Thursday, May 5, 2011

What can we expect from future smartphones?

The smartphone has come a long way over the past 10 years. It has gone from a simple contact and calendar database to including a camera, video camera, GPS, and thousands of apps available with the touch of a button. Over the next year, NFC will be incorporated which will be the next major breakthrough.
What can we expect from smartphones over the next few years? Of course we are going to have better displays, faster processors, and more memory, but there will be more. Here are some of the things I am expecting to be implemented or continue to grow over the next few years:
Wireless HDMI: micro HDMI ports have been added over the last year and I think it is a great step, but it is inconvenient to have to carry around a wire. More importantly, wires are a thing of the past. We already have DLNA for pushing pictures and video to our TV’s without wires, but if you want to mirror your screen or play a game, you need the HDMI connection. Wireless HDMI is still evolving and is currently too expensive, but over the next few years, as costs come down, it will be a great addition to our phones.
Built-in projectors: This is not a new concept and has been attempted by Samsung, but it is not in the mainstream yet because it it adds too much bulk. Imagine being at a party and you want to show a group of people some photos. Trying to show a group of more than 3 people something on your phone is not easy and who wants to pass your phone around. It would be nice to be able to beam the pictures to a wall. This would also be convenient if you want to do a quick slideshow presentation.
Fingerprint or eye scanners: Fingerprint scanners have already been done with laptops and Motorola recently implemented it on the Atrix. Lockscreen patterns are fine for now, but we need something quicker which is the reason I don’t use them.
3D: This has already started, but the real question is if consumers will continue to be hungry for it? For now, it seems like 3D is going to be more than just a trend. Eventually this will morph into holographic technology, but I think we have some time yet.
Better battery life: As we continue to become more mobile, battery life will be even more important. The problem is that other technologies are moving faster than battery technologies. For example, we have 4G LTE, but at the expense of pretty poor battery life. What is the sense of buying a 4G phone and then turning off the 4G to conserve battery?
Dual screen displays: Kyocera is doing it now with the Echo and Sony is going to try it in their upcoming S2 tablet, but we still have a ways to go. Hopefully the technology will get to the point where 2 screens can come together without a bezel (or at least a very minimal bezel). I wrote about this in a recent article I did on tablets. Most people leave their tablet at home because of the size. I have always said that if I could fit a tablet in my pocket, I would buy one in a heartbeat. This will hopefully happen soon.
To be our main computer: We are definitely heading in this direction. The beginning of this can be seen with the Motorola Atrix, but again, we have a way to go. I already feel like my phone is my “personal bible” in that it has everything in it or has access to it via the cloud. Eventually PC software will merge with our smartphone software and our phones will be the central power for our computing needs. Will the desktop die? It may not die, but it will slow down or change to a more server format. The only limitation the smartphone will have is storage. That is where the cloud comes in, but for larger amounts of storage, on-sight servers would still exist.
I am sure there will be a lot more. Ten years ago, I never imagined what the smartphone would evolve to. I would love to hear from our readers. What are your wishes or expectations for the the coming years?

HTC Marvel coming to T-Mobile after the Sensation and Doubleshot

This is some fresh news from our friends over at TmoNews. According to some recent photo’s that have been found, T-Mobile plans to bring a nice mid-range device in the HTC Marvel, better known as the Wildfire S. You can see our hands-on here. It should come looking pretty similar to the Wildfire S, only with T-Mobile branding and the rest of the goodies assuming T-Mobile doesn’t become AT&T anytime soon.

The HTC Marvel is a nice mid-range phone with a 3.2″ display and sporting a 800 Mhz Snapdragon processor like all other HTC phones. According to the sources it will be coming after the HTC Sensation, and the HTC Doubleshot. Yes they mention it will be after the Doubleshot, a device we still don’t know much about. There is confirmation that the Doubleshot will be the MyTouch 4G Slide. We are unsure if that will be dual-core like the Sensation, but we have already seen a leaked 2.3 Gingerbread build for the MyTouch4G Slide so that is good news.

The HTC Marvel looks very similar to its much bigger and powerful brother pictured above, the HTC Sensation we have heard so much about lately. So for those that don’t need the beastly 4.3″ dual-core goodness that will be the Sensation, feel free to save that upgrade that is coming soon and get the HTC Marvel. As always, it will have that solid HTC build quality, and it looks like the always attractive Nexus One. Will you be getting the Marvel? Or will you hold out for the Doubleshot with its keyboard? Tell us below.
[via TmoNews]

CyanogenMod 7 running strong, Installed on over 200,000 devices

For those that may not be keeping score of our favorite ROM developers CyanogenMod, I have been watching for you and I can now say it looks like they have hit a pretty large milestone. 200,000 users running CyanogenMod 7. That is extremely impressive for the guys from TD. This all started back on the G1 and has grown into something larger than any of them had ever expected. This is only for CyanogenMod 7, this doesn’t count users that for some reason may still be on CM6, or even CM5 from the good ol days.

From the photo you see above, clearly I am doing my part with the CM7 installs. I have it on all 3 of the devices I still own, not to count the others I’ve sold with CM installed. (Took more than a few tries to get that photo timed right, in case you were wondering). I’d throw it on my iPod Touch if I owned one. My G1 is with a friend or it would be in the lineup, can’t forget the Original G.

Steve (cyanogen himself) and the entire CyanogenMod team probably never imagined it would get as big, or popular as it is today. With over 30 devices supported officially they are as strong as ever and only getting bigger. This huge milestone of over 200,000 installs is counting all the official devices, as well as what we call “kangs”. A “kang” is a privately compiled version of CyanogenMod that has been done by someone other than the cyanogenmod team. Users can add, and remove features and compile their own builds, as well as customize them for phones that are not supported like the popular Motorola Cliq, or the Droid Eris. Those are both near the top of the list along with the Thunderbolt for top kangs.
One of the lead members @ChrisSoyars has recently been tweeting some of the above information and I just had to comment on it. Check it out yourself at That shows you the complete breakdown and at the time of writing this they are about to break the 210k mark, and 180,000 official installs.
I want to take this moment to say well done guys! You are the best for a reason, and we all appreciate your hard work and long nights put toward CyanogenMod.

[via CyanogenMod]

How Intel’s New 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors will Blast Android into Outer Space

Are you familiar with Moore’s Law? It’s a trend described by Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel, noting that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. What’s that got to do with Android? It’s quite simple – bigger processing power in the same size package. Today Intel has announced its 22nm 3D Tri-Gate transistors, processing technology that they say will bring 50% power reduction at constant performance (that means better battery life) and 37% performance increase at low voltage – a better job for less!

So what is 22nm – what’s that mean? “nm” stands for nanometer, one nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter. In the semiconductor industry, this unit is used to describe the wavelength of light. All you and I really need to know is that this is the newest, the best, where back in 1989 we were at 800nm, 2002 we were at 90nm, and now we’re all the way down to 22nm. Again, this follows the plan – Intel had their OG Gordon Moore send out a quote on the matter:
“For years we have seen limits to how small transistors can get. This change in the basic structure is a truly revolutionary approach, and one that should allow Moore’s Law, and the historic pace of innovation, to continue”

Next, what does “3D” stand for here? Hint – there’s no double camera tricky business going on here. It’s got to do with the structure of the transistor. The 3D Tri-Gate transistors form conducting channels on three sides of a vertical fin structure. This build results in less heat transmission, longer battery life in mobile devices, and because of a combo of the high-k gate insulators and strained silicon, improved performance.
Intel notes the following to confuse and excite you:
Tri-gate fully-depleted substrate transistors have a raised plateau-like gate structure with two vertical walls and a horizontal wall of gate electrode. This three-dimensional structure improves the drive current while the depleted substrate reduces the leakage current when the transistor is in the “off” state. Reducing leakage current not only helps control heat at the circuit level but also translates to increased battery life in mobile devices.
You can expect some other bits that you may or may not be super excited about from an Android standpoint: native PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0 controllers at the processor level as well as an integrated DirectX graphics core with support for the second-generation of QuickSync. QuickSync is Intel’s media encoding/decoding acceleration technology, in case you do not know.

The first application of this technology will be in Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, demonstrated today on some high-volume CPU’s, as noted by our sister site SlashGear. Have a peek at some videos while we’re at it and see where Intel is at with the project at the moment:

Press Release:
Intel Reinvents Transistors Using New 3-D Structure
New Transistors for 22 Nanometer Chips Have an Unprecedented Combination of Power Savings and Performance Gains
Intel announces a major technical breakthrough and historic innovation in microprocessors: the world’s first 3-D transistors, called Tri-Gate, in a production technology.
The transition to 3-D Tri-Gate transistors sustains the pace of technology advancement, fueling Moore’s Law for years to come.
An unprecedented combination of performance improvement and power reduction to enable new innovations across a range of future 22nm-based devices from the smallest handhelds to powerful cloud-based servers.
Intel demonstrates a 22nm microprocessor – codenamed “Ivy Bridge” – that will be the first high-volume chip to use 3-D Tri-Gate transistors.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 4, 2011 – Intel Corporation today announced a significant breakthrough in the evolution of the transistor, the microscopic building block of modern electronics. For the first time since the invention of silicon transistors over 50 years ago, transistors using a three-dimensional structure will be put into high-volume manufacturing. Intel will introduce a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate, first disclosed by Intel in 2002, into high-volume manufacturing at the 22-nanometer (nm) node in an Intel chip codenamed “Ivy Bridge.” A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.
The three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistors represent a fundamental departure from the two-dimensional planar transistor structure that has powered not only all computers, mobile phones and consumer electronics to-date, but also the electronic controls within cars, spacecraft, household appliances, medical devices and virtually thousands of other everyday devices for decades.
“Intel’s scientists and engineers have once again reinvented the transistor, this time utilizing the third dimension,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. “Amazing, world-shaping devices will be created from this capability as we advance Moore’s Law into new realms.”
Scientists have long recognized the benefits of a 3-D structure for sustaining the pace of Moore’s Law as device dimensions become so small that physical laws become barriers to advancement. The key to today’s breakthrough is Intel’s ability to deploy its novel 3-D Tri-Gate transistor design into high-volume manufacturing, ushering in the next era of Moore’s Law and opening the door to a new generation of innovations across a broad spectrum of devices.
Moore’s Law is a forecast for the pace of silicon technology development that states that roughly every 2 years transistor density will double, while increasing functionality and performance and decreasing costs. It has become the basic business model for the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years.
Unprecedented Power Savings and Performance Gains
Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.

The 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel’s 32nm planar transistors. This incredible gain means that they are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to “switch” back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips.
“The performance gains and power savings of Intel’s unique 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow. “This milestone is going further than simply keeping up with Moore’s Law. The low-voltage and low-power benefits far exceed what we typically see from one process generation to the next. It will give product designers the flexibility to make current devices smarter and wholly new ones possible. We believe this breakthrough will extend Intel’s lead even further over the rest of the semiconductor industry.”
Continuing the Pace of Innovation – Moore’s Law
Transistors continue to get smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient in accordance with Moore’s Law – named for Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Because of this, Intel has been able to innovate and integrate, adding more features and computing cores to each chip, increasing performance, and decreasing manufacturing cost per transistor.

Sustaining the progress of Moore’s Law becomes even more complex with the 22nm generation. Anticipating this, Intel research scientists in 2002 invented what they called a Tri-Gate transistor, named for the three sides of the gate. Today’s announcement follows further years of development in Intel’s highly coordinated research-development-manufacturing pipeline, and marks the implementation of this work for high-volume manufacturing.
The 3-D Tri-Gate transistors are a reinvention of the transistor. The traditional “flat” two-dimensional planar gate is replaced with an incredibly thin three-dimensional silicon fin that rises up vertically from the silicon substrate. Control of current is accomplished by implementing a gate on each of the three sides of the fin – two on each side and one across the top — rather than just one on top, as is the case with the 2-D planar transistor. The additional control enables as much transistor current flowing as possible when the transistor is in the “on” state (for performance), and as close to zero as possible when it is in the “off” state (to minimize power), and enables the transistor to switch very quickly between the two states (again, for performance).
Just as skyscrapers let urban planners optimize available space by building upward, Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistor structure provides a way to manage density. Since these fins are vertical in nature, transistors can be packed closer together, a critical component to the technological and economic benefits of Moore’s Law. For future generations, designers also have the ability to continue growing the height of the fins to get even more performance and energy-efficiency gains.
“For years we have seen limits to how small transistors can get,” said Moore. “This change in the basic structure is a truly revolutionary approach, and one that should allow Moore’s Law, and the historic pace of innovation, to continue.”
World’s First Demonstration of 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate Transistors
The 3-D Tri-Gate transistor will be implemented in the company’s upcoming manufacturing process, called the 22nm node, in reference to the size of individual transistor features. More than 6 million 22nm Tri-Gate transistors could fit in the period at the end of this sentence.

Today, Intel demonstrated the world’s first 22nm microprocessor, codenamed “Ivy Bridge,” working in a laptop, server and desktop computer. Ivy Bridge-based Intel® Core™ family processors will be the first high-volume chips to use 3-D Tri-Gate transistors. Ivy Bridge is slated for high-volume production readiness by the end of this year.
This silicon technology breakthrough will also aid in the delivery of more highly integrated Intel® Atom™ processor-based products that scale the performance, functionality and software compatibility of Intel® architecture while meeting the overall power, cost and size requirements for a range of market segment needs.

Copy Angry Birds progress to multiple devices without root & for free

What I have for you today is a little treat for all you Angry Birds fanatics out there. I know there is plenty of you. Even if you don’t admit it we know you play it while your bored at work, daily. I’ve looked into this myself and didn’t know it was possible, but we now have a way to backup your game saves and progress on all 3 versions of Angry Birds. Regular version, seasons, and Rio. So now keep your progress on your G1, Thunderbolt, and on your Motorola Xoom (or whatever devices you own) so you never have to replay all the levels unless you want to of course.

This story along with most good things for android, comes from a user at XDA. He has done all the research for us and has all the details as well as full instructions. I’ll post them below for your viewing pleasure as well as link you to his post. This is a way to backup your game saves for Angry Birds without being rooted. So you don’t have to use titanium backup or something like that, just a simple app from the Android Market. Below is a list of all 3 apps, the first two are from the same developer and hopefully he is making an all-in-1 next. Search for these in the Android Market:
angrybirdsbackup (seasons)
Rio backup

1) Install whichever app you need on both devices.
2) Complete ONE level on the new device (do NOT skip this step or you won’t be able to complete the process successfully) and then create a backup to your device using the app.
3) Install the same app on the old device and create a backup for the same game on the old device with all the game saves. Now you have backups of current progress of the same game on both devices and you need to get the old to the new.
4) Use a file explorer (I like ES File Explorer best out of all of them but some prefer Astro… either will work for this DIY) to locate the folder that was created on the new device which will be named the same as the backup app. Within that folder you will find two files which I think are .bkp or something similar. One is scores and one is something else. You want to delete those two files from the new phone and then copy the same two files from the old phone and place them in the same location on the new phone.
5) Back out, launch the angrybirdsbackup app that you installed and select restore.
Now you are ready to go, launch the game of choice and enjoy all your progress and saves. If you start the app and the progress is not there try the guide again and make sure you follow the steps completely. Now start gathering those eggs and enjoy your flying birds.
[via XDA Forums]

Droid Charge Review at SlashGear

Our best buddy Vince at our sister site SlashGear is at it again, with a full review of the Droid Charge. Android Community’s Burnsy posted his review of the Charge last week, complete with pictures of his beautiful new baby, but Vince’s opinion is one you don’t want to miss. A quick overview of his review follows below, and you can read the whole thing over at SlashGear.

The Charge is still delayed after Verizon’s 4G outage last week, and it will be Verizon’s second 4G LTE smartphone. The HTC ThunderBolt paved the way for ultra high-speed handsets, which could double as useful mobile hotspots, but sucked the battery down so quickly that the ThunderBolt expired before its time. So the Charge by Samsung needs to deliver on better battery life while still providing the same super-speed. The Charge has the same 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display that stunned us with the Galaxy S II, so it is no Charge carbon copy. So does it deliver?


The Droid Charge has much glossy-finish plastic, with most of the phone being 0.46-inches thick and a lip at the bottom, lifting the rear of the phone off the table and helping to avoid scratches. Some might prefer a more uniform design, however.

Samsung’s 4.3-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED Plus display, steals the show up front, and is protected by a slab of Gorilla Glass. It’s bright, color-saturated and beautifully vivid, and while the resolution may suffer in comparison to the iPhone 4 or Motorola ATRIX, the Samsung’s sunlight performance and vast viewing angles go a long way to making up for that lapse in pixels, and Samsung’s 50-percent extra sub-pixels do a great job of smoothing out text and graphics.

There are the standard four physical buttons – menu, home, back and search – all the way down at the bottom of the chassis. They can be a little hard to press with a thumb while supporting the phone with the same hand. There is a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera and the usual proximity/light sensors, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge.

On the right side are volume keys and the microUSB charging port, while on the left is the power/lock button and, under a small flap, a micro HDMI port. We prefer the separate connector to the Galaxy S II’s hybrid USB/HDMI port, which requires an adapter cable to use. On the back is an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash. Sitting next to the camera is the 4G LTE SIM. Following on from the Thunderbolt, the Charge promises high-speed data connections that, in some cases, can exceed what you’ll get from your home internet. The Charge also has the usual WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS, along with the standard digital compass, accelerometer and other sensors. Keeping things running is Samsung’s 1GHz single-core Hummingbird processor.

Software and Performance

We are somewhat disappointed that the Charge is running Android 2.2 Froyo, especially since the Galaxy S II will already be running Gingerbread. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI runs on top, which could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. The Mobile Hotspot app is extremely useful, assuming you have the relevant tethering plan, allows you to share the DROID Charge’s 4G connection with up to five devices over WiFi. Samsung’s AllShare DLNA app is also present, for streaming content wirelessly, as well as the HDMI port for direct connections. Other apps are bloatware: Lets Golf 2, Rhapsody and other titles, which unfortunately can’t be removed.

Performance is quick, but not dual-core quick. The DROID Charge scored an unimpressive 998 in benchmarking tool Quadrant Advanced, and a sluggish 6337.3ms (lower is better) in browser benchmark SunSpider. Contrast that with the Galaxy S II’s 3540 in Quadrant Advanced and 3584.3ms in SunSpider, and you can see that the LTE handset is at a disadvantage. That may become more of a problem as Android gets more demanding.


The 8-megapixel camera on the Charge takes some great pictures. The camera app is responsive and touch-focus useful, and though the LED flash is of limited use in truly dark scenes, it does the job in low-light situations.
Sample picture:

The Hummingbird processor limits video recording to 720p HD, rather than the 1080p on the Galaxy S II. Still, the end result is very watchable, with accurate colors and little blurring aside from during faster pans. There’s the choice of either autofocus or touch-focus during recording, though it’s not the quickest to react.
Sample video with the Charge:

Phone and Battery

Verizon’s voice network is solid, and the DROID Charge suffers no issues with calls. The 4G is capable of some impressive numbers, showing speeds of up to 17.62 Mbps on the downlink and up to 7.2 Mbps on the uplink.
Having seen the HTC ThunderBolt chew through a full charge in short order, we were more than a little nervous about the DROID Charge’s appetite. Happily it seems Samsung has managed to balance performance and power – impressive given the size and brightness of the Super AMOLED Plus display – with us managing 6-8 hours of heavy use before it died. With more casual use, and some tweaking of things like social network updates and other power settings, you could comfortably get through a day. Still, using the Mobile Hotspot app for any length of time chews through the battery in relatively short order.


The ThunderBolt opened our eyes to LTE on a smartphone, but its voracious thirst left us unable to recommend it to anybody other than early adopters. The DROID Charge by Samsung, however, is a far more balanced device, with plenty on its own to recommend it. We’re not thrilled with the plastic chassis, but the Super AMOLED Plus display is a joy and the battery life sufficient for a day’s use.
As with other single-core smartphones we’ve reviewed recently, however, our primary concern is longevity. With Verizon asking a hefty $300 for the DROID Charge, with the usual two-year voice and data plans (and tethering if you want the useful mobile hotspot functionality), we’d want to know our new smartphone could handle anything Google or developers might throw at it down the line. The Samsung can certainly keep Froyo running today, but it falls short of the capabilities of a dual-core device and that might undermine what updates it can receive.
That’s a concern not limited to the DROID Charge by any means, of course, and the single-core processor does likely assist with battery life. If data performance is your primary concern and you want the biggest, brightest display around, Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus smartphone ticks those boxes and then some.

[Source: slashgear]

Nexus T Toshiba Tablet Next Official Google Release?

Let’s talk about this situation and see if we can’t piece together a few factoids. First, waaay back at the beginning of this year, a mystery tablet started showing up – one made by Toshiba, having a 10.1-inch screen, and sporting what would become Android 3.0 Honeycomb (testers floating around had Froyo, of course.) Have a look at our big reveal post and continue on – does that look like a tablet that Google would officially endorse as the next step in their flagship series? That very much appears to be what may be happening now!

Our good pals at Metalev have a few clues gathered up that point directly at this device being the next in the Nexus series – Nexus T they’re calling it, and with it’s NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, prismatic lithium-ion battery, and 1280 x 800 resolution 16:10 aspect ratio adaptive display, its definitely not out of the question.
What’s a prismatic battery? It’s a big fat battery that has 3 times the life of a standard lithium ion batter in essentially the same package. Besides sounding fantastic, why is this relevant now? Because @googlenexus has a challenge going on with their Twitter followers and the answer to the puzzle on the 2nd of May was PRISMATIC. – this puzzle put together by metalev’s Luke Hutchinson
@googlenexus’ challenge ends right before Google I/O – perhaps some free tablets are in the works for the masses of developers attending?
This tablet has been up for preview at Best Buy for some time now, but without a name and without much branding to go with it. Have a look at the video here and see if you think it’s possible that this is the next in line for Google’s infamous pack of powerful bigtime blasters:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New in the Market: Snap, Style, and Share with Snapbucket by Photobucket

Photo editing apps are starting to get a little crowded, but Photobucket thinks they have something unique with the new Snapbucket app that just became available in the Android Market. Snapbucket is a separate app and complements the currently offered Photobucket app.
With Snapbucket, users can snap a photo and apply various filters, vignettes, and frames to it. You can immediately share your edited photos on Facebook, Twitter, or your Photobucket albums. You can even create your own filter sets.

Some of the cool features you get with Snapbucket are:
* “Retro,” “Lomo,” “Sunrise,” and “’70s” – just a few of the awesome sets you can use to style your photos.
* Over 9500 combinations of sets are available, many more than Instagram, Hipstamatic, Vignette or PicPlz!
* Choose from individual filters, effects, vignettes, and frames to style your photos your way.
* Create YOUR OWN unique filter sets and brag about them to friends.
* Show off your stylin’ skills by sharing with friends to Photobucket, Facebook, or Twitter.
* Unlock new effects the more you use Snapbucket, and get filters that’ll make your friends green with envy!
* We’ll always keep your original photo safe on Photobucket, so don’t worry – go crazy with styling!
Your original and edited photos will be stored in your Photobucket account. Photobucket is hoping that unlimited storage on the go will sway customers from competing apps to Snapbucket, not to mention there is already about 100 million Photobucket users.
Snapbucket is available now in the Android Market and is free. For the QR code please see our apps database or to go directly to the market, please hit the source link.

ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Finally Gets 2.2, Making Dual-Boot Worthwhile

On paper, the ViewPad 10 was a really cool device, bringing dual-booting to those people that needed (or just wanted) both some Android and some Windows 7 features. It was like a software peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In practice, the problem came with the fact that the tablet came with Android 1.6, an outdated version of the software that was lacking some pretty big features. Well, anyone toting the ViewPad will be happy to know that the tablet will be receiving an update to 2.2, making that Android boot a lot more useful. The downside here is that in order to install the update, you need to upload it to a thumb drive and then plug in that thumb drive and a USB keyboard into the tablet. But that’s a small challenge for a big upgrade, right? Full press release after the break.
ViewSonic Updates Android OS for ViewPad® 10 Tablet
The Best of Both Worlds Just Got Better With Windows® 7 and Google AndroidTM 2.2
WALNUT, CA–(Marketwire – May 3, 2011) – Following its recent North American availability announcement for the ViewPad 10, ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, today released details on how ViewPad 10 users can update their system to Android 2.2.
The 10.1″ ViewPad 10 gives users a choice between Windows 7 and Google Android within the same device, making this tablet ideal for business users looking to maximize productivity while simultaneously enjoying the device for entertainment purposes.
“The ViewPad 10 allows business users to take their desktops with them, running the same Windows-based apps they are used to on a tablet form factor,” said Adam Hanin, vice president of marketing for ViewSonic Americas. “We responded to customer feedback and made available a free and easy-to-install Android 2.2 update. As additional supported code is available, we will share further updates to continue delivering on our promise of offering the best of both worlds.”
Packed with a high speed Intel® Atom™ 1.66GHz processor and integrated 2GB of memory, the ViewPad 10 is a mobile computing powerhouse. Designed for today’s business applications, the ViewPad 10 enables users to take Windows on the road, allowing access to Flash-based content and programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat. With the Android 2.2 platform just a switch away, the ViewPad 10 is the perfect companion for those looking to work, play and share on the go. Paired with convenient features such as expandable memory, built-in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and 1.3 megapixel built-in front camera, this dual-OS device is sure to grow with each user’s professional and personal needs.
The dual-OS ViewPad 10 now ships with Android 2.2 and either Windows 7 Home Premium (with a 16GB SSD hard drive) or Windows 7 Professional (with a 32GB SSD hard drive) for respective ESPs of $599 and $679. For full instructions on updating your ViewPad 10, visit or call 800-888-8583.
For more information on ViewSonic’s products, please visit or follow ViewSonic on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Sprint launching updated tiered pricing for embedded devices on May 8th

It looks like May 8th will bring a change in data plans for Sprint mobile broadband and embedded devices like tablets. The new packages will be 3GB for $34,99, 5GB for $49.99, and 10GB for $79.99.
Sprint currently offers 5GB for $59.99 per month and a 2GB tablet-only plan for $29.99 per month.
These plans should be good for the Motorola XOOM, BlackBerry Playbook, and the new Samsung Galaxy Tabs.

Asus Gearing Up To Produce World’s First Quad-Core Tegra 3 Tablet

Nvidia is gearing up to show the world it means business with its up and coming ground breaking new industry technology, yet again.  It looks like the company, the first to bring us dual-core in a smartphone with the LG Optimus 2X overseas, then making its way to the US as the T-Mobile G2X, is at it again.  DigiTimes reported that Asus, makers of the Eee Pad Transformer have announced the production of the new Tegra 3 based tablet.  One would imagine programs and navigation on a device like this would move at the speed of thought.
The device will be built around the new Kal-El quad-core specifications and could arrive sometime in August of this year.  When this Superman chip enabled device comes to light, users may just be laughing at what is now referred to as “1080p”.  We’d imagine the device will put out a few more pixels than the average screen res.  There’s no word as of yet on a release date for this monster but Nvidia does have a road map available regarding their chip set release, revealing quad-core for some time in August.  Let us know what you think about having such a powerful CPU in a tablet. Or, are you sick and tired of the “Core Wars”?

Android 2.3 OTA update for the Desire HD and Incredible S rolling out now

Your phone will receive a notification of FOTA update when it is made available. Simply press OK to accept the update via a data connection such as Wi-Fi or GPRS/3G. After installing the update, you can confirm a successful update by confirming the Build number (From the Home Screen go to MENU> Settings> About Phone> Software Information> Software number). The new Build number after the update will be 2.36.405.5. Update: Android 2.3 upgrade. Note:Please back up your data first before upgrading your phone. We recommend using a free Wi-Fi hotspot or an unlimited data plan to apply this update. If not, standard data connection charges may apply. For any questions, please contact us at

T-Mobile grows 21Mbps HSPA+ by 3 markets

T-Mobile announced, via Twitter, that Fort Myers, Florida; Pueblo, Colorado; and Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pennsylvania have been added to the list of markets that have 21Mbps HSPA+. This adds about 210,000 subscribers that now have access to their 4G network.
T-Mobile plans on doubling the bandwidth for their HSPA+ to 42Mbps later this year. They are the fourth-largest mobile operator and plan on delivering 25 4G-capable devices this year.

AT&T Prepaid Fight vs. Verizon Wireless Unleashed Plan

When it comes to prepaid plans two big names such as AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless always rival each other, this is good and healthy competition that always keeps the pricing down. So who will win the fight for glory?
RCR Wireless have hit on this subject and it is somewhat very interesting indeed, Verizon Wireless have a plan called “Unleashed” and this offers customers unlimited mobile Web services, unlimited messaging and unlimited calling over its network for $50 per month, the only downside to this is that they only have three phones that use this plan. There are a few limitations such as lack of phones and its mobile Web experience is limited to the Web browser that is included on the three handsets and this does not give you the full web browsing experience.
The Unleashed plan according to the source above undercuts available prepaid plans, the ones that offer SMS messages at 2 cents per text, unlimited calling for $2 per day or unlimited bundles costing $10 or $20 per month.
Over Tracfone Wireless Inc.’s Straight Talk the Unleashed plan is $5 per month that included unlimited calling, messaging and data using the Verizon Wireless network and feature phones.
Now looking at AT&T Mobility’s GoPhone unlimited plans with prices at $60 per month for unlimited text messages and voice calls and its $75 per month for extra 200 megabytes of data transmission what would you choose? If you choose the AT&T Mobility GoPhone you can pay $2 per day for unlimited calls and text messages and data packages ranging up to $25 per month for 500 MB.
Who wins the pre-paid market then?

Give Your Smartphone An Exotic Look With aniPet Aquarium LiveWallpaper (Video)

If you’re an exotic fish lover and you adore Android, boy do we have a treat for you.  aniPet Aquarium LiveWallpaper gives you the next best thing to having the real deal.  This live wallpaper allows you to create your very own aquarium with the ability to choose from 114 different kinds of species of fish. While the developer promises more species will follow, they’ve allowed for up to 15 of your chosen favorites to be displayed at any given time.  The application is extremely interactive and is sure to keep your little ones busy in the back seat for those long trips.
The app sort of reminds me of those Digi Pets, thanks to the added feature that allows you to feed your fish and watch them grow.  You’re fully responsible for the well being of your beloved exotic species.  Are you ready for that kind of responsibility?  Heck, if your fish survives it to maturity, it can even produce offspring!  As you can see, there are a ton of extras with this wallpaper.  It’s one of the most interactive and detailed live wallpapers I’ve seen so far.  Other features include the ability to change the speed of the fish, how fast they grow, what kind of food you can feed them and even sports the ability to tinker with light animations.  Definitely check this one out if you’re a live wallpaper fan.  Head on over to our popular apps database for more info and to snag the QR code directly from your smartphone.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the app in the comments below.  Hit the break for a quick video demo and to view more screenshots. 

Triple threat: Motorola Droid X2, LG Revolution, and HTC Trophy to launch May 12 on Verizon Wireless

A month ago we told you that Verizon was going to have some nice releases for April and May. It looks like the Motorola Droid X2 and the LG Revolution are on schedule and will be released next Thursday, May 12. The HTC Trophy (WP7) which was originally expected to hit in April, will now be released next Thursday as well.
For those waiting for the Sony Xperia PLAY, you will be happy to know that it has been scheduled for Thursday, May 26th. This phone was also originally scheduled for April, but due to some bugs it was pushed back.
The Droid X2 will be Verizon’s first dual-core Tegra 2 phone. The LG Revolution will be a 4G LTE phone and be the first Android phone with Netflix support.  The HTC Trophy will be Verizon’s first Windows Phone 7 device.
It looks like the Verizon stores will be pretty busy next Thursday.

FroYo now on 66pc of Android devices; Honeycomb on 0.3pc

According to the latest Android platform figures from Google, Android 2.2 ‘FroYo’ is now on over 65% of the total Android devices, while Android 2.1 aka Éclair is still present on 25% of the phones.
Gingerbread is limited to just 4% of the total market because the delay by device vendors in pushing the updates. First Gingerbread devices have just start reaching market from the likes of HTC, while Samsung is still waiting for release a Gingerbread phone apart from Nexus S.
Motorola is totally absent from the scene, no Gingerbread device till now, and its track record with updates is worse than none. Sony Ericsson is the only vendor with two Android 2.3 devices in the market, and third is waiting to be launched, but the Earthquake in Japan has created some supply issues.
Coming to Honeycomb, its platform share hasn’t crossed even 1% and is just 0.3%. We are hoping that the recent tablet launches by Acer and Asus will help improve this figure. Samsung is again waiting for production of their Honeycomb tablets.
Android Version Distribution
Android 1.5 2.3%
Android 1.6 3.0%
Android 2.1 24.5%
Android 2.2 65.9%
Android 2.3 4%
Android 3.0 0.3%


Spotify Mobile App Now Available for All (Still Not in the US, Though)

If you have been a Spotify Free user jealous of premium users and their access to the Spotify app on mobile devices, today is your lucky day. The music streaming and download service has made their Android app open to all users, bringing the ability to sync your Spotify playlists wirelessly with your smartphone.
Unfortunately, Spotify is still unavailable for those living in the United States. That may change soon, sort of. Recent rumors suggest Spotify is in talks with Google over a new-format Google Music service. When and if that happens, it may be the only taste of the wildly popular music player the US gets. For everyone else, feel free to download it now.

HTC Desire HD and Incredible S Android 2.3 Gingerbread going OTA now

HTC has confirmed it is pushing out the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the HTC Desire HD and HTC Incredible S. The OTA update will be flagged up with a message on the smartphones themselves, and bring the handsets up to speed with newer HTC devices like the HTC Desire S.

Of course you’ll still have HTC Sense and all the usual apps, but we’re expecting a little extra speed and stability thanks to the joys of Gingerbread. HTC advises backing up your phone before you upgrade, though it’s not clear if the update will actually wipe your phone in the process.
We’re checking our Desire HD now and will report back when we find out more. Let us know how you get on in the comments!
Update – HTC Desire HD Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) update
Your phone will receive a notification of FOTA update when it is made available. Simply press OK to accept the update via a data connection such as Wi-Fi or GPRS/3G. After installing the update, you can confirm a successful update by confirming the Build number (From the Home Screen go to MENU> Settings> About Phone> Software Information> Software number). The new Build number after the update will be 2.36.405.5. Update: Android 2.3 upgrade. Note:Please back up your data first before upgrading your phone. We recommend using a free Wi-Fi hotspot or an unlimited data plan to apply this update. If not, standard data connection charges may apply. For any questions, please contact us at
Update – HTC Incredible S Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) update
Your phone will receive a notification of FOTA update when it is made available. Simply press OK to accept the update via a data connection such as Wi-Fi or GPRS/3G. After installing the update, you can confirm a successful update by confirming the Build number (From the Home Screen go to MENU> Settings> About Phone> Software Information> Software number). The new Build number after the update will be 2.12.405.7. Update: Android 2.3 upgrade. Note:Please back up your data first before upgrading your phone. We recommend using a free Wi-Fi hotspot or an unlimited data plan to apply this update. If not, standard data connection charges may apply. For any questions, please contact us at

Galaxy S II gets root-friendly insecure boot ROM

The Samsung Galaxy S II has only been on the market for a short while – and units are still in high demand – but we’ve already seen one of the first hacks of the smartphone. MoDaCo’s Paul O’Brien has come up with a custom GSII insecure boot image that allows for adb shell root and adb remount.

The ROM itself doesn’t actually root the Galaxy S II, but it will allow owners to push the su binary and Superuser APK required for root. It also disables the flash-recovery script, replacing it with a call to /data/local/
It’s not the first root – one method was released at the tail end of April – but we’re definitely excited to see more modders turn their attention to the Galaxy S II. While the phone itself impressed us in our review, we also saw plenty of potential as a platform for custom ROMs.

Vodafone HTC Sensation pre-orders open ahead of May 19 release

Vodafone UK have begun taking pre-orders for the HTC Sensation, ahead of what’s expected to be a May 19 release date for the dual-core Android smartphone. Announced last month, the Sensation will be priced from free with a new, two-year agreement of £35 ($58) per month or above.

Your money – and commitment – gets you a 4.3-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the latest version of HTC Sense with a clever lock-screen that integrates various widgets and app shortcuts. There’s also Qualcomm’s new dual-core 1.2GHz processor keeping things running, and 1080p HD video capture.
The Sensation is expected to launch in the US later in 2011 as the T-Mobile Sensation 4G, but for the moment Vodafone have exclusivity on the handset in Europe. No word on how long that will last for. More details on the HTC Sensation in our hands-on report.

HTC ChaCha launch tipped by HTC Facebook events

HTC only confirmed a Q2 2011 release window for the HTC ChaCha, one of its two “Facebook phones” announced at MWC 2011 a few months back; however, it seems the company’s own Facebook pages have tipped more accurate dates. HTC Germany has announced a series of Facebook-centric events in Dortmund (Germany), Wien (Austria) and Zürich (Switzerland) kicking off June 18.

The Austrian event follows on July 2, while the Swiss event will take place on July 18. We’ve seen HTC hold similar public launch events before; the HTC Sensation gave them cause to stage a party in London last month for the new flagship.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the ChaCha – and perhaps its Facebook friend the HTC Salsa – won’t arrive in other markets first. HTC’s European range often goes on sale in the UK initially, so it’s possible the Android smartphone may show up there prior to mid-June.


Google Voice Integration With All Sprint Numbers is Now Live

Sprint and Google have been beta-testing a full integration of Google Voice with the Sprint network over the past several weeks, and today the service has been declared “live.” Sprint customers can now use their Sprint number to run all of their Google Voice services, allowing them to set the phone to ring at multiple locations, or even different locations determined by the caller or time of day. Or if you’d prefer, you can have all outgoing calls go out through your Google Voice service. This brings a lot of versatility, and the process is fairly seamless, though by default it will disable SMS messages from coming into your phone and route them through Google Voice instead. This feature isn’t hard to reverse, and tonight we’ll be bringing you a quick how-to on that, plus any other tips and tricks we find this afternoon.  Catch the video promo after the break, and head to the official site to get started.

What is the HTC Kingdom?

Earlier today, two ROMs from unknown devices were leaked, referred to as the HTC Kingdom and HTC Rider. Code in the Rider ROM makes reference to KT-KR, Korea’s cellular network, making it probable that this is going to be a Korean-released phone. While early reports seemed to indicate that the Kingdom was the HTC EVO 3D, some ROM developers dissecting the leak have come to the conclusion that it’s some other device. This seems to stem mostly from the fact that while the HTC EVO 3D has stated specs of 1 Gig of RAM and a 4.3″ qHD screen, the code in the Kingdom leak mentions specs of 768 Megs of RAM and a 4″ qHD screen. Other developers argue that the code also refers to the device as the PG86100, the model number of the EVO 3D. Regardless, the developers are still working on cracking this ROM wide open, and there are several developers already attempting to port the ROM to various devices, including, of course, the current HTC EVO. Time will tell what device this mystery ROM originates from, but I, for one, am looking forward to some of the ROMs these brilliant ROM chefs are going to cook up.

Google I/O Official App – Go Get it Now!

Are you going to Google I/O next week? Well then, you need the official Android app for the conference. Even if you’re not attending, and want to follow the happenings, it is a good app to have. Google I/O, in case you were not aware for some strange reason, is Google’s sold-out developer conference being held on May 10th and 11th, and is jam packed with sessions and speakers.

The app allows you to look at the schedule, see detailed session and speaker info, and see the conference map.

You can also star sessions and Sandbox companies so that you can organize your schedule and refer back to the companies you’re interested in.
The app has a Bulletin section that gives you official updates during the conference so you can keep up with all the news, and also a realtime stream that shows tweets about the conference.

The app also lets you create and manage notes using Catch, and has a search feature so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for.
Remember, Android Community will be covering Google I/O live, so be sure to set up camp here next week as we feature all the breaking news from the conference.

Asus Transformer preorders cancelled by Target – or were they?

We’ve been getting word from Target customers that due to severe product shortages, the Bulls Eye is canceling their Asus Transformer pre-orders. Customers following up by phone with Customer Service, however, are learning a different story – that the Transformer is actually just out of stock and that their orders aren’t canceled. Checking on Target’s Website, we found the Transformer listed as being out of stock. But whether it’s just out of stock or Target is giving up sending it out, many customers are frustrated and just plain angry.

Thank you for shopping at Unfortunately, the following item is not currently available from any of our sources.
Asus Eee Pad Transformer 10.1″ Android Tablet (TF101-A1) with 16GB Hard Drive, 1GB Memory – Black/Brown
We have canceled this item from your order.

Earlier today we reported, Asus announcing they can only make about 10,000 units per month and that most were heading to Europe. A short production schedule is likely due to parts being in short supply. And that translates into retailer stocks being pretty low. And now, it’s apparent they’re running out.
Conspiracy theorists might think to link to Amazon where they may see the tablet ready to ship out the door – but take note! Amazon is supplied by Target, especially in this case you’ve got to know that the tablet wouldn’t come to your door any faster than if you’d ordered the same thing from a Target store. That is, unless you get some super sweet one day shipping deal out of Amazon. That’s always a possibility. As it stands now though, right around $600 is the best you’re going to be able to do.


Notion Ink Tablet gets Gingerbread update, does anyone care anymore?

Notion Ink has added a new chapter to their two year old odyssey of building their Adam Android tablet from scratch. Notion has confirmed an update providing Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a new browser, and even a new eBook reader client. As you well know, Notion has been blogging the process step by step, giving users an inside peek on how tablets are created. For awhile, we thought they’d disappeared. Then last month, they announced updates to their tablet were forth coming. But since Adam was launched, Notion has run into customer service and shipping issues which has caused many who were eagerly awaiting release to seek other options. So the question is … does anyone really care?

Notion says that updating to Gingerbread moves them towards the goal of acclimating the Kernel and all apps closer to a merge to Honeycomb, which will require converting to eMMC OS. In addition to Gingerbread and the new eBook reader, usability issues resolved, a new multi-tasking environment added, and even simple video and music players.
CEO Rohan Shravan said that the delays before had been due to licensing issues pertaining to the book reader. Issues that appear to have been cleared up. The update is again promised here, but remains to be seen in the fleshy text. Shravan also goes on to say that the process has been a journey requiring “determination,” “the ability to learn fast,” “understand” their critics, and “keep moving forward.”
But could it be it too little to late?