According to a Taiwanese newspaper, as reported by Fox Business, HTC was the subject of a recent plea by the head of the country's central bank. He urged the Taiwanese government to offer some sort of financial assistance to HTC, whose stock has dropped over 80% from its peak in Spring of 2011. While HTC is still profitable, the bank's governor points not only to HTC's dramatically waning share figures, but the impact of its slowed growth on Taiwan's net exports, which have fallen 11% year over year.
Since hearing earlier this month that HTC's Desire S, Thunderbolt, and other select handsets would receive ICS updates "by the end of August," we have heard nary a peep from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Today though, thanks to an alleged leaked RUU, we have a stock Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 build for the Thunderbolt (aka Mecha).
According to Administrator's post at TeamBAMF's forums, the ROM, based on a leaked RUU (and carrying build number 7.00.605.2), is said to be fully functional and fully stock, but it's worth noting that the ROM is deodexed and rooted, meaning those wishing to retain root are in luck, but if you – for one reason or another – want a strictly stock, non-rooted experience, you'll have to wait.
A little over a year ago, before I was hired at AP, I wrote about the things I wanted my new Honeycomb tablet to be able to do in the next version of Android. Multitasking on tablets was (and still is) non-existent, and I wanted my tablet to be less of a big phone, and more of a small computer. I wanted split screen, and floating apps, and really, I wanted to just make use of this nice, big screen I had.
The T-Mobile Galaxy Exhibit 4G—formerly known as the Exhibit II 4G before a software update rebranded the device, because I guess you can do that—is receiving another update today. Sorry, it's not Ice Cream Sandwich. As a consolation prize, though, you get stability improvements and bug fixes!
The new build (T679UVLG3) will only be available via Kies, so you'll need a desktop computer to be able to download it. Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of a significant changelog, but what we do have is right here:
Android version 2.3.6 / Software T679UVLG3 - Current Version
- Android version 2.3.6 / Software T679UVLG3
- Samsung Kies Only
- Approved 8/14/12
- Device stability improvements
- Bug Fixes
- Android version 2.3.5 / Software version T679UVLE1 update
- Latest version of Kies software downloaded on PC or MAC
- At least 50% battery life
So, Exhibit 4G owners, grab your micro-USB cables and get downloading!
With a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, a majorly outdated version of Android, and a $50 price tag, the MyTouch Q is a hard sell to enthusiasts. (In fact, I'd bargain that literally no enthusiasts would buy it.) But as I explained just a few days ago, there's a lot more to the smartphone picture than devices that cost a few hundred dollars and can do everything short of make breakfast. A very large percentage of consumers have no desire to use their phone as a media streaming device or a mobile gaming powerhouse.
We'd previously heard that Play Store Gift Cards are set to arrive officially on August 26th. While that may be true for stores that are still waiting on their shipments (read: not Target), Google has decided to take the wraps off of the whole thing ahead of time. The elusive URL we've seen floating around for a gift card landing page is now live. As well as that support page we found last night.
It was only last week that Sony began to update the Xperia P with Ice Cream Sandwich, but it looks like the company is now going full steam ahead and bringing the update to no fewer than 8 more devices this week.
A post on the Sony Xperia Product Blog this morning said that the update will be coming to the arc, arc S, neo, neo V, mini, pro, active, and ray "starting from this week".
Acer's newest offering illustrates what I'm talking about. The company has launched two phones - the Liquid Gallant and the Liquid Gallant Duo - that are very low-end and amazingly low-price, checking in at just £149 (about $235). Take a look at the specs:
- 1GHz MTK6575 (single-core) CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB storage + microSD slot
- 4.3" qHD display
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- 5MP rear shooter
- 1500mAh battery
- 129 x 65.5 x 9.9mm, 145g
- 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
That may not be a lot of punch, but at that price, it will be enough to pull a lot of dumb- and feature-phone users into the smartphone world.
It looks like the biggest leak of the Play Store's soon-to-launch gift cards may be coming from Google itself. A support page showed up in search indices (that has now been pulled) which confirms the cards will be US-only at launch and will come in $10, $15, $25, and $50 increments. Through some Google-fu, we've also learned your Google Play balance will have a $2000 limit and cannot be used on subscriptions or devices.
We don't normally make a fuss over budget phones, and we definitely don't readily recommend that people buy them (even when they're free). For the Pantech Marauder on Verizon Wireless, however, we'll make an exception. Its Snapdragon S4 processor, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and 4G LTE connectivity make this a budget device that stands out from the pack.
For the unfamiliar, the Marauder is a new offering from Verizon, packing some very respectable hardware (for the most part, anyway):
- Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 4GB
- Display: 3.8" 480x800
- Battery: 1680mAh
- OS: Android 4.0
- Dimensions: 5.07" (H) x 2.57" (W) x 0.46" (D)
- Camera: 5MP rear, VGA front
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n, WiFi Direct
The clear downside of the Marauder is its smaller-ish 3.8" display, but if you loved the OG Droid and no other phone has been able to fill that void since, the Marauder is your best choice.