We're nearing the end of 2009, and that means top 10 lists galore. And here comes Time's top 10 gadgets of the year. And -- surprise, surprise -- the No. 1 pick isn't the iPhone 3GS. It's not the Nook. Couldn't be the Kindle. It is, in fact, the Motorola Droid. Tipping the scales for the glowing red eye that could is the large screen, full QWERTY keyboard (really?) and its integration with Google. (OK, two out of three ain't bad.) The Droid's excellent navigation also gets a nod, as it should. Here's the breakdown:
The Droid is a hefty beast, a metal behemoth without the gloss and finish of the iPhone, but you don't miss it. The Droid's touchscreen is phenomenally sharp and vivid, it has an actual physical (not great, but good enough) keyboard, and best of all, the Droid is on Verizon's best-of-breed 3G network.
You UK Android users sure are in for a treat! Along with the recently available Acer A1 Liquid, the Motorola Milestone has also hit the streets of the UK (er, the site of Expansys). Known as the Motorola Droid here in the states, the Milestone is the exact same device except that its browser will actually support multitouch (but won't have Google Maps Navigation). So yes, you'll get that Android 2.0 and that oh so glorious screen.
If you're looking to score one off-contract, you better save those pennies up, cause it looks to be around $733 off-contract. If you sign to a contract, the device will only run for $81 with a $57/monthly plan (all converted from pounds) on T-Mobile. We'd love a GSM Milestone in the states but we're thinking we'll wait for those with US 3G bands (ahem, Canada).
We've had our eye on the Acer A1 Liquid for a while now, and it's finally starting to ship in the U.K. For about $550 (or so) US you'll get a 3.5-inch capacitive display at 480x800, a 5-megapixel camera, 512MB ROM/256MB RAM, and that Qualcomm Snapdragon processor all the kids are talking about it, running at 768MHz.
Bad news is you'll be lacking the proper U.S. 3G bands if you import the A1, but it should run fine on AT&T and T-Mobile EDGE.
You can order the A1 Liquid now from Expansys and Clove in the UK.
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Our first thread of the day comes to us from forum member dotheweb and it looks like he received the 2.0.1 update for his Motorola Droid. So we want to know: How many Droid owners out there have received this update? Also be sure to visit the thread and share with everyone any new features you may have found!
The next thread was started by Tumaz04, and he is questioning the build quality of HTC hardware. Stop by this thread and let him know what you think of HTC hardware. Personally, I've had mixed experiences when it comes to HTC hardware. How about you?
There are many of you out there rocking the Sprint HTC Hero so why not mention the tips and tricks thread specifically for that particular device. How about the Droid Eris? Well we have that covered as well right in this thread right here. So if you know the Hero and/or Eris inside and out, feel free to post anything you feel may be beneficial to other forum members who may just be learning the ropes with their new device!
Last up for today: We'd like to let you all know about our Android Apps forum. If you have a questions about a specific application or simply want to see what apps other users are currently using, this is the place to go.
Google is rolling out 'Favorite Places on Google' which is essentially a program that'll send window decals to 100,000 local businesses in the US that have basically been the most searched on Google. It's a cool idea if you think about it, a type of status symbol that local businesses can strive for. A QR code will be displayed on the storefront which will allow users to scan via their Android Phone (and others) and take you directly to the business' 'Place Page'. There you'll find reviews, coupons, and the option to even leave your own review. If you see the QR code, you know you've stumbled across a good thing.
Basically, Google is helping us determine and learn what the hottest spots around us are. We think it's a great idea. What about you?
Hit the jump to see Favorite Places on Google in action!
The New York Times recently covered the iPhone App Store, discussing the App Store's raging success and Apple's 'necessary evil' of a rejection process. Our good friend Rene over at the iPhone Blog calls the App Store an out and out success (which we agree with) but still calls out Apple for fleeing to the New York Times to deliver its message regarding the controversies (which we also agree with).
As we know, Android and Google have decided on an entirely different method of the application process, as in there isn't one. Developers make the app for Android. Developers submit the app to Android Market. The app for Android is available. There's also the added benefit of being able to deliver applications to multiple handsets on multiple carriers. Here's Eric Chu discussing Android Market:
“We’re doing everything we can to open the device to both developers and consumers,” says Eric Chu, group manager of the Android platform at Google. “That is a critical part of what we think makes Android unique: applications are no longer limited to a single device.”
Mr. Chu said the growing number of Android-powered phones available on multiple wireless carriers increases the financial opportunity for developers. “Last year at this time, we only had one device,” he says. “The volume is going up at a tremendous pace, and the developer ecosystem is seeing that.”
Obviously, with different handsets means different screen resolutions and form factors which app developers will have to account for. It's not all peachy when it comes to Android but we'd rather have the problem be solved by developers than a problem created by the company.
We love food. We love Yelp. And most of all, we love yelping for food. Thankfully, we can finally do just that on our Android phones. Yelp has just released their Yelp for Android app that'll use location services to search nearby businesses and display reader reviews. According to Yelp:
By leveraging location-aware technology, the Yelp for Android app determines your current location and then lets you search for nearby businesses, read reviews and access a moveable Google map that enables you to easily zoom in/out on a location and redefine your search based on that geographic area.
In addition to searching nearby businesses, you can also filter reviews by 'Price,' 'Open Now,' 'Special Offers' and browse 'Hot on Yelp'
Like all our other mobile applications, Yelp for Android works everywhere Yelp is available (US, Canada, UK and Ireland)
It's a fairly bare bones Yelp app but we're confident that more powerful features will come (the iPhone Yelp app supports augmented reality, quick tips, etc). We've been waiting for Yelp to come to Android for so long that we'll take anything at this point. If you're anything like us, you're always in search of the next great eatery or figuring out what to order. Yelp will help with that.
The first thing I was told after being handed a Motorola Droid was: "Be careful with that battery cover. It loves to come off." And, sure enough, it does.
The good news is that Bryan at The Gadgeteer has posted up a quick video showing a few quick seconds with a small flathead screwdriver can help keep that cover in place, so long as you don't mind some very minor surgery to your device. (We're not worried about it, but isn't really an official fix or anything.)
Check out video of Bryan's fix after the break, and let us know if it helps you any.
At noon today, approximately 1,000 people received the notification to update their handset. At around midnight this evening, 9,000 more will receive it. After the initial 10,000, there is a 48-hour waiting period. No one after that receives anything until December 10th at 12AM, which will be 200,000 people. It will continue at 200,000 devices a day until everyone is updated.
A refresh of the specs, for those of you with short attention spans:
3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED capacitive touchscreen.
Qualcomm QSD 8250 (Snapdragon) processor @ 1GHz.
5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus, flash and 720p video.
512MB ROM/256MB RAM.
Up to 16GB MicroSD card.
The other usual bells and whistles.
And before anybody starts yelling "Fake!" on the much better render here, remember that these are the same guys who leaked one of the first real shots of the HTC HD2 for Windows Mobile, and it turned out to be spot-on.
Text search and voice search are so yesterday. Today Google unveiled Google Goggles, turns your camera into a search tool. Check out the video above. In a nutshell, it takes a picture of something, analyzes it, and returns search results. How it works, according to the Big G:
We first send the user's image to Google's datacenters
We then create signatures of objects in the image using computer vision algorithms
We then compare signatures against all other known items in our image recognition databases; and
We then figure out how many matches exist; and
We then return one or more search results, based on available meta data and ranking signals; and
We do all of this in just a few seconds
Google Goggles is in its infancy, and we're going to spend the rest of the day trying to use it on every random object in our basement (save for the bodies, naturally). This should be fun. You can download Goggles now in the Android Market for phones with Android 1.6 and above. [Google Mobile blog]
Looks like the Android 2.0.1 update is starting to roll out for the Verizon Droid, with word coming fast and furious from our fourms, BGR and Twitter. This one's mandatory, and you're going to want it. Here are the bullet points of what's coming in the ESD56 update:
Improved OS stability.
Improved battery life.
Camera's autofocus is improved, time between shots is reduced.
Three-way calling enhancements.
Incoming call quality is improved.
Speakerphone remains on when call waiting kicks in.
Better Bluetooth, background echo eliminated, improved phone book transfer of contacts to in-vehicle systems.
GPS icon will disappear after a GPS app is closed.
SMS and MMS messages can be received after an EMS message is received.
SMS and MMS can now go to seven-digit addresses.
Google contact merging supports seven-digit numbers.
You patient types should be able to sit back and let the update come to you. As for the rest of us, go to Settings>About Phone>System Updates and see if it's available. And sound off in in the comments once you get it.
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