Author Archives: Chris Davies


Motorola’s 7-inch XOOM caught in wild

An image of what appears to be Motorola's 7-inch version of the XOOM has leaked, presumably the same compact tablet CEO Sanjay Jha promised was in the pipeline earlier this year. No specifications in the image sent to This is my next, but the slimline slate does appear to have the Motorola logo - or something like it - in the top corner, and be running Android Honeycomb's camera app. As for connectivity, while we're guessing that WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G/4G are all likely additions, the only thing visible at the moment are two ports on the lower edge. They, it's suggested, are microUSB and microHDMI. If authentic, gone are the chunky stylings of the original XOOM, to be replaced by an angled aesthetic more in keeping with the Photon 4G. No word on when, exactly, this new Motorola might hit the market, nor indeed what the chunky device in the upper right-hand corner might be.

Pantech Breakout brings $100 LTE to Verizon

Pantech's budget 4G LTE smartphone, the Breakout, has been officially announced for Verizon, where it will go on sale come September 22. Priced at $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and assuming a new, two-year agreement, the Pantech Breakout has a 4-inch WVGA display and a 1GHz processor.

LG Optimus Q2 revealed: Super-bright QWERTY slider

LG has unveiled its latest Android smartphone, the LG Optimus Q2, a QWERTY-toting slider with a 4-inch WVGA IPS display and a 5-megapixel camera. Running a 1.2GHz processor, the Optimus Q2's real draw is the display, which LG says runs at an eye-searing 700 nits. There's also WiFi Direct support, Bluetooth and a front-facing video camera. The phone is 12.3mm thick and weighs 147g, and LG says its shrunk down the dimensions of the slide section by 2mm compared to previous smartphones from the company with the same form-factor. It's unclear which version of Android is loaded, but LG has done some fiddling with its own UI system. South Korea will be able to pick up the LG Optimus Q2 from next weekend, though there's no sign of a price or a release date for international markets. [gallery]

HTC October 6 event could deliver Euro HTC Vigor

The HTC Vigor could make its official debut in early October, with the news that HTC UK is sending out invites for a "press conference and party" on October 6. While the company has told us it cannot confirm details about the event - and asked that we not mention where in London it will take place - the language indicates this will be another of the company's high-profile public events. Saved for the firm's more significant launches, and usually announced at the HTC UK Facebook page, these parties give would-be buyers a chance to play with new smartphones well ahead of retail availability. Although the early October timeline could indicate Windows Phone 7 related news, the fact that HTC has already announced its new Mango-based line-up suggests it's Android that's on the cards. Most likely candidate, then, is the HTC Vigor, which is expected to see the company debut a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 HD-capable display. Running what's believed to be the same 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor as in the new Sensation XE, in addition to an 8-megapixel main camera, the Vigor has been described to Android Community as the first HTC handset to include Beats Audio in its design "from the ground up." Update: To be clear, we're talking about a European version of the Vigor, seeing as that specific handset is expected to be a Verizon CDMA model. Update 2: Reader Carl suggests it could be the European HTC Bass that HTC is revealing, though that handset is expected to be unveiled in the US tomorrow. [via SlashGear]

LG grabs Street Fighter IV for HD phones in Q4

LG's first HD Android smartphones are expected to arrive in Q4, bringing with them classic game Street Fighter IV thanks to a new deal with CAPCOM. The agreement will see LG have three months exclusivity to the title, which will be distributed via the handset manufacturer's own site rather than, it seems, through the Android Market. "As we prepare our first HD smartphone for launch, it was important for us to be able to offer HD content that would really demonstrate this phone’s benefits" LG Mobile president and CEO Dr. Jong-seok Park explains. "The HD version of Street Fighter certainly fills this objective. We are also confident that LG’s soon-to-be-unveiled HD display technology will give Street Fighter fans a whole new reason to play the game again." Unfortunately there's no further detail on the HD smartphones themselves, though leaks earlier in the year suggested that the LG Prada K2 would have a  4.3-inch HD NOVA Display, an 8-megapixel main camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera. LG recently showed off a 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 panel, with an iPhone 4-challenging 329ppi pixel density. [via MobileBulgaria]

Google Voice Actions for Android hits Europe [Video]

Google has extended Voice Actions for Android to users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, with the voice-command service now supporting local languages in each country. Launched in the US last year, the newly extended system allows to you start a new SMS message, call contacts, navigate to websites and do other things, all by simply speaking to your Android device. Voice Actions now recognizes British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, and is compatible with Android 2.2 devices and above. After triggering the voice search by holding down the dedicated search button, tapping the homescreen microphone button or loading the app itself, you can choose from seven different commands:
  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • go to [website]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]
Meanwhile, voice-led searching is still supported. You can download the new version from the Android Market. [youtube HsI76lrvJt4]

AT&T 4G Acer Iconia Tab A501 gets priced & dated

AT&T's 4G-enabled version of the 10.1-inch Acer Iconia Tab, the A501, will go on sale September 18 the carrier has confirmed, though don't expect crazy fast data speeds. In fact, the 4G only refers to HSPA+, not the LTE on the roadmap for later this year. Priced at $330 with a new, two-year data agreement, or $480 without, the 16GB Iconia Tab A501 is, 4G connectivity aside, identical to the A500 we reviewed previously On the back there's a 5-megapixel camera, while a 2-megapixel camera is up front for video calls. As well as the HSPA+ there's WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth, along with USB 2.0, HDMI and a microSDHC memory card slot. NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor keeps things running. Acer says it will also be offering a 32GB version of the A501, though so far AT&T is yet to confirm it will be ranging the slate. OS is Android Honeycomb, and there's access to the Tegra Zone of games and other downloads. [device id="266"]

Google Maps update adds mobile Places photo uploads

Google Maps for Android has been updated, tweaking the mapping appearance and adding the ability to add photos to places listings while mobile. Google Maps v5.1 introduces an "Add a photo" button next to the "Check in here" option in individual business listings, allowing you to choose from an existing picture or snap a new one with your phone's camera. Those uploaded images are then included in the gallery of shots stored for each listing. The change follows news of Google's acquisition of Zagat, the restaurant rating company, yesterday, which is expected to be integrated into the range of location-based services offered on Android handsets. For now, though, it's user-generated reviews that take center stage, with this new feature allowing you to show exactly what you ate and where you ate it, rather than describe it. You can update your Android phone to Google Maps v5.1 through the Android Market. [gallery]

Verizon DROID Bionic launching September 8 [Update: Not so fast]

Motorola has confirmed that the DROID Bionic will arrive on September 8, finally announcing when buyers will be able to pick up the much-anticipated smartphone. Powered by a dual-core processor and offering 4G LTE on Verizon's network, the Bionic also has an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording support. Update: Looks like there's nothing confirming that the Twitter account is, in fact, Motorola's official one. DROID Bionic goes back on the rumor shelf for the moment. Expectations of an imminent launch had been raised after the official DROID Bionic product page arrived in Motorola's online store over the weekend. However, there was no option to buy the handset, and the listing was subsequently removed. According to the official Twitter account for the smartphone, the Bionic will go up for pre-order soon. Verizon itself is only confirming the September release window, with no option to order as yet.

Vodafone launches carrier billing for Android Market shoppers

Vodafone Europe has announced it will be offering direct operator billing as an option on Android devices, allowing users to charge apps from the Android Market directly to their phone bill. Available initially in the UK and Germany, Vodafone expects it to have a positive effect on app sales, where users may have previously avoided paid-software over the hassles of adding a credit card to their account. Initially, Vodafone says, carrier billing will only be available to those who purchased their Android device through the company's retail or online stores. The implication, however, seems to be that at some point that will be updated so that anyone slotting in a Vodafone SIM to their device will be able to charge apps to that account. Further roll-outs across Vodafone are expected in future, and we're guessing other European carriers will follow suit. Several US carriers already offer operator billing for Android.