We first saw pics of a Verizon-branded Samsung Gem (OK, of a dummy unit) back in February, but today new pictures, including what looks like retail packaging, have surfaced. Alltel, U.S. Cellular, and Bluegrass Cellular already offer the Gem, which is a mid-range device sporting a 3.2-inch WQVGA display, an 800 MHz CPU and Android 2.2, so this one isn't an exclusive. The good news is that we're pretty sure it won't be Binged, and for those interested it should be available soon from Big Red. When and if Verizon has anything official to say, we'll let you know. [Chris Ziegler]
Back from the weekend, hope you all had a good one. This week is already shaping up to be a busy one from looking at the posts from today. People suing each other, new devices hitting carriers and so much more. In any event, we're here to bring it all to you so if you feel like chatting it up a little bit more than the comments can provide, hop on into the forums.
We've been waiting to see when, exactly this would go live on their site and now it has finally. Yes, the HTC Incredible S is now available from Virgin Mobile Canada on-line and in most of their retail outlets. The Android 2.2 rocking HTC Incredible S will set you back $499 with no contract attached to it and if you're looking to get on your Virgin Super Tab it'll ring in at $99.99. Not bad for a new device destined to be upgraded to Android 2.3 in the near future as long as you're not in a specs race. Check out our previous hands-on with the device to get a better look at it. [Virgin Mobile]
The WWE's "Tough Enough" wrestling reality show returns to the USA Network tonight at 11:05 p.m. EST -- right after Wrestlemania XXVII and "Raw" -- and along with it comes a brand new Android application. It's designed to be used while you watch the show, with check-in features that allow you to compete against your friends, plus hidden features that will be unlocked during the show. You'll also earn points that can be redeemed through USA's Tough Club program, chat with your friends and other "Tough Enough" fans during the program.
Android and the WWE. Nice. Look for the app to go live this evening. We've got more screenshots after the break. [Tough Enough]
Android is already confirmed as the leading smartphone OS in Europe as a whole, and now it's stolen iOS's crown in the UK, according to a study carried out for Intelligent Environments, a British banking software provider.
The numbers show that Android's 28% of the British smartphone market now surpasses that of iOS, which has a 26% share. BlackBerry OS is left in the dust with just 14% of the market. Windows Phone 7's share wasn't even mentioned. Among Brits aged 25-34, Android's dominance was even greater, with a 36% share of smartphone users in this age group.
This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. In addition to Android's European success, the Carphone Warehouse, a major retail player in the UK, has reported Android sales increases of over 2,000% in the past year. Android remains strong across the pond too, with a recent ComScore survey suggesting that it's just dethroned RIM as the market leader in the US. [Press Association]
Hate to burst anyone's bubble, but the Sprint Nexus S 4G won't be shipping from Best Buy on April 6. Over the past couple of days you might have seen the "Pure Google" phone switch to "Coming soon" on Best Buy's site, with a target shipping date of April 1-5, or April 6, depending on who you asked. Doesn't really matter, because it's all wrong.
First off, the dates have been removed from Best Buy's website. Secondly, we asked Best Buy, which quickly told us indeed it was in error, and that it's not shipping today, or tomorrow, or April 6. "We don't have a date yet," Best Buy tells us. (Oh, and then there's that whole thing about reps getting some Nexus S 4G training starting April 18.)
So don't look for the Nexus S 4G before Thursday, at least, and more than likely another for couple weeks after that.
Set your alarms, boys and girls: Google's first-quarter 2011 earnings call has been scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EST on April 14. You'll hear the word "billion" used more than you ever will in your life. And, more important, we'll probably get a couple of juicy Android nuggets. See you there! [Google]
Geared is a puzzle game that's been big on the iPhone for years, and now it's finally launched on the Android Market. Geared for Android features 150 levels of gear-connecting puzzles, and while it's a not quite as visually polished as the iOS version, it's certainly no less addictive.
As you'll notice in the screenshots above, Geared is ad-supported, meaning the app itself is free to download. It'll run on any phone with Android 1.5 or better, and the download itself weighs just 4MB, so there's no excuse to not give it a try. Join us after the jump for the QR code and Market link, as well as a video of Geared in action.
Google has announced today via its blog that it has bid for Nortel's patent portfolio. They begin their blog post by chastising companies that use patents to stifle innovation and the current patent system in general.
Here is the next paragraph:
But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.
Nortel is a communications giant that dates back to the 1800s, thus their patent portfolio must be enormous. Google's current bid was labeled as the "stalking-horse bid," which means that others wanting to bid for the portfolio will have to use its bid as the starting point.
Google also mentioned the Android and Chrome projects specifically towards the end of its post, citing the need to protect them as a main reason for bidding.
Ideally, the patent system would undergo much needed reforms; until then, moves like this are the best defense against an onslaught of lawsuits. [Google blog]
The HTC Merge is still officially only available for pre-order on Alltel. But Android Central Forums member jtowndawg scoped out his local store in Georgia and, sure enough, was able to take one home already. And even better, he's given us a nice little photo gallery of his bounty. And for that, he'll be rewarded.
But if you're on Alltel and are dying for the Merge, it'd behoove you to swing by your local store. Tell 'em Android Central sent ya. And check out more pics of jtowdawg's new Merge in the forums. [HTC Merge in Alltel stores now, HTC Merge forums]
Widgets are a big part of Android, providing information at a glance without having to go through the steps of opening an application. Beautiful Widgets has been a long time favorite of both fan and Android Central staff alike, and when we heard that Levelup Studio had released a public beta of a tablet version, we had to go hands-on. It's not perfect -- beta software never is -- but it's stable, and lives up to the beautiful part of the app name. Having said that, the toggle widgets aren't 100 percent just yet, but the clocks, weather, and battery widgets work like a champ.
Hit the break to see a quick video of them in action on the Xoom, as well as a download link for both the public beta and the full, paid Market version (Android 1.5 and up) and a link to the wallpaper before you even have to ask. [Android Central forums]
The unofficial Android 3.0 Honeycomb port for the Samsung Galaxy Tab that we reported a couple of weeks ago has made some pretty impressive progress in a relatively short space of time. Now ROM chef spacemoose1 has made some initial alpha builds available for download, giving the CDMA Galaxy Tab its first taste of Honeycomb. The ROM is based on the Honeycomb SDK build, and although it's (mostly) functional, it's still in the early stages of development and as such is unstable, slow and prone to crashing. Check out the video above to see exactly what we mean.
So it's something you can play around with, but definitely nowhere near stable enough to use as your main ROM. Still, if you have a spare CDMA Galaxy Tab and are feeling adventurous, you can hit the source link to find out more. [XDA] Thanks for the tip, Dan!
Zipcar, the popular metro-based car loaner company, has let slip via its Twitter account that there is finally an Android app in the works. Fun the uninitiated, Zipcar's an easier alternative to buying or even traditionally renting a car. There has been a very nice app on the iOS side which allows users to reserve cars on-the-go, unlock them and much more.
No time frame for when the app is expected to be released, but knowing it's on the way is great news for heavy Zipcar users. [Twitter] Thanks, BSG75!
Sony will release an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet by the end of summer, according to Bloomberg, which cites Japanese newspaper Nikkei. Nikkei's report is apparently based on information from Sony CEO Howard Stringer, and says Sony will launch its tablet to the U.S. market first.
These reports add considerable weight to earlier rumors that Sony is working on a 9.4-inch Honeycomb tablet based around its PlayStation Suite and Qriocity service. The tablet, codenamed "S1", was said to be powered by a Tegra 2 processor, and due for a September release at a price point around $600.
Early concept drawings of the S1 showed an interesting design with a bulge at one end to make it easier to hold and prop up. If Sony can combine this design with a compelling software package then they could be onto a winner. We'll keep you posted in the months ahead as more info emerges. [Bloomberg]