Update: Nope, the camera wasn't fixed because of a silent software update or because of wiping the lens clean (we wish!). The problem of autofocus was caused because of a 'rounding error bug'. To quote:
There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.
The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.
Since we're on the 'good end' of it now, the patch releasing on December 11th should fix the issue entirely.
We know some of you have had issues with the DROID's autofocus--the issue being that it never focused right--but now it looks like there may be a fix to all your woes. According to one DROID user, if you simply clean the lens with a soft cloth, your Motorola DROID will begin to autofocus correctly. Apparently, there may have been some residue or oily film on the lens that caused the autofocus issues.
If you're having problems with the DROID's autofocus, we say you give it a try and let us know how it works. If your DROID can autofocus fine but still only takes cruddy pictures, stick to taking pictures on a sunny day, outside or hope for a software fix.
The Shack, or just Radio Shack if you've been out of the loop, will offer the Motorola CLIQ for $79 with new 2-year contract on Black Friday (November 26th). We kind of lambasted/ridiculed/tar and feathered T-Mobile for launching the Motorola CLIQ at $199, so $79 is a pretty amazing deal that'll hopefully stick longer than one day.
If you can gather your bearings after your Thanksgiving feast and compete with the loonies on Black Friday, we suggest you stop by The Shack to pick up the CLIQ. We absolutely love this new trend of Android devices being offered for sub-$100 prices--DROID Eris for $99, Sprint HTC Hero and Samsung Moment for $99 and now the CLIQ for $79.
We've seen a Creative Zii Android Device before in the Zii Egg but we haven't heard from them since. It looks like that's about to change because the first Zii Summit 2009 will be held in December and there'll be an announcement of the Zii Optimized Android Phone platform which will presumably be available in an official Zii Android phone. The details of the Zii Android Phone look pretty impressive:
Phone with Fully featured Android Platform
OpenGL ES 3D graphics
1080p HD video output
Accelerated video, graphic and imaging
Full integration with SurfaceFlinger
High Quality Audio
Enhanced User Interfaces
Accelerated Web Browsing
It looks like ZiiLabs has been focusing their efforts on a new chip called the ZMS-08 which is an ARM Cortex A8 processor clocked at 1GHz which is capable of all that good stuff. More details will surely come about before the Zii Summit so we'll definitely keep our eyes peeled for more ZiiLabs Android news in the future!
We had already reported on the potential price drop of the Sprint HTC Hero to $99.99 but now it's officially official. Best Buy has just announced that the Sprint HTC Hero and Samsung Moment will both now be priced at $99.99 with new 2-year contract. We think that having those phones at $99 is a wonderful deal that should hopefully spur other carriers to drop prices on their phones as well (ahem, T-Mobile).
If you had paid $179 for the Sprint HTC Hero or Samsung Moment at Best Buy, hopefully you can still return in and receive the difference? Let us know what happens!
We've already seen the Samsung Galaxy Spica I5700 before but now it's finally official. Samsung has just unveiled their latest Android powered smartphone and it's looking exactly like we imagined. The Galaxy Spica packs a 800 MHz processor which we're going to assume is like the Moment's, a 3.2 inch 320x480 capacitive touchscreen, and a 3 megapixel camera. One fun feature, the Galaxy Spica will be the first Android smartphone to support DivX videos.
The Samsung Galaxy Spica is already available in Europe and the CIS and will be released in the Middle East and Asia at a later date. Looks like it'll follow in the Galaxy's footsteps and not be available in the US. Oh well, guess the Samsung Behold II will have to do!
Though we're sure all you Sprint HTC Hero users would really appreciate an Android 2.0 software update right about now, it looks like HTC isn't ready to deliver Eclair to you just yet. Instead, Sprint is ramping up a 'maintenance release' that'll presumably fix well-known bugs and software issues with the HTC Hero. You should receive the update in the next few weeks. [sprint]
BGR is whispering that the Sprint HTC Hero is now available for $99 with new 2-year contract at Best Buy. We'll be looking to see if this report is true but it makes sense considering the DROID Eris, Verizon's version of the HTC Hero, is offered at that price point. $99 is a fantastic deal for such a great Android device--HTC Sense is lovely to use, Sprint rate plans are affordable, and Android 2.0 should come eventually.
We've seen the Android Dev Phone 1 for quite some time now and it was essentially a T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream with some snazzy graphics on the battery cover. Now, the Android Dev Phone 2 is essentially the myTouch 3G/HTC Magic/Google Ion with the cute Android Robot peering out on the battery cover.
The Android Dev Phone 2 is available for $399 and comes unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. Developers should note that the ADP2 comes with Android 1.6 and not Android 2.0 which can be qualified as a strange move since Android 2.0 is already live and running. We're not sure if developers will find a reason to switch over to the ADP2 but the ADP2 does offer 512MB ROM vs the 256MB ROM of the ADP1.
In any case, since there's not much difference in the dev phones (and it's a device that's entirely familiar), it's definitely more fun to wonder what the Android Dev Phone 3 will be. Perhaps the Motorola Milestone?
We're not going to lie, the Vega Android Tablet by ICD actually looks like something we'd want to use. The Vega Android Tablet comes in 7-inch, 11-inch, and 15-inch versions that could find a use in any home since ICD (Innovative Converged Devices) promises to make it a low-cost device that may even find carrier subsidies. The specs for the Vega Android Tablet are:
Resistive touch-screen display
1366x768 screen (for the 15.6-inch model)
512 DDR RAM / 512 NAND Flash storage
MicroSD, USB 2.0
Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth
Battery Life ~4 hours
The Vega Android Tablet is supposed to make its way to users in the first half of 2010. More details are expected at CES so we'll definitely keep an eye on this. Hit the jump to see more product shots of the Vega Android Tablet!
Check that out. A Palm Treo 650 running our favorite OS, Android. Yes, that's a 5-year old device with just a 312 MHz Processor and 32MB of RAM running a desktop-class OS. Yes, it takes a while to boot up and looks a little weird. But isn't that just awesome? Obviously, we don't recommend using a Palm Treo 650 running Android as your daily driver but hey, if you got one, why not try it, right?
We'll always have a soft spot for Palm Treos, if only for their trail blazing ways. Though we obviously focus on Android first at Android Central, we're happy to see Palm succeed with the Pre and now the Pixi. But there was once a time when we wondered if Palm should scrap their OS and just use Android instead. Looks like we weren't the only ones wondering!
Sony Ericsson UK has a pre-registration site for the XPERIA X10 that states the expected launch date for the device as February 10th. Obviously that's in no way, shape, or form the exact date but it does give us a barometer to control our expectations. The XPERIA X10 is the device we are looking most forward to in the new year and we're hopeful that it can challenge the Motorola DROID as the best Android handset available.
Remember: 1GHz Snapdragon Processor, 4-inch touchscreen, 8.1 megapixel camera and that beautiful 'Rachael' UI. Just lovely stuff.
The much anticipated Dell Android Smartphone is officially official and it's headed to China & Brazil. The Dell Mini 3i, as it's known, looks like a cross between an iPhone and a Palm Pre with touches of the myTouch 3G. The Dell Mini 3i will launch on China Mobile in China without 3G and Claro in Brazil with 3G. Obviously, the biggest head scratcher is why is a big time US company not releasing their first big time phone in the US and we honestly have no idea. Maybe Dell figures the competition is too stiff in the States and would rather try and sell a gazillion units in foreign countries for the time being?
And though the Dell Mini 3i was announced, the official specs and pricing are still under wraps. The China version will run China Mobile's Ophone OS on top of Android and arrive in November. The Brazil version will reach customers by the end of the year but it's unclear if it will have any custom UI on it. In any case, even with so many unknowns we're still confident a reputable company like Dell will deliver a quality handset, even if it is their first foray into the smartphone market. Dell keenly reminds us that we should definitely expect more Dell smartphones in the future.
The Dell Mini 3i has already been unboxed in China and you can take a closer look at the phone after the jump!
Though the Android 2.0 'Eclair' SDK has been available for quite some time and the Motorola DROID runs Android 2.0 perfectly, the Android 2.0 source code has been kept under wraps for some particular reason (underhand deal with Motorola & Verizon?). This meant that all phone manufacturers outside of Motorola could only tinker with Android 1.6. Luckily, that has all changed.
Meanwhile: Got Droid? Make something Awesome with it (note the Capital A). Take a picture in the dark and make it all arty with Photoshop mobile. Shoot a video and put it on YouTube. Type out a short story on the physical keyboard. Whatever, as long as it's capital A Awesome and you make it with Android (yeah, non-Droid owners can play too).
Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org before Nov 25th. We'll pick out favorite and send the winner:
Engadget just unboxed the Behold II and came away noting that the device is heavy, thin enough, and the buttons are enjoyable to click. The screen is gorgeous (of course) but not any more gorgeous than the DROID's screen. Overall the hardware is great and packs some good build quality but the software might need some work. They note that Touchwiz seems to slow down Android a bit but will need further testing to see it in action. Remember, the Behold II will launch with Android 1.5.
Hit the jump to see some photos and video of the Behold II in action!
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