Archos may not make the most headlines for its series of mid-range tablets, but occasionally, one of them deserves a mention. The Archos 101 G9 is a strong contender for your money if you're on a tight budget. The savants among you may want to hold off for a Galaxy Note 10.1, or whatever Google is cooking up for its tablet line. Still, with prices starting at $270 for the 8" 8GB version to $330 for the 10" 8GB version, it's difficult to ignore. Oh, and did I mention it runs stock Ice Cream Sandwich?
Hardware And Build Quality
On the inside, the tablet isn't a beast, but it's no slouch either.
Hot on the heels of the Droid Razr's leaked fastboot files, two more Motorola devices can now be restored to stock configuration in case of emergency.
Motorola's Atrix 2 and Droid Bionic have both had their fastboot files leaked in recent days, providing a bit of insurance for daring users and developers alike. The Atrix 2's files are available here, while the Droid Bionic's fastboot set can be found here.
For those not in the loop, fastboot allows users to flash unsigned partition images via USB (including recovery images), meaning it is possible to bring a device back from a soft brick.
Google Android software engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru has just let loose a factory image of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, meaning developers now have an official software build to recover from bricks and to tinker with to their hearts' contents. You can find the image, ITL41D, here. The post also indicates more Verizon Galaxy Nexus goodies will be coming later, so we'll keep you updated as more is released.
In a recent "Competitive Comparison" graphic, Verizon has labeled Samsung's Galaxy Nexus as having "No OEM Customization," ostensibly as a selling point against the competition.
It's interesting that Verizon would go so far in labeling the Nexus' UI as such, but it may hint that VZW is at least vaguely aware that some consumers prefer a stock experience, and consider it a strong enough selling point that it should be included in a comparison chart. It's also likely that Verizon simply wanted to accurately describe each device's UI, but I find it odd that they included "Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich" twice in the same column, just to make clear that there are no custom overlays to be found on the Nexus.
Update: This keyboard is now in the Android Market. Hit the widget below to grab it from there.
Ice Cream Sandwich Keyboard
For those who are anxious to get their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich, another bit of Android's newest iteration has slipped out. This time, we've got the ICS keyboard. While it doesn't include the live voice-to-text functionality we were impressed by at Google's announcement (though there are options related to the microphone button in the keyboard's settings), it does bring some nice improvements to the table over Gingerbread's keyboard. It's important to note that this keyboard is only compatible with phones (it doesn't play nice with tablets), and since the package isn't signed by Google, it's not exactly official.
Did you recently do something horrible to your Droid Bionic? Tired of staring at that red Motorola logo? This freshly released recovery file will have your bionic running like new in no time.
Interestingly, Motorola has changed the recovery file format from the tried and true SBF file to the XML based FXZ file. There's isn't a huge difference between the new and old file format, but according to Brief Mobile's head honcho, Kenneth Pennington, FXZ is "more transparent and customizable." So there's that.
For the end user the process is the same as it's always been. The gist is:
In addition to trading, transaction history, balances, order status, and account management, which is obviously limited to logged in users, all of the app's other features can be used by anyone, even those without a Scottrade account. These include:
receiving real-time streaming quotes (I'm impressed that these are real-time even for those not logged in - not bad, if true)
detailed research tools, including stock price histories, charts, fundamentals, insider info, market news and commentary, earnings, options, etc.
SmartText for technical analysis, which seems to be some sort of a help system that explains technical terms around the app
The features are detailed very well in the video accompanying Scottrade Mobile's release.
Official word from Asus is that they can't make enough Transformers to keep up with demand, something that's perhaps not surprising given that the tablet maintains high-end specs but a low-end price. Luckily for some users, keeping a hawkish eye on (r)etailer's websites has allowed them to snatch one up when the seller was lucky enough to get a few in stock. Now, however, there's an easier way, called NowInStock.
The service keeps tabs on a whole host of retailers and checks the stock situation every minute so that it's always up to date. Not only that, but as you can see, it shows the specific model and the price - impressive.
If you've been thinking about picking up the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, then now is the time to go for it, because Wirefly has a deal that's hard to resist. You can get this stock Android beauty for $99 with a new two year agreement, or by adding it as a new line on a family plan. This is indeed a killer deal on an amazing piece of hardware.
If you need a refresher on the specs of this gem, here you go:
4 Inch Super AMOLED display
1GHz Hummingbird Processor
16GB Built-in storage
5MP Rear camera with 720p video capture
VGA front camera
Stock Android 2.3
The same phone will set you back $199 at the Sprint store or $150 at Best Buy, so there really isn't a comparable deal out there right now.
Sprint customers hungry for vanilla Gingerbread can stop holding their breaths now - the Nexus S 4G just went on sale. Sprint will charge you $199.99 for the Samsung-made device, but if you're looking for the best bargain in town, you'll want to visit Best Buy - they're selling it for just $149.99 with a new two-year contract. BB's upgrade price is still $199.99, but at least free shipping is offered by both retailers (ETA: 5/11-5/14 at Best Buy; 2-5 business days at Sprint).
As a reminder, this stock Android machine comes loaded with:
4-inch Super AMOLED Contour display with a WVGA (800x480) resolution
1GHz Hummingbird processor
512MB of RAM
16GB of internal memory
All in all, the handset isn't exactly a spring chicken in terms of specs, but the software is what really matters - and just like T-Mobile's version of the phone, the NS 4G delivers on that front with stock Android 2.3 and Google Voice integration.