We know Android continues to grow at an amazing rate, with 500,000 Android devices activated per day and an activation growth rate of 4.4% per week (as an aside - if that growth rate is correct, that means the number of activations would double roughly every 16 weeks, based on the Rule of 72.) But how is that raw growth reflected in market share, given the rapidly expanding smartphone market? Turns out pretty well, according to comScore:
|Aaron Gingrich||Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.|
This week, Google revealed its most serious attempt at social networking yet, Google+. Despite being released just a few days ago, it's easy to see that it's a much more accessible, polished attempt than Google's previous attempts, namely Google Wave and Google Buzz. It brings a familiar interface, but clearly bears the Google mark: clean, minimal, but with some well thought-out improvements. That's to be expected, given that the service is Google's next big push - they closed the beta rather quickly and only a small number of users have been invited thus far, all in the name of using a sort of control group to improve the service before opening the flood gates.
For every Windows Phone 7-inspired app, launcher, or theme we've written about, a half-dozen more, often clones, go unmentioned. But every now and then we find something we haven't seen before, and this is one of those times. It's called WP7Contacts, and as you would surmise, it's a contact manager inspired by Windows Phone 7.
- Sync contacts from SIM and Gmail
- Add new contact or edit existing one
- Search contacts by clicking search button. If one contact remains swipe up or click for edit contact
- Sort contacts by clicking all under people. You can sort by phone or email
- Chose own picture by clicking on the picture under the All/With Phone/With Email
- Quick search by letter by clicking blue letters.
It seems the explosive growth of smartphone use has had some unintended consequences: U.S. carriers are moving towards tiered data. While some carriers have had "soft" caps for years, we've recently seen a move towards hard caps. "Tiered" plans have long been standard in other parts of the world, but the simple difference is that US carriers charge significantly more across the board - be it basic plans (just minutes), add-on's (such as texting), or data (whether used on a plan or as-you-go).
Notch another victory for the Android community: shortly after Motorola publicly stated they would be moving towards unlockable bootloaders - even retroactively where possible - it appears that the Gingerbread update for the Atrix does just that. Brief Mobile laid hands on a leaked early build of the Android 2.3.3 update, and to their delight, found that unlocking the bootloader was as simple as using a simple console command.
I hereby declare this the poster child for "Mr. Blurrycam" photos.
It's worth pointing out that, according to Brief Mobile, this is an early build of the update. As such, there's a possibility that Motorola simply left the bootloader unlocked for developer use, and the final update will maintain the locked bootloader.
P3Droid of MyDroidWorld has scored an early (debug) Gingerbread build for the Samsung Fascinate, and it's apparently quite polished. So far P3 and Justin (of AndIRC) are the only two to have laid hands on the build, but the issues they have found are that Tetris force closes, Google Maps isn't pre-installed, and some market apps don't show. Otherwise, they say it's a very solid build. P3 has provided a quick (37 second) video preview:
Justin was also kind enough to snap a few quick photos:
Ready to take the dive? Hit up the source for instructions and download links.
I have to admit: as a newly-former starving college student, it's hard for me to see the same sort of value in a $400 tablet that I see in a $200 smartphone or a $600 laptop (or even a $300 netbook). During my month or so with the O.G. Galaxy Tab, I found the tablet to be more of a complement than a replacement - though certainly the new crop of tablets with docks and keyboards has pushed them closer to laptops than ever before.
Last week we posted a poll asking Sprint customers which phone they were hoping to get next. A few commenters complained that they were victims of the Sprint Premier split, wherein people who were at the lower end of Premier previously were moved to Premier Silver, thereby losing their annual upgrades. We've heard quite a few people
bitch complain about this since the split happened, but we're happy to report that Art from the Sprint Premier team stopped by to let us know that Premier Silver customers can actually get one more upgrade restored.
Manufacturer user interfaces (UIs) can be a bit of a hot-button topic in the Android world. Some prefer vanilla Android, à la CyanogenMod. Others have no issue with them whatsoever, and even actively seek to restore some of the functionality. (Others still prefer to roll their own, or like the ability to switch at will... but I digress.) Further, your feelings on manufacturer UIs may depend on which manufacturer and which UI we're talking about.
Love it or hate it, Angry Birds is a massively popular game. Even if it may be a bit played out and past its prime, that doesn't make this any less entertaining: T-Mobile created a real-world, life-size Angry Birds Live game in Barcelona, controllable via an Android device. The results are cooler than you'd expect, and the short (1:40) video is worth a watch.
Certainly puts a smile on your face, doesn't it?
Update: Thanks to Brian for a link to the behind the scenes video: