Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
There are a lot of reasons to like Republic Wireless, the forward-looking unlimited hybrid 3G/WiFi mobile virtual network operator that started an invite-only beta earlier this year. The invite-only part is not one of them. If you've been waiting for your chance to try out Republic's super-cheap plans, then you won't have to wait much longer: the company announced on its blog that it will soon be open to all applicants.
When Motorola announced a few months back that it was not going to update most of its 2011 Android devices to Jelly Bean, owners were understandably upset. Moto attempted to calm the masses by offering a $100 trade-in credit. Now the details have been finalized and the program is looking much less appealing than everyone had hoped.
Eligible devices are the Droid 3, Droid X2, Admiral, Atrix 2, Atrix 4G, Cliq2, Electrify, Photon 4G, XPRT, Titanium, and Triumph.
Motorola promised that the Razr M would get its taste of Jelly Bean before year's end. Of course, when we hear "before year's end," it's just assumed that means December 29th or 30th. In this case, we have been pleasantly surprised, as the M's JB update is on its way out now.
Announced just moments ago by Verizon Wireless, the OTA brings all sorts of goodies to the smallest of the RAZR family, including Google Now, Project Butter (for smoothness), better voice recognition, enhanced notifications, a better keyboard, and more.
Following the ATRIX HD, the recently announced Electrify M destined for U.S. Cellular is Motorola's newest member of the bootloader unlock program. The Electrify M is basically the RAZR M with minor visual tweaks but, unlike its Verizon sibling, won't come in a separate, more expensive developer-friendly flavor. Instead, like the Photon Q on Sprint and the RAZR i/HD outside of U.S., it's unlockable out of the box.
An unlocked bootloader means Electrify M owners will have full blessing of US Cellular and Motorola to customize software on their devices and flash custom ROMs, in exchange for losing the warranty, of course (in case there is any confusion, Motorola specifies: "Once you get the unlock code, your device is no longer covered by the Motorola warranty; in other words, please don't blame us if things go wrong, even if they appear unrelated to unlocking the bootloader.").
Welcome to the newer, friendlier Motorola, where every would-be Android modder is catered to. After creating developer editions of both the new Droid RAZR M and Droid RAZR HD for Verizon (the first from the manufacturer-carrier combo since the XOOM) Google's new acquisition is spreading the love to AT&T. The company announced the ATRIX HD Developer Edition, complete with unlockable bootloader, via its Twitter account today. There's currently no price or date available, beyond the fact that it will be available soon.
Google announced in a statement today that Wisconsin Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed Apple's lawsuit against Motorola Mobility claiming the Google-owned Moto's practices related to standards-essential patent licensing were unfair.
The lawsuit was set to go to trial in US District Court in Madison, Wisconsin this afternoon but was, according to Google, dismissed with prejudice by Judge Crabb this morning. Readers may remember that a similar Apple vs Motorola trial was canceled in Illinois by Judge Richard Posner earlier this year.
If you've been considering a jump from U.S. Cellular to Verizon for the Droid RAZR M, you may not have to make the change after all. USC just announced its newest 4G LTE handset: the Motorola Electrify M. Like its name suggestions, it's basically a Razr M, albeit with a few visual changes.
The Electrify M sports a 4.3-inch "borderless" display, along with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 8MP rear facing camera with HDR, 1.3MP front shooter, 2,000mAh battery, water and scratch resistant coating, NFC, and Android 4.0 (will be upgraded to 4.1).
Just a week ago, I discovered that despite some flaws, the Motorola DROID RAZR HD is a great phone. With a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, a 4.7" 720p SAMOLED display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage (plus a microSD slot), and a 2530mAh battery, it packed solid performance and good battery life into a slim package.
Now, there's another reason to love it: Amazon has dropped the price down to just $130 for new customers ($150 for upgrades), compared to Verizon's $200.