There are tons of ways to get smartphones for pretty low prices these days, especially when taking advantage of special sales and carrier offers (hint hint). But if you’d rather go with a low-end option with an extremely low price tag, BLU Products’ new offering might be right for you.
The company is launching a trio of low-end, cheap, and trendy-looking smartphones that are sure to catch more than just a few eyes.
The first phone is the Dash Jr., which sports a 3.5-inch screen, and a price tag of just $49 unlocked. The device also has dual-SIM capabilities, but just a single-core Spreadtrum processor. Data is only 2G, and a 2MP camera is slapped on the front. The Dash Jr. will ship with Android 2.3. So basically if your grandmother is looking to enter the smartphone world, this might be the device for her… I’m still not sure why the device even needs Android if it’s just got 2G data.
The second and third offerings from the company are the Dash Music 4.0 ($99) and the Dash 5.0 ($129). The Music’s screen is 4-inches, while the latter is 5-inches. Both of these will feature 3G data, dual-core MediaTek chips, better cameras, and Android 4.2.
All three devices are expected to ship before the end of September.
No, pigs aren’t flying. HTC and Verizon have actually, finally released the ICS update for the Thunderbolt. Sure, it took longer than it should have, but if you’re still using a Thunderbolt, your wait is over. The 380 MB update packs Sense 3.6 on top of Android 4.0.4, and comes with the standard Ice Cream Sandwich awesomeness we’ve all grown to love, as well as some slight device improvements. Verizon even removed a few bloatware apps with this update. If you’re a Thunderbolt owner, keep checking your notifications to get your hands on this OTA update. Just… don’t ask about Jelly Bean.
It looks like Shazam and SoundHound are going to have a little more competition from Google. Google’s Sound Search widget was recently only (officially) available to devices running stock Jelly Bean, which is a pretty narrow slice of devices in the Android ecosystem. It couldn’t really gain much traction against established apps like SoundHound or Shazam because it simply couldn’t get on enough devices. Google fortunately realized this, and today made the Sound Search app available in the Play Store for any device running 4.0 and above.
The Sound Search has a leg up on its competition because it links you to music directly in the Play Store, since it’s all Google-maintained. It also features search history syncing across devices, so you can identify the song when you’re out and then actually download it at home on your tablet. Not bad, right? Hit the break for the download link if you’re interested.
For those of you who actually shelled out for a Droid Bionic, which was a little late to the game after its original announcement, you’ll be happy to know that some signs of an ICS build have surfaced. Over the weekend it was reported that an ICS test build made its way onto the Cheesecake application which searches Motorola hosted servers for public files often revealing early builds for their devices. Only armed with the knowledge that the device was supposed to recive ICS sometime in Q3, there have been no previous news or hints at the anticipated update. As of now, the build is un-flashable as it’s just an engineer’s build. But, this could be a hint and a sign of great things to come for Bionic owners. Hang in there folks and stay tuned. Otherwise, you’ll have to download a custom ICS ROM until the real deal gets here.
Next in line to receive the ever coveted ICS 4.0 update is Huawei’s MediaPad tab. As one of the first devices to sport Honeycomb on a 7-inch platform, the tablet is on schedule to receive the 329 mb download that is Android 4.0. In addition, the update doesn’t seem to be tainted with the manufacturer’s version of ICS as it appears to be stock. The only downside, if you consider it one, is that Huawei went the way of Samsung as far as receiving the update. There will be no OTA installation as this will require you to head on over to Huawei’s website to complete the upgrade. Enjoy and don’t forget to let us know how the update pans out for you.
via: Android Police
Chomping at the bit for some Ice Cream Sandwich action brought to you by CM9? Then you’re in luck, sort of. The developers of CyanogenMod released an update to their blog showing progress for CM9. As they say things are “slowly starting to come together.” I think however, that given they got the source code a little over two weeks ago, they are moving along pretty well. They have a number of devices running CM9 and they are focusing on getting it on more devices. OMAP4, MSM8660/7×30 and Exynos devices will most likely be the first ones ready for this ROM. Tablets are being shown some love too as both the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Asus Transformer are in the “pipeline” early.
Older devices will be seeing CM 9 as well. As the blog put it:
“Our goal is to provide continued support to all CM7 devices back to the QSD8250 series of devices such as the Nexus One. I don’t want to make any promises at this time, but that is the plan.”
Bad news for those of you with the original Droid. CM9 will not be seen on your device. As the CyanogenMod puts it, “time to upgrade.” Given that the Android framework has had some major changes the CyanogenMod team has had trouble with compatibility with older proprietary camera and graphics drivers, but, they are pretty confident that they will be able to overcome these issues like they have in the past. The CM team has also created a solution to CM7‘s long spin-up time by adding new devices on-demand which saves bandwidth and avoids long start-up time.
A new tidbit has come to light thanks to a couple of Android engineers, Romain Guy and Chet Haase over at the Android Developers blog. They’ve touted that as part of the Android 4.0 ICS update, devices should experience better hardware acceleration by default. It turns out that this is the same hardware acceleration that can be found in our beloved Android 3.2 Honeycomb for tab’s however, for the tab version, enabling of the GPU was required via command line. Meaning, experience for the end user post ICS is going to change up a bit.
We should see smoother and faster UI scrolling and navigation throughout the device entirely. Animations should be quick and fluid with this latest iteration. It shouldn’t matter whether or not a dev has enabled the GPU acceleration. Because lets face it, though we’re not particularly all iPhone or Windows Phone 7 fans, we have to admit that scrolling on those devices tends to always be naturally smooth and quick. And though we love Android, most devices tend to have a bit of a “choppy” experience. Well, here’s to hoping that all changes with the roll out of Ice Cream Sandwich. But we’ll let you all be the judge of that. Now you just need to make sure that you have an ICS enabled and upgradable device when it comes.
[via Android Dev]
Our friends in the UK are about to receive a lineup of smartphones that are going to make the upgrade process a bit of a challenge this Holiday season. Three, O2 and Vodafone have announced that they’ll be receiving the highly anticipated Galaxy Nexus device with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Three says their device will be available to run on their still rolling out HSPA+ network while Vodafone and O2 have yet to mention whether or not the device will run on HSPA+ technology.
In addition, online retailer, Clove has announced via their blog that they will be offering the Motorola RAZR for £455 ($720) off contract beginning November 1st. If you can do without an ICS device for now, this would be the phone to purchase. Check out our hands-on from yesterday’s event as we’re confident you’ll find this device to be a top contender. And who knows, maybe the device will see Android 4.0 soon enough.
[via Android Central 1,2]
Want a little taste of Ice Cream Sandwich on your device now? Check out MagicLockerTheme for Android. The 4.0 locker offers missed calls and SMS notifications and also allows you to add a quick link to your phone dialer, SMS app and camera for quick launching. Other than that the application was built for aesthetics with some decent slight functionality. If you’re ready to download the app you can head on over to the Android Market and get started with some ICS unlock love. Feel free to let us know what you think of it in the comments below.
Following the now time honored tradition, the latest statue, depicting Ice Cream Sandwich, has joined its predecessors on Building 44’s lawn at Google’s Mountain View campus. The photo was uploaded to Google+ by an engineer who just saw it unveiled. More unveilings on the way next week in Hong Kong.