It's not much of a secret that Android's success is in no small part due to the broad range of devices which are currently available on the market. There is a phone for everyone available if you look hard enough, from top-of-the-range choices such as the Samsung Galaxy S II all the way down to cheap, unbranded phones from China.
For those on a budget this choice can only be a good thing, but for carriers, it turns out that the cheaper devices may actually do more harm than good.
We love giving stuff away here at AP, and today we have ten cases from Incipio to hand out to ten lucky readers. Incipio offers five main types of case: Dermashot, feather, Silicrylic, NGP, and Edge (they also make a case called "Step" for the Droid X2). I've recently spent some hands-on time with the Dermashot, feather, and Silicrylic models, so before we get into the giveaway, we're going to take a closer look at those.
After reading a couple of great pieces on Droid-life about how Android manufacturers seem to be moving at breakneck pace to advance hardware and iterate handsets like crazy, I had an idea - let's visualize it in different ways. First, we'll start with a pretty basic comparison, showing the US's four major carriers and the number of Android devices they currently offer.
*includes upcoming DROID RAZR and Galaxy Nexus on Verizon.
Although it wasn't announced alongside the plethora of other features during the Ice Cream Sandwich event, Wi-Fi Direct may prove to be one of the more important and revolutionary features of the new OS. In the old days Bluetooth was the standard method of device to device data transfer, but now with Ice Cream Sandwich we are given Wi-Fi Direct and Android Beam. The latter uses NFC to transfer links, media, and other data, while the former is an interesting implementation of the wireless standard which creates ad-hoc networks between compatible devices.
Engadget managed to get some face time with Google's Gabe Cohen and he has confirmed that Ice Cream Sandwich will definitely be coming to the Nexus S. According to Engadget, both he and Matias Duarte are of the opinion that most Gingerbread devices (e.g. the Samsung Galaxy SII) will receive the upgrade.
They said that Google is "currently in the process for releasing Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus S" and that in theory it "should work for any 2.3 device."
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on when ICS would be coming to the Android 2.3 devices and there is also no clear plan on whether ICS will ever come to older devices such as the Nexus One.
Earlier today, Samsung made available the kernel source code for T-Mobile's Galaxy S II -- the latest of many source releases from Sammy. Of course, if you're not into developing, hacking, or modding Sammy phones, this sort of thing is of little value to you. However, if Moto is your flavor, and you want to make a beastly phone a bit more beastly, listen up: Motorola just released the Bionic source.
I'm not sure I would personally ever do that (wait, I'm sure - I'm shrugging just thinking about it), but let's say that you really love the look and feel of the the iOS desktop UI found on Apple's iPhone, with the launchpad, rounded corners, folders, trembling icons with little X's, etc. However, you also love the flexibility that Android offers. Can both be combined? The answer, as it turns out, is yes - Espier Launcher, which just landed in the Android Market (probably immediately infringing on a few dozen Apple patents).
I want you to take a mental journey with me. Dig deep into your memory banks -- all the way back to 2001. You there? Great. Think, if you will, about the the state of video games. The Playstation 2 was the hottest console on the market (okay, that's debatable) and Grand Theft Auto III was the game to have. Kids loved it as much as parents, teachers, and other authority figures hated it, due to its (then) graphic nature.
Early rumours indicated that the Samsung Stratosphere would be released in September, and there were even leaked press shots of the device. However, here we are in October, and Verizon has just now taken the wraps off of the Stratosphere.
Billed as the "first 4G LTE smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard," the Samsung Stratosphere packs a hefty package, including:
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor
4-inch (800x480) WVGA Super AMOLED display
5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard
4GB on-board memory
4GB pre-installed microSD card (up to 32GB supported)
5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera (720p HD playback and 480p recording)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
The Stratosphere is clearly targeted towards the business user as alongside the QWERTY keyboard, the device will also have "enhanced B2B-enabled connectivity services from Cisco, the most comprehensive mobile implementation of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) and support for secure remote device management from Sybase Afaria." Additionally, the device will support "Samsung’s Enterprise Platform enhancements such as VPN, encryption and Mobile Device Management (MDM)." This is a powerful phone that looks to attack RIM's enterprise stronghold and take-away market share from the BlackBerry by offering support for features corporate users find essential.
The road to CyanogenMod 7.1, undoubtedly the largest Android custom ROM, now covering a mind-boggling number of devices (68), has been long and rough. We've been hearing rumblings that the final release was almost here for a number of days (just watch the video of the CM sessions from the Big Android BBQ below), but a couple of hours ago it really did seep through and end up at CM download mirrors across the web.