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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google to turn your mobile into a 'tap and pay' virtual wallet

Google’s newest iteration of its Android phone OS will include a wallet that lets you use your phone to make payments by tapping it against a cash register, CEO Eric Schmidt revealed Monday.

“This could eventually replace credit cards,” Schmidt said.

Android 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread, will be released in a “few weeks,” Schmidt said on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit conference in San Francisco. Schmidt showed off how so-called Near Field Communication would work using an unnamed smartphone he called an unannounced product. Using the software from Android and a NFC chip in the phone, Schmidt was able to “check in” to the conference, launching Google Maps, by touching the phone to a conference sign that had a built-in antenna.

(For geeks, there was little doubt Schmidt was showing off the Nexus S, a device thought to be made by Samsung as the successor to the original Nexus One. Unlike most other Android phones sold, the Nexus S will run the stock Android OS with no carrier modifications, making it the perfect phone for app developers and tinkerers.)

Near Field Communication sounds fancy, but it’s the same technology build into debit cards that can be used to make a payment by bumping against a reader at a store or gas pump. Android 2.3 devices that have the right on-board chip will be able to make payments using stored credit card numbers or other payment systems such as PayPal.

While U.S. geeks have long hungered for their phones to take the place of plastic credit cards, the NFC technology is not likely to replace credit card companies. In fact, Schmidt said those companies are excited about Near Field Communication because they think it will reduce fraud.

Despite running its own payment solution called Google Checkout, Google will be aggregating many payment systems, not trying to replace them, according to Schmidt.

“Ultimately, it is a personal, secure and aggregating technology,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says he’s bullish on mobile and says it will be a core focus for Google.

“I don’t think people figured out how much more powerful the mobile devices would become than desktops,” he said, referring not to their processors, but to their ability to keep a user connected to the net everywhere and use location to customize the net.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nexus Two To Be First Native Android 2.3 Device

The Nexus One was the very first phone to get the upgrade to Android 2.2, so it makes sense that the Nexus Two will also be a flagship phone for a new Android operating system. If new reports are to be believed, it'll be the first to have Android 2.3, AKA Gingerbread, pre-installed.

The device, which was designed and manufactured by Samsung instead of HTC in collaboration with Google (like the Nexus One), will be officially unveiled November 8 at a pumped-up media event in Times Square. I4U will be on hand at the event to provide all the full details once they become official.

But for now, we're getting word that Android fans should be happy to hear. By incorporating Android 2.3, that would mean the new OS is complete and ready for deployment. Updates to existing Android phones should hopefully not be too far behind.

Other early details about the Nexus Two suggest it will have a 4-inch AMOLED or Super AMOLED display, a 1.2 GHz processor, 5 MP external camera and 1.3 MP front-facing camera, as well as 16 GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM.

It'll pack a powerful punch to the Android market, as those specs are more powerful than we've seen on any existing Android phone to date.

Again, the Nexus Two will be officially christened at an exclusive, balls-out New York City spectacle, and we'll be there to get all the juicy details. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

HTC Desire HD hits Australia in November

Available early next month ... HTC Desire HD

HTC's challenger to the iPhone 4, the Desire HD, goes on sale in Australia early next month at Vodafone and 3 mobile stores.

Last night Vodafone revealed that the Desire HD would be available for $0 upfront on a $59 a month plan with a two-year contract. It will also be available around the same time on 3 mobile but specific plans have yet to be announced.

The Desire HD is an update to the original Google Android-based Desire launched earlier this year, which many critics said was superior to the iPhone 3GS.

Telstra, which was for a time the exclusive carrier for the original Desire, pushed the Android platform heavily and tomorrow Vodafone will throw its weight behind Android with a major marketing campaign for the Desire HD. This will include a "Vodafone Android Island Party" attended by leading Australian music acts.

Google's Android platform has a smaller market share in Australia than the iPhone but several manufacturers, including HTC and Samsung, as well as the mobile carriers, have strongly backed it. By Christmas, the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms will be engaged in a cut-throat battle for smartphone supremacy.
"The over-arching message is really that Android is giving power back to the telcos," said Telsyte mobile analyst Foad Fadaghi.

"It's giving them the opportunity to operate the way that they used to operate before the iPhone came around. Telcos want to own the customer, they want to have a greater slice of the value chain, they want to have their own app stores, and they don't want to be locked into the Apple way of doing things. That's why you're seeing the massive push from all of the carriers."

The Desire HD, an Android 2.2 handset, features a huge 4.3-inch touchscreen display (compared to 3.5-inch on the iPhone 4), an 8-megapixel camera, 720p video recording, a 1GHz processor, an aluminium unibody shell and Dolby/SRS sound support.

The phone comes with a new version of HTC's user interface overlay, Sense, which includes a number of small tweaks and access to a new suite of online services dubbed, which can be accessed from a PC, has some similarities to Apple's Mobile Me, allowing users to find their phone on a map if they lose it, trigger it to ring loudly, lock the device, erase all data, forward calls to another number or leave a text message for the finder of the phone.

A complete history of calls and text messages, even those that have been deleted from the handset, can be accessed at, as can a range of wallpapers and plugins.

The new HTC Sense features a new navigation tool called HTC Locations, which includes turn-by-turn navigation and a compass that helps with orientation when users are on foot.

Like Nokia's Ovi Maps, the maps can be stored on the phone so users don't have to have an active data connection to access them. Through, users can mark landmarks or specific locations on the map and have this data automatically sent to the phone.

Through a partnership with Kobo, users can access a range of e-books to read while also being able to highlight passages and add notes. Another new feature, HTC Fast Boot, promises to power the handsets up within 10 seconds.

There is also an improved camera app with photo editing tools allowing users to add effects such as fish eye and sepia.

Videos, photos and music stored on the phones can be played wirelessly on TVs that support DLNA home networking technology. Those without DLNA-enabled TVs can buy a dongle adapter.

Meanwhile, Vodafone, attempting to pre-empt findings from the Australian Communications and Media Authority's customer service inquiry, announced a major overhaul of its customer service capabilities today.

This includes a call back service to avoid customers having to wait on hold, new Vodafone and 3 handset service centres around the country that can do repairs within an hour and an online self-service application that lets customers better track their spending.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Video allegedly shows Android 3.0's TV-like screen shutoff

What is believed to be the first video (below) showing a handset powered by Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) has surfaced on Thursday. Courtesy of Phandroid, the video may not be much more than the blurry photo spotted on Monday, but it does show a piece of the OS that's more refined. Upon powering off, the screen "zaps" out not unlike an older tube TV shutting off.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Android Market expands: More Countries, More sellers, More buyers

Support for paid Android application sales is now expanded to developers in 29 countries, with the addition of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

In addition, Android Market users from 32 countries will be able to buy apps, with the addition of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan.

Official blurb here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab looks moderately awesome!

Hardware specs
Android 2.2 running TouchWiz 3.0
7-inch TFT LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA)
Weighs 380 grams
1GHz Cortex A8 processor
16GB or 32GB internal storage
microSD expansion for up to 32GB additional storage
Front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and rear 3 megapixel camera with flash
4,000mAh battery
3G data / voice (there's a speakerphone and Bluetooth for phone calls, but no earpiece)
5GHz dual-band 802.11n WiFi
Standard back color is white, carriers might offer different colors
Full HD video playback
There's a 30-pin dock connector on the bottom that allows for HDMI, USB, and docking accessories (a car dock at least is planned)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Man Raises Money to Send Android Phone to Space

A total of 66 backers have pledged over $2,000 to help send the first Android phone to space.

The Astdroid project hails from Danny Pier, a 25 year-old self-described computer nerd who turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to get an Android smartphone into space.

Pier believes that he can outfit a weather ballon with an HTC Evo, and use its camera, transmitter, computing power and GPS technology to track the phone’s journey into space.

Funds will be allocated to finance the expenses of the weather balloons, recovery parachutes, helium and other supplies. Pier will also write an application for the device that will take photos and videos of the journey, as well as automatically transmit the device’s location for tracking purposes.

Pier’s ultimate goal is to prove that it’s not difficult to send a smartphone in to space, capture the journey and retrieve it once it returns to Earth. He will document his successes and failures along the way using social media. Pier hopes his endeavors will encourage others to follow his lead.

Score another win for innovation at the hands of Kickstarter’s alternative fundraising application.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Google announces Google App Inventor, a simple-to-use DIY app maker.

Today Google announced a simple-to-use DIY app maker called Google App Inventor.

Google App Inventor brings Android development to non-programmers, employing a design scheme that relies on visual blocks rather than writing pages of code, the App Inventor -- In true Google style, still in Beta, of course -- has functions for just about anything you can do with an Android handset, including access to GPS and phone functionality.

I can imagine this would be fantastic in classrooms.

more information here:
complete this form to apply for access:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Google Looks to Emerging Markets for Android's Growth

Google plans to push its Android mobile software in India and China and is exploring ways for developers to make more money from applications, stepping up competition with Apple and Nokia.

To attract programmers to its Android operating system, Google may offer tools that help them sell subscriptions, virtual goods and other items from within applications on mobile phones, Andy Rubin, vice president for engineering at Google, said during an interview.

The company also aims to put its Android system on lower-priced phones made by Huawei and LG in parts of Asia and Europe, where it is taking on Nokia, the mobile market leader.

“The down-market opportunity is about to happen,” Mr. Rubin said. “It’s actually quite a revolution.”

Google is trying to get more of its software on mobile devices, opening up new opportunities to sell advertising, its main source of revenue. The total mobile ad market will grow to $13.5 billion in 2013, from less than $1 billion last year, according to the research firm Gartner.

Google lags behind Apple in mobile applications, which are a growing platform for ads and are helping to breed customer loyalty to devices. Android users have about 65,000 applications available, fewer than a third as many as Apple, which has more than 200,000.

Google is taking steps to hasten Android’s growth. By increasing its presence in new markets like South Korea, Google managed to drive up the number of users who activated Android devices to 160,000 a day in June, from 100,000 in May, the company said. The majority of the sales of Android-based phones were in the United States.

Gartner predicts that Android will pass Apple’s iOS system by 2012 to become the world’s second-most-popular mobile operating system behind Nokia’s Symbian.

Among the incentives for application developers, Mr. Rubin said, are making it easier to accept payments within the applications themselves or to sell subscriptions.

Most Android developers still make money from placing ads within their applications or from one-time fees. That makes it harder for them to earn as much as their Apple counterparts. Of the $4.4 billion that consumers will spend on application downloads this year, Apple’s App Store will receive at least 77 percent of the revenue, according to Futuresource Consulting in Dunstable, England. The Android Market application store will collect 9 percent.

While businesses like eBay’s PayPal already allow payments to be made within their Android applications, dealing with multiple companies increases the complexity, Mr. Rubin said. Since starting its in-application payments tool May 19, PayPal has been downloaded by more than 1,000 developers, said Osama Bedier, a vice president at PayPal. Most of the developers came from China.

In connection with efforts described by Mr. Rubin involving Huawei, a Chinese maker of wireless equipment, and LG of South Korea, Huawei released four Android phones and an Android-based tablet device in February.

Getting more of Google’s software on phones in China has the potential to increase ad revenue to help offset sales Google might lose if the Chinese government refuses to renew the company’s license to operate its Internet search engine there.

Smaller Chinese manufacturers, which account for about 10 percent of the global supply of mobile phones, are also adopting Android, seeking to gain market share with lower-priced devices.

Many pin their hopes on MediaTek of Taiwan, which supplies chips for lowcost phones sold in Asia, Africa and South America. The company has joined the Open Handset Alliance, the group that promotes Android, Google said. Devices based on MediaTek may cost carriers as little as $70 each, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner.

Today, the least expensive Android phones cost carriers about $200, while low-cost Symbian devices run to about $170, she said.

As more lower-priced phones reach the market, more carriers will offer the devices to consumers free.

That approach will help position Android against Nokia. While Nokia controls only a fraction of the U.S. market, it is the leading phone maker globally.

“As Android develops, the main vendor who is going to feel the pressure is Nokia,” Ms. Milanesi said.

In the first quarter, more than 41 percent of smartphones shipped worldwide were powered by Symbian. Almost 16 percent used Apple’s operating system and 10 percent ran Android, according to ABI Research, a consulting firm based in New York.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Google's 'superphone' launches in Australia

Google's much hyped Nexus One 'superphone' finally went on sale in Australia today with Vodafone Hutchison Australia snapping up the exclusive online rights to sell the handset.

The Nexus One will be available on a “first-come, first-served” exclusively through VHA's website for $0 on a $79 cap over 24 months.

The Nexus One is a Google-branded handset created in partnership with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC to showcase the Android eco-system, but its release has been overshadowed by flood of other high performance Android phones such as the HTC Desire.

Google closed down its US online store in May created especially for the smartphone after failing to market the device via the web, leaving analysts and technology bloggers questioning whether this might signal the end of the Nexus One.

In spite of this, Google last week released figures that revealed its Android operating system was winning ground from the likes Apple and Microsoft, with 160,000 new Android handsets being activated every day around the world, and over 65,000 apps now available to download from its market.

The Nexus One runs on version 2.1 of Android which is voice enabled and includes Google maps, interactive wallpapers, and enhanced social networking switching capabilities.

The handset is also expected to be the first phone to get the Android 2.2 (Froyo) update when it is launched.

VHA also announced today it would increase monthly mobile data allowance across most of its Vodafone and 3 contract plans with “anywhere from double to ten times the current data allocation, depending on the plan,” it said.

“It's great to be delivering even more value at a time when prices continue to rise on most other everyday items,” said John Casey, director of marketing.

Coinciding the with VHA announcement, Telstra cut the price of caps on its HTC Desire to $49 and $79, and increased the download limits to 200MB and 500MB respectively.

Monday, May 3, 2010

7-inch tablet from Aigo says hi! Look at moi!

According to new details surfacing in China, this 7-inch tablet from Aigo / Patriot will hum along on a 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor and feature NVIDIA's Tegra 2 graphics chipset.

There's also 512MB of DDR2 memory, an 800 x 480 pixel multitouch display, 4/16/32GB of inbuilt storage, a USB socket, microSD slot, HDMI output, inbuilt WiFi, optional 3G WWAN, audio in / out and a 3,120mAh battery. Android 2.1 will be the OS of choice.

.. More details when available.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Awesome Nexus One soft case

Google Nexus One Pure Crystal Slip (Smoke Grey)

Perfect case for those that want a decent amount of protection for their Nexus one goodness, without the bulkness of some cases. This seems to be one of the better soft cases on the market at the moment.

Still feels like the Nexus-One with the case on which is unusual for most. Cut outs are perfect. Good if you keep your phone in your pants pocket because you dont have to struggle to pull it out.

Spend the extra ten bucks and get this case other than the cheap plastic one.

Paypal to offer In-App Purchases on Android & iPhone?

Apparently during an informal meeting at its Amsterdam headquarters, Paypal has announced it will be facilitating In-App Purchases in iPhone and Android applications.

According to Paypal Benelux Country Manager Dennis van Allermeersch, Paypal has managed to come up with a solution that is acceptable to Apple, Allermeersch noting: “We have found a way, Apple is OK with it”.

Android users will also be able to use Paypal as a payment method in the Android Market, adding an alternative to Google Checkout transactions.

At the time of writing there are very few details explaining how Paypal’s new service will work.

Paypal will apparently launch their In-App payment service in Q2 to the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Australia.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dell Looking Glass tablet : Tegra 2, coming your way in November

It was already rumoured that Dell was working on larger tablets, and tonight's huge leak brought us tons of info on the Looking Glass, a seven-inch big brother to the Streak 5 that's due out in November.

For starters, it's running Android 2.1 on a Tegra 2 processor, with an optional TV tuner module so you can watch ATSC or DVB-T programming on the seven-inch 800x480 display -- the same resolution as the Streak.

RAM is pegged at 4GB, with another 4GB of flash for storage and an SDHC slot for up to 32GB of expansion, and there's a 1.3 megapixel camera.

Dell Flash appears, will offer Android 2.2 'Froyo'

Apparently, Dell plans to fashion this thing out of a slice of "curved glass," topping out at 11mm thick with a 3.5-inch WVGA LCD, 850 / 1900 / 2100MHz HSPA, a 5 megapixel autofocus cam with image stabilization and smile / blink detection, 512MB of RAM and ROM with microSD expansion up to 64GB, WiFi, TV-out, 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 3.0, and a Qualcomm MSM7230 core humming along nicely at 800MHz.

The MSM7230 is part of Qualcomm's next generation lineup of midrange smartphone cores, a series that looks to bring Snapdragon-class performance to the masses with HD video out capability and -- hopefully, anyway -- the performance you'll need to make Flash 10.1 fly.

Dell plans to load this bad boy with Android Froyo, presumably with the same kind of custom skin that it'll start pushing with the Streak series this year; we're seeing references to a so-called "Stage UI," and we think that's what it is. This one's mentioned for a first quarter '11 release on AT&T and globally.. sometimes thereafter.

Dell Thunder surfaces, sporting Android 2.1 with 4.1-inch WVGA OLED

It's like Dell's making up for lost time with smartphones: while "Lightning" is the company's answer to Windows Phone extravagance, the Dell Thunder that's leaking out alongside sports Android 2.1, a 4.1-inch WVGA OLED screen and a heavily custom Dell "Stage" UI on top, which seems much different (and classier) than what we've seen on the Streak or Aero.

It apparently ties into Facebook and Twitter for social networking, and taps Swype for a touchscreen keyboard replacement, along with grabbing just a pinch of HTC's Sense good looks.

Dell's document also claims this has Flash 10.1 for watching web videos, along with a mention of an "integrated web video Hulu app."

Under the hood we'd guess there's the same Snapdragon chip that's powering the Lightning, but we don't have specific specs. There is supposed to be an 8 megapixel camera, however, and the phone will be sold in AT&T and world-friendly HSDPA versions around Q4 of this year, with an LTE model to follow near the end of 2011.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Android 2.2 on the horizon.. ?

Quite likely fake image

According to website logs, Google is actively testing Android 2.2. Better known as Froyo (frozen yogurt), the future release is showing up in web logs from those visiting sites.

What 2.2 will entail hasn't been discussed by Google, but it should have a number of important additions despite the small version number. Among the steps may included an attempt to reduce Android fragmentation by making it possible to update some OS components without needing entirely new firmware. It should also provide the necessary underpinnings for Flash 10.1.

Many of the less critical changes should still improve performance and could bring new OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics features, free up RAM and solve problems with the accuracy of the touchscreen on phones like the Nexus One. Many features in the Nexus One may actually be hidden until future Android releases come out, Google's Erick Tseng said at CES.

The most likely release window for Android 2.2 is May 19th, when Google starts its I/O conference. The event in the past has included significant Android news.

Google has been on a relatively aggressive update schedule and has been adding large feature updates even with minor upgrades. The add-ons have been critical to the successes of phones like the Droid but, in the current architecture, has left many Android phones running outdated platforms and being locked out of certain apps.

Chief rival Apple is believed to have benefited from taking direct control of both hardware and software by giving every recent device the same features at the same time. The strategy is known to have spurred on the creation of the Nexus One.

Some of the rumored features for Android 2.2 include:

  • JIT compiler
  • Free additional RAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0 enhancements
  • Flash 10.1 support
  • Fixed problem with “crazy screen” / Resolution of cross multitouch
  • Activation of Color Trackball
  • Enable FM radio in Nexus one

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ford’s SYNC AppLink Brings Android and BlackBerry Apps to Your Car

Today Ford released SYNC AppLink, a downloadable software upgrade for Ford SYNC systems that will allow hands-free voice control of popular applications for the Android & BlackBerry smartphones. The first car to get SYNC AppLink support will be the 2011 Fiesta which will be available later this summer.

In January Ford announced the next version of the Ford SYNC system, MyFord Touch which incorporated, amongst other things, in-car internet connectivity (when parked). When MyFord Touch was announced, Ford also said it would support third-party mobile applications for a seamless connected experience. Enter SYNC AppLink.

Pandora, Stitcher and OpenBeak are the first SYNC-enabled mobile apps that will be available. Using AppLink, BlackBerry and Android users can access and control their applications using their voice and in-dash car controls, rather than having to connect a phone to an line-in jack and fumbling with the phone while keeping an eye on the road.

Furthermore, Ford is launching a new Mobile Application Developer Network so that Android and BlackBerry developers can build in SYNC support for their applications. The possibilities for this sort of integration are tremendous. Just imagine the potential of leveraging a geolocation app with an in-dash navigation system.

Check out this video that shows Ford SYNC AppLink in action with Pandora and Stitcher:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dell's 7-inch and 10-inch Streak tablets leaked

It looks as if a 7-inch and 10-inch Dell Streak tablet is on the horizon. Apparently the "coming soon" we heard earlier regarding the Aero's release date on AT&T really means "June."

Later this "summer," the phone will be joined by the Streak 5 for those who prefer a more capable mobile. As for the 7-inch Streak? Look for it to launch (presumably with or without AT&T support) late in 2010, while a 10-inch flavor follows in "early 2011."

Dell Aero coming to At&T in the USA

Dell's first entrant into the US smartphone market with a renamed Mini 3 called the Aero for AT&T. There's some serious Android UI skinning going on here, promising Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitpic integration right out of the box.

Some features:

  • 3.5-inch 640 x 360 touchscreen
  • The form factor is very, very sleek, it feels surprisingly light compared to a Nexus One or Droid.
  • The UI has been completely reskinned, and there are multiple skins available -- but also missing is Google Maps, Gmail, and a handful of other Google-centric features.
  • Dell has merged the home button and back button into a single target on the left side of the phone -- long press for home, short press for back.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LG takes the wraps off the LU2300


Allow me to introduce the InTouch Max’s big brother, the LG LU2300.

With a 1GHz processor as standard it packs enough of a punch to compete for the affections of android smartphone users with the likes of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and the HTC Legend.


  • 3.5inch capacitive touchscreen
  • 1GHz Snapdragon Processor
  • 4 line landcape slide QWERTY keyboard
  • DivX support
  • Wi-Fi
  • DMB Tuner
  • 5 megapixel camera complete with geo-tagging

The word on the street also says that it has a commitment to Augmented Reality, with built in AR apps as standard.

It is due for release in Korea in April or May this year and we can only hope that it is such a big hit that it is given a wider release soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Android phones to hit Aussie shores in the next few months..

This month sees the launch of a new wave of Google phones in Australia. Most run the much-improved Android 2.0 OS.

First in Android's new wave is Motorola, which hopes its Google phones will spur a return to the glory days of the stylish, slim RAZR and, a decade before, the original Star Trek-style flip phone.

This week sees the launch of the Motorola Dext and Backflip on the Optus network.

Both complement the now-mandatory touchscreen with a compact QWERTY keypad. The Dext is a more conventional slider, while the Backflip uses a hinge to position its screen at a lean-back angle suitable for watching videos or even using as a bedside alarm clock.

Despite using a mid-range 530MHz processor and running last year's Android 1.5 operating system, the Dext and Backflip are snappy performers with their own appeal beyond the Android OS itself.

That's because both sport a customised interface known as Motoblur. This puts the social networking services of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace right on to the phone's home screen.

Instead of having to log into individual apps for each service to read messages, post updates and browse uploaded photo galleries, widgets on the Motoblur home page provide live feeds that are updated constantly over the 3G network.

Motoblur also integrates messages from these social networking sites, plus emails and SMS texts, into a single view.

This month Telstra will release its first Android smartphone, the HTC Desire, which will use its Next G network. The Desire ticks every box on the techno-lust list. There's a powerhouse 1GHz processor, the over-fresh Android 2.1 operating system, a five-megapixel camera, FM radio and a brilliantly crisp 9.4-centimetre AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) screen. Unlike the iPhone and some other smartphones, the Desire supports Flash, so you don't have to miss out on most of the streaming video clips on news and entertainment websites.

HTC has also planted its own Sense user interface onto the Desire. Sense comes with dozens of classy widgets, integrates each contact's Facebook and Twitter details into your address book and includes a Friend Stream app that combines feeds from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Also sitting on the Android launch pad is Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10, which will arrive on Vodafone and Three in early May.

The Xperia X10 matches the HTC Desire with its 1GHz processor but ups the digital camera to eight megapixels, with snaps and video clips shown to best effect on the 10.2-centimetre screen.

Sony Ericsson's Timescape user interface ties together social networking updates with emails, phone calls and text messages but it's more akin to the Motoblur home screen than the top-to-tail experience of HTC Sense.

By mid-year we'll also see the palm-sized X10 Mini, which has a 6.3-centimetre touchscreen and, in the X10 Mini Pro version, a tiny slide-out keyboard.

Also poised for a likely mid-year release is Samsung's second-gen Android handset, the Galaxy S. This is another phone packing a 1GHz powerplant and a 10.2-centimetre screen but the enhanced Super AMOLED screen has to be seen to be believed. It's not just brighter but the colours have more density and punch, while also less reflective of sunlight and drawing less power (which means longer battery life).
Things are really starting to heat up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LG LU2300 Android phone gets some pics, possibly coming soon

Just to add to the slew of sexy Android devices that have appeared recently, it appears that we finally have some pictures of the LG LU2300 Android handset. This phone has been rumored for awhile now but now we get to see what this beauty looks like.

The LG LU2300 runs Android 2.1 w/ the “S-Class UI” (LG’s own user interface), a 3.5″ capacitive AMOLED touchscreen (800 x 480), 5MP camera capable of HD video, a roomy 4 row landscape keyboard, and a 1GHz Snapdragon on board.

According to all the talk it may only be available in Korea for now with not much evidence that it will make it’s way to the US. However, PocketNow is speculating that it could be released under the “C710 Aloha” in the States.

LG hasn’t done too much with Android so far so it’s good to see that they are coming with a powerful device. While it is no Samsung Galaxy S, the LU2300 looks like it could be a contender. The next few months are looking like they're going to be filled with amazing Android handsets. No wonder all those consumers are thinking Android.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HTC Supersonic spotted on video, to be announced on March 24?

Taiwan-based mobile phone maker HTC Corporation has been long rumored to be working on a handset that will boast WiMAX connectivity and will also run under Google's Android operating system, and it seems that we might see the device launched in about one week from now. According to the latest news around the Internet, Sprint-Nextel CEO Dan Hesse is set to officially announce the new mobile phone at the CTIA 2010.

The device in question has previously emerged around the Internet as the HTC Supersonic, and now reports on it suggest that March 24 would be the date when all of its specifications are officially unveiled to the world.

HTC Supersonic (also dubbed HTC A9292 WiMax) features a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, a 5 megapixel camera, HTC Sense user interface, GPS and Qualcomm’s 1 gigabertz (GHz) Snapdragon processor. The device will be targeted at enterprise and government markets besides consumers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Google TV is coming..

Google and Intel have teamed with Sony to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes.

The platform is reportedly based on Android & Intel’s Atom chips, and would allow developers to combine web-based data such as social networking or news with video streams, as well as a slew of other applications, both currently imaginable and not.

The move is an effort by Google and Intel to extend their dominance of computing to television, an arena where they have little sway. For Sony, which has struggled to retain a pricing and technological advantage in the competitive TV hardware market, the partnership is an effort to get a leg up on competitors.

The partners envision technology that will make it as easy for TV users to navigate Web applications, like the Twitter social network and the Picasa photo site, as it is to change the channel.

Some existing televisions and set-top boxes offer access to Web content, but the choice of sites is limited. With the open involvement of 3rd party developers, as with Android, the company hopes the move will encourage the same outpouring of creativity that consumers have seen in applications for cellphones.

Google is expected to deliver a toolkit to 3rd party developers within the next couple of months, and products based on the software could appear as soon as around the same period of time.

The three companies have approached Logitech, which specializes in remote controls and computer speakers, for peripheral devices, including a remote with a tiny keyboard.

The project has apparently been under way for several months but Spokespeople for Google, Intel and Logitech declined to comment. The companies appear to be hiring for Android-related jobs. Intel, for example, has listed jobs for senior application engineers with Android programming experience who can help extend Intel’s technology “from PC screen to mobile screen and TV screen.”

Logitech also has several job listings for Android developers, including a position for an “embedded software engineer” with experience building “audio and video products based on the Android platform.”

Jacob Hsu, chief executive of Symbio, a contract engineering firm that does work for consumer electronics companies, said there was rising interest in set-top box technology among the traditional computing players. “The boxes are just getting more and more powerful, so there’s more you can do with them,” he said.

For Google, the project is a move to get a foothold in the living room as more consumers start exploring ways to bring Web content to their television sets. Google wants to aggressively ensure that its services, in particular its search and advertising systems, play a central role.

Google has built a prototype set-top box, but the technology may be incorporated directly into TVs or other devices.

The Google TV software will present users with a new interface for TVs that lets them perform Internet functions like search while also pulling down Web programming like YouTube videos or TV shows from The technology will also allow downloadable Web applications, like games and social networks, to run on the devices.

It has been rumoured that Google TV would use a version of Google’s Chrome Web browser, which currently does not work on Android phones.

Google’s efforts to break into television advertising date back three years. Through a program called Google TV Ads, the company sells advertising on a handful of satellite and small cable television systems, as well as some cable networks. Google says thousands of advertisers have signed up for the program, but analysts say they believe the amount of revenue generated is too small to have a significant impact on Google’s overall business.

The partners will face a crowded field. In addition to the makers of traditional cable and satellite set-top boxes, Cisco Systems and Motorola, many others have entered the game, including Microsoft, Apple, TiVo and start-up companies like Roku and Boxee, which already stream video from Netflix, and other Web sites directly to television sets. Yahoo is also promoting a TV platform that uses small software programs called widgets to use certain Web services.

Anthony Wood, founder and chief executive of Roku, said that a browser-based Google TV box would require an expensive chip and would probably cost $200 or more, compared with a cheaper alternative, like Roku’s $80 device. The device streams content from more than a dozen sites, including Netflix, Blip.TV and Moreover, “on the TV, people want specific TV apps, not a browser experience,” he said.

For Intel, the effort represents a way to get its line of energy-efficient Atom chips, currently found in laptops, into TVs. Intel executives have talked for a couple of years about creating PC-like TVs, contending that it will take the horsepower of a mainstream chip to play high-definition movies well on bigger screens. Any success with TVs would help Intel get into a new, high-volume market and possibly offset some of the pressure the company now feels from rivals creeping up into computers.

The Google TV software will be open source at its core, meaning that device and TV makers should have broad access to it.

Sony, however, hopes to gain an edge over competitors by bringing out the first appliances and possibly TVs running the software, perhaps under a new brand. The Japanese consumer electronics giant is not expected to put its movie content from Sony Pictures directly on the devices but will probably have a link to a digital store.

The Google TV project was apparently advanced enough that Google had begun a limited test with Dish Network, one of Google’s partners in the TV Ads program.

.. more details as they come to hand.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New HTC 'Incredible' pics + details

With the pictures come interesting specs. Reportedly, the Incredible measures 17.5 x 58.5 x 11.9 mm – almost the same as the Nexus one, comes with an 8MP camera with auto focus and with Dual-flash and 512mb of RAM & ROM.

Interestingly it seems the 1 Ghz Snapdragon processor has been under-clocked to run at 768MHz – presumably to save battery but without effecting the performance.

The phone should come loaded with Android 2.1, HTC’s Sense UI, a 3.7″ AMOLED screen, an optical trackpad, an FM receiver and Wi-fi, bluetooth and GPS.

Lets hope for an official announcement soon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

April is Android month for Aussies

A fistful of phones running your favourite mobile OS are set to launch next month, giving Android a boost while Microsoft waits for Windows Phone 7.

Christmas is coming early for Aussie Android fans as manufacturers and telcos ramp up for a bevy of smartphone launches next month.

HTC is prepping for the debut of the Desire, which will be available only through Telstra for a three-month exclusivity window before competing carriers can add it to their roster.

Motorola has issued Australian tech journalists with a ‘Save the Date’ notice for a launch on Tuesday March 30th. This is expected to see the release of one or possibly more Android phones from Motor’s current portfolio – which includes the Milestone (the 3G version of the Verizon Droid), DEXT (aka CLIQ), Devour or Backflip.

Sony Ericsson has confirmed April as the target date for the release of its first Android phone, the Xperia X10. VHA says the X10 will be available on both the Vodafone and 3 networks as of May, although it’s not known if this will be an exclusive deal or if other carirers will also be lined up at the X10’s starting gate.

Samsung is also rumoured to have at least one more Android handset on the boil, while speculation continue to swirl about a local release for Google’s Nexus One.

With such a surge of smartphones Android could shortly repeat the success it’s had in the US.

Market trackers ComScore reported Android enjoying a 4.3% boost in its share of the US smartphone market between October 2009 and January 2010. Not only was this the largest growth among its competitors, it almost exactly mirrored Microsoft’s drop of -4.0%.

As of January 2010, RIM retained its alpha-dog status with a commanding lead of 43% compared to the iPhone’s 25.1%, Microsoft’s 15.7% and Google’s 7.1%.

With Microsoft’s current Windows smartphone platform effectively stalemating itself until the release of the first Windows Phone 7 devices shortly before Christmas, there’s no reason to expect that the next two quarters will do any favours for Microsoft’s market share.

Based on these results and the continuing wave of Android smartphones, it seems almost inevitable that Android will pull level with Windows Mobile within the next few months.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Android Phone powered robot

Some clever California hackers, Tim Heath and Ryan Hickman, are building bots that harness Android for their robo-brainpower.

Their first creation, the TruckBot, uses a HTC G1 as a brain and has a chassis that they made for $30 in parts. It's not too advanced yet—it can use the phone's compass to head in a particular direction—but they're working on incorporating the bot more fully with the phone and the Android software.

Some ideas they're looking to build in soon are facial and voice recognition and location awareness.

If you're interested in putting together a Cellbot of your own the team's development blog has some more information.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nvidia Tegra powered tablets show off Android skills (video)

Check out the performance of these Android tablets, powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 dual-core processors. Very impressive.

NTT's Hikari iFrame: Japan gets Android-powered, inexpensive tablet PC

NTT in Japan has just unveiled the Hikari iFrame, an Android tablet with an accessible price point. The device is also used as a digital picture frame and it comes with a 7 inch touch panel display, an SD memory card slot, a speaker and a USB port.

The device features a 7-inch touch-panel display, an internal battery, a speaker, an alarm clock, a USB port and an SD memory card slot. And yes, it can be used to access the web via Wi-Fi. In an attempt to appeal to casual web users, NTT East says it will make heavy use of widgets that just need to be tapped to display various content like the weather, recipes, or the latest news.

The Hikari iFrame will be released in Japan only (initially, at least) in the first half of fiscal 2010, which under the Japanese system means sometime between April and September next year. It will cost between $220 and $330, with NTT East saying the use of Android as the OS resulted in reducing costs by 20-30% per unit.

Here's a video showing the tablet in action:

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