Verizon has a tendency to lock down phones on their network, but fortunately, Big Red hasn’t been able to ruin the developer experience on the Droid DNA. Just to show its resilience, the Droid DNA has been added to the list of supported devices in Flash Image GUI. Flash Image GUI is a neat little app that lets you flash kernels and recoveries without rebooting to recovery. If you’re the kind of person who likes to flash something new on their phone a few times a week, this app is a huge time saver. But remember that anytime you flash new software on your device, it can be risky, so be sure to keep a reliable backup just in case things go awry. If you’re a Droid DNA owner who wants to give the app a go, hit the link below.
Well friends it’s finally happened. Samsung’s all-powerful Galaxy S line has officially passed the 100 million mark. The astonishing fact is how little time it took for Samsung to reach that historic figure. From the original Galaxy S’s launch back in May 2010, it has only taken 2 years and 7 months for overall sales to break past the 100 million mark, while the Galaxy S III is selling even faster rate as Samsung has sold 30 million units in only 5 months and 40 million in only 7 months. Considering Samsung is continuing to push the envelope by introducing more speed as well as new and innovative technologies in its devices, it probably won’t take too long for us to see Sammy eventually reach the 200 million mark. Until then— we’ll just sit back and continue to see Sammy just rake in all those profits.
ASUS seems intent on dominating the budget-tablet market by introducing yet another tablet called the MeMO Pad. This 7-inch tablet features a 1,024 x 600 display, a VIA WM8950 chip clocked at 1GHz plus a Mali-400 GPU, is available in 8GB or 16GB configurations (plus a microSD card slot) and has Jelly Bean running the show. Oh and for good measure— ASUS is tossing in its some extra goodies including its cloud-based WebStorage with 5GB of storage space and ASUS Studio among other things. All-in-all, it appears that ASUS is trying to give consumers a quality tablet experience that won’t break the bank too much– which is always a welcome thing.
The MeMO Pad will be available this month for a reasonable starting price of only $149 and will be available in Sugar White, Titanium Gray and Cherry Pink color configurations. Interested parties will be able to get more deets once they hit past the break and check out the full presser.
I think we can all agree that mobile isn’t the focal point for the Consumer Electronics Show since it deals with all consumer electronics. Even so, there was still a lot of cool stuff announced, and the question is what’s the best of the best (for mobile)? We had new devices from Sony, Huawei, and ZTE as well as processors from Samsung, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA, not to mention other hardware like tablets, gaming controllers, gaming systems, and even Google TV.
Before we get into it, I want to thank my entire staff for the hard word this past week, especially our Editor, Roy Alugbue. I was the only one on the show floor and we managed to churn out 45 hands on videos along with a bunch of other announcements and stories. Roy kept the train moving, and our team delivered in a way that we’ve never done before. I am proud of everyone and already looking forward to next year. If you’ve missed any of our coverage, be sure to click here.
Now that the show floor is closed, it’s time for each of us to pick the cream of the crop so hit the break to find out.
Are you an AT&T customer looking to pick up a cheap tablet? AT&T’s got you covered. You can grab a completely unsubsidized, off contract Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 for only $199.99 on AT&T’s website. For this lightweight little 7-inch tablet, that’s not a bad price, especially if you don’t need the latest and greatest tech but want something to watch Netflix on the go with. And for a limited time, you can opt for a two year service agreement to knock $100 off the price of this tablet, since it sports 3G radios. Aside from the 3G, the IdeaTab packs a 7 inch HD screen, a 1GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 2MP camera. It’s not going to make your jaw drop, but if CES this year made you a little envious of all the new devices, this deal might just scratch your tablet itch.
If you’re a developer, you know how important it is to get your app out there to as many people as possible. Well, Google wants to help you. They’ve created a webpage that allows you to enter your app name/URL and they’ll create a “badge” for you to put on your website (or any other website for that matter). Clicking on the badge will take people to your app on the Google Play Store so they can download it right there. Couldn’t be any easier, and Google gives you multiple size choices. Hopefully Google will expand upon this idea, and offer different color options (white would be nice), and maybe even a square corners option for those of us who like straight, clean lines. If you’re an app developer, jump on it! Click the source link below to get started.
Good news for you Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 owners. Both the 10.1 and 7.0 variants of Samsung’s popular slate are now getting a taste of Android Jelly bean. The 4.1 update includes all the awesome features you’ve been waiting for: Project Butter, Google Now, better notifications, and improvements to TouchWiz. If you’re too impatient to wait for the OTA to show up in your notification bar, you can try to force the update by going to Settings > About Tablet > Check for update. Since this is a major update, you’ll need to have your battery charged to at least 50% and be prepared to download a few hundred megabytes of data. Give it a try, and let us know how things go for you in the comment section below.
The Android Dropboxapp update to version 2.3 is now available. The update provides some UI improvements and slight updates but its focus is clearly on photo sharing. If you have the “Camera Upload” feature enabled photo sharing via Dropbox is pretty damn easy. The the app’s gallery view of your uploaded images allows you to select multiple images. Once selected you can add to an album, delete or share a link to the usual choices (Gmail, SMS, Facebook, Google+, etc.). The recipient gets a link to the images you selected. They can then decide to download or add to their own Dropbox account.
One of the questions I receive most often from my less tech-savvy friends (and iPhone owners) is about how to email multiple photos. “I tried to email the 50+ photos from my daughter’s birthday party but…” Ugh, stop. Just use Dropbox and quit bothering me. Everyone else, update via the Play Store or hit the download link below.
Hot off the heels of an impressive showing at CES this week, ZTE is poised to make a major mark on American consumers this year. CNet reports that carrier executives have not only been impressed with flagship devices like the Grand S smartphone, but the same executives have been encouraged by the direction of the company and are even saying “show me more“. Additionally, ZTE’s head of North American business Lixin Cheng highlights that when seeing the new concepts and devices, carrier executives are seeing “there was a wow factor when they saw them“. It also doesn’t hurt that carriers are attracted to ZTE because of the shorter development process for its phones— devices only take six to eight months from the design of a phone to launch, compared to a competitor’s development time of 12 to 18 months.
While it had some bad publicity a short while ago, it’s looking like ZTE is back on track to becoming the next great brand to have major influence out here in the States. Let’s just hope it can carry the Grand S’s momentum and come out with solid offerings for consumers.
Google’s Android team seems to be working on a minor update to their current Android 4.2.1 OS, as we’re seeing Android 4.2.2 pop up on several phones around the globe. The new build number is showing up on phones in Brazil that are coming out of LG’s Brazil factory with the new build already installed. Supposedly there are already 1,000 Nexus 4’s carrying the 4.2.2 update. In Malaysia it’s a slightly different story: a technology website received a review unit from LG that has the new build installed, so in that case it’s only an isolated incident. Still, it doesn’t surprise us that Google is working on the next minor update for their OS. It’s more than likely that 4.2.2 is only a small update that will squash a few leftover bugs. We’ll have to wait and see how this unfolds and when Google will release the next version. We’ll keep you updated if we find anything else out.
I spent a lot of time with the folks at Fuhu yesterday, and I was thoroughly impressed with what they are doing. Not only are they cranking out tablets that appeal to toddlers, kids and tweens, but they are getting into the educational game in a major way. I had a chance to get a first look at the Wings application, which is an adaptive educational learning system. It actually is a role playing game for elementary students, and it was developed with a board of educators and school district board members.
It wasn’t the final product, but it looked very comprehensive. It’s a complete lesson plan for children that will improve their proficiency with reading, writing, and math. As your child progresses through the levels, they will earn coins that can be used to buy apps from the nabi app store and you will get a report card as well. It will come pre-loaded with the upcoming nabi Jr. tablet and will be available as a package for the nabi 2 that will include the application, a stylus, and a bluetooth keyboard. It’s still in development, but you can get a good idea of how it works in the hands on video after the break.
Fuhu has really stepped up their game since the introduction of the original nabi tablet. The upcoming nabi XD will sport NFC and they have come up with a role playing game using Battle Kinabi figures. Each character will come with its own profile that will be tied to an NFC chip. By touching the characters to the XD tablet, it will load all the levels, defense/offense moves, and more that have been earned by playing the game. You will be able to change characters at any time or even share with your friends. Hit the break for a look at the characters and the concept.
Late last year, Fuhu announced the nabi XD tablet for tweens. This one is their largest to date with a 10.1-inch (1366 x 768) IPS display, and the rest of the specs should satisfy not only tweens, but the parents as well. It sports a quad-core Tegra 3, front and back cameras, 16GB/32GB of storage, microSD, 10 hours of battery life, NFC, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Nabi also created a new UI for this one called Kanzi, which has a Windows 8 type of look to it. Since this one is for the tweens, you won’t find the rubberized case, just a slim aluminum body that’s very appealing. They will also offer a really nice keyboard accessory and a cool game involving Battle Kanabis that utilize NFC. The tablet itself will be priced at $249 for 16GB or $349 for 32GB, which is pretty competitive based on the specs. We should see this one by the end of February, but for now, check out the hands on video after the break.
Late last year Fuhu announced the nabi Jr. tablet for toddlers. This one is the little brother (or sister) to the nabi 2. It sports a 5-inch (800 x 480) display, a dual-core Tegra 2 processor, a rotating camera lens, 4GB/16GB of storage, matching stylus, microSD, and Fuhu’s own UI built around Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will be priced at $99 for the 4GB version and $129 for the 16GB version. I had a chance to play with it at CES, and I am not usually impressed with kids tablets, but Fuhu has done a really good job. The specs aren’t high end, but again this if for your toddler. They don’t need any more than this. I love the design of the protective case and that it’s easily removable. We should see this one by the end of February, but for now, check out the hands on video after the break.