Google updated its Android version tracker on Tuesday, revealing the latest version of its Android operating system is slowly gaining ground. The estimated number of devices running Ice Cream Sandwich has increased by more than two-thirds over the last month, from 2.9% of all Android devices to 4.9% as measured during the 14-day period ending on May 1st. The bulk of Android devices continue to run the year-and-a-half old Gingerbread operating system (64.4%), followed by the two-year old Froyo OS (20.9%). The adoption rate of Android 2.3 is still growing, however devices running Froyo decreased by almost 3%. As more and more manufacturers update their mobile portfolios and as the HTC One X, the HTC One S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 hit the market with Ice Cream Sandwich, the operating system is likely to see continued growth over the coming months. Google is likely to unveil its next major Android build some time this summer or in the third quarter of 2012, however, further complicating the spread of Android operating system versions currently in use. More →
The nation’s third largest carrier may be looking to offer the massive Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet hybrid. TechnoBufflo on Tuesday discovered an image of the “phablet” on Sprint’s website, likely foreshadowing things to come. Samsung’s Galaxy Note has been wildly successful for the South Korean vendor, which recently announced that global sales to end-users have topped 5 million units. The Galaxy Note features a dual-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 32GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a massive 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display. The handset has been exclusively available from AT&T since February. More →
BGR reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note in February and while there were a number of features we liked about this phone/tablet hybrid, we found it to be entirely too large overall to be used as a cell phone. Toward the end of February, Samsung confirmed that it had sold more than 2 million Galaxy Note phablets worldwide and now, about one month later, Samsung says sales of the supersized Android phone have reached 5 million units. The Galaxy Note features a dual-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor, 32GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel camera, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a massive 5.2-inch WXGA Super AMOLED display. While the handset is clearly too big for many users, it appears that there is indeed a large market for the phone, and Samsung is well on its way to reaching its goal of 10 million Galaxy Notes sold by the end of 2012. More →
Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced an upcoming new addition to its 4G LTE smartphone lineup. Launching on March 29th, the entry-level LG Lucid features low-end specs and last year’s Android build, but it also sports one of the lowest launch prices we’ve seen so far for a 4G LTE-equipped smartphone. Specs include Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 5-megapixel camera and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Verizon notes that the Lucid can be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, however no details were made available regarding when the update might roll out. At $79.99, Verizon and LG have undercut AT&T’s upcoming Nokia Lumia 900, which will tout a $99.99 price tag when it is released on April 8th. The Lumia 900 is positioned as a flagship device, however, so the sub-$100 price tag is still an impressive feat. Verizon’s full press release follows below. More →
The unannounced LG Lucid 4G, code-named Cayman, is reportedly slated to arrive on Verizon’s 4G LTE network within the coming weeks. Droid-Life on Thursday obtained purported specs for the handset, which looks to be a mid-range smartphone. The Lucid 4G will be equipped with a 4-inch IPS Gorlla Glass display with a 800 x 400-pixel resolution and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and will also feature a 1,700 mAh battery, 4G LTE connectivity and 8GB of internal storage. Earlier rumors suggested that the new LG phone will launch on March 29th for under $200. More →
Sony on Tuesday announced the Xperia sola, the latest addition the company’s Android portfolio. The handset is equipped with a 3.7-inch Reality Display, a 1GHz dual-core processor, NFC and Android 2.3 Gingerbread with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich promised for the summer months. The Xperia sola also features “floating touch” navigation, which enables “magic” web browsing without physically touching the screen. “Xperia sola comes with the power of Sony and a sense of magic with floating touch, giving consumers a fun new way to browse the web and latest technology to show off,” said Calum MacDougall, Sony’s Head of Xperia marketing. The device also comes with two NFC Xperia SmartTags in the box, which owners can use to launch a pre-configured profile on their smartphone. The two SmartTags included with the handset can be personalized with up to 10 commands. The Xperia sola will be available worldwide in black, white and red in the second quarter of 2012. Hit the break for Sony’s press release and a video showcasing the Xperia sola. More →
Samsung on Tuesday announced an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is now available in Europe and South Korea for the Galaxy S II. An update for the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy R,Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Tab 7.7, Tab 8.9 and Tab 10.1 will follow in the near future. Samsung is also planning firmware updates for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab 7 that will remain on Android 2.3 Gingerbread but will include Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor and other features. “We expect that our customers will enjoy an enhanced experience with their GALAXY device through this upgrade. Samsung is committed to satisfying our customer needs”, said JK Shin, Samsung’s mobile boss. The availability of the updates will vary by market and are subject to wireless carrier approval. Read on for Samsung’s press release. More →
Fragmentation is a recurring issue that haunts the Android ecosystem in many ways. While Google’s latest version of the Android platform was intended in large part to address the issue — which many believe to have peaked when the software giant launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb and maintained two entirely separate versions of Android for smartphones and tablets — Ice Cream Sandwich has not yet done its job. Four-and-a-half months since its debut, only 1% of Android devices currently run the unified Android 4.0 operating system according to Google’s own data. To compound matters, a recent report suggested Google may launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean as soon as this summer. There is no question that fragmentation is a real issue for the Android platform, but is it really as big a deal as some make it out to be? More →
The term “entry-level” immediately reduces the appeal of smartphones in markets like the U.S. these days, as flagship phones are typically far more exciting and innovative. Still, it’s notable when a manufacturer goes to some length to differentiate an entry-level line of smartphones, and LG has done just that with its new L series. The L3, L5 and L7 are a new family of devices targeted at budget-conscious consumers that still want a solid Android experience. The L3 has a tiny 3.2-inch screen, an 800MHz processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The L5 is slightly more impressive, with a 4-inch screen and Ice Cream Sandwich, and the L7 tops out the line with a 4.3-inch display, a 1Ghz processor and Android 4.0. Check out our hands-on photos of these three new wallet-friendly smartphones in the gallery linked below.
We were only able to spend a few minutes with Sony’s new Xperia P smartphone as we rushed from Sony’s press conference to HTC’s press conference on Sunday, and we didn’t get any time at all with the Xperia U. Thanks to a slightly lighter event scheduled on Monday, we were able to make it over to Sony’s booth and spend some quality time with its new smartphones. These are the first smartphones that will be launched by the new Sony Mobile Communications unit that picks up where Sony Ericsson left off, and to be frank, we’re a bit concerned. This pair of Android phones is well-made and we like what Sony has done to its UI atop Android 4.0, but we’re still seeing some things that concern us. Check out our hands-on photos in the gallery linked below, and then hit the break for our initial impressions of the Xperia P and Xperia U smartphones.
AT&T on Thursday announced the upcoming launch of the Samsung Rugby Smart. The Rugby Smart is a waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof Android smartphone designed for users who need a durable device that doesn’t compromise functionality (or look like a space-age phaser). Spec highlights include a 3.7-inch WVGA Super AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera, a 1,650 mAh battery and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. “The Samsung Rugby Smart is perfect for active customers who need another level of durability with their smartphone,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. “It is water and dustproof and has all the features of a leading smartphone.” AT&T’s full press release follows below along with a video showcasing the device’s rugged build quality. More →
Samsung on Tuesday announced two new additions to the company’s Galaxy smartphone line; the Galaxy Ace 2 and Galaxy mini 2. The Ace 2 features an 800MHz dual-core processor with a 3.8-inch WVGA display. The handset is also equipped with a 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front facing one, Android 2.3, 4GB of internal storage and a microSD slot. The mini 2 comes with an 800MHz processor and a 3.27-inch HVGA display with a 3-megapixel rear camera, microSD slot and Android 2.3. Both devices also ship with Samsung’s ChatON, Social Hub and Music Hub services, allowing one-step access to social networks and over 17 million songs. The GALAXY Ace 2 will be available in the U.K. in April, and the GALAXY mini 2 will be available in France in March before being rolled out globally. Samsung has not announced any details with regard to a North American launch. Read on for Samsung’s press release. More →
When the Samsung Infuse 4G was released last May 2011, early adopters were promised an update to Android 2.3 in the coming months. The device, unfortunately, continued to run Android 2.2 through the end of the year. After much delay, AT&T has finally released an Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread update and while it isn’t the latest build available to Android vendors, it will undoubtedly be welcomed by frustrated Infuse users. Those who own the device will now benefit from improved copy and paste functionality, a redesigned keyboard, improved power management, a download manager and new widgets. The update is not being pushed over-the-air, however, so users will need to download the latest version of Samsung’s Kies Mini to upgrade their devices. More →