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Unread 2009-10-31, 10:39 AM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KUweatherman View Post
Sprint Hero isn't rootable as of yet, from what I've read.
if it is Android I am sure it can be done

Just give it time
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Unread 2009-10-31, 11:49 AM   #152
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I thought a lot of people on androidforums were already rooting the Spring Hero? I see it mentioned all the time, but havnt looked any further into it. Not sure if theres much to gain by rooting yet.
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Unread 2009-10-31, 11:54 AM   #153
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Not really. With Sprint, there are three phones on our family plan (1500 minutes, everything else included) and the bill is ~$130/month. That is with a discount, but Sprint offers discounts to most companies so check into it to save money.

edit: That comes out to ~$43/month per phone which includes unlimited data, text, free mobile to mobile, etc. Not bad at all. Dad has a Pre and I have a Hero so it's not like we don't take advantage of our plan.
We have the "plus" version of this family plan. Its 1600 minutes for $109. 2nd line is free, 3rd was $15. So $125 for 3 phones. Then we have a discount on top of that. The unlimited mobile to mobile makes the 1600 minutes a plenty.
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Unread 2009-10-31, 12:45 PM   #154
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my phone bill is $103/ month for only my line with t-mobile.
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Unread 2009-10-31, 03:14 PM   #155
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Just to Clarify: Google Will NOT Release Its Own Hardware



Google tonight moved to quashed rumors that it would make its own smartphone. The company's Android project president, Andy Rubin, says it would be unfair for Google to "compete with its customers" and that it remains dedicated to Android only as an operating system for outside hardware manufacturers. He adds that Google isn't particularly experienced at hardware design and that its influence on the T-Mobile G1's hardware design is more a negative than a positive.

The claim made for CNET may be supported by a rumor that Google co-designed the Droid, not only providing its official branding and full app suite but possibly guiding Motorola through much of the hardware design process. In this view, Google considers the Droid its signature Android 2.0 phone and as a consequence has gone to great lengths to boost its success.

Were it to produce its own hardware, Google would not only risk alienating HTC, Motorola and other Android partners but also Apple, whose iPhone depends heavily on Google services like Maps and YouTube. Conflicts of interest between the two regarding Android forced Google CEO Eric Schmidt to first recuse himself from some Apple board meetings and eventually to resign from the board altogether after Chrome OS created further conflicts.
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Unread 2009-10-31, 03:34 PM   #156
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Thanks for the coupon. The folks at Best Buy hadn't even seen it yet but I am now posting from my new Hero that I got for $129.99
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Unread 2009-10-31, 06:27 PM   #157
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Thanks for the coupon. The folks at Best Buy hadn't even seen it yet but I am now posting from my new Hero that I got for $129.99
No problem. Knew there were a few on here that bought their Heros are Best Buy so I figured I'd throw it up. Still waiting on the shitty MIR from Sprint on mine.
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Unread 2009-11-01, 07:28 PM   #158
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Sweet, glad I got on here to check this. Off to best buy to get my $50
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Unread 2009-11-01, 07:57 PM   #159
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Android 2.0 coming to T-Mobile

We all know Android 2.0 is coming on November 6, 2009 when Verizon launches the Motorola Droid.

Millions of T-Mobile customers are left wondering, “What about us?!” Well, you can stop your worries because we contacted T-Mobile USA and got the following response.

Quote:
T-Mobile is coordinating with Google to deliver Android 2.0. We will let you know when we have more details to share.
I’m glad to hear that Android 2.0 is coming, but surely T-Mobile can’t be happy with the special treatment Verizon is getting. I tried to find out if Verizon has an exclusive time period for the release of Android 2.0, but T-Mobile would not comment on that.

What about the Cliq?

We also asked about the Motorola Cliq which has begun shipping online and will be available in stores November 3, 2009. The Cliq features a custom version of Android dubbed Motoblur, which is based on Android 1.5. T-Mobile’s other two Android phones have already been updated to Android 1.6, so we were curious about their upgrade strategy for the Cliq.

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The CLIQ ships with Android 1.5 software. We have no announcements at this time regarding new Android software updates. For more information about future updates to CLIQ and MOTOBLUR, it would be best to contact Motorola PR
I have yet to get an official response from Motorola PR, but I did some digging of my own. According to an inside source from Motorola, it appears Motoblur will be receiving an update based on Android 2.0 (and skip Android 1.6).

What about the G1?

There is still no clear cut answer regarding Android 2.0 on the G1. I have explained the limited internal storage issue of the G1 and we still don’t know if it will receive the update. It is entirely possible that Google will find a way to make it work. They just have a lot of obstacles in their way.

I’ve been monitoring the Twitter accounts for several Android engineers and check out what Jean-Baptiste Queru had to say about Android 2.0 fitting on the G1 and ADP1 (technically same hardware, aka HTC Dream).




Conclusion

Android 2.0 will be coming to T-Mobile phones, but the time frame could vary greatly depending on which device you own.

* myTouch 3G: Google experience phone. No space limitations. Should receive the update as soon as Google makes it available to T-Mobile.
* G1: Google experience phone. Space Limitations. Very complex issue.
* Cliq: Custom Motorola version of Android. Waiting on Motorola to update Motoblur to Android 2.0
* Behold II: No official information yet. I would not be surprised if it shipped with Android 1.5 based on what we have seen with other Samsung phones.

I had recently begun to believe that the carrier was responsible for when updates were released. However, based on recent information it looks like Google holds the key for their Google experience phones. This means that if Android 2.0 is significantly delayed on the G1 and myTouch 3G, you should blame Google and not T-Mobile. When it comes to custom versions of Android like Motorola’s Motoblur or HTC’s Sense UI, the handset maker is responsible for the updates.

Hopefully we will not have to wait much longer. Android 2.0 is finished, but Google controls which phones get it first. Right now, their top priority is to make sure the Verizon Droid is a huge success. Early adopters of Android and the G1 will have to sit tight and keep their fingers crossed.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 12:07 AM   #160
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Android moving forward, Market left behind

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Anyone who follows Android knows that it is moving forward at an unbelievable pace. In just over a year, we have seen four versions of the Android OS (1.0, 1.1, 1.5, 1.6) and a fifth is only days away (2.0).

In that time, however, we have only seen minor changes to one of the core pieces of the Android experience, the Android Market. Here we look at some of our perceived problems of the Android Market and try to offer our suggestions for how to improve it. Of course, this is not a new discussion, but rather one we have discussed several times here at Android and Me, and is a popular complaint around the web.

So, what’s so wrong with the Android Market?

Take a look at this list, which we published all the way back in February 2009, where we outlined some of our biggest complaints with the Android Market at that time. Now compare those complaints the Android Market today. The list is pretty much the same, regardless of which version you are running (which is another discussion altogether).

So, how is it that in eight months and through several versions of Android we have yet to see any of these (except for clearing the cache) hit the Android Market application? Granted, it is possible that these suggestions never made it to Google, but many of them are just common sense. But these are not the only complaints that we’ve seen floating around the web, and most of those changes have not yet made it into the Market.
For the sake of currency, let’s create a new list of complaints:

1. Allow URLs in description to launch browser

As was previously mentioned, it is incredibly cumbersome to retype links included in descriptions to be launched in the browser. Granted there is a Website field that should be used for that, but sometimes there is another link that is included in the description that should be clickable.

2. A popularity list for daily, weekly, monthly

This is a topic which has been discussed time and time again at various places including the official Android groups at Google Groups. While we do have a popularity sort in the Market (now called Top Paid and Top Free in Android 1.6) this doesn’t cut it because this appears to be all-time popularity so those at the top generally stay at the top. We need to be able to tell what is new and hot.

3. Sorting (and filtering) reviews by star rating

The ability to sort and filter reviews of products is very common in online marketplaces. The Android Market, however provides no such functionality to let a user decide how they want to view comments so that they get the most out of them.

4. Long press options on user reviews

As was mentioned before, we’d like to be able to see all reviews by a certain reviewer. This functionality could lead us to better app discoverability if we find a reviewer that offers meaningful reviews. And discoverability is something that the Market severely lacks.

5. Support for tagging applications

One of the foundations of a thriving virtual marketplace is discoverability, and the Android Market fails here at every turn. The current categories do not allow developers to accurately describe their application in many cases. Developers should be able to add tags for their applications and users should be allowed to add their own tags to increase the discoverability of applications and games.

6. Favorite Developers

The Market should provide a way for the user to “watch” a developer for new applications rather than resorting to following external news feeds such as Twitter and blogs to be notified of new applications by a developer they like.

7. Easy way to recommend applications

Again, we find ourselves discussing discoverability of applications. Right now, we have only the popularity sort and comments by which to get recommendations about other apps. What would work better is a “people who like this also liked…” function that is extremely common in online marketplaces. One Android developer (I4 Feet Software) has implemented a recommendation feature in their application My Market, but this feature should be available in the actual Android Market.

8. Bookmarking Applications

There are plenty of times where we install applications that are intriguing but they are not quite “there” and we’d like to bookmark those applications so that we can uninstall them and watch for updates. Why we must install and keep an application in order to receive update notifications is a mystery.

9. Better Search

Why, oh, why is it so hard for the search giant Google to adequately provide a search function in the Android Market? As it stands, the search feature of the market does not gracefully accept typos or other misspellings of application names, it does not allow boolean queries, and it does not allow you to limit your results to a certain type or category. So basically all of the features we know and love in Google search are absent in Android Market search.

10. Filters

A common complaint amongst users comes in the form of filterable market data. For many of us, there are certain types of applications and/or developers that we simply have no desire to ever see. This has even driven the development of the previously mentioned application My Market which implements this feature. The problem with My Market though, is that it relies on unsupported web calls that Google could change at any time, and it depends on the developer name and/or application name for its filters. All a developer has to do to avert being ignored is change the developer display name. If Google implemented this, the filters could be based on developer account as opposed to developer name.

11. Analytics For Developers

Developers need to be better able to gauge the successes and failures of their applications. Currently developers are only provided with the total downloads and the number of active installs of their applications. This information, while mildly useful, does not give enough to know how our applications are doing. Things like Android version, and region would help to troubleshoot issues. Being able to access comments from the Developer Console (along with extended information such as app version and Android version at time of comment) would also help. The “Reason for uninstalling survey” that users must fill out when uninstalling applications is never presented to the developer, so one can only guess why one’s users are uninstalling the application.

12 Inability to load multiple versions of the same app in same space

With multiple versions of Android being active, and such different functionality provided by each version, developers have a difficult task of keeping support for prior versions yet still updating to include new features. The current options for developers include upload a new version to a new space on the Market, use reflection to hack new features into older versions (and fail gracefully when those new features are not present), forget about new features, or forget old users. Developers should have the facility to upload a new version of an app into the same space but requires a certain version of Android. The Market would then determine the appropriate version to distribute to the user.

13. An official web-accessible version

While we have enjoyed having Cyrket and AndroLib, Google should provide an official web accessible version of the market for locating and viewing applications while not on the device. Ideally, this would provide real-time access to the same information as the on-device client. This would make it so that users wouldn’t have to rely third-party sites using unsupported web service calls and caching of information previously collected (and potentially not updated).

.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 12:07 AM   #161
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Quote:
14. Other issues presented by top Android developer Larva Labs on their blog:

a. Limitation of Application Description to 325 characters

This is simply not enough space to accurately describe an application or game in many cases.

b. Applications not listed (without apparent reason) for some users.

For no apparent reason some users simply don’t see certain apps. To make it worse, sometimes applications seem to come and go, again for no apparent reason.

c. Download failures.

We’ve all seen this happen, where we go to download an application or game and it simply doesn’t work.

d. Refunds

Refunds are good, and bad. They are good for those cases where you simply don’t get what you thought you were getting but, for certain types of apps (markedly games) 24 hours is simply too long. As Larva Labs quotes: “Great game, loved it. Beat it in an hour – refund.” is a relatively common comment.
For the sake of being fair, some things we like:

1. Screenshots for Applications and Games.

With Android 1.6, Google introduced screenshots to the Market. This is great for both users and developers because it allows the Developer to better communicate his/her application to the user, and the user can make a better decision about that application or game before downloading it. Unfortunately, the number of Android devices running 1.6 as disappointing, with many new phones still being released with 1.5.

2. Promo Graphics and Text.

Also with Android 1.6, Google introduced another opportunity for developers to reach their audience with promo graphics and text to be displayed (at Google’s will) in featured apps areas of the Market. Again, this requires the user to be on Android 1.6, and many are not.

3. Update Notifications.

It’s great to be notified when there are updates to applications you have installed. In the early days of the Market we had to physically look for updates to applications. It wasn’t hard, but it was an extra step we had to take to remain current. The notification system needs some work as there are numerous reports of false notifications and missing notifications, but overall this feature is good and we can still fall back to manual checking.

4. Openness.

The openness of the Android Market is one of its greatest features both for users and developers. With this openness, Users get a wide variety of applications, and developers can release updates and fixes without having to jump through hoops and approval processes.
So Where Do We Go From Here?

We think that Google must take a more active interest in the Android Market if it is to succeed.

The fact that so little of the user complaints have been addressed in the past year is very disheartening and is a shame considering the great potential of Android and the Market to bring new and exciting applications and games to users. This is especially important as Android gets more and more exposure, such as with the release of the Motorola Droid on Verizon this week. PC World has even gone so far as to say that the Android Market is holding back the success of the Droid even before it has been released. And with further pressure being added by the announcement that Palm will be opening up its market for Web OS, we think that the time is now for Google to make waves and improve on this key piece of the Android ecosystem
Continued from the top post
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Unread 2009-11-03, 12:09 AM   #162
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Android 2.1 spotted in the wild

The paint is still wet on Android 2.0 and Google has already begun work on Android 2.1. I routinely check the Google Analytics operating system reports for our site and I just spotted Android 2.1 for the first time. The initial visit was on October 28, 2009 and there have been 23 visits since then. We have no idea what features are included with Android 2.1, but if you are one of the lucky few with early access you can hit up our tip line. Could this be the Android build known as Flan?

Update: Android 2.1 is reported to be a minor update that will be released towards the end of 2009. It will focus on bug fixes for Android 2.0.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 01:03 AM   #163
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The Market complaints are very valid. Android's Market has a loooooooong way to go to compete/compare to the pure useability of the App Store.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 11:33 AM   #164
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Dell's Mini 3iX Android Phone Shows Up in Brazil with Wi-Fi, 3G



We know that Dell's Android phone is heading to the U.S (maybe on AT&T) after a few tweaks: 3G, and possibly a better camera. But a Brazilian leak now suggests it may also have Wi-Fi, and an improved interface, too.



Brazilian Website, Cellular Café, says the "X" version adds the Wi-Fi and 3G/HSDPA (850/1900/2100MHz) connectivity that the Chinese 3i lacked. The camera remains 3-megapixels, but the interface on the phone's 3.5-inch touchscreen display now looks closer to Android's default look and feel.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 11:37 AM   #165
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Darth Droid's Terror Is Insignificant Against The Power Of The Fanboy



As tiresome as the Droid vs iPhone arguments are lately, I'm happy to have finally found something to sum up my feelings on the issue. Doesn't hurt that it has a Star Wars reference either.

But yes, I'm so shallow that I don't want a Droid because I find it unattractive looking.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 11:39 AM   #166
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Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Announced: Sony's First Android Device



With a 1GHz Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm, 4-inch capacitive touch display, an 8.1 megapixel camera, and the lovely Rachael Android UI, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 will be a great 2010 entry into the Android market for Sony Ericsson.

Engadget's first impressions of the device are that the overall interface is currently more than laggy and that Snapdragon appears to be a killer on battery life, but we have to keep in mind that what was previewed is an early build right down to the software. By the time the phone is ready for stores, the Snapdragon chip, combined with a final build of the UI, should put the X10 among the fastest running phones on the market.As far as the unpolished UI goes, Sony Ericsson has already put some personal touches on there with Timescape and Mediascape, which aggregate all communication and media, respectively. While those features seem fantastic in theory, the early software build left questions as to just how seamless and smooth they truly are.

There are some things that definitely appear lacking with the X10 which can't be blamed on the pre-production build though. For starters, there's barely any internal memory, though an 8GB MicroSD card is included to remedy that. The big annoyance is the absence of multitouch features such as zoom or rotate. With such a wide touchscreen, it's a shame to skip out on that.

The gadget itself is curves and good looks, unlike certain other, boxy-looking Android phones. Sadly, aside from those aesthetics, it's just plain tough to judge the actual device performance from the pre-production build, but as long as Sony Ericsson irons out the issues mentioned, this could be a great treat in the first quarter of 2010
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Unread 2009-11-03, 01:09 PM   #167
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Android 2.0 Review: Almost Human



A year ago, Android was an unfinished OS for nerds, bursting with potential. With Android 2.0, it's evolved into something sleeker, more refined and focused—but still something not quite human.

Over the last year, Android's evolved more rapidly and appeared in more shapes than any other smartphone OS. Every major update has made Android more capable and advanced, while custom interfaces from companies like HTC and Motorola, mean it's constantly and continually shifting shapes. When you look at the bucket of bolts everybody started with, some of the oh-so-shiny end results were kind of amazing. Android 2.0 blows all of that away, and lays down a platform for the next year that's wildly more compelling, even as it retains a lot of the same fundamental weaknesses.
New Skin, Same Awkward Body

Android 2.0 is glossy—not in an Apple "the whole world is shiny and reflective" kind of way, but more like molded plastic for a collectible action figure. The cartoon whimsy—the classic Google rainbow of bright colors—are gone. The iconography, redrawn for high-res displays packed with tons of pixels, is smoother and sleeker, more subtle, and forces you to ask yourself, "Google designed this?"

While icons and menubars have been polished to fine gloss, and some things are cleaner and better organized—settings, for instance—overall, the user experience is basically the same: three desktops, which you can pack with icons and widgets; the still brilliant drop-down notification shade, which pools everything Android wants to tell you; and a pop-up tab where all of your apps are at. This is all still fine, mostly, if a bit muddled.

The reason that cluttered interface confusion is mostly fine is that multitasking with Android is addictive, and it's a better, easier-to-use implementation than any phone but the Pre. The window shade, a simple but powerful concept, is what makes it work. If I'm browsing the internet and get a message, I can pull the shade down, check the message, and go right back to browsing. Or flip over to messaging, reply, and get right back to browsing. At this, Android 2.0 excels, especially now that everything runs faster.

The long press and menu button conventions are still used nearly everywhere throughout the OS, but almost always inconsistently. If you're trying to do something in-app and have no idea how, there's a good chance the action you're looking for is buried behind the menu button or a long press. But these controls do different things in almost every single app, and even sometimes in the same app, depending on the context.




Universal search, and in particular, voice commands which let you quickly access search, map or navigate with surprising accuracy (seriously, it deciphers my mumbling better than my mom), are probably the most significant improvements to usability. Universal search isn't quite as universal as we'd like, though. It only pores over apps, contacts, YouTube, music and the web—you have to go into the messaging and email apps separately to search through them, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

And while Android 2.0 is capable of multitouch, other than making typing smoother, it's nowhere to be found, at least not where I want it: the browser and maps. Also, the portrait keyboard's still too tiny.
A Killer Machine, Sorta

Software is inextricably tied to hardware in many respects, and nowhere is that more true than performance. Droid, the first Android 2.0 phone—and the only one we've used—is ridiculously capable, with an ARM Cortex A8 TI OMAP3430 processor that's basically the same as the chips inside of the Palm Pre and iPhone 3GS. Point being, it's got heavy duty processor firepower.

So it's absolutely inexplicable that while it's overall the fastest version of Android yet—most apps fly open instantly, run zippily and practically zoom from one to another, even with a couple running in the background—very basic user interface elements, like the main pop-up menu on the home screen and sliding over from one desktop to another, often stutter or lag (with no apps running up front, and just a couple of widgets on the desktop). At this point, it's clear that these performance hiccups are an Android problem, not a hardware deficiency. It's maddening to hold a badass phone like the Droid and watch it handle menus like a pussy.


Accounts, Contacts, Exchange and Other Serious-Sounding Words



Besides Google Maps Navigation Beta, Android 2.0's most significant upgrade for regular people is all about contacts and networking. Like the Palm Pre and HTC's Sense UI, it integrates contacts from multiple sources—namely, Facebook and Exchange (no Twitter yet). The scheme works exceptionally well, with finesse that's almost out of character for Google. The way it pulls in your Facebook contacts actually makes sense: When you add the account, you can choose to add all 900 of your Facebook contacts, or just the ones who you have actual Google contacts for. Oh, sweet reason! It even managed to match our address book contacts with correlating Facebook accounts pretty accurately and seamlessly, with a few exceptions.

1. Everybody whose name is capitalized in the screenshot is matched up with Facebook—I loathe capital letters, but got over the inconsistency.
2. And the rarely mismatched contacts prove difficult, if not impossible, to completely straighten out.

Quick Contact is what keeps this orgy of personal information from getting too messy when it's time to get down to business—clicking on a contact's icon blooms a row of icons, letting you instantly ping them via SMS, phone, email, Facebook or whatever you want.




Android finally approaches a real smartphone when it comes to accounts. Multiple Google accounts and Exchange support come stock. What's that mean? Well, if you have a hosted Google apps account for work, and a personal one (like all of us at Giz do), you can use the awesome native Gmail application for both, instead of being forced to relegate one of the accounts to the separate, okay-but-not-as-good email app, which is what handles all of your Exchange, IMAP and POP mail. The only bummer is that you still have to toggle between each Google account mailbox in the Gmail app. (Yes, there are two different email applications. A Gmail app, and one for everything else. And they're completely different.)



There's one serious limitation to the multiple Google account support: The only Google calendars that sync to the phone are the ones from your main Google account, not your secondary one. Exchange calendars, on the other hand, use the separate-but-equal-as-far-as-I-can-tell "Corporate Calendars" app. We tested Exchange support using mail2web's free service, and everything seemed to show up correctly, FWIW.



The biggest change to Google Maps is Navigation, which Wilson Rothman, a Magellan for our time, reviewed extensively here. My assessment is mostly the same after a weekend in a car—it's pretty good, but occasionally befuddling and hard to get around. A potential point of confusion is that Navigation is both integrated into Maps and also its own distinct app, unlike Latitude.

Also new, sorta, is layers. Basically, every bit of information you wanna see in Maps is now a "layer." Like if I've got Latitude up on the map, and want to see nearby coffee places with satellite view, that's three layers—Latitude, a search for coffee, and satellite view. It can get a little confusing, especially if you're going from search to search or Maps to Navigation and then back to Maps—none of it's conceptually clean or simple, and the interface isn't always aren't entirely self-apparent. Also. Pinch. To. Zoom. I want it.


Browse Awesomer, But No (Multi)Touchy



The browser's faster, smarter and more powerful, and is probably the second best browser now, next to mobile Safari. It mostly cuts through lardass sites like Gizmodo with pep previous versions didn't, with more responsive scrolling and panning (slowdown does happen though). The browser actually starts you out on each site with a view of the entire page now, which is nicer in theory, but then it makes you want to pinch to zoom in—which, like Maps, is not enabled. If Palm, who's an insect by comparison, can pinch and zoom with impunity, why can't Google? Don't say it's out of friendship, because Apple doesn't even like you guys anymore.

Well, It Would Be a Better Camera



More controls! Yay! White balance, focusing mode, color and more. It's just too bad that on the Droid, the camera's completely unresponsive garbage. I don't know if it's software or hardware, so I'm mentioning in it both here and in our Droid review. Fix please.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 01:10 PM   #168
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Multimedia, or the Lack Thereof



The only way to get your music and videos on the phone is to manually drag and drop the files. There is no syncing, no easy way to get your music library onto your phone. How are normal people supposed to figure this out? Verizon reps actually joked about how putting music on the Droid is sure to make for a lovely Saturday afternoon. What. The. Shit.

And, there's not even a built-in video player! I have a phone with drop-dead gorgeous screen that I can't use to play movies without digging up my own video app, even if I could figure out how to get videos onto it. Correction: The video player's tucked inside of the slow and rather buggy Gallery application, where you also browse photos. And it wouldn't play videos that worked perfectly on a Zune HD or iPhone.

Until I can magically and perfectly sync 12 gigs of music and videos over the air, you can't get away with not having a media sync desktop application. And DoubleTwist, a third-party app that can sync to Android, doesn't really count, since it's not bundled with it. Make no mistake, for a phone platform that's supposed to be ready for consumers now, this is a disaster, like a spaceship that's about to shoot into the atmosphere with a gaping hole in the side.


Goin' to the Android Market, Buyin' Some Apps



The Android Market has over 10,000 apps, and its state of the union is still a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's finally got official apps from Facebook, Amazon, Pandora and other critical names people expect on their phone. On the other, and almost universally, these apps aren't nearly as polished or full-featured as their iPhone counterparts (look no further than the Facebook app, which lacks even messaging in Android). And games? It's a pretty desolate wasteland, if you're looking for something beyond NES emulators. The library is getting better, and will undoubtedly keep getting better, but it's hard not to lament Android's comparative app ghetto, even as the platform's poised to explode.

A problem that's currently plaguing the ecosystem, and is hopefully not a foreboding omen of the fragmentation to come, is that many apps weren't designed for the higher resolution screens that Android 2.0 supports, so their icons and graphics render crap-ugly on Droid, even in the main menu. (Granted, the phenomenon is partly Google's fault for restricting access to the 2.0 SDK to all but a select group of privileged developers until basically the day Droid was announced.)

The Market itself, while it got a desperately needed facelift with 1.6, still has a ways to go. There's no way to update all of your applications simultaneously—you have to click through the update process for each one. And finding apps remains a problem. Browsing for apps exclusively on your phone is a tedious experience, especially when there's so many apps to wade through. Besides more refined browsing and suggestions, there needs to a way to look through the Market on your desktop. Also, Google's got this whole cloud thing going, why aren't my apps tied to my Google account, so if I move to another phone, they'll all magically repopulate it, like my contacts?
Wherefore Art Thou, Android?

I probably sound like I'm more down on Android 2.0 than I actually am. I like it a lot, truthfully. It's an amazing conduit for Google's services. If your online life is lock, stock and barrel Google, there really isn't a better or more powerful smartphone for getting stuff done in that universe. The Gmail app is a perfect distillation of Gmail for a small screen. The Google Talk app, if you have a bunch of friends using Gtalk, is fantastic. Google, really, is Android's greatest strength. Excellent multitasking is a close second.

In time, Android very well could be the internet phone, hands down, in terms of raw capabilities. And while it's not as easy to use or polished or seamless as the iPhone—or to some extent, Palm's WebOS—it's way more usable than most other smartphones, and keeps evolving, way faster than anyone else, continually closing that gap. Android 2.0's potential finally feels as enormous as the iPhone's, and I get kinda tingly thinking about it. I can't say Android 2.0 is ready for your mom yet, but it's definitely ready for anybody reading this.
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Unread 2009-11-03, 03:36 PM   #169
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Motorola Milestone is GSM Droid

On Monday Motorola announced the first GSM Google Android 2.0 handset. Dubbed the Milestone, it's quite similar to Verizon's Motorola Droid save for a few changes.

The biggest difference is that the Milestone goes far beyond the Droid with its multitouch support. While the Droid allows you to zooom in and out on the homescreen by double tapping, the Milestone also includes iPhone-like pinch capability. Squeeze your fingers together to zoom in on Web pages, maps and photos and spread them apart to zoom out. Android users have long hungered after this feature, which is why we got existed when we first heard that Android 2.0 would offer it. Hopefully, the Droid will get it since there's really no reason that it doesn't.

Another big chnages lies in the navigational software. Whereas the Droid comes loaded with the new Google Maps Navigator, Milestone offers MOTONAV, which is the company's own spoken turn-by-turn guidance and mapping system. Milestone also offers trial versions of their Easy Search, Lane Guidance, and Maps.

Meanwhile, the hardware remains nearly identical to Droid. Both have 3.7-inch 480x854-pixel resolution screens, 5-megapixel cameras with dual-LED flash, and 3.5mm headset jacks. But in a small change, the Droid comes with a 16GB microSD card and Milestone comes with an 8GB card. Internally, the only hardware difference is found in the radios; Droid is CDMA-based while Milestone is a quad-band GSM handset.

Italy and Germany will be among the first markets to carry Milestone with more countries coming later.
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Unread 2009-11-04, 03:55 PM   #170
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Tethering: Droid Gets A Date, iPhone Still MIA

Good news for Droid customers: Verizon says it will support tethering beginning early next year. Tethering is something the iPhone can do, but AT&T doesn't support, though has said it will someday.Gearlog reports that Verizon said its "Broadband Access Connect" plan will add tethering to the Droid's list of features "sometime in early 2010." But, it will also add something else: Which Gearlog guesses will be a $15 monthly tethering fee.

Tethering allows the handset to be used as a wireless modem for a PC.

Be careful how you use the feature. Wireless carriers typically include 5GB in monthly wireless modem plans. Extra megabytes can be expensive.

Apple's iPhone 3GS also supports tethering, but AT&T has yet to announce when it might be available. In early October, an AT&T spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, "For tethering, we need to do some additional fine tuning to our systems and networks."

That is pretty much what AT&T has been saying since the iPhone 3GS introduction back in June. At that time, the carrier promised the new MMS feature would become available in late summer, though it didn't arrive until late September.

AT&T has never given a date--certain or otherwise--when tethering might become available. With Verizon talking "sometime in early 2010" that might help AT&T narrow down its tethering timeframe, too.
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Unread 2009-11-04, 03:56 PM   #171
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T-Mobile Plans On-bill Android Purchases Nov. 17

T-Mobile will let its subscribers pay for Android applications on their monthly mobile bills starting Nov. 17, also introducing its own section of the Android Marketplace that day.

Users of the carrier's three Android handsets will have the option of picking out applications from among the roughly 12,000 in the Android Market and having the purchase charge show up on their T-Mobile bills. The carrier will then pay the app developers their share of the charge on the back end, said Cole Brodman, chief technology officer and senior vice president for technology, at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Apple spearheaded mobile-application shopping with its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which goes through a consumer's stored value or credit-card account on Apple's iTunes. With the App Store now boasting more than 100,000 applications, Android backers such as T-Mobile are trying to create a purchase experience that consumers will flock to as much as they have to Apple's platform.

Brodman characterized T-Mobile's billing system as a simple, "one-click" purchase method that doesn't require the user to give credit-card information or personal credentials. So far, Android users generally have had to use Google Checkout to pay for applications, but Google has said it wants a variety of payment choices for the market.

Also on Nov. 17, T-Mobile will introduce its own channel within the Android Market. It will allow T-Mobile to highlight its own applications and those of specific developer partners, Brodman said. Mobile developers have expressed concern about how they can get consumers' attention with their applications in increasingly crowded mobile marketplaces. Verizon plans to have its own channel in the Android Market when its first Android phone, the Motorola Droid, goes on sale Thursday. Last week, Sprint Nextel told developers it would launch its own application store with marketing opportunities for partner companies.
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Unread 2009-11-04, 04:05 PM   #172
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Is it friday yet? Pretty excited to dump sprint and hope on to verizon with a droid.
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Unread 2009-11-05, 10:32 AM   #173
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Android, and How It Will Take Over the World



This week we met Motorola's Droid, the first handset with Android 2.0. To an outsider, it just looks like another Google smartphone, but 2.0 is more than that: it's proof that Android is finally going to take over the world.
So Wait, What Is Android, Exactly?

In Google's words, it's "the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices." That doesn't mean much, so here's a breakdown: It's a Linux-based, open-source mobile OS, complete with a custom window manager, modified Linux 2.6 kernel, WebKit-based browser and built-in camera, calendar, messaging, dialer, calculator, media player and album apps. If that sounds a little sparse, that's because it is: Android on its own doesn't amount to a whole lot; in fact, a phone with plain vanilla Android wouldn't feel like a smartphone at all. Thankfully, these phones don't exist.

Android is Linux insofar as its core components are open-source and free, and Google must publish their source code with every release. But the real heart of the Android phone experience—the Google apps like Maps, GChat, Gmail, Android Market, Google Voice, Places and YouTube are closed-source, meaning Google owns them outright. Every Google phone comes with these apps in one form or another so to the user this distinction isn't that important. That said, it occasionally rears its head, like when Android modder Cyanogen had to strip the apps out of his custom Android builds to avoid getting sued by Google:

The issue that's raised is the redistribution of Google's proprietary applications like Maps, GTalk, Market, and YouTube. They are Google's intellectual property and I intend to respect that. I will no longer be distributing these applications as part of CyanogenMod.

This can lead to more mainstream (and confusing) issues, like with the, erm, touchy (sorry!) multitouch issue: Android OS supports multitouch, in that it can recognize multiple simultaneous input points on its screen. But Google's Android apps don't. So when a company like HTC comes along and decides to properly add multitiouch to the OS, they can only add it to the open-source parts, like the browser (or their own closed-source apps), not Google's proprietary apps. That's why the Hero has pinch-zoom in its browser and photo albums but not in Google Maps, where it's just as at home.

The issue gets even less trivial as the apps grow more central to the Android experience. You know how Google Maps Navigation was, like, the banner feature for Android 2.0? Well, it was, but technically speaking, it's not a part of Android. It's just part of an app made by Google for Android, and that'll ship with most Android handsets. Except for in countries where Google doesn't have their mapping data quite together enough, where it won't. That's what's happening with the Euro Droid, which, by the way, does have multitouch in its browser, like the Hero. That's why the distinction matters.

So, why take so much care to set up and protect this open source component, when surely Google could just slap together a closed-source mobile operating system and give it away for free, right? It would deprive handset manufacturers of their ability to freely modify certain core components of the OS, sure, but the real reasoning, oddly enough, has less to do with phones and more to do with, well, everything else.
How We Got Here

Flash back to November 7th, 2007, when the Open Handset Alliance, a massive coalition of mobile industry companies, held hands to announce to the world their new child. His name was Android, and we were told very little about him. What we were told, though, was delivered almost entirely in frustratingly vague platitudes:

Quote:
Handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space.
We were a little disappointed that the GPhone wasn't strictly a phone, but like most people, this sounded exciting to us. Vague, but exciting.And so we waited, patiently. And waited. Then, nearly a year later, we got our hands on the first hardware to actually use Android. It was called the T-Mobile G1, and It Was Good. Then, six months later, we got another phone—the Magic, or MyTouch, which was more or less exactly like the first one, minus a keyboard. It wasn't until two full years since Android's first appearance—when not just HTC but Motorola, Samsung and Sony started showing off fresh wares—that Android began to feel like more than an experiment. And more important than getting fresh hardware, Android's OS had changed too. A lot.

The T-Mobile G1 shipped with Android 1.0, which wasn't exactly missing much, but still felt a bit barebones. We had to wait until February of 2009 for paid apps to show up in the Android Market, after which April saw the first major update, Android 1.5 "Cupcake." (Updates each have alphabetical, pastry-themed codenames.) This was followed by 1.6 "Donut," which most new handsets are shipping with now, then 2.0 (yes, "Eclair"), which throws in social networking integration, an interface lift, support for new device resolutions, a fresh developer SDK and support for the optional Google Maps Navigation. This version is currently only found on the Motorola Droid, but should start showing up elsewhere with a few months. And so here we are. And that's just half of it.
Android Isn't Just a Phone OS

That announcement I showed you earlier? That was from the Open Handset alliance, a consortium of phone folks—handsets manufacturers, mobile chip makers and the like. But let's look back at another announcement, from the Android project leads, back in early 2008:

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Android is not a single piece of hardware; it's a complete, end-to-end software platform that can be adapted to work on any number of hardware configurations. Everything is there, from the bootloader all the way up to the applications...Even if you're not planning to ship a mobile device any time soon, Android has a lot to offer. Interested in working on a speech-recognition library? Looking to do some research on virtual machines? Need an out-of-the-box embedded Linux solution? All of these pieces are available, right now, as part of the Android Open Source Project, along with graphics libraries, media codecs, and some of the best development tools I've ever worked with.
Almost all the talk about Android over the last two years has been about Android the phone OS, not Android the lightweight Linux distribution. While Google was busy pumping out high-profile phone-centric updates, Android was starting to creep into other industries, like a disease. A good disease, that everyone likes! Yes, one of those. This is where things get weird.




Remember all those not-quite-there Android netbooks? Part of the plan. The Android-powered Barnes & Noble Nook? Shouldn't have been a surprise. Android navigators? Why not? PMPs? Creative's got one. Photo frames and set-top boxes? Already in the works.

Most of these devices won't look like Android hardware to us, because our strongest Android associations with the OS are all visual and phone-specific, like the homescreen, app drawer and dialer. Nonetheless, this is as much a part of the Android vision as phones are—it just won't be as obvious.

Your Android-powered DVR won't have an app drawer, but it will share the kernel, and an unusually good widget system. Your Android-powered PMP may run a custom interface, but it'll have access to thousands of apps, like an open-source iPod Touch. Your Android-powered photo frame might look just like any other photo frame, but when it drops your wireless connection, it'll have a decent, full-featured settings screen to help you pick it back up. And over-the-air updates. And it might actually cost a few dollars less that it would have otherwise, because remember, Android is free. This is our Android future, and it sounds awesome.
What Happens Next

But the first step in the Android takeover is necessarily the phones. Android 2.0 means the handsets aren't just interesting anymore; they're truly buyable. As Matt said this week:
Quote:
In time, Android very well could be the internet phone, hands down, in terms of raw capabilities.... Android 2.0's potential finally feels as enormous as the iPhone's, and I get kinda tingly thinking about it.


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Unread 2009-11-05, 10:32 AM   #174
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What problems the phones still have—among them, poor media playback and the lack of a bundled desktop client to manage media—are not with Android but with Google, which is really just a major supporter of Android. Either Google will solve them hands-on, or the dream of the open source and app developer communities rising up to fill in all the gaps will become a reality. What's certain is that Google—or someone—needs to address them if future legions of Google-branded phones are to succeed to their full potential.

Speaking of potential, it's massive. In addition to everything else Android has going on, timing is on its side. Windows Mobile is limping along with two broken legs, and its hardware partners took (or maybe gave) notice: Motorola, lately a pariah in its own right, doesn't want anything more to do with Microsoft; HTC is stating continued support while quietly phasing out the WinMo ranks; Sony Ericsson, which hasn't seen a true hit come from one of their Microsoft-branded phones in years, is dabbling in Androidery. And as far as most consumers are concerned, anything Windows Mobile can do, Android can do better.

It doesn't stop with Microsoft, either. Symbian, whose boss called Android "just another Linux platform," is losing ground, and losing some of Sony Ericsson's business doesn't help. The Palm Pre, polished and beautiful as it is, can't keep up with Android's exploding app inventory, multiplying hardware partners and rock-star ability to draw talent. RIM's BlackBerry isn't generally seen as a direct Android competitor, but Android 2.0, along with Palm's WebOS and Apple's iPhone OS, are the main reasons the BlackBerry OS feels so clunky and old. That matters. From here, the outlook is clear: Android and the iPhone are the next consumer smartphone superpowers.

And even if it takes Google 10 years to iron out Android's faults and push this kind of adoption, you can expect Android, or its unofficial pseudonym "Google Phone," to become a household name. Besides, Android will start creeping into our lives in places we might not expect it. It'll power our settop boxes, ebook readers, PMPs and who knows what else. It's not just going to be the next great smartphone OS, it'll be the quiet, invisible software layer that sits between all our portable gadgets and our fingers.
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Unread 2009-11-05, 10:34 AM   #175
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HTC Droid Eris: Last Month's Killer Android, Now 99 Bucks on Verizon



HTC's Droid Eris, one of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory, is coming to Verizon November 6th for $99. Essentially a rebranded Hero, it shows just how fast time flies: Last month's Android champion is this month's killer budget option.

The Droid Eris is very closely related to the Hero, which currently costs $180 at Sprint, sharing mostly the same internals and a slightly redesigned shell. So it's got the same decent 5MP camera, the same 528MHz Qualcomm processor, and the same 3.2-inch capacitive multitouch screen. However, the Hero's 1500 mAh battery has been replaced with a 1300 mAh battery, presumably for thinness's sake—we don't know if it'll reduce battery life noticeably, since HTC says they've made helpful optimizations, but it might.

It'll be Verizon's first phone with HTC's Sense UI, but underneath that pretty interface it's still running Android 1.5, which means you won't be getting any of Android 2.0's sweet new features like turn-by-turn Google Maps. Yet. HTC told me they'll upgrade to 2.0 once they've worked out all the bugs between 2.0 and Sense.On the plus side, it's thinner and lighter than the Hero, and the four key buttons have been rearranged into a straight line of touch buttons rather than the Hero's square layout. The Hero's blobby design has been changed to a, well, different-looking blobby design. It's even more understated than the Hero, with textured plastic replacing the Hero's brushed aluminum front, and while it isn't an ugly phone, it's also not very eye-catching. However: It feels good in the hand, it's still quite snappy and Sense UI is as slick as ever. At $99 (with 2-year contract, after $100 rebate that comes back as a debit card, like the Droid), with an 8GB microSDHC card included, it's an enticing deal. Press release below.


Quote:
DROID ERIS by HTC Debuts with Verizon Wireless with HTC Sense Experience and an Ultra-Attractive $99.99 Price

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and BELLEVUE, Wash. – Beginning Nov. 6, DROID ERIS™ by HTC will invade Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the United States, bringing the power of the Android™ platform and the Verizon Wireless network together. DROID ERIS by HTC combines the popular Android platform with HTC Sense™, a user experience from HTC that makes it easy for customers to stay close to one another and create an individualized mobile experience tailored specifically to their needs.

DROID ERIS by HTC offers customers the opportunity to customize a seven-panel wide home screen with a wide variety of widgets designed to bring the most important information to the surface. DROID ERIS by HTC also includes the innovative "Scenes" feature, which allows customers to create multiple home screens, each with different widgets and shortcuts, to transform DROID ERIS by HTC from a "work" phone to a "play" phone with just a touch of a finger.

DROID ERIS by HTC also organizes interactions by person, which makes it possible to access text messages, e-mails, phone calls and even Flickr streams and Facebook updates from a single contact card.

The unique HTC Sense experience found on DROID ERIS by HTC is supported by an array of the latest mobile features, including:

o 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen and trackball interface

o 5.0 megapixel auto focus camera

o Expandable memory with pre-installed 8 GB microSD™ card (up to 16 GB supported)

o Supports USB mass storage

o Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi and 3.5 mm headset connectivity

o Integrated GPS and a digital compass with a sensor that enables the phone to know what direction it is facing

o Smart dialer for simplified dialing by name, number or initials

o Full HTML browser with Flash Lite capabilities

o Seamless compatibility with Google services like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search and more

DROID ERIS by HTC will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com on Friday, Nov. 6, for $99.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an e-mail feature or e-mail plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.

For more information about Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
__________________

AW|E90|ZSP|ZPP|2XA|NAV|HID| ///M | BMS |JB4 | VRSF



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