Author Archives: Chris Davies


Motorola KORE tipped in domain buying spree: XOOM successor?

Could Motorola's next tablet be the KORE? That's certainly one possibility, after the company was spotted going on a domain-buying spree earlier this week. Fusible caught five domains - MotorolaKore.comKoreMotorola.com,  Moto-Kore.comMotoKore.com and Motorola-Kore.com - each using a variant of the same KORE name. The five purchases were only made on Wednesday this week, and so far none of the URLs link to any existing Motorola pages. While a tablet is one possibility - perhaps using Ice Cream Sandwich, which is set to debut later in 2011 - the KORE could also be a new Motorola phone, of course. Motorola's original Android tablet, the XOOM, got off to an early start as the first Honeycomb model to hit shelves, but has since been superseded by rivals like Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. Early criticism suggested the XOOM - and indeed Android 3.0 - had been released half-baked, with a patchy OS and missing hardware support (such as for the memory card slot). Even now, the promised Verizon LTE 4G upgrade is still yet to appear.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 update going OTA now

Samsung's OTA update for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has gone live, with the 188MB software now being offered to users of the Honeycomb slate. The new firmware brings with it Samsung's own TouchWiz UI for tablets, upgrading the home screen with various new panes and a compact task-launcher for common apps. There's also a version of Swype for tablets along for the ride, together with mobile printing and several enterprise features to try to encourage businesses to consider the Tab 10.1 too. Full details of what's in the update are here. It's worth noting, however, that once you've installed the update you won't be able to remove it. Samsung has confirmed that it's a permanent thing, with no roll-back option, so if you're not sure whether you'd prefer to keep the stock Honeycomb UI - or are wary of potential bugs - then you might want to hold off until the first bug reports come in. Everyone else, hit that Update button in the Galaxy Tab 10.1's settings page to get the new firmware.

Pandigital Planet, Nova and Star budget tablet trio revealed

Pandigital has outed a trio of new Android tablets, as well as the promise of a high-end model by the end of the quarter. The Pandigital Planet, Nova and Star will all hit shelves this month, each toting a 7-inch touchscreen - 800 x 480 on the Star; 800 x 600 on the Planet and Nova), WiFi, Barnes & Noble's eBookstore app preloaded, and both WiFi and HDMI connectivity. Unfortunately, as the $159 starting price might suggest, we're not looking at Honeycomb here. Instead, the Planet and Star each run Android 2.2 Froyo, while the Nova steps up to 2.3 Gingerbread. Pandigital tells us that future firmware updates are in the pipeline, but it's unclear whether that will ever include a step up to Google's tablet-centric Android branch. Both the Planet and Star have 2GB of integrated memory, while the Nova doubles that to 4GB; there's a microSD card slot and USB On-The-Go support, though with a mini USB port you'll need an adapter if you want to plug in a regular thumb-drive or peripherals. Pandigital has struck a deal with GetJar to include the software download store on all three models - there's no official Android Market access, at least until the hacks arrive - and there are apps for email, browser, the camera (rear on all models; front-facing on the Star) for stills and video and the OfficeSuite Viewer for opening documents. The Pandigital Planet (R70A200) is on sale today for $189, while the Pandigital Nova (R70F400/ R70F452) will arrive this week for $189. The Pandigital Star (R70B200) will follow on in mid-August for $159. Meanwhile, Pandigital is promising a "flagship" tablet for September, though details won't be released until next month. [gallery]

Samsung: Australian Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales will go ahead

Samsung has denied that the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is on hold in Australia, clarifying that the company's agreement with Apple only covers the US version of the tablet. According to Samsung's official statement, given to AusDroid, the original Apple complaint covered "a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 variant that Samsung Electronics had no plans of selling in Australia." The Korean company says that, as indicated in reports yesterday, the settlement between it and Apple was "a mutual agreement" rather than a court injunction. That agreement only concerns the contentious US version of the slate, whereas the Australian variant is presumably different so as to avoid infringing Apple patents. Samsung, therefore, will push ahead with its Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch schedule, saying that the 10-inch model will be released soon. A hearing in Australia has been scheduled for August 29 to review the status of the localized suit.
Apple Inc. filed a complaint with the Federal Court of Australia involving a Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 variant that Samsung Electronics had no plans of selling in Australia. No injunction was issued by the court and the parties in the case reached a mutual agreement which stipulates that the variant in question will not be sold in Australia. A Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 for the Australian market will be released in the near future. This undertaking does not affect any other Samsung smartphone or tablet available in the Australian market or other countries. Samsung will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communication business.
[Thanks Dy4me!]

HTC Desire Android 2.3 Gingerbread update released

HTC has released the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the HTC Desire, though because of limitations of the ROM thanks to HTC's efforts to squeeze it down to suit the storage space the smartphone has, it's being released via the company's developer site rather than as an OTA upgrade. Various HTC apps have been removed - though will be available to download separately - and the official Facebook app has been stripped out and must be re-installed via the Android Market. In addition, all customizations to the ROM - including anything carriers may have installed or mandated - have been removed, and in fact even the wallpapers (bar the default) have been taken out to save space. HTC warns that some people may lose SMS/MMS functionality after upgrading too, though it sounds like that's because this is a generic ROM and may not have the carrier settings required; those should be readily added back in afterwards. Still, unlike the streamlined OTA process, installing Gingerbread on the Desire will wipe out all of your existing customizations, messages, emails, apps and other content, so HTC is recommending it for "expert users" and development purposes only. You're also out of luck if you have a Desire from Germany (Deutsch Telekom), North America, South America, South Korea, and Japan, where "concerns raised from our partners" have led to HTC not allowing the update in those regions. If you're feeling brave, you can download the HTC Desire Android Gingerbread 2.3 ROM from http://developer.htc.com/ [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Samsung Galaxy S II White confirmed for September 1 UK debut

Samsung UK has confirmed the the white variant of the Galaxy S II will launch on September 1. First tipped by a UK retailer earlier this week, the Samsung Galaxy S II white will have the same hardware and software as the existing black model, but clad it all in a fresh, pale casing. Whether that's something which appeals to buyers remains to be seen, but with Samsung announcing that 5m GSII units have been sold worldwide in the smartphone's first 85 days of availability, differentiating yourself from the rest of the crowd is perhaps more of an issue. By the time the white model arrives, the Galaxy S II will at least have gone on sale in the US; that's expected to take place in August. Samsung says the GSII white will be available through the major UK networks, as well as via retailers as a SIM-free, unlocked device. No word on pricing at this stage, though we'd imagine it will come in at the same figure as the existing black version.

Toshiba Thrive update will cure sleepy tablet next week

Toshiba is readying a new firmware update for the Thrive tablet, that will address the sleep issues some owners have reported. According to the company, "a software update to resolve this issue will be available early next week and can be accessed from the Service Station utility app found on the Thrive at that time." No explanation for the cause of the issue has been given. Some users have found that their Thrive tablet refuses to resume from standby when the power button is pressed, and requires a reset in order to get it working once more; others have had to pull the battery completely in order to get the slate functional. The new firmware will also "enhance the multimedia playback capabilities of the device" though the exact nature of that change has not been specified. More on the Toshiba Thrive in the full Android Community review. [device id=567]

UK HTC EVO 3D launch pushed back to September

UK sales of the HTC EVO 3D will not begin until September 2011, HTC has confirmed. The GSM model - announced back in late June - was originally expected to go on sale in Europe in July, offering a UMTS/HSPA version of the CDMA handset that launched in the US last month.     HTC UK revealed the delay to our sister site SlashGear. "We can confirm that the HTC EVO 3D will be available to UK customers through Carphone Warehouse from September 2011" a spokesperson said; the news comes shortly after UK carrier Vodafone revealed it no longer planned to range the EVO 3D due to concerns over device delays. No reason for the delay has been given, though we're presuming it has to do with the GSM radio in the EVO 3D since the CDMA version is already available now. The smartphone is HTC's first to use a glasses-free 3D display, with a twin 5-megapixel camera array on the back so that owners can shoot their own photos and video. [device id=146]  

Vodafone ditches HTC EVO 3D before it even arrives

You snooze, you lose, HTC. UK carrier Vodafone has confirmed that it has dropped the HTC EVO 3D from its line-up, after continued delays in the glasses-free 3D smartphone's availability. Speaking to a Vodafone spokesperson today, Android Community was told that the carrier had decided that, given the devices it currently offers and those it has in the pipeline, and that "due to delays to the launch of the device" it felt the EVO 3D was no longer required. Those customers who had already pre-registered their interest in the EVO 3D on Vodafone will be contacted and the decision not to range it explained. The handset has already been removed from the Vodafone "Coming Soon" page. "We realise this will come as a disappointment to some people but we already offer some fantastic phones, like the HTC Sensation and Galaxy S2, with some really exciting handsets in the pipeline" the Vodafone spokesperson told us, "and we'll continue to focus on bringing the latest and greatest smartphones to Vodafone customers." While the EVO 3D went on sale in the US on June 24, having been initially announced back at CTIA 2011 in March 2011, European sales of the GSM variant are yet to begin. HTC confirmed it would be offering the device in GSM form back at the end of June.

Samsung hits 5m Galaxy S II sales

Samsung has announced that global sales of the Galaxy S II have passed the 5m mark, again beating its predecessor, the Galaxy S, to the milestone. Currently available in various European and Asian countries - though not, yet, the US - the GSII has been on sale for just 85 days. The handset had already passed the 3m point after 55 days on the market. In contrast, the Galaxy S took 85 days to make it to 3m, and 125 days to reach 5m. Beyond that, after seven months of availability, the Galaxy S hit 10m sales, a record Samsung now says it is confident the Galaxy S II will beat. Availability in North America - which has taken longer than for the Galaxy S - will undoubtedly help achieve that goal. Verizon Wireless is expected to be the first US carrier to offer the Galaxy S II - in CDMA form - with a launch within the next 2-3 weeks tipped, while Samsung is believed to be crafting custom versions for all four major networks. Meanwhile, a slider version of the smartphone, packing a QWERTY keyboard and apparently headed to AT&T, was spotted earlier this week. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]