Posted: 22 Mar 2012 04:48 PM PDT
We've gotten a bunch of reports from you fine folks today regarding your Gmail apps causing a screen flicker, and being unable to get to your inbox. We never experienced it here, but that doesn't mean it wasn't happening, as forum threads were popping up all over the place.
Google's just gotten back in touch with us and says a fix is on the way. Googler BrittanyBee explains thusly in the Google Product Forums:
Glad to see they're on it, but that's a pretty big whoopsie. (And believe us, we know about whoopsies.)
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 04:28 PM PDT
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 03:56 PM PDT
As you may have heard, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is coming to the international Samsung Galaxy Note. But that's not all -- ICS will arrive as part of a "premium suite" for the Note, which includes a host of new S Pen enhancements. Today Sammy's released an official promo video showing off what's new in this upcoming software update.
As we see in the video, this pack includes a re-vamped S Note application, capable of including rich content like video and multiple font styles and sizes. There's also a new shape match and formula match feature, which matches shapes and symbols you draw, allowing more complex types of notes to be taken. Similar enhancements have been made to the S Memo and mail apps.
We should also mention that the version of ICS shown off in the video is skinned with Samsung's TouchWiz UI, rather than the bizarre half-stock, half-TouchWiz launcher that emerged a day or so ago. No surprises there, as far as we're concerned.
Finally, international Note owners will get Angry Birds Space pre-loaded, along with 30 special Galaxy Note themed levels. The ICS update and premium suite for the international Note are due to land sometime during the second quarter of the year. Roll-out plans for the AT&T Galaxy Note have yet to be revealed.
Join us after the break for Samsung's preview video.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 02:35 PM PDT
AT&T this afternoon issued a news release for the HTC Vivid's Ice Cream Sandwich update, and mixed in with the mention that the HTC Vivid is the first U.S. smartphone to get the ICS update (and that AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to push out ICS) is a list of phones on AT&T slated to get the update to Android 4.0. Nothing there really surprises us, but it is good to see that the Pantech Element and the Pantech Burst made the cut. Everything else we've already known about from the device manufacturers. Here's the list:
Really wish we would see the Samsung Infuse and HTC Inspire 4G on there, as there's no hardware reason they couldn't get ICS. We don't make the rules, nor the list, so we have to accept what's given. There's always root. Hit the break for the full press release.read more
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 02:15 PM PDT
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. When you get over the fact that it's got a rather ridiculous name, and that because of that name it's a little confusing as to where it fits in the scheme of things, and that it's maybe a little overpriced, you've got yourself a pretty capable mid-range smartphone rocking along on T-Mobile's 42-megabits-per-second data network.
That's a lot of qualification, to be sure. (And we should be used to ridiculously named Samsung phones by now.) So should you consider the SGSB4G for purchase? And what, exactly, will you be getting?
It's all after the break in our Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 01:41 PM PDT
If you're a Google Voice user there's quite the update waiting for you in the Google Play store this afternoon. The newest version (0.4.2.54) features tight integration with the Ice Cream Sandwich dialer, a new voicemail option, and the inclusion of labels (think folders) for your inbox. Here's the not-so-fun part -- unless you have a phone with Ice Cream Sandwich, you won't get to see most of it.
All phones will get the inbox labels, which is one thing many folks, myself included, have been waiting for. If you use your Google Voice inbox as a catch-all storage and never delete anything you can now attempt to keep things organized and access it all from your phone. This is the best change for me, but the others are nice as well.
Voicemails are now able to be played through the native Ice Cream Sandwich dialer, just like carrier voicemail. You can adjust the speed to play them faster or slower (handy when skipping to the good part). You enable this in the Google Voice settings, and it's a great way to manage two numbers if that's how you roll. That is how I roll, and it's really handy. Too bad it's ICS only. Hit the break for a couple screenshots of all this, and the download link if you need it.read more
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 11:13 AM PDT
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 10:18 AM PDT
While some folks have been able to pull down Ice Cream Sandwich updates on the AT&T HTC Vivids for a few days now, AT&T has maintained that the update hasn't actually been made available. That changes today, as HTC and AT&T have both announced that Android 4.0 is officially ready.
In addition to getting the bells and whistles of Ice Cream Sandwich, you'll be updating to Sense 3.6 (not the newer Sense 4 that's on the HTC One line, but that's not a huge shocker). That comes along with a newly tweaked user interface, so don't freak out if things look a little different.
You'll also see the addition of Beats Audio. AT&T and HTC remind us that you'll only get Beats enhancements when you have headphones or speakers connected, so don't be surprised if you update and don't notice a difference in, say, your alert sounds. You'll know Beats is active when you see the icon in your notification bar.
Other improvements include better e-mail and Exchange support, the ability to use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard, better voice and text input, and, of course, face unlock.
If you need a little help with the update (no shame in that), be sure to hit up our HTC Vivid forums.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 09:51 AM PDT
Imagine this with me, if you will: Blocks are raining from the sky. Strange hieroglyphs are scribbled upon them, and with each hieroglyph, a color. They continue to stack and higher and higher, until suddenly, an epiphany! If I move the same blocks together in groups of three, they vanish! With this new knowledge in hand, you get to work, saving the world from a block-ridden mess.
If that sounds even remotely familiar, it's because a number of games have that exact premise. In Zookeeper DX Touch Edition, the hieroglyphs are funny looking animal sprites, but the color-specific point is still dead-on. Still, just because this kind of game has been done before doesn't mean it's not fun, so let's take a look at exactly what makes Zookeeper DX Touch Edition worth your time (and money).
For starters, the graphics look great. Sure, you don't need to have stellar graphics for one of those block-swapping games, but Zookeeper DX still doesn't disappoint. Colors and contrast jump off of the screen at you, and there's almost so much visual stimulation taking place (especially on a tablet) that you won't even want to drag your finger across the screen. Then again, that might be the most evil ploy to keep you from focusing on the task at hand.
The music has a catchy, techno pop groove to it, and it definitely exemplifies the playfulness that Zookeeper DX is going for. An angry and tyrannical zoo owner sends his lowly zookeeper to save the day? It's as goofy as it sounds, and the music definitely sets that up.
I'd be remiss if I didn't actually talk about the sprites and gameplay, too. The sprites are hilarious. To advance from level-to-level, you've got to capture (or is it release?) a certain number of every animal, and if you're slacking on a particular type, they scowl at you. Why is an angry, stereotypical animal sprite so endearing? I have no idea, but it works. Make sure you don't forget that each set of blocks you remove gives you a bit of time back on your bar, too. It's just that much more incentive to actually meet the game's objectives! Brilliant.
Zookeeper DX Touch Edition is 99 cents in the Google Play Store. We've got download links after the break.read more
ShopAndroid Daily Giveaway #34: OtterBox Defender for Droid Charge, Seidio Spring-Clip Holster for Droid X/X2 & more!
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 09:37 AM PDT
Today's ShopAndroid.com Daily Giveaway will feature the OtterBox Defender Case for Samsung Droid Charge, Seidio Spring-Clip Holster for Motorola Droid X/X2, Body Glove Snap-On Case for Samsung Epic 4G Touch, and the Seidio CONVERT Combo for Motorola Atrix 4G.
Interested in winning one of these featured Android accessories? Just leave a comment below after checking out our hands-on videos and let us know which item you'd like for your Android device. We'll announce the lucky winner of today's giveaway next Monday.
Rated as one of the most protective cases available for the Samsung Droid Charge, the OtterBox Defender Series Case features three layers of solid protection for your Android device. A Thermal formed clear membrane protects the Droid Charge's keypad against scratching and dust, a hi-impact polycarbonate shell guards against drops and absorbs shock, and a high quality silicon skin wraps around the entire device to ensure complete protection.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 08:25 AM PDT
Sony have announced a more specific date for the update of the Tablet S and Tablet P to Ice Cream Sandwich -- more specifically 4.0.3. We first heard about this back in December, but the latest news pins the actual date down to the end of April.
In updating, Sony will be standardizing the user interface of their tablets with their smartphones. Sony also specifically mention the addition of some new photo tools like panorama, and using the camera from the lockscreen -- although we're pretty sure that's just Ice Cream Sandwich, not Sony.
What is definitely Sony, is the ability to tie your tablet in with your Sony Blu-Ray Recorder. Not likely to be the most widely sold device admittedly, but the integration is still pretty cool nevertheless. By using a downloadable app known as Recopla, you can watch your recorded content right on your tablet. Presumably as it's an app that will be out there in the Google Play Store, the facility could be opened up to any tablet. But, we'll hedge our bets and say that at least for now, it won't.
Another nice, and useful, addition is the "small apps." These will operate in a similar fashion to the OverSkreen browser app that we reviewed previously. With them you will have the ability to fire up a browser, TV remote control and calculator and use them over the top of other applications. While it's likely that only supported applications will be compatible with the feature, Sony have shown images of it working with the stock browser, YouTube and Google Maps.
The news doesn't stop there though. There is also some new hardware coming, in the way of a WiFi only variant of the dual-screened Tablet P. This one is absolutely a love/hate device, but choice is always welcome. With WiFi only comes a lower retail price. Lower, but not low, as it will still cost $600. Sony are also set to offer a series of interchangable covers for the Tablet P. Coming in a variety of covers, these are set to cost $60 each.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 08:00 AM PDT
Did you know that over $30 billion worth of phones will be lost in the U.S. alone this year? Yeah, that number shocked me a bit as well. But it came from Lookout's 15 million strong user base and was part of their Phone Loss study compiled of last years (2011) data. They didn't stop there, either. They've compiled lists full of factoids about when and where phones are getting lost, and just how much it's costing us. Granted, Lookout sells a product to help find lost phones, but it's still fun to have a look at the numbers.
Using the Foursquare API to turn Longitude and Latitude into a venue, they expound the numbers a bit as well. Trivia like the fact that in Chicago it's common to lose a phone in a church (number three on the list), while in London it common to do so in the pub (number one) come from this sort of data. Unfortunately, another thing they noticed is that many of the top locations in the U.S. where people "lost" their phones also happen to be cities with high crime statistics. These are just examples of the things you can find out about lost phones, but they have some good news as well -- 9,000,000 smartphones (that's one every 3.5 seconds) were lost then located with Lookout last year. That's a great reason to use an app like Lookout, or one of the many others, to help you find your phone when (not if) you lose it.
There's a couple screenshots and the press release after the break, and you can check it out yourself by heading to Lookout's Mobile Lost & Found page.
More: Lookoutread more
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 07:41 AM PDT
The fruit-slashing favourite, Halfbricks' Fruit Ninja, has received an update today that brings with it some pretty nice new multiplayer features.
The "pomegranate" update is now live in the Google Play Store. The multiplayer options are now available using both local and online multiplayer services. At first glance, it seems to work really well too. You can choose who you want to play against, or swipe over the quick match option to be taken to a random opponent.
Beyond this, as with any good update we also get some bug fixes too. There is a compatibility update for a small number of devices that were experiencing a "minor audio bug."
Download links are after the break. Note though that this update is only for the paid version of the application.read more
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 07:38 AM PDT
There's been no shortage of dubious images purporting to show future Samsung smartphones over the past few days, but today we have one that actually looks like it might be a legitimate leak. The photo you see above made its way out to PhoneArena this morning, and the site's tipster claims it shows the Samsung GT-i9300, an as yet unannounced device.
The image reveals a buttonless Samsung smartphone with a front-facing camera running Android 4.0 and Samsung's TouchWiz UX. Unlike most of the recent "Galaxy S III" leak claims, everything's in the right place, and minor details like the style of icons in the navigation bar, and the square Google Talk logo give this image an air of authenticity. It's also interesting to note that Samsung seems to have swapped the order of the ICS soft keys -- on the Galaxy Nexus and other vanilla Android devices, the task switcher is on the right, whereas in this photo it's on the left. Traditionally, Samsung phones have always placed the back button on the right side, so it makes sense that they'd opt to swap things around here.
A quick examination of the screen reveals a 16:9 aspect ratio display, meaning anything from qHD to 720p resolution is possible. It also appears that something in the top left corner of the screen has been blanked out. If we were to speculate, we'd say it wouldn't make much sense to redact a simple notification icon, but on AT&T phones, this is typically where you'd find the carrier's logo. Just sayin'.
Of course, there's a chance this thing is the long-awaited Galaxy S III, but that's impossible to verify. Whatever it is, the fact that Samsung's using virtual buttons on at least one of its 2012 devices could pour cold water on photos claiming to show a Galaxy S III with traditional physical buttons.
In any case, there's certainly no shortage of speculation about Samsung's upcoming Android phones, partly fuelled by the manufacturer's own secrecy. As PhoneScoop's Rich Brome points out, recent Bluetooth SIG listings for future devices have been light on details, even going so far as to leave out model numbers.
Whatever Samsung has planned for 2012, we'll bring you full coverage in the coming months.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 07:35 AM PDT
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now available on US Cellular and is the carrier's first 4G LTE device. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 boasts the same specs as previous versions. It has a 10.1-inch 1280x800 display, 1GHz dual-core processor, Android 3.2, and 32GB of memory.
The tablet can be had for $399 with a $100 mail-in rebate. As far as 4G LTE, US Cellular is offering a a few different data plans. Here are two special offers currently listed on the website:
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 07:12 AM PDT
you remember them?) has a source claiming that Android 5.0 Jelly Bean may be released in the third quarter. Stunning revelations, folks. Consider:
Digitimes also is reporting that more Ice Cream Sandwich phones will be released in Q2 2012, the start of which is a little more than a week away. We can safely say that claim is correct. Le sigh.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 07:06 AM PDT
The March 22 ShopAndroid.com Deal of the Day is the Incipio Feather Ultralight hard Shell Case for Galaxy Nexus. Measuring less than 1mm thin, this hard case is for the user seeking inconspiculous, first-class protection. Made of strong polymer, light as a feather, and a soft touch matte finish, the Inicipio Feather is a great choice for any Galaxy Nexus user.
The Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case is available today for just $15.95, 36% off the list price. Grab yours while supplies last!
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 06:37 AM PDT
Sony Xperia S. They drive around in tiny cars, and can fly through the air to send movies, music and pictures to other devices. Makes more sense to us than any of this nonsense about electrons and radio waves.
Sony's latest series of commercials is a far cry from the creepy Xperia Play ads it produced last year, in which one hapless tourist lost his thumbs to a giant Bugdroid. The new ads form part of a global marketing campaign, which aims to establish the Sony brand in the world of smartphones following last year's Sony Ericsson buy-out.
We've got more tiny robots in the first of Sony's "Made of Imagination" ads after the break. There's also a look behind the scenes in a second video, which shows how these commercials were produced.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 05:57 AM PDT
Acer this morning announced that the new 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A510 (we're all friends here, let's just call it the A510) is now available for preorder for for $449. As you'll recall from our first look at CES back in January, the A510 is packing NVIDIA's Tegra 3 quad-core (OK, its 4-PLUS-1) system on a chip, with the extra fifth core for low-power tasks. It's got a 1280x800 resolution (at a 16:10 aspect ratio), which is looking a bit dated next to its big brother, the A700, to say nothing of the new iPad.
The A510, as it should, comes with Android 4.0 already on board, as well as with such productivity apps as Polaris Office 3.5, and Acer's own Acer Print. Other specs of note:
The A510 also is an Olympic Games Tablet Edition (that should fit nicely with Acer's new Acer Ring quick-launcher that we first saw in the A200). It's got the Acer and Olympic logos printed on the soft-touch finish, which comes in either silver or black.read more
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 05:38 AM PDT
Leaked inventory information from British network O2 appears to confirm the reported April 5 launch date for the HTC One series, while revealing a late April debut for the Sony Xperia P and Xperia U. The leaked images obtained by TechnoBuffalo show a busy April for O2 UK, with five major Android handset launches.
According to the site's source, the One X, One S and One V will all be available from April 5. The source also claims prices for HTC's new handsets range from £32 to £37 per month on 24-month contracts. It's unclear what up-front payment, if any, will be required for O2 customers to get their hands on these phones, though. And O2 often allows customers to cut down their monthly bills to around £20 or so per month, if they're willing to pay some of the cost of the phone right away.
Meanwhile, Sony's new mid-range handsets, the Xperia P and Xperia U, are said to be launching on April 23, and TechnoBuffalo's source says the U will set you back a minimum of £10 per month, while the P will be offered on a £37 per month deal. Again, we probably could've guessed those numbers, and without the up-front price for those deals, that information isn't particularly useful.
The April 5 date for HTC's stuff has already been confirmed by the unveiling of a launch event in Paris on that date, however the Sony launch date remains unconfirmed, so take that with a pinch of salt for the moment.
We got to play with the One X, One S, One V, Xperia P and Xperia U at last month's MWC, so hit the links to find out more about each model. And you can bet we'll bring you all the latest over the next month, as these phones approach release.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 05:26 AM PDT
Bubba Watson for the the MOTOACTV Golf Edition. This version's being billed as "a cutting-edge GPS golf tracker, virtual caddy and online clubhouse. (Read our full review of the MOTOACTV standard edition.)
The MOTOACTV Golf Edition has 20,000 courses available, and you'll be able to check distance to the front, center and back of greens, as well as the distance to hazards. (Which for some of us often is seen in negative numbers.) It also can help keep track of your score, including clubs used and greens hit in regulation. The "online clubhouse" portion syncs your data to Motorola's MOTOACTV service, where you can then see a satellite view of the course you played, and where your shots went. You also can see how Watson has played on a course before you tee up. (Hint: Get ready to get depressed, unless you're at Tanglewood or Stonebrook here in Santa Rosa County, I suppose.)
“The new Golf Edition of MOTOACTV has features that allow players to make better decisions on the course,” Watson said in a press release. “From the weekend warriors trying to find the distance to the back of the green to great golfers who want to analyze their game and share their stats with friends, MOTOACTV helps improve scores and makes the game more enjoyable.”
You can preorder the MOTOACTV Golf Edition today for $299.99 either from Motorola, or from Amazon. It'll start shipping April 1.
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 04:54 AM PDT
Four months to the day after the international LG Optimus 3D got bumped up to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, owners of the AT&T version, the LG Thrill 4G, are finally getting their update. The software upgrade, which brings the Thrill up to version 20P, also adds in a couple of features from the Optimus 3D's Gingerbread update, including the 2D and 3D video editor, faster gallery performance and improved video quality. That's on top of all the usual goodies you get in Gingerbread, such as UI tweaks and browser improvements.
The update is currently available through LG's PC software update utility, which can be a little unstable at times, so you'll want to make sure you have all the right drivers installed before you begin.
In the future, Optimus 3D owners can look forward to a further update to Android 4.0, though there's been no specific commitment to bring the Thrill up to ICS at the same time. But given the virtually identical hardware, we'd be surprised if the phone remained on Gingerbread forever.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Posted: 22 Mar 2012 01:33 AM PDT
Angry Birds, then you'll be pleased to know that Angry Birds Space has now lifted off. Rovio has been teasing the new series for quite some time now with it being a whole new twist on the original series. For now, it's available in the Amazon App Store for $1 so if you have access to that, you can hit the link below to grab it. If you can't access the Amazon App Store or just would rather wait until it appears in the Google Play Store, you can grab the ad-based version past the break to hold you over. Now, excuse me -- I have to go defy some gravity.
Source: Amazonread more
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 11:39 PM PDT
The way many of us buy our phones is like nothing else bought or sold. Carriers world-wide will subsidize about half the cost of the phone itself as long as you sign a multi-year contract to use their service. Imagine if Comcast or Time Warner sold televisions the same way -- it sounds crazy. It's a model that's been going on a while, and for the most part doesn't look like it's going away any time soon.
But what if it did? What if a company like, let's say Google, offered a phone not connected to any carrier, like the Nexus One was? Two years ago that model didn't work, and Google abandoned it completely, but a lot can change in two years. The mobile landscape has changed, and so has the way we use our devices. Has the way we would buy them changed as well?
If the next "Nexus" phone was only sold off contract and carrier-free, would you buy it? Let us know in the poll.
Posted: 21 Mar 2012 07:39 PM PDT
Samsung mobile has issued a press release all about the Galaxy Note and it's upcoming "Premium Suite" software upgrade. Sometime in Q2 of this year, Samsung expects to update the 5.3-inch Note to their version of Ice Cream Sandwich and bring better application support for the S pen as well as unnamed extra multimedia features.
The three applications mentioned specifically are S Note, a tool that combines notes or drawings with other digital content as well as using "Shape Match and Formula Match applications that help correct and digitize geometric shapes and even solve numeric formulas hand-drawn with S Pen"; My Story, which appears to be an application that helps you design e-cards and notes with multimedia content; and of course Angry Birds Space -- the newest iteration of the Angry Birds franchise from Rovio. In addition, Angry Birds Space will be available (sans the extra-special Galaxy Note level) for all Galaxy Series devices.
Of course the biggest draw for most of us will be the update to Android 4.0, which Samsung teased Note users about on Facebook earlier today. The version for the Note is said to include the features we've come to expect from ICS, including Android Beam and Face Unlock, as well as an "entirely new look and feel" to the Android operating system. The Q2 timeframe is coming up shortly, and International Galaxy note users are ready and waiting. Hopefully, the AT&T version follows quickly. Hit the break for the full press release.read more