The Nook Color has become one of most popular Android devices due to its low price tag and ability to be hacked. Barnes and Noble announced today that there will be a major firmware update in April that will bring increased functionality to the device, including apps.
No word yet on whether users will be able to experience the entire Android Market, but B&N announced some of the titles that will be made available, including Angry Birds, Drawing Pad, Lonely Planet Phrasebooks, Tikatok and Wine PhD. There will also be an email app. This has to be great news for Nook customers who have been anxiously awaiting the update that was rumored last year (and who have not flashed ROMS).
B&N also announced the addition of more quality content to the Nook Color that includes The Economist, Travel and Leisure and ESPN the Magazine. Aside from these titles, B&N is partnering with Nikelodeon to bring exclusive children's content with the titles Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and Diego.
These announcements are all great news for Nook Color fans who are watching their tablet/e-reader continue to improve. What remains to be seen is whether or not the April update will provide enough to sway those who have flashed custom ROMS to revert to stock. See the full press releases after the break.
No, we're not talking about a custom ROM, and no, it's not April 1st yet, either. After announcing that the Xperia X10 would receive no updates beyond Eclair just a couple of months ago, Sony Ericsson has turned on its heel and now promises X10 owners a boost straight to Android 2.3.3 in late Q2 or early Q3.
Sony Ericsson's Rikard Skogberg says SE has "listened to its consumers," and as a result of developing the Gingerbread-toting Xperia Arc, Neo and Play, it's been able to bring the X10 up to speed through a special development project. Apparently the update will add some features from the 2011 Xperia phones to the X10, though some earlier functionality will be lost in the process. Because of this, the Gingerbread update will not be delivered over-the-air, but via a PC update utility. See the source link for more on that.
Sony Ericsson has acknowledged that it's had a poor track record as far as Android updates go and promised to do better in the future. We're sure X10 owners will be delighted to see these words turn into action, making the X10 the only Android 1.x phone to get an official Gingerbread update. [Sony Ericsson Product Blog]
Phil and Dieter got to sit about 10 feet away from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and others as they made the announcements surrounding the Sprint HTC EVO 3D and EVO View 4G, but the rest of us at home had to tune in via the live blog. Now that CTIA 2011 is said and done, Sprint has uploaded the video from the event to YouTube for our viewing pleasure. If you're like me and enjoy watching the events you can jump on past the break to catch them all. Once you're done, jump on into the forums and discuss. [Android Central Forums]
Motorola's followed up on the update that's coming the Atrix 4G, which might or might not actually do something about reported call quality issues. In a statement, Moto admits that there is "a very small number" of users having issues, and that they're looking into it. Here's the statement in its entirety:
Motorola Mobility is aware of a very small number of ATRIX 4G users who have reported low audio issues when placing voice calls. Motorola ATRIX 4G is designed and tested to meet our high standards for audio quality. As part of our longstanding commitment to delivering high quality products that our customers love, we believe in reacting even when identified issues impact only a handful of users. Motorola is evaluating further optimization of audio levels in a future maintenance release. Any consumer who experiences this issue should contact a Motorola customer support center.
Motorola takes great care to ensure devices are developed with quality in mind. We appreciate consumer feedback and will continue working to refine our product experience.
Here's how we see it: Motorola knows hardware, and they know call quality. If there's an issue here, they'll fix it. And sooner rather than later, we'd gather. So everybody sit tight and let's see what comes out of this one, and in the meantime share your thoughts in the Motorola Atrix 4G forums.
We're all waiting for Google to finally release the open-source code for Android 3.0.1 (Honeycomb), but if we're to believe Bloomberg (and usually you should), it's not going to happen in the "foreseeable future" -- and possibly never. I'll pause and allow the nerd-rage to subside for a moment, because I'm feeling it too -- hard. When we've all composed ourselves a bit, join me after the break. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
The whispers our pals at CrackBerry first planted in our heads last August are true (and again this spring) -- Android applications are coming to the BlackBerry Playbook via BlackBerry App World.
We'll let that sink in for a minute.
Here's the deal: Any app that runs on Android 2.3 will work, RIM says. There will be a pair of optional "App Players" that provide the runtime for the android applications. There will be compatible APIs, so developers should be able to easily port their apps. The apps will be downloaded from RIM's App World and run in a secure sandbox. So we're not talking low-level stuff here.
From the press release:
Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once approved, the apps will be distributed through BlackBerry App World, providing a new opportunity for many developers to reach BlackBerry PlayBook users. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World.
The PlayBook goes on sale April 19, but Android applications won't be able to run at launch. Instead, RIM will show off the new App Players and demo Android apps at BlackBerry World in Orlando on May 3-5.
Said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis:
"The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet. The power that we have embedded creates one of the most compelling app experiences available in a mobile computing device today. The upcoming addition of BlackBerry Java and Android apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook on BlackBerry App World will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will also showcase the versatility of the platform."
So, yeah. Android applications will be able to run on the PlayBook. But the apps can't be all that deep, and will be running in some sort of emulation layer. But perhaps it's a all a middle ground to entice Android developers to go all-in with the BlackBerry NDK and do real ports, and not just emulation. We'll just have to see. Full presser's after the break.
Google just announced that in-app billing -- first announced at the Honeycomb event we were at in February -- will launch next week. In-app billing is an unsexy name for the way an app developer can sell you extra features -- levels, weapons, clothing, cheats, etc -- while you're inside the app. No diving back out to the Market, all seamless and smooth.
And to get things ready, developers can now upload and test apps for the service. It's all done within in the existing Developer Console, and the dev sets the prices.
One of my favorite things about Android is the wide variety of keyboards that are readily available in the market, making it easy for just about anyone to find a keyboard with a skin that they enjoy. While we have seen tons on Android phones, we have not yet seen many get updated for tablet use, but FlexT9 has recently been updated, and it allows just that. One thing that sets this keyboard far apart from any other is the option to speak, trace, write, or tap all from within the same single keyboard, while all the others only do one of the four. For $4.99 you may think the price is a bit higher then most others, but keep in mind you are basically purchasing four different keyboards, all packaged up as one application. Download information available after the break.
Asda Direct, part of the British supermarket chain of the same name, is offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab at a reduced price of £299 (~$500) for a limited time. This is a pretty good deal considering most UK-based retailers are still charging upwards of £400 for the 7-inch tablet. Asda itself lists the Tab's standard price as £437 (~$700).
Despite the imminent UK launch of the Motorola Xoom, the Froyo-powered Galaxy Tab is still highly capable tablet, and the £299 price point makes it cheaper than most similarly-spec'd Galaxy S phones. Asda isn't listing a deadline for this deal, however it is time-limited, so hit the source link to find out more if you're interested. [Asda Direct]
The EC05 Froyo OTA is slowly trickling out for the Sprint Epic 4G, but users who like to tinker don't have to wait any longer. Android Central forums adviser Paul627g has worked up a flashable version that's pre-rooted and ready to go. You'll need Odin, the Windows drivers, and a few minutes time, but the payoff is worth it in the end. To make it even better, there is no data wipe required whether you're currently running Eclair or one of the leaked/official/pulled previous Froyo updates. Nice work fellas! [Android Central forums]
XDA user spacemoose1 is very close to having a working version of Honeycomb on the original Samsung Galaxy Tab. He's been documenting his efforts to bring the SDK build of Android 3.0 to Sammy's 7-inch tablet over the past couple of weeks, and he's very close to having a full, working port. Recent progress has involved correcting video driver issues, and spacemoose is now turning his attention towards fixing up touchscreen and Wifi support.
This is all pretty impressive considering the Honeycomb source code isn't even available yet. If you're a Galaxy Tab owner with a nagging case of Xoom envy, then you'll probably want to keep watching the source link for further developments. [XDA]
If games are something you enjoy on your Android device, and you struggle to find unique games that are fun and can keep you occupied, Word Collector may be just what you are looking for. While the concept of the game is rather simple, collect falling and rising letters to create a word, it is a bit challenging in that you have to tilt the device from side to side in order to capture the letters.
Through the game there are a few additional bonuses that are able to be unlocked, and many different backgrounds to play on. Whether you have a few minutes, or a few hours to kill, this game may be the perfect one to keep your brain going. Download links available after the break.
Alongside recent Nexus S 4G announcements, Google has revealed that the original 3G version of its flagship phone has just launched in an additional 17 countries including Ireland, Australia and most of continental Europe. In other Nexus S news, Samsung Canada has opened a preview page where you can sign up for updates on the phone's Canadian availability.
Join us after the jump for a complete list of territories and links to buy the Nexus S in your country. [@googlenexus]
Phil, Dieter and Kevin wrap up all the news from CTIA Wireless 2011 in Orlando. (Hint: There's a TON of Android news, including the Sprint HTC EVO 3D and EVO View 4G, plus the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and others!)
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