Posted: 01 Feb 2012 11:17 AM PST
Finally! The AT&T Samsung Infuse 4G is finally getting its official update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread starting today. In case you forgot, they mentioned this update was coming back around August but apparently that got delayed a few days — or half a year. The update is rolling out today and users can get it now.
The update was announced over on AT&T’s forum but apparently the link wasn’t activated by Samsung because users trying to update were getting an error. Don’t worry though, you can simply load up Samsung Kies and pull the update in that manner. Sadly this is not an over the air update so users will be required to connect to a computer to complete the update.
As usual with Gingerbread we have improved copy/paste functionality, download manager, improved keyboard, UI changes and other software tweaks and improvements. Samsung has updated the Touch Wiz UI as well so users should see some added stability. The full change-log is available at the AT&T forum link above for those looking for more details and instructions. Angry Birds that was pre-loaded will be removed after the update and players will lose all progress — depressing I know.
Enjoy that Android 2.3 Gingerbread now that it is finally available. Feel free to let us know how the update process goes in the comment section below, or if you experience any problems after the update.
Dimension & Weight
Battery & Power
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 11:02 AM PST
In case you missed the news, Samsung is set to run a rather long and hopefully impressive commercial during this years Super Bowl. It will be important for a few reasons. One being that it’s their first ever commercial in the big game, and it will reportedly be 90 seconds which will cost them an arm and a leg. Today they’ve released a small teaser video and you can see the short clip below.
Now what you see below is the teaser clip they’ve released, but it is basically just a few different clips from previously released commercial by Samsung knocking the iPhone 4S and the crowds waiting in line to get something they already have. It looks like different cuts from their previous ad spots and we have all those linked to below for your viewing pleasure.
While these commercials were originally showing off the Galaxy S II it appears they’ll use part of them to show the world the “next big thing” and that it is already here — that being the Samsung Galaxy Note and its 5.3″ Super AMOLED HD display of course. What better stage to feature a huge 90 second commercial then the Super Bowl when millions and millions of people will be watching. You have to hand it to Samsung for daring to attack Apple, and spend all that cash for the big day. Last year a 30 second ad cost around $3 million on FOX so we have a feeling they’ve spent at least $10 million + for this years ad spot.
Will a long commercial make you buy the Samsung Galaxy Note, or will it just be the perfect moment to grab another beer before the next big play by the Giants defense?
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 10:07 AM PST
The folks from US Cellular have some big news to announce today for all those in their particular region. This morning they have announced that not only are they rolling out their new and fast 4G LTE networks in four select cities, but they’ve also detailed the first two devices to be powered by those new LTE speeds.
Samsung gets the first nod over on US Cellular and they’ll be offering the dual-core Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE with Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator — which is basically the DROID Charge. It might not be the Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S II but this is a great start and should really give their users a better and more portable and powerful variety to chose from.
Devices aren’t the entire story, they’ve also announced the first four markets that will get the green light for LTE. Obviously the rollout will be small to start but they have big plans to add more cities and markets soon, possibly before the end of the month. The four launching now are:
— Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Madison and Racine.
— Iowa: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
— Maine: Portland and Bangor.
— North Carolina: Greenville.
These devices aren’t anything new or cutting edge but will be a great option for US Cellular customers moving forward. Not to mention they now will have the option of 4G LTE speeds. The LTE markets and devices themselves aren’t set to hit the streets and be available until first week of March so stay tuned for more details.
[via US Cellular]
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 10:03 AM PST
One of Huawei’s most popular mid-range phones, the Honor (also known as the Glory, or the Mercury on Cricket) may soon be headed to AT&T. The phone was spotted going through the storied halls of the Federal Communications Commission, seeking certification for a US release. The phone had radios compatible with AT&T’s 3G and HSPA+ bands. As always with FCC filings, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s coming to any particular carrier – phones are often certified for the benefit of showing them off to potential partners.
The Huawei Honor is a respectable little phone that’s gotten rave reviews for its combination of solid hardware, design and price. The phone is already available in several world markets. As far as hardware goes, you get a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 854×480. Inside is a single-core 1.4Ghz Qualcomm processor, 514MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage. An 8MP camera takes 720P video, and toy get an open MicroSD card slot to play with.
Why might a budget-minded Android fan be interested? Mostly because the Chinese manufacturer has shown a surprising commitment to Android updates. The Huawei Honor was the very first Android device to get an official update to Ice Cream Sandwich – an impressive feat for a company that was hitherto though of mainly as a discount manufacturer. Huawei is reaching higher this year, with new Ascend models releasing with ICS and a super-secret high-end Diamond line set to be unveiled later this month at Mobile World Congress.
[via Unwired View]
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 09:33 AM PST
Ah, the simple joy of driving a high-powered vehicle over a ramp, through a windmill and into a oil tanker, while the driver flies through the window for a hundred-yard bonus. It’s something no one wants to experience in real life, but the Flatout series of games has allowed driving enthusiasts the vicarious thrill of a spectacular crash for years now. Developer Team6 aims to bring that thrill to Android, with a new mobile sequel titled FlatOut-Stuntman [sic]. The game will be exclusive to device with Nvidia Tegra processors. If you’re unfamiliar with Flatout, it started way back on the PlayStation 2 in 2005. Taking the old driving stunt formula and adding some much-needed black humor. Stunts are awarded points on style, destruction and cringe-inducing mayhem, often involving the driver smashing through the car windshield and onto the track. Rag doll physics make for some interesting results post-crash. It’s all played for laughs, but isn’t recommended for those with a delicate disposition. Flatout-Stuntman will be a series of short, intense tracks where the player’s goal is to maximize destruction.
Two versions of the game will be released: one that blows out the graphics for new Tegra 3 phones and tablets, and a toned down version for devices that use the older Tegra 2. While the developer hasn’t released any details so far, the driving gamer in me can’t help but be excited at the prospect. Hey Sega, aren’t we due for a Crazy Taxi port on Android?
[via Droid Gamers]
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 08:33 AM PST
If you’re one of the lucky 70,000 descending upon Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend for the biggest football game in the world (no, international readers, soccer doesn’t count) you might want to spend some time to download the official Super Bowl XlVI Guide app. This navigation and locale app helps visiting pigskin fans navigate the Indianapolis metro area and find all the events leading up to the big game. The app itself is free, which is surely good news for anyone who took out a second mortgage to actually attend the Super Bowl.
The main feature of the Super Bowl XLVI app is a 3D navigation map of the stadium and the surrounding area, helping fans to navigate to parking, find their seat and get back to the hotel afterwards. Also included are nearby restaurants and bars, as well as the time and location of the various official events surrounding the game. The NFL Huddle feature lets you take a peek at the social media buzz, though why you’d want to I cant’s imagine, since anyone interested is either attending in person or watching live.
The app isn’t much good to the hundreds of millions of football fans watching at home, but then, they’ve got other things to occupy their attention. In the incredibly unlikely event that you can’t find a TV tuned to the right channel, Verizon is allowing free viewing of the Super Bowl through their exclusive NFL Mobile app. Samsung fans will want to pay close attention to the important part of the broadcast (the commercials) since the company is planning a big-budget debut of the AT&T Galaxy Note LTE, possibly wrapping up their current anti-Apple campaign.
[via android central]
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 08:09 AM PST
A lot of companies use sometime dubious “green” marketing to give their products and edge, but in the case of the new ADzero phone, it’s hard to argue. The former design project has become a full-fledged phone model, at least in the UK, and is expected to hit the market this year. The phone is made from as many recyclable materials as possible, starting with an all-bamboo body that makes the phone shockingly lightweight yet sturdy. The rest of the manufacturing and design process incorporates as many green initiatives as possible, while still creating a relatively high-end Android smartphone.
ADzero got its start as a project by Middlesex University design student Kieron-Scott Woodhouse. When investors got a look at the concept device, they created a start-up to develop and market it, and Woodhouse and a team of engineers have been hard at work on the retail product ever sense. They’ve been making waves in the local tech and design communities. Initially planned for a release in China, AD now hopes to market it in boutique shops in the United Kingdom as well. Thanks to the UK’s mostly open mobile space, buyers will be able to purchase an ADzero phone and use them on almost any carrier.
As the device is still in the development stage, the specifications aren’t set in stone (or wood) yet; the engineers are still experimenting with different materials and components. But the basic outline suggests a large-screen Android phone (probably running Gingerbread) in the standard slate form factor. If the designs on display so far are any indication, they’re still months away from a final release, but we’d sure love to get our hands on it. For a similar aesthetic and design philosophy, check out our review of ThinkSound’s ms01 earbuds.
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 07:28 AM PST
Screens that use organic light-emitting diodes, better known as OLED and AMOLED, have a unique method of image production. When instructed to display a “black” color, the individual pixel cells are physically turned off, providing the stunning blacks seen on OLED-equipped devices like the Galaxy S II, DROID RAZR and the original Nexus One. Interestingly, this also means that displaying a mostly black image on an OLED screen also draws less power than a white or full-color image. To take advantage of this technological quirk, an intrepid modder on XDA has set about modifying all of Google’s core Android apps to save the maximum amount of battery on OLED phones, via the simple expediency of reversing the color scheme.
As you almost certainly know, the vast majority of Google’s proprietary apps for Android employ a black-on-white color scheme, the better to aid visibility. If your phone uses an OLED or AMOLED screen, XDA modder “rujelus22″ presents his alternative: color-reversed “dark” apps that allow for a high degree of contrast (with admittedly slightly lower readability) and maximum battery-saving black space on the screen. The modified collection of Gingerbread apps includes the standard Gmail, Google Search, Android Market, Google Talk, Music player and Google Plus apps, with Google Voice, Documents, Translate, Twitter, Facebook, DropBox and the Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard thrown in for good measure.
The bad news is that you’ll need to get rid of the apps already on your phone in order to install them – for most of the core Android apps, that will require root access. And the apps are designed for Gingerbread, so while they should work on Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, they won’t be ideal replacements for the tablet or phone apps those users already have .There’s no conclusive numbers on how much battery power you can save with the modified files, but I’m sure some flashers are eager to take a few measurements. The modder says he or she intends to add more themed apps to the collection over time.
By the way, don’t install these if your phone’s screen uses an LCD, unless you just like the look. They won’t save any battery power at all. If you’re unsure of what technology your phone uses, check our Device.ac database.
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 07:07 AM PST
Users of the popular Mint service for personal financial tracking have a new option for accessing the service today, as the company announces an expanded app for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich tablets. While the Mint app has been available for months, its formatting on anything larger than a smartphone has been lacking. The updated app brings a new interface and features when used on Android 3.0 or higher. You can download the app for free in the Android Market, though you’ll need an active Mint account (also free) to use it.
If you’re unfamiliar with Mint, think of it as financial tracking with the training wheels on. Connect it to your bank account, credit cards and investments, and it gives you a quick look at your current debt/net worth, risks and spending habits. You can set up alerts for when balances are running low, or when you go over budget on regular bills, like groceries or cell phone service. Even cash transactions are covered, though you’ll have to enter those manually.
A new feature that’s particularly handy is cached storage. Say you go to that trendy new nightclub on 6th Street that coats the walls in signal-absorbing paint, and you’re suddenly unsure of whether you can cover a round for the house. Your mobile banking app is out of luck thanks to a requirement for an encrypted connection, but Mint can save your information for viewing offline, still protected by your personal password. (Ed: don’t buy a round for the house anywhere on 6th Street.) A search function helps you easily find individual purchases as well.
Posted: 01 Feb 2012 06:30 AM PST
Well that about seals it. Amid rumors that the highly-anticipated refresh of the Galaxy S line would debut with dozens of competing phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung confirmed that the Galaxy S III won’t be showing up in the late February event. The current flagship, the Galaxy S II, got its public debut at the same event in 2011. Company representatives gave a canned response to inquiries from TechRadar, saying that the successor to the Galaxy S II will be a no-show, instead getting its own event sometime in the first half of the year.
Here’s the info, straight from the manufacturer’s mouth:
Samsung is looking forward to introducing and demonstrating exciting new mobile products at Mobile World Congress 2012. The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product.The popular (and it must be said, unsubstantiated) rumor is that Samsung is holding back on the Galaxy S III unveil to allow it to directly compete with Apple’s iPhone 5, expected in late summer or early fall of this year. If that’s the case, holding their own event would be appropriate – Apple famously doesn’t share the stage with anyone, preferring secretive events at their company headquarters to trade shows and other conferences. (And who cares if thousands of tech journalists have to make separate expensive trips to all these unveilings, says I? A bunch of whining brats, the lot of them.) Samsung appears to have taken cues from HTC and Motorola, who have also begun to huge press events for single devices in the last six months.
Rumors continue to run wild about the Galaxy S III’s hardware, though there’s been no clear shots of the phone itself thus far. (The photo above is a fan rendering.) A 4.5-inch or larger Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution is almost assured, but beyond that it’s all guesswork – 2Ghz Exynos processors, insane RAM and megapixel ratings, even lenticular 3D displays have been thrown into the rumor mill. Aside from the fact that the Galaxy S III will showcase Samsung’s best possible hardware and new software, there just isn’t a lot that’s known about it for now. Samsung’s playing this one very close to the vest – another trait they’re picking up from their Cupertino competitors.
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 10:01 PM PST
Two new Android phones were just announced by both Docomo and Disney, and should be launching in Q1 of this year. Their names are the Docomo F-08D and P-05D. Both have a Disney skinned UI running, and are also waterproof! These aren’t the first Disney phones released, but make a welcomed addition.
The F-08D is the more powerful of the two, running a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4430 processor. As pictured above, it will come in pink but also have a white variant available. It also sports a 4.3″ display with a resolution of 720×1280. We should see the F-08D sometime in February, and the P-05D right around March.
The second device drops the processing speed down to 1.0GHz, but is still running a dual-core OMAP4430. Available in black in white, the P-05D matches a resolution of 540×690. However, unlike the former – it sports a qHD display. Both should please any avid Disney fan in Japan, let us know if you’re planning on purchasing one!
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 08:15 PM PST
For our readers in Canada, you’ll be happy to know the Galaxy Nexus is coming to mobile carrier WIND February 3rd. That’s just 3 days away, and you can finally get your hands on some Android 4.0! Prices for the device vary depending on what program you decide on.
The WINDtab+ program will be the cheapest way to score a Galaxy Nexus, costing $249.99. The specifics for it are here. The normal WINDtab program will set you back $499.99, and then you could always buy the phone without any strings attached for $599.99. They also offer an extremely affordable Unlimited Everything plan for just $40/mo – perfect for your new Galaxy Nexus.
At the bottom of their advertisement, it states “they’ll be gone before you know it”. They could just want to get you in the door, or their Galaxy Nexus stock could be low – analyze it however you would like. Those that have been anxiously waiting for Google’s flagship device to hit the carrier will probably be there day of release anyways!
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 06:55 PM PST
This is one of those apps that make you exclaim, “why didn’t I think of that?” Developer DBT has created a little app that solves a big problem. Bolt Sizer uses your Android phone’s camera, a coin and a little mathematical magic to instantly tell you the size of the bolt in the photo. This is the perfect app for anybody working with carpentry or other household tools, and occasionally just about everybody else.
It works like this: start up the app and tap settings. Select any coin that happens to be in your pocket or change drawer. The app works with an American penny, nickel, dime or quarter, or a Euro 1, 5, 20, 20 or 50 cent piece. Point your camera towards your table or desk, take a photo, adjust the circle around your coin, and the app will use it as a physical reference to measure the bolt. You can get both the length of the shaft and the head size, in Imperial or Metric.
If you’d like to use the app for free or just need it periodically, there’s a free ad-supported version. If you plan on using it regularly, be a good Android citizen and shell out 99 cents for the ad-free version. There’s no functional difference between the two. The developer plans to add even more options in the future, so keeping it on your phone might be a god idea. Great idea, dev – keep ‘em coming.
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 06:51 PM PST
It seems like Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is headed to the Sensation XE soon, as HTC just responded to a recent fan’s tweet. @DEANYBOY70 casually asked, and it’s got to feel great receiving a response straight from the source. We already knew ICS would be coming to the device, but a timeframe was still unclear.
As HTC described, they will let us know when a more concrete date is available. The Sensation XE is available exclusively in the UK/Europe, but the Amaze 4G is the US variant. It’s very likely both updates will happen around the same time.
Other ICS updates for their devices should be on their way too, as they have around 7 other devices they’ve confirmed. It’s important for huge manufacturers like HTC to reach out to their fans as they do. That type of communication is hard to come by, and really shows they’re listening.
[via HTC Twitter]
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 05:35 PM PST
We’ve seen a few Android-based netbooks run through the production mills of confused OEMs, and we’re fairly sure that a certain major manufacturer is including Android in a SoC bundled into their latest ultraportable laptop. But if you want a little do-it-yourself Android/laptop action, look further than the CUPP Computing PunkThis board. It’s a tiny system-on-a-chip built into a PCB board with SATA and Mini PCIe connections on one side. What does that mean? It means pop this sucker into your laptop’s hard drive bay, and you’re running Android in seconds.
The board takes control of all the essential hardware in a laptop: display, keyboard and touchpad, even the speakers. Other hardware like the processor, RAM and WiFi chip are all squeezed onto the board itself. The chip has a Texas Instruments 1Ghz processor, 512mb of RAM, and on-board MicroSD card and HDMI ports. Don’t want to give up your hard drive? No problem – the PunkThis includes a pass-through SATA slot, or you can buy an enclosure that replaces your optical drive instead. When’s the last time you used that, anyway?
In addition to being freakin’ cool, the PunkThis board has other distinct advantages. Thanks to the lower power drain of ARM-based hardware, a laptop using the chip could potentially double or even triple its battery life. That might be a great boon if you’re stuck on a transcontinental flight, and want to get some basic web browsing or socializing in without landing with a dead laptop. CUPP Computing is aiming for a $200 price when the PunkThis board comes to market. The company is also planning on releasing stand-alone versions of the product, and easy-to-adapt kits for specific laptop and x86 tablet models. At present the hardware runs Android 2.3 (plus Ubuntu and anything else you can install yourself) but CUPP plans to update the software as it becomes available. Hopefully that’ll mean that the board will run Ice Cream Sandwich when it hits retail.
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 04:54 PM PST
God bless those developers who expend hundreds of hours of time and effort on an app or game, only to give it away to their fellow gamers. And the devil take those who would exploit that generosity to gain a quick buck. Such is the case with Counter-Strike Portable, a re-created version of the first person shooter classic made for Android by a team of XDA developers. Yesterday they noted that their free game had been magically posted to the Android Market for all to download. And pay for. To someone else. Naturally, they felt a little betrayed.
Developers Pavel M's and FrIuNs spent most of today trying to get in contact with Google and kick the offending app out of the Market. At the time of writing, the bogus game is gone, presumably thanks to Google’s intervention. The pirate was asking $9.99 for the privilege of playing a free game. The developers reported the offense on their Facebook page, asking supporters to report the app in the Android Market, which almost certainly had an effect on Google’s response.
In the original and still active XDA thread, the legitimate devs ask for donations to help them devote time to the project. I’m sure more than a few die-hard Counter-Strike fans have thrown $10 or more their way, as they should. As great as it is that the situation was resolved relatively quickly, one can’t help but wonder how often this happens without anyone knowing, or with developers who lack the notoriety to generate thousands of flags in the Market quickly enough.
Android Community would like to take this opportunity to remind you that if you pirate applications, it’s because you suck. If you want to play the Counter-Strike Android port you can download it here, and if you enjoy it, throw a few bucks towards the hard-working and generous developers.
[via Droid Gamers]
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 04:52 PM PST
Who needs Beats Audio? Samsung has just announced they’ve partnered with the Swedish headphone and audio company Jays and are looking to add some audio bliss to smartphones and devices coming in February 2012. You’ve probably seen their popular v-Jays and t-Jays headphones in the past and starting next month Samsung will be bundling with them and offering great deals to buyers.
Recently we’ve seen smartphone makers such as HTC take a different approach as they’ve bought part of Beats Audio and have been including their tweaked software into their devices, not to mention bundling a few special phones with some higher-range headphones. While Samsung isn’t doing anything like that they will be running multiple deals and promotions with the popular Jays brand. Here is what Jays had to say:
The agreement with Samsung is a great boost for our profile in a key target market. It's also an incredible endorsement of Jays' unrivaled quality and our continued success. Coming from the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones it's a great compliment." comments Rune Torbjörnsen, CEO of Jays.Jays might not be a widely known headphone brand but from audiophile sites like Head-fi.org they are a household name and are only getting bigger. The collaboration between the two will see Jays' award-winning v-JAYS being marketed together with selected products across South Korea in many Samsung stores. You can also expect to see them in other Samsung retailers throughout Korea starting in the month of February.
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 04:07 PM PST
Got a BlackBerry Playbook? If the ales figures are anything to go by, probably not – but hey, maybe you’ve got a friend or a boss who was brought low by a Staples salesman. If that’s the case, be sure and tell him or her that the handful of apps huddling together for warmth in RIM’s app store will soon have some welcome company. The company’s Developer Relations team posted today that the long, long-awaited OS 2.0 update will hit in February, with the BlackBerry Runtime for Android included in the package. It’s almost as welcome as a real email client. The service has been in closed beta for some time now.
The deadline for submitting apps to RIM to be included in the launch database is February 6th, meaning that the update and app repository should be available shortly thereafter. It isn’t as easy as dropping an SDK onto the Playbook’s flash storage; a little work on the developer side of things is required. But compared to building an app from scratch it’s a breeze, thanks to tools provided by RIM itself to ease the porting process. In order to be considered by RIM, developers will need to remove all usage of the word “Android” from the app, refrain from referring to the Market, setting the requirement to “BlackBerry Playbook” (hah!) and signing the package digitally.
All this work to get Android apps on the PlayBook is fascinating, considering how much RIM is trying to distance themselves from everyone’s favorite green robot. Just last week their shiny new CEO (career expectancy: 8 months) said that they had no intention of releasing hardware that runs Android, claiming that “all Android phones are the same”. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 03:54 PM PST
Piracy is a touchy subject and has been looked down upon by many many different markets, Android included. Obviously we all know how the music industry feels on the matter, and we’ve seen the countless attacks and results from their approach. When it comes to Android or apps in general some might feel different. The creators of Angry Birds, Rovio had a thing or two to say regarding the matter — and don’t really think it’s of much concern.
SlashGear’s Shane McGlaun said it best this morning by saying, “Somewhere, an RIAA supporter is crying right now.” And we’d have to agree with him. After a conference this week Rovio CEO Mikael Hed had a few interesting comments regarding piracy and their Angry Birds brand. Here are a couple of quotes:
We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy."
Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day,"Rovio admits they’ve had their share of problems with piracy, but most of which was in regards to their Angry Birds merchandise and not games themselves. There is no doubt in my mind the Rovio owners would rather users buy their games, apps, and merchandise — but they way they make it sound it doesn’t appear like they are the slightest bit concerned. For a hugely successful company such as Rovio I can understand where they are coming from, but for the average Android developer that builds an awesome game and sees lackluster sales thanks to sneaky black market app stores this could be a very different story.
I personally feel that if you like a game, you should buy it. Support developers and game creators so they can continue to impress and develop for Android, or any other platform. That is why free versions and paid versions have been so successful thus far for Android because we can try before we buy. Not everyone has the luxury of Century Fox making movies of their games, or millions of bird pillows to boost sales.
What do you guys think? Obviously piracy hurts Android developers, but can it also be a good thing?
Posted: 31 Jan 2012 03:35 PM PST
Barnes & Noble is making a new Android-based Nook e-reader! Huzzah! The latter isn’t exactly news – there’s always a successor to the current model in the pipeline. But according to an in-depth report in The New York Times, the bookseller is preparing a new model of the Nook for release some time this spring. Executives, blissfully anonymous, were noted in the multi-page analysis of the current e-reader market. The new Nook was described as a “fifth device”, implying that it’s not a refresh or retread of the Nook Color, Nook Tablet or standard e-ink models.
The question in that case is, where does Barnes & Noble go from here? They’ve got every price point from just south of $100 to $250 covered, and anything larger than the current Nook Color and Nook Tablet definitely falls into the more premium tablet range. Extending the range in either direction is possible: a large 9-10-inch tablet would compete directly with the iPad and more expensive premium Android tablets, not to mention the rumored expansion of B&N’s primary competitor. But a real boon would be an even cheaper reader. Imagine how many impulse buys a $50 e-ink Nook would rack up, each one making back any losses with sales in Nook bookstore.
It’s all good to us – B&N has used Android-based software since the very first Nook, and it’s made the family of e-readers a favorite among modders. Modders aren’t exactly in favor at the company, however: a series of updates to the flagship Nook Tablet model has made rooting and custom ROMs extremely difficult for would-be budget flashers. An easy solution for all current Nook Tablet software has been reached, but it’s always just one more update from Barnes & Noble that tends to muck things up.