Posted: 21 Mar 2012 11:41 AM PDT
Huawei have been aiming for higher grounds as of late, and at Mobile World Congress they showed off their new quad-core powered Ascend D Quad smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Today we’ve learned they are starting production soon and will begin shipping the powerhouse smartphone in July.
According to CNMO they’ll be starting product first thing this June and will be ready to ship their first quad-core phone, that also is running on their own in-house silicon starting in July. Seeing the phone in the flesh at Mobile World Congress in early February we were hoping for a much sooner launch, possibly in April to contend with the HTC One X but that wont be happening.
Being three months later in July most likely the quad-core Galaxy S III will already be available too, giving Huawei a late start to an already tight and competitive market. They’ve not had the best hardware in recent years and are trying to take things to the next level. If they want to truly compete they’ll need to be faster to the punch. The Ascend D Quad features a 4.5-inch 720p HD IPS display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 megapixel camera, is amazingly thin, and comes with their own 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Recent benchmark leaks put the Huawei quad-core processor ahead of everything on the market, including the Tegra 3.
As the launch date appears I’m sure we will be hearing and seeing more from Huawei. I for one am excited to see how they do with this next-level product.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 10:42 AM PDT
Well folks, this is starting to get a little ridiculous. Another “official” and exclusive picture of the Samsung Galaxy S III has been leaked during the late hours last night and this one is as fake as ever. Being hotly anticipated we figured a quick post to show everyone what the SGSIII could look like, but probably wont was in order.
Now first off I want to mention the design. It looks very similar to the leaked photo from this weekend that was supposedly an actual press slide from a presentation. This has the same white front, and ceramic back. That is where the similarities end though. First off look at the widgets on screen like the calendar showing Tuesday the 22nd. Those came from the widgets from the Galaxy S II last year. As March 22nd 2011 was a Tuesday. If this was a real image of the SGSIII we wont be seeing that “live broadcast of the Galaxy S III” until May 22nd. A full two months away.
This clever little fake picture uses on-screen images from the press photos of last year’s Galaxy S II, and then takes design hints from the recently announced Galaxy WiFi 4.2 media player. This is indeed a fake, and a decent one but obviously flawed. Either way I’m sure we’ll continue to see leaks until Samsung does something about it and eases all of our minds with some real pictures. Hopefully these junk leaks stop, as they are getting a little out of hand.
[via GSM Helpdesk]
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 09:34 AM PDT
Sony’s new flagship has been getting a decent reception in early reviews from Europe, but if you’ve got a hankerin’ to get your high-end smartphone on elsewhere in the world, you’ve been out of luck. Until now: the Xperia S is now shipping directly from Sony to retailers all over the world. For a paltry $674.99 (or its equivalent in local currency) you too can get the stylish dual-core phone. Just add an active GSM SIM card and you’re ready to go. And yes, Americans, you can get in on the action as well – Sony’s one of the few phone companies that regularly releases unlocked versions of its phones in the United States.
As Sony’s latest and greatest, the Xperia S stands head and shoulders above the rest of its stable-mates (if not the other phones shown off at CES and Mobile World Congress). A 1.5Ghz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM run Gingerbread at the moment, but Sony has promised an Ice Cream Sandwich update sooner rather than later (and given the introduction of the Xperi neo L, we believe them). The 4.3-inch 720p display has some incredible pixel density, and that’s not the only stylish thing around: get a look at that transparent navigation bar/indicator light.
Sony is pushing NFC capability hard on the Xperia S, along with a downright amazing 12-megapixel primary camera. It’s all crammed into a body that’s smaller than most, if not especially thin. If you’re in the US and can’t stomach nearly seven hundred dollars, AT&T’s getting its own version called the Xperia Ion soon enough. The AT&T version has a slightly retooled body that unfortunately does away with the swanky transparent elements. The carrier hasn’t announced a timeframe for availability, but its subsidized price should be somewhere in the $200-300 range.
[via Geeky Gadgets]
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 08:25 AM PDT
Amid a slew of privacy and security scares last month, Google disabled the use of prepaid debit-style cards via Google Wallet. After various updates (with a few key security tweaks) the feature is back, none the worse for wear. Of course, that and five bucks will get you a Starbucks coffee… so Google did Wallet users all a solid and added $5 to their balance. Google’s probably one of the only companies in the world with both the spare cash and the inclination to do something like that – and besides, it’ll probably cut down on the likelihood of a class-action lawsuit being filed. Probably.
Google’s patched the primary security issue in Wallet, wherein a thief or other unscrupulous person could steal someone’s phone, wipe the data from the Waller app itself and have access to the money associated with the phone. (Google wallet loads money directly onto a device, not a central account.) The earlier security hole, wherein a rooted phone could gain access with some custom code, is presumably still present. To combat this, Google now alerts rooted Android users when loading up the Google Wallet app, discouraging them from actually using it – but not preventing them from doing so.
While concerns about the service remain, users seem to be returning to their regular payment habits with an uneasy apprehension. A little monetary reassurance might go a long way towards demonstrating Google’s commitment to the platform, something that’s definitely needed as there’s still very few retailers supporting it. Some users are reporting that they aren’t seeing the extra five bucks in their account, especially when loading a non-Google Play version on a Verizon Galaxy Nexus. It should be noted that you need to have been using the service before this week to qualify.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 07:53 AM PDT
Never heard of Le Pan? You’re not alone. The budget manufacturer hasn’t made much of a splash with its Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb tablets based on OEM designs, but they turned a few heads when showing off the Le Pan III tablet at CES, promising (like many others) Ice Cream Sandwich and a rock-bottom price tag. Now the little tablet that could has passed through the FCC, presumably on its way to a US release. That’s good news for anybody looking for an ICS tablet and willing to take a chance on a little-known manufacturer.
Based on Le Pan’s press release from CES, the III has a 1.5ghz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 running in conjunction with a full gig of ram and 8GB of on-board storage. That can be augmented with a MicroSD card, and connection options are limited to WiFi and Bluetooth. A surprising 5 megapixel 1080p camera hangs out on the back with a 2MP front-facing twin. Le Pan hasn’t said how big or dense their screen is, but based on the photo above (and the Le Pan II’s specifications) I’d say a 9 or 10-inch 1024×768 panel is more than likely.
The Le Pan II is already available sporting Honeycomb and the slightly slower TI OMAP 4430 processor, though at $279 MSRP is isn’t exactly a bargain. That would put the Le Pan III at $320 or more at the very least. On the plus side it should get access to the Android Market/Google Play Store, giving users an easy path to the ~300,000 apps available at the moment. Since Le Pan’s other two tablets are already on the market (albeit in seemingly small quantities) the Le Pan III should be popping up some time in late spring or summer.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 07:25 AM PDT
Manufacturers have some exciting high-end phones headed to Ma Bell in the next few months, but before today we hadn’t counted Pantech in that number. Consider us surprised, then, to see the previously unknown P8010 pop up in the NenaMark benchmark database. Not only does the information show it to be running a 1.5Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, but it’s also got Ice Cream Sandwich and AT&T’s LTE wireless bands on board. That’s a long way from a confirmation, but it’s a pretty good indication that it’s headed to the United States soon.
Other details for the P8010 were revealed in the benchmark, like a 960×540 screen of indeterminate size (probably in the 4.3 to 4.5-inch range) and a Qualcomm Adreno 225 GPU. The score itself is pretty telling, as it stacks up well against most of the current phones out there and headed to retail in the near future. The exact model of CPU isn’t disclosed, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s the same Qualcomm MSM8960 that’ll be showing up in the LTE version of the HTC One X.
Pantech has been making progress in the US, notably with the help of AT&T. Earlier this year they released their first Android tablet, the Pantech Element, and promptly got a package deal with the mid-range Pantech Burst phone. Up to now their high-end offerings had been limited to South Korea and the greater Asia market, but it looks like they’re expanding their range to complete with other mid-level brands like Huawei and ZTE. Competition is a wonderful thing. Let’s hope we get a better look at the P8010 in the flesh soon.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 06:54 AM PDT
Amid more and more rumors and fake renders of the new Galaxy S III (yeesh, it’s beginning to look like an Apple launch around here) there’s some actual news straight from the horse’s mouth. Maeli Business News reports that Kim Young-Ha, the president of Samsung’s greater China operations, told conference call listeners that the company was considering an expedited April launch for the new flagship phone. The date has yet to be agrees upon by Samsung’s top brass. This is going against the tide of most of the rumors pointing to a May announcement or release.
When Samsung announced that the Galaxy S III wouldn’t be making its way to Mobile World Congress and was instead being saved for a Samsung event, many speculated that either A) it was being pushed back to better compete with the iPhone 5 or B) Samsung was waiting for a more seamless global release. The US, Canada and some of the more remote regions of the world tend to follow Europe and Asia by a factor of months for major phone releases, and it’s possible that Samsung wanted a simultaneous (or nearly so) worldwide release. Leaks and rumors have indicated May 22nd for the event date, but nothing’s been confirmed.
It isn’t clear if or why Samsung would move the date up, other than to satisfy a growing demand for the as-yet unseen device. It’s worth noting that an executive in China would be unlikely to have any sort of final say in the matter, since Samsung’s head offices and most of its senior executives are in South Korea. We wait in breathless anticipation for any sort of real news on the Galaxy S III, which has so far eluded the tech press worldwide. About all we can say with certainty is that it’s coming, and that somebody out there has got entirely too much time to fiddle around in Photoshop.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 06:29 AM PDT
Good news for anyone who’s bought the Motorola RAZR, the international version of the DROID RAZR: you’re getting a software update! Bad news: it’s not Ice Cream Sandwich. Though it’ll be anywhere from several weeks to two or three months before Motorola charitably gets around to putting the latest version of Android on its flagship machine, regular maintenance updates are continuing. The latest version (SPU15) can be accessed from the Settings menu and applied manually for users in the UK, France, Spain and Italy. If you’re not in a hurry, it should pop up automatically sometime in the next few days.
Among the standard tweaks, bug fixes and minor enhancements, Motorola has added more Smart Actions, better syncing options and a revised Settings menu that should be easier to navigate. Motorola’s custom Smart Actions triggers are extended to include text messages, the WiFi connection, VIP callers, calendar updates and sound effects. Other small changes include tweaks to improve camera performance, increased battery life and a small security patch from Google.
The update hasn’t rolled out to other territories yet, but with the exception of the United States it should reach most carriers within the next few weeks. US DROID RAZR owners will probably see these enhancements as part of a seperate update eventually; Verizon tends to bundle big changes into large software packages that are sent out infrequently. Motorola has committed to an Ice Cream Sandwich update for the international RAZR in the second quarter (i.e. “sometime before June 30th”). In the US, the DROID RAZR is still up in the air, likely waiting for some confirmation from Verizon – though we’ve already seen that Moto’s working on the software itself.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 06:14 PM PDT
T-Mobile is set to unleash the new Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G tomorrow, March 21st in select locations, then nationwide on the 27th. This device comes to consumers with a upper-middle-class price, and the same can be said about its performance during daily use. This isn’t the best on the market, but where are its shortcomings and is there anything it doesn’t do well. That is the question most should have. Read on for our full review and thoughts.
The Galaxy S Blaze 4G could just be the perfect Spring and Summer smartphone from T-Mobile. Other than the HTC One S of course. With near top of the line specs and a great price this should be a popular phone for T-Mobile. Especially for the family or those not needing the best of the best. For starters check out our hands-on coverage and video here, then enjoy the full review below.
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G comes in at a pretty unique spot for the market. It’s much better than the original Galaxy S, but not quite as big as the Galaxy S II — although the specs come pretty close to matching everything else. Powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor from Qualcomm with 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage it definetaly has no shortage of power. The only downfall would have to be the smaller 4-inch 480 x 800 resolution display, although it is still a beautiful and vivid Super AMOLED. For those not needing or wanting a large device this is quite possibly one of the best devices T-Mobile will have to offer this summer.
To round things off the Blaze 4G has 4GB of internal storage, and a 4GB SD card that comes out of the box. For cameras we have a quite impressive 5 megapixel shooter on the rear and VGA for the front if anyone feels like a quick Skype or Gtalk video chat. It’s thin, lightweight, feels nice, and has great build quality. Samsung’s added a nice aluminum bezel that gives it a quality feel, but does look a little too much like a Blackberry if you ask me.
We have the long and easy to press power/wake button on the right, followed with the micro-SD port, around to the left is the volume rocker then the usual 3.5mm headphone jack up top, and micro-USB for charging on the bottom. The picture above you can see the aluminum bezel and how it curves around back with that Blackberry styling. It isn’t a bad thing though and I like the feel of the device during daily use.
Under the hood is Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with the usual changes from Samsung with their TouchWiz UI. Flicking back and forth from page to page seemed a little slower than some devices in the past, but nothing I’d consider a con. Android Gingerbread was fast, fluid, stable, and swift for me and that Qualcomm 1.5 GHz dual-core processor probably helps out here. This is basically a smaller, lighter, and cheaper Galaxy S II as it features the same processor as the original Galaxy S II from T-Mobile.
Games run great thanks to Gingerbread and the dual-core processor. There isn’t anything this phone wont be able to handle, except for some of those Tegra only games, so you wont have any limitations go as far as software and games. Playing Riptide GP was a great experience with the bright and colorful AMOLED display too. Other than the usual T-Mobile bloatware pre-installed apps included Netflix, Slacker Radio, Zinio reader, Lookout Security, and TeleNav GPS. So it’s pretty stock and doesn’t have much bloatware, unlike most AT&T phones.
We see no reason for the Blaze 4G to not get upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and hopefully once Samsung brings that update performance will be even better. Sadly they aren’t known for being the fastest when it comes to updates, especially with phones that aren’t their flagship devices.
Performance and Benchmarks
Like usual we ran a few benchmarks and just as we expected the Galaxy S 4G Blaze was extremely fast, efficient, and scored very high. The 1.5 GHz dual-core processor keeps things speeding along plenty fast, especially on this small of a display. Quadrant had no problem passing 3600, reaching Galaxy S II type scores with ease, and Vellamo blazed past most of the competition, especially in this price range.
For now, it’s safe to say the Galaxy S Blaze 4G is one of the better performing phones for the T-Mobile lineup, and wont be beat until the HTC One S lands, or they get some quad-core smartphones. For review purposes lets just call this a mid-sized device, because it definitely isn’t a mid-range phone with the specs on board. The only spec it actually is lacking is an HD display, and a quad-core processor but those are just making their way to the market.
Samsung’s cameras have continued to be one of their stronger suits and nothing has changed here. While we don’t have an 8 megapixel lens like the Galaxy S II the 5 MP camera seems to do quite well, even in a mildly lit room. Below is an example with a few close-up shots in the gallery below. The front camera is VGA so results are sub par at best, but at least the feature is still there for those that need it.
The Galaxy S Blaze 4G comes with a 1750 mAh battery and between the smaller screen size, and the AMOLED panel battery life seems better than most. Coming with the same size battery as many of the larger 4.3 and 4.5-inch phones from Samsung it offers better battery than all of them, and doesn’t have LTE sucking down the battery life either. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ works great and I’ve been able to stay on their “4G” throughout all of my city. The battery does feature NFC but the settings weren’t present on the phone to enable this feature, maybe we can get the developer community active here once Android 4.0 ICS lands for the Blaze.
I’ve had the Blaze 4G on for a little over 9 hours today. Using it for personal calls, browsing the web, Twitter and Gmail syncing every few minutes and played a few games and I’ve still got around 44% battery remaining. This will surely get you through an entire day of medium to heavy usage.
T-Mobile 4G HSPA+
The “faux” 4G that T-Mobile has been using for a while now is HSPA+ and works great. It rarely toggles from 4G to 3G and doesn’t suffer from the battery draining problems of AT&T and Verizon 4G LTE. It does tend to be less consistent with speeds throughout town but here in Las Vegas T-Mobile performs very well and I’ve achieved solid results around 9-12 MB/s download and 1 Up on average. I’ve tested this on multiple days and have been quite impressed although they still lack in upload speeds. Here is a good list of my results from multiple locations.
To wrap things up I’ll mention that call quality was great, as T-Mobile usually is. The speaker was loud and clear and the speakerphone got more than loud enough. Data speeds weren’t as good as I’ve seen before from T-Mobile, but impressed enough to keep me happy. There isn’t really anything lacking from the Blaze 4G other than possibly the screen size and camera quality. If you want the best of the best from T-Mobile look for the Galaxy S II, or the HTC Amaze 4G. For everyone else that wants a great and overall solid phone, and for a great price, the Galaxy S Blaze 4G is the perfect smartphone in the overall scheme of things.
The Galaxy S Blaze 4G can be yours starting tomorrow for just $149 with a new 2-year contract with T-Mobile. This is a promising phone and would make most users happy. If you aren’t in the need of a new phone this minute it might be worth waiting to see how the HTC One S with Android 4.0 ICS stacks up against it. In terms of what’s available now, this should be near the top of your list for T-Mobile.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 05:41 PM PDT
Here we go again. Reports from Virgin Mobile customers all over the United States indicate that both data and SMS (text) services are non-responsive. Virgin is aware of the problem, and while they’re working on it, they don’t have any solutions or timeframes just yet. It looks like every Virgin Mobile phone in the country is affected, which might mean it’s either a small problem that caused the whole system to crash or a big, hulking disaster that will take quite a while to fix.
Verizon will be glad to hear that someone else is having outage issues, even if it is a regional MVNO carrier. Their highly-touted 4G LTE network has gone down four times in the last five months, sometimes taking 3G data with it. That’s a hard hit for a carrier with an admittedly great reputation for cell coverage. Virgin Mobile’s outage isn’t all that big of a deal at the moment (a few hours without data isn’t going to kill anyone) but their teen-centric marketing may bite them: when’s the last time you saw a high school student go a whole hour without sending a text message?
Some speculate that the servers Virgin dedicates to its data processing are down in their entirety. That would certainly make sense: web and SMS are both data services at heart, and their voice services are handled by the parent company. Virgin hasn’t elaborated on the technical aspects of the outage, so customers can only wait (and look for the nearest WiFi hotspot). Keep calm and carry on.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 05:17 PM PDT
We all want a better camera and better video recording. Most of the time the abilities of your smartphone’s camera are limited by its hardware, but in one case, some good old-fashioned hackery makes 1080p recordings on the reliable HTC Sensation much, much higher in quality by easing the compression standard and giving them double the mbps rating. If you’re running an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM on your Sensation (and if you’re considering this, odds are overwhelming that this is the case) then XDA user NODO-GT has a tweak that you’ll certainly want to try.
The modified Camera app takes decompressed images for higher quality stills as well. There’s even some extra goodies like a 1250 ISO mode for better nightime and indoor shooting, plus uncompressed audio recording, for all the good it does on a tiny microphone. All in all it’s a neat little package that shutterbug Sensation users shouldn’t be without. The sample screenshots from the provided video speak for themselves: the low-quality 10mbps version is below, with the higher quality 20mbps version below that:
There are some downsides, mainly in the file size department: the videos and photos taken with the modified app will be roughly twice the size. On the plus side, it’s available for the stock (Sense 4.0) ROM as well as various popular custom ROMs, so heavy modders aren’t left out in the cold. Since the modification is based on the camera app from Ice Cream Sandwich, it’s unfortunately not compatible with ealrier versions, but a suitably talented modder should be able to adapt it at some point. You’ll need a custom recovery to flash the ZIP modification.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 04:20 PM PDT
If you haven’t neglected your classical education, you’ve surely heard of the legend of Daedalus and Icarus, who escaped their island prison by building wings out of feathers and wax. Things didn’t end up so well for Icarus, but one Dutch man seems to have had the same dream. Jarno Smeets is a mechanical engineer who’s spent the lat eight months building his very own set of “Human Birdwings” capable of independent flight. The contraption makes use of an HTC Wildfire S and a Wii Remote to translate the “flapping” motion of his arms to the wings themselves.
The apparatus isn’t technically human-powered, it just translates Smeets’ arm motions to a set of motors and servos that flap the wings for him. The Wii Remote measures acceleration and other factors and is presumably connected via Bluetooth, though why he couldn’t simply use the one already in the phone is a mystery. The “flight” isn’t much more than a few hundred meters and perhaps 20 meters in the air at its highest point, but that’s still a pretty impressive achievement. Insert your own “Flying Dutchman” joke here.
Check out the video below:
Doubters have called the video fake, and it’s easy to see why – amateur cameras, a seemingly unbelievable achievement, and lots of media coverage would make for a great viral program. But it’s been covered and investigated by various European press without any serious evidence of forgery. The Mythbusters’ Jaime Hyneman (the one with the mustache) says that he can’t find any reason why the contraption wouldn’t work, and can’t see any faulty editing in the video. As someone who does crazy things for a living in a special effects capacity, he ought to know.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 03:40 PM PDT
HTC went on something of a shopping spree in 2011, buying a majority share in Beats Audio and purchasing several smaller companies outright. According to reports from Reuters and other sources, the Taiwanese manufacturer has completed the purchase of the MOG Music service, either absorbing it into Beats Audio, using them as a proxy or simply buying it in partnership. In any case the deal isn’t formalized yet, but reportedly all of the pieces are in place to make it so. IF true (and we see no reason to doubt its veracity) this would give HTC a two-pronged advantage over just about everybody Android manufacturer in the mobile music space.
If you’ve bought an HTC phone in the last six months or so, you’ve probably spotted the MOG logo hanging out in your app drawer. It’s a subscription music service in the style of Spotify, with an emphasis on social sharing of music. Its investors include Universal and Sony, tow of the “big four” American music labels. Their catalog boasts 14 million individual songs, which can be streamed via mobile apps for free or downloaded directly for paying customers. Though smaller than some of its competitors, MOG has been praised as an excellent contender in the subscription area.
MOG is usally compared to Pandora and Spotify, and not without reason. Its web and mobile streaming engines are fairly similar, with MOG having the added advantage of a paid download option. When and if the deal goes through, MOG’s satellite software like the web and iOS player will probably remain intact, though some partnership with Beats on music-specific projects is more than likely.
If HTC were to partner with MOG or buy them outright, odds are pretty good that they’d allow it to continue operating as a separate service, not unlike Beats (which sells its headphone and speaker hardware separately and partners with non-competing companies like HP). Of course they’d look for perks for HTC hardware, probably in the form of free subscriptions to the MOG service, in a manner similar to the extra DropBox storage that HTC users enjoy already. With the tech and investment worlds abuzz about the merger/acquisition/whatever, some clarification from both companies will likely be coming very soon.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 02:51 PM PDT
Budget phones for budget carriers make for some very happy low-end Android users, and MetroPCs and LG are looking to update the very first Android phone available on the regional carrier. The Optimus M+ is a update to the original Optimus M model, spotted by PocketNow and headed for MetroPCS sometime in the indeterminate future. It won’t set the world on fire with its size or specs, but neither will it burn a hole in your wallet. At present there’s no sate or price, but it should be pretty close to the original’s $99 off contract.
The 3.5-inch screen is appreciably larger than the 3.2-inch one on the M, though the source reports that its 480×320 resolution stays the same. That’s not so bad, considering how low it could have gone. The paltry 3.2 megapixel camera is boosted all the way to 5 megapixels, though there’s no word on how high resolution its video mode is. Bluetooth gets a bump up to 3.0, not that most people will notice the difference. And of course, it’ll run Gingerbread at release, so that the software is “just” fourteen months out of date.
It’s hard to be too upset about out-of-date software on an entry-level phone – after all, most of the people buying it probably won’t be that concerned about the OS version. And though the source doesn’t know what processor, memory or storage options the new phone will have, it’s a pretty safe bet that dual-cores and a gig of memory will be nowhere in sight. Expect to see a more formal announcement for the LG Optimus M sometime in the next couple of months.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 02:12 PM PDT
Let the crazy talk and restoring to stock Ice Cream Sandwich begin because we are now hearing Verizon is beta testing the next update for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Yes this is Android 4.0.5 according to @Black_man_X, a man that needs no introduction in the world of Android. We saw version 4.0.4 leak back in January but it never officially was released by Google or Verizon.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard reports of Android 4.0.5 Ice Cream Sandwich either. It was leaked for the Nexus S in early February as coming in April, not to mention a few days ago rumors were churning regarding that update landing in the next few weeks. According to Black_man_X version 4.0.5 is being tested and currently runs great on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus.
His comments suggest 4.0.5 will fix tons of problems, although he was very vague on what is different. He did however confirm to us that the UI and launcher appears to all be the same, and the update mainly fixes internal things and some reboot issues. Ice Cream Sandwich version 4.0.5 for the Galaxy Nexus appears to fix audio reboot issues, battery life problems, data falling alseep, and will most likely have new radios. I’m hoping for some enhanced 4G LTE signals but that probably wont be happening.
If all goes well Verizon and Google should start pushing version 4.0.5 to the Galaxy Nexus in early April. Looks like we only have a few weeks to wait.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 01:42 PM PDT
A new software update is rolling out starting today for the Motorola RAZR. This is not the DROID RAZR here on Verizon, and instead is the international and European model just named the Motorola RAZR. The European model is responsible for those leaked 4.0 builds too but today it is only getting Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.
RAZR users in the UK, Italy, France and Spain can all enjoy the latest and greatest from Motorola starting today. Over on the Moto Facebook page they detailed some of the new features. Most of them we’ve already seen such as smart actions, better battery life, improved camera support and a few different Google security patches. We are also hearing this will update the recent Google Play apps to the latest versions.
You can also see the full change log direct from Motorola by clicking here. Again, the update is rolling out today and should arrive for most users by Friday. As usual if you’d like to get it now and not wait for the OTA push head to settings > about phone > system updates > download and enjoy that BLUR infused Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.
With the Android 4.0 ICS getting leaked last month we were hoping this would be Android 4.0 but sadly that isn’t quite ready for prime time just yet. Let us know how the update procedure goes for those with the international Motorola RAZR.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 01:14 PM PDT
Here is another announcement we can surely throw in the rumor bin almost instantly. While the Samsung Galaxy S III has been a hot topic as of late, with plenty of rumors and leaks, we are now hearing some more chatter that Samsung might unveil it during their annual Samsung Africa Forum show at the end of this week after all. Possibly on Thursday or Friday. Do notice this is the same March 22nd event we’ve heard will NOT be the big unveiling.
Samsung’s annual Africa Forum is another way they showcase their popular and upcoming devices, but most likely they’ll only show the few items we saw at CES — nothing more. These rumors are pretty wild if you ask me. No way Samsung would announce one of if not their most anticipated smartphone, and their flagship without any notice. Especially in Africa where press isn’t at its fullest.
According to phonerpt Samsung will unveil the new flagship quad-core smartphone in Africa, but I’m tossing this in the rumor mill, and taking it with a pound of salt instead of a grain. We can’t truly see Samsung announce the device in that type of forum, but anything is possible I guess. We are still hopeful for some sort of announcement in April, possible around the Olympics for maximum exposure. Either way stay tuned right here as we look for more details. All the previous reports and rumors can be read from the links below.
I want it, and I want it now. Sadly we have a few more months of waiting most likely.
Posted: 20 Mar 2012 12:21 PM PDT
We’ve talked about this before and heard rumors that Verizon is planning to release shared data plans for smartphones and tablets. More important shared family data plans so customers can pay one fee regarding data for the entire family and all of their devices. Latest reports suggested a mid-2012 release of such plans but this screenshots leads us to believe they are coming sooner than expected.
According to a leaked screenshot from PhoneArena Verizon is close to launching the service and will have a shared family data plan calculator for users and more. The plan of shared data has been discussed in the past last year, and even confirmed a few times but this is making it all look legit, and on the way in the next month or so. I like seeing the bar go to 30GB and beyond. Especially with larger HD screens and 4G LTE speeds sucking data.
The picture above matches some of Verizon’s current calculators although is obviously geared towards shared family data plans. It will help users and family select the right plan to fit their needs. No pricing or other details were tipped but we can assure you this is coming — it’s just a matter of when. Things are looking near the final stages at Verizon and hopefully they have good rates, and some incentives such as hardware discounts to make us sign on to the plan.