The WSJ is reporting that Motorola is looking to add Motoblur, its custom UI for Android, onto Motorola set-top boxes, better known as DVRs. Considering that many set-top boxes have been looking to add new social networking features to expand its utility, it makes a lot of sense for Motorola to run with a UI that's notoriously social networking heavy. Motoblur is currently used on the Cliq, Devour, and Backflip.
Though we're not sure how exactly Motoblur would translate on a 50-inch HDTV, having a synergic platform between mobile devices and set-top boxes could prove successful. According to CEO Sanjay Jha, Motorola "wants handsets and set-top boxes to have a common platform so they can share media and features." We're definitely interested in seeing this in action but it may take some time--if you think dealing with wireless carriers is rough, cable companies are downright draconian.
In any case, DVRs and set-top boxes are in definite need for a re-imagination or at least an upgrade. Maybe Motoblur can be that change.
If you're into the latest location-based, social-networking check-in styled type 'game', you're in luck. Gowalla has just finished a beta app for Android and is asking you, our faithful readers, to give it a whirl. Previously, you could use Gowalla through a serviceable mobile app but we all know that native apps are the way to go. Gowalla has delivered a great experience for Android (some would say it even trumps the iPhone) but it currently lacks Gowalla Trips and doesn't do any image caching, so there's still a little bit left to go.
If you want to get the Gowalla Beta App for Android, point your Android browser to this link: http://static.gowalla.com/gowalla-android-20100212.apk. Make sure you can install non-Market applications by going through Menu > Settings > Applications and checking off "Unknown Sources".
The just announced Acer Liquid e, which is really just an original Liquid with Android 2.1, has found a home in Canada. Rogers has just announced that they'll be bringing the Acer Liquid e to their customers sometime this Spring which would make it the first Android 2.1 device available in Canada. There's been no official pricing or exact date set yet but we'll definitely keep our eye on this sure to be great Android phone.
Oh and yes, when the time is right, you can also unlock the Acer Liquid e and use it with AT&T 3G.
When Google announced the Nexus One last month, it also showed off Google Earth for Android for the first time. And now, it's finally available. Looks like it's an Android 2.1 app (it doesn't show up in the Market on my 2.0.1 Droid), and pinch-to-zoom is fully enabled.
There are a number of layers available for Google Earth, including Places, Businesses, Panoramio, Wikipedia, Roads, Borders and Labels, and Terrain.
Google Earth is a hefty app, taking up about 22.5 megabytes of space of your phone's storage. You can download by scanning or clicking the QR code to the left.
Update: And now we have video of the Google Earth app after the break.
We're back from Mobile World Congress 2010 battered but excited for the upcoming year in smartphones. We had coverage from the show at all six sites. If the above isn't enough to whet your appetite for Mobile World Congress news, we've helpfully collated a list of all our coverage up to this point after the break. There are still a few more posts to come as we empty our memory cards and ponder what we held in out hands out in Barcelona - so stay tuned!
One of the biggest complaints from those migrating over from a Blackberry to an Android device has got to be e-mail. We get used to doing things a certain way, and feel lost when things change. Even if you’re not used to Blackberry’s push mail this is a great method to not only get things more organized, but save some battery as well. Join us after the break!
The rumors are true. Flash 10.1 is in the ROM that was ported from the HTC Desire to the Nexus One. And it works ... OK, it's not great. But remember that this is an unofficial ROM, and things are likely to change by the time we get Flash (and the new version of Sense) on U.S. phones.
A full run-down of the new version of HTC's Sense is coming. In the meantime, here's a quick video look at what's been ported over. Have at it.
Update: OK, so it looks like this is an implementation of Flash Lite, and not full-on Flash 10.1. Whatever. It's still more Flash than you've had before. :-/
Here we go, folks. The first round of a new day in the life of HTC's Sense user interface. In Part 1 of our review, we take a look at setting up your phone for the first time, including the new "Friend Stream" service, which integrates some of your favorite social networks.
Do note that the ROM we're looking at was taken from the HTC Desire and is running on the Nexus One. This is far from official, there are bugs, and so we're not holding anybody but ourselves accountable here. Also, as the Desire currently is a European/Asian product, things are likely to change before the new Sense officially hits the United States. So with that in mind, check in after the break for our first look at setting up the new Sense UI.
When HTC announced the Desire last week at Mobile World Congress, it basically was billed as the Nexus One, with Sense (and a track pad to boot). But those of us with Nexus Ones knew it would only be a matter of time before we'd get to play, and that day is here.
Paul from MoDaCo has been a key player in the Android ROM community, and he's got a version of the Desire's ROM up and running on the Nexus One. If you're not squeamish about rooting and hacking and all that jazz, head here, read the instructions, and give it a shot. We'll be poring over this ROM for a little while and sharing our impressions. So stay tuned, everybody. (And thanks to everyone who sent this in.)
Here's another one from (not so) deep in our Mobile World Congress stash -- video of the Motorola Cliq XT (aka the Quench outside the United States).
Like we said in our first hands-on: If you're looking for a phone with MotoBLUR but don't want to be bothered with a phyical keyboard (or a weird flip-around keyboard), then this is something you're going to want to check out once it hits T-Mobile in the coming weeks.
We don't know how many times we've searched far and wide for the TV remote and wish that we could just use our Droid as a remote control. We're talking about hundreds of times here. Luckily, Verizon is looking to save the day and eliminate that scenario forever. Verizon just announced the FiOS Mobile Remote App for the Motorola Droid which will allow you to control your Verizon FiOS TV just like the standard remote control. We have one word: Reallyfreakingawesome.
Starting this week, the FiOS Mobile Remote App will be available for the Motorola Droid (and HTC Imagio) and works anywhere in your home via your Wi-Fi network. The Remote App will give the same functions as the standard FiOS remote: change channels, pause, rewind, fast forward, and record. And also adds the ability to transfer photos from your Droid to the TV. It'll even mute your TV when you get a phone call!
We're DirecTV subscribers ourselves (for the sports) but we've been tempted to switch over to Verizon FiOS TV before. This might push us over the edge. Though only currently available for the Droid and Imagio, Verizon is looking to add more devices in the future.
Any Verizon FiOS & Motorola Droid users insanely excited? Tell us how it works!
Hit the jump to see a video of Verizon FiOS Mobile Remote App!
After spending some time with the Palm Pre in the Smartphone Round Robin, we became quite smitten with the form factor. The vertical slider is rather unique in the smartphone industry and it's surprising that out of all the Android form factors available, no one has put out a Pre-like device. Well, no more. Say hello to the ZTE Smooth which is as close to a rip off design of the Palm Pre as possible, except it doesn't manage to capture any of that Pre magic.
The ZTE Smooth is a lower end Android phone--runs Android 1.6 on a 2.8-inch QVGA screen and comes with your typical slew of connectivity options, it's expected to release in August (assumedly in China) but will probably never hit stateside. We still think a Pre-styled device is worth exploring but we'd rather have HTC or Motorola try to tackle it than ZTE. Nice try though.
Google just announced a new Android application: Google Shopper. It basically combines Google Googles and voice search to deliver a neat little shopping tool in a Googlefied way. You can choose whether to scan barcodes or simply snap a photo through the app and it'll display the results. Yep, it's kind of like ShopSavvy, kind of like the Amazon app, and really, kind of like a lot of things that already exist in the Market. To quote Google:
Shopper lets you find product information quickly by using your phone's camera. It can recognize cover art of books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, along with most barcodes. You can also speak the name of the product you're looking for. Use Shopper to make smart decisions about what to buy, what price to pay, and where to buy it.
Go get it in the Android Market and tell us what you think! And hit the jump if you want to see how Google Shopper works on video.
Garmin-Asus was showing off the nuvifone A50 at Mobile World Congress, and we took it out for a spin. It's a 3.5-inch (320x480) device running Android 1.6 but is completely skinned. It's being billed as the "No-excuses navigation smartphone," and it certainly is. Nav is first and foremost, and it it was easy to follow in our demo.
Despite being a GPS unit on steroids, it has all the expected hooks into the Google ecosystem and will handle whatever e-mail you can throw at it. Android is Android, never mind everything that's been put on top of it. Video after the break.
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