If you haven’t a clue who InfoSonics is, or even what they do, it’s alright. They’re a technology manufacturing company based out of San Diego and they’ve just recently announced their very first Android smartphone, the verykool S700. The specifications of the device are about as “kool” as the name given to it, and it’s only running Android 2.2 Froyo out of the box.
The S700 features a 2MP (really) rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity and dual-sim capability (2G/3G only). The screen is a 3.5 inch capacitive touch screen, which , although unspecified, surely won’t be sporting too impressive of a screen resolution. The handset also comes shipped with 2GB internal memory that can be expanded to 32GB via a MicroSD card, built in FM radio, 1400 mAh Li-ion battery, GPS and a gyroscope.
The phone is obviously going to be aimed at the extremely low-range market, as even the cheapest of phones are beginning to sport greater specifications than the verykool S700. I honestly don’t like having to add such negative comments to a device, but the times, they are a changin’ and if you’re looking to enter a fairly established market, you have to bring everything you’ve got.
The HTC Droid Incredible 4G, previously dubbed the HTC Fireball, is passing through the FCC just 3 days after receiving Bluetooth certification. What’s particularly interesting about this approval application is that it’s touting LTE band 13, which is Verizon’s 700MHz frequency. Although any further [relevant or interesting] details are slim to none, surely more information will be surfacing in the coming weeks and days. Keep posted to TalkAndroid.com for further updates!
With the recent launch of Google Play to replace the Android Market, it seems clear that Google is planning some major moves, likely to compete with its most obvious competitor, Apple’s iTunes and iBooks. This doesn’t require much explanation as to why, since it would be a vital move for Google to expand its services in order to remain in a contending position. It seems that in addition to offering apps, movies, music and e-books, Google is planning to offer audiobooks, magazines and newspapers as well.
The initial sighting was in the in the Google Play Help Center by Google news site Google Operating System, with empty pages for “Audio Books” and “Magazines and Journals”. Also noted is Google’s registration of several place holder domains such as googleplaymagazines.com, googleplaynewspapers.com, googleplaynewsstand.com and googleplaytv.com among various other iterations of these themes. Looks to me like Google is planning another major update to its services, and I for one will welcome them with open arms when they’re released some time in the future.
Motorola is planning a soak test for a future update for its Droid 3 devices on Verizon’s network, as an e-mail sent out to Motorola Feedback Network (MFN) members explains. For those that aren’t sure what a soak test is, it’s simply a form of software testing that ensures that, in normal use (or as close a simulation of) as well as under heavy load, the software remains stable and functional. Unfortunately it won’t be Ice Cream Sandwich, since that’s been dropped from Verizon’s list of phones receiving the Android 4.0 update. Members of the MFN received the following e-mail:
Thanks for joining the Motorola Feedback Network. We are inviting owners of the Motorola Droid 3 on Verizon to participate in an early preview of a new software release, and provide feedback. If you are not currently using a Droid 3, please excuse and ignore this email.
Click this link to take a short enrollment survey if you wish to take part. Note that you must be a member in good standing of the Motorola Owners’ Forums to be included. The registration window is can close without notice so please respond as quickly as possible.
Thanks — please understand that start times are always fluid. We ask for your patience if you register but don’t hear from us right away.
Thanks Justin for sending this in!
Motorola’s huge update for the MOTOACTV fitness device, originally scheduled for March 7th (yesterday) has been postponed until tomorrow. Although not entirely great news, it’s only a 24 hour wait, and I’m sure it’s to ensure that the update is rolled out without issues. The update is planning to bring over 40 new activities to the device, including yoga, pilates, dancing, and martial arts. The update will also bring some new convenient functionality tweaks, including activating the screen by a flick of your wrist, and WiFi setup straight from the device itself (opposed to currently having to do so from your phone). If you own a MOTOACTV, keep your eyes posted tomorrow for an incredible update for your device.
U.S. senator Charles Schumer has requested that the Federal Trade Commision investigate reports that applications on both iOS and Android platforms are able to steal private photos and contacts and export them to their servers – without the user’s consent. Schumer is concerned about a New York Times report that iOS and Android apps can obtain access to the user’s private photos and contacts.
The senator says that it’s his understanding that the uses in question violate the terms of service of both Apple and Google platforms. “These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app’s functionality,” Schumer said in a letter to the FTC. Schumer also suggests that “smartphone makers should be required to put in place safety measures to ensure third party applications are not able to violate a user’s personal privacy by stealing photographs or data that the user did not consciously decide to make public”, and that phone manufacturers have an obligation to protect the private content of their customers.
This is an interesting allegation, and it’s definitely a little worrisome. Whether or not this holds a severe case I’m sure we’ll find out in the coming days and weeks. It’s common sense that only what the application needs or what you consent to relinquish to the application should be accessed and used, and only according to how you agree for that content to be used.
The lawsuit wars continue between Apple and Google and Motorola. U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner ruled yesterday that Motorola and Google must hand over details on the development of Google’s Android operating system as well as information regarding the recent [pending] acquisition of Motorola by Google. Apple’s lawyers claim “The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses”, but Motorola has opposed the request, stating “Google’s employees and documents are not within the ‘possession, custody, or control’ of Motorola, and Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections.”
So there we have it, another interesting twist in the tech-giant soap opera drama that is Apple vs. The World. We’re sure to see more from Apple as time goes on, especially since the Google/Motorola acquisition poses an immediate threat to the company.
AT&T will be offering the Dr. Dre Beatbox this week, retailing for a pretty hefty $400. The accessory will offer Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a dock connector for smartphones and portable music players. The Beatbox is powering a 5.25″ woofer, and will most likely offer “an incredible music experience”. I’m not really sure if I want an incredible portable music experience at $400, but I digress. In addition to the Beatbox, AT&T will also be carrying the following Beats accessories: Wireless HD Stereo Bluetooth Headphones, Beats Solo HD Headphones and the UR Beats In-Ear Headphones.
Also in the press release, which I’m sure will be slightly more appealing, is AT&T’s explicit intention to deliver an update for the HTC Vivid “in the coming weeks” which includes an update to Android 4.0, an updated HTC Sense experience and Beats by Dr. Dre audio profiles. Owners of an HTC Vivid rejoice, you finally get to taste the sweet, sweet, creaminess that is Ice Cream Sandwich. Full press release after the break.
The most recent iteration of Rovio’s Angry Birds franchise looks as if it’s going to launch exclusively on the most recent iteration of Samsung’s Galaxy line of handsets. Today Samsung released a teaser clip on their Facebook and YouTube pages. The 30-second teaser makes it fairly clear that the game is intended to launch on the Galaxy Note. The game will surely be released for other handsets subsequent to this exclusive launch window. Such marketing tactics aren’t unfamiliar, since Rovio previously released Angry Birds in a similar manner. The way I see it, it’s a win-win situation. It’s great news for Galaxy Note owners and good news for everyone else. What’s a little wait for the rest of us, anyway? Hit the break for the Angry Birds Space teaser clip.
Google Labs was responsible for some of the apps we can’t live without on our devices: Google Search, Google Goggles and my personal favorite, App Inventor. Unfortunately the app was phased out, along with Google Labs, but not before the source code was made open for all. Of course, since App Inventor was a pivotal educational tool, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology picked it up right where Google left it.
I bring some good news today, as the beta version of the application is available to anyone with a Google account! That’s right, anyone can pick up and go create their own apps in a versatile, innovative and naturally intuitive environment. Anyone who’s ever wanted to give app development a shot but didn’t quite understand the jargon involved with software development should head over to the MIT’s App Inventor website (source link below) and give it a go.
Some of the most promising handsets coming out of MWC 2012 weren’t from Motorola, or Samsung, or HTC. They came from Huawei, a company I’m sure you’d otherwise pass by if you weren’t Android device or otherwise tech savvy. The company announced a whole bunch of new devices at this years MWC, and they all look really, really nice. The Chinese manufacturer has announced it will be releasing their Ascend D LTE and P1 LTE models in Europe and Asia this coming July, although no word on a North American release is available just yet.
Unfortunately the LTE version of the Ascend D will in fact NOT be shipping with a quad-core processor, the reason being that LTE doesn’t quite shake hands nicely with quad-core processors just yet. This is little to worry about though as the specifications for the rest of the phone are fairing pretty well. I for one would be very interested in, at the very least, trying one out. Hit the break for the official press release from Huawei.
Google’s response to Apple’s voice recognition/virtual personal assistant, previously dubbed “Project Majel” has reportedly gone through a name change, according to TechCrunch. Although Google has had in-house voice recognition for a while, Assistant plans to go above and beyond the current capabilities of Siri. The assistant team of developers is headed by Amit Singhal, the Google search engineer responsible for the search algorithms we use on a daily basis, including the ranking system that Google uses to rank pages as results. Singhal has a fairly impressive resume and is the recipient of plenty of prestigious awards for his service and innovations in the information retrieval sector. With him at the helm, it’s no doubt that Assistant will turn out exactly the way we hope.
According to reports, the project has three parts:
- Get the world’s knowledge into a format a computer can understand
- Create a personalization layer — Experiments like Google +1 and Google+ are Google’s way of gathering data on precisely how people interact with content.
- Build a mobile, voice-centered “Do engine” (‘Assistant’) that’s less about returning search results and more about accomplishing real-life goals.
Unlike Apple and their closed loop of hardware-software interaction, Google plans on in the involvement of the Assistant project and third-party developers, opening up the prospect of tying Google Assistant into the depths of your device. Cool, huh? The project has reportedly been given a Q4 release period, which is a pretty long way down the road, but better late than never, right? Hit the break for an interesting video regarding the evolution of search and its future capabilities.
We’re all anxiously awaiting the newest device in the Samsung Galaxy line, namely the Galaxy SIII. Rumours have been floating around, as they usually do, and we didn’t hear anything about the device at this years Mobile World Conference. Just recently we heard that we might see an April release, but today that rumour has apparently been debunked. To curb the resulting disappointment, there’s been a benchmark result posted on the GLBenchmark results page, with a model number resembling what one could believe is the next along in the Galaxy line, GT-I9300.
The results claim that the device is running a resolution of 1196 x 720, dispelling the rumours of full HD. The results also claim the device is running Android version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and hit a maximum processor frequency of 1400MHz, though no mention of something important — how many cores — is found. Personally, it’s hard to believe Samsung’s super-hyped flagship handset would be fitted with such dismal [relatively speaking] specifications. My guess is this is isn’t actually the specs for the Galaxy SIII, and if it is, I – and a lot of others – will be truly disappointed.
Let’s face it. 3D printing is cool stuff. Being able to create your own models for various purposes like gifts or even desktop decorations is a pretty enticing concept. It’s yet to take off in a practical and accessible form, but that isn’t stopping developers from riding the wave and creating some cool stuff. That’s what a team of developers based out of Johannesburg has done with Paint3D. The application promises to let you create and print your own 3D designs straight from your Android-powered device!
The application isn’t available to the general public as of yet, but it surely demonstrates some really cool and futuristic capabilities. Hit the YouTube video after the break for a better idea of what Paint3D does and how it does it.
It’s no secret that GoogleTV hasn’t made the largest splash in the smart TV sector. This isn’t to say that it’s done horribly, but it’s safe to say that work still needs to be done to facilitate higher adoption rates. It’s also fairly hard to judge the number of GoogleTV’s in the wild, since Google and it’s partners don’t really like to give out the sales numbers. This is where Xyologic comes in; an app search company that allows users to find mobile apps across various platforms. They’ve recently released results that suggest, based on an estimate of the active install base for pre-installed GoogleTV apps, that the number of GoogleTV’s actively in use are between 500,000 and 1 million, of which the Logitech Revue dominates 50 to 70 percent.
It’s very important to point out that these numbers are estimates only, and do not actually resemble sales numbers, which could contain variables such as people that purchased the hardware but never even ended up using it. Another variable that these numbers don’t reflect are GoogleTV units that are running v1.0 of the software, which don’t show up on Android Market data. This data does still provide insight into usage of GoogleTV, and although the numbers aren’t exceptional, I wouldn’t say Google is out for the count just yet.