In the usual Motorola fashion, we started seeing emails this weekend going out to members of their “feedback network” to test some new software for the tablet. What this means is the next update, presumably Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is ready to roll out to the masses and Moto would like to give it a test run or “soak test” first. Here’s what we know:
On the eve of the developer-oriented Google I/O show, Google has confirmed the name for the next version of Android by adding a new sculpture to its collection.
The sculpture appears next to others in a collection of alphabetically ordered sweets after which new versions of Google’s mobile operating system is named: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Google Developers Google+ page showed off the new sculpture today, the day before the company’s Google I/O conference begins in San Francisco. The show is geared for Android and Web developers and others who tap into Google’s technology.
May 3 (Bloomberg) — Samsung Electronics Co. regained the lead in smartphones from Apple Inc. in the first quarter of this year. One of its weapons: screens of many different sizes.
Samsung sells at least 13 smartphones with screens ranging from 2.8 inches on the Replenish to 5.3 inches on the Galaxy Note. Apple, which has always believed in a limited number of models, offers only a 3.5-inch display on its two iPhones. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung is testing the tablet market as well with a similar plan.
The different strategies — and the success of Samsung’s — has led analysts including London-based Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics to speculate that Apple will have to expand its line at some point. Samsung also ended the 14-year reign of Nokia Oyj as the world’s biggest maker of all kinds of phones in the last quarter.
Barnes & Noble plans to add near-field communication (NFC) technology to its Nook e-reader platform, chief executive William Lynch said Tuesday.
Lynch also revealed that the Barnes & Noble Simple Touch with Glowlight, B&N’s latest Nook, has sold out. The Nook Color, by contrast, has been Barnes & Noble’s best-selling device, he said.
According to a question-and-answer session in Fortune, B&N plans to ask publishers to embed NFC chips inside hardback books, turning the Nook into a sort of “second screen” for the bookstore.
Asus’ latest Transformer Pad 300 will start shipping in the U.S. on April 22, the company said Friday. The tablet is being pitched as a laptop replacement with 4G LTE network capabilities.
The new Transformer Pad will have a 10.1-inch screen and use a quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia. It will run Google’s latest Android 4.0 operating system, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich.
An Asus spokeswoman said prices will be revealed April 22. However, retailer BJs is taking preorders for a US$399 model with 32GB of storage and 1GB of memory.
Asus has wiped out the “Eee” moniker from its tablets, a brand that debuted in 2007 with its pioneering Eee PC 700 netbook. The new tablet succeeds the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, which was the first tablet to ship with a quad-core processor. The new tablet brings some of the same features to users but at a lower starting price, Asus said in an email.
The tablet offers 10 hours of battery life, which can be extended to 15 hours with an additional battery in an optional keyboard dock. The dock makes the tablet a fully functional laptop, and Android-specific buttons provide quick access to certain functions.
The tablet display shows images at a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. The mobile connectivity options with the tablet include Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE.
The tablet has a 1.2-megapixel front camera and an 8-megapixel rear camera. It also has a micro-HDMI port so the tablet can be connected to TVs, and one microSD card reader for expanded storage.
The Transformer Pad 300 was introduced at the Mobile World Congress show in late February. The company also introduced the Transformer Pad Infinity tablet at the show, which had similar specifications to the Pad 300, but a higher-resolution, 1920-by-1200-pixel, 10.1-inch display.
A growing number of Android 4.0 devices are becoming available. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 will be available on April 22, with a 10.1-inch model shipping on May 13. Many Android 4.0 tablets under $250 are also available.
Samsung has pushed back the release of it second-generation tablets from the end of March to the end of April. The delay, according to a Samsung spokesperson, is because the company needs more time to work on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That’s funny, because Samsung has had access to Ice Cream Sandwich longer than any other hardware maker.
Google released Android 4.0 in October. Samsung released the global variant of Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.0 on board in November, followed by the U.S. Verizon version in December. Other OEMs didn’t gain access to the Ice Cream Sandwich source code until November, about a month after Samsung got its hands on it.
The Galaxy Tab 2–both the 7-inch 7.0 version and the 10-inch 10.1 version–will be the first tablets to ship from Samsung with Android 4.0 on board. Android 4.0 offers a number of system-wide improvements when compared to earlier versions of Android.
Apple could be taking a cue from frenemy Samsung with its next iOS device, offering a gadget that’s a bit larger than most cell phones, but about half the size of a tablet.
According to Japanese Apple news site Macotakara, Apple’s working with LCD suppliers to get a 5-inch panel with a pixel density high enough to be able to call it a Retina Display. That’s according to “a reliable Chinese source,” the site said.
That smaller device would arrive sometime next year, Macotakara suggested, and sport either a 1,600 by 960 pixel or 1,280 by 960 pixel resolution — either of which would be a first for an iOS device.
This is just the latest in a series of reports claiming Apple’s working on iOS device that falls somewhere between the iPhone and the iPad. Earlier this month, a report from the Korea Times cited an unnamed Samsung official saying Apple this year would be releasing an iPad with a 7.85-inch screen. That’s as opposed to the current iPad’s 9.7-inch display. Days before that, there was a report from VentureBeat saying Apple was eyeing a slightly-smaller 7.1-inch panel instead.
Muddying up both these claims is the idea that these panels could actually end up being for a next-generation smartphone instead. A report from Reuters last week suggested as much, claiming that Apple was vying to pick up a slightly smaller 4.6-inch display for a new crop of iPhones with screens larger than the 3.5-inch panel the iPhone’s shipped with since its introduction.
Apple is under considerably more scrutiny when it comes to the components it buys. The company has a very small variance in its product sizes, offering just a handful of configurations, and keeping sizes the same from generation to generation. This has been under particularly tight control with Apple’s iOS family, which just recently jumped to a fourth possible screen resolution with the third-generation iPad.
By comparison, most of Apple’s competitors — notably Samsung — have taken a different approach by building its notebooks, handsets and tablets at varying sizes. For instance, Samsung’s Galaxy Note device, which has a 5.3-inch display, pulls double duty as a phone and a tablet. Earlier today Samsung said it’s sold 5 million units of the Note globally since launching in February. Other such efforts include LG’s Optimus Vu, and the ill-fated line of Dell Streak devices.
A strange event today has a lot of Samsung Android owners rightfully worried about malware on the Android Market. We’ve received a raft of tips from users who have discovered an app titled “МТС Мобильная Почта” (MTS Mobile Mail) on their Samsung devices, an app they never installed and are finding it difficult to uninstall.
As near as we can tell, the issue appears to be this: Samsung has several pieces of software that it installs on it devices but that aren’t in the Google Play store (for obvious reasons). However, every single Android app has an app name that identifies it on the Android system, in this case the “unique” name is com.seven.Z7, which identifies Samsung’s email app. What appears to have happened is that Russian developer OJSC Mobile Telesystems gave that unique identifier to its “МТС Мобильная Почта” app, and so these Samsung devices were tricked into thinking it was an update to Samsung’s email client. Since Google Play allows for automatic updating of all apps, it was installed on many devices.
Samsung joyously announced today that a new “premium suite upgrade” including Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is headed to Galaxy Note owners sometime in the second quarter. This sounds great, unless you remember that Samsung told us to expect Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Note in the first quarter of 2012.
With Q1 wrapping up soon, it looks like the announcement of the forthcoming upgrade amounts to a note from Samsung asking Galaxy Note users to please excuse Android 4.0 for being tardy.
According to a statement from Samsung, the upgrade package will also include extra multimedia features and new apps optimized for the Galaxy Note’s S Pen stylus. One of the new features is something called S Note that the company says will further integrate written or sketched content with other digital data:
S Note also includes the innovative Shape Match and Formula Match applications that help correct and digitize geometric shapes and even solve numeric formulas hand-drawn with S Pen, increasing your on-the-go efficiency and productivity. You can draw tables and grids which are instantly digitized, saving time and effort. Moreover, by using the S Note’s integrated knowledge search engines, users can quickly search, and obtain information.
To help ease the disappointment of the Ice Cream Sandwich delay, Samsung is now offering what’s become the standard consolation prize of global digital culture–Angry Birds.
Download the brand new Angry Birds Space and you’ll even find special extra levels available just for the Galaxy Note. On top of that, a special package of 30 extra levels can also be accessed free if unpacked in the next three months.
That should serve as a nice distraction while every other phone around you is getting upgraded to Android 4.0, and perhaps even Android 5.0.
HTC did its best to wow Android fans and mobile industry insiders alike when it unveiled the HTC One X at Mobile World Congress. The company’s first quad-core smartphone, the One X, hasn’t even landed stateside, yet it’s making waves and spawning plenty of speculation.
AT&T first confirmed plans to bring a version of the One X to the U.S. but sadly it will be a dual-core handset, not HTC’s cutting-edge device run by quad-core processors. Now a new rumor has surfaced with tech site s4ru.com claiming the phone will be scooped up by Sprint. Citing unnamed sources at the carrier, the One X will be Sprint’s first 4G LTE device and could land in stores as soon as June 10.
If this report is true, a big letdown (again) is this HTC One X’s lack of quad-core computing power. Said to be called the “Jet,” the handset looks to be a splitting image of the watered-down model expected to hit AT&T right down to its 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. Other components apparently include a 4.7-inch LCD (1,280 by 720 pixels), 1GB of RAM, and Bluetooth 4.0.
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