Today's the day, folks. After a couple of long weeks, the Verizon HTC Droid Incredible finally is available. Your pre-orders (if they didn't arrive early) should come today. You can buy one in Verizon stores for $199 after the standard contract deals. And cheaper prices are (ahem) out there on the Internet. But let's get to the important stuff. Today's your day.
Development for Android continues, even if unofficially, and it seems as though just about every day we see something new surface. HTC G1 owners sometimes feel as though they are on the back burner, as their device was the original, and at this point it is slightly behind the times in some categories. But that doesn't stop Cyanogen from developing great custom ROMs. And 5.0.7 is the latest and greatest of all the Cyanogen builds for older phones, and it's now available for download. (And above, Cyanogen crony Kmobs shows off some of the finer points.) We're still waiting on the build to actually be released, but it should be any time now. Keep your eyes peeled here. Update:It's now live!
Sony Ericsson (via the Sony Ericsson Product Blog) announced today that the Spotify service will now be integrated deep into the Timescape and Mediascape shell on the SE Xperia X10. The integration allows Spotify to show as an online media service in Mediascape, and your recently played songs will appear in the Timescape timeline. Check out the video -- it's pretty sweet.
The drawback for some of us (OK, a lot of us) is that Spotify isn't available in the U.S., but then again, neither is the X10. This is an idea I would like to see catch on, and other manufacturers with custom Android UI's weaving Slacker or Pandora into the OS would be welcomed here. [via Unwired view]
HP's buying Palm, in case you haven't heard, for $1.2 billion. While we doubt many of you were waiting up nights for the Compaq Airlife 100, HP's Android-powered netbook that we took a look at back at Mobile World Congress, it remains to be seen if HP will be willing (or able, for that matter) to continue any Android development, especially given that a webOS tablet is now a strong possibility. HP did give us the following statement, however:
"We offer choices of OS today, and expect to continue doing so. We’re focused on serving our customers, from individual consumers to small businesses to large enterprise customers by delivering the most appropriate solutions."
Google just made a fairly major tweak to its mobile image search. As you can see above, a web-based image search now looks and feels almost like it's being done natively, on your Android phone. Thumbnails have been optimized for speed, you can flick your way through photos and the black background makes you forget you're in a web browser. OK, so you You don't get the zooming effects like you will in an on-device gallery, but it greatly cleans up the mobile interface. And it's pretty darn cool, if you ask us. Go ahead and give it a shot. [Google]
Everyone seems to be getting into the Android spirit. We learned today that the Commtiva Blaze passed through the FCC, and is headed for Cincinnati Bell. No word on processor or memory specs quite yet, but what we do know points to the Blaze being another solid entry level phone. Quadband GSM and dual band 1700/2100 HSDPA (which means it would also make a great pre-paid T-Mobile handset), Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, WiFi 802.11 b/g, 5 MP camera with LED flash and autofocus, GPS and aGPS, and a 1230mAh battery all wrapped up in what looks to be a slightly customized version of Android 1.6.
While it may not be a screamer, it's always nice to see new handsets -- especially when the smaller carriers are beginning to get into the game. [via CellPhone Signal]
I keep thinking entries will wind down as we reach the end of this contest, but you guys keep sending in more and more epic videos. The latest batch (and it's not the last batch) comprises robots, electrocution, the Black Crowes, free credit reports and an old myTouch 3G that's no longer loved. Check 'em out after the break. And remember that you have until 12:01 a.m. Saturday to get me your entry. Good luck!
(And for those who keep asking, we're going to compile all of the videos onto a single page and rig up some voting, early next week sometime. Stay tuned.)
If you're in Canada and have a hankering for some twisted, flippy Android keyboard action, know that the Motorola Backflip is now available on Telus. It runs a very respectable $399 off-contract and goes as low as $249 with the Canadian-standard three-year deal. [Telus] Thanks, Jon!
Android Central Forum member alear got himself a look at Verizon's silicone case for the HTC Droid Incredible. Looks like all the essential parts are there. But what do you guys think about the texture and design? And what accessories are you most looking forward to for the Incredible? Let's hear it in the comments, and check out a couple more pics in alear's forum thread.
Paul from MoDaCo promised root for the HTC Desire, and today, he delivered. Root for the HTC Legend is close, too, he says, and it likely won't take too terribly long to get inside the Verizon Droid Incredible (we hope). Well played, Paul. [MoDaCo]
Google is making its mobile search even better by introducing Place Pages for Mobile. Place Pages for Mobile allows Android (and iPhone) users to find details of restaurants, businesses, etc. in one simple page. You can get basic info like store hours, pictures, and phone numbers along with the more in-depth details like user reviews, ratings, and tips from different online sources (citysearch, zagat, etc). We tried it out and it's pretty darn nifty. Since it's optimized for mobile phones, all information is displayed in an easy-to-read format.
You can try out Place Pages by going to google.com on your Android browser and searching for a restaurant or business. If you click on the local listing results, it'll take you to its Place Page. How do you guys like it? Think you'll use it?
Hit the jump to see a video of Place Pages in action!
LG is slated to release three new Android phones in the near future but sadly, none of them are currently coming to the US. The first two, the LU2300 and the SU950/KU9500, are very interesting. The LU2300 (pictured above) is the device we once guessed was the awesome Aloha in the US. It packs the increasingly common 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a physical QWERTY-keyboard, 3.5-inch AMOLED 800x480 screen, and a 5-megapixel camera. The SU2300 is said to share the same internals sans the physical keyboard. Those are top notch specs and we can't help but be jealous of South Korean Android users who will receive both devices in June (we're also jealous of their commercials!).
The UK is also getting some love in the form of the LG Optimus, formerly known as the LG GT540. We saw this device back in CES and felt it was a good mid-range device. Specs are unclear but don't expect much, the LG Optimus is available starting May 1st in the UK.
See more pictures of the LG Android devices after the jump! [via unwired view]
Microsoft issued a news release late late night, announcing it signed a patent agreement with HTC over its entire line of smartphones running the Android operating system.
Specific terms of the deal, including how many patents or what they cover, were not immediately released. Microsoft's statement did say the agreement "provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for HTC 's mobile phones running the Android mobile platform."
“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, said in the official statement. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”
CNET's Ina Fried reports that the disputed patents range from the user interface to the operating system itself, and that this is the first time Microsoft has publicly said that HTC was violating patents. Microsoft for years has alleged that Linux infringes on a number of its patents and has sought licensing deals with manufacturers who use the open-source OS, which also is the framework for Android. This, however, is Microsoft's first licensing deal with the mobile OS.
Full text of Microsoft's press release after the break. [Ed. note: Cross-posted at WMExperts.com]
Why do we care so much about another browser for Android when the stock Webkit browser works pretty darn well? Two words: Mozilla Weave. Being able to sync your history, bookmarks and even open tabs between your desktop and mobile browser is something I've been wanting since first hearing about Fennec. And we're getting closer.
Note that this is still very early in the development stage. While anyone can download and install this build of Fennec, it will crash. It will hang. It's a little buggy. And it's very cool that Mozilla lets us play with it this early in its life, so don't judge it too harshly. A few warnings from Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević:
We've only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
Memory usage of this build isn't great -- in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
You'll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we're working to get rid of it.
You can't open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
Anyhoo, you can download Fennec here. (FWIW: Mozilla tested with the Nexus One and Droid -- your mileage may vary -- and it does NOT work if you're running Apps2SD.) And be sure to read Vlad's blog for complete instructions and troubleshooting, including instructions for installing Weave.
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