Normally we wouldn't post such a tease, since there's no payoff at the end of this rainbow. But when we're able to use the words "Samsung," "Fascinate" and "Froyo" in the same sentence, we're going to do it, dammit. An official Android 2.2 build for the Samsung Fascinate apparently has slipped into the hands of some devs who can do some good with it. And now the race is on -- will we see an official release first, or one from the community? News at 11, folks. [Twitter via Android Central Forums]
As I mentioned yesterday, our YouMail contest (among others) is now live in the forums. Be sure to check that out if you're looking to win a premium subscription. While you're entering the contest be sure to hit up some of the other posts as well or create your own. We love seeing new threads in the forums so if you have anything to share, questions that need answered or are just looking to talk Android you know where to go.
Sure, taking a Nexus S into near-orbit is great and all, but it's not really outer space, is it? Well, some researchers from England have decided to toss an unnamed Android phone into a rocket and blast it into the final frontier later this year in the name of science. The purpose of the experiment -- other than simply being awesome -- is to test how well the phone and its internal components withstand the extreme conditions of space.
The end goal of the team is to adapt the compact and powerful design of modern smartphones to power low-cost satellites of the future as they note that the phone cost "less than £300" and that the entire satellite ran the team "less than a family car." Another benefit would be that the free and open nature of Android lends itself well to allowing developers to "feasibly develop apps for satellites." [TG Daily]
Here it is folks. The release dates of the LG G-Slate, Dell Streak 7, and Samsung Vibrant 4G have all been revealed. TmoNews got their hands on a couple of screens which outline when all three of these devices will be in consumer's hands. The Dell Streak 7 has a release date of Feb. 2, which confirms previous rumors, and has a price point of $299 after some sort of rebate. Meanwhile, the LG G-Slate will be the last of the three available, releasing on March 23. Finally, the refreshed Samsung Vibrant with 4G capabilities will be in stores February 23. Anybody running out on launch day for these devices? Let us know. Hit the break for one more picture. [TmoNews]
The HTC Evo 4G and it's massive 4.3-inch screen make for a pretty big package, and unless you want to holster it, a thin, form fitting hard plastic case like the HTC Hard Shell Case is a great way to protect it without adding too much bulk. The case is made from a textured hard plastic, and the matte finish helps maintain your grip even when your hands aren't completely dry.
Its two-piece slide-on design is easy to put on and take off, and there are cutouts for access to all the buttons and features that come with the Evo. The cut-out on the bottom of the phone that allows access to the micro USB and HDMI ports is unique, and while the open-ended design may not be the best looking option, it allows the use of just about any USB or HDMI cable, even those with a thick jacket and wide plug. All the cutouts are raised with tapered edges so buttons aren't likely to be pushed while riding in the pocket, and the case is just thick enough to keep the camera lens off the surface if you lay your Evo down on its back. And of course there's full access to the kickstand.
Putting the case on and taking it off is easy, just place the red ( red for this one, the HTC Hard Shell Case is also available in gray and black) side on, then slide the black side over, lining up the interlocking tabs. The case isn't going to slip apart on its own, but it doesn't take much force to unlock and slide the case off. On the front, the case wraps around the sides of the phone and creates a raised lip to protect the screen when the phone is lying face down.
The HTC Hard Shell Case is a great way to protect your Evo without losing the slim profile, the cut-outs line up very well so the controls aren't awkward to use. You can get it for $8.24 in the Android Central store, and there are more pictures after the break.
Forrester Research has published a report concerning support for various mobile operating systems in the business sector that shows strong gains for Android. Support jumped from two percent at the end of 2009 to a respectable 13 percent in 2010. Considering Android really only exploded for most people in the latter half of 2010, it is not hard to imagine that many IT departments around the world are working on getting Android integrated in the coming year.
The leaders in this space are unsurprisingly BlackBerry at 70 percent (up three percent from 2009) and Windows Mobile at a steady 41 percent. Somewhat surprisingly iOS has the support of just 29 percent of companies surveyed. Forrester also notes that companies are increasingly supporting multiple platforms with more than 50 percent supporting at least two and about 25 percent supporting at least three. [Forrester Research (1, 2) via PreCentral]
YouMail not too long ago sent out a rather awesome update to their visual voicemail application, making it more social. YouMail now allows users to easily share voicemail not only through e-mail or text messages, but also by posting them directly to Facebook and Twitter. Great for those times when you getting those funny voicemail messages or just have one that you want to hang onto forever. Some other new features were added as well, full breakdown is below:
Simple Sharing - With just a couple of clicks, users can now easily post voicemail on their Facebook wall, and tweet voicemails using existing Android twitter clients, like HTC’s Peep.
Smart Reply - YouMail automatically maps incoming phone numbers to e-mail addresses, so users can easily reply to an incoming voicemail with an e-mail or text message, either directly through the YouMail client itself, or through other messaging clients like Gmail – with the reply automatically including a link to the original voicemail to provide context.
Expanded Caller ID - Whenever a caller leaves a message, YouMail now pulls and displays incoming caller photos from the phone’s address book and the user’s Facebook account – giving users truly visual voicemail. YouMail also provides the caller’s city and state, in addition to their phone number and name.
Flipping through the session listings for Google IO 2011, and a couple of things stand out: First, there's building web apps and Android apps for Google TV. Google TV, as you'll recall, was announced at least year's developer's conference. It's based on Android, but third-party apps aren't yet available, though they definitely were promised. So it looks like the ball's going to get rolling there.
Also on the agenda is a "Honeycomb highlights" session. It's no great surprise that we'll see more of the Android version that is first coming to tablets, supposedly in the first quarter of the year.
There's also the usual programming and developer tools' sessions, which, frankly, we don't understand in the slightest. But you devs certainly do, and you'll definitely want to check them out. [Google IO sessions]
Google's launched its Google IO 2011 site -- your one-stop shop for everything related to Google's annual developer's conference. Registration hasn't opened yet, so stay tuned for that. But attendee pricing was announced, $450 through April 16, $550 thereafter. Students and faculty can register for $150, and the optional Bootcamp session is an extra $100.
If you're an Android developer, IO is a must-attend event. Hard-core Android enthusiasts would have a blast, too. Hit up the site for all the other details, including session listings. Then check our our coverage from Google IO 2010. We'll see you there! [Google IO]
Google last week teased us all with a test of number porting. Today it's gone live for everyone. You're going to need to think about this a bit before you dive in, however. If you port your current cell phone number to Google Voice, your current plan will be canceled, and you may be subject to an early termination penalty if you're still under contract. You'll then need to get a new plan, with a new number, which you'll then instruct Google Voice to ring.
T-Mobile has begun pushing Android 2.2 Froyo to users of the MyTouch 3G 1.2 Jack and the Fender LE edition. They had previously promised the update would begin on Jan. 12 but at least it is finally rolling out now. As a quick reminder, the update should be rolling out in waves, so not every user should be prompted to download it right away. Thanks to Vicken for the tip and pic!
Samsung just got back with us regarding a fairly serious bug some people are seeing after the recent DL09 over-the-air update for the Verizon Fascinate. Namely, some of you can place an emergency call if you're using the pattern lock feature. The sky's not falling, but it is a potentially serious bug. Here's Samsung's response:
It has come to the attention of Samsung Mobile during the recent DL09 OTA (Over-the-Air) update for the Samsung Fascinate that some users utilizing the Pattern Lock are finding that the Emergency Call shortcut is not automatically launching the dialer. However, unlocking the device will allow the user to make calls as they normally would, including emergency calls. We apologize for the inconvenience and are continuing to evaluate the issue, including if the issue is linked to the update.
Kudos to Samsung for looking into it. For now, we continue to recommend that you not use the pattern lock feature if you've upgraded to DL09.
As much as we're trying to duck it, it appears that 3D screens are just around the corner for smartphones. We saw one in the Sharp Galapogos at CES earlier this month. And LG's press invite for Mobile World Congress seems to indicate we're about to see more. "Into the new dimension" is what we're told to expect. Add to that the appearance of an "LG Optimus 3D" phone at a Dutch retailer, and it's looking more and more likely that we'll be seeing that new dimension.
We'll find out in a couple weeks. And we'll be there, of course,with or without 3D glasses.
In addition to their making their announcement of cloud printing being available on mobile devices, Google has also been messing around with a better way to let users know what their weather forecast is looking like. Making note on the Google Mobile blog that they wanted the weather to be more fun, Google has rolled out a new weather search experience.
At first glance, you’ll see content that we’d previously shown you before: current conditions and a forecast for the next few days. But by moving the slider over the next 12 hours, you can now see a detailed hour-by-hour breakdown of the changing weather conditions. As you do this, keep an eye on the temperature, wind speed and humidity and see how all these conditions are expected to trend across the day. You may also notice that the background color changes throughout the day. Of course, as you scroll further down you’ll see our regular web search results for your query.
Open your browser and search for "weather" as you normally would to see how the new system works. Currently it is only available in English but Google hopes to have it in more languages as soon as possible. [Google Mobile Blog]
Infinity Blade and Gears of War developer Epic Games has revealed where Android fits into its future development plans in a recent interview.
Gaming site Slowdown.vg sat down with Jay Wilbur, Epic's Vice President, for an interview focused on the developer's mobile and middleware efforts. As well as reflecting on Epic's success with Infinity Blade on iOS, Wilbur is quizzed on the studio's future plans for the Android platform.
Interviewer: The iPhone is great, but I’m an Android kind of guy. [Waves around the Nexus One phone being used to record the interview] Will we ever get to play UE3 games?
Wilbur: [Takes out a Galaxy S, shows Epic Citadel running on it] We’ve done some development on Android. That’s Epic Citadel running on Android – now, this is not for public release. It’s on iOS first, and then once the iOS version is released then we’ll start considering Android.
Wilbur also comments on the challenges Epic faced in getting their Unreal Engine running on Android, including the dreaded f-word: fragmentation.
Wilbur: One of the problems with the Android marketplace is hardware fragmentation, that’s a really big issue. The other thing is marketplace fragmentation, there are so many different appstores out there. The Android marketplace is a little more difficult [to develop for] because there is less control. I think the Android marketplace is robust … I find it very easy to buy things on it, it’s just that Apple has very tight control. So anything in the Apple world is perfect. It’s just perfect. We like that, we like that a lot. We know that it’s just gonna work. Sometimes that’s not always the case in the Android marketplace.
It's great to see a big-name developer like Epic Games taking an active interest in Android, though based on Wilbur's comments, it looks like there are still a few issues to be ironed out. [Slowdown.vg]
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