After seeing a deluge of rumors, leaks, and hoax after hoax this season, it looks like we're finally starting to wind down. With Google's Android event a mere 8 days away, it's time to clear away the muck and take a look at what we expect to make an appearance just a couple days before Halloween. Let's start with the stuff we're most confident in and work our way down, shall we?
Last week, HTC announced the J Butterfly, a 5" phone with a monster 1080p display (that's 440ppi) mated to a quad-core CPU and 2 GB of RAM. The announcement made it pretty clear that the J Butterfly wasn't coming to the US, but similar devices certainly weren't out of the question.
Now, we're seeing blurrycam photos of what's claimed to be Verizon's variant, dubbed the DLX ("Deluxe"). Sure enough, it's apparently packing similar specs: the same 5" 1080p display, a quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 8MP rear shooter and 2MP front.
Orbitz.com, one of the top online travel/booking resources around, has just released a new app – Hotels by Orbitz, meant to help users find, book, and enjoy hotels in thousands of destinations world-wide, whether you need a room tonight, or want to book a future stay.
The app, which has a somewhat slick – though not strictly holo – interface, not only lets users search for and book hotels, but also provides access to Orbitz Mobile Steals – "exclusive mobile-only discounts of up to 50%." The app also allows you to find hotels based on your current location, and sort search results, like with Orbitz's online interface, by best value, lowest price, or by distance.
The Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S III is steadily spreading to more countries in Europe, in addition to Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Romania, and Austria. Today, it started rolling out in Italy (H3G), United Kingdom (H3G), Switzerland (Swisscom), and Ireland (Three), as well as on another Austrian carrier called 3 Austria. As far as I can tell, H3G, Three, and 3 are all owned by the same giant company - Hutchison Whampoa (some names are even interchangeable), so four out of five pushes today seem to be a coordinated effort.
Have you ever wondered what it's like in the giant facilities where Google keeps all your data magically tucked away, ready at the tap of a screen? Well today, you can explore one such data center, street view style. An accompanying video will take you on a guided tour, showing you how the internet giant stores your data, keeps it cool, and destroys it when hard drives fail. Of course you can also walk around the building by yourself, and we certainly suggest you do, as there are plenty of easter eggs.
The floodgates seem be open, folks - the Jelly Bean updates for the Galaxy S III are now rolling out all over Europe. Last month, Samsung shared Android 4.1.1 with Polish users, took a break to fix some bugs, and restarted the process two days ago in Sweden. As of today, the list of countries has expanded quite a bit - France, Spain, Romania, and Austria. All signs point to a much wider rollout, and I wouldn't be surprised if even more territories and carriers show up within the next 48 hours.
The European Galaxy S III Jelly Bean update first turned up in Poland about three weeks ago. At the time, we were hoping it was a good indication that the rest of Europe would follow soon after, but that's about the last we've heard of it until today. In the meantime, Samsung did fire up the update in Korea and reiterated it would soon show up in the States.
LG was hard at work this week pimping the new Lithium Polymer battery technology used in the Optimus G. Promising higher battery density in a smaller, lighter package, word's still out on how much of an improvement it is in the real world. Obviously, though, any advances in battery tech are welcome - more battery life is never a bad thing.
One of the biggest drawbacks to buying apps on things like the Play Store is wondering if it does what you need it to do before you put your money on the line. AppSurfer, an India-based startup, is building a platform to alleviate this concern and give developers a web-based tool to let users test drive their apps before they buy. If this sounds familiar, it's because Amazon allows customers to do this very thing on its Appstore.