If you would like to get your hands on a first rate German Android domain, android-apps.de is up for auction at Sedo:No comments
Since 24th of february, the newest android-based tablet is available directly in best buy stores. The long awaited motorola xoom. Fortunately we were able to get our hands on a retail unit to review it (thanks again @rafbuff ).
First of all, the price is $800 without a verizon contract, which seems a bit pricey compared to the 32GB iPad, especially since the motorola tablet doesn’t quite match the build quality of the apple device, at least in terms of materials. The xoom comes in a black plastic case with a rubber back and feels slightly heavier than the iPad.
The “on/off” button is located on the back of the tablet next to the built-in camera, which makes it difficult to operate when it is placed on a table. Plastic construction, the rest of the specs stack up well against the iPad:
- 2 cams - 2mp rear facing, 5mp front facing
- 1x 3,5mm headphone jack
- 1x micro sd slot
- 1x micro usb slot
- built-in 3G, 4G upgradeable, 802.11n wifi, mobile hotspot
Our unit is working with a german t-mobile sim card without any problems, owing to the fact that the motorola xoom is not locked to any specific carrier. We’re happy to report that the 3g connection works flawlessly with excellent download speeds.
Back to the tablet and its hardware: The display is bright and very crisp, but the auto-brightness feature could use some improvement, sometimes misjudging the lighting requirements. When first turned on the device needs to be activated using a wifi or 3g network.
Once associated with a google account, the tablet will let you sync contacts and messages like any other android device, but in addition to that users also have the option to store additional device settings such wifi passwords in the google cloud. A useful feature that makes it very easy to restore your tablet when necessary. If you plan on taking your motorola xoom with you when travelling, you will definitely appreciate the ability to encrypt all the data on the device with a single password.
This honeycomb-powered tablet also offers open-xchange and ms exchange server connectivity once you have completed the quick and painless setup. It will sync calendar, email and contact data and provide push email functionality. Our xoom was able to receive emails sent from an open-xchange-based system within about a second, which means it matches blackberry’s push service of speed.
The integrated browser looks more like chrome than the standard android browser on pre-honeycomb phones and tablets, and it’s staggeringly fast, even when viewing non-mobile-optimized web content. Unfortunately our device does not support flash at this point. Flash support will likely be a major selling point for android tablets (once implemented), since the iPad’s lack thereof is one of its biggest shortcomings.
Installing applications from the android market is just as easy as you would expect it to be, and a quick round of ‘angry birds’ confirmed that nvidias tegra 2 chip is more than up to the job. We ran 6 applications simultaneously and were able to switch between them with no noticeable lag. The whole device feels very responsive and the touchscreen is a match for the iPad’s interface. Even though this Andoid release was designed specifically with tablets in mind, the UI could still use some improvements. There are no catastrophic problems, but some elements are less than intuitive and require a bit of learning by trial-and-error.
A big plus is the battery life. Our device was charged to 60% when we bought it in the U.S. and it still had 10% left after playing with it at the airport and for most of the flight back to Europe. Recharging took 1-2 hours.
The Motorola Xoom is no bargain at $800, but we feel the hardware specs and the snappy performance justify the price, and once the Android operating system has gone through one or two rounds of bugfixes and useability tweaks, you’ll be getting hardware that rivals the iPad as well as a platform that’s significantly more flexible and capable than iOS.2 comments
You have probably read many technical reviews of the new nexus one phone, so we decided to write an everyday usage review to give you more detailed information about what this phone is like to live with every day, and whether or not all the essentials work like they should.
We got the phone last week and the first impression, after touching and holding in our hands was: “wow, it feels so high-value and lightweight”. It really is a nice piece of hardware made by HTC, big screen with LED backlight like the Samsung Galaxy, but brighter and it feels much more responsible when you touch it. Running on Android 2.1 it feels very fast and responsive when you navigate through apps or menus. The browser renders websites quickly, almost as fast as an iphone 3gs (which i use for everday work). The scrolling is smooth even on large sites, and the zooming functions work properly. But if you’re used to the iphone, one of the first things you will notice is the lack of multitouch to zoom in and out. To us, it is the only way to navigate/zoom in websites on a mobile device that feels intuitive. Google, please consider adding native multitouch support in the browser/maps application in Android.
Adding WIFI hotspots was really easy and worked out of the box with wpa2 secured access points. After browsing via WIFI for a while, we tried the updated market application, which looks really nice/clean compared to the one which is preinstalled on a Galaxy for example. We installed some applications and games like Frozen Bubbles and the stern.de app to read news while on the go. Installation was pretty fast, but we did not expect anything else from the 1GHZ Snapdragon processor. Working with the phone in germany on t-mobile’s 3g network was good in general, but we also noticed some periodic connection problems as reported by many people in the U.S. After that we switched to “2G mode only” to ensure a stable connection while testing the device. EDGE connection was stable all the time (72 hours) and download speeds were also pretty good when using the Android market to download applications.
While in the car, we activated the bluetooth stack of the nexus, it paired fast and without a problem with the audi navigation system. The phone then displayed a popup, asking whether the car was allowed to load the addressbook into the cars phone application. We made a call and noticed no problems. Did i say “no problems”? Not correct. After the first call, the bluetooth connection was interrupted again and again, which means we were unable to make any more calls. If you plan on using this phone in conjuction with a recent audi bluetooth system, make sure to test the feature before buying or wait for an update to rectify the situation. BTW: So far this is the first phone we’ve tested that had trouble staying connected to the audi’s bluetooth system. So in all likelyhood this is an issue with the phone’s software.
After driving back home, we took some shots to test the builtin 5MP camera with LED flash. In our opinion the shots outside were a little bit better than the ones produced by the iphone 3gs, but judge for yourself. Transferring pictures and music to the nexus is straight forward, since the phone acts like an external storage device on my mac (same for windows and linux). If you are used to work with the iphone you will ask yourself, is there something like itunes available to sync my phone? Indeed there is, called “doubletwist” (http://www.nexusoneitunes.com/). It worked nicely and was easy to use on my mac to sync music etc. It’s still in beta, but i would give it a try if you are familiar with itunes and dont want to drag/drop all your stuff to your phone manually.
Ok, back to the phone and to one of the most important things in reviewing a phone: its battery life. In this respect the nexus one proved equivalent to the iphone 3gs. I had to charge it after all the stuff above was done (28hours). So for me it was ok, since i know my iphone 3gs gets about the same battery life.
Our final summary for the google nexus one is: It is not only the newest Android device (newest version) out there at the moment, it is really a very competent phone for everday use like browsing the web, writing mails, listening to music, and taking some pictures while on the go (also at night, thanks to the decent LED flash), but the lack of proper bluetooth functionality was a problem, at least in out testing. Perhaps it works well with other cars, but it absolutely refused to stay connected to the audi rns system, and we suspect it will have similar problems with vw, seat and skoda bluetooth systems featuring the same basic hardware. Despite this flaw, it’s currently the best smart phone for your money as far as we’re concerned. Considering the price difference between an unlocked iphone 3gs and the nexus one, there seems to be little reason to spend more for the apple product.
UPDATE: We finally installed the update to our nexus one and multitouch is working as expected in the browser application, the maps application and in the gallery. As we read in IRC, google will provide API`s to let developers build apps with this new functionality.
UPDATE: Today Google announced a software update for the nexus one which will include multitouch like it is implemented on Apple`s iphone. When our device gets this update, we will update this post again and share out latest experiences with you. Here is the full list of features, which are included in the update:
- Google Goggles: this mobile application will now be available directly on your device by launching it from your All Apps menu. Just use your Nexus One camera to start searching the web
- Google Maps: the Maps application with be updated to a new version, Google Maps 3.4, which will include:
+ Starred items synchronized with maps.google.com – access your favorite places from your phone or computer
+ Search suggestions from your personal maps.google.com history – makes it easy to search for places you’ve searched for before
+ Night mode in Google Maps Navigation – automatically changes your screen at night for easier viewing and driving
- Pinch-to-zoom functionality: devices will now include a new pinch-to-zoom mechanism in the phone’s Browser, Gallery and Maps applications
- 3G connectivity: a general fix to improve 3G connectivity on some Nexus One phonesNo comments
We just want to share some infos with all the samsung galaxy users out there who are using a Mac for development. If you want to use your galaxy to test apps within eclipse or use it with the “adb” commandline tools, it will not work out of the box. You need the 1.5r3 SDK installed and you have to execute “android update adb” and follow instructions which are displayed. Also make sure that you have enabled USB debugging on the device in the settings menu. After that you should have output of “adb devices” like:
mordor:~ $ adb devices
List of devices attached
11 months ago, the first android device hit the street. The G1. What came after G1 was mostly manufactured by HTC. Then samsaung came on the android stage and released the galaxy device, which is in fact our personal favorite in regards of hardware. But now after the HTC Hero is available with its awesome Sense UI, it seems that the manufacturers have learned that they can modify this operating systems to fit their exact needs. this time, motorola created a completely new webservice called “MotoBlur” and added some widgets to the default android applications. but since motorola is very good in creating mobile phones, they also released a new android handset called “cliq”. The cliq will be the first device on T-Mobile USA which will use the motoblur service. it combines all sources of informations from social networks like twitter, facebook , flickr and so on, into 1 stream , which is then easily useable on your motorola cliq device. here are some specifications of the new cliq handset:
Processor: 528MHz MSM7201A
Screen: 3.1-inch (est.), 320 x 480
Microsoft Exchange: ActiveSync (Also works with Open-Xchange Groupware)
Storage: 256MB, microSD
HTC released yesterday all facts about their new Android flagship device: the HTC “Hero”. One of the biggest differences about this android phone is, that the user interface was redesigned by HTC to a so called “Sense” UI. “Sense” allows users to modify and personalize the home screens with tons of sexy widgets. Also it combines all sources of informations like twitter,facebook,email, instant messaging on the desktop in easy to use applications which look really nice. The UI seems quite fast for all the new effects. The phone will be available for 500Eur without a contract. If you need a new mobile contract, you have to get one @ T-Mobile Germany or E-Plus Germany. Our recommendation is to get a contract from T-Mobile since they have the best network in whole germany. To get more technical details, the phone has the following features on board:
Processor Qualcomm® MSM7200A™, 528 MHz
Operating System Android™
Memory ROM: 512 MB
RAM: 288 MB
Dimensions: (LxWxT) 112 x 56.2 x 14.35 mm ( 4.41 x 2.21 x 0.57 inches)
Weight: 135 grams
Display: 3.2-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen with 320×480 HVGA resolution
Network HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz
Up to 2 Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds
Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
GPS Internal,Bluetooth® 2.0 (A2DP), 802.11 b/g ,HTC ExtUSB™,3.5 mm audio jack
Expansion Slot microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
Camera: 5.0 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Audio supported formats MP3, AAC(AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC), AMR-NB, WAV, MIDI and Windows Media® Audio 9
Video supported formats MPEG-4, H.263, H.264 and Windows Media® Video 9
Battery: Lithium-ion battery – 1350 mAh
Talk time: Up to 420 minutes for WCDMA – Up to 470 minutes for GSM
As most of our reades know, o2 will start sellinng its first Android powered device very soon. Since we getting closer to the official launch of the device, the name of the device was changed from i7500 to “Galaxy”. Also some more infos about the pricing were leaked, the device can either be purchased from o2 germany with a contract, or you can buy it without any contract at a price of 437,50 Eur. The galaxy will come to you with 8GB of builtin storage(sd slot available). Another nice feature is the 3,5mm standard headphone jack which allows you to use any headphone you like, standard ones and also the high end ones from BOSE or similar. It seems that beta testers of the device report the same behaviour of the battery: Not very powerfull….so you must propbaly charge the device every 2 days or so if you use it the whole day for surfing (3G activated) etc. But on the other hand, the OLED display must be awesome. So perhaps its enough to disable 3G while not surfing the net or downloading apps and just set the display to a not very high brightness.No comments
Some hours ago we found an interesting app in the Android Market, its called “Panic Button” (Thx for W. Ligtenberg for Info). These little app reacts via pressing a red button on the touch screen and then sends all needed informations like GPS signal , current address and a predefined message to selected contacts of your addressbook. To prevent accidental use, it has builtin countdown before the PANIC signal will be send. So we really like this. Usefull if you are in bug city like moscow or new york and get lost… For more infos browse to the android market and search for “panic button” or direct download the app through this link.
You also want to see your own application reviewed on www.androidportal.com? Don`t hesitate to contact us via email.No comments
Many sites stated that Samsung is willing to sell an Android device at the end of the year. But we just got some infos from a German Website that Samsung will sell its first Android powered device in Germany in June. Its called the i7500 and comes with all the needed stuff:
3g3,5mm Headphone Jack
5MP Builtin Cam + Flashlight
320 x 480 pixel AMOLED touchscreen
tri-band 7.2Mbps HSDPA (900/1700/2100MHz)
8GB internal storage (MicroSD expansion for up to 32GB more)
It will be very thin with 11,9mm and covered by a nice looking metal surface
Thanks samsung, this will be the first real good device with ALL that stuff that matters.No comments
Since today, the second Android handset is available in Germany. Its called the HTC-Magic and is exclusivly available from Vodafone Stores. The new devices does not offer the builtin keyboard but its replaced with a on screen keyboard like the iphone has. It has GPS, WIFI , 3G and all the other fancy stuff. But it seems it will also do not have the standard 3,5mm headphone jack. So please HTC and/or Vodafone,T-Mobile, offer an Android powered mobile with a standard headphone jack.No comments