Motorola, through its Feedback Network, has indicated that it is readying a "new Jelly Bean software release" for the Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX on Verizon, asking participants – as usual – to test the waters before the release is made final. We know that the RAZR/MAXX duo are set to get a 4.1 update in "Q1 2013" from Motorola's own update schedule, so the following email (sent to members of Moto's feedback network) is a good sign that things are on track.
We had a chance this evening to take a closer look at NVIDIA's Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i chips, and with Tegra 4, a chance to run some benchmarks. We also took a quick look at NVIDIA's reference design phone for Tegra 4i, the Phoenix (though we were only allowed to look - not touch).
Left to right: Phoenix, Tegra 4 board, Tegra 4i board
We'll start with the Phoenix reference phone, because there isn't much to say.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal suggested that Google is in talks with record labels to start its own Spotify-like music streaming service. In the same article, the newsgroup also reported that El Goog is looking to do something similar with YouTube, and launch pay-to-view channels, though no specific details past that were given. Now, some code found in the most recent YouTube app update basically confirms the service is on its way:
<string name="paid_channel_subscribe_message">You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.</string>
<string name="paid_channel_unsubscribe_message">You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.</string>
And there it is, in just a few simple words: "You can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer." While it's still very unclear exactly what this means, it does confirm that the previous rumors are legit.
It took them the better part of two years, but HP is finally ready to get back in the consumer tablet game, this time backing Android. Their first tablet will be the Slate 7, a small model that's light on price and even lighter on surprises. Roughly comparable to the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the 1024x600 FFS+ LCD screen sits on top of a 1.6Ghz dual-core A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of MicroSD-expandable storage.
Well, Mobile World Congress is officially underway, and Lenovo just kicked things off the only way it knows how: with three fairly mundane tablets. They've given each of the three a "subtitle" of sorts to suggest that they may actually be more than they are, but they're not fooling anyone. These are undoubtedly the "John Smith" of the tablet world – they're just average, everyday devices.
The company is touting the S6000 as its "home entertainment center." That's a pretty big title to live up to for something like a tablet, and honestly, it's almost there.
Huawei announced its newest smartphone at MWC this morning, the Ascend P2. The P2 is the follow-up to the Ascend P1, which was announced at CES last year.
The P2 is packing a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM, a 4.7" 720p display with Gorilla Glass 2 (it also works with gloves, apparently), 13MP rear camera, 2420mAh battery, Android 4.1.2 with Huawei's 'Emotion UI' (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little), and is a mere 8.9mm thin.
Custom firmware for popular wireless routers is nothing new. There's DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT... and so many others that I'm not going to take the time to name them all. Despite being quite different in nature, though, they all aim to do one thing: make your wireless router better. Kind of like all the different flavors of custom ROMs for Android devices – it's really a matter of preference which one you choose.
One-touch games work great on mobile platforms - it's part of the formula that makes endless runners and Angry Birds incredibly popular. Adapting that simplicity to racing takes a little finesse, but developer Crescent Moon Games (creators of the popular Paper Monsters and Aralon games) seems to have managed it. In Slingshot Racing, all the powered sleds go at the same speed and have no steering, so to get ahead, you fire a grappling hook at a corner fulcrum to make the best line through the icy tracks.
Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy Note 8.0, but they won't be satisfied until there's no stone unturned for Mobile World Congress. In a disappointingly dry press release the company debuted the Samsung HomeSync, an Android-powered set top box that combines Google TV features and a home media server. Major bullet points include a full terabyte of storage, WiFi and Ethernet access, and an interface powered by Jelly Bean (presumably 4.1) with full access to the Google Play Store.
We've seen it leaked a few times, but Samsung has beaten the Mobile World Congress rush and officially unveiled the Galaxy Note 8.0. The device is basically a super-sized version of the Note 2 smartphone, right down to the physical home button (a first for Samsung's post-Android 3.0 tablets), call capability, and vertical orientation.
The screen is an 8-inch 1280x800 panel, and it's unfortunately a TFT LCD - I had been hoping that they would make it Super AMOLED, and create a spiritual successor to the sadly underutilized Galaxy Tab 7.7.