Archive for March, 2011
Research In Motion has reached a deal with Intellectual Ventures that will give the BlackBerry maker access to more than 30,000 patents held by the intellectual property company.
Intellectual Ventures gave no terms for the deal, but said it would help RIM remain competitive by giving it access to a broader set of patents to help manage its business.
"Intellectual Ventures offers an efficient way to access the invention rights companies need to stay competitive within the market," Mario Obeidat, the patent company’s head of telecom licensing, said on Wednesday in a statement.
Legal battles have become increasingly common in the cellphone sector since Apple and Google carved out a chunk of the lucrative and quickly expanding smartphone market at the expense of older players.
Both RIM and Apple are locked in a legal battle with Eastman Kodak over a method for previewing images, while Apple is also fighting Nokia’s patent infringement claims in courts in the United States and Europe.
Intellectual Ventures is a privately-held company co-founded by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold. It counts Samsung and HTC among its customers.
In December, Intellectual Ventures sued nine companies for infringing patents covering technologies used in telecommunications, computing and networking.
RIM is also a member of RPX, a defensive patent aggregator that acquires patents so they cannot be invoked in lawsuits against its corporate members.
RIM paid $612 million in 2006 to settle a patent dispute with a small company called NTP, ending five years of legal wrangling that almost shut down BlackBerry services in the United States.
The Canadian company has since aggressively patented inventions and spent heavily to bulk up its patent portfolio.
It sued startup company Kik Interactive late last year, claiming its founder, a former RIM employee, had infringed patents by building a cross-platform instant messaging service that rivaled RIM’s own BlackBerry Messenger.
After Apple announced the dates for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the focus has shifted to the old hobbyhorse of tech websites – the iPhone 5 release date. And there is apparent consensus that iPhone 5 may not be launched in June as was expected generally.
market observers have taken cues from Apple’s statement in which it made the WWDC announcement. "At this year’s conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS,” the statement quoted Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, as saying. “If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.”
Tech websites read meaning into Apple’s focus on iOS to infer that Apple may not release iPhone 5 in June. The reason is that Apple has designed the WWDC event as a software show, not as a hardware show. The WWDC will be held from June 6 through June 10 at San Francisco’s Moscone West.
"The iPhone 5 will not be making an appearance at the event, we’re now hearing," MG Siegler of Techcrunch said. But there could be other reasons too. "The iPhone 5 launch may be delayed in order to give Apple enough time to iron out any issues with the iOS 5, which is gradually turning out to be one of the most important iOS since its launch back in 2006," writes ITProPortal.
Apple has been said to be working on a "completely re-designed" iPhone for debut in summer 2011 with a four-inch display to take on the larger screens found on some of the latest smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. The gadget market is abuzz with leaked images, specifications and features of the much-anticipated product.
The next generation iPhone is said to cost less and might feature a new integrated SIM card that would be easily configurable on any supported carrier, 9to5Mac ahd reported earlier. The iPhone 5 may also carry an upgraded A4 processor, already dubbed the A5 chip, in addition to a new Gobi WWAN chip already found in the Verizon iPhone, designed to work on both CDMA and GSM networks, it said.
Other rumored iPhone 5 specifications include a multi-core A5 CPU powered with a dual-core graphics core and the addition of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
The 10.1-inch device will be the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet to come to market this year, according to Asus. UK retailers will be taking pre-orders from midnight Thursday for the tablet, which is priced at £379 for the 16GB tablet only and £429 with the additional docking keyboard. The 32GB model will start at £429 without the keyboard.
The hybrid device boasts an impressive line up of specifications starting with a 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM. The display is a 10.1-inch LED backlit multi-touch screen made with Gorilla Glass with a resolution of 1280×800. Asus claims viewing angles of up to 178 degrees.
Two storage options will be available in 16GB or 32GB as well as a microSD card slot so you can add more. WiFi connectivity along with Bluetooth, mini HDMI and support for Flash 10.2 are all standard and Asus has said a 3G model will come at a later date. The tablet has a rear 5MP camera and a 1.2MP front facing camera. Without the keyboard attachment it weighs 680g and is 12.98mm thick.
Battery life on the tablet is quoted at up to 9.5 hours. Once the tablet is docked to the keyboard, which has a built-in battery, this figure goes up to 16 hours. The keyboard not only has a battery but a 98 per cent sized keyboard (standard for 10-inch netbooks), two USB ports, mini HDMI, SD card reader and a multi-touch trackpad.
Once docked onto the keyboard, the screen can be adjusted and folded shut for storage or transportation. The keyboard attachment is the same weight and thickness as the tablet.
Asus is including an unlimited free web storage facility for the first year. The Transformer will come preloaded with Polaris Office , which supports both viewing and editing of Microsoft file formats including Powerpoint, Excel and Word.
An anonymous tipster has sent us several pictures of HTC’s presumed upcoming flagship phone, the HTC Pyramid. According to these shots, the powerhouse Pyramid is confirmed to have a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 768MB of RAM. It will come running on Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread with the latest Sense 3.0. The screen looks to be 4.3″, and is qHD 960×540 resolution. On the back there is an 8MP camera which probably can record in 1080p, plus a front-facing camera that can do VGA shots. If this phone so far seems like the HTC EVO 3D but without the 3D, you’re right. Click on to see more pictures of the HTC Pyramid!
A group of power users have gotten just about peeved with Motorola and their bootloader encryption for many of their MOTOBLUR phones. (In fact, I think the only Android phone of theirs that remains unencrypted is the original Motorola Droid on Verizon. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) Anywho, they’ve taken to Groubal – an online petition service – to collect virtual signatures and to spread the word.
As of the time of this posting they’ve gathered over 3,800 signatures and more are sure to be added. It’s a noble cause, but I have doubts about Motorola’s response, if any – 3,800 people is small compared to the amount of users who probably don’t care for this kind of low-level access. Still, perhaps outlets like us shining some light on the petition could help a bit.
It’s worthy to note that Motorola has already reached out to the development community and have publicly stated their intent to look at several different solutions that’ll allow both sides to meet halfway. Many of you wrote it off as PR fluff to keep the negative press and word-of-mouth at bay, though. The description on Groubal acknowledges Motorola’s previous statement and essentially serves as fire under Motorola’s figurative butt to get things moving with an official announcement about their plans.
The petition on Groubal is the biggest the site has ever seen and has featured the cause on their front page. I chose not to put too much stock into that fact, though, considering there are only 580+ petitions on the site making up for 12k+ signatures overall.
I’m also not going to hold my breath for Motorola to give in as online petitions – even those with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of signatures – rarely work these days. (Physical petitions have all but gone the way of the dodo, too.) I do want to see Motorola live up to their word, of course, but I’m not sure a petition is going to change anything in their timeline.
We’ll be monitoring the situation closely from here on out and will be sure to let you folks know if any interesting developments unfold. Be sure to let your concerns be known over at Groubal if this is something that’s of great importance to you. [Thanks to all who sent this in!]
Motorola Xoom Review: The First Android Honeycomb Tablet Is Expensive, But Is It Worth It? [We Test Out The Xoom And Its Tegra 1GHz Processor, 10-inch Screen and Android 3.0 Goodness.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Motorola Xoom lately. The 10-inch widescreen tablet is the first to carry the tablet-ready Android 3.0 and the rest of its technical specs read like a wish list, but more recently, its high price has drawn attention and headlines to the device. So, after spending some time with the device, is the Motorola Xoom worth the high price that it’ll cost you?
- Price: $599 with a 2 year data plan ($799 without a plan).
- CDMA 800/1900 and with a free upgrade to LTE later this year
- Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
- 5 MP camera and 2 MP front camera with flash, focus & digital zoom. Pictures and Video’s
- Media enabled, Music & Video on the device or streaming
- close to 9 hrs battery lifeÂ over 3G and 10 hrs over wifi, standby time is close to 14 days
- Email, Google mail, corporate, pop3/imap
- Google talk
- Bluetooth 2.1
- Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Data sync via Micro USB port to USB (no Charging)
- Headset jack
- Adobe Flash player
- Android Market place (limited in applications optimized for tablets)
- Googl Services, Maps, Talk, Ebooks, YouTube
- Multi touch screen
- Voice Commands
- Live wallpapers
- 10.1 inch WXGA 1280×800 px screen.
- HD 720p
- 730 grams
- 32 GB memory expandable with micro sd card
- 1 GHZ Dual core processor
- Accelerometer, Gyroscope, proximity, ambient light, barometer
Hardware and Performance
This is a machine that has been released with its hardware ready and raring to go. Isn’t that supposed to be something that goes without saying? Yes, of course! You might find that the same cannot entirely be said about the software, though, thus the pre-mention here – more on that in the next section. What we’ve got to speak about here first is the loveliness in the physical bits.
This device is black. It’s very clearly supposed to be a blank canvas on which you’re meant to paint your first tablet experience. Because this tablet is being released in a world where one slate’s dominated the market for the first full year of the market being a reality, there’s two situations the vast majority of consumers are in. The first possible situation consumers are in whilst thinking about the XOOM is one where they’ve had an iPad – the second is one where they’ve never had a tablet at all. Thusly, the hardware choice is more than likely one where a consumer has been holding a tablet that’s basically the exact same size and weight as the XOOM, or they’ve had a much smaller smartphone and will be what they see as moving upward.
When one handles the 10.1-inch WXGA display with 160dpi, 1280 x 800 resolution, they instantly must consider the .8 x 6.61 x 0.51 inch device holding it, one that weighs in at 25.75oz (1.61lbs,) as it’s not especially realistic to be holding the device with one hand for more than a few minutes at a time. Then there’s the glossy, glossy screen. It’s so very glossy, it’s basically impossible to use anywhere near sunlight or a lamp. On the other hand, if you’re going to be using this device on your couch at home, at your desk in school, or for odd events like using it to show the 4D-sonogram doctor some 2D-sonogram pictures in a gallery. For that it works exceedingly well, indeed.
It doesn’t seem to our fingers that the screen’s response time and touch sensitivity could possibly be any better, and the monster motor inside is more than ready to back this situation up. You’ll find the NVIDIA Tegra 2 inside, a dual-core 1GHz SoC paired with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 32GB of integrated storage. If that’s not enough to flip your lid, connections include EVDO Rev.A, WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, along with USB 2.0 and mini HDMI ports. In the future you’ll be able to have the following instead and/or as well: a functional LTE SIM slot, a functional microSD card slot, and a whole separate Wifi-only version of the device.
What’s the web saying about Honeycomb?
Engadget (Joshua Topolsky): “a lot of the new software feels like it isn’t quite out of beta (surprise surprise). We had our fair share of force closes and bizarre freezes, particularly in the Market app and Movie Studio. Most applications were fine, but there definitely some moments where we felt like the whole device was teetering on the brink of a total crash.”
CrunchGear (John Biggs): “if you open too many apps, it slows down to a crawl. The horrors that Apple seems to have avoided in iOS are readily apparent here. I had quite a few app crashes and many apps designed for 2.x devices crashed. Google Body, remade for Honeycomb, crashed every other try”.
WSJ ( Walt Mossberg): “I’ve always felt that Android had a rough-around-the edges, geeky feel, with too many steps to do things and too much reliance on menus. But Honeycomb eliminates much of that”. He went on to point out: “I found numerous apps in the Android Market that wouldn’t work with the Xoom”.
GigaOM (Kevin Tofel): “Honeycomb still has bugs to be worked out. Aside from some third-party apps crashing, the Android Market has crashed on me twice in a short time. And after Facebook crashed, the Facebook widget became completely non-responsive.” There’s good stuff too as Tofel also points out “Notifications are excellent, and competitors should take note.”
Slashgear (Vincent Nguyen): “The first batch of Honeycomb slates may have some wrinkles – the missing Flash and paucity of video codec support being two examples – but 2011 definitely looks to be the year that Android tablets will come of age.”
Cameras and Multimedia
There are two cameras on the XOOM, one on the back for photos and video, and another on the from primarily for video, but also for not-quite-great photos if that’s what you’d like to use it for. The back-facing camera is a 5-megapixel unit with auto-focus and dual-LED flash. The front-facing camera is 2-megapixels strong, has a fixed-focus, and can be switched to at the tap of a button. What you’re about to see here is a video example from both the front and the back cameras filmed by yours truly.
The back-facing camera is capable of capturing 720p HD video at 30fps, while a 1080p upgrade is promised for the future, while the front-facing camera’s recording capabilities really aren’t worth pecking about. Allow the video above to speak for itself as far as how this all translates to the web. As far as how well it plays back on the device, you’ve got the capability currently of displaying 1080p video on either the device’s screen or via the HDMI 1.4 output which you’ll be shooting out with the cable bundled with the tablet.
If you want to play any video you didn’t film with the device outside the web, it’ll need to be MP4, WebM, 3GP, or H.264/H.263. You could, on the other hand, download a third-party media player and roll with whatever format you can get working on your own. You’ll be rolling strong plopping videos on the device if you’re working with Mac OS X by working with the brand new Android File Transfer, which, if I may be so bold, makes the whole process of accessing the files on your Android device a WHOLE lot easier. Hopefully it works on all versions here on out (currently it works with Android 3.0 only.)
Of course, there’s the lack of Flash player. You’ll need to wait at least another week or two(?), or so, to be sent the update for this and the other things you’ll need to have a “fully” functional device. The ability to work with and watch movies with Flash player has been a big fat point of contention on devices over the past year or so – it’s no less a situation here. But it’s on the way!
The battery is amazing. The battery is slick, works amazing, and can basically sit around working forever. The longest we’ve had it working with HEAVY use was over 14 hours – while I’m writing this review, the unit has been on almost 20 hours with no charging and moderate usage, and the battery appears to only be a half-empty. A full recharge take a total of around 3 hours – that’s starting at zero and ending up at completely full.
The purpose of this overview is not to bash Honeycomb; there are lots of great features that Google has produced in this first tablet version. But that’s the problem: I’m not sure Google has the luxury of time to get the tablet experience nailed down to the point it is ready for consumer adoption. The recurring mention of crashes in early reviews is not something we should be hearing about a shipping product, and with the XOOM Honeycomb is indeed now shipping. Honeycomb needed to come out swinging for the fence, but it’s still in batting practice.
I suspect the state of Honeycomb had a lot to do with HTC choosing to go with an earlier version of Android for its upcoming Flyer tablet. It would not product a tablet with a glitchy OS. I also believe that what I’ve seen (in person) of webOS on the HP TouchPad is a better and more solid experience on a tablet. Google has its work cut out for Honeycomb, and better move quickly.
The ability to use your phone for NFC mobile payments across borders just became a reality. Gemalto announced that it has developed the first UICC-embedded software application that is approved by Mastercard’s mobile payment specification for NFC. Gemalto’s software provides a number of features, including the Trusted Service Management interface for PayPass payments, and the ability to manage and view your mobile transaction history. Your SIM, and ultimately your phone, can be linked to debit, credit, and prepaid accounts — users can even top up their prepaid cards using Gemalto’s software. You’ll also be able to set your account PIN directly from your phone. When we interviewed MasterCard’s vice president of mobile, James Anderson, last week, he said that the key to NFC was that it has to work wherever you are — whether you’re at home or away on vacation. That’s now possible. “Leveraging the interoperability of MasterCard PayPass, Gemalto’s effort will enable cross-border mobile NFC payment, adding ease to the fast-paced lifestyles of more and more consumers across the world,” Anderson said. It’s unclear when Gemalto’s solution will land in the hands of consumers, but the company says it is already working with a first-tier financial institution and a major global carrier for a UK roll-out. Hit the jump for the full release.
Gemalto Mobile NFC Payment Application First in the World Certified by MasterCard
Newly certified payment application set to trigger commercial rollouts of mobile contactless ecosystem
CARTES in Asia, Hong Kong , Mar 29, 2011 – Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security, announces the world’s first UICC-embedded software application compliant with Mobile MasterCard® PayPass™ M/Chip 4, the brand new MasterCard payment specification designed for mobile near field communications (NFC). The software application and the UICC have both successfully achieved the compliance assessment and security testing certification in accordance with MasterCard’s highest chip security requirements.
This major breakthrough paves the way for mass commercial rollouts of NFC payment across the world. In the UK, Gemalto is already partnering with a global, first-tier financial institution and a world leading mobile operator, to implement the new MasterCard certified mobile payment application and carry out the solution’s first mass commercial roll out.
Gemalto’s software application embeds the Trusted Service Management interface for PayPass. This feature enables mobile account issuance and over-the-air management. Its user-friendly handset interface makes mobile NFC payment extremely convenient, for example enabling consumers to easily manage the new payment means and check transaction history. It also allows consumers to define their mobile Personal Identification Number (PIN), a code of their choice, through their phone. The mobile PIN is a new cardholder verification method used notably to secure operations such as account top-up from the mobile phone.
The Gemalto mobile NFC payment application can be configured so as to cover all card portfolios including debit, credit and prepaid. In the latter case, the software application enables consumers to top-up their prepaid accounts directly from their mobile phone – the utmost convenience for prepaid customers.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Gemalto to broadly expand the use of mobile payment services,” commented James Anderson, vice president, Mobile, MasterCard Worldwide. “Leveraging the interoperability of MasterCard PayPass, Gemalto’s effort will enable cross-border mobile NFC payment, adding ease to the fast-paced lifestyles of more and more consumers across the world.”
“This new certification from MasterCard makes Gemalto the first on the market for this mobile product and will enable banks and wireless operators to offer a secure, innovative and convenient payment means to their entire customer base,” added Jean-Claude Deturche, senior vice-president of mobile financial solutions at Gemalto. “Gemalto is committed to supporting its customers in their large scale deployments of mobile NFC payment, with a complete mobile contactless offer.”
Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital security with revenues of €1.9 billion in 2010, and over 10 thousand employees operating out of 87 offices and 13 Research & Development centers in 45 countries.
Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work-anytime, anywhere-has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.
Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM), Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports and USB tokens for online identity protection. Moreover Gemalto delivers on emerging applications related to the ‘Internet of things’ by supplying wireless modules and machine identification modules (MIM) for machine-to-machine communication. To complete these solutions we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals.
As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.
For more information visit www.gemalto.com, blog.gemalto.com, or follow @gemalto on Twitter.
Company SPB Software announced today the availability of mobile devices (not including the plates), running the operating system Android 2.1 and above, as well as having support for OpenGL ES 2.0 for embedded graphics, three-dimensional user interface SPB Shell 3D proprietary.
According to the company, its interface is primarily intended for high-performance next-generation devices, where users are encouraged to take advantage of:
- The intuitive three-dimensional model for the main phone screen.
- Innovative way of program management, where access to the program is possible directly from the folders that are three different types, as well as three-dimensional animation on the carousel.
- Three-dimensional widgets, including a three-dimensional world time, three-dimensional viewing of images, SMS, three-dimensional weather chart, calendar, weather, birthdays and more.
- A separate set of panels and widgets, which includes animated weather, Picture of the day (based service Flickr), clock with more than 60 skins, calendar
- Animation inactive widgets and panels
Company Rovio Mobile today made available for free download from the Android Market its regular bird "saga" of the evil birds – Angry Birds Rio, which had previously been available exclusively on Amazon Appstore.
Again, that storyline Angry Birds Rio begins with the fact that the original evil birds have been kidnapped and transported to the magical city of Rio, where they ultimately commit escape in order to find and rescue his friends and Blu Jewel – two rare parrots and macaws stars RIO upcoming animated film from Fox motion picture. This film will be released on wide screens on April 15. Game Angry Birds Rio includes 60 levels based on the movie.
Angry Birds Rio features:
– Two fantastic episodes with 60 exciting levels!
– Completely newachievements!
– Special Hidden fruits – discover them all!
– Put your AngryBirds skills to the ultimate test in a spectacular boss fight!
– Expect plenty more where this came from: Episodic updates throughout 2011!
Angry Birds Rio was developed for Android by Rovio Mobile Ltd.
Package name : com.rovio.angrybirdsrio.apk
File size: 12.5MB
Download Angry Birds RIO Android Game v1.0.0: Android Market Link
Everybody loves shiny new gadgets, especially shiny new Android phones, but the price tag often makes us (and our wallets) cringe. The good news is that nowadays, buying one doesn’t mean you have to scrimp and eat instant ramen for the rest of the year. There are a lot of phones out right now, running Android Froyo 2.2 no less, that are very affordable and right on the mark. If you’ve been looking for a capable Android phone that doesn’t bite your budget, here are five of the best ones you can choose from:
Huawei IDEOS U8150
- Display: 2.8-inch TFT, 240×320 pixels, 256K colors
- CPU: 528MHz ARM 11 with 200MB storage, 256 RAM and 512 ROM
- Weight: 102.1g
- Card Slot: up to 32GB microSD
- Connectivity: HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP
- Camera: 3.15MP, 2048×1536 pixels
- OS: Android 2.2 Froyo
- GPS: Yes, and includes A-GPS support
- Battery: 1200 mAh
- Standby Time: up to 300 hours
- Talk Time: up to 5 hours
The Huawei IDEOS U8150 (known as the Comet to T-Mobile subscribers) is one of the most wallet-friendly Android phones in the market right now. While the screen might appear tiny to some, it’s still a great option for first-time users who want to join the Android revolution.
One of the draws of this device is its Wi-Fi N support, giving it the ability to surf using faster N-based networks. If you want something a bit better, you can wait for the newer version of the IDEOS, the U8510. It will boast a faster 600MHz processor, a better 3.2-inch screen and an upgrade to Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
LG Optimus One P500
- Display: 3.2-inch TFT, 320×480 pixels, 256K colors
- CPU: 600MHz ARM 11 with 170MB storage and 512MB RAM
- Weight: 129g
- Card Slot: up to 32GB microSD (2gb included)
- Connectivity: HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- Camera: 3.15MP, 2048×1536 pixels with autofocus
- OS: Android 2.2 (upgradable to 2.3)
- GPS: Yes, and includes A-GPS support
- Battery: 1500mAh
- Standby Time: up to 550 hours
- Talk Time: up to 7 hours and 30 minutes
The Optimus One is one of the better Android phones of its class, running at a cool 600MHz. The battery is quite hefty at 1500mAh which gives you enough juice to last for two days of moderate usage. Another plus for the Optimus One is that it is upgradeable to Android 2.3, something you rarely see for handsets at this price point. All of these features make Optimus One a solid choice for an entry-level Android device.
- Display: 3.2-inch TFT, 240×320 pixels, 16M colors
- CPU: 528MHz ARM 11 with 384MB RAM and 512MB ROM
- Weight: 118g
- Card Slot: up to 32gb microSD
- Connectivity: HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- Camera: 5MP, 2594×1944 pixels with LED flash and autofocus
- OS: Android 2.2
- GPS: Yes, and includes A-GPS support
- Battery: 1300mAh
- Standby Time: up to 690 hours
- Talk Time: up to 8 hours and 10 minutes
HTC makes fantastic high-end phones so clearly the Wildfire is in good company. Dubbed as the Desire Mini, it certainly has inherited many of the features and stylings from its higher-end sibling. Like all HTC Android devices, it packs the Sense UI, which gives users a unique interface experience out of the box. It also boasts the best camera of the group at 5MP with LED flash and autofocus capabilities, and the best screen with support for 16 million colors.
If you can wait a bit longer, the Wildfire S is due for release in the next couple of months. The newer version features a higher-res screen, faster processor and Android 2.3 built-in. But if you feel the pull of the original, by all means get it. It’s a great device for anyone who needs Android right here and now.
Samsung Galaxy Mini
- Display: 3.14-inch TFT, 240×320 pixel, 256K colors
- CPU: 600MHz 160MB Storage
- Weight: 105g
- Card Slot: up to 32GB microSD (2gb included_
- Connectivity: HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- Camera: 3.15MP, 2048×1536 pixels
- OS: Android 2.2
- GSP: Yes, and includes A-GPS support
- Battery: 1200mAh
- Standby Time: up to 570 hours
- Talk Time: up to 9 hours and 30 minutes
The Galaxy Mini is the newest entry to this budget class of Android phones. It has Wi-Fi N for faster connectivity and carries the same Samsung build quality we’ve come to expect. It doesn’t have any stellar features per se but you have to admit, the specs do match up quite well to the price it’s been given.
- Display: 3.5-inch AMOLED or LCD, 480×800 pixels, 256K colors
CPU: 600MHz ARM 11 with 150MB storage, 512MB RAM and 512MB ROM
- Weight: 110g
- Card Slot: up to 32GB microSD (2gb incl)
- Connectivity: HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP and EDR
- Camera: 3.15MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus
- OS: Android 2.1 Eclair, upgradable to 2.2 Froyo
- GPS: Yes, and includes A-GPS support
- Battery: 1250mAh
- Standby Time: up to 192 hours
- Talk Time: up to 4 hours
Also called the T-Mobile Blade, Dell XCD35 and the Orange San Francisco in the UK, the ZTE Blade is one of the most sought-after budget Android phones. The reason is that it packs quite a large screen for a lower-end phone, even boasting AMOLED for some versions of the handset.
To top this off, it also has a capable 600MHz processor which really shines once you upgrade the device to Froyo. One thing to note though: The Orange version has a custom skin on it so if you want the stock Android experience, switch it out with the Homescreen Selector option. By far, this is the best choice among the phones we’ve selected.
Any of these would be an excellent choice for a first Android phone for soon-to-be fans but if a gun were to be pointed at my head, I’d pick the ZTE Blade, especially if the AMOLED version is available. Don’t take my word for it though; go ahead and check out the other phones for yourself first-hand to see which fits you best. I think there is one thing we’d agree on though: you don’t need to spend much to get a good Android phone.