For a week without a major trade show or press event, there was an awful lot of news coming out of the Android world in the last few days. Most of that revolved around various updates to Ice Cream Sandwich for current models and (of course) the ever-elusive Samsung Galaxy S III. There are plenty of other items of note, most importantly our very own ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime giveaway. Check it out to see how you can win one of our two units, or head on over to our sister site SlashGear for two more chances.
On Monday the long-awaited Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II began rolling out in South Korea and certain European countries. More territories will be added in the coming days and weeks, though no US carriers have announced a timeframe for their unique models. If you use an international model, you can manually update your phone here. Updates for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the Galaxy Note should follow soon. HTC’s Vivid (AKA Raider, Velocity Holiday) got a briefly leaked ICS update of its own on AT&T. While the early software was pulled almost immediately, we managed to track it down and get a video hands-on. Fifteen other HTC phones, including the Thunderbolt, Sensation 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Design 4G, Amaze 4G and Rezound, will also be update3d eventually.
As far as new devices go, Archos made an impression by teasing its 10th-generation tablets with a Transformer-style surprise. Check out the G10 teaser video here. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper that’s available now, the G9 tablets are coming to market with ICs pre-installed. Sony showed off its low-end Xperia sola phone with NFC capability, and Samsung is bringing its latest PMP the Galaxy S WiFi 3.6 to the United States. We said goodbye to the Android version of T-Mobile’s long-standing Sidekick series, but it won’t be gone forever.
For pure Google news, the Big G began selling tickets to its highly anticipated Google I/O event, a developer-friendly annual get-together that shows off the latest and greatest in Android software. They also updated the Google Play Store and Google Earth apps with some new features. In less official news, the much-delayed (and maligned) release of Ice Cream Sandwich for the Nexus S is expected soon. Finally, the “Nexus Tablet” or “Google Tablet” may be replacing ASUS’ quad-core MeMO 370T, and is rumored to be a “done deal”.
Big news for users of the popular CyanogenMod family of ROMs: the final version of CyanogenMod 9 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will introduce a more secure and flexible root system that isn’t enabled by default. The CyanogenMod team also released a handy flow chart showing which phones they intend to officially support. Long story short: if your phone has 512MB or less of RAM and isn’t getting an official software update, odds are you won’t be getting the official version of CM9. Sports fans had a busy week on the app scene, as EA released NBA Jam and FIFA ’12 in the Google Play Store and the NCAA posted its own official March Madness app. You can find it, and other useful apps, in our wrap-up post.
Finally, the Galaxy S III rumor mill continues to churn. First we’ve got what appears to be genuine camera samples, followed by a trio of supposed leaks. The first shows a phone very (very, very) similar to the Galaxy S II, with some questionable font and window work in the render. Next comes what looks like a presentation slide, claiming that the phone is due for a May 22 unveiling. This one has the familiar home button we’ve seen on previous Galaxy models. Finally there’s a reported spy shot which shows a stock Ice Cream Sandwich launcher. None of these leaks look anything alike, naturally.
That’s all for the week of the Ides of March, folks. Stay in school, don’t do drugs, and always make a Nandroid backup.