Whether you believe the rumors about Samsung's Android upgrade plans or not doesn't really matter - the company has proven again and again that when it comes to older devices (read: released more than 3-4 months), your chances of an update drop dramatically. Froyo has been around for over 6 months now, but 3 out of 4 flagship Galaxy S devices in the U.S. (Captivate, Fascinate, Epic 4G) are still sporting outdated and Flashless Eclair builds, while the rest were only just upgraded in the last month or so.
It appears that Motorola's ad campaign for the XOOM is underway, with the following ad released today by ShareMoto. As in the previous, and I would say much more successful Tablet Evolution ad, Apple plays a big part, being compared to the Big Brother from 1984. Motorola then flies some [impressive] specs around and... that's it. No pictures of the XOOM - nothing. If this is indeed their Super Bowl ad they are planning to air during the game this Sunday, I will be very disappointed.
HTC Thunderbolt, announced at CES earlier this year, may only seem like it's underpowered compared to the dual-core offerings, but according to a very early unboxing by someone named Michael, it's quite a beast with some very admirable features. I don't know how Michael got his hands on this device so early - perhaps he's a tester, a ninja reviewer, or a VZW employee receiving Thunderbolt training (I'm most likely inclined to side with the latter), but he does spill some interesting details that I've summarized below, conveniently mixed in with some specs.
Rovio and 20th Century Fox obviously think so - they've teamed up to develop a new version of Angry Birds based entirely on Rio. They say it's coming to "app stores" in March (hopefully that includes the Android Market), and will feature 45 levels to call its own. Check out this cinema-quality teaser video Rovio released:
Looks like the Angry Birds brand isn't going away anytime soon - which could be either good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it.
Next Wednesday, Google will be holding a press event to showcase Honeycomb and discuss Android at large. Team Android is going to give attendees an "in-depth look" at Honeycomb, news regarding the Android ecosystem, and a number of hands-on opportunities while at Google headquarters in Mountain View.
The presentation will be streamed live at www.youtube.com/android starting at 10AM next Wednesday, so everyone will get a chance to tune in for the latest and greatest in the world of Android and Honeycomb.
A couple of weeks ago at CES 2011, Sony Ericsson announced its latest Android handset - the sleek and sexy Gingerbread-running Xperia Arc. They've also invited the press, Android Police included, to attend a media breakfast where we ended up spending over an hour of quality time with the new device, documented in great detail here. If you have questions about the Arc, I highly recommend you dive into the above post, as it contains a plethora of useful bits and pieces, all wrapped in a convenient package.
Launcher Pro, my favorite launcher replacement, got updated today with a much requested feature - homescreen transition animations, available to all LP users, not just Plus. In addition to the usual and very smooth slide effect, we now have 4 more: Scale, Rotate, Flip, and Cube. All are smooth, except for the Cube transition, so I would advise against using it until Fede makes it a bit more snappy.
I have a soft spot for well done demoes, even if they exist only in concept form, and today's design by Kristian Ulrich Larsen fits right into this category (did you really expect anything else from a designer with such an awesome name?).
If you liked Mozilla's Seabird concept, you're going to love the Flip Phone, which features 3 flexible, curved AMOLED screens connected by "soft steel mesh hinges," which allow this device to morph into multiple configurations, each offering something different to its user.
Out of all the apps that require root privileges, I probably use ShootMe the most. Before today's update, it was the best and easiest way to take a screenshot anywhere in Android without hooking it up to a computer - just turn the program on, go to the screen you want to take a snapshot of, shake the device, and ShootMe snaps the picture. After today's update, however, ShootMe is no longer just a screenshot app - it's also a screencasting app.
If there's one thing CES told us about the upcoming twelve months in technology, it's that 2011 will be the year of Android tablets. And with noteworthy entries such as the Motorola XOOM, ASUS' lineup, and the T-Mobile G-Slate, it looks like the tablets' quality might be just as high as their quantity - at least hardware-wise.
But what about the software? After all, isn't a device's OS what makes or breaks it?