With all of the talk about the Motorola DROID Bionic, the Targa and the DROID X^2, the Motorola DROID 3 has been conspicuous by its absence. But today, a picture of the phone was leaked. Actually, what was photographed was screen and top half kits by a OEM parts retailer called Global Redirects Parts.
The parts retailer might have made a slip-up when it mistakenly called the phone in the photo the Motorola Targa. As you know, the Targa-quite possibly to be named the DROID Bionic before launch-bares a strong resemblance to the DROID X. The code name for the DROID 3 is Solana.
While so far the Motorola DROID 3 does not exist according to Verizon and Motorola, the pictures do strongly show a phone that would be everything you would expect the DROID 3 to be with a front-facing camera and a slightly bigger 4 inch screen than the 3.7 inch display from the first two Motorola DROID models.
Early on Thursday, word came out from the Google camp that they would soon have a surprise announcement for the Nexus S. By the time the day was done, the cat was out of the bag; Android 2.3.4 is coming to the handset sometime in the next few weeks and brings with it a Video Chat application.
With the Video Chat app, you press a button from your contacts list by the name of the person you want to connect with. Texts from the person you’re doing the Video Chat with will show up on the screen. If you leave the Video Chat to go to another app or just to check a score or for any reason, the video will freeze although the audio will continue. There is now speculation that Video Chat will become a standard Google feature on future versions of the OS.
The good news is that a tweet was sent out later today that says that another surprise is coming to the Nexus S. Anyone want to take a guess at what this surprise will be?
There was no doubt in our minds that the Motorola XOOM would represent the first real competitor to Apple’s iPad. But, due in part to its exorbitant price tag, the XOOM has experienced pretty disappointing sales. Motorola Mobility reports that it has shipped about 250,000 XOOMs.
Then again, 250,000 is well above earlier estimates of 100,000. But 250,000 is nothing for them. Motorola Mobility shipped a total of 9.3 million devices, 4.1 million of those being Android devices.
Motorola Mobility posted a loss of US$81 million, but that’s still down from $212 million a year ago, before they split from their infrastructure division. Revenue was up from $2.48 billion to $3.03 billion. So why did they lose money? Between the Atrix 4G and the XOOM, Motorola Mobility spent a fortune on advertising. And that Super Bowl ad wasn’t cheap.
One could explain the XOOM’s relatively low sales as a failure, but it can also be seen as an investment in maintaining their Android credibility. Regardless of whether we were willing to pay for such an expensive machine, we still respect Motorola for making it, and that will affect our purchasing behavior.
The NPD Group today announced the results of its Q1 Mobile Phone Track U.S. sales estimates which shows how the Verizon iPhone launch impacted Android’s momentum in the beginning of the year. For Android, it was the first quarter with declining market share since the second quarter of 2009-the last three month period before the launch of the game changing Motorola DROID.
After the first quarter of 2011, the Apple iPhone had a 14% marketshare in the U.S., good for third place among all cellphones in the nation. Samsung led the way in the U.S. with a 23% slice of the cellphone pie, which includes both smartphones and feature phones. LG was second with an 18% share. The last quarter was the first time in the U.S. that smartphone sales exceeded featurephone sales.
Looking at smartphone sales exclusively, Android controlled 50% of the U.S. market in the 2011 first quarter, down sequentially from the 53% scored in the 2010 fourth quarter. In the same period, Apple picked up 9% of the smartphone market to have a 28% share. On the other hand, RIM lost 5% of its smartphone share to finish with 14% going into the current three month period.
The top selling smartphone in the U.S. last quarter was the Apple iPhone 4 with the Apple iPhone 3GS in second. The Motorola DROID X was third followed by the HTC EVO 4G and the HTC DROID Incredible which finished 4th and 5th respectively.
The performance of both the Apple iPhone and Android in Q1 had to do with the launch of the former on Verizon. The carrier sold 2.2 million units of the device by the end of last month. Some of Big Red’s customers who had purchased an Android device before Apple’s touchscreen phone became available at Verizon, left the green robot to buy the iPhone after waiting patiently for years to see a Verizon branded variant of the phone.
NPD’s Ross Rubin said, “Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T. While some of that growth came at the expense of Android operating system, Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones sold in the quarter.”
The Motorola XOOM might have gotten the head start in bringing Android 3.0 Honeycomb to the masses, but it’s beginning to see some stiff competition from other Honeycomb flavored tablets. Regardless of that, it’s still getting some love in the form of software updates.
Verizon Wireless customers who happen to own the Motorola XOOM will be glad to know that an upcoming software update will offer some additional new functionality, while packing along some bug fixes as well. Expected to arrive in the near future, it’ll package along some security features and bug fixes for the tablet’s web browser. Meanwhile, you’ll have the ability to add and use a Bluetooth mouse, discover a shortcut key for the Bluetooth keyboard, and find that Google Talk will support Bluetooth.
Naturally, some will find the supplemented Bluetooth support worthwhile, but more importantly, the bug fixes with the web browser should keep things stable while surfing the web. No word yet on when it’ll land, but don’t be surprised to see that notification pop up in the very near future.
A source who manages one of the Sprint Preferred retail locations and wishes to remain anonymous, sent us a copy of the latest Sprint dealers newsletter, which has some news about when the carrier would launch the Motorola XOOM. The newsletter reveals that the XOOM is expected to be launched from Sprint on May 8th. As we previously reported, the carrier is planning on offering the Wi-Fi version of the Honeycomb flavored tablet first with plans to offer a WiMAX enabled 4G version down the road. No time frame has been released as to when this will take place.
As you can see from the image below, Sprint is matching Verizon by putting a price tag of $599.99 on the device.
Thanks, anonymous tipster!
Welcome the HTC Kingdom, the HTC Rider and the HTC Doubleshot – the newest additions to the Taiwanese manufacturer’s lineup, freshly leaked on the Chinese internets.
We don’t know much about the HTC Kingdom but we do know that it’s coming with a qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels), putting it in the same high league as the HTC EVO 3D and HTC Sensation. The HTC Kingdom resembles closely the Thunderbolt with its wide ear speaker and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it land overseas as a reincarnation of the 4G heavyweight. Further details however are scarce as the blurry shot only reveals a book app running on what looks like Android.
The HTC Rider also looks familiar – with its four rounded physical buttons, we were reminded of the HTC EVO 3D. But the HTC Rider has a wide speaker grill and the front-facing snapper on the right side. Whispers suggest it’s a close copy of the EVO 3D, slated for the Old Continent, but we couldn’t confirm this just yet.
Finally, the HTC Doubleshot is the most mysterious one of all. We could only find a user agent profile confirming a screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and a QWERTY keyboard. It will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Hopefully all of those new phones will come with the latest Sense UI, so stay tuned as hopefully more details will show up soon.
In an effort to promote its 4G wireless network and to grab the attention of iPhone aficionados, T-Mobile is setting up an unusual challenge this weekend. If you live in the Seattle area and you own an iPhone, you are officially invited to bring it to any of the participating locations and attempt to beat the Samsung Galaxy S 4G in a download speed test. The reward? You will instantly become a thousand dollars richer.
T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy S 4G seems to have the upper hand in this battle since in theory, with its 21 Mbps HSPA+ connectivity, it can easily outrun AT&T and Verizon iPhones alike, which are limited by their 7.2 Mbps 3G radios. That explains, of course, why such a hefty prize is at stake and why T-Mobile is so confident in the capabilities of its wireless network. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t cost you anything to give it a try. If you feel that the planets and stars will align in your favor, grab your iPhone and pay a visit to any of these venues:
The speed challenge promo starts tomorrow, April 29, and ends on Sunday, May 1, and if you manage to grab the $1000 by beating T-Mobile’s Galaxy S 4G with your iPhone, do not forget to share it with us in the comments!
Here comes a good news for those of you who are planning to purchase the HTC Flyer – the feds have given their approval for the Wi-Fi-only version of the tablet, which brings us one step closer to its actual release.
As we told you, the HTC Flyer was available for pre-order on Best Buy, which priced the 16GB Wi-Fi version at $499. Its launch date is stated as the vague “this spring” on Best Buy’s site, but its visit at the FCC only confirms it won’t be long before we get the chance to grab this device from the shelves.
The HTC Flyer is set to arrive in Europe on May 9, while some reports claim T-Mobile is to launch this device at some point in the future. Sprint’s WiMAX-enabled version of the tablet, named the HTC EVO View 4G, will be available in Q2 of this year.
For more info on the tablet, check our HTC Flyer Hands-on.
The video chat pioneers from Fring announced that they have a new service to offer – group video chat – for iOS and Android. The buyout of Qik by Skype has been taking all the attention lately in the chat arena, but Fring doesn’t stop innovating, too.
You can now do video chat with up to three other people for free over Wi-Fi, or your carrier’s data network. The folks from Fring recommend at least a 1GHz mobile processor for the smoothest experience with their DVQ (Dynamic Video Quality) technology.
With Fring you can, of course, also call regular phones via fringOut credits, and the service can be used for in-app messaging, too. Have a look at the wonders of four-way video chat in the promo below.
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