Motorola IRONMAN Android slider within 5 months?

After the Motorola Calgary was tipped as being Verizon's first Android device yesterday, there's now talk of a second handset from the company running the Google open-source OS.  The Motorola IRONMAN - the name of which could be a codename or a final product name - is believed to be a portrait-orientation slider with a pull-down QWERTY keyboard. Full specifications for the IRONMAN are unconfirmed, but it's said to be feature-packed with 3G, WiFi and a high-resolution camera.  We'd also expect it to have a touchscreen display, though there's no telling exactly what size it might be. The image pictured here has some glaring issues, not least of which are the blanked out buttons underneath the screen.  It looks as though someone has simply pasted a colored block across the original keys.  The image also appears to have been stretched horizontally, with the Motorola logo showing distortion; plus, the on-screen image is tipped to be a fan-mockup of Windows Mobile.  Looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to know exactly what the Motorola IRONMAN may actually look like: it's expected to be released by the end of Q3 2009.

Android 1.5 ‘Cupcake’ released

Android Community is hearing from multiple T-Mobile G1 users that Android 1.5 "Cupcake" is being pushed out as an OTA upgrade.  The system update, which was released officially to developers earlier this week, will be rolled out to handsets throughout May, according to one report. Cupcake 1.5 brings with it an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, necessary for the new breed of Android devices which lack hardware keyboards, such as the HTC Magic and Samsung I7500 (which will have the new version out of the box).  Other improvements include direct photo and video uploads to Picasa and YouTube, respectively, together with various behind-the-scenes improvements such as faster browsing courtesy of new JavaScript and webkit engines.  Video demo here. Reports are telling us that the update is reaching users in the US and Europe.  The Android 1.5 system update is a 44MB file, and as yet there's no way to artificially trigger its download, only wait for your carrier to push it OTA.  Keep track of progress in this forum thread.

Motorola Calgary to be Verizon’s first Android phone

Verizon's first Android device could be the Motorola Calgary, after an unnamed but trusted source confirmed that the sliding QWERTY handset will indeed run Google's open-source OS.  The Calgary was first spotted in render form back in December 2008, as part of Verizon's 2009 Motorola line-up. In fact the Calgary will not only be Verizon's first Android device, but Motorola's too.  The ailing US company has previously confirmed that it was developing mid- to high-end Android devices, although no specific handset details were made public. Little, therefore, is known about the Verizon Motorola Calgary, though it's said to focus on social networking.  Motorola were tipped to bring their first Android handset to market by the end of Q2 2009, but it's unclear whether this timescale is still accurate for the Calgary.

Samsung I7500 poses for photo shoot

Hot on the heels of yesterday's live video, the Samsung I7500 shows up again for a quick photo shoot.  Higher quality than the first set of smudgy pictures we saw, this new set leaves no inch of Samsung's first Android smartphone unseen, including all the ports, hardware buttons and a shot of the battery compartment. One potential frustration, looking at the I7500 with its rear cover removed, is that the microSD card slot seems to only be accessible if you remove the battery.  While many people are content to slot in as big a memory card as they can afford and forget about it (the I7500 supports up to 32GB cards, which are added to its 8GB of internal storage), others like the freedom to switch between or use external card readers, and this arrangement will come as an annoyance. Nonetheless, it's a handsome handset and we're excited to get our hands on it when Samsung release it in Europe come June.  The Samsung I7500 has a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera and GPS/WiFi/HSPA; more details on specification here. [vms f5bb252d13f5f431e4bb] [gallery]

Cupcake is catastrophe, claims Big in Japan dev

Everyone's looking forward to Cupcake, right?  Not so fast, says Big in Japan - the team behind the popular ShopSavvy application - Android 1.5 presents more than a few problems for developers.  According to Alexander Muse, applications currently running on Android won't necessarily be compatible with Cupcake 1.5; that means a mad rush to download the new firmware and rebuild their software. Compounding the problem is the fact that the Android Market won't allow more than one version of an app, which means developers aren't able to simply create a new, 1.5-friendly update and leave the existing version in place for those without Cupcake.  Instead, Big in Japan face creating a new build that's also backward compatible with earlier versions of Android, something they conservatively estimate should normally take around two to three weeks of development. However according to some reports, Cupcake will be pushed as an over-the-air to Android device owners in just two days, and it's already live in Spain.  That means three weeks of development needs to be squashed into two days, never-mind any time for testing:
"The good news is that we will release our new version whenever Cupcake is pushed OTA to users.  The bad news it will be untested.  It will have bugs, bugs that we will fix.  Please bear with us and realize that we don’t have much choice in the matter" Alexander Muse, Big in Japan
As Alexander notes, the Big in Japan team are likely more prepared for the coding challenge ahead than many others, particularly those part-time developers who have been cooking up Android apps in their spare time.  The public perception of Android as a platform depends in no small part on the success and stability of its third-party software; have Google shot themselves in the foot by allowing carriers to rush out Cupcake 1.5? [Image via]

Samsung I7500 caught on video

Smudgy pictures be damned: what we want is HQ footage of the Samsung I7500 to a storming foreign-language rock track.  Happily just such a thing has dropped into our laps, courtesy of Tinhte.com, showing off the I7500's 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen to perfection. The smartphone also looks decidedly thin, and the design of the hardware buttons at the base is very slick.  If you've been waiting for the first "mainstream" Android device - thinking HTC's offerings to-date have been a little too "business" in their design - then the Samsung I7500 could be the device for you. No new news on specifications, but there's not much about the I7500's hardware that we don't know.  The display runs at 320 x 480 resolution, and the Samsung has GPS, HSPA, WiFi b/g and Bluetooth 2.0.  Internal storage is 8GB, with a microSD slot for up to 32GB cards.  More details here. [vms f5bb252d13f5f431e4bb] [via Android-Freak]

Vodafone HTC Magic gets video unboxing

Vodafone Germany surprised us all with a sneaky early launch of the HTC Magic this week, and the first handsets are being delivered.  Our friend Sascha is one of the first to get his hands on the Magic, and he put together an unboxing video of the new Android smartphone. Unlike the white Magic handsets that we've seen the most of in the run up to the launch, Sascha's HTC is black and it certainly suits that color.  While in the image above the keys look to be white, in actual fact they're just silver and are reflecting the overhead lighting. Aside from the HTC Magic itself, Vodafone bundle a slip-case (which "feels a little cheap"), a USB cable, power supply and a wired stereo headset.  More information on the handset itself in the video below, and you can check out our previous coverage on the Magic for more details. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5ha1UABflw[/youtube]

Android 1.5 Cupcake released for Devs; Video Demo

HTC and Google have released Android 1.5 Cupcake for owners of the Android Dev Phone, available as a free download from the manufacturers site.  Cupcake adds video recording to Android, including one-touch uploads to YouTube, plus a new on-screen QWERTY keyboard.  There are also tweaks to the browser, predominantly to increase speed in rendering, zooming and scrolling. Arsen shot the following demo video of Cupcake 1.5 in action, including the video recording and the new auto-complete URL suggestions introduced with the on-screen keyboard.  According to their feedback, the browser does indeed run faster but 3GP video captured by the G1 was less successful, with numerous skips and judders. The HTC download will apparently only work with the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) hardware, and must be a developer device rather than a standard retail handset.  However that's unlikely to stop the teams of avid Android tweakers who right now are looking for ways to modify the firmware for a general install, ahead of the official May release. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hczgL3C2yrw[/youtube] [Thanks Paul3G and lovedumplingx!]

Skytone Alpha 680 Android video demo

A two-part video demo of the Skytone Alpha 680 netbook running the Android OS has been released.  The Alpha 680 is intended to be a budget netbook with a target price of $250; for that, though, you'll at least get a touchscreen. Unfortunately the touchscreen is pretty much the start and end of any decent specs, with the rest of the Alpha 680's abilities being seriously underwhelming.  An ARM11 533MHz processor, 1GB of storage (4GB max) and just 128MB of RAM (256MB max) are disappointing even in netbook circles, hence Android running on the 680 pretty much as it does on a G1. The videos also demonstrate the problem with putting what's right now a mobile OS onto a larger device, without reworking to suit the bigger display.  The Skytone's touchscreen may only be 7-inches, but Android still looks comically spread out.  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSo3icNEBNE[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQUcoQgs2IM[/youtube] [via netbooknews.de]

HTC Magic launches on Vodafone Spain

Vodafone Spain have released the HTC Magic, beating their UK counterpart to launch.  The Magic is available now through the carrier's online store, and will be in retail stores from next week, priced between €19 ($25) and €199 $262) depending on tariff.  An all-inclusive internet plan, priced at €12 ($16) per month, is mandatory. Both black and white versions of the Magic will be on offer, each with a 3.2-inch QVGA touchscreen, GPS, HSPA and WiFi b/g.  The Magic also has Bluetooth 2.0, a 3.2-megapixel camera and 500MB of onboard storage, together with supporting up to 8GB microSD memory cards.  As with other Android devices, the Magic has the Google suite of applications, including access to the Android Market, GMail and a full internet browser.  More details on tariffs and pricing at the official Vodafone Spain blog; more on the HTC Magic here. [Thanks Tony!]
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