Google Voice is awesome, we can tell you that much. We'll leave it to Google to fully explain what Google Voice is. So if you ever wanted to know what exactly Google Voice is, Google just released a series of videos explaining what it is, what it does, what it can do, and so on. It's styled in that typical Google-sketch and is easy to watch and just as easy to understand. Google has even set up a YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure.
The Google Voice integration on Android is Android's trump card. No other platform offers a better Google Voice experience. Get to know Google Voice today!
We guess we can kind of, sort of understand why Sony Ericsson didn't want to build the Nexus One, especially if their end goal is to push their own UI over Android. If they want a consistent model for their phone lineup, building one for Google wouldn't have fulfilled that. But even with that explanation, it's very shortsighted to not want to partner up with Google for Google's Android on Google's phone. The Nexus One clearly has a leg up on the competition (it runs Android 2.1), who wouldn't want to make that phone now?
We're actually more surprised that Google asked Sony Ericsson in the first place. HTC had been such a wonderful partner for Google and Android and was fully capable of building a stellar device (as proven by the actual Nexus One itself), that it's almost shocking that Google would approach another phone manufacturer. To us, HTC exemplifies what we want in a handset. It was a no brainer for HTC to build the Nexus One and we're happy it ended up that way.
And maybe Sony Ericsson could build a device as awesome as HTC built the Nexus One, but then it probably wouldn't be available until April. What do you guys think about Sony Ericsson turning down Google?
A few days ago, Best Buy started taking pre-orders for the Motorola Devour without announcing how much it'll exactly cost. Now we know. According to the Best Buy price tag above, the Devour will run for $149.99 with new 2-year contract on Verizon Wireless. It'll run for $549.99 without contract, if that's your thing.
The $149 price point is a solid starting point for the Devour, it's a decidedly mid-end device for Motorola. With the Droid being the high-end Android handset and the Cliq and Backflip targeting the lower-end, the Devour just fits right in the portfolio. We're excited to see if this puppy can take off.
AT&T just announced what we already expected, that the Motorola Backflip will become the first Android device on the AT&T network. The Backflip will be available in AT&T stores and online beginning March 7th for $99.99 after $100 mail-in-rebate. Great news all around!
It's interesting that AT&T chose an oddball device (we like the Backflip but it's still an oddball) to be the first Android phone on their network. Plus, since the Backflip runs Motoblur, it's not as "Android-y" as say a Droid or Nexus One. But perhaps people will fall in love with the interesting form factor and unique touchpad, we became quite smitten when we played with it at CES. It doesn't hurt that it's at a great price point either. We'll definitely take this over the Cliq any day of the week.
There's been no word on US availability, but the HTC Desire & HTC Legend have gotten priced and dated across the pond. eXpansys, a UK retailer, has posted a £399.99 price for the HTC Legend and a £449.99 price point for the HTC Desire. That roughly translates to $625 and $700 respectively. That ain't cheap. eXpansys also lists April 12th as the date it'll become available. The Desire should be available in the UK through T-Mobile, Orange, O2, and Vodafone. We haven't nailed down a carrier for the Legend.
Amazon Germany actually has the price of the Desire listed at €419 which would make it roughly $570, a much more reasonable starting price point. In the end though, these devices can certainly expected to sell for much less when (and if) they get on a US carrier. $199 is almost always the starting point for new devices, anything lower is a bonus. But if you can't wait to get your hands on the latest Android offerings, be prepared to spend a little paper.
General Mobile, the maker of the dual-sim DSTL1 if you didn't know, showcased a few Android devices at MWC. The wonderful thing is that they're all beautifully designed and come with more than capable specs. The sad thing is that they were all dummy units that offer promise but nothing else.
The phone above is called the Touch Stone and is basically a dead ringer for an HTC HD2. It comes with a 4.3-inch WVGA screen, 5-megapixel camera, and runs Android 2.0 via an ARM9-based processor. Yep, this kind of, sort of fulfills the dream of having an HD2 run Android. Of course, it's not in working order yet and General Mobile doesn't expect to release it by the end of the year so really it's nothing more than dreaming how cool an Android HD2 would be. But boy, this thing looks like it would be so darn cool.
There are also 2 other General Mobile Android devices, the Cosmo and Cosmo 2. We know very little of those devices other than the fact that they're also awesomely designed yet as real as vaporware right now. Hit the link to see more pictures of General Mobile's Android "offerings".
First off, don't kill the messenger. It looks like Verizon has started pushing out the long awaited Android 2.1 update ( with Sense UI ) to Droid Eris users. Not very many people are reporting getting it, but of the few that have one user over at Androidforums makes the claim, and has pictures to back it up.
Not all is Rosie (pun intended) though. There are reports of complete device wipes, as well as Google account sync issues. My advice, Eris users invest in some backup software and get everything ready in case this is the "real deal" and not a technical glitch.
Stick a fork in us, folks. We're done at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. We still have a little more coverage coming, and likely a big wrap-up podcast, but here's Phil, Kevin and Dieter going over the final two days of the event.
Be forewarned: The first 20 minutes or so are dominated by BlackBerry, but it's good stuff. See you guys back in the States.
If you didn't know, the HTC Desire and the Nexus One are very, very similar. They rock the same internals and aside from a few buttons here and an optical trackpad there, they're basically the same device. So it's not that surprising to find that the Desire ROM has been ported over to the Nexus One, but what is surprising is how fast it's been done. These modders sure are good.
Having the Desire ROM on the Nexus One means one gets to enjoy the wonders of the new Sense UI. Flash 10.1 also works on the Nexus One so you Flash-lovers out there should certainly get excited. There's a few complications, such as the system file was too big for the Nexus One's internal storage so re-arranging some bits was necessary but all in all, it's a great first step for the modding community. We're sure they'll hammer out the final details soon enough.
The NPR News App for Android just got an update and it's a good one. NPR News App v1.2 will allow for live station streaming which will allow users to have access to over 1000 NPR programs from over 600 different stations. Basically, the update is taking an app we were all excited for and makes it even better. NPR is also planning to release the open source code for the app on March 1st which will theoretically allow developers and radio stations to make the app even better. You can download NPR News App v1.2 in Android Market now. Good news, right?
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There is no doubt in anyones mind that the Nexus One is a great device but if there was a single thing you'd like to change hardware wise, what would that be?
Samsung didn't bring much in the way of Android at Mobile World Congress, but it did bring a new screen technology that hopefully will make it into your pocket in the near future. It's called Super AMOLED (we'll point you to ye olde Wikipedia for the regular ol' AMOLED). And it's one of those things that you kind of have to see in person to believe. Our quick glance here in Barcelona didn't knock our socks off, but there did appear to be a slight improvement in visual quality. Here's how Samsung explains it:
The Super AMOLED offers much brighter, clearer, and less reflective AMOLED OnCell display, featuring a high resolution WVGA (800x480 pixels) screen with mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology. DNIe technology is proven display technology which incorporated to Samsung’s LCD TV and LED TV lineups. With a free viewing angle and super fast response, the Samsung Wave display provides superb image quality for viewing both videos and photos.
Click through for the video for the explanation we got on the show floor.
Those of you who came to Android from Windows Mobile likely are familiar with SPB Mobile Shell. And the boys and girls from St. Petersburg are back with Version 5.0, which will be released on Android in the coming months. This isn't a ROM-integrated like HTC's Sense UI, and that has advantages. Because it's not as deeply rooted in the Android ROM, SPB can push out an update whenever it pleases, just like any other application.
Really, you need to watch the video to see what all it can do. Keep in mind that what you're seeing is a beta application, so the animations will get smoother. More after the break.
Had a nice sit-down this morning at Mobile World Congress with Dataviz, maker of Road Sync and Docs to Go. (For the uninitiated, think all the power of Microsoft Office, for a fraction of the price.) The story of the day was document sync, both local and in the cloud.
Version 2.0 for Android currently is free for the trial, and temporarily reduced to $9.99 for the premium version. But we got a sneak peek at the new desktop sync capability, which should be released in the coming months. Basically, you plug in and it syncs files to and from the storage card. (After you manually mount it.) But it was the cloud sync solutions we saw -- over Microsoft Exchange and Google Docs -- that really has us excited. It's also coming for Android but not yet ready for public consumption, but you can check out how it works over at TiPB.
Anyhow, CEO Eric Schmidt discussed how Google has a new philosophy called "Mobile First" to go along with its "Don't Be Evil" mantra. Basically Google believes that Mobile devices are the future and so they always will have a very early focus on mobile versions.
To show off its expanding mobile platform, Google showed off three new upcoming features: Flash on Android, support for German in voice search, and text character recognition (and then translation) inside Google Goggles. Emerce.nl bravely and justly bucked the photography ban and recorded the demos of all three. Catch our favorite - the OCR - above and the other two over at Emerce. Thanks, Erwin!
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