Thursday, December 23, 2010

NEC will launch new Android products

By Rob Coppinger A DUAL SCREEN tablet will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show by NEC, following its November release of the single display Cloud Communicator Lifetouch. The dual-screen tablet also comes under the Cloud Communicator Lifetouch banner and both tablets use an unspecified Android operating system, and have 7-inch LCD touchscreens, 3G and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity plus a stylus for pen input. NEC also says that the dual-screen tablet will do "multi-tasking, with the ability to run different programs on each LCD screen", which it claims is an industry first. The apps for the Cloud Communicators can be found at the Andronavi online store. The fact that NEC has felt the need to use a third party store tells us two things, (a), that the tablets' OS won't be the highly anticipated tablet friendly Honeycomb, and (b), neither Communicator will have a phone function. Where tablets are also phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, they have access to Google's Android marketplace, but if the device is not a phone it is not compatible with Android apps.

Google Nexus S

The Nexus S specifications of a Samsung Cortex A8 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 512MB of RAM, 16GB of NAND flash storage, a 4-inch Super AMOLED 480x800 WVGA capacitive touchscreen, a 5MP camera and a 1,500mAh battery with a weight of 129g sound good, but they are not a million miles beyond the Nexus One. The Nexus One specifications were a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of NAND flash storage, a 3.7-inch 480x800 capacitive touchscreen, a 5MP auto-focus LED flash camera, 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, and a 1,400mAh battery, all wrapped up in 130g. So while the display and battery are both slightly larger and the display is now Super AMOLED, the only real performance enhancing difference between them is the huge leap in storage. What the newer processor and larger display do provide is a very smooth user interface and fast browsing. The fifth version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3 has the now familiar set of homepages that can be swiped between, and the apps page. Browsing is fast, as fast as Windows Phone 7, which is pretty fast, and Youtube looks and sounds good on the Nexus S. Like other handsets the 4-inch display delivers a much more comfortable Internet experience, especially in landscape mode, and it makes pinch to zoom less susceptible to uncommanded actions. For web browsing, a 4-inch display should really be seen as a minimum. Despite the smoother user interface, the increased memory probably has more to do with support for Flash 10.1 and the adoption of the voice action feature. Both of these are bound to be computationally demanding, Flash being particularly renowned for its CPU intensive nature. So how does voice action fair? Not that great, as even in a quiet office environment the voice recognition doesn't always work. Asking the handset to call Incisive Media found it floundering with suggestions that had the word media in them but none were accurate. How tough is the word "incisive"? The big shock came when I looked for the FM radio. It's a pretty standard feature on handsets. The LG Optimus One, a lower spec Android handset, has an FM radio but the more capable Nexus S smartphone does not. However, if you don't mind paying for a hefty data allowance there are plenty of Internet radio apps, 1,050 according to Android Marketplace. Finally, Google makes the claim that the curved display makes it more comfortable to use, but that wasn't The INQUIRER's experience. It wasn't any easier on the ear than any flat-screen handset. Launched a few months after the Nexus One was cancelled, the Nexus S is very similar in its specifications to its predecessor and could really be seen as just a small improvement over it. The name Nexus S, instead of Nexus Two, is probably a way of leaving the bad press of the first phone behind, as might be the choice of a Samsung handset instead of the HTC Bravo that was used for Nexus One. With the voice actions feature providing real product differentiation, when it works, and sales and customer service handed over to people that know what they're doing, such as Carphone Warehouse, the Nexus S could be the success that everyone expected the Nexus One would be. Source:The inquirer

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

LG releases Android Froyo based phones

Korean manufacter LG Electronics is releasing a series of phones that it says will run on "a number operating systems as well as Android." Practically this means that while HTC Droid, Incredible and EVO 4G owners wait for an official Froyo update, LG is belting out a new range of smartphones with the latest Android goodness. The LG Optimus Series of 10 smartphones will start appearing in the second half of this year. The Optimus One and Optimus Chic will both ship first with Android 2.2 onboard. LG says that the Optimus One is your bog standard Android smartphone, but the Optimus Chic is designed for fashion aficionados with its "tasteful design incorporating soft and smooth lines." LG will also be introducing its first tablet device later this year. The company claims its tablet running the Android OS will "manage vastly superior performance" than other similar devices while being thinner and lighter.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

HTC upgrades its Hero smartphone

Users of HTC Hero smartphones, who have been waiting for ages for an update to Android 2.1, are finally starting to download it like a mad thing.
The Taiwanese mobile phone maker has started an over the air rollout of the update that will bring the phone out of an Android dark ages into a 2.1 renaissance.
HTC confirmed that it started rolling out the Android 2.1 OS yesterday and that the update is available for Hero phones in Europe. However users should back up their data as this second part of the update will wipe their handsets. The updates first part started rolling out weeks ago.
For now only unlocked handsets are able to get the update. Network operators in the UK that offer the handset, T-Mobile, which calls it the G2 Touch, and Orange that doesn't, expect to offer the update in the near future.
Pictures of an update availability notification message screen circulating on the interweb shows that a download file for the Android 2.1 update is 80MB big. HTC has recommended that users use a WiFi connection to download the updates for 2.1 because of their size.
If you don't want to wait for UK networks to bother to offer the upgrade then there is always the option of getting an O2 contract for the Desire that comes with 2.1.
So far we have not had any word from readers as to how they like the HTC Hero update, so we are hoping that some of you will post below.
UPDATE: The 3 network has told The INQUIRER that its over the air update for its HTC Hero users to upgrade to the Android 2.1 OS is planned for July.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Intel will ship x86 Android 2.2 this summer

Intel is going to ship a native x86 version of the Linux-based Android 2.2 operating system for use on netbooks and tablets. Renee James, Intel's SVP for software and services, told APC that she expects developers will get the opportunity to play with it this summer.
It's an important step that will have Microsoft looking nervously over its shoulder, as it will see Google's mobile OS, already very popular on smartphones, moving to the PC standard x86 architecture.
Android was originally built to run on ARM chips in smartphones, but Intel has been beavering away at adapting Android's open source code to run as a native x86 operating system. This makes sense, as it will allow Intel's partners to use its Atom processor for Android-based devices. It might deal a blow to ARM chip designs already seen on smartphones and other small devices.
So far Microsoft has dominated the netbook market based on Intel's Atom processor, while Android has mainly focused on ARM processor-based smartphones. But getting an x86 version of Android 2.2, code named 'Froyo', might help Intel's Atom chips make inroads into the smartbook market, and possibly even enter the smartphone market as well.
As The INQUIRER revealed at Computex, Intel and Google are already working on a Atom-based smartphone that will run on a yet to be identified release of Android.
By Asavin Wattanajantra

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not fast, just Flash

Users will likely have a long wait while Android users can expect to experience the application's abilities first. While 10.1 has been released for proper computers the makers of the handheld variety have only just been given the tools for their OS. Today Google, Symbian, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Meego, LiMo and Palm all got what they need to make it happen. Android phones will likely get 10.1 before those with Windows phones because Adobe is only working to make it compatible with Windows Phone 7, the release date for which is unknown. However a Flash Beta 3 update is on the Android Market and the full release will be available via an over the air update. Available that is for users that have upgraded to Android 2.2, which is expected later this year. Devices supporting 2.2 and so Flash 10.1 are expected to include the Dell Streak, Google Nexus One, HTC's Evo, Incredible and Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S. Flash Player 10.1 for mobiles has been redesigned to optimise it for power management, CPU use, multi-touch screens, zooming and auto-switching screen orientation. Adobe says, "The...rendering feature ensures that Flash content is running only when it becomes visible...reducing CPU and battery consumption. Flash automatically slows down when the device [is in] screen saver mode.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HTC's Android 2.1 update will wipe your data

BACKUP YOUR DATA because the second of two HTC Hero updates to upgrade the phone to Android 2.1 will wipe the handset, says its manufacturer. The first update to bring Android 2.1, also known as Éclair, to the Hero is underway with a second and final update to take place before the end of this month. Only once that is downloaded and installed will the phone have the Android 2.1 OS. This second update is so large that HTC said, "we would advise using a WiFi connection for this download to avoid additional data charges." The updates, detected when Hero automatically checks for software updates, will be pushed to users' phones and they will be asked to accept the over the air change. Users of HTC's Desire and Droid Incredible models and its future Evo 4G and MyTouch slide products might be offered updates to Android 2.2, Froyo. HTC intends to announce a full list of updates for Froyo later this year with the updates expected to take place before year end.