HTC Director of User Experience, Drew Bamford, posted today about what went into redefining Sense, as in Sense 5. He said that after the introduction of Sense 4, he challenged the team to “take a step back and take a fresh look at the overall customer experience.” After interviewing many users, they found that most people don’t even know the difference between apps and widgets, widgets are rarely used, and most people don’t modify their home screens. Pretty interesting when you think about it, because it’s the ability to modify home screens and the use of widgets that are supposed to make Android attractive. The fact of the matter is that mainstream consumers just don’t get involved all that much.
If you like old school games, you need to check out Space Defense HD by BeeGroove. It’s just like the very popular 80′s hit, Missile Command, with a few variations. What’s interesting about Missile Command is that it’s one of the few games that actually improves with the transition to a touch screen device. The original Missile Command was played with a trackball, which was cool and innovative at the time, but it was still hard to launch your missiles fast enough. By using your finger, it gives you more accuracy and efficiency.
If you’re not familiar with Missile Command, it’s your job to protect your city from missile attacks. You do this by launching your own counter-missiles that will explode at the precise point that you aim them. You want to aim your missiles so that when they explode, enemy missiles will be close enough to be destroyed.
Do you remember the NASA PhoneSat project that we learned about last summer? The purpose of it was to build small nanosatellites using small consumer electronics. Well the Nexus One was the chosen one and it’s in space right now. The Nexus One launched on February 25th, and HTC is calling it the first smartpho-naut.
So what is it doing up there? It’s taking snapshots, and what’s really cool is the 360app is installed on it, which means earth creatures will be able to request snapshots soon. That feature isn’t live yet, so stay tuned. For background information on the PhoneSat project, hit the break for a short video.
With the announcement of Sense 5 last week, many HTC phone owners are wondering if their models will receive the upgrade. The question was asked on Facebook and HTC replied with the One X, One X+, One S, and Butterfly. The DROID DNA didn’t make the list, but I suspect that since it’s a Butterfly variant, it will also be one of the chosen ones.
As you know there are a lot of newer features in Sense 5, and some of them probably won’t make it to these other phones due to hardware limitations. One such feature is HTC TV. Since none of those devices have an IR blaster, there would be no reason to include it. The last question that needs to be answered is when? Unfortunately we don’t know, and I wouldn’t expect to see the updates before the summer, especially the carrier branded versions.
As promised by Electronic Arts, Real Racing 3 is now available in the Google Play Store. This one is highly anticipated and let’s hope it lives up to the hype. Real Racing 3 includes officially licensed tracks, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, Hockenheimring, and many more. You will also find over 45 real cars from Porsche, Lamborghini, Dodge, Bugatti, Audi, and more. A new feature called Time Shifted Multiplayer will allow you to race against other people whether they are online or not. With over 900 events, this one is sure to keep you busy for a while.
With the LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 hitting Verizon, why not U.S. Cellular? Well U.S. Cellular just announced that it’s available in both stores and online. The Galaxy Note 10.1 was the first actual tablet (not a phablet) in the Note line, which means you get to enjoy all the great features found on the phone on a much larger display. It’s priced at $499 and as a refresher it sports a 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) LCD display, a 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera, 1.9MP front camera, 16GB of storage, microSD slot for up to an additional 32GB of storage, 7,000mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, WiFi Direct, USB 2.0 Host, mHL, iR LED, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Of course you can’t forget about the S Pen. Hit the break for the full presser.
There’s no question that Adobe Photoshop (PS Touch) is one of the premier photo editing apps, but up until today it was only available for tablets. Those of you that would like to utilize this powerful app on your phone will be happy to know that it was just released in the Play Store. I had a chance to see a hands on demo of it recently, and if you’re wondering if this version will be toned down, wonder no more because it’s not.
Now there’s both bad news and good news, First, the bad news, if you want to be able to use it on both your phone and tablet, you will have to buy both apps ($9.99 for tablet, $4.99 for phones). The good news is that if you utilize Adobe Creative Cloud, your projects will automatically sync between devices.
Android has grown more than I could ever imagine, and the biggest player responsible for that surge is Samsung. They now represent about 40% of the Android devices sold, but is that too much? If you’re Samsung, it’s probably not enough, but if your Google, you might be worried that Samsung could start flexing their muscles and attempt to change the entire Android strategy. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Google fears Samsung and is hoping other manufacturers will step up their game to keep Samsung in check.
ASUS had a little presser this morning at Mobile World Congress in which they unveiled the PadFone Infinity and the Fonepad. Now you can watch it in its entirety, and you will not only get to see the PadFone Infinity and Fonepad announcements, but you will also learn about ASUS Open Cloud Computing (AOCC). Total running time is 44 minutes, so if you have some time, check it out after the break.
As expected, ZTE pulled the wraps off of the Grand Memo at Mobile World Congress. It features a 5.7-inch 720p display along with the latest from Qualcomm, the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800. It also has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage a 13MP rear camera, 1MP front camera, 3,200 mAh battery, and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It comes in at 8.4mm thick, which is pretty thin. One complaint with larger displays is typing, and ZTE has you covered with the ability to situate the keyboard a little to the left or right so you can type with one hand.