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2 years ago

Android 101: How to filter your web market search

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2 years ago

Latest Android version numbers released, Gingerbread is on the rise

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Google has released the latest breakdown of the platform version numbers, and they show Gingerbread growing in a big way.  These numbers are a snapshot of the phones and tablets that have visited the Android Market up to October 3, 2011, so it's a pretty good breakdown of just what's out there in the wild. 

As noted, Gingerbread saw a big jump of almost 8 percentage points, and almost all of it came from the Froyo column.  This means OEMs are getting their phones upgraded to the latest platform version, bringing welcome security and bug fixes along for the ride.  On the other end of the spectrum, not much has changed for phones still using version 1.5 and 1.6, they still clock in at just 2.5 percent of the total.  Honeycomb has seen a slight bump from 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent of the total, and Android 2.1 has dropped a couple tenths to 11.7 percent.

It's about what anyone would have expected, some phones are going to be stuck on older versions, and phones that can be upgraded are being upgraded, albeit slower than many would care for.  The numbers are quite favorable, with 97.5 percent of all Android devices on the 2.X codebase.  Of course, this won't look quite so good when we move to Ice Cream Sandwich, and go through the waiting game all over again.  We'll visit that one next month, hopefully.

Source: Android Developers

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2 years ago

Specs: iPhone 4S versus the world

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One last iPhone post, and then we return you to your regularly scheduled Android domination. Our pals at TiPb asked us which phone we wanted to put head-to-head with the iPhone 4S. Had to be the Galaxy S II, right? Ease on past the break for the breakdown.

And for everything iPhone 4S, head on over to TiPb.

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2 years ago

iPhone 4S announced today [the competition]

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(Ed. note: Rex Manning Day is still in effect. But now that the iPhone's coming to Sprint, we need to care about it a little.)

Today was the big day if you are an Apple fan.  The folks in Cupertino unveiled the latest version, leaving many disappointed and many elated.  If you were waiting for a big screen, or 4G in any shape or form (and a lot of Apple users have been) that didn't happen, but the new iPhone did get a healthy spec bump over the old.  The A5 chip currently in the iPad 2 is now in the phone version, and that should give better graphics performance, and the camera has been beefed up to an 8MP version with 1080p capture.

The "big news" with the iPhone 4S is Siri, a voice command and reader application, the Cards app to print and order cards direct from your phone, location sharing with the Family and Friends app, and of course that the new model will be coming to Sprint.  Combined with iOS 5, it sounds like an excellent phone for a lot of users, and will sell "a billion" according to Seth at TiPb.  While a billion may be a bit high, the iPhone 4S will sell well, and it should -- it has some great features we've seen on Android for a while to help push it forward. 

On the hardware front, Apple didn't mention the clock speed of the iPhone's A5 chip, but it will match well with the new dual-core devices we're seeing in Android phones as of late.  While there is still no support for removable storage, they have bumped things up to 64GB for everyone that found 32 just wasn't enough.  And the camera, well, let's face it -- Apple uses quality cameras and fans will be pleased.  Rene Ritchie lays out the new specs as:

  • Apple A5 chipset, dual core Cortex A9 for 7 times faster graphics. This is basically the iPad 2 chip but probably not clocked as fast.
  • Longer batter life – 8 hrs talk time on 3G, 9 hours browsing on Wi-Fi, 10 hours video, 40 hours music.
  • New intelligent switching between antennas
  • HSPA+ 14.4 (no 21?)
  • CDMA + GSM World phone
  • 8mp rear-facing camera, CMOS backside illuminated sensor, 73% more photons! High end IR filter. Wide f2.4.

Siri, which was the highlight of the entire announcement, is basically Google voice actions combined with talkback -- you speak to your phone, and it speaks back to you.  This comes to the iPhone 4S as a beta (which is pretty un-Appley).  It's a cool feature, one I use it on my Android phones (while nobody is looking anyway), and if implemented well can be a nice selling point.

Seemingly glanced over was the news much of the Internet was waiting for -- the iPhone 4S will be available on Sprint.  At the very end of the event when pricing was announced they snuck it in with little fanfare. 

What does this mean for Android?  In my humble opinion, not a damn thing.  It's clear that Apple is waiting until next time to bring any big hardware changes, and it's going to be a tough choice at the store between a new iPhone or a Galaxy S II or new HTC phone.  The new changes are nice, don't get me wrong, but don't offer a compelling reason to buy an iPhone over an Android or Windows phone.  I think the "one more thing" everyone was waiting for will happen on October 11.

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2 years ago

Android 101: How to share apps via the Android Market

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When you find a great app in the Android Market, it's only natural to want to go ahead and share it with others. Luckily, the Android Market makes that a fairly easy process when combined with Androids built-in sharing options. The process:

  • Find the app you want to share in the Android Market
  • Tap on the share button, as denoted by the blue arrow in the image
  • Select to where and how you wish to share which, can be pretty much anything

There you have it, that's it. An easy and simple process for sharing apps with others directly from the Android Market. Keep in mind, sharing apps doesn't mean if you buy it and share it will be free for people you share with -- it's more suggesting and app to another user.

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2 years ago

The Amazon Kindle Fire won't have the Android Market - that bother you?

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KMLProxy in our forums brings up a good point, if you're looking at purchasing an Amazon Kindle Fire. You won't be able to easily transfer apps that you purchase in the Android Market to the Kindle Fire. That is, you won't be able to redownload them directly, because the Kindle Fire won't have the Android Market.

That's not an insurmountable problem -- we've talked about how to pull the apps off your phone before, and you should be able to sideload them back onto the Kindle Fire. But you do see what we're getting at here, right?

Will the absence of the Android Market sway your decision to purchase a Kindle Fire? Let's hear it.

More: Preorder the Amazon Kindle Fire; Amazon Kindle Fire forums

Does the lack of the Android Market make the Kindle Fire worry you?

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2 years ago

Android Theme Review: JAMT - White Gradient

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Continuing our journey into the world of CyanogenMod themes, I present to you JAMT - White Gradient. A lighter colored theme, this is for the folks who want something brighter and more eye-catching on their phones.

The most striking feature of JAMT - White Gradient is the notification status bar. It's completely rebranded the same bright silver color that is seen throughout the entire theme, and makes all the text and icons grey. It's the first thing that really caught my eye, and if you're used to seeing typical Android phone homescreens, it really sticks out.

The icons are also different on the notification bar, namely wifi and the Gmail icon. Sliders (volume, timers for Drocap, anything) are also a nice silverish grey color. Toast notifications have a completely black background with sharp corners instead of rounded edges.

The developers says there are a whole slew of icons that're themed, but the only one that shows up on my phone is Drocap. I'm not sure if that's a limitation of the theme or if it's because my phone is running an alpha of CM7, but be aware.

The dialer is also nice and bright, in stark contrast to the typically dark dialer seen on most AOSP devices. It's actually pretty cool looking, and if I end up going the silver/white route, that'll probably be a reason I settle on this theme.

There's both a free version and a donate version ($1.00) in the Market, so you can definitely try before you buy. If JAMT - White Gradient looks like something up your alley, we've got more pictures and download links after the break.

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2 years ago

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray review

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The past year has seen Sony Ericsson releasing a slew of Android phones to fit just about every conceivable niche. First to arrive was the Xperia Arc, a great all-rounder with a striking, slim design. Since then we’ve seen the same basic hardware powering a range of SE devices in a host of different form factors, including the gaming-focused Xperia Play, and the cheap and cheerful Xperia Neo.

The Xperia Ray continues this trend, bringing the tried-and-true combination of a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512MB RAM and Android 2.3 Gingerbread to more compact device. With a screen measuring just 3.3 inches, the Ray may be small, but it packs the same performance as its larger siblings. So how does a tiny phone like the Xperia Ray stack up against competition from larger Androids? Join us after the jump to find out.


Small, light and powerful with a high-resolution display. A small form factor phone that doesn't compromise on specs.


Could be too small for some users, the 3.3-inch screen isn't ideal for text entry or video content.



It's the best 3.3-inch Android smartphone you can buy. The Ray is just as capable as the Arc and Neo, despite its small size. If you're after a smaller smartphone, this is a device that's worth your consideration.

Inside this review

More info

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2 years ago

Android Smartphone Buyer's Guide: Fall 2011

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As we inch closer towards the end of the year, more and more spectacular Android smartphones are lining up on each carrier.  But what is it that sets one apart from the other? Maybe it's a QWERTY keyboard you're after, or looking to stay within a particular budget, or maybe you just want the best-damn Android that money can buy for your carrier.  Any way you look at it, shopping for the perfect device is not always that simple.  There are many key factors that come in play when you're making that final decision between Android's-- and this guide is designed to give you the know-how that will ease the process of choosing the perfect smartphone for you.

We'll be taking a look at specific Android's on each major US carrier, as well as Bell Canada that meet the requirements of best overall device, budget phones ($150 and under), best Android with a QWERTY keyboard, and finally our very own reader's choice selection.  Check past the break to dive into this edition of the Android Smartphone Buyer's Guide.

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2 years ago

Today is iPhone Day, or Rex Manning Day -- Choose your own adventure

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Youtube link for mobile viewing

Here's the deal, folks. Unless you're living under a rock, you know that the next iPhone is being announced today. As such, we present you with two choice.

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