A post on Samsung Mobile Romania's Facebook page seems to suggest that Romanian Galaxy S phones (and presumably other European models) may see an official update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread by the end of March.
Translated into English and cleaned up a little, the post reads:
"The update to version 2.2.1 for Galaxy S will be available until 20 March, and Gingerbread (2.3) until the end of the month."
Our Romanian is a little rusty, but we think it's safe to assume the last part of that statement means either "it'll arrive by the end of the month", or "it won't arrive until the end of the month". Either way, it looks like the European Galaxy S could soon claim bragging rights as the first non-Nexus phone to get an official Gingerbread update. HTC has announced that Gingerbread will be coming to some of its older phones, but these updates aren't due until sometime in the second quarter.
Samsung Romania also adds that two of its budget phones, the i5500 Galaxy 5 and i5800 Galaxy 3, will be updated to Froyo by Mar. 20 and Mar. 31 respectively. [Samsung Romania Facebook via Crave]
If you've watched the creepy Xperia Play "Android thumbs ad" and wondered about the backstory of the thumbs in question, then you'll be relieved to hear that Sony Ericsson has provided you with the answers you crave in a brand new commercial.
The ad, entitled "The Donor", tells the chilling story of a man brutally robbed of his opposable digits by Sony Ericsson just so you can play Tekken on your phone. Check it out for yourself after the jump. The Xperia Play is due out in Europe later this month -- check out our hands (and thumbs)-on video coverage to find out more.
Our pals over at PreCentral have found themselves in possession of what apparently is a release schedule from "a major U.S. retailer," and it's got a number of Android tablets listed, including a few new ones. Let's break it down:
March 17: Motorola 10-inch tablet, $649, first 10-inch tablet with Android Honeycomb. Obviously, the Motorola Xoom.
End of March: Dell 7-inch, $449, March launch with Android 2.2 Froyo. OK, it's the Dell Streak 7.
End of March: Samsung 7-inch, $499, March launch with Android 2.2 Froyo. Sounds like the Galaxy Tab to us.
April: Acer 7-inch, $399, first 7-inch tablet with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Acer 7-inch tablet. Check.
The big question -- after we again say "A 10-inch tablet from HTC!" -- is which "major retailer" we're talking about. If this all pans out, CTIA could indeed be busy here in a couple weeks. [PreCentral]
Ad-free versions of original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons will be available on Amazon, too
Angry Birds publisher Rovio this morning announced that the upcoming Angry Birds Rio will launch on Android exclusively in the upcoming Amazon App Store. That's a huge coup for Amazon, which has had many rolling their eyes at the prospect of another app store, even one with the weight of a company like Amazon behind it.
More good news: Android will be getting ad-free versions of the original versions of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, which also will be exclusively in the Amazon App Store.
No specific dates were mentioned, but recall that Angry Birds Rio originally was said to be coming in March 2011. So if everything's still on schedule, we could see it -- and the Amazon App Store -- light up in the next couple of weeks. [Rovio]
The U.S.'s number three carrier, Sprint, is making it a bit easier to stomach those huge early termination fees (ETFs) that carriers will typically charge you for getting out of your contract early. Smartphone buyers signing up for a new two year contract will get $125 in "service credit" while non-smartphone buyers will get $50. The deal expires on April 14 so jump on it soon if you are interested in getting your WiMax on. [Sprint via Engadget]
Amazon Germany continues its habit of being first with pre-order prices for upcoming European phones, with a listing for Sony Ericsson's Xperia Neo. The Neo comes in three colors -- the cheapest model is red and sells for €345.81 (~$480), while the silver and blue versions are slightly more expensive and cost €379 and €376.99 respectively. These prices make the Xperia Neo around €100 cheaper than its similarly-spec'd but better-looking sibling, the Xperia Arc.
Pre-order prices are always subject to change, but with the Neo's release date so close, we expect Amazon's prices to be pretty close to the mark. Sony Ericsson will launch the Xperia Neo in Europe later this month, along with the sleeker, lighter Xperia Arc and the PlayStation-certified Xperia Play. Check out our hands-on coverage from MWC to learn more. [Amazon.de via Google Translate]
Popular AOSP-based custom ROM CyanogenMod will discontinue support for the T-Mobile G1 and its keyboardless sibling, the HTC Magic (aka myTouch 3G) after the current version 6.1. This means that there will be no official version of the Gingerbread-based CyanogenMod 7 for these devices. However, this doesn't rule out the possibility of an unofficial CM7 community port for variants the G1, which launched way in October 2008 as the first Android smartphone.
It's likely that the anemic 192MB of RAM present in the G1 and most Magic-based phones, combined with dwindling user numbers, was behind the decision to cut support after CyanogenMod 6.1.
Being stuck on CM 6.1 isn't such a terrible fate, though, especially considering that the G1 never saw any official updates beyond Android 1.6 from manufacturer HTC. CyanogenMod 6.1 is still an excellent ROM, and should serve G1 and myTouch 3G users well in their handsets' twilight years. [CyanogenMod via reddit]
It is no secret that Samsung has been working on a WiFi-only Galaxy Tab, but now emergesa flier that indicates it might be coming April 4 for a cool $399. The problem for Samsung is that its 7-inch tablet has been left behind by recent devices like the Xoom in both hardware (Tegra 2 processors) and software (Honeycomb). And given that Samsung has given no indication of putting Honeycomb on the current crop of Galaxy Tabs, it may be that users will be stuck on Froyo unless choosing to install custom ROMs. If it runs on the Nook Color, it has to run on the Galaxy Tab, right?
It's (unfortunately) pretty normal for Android to still play second fiddle when it comes to app development. We see iOS get 'em first, then Android. Not so in the case of Formula 1, which broke the news on its website.
The popular racing league is prepping an Android application with push notifications for the start of the upcoming season. It's being developed in conjunction with Vodafone and will feature "live timing data direct to your phone from every session of the Grand Prix weekend." You'll need to be registered with Formula1.com to take advantage of all the features.
There also will be track and weather info, track status indicator, text commentary, and results for every race of the season, a calendar and standings. Basically, everything an F1 fan could want.
No precise date was given for release, but we'd look for it soon, with the Quantas Australian Grand Prix scheduled for March 25-27 in Melbourne. F1 says iOS and other platforms will follow. [Formula 1 via @racelike]
Another week has ended, and still no HTC Thunderbolt, but believe it or not there has been other news in the Android world. So if you found yourself caught up in that Angry Birds update, and missed any news this week, be sure to check below for what you may have missed.
After its announcement back at CES, we have heard next to nothing about Hulu Plus coming to Android. Well, Hulu has now gone and thrown up an image of a Nexus S along with a "coming soon" for "Android OS 2.2 phones" on their list of Hulu Plus compatible devices. As the Nexus S is an Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" phone, we can presume that Froyo is the minimum OS requirement. Tablets are not specifically mentioned so it may well be that only phones will be supported at launch. Either way, hopefully this means that the app really is "coming soon" and we will have our questions answered (as well as satisfying our need to watch Fringe on the go) shortly. [Hulu] Thanks to everyone that sent this in!
It looks like the Motorola Xoom is joining the HTC Thunderbolt in the "leaked docs from big box stores" department, as Droid Life got some goods from a Staples insider showing the long awaited WiFi-only model coming March 27, at a price point of $599.98. That works out to the same price point as the 32 GB WiFi model of the iPad 2, and should quiet the folks crying for a carrier free, WiFi-only model (like yours truly).
While we've learned that leaked sales ads and internal inventory screens don't guarantee anything, they are a good indicator that we're close. This should certainly help boost sales, and more importantly, developers who were waiting for the WiFi-only model can get to cracking. The inventory screen is after the break. [Droid-Life via Android Central forums] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Searching for Android applications that will enhance your daily life can be a bit of a difficult task, because sometimes if you don't know it exists, you won't know to search for it. Part of our goal here is to bring our favorite readers some of our favorite applications each week, so let's take a look at some of our favorites from this past week.
When we first got a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10-inch at Mobile World Congress, it was your usual trade show free-for all. But the upcoming Honeycomb device (when's this thing gonna drop, anyway?) has shed its Samsung shackles and apparently paraded around the streets of Paris for the AndroidHD blog, which churned out 11 minutes of quality video in return. Nothing too new here, but you get another good look at the hardware, a good look at the software and some sample pics taken from the 8MP rear camera. [AndroidHD]