Mystery Xoom update begins roll-out this evening [Update, its ICS!]

We have been aware of an impending update for the Motorola Xoom for some time now, and tonight we may finally find out what has been shrouded in mystery all this time. A minor update, or what we’re all hoping for, ICS.

Here’s the email popping into inboxes of those who signed up for the Xoom “Google Experience Device” Testing.

Hi.
Thanks for your patience as we’ve waited for this project to begin. Because we are dealing with a Google Experience Device (GED) we have less insight to timing than we would usually have.
However, I’m happy to announce that we will start the update this evening. Because it was delayed a few days, we will also have additional time to test; we will let it run through the weekend.
Remember to keep your feedback in the private community provided, and in the survey I will send after a few days.
Please go here to access the private site and to learn more. Note that you will not be able to post on the other areas of the site during the soak — this project is confidential.
(If you have not yet logged into the new forums site, you will need to do so. Please follow all instructions before sending emails here for help.)
Thanks,
– Matt
  Motorola Owners’ Forum
  Motorola Feedback Network

The link in the email is yet to be functional, stay tuned.

[Update]

Confirmed. ICS rolls out to test participants starting at 9pm PST 1/12/2012 and will continue throughout the weekend. Assuming no extreme issues are discovered, Motorola says they will very likely release this update to the masses. A group of some thousands of Xoom Wi-Fi owners will receive the software upgrade which includes some random participants outside of testing as well it seems. Good luck Xoom owners!

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Hands On With the Asus Memo 171 [Video]

Before CES even started we told you about a device that would be shown off at the event this year. That device is the Asus Eee Pad Memo. It is a 7-inch tablet running at a 1280×800 resolution. Under the hood is a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. It has 3G and WiFi connectivity and comes with 16GB all the way up to 64GB. Well our very own Robert Nazarian and Stacy Bruce were able to get some hands on time with the device so hit the break to check it out.  Read more

Huawei Announces New MediaPad Colors, Throws In Ice Cream Sandwich For Dessert

Huawei continues to make its presence felt at CES. The company graced us with the original MediaPad last year, which of course was among the first of tablets to use Honeycomb 3.2. As fluid and smooth as that tablet was already, Huawei has decided to take the tablet and make it even better by letting Ice Cream Sandwich run the show. They’ve announced all existing versions of the tablet will get the update by the end of Q1. In addition new MediaPads are set to have Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed as well sometime in Q1. Speaking of new tablets— Huawei also announced the MediaPad color series tablets set to arrive in select markets in Q1. That means you’ll be able to enjoy the 1.2GHz smoothness in a black, brown or even pink variant. Be sure to hit the break for the full press release and details. Read more

Rogers and Telus to Get Samsung Galaxy Nexus on January 13th

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to score a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon or in the UK and you’re hopelessly wondering when you’re going to get your first taste of Ice Cream Sandwich, a few of you are in luck. Specifically you’re in luck if you’re in Canada and on Rogers or Telus as you will see a Galaxy Nexus of your own come January 13th. So far Bell is the only service to carry it in Canada.

If you live in areas surrounding Toronto or Vancouver then you can experience Rogers’ 4G speeds on this amazing device. Also, if you’re on Rogers and reserved your phone back in November, then you can expect to see them soon. There is no say on pricing but we should expect to see it around the same price as the competition’s. So if you’re in Canada, on one of these networks, and ready for an amazing phone, check out the Galaxy Nexus coming to a store near you next Friday. When you get yours, let us know if you feel the same way about yours as we do about ours.

[via Twitter]

Marvell Armada 1500 CPU Up to Bat as Google TV Switches to ARM

Well Google TV moved from x86 to ARM processing and Marvell wants everyone to know that its Foresight platform is what will be powering the next generation of Google TV hardware. Powering the device is an Armada 1500 dual-core CPU that promises PC-like performance but with cellphone-like power management. It will have support for Blu-ray 3D, video encoding/decoding and upscaling. Considering the initial lackluster market response, Marvell Co-founder Weili Dai sees this as an opportunity to fundamentally change content producers and consumer relationships.

This may be a good thing as a there is similar hardware powering the OnLive Microconsole and it may be what’s running Vizio’s Google TV with the inbuilt OnLive capabilities. Besides lower heat production and power requirements the chip will power the device for less money which may mean that we will see cheaper devices, like the Revue, in a lot more houses in 2012. Who knows, maybe CES this year will have some more insight on what we will see from Google TV and what Google TV 2.o and has to offer this year. Hit the break below to see the official press release.  Read more

Samsung Says No on ICS “Value Pack” for Galaxy S and Original Galaxy Tab

Man, when the Galaxy Nexus was first debuted with Ice Cream Sandwich it looked amazing (still does). However you’re an owner of a Samsung Galaxy S or an original Galaxy Tab and your contract isn’t up for a while. Maybe it is, but you’re thinking to yourself that you love the Galaxy S hardware or you love that little tablet and that maybe if you hope really hard Samsung will grace your device with Ice Cream Sandwich. Well even with hope sometimes we don’t get what we want, as you well know, Samsung made it clear that the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Tab wouldn’t be seeing the awesome, new Android 4.0 OS. Well, that was until they back pedaled and rumors were flying about that these devices would  see it or that they may receive a “value pack” that would give the best features of ICS without the need for a full update instead.

Read more

Untouched Holo Theme Now Required For Android Devices With Android Market Access

 

There’s no doubt the acclaim Ice Cream Sandwich has is the result of the tireless work and efforts from Google’s developers. Google may be ok with custom UI skins on top of its OS, but when it comes to the general theme of the UI of its new jewel, it’s essentially no modifying. Let me explain: Google recently decided that manufacturers who want access to the Android Market will now have to use the Holo theme—untouched and unmodified– as a specific requirement for devices that want to use the Android Market (which is umm, 99.99999% of Android devices).

That’s not to say Google isn’t restricting manufacturers from creating custom skins. In fact, Google stresses the process to create custom UI skins on top of Android 4.0 is even easier:

“We have no desire to restrict manufacturers from building their own themed experience across their devices. In fact we’ve gone further to make this even easier. In Android 4.0’s API (level 14) we’ve added a new public theme family to complement the Holo family introduced in Android 3.0: DeviceDefault. DeviceDefault themes are aliases for the device’s native look and feel. The DeviceDefault theme family and widget style family offer ways for developers to target the device’s native theme with all customizations intact.”

The bottom line: Google is making sure all Android users are getting a somewhat uniform Android 4.0 experience— even if you’re on a device with a custom skin. Adam Powell, an Android Framework Engineer said it best:

“Android apps running on 4.0 and forward can use the Holo themes and be assured that their look and feel will not change when running on a device with a custom skin”.

What this means to manufacturers is so long as they keep the general Holo theme intact, they are free to add their personal touches in the form of custom skins as they choose. However the basics such as the menus and widgets must meet the Android 4.0 standards. Android 4.0 is without a doubt a stunning OS that should be enjoyed relatively at its simplest level. Well done Google, well done.

[via Android Developers Blog]

Asus Announces Prime Bootloader Unlocking Tool, Ice Cream Sandwich to Come January 12th

It’s a joyous week for folks, as we have voiced our complaints about certain tactics used by big name technology companies and that they listened to the little guy. As you know, Verizon redacted their $2 convenience fee a few days after they announced it. Well Asus is following suit after folks voiced their complaints about a locked bootloader on the Transformer Prime. Today they released their official response to these complaints we told you about yesterday. You can hit the break to read the full press release but here is a bit of it:

“Regarding the bootloader, the reason we chose to lock it is due to content providers’ requirement for DRM client devices to be as secure as possible. ASUS supports Google DRM in order to provide users with a high quality video rental experience. Also, based on our experience, users who choose to root their devices risk breaking the system completely. However, we know there is demand in the modding community to have an unlocked bootloader. Therefore, ASUS is developing an unlock tool for that community. Please do note that if you choose to unlock your device, the ASUS warranty will be void, and Google video rental will also be unavailable because the device will be no longer protected by security mechanism.”

Read more

Wi-Fi Only HTC Flyer Begins Receiving Honeycomb Update

It was a month ago that the European HTC Flyer was issued the well-deserved Honeycomb update and at that time HTC said the Wi-Fi version would receive the same treatment in the near future. Well the near future is hear my friends, as HTC began to push out the Android 3.2 update this morning. Users are reporting better overall improvements, smoother operation and no wallpaper lag. If you are the owner of a Wi-Fi Flyer be on the lookout for the update. Rollouts tend to take a period of time to reach all devices so be patient, you will get a notification when your device is next in line.

Now we can begin to wonder if and when the Flyer will receive Ice Cream Sandwich! Any guesses?

[via Android Central]