A couple of weeks ago, word popped up of a UK site starting to take pre-orders for the Wi-Fi-only version of the Motorola XOOM, being available in early April. Not long after that images leaked of the same model showing up in a Sam's Club training center with a price tag of $539. Not to be outdone, yet another story arose saying office retailer Staples would be supplying the slate for $600 with employee training starting on March 23.
Bloomberg is reporting that Google intends to test out the still nascent NFC (near field communication) technology by allowing shoppers in New York and San Francisco to pay for their purchases using only their mobile devices.
Apparently, Google is planning on buying thousands of special cash-register systems from VeriFone Systems Inc. and installing these at retail outlets in the two metros sometime in the next four months. Then customers with NFC enabled mobile devices can pay for their purchases by tapping in on these special registers.
If you aren't already chained to a smartphone contract perhaps this is a good time to get your feet wet and buy the HTC EVO Shift 4G slider from RadioShack for the low price of $69.99. You will of course also have to sign up for a two-year contract with Sprint.
Take a deep breath - it's really starting to look like the Thunderbolt saga is approaching the end. Verizon's first 4G LTE device has been through a rollercoaster of predictions, disappointments, and broken promises (over and over), but the latest confirmed date of March 17th we told you about earlier is indeed proving to be legitimate.
As promised, Wirefly just launched the Thunderbolt pre-order page, and if you've been waiting to pick one up, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Late last night, the Android team pushed out a set of changes to the Android app publishing interface that developers use to upload and maintain their apps. The new features, while completely invisible to the end-users, are absolutely fascinating to app developers.
Each app now has a Statistics link, which consists of the following:
- a Google Finance-style Flash chart of all installs, the time period for which you can adjust as you see fit
- Android versions (conveniently placed side-by-side with the same stats for all apps in the Market)
- specific device models
- countries where your app is downloaded from (also side-by-side with countries for all apps in the Market)
- languages used on the phones with your app on them (also compared to the global stats)
Have a look at some screenshots, then, if you are a developer, hurry to your own publishing console and check out those sexy stats for yourself.
The reincarnation of the Sidekick brand didn't quite come as a complete surprise after T-Mobile teased its return back in January, followed by a nice photo leak that showed the latest thumb-killer, this time made by Samsung, in its full glory. However, it's always nice to get official confirmations and specs from the carrier itself, and that's exactly what T-Mobile is gracing us with today.
The new Sidekick comes with a 3.5" touchscreen display, a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, HSPA+21 4G capabilities, a front-facing VGA camera, and, of course, a signature "pop-tilt" 5-row QWERTY keyboard.
They say "talk is cheap" - and these days it seems like every major US wireless carrier is claiming to have the fastest 4G (of course 4G is a highly debatable marketing term that describes three vastly different networks, but that's fodder for another post altogether). It's relatively easy to tune all of the marketing hype out but, when presented with some solid numbers, it gets easier to pay attention. PC World has tried to give us some raw data to work with in their profiling of the data speeds on the four major providers.
WebOS may catch a lot of flack because it never really took off but it does, in fact, have some really awesome features. One feature was the card view multitasking, which has already found its way onto Android. Another cool thing it did was that wacky swipe-up-from-the-bottom launcher gesture. Well, folks, guess what there's an app for now. It's called Wave Launcher - and it's great.
Wave Launcher's beauty is in its simplicity, just like its WebOS predecessor.
We have learned from a number of trusted sources that the much-anticipated HTC Thunderbolt will launch this Thursday, March 17. We have also learned that online retailer Wirefly will be offering pre-orders starting at midnight (PST) tonight. The site's Thunderbolt page has not yet been updated to reflect this, but they announced it via their Facebook page. Verizon's first LTE smartphone lists for $249.99, but Wirefly is promising a "special price" for their customers.
Off topic? Sure. Amusing? Quite. ChipWorks has cracked open a Samsung Galaxy Tab and Samsung Captivate (a Galaxy S device) to take a look at the chips inside, and found a surprising number of visual goodies packed within. Using some scanning electronic microscopy, they saw a message that reads "If you can read this, you are much too close." Much too close, indeed: the letter "o" in the message is less than 1/10th the thickness of a human hair.