HTC Magic gets zoom-wheel [Video]

In addition to the landscape QWERTY keyboard, HTC have added a new zoom control wheel to the HTC Magic smartphone.  Seemingly intended to offer more precise zooming without treading on Apple's pinch-and-spread patent toes, the wheel is called up with a double-tap. In the CNET France video below, you can see the zoom-wheel operated in both the HTC Magic's browser and its photo viewer.  Thanks to the compact size of the Magic itself, you could realistically control the wheel and hold the smartphone with a single hand, not something you can say the same about pinch-and-zoom. No word on whether this new zooming control feature will be offered to existing Android G1 owners, though of course the nature of the Android platform means that what Google/HTC don't offer officially, the open-source community will liberate themselves.  The HTC Magic is expected to arrive in various European countries in April 2009, price to be confirmed.   [gallery] [via Electricpig]

Samsung 3.5G Android phone in Q3 claim sources

The Samsung Android smartphone spotted earlier this week could reach the market in Q3 2009, according to market sources quoting leaked information from the company.  The phone is described as "similar to the HTC Magic" in design and hardware, which presumably means it will not have a hardware QWERTY keyboard. As with the HTC Magic, the unnamed Samsung Android smartphone will use a 3.5 Qualcomm chipset.  The Magic is expected to arrive in Q2 in Europe, and HTC have already committed to a further two Android-based devices in 2009. That's enough to convince many that HTC will maintain its lead in the Android segment.  Samsung is said to be "among the top-five handset vendors" to release their Android devices in 2009; Motorola is believed to be readying a significant Android range, potentially for launch as soon as Q2.

PdaNet for hack-free Android tethering

A new freeware app makes tethering the G1 to a PC or laptop straightforward, without requiring that users hack the Android firmware or have root access.  PdaNet allows a USB-connected Android cellphone to work as a tethered modem - with either cellular or WiFi data - with a single click. Currently in beta stage, and available for Windows users (together with a 64-bit Vista version), the app reportedly works well.  PdaNet is already available in Palm OS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and iPhone versions. Of course, while this is technically possible, it could very well contravene the terms & conditions of whichever carrier is providing 3G data access for your G1.  It's worth checking the small print to see what limitations on tethering there are in your cellphone contract. [via GAB; thanks Matthew!]

Samsung Android smartphone shows up in first picture

A pixelated picture of the first Samsung Android smartphone has been released, as part of a Samsung dealer presentation in Amsterdam today.  Details of the device are incomplete, but it's known to use a large capacitive touchscreen and a 528MHz processor of unknown manufacture. Other known specifications are quadband GSM (850,900, 1800 and 1900MHz) together with UMTS, HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA 1.4Mbps.  It's predicted to be made in two versions, one with US-friendly UMTS 900MHz and the other with Europe/Asia-friendly UMTS 2100MHz support.  Elsewhere there'll be Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP wireless stereo support and a digital camera, though there's no specific megapixel count; expect somewhere between 3.2 and 5-megapixels. As for storage, Samsung claim there will be a large amount of onboard capacity, expandable with microSD cards, however no actual figures have been confirmed.  Apparently the official announcement is not far off, but again, a specific date is not known.

Android Market merchant system fixed, says Google

After would-be Android developers reported problems registering their merchant accounts with their developer accounts, and as such were prevented from releasing paid-apps into the Android Market, Google informs us that the situation has been addressed.  According to a Google employee on the official support forums, the ongoing issue has been resolved.
"The issue you were having should now be resolved. Please reply to me here if you experience any further issue and thank you for your patience!" Alden, Google employee
The problem occurred when Android developers attempted to connect up their merchant accounts.  Google makes using their merchant scheme mandatory for developers wishing to release paid apps into the Android Market, but for an extended period the developer site issued an error rather than recognizing the two accounts. We'd be interested to hear from any developers as to whether they're now able to carry out the process successfully.  Let us know in the forums, or in the comments here.

Android Market paid-app system blocking new merchants

Android Community is hearing from developers who are experiencing problems linking Merchant accounts to their Android Developer accounts, and as such are unable to list paid apps on the Android Market.  Multiple developers are reporting seeing the error message "Sorry, we could not setup your merchant account.  Please try again later" multiple times over the past 24-48 hours, with Google's customer support remaining silent. Google began listing paid applications a month ago, the Android Market previously having only accepted freeware for the platform.  Developers wishing to sell their software are required to register for a Google Checkout merchant account before submitting their applications with a price tag attached. We've got a request for a comment or at least some feedback from Google at the moment, and will update as soon as we hear back from them.  This is a bad situation not only for developers but for users, who are missing out on access to new software.

Android expands to Taiwan

Google has confirmed that they have set up a team to provide technical support for the Android operating system in Taiwan. Presently, the support will be only for phones and declined the support will extend to low-cost Netbooks.

Surveyor Android G1-controlled robots: Video Demos

Considering the name of the platform, I'm surprised we've not seen more robots either based on, or controlled by, Android.  With that in mind, here are two 'bots that rely on a T-Mobile G1 for their remote control; one which wouldn't look out of place patrolling battlefields, the other slightly more bizarre. The tech is supplied by open-source robotics experts Surveyor, who are offering a control console for their SRV-1 robot controller.  You can download the code from the project page. As for the SRV-1, it's a modular robot platform that can be hooked into a variety of motors, camera units, and other devices.  You can either buy the parts separately and construct your own 'bot, or you can stop by one of several vendors and pick up a pre-built machine.  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmzeTcKvmjE[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxn8gNZhe7E[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz6X4BJ1ZFw[/youtube] [via Droideo]
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