Blogger and Tech Lead of Mozilla's mobile devices team Stuart Parmenter has slipped out a new pre-alpha build for Android 2.x users. He still warns that it's likely to be very buggy and isn't even close to ready for prime time, but for us curious types he has posted it on his blog here to download and play with.
It's considerably better running and a bit smaller (the download is 9.6 MB, and the install is now 25MB versus 30MB in size) than the last build. I put it through the paces a little bit and found it to be quite a treat, especially knowing that it's still an early development version. And interestingly enough, it outscores the native Android browser on the Acid3 test. If you're feeling adventurous head over to Stuart's blog and give Fennec a spin. [pavlov.net]
There's a bit of gnashing of teeth apparently going on over the HTC Droid Incredible and its capacitive screen. Chris Tabor -- aka igl007 in just about every forum there is -- has been screaming from the rooftops about the Incredible's screen and how sometimes it won't respond unless you're holding it. And that's a problem, for instance, when you're using certain car docks, which is what started this whole thing.
Anyhoo, Chris did a series of tests, videoed them, and posted his results just about everywhere, and got some really good responses, some of which require an electrical engineering degree to understand. And it looks like some of you have this issue, and others don't. And it bothers some of you way more than others.
Let's face it: There's not going to be a mass recall of the Incredible over in what all likelihood is some sort of technical characteristic of the screen, not unlike what we saw with the Nexus One. Our advice? First, don't be playing with your phone while you're driving, even if it is in a car holder. (And maybe try a different car dock.) And second: If you do have to make a call or something, just touch your thumb to the phone and poke at it with whatever finger feels the most natural.
The sky is not falling. But it might have darkened a little bit. If you're still concerned about this, sound off in the comments or check out the thread here.
We're winging our way out to Google I/O development conference in San Francisco (follow us on Twitter for the inside scoop), where we'll spend a couple of days deep within the Google development community, hear a couple of keynote addresses -- oh, and likely get our first real look at the next major version of Android: Froyo.
We asked your favorite Android Central writers and Smartphone Experts editors about their homes, dreams and fears for Google IO. Check 'em out, after the break.
General Motors this morning announced it is adding even more Android to the upcoming Chevy Volt -- and we'll check it all out this week at Google IO.
We've already seen the Chevy Volt app for Android when it debuted at CES in January, and it'll be upgrated later this year to add Google Maps features, including voice search and Google Maps Navigation, wich we've enjoyed on Android 2.0 and up for a while now.
What we're really itching to see is what OnStar has up its sleeve in regards to Android.
“While OnStar will never lose sight of our core focus on safety and security, this relationship is an example of how we’re evolving our leadership position in connected vehicle technology,” Chris Preuss, OnStar president, said in a news release. “What we’re talking about today is only the beginning.”
Indeed. More this week as we get it. [via GM] Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
The just released Samsung Galaxy A just received an unboxing and video walkthrough, and if you're into watching a seven minute video about a phone that'll probably never ship to the US, in a language you don't understand, well, by all means! All kidding aside though, the Samsung Galaxy A is actually quite impressive--the colors on the screen pop, the build quality looks good, and the transitions are rather snappy. There's even a full-on antenna for mobile TV. Samsung is certainly upping their Android game with the Galaxy A and we hope the Galaxy S can extend that, while finding a way to the US. [via androidguys]
Google today purchased Global IP Solutions, a $68 million move that could pave the way for a more native video chat solution (sorry, Qik and Sprint) for Android smartphones, possibly in gmail, or Google Talk, or maybe some new native app.
GIPS recently showed off its VideoEngine software, which you can see above. And between this, the Evo 4G and Qik, and the expected video chat on the next iPhone, we may well be ushering in a new connectivity era for smartphones. Stay tuned. [via Electronista]
Just a reminder, everybody, that we'll be liveblogging the keynotes Wednesday and Thursday from Google IO in San Francisco. Be sure to check back in if you want the latest in Android news, as it happens.
Verizon just released a new Droid Incredible commercial that actually shows off the phone. *gasp* Don't worry, it's only for a few seconds, the rest of the time it's red lasers firing off in every direction and the ominous voice saying "you've never seen fast" before. This ad spot definitely builds off the previous commercial (and all the Droid commercials really) but does it hurt to show off the phone a little more? Not hurting sales one bit it seems.
The relatively budget minded HTC Wildfire is heading to the relatively budget minded carrier, Virgin Mobile UK. The Wildfire is expected to launch in Q3 2010 in European and Asian markets and is a great addition to Virgin Mobile UK's growing stable of Android phones. Virgin Mobile UK focuses a lot on competitively priced pay-as-you-go plans so it leaves no doubt that the Wildfire is targeted for the "entry level" customers. In the UK, Virgin Mobile doesn't actually have their own network (they use T-Mobile as their backbone) but we're sure users will hardly notice. Hey HTC, we wouldn't mind an entry level device on Virgin Mobile US either! [twitter via coolsmartphone]
Android 2.0+ Let’s face it people, the stock Android launcher is straight up boring. You can’t configure it, and on most phones, you can’t have more than 3 home screens. Luckily, LauncherPro [Market link] has arrived, and although it’s very similar to Helix, it’s got some strengths of its own. The first thing I noticed was the speed – this thing is blazing fast. Everything from sliding through the screens to pulling up the app drawer is much faster than stock. Let's check it out after the break.
Amazon just announced that an Android Kindle application will be available this summer. The Kindle app (which is currently available for the iPhone & Blackberry) gives users access to over 540,000 Kindle e-books (with a built-in store) and is a wonderful e-book platform for those who don't own a Kindle or the Android-powered Nook. What's cool about the Kindle app is that it syncs your reading across multiple platforms, so you can pick up right where you left off no matter what device you're using. The Kindle app for Android will be free but the books do cost money, if you want to learn more about it, head over to Amazon. Any Kindle fans excited for Kindle on Android? [amazon]
The latest numbers are in showing how many devices are using a given version of Android, and we're slowly but surely getting more and more on Android 2.1. Devices on the latest version of Android ticked up to 37.2 percent, from 23.4 percent for the two weeks ending May 3. Android 1.5 (Cupcake) and 1.6 (Donut) were down to 34.1 percent and 28 percent, respectively. That's about a 3-percentage-point drop for Cupcake and 1-percentage-point for Donut.
Anybody want to guess how long it takes before we start complaining about how many devices are languishing on Android 2.1, with Froyo expected to be announced this week? (And if you really want to get into the nitty gritty, there are now stats for screen sizes and densities.) [Android Developer Blog]
What's better than one Android tablet on Verizon? How about tablet(s). Big Red CEO Lowell McAdam said as much over the weekend at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York. But before we get to that, let's talk LTE -- Verizon's 4G network that it expects to have ready to rock in the first half of next year. McAdam said three to five LTE-capable phones will be ready by May 2011 (at least one of those has to be Android, right?), with Motorola, HTC, LG and RIM among the manufacturers.
Then there are the tablets. Yes, McAdam said "Android tablets," as in more than one, and Motorola, LG and Samsung were named as the birthers, which would launch late this year as 3G devices but would be upgradeable to LTE later on, most likely. [Reuters] Thanks to everyone who sent this in.
Android phones are big on cloud computing, so you gotta stay connected. Smartphone geeks like to toss the word "tethering" around, but what exactly is it and how do you do it? Follow along after the jump and we'll break it down for you.
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