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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Could this be the HTC Dragon?

Could this be the HTC Dragon? The Dragon is believed to be the Android equivalent of the Touch HD2 (same hardware mostly and just Android instead of Windows Mobile).

Here are the specs for the Touch HD2 for you to drool over:

Qualcomm MSM 8250, 1GHz

Memory / Internal Storage
ROM: 512 MB / RAM: 320 MB / HD: 207.13MB

Display Module
4.3-inch 480×800 WVGA resolution / 65K-color / Sensitive touch screen (Capacitive) / Keep support Multi-Touch capability for WM7 Chassis

Internal antenna
Quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) / HSDPA / 3GPP Release 5 compliant
Up to 7.2Mbps / HSUPA / 3GPP release 6 compliant / UE category 5, up to 2 Mbps peak rate / EGPRS Functionality / EGPRS class B / Multi-slot class 12 (10 Operator dependent) / PBCCH

Standalone GPS
Internal GPS antenna

Motion G-sensor / Proximity sensor / Ambient Light Sensor / FM Radio

Digital Camera
Main camera: 5 MP Color CMOS with auto focus / 2x LED flash

Volume up and down control / Send Key / End Key (Power Key) / Windows Key / Home Key / (Cinema mode Key, TBD) / Back Key / Reset

Notification by sound, vibration, LEDs or status shown on the display
One dual colors (Green and Amber) LED in the left / lens for PDA event, battery and charging / status

Built-in microphone / Receiver / Loud speaker with hands-free support

Connectivity & Interface
Bluetooth / Version 2.1 compliant with EDR / Wi-Fi / IEEE 802.11 b/g compliant / Micro-USB: / USB 2.0 High-Speed client / 3.5 mm stereo audio jack with mic / 1.8/3V USIM/SIM card slot / microSD card slot with SDHC support

Battery / Removable and chargeable battery, 1,230 mAh / AC adaptor / AC input: 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60 Hz / DC output: 5V and 1A

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

HTC sets its Hero free!

In a turnabout move HTC sidesteps all four Australian mobile carriers to launch its Android-powered Hero and Tattoo smartphones unlocked and for outright sale.

In an unexpected and possibly last-minute twist, HTC has sidestepped all carriers and all networks and will offer its new Hero and Tattoo smartphones for outright sale, unlocked, through mass market retailer Harvey Norman.

Earlier information indicated that Optus or one of its network-sharing partners would have the exclusive on both Android-powered handsets, but in what appears to have been a relatively last-minute change, HTC has gone direct to the market.

This is the first time the Taiwanese smartphone supremo has taken the retail-only path, with all of its previous smartphones offered through at least one carrier.

“We just wanted to get these handsets out there” Anthony Petts, HTC’s ANZ Director of Sales and Marketing told APC. Petts said that carrier deals are still under discussion.

“Further distribution channels will be announced in due course. We’re continuing to discuss (the Hero and Tattoo) with operators, but there’s nothing that I can say the the moment.”

Customers will be able to buy the Hero from Harvey Norman for $799 “by the end of November or early December”, with the more consumer-oriented Tattoo available “a few weeks after that” for $599.

The handsets can then be used with the customer’s desired network – either for the best network coverage or the carrier which offers the best deal.

However, given that the Hero covers only 2100MHz and 900MHz as 3G HSDPA bands, this rules out Telstra’s Next G network.

Customers of 3 can use the Hero and Tattoo on 3’s primary but limited-coverage 2100GHz network while customers of Optus and Vodafone can tap into both carriers’ primary 2100MHz and regional 900MHz networks.

HTC Hero launched in Australia

HTC Hero launched in Australia $799 RRP unlocked, no carrier plans? Sold by Harvey Norman?
.. Stay tuned for details.

Google adds free turn-by-turn navigation, car dock UI to Android 2.0

Google has unveiled Maps Navigation (beta, of course), an extremely upgraded version of its current Maps software that'll be free and, from what we understand, available by default on all Android 2.0 devices.

All the usual Maps features are present, including the ability to search by name of business and have it suggest the closest matches, both semantically and geographically, and traffic data. We're also now looking at turn-by-turn navigation, female robotic voice and all, and integration with satellite and street view, the latter of which will be able to show you what lane you need to be in when exiting the highway, for example.

Instead of just searching nearby, it'll also now search along the route for when you're looking for upcoming gas stations or fast food joints that won't take you too far off your beaten path. Select addresses can be added to the Android home screen as their own icons, and given the limits of living in the cloud, trips and their respective visual feeds will be cached just in case you hit dead spots along the way.

Still no multitouch, but as VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra noted at a press conference, there's nothing stopping a company like HTC from adding that feature à la Sense UI.

In addition to demonstrating the basic navigational functions, Gundotra also showcased a new user interface that appears when the device hooked up into a car dock, one that is intended for use "at an arm's length away."

Essentially, it means much larger iconography and a convenient "voice search" option front and center. We later got confirmation from a Google product manager that car dock detection was definitively a hardware-based feature, which we take to mean Android devices currently on the market won't necessarily have the same convenience.

If Android 2.0 takes off how Google (and Verizon!) hope it does, companies like TomTom and Garmin are going to seriously need to worry about their bottom line.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

HTC Hero & Tattoo Australian release announced!

The aptly-named HTC Hero and it's little brother the Tattoo will make their Australian début next week on Optus' dual-band 3G network.

The kick-off, to be held on Wednesday afternoon (18th, November 2009) at swanky Sydney waterside eatery Doltone House, will see the Hero replace the Magic as HTC’s flagship Android phone.

The Hero is quite late arriving to the Australian market, could it be because it is to be loaded with the newfangled Android 2.0 OS?

.. Only 3 sleeps till we find out!

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