It happened live last Tuesday, but you can listen in to the (slightly foreshortened) version in our podcast feed: the 2nd (and last) Smartphone Round Robin Rount Table. Join Casey, Kevin, Rene, and Dieter as we discuss the final two devices in our Smartphone Round Robin: the T-Mobile G1 and the the HTC Fuze. Plus, we answer your questions live -- well, it was live then, so forgive the slightly worse-than-usual sound quality.
Naturally, this is an official Round Robin post, every day you make an entry here qualifies you for a chance to win a G1 and more. Full details here
We've showed you the OPhone before--that sexy device coming from Lenovo, made only for China--but now you get to see it compared to the original iPhone and current iPhone 3G (via Gizmodo). Obviously, the OPhone takes MANY design cues from the iPhone--I mean those giant screen, one slab devices can only look so different--but it still manages to hold its own.
The OPhone is 1mm bigger than the original iPhone, has a dedicated camera button, 5MP camera, flash, microSD slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. Yeah. Sounds pretty flippin' sweet to us too.
Mark this up as another reason why I love Android. I love the notifications on Android, I think it's the best system notification feature throughout all of smartphones, but that's not to say that it can't get better. One thing I would prefer on Android is that SMS messages come directly onto the screen instead of scrolling on the top bar of the notifications menu.
This is solved with SMS Popup, an app that just popped up (ha!) in the Android Market. Basically, when you receive a SMS a pop up bubble appears on the screen and allows you to either close or reply. iPhone users will recognize this option because it's pretty much exactly like the iPhone experience. If you have a photo icon for your buddy, it'll show up along with the SMS. I'm a huge fan of this method because now I can instantly read the SMS and decide whether or not to reply or close without sliding down the notification window. Sweet apps.
Go download SMS Popup in Android Market and see if you like it!
When I saw the app aTrackDog in Android Market and read about how it updates users on which of their applications are up to date I thought it was perfect. It fits a hole in the whole Android Market + Android relationship and should do a great, behind the scenes, type job at notifying users when their applications are out of date.
Not so much. According to the good guys over at Big in Japan (developers of ShopSavvy) though the premise of aTrackDog is sound, its method is severely flawed. To quote:
aTrackDog has a MAJOR design flaw: if a beta user who is also an aTrackDog user has a beta version of your application on their phone - ALL aTrackDog users get an alert indicating they are running an out of date version of the software despite the fact that they have the most recent public release. Starting on Friday we began getting emails from aTrackDog users who complained that they could not download the latest release of our software. Our current version is 3.0.0, but aTrackDog showed that our most recent version was 3.0.5 (an internal alpha version). We DO have a public beta running at 3.0.4, but the most recent public/stable release (i.e. the one in the Market) is 3.0.0. aTrackDog is listing 3.0.5 as our latest release so each aTrackDog user receives an alert that they need to update their version of ShopSavvy. Our users are becoming more and more frustrated as their emails reveal.
To sum it up, basically if any user is using a beta version AND aTrackDog, aTrackDog will send out notifications for an update to users who aren't beta users and even though the update isn't officially ready. Big in Japan thinks aTrackDog is an application created purely for data collection (which would be immensely valuable), we just hope aTrackDog could fix a bit of this design flaw as soon as possible.
Everybody is waiting in anticipation to see what the next Android devices will be, what they'll look like, who they'll come from, and so on. This time the word says that Samsung will be releasing Android Devices to both Sprint and T-Mobile in Q2. Supposedly, the devices are supposed to resemble the Omnia and Instinct, both of which are basically large screens with little buttons. Build quality on both are pretty great, if they're running Android..oh boy! We'll be on the look out for more news on the Samsung front!
Google Search has been optimized for Android (and iPhone)! If you haven't noticed, anytime you use Google to search on your G1, the results are now optimized to fit the width of the T-Mobile G1 screen. This is a great touch because you save a few seconds trying to zoom in and get to your results much, much quicker. Furthermore, you get more appropriate touchscreen icons to navigate to your search results. A win all around!
CEO Peter Chou of HTC reports that sales of the Android-runnin' G1 should exceed 1 million for 2008 and that 2009 may bring another two Android handsets, one of them slated for as early as Q1 2009. With over $500 million in revenue for November alone, HTC seems to be rocking. Other handset makers? Not so much. It seems that HTC has found a nice "sweet spot" with that lovable lil' green 'droid as more handsets are on the way. Will the faltering economy take a toll on sales, or will demand for Android handsets remain healthy for 2009?
Just when I was feeling the Christmas blues about my company bonus (or lack thereof), along comes this little tidbit that makes me all warm and fuzzy and full of Christmas cheer. Instead of a big fat Christmas bonus (historically upward of $20,000), Google employees can look forward to scarfing down some "dogfood" this year. Ok, not REAL dog food. "Dogfood" is corporate jargon for making employees use the company product, one of the benefits being continuing improvement of that product. So, Google employees can look forward to receiving their very own Dream phone (Android G1) in their stockings this year. From the mouth of Google:
This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better! Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money. We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present - something we could all celebrate.
The Dream phone (G1) has a special 'droid emblazoned on the back, will be unlocked, and carries a $180 value to Google employees. When Google isn't handing out $20,000 Christmas bonuses, we know that times are tough. To get even more details, check out Gizmodo here. Also, HUGE props to Gizmodo for a most excellent picture!
The news for Android users keeps getting better and better. Michael Oryl of MobileBurn posts that Sanjay Jha, the CEO of the Mobile Devices group at Motorola, confirmed rumors that Mot will discontinue making phones for Symbian OS and UIQ user interface and instead commit to two platforms: Windows Mobile and Android! This is great news for those of us in love with the green 'droid - more devices to choose from makes for happy consumers. Personally, I think that Motorola devices are a good fit for the Android OS. What do YOU think?
Garmin has been toying with the idea of releasing smartphones for quite awhile now, but it looks like they've now found the right OS to make it happen: Android. CrunchGear is reporting that Garmin intends on creating and releasing Android-powered smartphones (presumably with a hefty focus on GPS functionality) by the end of 2009. They'll use their Nuviphone branding, naturally.
Welcome to the party, Garmin. Now, before you get too far in developing this phone, we wouldn't mind if you released a generic Garmin application with turn-by-turn directions for the rest of us.
Update: Belay that bit about "Nuviphone" and quite possibly the release timeline as well -- Engadget Mobile has updates stating that Nuviphone will still rock some custom version of Linux, not Android. Android's still on the way, though, just not exactly as predicted.
For those of you who are like me and aren't crazy about a slide-out keyboard, there is relief on the way. The "cupcake" branch of Android development has spilled the beans that Google has been working on a soft, or on-screen, keyboard for the Android G1. It will be available as early as January 2009. What does this mean to you and me? It means that the G1 can be more one-handed-friendly! Take a look at the YouTube video which reveals how the on-screen keyboard works on the G1. Just select a text-entry box and the keyboard appears, ready for action!
You got questions? We'll give you answers. So our time with the Treo Pro is nearing its end but before we finish up our full review of the Treo Pro, we're here to ask you if you G1 users out there if you have any questions on the Treo Pro? Any concerns about the hardware? Think Windows Mobile isn't for you? How about the keyboard? Ask away in the comments!
And if you didn’t know, here at Android Central (and every other SPE site), anytime you comment on an official Round Robin post, you’re qualified to win a T-Mobile G1 (or a Bold, or a iPhone, or a Fuze, or a Treo Pro)! Flippin’ sweet right? Well, ask away my friends!
This is an Official Round Robin Contest Post, Comment To Win a T-Mobile G1! – Details Here
An anonymous tipster from CellPhone Signal is divulging to Boy Genius Report that T-Mobile has a new Android-powered handset up their sleeve and it will be revealed as soon as January 26. The plastic factory screen protector is still on my G1 and a G2 is already on the way? These are exciting times indeed.
The G2 is expected to be a heavy-hitter in the features department. In addition to the G1 feature set, it will have a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash, a front-facing VGA camera to take advantage of the new video calling service expected to come to T-Mobile soon, video capture and playback, and much more.
If it's real, then we're talking about a rather significant step up from the G1. Until more information is dragged out into the light of day, it's best to file this one under "rumored, but wouldn't it be nice?". For those of you with a G1 now, will you dump your G1 for a G2? If you don't have an Android handset yet and are still waiting, does the G2 look attractive?
For Week 4 of the Smartphone Round Robin, the T-Mobile G1 is in the hands of our good friend Dieter Bohn! Dieter just finished up his Video Review and first impressions of the T-Mobile G1 but instead of choosing the normal route of detailing the hardware and software, he elects to do something entirely different--he defends the G1's hardware.
Let's face it. The G1 has caught a lot of flack for its supposed "ugly" and "bland" design. Deserved or not, even we at Android Central admit its not the prettiest in the bunch. So for Dieter to go out and defend the hardware? That's bold.
You should check out his Video Review to see the great points he raises on the design and it just might make you re-evaluate the way you saw the T-Mobile G1. One more thing. He even defends the chin.
Why in the world is our favorite green 'droid holding a cupcake, you ask? The "Cupcake" Android Development team has published a roadmap of vanquished bugs and added features that will soon arrive in the next firmware update. How soon? That is the big unknown, but it's good to know that it's on the way.
As far as what to expect in the update, here's a taste: Copy/paste and inline search for the browser, stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), support for third party soft keyboards and "other on-screen input methods", and video recording.
Whether all of the updates and bug fixes will be in a singular download is as uncertain as the date we'll see it happen, but it's nice to have our "cupcake" and eat it, too. Check out the full report here.
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