The New York Times website exists in 3 language flavors: English, Spanish, and Chinese, and now the latter is graduating to also become a standalone Android app. You may be wondering why a website that's blocked in China would release an app on an app store that's also not legally available in China, but you'd be forgetting that Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, with native speakers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and plenty of Southeast Asian countries, not to count all the Chinese immigrants around the world. Plus those inside Mainland China who use proxies to access restricted content.
Removable batteries? Bah. External USB batteries? Child's play. Real power users use multiple batteries to make sure that their phones never turn off within a hundred miles of electricity. Or at least that seems to be the idea behind the M5, an upcoming smartphone from Chinese manufacturer Gionee. According to Weibo, the as-yet-unseen phone will sport two batteries inside its bay, both of which are removable in a hot-swap configuration.
The newest version of SwiftKey opens the third-party keyboard up to millions upon millions of people. How? By officially bringing Chinese language support out of beta. There are seven new input methods total, with ways to type in Simplified, Taiwan Traditional, and Hong Kong Traditional Chinese.
We've been waiting a long time to see smartphones with screens made from synthetic sapphire, an expensive material that justifies its cost by being nearly impervious to scratches from all but the hardest materials. So far we've seen it on a single Kyocera "tough" phone and not much else, but Chinese manufacturer OPPO is hoping to bring it to a more mainstream device. Say hello to the R1C, a phone that hangs out on the higher portion of the midrange, and is scheduled to hit China later this month.
The specs in the R1C are good, if not fantastic: it uses a Snapdragon 615 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, the infuriatingly typical 16GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing cam.
OnePlus has been amazingly and infuriatingly evasive when it comes to their much-hyped One phone, bordering on "bloody cheeky" with their series of faux-viral specification and schedule reveals. Perhaps one of their hardware or marketing partners got as fed up with waiting as we are, because a full set of convincing photos and renders has been leaked via a Chinese forum.
The set of photos shows what looks like a pretty standard high-end phone, with the interesting addition of a variety of removable"StyleSwap" back covers, including various covers made of (or at least covered in) wood, carbon fiber, and denim.
It's not all that uncommon for software companies to roll out updates on a monthly, even weekly basis, but manufacturers are typically content to improve their products much more slowly. This isn't the case with Xiaomi, the successful Chinese smartphone maker Hugo Barra, former Vice President of Product Management for Android, left Google to join a few months ago. The company ships a new batch of phones every week, partially relying on user feedback to determine what changes they should make for each group - new shipments come out every Tuesday at noon Beijing time, containing new software builds and possible minor hardware tweaks.
A couple of days ago, we ran a story about a circulating rumor that Google had expressed strong concerns with the launch of an Acer phone powered by Chinese Internet firm Alibaba's Aliyun OS. As the post explained, Alibaba claimed that Google had warned Acer that releasing the CloudMobile A800 could result in the search giant "terminating its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with [Acer]." These rather strong words led to speculation over just what the issue could be with Aliyun, and whether Google had issued the warning at all. Google quickly confirmed its stance, indicating that Aliyun was an incompatible version of Android, and one that could "weaken the ecosystem."
Aliyun OS, for those wondering, is a Linux-based operating system built by Alibaba Group, China's largest Internet firm by transactions.
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.
As Android is open source software, there are no hardware specifications that manufacturers have to meet before they can sell their phones with Google's operating system.
Second only to Google Voice Search in terms of popularity on Android, Vlingo received a major update today. What's new? The entire UI has been streamlined into a much more intuitive list format that makes learning Vlingo's various voice command capabilities, or quickly accessing them, a breeze.
You can send text messages, make phone calls, find places, open apps, get directions, buy movie tickets, and more. Vlingo also includes a handy InCar mode, which you can set to activate automatically whenever your phone connects to a Bluetooth headset.
More important than the spiffy new look, though, is the added support for more languages.
Wow, this went unnoticed for a while, didn't it? On November 23rd, Google's own GoogleinHK YouTube account posted a video walkthrough of the new Google Voice Search in Cantonese. With only 2100 views, this official Google-authored video did not grab anyone's attention, until someone noticed that it featured over a minute of the clearest Gingerbread user interface video we've seen to date. The greens, the blacks - it's all there. Have a look:
Update #2: the original video was pulled but luckily, I found another copy:
Update #3: another mirror, in case Google takes down our YouTube mirror.