Tag Archive | "android 2.3"

The State of Android Tablets in 2011. A Survey

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At the beginning of the year, if you would have told me that, by the summer, there would be a dozen different Android tablets available for order from reliable, first tier manufacturers, I would have told you to get outta town. We were likely all desensitized to the constant stream of news that seemingly had the same message: “Company X announced the Y Tablet today. It features blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. No information was released on a launch date or pricing.” It had gotten to the point that I immediately went to the bottom of any announcement of a tablet-device, and if it had the standard blurb about no launch date or word on pricing, I did not read the article.

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AT&T Promises All Android Phones Released in 2011 to get Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Atrix Update Available Starting Today

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android version chartGood news for all Android owners: AT&T says that all Android devices that they offer that were introduced in 2011 will be upgraded to Android 2.3 gingerbread, and those updates start today beginning with AT&T’s version of the Motorola Atrix which they call the Atrix 4G.

You may be saying “What the heck, Ben, I’m not even on AT&T, this has nothing to do with me you jerk! inch Ah… but you should take a moment to realize that this is good news for anyone who uses an Android device, and I’ll tell you why.

According to Google, 80.5% of Android device’s that accessed the Android market over a 14 day period (ending July 5th) were still running Android 2.2 or below. Now that AT&T is announcing these updates for their phones, the pressure is on for other carriers to follow in their footsteps.

What we can only hope will ensue is competition between carriers to show that they have the best update record, and with this announcement, AT&T is about to be the leader in that regard. I’m doing my part by putting this news in the headlines in the hopes that Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other carriers around the world will realize that keeping devices updated in a timely manner is really important to the people purchasing these devices (you can do your part by spreading those headlines).

Having the latest firmware on Android means access to the latest features, the latest apps, and usually the most secure version of the software.

Google announced integrated video calling in Google Talk back in May, but only approx.. 2.2% of Android users were running firmware that could even use the new feature.

So you see my point… even though this particular bit of news might not impact you directly (if you aren’t on AT&T), it is one small step on the way to ensuring all Android devices are receiving timely updates.

Currently, 18.6% of devices accessing the Android Marketplace are running Android 2.3+ (this isn’t including Honeycomb [3.0+] devices), that’s way up from the 2.2% we saw back in May. Once Android 2.3+ devices pass the 50% mark, developers are going to begin expecting the tools and features available to them with 2.3+ and hopefully we’ll quickly see new Android devices being released with 2.3+ pre-installed instead of them being released then (hopefully) updated.

Anyway… AT&T announced, in one of the one of the only press releases I’ve ever seen with a funny title (“AT&T Customers to Enjoy Gingerbread inch), that the following devices will be updates to Android 2.3:

  • HTC Inspire 4G
  • LG Phoenix
  • Motorola ATRIX 4G
  • Pantech Crossover
  • Samsung Captivate
  • Samsung Infuse 4G

It’s nice to see a company releasing a press release that involves them actually doing something for their customers rather then simply making claims that they are better than their competitors.

It isn’t clear whether or not this has anything to do with the update alliance that Google is supposedly working on; I still think Google and partners need to market their update promises intelligently to target the majority of customers who don’t read tech blogs and don’t know which companies tend to update their devices.

Samsung/Google Nexus S Review

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DSC_3851Google’s Nexus phone program aims to combine top-end hardware and the latest Android software to create a flagship Android smartphone (and arguably, a developer phone). The first phone from the Nexus program was the Nexus One (HTC). Just recently Google has partnered with Samsung to bring the intuitively not intuitively named Nexus Two Nexus S to market. Does Google + Samsung = Success, or is the Nexus S being quickly superseded by other devices, even if they aren’t yet running the latest Android built? Step inside to find out.

All About Updates

gingerbreadThere’s one thing we should talk about up front. Google’s Nexus phones offer updates to the very latest Android built right as it’s released regardless of the carrier or manufacturer. On pretty much every other Android phone/device, updates are pushed through the carrier or OEM. This means that if users want the latest enhancements for Android (and who doesn’t?) they have to wait for a middle-man to get around to setting everything straight before they get the update. Unfortunately promised updates have failed to come to fruition in a number of cases, leaving users without important feature updates and performance improvements. And even when promised updates do eventually come through, they aren’t always as simple as upgrading right on your phone, making updates unobtainable for those less versed in the computer world.

With the Nexus program, Google provides access to the very latest Android software. Updates always come as soon as they’re released from Google, and they install straight through the phone. This gives any of the Nexus devices an advantage over most other phones. The Nexus S is one of the only [perhaps the only] devices on the market today that comes out of the box with Android 2.3 installed. And, even then after powering it on, the phone will ask to install several incremental upgrades that have been made since the initial Android 2.3 release.

And now back to our regularly scheduled reviewing!

Hardware

DSC_3812Let’s has a quick look at the specs of the phone and a tour around the device. As usual, you can see detailed specs, links, photos, and even compare devices with the Nexus S at it’s tracking page in our device database.

Briefly, before we get to the aforementioned, you might be interested in having a look at our Nexus S overview video:

Specs:

  • Android 2.3
  • Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) CPU @ 1GHz
  • 4 inch curved Super-AMOLED capacitive touchscreen @ 800×480 (1.67:1 aspect ratio [non-standard])
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 5MP rear camera (only capable of 720×480 [DVD quality] video recording) with single-LED flash
  • 0.3MP front camera (640×480)
  • 16GB of internal memory
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS & digital compass
  • 129g (0.284 pounds)
  • NFC (near-field-comm) chip, acelleomoeter, light sensor, proximity sensor, 3-axis gyro

Hardware Tour:

DSC_3808 DSC_3809

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And that’s all! Yup, it’s a pretty simple phone.

Nexus S Video Overview

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nexus sWe’ve got the Nexus S [tracking page] on hand for some testing and it’s certainly doing some impressing! In addition to a beautiful display with an amazing contrast ratio, the Nexus S is topping the Quadrant benchmark charts over all other Android devices. Then there’s that whole Android 2.3 thing it’s got going on that has some great tweaks to the OS. There’s a full review in the works, but in the mean time we’ve prepared an overview video for your viewing pleasure:

Google Finally Outs Some Solid Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Info with the Nexus S – if You’re Looking for a Revolution You’ll Be Disappointed

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2.3 homescreenYesterday, Google released the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) SDK. This marks the official release of the latest version of Android, which will be launched baked into the Nexus S.

While Android 2.3 does bring a few welcomed improvements to the platform, it isn’t doing any major overhauling; looks like we’ll have to wait for Android 3.0 for that.

For users, Android 2.3 has a newly tweaked notification bar which looks to have some refined icons. I still think they look rather ugly compared to the iOS status bar icons, but at least they’re evolving. There is also a slightly changed keyboard which Google says is faster and more accurate than the one found on previous versions of Android. Google is Finally adding a way to effectively select text for copy/paste actions which will function (not surprisingly) similarly to the iPhone’s implementation of the feature. Copied or not, I can’t wait to finally not be frustrated when selecting text on Android phones (besides a few phones that have custom tweaks for this issue).


Additionally built-in VoIP/SIP support for internet telephony has been included (something the Maemo devices [such as the N900] have been doing well for a long time), presumably supporting video chatting for devices being released with front-facing cameras.

YouTube has also been enhanced for in-page viewing (a la iPad) and a personalized homepage similar to what you find with the web desktop version of YouTube.

Android 2.3 feels like more of an update for developers than users. This will be good in the long run because while you might not see lots of enhancements right out of the box, but it adds tools for developers to be able to create great new features. If you’re a tech head (and I have to imagine that most of you are, if you like Android), here’s a video from Google showing off some of the improved controls and tools that they’ve added to Android 2.3 for developers:

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