The most important phone of the year has arrived. We not only get a new version of Android, but a new approach to hardware design, too. This isn't just any new piece of hardware; this is (hopefully) the start of a revolution in design and materials for Android phones. This Nexus 4 hardware is so good, so well-built, and made with such attention to detail, that it is the new high bar for any hardware - not just Android hardware.
After Google's release of "experimental" binaries for Sprint's Galaxy Nexus variant, Jean-Baptiste Queru (Chief Android Release Engineer) confirmed that the binaries represented not full AOSP support, but the "taking down [of] many hurdles that were preventing [AOSP support]," citing bugs in the network stack as one of the issues yet to be addressed.
Less than one month later, it would appear that those issues have been sorted, as Google today published the toroplus' factory image for the first time.
Following the ATRIX HD, the recently announced Electrify M destined for U.S. Cellular is Motorola's newest member of the bootloader unlock program. The Electrify M is basically the RAZR M with minor visual tweaks but, unlike its Verizon sibling, won't come in a separate, more expensive developer-friendly flavor. Instead, like the Photon Q on Sprint and the RAZR i/HD outside of U.S., it's unlockable out of the box.
An unlocked bootloader means Electrify M owners will have full blessing of US Cellular and Motorola to customize software on their devices and flash custom ROMs, in exchange for losing the warranty, of course (in case there is any confusion, Motorola specifies: "Once you get the unlock code, your device is no longer covered by the Motorola warranty; in other words, please don't blame us if things go wrong, even if they appear unrelated to unlocking the bootloader.").
Ah, Black Friday. The biggest (and most malevolent) shopping day of the year. A day of good deals, hateful people, and... other stuff. If you're willing to brave the all that for a new phone, Sam's Club has you covered this year, with the Galaxy S III going for less than a buck with a new two-year agreement.
From what we gathered by calling a few different Sam's stores, this is good for all four carriers (so long as your local Sam's has them all).
The Xperia T and TX, the latter of which I quite recently reviewed, are slated to receive an over-the-air update globally in the next week* (*unless you're on AT&T, in which case the ETA is: haha, good luck), and it's packed with features. Features that do things. Here's the breakdown.
First, Wi-Fi Miracast display mirroring, which is actually a stock feature in Android 4.2. And in case you're wondering - no, this is not an update to Android 4.2, you're still stuck in Ice Cream Sandwich-land.
Note II early adopters on the Now Network, time to head into the Settings menu and check for updates - Sprint just announced a new OTA is rolling out for its iteration of the phablet. This update brings a few meh changes, like GPS lock setting enhancements, email fixes, and improved text message notifications while talking on the phone. But it also brings one major feature: Multi-Window. It's good to see this feature start rolling out to U.S.
Docks are hard to come by for Android hardware, where very few individual models rise above the pack. But if you're one of 30,000,000 people sporting a Galaxy S III, or one of the considerably smaller number using AT&T's Samsung Infuse 4G, you can pick up an official vehicle mount for a song. Assuming that you can sing a song that's worth five American dollars.
The Infuse 4G dock is currently $29.99 on Amazon, but some wary forum poster over at SlickDeals spotted the same dock at AT&T's online store for just five bucks even.
It was only a couple of months ago that Sony introduced its new budget smartphone - the Xperia tipo - but after implementing a few spec boosts and increasing the size of the screen, they're ready for round 2, and this time they've brought the Xperia miro into the ring.
There's no doubt that the miro is still very much a budget smartphone, it's available for £150 SIM-free, but Sony has managed to make it look and feel the part thanks to a nice plastic material covering the back, and an LED which shines between the screen and capacitive touch buttons each time you turn on the display.
Who doesn't love a good software update? Today, Sprint is beginning to rollout a minor upgrade to the Photon Q that brings a few incremental improvements. Sorry, there are no Jelly Beans to be seen, but there are still some things to be excited about. Here are a few of the key features of the newest build:
- Improved text messaging when requesting usage and upgradeability through Sprint Zone
- Select number of users to access Wi-Fi hotspot
- Random power cycle when using Wi-Fi Direct
- Manually send or auto-sync emails from outbox
- seamless international text messaging
- Faster launch and playback using the YouTube application
- Improved browsing with Google Chrome for Android Mobile Browser
- Improved MMS functionality
All in all, it's not a huge update by any means, but users of the device should still appreciate the tweaks.
The DROID DNA (or DLX ... or DIX) is a phone we've seen running around in leaked photos and Verizon MAP spreadsheets for some time now, but the date of an official launch has generally been elusive. Evleaks suggested early December, and given today's announcement of a Verizon/HTC event next week, that seems to be an increasingly likely timeframe.
The DROID DNA is largely believed to be a DROIDified version of HTC's J Butterfly, a 5" 1080p, quad-core Snapdragon-packing beast of a phone.