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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.