Ah yes, Android 2.2 (build number EB13) for the Epic 4G is finally here. Well actually, that's not quite accurate if you're waiting for the official OTA rollout - which won't start until 9:00 p.m. PST - but if you're willing to flash the update as a ROM, you can have it now.
Good news for all you prepared individuals out there who are subscribed to Sprints TEP (Total Equipment Protection) plan: You now have access to a new app that adds a whole new level of useful to protecting your device through Asurion, the third party company that handles the insurance rigmarole for Sprint (and pretty much every other U.S. carrier, but they don't get an app).
The Sprint Total Equipment Protection App essentially mirrors the functionality of services like Lookout Mobile Security (but without the antivirus part): It can be used for locating your phone via GPS, helping to find it by sounding an alarm (even when on silent mode), backing up your contacts, remotely locking your device with a pin code, and remotely wiping the contacts.
That wasn't so long, was it? As expected, Sprint has officially announced the official Android 2.2 update for the Epic 4G is set to start rolling out February 21 and will continue to be sent in waves until February 25, when all devices will have received the update. While you probably already know everything Froyo entails, Sprint has compiled a list of the major enhancements and additions you can expect:
This software update (version EB13) will include:
- Upgrade of the Google OS from Éclair to Froyo (2.2.1)
- Ability to install applications to external storage
- Improved Bluetooth device support
- Bluetooth Voice Dialing
- Flash Player 10.1
- GPS Enhancements
- Improved OS performance
It's certainly been a long time coming, but maybe this Froyo update will win back some customers for Samsung.
Earlier today, Android Central caught word that the Epic and Zio would receive an over-the-air (OTA) update to Froyo on February 21, but had nothing more than copied and pasted text from the Sprint system. Fast forward a few hours, and we now have more concrete evidence in the form a screenshots from Sprint's internal system that confirm the update is coming:
Turns out the rumors were true - Sprint and Kyocera have partnered up to build the Echo, the world's first dual-screen phone.
The two 3.5" 800x480 screens offer 4.7 inches of real estate when combined, and can be used as:
- One huge display ("Tablet Mode")
- Combined displays, where one screen can show a keyboard while the other displays the email app ("Optimized Mode")
- Two individual displays with each running a separate app ("Simul-Task Mode")
- One single display, with the second hidden underneath ("Single-Screen Mode")
Unfortunately, the rest of the Echo's specs aren't nearly as innovative - its battery is puny (1370 mAh, though Sprint will include a spare), it doesn't have a front-facing camera, and there's no 4G connectivity to speak of.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint's big announcement will involve a Kyocera-manufactured device called the "Echo," which features two 3.5-inch displays connected by a "pivot hinge." To be honest, I had a hard time believing the rumor - it sounded like the stuff of dreams (at least with the current state of technology) - but it looks like my fears were unfounded, for a search for "echo" on Sprint's site brings up the following result:
While the link below the promising text doesn't open an actual product page, it does lead to the following gem, which makes the possibility of an official unveiling tonight even more likely:
Guess we now know why Sprint didn't have anything to show off at CES (excluding the Shift 4G), eh?
The title says it all, people: those enterprising individuals over at XDA-Developers (where else?) have conjured up a permanent root for the EVO Shift. As this is the first method available, the process isn't quite so easy as it's become for other devices. Still, it's not too outrageously complicated, either.
ok download this file and extract it to the root of your sdcard
make sure you have adb properly setup on your computer before continuing
temp root using either visionary or z4root
open up command prompt and cd to your sdk platform-tools directory
then type adb shell then su
if you havent already u must press allow on your device to enable su perms
check the md5sum of both of the files to make sure they match
if these do not match do not continue redownload the files then check the md5's again
Flash the eng spl!!!
This morning, I noticed an interesting thread in the EVO subsection of the XDA forums that claimed to be able to fix music streaming (which was broken in some apps after the latest OTA), while boosting 3G speeds by .2 to .6 Mbps. As the process is very simple and easily reversible, I gave it a go - but decided that I was going to use SpeedTest to benchmark the changes.
HTC EVO Shift 4G is not even a month old, but this $150 (on-contract MSRP) mini-EVO slider was already discounted by Amazon Wireless to $119.99 at launch and today dropped another $30 to $89.99. Since Amazon doesn't charge tax in most states and offers free 2-day shipping, I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that you will not find a better deal anywhere else on the web. Unfortunately, only new accounts willing to sign a 2-year contract qualify for the promotion - those upgrading will need to shell out the full $150.
Although Sprint's data plans are significantly cheaper than their competition, there was still some outcry when Sprint decided to charge a $10 monthly add-on charge to phones with 4G connectivity, even if your area isn't actually covered by their WiMax network. Now, however, all smartphones activated after January 30 will be subject to the same charge.
Sprint's reasoning - that “building, maintaining and expanding wireless data networks isn’t free" - is sound, and you can't argue that they still beat every other carrier when it comes to the price of their data plans.