Today we're going hands-on with Dell's latest Android smartphone: the Venue. I apologize for my voice being even more nasally than usual - I've been a bit under the weather.
To put it briefly, the Venue is actually a pretty good phone - it's just a little... old, at this point. Still, it has made me a believer that Dell, a computer manufacturer, can make a good piece of smartphone hardware (and actually some pretty decent custom software as well, ala Stage UI.)
DANGER: There is a link to download this unofficial, unsupported CM7 ROM in an XDA thread linked at the bottom of this post. Use of that software is 100% at your own risk, and unless you're a developer, there's not much reason to be playing with at this point. There is no data connectivity, no sound, and no Google Apps. Consider yourself warned.
A number of Gingerbread-hungry developers (including some from the CyanogenMod team, particularly Slayher) are hard at work preparing CyanogenMod 7 for its Thunderbolt debut, and progress is steadily being made.
Do you have $500 laying around to spend on a smartphone? Well then, have we got a deal for you - Dell's most attractive piece of Android hardware to date, the Venue (formerly know by its code name "Thunder"), is up for grabs on Dell's website right now. At $500, it's not too exorbitant a price for an unlocked handset, and you get your choice of frequency band versions: AT&T or T-Mobile.
A couple of leaked Verizon charts popped up on Droid Life this morning, their contents? HTC Thunderbolt propaganda - well, at least in one of them.
If Verizon's estimated LTE speeds aren't just hot air, then Sprint and T-Mobile (and AT&T) should probably be worried right now. Sprint's smartphone plan price hike probably isn't winning them any points, and T-Mobile's 4G handsets aren't exactly new and exciting (G2, myTouch, or a rehashed Vibrant - take your pick).
The phone remains unchanged on the hardware side of things, it seems, but it’s now confirmed to be running Android 2.1. We’ll go ahead and give you a quick brush-up lesson on what the Thunder is bringing (pun very much intended):
4.1” WVGA AMOLED 480x800 display
Android 2.1 with Dell’s “Stage UI” overlay
1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
Removable 1400 mAh battery
8MP camera with LED flash and 720p video recording
External SD card support
Internal storage specs for the Thunder remain unknown.
Finally, a decent Android skin that isn’t HTC’s Sense UI. Along with a few details about Dell’s newest superphones, we’ve been treated with plenty of information about their custom Android skin, dubbed Stage UI.
It seems that, initially at least, this new UI will be exclusive to Dell’s newly leaked trio of high-end Android phones, the Thunder, the Flash, and the Smoke. At this point there’s a bit of confusion as to which version of Android the Stage UI will be based on, with Engadget reporting that the Thunder will run Flash and Android 2.1 and the other two phones set to run Froyo.
I was a bit taken aback by the announcement – as far as we knew, the only Android phones in Dell’s pipeline were the previously announced Streak and Aero, both of which are interesting, but not nearly as appealing as the Thunder.