Microsoft scores another Android patent deal as license pressures ramp

Android device manufacturer General Dynamics Itronix has agreed a patent licensing deal with Microsoft, the latest company to cough up cash despite many assuming that Android, being open-source, liberates them from patent concerns. According to the rather smug Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, the deal "is an example of how industry leaders address intellectual property." That certainly seems a snub to other Android OEMs yet to ink patent contracts with Microsoft. It's unclear what exact patents the agreement covers, at this stage, though Microsoft has been vocal in the past about the misconception that Android is a "free" OS because Google made it open-source. "Android has a patent fee" CEO Steve Ballmer said back in 2010, "it's not like Android’s free. You do have to license patents. HTC’s signed a license with us and you’re going to see license fees clearly for Android as well as for Windows." Earlier this year it was suggested that HTC pays Microsoft $5 for every Android device the company sells. In fact,  Citi analyst Walter Pritchard suggested, Microsoft made more from indirect Android handset sales that it did from licensing Windows Phone to its own OEMs.

First Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone to be made by Samsung?

We all know that Ice Cream Sandwich is on its way and there will be smartphones running the OS. There were some rumors circulating a while back that the first phone using the OS could be a Samsung Nexus device or a so-called "pure Google" handset directly from a key Google partner. BGR had some details on the handset and claimed that it would have no physical menu keys. Instead it will have virtual keys on screen and a 720p resolution screen is rumored as well.

AndyPad Pro confirmed with capacitive touch and dual-cameras

The UK team behind the AndyPad budget Android tablet has announced that there will be a second version of the low-cost slate, targeted at enthusiasts and early-adopters. The AndyPad Pro will have a capacitive touchscreen - rather than the £129 AndyPad's resistive panel - as well as both front and rear cameras. The original AndyPad will have 512MB of RAM, it's been concerned, after negative feedback over the original plans to use just 256MB. Worldwide availability - alongside the UK launch - is also intended. The company is still yet to confirm screen details, nor to show a full image of the device. That, they tell Android Community, is to give them some redesign wiggle-room between now and launch. Pricing for the AndyPad Pro will be similar to the £129 AndyPad, though obviously carry a premium. [gallery id="38473"]

Lenovo confirms ship date for IdeaPad K1 Android tablet to affiliates

The tablet market is booming and everyone looking to take some of the sales that the iPad is racking up there are tons of new tablets headed to market. The vast majority of them will be using Android and one of the tablets coming we have mentioned in the last few weeks is form Lenovo. Lenovo has previously confirmed that two new tablets were coming this summer and one of them is the IdeaPad K1 Android tablet.

Verizon ThunderBolt wireless charging battery cover finally hits stores

When it comes to charging your gadgets it can be a massive pain in the rear to have to dig around for cables to lug your device in. This is especially true if you charge at a desk or table where the charge cable tends to get knocked behind the desk leaving you to crawl around looking for your cord. There are a bunch of wireless charging solutions on the market that support different types of tech.

Get Android 3.1 on your Acer Iconia Tab A500 right now with new ROMs

Last week I mentioned that the Acer Iconia Tab A500 would be getting an update to Android 3.1 officially in Germany and a few other places on July 5. The launch date for the US and many other places has yet to be offered. If you want Android 3.1 on your A500 and you don't want to wait, you can get it right now via two new ROMS. A leaked official Android 3.1 build landed in China last week and has since been put up on XDA Forums.

Euro HTC EVO 3D official: dual-core HSPA+ 3D superphone

The HTC EVO 3D has been officially launched in Europe, with the glasses-free 3D smartphone set to go on sale from July 2011. Offering a 4.3-inch qHD resolution screen like the HTC Sensation, only supporting 3D graphics without the silly specs, the EVO 3D has HSPA+, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a dual 5-megapixel cameras that support 2D and 3D stills and video at up to 720p HD resolution. OS is Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread with HTC Sense 3.0, and there have been a few tweaks made to suit the 3D capabilities. We met up with HTC last week to discuss the EVO 3D, and the company told us that, while it could have made the whole UI 3D, after tests it decided to keep things predominantly 2D as the third dimension was unnecessarily distracting. HTC Watch will offer 3D video content to buy (some territories will get a preloaded copy of The Green Lantern in 3D), though there won't be any 3D games at launch; HTC tells us that they're in the pipeline. 3D photos can be easily sent to users with non-3D devices as 2D versions, meaning backward compatibility. Otherwise, the HTC EVO 3D has dualband HSPA/WCDMA supporting up to 14.4Mbps downloads and up to 5.7Mbps uploads (network depending), a microUSB port that supports MHL HDMI (with 3D output if your screen can handle it) and both WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. There's 1GB of user-accessible ROM and 1GB of RAM, along with a microSD card slot, and the whole thing weighs in at 170g and measures 126 x 65 x 12.05 mm, though the blunt edges make it feel a significantly bigger, heavier device than the curved Sensation. We do like the dedicated camera button and physical switch for toggling between 2D and 3D modes. As for the bootloader, since the EVO 3D was in development while the decision to open up future HTC devices to third-party ROMs was made, it's not clear what will happen. HTC told us that's still being discussed internally, and that it's "not as simple" as throwing a switch on production units. Pricing is also to be decided, though it'll likely come in alongside the Sensation. For more on the HTC EVO 3D, check out our full review of the US version, which - radios aside - is functionally identical. [gallery]

CyanogenMod 7.1 RC now available for Download

Everyone's favorite Android distribution CyanogenMod has now released their latest and greatest and that is CyanogenMod 7.1 RC1. This is the first official release for the new CM 7.1 that brings Android up to 2.3.4 and to over 40 devices (44 to be specific). This latest update brings many changes and the changelog sure does have some great additions as well as showing CM7.1 bringing support to many new devices like the Galaxy S, Cliq, LG Optimus x2/T-Mobile G2x and more.