Tech News

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Update - 257



Posted: 20 Mar 2012 11:55 AM PDT
Verizon has just issued the OK for an over the air update for the Samsung DROID Charge. The last update back near the end of 2011 brought Gingerbread and while we still wait for Ice Cream Sandwich on the Charge the update does bring some new UI tweaks, as well as a Verizon remote diagnostic tool and more. All the details are in the documents below.


The update has been detailed by Verizon and all the information is available here. While the UI tweaks and changes weren’t detailed enough for us to comment, we are seeing a few improvements to hotspots, bundled apps like VZW Navigator and more. Check the image in the gallery below for a full list of all the changes you can expect to see on your own DROID Charge.
As usual the update has started rolling out now and Charge owners should be seeing it starting today and throughout the week. For those not wanting to wait you can always manually check for updates by going to settings > about phone > check for updates and give it a go. The biggest change is the inclusion of the Verizon Remote Diagnostics tool that will be installed and cannot be removed. Allowing Verizon to remotely access the device. They claim it will ONLY run, and only be used after a customer support rep asks for permission, gets a code from the user, and the user accepts the access on device. We still aren’t sure how we feel about this being added automatically and not an option, but that is an entirely different story.
Let us know how the update goes, and if you experience any issues by sounding off in the comment section below.
charge-main-540x304 Screen Shot 2012-03-20 at 11.45.44 AM

Device Specifications and Information
Device Info
    Device Name : Droid Charge
    Manufactuer : Samsung
    Carrier : Verizon
    Announced Date : January 06, 2011
    Release Date : May 16, 2011
    Also Known As :
Display
  • Screen Size : 4.30 Inch
  • Resolution : 480x800
  • Screen Type : Super AMOLED Plus
Dimension & Weight
  • Height : 5.11 Inch
  • Width : 2.66 Inch
  • Depth : 0.46 Inch
  • Weight : 143 Grams
Battery & Power
    Battery Type:
  • Lithium Ion
  • Battery Capacity : 1600 mAh
  • Talk Time : NA
  • Stand By Time : 280 hours
Software
    Android OS:
  • 2.2.x
    Audio Playback:
  • MP3
    Video Playback:
  • MPEG-4 (MP4)
    Messaging:
  • SMS
  • MMS
Hardware
    CPU : Cortex A8 Hummingbird
    CPU Clock Speed : 1000 Mhz
    Core : 1
    Ram : 512 MB
    Internal Storage : 2.048 GB
    Front Facing Camera :
    Camera Resolution : 8 MP
    External Storage:
  • MicroSD
  • MicroSDHC
    Camera Features:
  • Auto focus
  • Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
    Sensors:
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light
  • Proximity
    QWERTY :
Cellular Network
    Network Technology:
  • CDMA
    CDMA Band:
  • 800
  • 1900
Device Connectivity
    Wi-Fi:
  • 802.11b
  • 802.11g
  • 802.11n
    Bluetooth:
  • Bluetooth 3.0
    Location Features:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Cellular location
  • Wi-Fi location
    FM Radio :
    NFC :


Posted: 20 Mar 2012 11:34 AM PDT
Sony has just unleashed their new Xperia Smartwatch and if you’re wondering how it compares to their first attempt, the LiveView, or rivals like the WIMM One you’ll want to read on for details and impressions. This little Android-powered watch is quite unique with its OLED touchscreen display, but is it worth the buy? That is the question.


The Sony Smartwatch comes equipped with a 1.3″ color OLED display with full touchscreen capabilities, and even multitouch like pinch-to-zoom gestures. Everything is controlled with the 1.3″ 128 x 128 resolution display and all we have is a single power button on the side. Thankfully this time around Sony gave us full multitouch control as the original, the LiveView, was only capable of single taps and had touch-sensitive buttons around the display, which also made it larger and hard to handle.

For those that aren’t too familiar it doubles as a watch, and defaults to watch faces that are user customizable. Once engaged the color touchscreen turns on and goes into a higher power state for full usage. Using Bluetooth 3.0 the watch receives email and call alerts, can control your music, or help the fitness fanatic track their workout. Whether this is something you’ll actually use on a day to day basis is purely up to the user, but head on over to our sister site SlashGear from the link below for their video demonstration. That should help any considering the purchase.

The Sony SmartWatch is small and made of plastic so is extremely lightweight. The included watch strap makes it easy to wear daily but can also be clipped to a bag, or shoulder strap. Tap, swipes, and pinches are used to navigate the menu’s, sync to twitter or your device, and answer calls although it has no speakerphone or microphone to actually take or communicate calls. If we had Google’s voice actions I could truly see this being an awesome accessory. Without it, it’s merely a tool to help users decide if a tweet, call, or email is worth pulling their phone out of a pocket or bag to save some time.
Obviously the usage scenarios are highly subjective and will vary from user to user. Hit the link below to learn more in the full SlashGear review. The Sony Smartwatch will officially be available sometime in mid-April for around $119 and works great with Sony smartphones.
sony_smartwatch_review_sg_17 sony_smartwatch_review_sg_15 sony_smartwatch_review_sg_12 sony_smartwatch_review_sg_1 sony_smartwatch_review_sg_10 sony_smartwatch_review_sg_18
[via SlashGear]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 10:50 AM PDT
During the month of February the Google Motorola deal was looking quite promising. The European Union and the US both signed off on the acquisition and gave Google the green light. The only hurdle remains in China and it appears they are having a bit of trouble. Now we are hearing China is continuing another investigation before giving them the okay.


Originally Google expected the deal to be completed within the first quarter of 2012, and in February every other antitrust committee signed off on the deal, but the Chinese are still holding strong. Today reports from MobileWorldLive are stating that now the deal is expected to be completed sometime before the first half of the year, instead of the first quarter.
The Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the People's Republic of China is said to be doing another probe into the Google Motorola acquisition and we have no details regarding how long this additional investigation will take. Motorola has now sent a filing to the SEC stating that things are taking longer, and like mentioned above they are aiming for sometime before the middle of 2012.
At this point we’ll just have to sit back and wait for the Chinese to conclude their investigation into the deal worth around 12.5 billion dollars. Hopefully once this gets squared away we can start to see the next step for both companies, and Android.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 09:59 AM PDT
Sony’s last round of updated phones may have been lamentably lacking in the frozen treat department, but it looks like they’re rectifying that mistake with their latest announcement. The Sony Xperia neo L MT25i has sprung fully formed out of the company’s press department, headed for China only (at the moment). Taking up the maddeningly lowercase neo label from the original phone and the V, the neo L is a decidedly mid-range device intended for the mass market.

The specifications aren’t anything mind-boggling, but should run ICS well enough. A 1Ghz single-core Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM handle number-crunching duties, while a 4-inch screen gets a size-appropriate 800×480 resolution. Internal storage is limited to a measly 1GB, but a MicroSD card can expand your storage horizons up to 32GB. Unfortunately the latest neo lacks the NFC capability and no-touch gestures of the Xperia sola, and a 1500mAh battery makes it a surprising 12.2mm thick. A 5MP camera can handle 720p video, though if you’re much of a shutterbug you’ll definitely need to invest in a little external storage.
If you want to get your hands on Sony’s first retail ICS phone, odds are pretty good you’ll have to hop on a plane, at least initially. At the moment the Xperia neo L is only official for the Chinese market, where it has neither a price nor a date. But take heart, Sony fans: the previous neo phones were released worldwide, and we fully expect that to be the case here. It shouldn’t be too long before this one makes it to European and (eventually) North American shores in an unlocked HSPA+ version. If you just can’t wait that long, Sony has published an official Ice Cream Sandwich beta for the neo V.
[via SlashGear]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 09:35 AM PDT
We had heard previously that T-Mobile’s reliable MyTouch brand would change into Huawei’s hands later this year, and it looks like that’s been confirmed. TmoNews got a sneak peek at the upcoming mid-range phone, with pictures snapped by some surreptitious tipster. The phone appears to follow in the footsteps of other MyTouch models with a decidedly mid-range design, running Android 2.3.6 (sigh). This incarnation of the MyTouch is without a QWERTY keyboard, though a different version may be in the works for a simultaneous debut.

Previously the T-Mobile MyTouch line was in the hands of HTC, before being shifted to LG for the MyTouch and QWERTY-packing MyTouch Q last year. Apparently LG’s efforts weren’t up to snuff, because T-Mobile’s going with the third major manufacturer in eighteen months. Two Huawei models were spotted a couple of weeks ago: the U8680 and U8730, identical save for a slide-out keyboard. We know that the screen is 800×480, but not how large it is; given these preview shots, I’d say it’s between 3.7 and 4.0 inches.
There’s no word on a release date or price for either phone, but “soon” and “not too much” are pretty safe bets given the previous entries in the family. While we can’t hide our disappointment that Gingerbread on new phones is so common, Huawei’s been surprisingly good about getting timely ICS updates out. Hopefully they’ll do so for their new entries as well, though T-Mobile would need to share some of the blessing and/or blame for that one. Expect more concrete details on both new Huawei phones in the next few weeks.

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 09:07 AM PDT
Oh FCC, how we do appreciate you. Without your strict regulation of the airwaves in the Land of the Free, how would we know what wireless goodies are headed our way? Well, leaks, press releases, trade shows and presentation events, just to name a few, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t grateful. The latest goody to sneak out of the Federal Communications Commission is the ZTE N910, a phone last spotted at Mobile World Congress. It’s running a combination of CDMA and LTE bands in its wireless radio, but not the standard ones that Verizon uses. This means it’s probably headed for a smaller regional carrier.

Even so, the N910 is a good indication that LTE is trickling down into the mid-range and low end of the smartphone market. Like 3G and HSPA+ before it, more and more inexpensive phones are jumping on to the LTE bandwagon. The N910 firs pretty squarely in the mid range, with a 800×480 screen, 5 megapixel camera and what looks like a standard skinned version of Gingerbread, but ZTE’s initial press release claimed that it would launch with Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone’s got a 5MP 1080p rear camera and runs on a 1.2Ghz processor of unspecified design.
An FCC filing doesn’t guarantee a US release, but given ZTE’s push into North America and the very specific wireless bands on display, I’d say this one will definitely find a home somewhere in the country sooner rather than later. The manufacturer still hasn’t indicated a price or availability. There’s still no word on the N910′s big brother the PF200, though that one’s only been shown for GSM/LTE networks (like AT&T and most of the LTE-capable carriers in Asia) so far.
[via Engadget]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 08:47 AM PDT
Want to drain your smartphone’s battery really quickly? Run a lot of apps. Want to drain it so fast that you’ll be sprinting for the nearest outlet? Run a lot of free, ad-supported apps. This is the conclusion reached by a team of researcher from Purdue University. They found that third-party ads running in free apps downloaded from the Android Market (now the Google Play Store) could account for a whopping 65-75% of the battery drain coming from an app. That isn’t to say that ads themselves are draining three-quarters of a smartphone’s battery, just that the vast majority of processing power, memory and data consumption for most free apps goes towards serving ads.

In many ways, that’s not surprising; a tip calculator needs only a tiny amount of a phone or tablet’s resources to display its interface and make calculations, while a relatively huge amount of data must be sent to your phone to be displayed in a small advertisement. Since most of these ads rotate or swap in and out with app use, it needs to refresh and activate your cellular connection on a regular basis. The study reached its concludions when testing popular apps like Angry Birds, Chess Free, the New York Times, Mapquest and the stock Android browser.
Ads weren’t the only culprit for battery loss: user tracking took up a relatively large chunk of energy as well. For example, when using the stock Android browser to do basic web searches, 16 percent of its energy drain was dedicated to tracking the user’s behavior. The simple way to remove battery drain from ads is to pay for the premium version of an app. Of course, this isn’t always an option – sometimes the free version is the only version, and there’s not a lot you can do about Google’s pervasive tracking on its own platform. You could use an alternative browser, but the moment you log in to a Google service you’re right back to where you started.
[via PCWorld]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 07:55 AM PDT
The FitBit is the fitness darling of the high-tech set, essentially an advanced pedometer that keeps track of your physical activity throughout the day and reports back to an online service. Naturally you can’t launch a hip new hardware-software combo without creating an iOS app, despite the fact that there are hundreds of millions more Android smartphone users. Now that small oversight is taken care of, as FitBit has released an app to the Google Play Store that brings all the features of its iOS counterpart. It only took them five months.

The FitBit is usable without an app of any kind – just plug it into your computer and upload the data directly to your FitBit account. But the app combines the activity tracking of the FitBit Ultra itself with the food planning and tracking features of a diet app, hoping to become your one-stop solution for all your exercise and dietary tracking needs. The app will adjust its recommendations depending upon your current activity level; if you’ve been vegging out on the couch it’ll suggest a light veggie lunch, but if you’ve done a 5K you can feel free to head out for BBQ.
Unfortunately the app doesn’t actively sync with the FitBit device itself – the little clip-on gadget doesn’t have any wireless functions. For that you’ll need the more capable (and much more expensive) Motorola MOTOACTV, with its Bluetooth syncing capability. Still, it’s a nice perk for those Fitbit users that had been previously overlooked, and the reviews from early downloaders are positive. FitBit is a free download in the Google Play Store.
[via ITWorld]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 07:06 AM PDT
As exciting as a service like Onlive is for mobile gamers, its utility for more complex games is diminished somewhat by the limitation of translating a control scheme designed for a device with dozens of buttons and dual joysticks into a touchscreen experience. At least one of Onlive’s offerings is working around that: Rockstar’s 2011 hit LA Noir is getting touch-native controls on Android, granting a more friendly touch-based user interface that dynamically adjusts depending upon the game’s situation. This makes the Onlive version of LA Noir play more like a tablet game and less like a remote-controlled experience.

There’s only so much you can do to change up a complex game’s scheme – the standard virtual joystick and  A-B-X-Y combo remains. But when dealing with in-game dialogue (a huge part of LA Noir, which is basically an RPG by way of Dasciell Hammitt) the interface will respond to individual touches, making the game much more intuitive on both smartphones and tablets. The Android version of this upgraded experience is available now, but iOS users will have to wait for Apple to finish their approval process. It’s a 30+ hour game and those Mac users aren’t really used to anything more complicated than Angry Birds, so it could take a while.
Those who’ve purchased the game already should see the updated interface the next time they log in to their OnLive account. At present LA Noir is the only game to take advantage of this customized control scheme, but more popular games should be added soon. We’re holding out for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. LA Noir costs $39.99 to purchase through Onlive’s service, which is free to access.
[via Phandroid]

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 06:38 AM PDT
Beats and MOG aren’t the only things that HTC will be including with all its new phones starting with the One series. The Taiwanese manufacturer has partnered with popular remote access software maker LogMeIn to bring a remote support app to Android phones. LogMeIn Rescue (a free download in the Google Play Store) is designed to allow HTC’s technical support team to connect to and control a smartphone across a wireless network, in pretty much the exact same way that the LogMeIn software for desktops works.

The service will be included on all future HTC phones, provided that the mobile carrier consents to its inclusion. The reasoning is obvious: having a remote tech take a close look at the phone’s software can clear up a lot of problems that less technical users might have, such as “where has my Android Market gone?” and “I installed something called Go Launcher and now all my apps have disappeared!” This could save both HTC and its customers untold time and money by avoiding the tedious process of physically sending the phone in for repair.
Any software that creates a remote connection has security issues, and if all of HTC’s upcoming phones connect to a central hub, there’s certainly cause for concern in that regard. HTC assureds its customers that a remote connection can only be initiated with the consent of the user, again, much like the LogMeIn web service on desktop PCs. The new app should be included on the HTC One X, One S and One V phones (where carriers agree to the terms) and all HTC Android phones going forward.

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 05:46 PM PDT
If you’re the proud owner of a Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich tablet, you know that finding good tablet-optimized apps in the ever-growing Google Play Store is something of a chore. If you don’t already know what you’re looking for, then finding anything that takes advantage of the large screen and resolution on tablets is frustrating. Enter Tablified Market HD, a curated list of the apps on the Google Play Store that support tablet user interfaces. It’s not a seperate app market, just a dead-simple way to find great tablet apps already available. Appropriately, you can download it for free in the Google Play Store.

The app is pretty much what you’d expect: a showcase for the newest and best tablet apps in the Google Play Store. The Featured tab is best skipped, as it’s mostly ads (including an ad for the ad-free version – how meta). The good stuff starts in the Recently Added tab, where (naturally) the newest high-profile apps supporting tablets are shown off. For example, the latest edition has The CW Network’s video app front and center. News and Review are provided by the app creators, and Editor’s Choice has a selection of some of the best apps available at the moment, most of which have been featured right here on Android Community at one point or another.
As a quick and easy way to find tablet-oriented apps, Tablified Market shines. Further divisions are made among regular apps and games, with sub-categories in each along the standard Play Store lines. If you find yourself using Tablified Market a lot, the HD Pro version is just a buck fifty at the moment – a bargain for regular tablet users. Though the database is dependent upon its editors updating and doesn’t automatically add apps, the updates come pretty regularly, so you can be confident of new apps to check out.
[via Cnet]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 05:14 PM PDT
The popular and fun game Cut the Rope by Zepto Labs is back with all new characters, fun gameplay, and tons of levels for you rope cutting and Om Nom fans. Cut the Rope: Experiments was released this weekend for Android and is available today in the Play Store for only $0.99. Instead of just sharing the news we figured a quick hands-on video was worth the look for those considering the purchase.


This follow up to the original award winning game has increased everything. From better gameplay, enhanced graphics, tons more levels, and even added new characters instead of just Om Nom (the main character). They also have added all sorts of new game elements to bring things to an entirely new level much bigger than the original.
Cut The Rope Experiments has 5 settings or worlds with a total of 125 new levels (experiments), and a neat story line to go with it. We’ve seen a few physics based games from Disney hit Android with water and other elements but a similar game design so Zepto Labs took this opportunity to do both. We have the same awesome rope cutting action but they’ve also added other elements such as guns, suction cups, water, and even rockets to give you plenty of different ways to enjoy the new game. Here’s a quick look with more in-game screenshots below.


They have a leaderboard like always but with Experiments Cut the Rope now has another social aspect with hidden photos in-game you can collect and share on Facebook with friends and other players. I’d say this game is for kids but it gets quite hard where even I’m seriously struggling to finish some levels without multiple tries.
This game will surely take up the rest of your week, but don’t blame me. Check out some of the screenshots and then head to the link below to get it today for only $0.99 and enjoy some rope cutting.
Play Store Link
Screen Shot 2012-03-19 at 3.22.06 PM capture_09 capture_13 capture_11

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 04:55 PM PDT
Quick, everybody – get you Nostradamus hats on. Google has applied for a license to distribute an at-home video service in Kansas City, Missouri, which has become unofficially known as “the luckiest city in America” after the company chose it as the test site for its fiber-optic Internet service. Regulators approved their application late last month, meaning that Kansas City could well become the very first place that Google starts competing directly with cable and satellite television providers. Their internet infrastructure would almost certainly form the backbone of this video service.

Hold up, Kansas City Stars: there’s nothing here that guarantees the Big G will actually follow through with the application. The approval simply gives them the option of delivering traditional television services in the area, if they so choose. It’s certainly indicative of Google’s future intentions – after all, what better way to compliment Google TV than its own television service? But as of now, this is all theoretical. You know, like Google’s HUD glasses. Or Their self-driving cars. Or that crazy story about Google buying a mobile OS called Android.
What could Google do with a terrestrial television service? First of all, they’ve got enough diversified money to offer it at a price point that would crush competition wherever they went. With a little integrated advertising magic, it could easily become a profitable and cheap alternative to expensive satellite and cable options, especially when running on Google’s own data lines. We can dare to dream that Google might listen to the long-standing wish of TV patrons everywhere and offer a-la-cart programming, something that’s been denied to pay TV customers for decades in favor of expensive bundles.
Of course, to do this, Google would need to secure the channels and other video content from providers… something they haven’t been all that great at historically. Give it a try, Google – what have you got to lose?
[via The Verge]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 03:58 PM PDT
If it’s taken you this long to purchase a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and you’re not swayed by the Galaxy Note 10.1‘s fancy-pants stylus input, this one may interest you. The Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1-inch version – man, Sammy really needs to work on these names) passed through the hallowed halls of the FCC today. There was never any real doubt that the Galaxy Tab 2 was heading to the US, and will probably be available on one or more carriers as well as a WiFi-only version. That said, this looks like the advance guard international version that manufacturers tend to send through the FCC as a matter of course.

The 10.1-inch version of the Galaxy Tab 2 brings Ice Cream Sandwich and not much else to the original design. The same 1Ghz processor and 1GB RAM combo are present on the inside, with an identical 16 or 32GB of storage (though at least you get an SD card option this time. The screen is the same 10-inch 1280×800 panel, although the front fascia is a little remodeled to appease the lawyers in Cupertino with stereo speakers on either side. The real draw here is Ice Cream Sandwich (with Samsung’s customary TouchWiz, of course) but since the original 10.1 will get that anyway, you’re really payer for a new name, swappable storage and some front-facing speakers.
The model number of the tablet that the FCC is checking out is “GT-P5110″, which would put it just above the current Tab family in terms of Samsung’s hierarchy. As this is the WiFi model, no carriers are currently lined up, but it’s a distinct possibility. Samsung hasn’t said when the Galaxy Tab 2 will go on sale (or even if the 10.1-inch version will be coming to the US) but it’s more than likely that we’ll see it in multiple territories before May.
[via Liliputing]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 03:06 PM PDT
Today Qualcomm has just announced the release of a brand new mobile computing and technology site called Spark. This isn’t an app for Android, or something that will be inside of HTC or other Qualcomm powered devices — instead it’s a place for creators to come and spark ideas, invent the unimaginable and more.


This is more than just a place or a blog to share ideas. It is a digital magazine where communities of inventors and tech fans alike can not only learn of new ideas, but to share them and help each other look for the next big thing. The next amazing creation in this ever growing and expanding world of mobile computing we live in. Qualcomm themselves, industry leaders and analysts can all join together and talk about ideas, share perspectives and more with Qualcomm Spark.
They are calling it the Spark blog but it’s much more than that. Qualcomm isn’t just a company that builds processors. They innovate, research, and create. With things like Mirasol displays and more they have plenty of ideas for the world of mobile. Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, Dr. Paul Jacobs talks about Qualcomm Spark in detail with the video below that should help any wandering minds.


Qualcomm hopes that Spark will help them and others to push the boundaries of mobile computing. In future releases to the Spark Blog we can expect to see real life stories of inventions and creations that will help Spark current or future ideas beyond anything we’ve seen so far in this crazy world of technology. Interesting to say the least. I can’t wait to see some of the awesome ideas or creations that come from this new initiative.
[via Qualcomm]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 02:48 PM PDT
What’s more annoying than a brand-new Android device that’s running an OS version behind? One that’s running two versions behind, with no clear reason for doing so. Sharp’s just unveiled their RW-T110 tablet for the Japanese business market, and as the title suggests, it’s running Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box. For the sake of completeness, I’ll note that Gingerbread was released in December of 2010, and Ice Cream Sandwich’s open source code was published just over four months ago by Google. Nice try, Sharp, we’ll see if you can product a tablet and tablet OS combination next year.

The specs aren’t actually that bad – it’s got a 10-inch 1280×800 resolution, a form factor I’ve never seen with Gingerbread before. A 1Ghz processor isn’t much, but a full gigabyte of RAM and and 8GB of on-board storage are quite respectable. It’s even packing near-field communication, something that an OS with certain dairy treat disposition might be able to make quite good use of. The RW-T110 goes on sale in Japan on March 27th, and given Sharp’s predelictions for smartphone hardware thus far, is unlikely to leave the land of the rising sun.
Honestly, this sort of decision wouldn’t have bothered me four months ago. Google didn’t release the open source code for Android 3.0 Honeycomb until they released ICS as well, leaving manufacturers who wanted to play outside of Google’s sandbox no real choice but Gingerbread. But now there’s no excuse for any new tablet to run anything else – it’s out there, all manufacturers have to do download it, compile it and grab some drivers for whatever components they’re using. Heck, doomed products like the HP TouchPad and $100 Chinese no-name tablets can run the latest version of Android. What’s not to get here?
Rant over. I’m going to go download the latest CyanogenMod build now, and be thankful that Android is flexible enough to get around the mistakes of manufacturers.
[via Engadget]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 01:39 PM PDT
While we don’t always report on some of the lesser known manufactures, this Italian computer company has been around for more than 100 years and recently started making Android tablets. Last year they released some not so popular OliPad 100, and 110 models with Honeycomb but in 2012 they appear to be taking things up a notch. Offering competition in the quad-core department and the stylus Galaxy Note markets.

Olivetti unveils new OliPad’s with Tegra 3 and 8-inch stylus model
We don’t have all the details yet, or some press photos but Olivetta is set to release the OliPad Tegra 3, and an 8-inch WACOM digitizer powered tablet called the Olivetti Graphos. The better of the two, the Tegra 3 powered tablet will sport a 10-inch IPS panel with a 1280 x 800 resolution, Android 4.0 ICS, NFC, 3G/4G radios, and of course that quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. No other details have been released but the Italian markets have a lot to look forward to with this announcement.
Up next is the OliPad Graphos. No exact specs on internal hardware were given at this time other than it will have the dual-core Tegra 2. The Graphos will also have an IPS panel only it will be 8-inches and 1024 x 768 in resolution. The important part here is they’ll be integrating the popular and highly accurate WACOM digitizer for full active stylus support — like the Galaxy Note. Not a cheap alternative.
No exact pricing, details, or release dates were given but we should see these hit their respective markets with Android 4.0 ICS on board sometime this summer.
[via Notebook Italia]

Posted: 19 Mar 2012 01:23 PM PDT
The Samsung Galaxy Beam is in the news again today and will apparently be making its way to the market this April. This is not the Beam from a few years ago, but the new Android 2.3 Gingerbread powered Galaxy Beam that was announced and we received hands-on time with at Mobile World Congress complete with a bright pico projector.


We’ve heard a few leaks that the new Galaxy Beam will be available in the UK sometime this summer but newer reports have detailed the projector smartphone will be available in India as soon as mid-April. Sadly no reports have been released even hinting at a US release so for now we’ll have to just keep on dreaming.
While the feature probably isn’t a huge must have for all smartphone buyers, there is a certain appeal, not to mention business users could really find it handy. The Galaxy Beam isn’t a top end phone but does feature a 4-inch AMOLED display, a 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread and comes in at least a nice yellow color as shown from our hands-on links below. It has a 2,000 mAh battery and the pico projector mounted on top features 15 lumen of brightness — enough for a few quick presentations should the situation present itself.
At least a few markets will be seeing this device, we’ll update once or if we hear anything regarding a US launch. Would you be interested in a smartphone with a built-in pico projector?
[via Androinica]

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