Android Community Weekly: March 25th, 2012

March 25, 2012
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With the Ides of March fully behind us, the folks at Android Community are looking forward to summer... and all the drool-worthy hardware it brings. The last week saw quite a bit of activity in that space, with new hardware being announced and leaked steadily. Of course there's plenty of movement on the software front as well, with more and more devices getting upgraded (or at lease getting the promise of an upgrade) and the first hints of Android 4.0.5, the latest version of Ice Cream Sandwich.

First, hardware news. Sony's flagship smartphone the Xperia S is now available "worldwide", and it's coming to Canada soon as well. The Xperia S is lacking an Ice Cream Sandwich update, but the Xperia neo L isn't, and will be Sony's first ICS phone when it launches in China. Huawei's quad-core Ascend D Quad will be available in July, though we're not sure where, and the company's take on T-Mobile's MyTouch is coming to America, but we're not sure when. Acer finally made its Iconia Tab A510 official in the US with ICS and a Tegra 3 processor, and it's up for pre-sale for just $450. Toshiba showed off a massive 13.3-inch prototype tablet christened the AT330, likewise running ICS and using a Tegra 3 processor. A pair of upcoming Verizon LTE phones showed their faces: the Motorola DROID Fighter (which looks like a bigger, meaner version of the DROID RAZR MAXX) and the LG Lucid, a mid-range phone with no price or date just yet.

The oh-so-elusive Samsung Galaxy Tab 11.6 may have been unintentionally leaked on Sammy's own website. Non-leaks out of Samsung include the pico-projector-packing Galaxy Beam, due for release in April in international markets, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which is now the first LTE device for regional carrier US Cellular. Of course you can't talk Samsung without mentioning the Galaxy S III. This week the rumor mill churned out a Samsung executive who claimed the GSIII will have a quad-core Exynos processor, another (Chinese) exec who claimed it'd be released in April, a spy shot of a phone identified as the "GT-i9300" (which may or may not be the GSIII) and yet another probably fake render.

On the software side of things, we've got the much-anticipated release of Angry Birds Space, the even more anticipated (but sadly protracted) Instagram, now in a pre-release sign-up stage, and the an expansion to Cut The Rope labelled "Experiments". Check out our hands-on here. More gaming-related news includes the release of classic beat-em-up The King of Fighters, and Gameloft's intention to make all of its upcoming games both social and infuriating with in-app purchases. If you want to show off your pigs slain, fighter fought or any Android app, try SeeMeGaming - it's a gaming-oriented screen video capture app. For something a little more useful, you can try Flash Blink to enable alerts via your phone's LED flash, or the newest version of Google Voice, which integrates voicemail with the stock ICS dialer.

Business marches on, and Google marches fast: its lawyer monkeys have been hard at work securing a creepy eavesdropping/advertising patent. Google Wallet isn't moving so fast, which is probably why the Big G is thinking about sharing revenue with wireless carriers. In less official news, sources talking to DigiTimes claim that Android 5.0 "Jelly Bean" will be ready in the third quarter. HTC and partner/acquisition Beats Audio have snatched up subscription music service MOG Music. And Samsung showed off the latest features of its Exynos 5 family of processors, with support for USB 3.0 and resolutions up to 2560x1600.

A bevy of Android updates have been issued or planned, most notably AT&T's HTC Vivid, which is now rocking Ice Cream Sandwich officially. The carrier promptly announced plans to update ten more phones... then LG crashed the party with a Gingerbread update for the Thrill 4G. Samsung was keen to show off the S-Pen in its Galaxy Note ICS update... which has been delayed to the second quarter. Nuts. Those using the Galaxy Nexus can expect an update to Android 4.0.5 soon, and Motorola XOOM owners (WiFi version, at least) may be getting the same. Custom ROM enthusiasts will be happy to know that CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread) is now available in a 7.2 release candidate, and some industrious hackers have gotten Ice Cream Sandwich running on Nokia's MeeGo-powered N9.

Here at Android Community we had the privilege of reviewing new hardware and software. There's the Good, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile, the Bad, the Sony Tablet P on AT&T, and the Angry... guess which one that is. Those of you looking for a great deal on one of our favorite tablets should head on over to Best Buy, where the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi is on sale for just $349.99 with a free keyboard dock. Here's hoping you have a great week ahead of you - stay in school, don't do drugs, and always make a Nandroid backup.


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