Galaxy S satisfies both our hunger for gimmicks and personal safety. Available exclusively through the Samsung Apps download store on the Galaxy S - and, we're guessing, on the Vibrant, Captivate and any other Galaxy S variant the company pushes out - the Road SMS app basically overlays a QWERTY keyboard on top of a live view from the phone's camera. That means you can strut along the street, texting away to your hearts content, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for open manhole covers, angry dogs or stray celebrities. Unfortunately the app itself is pretty basic: all you have is a keyboard, a shortcut to choose the message recipient and a character counter (which seems to want to limit messages to 80 rather than the more usual 160 characters); there's no way to browse incoming messages or indeed take a photo for an MMS. Still, as a free gimmick it's pretty neat, and we imagine someone will soon rip it from the Samsung ROM and offer it on other custom installs for rival handsets. Full demo in the video below. Samsung Road SMS on the Galaxy S: [vms 1025975e548cee86dfad]
Opera Mini 5.1 uses the company's server-side compression system to shrink down requested webpages by up to 90-percent; that means smaller download sizes, preserving your data allowance, and faster loading. There's also tabbed browsing, a password manager, bookmarks and Speed Dial, and you can now set the Opera Mini browser to be the default (unlike the previous beta). The company has tweaked page layouts to suit the new breed of big-screen Android devices, too. [youtube AJTaKch7OIU] [gallery] Press Release: Lightning fast browsing on Android phones Opera Mini 5.1 for Android released Oslo, Norway - July 14, 2010 - Opera spreads the love to Android mobile phone users. Opera Mini 5.1 is now available for phones built on the Android platform, offering better browsing performance and improved user experience. With over 61 million users worldwide, Opera Mini is the world's most popular browser for mobile phones, allowing much faster browsing speeds, while keeping the costs to a minimum. Browse at lightning speed today by downloading the free Opera Mini browser from the Android Market or at m.opera.com. Opera Mini is a favorite not just on feature phones, but also on smartphones, scoring an impressive 1 million downloads on the iPhone during the first 24 hours of availability. Opera Mini is highly optimized for almost any handset, delivering the best Internet experience on more than 3000 mobile phone models. Opera Mini raises the game on Android phones. Since its Opera Mini 5 beta release, Opera Mini can now be set as the default browser for more convenient Internet access. Opera Mini 5.1 also offers improved page layout on high-end Android handsets with large screens. What we say "Opera Mini 5.1 for the Android platform is the next step in bringing the world's most popular mobile web browser to all major platforms, offering improved performance and great web experience to almost any handset," says Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. "Opera Mini is used by over 61 million people on more than 3000 handset models and with today's release Opera continues its mission to provide the best web experience on any device and on any platform." About Opera Mini Opera Mini brings the Web to almost any handset by compressing data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the phone. This results in significantly improved page loading speed and reduced data costs for the user. For example, with webpages such as BBC.com, a normal mobile web browser will display a BBC News page roughly 1 time, as compared to 9 times with Opera Mini for the same cost. In addition to providing speed and cost savings, Opera Mini 5.1 comes with useful features, such as tabbed browsing, password manager, bookmarks and Speed Dial, built into the browser to deliver easy web access while on-the-go. With Opera Mini optimized for Android phones, more people are able to get a PC-like browsing experience on their handsets. Download Download Opera Mini directly to your Android phone for free from the Android Market, or at m.opera.com. For more information, visit http://www.opera.com/mobile/.
port Android 2.2 Froyo onto the HD2. If Froyo isn't to your taste, there's also an Android 2.1 build with the same HTC Sense UI as on the Desire available. There are still issues with each, including audio issues during calls and - on the Froyo build - some 3G problems, so these may not be everyday ROMs for you, but the good news is that the 1GHz Snapdragon processor in the HD2 keeps them running as slickly as you'd find on a Nexus One or Desire. Android 2.2 Froyo on HTC HD2: [youtube f891vm6vWHM] Android 2.1 with Sense on HTC HD2: [youtube rCwo9Z-JWG8] [via HDBlog.it]
NexusOneHacks have a massively comprehensive tutorial showing how to get the usually desktop-bound OS onto the 1GHz smartphone. Usefully, the Ubuntu install doesn't wipe the original Android OS, but lives alongside it: the Ubuntu terminal runs in the background, while the Ubuntu X11 GUI runs as an app under Android's VNC client. If you're currently asking "why would I want to do this?" then you should probably stick to what's on offer in the Android Market, but if you've ever wanted a portable Ubuntu test server then here's your chance. A tutorial suited to the HTC EVO 4G is also promised. [youtube xN4c61ETCWg] [via BRG]
'bot related mods and projects, and we're particularly keen on Hideyuki Takei and Reo Matsumura's Android-Robo. Basically a motorized Android model that has flashing eyes, a rotating head and articulated arms - and that can make all manner of R2D2-style bleeps and gurgles - the 'bot can be remotely controlled over Bluetooth via your Android phone.
DROID 2 smartphone, the successor to the popular DROID, has shown up in the wild again, this time for a hands-on preview. Android and Me acquired a DROID 2 and promptly ran some benchmarks on its 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP3630 processor; that, and its doubled memory from the original DROID, helped it score almost twice as much in GPU tests. Meanwhile CPU testing showed the new DROID 2 to be the best performing Android 2.1 handset to-date, and since Android 2.2 - which will likely be pushed out as an update shortly after the DROID 2 reaches shelves - boosts performance even more, we could be looking at the fastest Google phone so far. Of course, also waiting in the wings is the DROID X, basically the same internal hardware but a larger display, better camera and HDMI output. We're hoping to see Verizon's new line at their event this coming Wednesday. [youtube FCEMRZIHZY8]
Toshiba has announced their first Android-based MID, the Toshiba AC100, a netbook form-factor ultraportable running Android 2.1 on NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chipset. The 1080p-capable smartbook has a 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 non-touchscreen display, 8GB of SSD storage and an HDMI output. Toshiba AC100 hands-on: [vms 1adc8a7a835976064a86] In addition to the regular Android apps, Toshiba has loaded their own custom launcher, Opera Mini, Fring and Documents To Go, among others. Battery life is rated at up to 8hrs runtime - that's with normal use, not leaving the AC100 whirring away to itself on a shelf somewhere - or a full week of standby. Connectivity includes WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR as standard, as well as USB 2.0 and an SD card reader, while 3G/WWAN is optional. No word on pricing at this stage, but the Toshiba will debut in August 2010. For more on the AC100, check out our first impressions over at SlashGear. Toshiba AC100 promo: [vms 57ab574cf005eb8a7676]
Samsung Galaxy S landed on our mat earlier, a new HTC Wildfire has just appeared too. HTC's new entry-level handset made its debut a month or so ago, and now we've one of the first review units in to see how well it holds up. Aesthetically, the Wildfire cherrypicks from the rest of HTC's range: ostensibly it's a mini-Desire, with the same optical trackpad, but the touch-sensitive buttons under the screen and the color scheme are from the Nexus One. Meanwhile the striped back panel looks like the back of the HTC HD2, though the middle section doesn't remove separately. There's also Android 2.1 with HTC Sense, again from the Desire. HTC Wildfire unboxing & hands-on: [vms 8e41c89689f54970bb35] Of course, once you turn it on the more humble specifications of the Wildfire rear their head. The display is a 3.2-inch QVGA LCD panel, rather than the WVGA AMOLED of the Desire (or indeed the HVGA of the Legend), though unlike the Tattoo it basically replaces it has a capacitive touchscreen panel rather than resistive. That touchscreen is nicely responsive, and while the Wildfire only has a 528MHz processor it seems to nip through the menus without lag. We'll be checking to see how well it copes loaded down with apps, of course. The 5-megapixel camera (with autofocus and LED flash) is a welcome carry-over from the Desire, and of course there's the usual WiFi b/g, Bluetooth, 3G/UMTS and GPS. Build quality is reassuringly high, and at 4.2 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches it's a relatively compact device as well. We'll be putting the Wildfire through its paces ahead of its full review, so until then enjoy the unboxing & demo video and the gallery below! [gallery]
Galaxy Tab P1000 - spotted on video yesterday - has apparently been detailed in a further leak, with a new source claiming that it's around as thin as an iPhone, does indeed have full voice call functionality, but lacks an integrated earpiece. Engadget were contacted by an anonymous tipster who claimed to have hands-on experience with the Tab P1000; they reckon it's "sturdy and well-built" and will require Bluetooth headsets for voice calls. Meanwhile it's also said to have GPS, Android 2.2 - with no modifications in the prototype the source used - and a a 3.2 megapixel camera, along with a front-facing camera for video calls. There's obviously Bluetooth and WiFi, together with 3G, and the ability to tether via WiFi or USB; the battery, meanwhile, is non-user accessible. [youtube ZklPmnDfwNk]
Samsung Galaxy S in the house, and we have to say we're excited. Samsung's first Android smartphone to use their Super AMOLED technology is quite the pocket powerhouse, with an indecently bright, crisp WVGA capacitive touchscreen and the company's 1GHz Hummingbird processor keeping things swift. Check out our exclusive unboxing video, walkthrough and some first impressions!