Author Archives: Chris Davies


Panasonic UT-PB1 tablet/ereader gets video demo

Panasonic has outed a new Android-based ereader, using a 7-inch 1024 x 600 LCD display rather than an e-paper panel like the Kindle or NOOK. The Panasonic UT-PB1 slate, which made its debut at the e-Book Expo Tokyo DigInfo reports, runs an unspecified dual-core processor and, rather than taking on the iPad, is expected to target new ebook buyers in their 30s and 40s. Like most Android tablets we're seeing, there's an integrated webcam, WiFi and a microSDHC memory card slot, and there are the usual apps for browsing, email and other functionality. Panasonic has tweaked the UI with a pinch-gesture bookshelf layout, showing which titles are unread and which are partly-read. Meanwhile there's also a push-messaging system using the UT-PB1's WiFi connection and a specially-developed API, that can display new Rakuten information as it's released. Panasonic expects the UT-PB1 to be primarily a Japanese-market device, where it will come preloaded with 600 ebook titles. No word on pricing or availability. [youtube OZ_9NFfMTwM] [via Engadget]

Vizio tablet hits Amazon pre-order for $350

Vizio's 8-inch Android tablet has gone up for pre-order at Amazon, offering a 1024 x 768 capacitive touchscreen, Honeycomb OS and the ability to control HDTVs and other A/V equipment via an integrated IR emitter and universal remote app. The slate was announced back at CES 2011. Pre-orders through Vizio itself began at the start of the month, with the tablet expected to begin shipping on July 18. There it's $399.99, versus the $349.99 that Amazon is asking, though when you buy direct you get it with a 16GB microSD card and a special folio case that also works as a stand. If you can do without those accessories, though, you can save $50, and we imagine many would-be buyers will be looking for the cheapest option. Your money gets you front and rear facing cameras and WiFi b/g/n, though Amazon isn't saying when it expects the slate to ship. [via NetbookNews]

ASUS delays Eee Pad Slider release: Now due Fall 2011

ASUS has updated its expected launch window for the Eee Pad Slider, with the company now claiming the Honeycomb slate with a QWERTY surprise won't launch in the UK until sometime this autumn (aka fall). Previously, ASUS had promised an August release for the Slider, having already delayed the Android tablet at least once. Unveiled alongside the Eee Pad Transformer back at CES 2011, the Eee Pad Slider has a 10.1-inch touchscreen and NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset, but also includes a sliding/tilting QWERTY keyboard. Unlike the 'board offered for the Transformer, which can be detached or turn the tablet into a netbook of sorts, the Slider's hides behind the body of the slate itself. Reports back in February suggested the Eee Pad Slider would go on sale in mid-April, though unspecified delays have pushed that back. There's no official word from ASUS as to its reasoning, but we've heard some talk that the hinge mechanism could have presented issues. [device id=629]

Samsung Galaxy S II US launch delay down to carrier disinterest?

Samsung's Galaxy S II remains one of our favorite smartphones here at Android Community, and with sales passing 3m worldwide in the first 55 days of availability, its absence from the US market is increasingly frustrating. According to a new report from Korea, however, that may not change any time soon; Chosun Ilbo claims that US carriers like Verizon are dismissing the Galaxy S II because Samsung's CDMA expertise lags behind that of Motorola and others. According to the paper, Motorola "makes phones that work best with the American mobile protocol CDMA. That means US telecoms have a better alternative." Although the Galaxy S was the best selling Android device in the US at one point in 2010, carriers are supposedly less inclined to pick up its successor because HTC and Motorola are offering more compelling CDMA options now. "When the Galaxy S smartphone was launched last year, no competing new models by Motorola and HTC were available" the paper suggests. "As far as US telecoms were concerned, the Galaxy S was the only alternative to the iPhone last year. But the new model faces much tougher competition" Samsung has not confirmed the rumors, but an unnamed executive from the company did admit that "negotiations with American telecom companies have dragged on" while European sales flourish and the Canadian carriers are gung-ho about the handset. [via GottaBeMobile]

Amazon Appstore saved from Apple injunction attack

Apple's demands to have Amazon barred from describing its Android software download store as an "app store" have been rejected, with courts throwing out an injunction request this week. While US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton didn't necessarily agree with Amazon's claims that the term had become generic, Reuters reports, she nonetheless felt that Apple had failed to establish the necessary "likelihood of confusion" required for an injunction to be the appropriate response. The decision falls in line with predictions late last month, where Judge Hamilton warned Apple that their case had likely been insufficient. She had said she was "troubled" by what Apple had brought before her, however, with the Cupertino company's approach being that Amazon's use of "app store" could "confuse and mislead customers." With a quick fix no longer possible, it now looks like Apple and Amazon's legal battle will end up going through the courts properly. A trial date of October 2012 has been set.

TI promises Full HD Netflix streaming on Android devices soon

Texas Instruments has announced that its OMAP4 platform has been Netflix certified for the 1080p Full HD version of the streaming movie company's app, the first time a mobile platform has been approved. It's the M-Shield security section that's won TI the kudos, apparently, working in combination with the high-definition capabilities of the processor cores. Although Netflix already has an Android app, its compatibility is limited to certain handsets. That, the company has previously explained, is because Android lacks standardized secure streaming protocols that Netflix can use not only to funnel their content out to phones and tablets, but also use to reassure content owners that the movies won't be ripped and shared illegally. TI's M-Shield security system, however, offers a hardware-protected, trusted execution environment (TEE), running on the OMAP4's dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores, but supposedly does away with either a dedicated chip or extra CPU cycles. There's also support for Full HD HDMI output, which could mean plugging your Android phone into an HDTV and turning it into a mobile Roku-style streamer. According to TI, devices with the Netflix app pre-loaded "will be launched in the near future."

Path for Android released: Social photo sharing made simple

Path for Android has entered beta, allowing Google phone users to access the photo-based social network service. Released on iOS some months ago, Path positions its app as a way to share photos you've taken with a small group of trusted friends or colleagues: each account supports up to just 50 contacts. Images can be tagged, both with the identity of people in the shots, as well as places and things in-frame as well. Comments and conversations are supported, along with records of who has viewed your image and - using Path's "Emotion" system - how they felt when they saw it. For a broader audience, it's possible to share shots directly from Path to Facebook. It's a free download, though the Path team does warn that there could be a few rough edges and that it's not quite as polished as the iOS version. You can download Path for Android v1.0 from the Android Market now.

Samsung Galaxy Z gets official: Slimmed-down GSII

Samsung's latest Android smartphone has been outed, and it's clear the company has been looking inward for its inspiration. The Samsung Galaxy Z is a more compact version of the Galaxy S II, with a 4.2-inch WVGA Super Clear LCD display and 1GHz dual-core processor. There's also WiFi, Bluetooth and a 5-megapixel main camera with an LED flash and HD video recording. GPS, an FM radio and 8GB of internal storage round out the key specs, along with a microSD card slot. OS is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the usual TouchWiz modifications. Currently the phone us up for preorder in Sweden, priced at 3995 SEK ($635); there's no word on whether the Galaxy Z will launch elsewhere, though we would be very surprised if Samsung didn't push out versions across Europe. It seems something of a halfway house between the original Galaxy S and the SII, and considering the popularity of both devices that's probably not a bad idea. [via Samsung Hub]

Sony S1/S2 tablets get PlayStation demo and video fondle

The last video teaser we saw of the Sony S1 and S2 tablets, the company was strapping them to a Rube Goldberg-style machine and hardly telling us anything at all. Happily a brief demo of the Android Honeycomb prototypes in Munich this week has been more elucidating; while Sony still isn't saying much about final specs or software, at least Golem got to briefly play with the slates. The S1's 9.7-inch display, folded-magazine style tapered form factor and light, 600g weight met with approval, the wedge shape make for something easy to hold. Sony apparently had Crash Bandicoot running on the tablet, with the on-screen PlayStation controls straightforward to use. The company is still generally quiet, but has apparently confirmed PlayStation Suite compatibility. As for the S2, that's a lot more compact than we initially expected - the clamshell form-factor hiding its dual 5.5-inch touchscreens well - and does a decent job of minimizing the gap between the two panels. Sony hasn't confirmed pricing or availability, but previous leaks have suggested a September launch in Europe which could well mean an IFA 2011 official reveal. [youtube nGyynWokrpA] [via SlashGear]

HTC Desire Gingerbread update hits quality testing

HTC has announced that its Android 2.3 Gingerbread build for the HTC Desire is now going into quality assurance testing, one step closer to being released for owners of the former flagship smartphone. According to the company's Facebook page, the Desire Gingerbread ROM will be put through its paces from this week, though there's still no firm date for its release to users.
"Hi all- We're excited to share that we are testing our build of Gingerbread for HTC Desire and will start doing quality assurance for it this week. When we have an update on availability we'll post another announcement. Thanks for your support!" HTC
The news follows the will-they-won't-they announcements over the past few months regarding an official update for the Desire. Having initially promised Android would be released for the handset, HTC then shocked owners by confessing that they would be unable to do so, citing an inability to preserve the full Sense experience. After massive outcry, HTC changed its stance overnight and confirmed that it would indeed be pushing out a Gingerbread build. It was later revealed that the ROM would have a pared-down suite of apps, in order to satisfy the limitations of the Desire's memory. There's currently no telling which apps won't make the grade. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]