Here's a quick tour of the major features of the Motoblur interface and service on the Motorola Cliq. I got this tour at the Moto booth at CTIA and after fighting a recalcitrant SD card for several days, I'm happy to say I've saved the video and present it here for you slavering Cliq fans.
Overall I'm quite impressed with the Cliq - but as with the Sense UI on the HTC Hero, I worry that the proliferation of widgets, email clients, and the like will confuse new users. As a power user myself, I find them all to be a joy. Perhaps we're approaching the day where all smartphone users start to look like power users. What do you think - does Motoblur look like it would appeal to Aunt May?
By now, we're hoping that you guys are all enjoying Android 1.6 'Donut' and using all the new, unique features of 'Donut'. Google highlighted one of these features, Quick Search Box, in the above video and we think it's worth a look to see how powerful the Search toolbar has become.
Basically, Quick Search Box searches both locally on your phone and on the web. You can search through your own personal apps, contacts, and browser history as well as on the web for local businesses, weather, movie showtimes, etc. all through one search box. It's smart, it's fast, and it'll find you what you need.
Suggestions begin to pop up while you type and Quick Search Box even 'learns' your habits, providing faster access to items you search for and use most often. The microphone button can be used to both search and call contacts, a great new feature! But it doesn't end there, third party developers will be able to offer suggestions in Quick Search Box--greatly expanding the scope of Search. Imagine being able to search Twitter on your home screen via a Twitter application that supports Quick Search Box. This is going to be huge for Android.
If you're into planning and saving the date, Google would like to let you know that Google I/O, Google's largest developer conference, will be returning to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA on May 19-20, 2010. There's not much you can do for the event now, considering early registration starts in January 2010, but consider our calendars marked. Google I/O 2009 was the event where they gave free Google Ions aka HTC Magics aka myTouch 3Gs to attendees and introduced Google Wave. What will be in store for 2010?
The HTC Tattoo, HTC's other Android device that runs HTC Sense, is now available across the pond. Vodafone UK customers are now able to purchase this highly customizable, highly affordable Android device and immediately 'make it their own'. By heading to TattooMyHTC.com, users can either choose from a slew of design options or even dabble and create their own. Basically, you can Tattoo your Tattoo.
If you want to buy a pre-existing design cover, it'll run you €11.99 but if you want to harness your own creative nature and completely build your own design from scratch, it'll be offered for €14.99. Let us know what designs you guys come up with!
T-Mobile's Project Dark (or Project Black) is purported to be the ace in the hole for T-Mobile. There are rumors abound suggesting that it most definitely is game changing, but no one really knows what it's going to be. Some are even speculating the spectacular--that the iPhone is on its way to T-Mobile (not going to happen). But we think even the iPhone isn't big enough for this announcement --T-Mobile will need something truly shocking.
More reasonable suggestions of what Project Dark is, is that T-Mobile is prepping successive launches for their most anticipated handsets (Motorola CLIQ,Samsung Behold II,Blackberry 9700) along with a hyper-launch of T-Mobile's 21Mbps HSPA+ super-3G network. Having top-end handsets with the absolute fastest 3G network in the US is certainly noteworthy. But the best and what we think most game changing feature would be is the report that T-Mobile is planning to launch a $50 all-you-can-eat rate plan that'll give users unlimited SMS, MMS, and data along with your usual slew of minutes. Can you imagine every other carrier scrambling to respond to that? The whole industry would be shaken up (and we reap the benefits!).
As far as we know, T-Mobile is planning to launch Project Dark by the end of this month (October 25th being the date everyone is pointing to). Is it possible to fulfill impossible hype?
Likely in response to the launch of the HTC Hero on Sprint, Walmart has just dropped the price of the original Android phones. Both the T-Mobile G1 and the myTouch 3G received price drops and if you're a current T-Mobile customer wanting to get a taste of Android, it's as good a deal as you're going to find. The T-Mobile G1 is now $48.88 and the myTouch 3G is $98.88 (with new 2-year contract). It's a really great deal considering how many 'dumbphones' are offered for the same price.
To check when your Hero was manufactured, open up the dialer and punch in ##786# to get Reverse Logistics open and scroll down to the Manufacturer's Date. The date will be listed in the d/m/y format. To see which EV-DO you're connected to go to Settings > About Phone > Status > Mobile Network Type. We're not certain there's an actual difference between Hero's branded as 'with Google' and those without but if we're all using EV-DO Rev. 0, that's alarming.
Our Hero at Android Central does not have the 'with Google' logo, was manufactured on 4/9/2009 (Sept. 4, 2009), and currently reads EV-DO Rev. 0.
What about yours?
Update: According to Sprint, the Rev. 0 issue is a mere visual display bug. Even though your Hero says you're connected to EV-DO Rev. 0 and only EV-DO Rev. 0, if you live in an EV-DO Rev. A area, you'll be connected to that Rev. A network no matter what the phone says. We'll have to take their word for it and hope this visual display bug gets fixed in the future!
a big thanks to Andrew Starr & tom for the tip and the Sprint Users forum for the info!
Last week was the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment conference. We had coverage at a few of our sites, but Kevin Michaluk and I also sat down with Mickey Papillon of The Cell Phone Junkie to record a podcast about our thoughts on the event - worth checking out. Here's what else went on in the smartphone world this week.
There’s no question that the HTC Hero has been the most anticipated Android device in Android’s short lifetime. Though the T-Mobile G1 and myTouch 3G are both wonderful devices that will still be relevant years from today, the G1 had a (undeserved) “beta” rep it couldn’t shake and the myTouch 3G had such a delayed release in the US, it couldn’t maintain the initial hype (deserved).
On the flip side, the HTC Hero is on a brand new carrier, with a brand new custom UI built by HTC, and an all around, brand new feel. Launching on Sprint on October 11th for $179.99, it’s priced competitively and offers a clear alternative to competing smartphones.
We guess you could say that the HTC Hero is Android re-imagined or even re-defined--we like to call it Android all grown up. So how does the HTC Hero perform? Can it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!
Read on for Android Central’s hardware review of the HTC Hero!
*we've decided to split our HTC Hero Review in two--one review for the hardware and one review for the software. The hardware review is today and the review of the software (HTC Sense, Sprint apps) will come tomorrow!*
We still haven't heard official word from Rogers in Canada, so if any of our neighbors to the north hear anything 'Donut' related, be sure to let us know so we can pass it along!
Though it's very convenient to have Android OS updates pushed OTA to our handsets, we're wondering if a manual option would be more efficient. Instead of relying on carriers to decide when we can update, couldn't they offer users the option to download the update off their website? Makes sense to us. What about you guys?
If you can't wait 'til Sunday for the HTC Hero to officially launch on Sprint (and who can?), you can grab a HTC Hero as early as today at Best Buy! Granted you have to be a Best Buy Reward Zone Member and bring the above coupon (which can be found in our forums) to your local Best Buy in order to get the Hero before everybody else, it's well worth it! (plus it's not that complicated). We suggest you call your local Best Buy to confirm availability.
Another route to get the HTC Hero early would be to order it via Sprint Telesales. Yep, the good ol telephone still works wonders. Though we're not sure when Sprint will ship your Hero, the comfort of knowing that the latest and greatest Android phone is en route is always a plus.
And finally, if you have the patience (bless your heart) you can still wait for Sunday, October 11th to purchase it at any Sprint retailer for $179.99 with new 2-year contract. Good things come to those who wait (like the ability to read our upcoming two-part HTC Hero review today & tomorrow!)
The Samsung Galaxy I7500, once Samsung's only Android device and previously unavailable in the US, has hit stateside. The good news? It's not tied down to a carrier so any GSM user can pop in their SIM card and get rolling. The bad news? It's not tied down to a carrier so there's no subsidies, which means you'll have to pony up $579.99 to get rolling. Yikes.
You guys have spoken--well, technically. Since there are still some of you who haven't received the Android 1.6 'Donut' OTA Update, this poll wasn't entirely representative of all of our readers. But even so, one 'feature' was clearly the answer and as it turns out, your favorite feature isn't a feature at all, it's the overall improved performance of Android in Donut!
To the votes:
Improved Performance - 50%
Updated Android Market - 21%
Quick Search Box - 16%
Battery Usage Indicator - 8%
We're glad to hear that Android 1.6 is running smoother for you guys but our own personal vote finished dead last. We thought the Battery Usage Indicator was a nifty tool that showed the uniqueness of Android. Other votes ranged from the new camera interface to 'have yet to receive the update'.
Hopefully those without Android 1.6 will receive 'Donut' soon enough!
We managed to snag some hands-on time with the just-announced Samsung Moment for Sprint. What do you need to know? Well, let's say it's a standard, straightforward Android slider - the only custom stuff here is Sprint's various custom apps like Sprint TV and NFL. In other words, this ain't no Hero.
Still and all, build quality is sufficient, if a little plasticky. It's a step up from the G1 on T-Mobile, but that's about the best you can say. You'd have to be a pretty finicky person to dwell on that, though, given that it's wrapped around a gorgeous AMOLED screen. The colors pop on this device something wonderful, although we were in a fairly dimly-lit room when we tested.
The optical joystick isn't quite as nice as jogball to our fingers, but then again it won't fall prey to the gunk and accidental presses you find with balls. The keyboard does the job - and to be honest that's pretty much the only reason we could imagine anybody choosing this device over the Hero on Sprint - if they just gotta have them buttons.
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