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Back To School With Android: The Budget Phones And Awesome Apps That Will Help You Get Through The Year

Phones

Not everyone needs a new phone at this time of year, especially as you probably got your last one some time around Christmas, but if you’re in the market for a decent Android phone on your college-sized budget, here’s the what you’re looking at if you’re one of the four major carriers:

Verizon

  • Motorola Droid - Affordable doesn’t necessarily have to mean cheap, and such is the case with the original Motorola Droid.
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1

Motorola Milestone 2 Announced

It was only a matter of time, right? Just as with the original Droid, Motorola has been quick to create a GSM version of the Droid 2 for all of our non-American friends (hello, John Thompson) that appears to be identical to its Verizon-bound cousin.

That's right: the Motorola Milestone 2 has just been announced, along with Android 2.2 FroYo, an enhanced MotoBlur skin, a 5MP camera, 8GB of onboard storage as well as an 8GB microSD card, a 1GHz OMAP SOC processor, 512MB of RAM, and 720p HD video recording (one of the Droid 2's major omissions).

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2

Motorola Unveils The Defy: Dust And Water-Resistance Included

Leave it to Motorola to come up with a bizarrely compelling new device that they can slip MotoBlur onto.

We’ve recently seen the Charm and Flipout with Android 2.1 and MotoBlur, and now the Defy is joining them. However, this is a touchscreen only device, and it has something else special: an IP67 water and dust resistance rating. That rating qualifies it as fully protected from dust, and immune to the effects of immersion between 15 cm and 1 m for up to 30 minutes.

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6

T-Mobile Killing Off Motorola Cliq, Cliq XT, And MyTouch 1.2

In what seems like preparation for their upcoming G2 handset, T-Mobile is planning on clearing out their selection of Android handsets by ending sales of the Motorola Cliq, Cliq XT, and T-Mobile MyTouch 1.2 on October 4.

Whatever the reason, it’s probably a good thing that these low-end handsets are going off the market - hopefully, it will help keep outdated OS's like Cupcake and Donut from growing in size.

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6

First Custom Motorola Droid X ROM Released, Gives (Partial) Finger To eFuse & Motorola

Awesome news today on the Droid X front: the first custom ROM for the Droid X has been released by birdman. For anyone not living under a rock, this is a pretty big deal - Motorola was pretty serious about locking down the Droid X, and it's a relief to see that manufacturers can't completely kill the aftermarket.

The ROM seems to be based on the earlier leaked 2.2 ROM, and has only a handful of customizations:

v0.1 includes

  • OptiPNG optimized apk's
  • Deodexed
  • Busybox
  • Updated Superuser.apk (credits to chainsdd)
  • Removed
    • 3g hotspot
    • Kindle (market app)
    • Blockbuster (bankrupt company)
    • EMERGENCY (dial 911 for emergency's...dont screw around with an app)
    • My Verizon (bad market app)
    • Maps (market app)
    • Voice search (market app)
    • Swype (removed for their constant anger towards rom devs)
    • Skype (market app)
    • Google search (market app)

The ROM can be downloaded via ROM Manager, and as far as flashing it goes, it looks like you'll need to be rooted and have ClockworkMod Recovery.

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5

Motorola Charm Rooted Via Universal Androot

Good news for the 12 people who have managed to get a Motorola Charm - Universal Androot works perfectly well. For the uninitiated, Universal Androot is exactly what it sounds like: an app that can root a whole slew of Android devices (disclaimer: it doesn't unlock /system on all of them, though). Instructions are pretty simple:

  1. Download the latest version of the program from this XDA post to your computer.
  2. Copy the file to your SD card.
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8

Real HDMI Unlocks Motorola Droid X's Crippled HDMI Functionality

A few months back (before it launched), we found out that the Droid X would have limited HDMI functionality - mainly, it would only work in gallery mode. Today, we stumbled upon a new app on AppBrain called Real HDMI that seems to remove that restriction. Check out the item description:

Warning: This only works for the Droid X.

Finally you can enable and disable the HDMI port on your Droid X.

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7

CyanogenMod 6.0 Final Released

Looks like CyanogenMod 6, Android's most popular ROM, has made its way out of the RC's and into final release. I've been running CM6 on my EVO for a little over a month now, and I love it. And as most people know, CM6 now covers a fair number of devices:

The above links lead to the CM6 info/download post on CM forums.

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0

New Details On The Motorola R2-D2 Droid 2 And Droid Pro

A little over a week ago, we discovered the Droid Pro, Droid 2 World Edition, and a Motorola tablet (codenamed "Stingray") sitting around in Verizon's internal systems. Since then, there has been endless speculation about whether the Droid 2 World Edition and the Droid Pro are one device. Although there was never enough evidence to support that claim, there was plenty of evidence mounted against it (for example, why would there be two model numbers in Verizon's internal system that had the description of "Droid or D2"?)

Today, an Engadget tipster has debunked that rumor with another screenshot (above) that clearly identifies the A956 as the Droid World Edition (WE) and the A957 as the R2-D2 edition of the Droid 2.

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3

Verizon Begins Rollout Of Flash To The Original Droid

Sure, FroYo for the Droid Incredible was out and about this morning, and FroYo for the original Droid rolled out a while ago, and now we've got even more update news, this time for owners of the original Droid.

If you recall, (don't worry, I don't either) the first FroYo update for the original Droid brought many things, but downloading Adobe Flash player from the Market was not among them.

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