If you have been waiting on this one, I’m sure it has felt entirely too long. The UK white RAZR was initially thought to be released on February 22nd. Then the date became March 1st. Then, silence. Those days came and went and the white RAZR seemingly faded out of existence for the past month. All of a sudden, however, the illustrious white RAZR has come back on the radar with a new date in tow, March 29th. Get it then, SIM free and unlocked from Clove, which by the way is accepting orders now at £382.80, VAT included. Clove will also be throwing in a pair of free folding speakers (a £20 value).
It’s no secret. The iPod owns the portable media player sector, but that hasn’t stopped Android OEMs from taking a stab it. Most recently, the Samsung Galaxy Players have been top dog for team Android, but it appears HTC is near ready to join in the fun and with a novel design it seems. The screenshots you see here in this post are taken from a patent filing from Q1 2011. In the illustrations (another after the break) you can clearly see a kickstand as well as multiple speaker grills. This thing looks like its ready to crank it up to 11, no sweat, and since its HTC, a device like this has got to have Beats on board. Of particular interest is that it appears the speakers are ordinarily hidden and you slide the two back halves to create the surround sound experience. Speaking of Surround, we’ve seen an approach similar to this on the Windows powered HTC Surround. Looks like they saved the better stuff for Android!
If you know car stereos, you’ve heard of Clarion. They’re known for all sorts of ICE (In-Car Entertainment) devices. Now they are adding one called Mirage and it runs Android. The Mirage debuted in Malaysia yesterday and has the distinction of being the first Android-based, OEM grade car stereo.
Clarion Malaysia MD T.K. Tan calls the Mirage a “smart car stereo” and likens it to today’s smartphones.
“Anyone who uses an Android cell phone knows that it is much more than just a device to make and receive calls. It is a smart phone. Similarly, the Clarion Mirage is more than just your typical car stereo, it’s a smart car stereo that is upgradeable.”
The Mirage has a 6.5-inch LCD touch screen running at 800 x 400, and runs Android 2.2 Froyo, specially customized for a car platform by Wind River, a division of Intel. Though the UI is made to fit a car stereo, it is very familiar to us Android geeks. Connectivity is plentiful, with the following options:
ASUS sure seems excited about an upcoming update to their flagship tablet, the Transformer Prime. So much so that they posted the following teaser on their Facebook:
“Awesome new features coming in the next Transformer Prime firmware update. Stay tuned!”
Yeah, not much to go on, so we can only speculate that it will be awesome. No clue on timing or anything else, but stay tuned!
Well, we told you about an upcoming soak test for the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi, and various sources are now telling us it has begun. Apparently, this 14.6MB update will bring the device up to Android 4.0.4. According to reports, it’s a big speed improvement and contains many fixes and features.
Quicker screen rotation
A new setting to choose whether the power button immediately locks the device or not
Microsoft Exchange improvements with additional EAS policies
Better phone number recognition
Camera and image quality improvements
A few anonymous sources sent over some screenshots. Check them out after the break!
Oh but what you didn’t get to read in the tittle was they also added ads. That’s right they added in-app ads to the free version and made a premium version with, you guessed it, no ads. As the title says, you can now view Instagram and Twitter photos from the timeline. For those who don’t know, Seesmic is a social network manager for Facebook and Twitter that allows you to see both sites (now 3) within one app at the same time.
The integration of Instagram comes at a great time because we know the Android app is on its way as we’ve already seen the sign up page go live. There are also reports of the new premium version not working properly with ICS at the moment, but I bet they fix that little snafu before too long. You can grab the update or the free and paid version of the app though the links below. The premium version is going to run you $2.99.
Google Play Store (Free)
Google Play Store (Paid)
One of the greatest qualities of the Android OS is the ability to customize your smartphone and make it look and function the way you want. I mean really really change it, not just a simple wallpaper or screen lock change like another popular OS that will remain nameless. Handcent SMS has been a long-time trusted friend to many Android users when it comes to text messaging. Who wouldn’t like the ability to customize the color and look of your conversation bubbles and background, to have a privacy box in case you don’t want to accidentally share your love notes with the surrounding public, and of course my personal favorite, the ability to assign a different notification tone to each contact, thus enabling me to differentiate whether it’s my family and friends who are texting me or my boss. Surprisingly, stock Android did not incorporate any of these features in the past, yet Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has thoughtfully added my favorite function to their stock messaging app. However, someone over at Google decided to make the conversation bubbles the same exact color between sender and receiver, so I will still be forced to turn to great apps like Handcent SMS for assistance. At least their latest update, version 4.0, will now support ICS among other improvements. Be sure to check out the Google Play Store link below and see what all the fuss is about.
Among the many note apps available in the Google Play Store, Evernote is ranked as one of the best. Having received the status of “Editor’s Choice”, Evernote is a free app that allows users to make notes, take photos, create to-do-lists and record voice memos. To make things easier, it makes all of your notes searchable and accessible across all of the devices you use. Having just released an update to version 3.6, users can now enjoy these additional features:
- Audio notes with speech to text transcription
- Note list improvements, including larger thumbnails
- Added ability to turn off auto-titling in app Settings
- Adds “Explore Evernote” feature discovery on tablet devices
- Improved legibility of the Settings screen
- Major Evernote Widget updates
Hit up the Google Play Store link below to get these new features.
In what seems like a never ending onslaught of legal battle after legal battle for the mobile industry, a recent court ruling regarding the lawsuit between Hasbro and Asus has been finalized. Hasbro has pushed for a ban on Transformer Prime tablet sales due to what it states could cause confusion for customers who may mistake the tablet to be a Hasbro product. The company used existing merchandise and noted the fact that Asus’s logo has been plastered on quite a number of other items such as USB drives and other related computer hardware. In a statement from the ruling judge, it seems like the argument was anything but convincing:
“There is nothing gimmicky about the Eee Pad Transformer or the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, nor can it be said that there is any similarity in the use or function between Hasbro and Asus’s products.”
The judge took it one step further to state how he thought it actually strengthened Asus’s argument in that using the word Transformer couldn’t have been a more accurate description, as it obviously “transforms” into a laptop computer once docked into the qwerty keyboard. In addition to the debacle, Asus revealed stats on the sales as far as pre-orders and actual fulfillment goes.
“…as of February 24, 2012, it had received over 2,000 pre-orders … and that retailer fulfillment orders for the next two months total approximately 80,000 tablet computers.”
Earlier last month HTC made a statement that they were going to quit focusing on quantity and maximize on good quality hardware and software. Later that month HTC announced their new take on Android smartphones, the HTC One Series. I adore HTC and what they have done for the Android community and this is an exciting time to see what they will contribute going forward. Their Sense UI is gorgeous and is always super smooth. Despite many reports of it being heavy, I have yet to see any evidence of that. Admittedly their latest releases have seemed a bit too cluttered, but HTC has vowed to change that and they are going to begin with the HTC One S which is destined for their old partner in crime, T-Mobile. We know to expect a release date sometime this Spring but someone has been kind enough to snag an early model and share it with us. You will immediately notice that there is no T-Mobile branding on the front, a detail that is likely to change in the final design, however in minute 1:17 of the video, you can actually see the app for T-mobile TV in the app drawer. It’s not an official release date, but we’ll gladly take some more eye candy in the meantime.