The Smartphone Round Robin is finally over! After a long trip through five other smartphone platforms, we're finally back on our own lovely Android. Having played with so many different platforms, we can say with full confidence that there's been no better time to be a smartphone user. Really, any smartphone you pick up is worth your time. We've come a very long way from maddening UIs and cruddy hardware.
And maybe we thank the iPhone for shocking the smartphone market alive, but it doesn't stop there. We sure have to thank Blackberry for continuing to build great devices and fine tuning their experience. Certainly thank Android & webOS for introducing fresh concepts and philosophies. And thank Windows Mobile and Nokia for staying their course while still modernizing. And we haven't even mentioned third party manufacturers like HTC & Motorola. Everyone is in some part responsible for the growth of smartphones. Even you.
But anyway, let's see what the other editors thought of Android in the Smartphone Round Robin! We've picked out some choice quotes from all of their reviews that highlights their overall theme. It's an interesting lot, to say the least, and we're glad to see such fresh perspective on the Android platform. Seeing it day-to-day limits our ability to see it as outside the box as these guys.
Read on to see what the other editors had to say about Android!
If you're interested, the just announced Samsung M100S got some hands-on time captured on video. The device actually looks pretty good--the screen pops, the shape is nice, and the materials look excellent. Even better, the performance of Android 2.1 on the M100S is stellar. We're thoroughly impressed with the M100S and hope that Samsung builds these kinds of Android phones instead of those kinds of Android phone. We're also happy to note that we saw more Android than Touchwiz in the videos and that friends, is a very good thing.
Hit the jump to see 2 Hands-on videos of the Samsung M100S!
One of the things we wouldn't mind Android stealing from the iPhone is their game selection. Games on the iPhone typically outclass Android games and can even keep pace with dedicated gaming devices like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.
Luckily, as Android grows, the games will follow. We're beginning to see a ton of great games on Android and even some iPhone ports. For example, HomeRun Battle 3D, a simple, yet addictive game that is basically a glorified home run derby, has come from the iPhone to Android. What's even cooler about HomeRun Battle 3D is that it allows for cross-platform multiplayer, which means you can pit Android vs iPhone and go hit for hit with your iPhone buddies. Cross-platform multiplayer is an awesome feature that we hope to see in other Android & iPhone games--the more people you can beat in games, the merrier.
Hit the jump to see the Droid vs iPhone in HomeRun Battle 3D! (sadly the Droid loses)
Looks like another Android phone is getting blessed with Android 2.1. And that phone would be the Samsung Galaxy I5700 Spica. We've previously heard that the Spica would receive Android 2.0 in February but we guess since 2.1 is the latest rage, that's going to be ignored. The Samsung Galaxy I5700 is a mid-level device with decent specs but isn't even available in the US. It just released on T-Mobile UK so maybe eventually we'll see it here (we doubt it), but we'd much rather have a Galaxy 2 or even a M100S now anyway. Anyone own a Galaxy Spica?
There's no denying that the Nexus One is a sexy piece of hardware (check out our review) that both Google and manufacturer HTC are proud of. (You should see them talk about it in person. It's evident in their eyes.) Now Google's showing off the backstory of the Nexus One in a series of videos hosted on the GoogleNexusOne YouTube channel.
The first episode tackles the concept and design and is narrated by Erick Tseng (Android Project Manager), Tomasz Hasinski (HTC Project Manager) and Lloyd Watts (Audience). Check it out after the break. And look for more clips in the next week or so.
We love Twitter clients. That's no secret around here. And the free Seesmic Twitter client for Android just got an update. It's a biggie, and likely enough to return it to my regular Twitter rotation.
First up (and foremost for me) is the ability to access multiple Twitter accounts. (Note to any developer working on a Twitter app: That really is a necessity. I don't care what normal people tell you.)
You also can send a tweet to one or several accounts at once. Just like with the desktop client. That's another biggie for those of us with personal and work accounts. (One thing that's missing, however: a "Jump to top" option. Oh. Found it.)
Other additions to the latest version of Seesmic include:
Adding an Extra Large text size option
Your profile information (avatar, number of following and followers,...) will now be updated automatically
Changing your Twitter account password will now be handled by the application
Composer now auto-corrects and auto-capitalize your words and sentences
Notifications are now cleared when the application is accessed from Launcher
Easily changing default account from the application's Settings
Can remove a Twitter account simply by pressing on it
If you're already using Seemic, you should get an update notification. If you're not using it, scan the QR code above (or click on it from your Android browser) and give it a shot.
And after the break, Seesmic founder and head cheerleader Loic Lemeur shows off the update.
Looks like Google Maps might be getting ready to move its Street View feature indoors. Search Engine Land was told by NYC store Oh Nuts that it was visited by a Google rep who took picture inside every six feet in all directions. Products also were snapped.
It'll be interesting to see exactly which (and what kind) of businesses are featured in Store View, if and when it's released. On one hand, it's cool to be able to see the inside of a new place before you give it your patronage. On the other hand, shooting the interior of, say, the Victoria's Secret on Fifth Avenue is bound to raise a few eyebrows. But presumably that's all being worked out. [Search Engine Land via Consumerist]
For our UK friends on the Orange network: HTC just released a maintenance update for the Hero. No, not a full-on Android revisision (sorry), but it's better than nothing. The update will take you to ROM Version 220.127.116.11. [HTC] (Thanks, Phil!)
From the Forums is a great way for you, our readers, to see the hottest topics being discussed. But you must be a registered member and becoming a member is a simple process. So if you have not already already done so, head on over and register now!
Many of our readers seem to be very interested in the world of ROMs and hacking their Android device, if this is something that interests you be sure to check out gbhil's General ROM FAQ. This FAQ tells you everything you need to know to get started!
Hey, all you developers out there: Interpret's looking to get to know you better, and they have a short survey they'd like you to take. Take it, enter your information at the end, and you'll be entered into a drawing to win a free Nexus One. Go let 'em know a thing or three about how you feel about mobile applications.
For you Dropbox fans out there who look at your iPhone-wielding friends longingly as they browser through their stuff in the cloud, take heart in the knowledge that an Android application is in the works. (For those of you new to Dropbox, think of it as a way to sync just about anything in the cloud. Easy and seamless.) While reminding us about Dropbox's mobile site, the crew let loose a little hint in an e-mail about its future plans:
Do you own a Blackberry or Android phone? Don't worry! We've got plenty more mobile magic coming soon!
One of the biggest (and best) questions you all asked after Google brought multitouch to the Nexus One this week was "What about the Motorola Droid? Will it get multitouch, too? Of course, the Droid has multitouch outside the U.S., and you can hack it on to your phone if you have the American version. But we're talking about an official, sanctioned update here. Following are the responses we got from Google and from Motorola:
While designing DROID, and all Motorola mobile devices, Motorola work very closely with carriers and partners to deliver differentiated consumer experiences, depending on the region, carrier preferences and consumer needs. DROID features double tap zoom, a new way to zoom in on content. For example, when viewing web pages, simply tap twice on the content you want to view and DROID automatically zooms in and fits the content to the width of the display. You can also zoom in and out with on screen zoom controls.
The Android 2.0 framework includes support for multi-touch. As with other Android platform technologies, such as the text-to-speech engine, operators and handset makers can choose to implement this technology. Regarding the specific pinch-to-zoom functionality included in this new update, once we make this software update (2.1-update1) available to operators and handset makers, they can update their Android-powered devices accordingly.
So, if manufacturers and carriers choose to use it, they can. Same old story. (Let's hope they do.) We also asked Google about enabling multitouch on the keyboard. The big G's response:
The Android 2.0 framework includes support for multi-touch. As with other Android platform technologies, such as the text-to-speech engine, operators and handset makers can choose to implement this technology. Today's update for Nexus One devices only incorporates pinch-to-zoom functionality.
So there you go. Maybe we'll see it later, maybe we won't. Feel free to vent in the comments.
When we broke the news that Europe's Vodafone network would be getting the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, we didn't have an idea of when the phone would be available. That's been answered by Vodafone itself, which now lists the X10 as "Coming soon" in April on its Web site. As for a price? Gonna have to wait on that for a little while, it seems. [Vodafone] (Thanks to everyone who sent this in)
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