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Editorial: Let Android Be Android

Introduction

I've had this article in mind for quite some time now, but haven't mustered up the courage to do it in fear of upsetting fanboys. But when the Fascinate shipped with Bing rather than Google as the default search engine, I could hold off no longer. For a Google Android phone to ship with a search engine other than Google, the search engine I know, love, and use on a daily basis (and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here) is unthinkable; not offering a way to change it is even more of an outrage.

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Motorola Charm Review: The Pixel-Faced Killah

 P9060178_1 P9060204

Getting my hands on the Charm was no mean feat. Motorola didn’t seem keen to send out review units to anyone in a hurry, so I took it upon myself to go buy one, under the pretext of it being a gift for my girlfriend (she has a Nokia 1661 for chrissakes).

That in itself was quite a quest, as not a single store in the state of Maine seemed to have one in stock.

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Back To School With Android: The Budget Phones And Awesome Apps That Will Help You Get Through The Year

Phones

Not everyone needs a new phone at this time of year, especially as you probably got your last one some time around Christmas, but if you’re in the market for a decent Android phone on your college-sized budget, here’s the what you’re looking at if you’re one of the four major carriers:

Verizon

  • Motorola Droid - Affordable doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap, and such is the case with the original Motorola Droid.
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Motorola Updates Timelines For Android Updates, Good News And Bad News For MOTOBLUR Phones

No phone manufacturer is as fast with software updates as customers would like them to be, but Motorola has been particularly bad, especially with some of their MOTOBLUR phones which are still stuck on Android 1.5. But they do seem to be taking a step forward with a new timeline that lists when each of their phones around the world will be receiving updates to a later version of Android.

USA

BACKFLIP (USA)
Upgrade to Android 2.1 planned for Q3

CLIQ (USA)
Upgrade to Android 2.1 - testing in process, planned for late Q3/early Q4

CLIQ XT (USA)
Upgrade to Android 2.1 - testing in process, planned for late Q3/early Q4

DEVOUR (USA)
Will not have a software upgrade to Android 2.1

DROID by Motorola (USA)
Upgrade to Android 2.2 currently rolling out in phases

DROID X by Motorola (USA)
Upgrade to Android 2.2 planned for late summer.

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Motorola Sage, AT&T-Bound QWERTY Slider, Leaks Out In Surprising Clarity

Someone at Motorola’s marketing department is clearly convinced that letting out photos of forthcoming devices is the very best way of gathering hype.

The latest in the series is the Motorola Sage MB508 (or should that be SAGE?), a MOTOBLUR-running mid-range device with a landscape QWERTY keyboard and Android 2.1. Expected to land on AT&T as the replacement for the Backflip, Engadget's tipster says he has had his for over a month now, so it would seem that the phone is in the final stages of testing.
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AndroidCentral Cooks Up A Program To Install Off-Market Apps To Devices That Can't (*Cough* AT&T *Cough*) - No Root Required

Normally, to sideload (install from outside the official market) an Android app, you need to enable the "Unknown sources" option in Settings > Applications, then copy the app anywhere on the SD Card, and install it via a file manager, such as Astro.

Unless, of course, a certain entity removes the whole option altogether, making it impossible to install off-Market apps unless you root. Aria, Backflip, Captivate, X10 all have this problem.

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I Am Iron Meh: LG Ally Review

If you’re a fan of a physical QWERTY keyboard, your Android options tend to be fairly limited. Your best bet would be to pick up the Motorola Droid, but if, for some reason, that phone doesn’t do it for you, you’re limited to either the Cliq or the Backflip – both developed by Motorola, and both gimmicky and under-powered. For some reason manufacturers seem to be avoiding high-powered QWERTY handsets like the plague, instead opting for touchscreen ‘superphones’, such as the EVO 4G, or the Nexus One.

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HTC Aria Now Able To Side Load Apps Thanks To Sync Update

Nobody was happy to learn that the HTC Aria would be locked down in the same way as its predecessor, the Backflip, and be unable to install non-Market apps. Fortunately, HTC has given Aria owners a sort of “fix” through an update in their desktop client.

The newest version of HTC Sync for Aria (which you can download for Windows here) gives users the ability to load an APK onto their phone, which means they now have access to a host of new apps that are not available on the Market.

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Motorola WX445 To Be Verizon’s New Bargain Bin Droid?

Similar to devices being offered up by competing carriers – Sprint’s Intercept, AT&T’s Backflip and Aria, T-Mobile’s entire line-up – Verizon plans to introduce a cheaper, low-end alternative to pricier Android models. Engadget reports that the the Motorola WX445 runs Android 2.1 with some type of MOTOBLUR overlay (possibly the same version used on the Droid X), and sports a screen measuring somewhere between 2.5 and 3 inches.

The phone was also described as looking very “cheap,” and has been likened to a keyboardless Palm Pre.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 To Receive OTA Update… That Isn’t Eclair Or Froyo

News for our European readers, this morning: Sony has announced that the Xperia X10 will receive a software update over-the-air (OTA) soon. To quote:

This update focuses on improving the general performance, speed and responsiveness of Xperia X10. For example, there are speed improvements in messaging tasks and camera UI. In addition we add a free back up and restore application so you’ll never lose your settings and information. In selected markets, PlayNow™ with premium apps and games will also be added.

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