Android Phones, Info and Apps

TAG | Samsung

We’ve seen many Android smartphones with different hardware specifications – processors, display kind and/or size, RAM, ROM, hardware keyboard and so on. But all the phones have one and the same form factors – either a chocolate bar or a slider with hardware keyboard underneath. The Korean manufacturer Samsung has decided to break the ice and bring us back in time when the clamshell factor was trendy, introducing their newest Android device – W899, targeted at the Asian market.

W899 has a stylish rectangular form, similar to an ordinary chocolate bar and at first glance you will think that this is the form factor of the handset – but you are wrong. The most interesting and never seen before thing in W899 is that it has two 3.3-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen displays. One of them is positioned like the ordinary display of a clam-shell handset and the second one is placed on the back side of the lid. So you will have a display at your disposal when the phone is opened and when it is closed. It’s an interesting concept but whether it will be success or not – the sells will show. The rest features of W899 include multitouch support, Android 2.2 FroYo OS, 5MP rear camera and a VGA front-facing one for video calling, 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and only 512MB internal memory.

It’s not clear yet if Samsung will release W899 to the rest of the world, but if they do, it will surely be part of the Galaxy family. As for the Asian market – still no info about price and availability.

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Some days ago Google presented their new mobile phone – Nexus S, and the new version of Android – 2.3 Gingerbread. At the same time, the technological giant presented a new version of Google Maps, but that was somehow neglected by most people as the noise was about Gingerbread and Nexus S. There are many changes and the most important and significant one is the lack of the annoying tiles.

Google Maps 5 offers a completely new approach in the way it represents the data to the end user. Instead of using the tile images, which caused sometimes a frustrating delay in loading and displaying them, Google has decided to use vectors. Everything is represented by vectors, thus the load time is almost equal to 0 and the user can browse around the maps quickly and easily. With the use of the vectors, some pretty good features have been added. Multitouch control is now present – rotate or tilt the map, sliding 2 fingers up and down the screen and the well-known 3D buildings will emerge from the flat image, giving you more clear image of the region.

Google Maps 5 was presented by Andy Rubin some days ago on a prototype tablet from Motorola and he said that we can expect Google Maps 5 in the market in a couple of days. So far so good, but here comes the bad news – the new version of Google Maps will be supported only by several mobile phones so far:

  • Galaxy S
  • Droid
  • Droid X
  • Droid 2
  • Droid Incredible
  • Evo
  • Nexus S
  • G2

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During the last several months there were numerous rumors, leaked pictures, speculations about the manufacturer and the specifications of the new Google phone – Nexus S. Yesterday during the presentation of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, Google showed and made official their new handset as well – Nexus S, manufactured by Samsung. The choice of the manufacturer is not a surprise taking into account the big success of Samsung Galaxy handset family and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Working together, Google and Samsung has managed to create the best Android smartphone on the market so far, being the only one running the latest version of Android – 2.3 a.k.a. Gingerbread. The shape of the device is nice and sleek with curved edges and unique slightly curved display for best user experience. At the bottom part of Nexus S one could find the common Android key, this time in the form of touch-sensitive buttons – Home, Menu, Back and Search. Behind the cover you could find a 1GHz processor, 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display, connectivity for GSM/EDGE networks, gyroscope sensor for gaming, a 5MP back camera and a VGA front-facing one both with autofocus, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, 16GB internal memory and a 1500mAh battery. The device also is the first one to feature a NFC (Near Field Communications) chip that will enable you to pay bills and other upcoming features via your mobile phone.

The device comes preloaded with all the Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Search, Voice Actions, Google Voice and the YouTube application. Google Nexus S will be available for purchase in online stores and on the shelves starting from December 16, but the price is yet unknown.

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After a long wait, endless rumors and leaked screenshots and specifications, the Gingerbread is finally out for the holidays. Yesterday Google officially introduced their new version of the Android OS together with their new mobile phone, manufactured by Samsung – Nexus S. We will go through the major changes, but they are not so much from a user perspective. Most of the changes are internal – optimizations and more new features for the developers (I, as a developer, am pretty happy about this).

The first and most noticeable thing is the new look of the default UI of Android. The whole OS is in darker colors and shades and sharper edges, but yet – keeping it all simple and clean. Making things simpler in the code itself, Google has managed to cut down the CPU load, which will reflect on the battery life as well.

The other changes are in the text input and editing – Google has changed a bit the shapes and positions of the buttons so that the text input is quicker and more accurate. Additionally, there is an ability to correct the words from the built-in dictionary suggestions. In order to make the text selection and editing easier, implementing a one-touch word selection and one-touch copy to the clipboard. If you press on a word, you will see 2 arrows – dragging them will allow you quickly and easily to select text.

Another helpful improvement, especially for the average user, who is used to task killer applications and battery life savers, is the improved power management. Gingerbread takes much more active role in the application management, monitoring the applications running in background, which take too much CPU power and time, and shut them down if necessary. A shortcut to Manage Applications is also added to the Options Menu in the Home Screen.

Among the game programming enhancements we could mark:

  • Native input and sensor events
  • Gyroscope and other new sensors, for improved 3D motion processing
  • Open API for native audio
  • Native graphics management
  • Native access to Activity lifecycle, window management
  • Native access to assets, storage
  • Robust native development environment

In addition, there are almost twice more locales – 57, available than in Android 2.2 FroYo. There are many other changes like support for different media formats and changes in the Linux Kernel version. For the full list please read the official press release from Google.

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During the KES2010, which is the Korean equivalent to the Consumer Electronics Show, LG has announced their new handset for the Korean market only. “Another LG device – so what?” probably many of you are asking yourselves right now, but believe me – there is a reason for writing about LU-3000. This device is really fast, faster than iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S, based on a variety of tests of the three devices. So in fact, this turns out to be the fastest Android phone – something which is not common for LG.

The specifications of LU-3000 seem pretty good, although one could have expected a lot more from the “fastest Android handset”. The core of this mobile phone is TI OMAP 3630 processor running at 1GHz, supported by a 3.8-inch IPS TFT display with resolution of 480×800 pixels (it’s pretty good to see IPS panels in a handset, providing viewing angles of 178 degrees and accurate color representation), 5MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, capable of recording 1080p HD video, but LU-3000 is also capable of playing 1080p video either on the phone screen or on an external one, using the HDMI output. The version of Android is 2.2, but let’s hope that there will be Gingerbread for it.

It’s a pity that this lovely device will not be released to the rest of the world, but it’s possible that LG would make another device, similar to this one for us. If you are interested in the test between the iPhone, Galaxy S and LU-3000, take a look at the video bellow:

LU-3000 vs. Galaxy S vs. iPhone

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Nov/10

21

ViewSonic 10” G tablet for 399$

The Black Friday is close and we are tempted by many interesting hot deals by almost every corner and website. Mobile phones, TVs, computers, tablets are offered a lot cheaper and this makes the Black Friday the perfect day for some shopping. If you are about to buy an Android-based tablet and you are not keen on Samsung Galaxy Tab or it is too expensive for your taste, then you might like ViewSonic 10-inch G tablet.

If you look at the hardware specifications of this tablet, you will be nicely surprised by the things it offers, considering the low price. As already said, it has a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen display, running at resolution of 1024×600 pixels, 512MB RAM, internal memory of whole 16GB, USB and HDMI ports, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi networks support, Bluetooth 2.1 and 1.3MP web camera. A good surprise is the core of the ViewSonic’s tablet – Tegra 2 chip. The operating system is Android 2.2 FroYo, so everything in this tablet is really up to date – hardware and software.

ViewSonic 10” G tablet will be available in almost every consumer electronics store, but if you are not keen on queuing in the stores or you’re too busy to go there, you can order it online. Whatever option you choose, the price is one and the same – 399$

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Nov/10

19

Tegra 2 phone leaks pictures

We’re all used to the 1GHz processors in our mobile phones and everyone gets excited when we hear about a mobile phone, which will have a 1.2GHz or even faster processor in its heart. Many tablet manufacturers started integrating the Tegra 2 platform into their products and we all see the power of the 2 cores, but yet we haven’t seen them in a handset – at least not until now. There are some new leaked images of LG Star mobile phone.

It is expected to have a Tegra 2 core, a 4-inch Super AMOLED display (it could have been SAMOLED2 but this is excellent, too), a front facing camera and Android 2.3 OS on top of all. LG Star will also have a whole 8MP back camera, which will be able to record 1080p Full HD videos (pretty amazing for a mobile phone). From the photos we could see that it will include a LED flash (only one, no double) and most likely touch-sensitive hardware buttons for Menu, Home, Back and Search.

If all these specifications are true, or at least most of them, this will mean that LG are making a killer phone – something that we haven’t expected from them. But if LG are preparing such handset it’s almost 100% sure that the rest top manufacturers – Samsung, HTC and Motorola are preparing something to compete with LG Star. Or will it be the only Star on the sky?

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The long rumored Android accessory, which is thought to be the most useful and interesting for the users, is finally available in Europe. Sony Ericsson’s LiveView is something like a wrist watch (actually It is a watch, too) which is capable of connecting to almost any Android mobile phone and display different notifications on its screen, so you don’t have to take the handset out of your pocket in order to read an SMS or see some new status updates in Facebook.

LiveView is offered for 59 Euros in France, 49 pounds in the UK, and about 42 Euros in Germany. Amazon is selling it for 90$. Regarding the hardware features of the device, it uses Bluetooth in order to establish a connection to the mobile phone and the general operating range is about 10m. It also has a 1.3-inch OLED display, two hardkeys and four softkeys. It is attached to your hand either via clip or wristband. As for its software abilities, LiveView can be used to control your music player – Play, pause, next, previous track and volume adjustment and also display the track title, or you can view the incoming SMS messages, RSS feeds, view Facebook and Twitter updates. You can also see the person who is calling you and even mute the ringtone of the mobile phone.

The list of compatible phones includes:

  • Acer - Liquid Metal
  • Dell - Streak
  • Google - Nexus One
  • HTC - Desire, Desire HD, Desire Z, Gratia, HD mini, Legend, Wildfire
  • Motorola - DEFY, Flipout, Milestone, XT720
  • Samsung - Galaxy Europa I5500, Galaxy S I9000, i5500 Corby
  • Sony Ericsson – X10, XPERIA X10 Mini, XPERIA X10 Mini Pro

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Since the rumors for the upcoming Android tablet of Samsung showed up around the web, Galaxy Tab is constantly in the daily news of almost every mobile-oriented media. Starting with the specs, going through the official announcement, ending with release dates and prices in various countries and carriers.

The first thing that we are going to inform you today is regarding the price of Galaxy Tab. Today is the launch day of the Tab in Sprint’s network. It will cost 399$ on a 2-year contract. The possible data plans are 29.99$ per month for 2GB of data or 59.99$ per month for 5GB of data and unlimited messaging. So to sum up, if you go on a 2GB plan, you’ll have to pay about 720$ for the contract and additional 399$ for the Galaxy Tab itself. Choosing the 5GB plan will cost you about 1440$ for the contract. And all these numbers does not included taxes and surcharges.

The second this that is interesting around Galaxy Tab is that Samsung has released the open source parts of the source code of the tablet. To most of you this wouldn’t mean anything, but for the developers these are very good news (actually soon the users will benefit from this, too). Of course, many of Samsung’s applications are not open source, but developers could use this source to build various ROMs, kernels and so on. So stay tuned and wait for the first custom ROMs for your Tab.

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Nov/10

11

Dual-screen handset from Samsung

Seeing Android on a various number of devices – handsets, media players, netbooks, tablets or being combined with another OS with options for dual-boot has become something common, but we’ve never seen  Android on a dual-screen device … until now. Samsung has finally confirmed the release of the long rumored dual-screen Android handset – Samsung Continuum.

Samsung has presented the Continuum as the “first phone with a dedicated ticker display” having in mind the 1.8-inch Super AMOLED color display at the bottom of the mobile phone, just below the touch-sensitive buttons. But this is only the secondary display, the device has a primary 3.4-inch Super AMOLED display. There will be a “grip sensor” which will constantly check if you touch at the bottom sides of the phone. If you do so, the sensor will light up the ticker display section.

In order to make it possible for the developers to take advantage of this ticker display, Samsung will provide an API which can be used for that, but until then, only the native Samsung applications will be able to use the small display. Yet, no additional information and specifications are known, but keep reading our site for more information on the subject.

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