Showing posts with label Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Show all posts

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coby shows off a quintet of Ice Cream Sandwich tablets for 2012

Not one to be left out in the cold, budget manufacturer Coby has announced no less than five new Android tablet,s all of them running Ice Cream Sandwich. The devices will cover the gamut as far as screen sizes for tablets go, with 7, 8, 9, 9.7 and 10inch varieties. There’s no specific launch date available, but Coby says that the tablets will be on hand at CES in January.

All five of the tablets will feature 1Ghz Cortex 8 processors and a full gigabyte of RAM, which should be enough to run Ice Cream Sandwich, even if it doesn’t exactly zoom. Naturally they’re WiFi only, but they’ll be equipped with HDMI ports and up to 32GB of storage – not bad. There’s no mention of the Android Market or Google apps, so they may not be included. We’ll see soon enough.
The variety of screens doesn’t stop as sizes. Coby notes that the capacitive screens on the MID8042 and MID 9742 use a 4:3 aspect ratio like the iPad and HP Touchpad, while the MID7042, MID9042 and MID1042 weren’t specified, which probably means either 16:9 or 16:10. There’s no word on price, but given Coby’s position in the market, you can expect them to be competitive; whether you’d want the tablets over more expensive alternatives is yet to be seen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Motorola phones getting upgrade to ICS in about 6 months

We have heard and seen plenty of reports from all types of manufacturers over the future of their Android line up. Many have stated when updates to the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive and today Motorola has made the process even more clear. They stated the DROID RAZR would see ICS early next year and also unlock bootloaders, but we’ve heard that chime from them before. Today Motorola breaks down the process but I’m not sure how I feel about the news.

Motorola has also recently tweeted devices would see ICS updates within 6 weeks of Google releasing the source code. We now know that meant we would all receive an update and details on when to expect ICS for their devices — not that they’d actual get updated that fast.
In a Motorola Blog post we now have a breakdown of the events and a timeline for what to expect. How does around 4-6 months and possibly more sound? CM9 anyone? For those expecting Android 4.0 ICS on their new Bionic or RAZR early next year, you might be waiting a little longer than expected.
Here is the breakdown of steps needed to bring an update — according to Motorola:
1. Merge and adapt the new release for different device hardware architecture(s) and carrier customizations
This means that we take the source code and incorporate it into upgrades for devices on which this can perform well, along with making sure the carrier requirements are met. Silicon partners such as Qualcomm, TI, and nVidia adapt this to their chipsets in parallel and we incorporate these as they become available. This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code. Features like MotoCast, Smart Actions, and our comprehensive enterprise solutions are integral parts of our device experiences, and we want to make sure we continue delivering differentiated experiences for our consumers with these software upgrades.
2. Stabilize and ‘bake’ the result to drive out bugs
This means that we will prepare the upgrade to meet the quality and stability requirements to enter the wireless carrier’s certification lab.
3. Submit the upgrade to the carriers for certification
This is the point in the process where the carrier’s lab qualifies and tests the upgrade. Each carrier has different requirements for phases 2 and 3. There may be a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months.
3.5 Perform a Customer pre-release
We may perform some customer testing before a final release is delivered publicly to our user base.
4. Release the upgrade
We are planning on upgrading as many of our phones as possible. The ability to offer the upgrade depends on a number of factors including the hardware/device capabilities, the underlying chipset software support, the ICS support and then the ability to support the Motorola value add software.
After looking at past updates and how long devices took to receive Gingerbread this actually all sounds pretty accurate. We are looking at around 4 months at the soonest, and 6+ months at worst. Verizon isn’t the quickest company either when it comes to approving software updates so that could also be a factor here. Many phones are just now getting Android 2.3 Gingerbread while 4.0 is already here, so it is same to assume the same could happen for many with this latest iteration of Android. I’ll be rooting and installing custom ROM’s before I wait that long — but that is just me.
[via Motorola]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Developer Gets Android 4.0 Up and Booting On The Amazon Kindle Fire [Video]

This is the moment many brand new Kindle Fire owners have been waiting for. The day a developer would successfully port Android 4.0 to the affordable little tablet. I don’t have many details regarding the developer, G1011999‘s work (will update the post once I dig around a bit), we can see Ice Cream Sandwich is up and booting. It’s all still very much a work in process and aside from the touchscreen, not much else is working. The dev did get up a quick video of his feats in action and while it did seem a bit laggy, I’m sure it’s something that can be optimized in the future. For now check out the video for some Android 4.0 pr0n.

Archos shows off official Ice Cream Sandwich on 101 G9 tablet

Well lookie here: Archos isn’t letting anyone beat it to the Ice Cream Sandwich party. The French hardware company showed off an early build of Android 4.0 running on its economical 101 G9 tablet. The latest build from earlier today is demonstrated on what looks like a retail unit. Archos is planning on releasing the update sometime in Q1 2012.

From the demonstration, it looks like Ice Cream Sandwich is running extremely well on the 10-inch tablet, with nary a stutter or hiccup in its performance. By now we’re pretty familiar with the ICS tablet interface (basically a cleaner, faster version of Honeycomb) but this is a nice confirmation of other sources, like Nvidia’s demonstration of the Transformer Prime. It still needs a little work to get to a lag free experience, but you can see that Archos is well on its way.For the most part, ICS seems to be clean and free of bloatware.
For Ice Cream and French accents, check out the video below:

If you’re tempted by new software on current hardware, the 10-inch G9 tablet is currently going for about $350 at most retail locations. Extensive codec support and low price makes Archos a favorite among Android enthusiasts, so you’re likely to see a lot of community-authored ICS builds both before and after the official release.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

6-year-old HTC Universal gets Ice Cream Sandwich port

A few days ago I joked with my fellow Android Community writers that I’d like to see Ice Cream Sandwich ported to the Atari 2600, so I could use it to run an Atari 2600 emulator. That hasn’t happened, but in terms of wow factor, the latest ICS port isn’t that far off. The HTC Universal, the Taiwanese company’s gigantic flipping QWERTY Windows Mobile megadevice from 2005, has been given a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich via (where else?) the XDA Developers forum. The port is based off of CyanogenMod 9, the ICS version of the most popular custom Android ROM.

If you’ve been following the mobile tech world for a while, you may have drooled over the HTC Universal way back when, just like I did. (Not that I could do much more than drool, being in high school at the time.) Naturally the Windows Mobile hardware isn’t ideal for running the modern version of Android – at 64 or 128 megabytes of RAM, compared to the 25gMB of the original G1 and a full gigabyte for the Galaxy Nexus. Like other Windows Mobile ports, this one has to be initiated from the MicroSD card.
After some tweaking by creator “notime2d8″, the image seems to work well enough, if slowly. Not surprising, since the entire system is running off of RAM and using a 528Mhz ARM processor. If you’re lucky enough to have an HTC Universal gathering dust, be sure to try out the port. Good on ya, Android mod developers – now how’s about that Atari version?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Android 4.0 for $100: NOVO7 is the cheapest Ice Cream Sandwich tablet around

Android’s open source nature lends itself to a staggering variety of form factors and price points, but if Chinese manufacturer MIPS Technologies is to be believed, it’s breaking into the low-end in a huge way today. The company is promoting its brand new NOVO7 device as “the first Ice Cream Sandwich tablet”, and has priced it at a staggering $99 USD. The specs aren’t amazing and the hardware won’t turn heads, but if you’ve got to have ICS right now (and can’t bring yourself to try out a custom ROM) this would seem to be the cheapest way to do so.

The NOVO7 is your basic 7-inch cheapo tablet, not altogether unlike the Polaroid models that were on sale everywhere on Black Friday. A “power-efficient” 1GHz processor it twinned to a 444Mhz GPU. A 2-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing cam of indeterminate quality cover the absolute basics. The 7-inch screen is thankfully capacitive, not resistive, but the marketing materials omit a resolution – I’d guess either 1024 x 600 or 840 x 400.
The manufacturer is quick to tout the tablet’s low-power status, claiming a power draw of less than 400mA during web browsing and a 30-hour standby time. An actual mAh battery rating is absent, but you get expandable storage via the microSD card slot. The tablet comes with 4GB of on-board storage. Wireless is limited to WiFi, but MIPS highlights support for “external 3G”. Obviously the Android Market is nowhere to be seen, but the ad mentions Google CTS Certification, so you can probably get the Market, Gmail, etc. running if you’re up for a little aftermarket hacking. The NOVO7 will offer support for Gameloft titles, including the pre-installed Spider-man.

So, how do you get one? Just click on the “$99″ link on the image-only website to be directed straight to a PayPal order form. But be ready for a nasty shock in the form of $60 shipping and handling, bringing the total price up to $159. That’s Nook Color territory, and even considering that it ships straight from China (with no assurance of a date, by the way) it seems a little stiff. I’d steer clear of this one for your holiday shopping, and wait for ICS tablets or updated software from more established brands. But if you’re feeling adventurous, head on over there and check it out. This is only the first of many Chinese ICS tablets set to hit the market very soon.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MIUI custom ROM shows off an early Ice Cream Sandwich build

You didn’t think CyanogenMod was the only ROM starting on an Ice Cream Sandwich version, did you? The MIUI team, makers of arguably the second most popular custom ROM out there, has already begun porting their extensive set of Android customizations to run on Ice Cream Sandwich’s open source code. The developers issued a special preview on their website, with a walk-through of the updated interface.

The changes don’t look that different from the current build of MIUI, but then the aim is not to duplicate Ice Cream Sandwich‘s look. MIUI has an interface all its own, borrowing elements from Android, iOS, WebOS and the various flavors of manufacturer customizations to make something that attempts to blend the best of all available options. Just about every app, from the launcher to the music player to the phone dialer, is uniquely styled.
The developers haven’t said when they’ll release the ICS version of MIUI, but you can expect it some time in the next couple of months. Supported devices should see an immediate upgrade with updates following weekly. Like CyanogenMod, MIUI releases its source code upon publishing, so user customized versions for even more phones should begin appearing shortly after that.
MIUI has the distinction of being the only community-authored ROM that’s openly featured on a retail device, Xiaomi’s MI-One. Though the “MIUI Phone” isn’t mentioned in the latest post, it will almost certainly see a flashable update as soon as the fourth version is ready, and Chin Unicom may send an over-the-air update soon after that.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Android Design Preview tool mirrors PC screens for live previews

Here’s a fun hack that should be useful for Android developers and designers, and at least interesting for the rest of us. If you’re designer who’s working on high-quality mock ups for a new app, seeing how they look on your actual device is a bit of a hassle – you’ve got to save the files, copy them over to the device, try it out, then make changes and repeat. The Android Design Preview tool takes all those steps out by allowing your phone to see a one-to-one pixel representation of your computer screen.

In practice, it works kind of like a tiny secondary monitor. Connect your Android phone to your computer using ADB, then start the tool on your computer. Move the preview window to the editing app of your choice (make sure it’s scaled at 100%) and you’ll see the screen appear on your phone. It refreshes automatically, so you can preview multiple screens or elements, or just watch your phone while you edit. You don’t need a corresponding app for Android – everything is handled over the ADB connection. Developer Roman Nurik has released the program as a free Java app, so it should play nice with Windows, Mac and Linux.
Check it out in action below:

So why is this better than a remote access tool, like VNC or SplashTop? Specifically, the pixel-perfect preview size makes it ideal for designers. There’s not a lot of utility elsewhere, since it doesn’t actually extend your computer screen, but designers with a little technical know-how should be able to preview their creations much faster – not to mention wow a few of their less savvy clients.
[via XDA]

New Ice Cream Sandwich Hidden Feature: “Dreams” (Screensavers)

Those boys over at Google definitely know how to have a good time. First it was the NyanDroid Easter egg and now we have this. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call this an Easter egg. More like a hidden feature no one has heard about — until now. It’s called “Dreams” and it acts as a screen saver that strangely serves absolutely no other purpose than looking kinda flashy. The feature is actually buried deep in the Ice Cream Sandwich OS but with a little know-how and the use of Launcher Pro, Dreams is easily accessible. So, when you want to zone out and just watch all of your icons fly at your face — now you can. If you’re into that sorta thing. What’s more is the flying icons can actually be tapped and if you’re quick enough, maybe you’ll launch your intended app. We keep learning new things about Ice Cream Sandwich and it’s fun little tidbits like this that keep it interesting. Can’t say screen savers would ever be a feature I would want on my phone (battery killer) but how ’bout you?
[Via AndroidPolice]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sony Ericsson Italy Pegs March for Ice Cream Sandwich Updates

Sony Ericsson has already made the bold claim that all of their 2011 handsets will receive Android 4.0, but now they are among the first to assign a potential timeframe for the arrival of Ice Cream Sandwich. According to Maurizio de Palma, marketing manager for Sony Ericsson Italy, the Xperia line of phones will begin to see their ICS updates in March of next year. That is still a good four months away, and it would not come as a surprise for the date to be pushed back. Still, the news offers a hopeful outlook.
After catching much heat for the poor handling of earlier updates to their Android devices, Sony Ericsson has pledged to improve the process in nearly every way, from the timeliness of release to better communication with handset owners. Here is hoping that SE can deliver on time.
[via PocketNow]

Motorola Triumph receives Ice Cream Sandwich build

Do not be misled by the moniker Motorola Triumph, it might sound pretty mighty and all, but in reality, it is not exactly a high end device that you would lust for. It falls under the mid-range scheme of things, but it has proved to be quite the attractive purchase for those who want something better than what the bottom of the food chain offers. It remains to be seen whether the Motorola Triumph will be on the receiving end of an official Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 update, but as mom used to say, if you want something done, you’ve gotta do it yourself. And that is exactly what a developer on the AndroidForums have done – seemingly ported the Ice Cream Sandwich ROM onto the device with success.

Needless to say, this port is not complete as there is still a long way to go since a bunch of features do not work just yet on the phone, but it does offer a glimpse of hope to Motorola Triumph owners that there is still a chance of a successful port. After all, to be able to enjoy all the benefits of Ice Cream Sandwich without having to purchase a new phone is always more than welcome, even more so in these times of economic hardship. Hopefully Motorola will not overlook the Triumph when it comes to Android 4.0 updates.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chip maker Rockchip claims worlds first Android 4.0 ICS Tablet

We’ve already seen tons of ROM’s and ports slowly making their way to Android phones and tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich now that the source code is available. Today Chinese processor and tablet maker Rockchip claim to have the worlds first Android 4.0 ICS tablet and it will be ready to ship in the first weeks of December.

Rockchip may or may not sound familiar. They are in-part to blame for the masses of cheap Android tablets that hit Ebay with Android 2.2 and 2.3 back when Android tablets were just starting to hit the market, and many were branded as Rockchip tablets themselves or with 3rd party names. However, none of them had that great of performance sadly. The new RK2918 is a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex chip that should play a bit nicer and improve performance, not to mention we’ll have the butter smooth Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for our OS. Here is a video demonstration with the new Rockchip tablet below:

Chinese-made tablets powered by the Rockchip processor will most likely be among the cheapest tablets available. And if they do start shipping in December I’ll bet you money Ebay will be flooded with cheaply made and chunky clunky tablets with lucrative pricing very soon. Don’t get me wrong though, we could see a few nicely designed, sized, and priced tablets from these same chips that would make excellent presents or stocking stuffers. I’ll be letting the first few waves pass and most likely just snag the ASUS Transformer Prime instead.
rockchip 3 rockchip ICS 2 rockchip ICS

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HTC G1 Gets A Taste Of Ice Cream Sandwich

Still rocking the HTC G1, the world's first Android phone? Didn't think so, but if you have one laying around somewhere, you may want to grab that thing and knock the dust off of it. Why, you ask? Because there's a "working" (I use that term loosely here) port of ICS ready to flash.

As you may imagine, it is incredibly slow and nearly unusable, but c'mon - you have to admit that it's pretty cool. Here's a video of it in action (again, I use that term loosely).

There are a few things that still aren't working in this build, like screen rotation, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Everything is else is go, so, at the very least, you can check out what ICS is all about. Very slowly.

While this is definitely not a practical port, one thing is certain: it's things like this that show how incredible the Android development community is. Fourth gen Android on a first gen phone? That's just stupid-sick. Hit the source to check it out for yourself.

[XDA Forums via Gizmodo]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich gets dedicated search button mod

Google may be a search company first and foremost, but Ice Cream Sandwich shifts Android away from a dedicated search button and replaces it with the app switcher. Using virtual buttons has benefits for modders, however, and MoDaCo’s Paul O’Brien has wasted no time in adding a dedicated search option in the ICS button bar.

As you’d expect, tapping it brings up the search dialog, just as the dedicated search buttons on previous Android phones would do. Google hasn’t exactly excised search from Android 4.0 altogether – in fact the homescreen now has a persistent search box across the top, that’s carried over all five panes – but this dedicated key makes it a little easier.
Sometimes it’s the little tweaks that can make the most difference to daily use, and this could well be one of them. No word on when exactly Paul might release the mod at this stage, but he tells us it will be “very shortly.”

Adobe: Flash Will Be Updated To Support ICS Before Year's End, But Not Future Versions Of Android

Earlier this month, Adobe announced that it would be halting development on the mobile version of Flash, which included support for Android devices. More recently, it was realized that the current version of Flash isn't compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich, leaving early adopters of the Galaxy Nexus without the ability to view flash content on the web.
Adobe has now confirmed that it will be bringing Flash to ICS devices before the end of 2011, but it will not support any version of Android past 4.0. Throughout the lifespan of ICS, Adobe will continue to push critical updates, bug fixes, and security updates to Flash for Android to ensure device security, but that will be the extent of development as far as mobile Flash is concerned.
Hopefully, but the time the "J" version of Android is released, HTML5 will have gained enough steam to be widely supported and take the place of Flash altogether, helping make the transition from Flash support to no Flash support as seamless as possible.
[via Pocket-Lint]

CyanogenMod 9 Ice Cream Sandwich is coming to the Galaxy Tab 10.1

One of the earliest and most important parts of Ice Cream Sandwich that Google announced was that it would integrate the code and user interface for phone and tablet versions of Android. We know that ICS tablets are due pretty soon, with Asus committing to a quick update for the upcoming Transformer Prime and Samsung already promising upgrades for its myriad tablets. Galaxy Tab 10.1 owners may not have very long at all to wait: Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik has announced that his extremely popular ROM series CyanogenMod will be coming to the Galaxy Tab when it upgrades to ICS in version 9.

The CyanogenMod team has already begun work on CyanogenMod 9 (version 7 is Gingerbread, version 8 is Honeycomb, and probably won’t be made), with stable versions expected early next year. This is the first we’ve heard of CyanogenMod supporting tablet hardware at all, with the exception of Gingerbread-based oddities for the Nook Color and the like. CM9 will be the very first version of CyanogenMod to support a tablet user interface natively, though some useful tweaks are already part of the code.
The news comes from Kondik’s personal Google+ page, and it appears that either he or someone on the CM9 team already has an extremely early version of the modification running. That’s not just good news for CyanogenMod users, it’s good for Galaxy Tab owners in general. The Cyanogen team is famously slow to release (don’t even think about asking for an ETA) but if they can manage it, earlier and less feature complete versions from other ROM makers should show up very soon indeed.

Galaxy Nexus owners reporting volume issues

Into every life a little rain must fall. For European Galaxy Nexus owners, who are currently the envy of most of the Android world, that rain is coming in the form of some frustrating volume issues. Apparently some HSPA+ phones are randomly switching between volume and sound states, much to the consternation of users. According to a quick poll, about half of users are experiencing the issue, though our own UK editor has not.
It seems that some very specific parameters must be met for the volume issue to crop up. First, you’ve got to be using the 900MHz range of spectrum for your particular carrier. Next you need to be in a relatively weak signal area, causing the Galaxy Nexus’ radio to automatically boost itself. Regions with lots of switching between 2G and 3G networks seem to be hit the hardest. Check the video below for an example:

Of course, the nice thing about owning a Nexus device is that it’s likely to be updated very soon. Google is surely taking the performance of the international model seriously, even though there’s still no official word on a timeframe for the U.S. version. Expect some official word from Google soon, with a fix in the next software update, which probably isn’t too far out.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Ice Cream Sandwich’s keyboard now, no root needed

Yes, we know – the wait for Ice Cream Sandwich to show up for your device and/or in your region is getting frustrating. But you can slake your hunger for Ice Cream now with a taste of its new keyboard, for any Android device. Thanks to XDA member “for.digit“. (funny how no one on XDA is ever called Bob or Sam.) He’s wrapped up the new ICS version of Android’s native keyboard in a free Market app, available to just about anyone.
It’s not quite perfect, thanks to the noticeable lack of the microphone button. And since the active voice dictation was one of the things that really put the ICS keyboard over the top, the Android Market app becomes something of a theme for the standard Gingerbread or Froyo keyboard. Given the deep integration in ICS, a significantly improved version of Voice Dictation would be almost impossible to include, though hooking into the previous versions of voice to text should be easy enough. But hey, it’s got that neat-o ice blue color scheme all the developers are going crazy for these days, right?
If you’re lucky enough to own a Nexus S, Galaxy S II or Optimus 3D, you can actually try out Ice Cream Sandwich right now. If you’re the rooted/custom ROM type, all it takes is a quick flash – just make sure to create a backup. The earliest ICS ROMs are a long way from stable. And of course, you can always pay – or wait – for the Galaxy Nexus in your home country.

Nexus S and Nexus S 4G get early Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs

Those lucky Nexus owners, they get everything sooner. In this case, it’s a relatively stable AOSP version of Ice Cream Sandwich for the previous generation of Google’s developer phone. The ROM is available for eager Android fans right now – the only thing that appears to be missing is a reliable video record function.

The work comes from XDA member “kwiboo”, and he’s been hard at work on the software for the last few days; the two separate ROMs are already on their second version. Functions are mostly complete, though the WiFi drivers need a quick patch. Since Android’s source code doesn’t include Gmail, YouTube, the Android Market and similar Google-branded apps, those packages are being directly loaded from the Galaxy Nexus.
Check out the ROM in action below:

On the example phone at least, Ice Cream Sandwich is running admirably fast. Take particular note of the ICS software buttons – or rather don’t, because they aren’t there. ICS is able to forgo its software buttons if the hardware it’s running on already has hardware-based navigation buttons. The Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs should be coming fast and furious for the next few weeks as more and more modders get a hang of the source code, and the uber-popular CyanogenMod should release its version of ICS early next year.
[via PD]

Adobe says Flash for ICS will be last supported OS

We have already talked about the fact that there was supposed to be no Flash support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Adobe has now announced that it will be offering Flash for ICS after all. There is a catch though; Adobe has noted that ICS will be the last supported Android OS for Flash. That means all future version of Android will have to make it with no Flash.

Flash for Android 4.0 is expected by the end of the year. The company will continue to offer patches and security updates for existing versions of Flash after the Android 4.0 version is offered. This will get all the folks planning to get a Galaxy Nexus that lacks Flash support for content using flash.
Once those Android 5.0 handsets start to hit, Google will need to move to HTML 5 support or work something out on its own for Flash support. Android 5.0 is thought to be called Jelly Bean. That name is unconfirmed at this point.
[via Pocket-lint]