Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Verizon rolls out DROID CHARGE Gingerbread OTA update

If you bought a Samsung DROID CHARGE when it launched back in May, you’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time. After numerous leaks, Verizon is finally sending out its Gingerbread update to eager DROID CHARGE owners. As always, you can wait for the over-the-air rollout to come to your area or initiate it manually in the Settings menu.

Verizon has a boilerplate for their software updates, and in addition to Gingerbread the CHARGE will get a download manager, the new UI color scheme that was seen in the leaked version, and options for encrypting both the phone and storage card. The calendar app has been updated with some user interface enhancements, and selecting, copying and pasting text should be considerably easier. Perhaps most importantly, Verizon’s WiFi Hotspot app now uses an encrypted password. Other speed and stability tweaks have been added here and there.
As usual with these updates, we like to provide a little perspective. It’s been more than eleven months since Android 2.3 Gingerbread became available to carriers, manufacturers and everyone else, and six months since the CHARGE launched with outdated software. On the plus side, the phone is only $199 on contract now. Don’t expect an Ice Cream Sandwich update any time soon, if at all.

Foxit Mobile PDF Reader available in the Android Market

If you’ve been using the Internet for any amount of time at all, you probably know one of its founding principles: Adobe Reader sucks. Many savvy desktop users choose a lightweight alternative for displaying simple PDFs, and Foxit PDF Reader has long been a favorite among them. Now Foxit Software has released an Android port of its popular reader, and you can download it now in the Android Market.

Unlike the desktop version, only a $2.99 paid app is available, but that’s comparable to the other 3rd-party PDF viewers on the Market. The standard zoom and reflow features are present, as well as bookmarks. Foxit seems to be focusing on its reader experience with a set of noted additions: the app will automatically load the last document and page you used, and it can adjust the brightness for its own use, like the Kindle and Nook apps. There’s also a set of annotation tools, including comments, highlights, and a pencil tool.
Can Foxit carve out a space for itself on Android? It’s tough to compete with free, but they’ve got a recognizable brand name, at least in geekier circles. $2.99 is still kind of pricy for a reader that can’t edit documents beyond its own annotations. THat said, early response in the Android Market is positive. Both smartphones and tablets are supported.

Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition vs Samsung Galaxy Note

The Media Edition of Motorola's upcoming Xoom 2 Media Edition is a device very much aimed at people on the move. It's a smaller, easier to handle device that still packs a decent punch. To get a view of the device's quality we've decided to measure it against Samsung's Galaxy Note, a device which has more power than most tablets twice its size.

The Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition runs on version 3.2 of Android, otherwise known as Honeycomb, which is the version of the platform specifically tweaked and re-designed for tablet use.

The software is smart, fast and very easy to use and includes re-designed core apps, a neat new UI and plenty of other add-ons to boot.

There are plenty of apps on offer for the OS in the Android Market, but tablet-only apps seem to be a forgotten premise to Android devs, so don't choose the device if you're looking for tablet only applications.

The Samsung Galaxy Note has version 2.3.5 of Android installed, AKA Gingerbread, which is a fast, stable iteration of the software that runs excellently on the device, and is nicely augmented by Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI.

The smaller screen size is perfect for making the most out of Android apps, and you won't rue the aforementioned lack of tablet support owing to the device's hybrid style making it more akin to a large smartphone than an actual tablet.

Both the Xoom 2 Media Edition and the Galaxy Note benefit from Google's operating system though, of that there can be no doubt.

Winner - Draw

Samsung's Galaxy Note runs on the company's Exynos chipset, which consists of a 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU and a Mali-400MP GPU - both very capable processors.

The inclusion of 1GB RAM speeds things along nicely too, allowing the device to multi-task quickly and efficiently.

The Galaxy Note is pretty much as fast as you are, making it a really rewarding device to use.

The Xoom 2 Media Edition is driven by an nVidia Tegra 2 T20 chipset consisting of a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 1.2GHz CPU and ULP GeForce GPU, giving the device some real chops when it comes to gaming.

Motorola opted to fit the Xoom 2 Media Edition with 1GB RAM, the same as on offer in the full-size tablet, and the device is nice and fast as a result.

The Xoom 2 Media Edition also has 16GB of on-board storage, while the Galaxy Note is available in both 16 and 32GB flavours.

Both devices offer Micro SD card support.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy Note

Form & Build
Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition - 216x139x8.9mm, 386g
Samsung Galaxy Note - 146.9x83x9.7mm, 178g

The Xoom 2 Media Edition is a vast improvement aesthetically over its predecessor. The cut-away corners and narrow bevel are reminiscent of a smartphone rather than a tablet, and the design really seems to work for the device.

Another nice feature of the Xoom 2 Media Edition is the build. It's solid, without being bulky, which is ideal for a device of its kind.

As you would expect from a device that's being touted as a more portable tablet, it's small and light and at just 9mm thick is only a shade off Apple's iPad 2 for thickness (which is 8.8mm).

The Galaxy Note is also extremely portably, but that's because it's something of a mutt. It's bigger than a smartphone yet miles smaller than even the most compact tablet.

The hybrid thing works well for the Galaxy Note though, and it's quite an attractive device to boot.

The build quality is sound enough too, though the plastic housing that Samsung insist on relying upon never really lends a feeling of prestige to its devices.

Winner - Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

One thing that Samsung has consistently done well in its mobile devices is photographic capability, and the Galaxy Note's 8-megapixel camera is a tremendous performer in ideal conditions.

The device has an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face & smile detection and image stabilisation too, as well as boasting 1080P video capture.

The device's secondary camera is a nice 2-megpixel front-facing effort which is ideal for video calling.

The Xoom 2 Media Edition offers a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, autofocus and geo-tagging as well as 720P video capture. The camera is decent enough for a few snaps here or there but the results, even in fine conditions, won't win any contests.

Similarly the front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera is good, but un-exceptional.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy Note

The Samsung Galaxy Note has a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED screen which operates at a resolution of 800 x 1280 and offers up a pixel density of 285PPI. Put bluntly, the Galaxy Note's screen is a stunner! It's vivid, responsive and just looks super sharp and bright.

The Xoom 2 Media Edition features a plain old 8.2-inch TFT touchscreen which is nice but, again, un-exceptional. Performance-wise it's fine and dandy, responding well to the touch and displaying nice, vivid colours, but it seems to do just enough, rather than offering anything of note (no pun intended).

Winner - Samsung Galaxy Note

It's a decisive victory for the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The device may be small, but it packs a mighty wallop and if you're in the market for something a little bigger than your average smartphone you should have a long look at the Note before you make a decision. It's fast as lightening, small and very well spec'd.

The Xoom 2 Media Edition is a nice device. There can be no doubt of that. But at its heart there isn't anything new, special or interesting to capture ones eye.

It's very well built and the design is pleasing, but beyond that we can't think of any reason to choose the Xoom 2 Media Edition before one of the many other 'mini' tablets on the market.

Motorola Xoom 2 vs Apple iPad 2

Android tablets are numerous but few have managed to come close enough to Apple's iPad 2 to provide a real challenge. Today's contender, the upcoming Xoom 2 from Motorola, aims to change that.

Will the Xoom 2 win the day, or will it be yet another contender steam-rollered by the iPad 2's seemingly limitless charm and good looks?

Build & Form
Apple iPad 2 - 241.2x185.7x8.8 mm, 607g
Motorola Xoom 2 - 253.9x173.6x8.8mm, 599g

There isn't much between these devices in terms of design and build. They are both slim, relatively light and admirably crafted.

The Xoom 2, with its nicely rounded off corners and slim bevel certainly looks as if someone with an artistic eye has had a hand in its design, and the improvements over the previous model are easy to see.

The iPad 2 is no ugly duckling though, and as with all Apple products you can see a lot of thought has gone into the aesthetic of the device.

Winner - Draw

Motorola's Xoom 2 is powered by a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and also benefits from a ULP GeForce GPU, making it a peach for playing games and enjoying other visual content.

We'd hoped to see more than the requisite 1GB RAM, to give the device more lastability but it's by no means a deal breaker.

The iPad 2 runs on a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, making it a gnats slower than the Xoom 2. The device's PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU is perfectly fast and capable though, making gaming a fast, fun experience on the device.

With only 512MB RAM the iPad 2 falls short of what we've come to expect from a top-level mobile device. iOS 5 uses what it has very efficiently though, so it needn't be a huge drawback.

Winner - Motorola Xoom 2

Apple's iPad 2 features a 0.7-megapixel primary camera which is, to be frank, a massive let down. Performance is weak even in ideal conditions and we'd really hoped to see more from Apple, especially after it gave us all such a treat with the iPhone 4 camera.

The device does capture video at 720P though, and the quality is pleasingly good. The secondary camera, a VGA, isn't hugely powerful, though it serves its purpose well enough.

The Motorola Xoom 2 is much more the ticket with a 5-megapixel primary camera, with LED flash, geo-tagging and 720P video capture and a secondary 1.3-megapixel offering for video chatting and the like.

Winner - Motorola Xoom 2

Apple's mobile devices are known for their reliance on the company's iOS platform, and what a fantastic piece of software it is.

The user-interface is amazingly simple to use, but powerful and highly functional nonetheless, and the amount of apps on offer in the Apple App Store is huge, with over 4000 designed specifically for the iPad 2 and its older sibling.

The Xoom 2 runs version 3.2 of Android, which has been specifically designed by Google with tablets in mind.

The platform is fast, fun to use and offers plenty of customisation potential, as well as flash browsing - which is more than can be said for the iPad 2!

There are a good number of high quality app among the 352,000+ on offer in the Android Market, but if you're looking for tablet-centric applications you should give Android a wide-berth, as the amount designed for tablets is embarrassingly small.

Both operating systems have their own virtues. Android is much more open than Apple's software; which is a boon to advanced users, while iOS is much more polished and slick. Overall Apple's software is the more pleasing to use though, which is what counts.

Winner - Apple iPad 2

The iPad 2 features a high quality 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT display which operates at a resolution of 768 x 1024 and has a pixel density of 132PPI.

The screen performs well and offers a consistently high visual standard, though it does fall well short of the Retina Display technology that you'll find in the iPhone 4 and 4S.

The Xoom 2's screen is decent, but doesn't really offer anything new or special.

It's responsive, hard-wearing (thanks to its Gorilla Glass frontage) and does the job but when compared the iPad 2 does appear a little flat and cold.

Winner - Apple iPad 2

It's a draw!

Both of these tablets have a lot to love about them. The iPad 2 is exceptionally easy to use and benefits from Apple's huge app library, while the Xoom 2 is more powerful and has by far the more pleasing photographic capabilities.

If we were put on the spot we'd take an iPad 2 over a Xoom 2 simply because there is more you can accomplish on the device, thanks to greater developer support. Sure, it may be less powerful but what's the point of having all that muscle if you're never in a position to really use it?

What matters is what you want though, and if you're weighing-up a new tablet then you could do far worse than either of these.

Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones get colorful for the holidays

Thinking of picking up a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones this holiday season? Well, we’ve got some good news for you. The company has announced the launch of the new Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Color headphones. These are basically the same Studio headphones you already know just that they will be available in a spectrum of candy colors to suit your taste and personality. This is not the first time the Beats Studio headphones have been given limited edition colors, but I guess there’s always an excuse to splash new colors onto something.

Check out the new commercial for the Studio Color headphones after the break. The headphones are available now in blue, pink, orange and green, with prices starting at $349.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Root Method Available

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus hasn’t been out for long but those of you who have picked one up since its launch can finally root the thing. We’d advise against trying this method on the T-Mobile version right now as we’re not sure if the method is the same for all versions of the device. If you got the unlocked/WiFi models through retail (P6200) then it could be worth a shot. Just remember that you’re taking your own risk and doing this and anything that happens to your device is no one else’s responsibility. Be sure to ask questions at the XDA thread before applying it. You can also find the links and instructions you’ll need there. [XDA, Thanks Kamal!]

December 8 is Transformer Prime

One of the tablets that has us really excited is the Asus Transformer Prime. There had been rumors that the tablet would be launching on December 8 with that date surfacing for shipping on Newegg this week. Asus has now reportedly confirmed to the geeks at NetbookNews that December 8 is the US launch date. That date is a week after the tablet launches in Taiwan.

If you are in Europe and are lusting after the Transformer Prime you will have to wait longer than geeks in Taiwan and the US, the European launch is set for January. We already know all there is to know about the tablet and it sounds to be a very nice one indeed. It will rock the Tegra 3 quad-core chipset for instance and will have an optional keyboard dock that turns it into a notebook and adds extra battery life.
In the US, the 32GB version of the tablet will sell for $499 and the 64GB offering will go for $599. If you want that cool keyboard dock, it will run you an extra $149. The machine comes in gray or champagne colors and both run Android 3.2 honeycomb when it hits store shelves with an Ice Cream Sandwich update coming later.
[via SlashGear]

Volume fix for Galaxy Nexus rolling out now OTA

If you are a proud owner of a Galaxy Nexus smartphone and have been waiting with baited breath for the volume fix to land today is your day. Word is that the volume fix is being pushed out OTA today by Samsung. The roll out will be staggered according to Clove in the UK. Staggered would mean that not all users of the smartphone will get the update at the same time.

Oddly enough, the handsets that were expected to arrive with the volume issue fixed turned out to not have the fix applied after all. Buyers of the new devices that still have the issue will be prompted to download the update shortly after turning their new Galaxy Nexus on. Our own Chris Davies has a Nexus in his possession and has reported that the update isn’t available for him at this point.
The volume bug plagues Nexus devices that are running on a 2G network at 900MHz. Carriers in the UK commonly use this. This would explain why some users that are in areas with good 3G connections haven’t had issues with the bug.
[via SlashGear]

Samsung Exynos 5250 running at 2GHz coming by Q2 next year

We’ve been dreaming about it, but not quite sure when we would see the first Android device clocked at 2GHz (officially of course). The Samsung Exynos chips running at 1.0GHz, 1.2GHz, and 1.5GHz have functioned amazingly well in their Galaxy S II line, and knowing we should see the 2.0GHz SoC in a future tablet is definitely good news. Samsung was very clear this SoC would be geared towards high-end tablets, but maybe we’ll find it in a few smartphones too.

At the rate Android and the overall technological world is progressing, it wouldn’t be so surprising to see 2.0GHz as the new “norm”. Either way, the chip is said to double the performance of the current Exynos 4212 and even offer 4X speedier graphical rendering.
The new chip will also support displays up to a 2560×1600 pixel resolution, talk about a crystal clear picture. How that may effect the battery life I haven’t a clue. Hopefully, we will see it in some devices during CES 2012, but I’m even more interested in benchmarks of NVIDIA’s Kal-el quad-core processors. Last year’s CES introduced the world’s first dual-core smartphone, so it would be quite fitting that this year’s center around a quad-core.
[via AusDroid]

Samsung and its Galaxy Tab triumph over Apple’s temporary ban

What a great feat for Samsung today! As you may have heard, Samsung has been in quite the legal battle with Apple Inc. in recent months over whether their Galaxy Tab 10.1 could rest on Australian shelves. Court rulings had prohibited sale of the device with a temporary ban until now.

Australians rejoice, for you’ll be able to buy as many Samsung products as you want – and just in time for the holidays too. Hopefully, Samsung lawyers can cook up some more magic in the case against blocked tablet sales in Germany. Either way, hard-core Android followers will surely get there hands on one – even if they’re required to hop a train towards nearby France to pick it up.
It’s hard to even think of the iPad and Galaxy Tab lines as similar. With so many divergent characteristics in the actual OS, you would have thought to even consider banning one would require never turning on the device. The iPad has a completely icon-dependant homescreen where the Galaxy Tab 10.1 layout is showered with many different widgets. Both sport completely different lockscreens – the differences are practically endless. It seems Apple wants to make sure its competitors refrain from designing anything that comes close to their tablet’s dimensions – well that’s just not going to happen. I’ve got a nice block of wood about the size of an iPad, maybe they’ll come for me too.
[via Phandroid]

Google claims volume fix will be pushed within the week

In case you haven’t heard, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has had a few volume bugs; very unfortunate for such an anticipated device. On the bright side, updates for the Galaxy Nexus come straight from the team at Google. They’ve always been punctual at releasing proper fixes soon after an obvious issue arises. It turns out that Google themselves now claim that “We’re currently rolling out a fix for the volume issue which will reach everyone in the coming week”.

We’ve know for about a week now that a fix was indeed coming, but now that a general timeframe has been set we can rest assured that it will be early December by the time it reaches everyone. It will be pushed via an OTA (Over-The-Air) update, so be patient and wait for it to show up in your notifications. And if you fairly new to the Android game, then you can always force your system to perform an update check by tapping Menu > Settings > About Phone > System Updates.
Overall, I’m quite impressed on how Google handles bug fixes and updates to their Nexus line. 

Lenovo LePhone S760 unveiled for China

China’s getting a lot of Android attention these days, and among its home-grown manufacturers no one’s treating them better than Lenovo. Engadget spotted the latest entry in latest entry in le smartphone line, the LePhone S760, a mid-range Gingerbread device with at least one distinguishing feature. The 3.7-inch screen uses an AMOLED panel, still relatively novel in the Chinese market.

As far as hardware goes, the phone has a 1Ghz processor and 512MB of RAM, making it roughly the equal of the original Nexus One or DROID Incredible. That’s still plenty of power to handle Android 2.3.5, and should keep the off-contract price nice and low. You can spot front and rear cameras in the trade show photos. Since it’s running a pretty heavily modified version of Android and Lenovo’s shown no hesitance to stray from the safe and happy pastures of Google in the past, we’re pretty sure this one won’t have the Android Market or its associate Google apps.
Like all of Lenovo’s smartphone offerings thus far, don’t expect this one to show up in the US, though Chinese buyers can get one before the end of the year. The company’s 5, 7 and 10-inch LePad tablets from earlier today have a much better chance of crossing the Pacific, and the Tegra 3-powered 1080p monster the IdeaPad K2 tablet is almost certain to show up in the US eventually. So why not smartphone love for Americans, Lenovo? We’re good enough for your laptops, after all.

Dragon Shout Android app is Google Maps for Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a big, big game. You can spend days just wandering around its mountains and tundra, finding villages and dungeons. But crafty gamers soon won’t have to: the Dragon Shout app is an interactive game world map for Android and iOS. It will let players navigate and take notes while they explore Bethesda’s magnum opus.

I’m an admitted Skyrim addict, and since the game’s made an impressive $450 million in worldwide sales across PC and console platforms, odds are pretty good that a few of you are as well. The upcoming app will allow multi-touch navigation a la Google Maps across the parchment-style game world. You can make notews at particular locations – very handy for remembering where you left your pack mule traveling companion. The developer is promising social sharing of maps and entries with other players in a future update.

The app is slated to release in 2-3 weeks, but considering that the developer’s website is basically a Cupertino take on Skyrim, it might be a while before they get around to porting it to Android. Whether you’re sneaking around Riften for the thieves’ guild, fighting valiantly for the Stormcloaks or just killing as many of those flying jerks as you possibly can, an accurate and annotated map will be a welcome companion. Here’s hoping it comes soon. According to the website, it will be free.
[via Game Rant]

Time Warner Cable tablet app now available for Android, doesn’t stream live TV

We saw a few leaks regarding this application early this year and have been patiently awaiting its arrival. Today the Time Warner Cable app for Android Tablets is finally available over in the Android Market. Before all you TWC TV users get too excited — no it doesn’t stream live TV (like the iPad can), and it only works for a select few tablets. It’s a start though right?

Being called TWC TV in the market and for paying TWC customers this free app will give you all sorts of options and features to enjoy. It’s a TV guide, a full on remote control and you can even set your DVR right from the device, even when your not home. Sadly since we don’t have live TV streaming like that other platform this is basically just a massive remote control for now. I was hoping for a bit more to be honest.
According to the official market listing it’s currently only supported on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola Xoom but I’m finding a few others are supported but not all. Most likely it will scale to a few different sizes was my initial thought but all my 7″ devices aren’t compatible. I’m seeing it work with the Transformer, Tab 10.1 and 8.9 but not the Galaxy Tab 7. All the Lenovo tablets also appear to have full access at the moment. They claim 1280 x 800 resolution Honeycomb tablets will all work but the T-Mobile Springboard I have right here isn’t supported either. Most likely it will work with all 10″ Android Honeycomb tablets so give it a try and let us know how you like it via the comment section below.
We are hearing live TV streaming may be coming once Ice Cream Sandwich lands on more devices, but that is not confirmed.
TWC TV for Tablets App
TWC app 2 TWC app 3 TWC app [via Engadget]

Galaxy Nexus his NTT DoCoMo in Japan on December 2nd

Yes, America, everyone gets the Galaxy Nexus before you. The latest is the Japanese market, where Samsung will release the phone into the open arms of carrier NTT DoCoMo. The Galaxy Nexus lands in the land of the rising sun gets it on December 2nd, this Friday. DoCoMo gets the GSM version that’s currently on sale in Europe, but there’s no mention of a price just yet.

Those of you not-so-patiently waiting for the U.S. release will note that Verizon’s rumored pre-order has resolutely failed to appear, after reports that it would begin today supposedly came from a customer support representative. You may send your complaints to Computer World, care of Richi Jennings, who claimed a second-hand conversation with customer support as a “confirmation”. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
So when will the Galaxy Nexus actually release in the United States? Your guess is as good as ours at this point. The latest rumored date is December the 8th, next Thursday, but since every previous date has come and gone, I wouldn’t necessarily give that one any more credence than the others.
"What is this, Verizon? A phone for everyone but us?"

Nielsen: Android extends its lead in the US

No points for guessing who’s on top in the smartphone race. For the time period of July, August and September, Android’s U.S. market share grew from 39% to 42.8%, extending its lead once again. The Nielsen numbers match up pretty well with other statistical reports. The market is growing enough that Apple also increased its share, up to 28.3%. 44% of US mobile users now own a smartphone of one kind or another.

Breaking down the share of Android sales, HTC remains top dog in America with a 15% market share overall, with 35% of Android sales. Next is Motorola with 24.3%, followed closely by Samsung at 23.6%. That’s an interesting metric, considering that Samsung is far and away the top manufacturer of total phones worldwide. Other Android manufacturers made up nearly 17% of Android’s total, with just over 7% of total market share.
BlackBerry, Windows Phone/Mobile and Symbian continue their downward slide, despite the best efforts of their parent companies. So does WebOS, but calling HP’s bumbling any sort of “best effort” would be a disservice to little league baseball teams everywhere. Between the two of them, Android and iOS control 71% of the US smartphone market, and an eye-popping 83% of all mobile app downloads. Keep in mind that Q4 results are likely to skew a bit with the launch of the iPhone 5 iPhone 4S – that tends to happen when you only have one release every year.
[via SlashGear]

Futuremark 3DMark App coming soon to Android, brings benchmarks to a new level

Oh man, this is awesome news for enthusiast and gamers alike in the world of Android. We have many benchmark applications such as Quadrant or CF Bench and what not for Android that tests overall performance but today I’ve now learned the best of the best in the benchmark business, FutureMark, will be coming soon to Android phones and tablets early 2012. I’ve used FutureMark 3DMark 06, Vantage and even 11 on my PC for years to test gaming and overall performance and I’m happy to announce this is coming soon for Android.

The Finnish company FutureMark has been making some of the best and most trusted and highly rated benchmark suites for PC enthusiasts since early 1998 and are now moving to add Android to the list. They’ve begun development on what they are calling 3DMark for Android (working title) and aim to have it ready for mass usage come early 2012. With the wide array of smartphones available, and Android tablets taking off while getting powerful quad-core processors the need for a reliable and scalable benchmark service will be needed. They plan to deliver just that.
3DMark for Android features may include:
- Measures gaming performance using rendering, CPU and physics tests.
- Stunning real-time graphics push the OpenGL ES API to the limit.
- Complementary online service to compare results between devices.
- Results will be comparable with 3DMark for Windows 8.
- Currently in development, expected to be released in 2012.
Jukka Mäkinen, CEO of Futuremark had this to say,
In 2012 we will bring 3DMark to the Android platform with a professional grade benchmark that can be trusted by manufacturers, suppliers and vendors to provide the definitive measure of gaming performance on Android while showcasing the very best in real-time graphics and effects.”
Results will be comparable across devices and platforms like Windows 8 and will be viewable right from your smartphone or tablet as well as saved online for viewing later and comparing with others. Just like their current line of benchmarks for PC’s. Another important note here is this will be a private application unlike Vellamo that was designed by Qualcomm that some claim is favorable to their processors.
Not only will FutureMark and 3DMark most likely become the absolute standard for benchmarking in Android, but it will probably make us all forget about Quadrant and the others very quickly if done right. I remember the days of overclocking my NVIDIA eVGA GTX 260 SLI graphics cards as far as humanly possible and running 3DMark to compare with my friends. I can’t wait to do the same on my quad-core Android devices soon. Futuremark will push the graphic limits of our smartphones just as they do on PC. Check out this 3DMark 11 Direct X 11 sample video for an example on their work. I can’t wait to try this level of benchmarking on Android.

[via Benchmark Reviews]

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N still under attack by Apple

Uh oh folks, it looks like Apple isn’t ready to stop just yet and apparently the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N that Samsung released in Germany specifically to avoid Apple’s lawsuits didn’t manage to escape. Samsung has been under some heavy attack in Germany, Australia and other parts of the world for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 because Apple claims it infringes on their patents and design. Today Apple seeks another injunction on the new Tab 10.1N and a court date has been set.

 Clearly Samsung made a few changes in hopes to avoid the fruit company by tweaking the design and making the bezel actually wrap around front of the device rather than lay flat. The video linked to above goes through the changes for those interested.
Today FOSSPatents has updated with new details claiming Apple has again asked the German courts to ban the Galaxy Tab in Germany and they are now claiming the design changes were not big enough, that it still infringes on their patents and design. We’ve been told the 10.1N was designed by Samsung with close help by their team of German lawyers so this would not happen. For now we don’t have any additional details and the Galaxy Tab 10.1N is currently still for sale in Germany. They have set an official court date for December 22nd where I’m sure Apple will request another ban and temporary injunction on the Samsung slate.
I’ve been trying to avoid these irritating lawsuit and patent cases but this one was worth a mention specifically because the device was designed to avoid this exact situation. We’ll be sure to update with any additional information as it becomes available.
[via FOSS Patents] — Thanks Dy4me

Archos 101 G9 “Turbo” 1.2 GHz dual-core Honeycomb Tab now available

We’ve been following Archos and their line of cheap and affordable budget Android tablets but lately their entire naming scheme is getting out of control. Today we have learned the new Archos 101 G9 “Turbo” edition is available now — in Europe. We got our first glance at the new Archos G9 series a few months back featuring a 1.0 GHz dual-core processor and Android Honeycomb. Today they’ve released the same devices only with the addition of “Turbo” to the name with a faster 1.2 GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor.

They have the G9, the G9 Turbo, the Arnova series, and even a G9 G2 was seen at the FCC. Without getting you confused basically the original Archos 80 and 101 G9 series have now been improved with a faster dual-core processor and can be bought over in Europe with the title “Turbo” in the name — fun stuff right.
For a closer look at these budget tablets you can enjoy our Archos 80 G9 hands-on and unboxing to give you an idea of what to expect. The build quality may not be the best but you get an awesome tablet for a low price. Now they have a 1.2 GHz dial-core and Android 3.2 Honeycomb these make for a pretty good alternative to more expensive items available. With a 10.1″ 1280 x 800 resolution display and 16GB of internal storage you wont be missing any features from more expensive devices, although we only have 512MB of RAM on the Archos tablets instead of 1GB like the others. They also have a 1.5 GHz version in the works coming later this month but we are still awaiting more details on that front.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus receives the iFixit teardown treatment

In the usual iFixit fashion today they’ve been nice enough to share the details on the innards of the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus flagship Android smartphone. Like they always do, today they’ve tore it down and they give us a look at every little piece inside this new device. Plenty of pictures are available after the break. I’m just sad I don’t have one yet while they are shredding it to pieces already.

From that 4.65″ screen to the snazzy new 5mp camera and more they show you everything you did, or didn’t want to know. Sadly we still haven’t seen or heard a peep from Verizon so they are nicely tearing down the international GSM model that has been available for more than a few days already. In case you missed it, we have already been enjoying it and you can too from our Galaxy Nexus hands-on video.

We’ve seen their teardowns before so I wont go into much detail as all the little bits of information is available at the source link below. After looking over the teardown there is some good news here. The only soldered components are the volume switch and vibrator motor. Meaning almost everything else comes off in some way or another. For those that sadly have already injured their Galaxy Nexus, or if one becomes damaged in the future those seeking to do repairs themselves will be able to — if they dare.
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CyanogenMod 7 Makes its Way to the Amazon Kindle Fire

Now that the Amazon Kindle Fire has been rooted it’s time to start booting up some custom ROMs. Standard choice CyanogenMod has made its Amazon debut, as xda member JackpotClavin has the first shots of CM7 running on the new media slate. All is not cherry, though. While many features seem to be working properly (including WiFi), touchscreen input problems are slowing the roll of those working feverishly to get a working build out to the public. As The Verge notes, CM7 will provide a more full-fledged Android experience on the Kindle Fire but it will come at the cost of the total Amazon integration that the tablet flaunts as its biggest selling point.
[xda via The Verge]