Though the whole fiasco doesn't directly apply to us Android users, it is interesting to note that USA Today has accused Google of being plain hypocrites throughout this process. Citing Google's own 'banning' of popular VoIP application Skype to their Android Market, USA Today claimed that Google and Android are hardly as open and benevolent as they claim to be. If you remember, Skype for Android is actually a 'Lite' version that isn't capable of true VoIP calls, rather routing phone calls through traditional phone networks thus eating away precious (read: expensive) cell phone minutes.
Gasp. Is Google falling away from their 'Don't be Evil' motto and joining Apple as the grim reaper toward quality applications? Did they really ban a full-featured version of Skype? No. Completely False. Wrong. Not even close. According to the father of Android, Andy Rubin:
“Here are the facts, clear and simple: While the first generation of our Android software did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations, we have worked through those limitations in subsequent versions of Android, and developers are now able to build and upload VoIP services"
So basically USA Today got it completely wrong and that it wasn't a Google decision to ban Skype from Android but rather a technical shortcoming. Also, if Skype truly wanted to develop a full featured application for Android and for some odd reason wasn't allowed in Android Market, Android users could still download the application via alternative channels. Android Market is hardly the only solution for third party applications like the iPhone App Store is. And for that, we can be thankful.
As good as Google Maps is for most everyday Android users, many users still clamor for a high quality turn-by-turn GPS solution. Enter TomTom. Having just released an official application for the iPhone platform, TomTom recently announced their interest toward Android and plans to develop an official application for it. According to a VP at TomTom:
"We cannot ignore such a successful platform as Android. HTC is an important partner of ours and Android is becoming increasingly important too."
Though we would obviously prefer a Google Maps turn-by-turn solution, we certainly can't deny a GPS heavyweight like TomTom. We've tested the iPhone TomTom application and in our brief time with it, it truly feels like a standalone TomTom GPS unit. If TomTom can offer the same experience with Android, we'd happily jump on board.
Google has released a new application for Android that enables users to find and play their favorite podcasts on their Android device. Aptly named 'Listen', the app allows you to search, subscribe, download, and stream your favorite podcasts--or at least the favorite of the 'thousands of popular English-only podcasts' currently available. Also, 'Listen' will also learn your habits. In Google's words:
By subscribing to programs and search terms it will create a personalized audio-magazine loaded with fresh shows and news stories whenever you listen.
From the sounds of it, 'Listen' is definitely worth checking out. Which application do you guys currently use to listen to podcasts on your Android phone?
A video showcasing the HTC Click has popped up and it's pretty much what you expected. The budget-minded Android Phone gets a brief run through and there's nothing too jaw dropping about it--no HTC Sense UI, relatively small screen, etc. The HTC Click also comes with a microSD slot, 1100mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, camera, and what is purported to be Android Donut build 1.50.999.0.
The HTC Click obviously won't be targeted to power users but we're pretty sure it would still serve as a nice introduction to Android and first time smartphone users. What do you guys think?
The Notorious FCC is at it again. This time the ridiculously anticipated HTC Hero just cleared their hands and those previous HTC Hero to Sprint rumors are getting realer by the second--because this version of the Hero rocks CDMA, which just so happens to be what Sprint's network is constructed on.
Let us translate the above picture for you: 'The appointment is confirmed.' What appointment does the invitation speak of? Well on Tuesday September 15th, Archos is widely expected to announce their much anticipatedAndroid tablet and we can't wait to see what they've cooked up. The Android tablet will have a 5-inch 800x480 screen that can play 720p content, HDMI out, and rumored for 500GB of storage. Hawt.
What may be even more interesting than the Archos Android Tablet is that Archos has decided to launch an Android App Store of their own, specifically tailored for "high end devices" like their upcoming tablet. Known as AppsLib, AppsLib will eventually be offered on other Android devices and we're definitely interested in seeing how AppsLib and Android Market will co-exist.
The Samsung InstinctQ should make for a great alternative to the HTC Hero. Sprint users will soon have a choice between a strictly touchscreen device (Hero) and a touchscreen/hardware keyboard device (InstinctQ). Either way, both devices have the look of a winner. We can't wait to pore over the specs of the InstinctQ and we're sure you Sprint users can't wait to jump on the Android bandwagon.
What do you guys think? Is October 11th going to be a glorious day? Another Android device with a physical keyboard in tow is a good thing in our book.
Obviously this is bad news for any AT&T customer looking forward to Android devices but simply put, the HTC Lancaster wasn't going to be a game changer, hardware-wise at least. QVGA screen? Psssh. Yeah, it would have been nice to see how Android would take off on a bigger carrier but good things come to those who wait (so we've heard, at least).
So AT&T, the ball in your court. If you really did drop the HTC Lancaster from your product portfolio, we better see a better Android device lined up to take its place. Maybe something from Motorola? Or maybe the "pretty believable" information turns out false and the Lancaster will launch on AT&T as originally planned. Yikes, counting on AT&T to deliver typically never pans out.
Radio Shack (or is just The Shack now?) just announced that they'll be selling the T-Mobile myTouch 3G in store which would certainly spell a good thing for T-Mobile considering 'The Shack' has more than 4,000 locations nationwide. Radio Shack and T-Mobile had just minted a new deal to sell T-Mobile handsets so hopefully we can expect future T-Mobile Android devices available there as well.
We're not frequent customers of Radio Shack, so this deal doesn't exactly affect us but what about the rest of you guys? Radio Shack + Android = Good?
Though we're firmly entrenched in the white HTC Hero camp, we can't help but applaud HTC for delivering such a nice color option. It definitely feels like a breath of fresh air. We think we'll be seeing a lot more pink Hero's in the future.
The T-Mobile 3G Rollout has been slowly inching its way across the United States, slowly making its way toward respectability. We're happy to report that many cities have received T-Mobile 3G since our last Rollout Report and they're as follows:
El Paso, TX
New Haven, CT
We're positive that a lot of big cities are still without T-Mobile 3G and we definitely empathize with you guys--3G is such a difference maker, it'll make your T-Mobile G1 feel like a brand new phone. So, let's work together and compile a list of the biggest cities still without T-Mobile 3G and put some pressure on T-Mobile to accelerate their 3G rollout!
Let's hear which cities don't have T-Mobile 3G in the comments!
thanks to all our wonderful readers who contributed to this report!
Though a T-Mobile US isn't confirmed yet, the Pulse is expected to launch on T-Mobile in Europe so it's very likely that Magenta users in the states will eventually be able to rock the Pulse. And since it's already cleared the FCC, we should (hopefully, at least) expect the Pulse to launch before the end of 2009.
Hopefully we'll find out more about the T-Mobile Pulse in the near future. We can't wait to see what Huawei's first Android effort has to offer!
If reports indicating that the T-Mobile G1 is permanently stuck at Android 1.5 and won't receive further software updates like Donut and Eclair are true, it'll break the hearts of many Android users across the world. According to Android software engineer Dave Sparks, there'll be a time when developers "wont be able to fit the latest [Android] release on the G1's internal flash."
You've got to be kidding me. The T-Mobile G1 isn't even a year old and it could potentially be out-of-date already? All over some memory issue? That's just a terrible excuse.
Luckily T-Mobile jumped into the fray to squash the reports because they've said, "We plan to continue working with Google to introduce future software updates to the T-Mobile G1. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate."
But the seed of doubt has been planted. We're not sure if T-Mobile is defining 'future software updates' as the Donut and Eclair updates to Android or as mere security updates. We're not sure if all the features of Donut/Eclair will make it to the T-Mobile G1. We're not sure of anything anymore because we used to think that the T-Mobile G1 was still a great device that would only get better as Android got better.
Hopefully, Google and T-Mobile still think the same.
Layar, the world's first mobile augmented reality application, is now available for Android in Android Market. We urge you to go download it. Like right now. Okay. To give you a brief introduction on what Layar is, you can either watch this video or read our own description:
Layar uses Android's GPS, camera, and compass features to display real-time information on the world before you. Think of it as an informative looking glass for the world, you point your Android phone in a particular direction and you'll receive details galore--points-of-interests, houses for sale, ATMs, jobs, and so much more. It'll give you the information about what you want to know--distance, store hours, etc--by just pointing in the right direction. It's pretty much Google Maps on ridiculously powerful steroids
The real beauty of Layar is that they've opened up this 'reality browser' to third-party developers, over 100 developers have already developed layers for the application and 500 more developers will be jumping in. You can already see nearby Yelp reviews, tweets from Twitter friends around you, and so much more. The potential is simply off the charts.
We've installed Layar on our T-Mobile G1 and were very impressed on how well it runs for such a (presumably) demanding application. We're excited and hopeful for Layar to take off and bring augmented reality browsers to the forefront of the discussion. It's the future.
The HTC Click is targeted for a September release and HTC is forecasting a 19% growth in shipments during the fourth quarter, largely because of this budget-minded phone. The HTC Click is expected to be priced at around $300 before carrier subsidies, so expecting a price tag of free isn't out of the question.
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