Category: Android


Source: Ars Technica

Apple and Samsung have been at logger heads over the alleged copying of iPhone and iPad designs in Samsung’s  implementation of the Galaxy Tablet and Galaxy S smartphones.

It has gone to trial and I feel its worth following as it has revealed many prototypes of previous iDevices and internal decisions made by Apple in the development of these devices which would have not seen public scrutiny.

Samsung has had its own share of leaked documents as well.

Whilst most of us may view Apple as being the villain in these proceedings, it is worth noting that Apple is not unique in its behaviour in the protection of its patents. Again, this can be viewed as a proxy war on Android and this could be part of the reason why Samsung has earned the brunt of Apple’s wrath. It is still early days in the smartphone race and Apple wants to be in pole position over competitors. Apple, if successful in this trial, will gain momentum in the smartphone race. A Samsung win will likewise work wonders for their reputation as smartphone makers. I can see headlines such as “This is a moral victory for us (Samsung) and victory for innovation”. NOTE TO SAMSUNG : I may sue over the latter statement as it is my intellectual property.

Here are some interesting links related to the trial:

Apple vs. Samsung : Coverage of the biggest tech trial by the Verge

Opinion: Does Samsung deserve this lawsuit by Unleash the Phones

Samsung: Power Corruption and Lies by The Kernel

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus- a point of view

Image Source: Engadget

The Galaxy Nexus (G Nex) – The definitive Android device showcasing the prowess of Googleplex’s latest iteration of the Android – OS version 4.0 aka Ice-Cream Sandwich.

The other highlight of this device is the 4.65 inch 720p screen boasting a retina-displayesque pixel density of 316 pixels per inch.There is also the feature of Face Unlock – a gimmicky “security” feature and Android Beam which intends to take Near Field Communications (NFC) to the next level.

Is this THE Android device to get?

In my personal opinion- NO.

The device, which will likely be the only pure Android device (sans UI skins such as TouchWiz, HTC Sense etc etc etc etc) is special only for the latter point. The G Nex otherwise dumbs down other features such as the camera ( a so-so 5MP unit) and on-board storage (16GB) which is non-expandable. The Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGS2) easily trumps the G Nex on the hardware front.

Why then, does Google bother with the Nexus series?

Unlike Apple, who depend on their hardware sales, Google appears to have a lower vested interest in producing a complete hardware package. Critisms aside, the iPhone 4S has better internal and external hardware than the G Nex or for that matter, the SGS2. There is also, in my opinion, the holding back of sorts by Samsung to reduce the possible cannibalisation of their hardware sales of the SGS2 and the upcoming SGS3 by the GNex.

Android in reality is propagated by the variety of the hardware at a wide range of price points. Google is not interested in hardware sales. It leaves that to it hardware manufacturers. Samsung, HTC and Motorola have been producing headliner devices that champion the Android OS. Plus, these companies can apply their user interface (UI) modifcations of Android as a way of product differentiation. This is boon and and a curse. The latter has become the bane of Android which has led to the term “fragmentation of Android” argued as being good and bad for the platform.

Given the variations of Android devices out there, the G Nex stands out in terms of software. The G Nex and the Nexus S before it ( Nexus One is no longer capable of dealing with the latest version of Android) are the “Chosen Ones” in the Android device portfolio. These two devices will be the immediate recipients of Googleplex’s offerings. It’s owners will on the bleeding edge of Googleplex’s ideas.

In essence, the G Nex and Nexus S will be the devices of choice for the hard core Android enthusiasts and developers.Consumers who wish for a complete hardware should look to the now cheaper SGS2 or invest in the iP4S. Plus, all these device are in similar price points. I know, I know, Apple’s world is a walled garden. But given the fact that a user can get an easy 3 years of software updates(look at the 3GS)  from Apple in a powerful package, the walled garden option is an OK trade-off.

Yes, the latter against the ethos of an open source device.

But are we, in truth, really free?

It was all Google Android today as posts, tweets, Facebook updates covered the Hong Kong launch of the Galaxy Nexus S and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream”

The hardware DNA of the Galaxy Nexus follows its predecessor, the Nexus S which a curved glass display. The screen is somewhat of a behemoth with a 4.65 inch display and 317ppi resolution. That’s the highest resolution on a screen of that size.

Image source: Engadget

 

Android 4.0 is a radical reworking of the UI peppered with thoughtful additions such as improved notifications etc.

Engadget, This is my next and a host of other sites have liveblogged and covered the event.

The following are the links the respective sites

This is my next…

 

Engadget

 

Samsung Galaxy Note

It is that time of year when all the latest and perhaps greatest gadgets are shown off at the IFA conference in Berlin.

Samsung, amongst it’s slew of products, introduced to the Samsung Galaxy Note.

They are claiming this to be a new product category. The latter term, in my opinion is somewhat overused and certainly borders corporate market-speak.

The headlining specifications include a large 5.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus screen at 1200x 800 resolution, a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, an 8 Megapixel camera and a rather capacious 2500 mAh battery. All this crammed into a 9.65mm thick device.

Android 2.3.3 is running the core of the proceedings, with TouchWiz providing the icing on the cake.

The unique selling point of this device is the usage of a stylus which Samsung has christened as the S-pen. The S-pen acts as a digitizer of sorts for drawing onto the screen and tapping to create appointments etc etc. It all sound rather retro to me.

This device is not a tablet but a phone, placing it squarely in the no man’s land of tablet vs phone conundrum. The Dell streak, HTC Flyer were there before, thus making this claim of ” new product category” somewhat overinflated.

As to how successful this device will be for Samsung remains to be seen. Marketing and pricing will be key factors in user adoption.

Click on this link for video and still images, courtesy of Engadget.

The HTC Desire is to get Android ver. 2.3 (Gingerbread) by the end of this month.

The upgrade to Gingerbread has not been possible with the Desire due to its internal memory limitations. However, HTC decided to go ahead with the upgrade after much consternation. As a result, the Desire will be getting an upgrade to Gingerbread without incorporating Sense UI. So, it is highly possible that the HTC Desire will be running pure Gingerbread.

Owning a HTC Desire may not be too bad a proposition after all. A definitive judgement on the upgrade will only be possible at the end of the month.

Source: CNET UK

A Symbian event

image

Nokia has teased the blogosphere with an invite to a Symbian event on the 12th of April in London.

Nokia has reiterated that it would continue its support for Symbian on both the software and hardware front. This  “commitment” is necessary interim phase before Nokia goes all in with their Windows Phone devices.

Nokia has indicated that there would be a new Symbian UI and handsets utilizing the newer mobile device processors such as Snapdragon.

The upcoming event has certainly made me curious. It would very interesting to see what Nokia would have to offer on the Symbian front given its current transitory phase to Windows Phone.

We could indeed be in for surprise.

Source: Engadget

Firefox 4 for Android

Source: ZOMitscj

 

Mozilla has announced and released its Firefox search engine for the Android OS.

The previous release was somewhat slow and buggy, with regular system crashes and increased usage of my HTC Desire’s system resources. Of course, the previous release was in the beta stage and such teething issues are all part of the problems with beta firmware.

The current  includes Firefox Sync, a tool for sharing browsing history, bookmarks, current tabs, and passwords between desktop instances of Firefox and your mobile device.

However, flash is not part of the package and may be included in time.

Source: ZOMitscj

Image source: Engadget

 

Engadget has sourced a video of a prototype unit of the Samsung Galaxy S2.

The preview is from a Ukrainian site called gagadget. Whilst, the commentary may be difficult to follow, it is always worth looking at the demo of a very desirable piece of hardware.

Click on this link to view the video.

The Google Nexus S is now officially availaible in Malaysia!

I was somewhat shocked (albeit pleasantly) when I had read the news courtesy of Soya Cincau regarding the availibilty of  Google’s second Nexus device in Malaysia.

This move could be partially due to Google’s official move into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and could also be due to Google more aggressive  product centrism.

The handset has been released under the Maxis banner and is rather expensive to buy outright(RM2499). There is also a 24 month contract that provides the phone at a relatively acceptable price of Rm1499. These prices will certainly fall with the release of newer handsets. Patience is virtue.

Soya Cincau has hd some playtime with the Nexus and they have posted their initial impressions of the device on their website. Details of the phone’s pricing and contract plans can be accessed via this link.

Source:Soya Cincau

Image source:Anandtech

 

 

Xoom, the first Google Honeycomb (ver. 3.0) has been released and has gone through the Anandtech’s rigorous review.

The following points summarize the review

  • The Xoom is a nicely designed tablet. The screen, though sporting a high resolution has a somewhat subpar contrast ratio for its premium price point.
  • There are some quirks with the charging ports and connection ports.
  • NVDIA’s Tegra 2 platform offers a decent performance grunt and is surprisingly efficient on battery life.
  • The Xoom outperforms the iPad. Of course, a fairer comparison would be with the upcoming iPad2.
  • Honeycomb is a fresh departure from previous versions of the Android OS. Google is serious on honing its Android OS and Honeycomb is great start.
  • Honeycomb is still rough around the edges. Existing non native Android applications are unstable on Honeycomb.

Click on this link for the detailed review.