May 12, 2009 by Tap
With yesterday's news of Samsung's forthcoming Android phones making headlines together with the public outing of Donut I decided to do a bit of browsing over on Google's Android Discussion group to see if I could dig up some more information on this forthcoming release.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much available as yet but I did read something interesting regarding the general assumption that Donut equals Android v2.0. This may in fact not be the case. According to various comments posted on a particular thread:
"Cupcake was the code-name for a development milestone, as well as the name
for the source code branch corresponding to that milestone... Cupcake is now a defunct name, since that milestone is past. Android 1.5 is the actual name+version for the current Android platform release.
You may also see references to 'donut', which is simply the next (current) milestone."
So does that mean the next milestone a.k.a. donut is version 2?
"It's still early in the cycle for the next milestone, and so a version number hasn't yet been assigned."
Source: Android Discussion Group
May 12, 2009 by Tap
In case you hadn't noticed there's been a sudden outbreak of rumours and leaks regarding forthcoming Android phones. I've intentionally avoided getting drawn into this since spreading rumours without all the facts a) seems a bit pointless b) has a habit of biting you in the bum. This whole 'Bigfoot' saga is a case in point.
At the beginning of last week BGR broke the news of T-Mobile's purported US Android roadmap which made reference to the G1 v2 a.k.a Bigfoot. BGR followed this up a few days later with a supposed image of the G1 v2 but there was just one problem – the phone looked nothing like the Bigfoot mentioned in the leaked T-Mobile roadmap. Then on the 11th BGR again posted the same G1 v2 image this time saying that the phone was in fact being manufactured by Motorola, killing the assumption that the v2 would obviously be HTC kit.
Then things went from bad to worse that same day when Unwired View broke news of a Samsung phone called the Bigfoot. Interestingly enough this did look like the Bigfoot phone mentioned in T-Mobile's roadmap. Confusion sorted right? Wrong. Tmotoday then posted an update saying that according to a source involved in the supply chain, the G1 v2 is still being produced by HTC and is codenamed 'Bigfoot'.
So who do we believe? Is the Bigfoot the same as the G1 v2 and just what does the Bigfoot actually look like? Is it an HTC, Motorola or Samsung phone? I'm none the wiser and until I see some official confirmation, Bigfoot stays off my Android phone list.
May 11, 2009 by Tap
So my G1 finally got the OTA update last Friday and while it kept me entertained for a while this weekend I have to say that overall I was a little underwhelmed. True, I knew what to expect and so probably set myself up for disappointment but treating the update as an average phone user might, I can't say that any of the changes provided any major real-world improvement, not for me at least.
Yes the onscreen keyboard is handy but I've always preferred physical keyboards and after a few attempts at touch screen typing (more like mistyping) I soon gave that up. The camera is certainly a lot more responsive which is nice, but a 3.2 Meg camera with no optical zoom was never going to excite anyway. The various tweaks to Google Mail, SMS, contacts etc. are nice but I still find myself using Google Mail via the browser so no real benefit there.
Most probably my biggest disappointment was the new calendar widget. I've long wanted a decent calendar widget on my G1 and was hoping this was it but sadly no. But it's not all bad news. Personally I think that the introduction of secure widgets is the most important aspect of Android 1.5. Over the coming months we’ll see a lot more focus on Android widget development and I wouldn't be surprised to see a dedicated widget section appearing in the marketplace. Come on Android developers – impress us with your widget skills!
May 5, 2009 by Tap
Remember that nasty pink apparition called the HTC Hero which surfaced at the beginning of the year? Refresh your memory here. Well it's back again, thankfully not in bright pink, but still not much of a looker in my view.
Back in January when the G1 was the only phone available, the Hero might have been something to get excited about but now well... what's so great about it? I mean how will this phone differentiate itself now that we have the HTC Magic and especially since Samsung has finally shown its hand with the I7500? Of course we won't know how this phone stacks up against the competition until we see some detailed specs but as things currently stand HTC is going to have to surprise us with something different if the Hero is going to stand any chance of being a top selling Android phone.
Source: code android
May 4, 2009 by Tap
So the big news right now is the complaint filed by one Erich Specht against Google, the Open Handset Alliance and just about anybody who's dared to use the term Android, or so it seems. This does come as a bit of a surprise considering Google's previous history with trademarked terms/domains. I'm referring of course to the infamous Gmail dispute in Europe which they lost. You would have thought that they'd have learnt from that mistake when it came to the term Android but according to Specht, Google "stole first and asked questions later." But was that really the case? Here's some interesting information for you to consider.
Yes, Specht trademarked the term 'Android Data' in 2002 in reference to his company which produced/produces "a suite of software that enables the remote administration of ecommerce content." But that seems to be all he did. The company itself was dissolved in 2004 and the associated domain name, androiddata.com, lapsed and appeared to become a parked link page back in early 2006 (according to WayBack Machine).
Now this is where it starts to get a bit muddy. The OHA first announced Android in 2007, but this was before Google had actually had their trademark application for Android approved. As it turns out their application was denied in early 2008 but by then it was already too late – the term Android had already been established in reference to the new open platform. Despite this it looked like they'd actually gotten away with it until last month when, at the last possible moment, Specht decided to put up a fight. Suddenly, his company re-appeared with a new website, www.android-data.com, registered just days before he submitted his complaint.
Interestingly, the current website seems little changed to the one that disappeared back in 2006 apart from the addition of a product roadmap which starts 'now' and moves forward – no history there. This may just be Google's saving grace. For all intents and purposes, it looks like Specht resurrected a dormant company and product suite simply to initiate a money-making claim and I guess that will be Google's argument. The big question is, will Google be willing to let this go to court or will they just pay up to make this all go away, making Specht a very happy and wealthy man?
April 30, 2009 by Tap
You've got to love the way that news travel on the Internet. Someone somewhere says something. Someone else picks up on it and repeats it on their blog and then it spreads like a virus and before you know it, this 'news' becomes fact. That's how I feel about the latest news regarding what's supposed to be Motorola's first Android phone, the Calgary.
Don't get me wrong, BGR has a reputation for breaking stories first and more often than not, getting it right, but I'm not going to get too excited about the Calgary just yet. Already this month we heard about the S8000 which was supposedly Samsung's first Android phone. I saw several blogs saying that this was 'confirmed' – wrong. And let's not forget the TouchZINE HD which surfaced again last month – wasn't that supposed to be Motorola's first Android phone. Turns out it was fake but that didn't stop overexcited bloggers from posting the Photoshopped images all over the web as Motorola's next big thing. I think you get my point.
Anyway, as much as we'd all love the Calgary to be an Android phone (although I have my reservations about that laser-etched keypad which I hated on my Motorola RAZR) I don't think we should get too excited just yet.
Update: Say hello to the Motorola "Ironman"
Yet another Motorola phone which, according to BGR, "will most likely run Android and be out by the end of Q3". Another one to add to the wait and see list.
April 28, 2009 by Tap
T-Mobile UK today issued a press release confirming that Android 1.5, a.k.a. Cupcake, will be coming to Google G1 users in May. This comes as the company confirms that it's set to reach 100 000 G1 units sold in the UK in just six months since launch. For those of you who haven't already read up on Android 1.5, here'a list of new features according to T-Mobile:
- New touch-screen keypad
- Full video record and playback in MPEG-4 & 3GP formats
- Direct uploading of video to YouTube
- Copy and paste within browser
- View Google Talk friends' status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, Google Mail, and Email applications
- Animated window transitions
- Accelerometer based application rotations
- Faster camera start-up and image capturing
- Direct upload of photo to Picasa
- Faster acquisition of GPS location
- More home screen widgets
- Stereo Bluetooth support of both A2DP & AVCRP profiles plus auto-pairing
- In-page search function
- User interface refinements to key tools including
SMS & MMS,
Contacts, call logs and favourites,
Camera & gallery,
More good news came in the form of T-Mobile's commitment to launch another Android phone later this year although there’s no word on exactly when or who the manufacturer will be.
April 27, 2009 by Tap
We can finally put previous Samsung rumours to bed with official news that the company's OLED touchscreen I7500 and not the S8000 is going to be its first Android phone – and what a phone it should be. It's taken Samsung a little longer than HTC to come to the party but they've certainly come in guns blazing and will give HTC's G1 and Magic a good run for their money.
So in terms of specs, how does the I7500 stack up? Well firstly there's a 3.2 inch capacitive OLED touchscreen versus HTC's 3.2 inch TFT; a 5 megapixel camera versus 3.2 megapixel; 8GB of internal memory expandable via microSD and instead of the usual mini-USB connector there's a standard 3.5mm stereo headset connector.
Add to that package GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi, all using a similarly spec'd 528MHz Qualcomm processor and you've got a real contender for the number one Android phone spot. Physically the handset will be sleeker (almost 2mm thinner than the HTC Magic) and hopefully lighter. Battery life should also be better thanks to a larger 1500mAh battery together with the improved efficiency of the OLED screen.
Samsung's I7500 is expected to be released this June as an O2 exclusive in Germany so it's not certain that we'll ever see it outside of that country. Nevertheless, if the I7500 is an example of Samsung's commitment to Android, the future looks bright.
April 22, 2009 by Tap
New information on HTC's Android Hero has surfaced over on xda-developers. According to the post, an employee at a wireless developer firm "just received word from the US carrier (cannot disclose who yet) that the release date for the HTC Hero (Android) is October 11th 2009."
Now I don't usually give these kinds of unsubstantiated posts too much credence but a few things got my attention. Firstly, the forum member's provider is AT&T. That, in itself, is meaningless but consider the following. Last month fairly credible news surfaced that the HTC Hero had been picked up by Orange. Now considering that Orange and AT&T are GlobalView partners, it seems logical, at least in my view, that the undisclosed carrier is in fact AT&T. Until I hear otherwise, that is my assumption and if it's true, that means AT&T subscribers may have to wait another six months before they get an Android phone.
April 22, 2009 by Tap
After being out of the news for some time now (certainly as far as Android is concerned) this seems to be Sony Ericsson's week in the spotlight as more Android-related news comes to light.
After last weeks quote by Sony Ericssons' CEO seemed to put the breaks on the company's Android plans, a short post by DigiTimes claims that according to the Chinese Commercial Times newspaper, Orange will be launching a Sony Ericsson Android phone in time for the 2009 year-end holiday season. While some see that as pure speculation it does actually make sense and backs up a similar report which first surfaced last month. Looks like we can't rule Sony Ericsson out of the Android phone race just yet.