smartphones

HTC hosting London Pyramid Party… and you’re invited!

HTC's last meet-up gave Android fans a chance for an early play with the Desire HD and Desire Z, and it went so well the company is planning another gathering next week. Open to all - as long as you're able to get to London - the HTC get-together is straight after the company's mysterious press event next Tuesday, April 12. That's when we're expecting to see the HTC Sensation - aka the HTC Pyramid - make its official debut; HTC even teases that with a mention of the event being "a sensory experience". If so, it'll be a chance to get hands-on with the new dual-core Android smartphone well in advance of it arriving in stores. There's everything we know and expect from the Pyramid in our rumor roundup to whet your appetite, and more information at HTC's Facebook page. Let us know if you'll be headed over in the comments!
London, we thought it was high time we had another get-together. We had so much fun with you all last time. We hope all of you can drop by, chill-out and have a chat with us. We will have food and drink, and we'll also have an exclusive set by a pioneering UK DJ. But most excitingly, we have some exciting news to share with you! It is guaranteed to be a sensory experience. Make sure your friends don’t miss out – bring them along with you. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP by clicking “I’m attending” at the top of this page. Just remember that it’s an event for people over 18 and it’s on a first come first served basis. PS. For those of you that aren't in London – never fear – we have plans to come see you soon. We’ll let you know details closer to the time. Click here and read Terms and Conditions: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=207389835957172

Android courts Enterprise with remote-tracking, encryption & more

Google has announced a renewed focus on enterprise use of Android devices, with a range of new features centered around security and collaborative working. Available to all Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers, the functionality includes remote tracking and locking support via the My Devices dashboard. It's now possible to locating a lost Android 2.2+ handset on a map, ring the device, and reset its PIN or password remotely. There's also a new "Encrypt Data on Device" feature, which will now include requiring encrypted storage on Android 3.0 tablets. Finally, there's a new Google Apps Lookup feature which promises to make locating enterprise business details more straightforward. More information on the changes here.

T-Mobile G2x finally gets release date and pricing

T-Mobile USA has confirmed an April 20 release for the LG G2x, the carriers' version of the LG Optimus 2X. Priced at $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, the G2x will require a new, two-year agreement (and likely a mandatory data plan). Your money gets you a 1GHz Tegra 2 processor, NVIDIA's Tegra Zone preloaded, and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. There's also HDMI connectivity and a sizable 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen. The G2x arrives in-store on the same day as the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G, in fact, but unlike the messaging-centric phone will also be available from April 15 online via the carrier's online store. More details in our hands-on with the smartphone.

T-Mobile confirms Sidekick 4G release date

T-Mobile USA has confirmed that the Sidekick 4G will arrive on its network come April 20. The news comes as little surprise, however, since RadioShack already announced the launch date back at the end of last month. Still, we won't argue with official confirmation, and we know plenty of would-be Sidekick buyers who will likely feel the same way. The original series of devices built up a strong following, though it remains to be seen how many of them will follow the reskinned Android UI and familiar aesthetic over to the new-generation platform. Pricing for the messaging-centric handset will be from $99.99 with a new, two-year agreement including an unlimited data plan. For more on the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G check out our full hands-on.

SparkFun IOIO for Android makes Arduino-style hacks simple

If you're familiar with the Arduino then SparkFun's new IOIO for Android should get you really excited. A straightforward way to get I/O from an Android 1.5+ device's USB connection, the IOIO board uses a simple Java API to hook into your app and then allows you to link external sensors, inputs and other controls with your own software and the capabilities of the Android device itself. Among the connectivity choices are Digital Input/Output, PWM, Analog Input, I2C, SPI and UARTcontrol. SparkFun have tested it with the T-Mobile G1, Google Nexus One and Nexus S, and Motorola's Droid X (along with an unspecified tablet) but it should play nicely with other Android devices too. The firmware is all open-source and no modifications are necessary to the handset itself, so you shouldn't impact your warranty. It's available for pre-order now, priced at $49.95. [via Twitter]

INQ Cloud Touch Facebook phone on sale now

INQ's Cloud Touch Facebook phone has gone on sale in the UK, offering easier access to the social network on top of an Android base. Priced at £299.95 ($489) SIM-free or free on an £18 ($29) per month contract, the INQ Cloud Touch has a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen, 3G, a 5-megapixel camera and runs Android 2.2 Froyo. There's also GPS, an FM radio, WiFi and 512MB of internal storage, which can be added to via microSD card; a 4GB card is bundled in the box. Inside is an 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, not exactly the fastest around but certainly helping keep the price down. The Cloud Touch promises to be one of several Facebook phones due this year, with HTC bringing the ChaCha and Salsa out sometime in Q2 2011. No word on whether they'll match the INQ's pricing, however.

HTC Sensation to be Pyramid’s street name after UK debut on April 12?

The HTC Pyramid will reportedly launch in the UK as the HTC Sensation, making its debut at the HTC press event in London next Tuesday, April 12. That's according to Pocket-lint's unnamed source, who has supposedly confirmed the UK arrival of the Sensation "in the coming months" though not any of the specifications nor which carriers may be offering it. Previous rumors have indicated that the Pyramid/Sensation will be one of HTC's first dual-core smartphones for the European market. The company unveiled the HTC EVO 3D at CTIA 2011 last month, with a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, but the handset is a CDMA device and will arrive on Sprint in the US initially (although European availability has also been promised). Otherwise, the Pyramid/Sensation is tipped to have a large 4.3-inch display running at qHD resolution, 768MB of RAM and WiFi b/g/n, all wrapped up in a unibody-style chassis. Twin cameras and Sense round things out. We'll know for sure next week, when we head off to HTC's press launch. Take a peek at all of our awesome hands-on and update action on the HTC Sensation if you dare - loveliness awaits!

Android ousts iPhone as most popular smartphone system in UK says latest survey

It's not just in the US where Android devices are out-selling Apple's iPhone. New research by Intelligent Environments, a digital banking provider, suggests that Android handsets in the UK are more popular than the iPhone, with 28-percent of the people they surveyed having a device running Google's OS. That's compared to 26-percent with an iPhone, and 14-percent with a BlackBerry. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given Google is currently keeping its more advanced mapping features to itself, navigation and route planning is the most common application Android UK device owners take advantage of. It's worth bearing in mind that the iPhone is just one device, of course, versus multiple OEMs offering handsets running Android. Still, unlike in the US, in the UK the iPhone is currently offered across all of the major carriers, rather than being limited to one network.

Samsung Galaxy S Plus i9001 with overclocked CPU in pipeline [Update: Confirmed!]

Samsung may have the Galaxy S II on the way to keep its flagship spot occupied, but according to the latest rumors there'll also be a replacement to the original single-core Galaxy S as well. Connected insider Eldar Murtazin has heard that Samsung is readying the Galaxy S i9001, an overclocked version of the original device. The Galaxy S i9001's single-core chip will apparently be running at 1.4GHz, rather than the 1GHz it originally offered. That, Murtazin suggests, will make the i9001 Samsung's rival to the HTC Pyramid, though we're expecting the HTC handset to be dual-core. Exact release dates are unknown, and of course none of this is official. Still, we wouldn't be surprised if Samsung milked the Galaxy S series' success a little longer, just as it has done with the recent 4G version. Update: Samsung Russia has confirmed the Galaxy S Plus i9001, with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, TouchWiz 3.0, 8GB of internal memory, HD video recording, a 1.4GHz processor and HD video recording/playback. It will arrive in Russia at the end of April, priced at 23,990 rubles ($844). [Thanks Kunal!]

Sony Ericsson confirms XPERIA Play delays in UK

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play has encountered shipping delays and may miss its April 1 UK release at some retailers and on some carriers, the company has confirmed. Sony Ericsson has blamed "a freight issue" for the delay, which prompted Vodafone to contact pre-order customers and warn them their handsets wouldn't be arriving tomorrow as promised. According to our sources, the delay is "days rather than weeks" but will still mean XPERIA Play availability is tight. Sony Ericsson says some retailers will indeed have stock tomorrow, but there's no word on which. O2 has already delayed its own launch of the handset, having identified firmware bugs, though we're told that's a completely separate issue from the shipping problem. Sony Ericsson Statement:
We can confirm that the Xperia™ PLAY handsets are still planned to launch in the UK for 1st April, as originally communicated. However, as of today, we have experienced a freight issue that may impact the number of Xperia™ PLAYs arriving at some retail outlets. This said, consumers can purchase Xperia™ PLAY as of April 1st at a number of stores across the UK.
Vodafone UK Statement:
Sony Ericsson has advised us that it will not be able to supply the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Arc devices to meet their original launch date of 1 April. Unfortunately, this means there will be a small delay before pre-order customers receive their orders and the device is made available for sale in our shops. We're working closely with Sony Ericsson to ensure our customers' phones are delivered as soon as possible and we will contact people directly with specific timescales when we know more. We appreciate this is disappointing and are doing our very best to resolve this as quickly as possible.