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.
A couple of days ago we reported on new wireless technologies from the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP). Wireless charging isn’t anything new, but one thing we can all agree on is that it hasn’t been widely adopted. Actually there is second thing we can agree on and that’s that we really want it. The problem is there really hasn’t been a standard and current pads are too clunky.
The Alliance For Wireless Power consists of key members from the tech community including Qualcomm, Samsung, Powermat, Texas Instruments, and others. Their goal is to bring a format along with marketing that will hopefully push wireless charging to the next level and then some. I had a chance to sit down with key members from the alliance as well as some of the top writers in the tech community to get a demo utilizing a newer technology that utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 LE. They chose it because Bluetooth is already widely adopted so it’s a natural fit.
If you’re already upset because you won’t be receiving your Nexus 4 anytime soon, you may be even more upset after reading this story. The International Business Times is reporting that LG is allegedly halting the production of the Nexus 4 to make way for its upcoming smartphones. While we already know of at least one major smartphone in the works, there is the notion that LG is already working on the Nexus 4’s successor behind the scenes. In fact— LG SVP Steve Fisher is confirmed to go on record at CES that LG has bigger and better plans with Google:
“Through our collaboration with Google, we launched the LG Nexus 4 smartphone. This is the first of many devices to come from our growing partnership with this very selective company.”
Rumor has it the new LG Nexus would feature some astounding features too. Among the noteworthy features are Key Lime Pie (Android 5.0) running the show and a 2GHz quad-core processor… which would make the new device a smidge better than the Nexus 4.
Still if this is true (and all signs point to it being true), this is going to be a major letdown to Android Stans and customers who have been itching for the Nexus 4 since November. However, all we can do is just sit back and wait for what unfolds…
We here at Talk Android love seeing new manufacturers on the come up and making waves by introducing new devices, so we bring to you all the first African-developed smartphones and tablets developed by VMK. Brought to you by the brainchild that is Verone Mankou, the new devices— the Way-C tablet and the Elikia smartphone are aimed at bringing a quality product at a budget price for citizens of the respective African countries— especially those devastated by war, poverty and other issues. So VMK is essentially giving all Africans a chance to experience the world… through Android of course.
There’s no word on what the devices will feature or which OS will run the show, but we suspect that we’ll get more information soon enough. Hit the source link to get more deets on the impressive concepts and devices.
Last year I had a chance to see what Qualcomm Vuforia was doing with augmented reality, and I was so impressed that I had to see where things are 12 months later. To refresh your memory, Vuforia was created by Qualcomm for developers that want to utilize augmented reality in their apps. Things are going pretty well as there are over 2,500 apps available (Android and iOS) from developers in 130 countries, and there are over 40,000 registered developers. Last year we saw an app from Sesame Street, and this year they are back with a really cool educational app that I know my son is going to love. They also showed off what can be done for med students and retail catalogs. Check out the video after the break
I had a chance to meet with Qualcomm Smart Labs to take a look at the Gimbal platform. It’s a context aware platform for Android and iOS that enables developers to deliver content in a more personalized way and more importantly, timely. It allows apps to be more of a personal assistant or a “sixth sense”. An example might be that when you show up at the mall, you could be offered deals or tips. That’s nothing new, but since it’s more of a personal assistant, it knows about you. So if you’re a male, you will get deals for stores pertaining to men, but it will also learn your likes so it will be further fine tuned. It’s kind of like Google Now, and we should see a lot more of these types of apps in the future. Qualcomm’s Gimbal can be utilized by any developer for any app, which makes the possibilities endless. Just check out the hands on video after the break.
Performance is sluggish, noticeably on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S
Frequent freeze on devices with specific versions of Qualcomm GPU driver
Text autosizing may break formatting on some sites