Following on from their press release on Wednesday, Sony Ericsson invited the media this morning to a designated conference room at the Hard Rock Hotel for some play time with their newest Android device. We spent over an hour with the handset to get an idea of what to expect when it hits the market.
The reps there acknowledged the difficulties they had experienced with their previous Android handsets, and showed what appeared to be decisive commitment to putting those hold-ups behind them.
Just days after Kaz Hirai teased the world with talk of Sony's future in smartphones, tablets, and the PlayStation brand (all without confirming or denying the existence of a PlayStation phone), Chinese site IT168 has posted an in-depth review of the engineering version that they managed to get ahold of. Not only is the PSP Phone very real; from the looks of it, the device is almost ready for prime time.
Let's face it: free phones are usually synonymous with crap phones. That's what the Optimus U is trying to change - and, at least on paper, it looks like it might just be able to accomplish the task. That said, this is a phone sold by LG and US Cellular, both of whom have yet to display real talent when it comes to Android - and there's a lot that could go awry, what with the lack of Flash (both on the camera and in the browser) and the 600 MHz processor.
Friday morning I received a surprise visit from UPS - and fortunately it wasn't the sort of surprise visit that requires me to then take a 20 lb. package over to my neighbor's place because the guy was too lazy to read the street number.
A somewhat hefty box, with a seemingly random sender name on it from Louisville, KY had been shipped overnight to my humble abode. I immediately knew it was a CR-48 laptop.
For those of you that can't get enough of the LG Star leaks, Engadget has managed to get their hands on the dual core phone, and, although it is a test unit, it does provide a lot of useful information on what dual core processors may be able to do for Android.
The phone's hardware is fairly non-descript despite the powerful processor held inside. It is also running a fairly unstable build of Android 2.2, which will hopefully be bumped up to Android 2.3 by the time of the phone's release, or at least shortly after.
As you may have seen, Google took the covers off Gingerbread today and released the new SDK, which allowed me to immediately jump into an emulated Gingerbread instance. After playing with the new UI for a while, I've taken a bunch of screenshots, which you can find below, along with some of my notes.
Before I dive into the Gingerbread screenshots, here is a side-by-side comparison of the same Settings screen in Donut (1.6), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3):
From left to right: Donut, Froyo, Gingerbread
As you can see, not much has changed since Froyo, except for most of the elements getting darker and/or greener.
Update: A Sprint official has just posted on the Samsung Epic forums saying that this is not the final version of Froyo for the Epic. What's more, he gave one commenter an ETA of about three weeks. Ridiculous, isn't it?
Below is a statement from the Epic Product Manager regarding the leaked release (DK28):
Sprint is working on a software package for the Samsung Epic4G that will upgrade it to the Froyo version of Android. Over the weekend, some users were able to access and download a test build (DK28) for the Samsung Epic from some 3rd party developer sites. Unfortunately, this is not approved software for Sprint production devices and we strongly recommend that users refrain from loading it.
Say what you may about the custom UI that was on the LG Star we saw earlier today, but you can't deny that there's something to be said for its dual-core processor. GSM Israel has proven just that via a hands-on video in which the LGP990 (aka the Star) is compared side-by-side with an iPhone 4, which comes off a bit undersized next to the Star.
Another factoid mentioned in the video: the handset packs a Tegra 2 processor driving a 4-inch display.