WatchESPN, an app that allows users to stream live TV content to devices over Wi-Fi or cellular data connections, is now available for Android devices. ESPN released the app for the iPhone and iPod touch last month and we’ve definitely been enjoying it, so seeing the network follow up with an Android app last week was most certainly welcomed. WatchESPN streams live content from ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com provided you subscribe to a cable TV package from one of ESPN’s partner companies. If your cable provider isn’t among those listed by ESPN, however, you’re unfortunately out of luck. More →
RadioShack quietly announced on Monday that it is now offering AT&T’s Inspire 4G for just $29.99 with a two-year contract for new AT&T customers and existing subscribers looking to upgrade. Though the Inspire is still a relatively young device that was just released in February, newer dual-core smartphones are already making it look a tad gray up top. Its specs are still respectable, however, and they include a 4.3-inch display, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, Android 2.2 (Froyo), an 8-megapixel camera, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and HTC’s Sense UI. RadioShack’s price is the lowest we’ve seen from a reputable retailer, and it’s good from now through May 21st.
The “is Android open?” question is one that constantly fades in and out of focus on blogs and in the tech media. The latest snippet that will undoubtedly reinvigorate the argument was revealed this past weekend, and this time it’s not a pretty one for Google. As part of Skyhook Wireless’ lawsuit against Google, which alleges that the company interfered with a contract that placed its services on Android phones sold by Motorola, several internal emails have been made public by a Massachusetts state court. Collectively, the emails provide various insights into the business strategies employed by Google’s Android team. One email in particular, however, is attracting a great deal of attention. In it, Android Open-Source & Compatibility Program Manager Dan Morrill writes, “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want.” In other words, we’re brought right back to the earlier revelation that Android partners can do whatever they want with the platform, but only those that play ball with Google’s compatibility requirements get preferential treatment, such as early access to new Android builds. Of course this time, the sentiment comes straight from the horse’s mouth in a relatively gruff manner, which doesn’t exactly do a service to Google’s repeated “open” claims. More →
LG has confirmed with Pocket-Lint that the Optimus Black — announced during CES as “the world’s thinnest smartphone”– will make its debut in the UK next week. Carrier partners are currently unknown, but this is definitely a device worth getting excited about. It packs LG’s colorful and crisp 4-inch NOVA display with 700 nits of brightness, a 5-megapixel camera, and a secondary front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chat. The Optimus Black is powered by a 1GHz processor, which is a bit slower than the dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 chip in the LG G2x, but its thin design should be a fair tradeoff. The Optimus Black will run Android 2.2 when it launches, but LG has confirmed that the phone will be upgraded to Gingerbread in the future. More →
Sprint on Thursday unveiled two new Android smartphones from Motorola — the Motorola XPRT and the Motorola Titanium. The XPRT is a dual-mode smartphone capable of roaming internationally on GSM networks, and it’s also the first Android phone from Sprint to feature enterprise-class security. Spec highlights include Android 2.2 (Froyo) with MOTOBLUR, a 3.1-inch touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keyboard with BlackBerry-style buttons, a 1GHz processor and Adobe Flash 10 support. The Motorola Titanium is Sprint’s successor to the i1, and it will be a military-grade ruggedized smartphone running Android 2.1 (Eclair). Other highlights include a full BlackBerry-style QWERTY keypad, a 3.1-inch touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera, Push to Talk support and dust, shock, vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, high temperature and low temperature resistance. The Motorola XPRT launches on June 5th for $129.99 on contract. Pricing and availability details are not yet available for the Titanium. Hit the break for Sprint’s full press release. More →
Market research and analysis firm Canalys on Wednesday released its global country-level smartphone market share data for the first quarter of 2011. According to the firm’s report, Android continued to dominate the worldwide smartphone market as global shipments grew to 37.5 million units, giving Google’s mobile OS a market-leading 35% share of smartphone sales in the quarter. Nokia’s market share fell dramatically year-over-year from 39% in the first quarter of 2010 to just 24% last quarter, according to the report, and Apple’s share grew to 19%. Though the smartphone market outgrew Nokia at an alarming pace, the Finnish company did manage to increase shipments 13% year-over-year to 24.2 million units last quarter. Global smartphone shipments grew 83% from 55.2 million units in the first quarter of 2010 to 101 million units in the same quarter this year. The Asia Pacific region showed the most growth over the first quarter last year — 98% — while first-quarter smartphone shipments in the U.S. grew 85% from 13.3 million in 2010 to 24.7 million units in 2011. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Motorola on Tuesday finally announced that the HSUPA-enabling ATRIX 4G update thousands of users have been clamoring for has finally begun rolling out to devices. Software update v4.1.83 for the ATRIX 4G includes several updates that Motorola claims will improve device performance — none of those improvements will have quite the dramatic impact that enabling HSUPA will, of course. AT&T had disabled HSUPA when the ATRIX 4G was first released, and countless of users gathered on forums to complain of the slow upload speeds they were experiencing on their “4G” devices. Thousands of angry ATRIX owners even signed a petition to voice their disdain. AT&T finally responded and told users a future update would enable HSUPA, and now that update is finally available. Motorola has issued the OTA update and users should receive a notification once it is queued up for their devices. Impatient ATRIX owners can also initiate the update manually from within the device settings. More →
Verizon Wireless has announced that it will issue a software update for the HTC ThunderBolt on May 3rd. The update will enhance the connectivity to Verizon’s 3G network – when a 4G signal isn’t available, of course – and will also fix some email and SMS bugs so that messages are stored properly in your inbox. Verizon also said that, after the patch is applied, the Backup Assistant application will display properly in the applications menu. Other fixes include faster loading of GPS updates and stability improvements for Facebook, KAYAK, Yahoo! Mail, My Verizon, and others. Unfortunately, the update doesn’t appear to offer any improvements to the ThunderBolt’s notoriously bad battery life. More →
RadioShack has slashed the price of T-Moile’s LG G2x to just $99 for today only. The G2x is one of the hottest Android devices available and it rocks a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 8 megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video, and has a stunning 4-inch 800 x 480 pixel display. It’s even getting the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) update soon. We fawned over the G2x even at its original $199 price point in our review, so if you’re a T-Mobile customer this is definitely a deal you’ll want to be taking advantage of. More →
We have been playing with HTC’s DROID Incredible 2 for the last day or so, and here’s some quick feedback and first impressions: For starters, the 4-inch screen size, while no doubt a personal preference, really seems to be the sweet spot for most Android handsets. It’s reasonably large, yet not too big to use one-handed, as some 4.3-inch devices seem to be. The screen itself is beautiful, but there is an unusually high glare on the display that can be a bit distracting. Beneath the display lies a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera with support for 720p HD video capture and the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system. We’re really enjoying the styling and build materials of the Incredible 2; it’s a welcome update to original DROID Incredible, which was a bit plasticky. One issue with the build of the handset, however, is that front case and rear battery cover have been sandwiched together, and the seam is right in the middle around the entire outer edge of the phone. This impacts the feel of the phone when it is being held, and we’re not big fans. That’s probably the only negative thing we can find off the bat — and it’s not even a major issue, just a minor annoyance. All in all, the HTC DROID Incredible 2 seems to be a worthy upgrade over the original, but we’ll reserve final judgement for our upcoming review. In the meantime, hit the gallery below for some preliminary photos, alright?
The Nielsen Company on Tuesday released the findings of its latest smartphone survey, which asked respondents planning to purchase new smartphones which platform they intended to patronize. When asked that question between June and September last year, 33% named iOS, 26% said Android and 13% said they planned to purchase a BlackBerry smartphone. When a new group was asked the same question between January and March of 2011, Android slipped past Apple’s iOS platform to become the most wanted smartphone platform according to Nielsen; 31% planned to purchase an Android phone, 30% planned to buy an iPhone and 11% were eyeing BlackBerry devices. Interestingly, indecision also grew between the two surveys — 18% of respondents were undecided when asked between June and September survey while 20% were undecided between January and March. More →
We just got our hands on a brand new Samsung DROID Charge from Verizon Wireless (thanks, FedEx!), and we’ve been checking out the carrier’s second 4G LTE smartphone for a little while. Here are some of our first impressions: Right out of the box we were blown away by the DROID Charge’s 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen; the blacks are so dark that it’s hard to see where the screen ends and the chassis starts, and colors really do pop. The phone is powered by a 1GHz processor, which feels fast, but the Charge also doesn’t seem to zip around the UI as quickly as some of the dual-core devices we’ve tested recently, such as the T-Mobile G2x. Part of the problem could be Samsung’s custom TouchWiz software, however, which runs on top of Android 2.2 (Froyo). The DROID Charge feels very solid — albeit a bit big — and it reminds us of the Samsung Omnia II in some ways. The DROID Charge’s 4G LTE data speeds were very solid in our initial tests; our download throughput averaged 11.24Mbps down, and the phone uploaded at an average of 5.38Mbps. We’ll be working on our review over the next couple of days and we’ll be sure to address the 8-megapixel camera, battery life, 4G data speeds, call quality, and plenty more. In the meantime, be sure to check out our hands-on DROID Charge gallery below!
Verizon Wireless just took the wraps off of the Casio G’zOne Commando, its first rugged Android 2.2 (Froyo) smartphone. The G’zOne Commando meets mil-spec 810g standards for resistance against rain, immersion, shock, dust, vibration, humidity, salt fog, solar radiation, altitude, and low and high temperatures. It packs a 5-megapixel camera, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Verizon Wireless’ mobile hotspot feature for sharing your 3G connection with other devices. Like earlier G’zOne devices, the Commando offers some of Casio’s G’zGear software as well, including a compass, pedometer, tide charts, a thermometer, sun/moon schedules, and a star gazer application. The Commando will hit Verizon Wireless stores on April 28th for 199.99 with a new two-year contract. Hit the jump for the full release. More →