Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sony Ericsson A8i heading for China Mobile

China Mobile uses the unusual TD-SCDMA network, but it has a massive subscriber base which means that it is worth manufacturers making handsets specifically for this market.

Running a variation of Android called OMS, the Sony Ericsson A8i has a 3.5" 854 x 480 pixel display, a 5 megapixel camera and all the usual stuff you'd expect such as WiFi and GPS.

It looks very much like the white version of the XPERIA X10 but with a smaller screen, and its certainly an attractive European-style handset that should appeals to better off customers.

Why is China Mobile so important? Well, it has over 500 million subscribers and is the single largest mobile phone network in the work. Those are big numbers.. and unlike Vodafone who are number 2 in the world, the China Mobile business is one single market which give significant economies of scale.

Nokia too are competing with the Nokia X5 TD-SCDMA which is a very conventional Symbian smartphone. We know which one we would choose!

Via [1] [2]

Monday, August 30, 2010

Motorola QUENCH XT5

The original QUENCH was launched by Moto last year, but this (as yet) unannounced update takes the existing "Morrison" platform device and adds Android 2.1 and a trackball to the existing design. It didn't make much market impact though, and was mostly restricted to North American markets.

The QUENCH XT5 is pitched to compete against the Nokia X6 and HTC Wildfire in the market. It sports a 3.2" 480 x 320 pixel display, a 5 megapixel camera with flash, FM radio, HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 support, WiFi and GPS. Talktime on 3G is quoted as over hours with 22 days standby time, and the whole package weighs 114 grams.

Pricing will probably be around $350 - $400 retail in the US, €250 - €300 in Europe. There's no exact word on the date yet, but we think that the official announcement of this handset it likely to be very soon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fennec Alpha hits Android

Fennec is the mobile version of Firefox, and it's now available in Alpha for several Android devices. Quite a lot more sophisticated than the standard Android browser, Fennec has been hotly anticipated as it offers a better user interface and the possibility of using Firefox addons.

Don't go looking on the Android Market for it yet - you will need to download and install it a different way. The instructions are right here It certainly seems to work on our test Milestone, except that it is rather slow and can't handle embedded YouTube videos.. so it definitely isn't ready for everyday use yet.

Via [1], [2]

Samsung Galaxy Tab teaser

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is Samsung's answer to the iPad, sporting a 7" display and Android 2.2. Samsung have released a teaser trailer (see below) to whet our appetites before the launch next week. Looks great, hopefully it will be cheaper than the iPad too. You can see the teaser at the Samsung Galaxy Tab site or click below.

Via [1], [2]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nokia N9 to compete with high-end Android devices

Outside the Android camp, Nokia is currently preparing its first MeeGo handset - the Nokia N9. Nokia have been sidelined over recent months with the impressive growth of Android devices, but MeeGo is the descendant of Nokia's open source Maemo OS which was a broadly similar attempt to build a powerful mobile operating system.

According to Softpedia, the N9 will pack a 1GHz processor, have a 4" WVGA display, 512MB of RAM and all the other usual high-end features.

What we really like? The keyboard! There's not exactly a wealth of QWERTY equipped Android devices.. and the keyboard on the popular DROID / Milestone is sucky to say the least. The N9 looks very good though, reminding us a bit of the highly usable keyboard on the Nokia 9210.

So yes, this is an Android blog and the N9 isn't an Android phone.. well, not yet. We imagine that it won't be long until some enterprising person hacks the handset to run Android, just as they did with the N900.. see the video below for more.

Via [1], [2], [3]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Xperia X10 Mini is phone of the year.. apparently.

Apparently voted "phone of the year" for 2010-2011 at the European EISA awards is the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini.

No, we're not sure why either. It's alright, but really we think that the screen is too small to be really practical. Oh well.


HTC Desire HD spotted on Amazon

It really can't be long before HTC formally announce the HTC Desire HD when Amazon (accidentally) listed it for £415 in the UK..


Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Complete Guide to Maximizing Your Android Phone’s Battery Life"

How-To Geek has a great article on how to maximize the battery life on your Android phone.

If you're struggling with battery time, then you really need to read this to understand exactly what might be sucking the life out of your precious battery.

In particular, the issue of background applications running when you don't want them is a serious issue. Unwanted apps not only drain the battery, but they can also slow your phone down and use memory. Very few applications have a proper "Exit" function, so these can build up over time. It's baffling why Android doesn't come with a decent Task Manager - How-To Geek recommends Advanced Task Cleaner, I personally recommend Task Manager by Rhythm Software although there are a huge number to choose from in the Android Market.


BBC: Vodafone backs down on Desire fiasco

Another good argument for going SIM-free was the decision of Vodafone in the UK to push out an update to customers that - instead of being the expected Froyo update - in fact filled the phone in unremovable Vodafone-branded applications.

User reactions were understandably very negative, after all if the phone didn't come with this crap on when it was bought.. what right does the carrier have to install it later? Now the BBC are reporting that Vodafone have backed down on the update and will offer it as an optional download at a later date.

The whole OS update issue looks like a storm brewing. Customers very much want Android 2.2, but some manufacturers and networks are dragging their feet over the issue. Maybe there was a point to the Google Nexus One after all, as that was the first to get the update.. but will it run Android 3?

Via [1], [2]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BBC: Virus writers hit Google Android phones

You know when a platform is beginning to be successful when the bad guys start writing viruses for it, and the mainstream media take notice.

According to this report, Kaspersky Labs discovered the malware which is said to be the first malicious application for the Android platform (really?). The malicious application spreads via SMS and seems to be hitting Russian Android users in particular.

There are perhaps a couple of good things to do to keep safe - firstly, most Android users should stick the the official Android Market for applications.. but even then you should be careful when installing applications and look at the reviews and see EXACTLY what the application is asking to have access to.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Video: Motorola DROID 2

A video guide to the Motorola DROID 2


Motorola DROID 2 packs Froyo, 1GHz CPU and better keyboard

Not exactly a secret we guess, but here it is..the Motorola DROID 2 fixes most of the things that annoyed us with the original DROID / MILESTONE handset.

This is a CDMA phone for the Verizon network in the US, but we would be very surprised if we didn't see an announcement for the "MILESTONE 2" very shortly as well.

The DROID 2 improves on the original version by ramping up the processor speed to 1GHz, it now runs Android 2.2 (Froyo) and has a much better keyboard. The camera remains the same at 5 megapixels plus a dual LED flash. Internal memory is 8GB plus an 8GB microSD card in the standard sales package, and the DROID 2 comes with the 3.7" 854 x 480 pixel Gorilla Glass coated display that made the original one so nice to use.

Android 2.2 includes better Flash support than on previous versions, and it is also reportedly much quicker than 2.1. Combine this with a processor running at almost twice the speed then this should make it a very nice handset indeed.

The DROID 2 should be available to pre-order from tomorrow (11th August) from Verizon Wireless for delivery sometime during Q3.. and there will even be an "R2-D2" themed version available online from next month. Yes, this is probably the DROID you are looking for.

Monday, August 9, 2010

HTC Desire HD / HTC Ace caught on video

Not much to see, except that it exists.. definitely one to look out for!

Friday, August 6, 2010

HTC Desire HD and Desire Z (HTC Vision) on the horizon

We think that the HTC Desire rocks, and it's definitely one of the best Android devices on the market. It makes sense that HTC would want to follow on this success, and apparently they are looking at the HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z (or perhaps HTC Vision or HTC Desire Vision) to carry on from the original Desire. There's also an upcoming variant of the Desire that uses an SLCD display instead of OLED, partly down to manufacturing difficulties with OLED displays.

Our response.. well it's "game on!" Goodness only knows what HTC have in their plans for an "HD" version of what is already an HD device.. most likely something very, very Desire-able indeed!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Android handsets up 886% in a year

According to a widely reported analysis from Canalys, shipments of Android phones were up 886% between Q2 2009 and Q2 2010, as sales of smartphones surge.

Canalys says that the number one platform for smartphones was Symbian with 27.1m shipments in the quarter, followed by RIM's BlackBerry OS at 11.2m, Android at 10.7m and Apple's iPhone at 8.4m. All vendors reported about a 40%-60% increase in shipments except Microsoft that slipped 10.2% in a rapidly growing market.

Of course, Android shipments are shared between several different manufacturers, where RIM and Apple devices only come from RIM and Apple, and the bulk of Symbian handsets will be Nokia. But who knows where this growth will end up? Don't expect RIM to relinquish that #2 place easily though, as at least three new handsets are likely to be announced by them in the very near future (perhaps even today!)

Via [1], [2]

Is there a Gorilla in your smartphone?

Who knew that glass could be so interesting.. if you own a Motorola Android phone, or certain LG, Samsung or Sonim phones then your handset probably has Gorilla Glass. This is one of those inventions that didn't really have a market when it was invented, but right know there's a huge demand for lightweight but tough glass that works well with LCD screen.

Gorilla Glass was original invented in 1962, and is the result of a painstaking research program and is very carefully made - the whole story is quite interesting and you can read more about it here. If you want to find out if your device has Gorilla Glass, then the manufacturer Corning has a list here. It's obviously quite tough because you can find it in ultra-rugged handsets like the Sonim XP2 Spirit.. although there's some debate as to how difficult it is to scratch over at the Motorola forums.

My best advice is that even if you find that your phone has Gorilla Glass, you still want to get yourself a nice case for it because your Android phone is not indestructible.

Via [1], [2]

Android 2.2 "Froyo" - who gets what when

It's hard to keep track of just which Android devices may (or may not) get an upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo) and when.

The best resource we can find for this is JR Raphael's "Android 2.2 upgrade list" over at ComputerWorld which is kept up-to-date with latest developments.

The headlines are that the Google Nexus One was the first to have the new OS, and in the US the HTC EVO 4G and Motorola DROID start with the rollout this week. In Europe the HTC Desire rollout should start in a few weeks time, but the situation with the Motorola MILESTONE is a bit unclear, although O2 Germany say they will be pushing 2.2 out to Milestone customers in September. There's no news on the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 though.

Definite a good page to keep bookmarked if you want to keep track of the Froyo release schedule!