No question of loyalty here. Sergey Brin, one half of Google's dynamic duo aka the Masters of Search aka the Founders, was caught using a Motorola DROID at the Chrome OS event. We would take that as a ringing endorsement for the DROID and great for our ego considering Brin's worth billions of dollars and invented the closest thing to the answer-of-life, Google, yet he uses the same device available to all of us.
Maybe he had a top-secret HTC Dragon running Android 3.0 in his other pocket but yep, like we said, the DROID is the current go to device for Android users.
Now we know why Sony Ericsson is desperate to find a US carrier to subsidize the phone, there's no way it can find a market at that price. And even when you consider carrier subsidies, it'll still be the most expensive Android phone around. When other Android devices are available for $400-$500 off-contract and sub-$200 with contract, even after carrier's subsidize the $879 price you're still looking at a $400-$500 premium over every other Android phones. It's just ridiculous.
We know this is just a report and not official word from Sony Ericsson but in a world where you can get top-notch devices for under $200 on 2-year contract, you're asking for failure with a ridiculous cost.
The picture above, under all the blurriness, is the Motorola Motus, Motorola's next Android phone. It definitely shares a significant resemblance to the Motorola CLIQ but comes off with more sleekness. The keyboard is very flat looking but the buttons look pretty sizable, at least there's no d-pad to throw off the symmetry. What's most interesting to us is that the Motus looks like it could have an interesting slide/flip mechanism, from our perspective it looks like the screen and the keyboard look like they're completely side-by-side with little overlap.
We're not exactly sure what 'Reverse flip keyboard' means exactly other than it's different from your typical reveal of the keyboard. The 'Rear directional touchpad' is easier to determine but still confusing in how it'll be executed, really a touchpad on the back of a phone? In any case, it looks like the Motorola Motus will join the CLIQ and extend the MOTOBLUR family! We'll definitely keep an eye on this!
It has been rumored that the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 was slated for a February 2010 release, but after seeing people's first impressions of the device, well, it looks like there's still a lot of work to be done. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 just got a bunch of first looks and hands on from the usual suspects and we tidied up their thoughts for your reading pleasure. Here it goes!
It's missing that spark, the emotional drippings of OMG, that say, the Droid has. The X10 is perfectly fine. It's just that everything outwardly belies the specialness of what's going on inside. The all plastic-build feels just slightly better than cheap, the shape is kind of awkward unless you have gorilla hands, the design—it all just feels, well, incredibly ordinary.
It seems that performance is very contingent upon how much content is loaded into the device and what particular thing it's trying to perform. Sometimes we'd fly through the stacks of faces, while other times we'd sit there waiting for the simplest thumbnails to load up. The good news is that we have until next year to see this thing really come together, and the word is that the software is improving and a rapid pace.
The UI is very functional and it gets the job done, but it’s not as attractive as HTC’s Sense UI. We’re not quite sure what it is about the XPERIA X10, but we’re just not feeling that “wow” we got with the Droid, for example.
Overall, it seems like everyone was ready to love the XPERIA X10, but the XPERIA X10 never gave them a reason to. The design isn't groundbreaking, the hardware wasn't amazing, and the software still needed work. To be fair, it wasn't all bad. The 8.1 megapixel camera got rave reviews from everybody, the screen is lovely, and Timescape and Mediascape (features of the Nexus UX formerly the 'Rachael' UI) were great ideas. But in the end, it just seemed as if the XPERIA X10 just simply isn't ready.
There's no official release date (and we'd much rather have Sony Ericsson spend time tweaking everything anyway) and no official carrier linked to it (Sony Ericsson says they're working with US carriers to get it subsidized), so there's still a lot of unknown with the device. We had high hopes for the XPERIA X10 and we still think that Sony Ericsson can deliver a winner of a device. It's just going to take more time than we thought.
Hit the jump to see pictures of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10!
Sprint has decided to join the party of releasing commercials for Android devices and market the Sprint HTC Hero as a highly customizable phone with access to thousands of applications. The Sprint ad spot shows Sprint's impressive holiday phone lineup: the Palm Pre, Blackberry Tour, and HTC Hero. We love how the HTC Hero is finally getting its well deserved shine in the spotlight and hope that it'll spur more folks to go Android.
There's a new Gmail Labs feature that'll allow Gmail users to see which of their Google Talk contacts are using Google Talk on their Android devices. In short, it's awesome. The typical green/orange/red lights have been replaced with the cute Android robot icon we've loved since day one. In Google's words:
Turn on Green Robot, a new experiment in Gmail Labs, and you'll see a robot icon next to people who are currently using Android phones. In the case below, Shirley is online with Android, Nicolle R. is using regular Gmail chat, and Chris I. is currently away but also on Android. Slatka is not an angry robot — she's online with Android but currently busy.
We think it's a great little idea that can help Google Talk users differentiate between who's on-the-go and who's on their desktop. And on top of that, the more that cute green Android Robot pops up the happier we are!
Good news guys! Fring is now available on Android Market. For those unfamiliar with Fring, Fring for Android enables free VoIP calls over Fring, Skype, MSN, and Google Talk. Basically Fring allows you to use your 3G, GPRS, or Wi-Fi connection to make phone calls, no minutes necessary. On top of that, Fring even allows you to chat with your friends using the popular messaging platforms. You can now think of Fring as your one stop shop for all your messaging needs.
We suggest you try out Fring today! Download it from Android Market and VoIP away. This may very well be the future of making phone calls.
GSM contacts do not appear in fring's buddy list on the DROID
Call disconnection tone may be heard a few times when terminating a call
SIP and SkypeOut calls are not yet available on the DROID
As if it couldn't get any more interesting with a Google Phone, there's an updated report suggesting that the Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP device that does away with your usual voice plan and minutes. Take a step back and imagine that. If the Google Phone was to step away from the carrier stranglehold of minutes and simply route calls through Google Voice and use the recently acquired Gizmo5 as the onboard VoIP service, it truly would be the Google Phone. Your phone, no carrier influence, all delivered through data. It could work.
It's unclear how supportive the carriers would be of a data-only Google Phone considering it directly affects their primary business. In fact, the precedent of accepting a data-only Google Phone could make way for gigantic changes to the way the carriers do business. And we know how much the carriers love change. But AT&T has given Windows Mobile and Blackberry users data-only plans for quite some time (no data only option for iPhone), so it's not an impossible stretch.
The problem is of course, how the average consumer will see the move and if they'll buy into it. For us at Android Central the answer is simple, if Google does deliver a Google Phone, we're in for the ride. If it's data only and uses VoIP for calls, even better (we've been itching for data only devices anyway). But would it be too complicated for the average consumer? Could they get around the idea of leaving carriers behind and using VoIP for phone calls? Would it still be subsidized? Is this kind of Google Phone targeted to only the tech-savvy?
Also, if Google does release this data-only, VoIP Google Phone, it kind of, sort of sidesteps direct competition with its current Android-making partners. We're sure they'll still be unhappy about Google's power move but it's certainly a better scenario than Google releasing a 'true phone'.
In any case, there's a ton of questions regarding the potential of the Google Phone that can't be fully answered until Google officially announces the thing. But the data-only, VoIP version might be the scenario we love the most considering the novelty of it and the sweeping changes it might start in the industry.
According to our readers, an update for the Sprint HTC Hero has arrived. Unfortunately, it's not the Android 2.0 software update we've all been itching and crawling for but rather the 'maintenance release' we reported was coming a few days ago. Our readers told us to manually check for the firmware update (Settings > About Phone > System Updates > Firmware Update) but our Hero isn't showing it yet. What about yours?
The firmware update weighs in at around 3.7mb and supposedly fixes SMS and DST issues.
Here we go again. There's whispers going around that the device we've all been waiting for, since even before the existence of Android really, is coming early next year. Yep, the Google Phone, as in the hardware and design and all the little and final decisions that goes into building a phone is made by Google. According to the report, Google will sell the phone directly and through retailers, the Google phone was supposed to come this Holiday season but has been pushed back to early next year, and the phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but only carry Google branding.
Basically, it's purported to be Google's vision of what a phone should be and how it should fit with Android. Almost sounds too good to be true. The Google Phone will likely be produced by either LG or Samsung (more likely LG) and there'll be a huge ad push for it.
In theory, it all sounds great. Google gets to deliver a handset that is directly tied to the Android experience, kind of how Apple is the sole provider of the iPhone experience. The problem is, Google for all its talents and genius, has yet to ever prove it can handle hardware (or even design). It's a company filled first and foremost with engineers, albeit engineers with great talents and ideas, but engineers nonetheless. This is the company that leaves its product in Beta for years upon years! Why bother investing in a hardware device that HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG, etc have proven well capable already? Hardware has never been Google's M.O.
And if Google does so happen build a wonderful Google Phone, it'll likely alienate its hardware partners. Why would I buy a Motorola DROID or Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 if I can get an official Google Phone built from the ground up for Android? How will companies feel if the Google Phone launches with 3.0 but every other Android device is stuck at 2.0? Will they continue to make Android devices? Google would be leaving the companies that backed Android from the beginning in the dust. Simply put, the existence of a Google Phone automatically makes third-party Android phones second-tier devices because Google's priority will shift to the Google Phone, all others second.
There's definitely a lot more questions, both good and bad, regarding the Google Phone but if it is true, Android is going to take off. Again. It's going to be an exciting year.
Through its analytics service, Flurry monitors usage of over 10,000 developers' applications on iPhone and Android. In total, Flurry tracks applications on approximately two out of every three unique iPhone and Android handsets in the market, including over 15,000 million user sessions per day. To estimate first week sales totals for the myTouch 3G, Droid and iPhone 3GS, Flurry detected new handsets within its system, and then made adjustments to account for varying levels of Flurry application penetration by handset.
Flurry also cross-checked their iPhone 3GS numbers with the ones Apple released to confirm and the total was similar. But no matter what the exact numbers are, the DROID has definitely re-invigorated Motorola and we expect them to close out the year strong. The DROID has been an out and out success.
We've seen the Dell 'Streak' Android MID before. It's a 5-inch Android-powered MID that packs a 800x480 capacitive touchscreen, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 5 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and runs Android 2.0. Why is it news again? Because there are reports floating around that point the Dell Streak to AT&T in 2010. Yep, the US company that didn't release their first Android phone in the US and the carrier that has ignored Android altogether, are together for one device. Guess it kind of makes sense.
It is time, ladies and gentlemen, for the sixth annual SPB Survey. SPB Software House is looking to get a better look at your needs in the mobile applications, and they're doing so worldwide, with the survey going out in 10 languages.
And your time may be rewarded. Three winners, picked at random, will receive the following:
First place: A free smartphone of your choice from a major Internet retailer (such as Amazon or Expansys), valued up to $1,000.
Second place: $100 worth of accessories from Smartphone Experts (that's us), plus $100 worth of SPB Software.
Third place: $100 worth of SPB software.
So, really, you have no excuse for not taking the survey, which runs through 7 p.m. GMT Dec. 4, 2009. Take the survey now!
We're looking forward to the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 so much that we'll watch videos that basically re-hash the same features we've already seen over and over again (at least this one's in English!). The video above again showcases the 'Rachael' UI that makes us drool over the XPERIA X10 and it looks surprisingly speedy and very usable. Hopefully seeing the XPERIA X10 so polished already means that the February release date is more likely.
We're going to keep reporting any tidbit of information regarding the XPERIA X10 until we get our hands on it because we have supreme faith that this might be the next 'it' Android device. What do you guys think?
Update: Nope, the camera wasn't fixed because of a silent software update or because of wiping the lens clean (we wish!). The problem of autofocus was caused because of a 'rounding error bug'. To quote:
There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.
The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.
Since we're on the 'good end' of it now, the patch releasing on December 11th should fix the issue entirely.
We know some of you have had issues with the DROID's autofocus--the issue being that it never focused right--but now it looks like there may be a fix to all your woes. According to one DROID user, if you simply clean the lens with a soft cloth, your Motorola DROID will begin to autofocus correctly. Apparently, there may have been some residue or oily film on the lens that caused the autofocus issues.
If you're having problems with the DROID's autofocus, we say you give it a try and let us know how it works. If your DROID can autofocus fine but still only takes cruddy pictures, stick to taking pictures on a sunny day, outside or hope for a software fix.
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