After the recent news that Nvidia's Harmony platform would see no further support, Nvidia's Developer Zone forums got slammed with concerned citizens and their displeasure at the decision. Turn's out none of it was necessary, as they plan to support the consumer devices using the Harmony platform as long as needed after all. Before any conspiracy theories about Nvidia backpedaling or the like get started, you need to realize that their definition of the Harmony platform is different than the Android communities. Andrew Edelsten, from Nvidia's Tegra Developer Relations promptly clarified this for us, saying the he was responding specifically about the Tegra 250 development kit and had this to say about their hardware partner's Android devices:
NVIDIA provides support until the hardware partner chooses to no longer support the device. So, for instance, NVIDIA will support the Xoom on all versions of Android Motorola requests until Motorola ceases to support the Xoom. The same goes for ViewSonic with the G-Tablet, Notion Ink with the Adam, Acer with the Iconia, LG with the Optimus 2X and so on.
The Android community refers to early Tegra 250 devices by the code name "Harmony" because the open-source kernel has that reference in its files. The Harmony development kit is what Nvidia uses that codename for, and that's why it appears in the kernel. Nvidia is simply shifting developer focus to the Ventana development kit for their current and future Android OS images. So now any OS version updates for the first generation Tegra 2 Android devices are in the hands of the device makers.
But, wait, there's more -- and it's possibly the best part. I'll end this with a quote from Andrew:
Finally, while we cannot support or give out third party peripheral drivers or provide the Android 3.0 source before Google does, we do want to explore whether we can assist the open source ROM makers. We will be reaching out to them today.
A quick peek at an internal page at Sprint lets us know that the Epic 4G apparently will be seeing some of that sweet Gingerbread goodness, as build ED12 is being tested. It's an .rdf file, so the formatting in your browser leaves a bit to be desired (see for yourself via the source link) but the words "OSName GoogleAndroid" and "OSVersion Android 2.3" are right there in black and white.
It's been speculated that Samsung would have a much easier time developing Gingerbread than they did with Froyo, and we have already heard that the international version of the Galaxy S should be seeing Gingerbread sometime soon. And that's a good thing -- a lot of the behind-the-scenes changes take much better advantage of Samsung's Hummingbird chip and the performance difference should be pretty major. Of course there's no word or even an estimate of when to expect this, but in the meantime we can all wait and speculate in the forums. [Sprint]
At long last, RIM and BlackBerry are getting into the tablet game to take on the likes of Android's Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab (for starters) and, of course, the iPad. The PlayBook falls into the 7-inch category, and it packs a lot of power into that small space.
So how will the BlackBerry Playbook stand up to the likes of the Xoom et al? We'll have to see when it goes on sale on April 17 at a starting price of $499. But reviews are starting to roll in, and we look no further than ol' CrackBerry Kevin Michaluk himself, who leads off with the following:
"With solid hardware specs, an operating system that utilizes a gesture-based user interface to deliver true multitasking capabilities and a web browser that supports Adobe Flash, on paper the PlayBook appears to have the raw talent to be a contender."
We're going to spend the next few hours poring over CrackBerry's PlayBook review, that's for sure. And we suggest you do, too. Keep your enemies close, and your frenemies closer, they say. Here are some links to get you started:
Although the device has been caught on camera plenty of times already, we've yet to many signs of it passing any certifications or anything that would signal near launch stages. No FCC, and no Bluetooth SIG -- until now that is. Despite it being listed as the XT862 rather than the Droid 3 the above image is purportedly that of the Droid 3 gaining Bluetooth certification. Specs are calling for a 4-inch qHD display with a dual-core TI-OMAP4 processor and Android 2.2 Froyo in its current state. Although, we're hoping that will change before release to state Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Sadly, still not even a rumored launch date for the Droid 3 exists as yet but we'll keep you all updated. [Bluetooth SIG via Ameblo and Pocketnow]
HTC Droid Incredible owners have been patiently waiting for their Android 2.3 Gingerbread update and while we still don't have an actual release date for it, HTC is now advising folks it will be arriving "this summer" as noted in the email below:
I understand your concern about wanting to know when the Android 2.3 upgrade will be released for the HTC Incredible. I’m pleased to inform you that there is going to be an update this summer to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). At this time we do not have any more information about the update. When the update is released we will announce it on www.htc.com and www.facebook.com/htc.
If you feel you need more information, you are welcome to send us another email or you can contact the HTC Technical Support team at [Redacted] daily from 6:00AM until 1:00AM Eastern.
We've seen similar emails come from HTC before for various other devices, so you kind of have to take them with a little grain of salt. Ultimately, it'll be pushed out when it's ready but it is always nice to get some kind of time frame from the folks behind the software. Thanks, Michael, for sending this in!
Wednesday, we meet again -- halfway through the week and while Lloyd is off strutting his stuff in Best Buy training material we've been keeping the blogs and forums going in his absence. If you're looking for some help, have some Android related questions or just want to chat then by all means, join us in the forums. Check out some of the threads below to get started:
If you're a total photography fiend that hates the idea of using your USB cable to pull your photos and videos off your phone (and let's be honest, cables were SO last year), then you're going to love Camsy.
Camsy is an automatically syncing, cloud-based solution for the photos and videos on your phone. Snap a shot and Camsy will upload it to their server, so in the event of, say, your Droid 2 exploding in your ear, your media will continue to live in harmony in the cloud.
So at Microsoft's MIX developer conference today in Las Vegas, Microsoft VP of Windows Phone Program Management Joe Belfiore did a little HTML test showing IE9 on a future version of Windows Phone. And it appears to blow the Nexus S and iPhone 4 out of the water.
What's odd is that I can't even get the Nexus One I have here to run it that well. Want to try it yourself? What sort of magical sorcery has Microsoft unleashed? Dunno. But you can give it a shot at this link if you want.
Oh, and our other question is this: How many major updates will Android see before Microsoft gets its "Mango" update out the door? Zing! [Geekwire via WPCentral]
If you thought Motorola's tablet efforts were done now that the Motorola XOOM has been released, then you may be surprised by this little bit of news. It looks as though they'll be going after the enterprise environment now with a brand new, Gingerbread powered tablet that will be going into beta testing come October.
As outlined above, specs are calling for a dual-core 1GHz OMAP 4 CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND, a 7-inch LCD display, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, all with USB connectivity and a 1.3MP front-facing camera and 8MP rear-facing. And check out that expansion module for "snap in peripherals."
Taking some styling from the Motorola Defy, this upcoming tablet is noted to withstand a four foot drop all while being protected from dust, extreme temperatures and even water. Although, we're not suggesting you take it swimming. [Engadget]
If you've ever put a custom ROM on your Android phone (or are looking to do so), chances are you've used ROM Manager. And it's getting spruced up in its latest version. Things are a little prettier, a little more friendly. And that sort of touch makes the easiest way to install custom ROMs even easier. Download links are after the break. And remember that you've gotta be rooted for any of this.
Otterbox has always been one of my favorite cases, regardless of which device I am using at the time, and when I get a new device it is usually one of the first things I purchase. When I got my Droid 2, it was no different, I headed right to the Android Central store and picked up an Otterbox Commuter for the Droid 2 to ensure that my device was safe.
The standard Otterbox packaging has the case, a screen cleaner, and a screen protector. I ripped it open, and put it right on, because I had a couple of concerns of how it would fit, and affect the feel of the device as a whole. After installing the case initially I knew it would take a little bit of getting used to, with the added size and the different feel.
The Droid 2, even with the slide-out keyboard, maintains a rather slim profile, which was one of the main appeals of the device to me. Though I enjoyed the slim profile of the device, protection is always more important for me, and I am more then willing to sacrifice a little bit of size in order to add protection. While I try to be careful with the device, no one is perfect, and having a 4 year old at home who likes to play with everything, it is essential.
The case fits very snug to the device, which helps optimize the amount of protection. There are cutouts for the headphone jack and USB port of the device, and the volume rocker is raised making it easy to use. The 2 piece design allows for the device to slide easily, and not get in the way. One thing that made me nervous was if the top half of the case would affect use of the top keyboard row when the device is slid open, but luckily that was not the case.
The commuter series from Otterbox has always been the one that has felt the best, with the hard plastic, and gel combination, allowing for optimal grip and protection. The inside of the case is a thin gel, which is wrapped with a hard plastic, and the back has a brushed metal look to it. The front piece is just a single solid plastic piece, which is designed well, and even follows the curve at the bottom of the screen very well.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Playmissed its planned Apr. 1 launch date on O2 UK because of software issues found during testing, but now it seems these bugs have been successfully squished and the phone is almost ready to launch on O2's network. Posting on the carrier's official blog, Stuart Hibbard, O2's head of testing, said the arrival of fixed firmware from Sony Ericsson is an "important milestone" and that the Xperia Play is now "nearly ready for release".
No specific release date has been announced, but O2's product page for the Xperia Play has a link where prospective customers can sign up for updates on the phone's availability. [O2 Blog, Xperia Play on O2]
The HTC Sensation may be launching first on Vodafone UK next month, but that's not stopping other British carriers from getting in on the action once the month-long exclusivity deal is up. Today the four other major networks have confirmed that they'll be carrying the Sensation, though not all have committed to any particular release window.
T-Mobile and Orange will be next in line to get HTC's new flagship device, with both networks planning a June release. Three expects to launch the phone "this summer", while O2 has confirmed it'll be carrying the Sensation, but offers no further information. [@TMobileOfficial, @conrofromorange, @O2, Three Media Center]