If you're anything like me, you text constantly. There are times, however, that I put my phone down and hop on the computer to do some more in-depth tasks or just enjoy some good, old-fashioned big-screen browsing. When I'm doing that, it's usually a pain to receive a text message, have to dig out my phone, open the messaging app, and use a tiny keyboard to reply, even though I'm sitting at a much larger, easier to use keyboard.
The Motorola XOOM: Ever since it was first teased at D: Dive Into Mobile, the Android community hasn't been able to take its eyes off the tablet's dual-core processor, gorgeous 10.1-inch display, and - last but certainly not least - Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system.
Well now the device has officially gone on sale, and I've been
testing falling in love with a review unit for the last few days. Typically, I end up hating devices that I adore at first blush, but the XOOM is an entirely different story - the device is far from perfect (where are the tablet apps?), but I have yet to find anything truly upsetting about it.
Each day a smartphone user receives information from a variety of different sources, including phone calls, text messages and emails.
If you are reading this post, it's extremely likely that you have an Android device. If you have an Android, it's 100% certain that you want to pluck out your own eyeballs in rage every time you are forced to use the search feature in the Android Market. Even Market alternatives like AppBrain leave a lot to be desired, with sub-optimal search results and a less than beautiful UI. The sad fact that Google, a company that makes most of its revenue from search and ads, can't seem to provide half-decent results is what motivated the folks behind Chomp to get into Android.
If you caught our review of Thumb Keyboard last month, you'll know the gist of this clever keyboard app that aims to make two-thumbed typing a breeze. It's a novel (and potentially very useful) tool for a phone, but with recent updates that have accentuated the tablet layouts, this has now become my keyboard of choice on large tablet screens, and is a potential game-changer in the new slate arena.
On phones, trace keyboards like Swype and SlideIt are extremely hard to beat in the speed department (world texting records seem to be broken on a regular basis with Swype), but on the wider tablet screen, tracing suddenly becomes much less convenient.
Take a look at the top tier of Android phones right now and you might notice something. They all kind of look the same. Black front fascia, large touchscreen, minimal waistline. Boring, right? Well that's just the way things are going. Alternatives to the slate way of living are becoming increasingly rare, which puts the HTC Desire Z with its hardware keyboard in an intriguing light. With its metallic accents and suave grey pallet, the Desire Z cuts a different path.
Lookout Inc's Lookout Mobile Security app is one of the most popular and trusted security apps on the Market, and while the company is going to continue active development of its flagship product, today it is launching Lookout Labs - a separate Android Market developer account dedicated to "pushing the bounds of mobile apps."
The first fruit of Lookout Labs' labor is a brilliantly simple yet very useful app called Plan B.
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.
About this time last week, I first started playing with our Inspire 4G review unit. And at first blush, I admittedly found myself enamored with this phone. Unfortunately, it was a love that started to splinter as the days went on, and the more I used it, the more I noticed just how unfinished some parts of this phone can feel. Overall, the Inspire is a good phone with the potential to be great, and I'll talk about what's holding it back (software, connectivity) further on in the review.
One of the few tech blogs who managed to get their hands on Motorola's upcoming AT&T flagship - the Atrix 4G - is, of course, Engadget. The reviewer, unsurprisingly, is the infamous cool geek and editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, who, from my experience reading Engadget's reviews, does a good overall job but fails to go into those details that matter to most Android users. The Atrix 4G review is exactly what I had expected, and I'm going to summarize it and save you 20 minutes reading it.