I've been thinking about writing this editorial for some time now. And today, with the announcement of Panasonic's upcoming Toughbook Android tablet, I finally decided to go for it. The point this article is trying to make may not be abundantly clear in the title, so let me see if I can get it across as a question: Is it just me, or are there a suspiciously large number of companies in or planning to enter the Android tablet market?
Evernote, the wildly popular note-taking service, has a big following - but it hasn't really been properly adapted to the big screen, yet. We heard that was about to change back at I/O (we didn't have time to hit up the Evernote booth in the frenzy that was the conference), but the folks over at ArsTechnica sat down with the developers of Evernote and got the scoop.
Update 5/29/11: The first beta download of Evernote for Honeycomb is now live - grab it from here.
After spending some reviewing the Dell Venue last week, I have a renewed interest in the world of all things combining Dell and Android. But, let's face it, Dell hasn't exactly had a great track record with its Android hardware, particularly its first attempt at a tablet - the universally-disliked Streak 7.
The Streak name, then, does evoke a bit of a grimace for most folks familiar with Android hardware.
The upcoming version of Sense 3.0, found on such devices as the HTC Sensation, Sensation 4G, EVO 3D, Flyer, and EVO View 4G, will offer polish of unprecedented quality to the custom software layer HTC puts on all of its non-Nexus devices. The new lockscreen widgets and quick controls, spinning homescreens, updated camera software, and snappiness are just some of the features Sense 3.0 brings to the table (some nice demos here).
We've had leaked betas of Google's Music 3.0 app for Android for what seems like time eternal now, but Google has finally chosen to make the app public. At least part of it, that is. It sports the same interface as the beta we've all come to know (and love?), but lacks one key feature, mysteriously: a settings menu. That's probably owing to the fact that the previous betas we've seen all contained sync (Google Music) options in the settings menu, and unless you're a beta-invitee (don't worry, none of us have gotten ours yet, either), these options will presumably remain hidden and otherwise inaccessible.
Boy Genius Report dropped a piece of information this afternoon confirming a long-standing suspicion that the Motorola XOOM will soon be available on America's most budget-friendly carrier, Sprint - and it'll be packing a WiMAX 4G radio.
The tip came via Sprint store employees, who found XOOM case SKUs in the Sprint inventory system, along with an actual case in an accessory shipment, as shown below.
Pricing has not yet been made public, but expect some kind of subsidy to be available with a 2-year agreement.
No doubt you've seen at least one mention of the 100,000-XOOM sales figure somewhere on the web today - and for me, it has reached the point of mild annoyance. From this number, all sorts of wild extrapolations and theories are being tossed around about Motorola's future, Android's future, and the viability of tablets in an Apple-dominated market.
Boy Genius Report took a step back, and presented a level-headed but clearly pro-XOOM take on the news:
Well-known budget electronics manufacturer ASUS has a big splash-page promo up on Best Buy's website right now for the upcoming Eee Pad Transformer, the manufacturer's first Honeycomb (Android 3.0) tablet, and it's not exactly subtle:
It's a fair comparison - both will probably break their hinges around the same time
The (unintentional) irony here being that ASUS's product aren't exactly known for their top-notch materials (I'm not saying their products are faulty - just a little flimsy).
There has been quite an uproar as of late over Google's handling of the source code for Honeycomb, their most recent version of Android. The company announced this week that it would be delaying the release of the Honeycomb source in order to iron out some issues, specifically ones involving running it on small-screen devices (i.e. phones). Andy Rubin gave an explanation as to why these issues exist:
Great news for those of you holding out for that WiFi-only XOOM of your dreams: Costco has moved up its availability date for the LTE-less version of the tablet from April 1 to this coming Sunday, March 27. So if you walk into your local Costco this weekend, presumably the WiFi XOOM will be there to greet you for the reasonable price of $599.99.
But, if you order online, you'll get a couple of perks (even if it does mean you won't be getting your XOOM on Sunday).