It was last Fall when Apple unveiled their voice assistant called Siri. Then last week, Apple announced a new and improved Siri for iOS 6. So far there still hasn’t been an answer from Google and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has accelerated it’s plans to launch its Siri competitor.
We already knew Google has something up their sleeve called Majel. That could just be an internal codename or the final name, but Google definitely wants to answer Apple on this one. Of course Google already has voice actions baked into Android, but mainstream consumers really don’t know about it. With Siri’s popularity, consumers need something to identify with. Samsung even came up with their own, but really didn’t name it. They just called it S Voice. I think naming the assistant is a tad corny, but ultimately it makes sense for the average consumer.
I know a lot of Sprint customers are wondering when LTE is coming and more importantly, will it be any good? PC Mag was able to do an exclusive test in the Atlanta, Georgia area using an LG Viper and compared them to AT&T and Verizon.
They found Sprint’s network to be much faster than it’s curent WiMAX network, which isn’t shocking, but not as fast as AT&T and Verizon. This is mostly due to the fact that Sprint is using 5MHz channels rather than the 10MHz channels used by AT&T and Verizon. With Sprint they were able to get average download speeds between 9 and 13Mbps. This compares well in the cities where AT&T uses 5MHz channels, but not where they use 10MHz. For peak download speeds, Sprint hit 26.5Mbps down and compares well with AT&T’s 5MHz cities like Raleigh, which resulted with 27.8Mbps down. Sprint did compare well with Verizon’s 10MHz cities, but that is a result of a greater customer base for Big Red.
For the past few weeks, users of the new HTC Evo 4G LTE on Sprint have been unable to get Google Wallet working. It would hang at the “adding prepaid card” dialog and eventually timeout with a message to try again later. This was verified to be an Evo LTE issue only since modifying the device’s build.prop file to identify it as a Galaxy Nexus would fix the issue.
Lately, however, Wallet changed its behavior and began displaying an error message that seemed more ominous, telling users “Google Wallet has not yet been certified in your country or on your device / carrier.” The app is then basically dead in the water.
There are currently two rumors as to why this is happening. The first is that Google is working on a fix and this new error message is simply a stop-gap measure until the fix is ready. After all, it’s better to tell the user the app won’t work than to just hang and let the user wonder what’s going on. The second rumor is that Sprint is blocking Google Wallet since they plan to launch their own NFC payment solution called Touch. We’re hoping it’s rumor #1 and NOT rumor #2. I don’t like the idea of different payment systems for different carriers.
Have any of you found yourself jealous that your fancy Android device is lacking the Galaxy S III’s ability to keep the screen on while looking at it? I mean, how annoying is it when you are reading a webpage and your device’s screen times-out and you have to power it back up and unlock it to just keep reading from where you left off? The Galaxy S III combats this annoyance by using Samsung’s new Smart Stay feature that prevents your device from going to sleep by using the front facing camera to detect an onlooking face. When Sammy first announced the device and its nifty features, I figured it would be the custom ROM development community who would port the feature over to be used in various ROMs. Looks like I was wrong. Now everyone can get in on the action by simply grabbing the ISeeYou app from the Google Play store.
The Online Publishers Association (OPA) has just released a study of tablet users that has a number of surprises in it. The survey, which included 2,540 internet users between 8 and 64 years of age, found that Android tablets have made huge gains in the last 12 months, rising from 32% market share in 2011 to 51% in 2012. The iPad accounted for 52% (the numbers don’t add up to 100% because some people had more than one type), so they are now essentially neck and neck. The Kindle Fire can take credit for a lot of the gains, but just as we’ve seen with phones, consumers like choices once they understand the differences between them.
More after the break…
Two days ago we reported that Verizon was sending out texts to the DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX owners that an update to Ice Cream Sandwich was looming and just around the corner. And today, an ICS build running on the RAZR has leaked with the build number of 6.16.211. Reports state that this is the latest and newest build Motorola has built for the RAZR and RAZR MAXX, thus this could very well be the final build that will be sent out to the public. The Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX are two fine pieces of hardware and the upgrade to ICS will only make it even better. Any RAZR and RAZR MAXX users out there excited about this?
This one is for those of you that have a toddler(s) in the house. It’s called Samo Coloring for Kids and it’s an interactive finger painting coloring book. I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to find simple easy to understand apps for kids. Kudos to the developer, Martin Adamek, for understanding this need. It’s simple and to the point, and children can start creating works of art with little to no instruction.
There are two different coloring modes, and the FILL mode is what I really like. It allows your child to tap within lines and the color automatically fills the area. This actually teaches them to color “between the lines,” and gets them more prepared for the DRAW mode. In DRAW mode, your child paints with their finger and is more freestyle.
Earlier this month, we reported that Gameloft would release another movie/video game tie-in with their latest creation, “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Nothing here should be new as most of us are already quite familiar with the story of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. With Gameloft behind it, you can also expect some amazing game play all while using your web to scale New York City to tie up some bad guys.
The video below will show you a short preview of the action-packed game play and the graphics look incredible nonetheless. For a second there, I even thought it was for a console, not a mobile device. You should expect this to hit both Android and iOS on June 28th, just days before the blockbuster movie will be released.
The CyanogenMOD team has released a statement regarding their latest Gingerbread builds being released to the masses. The build number is 7.2 and should be ready to download through their website if your phone is supported. This new build should include numerous ICS features being back-ported to your GB device, as well as numerous fixes and enhancements. Also, this could very well be the last CM7 build for certain devices as the team will start moving some devices to CM9 (ICS) in the near future, which is certainly not a bad thing.
We’ve all enjoyed the quality and feature filled ROM that is CyanogenMOD, thus I expect nothing but wonderful things with this new update. Hit up their site to see if your device is supported with this new build! Also, keep note that they are still updating the device compatibility list. So if you don’t see your device in the supported list as of now, that could very well change in the next couple of days as the team is rolling out the update.
Sharp has announced that they have teamed up with the company Frog to help them create their new Android UI overlay. They have dubbed it “Feel UX” and they claim it to be “highly personalized” and “visually stunning”. Of course, anything should be an upgrade from their previous efforts in their AQUOS line. This whole new UI should land in their new line of AQUOS smartphone’s by this summer starting in Japan. No word yet if it will ever reach the America side as their previous smartphone’s have never made it to the US for that matter. Sharp claims that Feel UX will include photo browsing and widget functionality without unlocking devices and “real-time weather display motion experience and animation.” This already sounds familiar to Sense, but I commend Sharp for giving it a shot and creating something new. Head over to the video below to see a preview of their new UI. Personally, it looks a little too clustered for my taste, but I can definitely see it hitting a certain fan base. What do you guys think about it?
Full press release after the break: