Jelly Bean now on 10% of Android devices

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Jan 032013

Android Jelly Bean (Android 4.1 and 4.2) adoption has picked up substantially since Google last published numbers a month ago. It can now be found on just over 10% of devices that accessed Google Play during the 14-day period ending today. That’s up from 6.7% a month earlier.

Android version distribution charts
Click for a larger version

Ice Cream Sandwich saw a modest increase and Gingerbread (Android 2.3) finally fell below the 50% mark, falling to 47.6%. Combined Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich numbers (39.3%) are finally catching up to Gingerbread and will likely finally pass it this year as more OS upgrades get pushed out and new devices continue to launch with newer versions.

There is also one casualty to report: Cupcake (Android 1.5) has completely dropped off the list and Donut (Android 1.6) should not be far behind.

If nothing else, it looks like good steady progress over the holidays (likely due in part to the number of Android devices found under the Christmas tree)…

Read more: Android Developers

One of these could have been the Android mascot

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Jan 032013

In the days leading up to the launch of Android (back in 2007), Dan Morrill, head of developer relations for the platform, took some time to doodle up some “eye candy” for some presentation slides. He came up with four early Android mascot designs.

My job was developer relations, but I took a much-needed break of a couple hours and spent some quality time with Inkscape to create these… things.

See, we were prepping for an internal developer launch (meaning, we were going to ask Googlers to start fooling with the APIs and give us early feedback), and I had no eye candy for the slides we were putting together. Hence these guys.

Early Google Android mascots

The “Dandroids” as they became known became the first proposed mascots for Android. Despite some “minor popularity amongst the team,” another design, that of the bugdroid, (fortunately?) became the official Android mascot.

Morrill also revealed that the internal developer launch was called “R2-D2” which stood for “Release to Developers 2.” Given the small issue of many robot names being trademarked, Google eventually opted for the dessert naming scheme.

Check out Dan’s post for one more design!

Read more: Dan Morrill [via Google+]

SaskTel launches Samsung Galaxy Discover

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Jan 032013

Samsung Galaxy DiscoverWe’re only days into 2013 but new smartphones are already hitting the carriers. First out of the gate is SaskTel with the Samsung Galaxy Discover, an entry-level smartphone. “Stay social wherever your day takes you. The Galaxy Discover is the perfect mobile device to keep you in the loop with all of your friends.”

Samsung Galaxy Discover specifications:

  • Processor: 800MHz single-core Cortex-A5
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE/HSPA+/GSM
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480) LCD
  • Input: Touchscreen
  • Memory: 600MB RAM
  • Storage: 4G onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 3.0MP
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: 1,300mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 127.9 x 67.4 x 12.7 millimeters / 122 grams
  • Colours: Black

SaskTel offers the Samsung Galaxy Discover for CA$29.99 with a three-year contract, CA$49.99 with a two-year contract, CA$79.99 with a one-year contract, or CA$149.99 outright.

Read more: SaskTel (Source: MobileSyrup)

Samsung Galaxy S IV to launch with S Pen stylus in April?

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Dec 282012

If the latest rumour out of Korea turns out to be true, the S Pen currently found on the Galaxy Note devices will make its way to the next-generation Galaxy S flagship smartphone. An anonymous Samsung executive allegedly explained that the move is part of the manufacturer’s plan to unify its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note sub-brands. It would also allow Samsung to differentiate its next flagship smartphone from the large number of 5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) competitors that are coming.

Supporting earlier rumours, the report adds that the Samsung Galaxy S IV will come with a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. It will be powered by Android Jelly Bean and come with a rear-facing 13MP AF camera and a front-facing 2MP camera. It will be about 9.2 millimeters thick, making it slightly thicker than its predecessor.

On the processor side, things look to be somewhat undecided. It could use a quad-core Samsung Exynos 5440 chipset or an ARM big.LITTLE architecture-based one that would pair an energy efficient Cortex A7 processor with a more powerful Cortex A-15 one for additional power when needed.

The report also indicates that the Samsung Galaxy S IV will launch in April.

Read more: Enuri (In Korean) (Source: PhoneArena)

Google Play names best apps and games of 2012

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Dec 272012
Google Play

With 2012 about to wrap up, a variety of ‘Best of 2012’ lists have begun to appear everywhere. Google is no exception. It has published both the ‘Best apps of 2012’ as well as the ‘Best Games of 2012’ lists.

First a look at Google’s Best Apps of 2012:

These are some of the best apps available in Google Play. Some launched in 2012 while others issued updates that achieved a great combination of utility, beauty and accessibility. Almost all of them are available globally and offer a great user experience on both tablets and phones. From excellent tools to objects of beauty, each of these applications represents the best of Google Play.

And then there are the games:

2012 has been a wonderful year for games on Google Play. While it was difficult to select only a few, these games represent the best and brightest releases from indie developers and industry leaders alike. The selection covers everything from cute and innovative casual games to the latest blockbuster racing title. Search the stars for humanity’s last hope, assume the role of the funniest anti-hero in gaming or join friends in a multiplayer shooting deathmatch and experience the best in gaming today.

Here are Google’s choices:

If nothing else, these lists are sure to spur some discussion. Are there any that Google missed or perhaps should not have put on its lists?

Read more: Google Play apps and Google Play Best Games of 2012

17.4 million Android and iOS devices activated on Christmas Day

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Dec 272012

It appears that a few people asked Santa Claus for smartphones or tablets and Santa appears to have come through in a big way. In fact, it was a record-setting day with 17.4 million Android and iOS devices being activated on Christmas Day according to Flurry Analytics.

More iOS and Android devices are activated on Christmas Day than on any other day of the year. This year was no exception. On this Christmas Day 2012, more iPhones, iPads, Galaxy’s, Kindle Fires, and more, were activated than on any other day in history. Moreover, as soon as we could tear the wrapping paper off our cool new devices, we started downloading a record volume of apps.

As the graph below shows, Christmas is a day like no other. Christmas Day 2011 held the previous record of 6.8 million Android and iOS device activations. This year’s Christmas was a mighty 2.5 times larger!

Android and iOS activations on Christmas Day 2012

Interestingly, whereas smartphone activations dominated the first 20 days of December, tablets caught up and accounted for roughly half of Android and iOS devices found under the tree.

Tablet and smartphone activations on Christmas Day 2012

As soon as all those devices were unpacked, they were used to set a record download day. 328 million apps were downloaded, over 100% more than the average day in the first 10 days of December.

Read more: Flurry Analytics

ZTE announces ZTE Nubia Z5 with 1080p display

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Dec 262012

ZTE Nubia Z5ZTE today unveiled its ZTE Nubia Z5 flagship smartphone in Beijing, China. It is the company’s first to come with a 1080p display. It is slightly thinner than the Oppo Find 5, another 5-inch 1080p display smartphone recently announced.

ZTE Nubia Z5 specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064)
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Cellular connectivity: HSPA+/WCDMA/GSM/EVDO
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Display: 5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS
  • Input: 10-point touch capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 32GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 13MP with LED flash and BSI sensor
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Battery: 2,300mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 138 x 69.2 x 7.6 millimeters / 126 grams
  • Colours: Black, White

The ZTE Nubia Z5 will sell for ¥3,456 (about CA$550). It is currently available only in China. It may be unveiled in other markets as the ZTE Grand S which ZTE will announce at CES 2013 (where we can expect a few 1080p smartphone announcements).

Read more: ZTE Nubia (in Chinese) (Source: UnwiredView)

Video: Happy Holidays from Android

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Dec 222012

With Christmas just around the corner now, the Google Android has put together a video to wish the Android community happy holidays:

Thanks for being part of the Android community in 2012. Happy holidays from everyone at Android!

It’s nice to see that even Bug Droid, the Android mascot, will celebrate surrounded by friends and all the latest Nexus devices.

Is that an unannounced Nexus 7 docking station (last spotted earlier this week) we spy at the 0:52 mark of the video? And is that a Nexus 10 dock a bit further (around the 0:58 mark and again at 1:15)?

Read more: Google Android [via YouTube]

Motorola developing ‘X Phone’ to take on Apple and Samsung?

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Dec 212012

Motorola MobilityIt has been relatively quiet on the Motorola front for a while. Having been acquired by Google earlier this year, it’s been unclear how the manufacturer would move forward under the umbrella of its new owners. A report by The Wall Street Journal now suggests that Motorola has some very exciting surprises in store for us for 2013. The report indicates that the company is working on a “sophisticated” smartphone, codenamed the “X phone,” that will square off against flagship devices from other manufacturers (such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung’s line of Galaxy S smartphones).

According to company CEO Dennis Woodside, Motorola is currently “investing in a team and a technology that will do something quite different than the current approaches.” The initiative is apparently being led by Lior Ron, a former Google product manager who specialized in mapping applications.

Little is known about the X Phone at this point. The team has looked into flexible displays, ceramics and other materials, as well as different colours and shapes. Objectives for the device include improving the camera and photo software and the incorporation of features from Motorola’s acquisition of Viewdle, an imaging and gesture-recognition software company. The design process has not been without difficulties . Sources have indicated that Motorola has run into a number of “difficulties,” adding that these are a “normal” part of the research-and-development process.

Motorola is expected to have its X Phone out sometime in 2013. An “X tablet” will then follow.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal

Polaroid CEO confirms Android-powered camera with interchangeable lenses

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Dec 202012

It appears that the leaked Polaroid IM1836 Android-powered camera with interchangeable lenses could be genuine. Just days after the leak, Polaroid CEO has confirmed to Imaging Resource that the company will indeed unveil such a camera at CES 2013. According to an email statement from Scott Hardy, president and CEO of Polaroid:

“There will be an Android powered, interchangeable lens camera introduced by Polaroid at CES 2013. Additional information and specs will be released during the show.”

Rumoured Polaroid IM1836

If the leaked specifications are accurate, the Polaroid IM1836 will come with Google Android 4.0, a 3.5-inch LCD display, an 18.1MP sensor, a pop-up flash, Wi-Fi, and HDMI and audio outputs. It will also be capable of HD video capture. It will be manufactured for Polaroid by Sakar, a consumer electronics manufacturer.

Details such as availability and pricing should be announced at CES 2013.

Read more: (Source: The Verge)

New entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet to cost more than US$99?

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Dec 202012

Google NexusThe rumours that Google will launch a new entry-level tablet continue. The latest report indicates that a lower-priced Nexus 7 could launch as early as Q1 2013 although the companies could also wait until Q2 as the first quarter traditionally sees slower sales.

According to Digitimes, Google is working with ASUS rather than Quanta Computer as it reported in the past. The two companies are still hoping to hit the US$99 price point but anonymous market observers expect that supplier costs (including those of touchscreen maker Shenzhen O-Film Tech) may force them to sell for slightly more. If component costs cannot be driven down further, it could sell for between US$129 and US$149 instead.

Google and ASUS will reportedly aim the new tablet at emerging markets. If so, we may not see it in North America where the Nexus 7 already sells for as low as US$199. Initial shipment volumes could reach 600,000 units.

Could this new entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet be none other than the ASUS ME172V spotted over at recently?

Read more: Digitimes

Video: Google Nexus 4 ads from Google and LG

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Dec 202012

The Google Nexus 4 is the subject of two new ads, one each from Google and LG. Google’s ad focuses on Photo Sphere, a feature introduced in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. LG’s ad is more encompassing, showing different people using the smartphone for different purposes by using different tools including Photo Sphere, Google Now, Wi-Fi Display, and Android Beam. The latter also features a number of shots of the reflective pattern on the back of the smartphone.

Now, if Google and LG could only do something about those scarce and erratic” supplies and get these in the hands of all the people wanting one…

Read more: Google [via YouTube] and LG [via YouTube]

Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean update rolling out to Bell Motorola ATRIX HD LTE

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Dec 192012

There is some unexpected but good news for Bell Motorola ATRIX HD LTE owners (including Gadgetorama’s own) tonight. The Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean upgrade is now rolling out. It’s a pleasant surprise as Motorola’s latest upgrade schedule had indicated that the update would not be begin to roll out until Q1 2013.

Motorola ATRIX HD LTE Android 4.1.2 upgrade

Motorola ATRIX HD LTE Android 4.1.2 upgrade

If you don’t see the notification yet, you can check manually through your settings: Settings -> About phone -> System Updates -> Check now.

Leak reveals Polaroid IM1836 Android-powered camera with interchangeable lenses

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Dec 192012

Polaroid, the famed camera company that went bankrupt in 2008 and has since re-emerged as a purveyor of entry level digital cameras, may be the latest to throw its hat into the new Android-powered digital camera market. Samsung already offers the Galaxy Camera and Nikon recently unveiled the Coolpix S800c. Leaked images and specifications now suggest that Polaroid is about to unveil its own such device, known so far as the IM1836, with one interesting twist: It could well be the world’s first interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera.

Rumoured Polaroid IM1836

Specification details suggest that it will come with Google Android 4.0, a 3.5-inch LCD display, an 18.1MP sensor, a pop-up flash, Wi-Fi, and HDMI and audio outputs. It will also be capable of HD video capture. There are few details about lenses but picture reveal that there will be a 30-110mm one.

There are no details as to availability and pricing at this point. Polaroid has a booth at CES 2013 so perhaps more information will be made available then.

Read more: Petapixel (Source: BGR)

Samsung Galaxy Camera now available at TELUS

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Dec 182012

Samsung Galaxy CameraThe Samsung Galaxy Camera landed in Canada earlier this month. Initially available only from Black’s Photography stores and The Samsung Storein Burnaby, B.C., it is now also available from TELUS (which happens to own Black’s).

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is first 4G camera powered by Android 4.1 Jellybean. Combining photography and an ultra sleek tablet design, the revolutionary 16MP Samsung Galaxy Camera offers the best of both worlds. Take pro-like pictures with its 21x super long zoom and 1/2.3” BSI CMOS image sensor. The 4G connectivity allows you to share memorable pictures and videos anywhere and at any time on the TELUS 4G Network.

If you’re curious about this hybrid point-and-shoot camera Android device, Samsung has just released an ad starring it and James Franco:

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is now available from TELUS for CA$599.99.

Read more: TELUS (Source: MobileSyrup)