The next big feature for smartphones (and all mobile devices, really) is the augmented reality browser. Augmented Reality applications show the world around you in a brand new way--through the looking glass of your smartphone. Layar is a pioneer of this new method of 'seeing the world' and they've just unveiled their 3D-engine to make their browser all the more real.
The 3D-engine in the Layar Reality Browser kicks Augmented Reality Browsers up a notch. Developers can now tag real-life objects with 3D text or even drop 3D images in the browser. In Layar's words, "the addition of 3D enables Layar developers to create more realistic and immersive augmented reality experiences for mobile devices."
The video above shows a hilarious Pac-Man game being played in your average park, though that in itself doesn't do much for end-users, developers will certainly take advantage of the added depth that 3D enables.
We're big fans of Augmented Reality Browsers and Layar is definitely an application we've kept a close eye on. We can't wait to see what 3D can do to an already wonderful Android application.
The Samsung InstinctQ (also known as the Samsung M900) just passed through the hands of the Notorious FCC. And when yet-to-be announced products pass through the FCC, it typically means it's going to be announced sooner rather than later. So should we expect the Samsung InstinctQ/M900 to take over the daily headlines in the near future?
We think yes. The Samsung InstinctQ was previously rumored to release in October, and though that seems a wee bit too close, we're fairly certain an announcement (at the least) is on its way. The Notorious FCC leaks that the InstinctQ will rock CDMA/EV-DO connectivity which definitely points toward Sprint being the carrier. Everything else seems to be standard fare--Android OS, Bluetooth, and WiFi. The InstinctQ deserves bonus points for a hardware keyboard though.
What do you guys think? Is a hardware QWERTY keyboard enough to make you pass on the HTC Hero and wait for this puppy? Or are you just happy to see Android take off?
Sprint has announced their 9th annual Developer Conference and for the first time ever, we'll have to pay attention. Why? Because the Sprint Developer Conference will have a heavy focus on our favorite Android OS, with Google Engineers on-site to discuss Android Market and more specifically, Android development. What makes the deal even sweeter is that Sprint will also be giving away 400 HTC Hero units to developers.
So if you're interested in Android development, head on over to the Sprint Dev Conference website to sign up! We love that Sprint is taking their Android efforts so seriously, we believe that this conference will be fruitful for developers and thus down the line, Android users.
The Sprint Developer Conference is October 26-28, 2009 at Santa Clara, California.
While Verizon & AT&T have aligned themselves with LTE and T-Mobile is sticking with 21Mbps HSPA+, Sprint has heavily invested in a WiMax network by Clearwire for their 4G-speed offerings. So it's really no surprise that Sprint is planning to release a WiMax-speed smartphone in 2010. What is surprising is that some reports are pointing that device to be a Samsung-built, Android-powered smartphone. Android, Samsung, and WiMax? We're already sold.
Though Sprint is just starting to launch their Android portfolio (with the wonderful HTC Hero), a truly ground-breaking device like a WiMax speed, Android-powered smartphone would be an absolute game changer for the sinking carrier. With the speed of WiMax, we're talking about data speeds 3-5x faster than what an iPhone 3GS can do. Yeah, that's pretty fast. By the end of 2010, about 80 cities will be covered in the WiMax network, a fairly respectable number given the breathtaking speeds of 4G.
We know 2009 isn't over yet but if a 4G/WiMax Android device is coming by the end of 2010, we won't even mind pining for a device that's more than a year away. What do you guys think? Android, Samsung, Sprint, WiMax for the win?
Cellular South, the largest privately held wireless provider in the US which focuses on customers in the gulf coast, will be the third US carrier to officially support Android (T-Mobile and Sprint being first and second). Cellular South just announced that they will offer the Sprint-styled HTC Hero to their 5 million customers and it'll pack all the goodies of Google Apps and Android Market. Confession: We've never heard of Cellular South until now.
The Sprint-styled HTC Hero is the generically designed, chin-less version of the HTC Hero that packs a 5 megapixel camera and runs HTC Sense. Though we wish that they would offer the daringly styled, chin-full GSM version, it's still great to see a small carrier like Cellular South put their efforts behind an Android device that we believe to be the best Android offering available.
If anyone is a Cellular South customer or ever used Cellular South, please let us know in the comments how Cellular South is!
One of the greatest things about Android is that any company can tweak, modify, or add to the open-source of Android. We've seen both HTC and Motorola do some really great things with that freedom and we're certain that more companies will dabble in the customization. Case in point: Larva Labs just showed a concept that'll give Android a "Intelligent Home Screen" a la Windows Mobile's Today Screen.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" allows Android users to filter through personal items and general items. In a demo of the "Intelligent Home Screen" we see that personal items such as SMS, e-mails, phone calls are loaded on the top portion of the screen and general items like RSS feeds are shown on the bottom of the screen. The two categories are separated by a date and time bar. The entire interface is customizable--you can choose how many personal items or general items to display, you can choose font size, and even what is shown.
The "Intelligent Home Screen" would be a welcome addition to Android because the concept of a Today Screen is so useful in day-to-day usage. Though Larva Labs' Intelligent Home Screen is only in concept form, we're pretty sure once this is available to Android users, it's going to be a hit. What do you guys think?
The leaked images are of the blurrycam nature and though that typically casts doubt in our minds, we just want this to be real so bad that we can forgive the shoddy camera work. The pictures never really detail the specifics of the amazingly beautiful UI that Sony Ericsson has built on top of Android (like HTC did with Sense) but a couple shots of Android staple screens are enough to hold us over.
Images of a white Sony Ericsson XPERIA X3 'Rachael' Android phone have also leaked. All the pictures of this highly anticipated Android phone can be found after the jump!
As always with anything intensive like this, proceed at your own discretion. The Cyanogen ROM, though wonderful, is still unofficial and a rooted phone, though amazing, may cause fits for the average user. If you're still interested in experiencing the new Android Market, head over to CyanogenMod to see how it's done.
Let us know your thoughts on the new Android Market!
Chalk this up as another reason to love Android. Android just received its second video broadcasting/streaming application, Ustream (the first being qik). Any Android user who downloads Ustream (for free in Android Market) will be able to instantly shoot video and stream it live over 3G or Wi-Fi. Other features include local recording for higher quality web sharing later and polling and chatting with viewers in real time.
One of the purported benefits of Ustream vs Qik is that Ustream handles latency (aka lag) better. In early testing, lag time of three seconds over 3G have been reported. That's nothing short of amazing. We're excited to see bigger developers release full-featured applications on Android, sorry we can't say the same for our iPhone using friends. Zing!
If you've been keeping track of the T-Mobile 3G rollout like we know you have, you'll be happy to know that it's steadily moving along. The latest cities to receive T-Mobile 3G are Honolulu, Hawaii and Salt Lake City, Utah. So whether you're enjoying the last remnants of summer in Waikiki or anticipating the impending snow season in Salt Lake City, you'll be able to experience the game changing feature that is 3G.
But the news gets even better for Philadelphians. T-Mobile is cranking up the current 3G in Philly and bringing 21Mbps HSPA+ to T-Mobile users in the city of Brotherly Love. We know that T-Mobile plans to use 21Mbps HSPA+ in lieu of moving to 4G (LTE) and though we disagree with the decision in the long-term, 21Mbps HSPA+ right now sounds like the best 3G data around. (For comparison, current T-Mobile 3G is capped at 1.8Mbps and even AT&T's 3G maxes out at 7.2Mbps)
Those in Honolulu, Salt Lake City, and especially Philadelphia, please let us know in the comments how the 3G is working!
One of our biggest issues with the HTC Tattoo, HTC's next Android phone, is the resistive touchscreen. We believe that capacitive touchscreens have worked so incredibly well with the Android OS that to take a step back to include resistive screens is a misstep. However, after watching the video above, our concerns regarding the resistive touchscreen have been alleviated a little bit.
The guys at phonedog have spent some time with the HTC Tattoo and from the looks of it, the resistive touchscreen seems to respond fairly well. Even HTC Sense feels very snappy considering that the Tattoo is supposed to be a low-end Android device. What's most unique is that the customizable 'tattoo' moniker really rings true here, the HTC Tattoo can be completely stripped and customized to one's liking--the entire exterior frame of the Tattoo can be replaced.
Take a look at the video and tell us what you think! From this view, the HTC Tattoo looks a lot more impressive than we originally expected.
Because we've yet to receive official word on the release date of the Motoroal CLIQ, we're left with rumors, speculation, and leaked pamphlets. Tmonews has received an image of a purported Motorola CLIQ pamphlet detailing that pre-orders for the CLIQ will start on October 19th. Though we've previously reported that the CLIQ might release in October, this new leaked pamphlet is the most convincing evidence yet.
BGR independently reports that the CLIQ will launch on November 11th. This report would fall in line with the leaked pre-order date of October 19th because it would give T-Mobile a little over 3 weeks to fulfill the pre-orders. The timeframe makes sense because T-Mobile typically gives a little over 3 weeks for pre-orders (like for the myTouch 3G).
If the CLIQ does launch in November, that'll give Orange UK nearly a month's head start on releasing the latest Android phone. And though that isn't much of a surprise given that the UK has previously received Android phones early, it makes us even more envious of UK Android Users. To have the CLIQ (or DEXT) for free and early? Yeah, we pretty much hate you guys right now.
Motorola has just released a promotional video detailing the unique functions and features of the Motorola CLIQ. Though we don't really learn anything new (we've already known the CLIQ was going to be social network heavy), it's nice to see the entire feature set fall into place.
Though the heavy social networking emphasis may not apply to all Android users, we at Android Central love that Motorola has taken Android in a completely new direction. This is where the uniqueness of Android shines best--Android can be taken in whichever direction deemed necessary, thus fulfilling whatever need a user feels fits best.
Orange UK has announced that they'll release the Motorola DEXT (what we know as the Motorola CLIQ) in early October for the low, no price of free. Though us Android users in the US have no official time frame for launch and any idea of price, Orange UK customers will be glad to know that if you sign up for a new 2-year contract with applicable plan (£34.26/month, ~$56/month), you'll receive the DEXT for free.
Aside from the fact that we have no idea why Motorola chose two different names for the same phone, if T-Mobile can maintain the same launch frame (early October) and pricing (free) for the CLIQ, we guarantee a winner of a device. Our fingers are permanently crossed.
In the mean time, can anyone explain why UK folks always get their phones for free?
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