Rumors

Sony Ericsson Android-powered XPERIA called “Rachael”

Website called mobile.nu discovered what appears to be "internal documents" on what looks to be Sony Ericsson's forthcoming Android-powered phone, an XPERIA codenamed Rachael. Rachael is rumored to sport a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, HSPA & 8MPcamera. The screen size is uknown - but looks like it could be anywhere from 3.5 to 4.1-inch and yes there's a there is a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Rachael looks like it's an all-touch device without a physical QWERTY-keyboard.

[Via egether]

Dell’s Android MID plans: still experimenting

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dell is sitting on a number of Android prototype devices that offer MID-style internet access.  Described as being "slightly larger" than Apple's iPod touch, the touchscreen prototypes are said to be ARM-based and, from the sound of things, very much in the experimental stage. Dell have made no secret of the fact that they've been experimenting with Android.  Back in May the company demonstrated a netbook running the open-source OS, though they were clear that it was only a prototype and not confirmation of an upcoming production model. This latest leak appears to be more of the same; another source, who claims to have been briefed on Dell's plans, suggests that the Android MID could be put into production for a release later in 2009, or alternatively "the plan could be delayed or scrapped entirely."  Dell are apparently considering distributing the MID via carriers, similar to the manner in which their 3G-enabled netbooks are sold; there's also talk of a separate line of Android-based smartphones still in the works. [via SlashGear]

Sprint planning HTC Hero & combo CDMA/WiMAX Android phone?

No official confirmation as yet, but according to PhoneNews Sprint is internally testing a CDMA version of the HTC Hero with a release planned for the end of 2009.  HTC themselves have only confirmed that the Hero will reach the US "later in 2009", after its European and Asian debut. The Sprint Hero would also be accompanied, their sources suggest, by a multi-mode CDMA and WiMAX Android phone, made by Samsung.  This would take advantage of the WiMAX network Sprint have developed in partnership with Clear. Sprint have already confirmed that they intend to launch a tri-mode CDMA/WiMAX handset sometime in 2009 or 2010; however they've not publicly suggested which OS the smartphone might use.  Samsung have previously created a small number of WiMAX handsets, usually for use in Asia; it's unclear whether this new Android model would be a version of one of those, or a completely new device.

T-Mobile Samsung Bigfoot launching “very soon”?

A new picture of Samsung's Bigfoot Android phone for T-Mobile USA has emerged, the smartphone that was initially tipped to replace the G1 in Q3 2009.  The Bigfoot is expected to have a 3-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, presumably similar to that the company has used in the Samsung I7500 aka Galaxy. There's also believed to be UMTS/HSDPA connectivity, taking advantage of T-Mobile USA's 3G network, and it seems sensible to assume that it will have WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth.  A 3-megapixel camera is also expected, and of course there's that full QWERTY keyboard and what look to be some well-placed stereo speakers. According to the BGR's sources, the Samsung Bigfoot is actually set to launch in the very near future.  No word on pricing or specific launch dates, however, but if that "really soon" prediction pans out, we shouldn't have too long to wait.

Android netbooks from ODM Compal in development

Taiwanese ODM Compal Communications are preparing to develop Android-based netbooks, according to the latest reports in the Commercial Times.  Compal, who were tipped to take over manufacturing of the Acer Aspire One, and are believed to be the ODM for the Dell range of Inspiron Mini netbooks, are supposedly in negotiations with several notebook vendors regarding the project. Details on the netbooks themselves are slim, with neither DigiTimes nor the Chinese-language paper suggesting what specifications Compal have in mind.  One possibility is that the ODM will use the somewhat traditional Intel Atom platform; Android has already been shown to run successfully on the Atom N270-based ASUS Eee PC. Another possibility is that Compal could turn to ARM's chipset range, selecting either a more basic processor or something HD-capable such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon.  Android-based Snapdragon devices are expected to launch this year, complete with 1080p support and high-speed WWAN connectivity.

Adobe Flash technology hitting Android soon?

After Andy Rubin demonstrated Flash working on the T-Mobile G1 last November, the assumption has been that the technology would arrive on Android sooner rather than later.  Five months on, and there's still no sign from Adobe; however, embedded devices company Bsquare are claiming to be working with "a global, tier-one carrier" to bring Flash technology to the Android platform. Bsquare has apparently already ported the Flash Player to over 100 embedded devices.  However this time around the company is porting "Flash technology" not the player itself, to Android.  It's unclear exactly what this means for end-user functionality, and Bsquare are keeping quiet on the details. Right now there are more questions than answers, and with no timescale, software details or even a hint of which carrier the company is working with (though the obvious guess would be T-Mobile) it's hard to get excited.  Bsquare are an authorized distributor of the Adobe Flash Player and SDK, though, so we'd rate this a couple of notches above vaporware at least.

Android Market to get paid apps this week?

Paid applications will be arriving on the Android Market sometime this week, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.  The news - which would tie in with Google's own public timescale of Q1 2009 - is likely to encourage developers to code new apps or port existing ones over to the Android platform; up until now, downloads have been free of charge. While the paper does not quote its sources, only "people familiar with the matter", T-Mobile has been pushing out the latest RC-33 to US G1 owners which includes new tools for the Android Market.  The company is believed to be aiming to have the update completed by February 15th, which might suggest that they'll flick the switch on paid apps straight after. Google's exact Market terms for developers wishing to charge for their applications are unclear.  We're also not sure about what charges developers may face; back in October, Google's Andy Ruben laid out the bandwidth fees for free apps, but there's still no official word on any upcoming changes.  [via Gizmodo; thanks Derek!]

Android Community Week in Review – Week 44 2008

Sprint has commented on their future with Android this week. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, told the media that Android is not (yet) good enough for the Sprint name. This certainly comes as a surprise to us as Sprint is one of the founding companies of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). Android Community shared an unlocking video with their members and decided to hold a contest with 3 unlock codes as prizes in celebration of the event. Rumors that Wal-Mart would soon carry the G1 in their stores spread like wildfire this week. Despite Wal-Mart claiming that they were only rumors, the story turned out to be true. In no time at all people spotted the G1 in Wal-Mart store displays. Motorola's Co-CEO Sajay Jha stated on a Q3 earnings conference call that there will be no Android-powered handset released by them until the Christmas season. On October 30th residents of the United Kingdom were finally able to get their hands on the T-Mobile G1. The UK, however, got a few changes that the US did not receive; the G1 in the UK comes in either Black or White while the US only got the Black and Bronze version of the G1. Other differences in the UK release is the price, you can get the device overseas for free but you must commit to a 2 year agreement, also the G1 comes with a 2GB MicroSD card as opposed to the 1Gb that we received in the US. A week ago Google sent out the RC28 update only to quickly recall it because of security flaws. A few days later Google sent out a new update (RC29) with an added security patch that supposedly fixes the browser security issues that were present. It appears that more and more of our users receive this update every day but the bulk of them have yet to receive it. The update process is very easy, all you must do is accept the update and let the phone do its thing. For those who are too impatient to wait, there is a way to update your G1 with a MicroSD card. However, this may cause you to lose your data and is not recommended. TechOn was brave enough to dissect the G1 the other day and reported that the roll ball is the same as the one in RIM's Blackberry handsets. Aside from that, the inside of the G1 is white. We had no idea that the G1 is painted. Android Market received several new applications this week, including the very first emulator to run on Android, Androidboy. This emulator comes with 10 games pre-loaded for your enjoyment. In other firsts for the Android Market we saw the first of what will be many Twitter applications. Twidroid is a simple Twitter client that allows you to post "twits" and photos to Twitter.com. China is getting so desperate to get their hands on the G1 that they are illegally importing them and paying unreasonably high prices to get the devices. Learning guitar comes to Android with the addition of Splashplay. This application brings learning how to play instruments to the mobile phone. In the future, Splashplay will include light panel releases for the keyboard/piano, drums, violin and many other instruments. PocketFinder is a popular way to track your family or pets location using GPS. This can be especially useful for parents who often worry too much. China Mobile has reportedly started working with Lenovo on what will be their first Android-Powered handset that will be released between February and March of 2009. A revolutionary application called WhitePages released this week bringing real caller ID to Android. No more wondering who is calling when you do not have the number saved to your contacts. JOYity brings social multiplayer online mobile gaming to the real world. Users can play in one of 3 games that require you to interact with other players in real life.

Wal-Mart selling the T-Mobile G1 for cheaper?

Somewhat believable rumors about Wal-Mart are flying around again, this one is about the arrival of the G1 at a cheaper price. The top ten Wal-Mart locations in each market will be getting the T-Mobile G1 on the 24th of November just in time for Christmas.

It comes as no surprise because big box stores such as Costco are already selling the G1 in many of their stores. Wireless sales in these stores have proven to be a good market for these companies. It is no doubt that Wal-Mart, who boasts low prices, will offer some sort of discount on the device, luring customers to their stores rather than the T-mobile retail locations. Rumors say that the price will be $148.88 with activation and a two-year contract. For many the $31 dollar discount is not worth waiting a month to get this phone. Those who are interested in the G1 are more likely to want it sooner rather than later. The price will help with Christmas shopping this year for those effected by our economy. With so many T-Mobile stores outside of the 3G area, T-Mobile is wise to be allowing the overflow of G1 handsets to be sold in other stores as well bringing the market to those who would have otherwise missed. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via EngadgetMobile]