Awesome day for Android users everywhere. With Google teasing surprises and then unleashing Android 2.3.4 with video chat, we've got a lot to be happy about today. Plus, according to Google -- that wasn't really the biggest surprise they have coming. We've got the Android Central podcast tonight to talk about it all but until then - hop into the forums to discuss some more Android news.
Here's yet another confirmation that the upcoming LG Revolution will have Netflix streaming. For a while now we've all been asking, and I quote, "Where the hell is Netflix for Android?" Netflix told us we would be seeing it early this year, once they have some DRM issues sorted out, and we've seen -- and briefly used -- the Netflix app in the LG Revolution system files, but nobody has stepped forward and let us know exactly when to expect it in our hot little hands.
Today Android Central forums member nick1020 shows us a peek at a page from the official "Your Guide" book from Verizon that clearly says "High-quality video streaming by Netflix" to push this from rumor, to almost-confirmed rumor. All we need now is the release date for the Revolution, and confirmation that this won't be some back-door content deal with Verizon only phones and tablets like we've seen other vendors do. We need to put these HDMI capable phones to good use!
So we've talked a little bit about the new Verizon Casio G'zOne Commando -- the rugged phone with the silly name. But how's it actually feel in the hand? And does its ruggedness equate to a bad user experience? Quite the opposite, actually.
As you'll see in our hands-on video above, there are some trade-offs. The microsUSB port and 3.5mm headphone jack are buried behind some solid rubber doors. The battery cover comes off easy, but we're not quite sure we've got it on right, despite the instructions pasted to the back of the phone.
Anyhoo, peep the video above for a walkthrough of the hardware and software of the Verizon Casio G'zOne Commando -- and for a little pronunciation lesson.
That little surprise that Google's been teasing us with is now official -- Android 2.3.4 will indeed support video chat for the Nexus S. And that's a good thing, 'cause we've been loving it on Android 3.0 and our tablets. Looks like it'll work the same way on our phones. And Google says it'll also be coming to Gingerbread (Android 2.3 and up) devices later. And what's more -- it'll work over 3G as well as Wifi.
The update will be "rolling out over the next few weeks." Which means as soon as we have a download location, we'll all have it. But that's not all. As you can clearly see, Google's got another surprise in store. Any guesses? Video of video chat is after the break.
There's been talk of Sprint selling the Motorola Xoom for several months, and Sprint just made it official -- the wifi only model will be available through all retail channels on May 8, for $599.99, just as we reported earlier today. A carrier selling something you can pick up from a big box or electronics store may sound a little strange, but it should make it easier to get the Xoom in more peoples hands, which equals more developer interest. We all like that.
No official word on any plans for a 4G model from Sprint, but I certainly wouldn't put that, or some sort of 4G Overdrive MiFi bundle package, out of the picture just yet. For now, you have a new storefront to get your Xoom from, and that's just fine by us. The full announcement is after the break.
Yeah, it's a bit of a bummer that you have to wait on the Samsung Droid Charge. And, no, Verizon's not yet saying when it'll go on sale after today's official postponement. But if you're the gambling type, there's one apparently up on eBay, starting at $500, which is a fair initial asking price. It's said to be in the retail box, with all the Droid Charge accessories you'd expect.
No bids yet on the Droid Charge auction, but we'll keep an eye on it, we suppose. Anybody bidding?
When is the ASUS EeePad Transformer, one of the hottest Honeycomb tablets available, not actually one of the hottest Honeycomb tablets available? (Read our full review) When it's shipped still running some pre-release firmware identified as Android 2.2. Craziness!
That's what happened to moago, who was lucky enough snag one at launch this week, only to find it not running Honeycomb. That sort of thing, of course, attracts hackers and nerds (and us hacker/nerd/journalist types) like Donald Trump to a camera, and hijinx ensue.
So congrats to moago for getting that little treasure, and good luck getting it updated. For the rest of you, once you're actually able to get the Transformer, you'll just have to be content with having the newest version of Android. Life's tough like that.
It's hardly been a secret that Motorola's been testing an update for the Atrix 4G on AT&T -- we've been going over the changelog -- and now it looks like it could officially be pushed out tomorrow, April 29. Need a reminder of what's in the 184.108.40.206 update? Here 'tis:
Data Speed Increased speed at which data can travel on the network.
Data Connection Improvements to prevent interruptions to data connection.
Screen Improvements to prevent screen from freezing.
Email Improved ability for users to receive email notifications so you know when you have a new message. Also, improvements were made so that you are now able to use the same email login to access both MOTOBLUR™ and YouTube.
Skype Improvements to call audio function so it is easier for the person you called to hear you. Please note this application is not pre-loaded on the phone, but is available for download from the Android Market.
Wi-Fi Increased functionality by enabling Yahoo Email to be sent over a Wi-Fi connection.
Display Improved International Roaming Warning Message by simplifying user notification so that it only appears on the screen when you move to a new network.
Happenings Widget Improved Happenings Widget to ensure that you receive the latest updates across the social networks you are connected to such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
Calling Improvements were made to incoming and outgoing call functionality to ensure a more seamless experience.
So be on the lookout starting tomorrow, and sing out if you get it.
I kind of want to throw the Casio G'zOne Commando. Or at least just drop it. Maybe kick it down the street a little. Can't decide if that's because it's rugged to the point where it's trying to pick a fight, or if it's because of the ridiculous name.
Anyhoo, it's got a 3.6-inch display at 800x480, 1GB of ROM (though we're only showing 309MB available) and 512MB of RAM, powered by an 800MHz processor running Android 2.2.1. there's a 5MP camera and all the other usual features, including a notification light.
It's got a custom UI which is for the most part unremarkable, though the main home screen has a compass on it. How useful that will be depends on how often you actually need a compass, but it's an interesting novelty.
But, really, it's the outside of the Commando that's important. There's a pretty serious rubber frame around the thing. The microUSB and 3.5mm ports are covered by rubber flaps, and the volume, power, camera and G'zGear buttons (we'll explain that last one later) are all very industrial. The screws that hold it all together are exposed for the world to see. In other words, it's very in-your-face.
The entire phone is "water resistant," and to that end there's a stick on the battery cover that instructs you how to properly reattach it to maintain a complete lack of moisture infiltration. (That's our phrase. You can borrow it, free of charge.) The battery door has a sliding lock.
In short, this thing means business, and by business we mean not the sort you do with a coat and tie.
Oh, and we just found one more reason we want to go a couple rounds in a ring with the G'zOne Commando -- It's all Bing'd up. So, yeah. There's that. Full review is forthcoming. For now, find more pics after the break.
You all remember that Sprint brandedMotorola Xoom right? Of course you do -- back then, we had no idea of when it would be showing up on Sprint for people to purchase but now, that's a slightly different story if the info seen in this image is any sort of accurate. May 8, is the expected release date for the WiFi only Motorola Xoom on Sprint but again that $599 price tag is lingering. With other tablets such as the HTC Flyer and the ASUS EeePad Transformer now or soon to be on the scene, is anyone still going to be picking up a Xoom from Sprint?
Shazam, that oh-so-cool “music discovery” app that identifies a song simply by listening, has been updated to allow free unlimited tagging. This means that users no longer have to upgrade to the paid Shazam Encore ($4.99 in the Android Market) should they want to tag more than five songs per month. The update, bumping Shazam up to version 3.0.0, also brings support for “Shazam Friends”, a feature that allows you to share your tags via Facebook, formerly available to iOS users only.
The unlimited tagging promotion will last through January 1, 2012 and is made possible by a sponsorship from eBay (a unique pairing, but who’s complaining?). Hit the source link for the full press release and grab the new and improved app from the Android Market link after the break.
Hardware-wise, it's the same as we saw it four months ago. You've got a 4.3-inch touchscreen at 800x480, powered by a 1GHz processor, with 512MB of RAM. We've got 2GB of on-board storage, and our review unit came with a 32MB microSD card. Nice.
Despite being a large phone -- it's a hair over 5 inches tall and is about 2.6 inches wide -- it's less than a half-inch thick and weighs just 5.04 ounces. It's big, but it feels pretty good in the hand, if a tad plastic. The Droid Charge tapers to a point down at the physical buttons -- which are blissfully large -- giving it the look of a shield.
Samsung's TouchWiz interface is on board, same as it ever was. Otherwise, you've got all the usual accompanying features. There's an 8MP rear camera with flash, front-facing 1.3MP camera, HDMI out, and so on and so forth. It's a big, light, Android phone with LTE.
The full review's coming up, folks. In the meantime, peep the pics after the break.
HTC tends to always include some nice wallpapers with new device releases. Most, are available through the HTC Hub application but if you're not running a Sense phone or ROM tracking down the wallpapers can often be tedious. Luckily though, the Android community is one that likes to share and as such the HTC Sense 3.0 wallpapers have been extracted and are now available for download. If you're looking to take a walk on the wild side -- you'll also find the inverted versions available as well.
We're still waiting on official word from Verizon, but if you're waking up this morning and hoping to head to a store to pick up the brand new Samsung Droid Charge, sit back down, pour another cup and prepare to wait. Calling around a handful of stores confirmed what we feared -- no Droid Charges for sale until the LTE network issue that brought the HTC ThunderBolt to its knees yesterday is squashed. Sad, but it makes sense.
The good news is that 4G data is starting to pop back up, so it looks like we're past the worst. Let's just hope this is no more than a black eye on Verizon.
Update: Just got the following e-mail passed on by a reader:
Verizon has delayed the launch of the Samsung Charge company wide. There is no new launch date for this device. ...
The Verizon communication to us to relay to potential customers inquiring about the Samsung Charge is below:
"Verizon Wireless is experiencing unexpected delays with the launch of the Droid Charge by Samsung. Verizon Wireless is committed to providing the very best customer experience with all of their products and services. If you’d like to provide us with your contact information today, we will gladly notify you once the device is available for purchase. Another alternative is to visit www.droiddoes.com/charge to register your email for the latest updates."
Update 2: Verizon on Twitter says all is well with the network.
Attention all parents of youngsters: Android is here to save you from being overrun, a tall order, especially if you've got more than one running around, or will in the future. But Parenting Magazine has launched the Parenting Ages & Stages app, which aims to guide you through the early years. It's broken down into five categories -- pregnancy, first year, second year, the early years and school years. You can customize the app with pictures of your children, the names and ages, so you get a more personal experience in learning whether that thing Timmy swallowed is really harmful.
You can check out the press release after the break, and we've got more pics and download links after the break.
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