Throughout the years, numerous companies have made the decision to lock the bootloader on a smartphone or tablet, making it impossible for savvy users to run custom kernels and have complete control of the device. The Android community is perhaps one of the most vocal user bases in the world when it comes to the practice of locking bootloaders. When HTC and ASUS began to lock their bootloaders, thousands of users took to social networks and had the decisions overturned. Motorola began locking the bootloader with the company’s DROID X and DROID 2 smartphones in the Spring of 2010. Since then, users have bombarded the company with petitions, emails, posts and comments in an attempt to overturn the policy… and it worked, somewhat. Motorola announced that with carrier approval, it would begin to unlock devices in the later part of 2011. However, unlike HTC, Motorola caved to the carriers and devices such as the DROID RAZR were released locked with no unlocking tool having been made available. Users at XDA-Developers are at it again with “OPERATION: Make Ourselves Heard (#OPMOSH),” a movement to have Motorola’s policy reversed. Similar to the methods used towards HTC and ASUS, users are encouraged to email company executives, sign petitions and let their voices be heard through social networks. It remains to be seen if users’ efforts will pay off, however. More →
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →
Verizon Wireless has detailed a software update that will soon be pushed to the Motorola DROID X, thus confirming that the phone will be upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The update will include a number of enhancements and the more prominent ones include a new user interface, better word prediction, app grouping, an improved email application, geo-tagging support in the camera, a download manager application, auto-focus improvements for the camera in low-light conditions, and improved battery life while using Bluetooth. Phone Scoop says Verizon has confirmed it will begin pushing the Android 2.3 update to DROID X phones on May 27th. More →
We’ve already seen leaked hands-on photos of Verizon’s upcoming DROID X2 smartphone, but now the official press images have been spilled, too. There doesn’t appear to be many aesthetic differences from the original DROID X, aside from the DROID^2 logo painted on the back. There are a few spec boosts, though, including a rumored 1.2GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and a higher resolution qHD display. The DROID X2 is expected to launch running Android 2.2 although we hope there are plans for an early Android 2.3 software update. According to earlier rumors, the DROID X2 will cost $199.99 with a new two year contract, but Verizon Wireless has yet to leak a launch date. More →
Motorola DROID X users are reporting that the highly anticipated update to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is finally beginning to rollout. Update 4.5.588 is currently being delivered to devices as an over-the-air (OTA) update and while no official change log is available at this time, the stand-out addition is obviously Gingerbread. Yes, the DROID X has finally been thrust into 2011, which will definitely be a relief for many anxious owners. What’s more, the new Android 2.3 build for the DROID X has already been rooted, and a public root solution should become available shortly. So, DROID X owners, if you haven’t already received the update, sit tight — it should hit your handsets soon. For the impatient among you, hit the read link to download the update file and apply it manually.
Despite its success with Android, Motorola Mobility has reportedly hired a number of engineers, some from Adobe and Apple, to work on a brand new web-based operating system. “I know they’re working on it,” Jonathan Goldberg, an analyst with Deutsche Bank told Information Week. “I think the company recognizes that they need to differentiate and they need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier.” Sources speaking to Goldberg and Information Week suggested that Motorola Mobility was building the OS as a possible alternative to Android, and while Motorola Mobility didn’t deny that it might be working on something, it has reaffirmed that it’s committed to the platform. It all sounds a bit strange to us, especially since Motorola helped kick off the Android craze in the United States with the DROID, DROID 2 and DROID X on Verizon Wireless, among others. It seems more likely to us that Motorola Mobility is working on a Web-based operating system to compliment Android, instead of one to compete with it, but we’ll have to see.
UPDATE: A Motorola spokesperson reached out to BGR with the following statement: “Motorola Mobility remains committed the Android operating system. We have hired employees with HTML skills to enable the best browsing experience to consumers and our strategic focus on the Android platform has not changed.”
Market research firm The NPD Group on Monday published the latest data surrounding sales of supersized smartphones in the U.S. Using its “Mobile Phone Track,” which tracks smartphone sales in the U.S., NPD has determined that smartphones with screens sized 4 inches and above became tremendously popular in 2010. Devices like Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G and Verizon Wireless’ Motorola DROID X, which launched in the second quarter of 2010, grew to encompass 24% of the U.S. smartphone market by the fourth quarter last year. The EVO 4G was the most popular supersized smartphone in 2010, followed by the DROID X. Samsung’s Fascinate, Captive and Vibrant rounded out the top-5 in that order, according to NPD Group. The firm’s report also notes that fourth-quarter sales of smartphones with screens between 3.5 and 3.9 inches grew just 2% compared to the same quarter in 2009, and sales of smartphones with screens sized 3.4 inches and below dropped 63% over the same period. Hit the break for the full press release. 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 →
Motorola’s successor to its first supersized Android smartphone may soon be unveiled following a series of leaked photos and details. User britishturbo on mobile enthusiast forum The MobiZone is the latest to claim knowledge of the upcoming device, and his claimed details gain credibility thanks to the stockpile of images that accompany them. While his post has since been removed from the forum, a cached version of the page reveals specs highlighted by a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, the same 4.3-inch 540 x 960-pixel display as the DROID BIONIC, an 8-megapixel camera and the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system. The forum post also claims that the DROID X 2 will become available from Verizon Wireless in the second quarter. This indeed jibes with details we reported late last month, and they make the device sound curiously similar to the LTE-equipped DROID BIONIC. The DROID X 2 will only support 3G according to the report, however, and could come in at a lower price point. More →
In confirming over the weekend that Verizon Wireless would be doing away with mail-in rebates on smartphones priced at $150 and higher, we also mentioned that price drops were expected to take effect today on several devices. Sure enough, several smartphones saw price reductions this morning as Verizon Wireless’ new policy slid into place. Among them are the Motorola DROID R2-D2, which can now be had for $99.99 with a new contract, and the HTC DROID Incredible and Samsung Fascinate are now available at the same price. Of note, the Fascinate’s price drop appears to be temporary as part of Verizon’s new “10 days of sweet deals” promotion, which offers a new deal each day leading up to February 10th, when the carrier is set to launch the iPhone 4. More →
A new unconfirmed report suggests Motorola is prepping a sequel to its supersized DROID X smartphone that will improve the device in several key areas. Motorola launched the DROID X last year as its first entry into the popular new extra-large smartphone space. HTC and Samsung have found the most success with smartphone displays measuring 4 inches and larger, but Mototorla’s DROID X was a fantastic offering in its own right. The device must have sold relatively well, it would seem, as Motorola is now rumored to be cooking up its successor. Supposedly codenamed “Daytona,” the next Motorola DROID X will feature a 1GHZ dual-core Tegra 2 processor and a higher-resolution 540 x 960-pixel display that still measures 4.3 inches. Other rumored specs include the Android 2.2 Froyo OS, an 8-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, DLNA streaming support, an HDMI-out port and a microSD slot. The device is expect to be launched by Verizon Wireless, though a specific release date and pricing details are not yet available. More →
Dell is offering a limited-time promotion on the Motorola DROID X that will net customers a $25 Dell gift card. Through Dell’s online mobility shop, the Motorola DROID X is currently available for free with a two-year Verizon Wireless agreement. Dell is also waiving Verizon’s activation fee, shipping the handset for free via FedEx and offering customers one $25 Dell gift card per order. If there’s a sweeter deal out there for Motorola’s supersized DROID smartphone, we haven’t found it. Dell is also still offering the same deal on the HTC DROID Incredible. More →
Among the top carriers in the U.S., AT&T is the worst by a healthy margin. The news comes from this year’s Consumer Reports reader survey, which ranks Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile along with some regional carriers. Verizon Wireless was ranked as the nation’s top major carrier, though its score of 74 positions it in the No. 2 spot overall behind U.S. Cellular. Readers were asked to grade each carrier on several criteria including value, voice service quality, data service quality and customer support. The ratings were on a scale of “Worse” to “Better,” with three increments in between. AT&T received the lowest possible rating of “Worse” in eight out of nine categories, managing too eke out a next-to-lowest rating for SMS service quality. In response to the survey, AT&T had this to say:
We take this seriously and we continually look for new ways to improve the customer experience. The fact is wireless customers have choices and a record number of them chose AT&T in the third quarter, significantly more than our competitors. Hard data from independent drive tests confirms AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network with our nearest competitor 20 percent slower on average nationwide and our largest competitor 60 percent slower on average nationwide. And, our dropped call rate is within 1/10 of a percent – the equivalent of just one call in a thousand – of the industry leader.
Smartphones were also ranked in the same issue of Consumer Reports, and all but one of the top devices in the country are powered by Android. In fact each of the four variants of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone received top honors, either solely (Sprint’s Epic 4G, T-Mobile’s Vibrant) or as part of a tie — the Fascinate tied the Motorola DROID X for the No. 1 spot on Verizon Wireless, and Captivate tied the Apple iPhone 4 on AT&T.