and Viewsonic today has made that happen. Just in case you need a refresher on specs, what you'll be getting yourself into with the ViewPad 10 is:
1.66GHz Intel Atom processor
2GB of memory
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n,
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
1.3 megapixel built-in front camera
MicroSD card slot
Android 1.6 and either Windows 7 Home Premium (with a 16GB SSD hard drive) or Windows 7 Professional (with a 32GB SSD hard drive) for respective ESPs of $599 and $679.
Not so sure how well Android 1.6 is going to fare in the days of the Motorola Xoom but if you're looking for the full press release from Viewsonic, you'll find it behind the break. [MarketWire]
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