If you are still holding strong with your Motorola Droid, you will be pleased to know that our friend Peter Alfonso is as well, and he has not stopped on development. Recently Google pushed the Gingerbread 2.3.3 source to the AOSP, and while it took a little while, he jumped right into it, making an even better then last time port for the OG Droid users. Along with the ROM is a custom compiled 600MHz kernel which is said to eliminate the lag that was seen in the last ROM. If you have been waiting for an update, this is definitely one you will want to check out. For more information and links, be sure to head to Pete's site. [PeterAlfonso.com]
While I always tend to take all these user numbers with a grain of salt, the latest ComScore results are rather interesting and certainly worth noting. For the first time, Android has surpassed Research In Motion as well as Apple within the ComScore ranking period of the past three-months ending in January 2011. As noted by ComScore:
65.8 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in January 2011, up 8 percent from the preceding three-month period. Google Android captured the #1 ranking among smartphone platforms for the first time in January with 31.2 percent market share. RIM ranked second with 30.4 percent market share, followed by Apple with 24.7 percent. Microsoft (8.0 percent) and Palm (3.2 percent) rounded out the top five.
While interesting to see, it's not really surprising in anyway. Android continues to grow and as more manufacturers step up to make use of Google platform a slow down in market growth doesn't appear to be in sight. While I personally shed a tear for BlackBerry, Research In Motion is in a transition period and will be for quite some time. This is an Android and Apple time now, with Microsoft working their way back into relevancy. [ComScore]
The last we heard of the Acer Liquid Metal was when it hit the FCC bearing some AT&T bands. Now, the device has turned up on Rogers in Canada as the Acer Liquid MT and we're going to go ahead and put it through its paces. A quick look at the specs tells us that it's certainly not up to par with the dual-cores of today but if anyone is looking to get started with a basic device that has a lot of features the Acer Liquid MT fits rather nicely. A spec reminder:
1500mAh Li-Ion battery
3.5mm audio jack
3G HSDPA, 14.4 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps
5 mega pixel camera
800 MHz Scorpion processor
Qualcomm MSM 7230 chipset
Adreno 205 GPU
Android OS v2.2 (Froyo)
Bluetooth v2.1 + A2DP
Dolby Mobile sound enhancement
GPS with A-GPS support
Internal 512 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM
MicroSD card support up to 32GB
MicroUSB v2.0 port
Screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels
Wireless LAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UPnP
All in all, a rather interesting package that I've enjoyed thus far. Hit the break for the video unboxing and stay tuned for our full review over the next day or three.
Remember that blog post from Amazon a couple days back detailing how DRM (digital rights management) would work? Basically, it said if you download an app from the upcoming Amazon App Store, it'd need to check in with the Amazon App Store app on your phone before declaring itself legally downloaded and allowing you to use it. But once it's done that, it's status quo, all systems go, business as usual.
It caused a bit of a ruckus, to be sure.
Only, Amazon apparently left out a couple things. And Thing 1 is a pretty important one: The Amazon DRM only applies to applications that opted to use Amazon's DRM in the first place.
Oh. Indeed, that makes a difference.So if a developer chooses not to "Apply Amazon DRM to this binary" (that's the actual upload screen above), it's just like downloading an application from anywhere else, and it'll work just fine.
Thing 2 is this: Amazon DRM downloads a token that gives your phone access to use the downloaded application. It's an offline token, meaning you don't have some constant connection checking in with the Amazon mothership, draining your battery and worrying your precious sense of personal privacy. In other words, it's not nearly as scary as you probably first thought. [Amazon]
If you're not the sort of person who explicitly trusts GPS and mobile navigation, move on. For everyone else, Google's just flipped the switch on a cool little feature for Google Maps Navigation (which we're reminded yet again is still technically a beta product). Now, when you're driving and using a Google Maps Nav route and have traffic up ahead, the app will automatically route you around it. And you don't have to touch a thing. From the Google Mobile Blog:
You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps. ... Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions.
Hey, whatever keeps us from having to ask for directions is a good thing. Full deets at the source link. [Google Mobile Blog]
Sure, you might have been using Gowalla for some time now to check in an show your friends where you're at and what you're up to. But you haven't really been using Gowalla until now. Gowalla 3 dropped this morning, and it's a completely overhauled experience. The activity feed's been redone. Leaving photos and comments is easier. Highlights are front and center. Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Facebook are closer than ever.
But the big change is the new passport view, which shows where you checked in last and can remind you to check in again if it's been a while. It's quite a spectacular change, actually. Check out all the details at Gowalla's blog, and we've got download links after the break. [Gowalla]
You might have noticed AirAttack HD Lite in this week's app picks. And if you haven't played it yet -- especially on a tablet -- you're definitely missing out. But even after its recent upgrade to add a second level, we still really want to see the full version see release.
And it's coming on March 11. Tucked into the game at the end of the second level is the teaser, which we've confirmed with the developer. We'll see the full version of AirAttack HD coming in just a few more days. And we can't wait.
OK, you Droid Incredible peeps. We've got a treat for you. We've got five (count 'em, FIVE!) Pamela Durkin cases from Keru up for grabs, courtesy of the Android Central Store. If you're new to these cases, that's not some cheap paint.
Keru's leather products are highly resistant to household chemicals, perfumes and cosmetics and it's images will not fail or separate from the leather. It looks, feels and acts like leather, because it is! The image won't fade, it won't chip, and won't peel.
What you see here is the equivalent of one Big Man on Campus meeting the other behind the bleachers after school, sizing each other up, then walking away. On the top, the Samsung Galaxy S II. On the bottom, the LG Optimus 3D. Dual-core powerhouses in their own rights. Two phones enter, two phones leave, as this isn't a full-on fight or anything. But we're pretty sure it's the first time we've seen them in the same arena. Check it out after the break.
In Singapore today, Samsung unveiled its most recent addition to the Samsung Galaxy line-up of devices. The Samsung Galaxy Pro is a full QWERTY keyboard shot right in the direction of BlackBerry devices everywhere. Samsung however has kept the specs rather modest for this device:
2.8-inch touchscreen display
Samsung Social Hub Premium
The device will hit UK carrier Three in the coming months and while no pricing or specific launch date was given, Three did give us all a video walk-through of the device already. Jump on past the break for a better looks at the Motorola Droid Pro competition. [Samsung Hub]
Funny thing about golf tournaments -- they don't really like it when your cell phone goes off, or when you're gabbing away while someone's lining up a putt. So it's not unusual to see designated cell phone areas. And Android Central Forums member ibejack96 found himself in such a designated area this weekend, and the area was sponsored by Verizon, which was also showing off phones.
And it was much to Jack's surprise when a rep pulled out -- you guessed it -- an HTC ThunderBolt. And Jack, being the good Android Central reader that he is, took the thing for a spin, snagging video in the process. And Jack, being the really good Android Central reader that he is, pumped the rep for any release info.
"I asked the lady at the stand if she knew when it was expected to be released, and she told me that she didn't know, but that it was supposed to have already been out (the date was pushed back because of problems, namely the battery, which was dying too early. I think it must be because of the battery life the LTE data required.)"
So there you have it. Jack's joined the club of people who have actually held and used a ThunderBolt. (We're having jackets made.) Check out his hands-on after the break.
While all of us here thought it was just a little odd Sprint blocked off such a mass amount of time to kick off CTIA, the latest rumors suggest they'll have quite a bit to say about at their two-and-a-half hour event and we certainly hope that is true. So what exactly may they have in store for us all?
Well for starters, a Samsung Nexus S 4G is now being rumored after some Wi-Fi Alliance filings (.pdf) caught some attention. And what of the EVO branded devices Sprint advised there would be more of? The EVO 3D is rumored to be making a showing at CTIA as well which by name alone suggests -- 3D version of the EVO but no mention of any other changes. Finally, something no carrier can do without these days -- a tablet announcement. The EVO View is expected to be a similar in style, CDMA version of the HTC Flyer.
Since the Motorola Xoom can be rooted and unlocked it was only a matter of time before someone tried loading an OS that shouldn't be on there, onto one. As such, the above video shows us that Ubuntu can indeed be loaded up on the Motorola Xoom and while it's certainly not running at optimal speeds the fact it loads at all gives hope to some. If you fancy jamming Ubuntu onto your Motorola Xoom hit up the source link for the full installation instructions. [TRSohmers via Xoom Forums]
With yet another week coming to a conclusion, thinking back on Monday and how much news has come across this week again is rather intense. The Android news never seems to stop, and keeping up with all of it can be a difficult task. If you think you have missed anything this week, let's take a look below at some of what that could be.