Motorola working on a social-networking based Android?

With all the news about Motorola expanding their Android team to work on their first Android-powered handset, it comes as no surprise that they will add a different twist this time. Several of their new phones, including the Krave, have had other than normal characteristics in terms of your average run of the mill phone.

A job advertisement put out by Motorola for the Interaction Design team position has surfaced. It hints that Motorola’s new 350-member Android development team will be working on a social networking based phone as their first Android-powered device. Those who have seen the description state that it has a slide out keyboard, is as large as the iPhone and in a touch screen device. They also state that it is basically a higher-end version of the G1, at a lower price The ad reads: “As a Senior Staff Interaction Designer, you will be responsible for leading and actively participating in the concept, design, documentation and development of user interfaces for our mobile products including our new Android Social Networking SmartPhone. You’ll lead brainstorming and work sessions, usability and innovation reviews and other forums of design development. In addition to your primary responsibility in the delivery of great design, you will also be expected to mentor other designers, bringing your personal strengths to the rest of the team.” With the growing popularity of social networking sites such as the ever so popular MySpace, FaceBook and Twitter, this phone would be an amazing breakthrough for Motorola. It is a no-brainer to create a social networking phone, they are designed to connect people around the world and this would take it one step further. Is this what you would like to see in the new Android? Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via androidguys]

1.5 million T-Mobile G1 handsets already sold

T-Mobile has totally overshot their sales expectations for the G1. After selling out their entire stock of pre-orders for existing members in a very short period of time, HTC tripled the order and has sold out of that entire batch as well. That means that 1.5 million G1s have already been sold in pre-orders on top of the millions estimated to be shipping to stores for sales on October 22nd.

Selling such a high number of devices with an unproven software concept on a never-before-seen device is absolutely astounding. Google has a lot riding on this particular device, showing the world what Android can do could either make or break the platform as a whole. That is why Google has worked so closely with HTC and T-Mobile, to make sure that “the first shot in this battle is a killer”. Google went all out on this device, making it fully search enabled. Though it does not go out to directly take on the iPhone, people continually compare the two. Google has shown its commitment to this platform in every way. One clear example of this is the Android Developers Contest where Google paid out $10 million to the winners. The twist is that Google will not be taking back a dime of this money in application sales. This will in the end lower the cost of applications, making this a win-win situation for developers and customers. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via Fool]

Android Community Week in Review – Week 41 2008

This week started with some bad news for those who got their T-Mobile G1 pre-orders in late. Pre-orders made after October 3rd will not be receiving their G1 till November 10th, 2008 at the absolute earliest. It looks like lining up in front of stores on release day is the only way to get a G1 on launch day for some.

China-based phone company zzzPhone started advertising that they will start selling Android-powered devices. Judging by the poorly mocked-up representation of the phone, with pictures of existing phones with the word Android pasted on them and the improper spelling and grammar on the site, I would be wary of ordering from them. There was a rumor that T-Mobile was prepping their own version of the HTC Touch HD for Android, although it was quickly shot down when word got out that the Touch HD will not be released in the US. TechFaith is reported to be releasing an Android-powered handset in early 2009. The company helps provide wireless solutions for Open Handset Alliance (OHA) members Motorola and LG. One Android Community member had a chance to play with the G1 and reported to our users in what was the first user review of the G1. While he listed pros and cons, most people focused on only the cons such as the “stutter” when opening applications and having a memory flaw that required the device to be reset in order to restore operation. Other members have since proved this to be untrue with later builds of the software; we're hoping T-Mobile, HTC and Google have as many bugs as possible ironed out before the official launch. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan.

TechFaith working hard on an Android-powered handset

China’s TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Ltd has finally announced their plans to release a Commercial Android-powered handset in early 2009. TechFaith helps handset manufacturers with phone design solutions; their clients include Open Handset Alliance member Motorola as well as LG, Amoi, CECT, France Telecom, SK Telecom, Sprint and Bird.

TechFaith mainly focuses their development on China’s phone market; they're expected to announce the name of the manufacturer by the end of November. “We are still in talks with several interested customers,” Changxi said. Could there be a few leading companies in a bidding war over this? “The development of a prototype Android phone has basically been completed. However, the launch of commercial products is unlikely to happen before the end of this year,” claimed Ji Changxi, a senior vice president of TechFaith. With recent news of Motorola working hard on an Android-powered handset so early on, this makes the chances of the two companies working together very likely. I know many of people would like to see Motorola step up and create the next big device to rise above the RAZR. Having an Android-powered handset this early on could really give Motorola a huge boost in the wireless market. Let's keep our fingers crossed. [Via Interfaxchina]

First T-Mobile G1 user review

Android Community has done it again, this time we bring you an exclusive first time user review of T-Mobile’s G1. Forum member kaziko has given us a sneak peak at T-Mobile’s first device to run Google’s Android operating system. He put together a nice Q&A as well as providing us with a pros and cons list. The more we hear about the G1 the more anticipation builds, as we all wait for the 22nd to get our hands on this gem.

This device is very similar to the SideKick, Kaziko went on to say “Its a sidekick on massive steroids ... If it had a box on the left side it would feel exactly like a Sidekick”. This is good news for a lot of the current Sidekick users who are looking for a long awaited upgrade to a device that sees very little change. This device has great call quality and a relatively loud speaker in comparison to other HTC devices. The G1 comes pre-loaded with a smooth running, easy to use instant messaging client that supports Google Talk, AIM, ICQ and MSN out of the box. With all phones there is a bit of a downside to them, and in Kaiziko's words “[the] phone does not run as smoothly as you would think”. Some of the applications “stutter” as they start up and from time to time the device must be restarted in order to run smoothly. Thankfully these drawbacks can ultimately be fixed with firmware and software upgrades. The battery charger makes the bottom of the device very hot and is in an awkward location for text messaging while it is charging. PRO's:
  • The device is fairly quick to startup compared to other HTC devices.
  • It is very light considering what's inside.
  • The slide out keyboard works well and doesn't have a flimsy feel to it.
  • The Android Market works just as well as the iPhone's App Store.
  • There are already a lot of useful apps to download from the Android Market, including a free ringtone maker.
  • The earpiece is fairly clear when making and receiving calls, you hear absolutely no static.
  • The speaker is relatively loud compared to other HTC devices.
  • The G1 has a big memory leak somewhere, and has to be restarted in order to get it running smoothly again.
  • The battery charger makes the bottom of the phone extremely hot.
  • No virtual QWERTY keyboard included.
  • The phone doesn't run as smoothly as you would think, programs sometimes stutter trying to start up.
  • There is no folder system like that found on other HTC devices: finding your files requires you to search around in one of the various programs associated with the file type you're trying to view.
  • Video playback is very limited. The G1 would not play .mpg or .wmv files which are pretty much the standard when it comes to videos downloaded off the net.
kaziko answered questions that Android Community forum members have about the G1: Q. Any word on saving the apps from the market on the microSD card? A. Not even sure where the market apps are stored at this point in time. Q. Does the G1 have vibrate then ring? A. The only option I see is vibrate on/vibrate off. Q. I have a Sidekick 2008 right now, could I use the same microSD card that is in my Sidekick 08 for the G1? A. Yes you can use your microSD card up to 8GB without having to reformat. Q. Is there any word about a third party applications using AIM, ICQ, MSN? A. There is a program pre-installed that handles all instant messaging (Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, MSN). Q. How are IM app buddy lists structured? Are all buddies (GTalk, AIM, Y!M, MSN) on one list, or are they separate screens? And are groups utilized on the buddy lists if you are using them in AIM, etc? A. They are not structured like they should be for sure. Each messaging program has its own group and your personal groups are broken down inside the specific clients. Q. Do the buttons on the chin light up like the UK version? A. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the buttons by the chin, but the visible buttons do light up. Q. Can I use my $19.95 unlimited family messaging plan with the $25 dollar G1 internet feature? A. You can actually just use a $19.99 Data plan alongside the $19.95 messaging to eliminate wasting the $5.00, T-Mobile just doesn't want people to know they can do this. Q. How is the responsiveness of the touch screen? A. Ever played with an iPhone? If so, it's rather responsive, anybody who's owned an HTC device knows how aggravating the touchscreens can be. HTC pulled a fast one and really made the TS [on the G1] extremely usable with just the slight "touch" of a finger. Q. If you lock the phone, does sliding [the screen] up automatically unlock it? A. The only form of lock I've used is pressing the power button to blank the screen and that pretty much locks the device, opening the keyboard does not turn the screen back on. i will try to pattern lock tonight and get back with a better answer on this. Q. Is there any kind of headphone adapter in the box? A. No, the G1 comes in box with a stereo headset with inline volume control and answer/end/command button, a G1 branded microfiber slipper protective case, travel charger, USB cable and a user manual/getting started guide. This is what was in my G1, which is a pre-release model and might be different than the one actually released. Q. Is the screen made of glass (like the iPhone) or plastic? A. I'm not sure 100% about this but I think it's glass, plastic screens don't seem to have the sensitivity like glass screens do, and this runs perfectly so I'm assuming glass but I will get clarification on this matter. I want to thank Android Community member Kaziko for giving us the first user review of the G1. He has really gone out of the way to give us an exclusive inside look at the device. We would be nothing without our members, support from users like him are what make us what we are. Disclaimer: The views / opinions expressed in this article are solely of forum member kaziko, and does not reflect that of Android Community. [gallery]

T-Mobile releasing month to month payment option?

T-Mobile will release a “post-paid” payment option as soon as tomorrow, or at least that is what the rumor mills have been dishing out. Stories have been flying around for months that T-Mobile was going to be releasing a month-to-month payment option along with the all-familiar annual contract.

Tmonews earlier reported a release date for this service of August 6th but recently stated it will be released on October 8th. Tmonews credits the delay to several technical difficulties. Having an option to pay month by month opens up the door for many more people who are interested in the G1 Android-powered handset. The catch in this case being the initial price of the device. T-Mobile will not give discounts to their phones for those who sign up with the month to month payment plan. • Postpaid monthly rate plans will be modeled after current postpaid rate plans including single line, FamilyTime, and myFaves. T-Mobile @Home rate plans will not be available this time. • Both new and existing customers can sign up for the new Postpaid No Annual Contracts rate plans. Existing customers who would like to switch to these new rate plans are still required to fulfill their terms of their existing contracts if applicable. • Annual contract agreements are not required for customers who sign up for these rate plans, but Activation Fees will still apply and customers will be required to pass credit checks and meet the same credit requirements as 1 year and 2 year postpaid customers. • T-Mobile will also not offer any handset discounts for new activations of these rate plans. However, dealers have complete discretion on the pricing they offer on handsets. Picture provided by Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via Tmonews]

Android coming to the HTC Touch HD?

Two unrelated sources tipped off PhoneDog stating that T-Mobile is already prepping a version of HTC’s Touch HD to be their next Android-powered handset. Many Android Community members have expressed their wishes for the HTC Touch HD to become an Android-powered device.

While one of the sources is a tipster that likes to pass along anything interesting they may hear, the other apparently has a pretty decent track record when it comes to leaking upcoming handset information accurately. Neither of the sources are part of HTC or T-Mobile. The HTC Touch HD, not be confused with the HTC Touch Pro, has specs similar to the G1. The Touch HD would make a perfect Android-powered handset to compete with the leading phones in the US. The Touch HD is most noted for having a large display that beats even the iPhone 3G. Boasting a large 3.8-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 480 x 800 WVGA resolution, this phone is easily one of the best to look at.  However HTC today revealed that they would not be bringing the Touch HD to the US, as it lacks US-spec 3G and they feel the device would be outdated by the time it could be re-engineered. Picture provided by Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via PhoneDog]

zzzPhone to Sell Android?

Many people remember the failure of the zzzPhone from a while back. Now zzzPhone is claiming to have low-cost Android-powered handsets ready to ship to your door from China. Pictures of an “Android phone” are plastered all over the website. While no one is sure if this is a scam or not, one thing we know is Google is not supporting them.

For those who are unfamiliar with zzzPhone, they are a small company of American entrepreneurs who set out to sell cheap phones with lots of features out of China. The first order of business for them was when they took a bunch of orders on phones that didn't work in the US, so they couldn't deliver them. As they started to deliver phones, customers were not happy with the quality of their purchases. I have found their website to be somewhat of a joke with several misspelled words; personally I would not be willing to purchase from them for fear it may be a scam. Their site reads, "per recent reviews, iphone has had problems with dropped calls, not working for people with long fingernails, and a secreet [sic] kill switch has been discovered.NOT FULLY LOCKABLE. zzzphone has none of these problems."

Word from China is that they’re installing Android on their phones this month. The site states that their Android phone will be delivered on November 30th. From pictures depicted on the website the Android phones are actually that of the HTC Touch Pro with a poorly sketched basic Android screen shot on it. Who knows what the actual device may look like. [Via Gearlog]

Some G1 pre-orders to arrive late

T-Mobile has been selling pre-orders of the G1 ever since the T-mobile G1 announcement event on September 23rd. The first carrier to sell an Android handset ran out of available G1 devices for pre-order in no time; pre-ordering is back, but with new fine-print that could delay delivery past those picking the handset up in-store.

T-Mobile ended up tripling production for the presale of the G1 trying to satisfy the strong demand. T-Mobile has just announced some more information that may make consumers want to wait in line rather than pre-order the G1 online. Located in the fine print there is a lot of surprising information as to just when you will be receiving your pre-order. For those customers who pre-ordered their Android before October 3rd, the soonest they will be receiving their phone will be October 22nd. Anyone who got a late start on the pre-order and ordered the G1 after October 3rd will receive it no sooner than November 10th. That date is tentative as the first date you may receive it. T-Mobile’s site reads, “Order yours before October 21, 2008, and it will be delivered as early as November 10, 2008.* After all, as a loyal customer, you deserve to get what you want—when you want it.” I find this kind of odd as loyal customers would want the device on launch day if not sooner, not after new customers were already able to purchase theirs. I want to know what you guys think about this policy. [Via Gadgetell]

Android Community Week in Review – Week 40 2008

More and more information about future Android-powered handsets surfaced this week. Samsung and LG apparently won't be releasing a handset until at least Q3 2009, giving T-Mobile more than amazing sales opportunities. T-Mobile expects to sell half a million handsets in 2008 alone.

Motorola has confirmed rumors that they are expanding their Android team by as many as 300 members. In other rumors, Nokia and Verizon were reportedly spotted at a recent Android developer conference put on by Google. We also heard that China Mobile may be working on a TD-SCDMA 3G Android Phone. Android Community also managed to get an exclusive hands on with the G1 and award winning Android application ShopSavvy, formerly known as GoCart. The app you to scan a barcode at the store, and immediately get local store prices as well as online prices for that particular item. Android Community has also undergone several new changes and upgrades. Our new layout is now much better organized and hopefully easier to navigate. We are happy to announce the addition of our Knowledge Base (KB), which includes General Guides and Tips & Tricks. We have also added a user blog where you can blog about anything you wish: happy about getting your G1, just blog about it! Now users can upload personal pictures to our Member Photo Album or submit Android related photos to your flikr page. Special thanks to Ewdi for putting in the time and effort to make this site what it is. Many of us are very excited to hear that the G1 will be ready for 16 Gig microSD cards right out of the box. More astonishing news was heard with the explanation of Applications Without Boarders. The simple concept of applications being able to share data and work off of each other. Several different applications may now use the same database library created by another. Screen shots of BestBuy's inventory hint that they will be receiving the G1 in November. While no one can confirm this as of yet, it looks highly possible with the time frame in which BestBuy received the iPhone 3G. Andy Ruben spoke about the differences between Android Market and Apple's App Store, and has revealed there will be no bandwith limitations for Android applications, T-Mobile has asked that developers with free apps, that take more than 15 Megabytes a month for a single user, pay a $2 monthly fee. With the recent demand of the G1 T-Mobile has tripled the production of G1 handsets available for pre-order before October 22nd and managed to sell through them all already. Android software engine Andy Stadler spoke about how Android is fully embedded with search. T-Mobile has officially released the G1 emulator with 360 view. This emulator allows you to go thought the phone almost as if you had it in front of you. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan.
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