Goodbye, Android Market, hello, Google Play. Just moments ago, Google let loose the re-branded Android content hub. What's new? Actually, not all that much (yet).
The change in name is largely an exercise in product consolidation. Google Books, Google Music, Google Movies, and the Android Market are all now under the "Google Play" banner, in an attempt to bring all of Google's content services to one place.
Aside from the UI refresh, there's really nothing new going on so far as we can tell.
Many TF101 owners have been [im]patiently waiting on Android 4.0 to hit their devices for at least a week now to no avail. Of course, knowing an update is floating around out there and having to wait for it is even more frustrating than actually waiting for the update to become available, so ASUS UK took to its Facebook page earlier today with a tip on how to get your hands on the update right now from the ASUS support pages for the TF101.
Mobile payment providers. Yeah, I'm already getting a little sleepy thinking about them, too. Let's face it, they're not the most exciting topic in the world, but whenever we talk about how people spend their money, you know there are lots of companies out there eagerly eying the potential of various new payment technologies with great interest. Among such companies are cell phone carriers, and the reason why should be obvious: smartphones with NFC are ideal platforms for next-generation payment systems.
Holy cow. The Android version name rumor-mill has been cranking at full steam for the last couple of months, and everyone seems pretty well-convinced that Jelly Bean is the chosen title for Google's next iteration of the mobile operating system. Way back in September, The Verge suggested that a "reliable source" had told them Jelly Bean was the real McCoy. Let's talk about what we know about Google's naming strategy so far with Android, and why anything but Jelly Bean would make almost no sense.
As the Galaxy S II is one of the best-selling Android devices to date, it's no surprise that many users are eagerly awaiting an update to Android 4.0. Samsung has already confirmed that it is in the works, and we've even seen a leaked build of what it could look like, but we've yet to hear an exact date that users can actually expect the update to roll out on.
Fortunately, Samsung Israel has taken to Facebook to announce that versions of the device in Israel - both unlocked and carrier-branded - will receive the update on March 15.
In early January, ARCHOS let everyone know that the update to Android 4.0 would be coming "in the near future" to all G9 tablets, and a week later we saw them demoing a said update at CES. The rep at CES said the update was scheduled to roll out in the first week of February - a target which the company obviously missed. Now they've taken to their Facebook page once again to apologize for the delay and announce that "they fully anticipate deploying the upgrade within the next two weeks."
While the "anticipate" in that sentence leaves the company some wiggle room, it's nice to see the PR-challenged little company who has a spotty past on Android devices at least try to address both shortcomings.
It takes a lot to put together something amazing for an event like Mobile World Congress. Countless hours of planning have to go into designing an amazing booth, and days of construction likely take place just to get everything set up. All for three days worth of mobile-packed awesomeness.
The Android team got us psyched the week before Mobile World Congress by showing off its 2011 booth; and now, in a similar fashion, it has created a video to show off what everyone who couldn't make it Barcelona missed this year.
Mid last month, Google announced the Android style guide for Ice Cream Sandwich, which was put in place to help developers make their apps blend in with the rest of the ICS UI. Since then, Google has received many requests for ICS stencils to make the conversion (or creation) process all the more simple.
Well, turns out that it listened. A full set of Android 4.0-style stencils are now available over at the Android Developers' blog.
We got a look at the Excite 10 LE's at CES when it was called the Excite X10. Now, Toshiba is bringing the thinnest and lightest tablet* to the US market. The Excite 10 LE is identical to the Excite X10 aside from a couple of letters being rearranged. The slate still packs a "multicore" OMAP processor under a 10.1" LED screen. Unfortunately, the device will be launching with Honeycomb (3.2), but is "upgradeable to Android 4.0."
Here's the spec sheet:
Android 3.2, Honeycomb (upgradeable to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich)
10.1-inch diagonal LED Backlit widescreen Corning Gorilla Glass display with IPS technology and 10-finger multi-touch support