Galaxy S II Android smartphone in the most unusual of situations.
HTC Wildfire S is not exactly unfamiliar to us - we fondled its compact curves back at MWC 2011 - but we won't pass up an opportunity to have a second play. Vodafone offered us some hands-on time with one of its special edition versions; the carrier will offer not only the general white Wildfire S, but a grey model and a purple model. Our initial positive impressions of the Wildfire S remain. The handset feels far more high-quality than its plasticky predecessor, with the chassis and design more like that of the Desire S. The UI may not be Sense 3.0 as on the HTC Sensation but v2.1 is at least smooth-running and as consistent as we're used to. The 600MHz processor feels equally capable, and the HVGA display is bright and crisp. We can see the Wildfire S being a particular success among those looking for a super-compact device that can easily drop into a pocket or purse when it arrives on the market this coming summer. Update: It's worth remembering that this is non-final software, and we can probably expect an even slicker experience when the ROM is polished. [vms 045e91288b430794814c] [gallery]
HTC Sensation threatens to take things to another level. A slick unibody design that's both narrower and thinner than the HTC Desire HD yet still manages to accommodate a 4.3-inch qHD display and 1.2GHz dual-core processor, the Sensation promises both speed and usability in spades. Read on for the Android Community first-impressions. HTC's metal stylings have grown increasingly refined over the past few years, and the Sensation is no different. Smooth edges nestling neatly into the hand, the slightly concave touchscreen is easy to use and responsive, and indeed the whole Gingerbread OS whips along nicely. There are no shortage of bells & whistles to the UI, either, with various new 3D effects as you slide between homescreen panes, an updated weather app with richer animations, and menus that generally open and transition with zero lag. The core apps have had a sprinkle of magic dust too, so you get the option of body-text previews in the HTC Mail app (either 2, 3 or 5 lines along with the sender and subject) and a Video Trimming function to pare down 1080p HD stereo clips recorded with the 8-megapixel camera. The display is bright and vivid, with the S-LCD screen technology being color-saturated and crisp. That - along with the 16:9 aspect ratio - makes it ideal for watching movies, and of course there's HTC Watch to satisfy that. The new rental/purchase store will offer either carrier billing or credit card payments, depending on your choice of operator, and supports 3G/WiFi trailer previews, optimized downloads of full content (over WiFi only) that start playing within 10s thanks to some smart buffering, and the ability to access content rented or purchased on up to five HTC devices. Unfortunately, you can't watch the same content on your PC or Mac, thanks to DRM limitations, which leaves you reliant on the HDMI connectivity for putting clips on a bigger display. HTC won't be bundling the HDMI dongle in the box with the Sensation, at least initially, but it will be offering two versions: one powered by the Sensation itself, and another with a separate USB port for powering it and recharging the phone. A dock is also in the works, and the HDMI offers not only video playback but general screen mirroring, useful for browsing on your HDTV or even using a remote log-in app and taking charge of your PC desktop from afar. Unfortunately there's no OnLive gaming, nor the HTC Video Chat app shown on the Flyer at MWC 2011. The former may eventually make an appearance, when HTC has ironed out licensing issues in all territories, but the latter is still being held up by cautious carriers and HTC has no timescale for its release. Still, Skype and other generic video calling apps will be able to use the Sensation's front-facing camera. While the HTC Sensation will break with tradition and see a global launch - in the US with T-Mobile as the HSPA+ toting HTC Sensation 4G, in Europe with, initially, exclusivity to Vodafone, and on unspecified Asian carriers - there won't be a single SKU with 3G/4G bands for all territories. Instead, somewhat annoyingly, there will be different models for each. HTC tells us it's a compromise to help keep the Sensation slim, as is the combination microUSB/HDMI port and absence of a physical camera shortcut. Nonetheless, we can't help but come away impressed by the HTC Sensation. As a device to take on the Motorola ATRIX 4G or Samsung Galaxy S II it's everything we hoped it would be from the pre-announce rumors, and the combination of slick design, optimized software and HTC's useful online suite of services (including remote access, sync and tracking) add up to a compelling package at the top end of Android devices. [vms a2b4e80506f582af3676] [gallery]
IOIO for Android earlier this week, a USB I/O breakout board for Android smartphones which turns your handset into a super-Arduino of sorts. Now the brains behind the board, Ytai, has spilled the beans on the project, including some sample code and a handful of ideas that you can use IOIO to create. For instance, there's the Retroid, a smart alarm clock which can be told to make different ringing patterns and show various LEDs depending on incoming calls, messages and other events on the handset. Or the Visual Charger, a huge multi-segment LED power indicator which gives an at-a-glance idea of what percentage the smartphone's battery is at. [youtube 8sAvXCfEj3s] We prefer the Wall Printer, though, which uses seven Sharpie-style market pens hooked up to servos for an old-school printer effect controlled by an Android phone. Definitely worth considering if you're into Android and electronics; you can pre-order the IOIO for Android here, for $49.95. [youtube aYUMYyXBaF0] [via Twitter]
confirmed delays in the release of the Android controller app, which will now arrive sometime in April. Originally the company had promised to release it this month. "We know you’re anxiously awaiting the Sonos Controller for Android. Unfortunately, testing the app is taking a bit longer than we anticipated" Andrew Schulert, Vice President of quality at Sonos says. "The latest addition to our free controller line-up won’t arrive until April, but when it does, it is going to rock." More info on the app here. [vms 2108eee6dd897f3bca8a]
incoming Sidekick 4G, the first handset in the popular messaging line to use Android as its OS. The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G will be priced at $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate on a qualifying plan with unlimited data, assuming you're content with a two-year agreement. Alternatively, T-Mobile will be offering the slider smartphone for $149.99 with a qualifying plan including data (such as the Web – 200MB plan) on a two-year agreement. Handy for those who don't expect to use so much data during the lifetime of the device, but a little more expensive up-front. We'll be checking out the Sidekick 4G at CTIA 2011 this week, to see how well it follows in the footsteps of its popular predecessors. No word on exact release dates at this stage. [youtube RgnMrnEkX0g] [gallery id="28217"]
have confirmed that all of Sprint's line-up - Android and otherwise - will be able to use the customer's existing Sprint number as their Google Voice number. That means subscribers will be able - with no porting required - to have up to six phones ring simultaneously on one incoming call, answering on whichever is the most convenient. Sprint Android device owners will be able to use the Google Voice app on their handsets, but everybody will be able to log onto the website and choose where their calls are diverted. Calls from Gmail and text messages sent from google.com/voice will display the Sprint number, or Google Voice users can choose to replace their Sprint number with their Google Voice number when placing calls or sending text messages from their Sprint handset. Google Voice replaces Sprint voicemail, with voicemail transcription online and sent via email and/or text message. The new functionality will be available "soon" in a staggered roll-out; you can sign up to be alerted when it's available here. [youtube Rp8Wvknh_QQ] Press Release:
Sprint and Google to Launch Integrated Google Voice Experience on All Sprint Phones, Including Upcoming Nexus S 4G Sprint is first carrier to allow customers to use their existing mobile number as their Google Voice number without porting OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), March 21, 2011 - Sprint (NYSE: S) and Google announced today a new integrated Google Voice™ experience that will allow Sprint customers to set their existing Sprint wireless phone number as their Google Voice number. Sprint customers will be able to take advantage of all the features and benefits of Google Voice without the hassle and fees associated with porting their number. Sprint is the first and only carrier to offer this capability, which will be available soon on all Sprint CDMA phones. In addition, Nexus S 4G1, announced today by Sprint, Google and Samsung, will allow Sprint customers to enable the integrated Google Voice experience and will come preloaded with the Google Voice Android app. “As part of our partnership with Google, our customers will appreciate having the easiest set-up experience of any wireless carrier for Google Voice across all of our CDMA phones, using their existing Sprint phone number,” said Kevin McGinnis, vice president-Product and Technology Development, Sprint. “It’s now easier than ever to truly live a mobile lifestyle with the ability to manage multiple devices through intelligent call routing and online controls using just one phone number – your existing Sprint number.” "With this integration, we have made Google Voice simple to use with a Sprint phone," said Dave Girouard, president at Google. "Sprint subscribers now have access to all the benefits of Google Voice behind their existing mobile number without the need for porting or, if they already have a Google Voice number, they can display that number from their Sprint phone without the need for a separate application." Manage multiple devices with Google Voice Google Voice makes it easy for people to manage and access most of their voice-based communication. It lets users manage up to six different devices through one phone number with intelligent call routing and advanced features like call screening, blocking and recording using the phone’s dial pad. Sprint subscribers will be able to use their Sprint number across their office, home and wireless phones, and personalize settings so calls from friends ring their wireless device and home phone, while calls from the boss only ring at the office. Google Voice users can receive transcribed voicemails and read or listen to them online. They can also read, send and search text messages and call logs online at www.google.com/voice. Sprint is the only carrier that allows the user to assign their existing mobile phone number as their Google Voice number without having to port their number, avoiding porting charges, potential service disruptions and the hassle of calling their carrier to terminate and port their number to Google Voice and then re-subscribe with another number. Sprint’s integration with Google simplifies and shortens the process of moving a phone number to Google Voice to mere minutes. Integrated Google Voice Experience from Sprint One number for all your devices Work, home, mobile; no need to change numbers after a move or new job Route phone calls and text messages Send work calls to the office, personal to home or mobile Conditional call presentation Hear caller info before answering or send straight to voicemail In-call options Record calls, switch phones during a call, conference calling Manage it all online Manage call history, texts and voicemail; listen to voicemail and read transcribed messages; view threaded text messaging history and continue the conversation online Keep your existing wireless phone number without porting Only with Sprint Customers can sign up to be notified when the integrated Google Voice experience for Sprint phones is available at www.google.com/voice/sprint. With a few simple steps, any Sprint CDMA phone will be able to use Google Voice to simplify the customer’s wireless experience: 1. Customers can simply go to www.google.com/voice/sprint and sign-up for the integrated service from Sprint. 2. Google will then confirm the customer would like to use their existing Sprint number as their Google Voice number. 3. Customers do not need to notify Sprint that they plan to use Google Voice. A notification is automatically sent to Sprint to provision the necessary services on the network required for the Google Voice integrated experience. 4. Within minutes, all of the customer’s phone calls, text messages and voicemail run through Google Voice, and all inbound and outbound calls show up with the customer’s existing Sprint number with all of the benefits of Google Voice. For more information on Sprint’s Google Voice integration, watch the video and visit www.sprint.com/googlevoice.2 Use of Google Voice is available at no additional charge with Sprint plans including Sprint’s Everything Data plans. Sprint’s Everything Data plans with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM include unlimited Web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint network, starting at just $69.99 per month plus required $10 Premium Data add-on charge for smartphones – a savings of $39.99 per month versus Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and Web (excluding Verizon’s Southern California plan; pricing excludes surcharges and taxes). Sprint Everything Data plans qualify customers for automatic enrollment in the Sprint PremierSM loyalty program.3 Existing Sprint customers can switch to an Everything Data plan without extending their service agreement. New lines of service require a two-year service agreement.