Apr 01, 2011 - 4:29 PM - by dgstorm
ThunderBolt Review - by Daniel C. Slagle (Keeper of the XoomFAQ.com)
Edited by dgstorm
I have been using the Droid X since it came out, so it is the standard by which I judge all smartphones. During the review I will make valid comparisons to my experiences with the Droid X. At the end of the review, I will detail the specs of the phone.
First, I unboxed it and powered the phone on. Even though the phone powered on right away with a dramatic Thunderbolt boot animation, (insert lightning sound here) it still seemed to take quite a while to boot. In fact, the phone was taking so long, I actually thought it locked up! Eventually, my patience was finally rewarded, and we were in business.
The first thing I noticed was the amazing display. WOW! I never thought my Droid X looked bad, but the colors on the Thunderbolt actually have more depth. I also immediately noticed I was dealing with a very fast UI (user interface). The UI is very similar to Launcher Pro. The phone really is "lightning fast". I poked around the the phone, logged in to my Google account and let my contacts and Market apps sync. Since Amazon just opened up its market I downloaded their market app and Angry Birds Rio for "testing". The speed at which the phone did this was exactly the same as all my other 3G phones. I can only test 3G because it is all I have for internet service at this time. Unfortunately, 4G capabilities mean nothing if you cannot take full advantage of them.
From my testing, this device has just about everything you could possibly want in a smartphone. The interface is intuitive. The only thing that kind of confused me was 'Personalize' vs. 'Settings'. 'Settings' is your standard Android setting like USB preferences and account information, while 'Personalize' is more of a theme manager for your style, wallpaper, ringtones, etc. With a phone like my Droid X, theme developers go to great lengths to provide customization that the Thunderbolt already has built-in. Nice!
I shared the phone with quite a few smartphone users and, amazingly, almost everyone said the same thing that I thought when I picked it... [Read More]
Apr 01, 2011 - 2:41 PM - by dgstorm
With Google's IO conference coming very soon, many folks in the industry are speculating what sort of announcements Google will make regarding their products. Most agree that, more than likely, Android will dominate leaving Google TV and Chrome OS with very little interesting new developments. In fact, on ChromeSpot, they went to the trouble of listing, and it turns out the speculation was right on the money. Here's what ChromeSpot had to say regarding the schedule for the Google IO Event,
Talk about being left behind sucking wind. You would think that Google doesn't care about these products, but in reality they are still working hard to make them successful. Even though right now they are 'taking a back seat' to Android, many analysts believe that they both just need a shot of marketing attention from an actual Android Market. And, even though Google TV and Chrome OS aren't getting a ton of attention at IO, you can bet that Google is working on multiple ways to make these competitive in the market when the timing is right. After-all, they have poured millions into these projects, and they have huge upward potential for the future. In fact, eventually we will probably see these products begin to merge together more and more. What do you guys think?
There are 52 sessions listed. Android has 18 sessions. Chrome has 8 sessions. And that’s being generous by filtering using Android and Chrome tracks; if you look at session titles, Android is named in 15 titles while Chrome is named in only 2. Meanwhile, Google TV gets the complete shaft: it doesn’t have it’s own “track” and is only mentioned in 1 session title.
Source: Phandroid and ChromeSpot
Also, you guys can check out more on this topic at many of our sister-sites:
... [Read More]
Apr 01, 2011 - 2:11 PM - by dgstorm
It appears that Verizon's warranty exchange policy, the "Certified Like New Program" ("CLNP"), is going to increase greatly in strictness. All phones sent in on warranty exchange must now meet the following requirements:
According to the new policy, even if your device suffers from a manufacturer's defect, if you haven't kept it in pristine shape, you could be charged a $299 dollar fee on your next phone bill. If you do the advanced exchange, and they consider the phone below the standard, that's when they hit you with the fee.
CLNR Cosmetic Standard Summary:
No blemishes are permitted on front surfaces such as the touch screen, keyboard
No more than two flaws, which must be less than 5mm in length, are permitted on other surfaces
No flaws or defects on lens
No dust, dirt, or fibers under lens
Ports must be free of foreign material and corrosion, be in operating condition, and have the plugs in place if applicable
That's not all. Their live exchange at local Verizon stores will be phased out in the next 2 weeks as well. All CLNR devices will be shipped directly by Verizon from now on. Furthermore, you now have 5 days to return your dead phone after receiving the replacement, instead of 10. They've also changed their shipping policies as well. Now they charge a $13 dollar fee for standard next-day shipping.
It would appear that many customers were taking advantage of Verizon's previous "lax" exchange policies, and costing the company some money. They must be cracking down to keep from hemorrhaging money through "shrink". What do you guys think of this new shift?
Apr 01, 2011 - 5:35 AM - by WenWM
When the iPhone 4 came to Verizon everyone was expecting wide sell outs and huge crowds chanting outside the doors in anticipation, well it seems the Thunderbolt is doing this whole sales number thing better. Recent analyst report shows the Thunderbolt as doing better than the iPhone 4 at quite a few Verizon stores across the nation. The annalist and his team made calls to 150 different Verizon Wireless stores across 22 major U.S. cities and the result is 28% saying the bolt is outselling their iPhone 4’s and only 11% saying the iPhone is doing better. Take this numbers anyway you’d like but this shows that those “hummers” as Steve Jobs would call it, are doing much better than the phone that does it "just right."
The video above is of the Apple store at the Mall of America (America's biggest mall) in Minnesota and shows just how many people were excited for this new iPhone.
Apr 01, 2011 - 5:05 AM - by WenWM
The new Droid Charge has been hotly anticipated for a couple weeks now. It will essentially be the first Samsung LTE device for Verizon. This new phone finally has a price tag. With a price tag of $299.99, its $100 more than the new Incredible 2 and just about every other new phone. Droid-Life’s most recent leak, above, shows a road map with the Droid Incredible 2 as a more competitively priced device, costing the industry standard of $199 after the 2 year marriage with Verizon. The Droid Incredible 2 with its nicer price tag does not have the much needed LTE radio, however. Regardless, we’ll have a little more choice from Verizon this April.
Mar 31, 2011 - 1:17 PM - by dgstorm
Here's an Android superphone of the future that would make James Bond drool. This gorgeous, no-holds-barred, ultra-bleeding-edge concept-phone was designed by Mobiado and Aston Martin (yes, the car manufacturer). They apparently wanted to exercise their creativity to its maximum and come up with a superphone that held nothing back in terms of technology and features. It's simply called the CPT002 for now. Here's a rundown of some of what this beast is intended to have "under the hood":
- Its case design suspends a transparent sapphire crystal capacitive touch screen between two platinum bars that house the processor, battery, SIM card, etc.
- It can lock and unlock your car as a proximity fob
- The phone will interface wirelessly with social media websites like Facebook & Twitter to help you locate the friends you're meeting or automatically update them on the progress of your road trip or track day.
- It's also designed to allow the car to access the phone's accelerometer to help prepare for an impending crash.
The transparent screen design is not too far off, but it will be interesting to see how soon battery and chipset technology miniaturizes to the point where this phone is possible. What do you guys think?
Source: Android.net via AndroidCentral and AutoBlog
Mar 31, 2011 - 12:54 PM - by dgstorm
In a move that has some people scratching their heads, and others suggesting conspiracies, Google has pulled the PSX4Droid PlayStation Emulator from the Android Market, citing "Content Policy violation". It does seem a little suspect considering that Sony is one of Google's mobile partners, and we are soon to get the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (PlayStation Phone). When questioned about the issue, Google responded with a simple, "We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies."
It's important to note that while the developer himself believes that Sony is behind this, others in the industry point a finger at his improper GPL Licensing. Also, another PlayStation emulator, FPSe, is still on the Android Market, so that throws another "logic-wrench" in the conspiracy theory. What do you guys think?
Mar 31, 2011 - 12:21 PM - by dgstorm
HTC is showing off their new Android Tablet the HTC Flyer in an in-depth 6-minute video. It show-cases the aluminum unibody construction and scribe pen amongst other things. This little 7-inch tablet sports a speedy 1.5GHz CPU, and looks a bit more impressive than I originally gave it credit for. What do you guys think of the device after watching the video?
Mar 31, 2011 - 12:09 PM - by dgstorm
Yesterday we reported that the HTC Thunderbolt had some buggy issues with 3G connectivity in a non-4G area, and that it was easily fixed. Today we have word that the phone could have an audio problem with its camcorder, but it isn't quite so easily fixed. Luckily, HTC is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. Supposedly, the issue is that sometimes the sound is fine, but other times it is muffled or completely gone. Speculation is that it has something to do with the "noise cancellation" technology in the phone.
HTC has said they are working on a fix, but that the issue may not get resolved until Android 2.3/Gingerbread for the HTC comes out in the next few months. In the mean-time,
Have any of you early adopters of the TBolt experienced either of these issues? Share in the forums.
...some users say that a temporary fix can be found by covering the noise canceling microphone. Others have suggested using a third-party video recording app.
Picture Credit: Skattertech
Mar 31, 2011 - 11:40 AM - by dgstorm
In a pattern of behavior that has several mobile partners upset, Google appears to be tightening it's control of the open nature of "open source" in regards to the Android OS. An article from Bloomberg/Businessweek indicated that several executives working for companies within the Android community of mobile partners have expressed frustration with Google recently over this pattern.
The Bloomberg article described the last few months as a message from Google to its partners,
We recently reported on one example of their behavior, that Google will be holding back the source code for Honeycomb indefinitely. Another example is that Facebook is apparently trying to come up with its own Android handset and that Google has made them jump through several hoops and must allow Google to review any custom tweaks to Android. Supposedly, there have even been complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice from Microsoft claiming that Google has held up certain Verizon handsets because they came with the MS Bing search engine onboard.
There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group.
Google's partner system that was once truly easy and truly "open source" has since grown harder to navigate. Apparently, Google is attempting to regain control of a "final say" over any customizations made to the Android OS. Now, Google is demanding that its partners abide by its "non-fragmentation clauses" to stem the tide of junky software ruining the Android experience. Google has publicly stated that it is simply seeking to stabilize the platform and ensure quality control as well. The Bloomberg article said Google had this to say,
It's easy to see both sides of the equation. From Google's standpoint, they want to improve the Android... [Read More]
Google says its procedures are about quality control, fixing bugs early, and building toward a "common denominator" experience, says John Lagerling, director of global Android partnerships at Google. "After that, the customization can begin."
There is an application in the Android Market called “Walk & Text” it was an innovative idea where it would put up a view of your Android devices rear facing camera so that you could see it and text at the same time, allowing you to see what’s in front of you.According to Symantec, that Walk & Text app was pirated, turned into malware and submitted to several file sharing sites in North America and Asia.
Continue Reading @ TheDroidGuy.com
Mar 30, 2011 - 4:36 PM - by dgstorm
There is going to be an Android Homecoming Event 2011 in Mountain View, CA on September 23rd-25th. Mark your calendars and save your pennies for the trip, because this is going to be a fun meeting of minds for Android enthusiasts and developers. There's also going to be a big developer's contest worth $,5000 bucks. Here are more details in the press release below:
We are proud sponsors for this fun event and are looking forward to it. Maybe we will see you there!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Consortium of Android, Mobile and Tech websites along with application developers, publishers, and Android ecosystem partners announce Android Homecoming 2011
Mountain View, CA, March 29, 2011 Droidforums.net, Tmonews.com, Skattertech.com, iamandroid.co, briefmobile.com and thedroidguy.com have announced the Android Homecoming Funfrence (Fun Conference) will be held in Mountain View California September 23rd through 25th 2011.
The Sheraton Sunnyvale and surrounding hotels will host a three day weekend event of seminars, fellowship, and fun focused on the Android Operating System.
Highlights include a bust trip and tech tour of the bay area for the first 200 registrants, panels and seminars in three tracks, Android Developer, Android Enthusiast and Android Teen, and a $5,000 developer challenge brought to you in part by Face.com.
The $5,000 developer challenge will begin Monday April 4th with the finalists selected among a panel of judges and their peers in attendance at the Android Homecoming event. Developers will use the api’s provided at developer.face.com to produce innovative Android applications utilizing face.com’s facial recognition technology.
The Android Homecoming will feature an evening homecoming “dance” and a picnic in the park featuring the carrier olympics.
David Farnham or Kyle Sandler
650 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
Mar 30, 2011 - 12:20 PM - by dgstorm
As reported over at AndroidPolice, Derek Rodriguez, was able to overclock his HTC Thunderbolt to a ridiculous 1.8GHz! He hit a top Quadrant score of 2750 as you can see from the pic above. He made it a point to note that you shouldn't keep your phone at those kind of clock-speeds for extended periods of time and even Tweeted, "you think I’d really let my phone sit at that?"
You may not be able to utilize those kinds of speeds yet, but the future looks fast!
Mar 30, 2011 - 12:08 PM - by dgstorm
Well... that didn't last long. After we reported just a couple weeks ago that Angry Birds Rio would be an Amazon Appstore exclusive, it lasted only a week there, and is now on the Android Market. Obviously, the exclusivity was a marketing deal between the Amazon Appstore and Rovio, but it is still surprising how little time it lasted. Regardless, you can head over to the Android Market or the Amazon Appstore and pick it up for free if you haven't already.
Source: Android.net via Phandroid
Mar 30, 2011 - 11:42 AM - by dgstorm
Yesterday, hookbill, brought us a great story regarding Amazon's new Cloud Streaming Media Service. It is such a great product that it obviously has generated a lot of interest.
It apparently has raised a lot of "ire" as well, at least from the music industry. The news of Amazon's "music locker" service came screaming from out of nowhere, as Google and iTunes have been trying to start this type of service for quite some time now.
It begs the question... how did Amazon beat these two behemoths to the punch? The answer is that Amazon didn't get the proper licensing to begin the service, which has been what has held up Google and iTunes all this time. Also, it appears that Amazon didn't even bother to contact the record labels about the service launch before hand either. In fact, industry speculation is that Google will launch their version sometime in May and iTunes will follow suit sometime in June.
The real problem though is the music industry. One example is that Amazon's new free cloud player service competes directly with Sony's "Music Unlimited" subscription based service. Sony Music's spokeswoman Liz Young, had this to say,
That seems like a thinly veiled threat. Also, an executive involved in the negotiations, who requested anonymity, commented that the move was,
"We hope that they'll reach a new license deal," Young said, "but we're keeping all of our legal options open."
Amazon's response to all this hullabaloo was,
"somewhat stunning," and further added, "I've never seen a company of their size make an announcement, launch a service and simultaneously say they're trying to get licenses."
That seems like a fairly confident stance for them... [Read More]
"Cloud Player is an application that lets customers manage and play their own music. It's like any number of existing media management applications. We do not need a license to make Cloud Player available. The functionality of saving MP3s to Cloud Drive is the same as if a customer were to save their music to an external hard drive or even iTunes."
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