Google I/O is only a few weeks away and the Android fanboys are getting anxious. At last year's event Google teased us with unreleased features like gesture search and the only phone on the market was the T-Mobile G1. Later in the year, some of these enhancements were rolled out as individual apps and OS upgrades, so as we near this year's two-day conference, which starts on May 19, questions are starting to pop up. What does Google have up its sleeve?
Most of the tech community is in agreement that Android 2.2 (Froyo) features will … Read more
Verizon Wireless customers waiting for the Nexus One should probably make other plans, as it looks like Big Red's version of the Google "superphone" will never see the light of day.
When the Nexus One was first announced in January, Google revealed that a Verizon model would be made available later this year. However, on Monday, Google posted an entry on its official Nexus One blog site recommending that users head over to Verizon's site and preorder the HTC Droid Incredible instead. The official checkout page for the N1 shows a similar message.
When the news first hit that Verizon Wireless would offer the HTC Droid Incredible, the reaction was fast and furious and I received an inordinate amount of e-mails about the smartphone. Clearly, the Android device struck a chord with many of you.
Since then, we've had a chance to review the Droid Incredible and it truly is incredible, but, if we're being completely honest, we definitely underestimated the smartphone at first. Sure it had a better camera and more internal memory than some of its competitors, but it's not like the Incredible was offering any new, groundbreaking … Read more
When Barnes & Noble launched the Nook e-book reader late last year, the company said it would offer unique features such as e-book lending, free in-store streaming of many titles, and Android apps that would run on the color touch screen at the bottom of the device. Well, after releasing two smaller firmware updates that mainly focused on fixing bugs, improving performance, and tweaking the user interface, Barnes & Noble has finally rolled out a more substantial update that includes the extra features it originally promised would set the Nook apart from Amazon's Kindle.
While the lending feature has been available for several months, one of the key additions is the Read in Store wireless streaming feature. Once the new firmware is installed (version 1.3 should be automatically pushed to your device once you connect to a Wi-Fi network and check for new content in your library), you'll be able to read certain books from the company's e-book catalog free of charge on your Nook when you're in a Barnes & Noble store (free Wi-Fi is offered in stores). As previously reported, you can only access a title for up to an hour per day, but you could return on subsequent days to continue reading. Alternatively, you could also just sit in a store and read a hard copy of the book at your leisure, but that's so old-school.
Barnes & Noble didn't specify just how many books would be available for free streaming, but company reps said that at launch content would be available from all the major publishers and that some bestsellers would be on the list. (We'll be checking just how much content is actually available in the next few days).
Additionally, Barnes & Noble has added two Android games to the Nook--chess and sudoku--along with a Web browser that's labeled with the "beta" tag.
It's also important to note that because the device can now access the Web, you can log in to Wi-Fi networks that require authentication via a Web page. Nook owners have been asking for the ability to access more public Wi-Fi hot spots since the e-reader's launch. The firmware is also supposed to fix some outstanding bugs, including a freezing problem that affected certain units, and to speed up page turns (yes, they do seem faster).
Here's the quick rundown of what's new in v1.3:
Read in Store wireless streaming of certain e-book titles Web browser Two Android games (chess, sudoku) Bug fixes (allegedly addresses freezing problem with certain units) User interface and performance tweaks (faster page turns)
In advance of the update, we got a demo of the Read in Store feature at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, and the streaming appeared to work just fine. While only e-books will be available for launch, company reps said the ability to stream periodicals would be added in the near future.
The demo was conducted in an in-store Barnes & Noble Cafe, and a couple of tables away from us, a patron was flipping through a few magazines he'd borrowed from the nearby magazine rack as he sipped coffee. At another table, a customer was using B&N's free Wi-Fi to surf the Web on his iPad, which begged the question, when would we see a new B&N eReader iPad app? … Read more
For those of you who thought Dell was content with putting out low-end Android handsets like the Aero, I submit the Thunder, Smoke, and Flash.
Wednesday saw Engadget leaking three new phones from the handsetmaker's road map. Looking through the various details and specs, one gets the sense that Dell has lofty ambitions for the platform, going so far as to create its own user interface called Stage. Based on the few pictures available, the experience looks stylish, sleek, and classy. Although we shouldn't expect to see these phones for nearly a year, Dell has already committed to … Read more
Thanks to a computer glitch, a handful of lucky Verizon Wireless customers found themselves getting the HTC Droid Incredible more than a week before its official launch date.
According to a few users in AndroidForums, their new Verizon handset arrived on Tuesday and Wednesday, days ahead of the scheduled April 29 date. After a little nay-saying and provocation, a user by the name of SoSmarmy decided to film himself powering up the phone. As I gather it, the number of users who have received their Droid Incredible was minimal and the glitch has since been fixed.
The demo shows the boot process--complete with the Tux Linux mascot--and Wang using Android for browsing, receiving a text message, answering a phone call, and playing music. The phone is set up with a dual-boot configuration and indeed the video begins … Read more
This is a true story: Two weeks ago I'm zipping along in southern England in the back seat of a silver VW Golf, listening for the better part of an hour and a half while my sister reads aloud directions to the car's driver from the screen of an HTC Touch.
The instructions are specific ("Turn left in 100 feet") but fruitless; we flip a U on the muddy one-track road and head back toward the village to blindly pick our way to our obscure destination, a farmhouse that brews traditional cider, using just wits and … Read more
Easy there, Motorola Devour owners. This isn't the Android 2.1 update you're probably hoping for but there is a software update in your future.
Verizon has begun rolling out software version CALAND_X_01.15.08P to the smartphone, which brings a number of fixes to improve performance and feature enhancements. These include:
Improved stability in the browser, contacts, and V Cast Music appsFaster response time when using the Menu, Home, and Back keys Better call performance Easier removal of POP3 e-mail account and enhanced Exchange Calendar view to include meeting titles.
We missed this little nugget earlier in the week, but we still think U.S. Cellular customers will find it of interest.
Using its Facebook page to announce the news, the carrier revealed that it will offer the HTC Desire this summer after the device has gone through testing. The Desire, which was introduced at Mobile World Congress 2010, is an Android 2.1 smartphone similar to the Nexus One but with HTC Sense.
In addition to the Desire, U.S. Cellular also teased that it would offer another yet-to-be-named Android device in the future. What could it be?