And you thought it would never happen. It's been about six months since our exclusive hands-on with the HTC Merge, and we'd hardly seen or heard a peep from it since. But it's official, folks -- the HTC Merge lives, and it's coming to "multiple North American operators" this spring.
And it looks like the HTC Merge will be the same device we've already seen. Same 3.8-inch touchscreen, same 5MP camera with 720p recording, same World Phone capability (SIM-card slot), same Android 2.2 -- and the same awesome sliding keyboard. The biggest question now is when, and where.
For our complete exclusive preview of the HTC Merge, please see the following stories:
adb reboot bootloader (skip the next 3 steps if you have already unlocked via fastboot)
fastboot oem unlock
wait for reboot
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot flash boot rootboot.img
wait for reboot
adb shell push su /system/bin
adb shell ln –s /system/bin/su /system/xbin/su
adb shell chmod 4755 /system/bin/su
adb push Superuser.apk /system/app
Due to the SD Card slot being locked out at this time, a custom recovery cannot be used but one does exist for whenever it gets enabled for use. Be it by Google, Motorola or the developer community. Until then, just enjoy your freshly rooted Motorola XOOM and if you should so need some help; hit us up in the Android Central forums. [Koush] Thanks, to everyone who sent this in!
One of the chief complaints about Firefox for Android has been its speed and size. But with every new release, it's gotten faster. And with every new release, it's gotten smaller. And Mozilla's Mark Finkle gives us a good look at just how much faster it's become with a series of benchmarks.
Yes, you read that right -- The Samsung Vibrant now has its very own CyanogenMod 7 (official) test release. It's clearly labeled as a TEST RELEASE, so don't expect miracles just yet, but finding and fighting bugs is half the fun of fooling with custom ROMs for many of us anyway. You can find all the details and download information at the source link.
Let's be serious here for a minute. You're probably never going to see an official Gingerbread build for the Vibrant from Samsung. Yes, I think I was wrong. That hardly ever happens. CyanogenMod 7 looks to be the best, and logical choice for the Vibrant at this time, and it's something to at least keep an eye on. If you do decide to take the plunge, you'll find help and support in the Vibrant forums here at Android Central. [CyanogenMod forum] Thanks everyone who sent this in!
So about that HTC ThunderBolt release date ... We don't know when the hell it's finally going to be released. And at this point, we're not entirely sure who does. The Feb. 14 in-stock date at Best Buy didn't happen. And obviously that rumored Feb. 24 date has come and gone. We're still confident in the sources that brought us those bits of news. But you know what? Things change.
Now there's this image that appears in the Android Central Forums (among other places) that shows a March 10 launch. No telling how old it is, though, but at least it's something. And that we've seen it distributed to a half-dozen sources at this point is making it smell like a coordinated effort, so maybe this one's the real deal, folks. [Android Central Forums]
By the way: That Best Buy store in Roseville, Calif., that tweeted a March 4 date has since killed said tweet. Maybe that means it's real -- maybe that means a single store doesn't know what it's talking about and doesn't speak for an entire launch. You decide.
If you were a recipient of the Android 2.3.3 OTA that went out to the Nexus S, or went ahead and did it manually, you may have noticed that Facebook contact syncing is suddenly missing. That's because Google has purposely removed the feature from the Nexus S and all future "googlephones" because users can't pull those synced Facebook contacts off the phone, and if you decide to remove your Facebook account, those contacts will suddenly go missing. Google's official statement on the matter is as follows:
“We believe it is very important that users are able to control their data. So in the over-the-air update for Nexus S, we have a small change to how Facebook contacts appear on the device. For Nexus S users who downloaded the Facebook app from Android Market, Facebook contacts will no longer appear to be integrated with the Android Contacts app. Since Facebook contacts cannot be exported from the device, the appearance of integration created a false sense of data portability. Facebook contact data will continue to appear within the Facebook app. Like all developers on Android, Facebook is free to use the Android contacts API to truly integrate contacts on the device, which would allow users to have more control over their data. We are removing the special-case handling of Facebook contacts on Nexus S and future lead devices. We continue to believe that reciprocity (the expectation that if information can be imported into a service it should be able to be exported) is an important step toward creating a world of true data liberation — and encourage other websites and app developers to allow users to export their contacts as well.”
Interestingly enough, this won't be affecting Nexus One owners who also updated today because the Facebook app for the Nexus One was baked in to the stock software. Google says they don't want to remove a feature that users were already expecting to be available. With all of that in mind, do remember that OEMs like Motorola and HTC can re-enable this feature relatively easily. Both HTC and Motorola already use their own Facebook sync, so this may be a non-issue for many. [TechCrunch]
We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when we learned that Motorola provided the Xoom with an unlockable bootloader, giving developers and hackers easy access to the hardware. And since many of you guys aren't familiar with the concept and the way it works, allow me to direct you to Android Central member thefredelement and his Xoom unlocking guide. He has everything laid out nicely for you to get the drivers and set things up so you're ready to go.
Keep in mind that this isn't rooting your Xoom. With an unlocked bootloader and fastboot mode, there's no need to worry about finding exploits to root the OS. Instead, developers will just build a package you can flash from a custom recovery with anything and everything you need to have complete control over your tablet. I expect a custom recovery and those flashable packages in very short order. [Android Central forums] Thanks thefredelement!
Whenever we talk updating our phones, we inevitably talk about "manual updates." And that leads to the inevitable questions, "Is it safe?" and "How do I do it?"
Manual updates are just like over-the-air (OTA) updates. Only difference is that instead of letting your phone download the update from a server somewhere, you download it yourself, move save it to you phone's SD card and then manually start the update process. In an OTA update, the phone does all this for you. But the big difference is that there's no waiting with manual updates.
The general process is similar for most phones, though you'll want to follow the instructions for your specific device. And as always, if you have more questions, hit us up in the Android Central Forums.
The Android 2.3.3 (GRI40 for those keeping score at home) OTA update for the Samsung Nexus S has started to roll out, but there's no need to wait -- it's a breeze to manually install. Think of it as the OTA update, with less of the A. What you need to do: