One of the few complaints I’ve heard about Google Doodles is “I never see them!” The complaint usually stems from users who, like most of us I assume, type their searches into the “omnibox” or via a mobile device. Google has managed to spread the Doodle love to Android users via Google Now. The Doodle isn’t exactly the same as what you’d find on Google.com and you won’t be able to interact with the image in the same way but it will, at least, give you an idea of what everyone is talking about. If you haven’t updated to get yesterday’s awesome Google Now upgrades, do it now!
LG is following suit with Android’s most successful manufacturer, Samsung, they’re going big. LG confirmed the the Optimus G Pro for South Korea will come with a 5.5-inch full HD screen. As expected, this Galaxy Note II-sized device will beat the Galaxy S IV to market. This larger variant sounds like the one we expect announced at Mobile World Congress. If ginormous phones are your cup of tea, you’ll want to keep a close eye on our MWC coverage.
At this point the Optimus G Pro’s main advantage over its Samsung counterparts is its full 1080p screen but the rest of its specs are nothing to scoff at. It has a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, microSD slot, LTE connectivity and a nice 3,140 mAh battery. The South Korean version is, but for its half-inch larger screen, identical to the Japanese version.
The phone youwe I love to hate got its butt kicked in a user satisfaction survey. In the US, the iPhone 5 came in behind the Motorola Atrix HD, Droid RAZR M, HTC Rezound 4G and Samsung Galaxy Note II. The survey found a correlation between high satisfaction ratings and 4G service. A less than level 4G-playing field, such as the UK with only a single 4G carrier,was still not enough of an advantage for the iPhone. The HTC One X was the UK’s top phone followed by the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III Mini (not a typo) and the Galaxy S III.
The survey, clearly good news for Motorola, HTC and, to a lesser extent, Samsung was not all bad news for Apple. It was still rated the top smartphone manufacturer in terms of satisfaction, just slightly ahead of Google. This may be a result of Android manufacturers producing mid-tier and budget phones along with their flagship devices as opposed to Apple, which focuses on the release of a single handset. On Device Research surveyed 320,000 mobile and tablet users in six countries for this report.
Typing “Fuelband” into the Google Play store’s search box doesn’t lead you to the Nike+ Fuelband app for its new workout tracking bracelet. According to @NikeSupport, an official Nike Twitter channel, that’s not changing anytime soon. Nike cited its desire to focus “on the FuelBand experience across iOS and nikeplus.com” as its reason for ignoring the Android market. The Fuelband has a lot of things going for it but mobile sync won’t be one of them, at least not for Android users.
Fitbit, who makes similar workout tracking devices, does have an app in the Play Store but only supports direct sync to a small number of Android devices (including the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II). Their current product line-up looks much more like conventional pedometers but Fitbit is set to release its own bracelet, the Fitbit Flex, this Spring. If this is a race for Android-fitness dollars, one contestant just dropped out.
We had seen images and pricing leaked earlier this month but today ASUS delivered the official announcement for the MemoPad 10. The announcement came at Thailand Mobile Expo, well ahead of Mobile World Congress, where many had expected the announcement. Spec-wise, the 9mm-thick tablet doesn’t break new ground. It has a 1.2 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 10.1-inch WXGA display, 16 GB internal storage and a handy microSD slot. The MemoPad 10 has a 5 MP rear-facing camera, a 1.2 MP front-facing camera and will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It will come in your choice of white, blue or pink for about $360.
The guys over at Mobile Tech Videos have a service that will grant you S-OFF status for the HTC Droid DNA. S-OFF is required to write to certain partitions on the device and achieve true-root privileges. The S-OFF granting service is similar to the process, called JTAG, they use to unbrick phones. It’s $45 bucks plus shipping and you’ll have to do without your phone for a few days. Check out the video below of the not-so-simple process.
Who said Android manufacturers didn’t deliver on their word? OK, maybe not always on software updates but HTC is living up to its promise of crappy sales. Earlier this week the Taiwanese giant announced it expected this quarter’s sales numbers to be down as much as 17% over the first quarter of 2012. It turned out January wasn’t quite so bad. HTC reported sales revenue of T$15.54 billion ($527 million US) for the first month of 2013. That figure is 5.9% less than the T$16.52 billion for January 2012. So yes, the M7 is big for HTC.
It was almost a year ago when we thought Carbon For Twitter, not to be confused with Carbon App Sync & Backup, looked very promising. Normally I tend to think if you want to get into the least exciting Android apps then let’s talk about Twitter clients. Carbon surprised me. It doesn’t reinvent Twitter, it just delivers it in a sharp package with smooth animations. Scrolling is nice and quick and it even incorporates two-fingered scrolling to jump to the top or bottom of your feed. It has an easy and clean method for accessing lists, filtering for people and hash tags. The only thing I didn’t see was a widget (for the lock screen or home screen). I’ve been pretty happy with Tweetdeck but it might be time to jump ship.
RIM Blackberry, formerly known as Research In Motion, has said its two new Blackberry 10 devices, the Z10 and QWERTY-equipped Q10, will launch with 70,000 to 100,000 apps. BlackBerry vice president Martyn Mallick said 40% of those would actually be ported Android apps. Developers will be able to use the BlackBerry 10 SDK to “wrap” Android code into something the new BB10 OS can use. The SDK also transforms menu and back buttons into Blackberry-specific gestures.
Ported apps can also use a menu overlay as in the example below. By all reports these apps are working smoothly and the interface tweaks are doing the job, although often with clunky results. Blackberry is surely hoping the Android apps act as a crutch until its app store, Blackberry World, can get up to speed with plenty of solid native apps. Blackberry has a bounty program to help spur app development. The program, for which these ported apps are not eligible, promises $10,000 in revenue for native apps for the first year.
The Blackberry Z10, equipped with the new Blackberry 10 OS, is black, sleek and in a form factor that’s not too dissimilar from the Nexus 4. Operating system aside, many of us have been wondering how the Z10 measures up some of our favorite Android devices.
For starters, its 4.2-inch screen, which would have been among the largest smartphone displays a couple years ago, feels small when compared to the Nexus 4’s 4.7-inch screen and downright tiny next to the Galaxy Note II‘s 5.5-inch screen. It might be unfair to compare its 1.5 GHz dual-core processor to the quad-core engines under the hoods of the two previously mentioned Android devices. The demands of the Blackberry 10 OS are not necessarily the same as those of Jelly Bean. The iPhone 5 has received few performance complaints and its A6 dual-core processor is barely pushing over 1GHz. When it comes to RAM, the Z10 is on pretty even footing with 2GB of RAM. Battery life also seems to be on par with the Nexus 4 and this is despite only having an 1800 mAh (removable) battery vs the 2100 mAh battery on the Nexus.
I don’t know too many people who are planning to jump from Android to Blackberry (and by too many people, I mean none) but spec-wise the Z10 looks more like a standard smartphone rather than a superphone and possible savior. For those stuck on Blackberry enterprise accounts, the Z10 looks like a better choice than what you had, but will anyone else give it a try?