The fact that the Motorola DROID 3 is coming is not earth shattering news. But it would seem that we are getting closer to the launch of that handset now that the phone has appeared in Verizon’s Device Management Pages. As we reported, the DROID 3 will sport a TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor and a 4 inch qHD display. Despite what seems like a good start specs-wise, the third generation model of the phone that started Androidmania is lacking three very important letters-LTE.
Like the Motorola DROID X2, the DROID 3 will not connect to Verizon’s LTE pipelines. The honor of being Big Red’s first Motorola manufactured dual-core phone might be reserved for the Motorola DROID Bionic.
Getting back to the DROID 3, Motorola has once again tried to improve the slide out physical QWERTY keyboard. This time, the manufacturer has added a 5th row in the form of dedicated number keys. Despite the lack of 4G speeds, the handset is expected to feature a 1.3MP front facing camera for video chat (and self-portraits, of course). On the back, the Motorola DROID 3 will apparently be upgraded to an 8MP shooter. Speculation is that the Motorola DROID 3 will launch next month. And with the phone showing up in Verizon’s Device Management Pages, that speculation is looking like a good bet.
The latest Nielsen survey on U.S. smartphone use is in and the Android OS slipped 1 percentage point to a 36% share since March. That is the first drop in Android’s slice of the smartphone pie in recent memory. The Apple iPhone was unable to take advantage of Android’s drop as that device also lost 1 point and weighed in with a 26% share of the U.S. smartphone market. BlackBerry reversed recent trends and tacked on 1 point to hold a 23% stake in the U.S.
Windows Phone 7 has just a 1% share in the last survey. Ironically, while the latter has just about totally replaced Windows Mobile in stores, current usage stats show that the older Windows Mobile OS has a 9% share of currently used smartphones in the States. That is good enough to be the fourth most currently used OS in the States after the Big Three of Wade, James and Bosh Android, iOS and BlackBerry. Besides Windows Phone 7, other bottom feeders include the now defunct Palm OS, also with a 1% share. Symbian and webOS each owns a 2% share in the U.S smartphone market.
As for the decline in Android’s market share, many say the cause is Verizon’s launch of its long awaited Apple iPhone 4. Big Red is said to have sold 2.2 million units and its presence on Verizon allowed those who wanted an iPhone to get one without having to switch to AT&T. With Apple’s iconic device available at Verizon, some of the advertising dollars that the carrier might have spent promoting Android phones instead went to push the iPhone.
Interestingly enough, Nielsen also found that Android users are more data intensive than iPhone owners. The average Android owner uses 582MB of data per month vs. the average 492MB used by Apple iPhone users. BlackBerry owners used an average of only 127MB of data monthly, partly because of the way RIM compresses data, but also because of the subpar browser on many BlackBerry devices.
In an another interesting statistic, Android and iOS users tend to watch more video on their device than those using a webOS or Windows Phone 7 handset. While 35% of those with an Android phone, and 37% of those with an Apple iPhone, watch video or television on their device, only 26% of those whose phone runs webOS or Windows Phone 7 use their handset to watch video or T.V.
Evidence has been discovered that shows that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be offered by office supply retailer OfficeMax. As we reported, the tablet is expected to launch very soon with June 8th the date being bandied about. A picture of a comparison chart reveals the OfficeMax logo on the bottom right while the chart compares Samsung’s high-end tablet with the competition including the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Motorola XOOM.
Besides OfficeMax, the Android 3.1 powered tablet will also be found at Best Buy and, as we told you, can be pre-ordered now from the web site of New York electronics retailer J&R. The 16GB version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be priced at $499 while the 32GB model will run you $599.
No matter how we slice it, the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY is a unique handset. There is something strangely comforting in having a dedicated gamepad under your fingers, that no touchscreen can replicate. And now, Verizon Wireless customers are no doubt excited as they can also experience the PlayStation phone in their hands!
But let’s get to that gamepad, shall we? When we take into account this is a PlayStation-style gamepad, with its trigger keys and analog pads, carrying the iconic PS action buttons, it is not hard to deduce that the first specialized Android gaming handset will have its fair share of admirers, regardless that it’s lacking a dual-core chipset. The crazy Xperia PLAY commercials, which include stitching opposing thumbs to little green robots, partially make up for it.
We coral our coverage of the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY with this article, to make you a one-stop shop for everything related to this unorthodox handset. From old PlayStation titles, through classic game emulator play, to titles written specifically for the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, we are listing it all, right here:
Qualcomm missed the dual-core craze in a way, since NVIDIA Tegra 2 managed to get in to phones and tablets by the time the third generation Snapdragon entered the sampling stage. Granted, nothing says system-on-a-chip better than Snapdragon, which integrates every radio you can think of, including the baseband modems in the silicon, but the Scorpion core is still heavily-modified Cortex-A8, unlike the Cortex-A9 chipsets of NVIDIA, Samsung or Texas Instruments.
NVIDIA will be beating everyone to the punch again at the end of this summer, with a quad-core Kal-El chipset, which got demoed on video at Computex 2011 today. Qualcomm, however, is pushing along with a new core, called Krait, for the fourth generation Snapdragon, which should go against chipset with the next Cortex-A15 architecture from ARM. Qualcomm said that this chipset is on track to start sampling in June, and should be available by the end of this year.
Qualcomm’s version is remarkable with its 28nm production process, and will probably be the first mobile chipset to break that threshold. Such an efficient method allows for more transistors and less power at the same time. Qualcomm claims 65% reduction in the chipset’s power consumption, compared to current chipsets, which is jaw-dropping, and should go a long way towards squeezing extra working hours out of our smartphones. Not to mention 2.5GHz maximum clock speed, 150% increase in performance, and the fact that the Krait core will appear in single, dual, and, yes, quad-core APQ8064 version. We can’t wait.
Given the aggressive 28nm goal, Qualcomm might mean the chipset will be available to manufacturers by year-end, rather than go in actual devices you can buy, but we’ll wait for more clarity on that matter. For more information on the currrent and future multicore mobile chipsets you can read our in-depth article here.
There’s nothing quite as reassuring about typing as the clicking sound of a typewriter marking every keystroke. So while smartphones have become the most quiet method of text input using touchscreens, you can’t quite reach that level of blind typing helped not only by seeing what you’re typing, but also by feeling and hearing. Second-largest Japanese carrier KDDI took on this issue and is working on bringing physical dimension to typing – haptic feedback and a clicking sensation should all contribute to faster, more intuitive operation of a handset.
To achieve that, KDDI developed a touchscreen in concert with Kyocera, but while that’s only a prototype, it promises a lot. Currently, the screen doesn’t support multitouch, which means that you can’t input text using two fingers simultaneously, but that will be fixed in the final version. The impressive demo below shows how you can get a different feeling and make use of the new technology not only when typing, but when navigating through a menu with different haptic feedback when you hover over or press an icon. Feel free to check out the video below and share your opinion about the technology.
N64oid, Snesoid, and some other emulators by developer youngzh got pulled from Android Market, without it being clear if the reason is copyright infringement, or the developer’s more generic unwillingness to comply with some open-source licensing requirements of Google, which seems to be the pretext.
The emulators have been moved to the SlideME Android app shop, which has long been a lifeboat for those devices that don’t have the official Google blessing to run Android, and youngzh has made them free for this time.
With the appearance of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play we were expecting some crusade like that against classic game emulators, which are arguably legal, but the ROMs for them are usually not. In this case, however, it seems that some more generic Android Market terms have been violated to suspend the emulator’s developer apps from there.
Hopefully this is not a harbinger of things to come with game emulators on Android, since the Xperia Play has enough differentiating features of its own to stand out in the Android crowd. Considering the recent drama of banning the PSX4Droid emulator, however, it might be a crusade, after all.
The Asus PadFone mockup got tired of lurking in the shadows, watching how details about it drip from the information highway faucet, and decided to stand up and get unveiled.
At the Computex 2011 expo Asus announced the PadFone concept, a very interesting smartphone/tablet hybrid, which allows you to dock an Android smartphone into a shell with a larger screen real estate, to make a tablet. Screen sizes haven’t been finalized yet, but for the demonstration Asus used a 4.3″ screen for the phone to a 10.1″ display on the tablet section.
Unlike the Motorola ATRIX 4G and its laptop dock, the handset slides whole into a dedicated compartment, and a lid hides it in, leaving unsuspecting friends with the impression that you are rocking a 10″ tablet only. The tablet shell has its own juice pack, so you will be getting some extra hours of runtime from the PadFone, similar to what Asus did with the Eee Pad Transformer, where a separate battery in the dock gives you 8 more hours of juice…
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You might recall that a few days ago, rumors were spreading that the T-Mobile G2x was being pulled off the shelves by the carrier, because of complaints of light leakages, phones freezing and the dreaded random re-boot. As we told you, the high-end phone was not pulled. Instead, heavy demand and low inventory was leaving the carrier with empty shelves. The high demand-low supply inbalance is something that you learn right away in Economics 101.
So how is T-Mobile going to rectify the imbalance? Well, it could add supply by building more units, but it would seem that the factory is already churning out as many units as it can. Instead, the carrier is taking a different tack, deciding instead to follow the Economics 101 text book and is slowing the demand for the phone by raising the price by $50. Starting last Friday, the price of the T-Mobile G2x after a $50 mail-in-rebate and a signed 2-year contract is $249.99. If that is too rich for your blood, Amazon is offering the phone to new T-Mobile customers for $79.99 with a signed contract, and $119.99 for existing T-Mobile customers willing to extend their contract for another 2 years. The online retailer has plenty of the T-Mobile G2x in stock.
It seems to be Asus day today, with full-on pictures of the PadFone leaked, and the news that the Asus Eee Pad Transformer already has its working Android 3.1 Honeycomb update.
The only thing missing was an official tablet announcement, and here we go. Fresh from the Computex 2011 expo comes the Asus Eee Pad MeMO 3D, the intriguing 7″ tablet that was unveiled at the CES show way back in January, but with the third dimension added for good measure. Nothing was mentioned at the time that there will actually be a 3D-enabled, glasses-free version of the 7-incher, but here we have it just like that.
The display is IPS-LCD with a parallax-barrier 3D overlay that doesn’t require glasses, unlike the 3D technology on the T-Mobile G-Slate. Asus promises that we’ll retain the same wide viewing angles we are used to with IPS-LCD screens, just doesn’t specify if that will be with the 3D mode on or off. Resolution is 600×1024 pixels. which is decent for a 7″ slate, and, if it has the same innards as the Asus MeMO announced at CES, the tablet should sport a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8260 chipset.
The Asus Eee Pad MeMO slate had 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and 1MP front cam, but what camera or cameras are on the 3D version is unclear. Since it has a dual-core chipset, you can bet the house that the camera records full 1080p HD video. The cute Eee Pad MeMO could also output those full HD videos via HDMI to a bigger screen, and the MeMO 3D can probably do that as well, although the press release doesn’t specify.
The cherry on the cake is that the tablet comes with a capacitive stylus, as suggested by Asus’s press shots, and there were the Media Note and Painter apps to take a good use of it, for note-taking and doodling, respectively, when it was announced at CES in non-3D form.
Back in January, the Asus Eee Pad MeMO was listed to retail for $499-$699 starting in June, so hopefully Asus would make good on that promise for the 3D version too, at least regarding the release month. The MeMIC Bluetooth headset and remote for calls and music comes standard with the Asus Eee Pad MeMO 3D as well.
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