It's that time of the week again folks - time to hit the polls. This week's question is one that'll allow you to express what you think an Android handset should let you do in terms of customization, modification, and other various tinkering (think rooting, custom ROMs, kernels, etc). Basically, we want to know how important it is for you, as a consumer, that your next phone be easy to customize.
|David Ruddock||David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
File this under "things that look good on paper." On Tuesday, a federal judge for the Northern District of California issued an order forcing Oracle and Google, in their fight over various Java patents allegedly infringed by Android, to reduce the number of patent claims and defenses thereto to a "triable" number. That number? Three. And Google will be allowed eight "prior art references" to defend against those claims. (Note: A "prior art reference" is a way of showing that a patent was trying to patent something someone else had already invented prior to the filing, a complete defense against patent infringement, invalidating the patent in question)
Oracle's complaint ended up amounting to 132 patent claims against Google's Android mobile operating system - a staggering number for any court.
While Verizon has temporarily pushed back the release date of the DROID Charge after a 24-hour 4G LTE network outage yesterday, I did manage to get my hands on a review unit this afternoon.
The first thing I noticed was how sleek and futuristic this phone looks - it is just plain cool, in a way that no HTC or Motorola device even comes close to. The boot animation is probably the best on any DROID to date.
There's been a lot of talk about AT&T's crusade against rogue tethering lately, and it all comes back to this AT&T text message sent to some poor iPhone customer(s):
AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone service. Remember, you need a tethering plan ($45/mo, incl. 4GB) to use this feature, so we’re planning to update your line with the required plan soon.
Yes, the carrier everyone loves to hate is cracking down on unauthorized tethering - and they are automatically switching violators onto AT&T's 4GB data plan with tethering access, at a steep $45 a month.
ATRIX 4G users rejoice - HSUPA will soon be here, and without any sort of hacky flashing requiring root access. The official Motorola update page for the ATRIX 4G's latest OTA, 4.1.83, has appeared on Motorola's website today. Here's the change log "highlights" according to Moto:
According to a tipster at Droid-life, the Motorola XOOM will be receiving a (relatively minor) system update tomorrow, and no - it doesn't include SD card support (exactly why, we can't even begin to guess). Here's the list of changes and additions:
- Access and stay connected to Wi-Fi networks with added Proxy support
- SSL data transfer with websites is now supported
- WPA Pre-Shared Key pass-phrases are now supported when using the device as a Mobile Hotspot
- POP 3 HTML emails will display in their entirety
- Bluetooth is now supported in Google Talk
- Application storage errors will not appear unless the device has reached maximum storage capacity
- Safely dock the Motorola XOOM into the docking adapter without interruption
- Ability to add and use a Bluetooth mouse
- View and import pictures from digital cameras with Picture Transfer Protocol
- When using the device in accessibility mode, menus will no longer prompt with sounds
Generally, this update seems to fix a lot of bugs and add support for some more technical items - nothing to get too worked up about.
We were all very excited to hear about the Google Docs for Android announcement this morning, and even more so when we learned it came with a special surprise feature: the ability to upload photos of physical documents from your Android phone and have them transcribed by Google Docs into editable text.
So, the first thing I was curious about, naturally, is just how well this new feature works in the real world.
If you head over to Amazon's Facebook page right now and press "Like," you'll find the first product in Amazon's ongoing A-Z Sweepstakes, a Motorola XOOM, is up for grabs. Eight of them - to be precise. All you have to do is give Amazon your name, email address, and phone number to enter. This is a US residents-only contest, though (unlike our super-awesome Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi Giveaway.)
NielsenWire has released yet another one of their bar and pie chart-filled smartphone surveys for the US this morning, and it's just more good news for Android. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the key stats Nielsen compiled:
Yes, you read right - CyanogenMod 7 for the Thunderbolt. We're super excited, too, because we can finally get our Thunderbolt Gingerbread on! But, please be careful, this is a pre-Alpha release (that means the release before the release before the beta), so be careful. Here's what does not work: