I've been thinking about writing this editorial for some time now. And today, with the announcement of Panasonic's upcoming Toughbook Android tablet, I finally decided to go for it. The point this article is trying to make may not be abundantly clear in the title, so let me see if I can get it across as a question: Is it just me, or are there a suspiciously large number of companies in or planning to enter the Android tablet market?
Don't feel like waiting for Samsung and AT&T to get around to officially rolling out a Gingerbread update for the Captivate? Thanks to SamFirmware, you don't have to; you can flash an early build of the update now, provided that you're comfortable with running leaked and likely somewhat buggy firmware.
Looks like EVO Shift 4G owners won't have to wait till tomorrow to get their Gingerbread fix; in spite of what we heard yesterday, it appears that the update is already available.
As a refresher, the update brings Swype and addresses a few media streaming-related bugs in addition to adding all the usual Gingerbread goodies.
To download it to your device, first open the Settings app, then tap "System Updates," and finally go to "HTC Software Update." Alternatively, you could wait for Monday, when Sprint will officially begin the rollout, automatic notifications and all.
Update: In a new Facebook update, HTC explained that some apps would be cut to allow enough space for the Gingerbread update. Looks like it was all about internal storage after all, rather than RAM.
That was quick. HTC, via its UK Facebook page, has announced that Gingerbread will be coming to the Desire after all. Despite the all but scientific conclusion of HTC's engineers, after rigorous testing, that "there isn’t enough memory to ...
Update: The EVO Shift 4G will be getting this OTA on the 17th if you initiate the update check manually, and by June 20th, it should start rolling out to all devices automatically! So be on the lookout for it on Friday.
You thought we couldn't pack any more EVO exclusives in today? Well, you thought wrong! We've learned from our intrepid tipster, Captain Anonymous, another interesting tidbit this afternoon: EVO Shift 4G Gingerbread update (version 2.76.651.4) - June 20th.
CrunchGear is reporting that the Italian site HDblog has received exclusive details on Samsung's least-publicized new tablet product: the Galaxy Tab Seven (aka, the Galaxy Tab 2). The Seven will be the successor to the wildly unpopular Galaxy Tab, which debuted last fall to almost universally poor reviews (though our own Aaron Gingrich thoroughly enjoyed it). The Galaxy Tab was the first major-manufacturer Android tablet, and it seems based on the new tablet's specifications, Samsung learned a lot from the Tab's less-than-successful run.
Take this with a massive grain of salt, but BGR has just let loose an article detailing what they claim will be either the next Nexus phone or, if not a Nexus, simply the new Android reference handset. Far more exciting than that is what BGR's source has told them what kind of features the phone will be packing:
- A 720p "monster-sized" display - exact size unknown (also, goodbye qHD - nice knowing you)
- Dual-core processor @1.2 or 1.5GHz (either a TI OMAP 4460 or a ULP Qualcomm 28nm Krait Snapdragon)
- Android Ice Cream Sandwich (possibly dubbed Android 4.0)
- Software function buttons (ala Honeycomb - no more capacitive touch)
- 4G LTE (yes, yes, yes!)
- 1GB RAM
- 5MP rear camera w/1080p video, 1MP front camera
- Release around Thanksgiving
Unfortunately, several big questions remain unanswered.
Remember how we ran that story last week about Virgin Mobile laying the smackdown on manufacturer UI overlays? We liked that. But Virgin Mobile wants the Android community to know that they shouldn't consider the prepaid carrier a safe haven for illicit activities like rooting or custom ROMs - not that that's any different from all the other carriers. Here's what Virgin had to say:
"We do not endorse in any way end users using a non-officially tested operating system nor do we approve of 'rooting' devices. This constitutes a violation of our terms of service and puts our network in jeopardy," a spokesperson said.
Manufacturer user interfaces (UIs) can be a bit of a hot-button topic in the Android world. Some prefer vanilla Android, à la CyanogenMod. Others have no issue with them whatsoever, and even actively seek to restore some of the functionality. (Others still prefer to roll their own, or like the ability to switch at will...
We've all heard it time and time again: generally speaking, people hate manufacturer skins on Android phones, i.e. Blur, Touchwiz, Sense, etc. I realize that not everyone falls into this category, but I think it's probably safe to say that the bulk of Android users do. It looks like we're not the only ones that are opposed to manufactures gumming up our beloved Android with their custom overlays - Virgin Mobile, a prepaid subsidiary of Sprint, has taken a pro-stock-Android approach to all of its devices.