Beluga has quickly become one of our favorite group messaging/chat/IM clients on Android, so much so that we gave it the old college try during CES in January -- not exactly a time to be testing anything for the first time. But the secret's out, Belga's a hit -- and it just got purchased by Facebook.
The good news is that nothing's changed yet -- Beluga's "Pods" remain, and the service is a cool as it ever was. Here's the official word from Beluga's blog:
Since launching Beluga, we've appreciated all the enthusiasm and positive feedback from our users. We're excited to continue to build our vision for mobile group messaging as part of the Facebook team. Beluga and Facebook are committed to create new and better ways to communicate and share group experiences.
For now, Beluga will continue to function as it does today. Your Beluga account and data will not be lost. We'll be providing more details on future plans for Beluga in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
It's not too big a leap to imagine Beluga being integrated into Facebook chat. Question is will we still be able to use it outside of the Facebook ecosystem. We'll know when we know. [Beluga]
Mobile games developer and publisher Gameloft has announced that it's partnering with Epic Games to bring four new Unreal Engine 3-powered titles to market on a number of platforms including Android. The first two of these titles will launch sometime this year, with two more following up in 2012.
Epic Games is most famous as developer of Gears of War and Infinity Blade, but its Unreal Engine 3 technology has powered a variety of titles on several platforms over the past five years. Recently Epic's engine has been shown running on next-generation Android hardware like the LG Optimus 2X with impressive results. In addition to Android, Gameloft plans to bring its four new Unreal Engine titles to iOS, PlayStation Network and "set-top boxes". [Gameloft]
When it comes to getting Cut the Rope on Android, we only have one thing to say: Not soon enough! That's right, Cut the Rope has been rumored to be on its way for months, and now we've got an official teaser, straight from developer ZeptoLab.
Gameplay for Cut the Rope on Android looks to be exactly the same, which is a good thing. For those who haven't been indoctrinated, the idea is to get the shiny ball thingy into the mouth of the green monster guy. And it gets pretty darn tough.
Still no release actual date, but we're we're definitely getting closer to Cut the Rope. [via Facebook] Thanks, ilyaamex!
UK retailer PC World opened its Motorola Xoom promotional page today, which for a brief time showed the Wi-Fi version of the tablet priced at a shockingly reasonable £449.99 (~$720). The price has since been removed, but not before Eurodroid managed to grab some photographic evidence (see above).
If accurate, this is a very competitive price for a high-end tablet in the UK market -- though still a good $120 more expensive than Wi-Fi Xooms sold across the pond. The £449.99 price point would place the Xoom within £20 of the cheapest iPad model, and see it more or less matching the current RRP of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The Motorola Xoom is due to launch in the UK sometime in the second quarter of the year, with the Wi-Fi version being sold exclusively by PC World's parent company Dixons Retail, and the 3G version being exclusive to the Carphone Warehouse. [PC World, Eurodroid]
I fly a lot. And I have to work on the plane a lot. But one thing I don't do because it's a hassle is connect my phone to the in-flight Wifi. It's just not easy to do on a mobile browser. But it's going to get better. Gogo Inflight has just released apps for iOS and BlackBerry for "one-step sign-in on your mobile device" -- and and Android application is in the works.
Definitely going to look forward to this one, as I'd much rather just whip out my phone for a few quick e-mails than drag the ol' lappy out from under the seat. And soon it's going to be much easier to do so. [Gogo Inflight]
Online reseller MobileCity has put up a placeholder page for the T-Mobile bound LG G-Slate, with a price tag of $699 for the 4G version. That's far less than the rumored $1200 that was floating around after Mobile World Congress, and $100 less than the Motorola Xoom. When you're shelling out that kind of money, $100 isn't the most important factor in the decision making process, but everyone expected the G-Slate to be more expensive because of all the 3D magic it has going on.
Now we're not saying that the price is correct, but it should be in the ballpark. Now let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief and hope that the $699 number holds. [Mobilecity via Android Central forums]
Now that we've got a couple of dual-core devices with those fast-and-mighty NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipsets, it's time to put them to good use -- with some apps. And to that end, NVIDIA this morning has launched Tegra Zone, a portal for finding the latest apps optimized for the new processors.
We've taken Tegra Zone for a spin over the past couple of days. Join us after the break for a full rundown.
Man, I love these little Optimus One phones. When you put Android on great entry-level hardware and price it accordingly, a couple things happen. They get pretty damn popular, and developersstart to takenotice. Both are very good things. Optimus developer mmmark111 brings us new goodies -- ROMTools. ROMTools is a program you run from your computer and it handles a whole slew of hacking needs for your Optimus One phone. Have a look:
Mount /system r/w
Push ROM to SD card
Reboot into Recovery
If you hate trying to remember commands and file locations, you'll love it. It's really easy to use -- I've even got my wife flashing her own boot animations. I'll make a hacker out of her yet, especially with tools like this one. Thanks a lot, mmmark111, for making and sharing it! [Android Central forums]
T-Mobile has announced that as of May 31, 2011, the Danger service (Andy Rubin's former baby now owned by Microsoft) will no longer be available for T-Mobile Sidekick users. Have no fear, because they have an easy transition path from the Sidekick to a new device -- one they will be sharing more information about in the coming weeks.
Now if I were a betting man, I would bet that T-Mobile means only one thing -- the Sidekick 4G. We know it's coming, and soon enough that T-Mobile already has a sign-up sheet live for more info. All that's left is for them to say "Go."
And I'll start the random speculation off by saying the week of April 15. Get into the Rumored Device forums and let's hear your best guess! T-Mobile's full (but brief) statement is after the break.
Here comes your daily HTC Thunderbolt teaser. (Don't look at us like that -- it's tomorrow in Europe already. Or something like that.) VZ Navigator -- Verizon's own maps powered by NAVTEQ -- will run you $2.99 a day, $4.99 a week or $9.99 a month. But it also has Bing built into it, if you're into that sort of thing.
Although the XFinity Mobile app was released quite some time ago, that doesn't mean Comcast is done with its Android offerings. The latest addition, XFinity TV, is now available in the Android Market and has some changes over the XFinity Mobile app. Most notably, the new app works as a DVR remote rather then just a scheduling tool for your DVR selections.
Take note though -- neither the Samsung Nexus S nor Android 2.3 are compatible with the app. So if you're using an Android 2.3-based device or possibly even a ROM built off of Android 2.3, you can pretty much count this one out. As I was advised by Jerry to tell you all that he still can't use it, and for that he wants to beat someone until his arms are tired. Neck beards get no love, I tell ya -- none at all. Download after the break folks. Thanks, Mark for sending this in.
LG has announced that the Optimus 2X -- the world's first (but no longer only) dual-core Android smartphone -- will be hitting Europe in March. Neither carriers nor countries were announced, and no exact date was given. The phone launched in Korea in late January and will be known as the Optimus Speed in Germany. No U.S. availability has been announced.
We broke the good/bad/indifferent news earlier today in our rumored devices forum -- the Samsung Gem has been resurrected, and dummy units are hitting Verizon stores as we speak. The Gem is a pretty basic 3.2-inch Android smartphone with a 3.2MP camera and an 800MHz processor. Not all that much to write home about, but it did see release on Alltel just a few weeks ago.
So, yeah, dummy units are arriving. We've got one more pic after the break, and that's probably as close as we're going to get to this thing. Thanks to you know who!
Changes in the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread source will allow applications to take screenshots without rooting your phone. We've always been able to take screenshots using the SDK and the ddms utility (which you can see above), and some third-party manufacturer skins have enabled it -- both accidentally and on purpose. But with Android 2.3.3 it appears that applications will be able to do it without rooting on stock Android. This is because of some changes in the way the SurfaceFlinger service handles what it captures from the framebuffer. For more info, have a look here. It's something that many users have been requesting, and security issues aside, something long available on most other smartphone platforms. (Wave to your screenshot-less Windows Phone friends, everybody!)
Of course we have to wait for 2.3.3 to filter down to everyone before we see apps take advantage of this for most phones. But if you've rooted and are already rocking Gingerbread, it shouldn't be long before your favorite developer integrates this and any other small tweaks that come with the latest version. Then again, you can use any of the methods on the Market to capture your screen if you're already rooted. So goes Android's circle of life, I guess. Hopefully, manufacturers get 2.3.3 pushed out soon and we all can enjoy.
Our reviews won't stop, nor is the Android Market is likely to change overnight. And so, the folks from Chomp have stepped in and released their app discovery service to Android users. Chomp allows users to seek out Android apps in what may or not be a better layout depending on your tastes. Given that it is available as a free download, it'll do no harm in checking it out if you're having troubles finding new apps for your device. Download and video are available after the break. [TechCrunch]
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