NTT DoCoMo gives firm launch date for Optimus Pad

Gadget geeks in Japan that are fans of tablets will be able to get their hands on the new LG Optimus Pad tablet very soon. NTT DoCoMo has offered up the official launch date for the tablet within Japan. This is the last key bit of information that we didn’t have before, we already know all the specs of the tablet.

O2 Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play delayed after firmware bugs found

UK carrier O2 has confirmed that the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play will be delayed, after having "found some bugs in the software that, if they’re not fixed, means customers won’t have a great experience." According to Stuart Hibberd, head of O2's testing team, by the time Sony Ericsson has tweaked the firmware, the gaming smartphone will have missed its previously announced April 1 launch date. What's unclear is whether the same bugs will impact other carriers offering the XPERIA Play. O2 doesn't specify what, exactly, the issues are, but it does claim they're general flaws in the XPERIA Play's firmware rather than something to do with a particular build for the O2 network. For more on the XPERIA Play, check out our hands-on from CTIA 2011 last week. [Thanks Toby!]

Nexus S NFC payment system due later in 2011 with Citigroup and MasterCard?

Google is reportedly working with bank Citigroup and credit/debit card provider MasterCard to launch an Android based payments system using the NFC technology baked into the Nexus S. According to the WSJ's sources, Google will release an app later in the year which allows Citigroup customers to swipe their phones on VeriFone-made NFC enabled payment terminals. The same app may allow for payment history tracking along with coupons and other personalized offers to be pushed. On the flip side, Google - and its retailer partners - would be able to gather greater information on shopping habits, and thus better tailor its advertising. Google would apparently not take a cut of the transaction fees, instead only getting a foot in the door on better quality analytics. The search giant was previously tipped to be readying NFC payment trials in San Francisco and NYC.

Google blocking Android 2.x to 3.0 updates for tablets?

Buried in among the recent talk of a Google Nexus Tablet by LG was an interesting - if concerning for current Android tablet owners - snippet about Google's licensing agreements for Android OS updates. According to Mobile-Review, using Android 3.0 Honeycomb requires a separate license to using 2.x, with one of the clauses being that a device running 2.x cannot be subsequently updated to 3.0. If true, that could have significant impact on tablets like the original 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, which launched running Android 2.x and have not yet been confirmed to be getting an official Honeycomb update. It could also impact the HTC Flyer, which is expected to launch running Gingerbread and then, HTC has previously insisted, be updated to Honeycomb later in the year. According to Eldar Murtazin, though, Google's licensing limitations will prevent that upgrade, and so the Flyer will in fact launch running Honeycomb in most - but not all - of its versions. Let's hope the situation gets clarified sooner rather than later, since we can imagine Flyer early-adopters not responding well to the idea that they'd never see a 3.x update to their device. We're asking HTC for an official comment, and will update when we hear back. Update: HTC's PR team tells us that, while HTC has no official statement on this, it has no impact on the company's plans for Flyer.

Google Nexus Tablet by LG in pipeline for mid-Summer launch?

Google is reportedly working with LG on a new self-branded device, only this time it's a tablet rather than a smartphone. The "Google Nexus Tablet" (name not confirmed, mind) will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb and, according to Mobile-Review, is expected to launch in mid-summer or early fall. LG, of course, already has its own Honeycomb tablet, the LG Optimus Pad/T-Mobile G-Slate. However, according to the rumors, Google is looking to prepare a core Android reference design tablet, which would be first to get OS updates in the same manner as the Nexus line of smartphones, and only LG - out of the known, key Android tablet manufacturers - was willing to agree to the search giant's terms. Apparently the project is already underway, though there's no word on carrier support or whether Google will look to sell the Nexus Tablet direct. Similarly, specifications are currently unknown. [via Xataka]

Droid X Gingerbread gets benchmarked

There's been some benchmarks released of the Droid X running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and the results are fairly impressive. The benchmarks were compaired to the previous Android 2.2 (Froyo) results. The tests feature some testing of heavy duty graphics and motion Fx in a game like atmosphere and it received a score of 1796, about a 700 point increase over the Froyo score. That's around a 30% increase in performance. It's amazing what a software update can accomplish.

HTC Flyer appears in T-Mobile ads

Remember last week when we reported that the HTC Flyer would be exclusive to Best Buy? Well that exclusivity isn't as exclusive as we were led to believe. Kinda. First there was Sprint selling a WiMax version of the Flyer known as the HTC Evo View 4G. And now, according to a few leaked T-Mobile Ads, the Flyer looks to be in the Get More network's product line and could be coming in the summer.

Tango Video Chat Review for HTC ThunderBolt

The moment we came into knowledge of Tango being the preferred video chat client of those testing and using the HTC ThunderBolt in the field, we had to take a closer look for ourselves. This is an app that's free, but even free apps need to be scrutinized to a certain degree because of the amount of time a person has to dedicate to them - understanding that, this app stands up to to tough scrutiny. It's at once simple and extremely well played, and most importantly: it works.