Tag Android

What Android Is

What happened was, for our recent South American tour I wanted an Android architecture overview graphic. I ran across, among the Android SDK documentation, a page entitled What is Android?, and it’s perfectly OK. Except for, I really disliked the picture — on purely aesthetic grounds, just not my kind of lettering and gradients and layouts — so I decided to make another one.

A must-read article by Tim Bray.

Source: ongoing via Daring Fireball

PlayStation Phone caught on video in the wild

What highly anticipated unreleased smartphone would be complete without the obligatory blurry spy video catching it in action on the streets of a foreign country? This video from the folks of Techblog.gr espies Sony Ericsson’s PlayStation Phone in the wild on the streets of Greece. Little can be gleaned from the video other than a glimpse of the admittedly butter-smooth scrolling of the PSPhone’s UI.

The PlayStation Phone, codenamed Zeus, is a 4″ touchscreen phone with slide-out gaming controls à la PSP Go running the hitherto unreleased Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The PSPhone will have access to a special Sony Marketplace for download of exclusive game content. Reports of those who have seen the phone in action describe it as being slick and a legitimately satisfying mobile gaming experience. The PlayStation Phone is also rumored to have a resolution rivaling that of the iPhone 4’s eye-popping retina display. The PSPhone will most likely be released sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

For Sony-Ericsson’s sake — and for all those who have been impatiently waiting for a truly dedicated gaming phone — I hope the PlayStation Phone lives up to the hype. SE has always had a knack for designing lustworthy hardware, but a combination of repeatedly delayed shipments and an inability to update current devices to the latest Android OS in a timely fashion have consigned Sony-Ericsson to the back of the pack. The PSPhone is SE’s chance to catapult itself to the front of an increasingly competitive yet stale Android hardware race with an innovative mobile device that has the potential to push past the iPhone in revolutionizing the mobile gaming market.

Source: Techblog.gr via SlashGear

Nexus S: the next Google-branded phone

Engadget has been on quite the roll breaking new phones lately. Coming off the revelation of an actual PlayStation Phone comes word (and pictures!) of the next Google phone — the Nexus S.

The Nexus S, as the name suggests, will be manufactured by Samsung and is styled after their popular Galaxy S line of phones. The Nexus S is a glossy black touchscreen slab that features a front-facing camera and is rumored to be the first Android phone that will ship with a plain vanilla version of Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread. No definitive word on what’s under the hood or on the display, but a 1GHz Hummingbird processor and 4″ Super AMOLED WVGA display are the most likely specs.

The US carrier for the Nexus S will almost certainly be T-Mobile, and there has been talk that Google’s phone may be a Best Buy exclusive. The Nexus S was set to be released as early as this week, but alleged hardware issues may have pushed its availability back a few weeks. I’d still bet on seeing it on sale for the holidays, though.

It should be interesting to hear Google’s rationale for releasing another Google-branded phone, especially after CEO Eric Schmidt dismissed the need for an encore to the poorly selling but ground-breaking and arguably purest of Android phones, the Nexus One. Whatever the case, here’s hoping Google will be inspiring innovation for a whole new wave of Android superphones to come in 2011.

Hit up the source link for more pictures of Google’s Nexus S.

Source: Engadget

‘Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets’

Hugo Barra, director of products for mobile at Google:

Android is an open platform. We saw at IFA 2010 all sorts of devices running Android, so it’s already running on tablets, but the way Android Market works is it’s not going to be available on devices that don’t allow applications to run correctly. […] Which devices do, and which don’t will be unit specific, but Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets. […] We want to make sure that we’re going to create a application distribution mechanism for the Android market, to ensure our users have right experience.

I really wonder if companies like Samsung aren’t jumping the gun with their tablet exploits after reading this quote. The Galaxy Tab is a nice piece of hardware, but how attractive will it be if it can’t run apps from Android Marketplace, especially when a proper Android tablet — presumably running Android 3.0, aka Gingerbread, or Chrome OS — pops up early next year?

Source: TechRadar via Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Tab headed to all four major US carriers

Officially unveiled at IFA at the beginning of the month, it was only a matter of time before Samsung gave us details on the US launch of its Android-based iPad competitor the Galaxy Tab. At a press conference in New York City on Thursday, Samsung revealed just how seriously it wants to be a player in the tablet market, announcing that it would release a version of the Galaxy Tab on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the coming months. It performed a similar feat with its Galaxy S line of Android smartphones, bringing slightly modified versions to each of America’s four largest mobile service providers within the course of a few months.

The Galaxy Tab is a 7″ 1024 x 600 TFT LCD capacitive display running Android 2.2 (Froyo) overlaid with a TouchWiz skin and has a 1GHz Hummingbird SoC under the hood. Each carrier will get the same hardware minus the cellular radio inside, although there will be several software tweaks to differentiate each version. The Galaxy Tab will support Adobe Flash Player 10.1 out of the box and includes Samsung’s Social Hub application designed to keep users connected. Launching alongside the device will be a new service dubbed Media Hub — Samsung’s attempt at an iTunes rival — that will serve as a competitively priced content portal for movies and TV shows. Media Hub will also allow up to five enabled devices to share purchased content.

No price has been announced for any US version of the Galaxy Tab. Unlocked versions around the world seem to be selling for around $1000, though carrier subsidies should take a hefty chunk off that price tag here in the States. Even still, it would require an additional contract and monthly fee to own a Galaxy Tab unless carriers announce some sort of phone/tablet package deal. You can also forget about using the Galaxy Tab as a phone since all US versions will have their cellular voice capabilities blocked. And for those on Sprint, there’s no WiMAX radio in yours and Qik will only run over WiFi.

It should be noted that a WiFi-only version of the Galaxy Tab is also planned to launch stateside for those averse to signing another contract. However, it remains to be seen whether Samsung can price it competitively enough to stave off would-be iPad owners this holiday season.

Samsung’s official press release is available after the break.

Samsung Galaxy Tab officially outed at IFA, September release, price TBA

With the holidays fast approaching — and its tablet already making some teasing appearances online —  it was only a matter of time before Samsung officially introduced its first direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. On Thursday, before its press conference at IFA 2010, Samsung went public with the Galaxy Tab.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab will run Android 2.2, aka Froyo, with a TouchWiz 3.0 overlay on a 7″ Super TFT capacitive touchscreen with 1024 x 600 resolution (WSVGA). The Tab will be powered by Samsung’s own 1GHz Hummingbird SoC that it introduced in its Galaxy S line of phones — an ARM Cortex A8 chip very similar to Apple’s A4. It will boast a PowerVR SGX540 GPU for graphics applications.

As far as connectivity, the Galaxy Tab that was revealed will have quad-band GSM/EDGE and tri-band 3G. Although not officially announced, expect a CDMA version to debut on Verizon before the year is out. The Tab will also sport 5GHz dual-band 802.11n WiFi, A-GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0. Additional features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, an integrated speaker, a 3 megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD video equipped with an LED flash, and a VGA webcam on the front for video calls. The Galaxy tab will be available with either 16GB or 32GB of built-in flash memory with a microSD slot allowing for up to 32GB of additional storage.

Unlike the iPad, the Galaxy Tab will be able to make voice calls, although it lacks a dedicated earpiece. The Tab will also be capable of playing full 1080p HD video as well as Adobe Flash content. Along with Flash Player 10.1, Swype, Google Navigation, and ThinkFree are a few more killer apps preloaded onto the device. The 4000mAh battery should be capable of 7 hours of video watching or 1000 minutes of talk time.

Samsung plans to launch the tablet some time in September — first in Europe, then Korea, the US, and Asia in the following months. There has been no official word on pricing, although don’t be surprised to see the Galaxy Tab commanding a price tag of over $1000 overseas completely unlocked. Here in the States, I would expect the price to be between $300 to $500 after carrier subsidies to be competitive with Apple’s iPad. It will be interesting to see how the Galaxy Tab will fare with consumers if it requires them to sign another contract. Having said that, it certainly seems like a distinct, viable alternative to the iPad that should attract a loyal following.

Continue on to see Samsung’s Galaxy Tab YouTube commercial and to read their official press release.

Verizon Wireless set to offer prepaid smartphones

I’m surprised that it has taken this long for a US carrier to do this — and shocked that it was Big Red who took the lead — but with the recent success of prepaid cellular services here in the States, it was inevitable. Starting on September 28, Verizon Wireless prepay customers can sign up for an unlimited prepaid 3G data package for $30 per month. What makes this truly remarkable, though, is that you are not limited to the usual paltry selection of lackluster phones. All of Verizon’s Android phones, Palm’s Pre and Pixi Plus, and select BlackBerry models are available with the new plan. Sure, you still have to pay full retail price for the phone and add in minutes and text messages as needed, but that isn’t different from any other prepaid service. That you are getting a top-notch smartphone with prepaid service and no contract on the nation’s most reliable network is the game-changer here. Regardless of how you feel about Verizon, there is no question that this move fills a niche that can only net Big Red more green. Now, if only there were a prepaid data-only plan. Can you hear me now, Verizon?

Source: Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Tab spotted in FCC filing sporting GSM, 5GHz WiFi

Could the Samsung Galaxy Tab be coming to AT&T as well? It’s a distinct possibility now that a version of the device has been unearthed in an FCC filing under the name “SHW-M180S”. This version of Samsung’s slate boasts HSDPA connectivity and a quad-band GSM radio that includes an AT&T-friendly 1900MHz radio frequency. An even juicier tidbit is revealed in the paperwork: dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi that should allow for greater building penetration as well as speeds in excess of 100Mbps. At this rate, we may see a version of the Galaxy Tab launch on every major carrier before the year is through.

Sources: FCC, Global Certification Forum via Engadget

Samsung Galaxy Tab headed to Verizon

With tablets becoming a hot item again with the introduction of Apple’s iPad earlier this year, it is no wonder that Verizon would like to cash in on one of its own during this holiday season. Boy Genius Report has found evidence by way of a screenshot of Verizon’s internal systems that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab — the big brother to the Galaxy S series of smartphones — is indeed coming to Big Red.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has made several teasing appearances online, will have a 7″ screen that runs Android 2.2 on a processor that is reportedly clocked at 1.3 GHz. There has been no definitive information on the resolution of the Galaxy Tab’s screen or whether it will feature Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology. Also no word on whether this is a Verizon exclusive.

The Galaxy Tab will most likely be Verizon’s inaugural tablet offering followed closely by a 10″ Motorola tablet running Android 3.0, aka Gingerbread, and perhaps an HTC tablet running Google’s Chrome OS. Both are rumored to have dual-core Snapdragon processors that will most likely be clocked around 1.5 – 2.0 GHz.

Source: BGR via Android Community, SlashGear

Fennec alpha comes to Android 2.x, Nokia N900

Fennec — the codename for Mozilla’s mobile version of Firefox — has just been released in alpha form for Android 2.x phones and the Nokia N900. Fennec is “the first mobile browser to offer add-ons and is built on the same technology that powers desktop Firefox.” Fennec Alpha includes Firefox Sync which allows the user to seamlessly switch from desktop to mobile and back while providing full access to all history, bookmarks, settings, and tabs throughout.

The new build focuses on performance enhancements, most noticeably in the introduction of two new features dubbed Electrolysis and Layers. Electrolysis allows the browser to run in a separate process from the actual rendering of the web affording users a snappy experience even when processor intensive content is loading. Layers sets the groundwork for future versions of Fennec to perform graphic intensive actions like scrolling, panning, and zooming optimally. Click the link for video of Fennec in action or to download a copy to test for yourself.

Source: The Mozilla Blog via Engadget