No platform in recent history has grown as fast as Google’s Android OS, and now Google has created a quick video to help us visualize the Android phenomenon. The sequence was first shown ahead of former CEO Eric Schmidt’s keynote at Mobile World Congress, and this week Google finally posted it to its Android Developers YouTube account. The video gives us a visual representation of all Android device activations from October 2008, when the platform launched, through the end of December 2010. It also displays helpful indicators just ahead of major device launches, such as the Motorola DROID launch in November 2009. Hit the jump for the video and prepare to be wowed. More →
Verizon Wireless on Monday announced a revamped version of its V CAST Music app for Android smartphones. The carrier’s new V CAST Music app combines all of its music-related VCAST services, allowing users to purchase full tracks, ringtones and ringback tones from a single application. Song downloads range in price from $0.69 to $1.29 per track, but Verizon will also offer reduced-cost bundles that combine multiple formats into a single download. “Verizon Wireless is taking a leap forward with V CAST Music,” said Verizon Wireless VP Greg Haller in a statement. ”We’re bringing the different kinds of music people love to have on their phones together in one, easy-to-use application, making it easy for customers to get what they want at lower prices.” The new version of V CAST Music requires Android 2.1 (Eclair) or later, and users will receive on-device prompts when the new version of the app is available for download. Hit the jump for Verizon Wireless’ full press release. More →
Google announced a service called Cloud Print last year that enables users to print wirelessly and remotely from within Gmail and Google Docs. Though the service hasn’t garnered much media attention, it shows a great deal of potential and it removes some of the barriers associated with wireless printing. On Monday, Google announced that it is making the Cloud Print service available on its HTML5-based Gmail and Google Docs mobile sites. Users of the iPhone, iPad, Android 2.1+ devices and other devices with browsers that support HTML5 will soon be able to access the service from anywhere there is a data connection. Unlike Apple’s wireless AirPrint solution, Google’s Cloud Print does not require devices to be on the same network in order to utilize the service. It also doesn’t require a special printer like AirPrint, though a Windows PC is required to configure the service. Cloud Print for mobile will be rolled out to users in the U.S. this week as a beta service. More →
Ahead of any official announcement, Samsung has published images and information surrounding its upcoming Android-powered Gem smartphone. The Samsung Gem is thought to be launching soon with regional carrier Cellular South, which currently has six Android phones in its portfolio ranging from the $49.99 HTC Hero 6250 to the $199.99 Samsung Galaxy S Showcase. While pricing for the Samsung Gem has not yet been revealed, it is expected to land among the mid-range Android phones in the carrier’s catalog. The Gem features a 3.2-inch WQVGA touchscreen display, an 800MHz processor, a 3.2-megapixel camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, microSDHC support and the Android 2.1 Eclair operating system. More →
This… is awesome. Google on Wednesday announced a new version of its Google Translate app for Android devices. There are several changes in the new build, but one in particular has the Internet buzzing — and rightfully so. The app now features a Conversation Mode that will record speech and quickly translate it into a language of your choosing. Meaning, should you find yourself abroad, a local can speak his or her native tongue and your Android phone will translate for you in real-time. What’s more, you can speak your response in your own native language and the Google Translate app will translate your words into the target language and read them aloud to your new friend. This new version of Google Translate is available in the Android Market immediately for devices running Android 2.1 and above. And, of course, it’s free. Hit the break for a video of Googlers demonstrating the feature on stage a few months ago, and another up close and personal video demo from a user. More →
Fans of supersized smartphones should look no further than Best Buy Mobile this morning, where the Dell Streak has been dropped to just $99.99 with a two-year AT&T service contract. Current owners of the AT&T-branded Dell Streak are still a bit annoyed that the Froyo update has been delayed until January, but if you can tolerate Donut for another month, the Dell Streak is a solid option. Notable specs include that giant display, of course, alongside a 5-megapixel camera, a secondary VGA camera for video chat, HSPA (7.2Mbps down, 5.8Mbps up), 16GB of internal storage and microSDHC support. The Dell Streak is available online and at Best Buy Mobile locations in both white and black. More →
Google announced Monday that an update to the Android Market has started rolling out to devices. On its Android Market Facebook page, Google stated that the Market refresh will be pushed out to all devices running Android 1.6 or later over the next two weeks. Some users have already reported receiving the update, which apparently creates a much more appealing Market experience. Among the listed improvements are a better UI, faster searches, more information about apps and an improved ratings system. More →
AT&T’s Captivate and T-Mobile’s Vibrant are among several Samsung Galaxy S-branded smartphones that have been plagued by GPS issues since they launched. While this isn’t the first time the manufacturer has issued a supposed fix, Samsung today announced the availability of a new app called GPS Restore — which has the sole purpose of restoring a device’s GPS settings to their original state. We’re not sure how this would help resolve any issues, unless Samsung is suggesting that some carrier tweaks are responsible for the problems. In any case, owners of with the Captivate or the Vibrant will undoubtedly be happy to give Samsung’s new GPS Restore app a whirl. Simply search the Android Market for “GPSSamsungRestore” to give it a go. More →
Verizon Wireless shot us over a Motorola DROID Pro handset this weekend and after spending some time with it, here are our first impressions of the little bugger. For starters, the device looks better in person than it does in the press / online photos. It is a little awkward at first, being a vertically-oriented display as opposed to a horizontally-positioned screen on a traditional BlackBerry, but after you pick up the phone and start using it, you realize this is the only way the phone could work. As far as the screen goes, it’s probably our biggest disappointment — the resolution. We realize it’s not a huge screen but 480×320 pixels in a world of 960×640 and 800×480 isn’t doing the DROID Pro any favors. The display is also not terribly vivid or crisp, and it reduces the powerful impact the DROID Pro has. Besides the display, though, the Motorola DROID Pro continues to impress us. Not because it’s the greatest Android handset released, but because of the purpose it serves. We joked with someone that this is the RIM Antichrist on Verizon, and it is. It’s a direct assault on RIM, and as BlackBerry-loving individuals, we actually love this phone. The keyboard is almost identical to BlackBerry Bold keyboards, right down to the placement of each key (besides the ALT and Shift keys, which are swapped) and keys’ shape. The keyboard is pretty easy to type on, though the keys are a little bit firmer than we would have liked. Hopefully that changes a tad with continued use.
We love the weight of the device and the entire experience of using a candy bar Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard. We even like how there is a programmable application key (in BlackBerry terms a right convenience key) on the right side. Something we can’t move past, though? The ear speaker. Talking on the phone with the DROID Pro is probably the worst of any handset we can remember. The ear speaker crackles, is distorted, and it sounds like there is some weird noise cancellation going on. Sometimes, audio doesn’t even come through. We have to believe this is an issue with our specific unit — we can’t imagine they are all like this, though we did confirm with someone else in possession of a DROID Pro that they have noticed some weird ear speakers issues as well. We’ll let you know in our review how it turns out as Verizon is swapping our unit with a different handset. Check out the photos in our gallery below, including some shots with a BlackBerry Bold 9780 — it’s on!
Google’s Android team revealed Tuesday that over three quarters of Android-powered devices are now running either Android 2.1 or Android 2.2. Google constantly monitors this and other data using information gathered when devices access the Android Market. The current figures, which take into account all devices that have accessed the Android Market in the 14-day period ending November 1st, suggests that the majority of Android users are equipped with current OS builds. Google’s numbers show that 77% of Android devices currently run Android 2.2 or Android 2.1. Android 1.6 was found on 15% of phones and Android 1.5 was present on just 7.9%. If 75% of Android users have access to modern OS builds packed with the latest and greatest Android has to offer, is fragmentation really such a huge problem? Maybe not… but then again, Google’s data could be skewed. It is entirely possible that users with older devices simply don’t access the Market as often because the apps they want aren’t compatible with older versions of Android. More →
As Google prepares to release a fresh new version of Android, Sony Ericsson has announced that it will finally push out an OS update for three of its smartphones… to Android 2.1. No, the Xperia X10 family won’t be gobbling down Gingerbread any time soon, or even feasting on FroYo. Instead, the Xperia X10, Xperia X10 mini and Xperia X10 mini pro will all be stuck eating Eclair beginning Sunday, October 31st. Oh and if you have an AT&T-branded X10, you’ll have to wait until some time in November for the update. Sony Ericsson has delayed this Android 2.1 upgrade several times and now that it’s almost here, it seems like way too little, way too late. As for when the X10 crew might see a more modern build of the Android OS, don’t hold your breath. Hit the jump for a rundown of changes X10 users can expect starting this weekend. More →
The pricing and launch date might look familiar thanks to an exclusive we ran earlier this month, but Sprint fans with a hankering for relatively tiny tablets can now rest easy — a release date and pricing information are now official for Sprint’s upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab. The 7-inch tablet will launch online and in select stores on November 14, and it will run $399.99 with a new 2-year contract. As far as what that 2-year contract entails, Sprint is making two data plans available alongside its first tablet offering: a 2GB option for $29.99 per month and a 5GB option for $59.99 per month. Pre-orders begin today at participating Sprint stores across the country. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Android fans on AT&T have gotten the short end of the stick more times than we can count. It took far too long for AT&T to hop on board the Android bus and now that the wheels are going round and round, AT&T subscribers are still forced to deal with a less-than-stellar handset selection compared to the competition. In an effort to make amends, AT&T today announced the availability of its U-verse mobile app for Android handsets. The app gives Android users the ability to schedule recordings on their DVR boxes remotely. U-verse mobile can also download and play TV shows and movies that have already been recorded on a user’s DVR. AT&T’s U-verse app for Android is available immediately for the Samsung Captivate and HTC Aria, with versions for the Motorola FLIPSIDE and Motorola BRAVO set to follow soon. Unfortunately, the app is not available for the ancient OS build still residing on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →