The Motorola DROID BIONIC looks poised to receive a software update soon as users have begun receiving notifications regarding a soak test. As usual, there’s no telling what these tests will bring but as we haven’t heard about Ice Cream Sandwich updates for some of Motorola’s most recent devices, it’s hard to imagine that the DROID Bionic is getting a special early nod. But, again, anything can happen. [Thanks Aaron!]
Another important milestone in the case between Google and Oracle has been reached. Both sides have presented their closing arguments, meaning they’ve exhausted all of their firepower and are now ready to let the judge and jury make their verdicts.
Oracle closed by saying Google’s wrongdoing is evident due to the chain of emails between Eric Schmidt, Andy Rubin, and Tim Lindholm where all parties acknowledged the licenses needed for them to use Java to construct Android.
They also declined to respect Google’s claim of fair-use, stating that Android, while free to license, is still used as a commercial product to gain revenue. They are no doubt referring to revenue generated by mobile searches, ads, and the cut they get from paid apps in the Google Play Store.
Google fired back by saying that Oracle’s idea that SSO (structure, sequence, and organization), in terms of the 37 APIs Google infringes on, can be copyrighted was made up to support their lawsuit.
They also point out that out of 15 million lines of code in Android, only nine lines infringe on these patents. Finally, Google expectantly cited Sun’s former CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who admitted Sun allowed Google to use the code without legal recourse. The agreement was never formal, but it could go a long way for Google.
With that, we may be extremely close to the moment of truth. Will Google be allowed to carry on with Android like they always have, or will the judge rule in favor of Oracle? And, if the latter takes place, what would it mean for Android? It’s all very interesting and we patiently await the results of this significant battle. [via The Verge]
Verizon’s Xperia Play has received a new update that adds a couple of important enhancements, but also adds a bit more bloatware. To start, VZ Navigator and Video On-Demand have been pre-installed. The power button can be held down to take screenshots. The right trigger can be used as a camera button within the camera app. Finally, you can record video in 720p mode with continuous autofocus. Oh, and the version of Android has been bumped to Android 2.3.4. Bug fixes are also present, and you can read what they are in the changelog at Verizon’s site. [thanks Han!]
Despite being available for close to half a year, not many devices have received Ice Cream Sandwich. Another device was added to the somewhat exclusive club today, though, as Huawei brought the goods to their 7 inch MediaPad tablet. This 330MB update isn’t available over-the-air so you’ll have to download software to your PC to apply it. T-Mobile users need not apply. [via Liliputing]
Slap me silly and throw me down a well, I’d be lying if I said this latest Arduino-powered gadget doesn’t get me excited. Engineer Paul Carff is introducing KegDroid, and as its name implies this is sure to be a desirable item for beer lovers like myself. KegDroid makes use of three essential technologies – Arduino, Android devices, and NFC – to create a smart rail of sorts.
Using an NFC-enabled tag or badge, a user can simply tap the NFC reader with the badge and be authenticated to whatever beer they want. Using Google+, the user is greeted with their name and a small photo, but most won’t care because a nice selection of beer will be sitting right beneath that.
The display would allow you to not only select which beer to drink, but how much beer you want to pour. This is possible thanks to flow sensors which will pour the exact amount that you specify. Of course, the pour job in the video probably isn’t the best example of that (I’ve never seen that much head in my life) but you get the idea.
But rather than listening to me ramble on about it, why not let Paul explain it himself? Take a look at the video above. After you’re finished watching, proceed to fill his YouTube comments up with request to bring this thing to all who’ll take it. [Google+]
When it comes to my Android devices, I have a tendency to treat them as if they were my babies. And not only because I would do whatever it takes to keep them safe, but I also find some kind of weird pleasure in dressing them up in various outfits to suit my mood. Whether it was my OG EVO, or my brand new Galaxy Nexus, I learned early on in my Android life that you don’t have to spend very much to keep you device looking good, and protected in style.
That being said, I found that there are varying degrees of protection when dressing up your device. In most cases, the only real threat your phone will ever faces is taking a short spill out of your pocket onto the floor below. In which case, keeping your phone layered behind 3 layers of silicone and plastic doesn’t sound all that necessary. That’s why today, I want to show you guys a few affordable options for keeping your Galaxy Nexus protected, while still being able to enjoy the phone’s slim form factor.
Cruzer Lite Clear TPU Case – $10
First, we have a traditional TPU case, manufactured by our friends at Cruzer Lite. Now, I’ve purchased some cheaper, lesser quality TPU cases from eBay (in an effort to save a few bucks) and those were hit-or-miss (mostly miss). Cruzer Lite on the other hand, prides themselves on providing high-quality TPU for a reasonable price.
The case of theirs I checked out was a semi-clear high-gloss TPU case (looks great on a white device). The inside of the case is a matte finish, while the outside is high-gloss. This gives the case a unique “cloudy” look and compliments a white device perfectly. My only real complaint was that the cutout for the camera wasn’t quite a perfect fit and covered some of the edges around the camera area but, it also raises the camera away from a surface when laying the phone flat, so not too bad. Once again, another great case from Cruzer Lite. The best part? Cruzer Lite makes these cases in a plethora of varieties, for most of the newer handsets. (Search Cruzer Lite + your specific phone on Amazon).
Generic Plastic Bumper Case – $5
Next up we have a white bumper for the Galaxy Nexus. Before I start — I know, not everybody is going to find this level of protection adequate. But let me explain. Generally speaking, most smartphone users have some kind of screen protector installed on their device. So, that means the front of your device: protected. The back of your device: replaceable. A battery cover is the one part of your phone that can easily be replaced if damaged. The only real vulnerable area of your phone is that metal rim around the screen. And that, my friends, is where the bumper case comes into play. The bumper protects the entire rim of your phone, while still raising the camera a mm or 2 off of a surface when laying on it’s back. The difference is a bumper wont add any extra thickness when holding your device like your traditional case. I know this type of case definitely isn’t for everyone. But for those who are obsessed with enjoying the thinness of their device, while providing protection of your phones vulnerable areas, this makes a great option (and one which is personally, my favorite).
The bumper case I found on eBay was only around $5 and is available in either black or white. The first time I received it, I’ll admit. It fell apart. But, in the bumper’s defense, I wasn’t exactly gentle with it. There’s a rubber rim that holds onto your phone and connects to the plastic part of the bumper. Well, that started separating after I installed and removed the case from the phone a few times. I will say, the seller on eBay kindly replaced it, and the one I have now is holding up fine (just have to be careful-ish). There is actually a method for installing it that you can see in my video for those willing to buy one. The cool thing about the bumper case is basically, you’ll never have to remove it. The battery can easily be accessed in case of emergency or SIM swap. Just set it — and forget it.
So, that just about covers it for this edition of my Android case review. If you guys have any questions, suggestions or recommendations on some of your favorite cases, let me know and maybe I’ll give ‘em a try next episode.
Those of you who aren’t fans of contract-based plans will be happy to know that Verizon is adding another prepaid option. The plan is exclusive to the Samsung Illusion for now, and will included unlimited calling and texts, plus 1GB of data for $80 per month. All things considered, it sounds like a very decent offering.
You can get the phone and plan bundled for $170 starting May 1st at Verizon stores and VerizonWireless.com, and third party retailers will be offering it shortly afterward. Read on for full press details.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2012
VERIZON WIRELESS ANNOUNCES NEW PREPAID PLANS
Unlimited Talk, Text and 1 GB of Data Smartphone Plan for $80 per Month; First Prepaid 4G Jetpack Offers a Variety of Mobile Broadband Data Plan Options
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless today announced the availability of a new prepaid plan beginning May 1, offering unlimited talk and text messaging, as well as 1 GB of data for $80 per month. This monthly plan, available on the prepaid Samsung Illusion™, provides customers with an affordable, flexible option to take advantage of the nations largest, most reliable 3G network without the commitment of an annual contract. The Samsung Illusion prepaid package will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online atwww.verizonwireless.com for $169.99. In the coming weeks, the Samsung Illusion prepaid will also be available at Best Buy®, Target®, RadioShack and Walmart.
Additionally, starting May 1, customers can purchase a prepaid Verizon Jetpack™ 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi® 4510L and take advantage of new prepaid Mobile Broadband plans. With the prepaid Jetpack, customers can now create a personal Wi-Fi cloud capable of sharing the high-speed Internet connectivity of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously. Prepaid 4G LTE Mobile Broadband plans are as follows:
- · $15 for 250 MB of data weekly
- · $60 for 3 GB of data monthly
- · $90 for 10 GB of data monthly
The Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4510L prepaid package will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com for $129.99. In the coming weeks, it will also be available at Best Buy, RadioShack and Walmart.
From keeping in touch with friends to surfing the Web, Verizon Wireless gives customers the power and flexibility to stay connected, with no annual contract, to Americas largest and most reliable high-speed wireless network. For more information on prepaid plan offerings, visitwww.verizonwireless.com/prepay.
For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nations largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 93.0 million retail customers, including 88.0 million retail postpaid customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
Every week we cover Android gaming on Wednesday, followed by Top 10 app updates on Friday. Now every Monday we will look back and see which ones were the most crowd-pleasing among our audience. Read on for the 10 most popular Android apps from your peers.
For the second week in a row, AfterFocus was the most popular app on our site. This camera app is still less than a month old, but it continues to surprise me with the number installs it gets each day. Last week we saw the app receive its first update, which fixed several bugs and improved support for the Galaxy Nexus. The developer says a Pro version is coming in May, so be on the lookout.
Any app related to the camera, battery, or weather normally performs pretty well and Weatherwise followed that trend by debuting at the #2 spot this week. This app was featured in #thenextinstall column and I think people responded to the cool looking promo image above. The app is free so I gave it a try, but it didn’t impress me that much. Only one theme comes with the app, and then additional themes are $0.99 each. It still has an average review score of 4.3, so others are enjoying it more than me.
3. Carrier Coverage
Carrier Coverage won week 3 of #thenextinstall, so it’s no surprise to see it finish near the top this week. The app still has some bugs, but the developer tells us that a new version is already in the works. If you like the concept of this app, some other alternative include Coverage Mapper, Cell Phone Coverage Map, and Sensorly.
4. Google Drive
Last week Google updated their Docs app into Google Drive, and the daily installs spiked to an all time high. The wait for Google Drive was a long one, but many people checked it out to get the 5 GB of free cloud storage.
Phonedeck is a new app that lets users manage a mobile phone right from their computer. The online dashboard lets a user read and send SMS, get incoming call notifications, edit contacts, view usage stats, and even locate a lost phone. I don’t have a need for the app so I haven’t tried it out, but early users are giving it mixed reviews. Some love the included features, while others say the app is clunky and uses up too much data. The app is still young with only 10,000 installs and we think it has potential, so it will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming months.
6. Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2012
Samsung unveils the next Galaxy phone on May 3rd, and you can watch it live on the Unpacked 2012 app. It had some problems when it was first released, but Samsung has pushed out several updates that add support to a host of devices.
Down a couple spots from last week, AIVC comes in as the #7 most popular app. Voice functions in the free version allow you to control call, SMS, email, translation, navigation, alarm, timer, app launcher, calculator, Facebook, web search, weather, and search images. The app is ad-supported, but a Pro version kills them for $2.99.
8. Battery HD
For the 3rd week in a row, Battery HD makes our Top 10 list. If anything, I think this shows how important battery life is to the average Android user. The app has racked up 500,000 installs this month and it’s on pace to pass 1 million soon. Battery HD won’t extend your battery life, but it can tell you how long you can use each app.
9. Nova Launcher
Nova Launcher is a highly customizable, performance driven, home screen replacement for Android 4.0+ devices. We see launchers come and go quite frequently, and Nova and Apex Launcher are the new kids on the block right now. Both launchers are free, so give each one a try and see which fits your needs.
10. Shot Control
Shot control is a paid camera app designed to help serious photographers take better photographs. I haven’t used it yet, so I’ll refer you to a reader review from Trent. ”Simply put: this is a great tool for every mobile photographer out there. Having all of the camera controls on the main screen is heavenly, & you are able to adjust white balance, flash, exposure, & basically everything else without opening a menu. I love that you can map camera functions to the volume rocker. The developer is extremely responsive & the app is constantly being fine-tuned & refined. He is clearly committed to making this the most flat-out functional camera app on the market. Get it!”
Samsung Canada has announced that the update to Ice Cream Sandwich will being today for “select devices” with rollouts continuing through the end of the quarter. The specific smartphones and tablets to receive Android 4.0 weren’t named, but candidates include the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Tab. In a statement Samsung said, “The availability and scheduling of the software upgrade and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers requirements. For carrier specific details, please visit your nearest carrier retailer."
Arguably the best custom Android ROM has made its way to arguably one of the best Android handset with a build of CyanogenMod 9 reaching the HTC One X. The early take on CM9 for the HTC flagship phone surfaced over at the MoDaCo forums and is a relatively complete build offering a stock Android 4.0 alternative to the One X’s Sense 4.0. In its current state the ROM does not support the handset’s camera or mobile hotspot functionality, which should keep most from using it as their default choice until a little more work is done (the One X’s camera, after all, is one of its biggest selling points). But for those interested in getting a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich on a quad-core handset, this is the ticket.